Tuesday, October 29, 2002

What is "free"?

My Meidel is the Centerfold

I was just rifling through the Bitch Magazine archives and came across the above-linked article by Deborah Kolben about the first Jewish Playboy bunny, Lindsey Vuolo.

Kolben's thesis is that Vuolo, by posing nude, is defying the stereotypes that paint Jewish women.
As the self-proclaimed first-ever synagogue-attending Jewish centerfold, Lindsey finds herself heralding a new generation of young Jewish women seeking appreciation for their bodies as well as their minds.
Kolben presents the binary that a woman can only be appreciated for either her mind or her body. This is a sexist construct. The only way to defeat this construct is to exist outside of it; NOT to flip the binary, to insist that, dammit, you will accept me for my mind AND my hot bod!

If that isn't giving the patriarchy what it wants, I don't know what is.

From Bradley Hirschfield, rabbi and vice president of the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership,
“Now you have Jewish men who will go home and masturbate to a Jewish girl for a change,” Hirschfield enthuses on Beliefnet, a website devoted to religious discourse.
Hardly something for a feminist to get excited about.

Kolben goes on to say,
Lindsey falls along a continuum of progress for Jewish women that began in 1945 when Bess Myerson, a brunette from the Bronx, became the first and only Jewish woman to win the title of Miss America.
Sexual objectification = freedom. On what planet?
This is a Typical remark i hear of my man.... " NAG, NAG, NAG. NAG!!! ...... Why do women have to NAG so much!!" However my reply was "Darling, If Men did what they were asked to do the 1st bleeding time..... There would be no such word as "NAG"..... MEN developed the word NAG!!!..... Why do we bother???

Monday, October 28, 2002

Petition time!

CODE PINK | Women's Pre-Emptive Strike for Peace
Though the big SF/DC anti-war rally has come and gone, we can still sign this peace petition. There's a pretty heavy essentialist slant to this particular organization ;), but the bottom line is their over 10,000 signature strong petition.

And, hey, Medea Benjamin has something to do with this, so it must be legit :D

RIP Senator Paul Wellstone.

nasty windy days!!!

wasnt the weather scary yesterday!!! i was supposed to be meeting a friend in the afternoon but we both decided that we would not leave the house for fear of being blown over!!!!!!!! seems to be quite calm today tho, which is nice!
Thank you very much Elaine...... Im in!!!...... AT LAST!! xx

Saturday, October 26, 2002

tragedy strikes...and if you're a Democrat, your support is now needed more than ever.

I always thought Senator Paul Wellstone was one of the few Washington politicians that I could respect and admire.
In the words of his campaign manager: "Paul Wellstone was one of a kind. He was a man of principle and conviction, in a world that has too little of either. He was dedicated to helping the little guy, in a business dominated by the big guys. We who had the privilege of working with him hope that he will be remembered as he lived every day: as a champion for people."
The following information comes from the MoveOn.Org PAC mailing list:
"Right now, to our knowledge, neither the campaign nor Wellstone's remaining two sons have announced how they would like his death to be commemorated. If you wish to send a letter of condolence to his campaign, you can mail it to the following address:

Wellstone for Senate Campaign Headquarters
PO Box 14377
St. Paul, MN 55114

Make sure that you write "In memory" on the outside of the letter --
that way the campaign will be able to sort the mail more easily."

This is such a tragedy. I really don't know what to say, except my heart goes out to the people of Minnesota.
And, that now more than ever, we need to remember:

the regime change begins at home.

[cross-posted at cocokat in slumberland.]

Thursday, October 24, 2002

Oh, one more thing....

The survey responses are beginning to roll on in.... Don't forget to complete yours! Thanks! [p.s., these little reminders will appear from time to time over the next two weeks... for those of us who are memory challenged.]

Terrence Real on Oprah Monday

I received an email today from Terrence Real's assistant. It gives details on his upcomimg appearance on Oprah this coming Monday at 4:00--check your local listing to be sure. Terry Real has written some important books on relationships: How Can I Get Through to You: Reconnecting Men and Women and I Don't Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression.

Elaine talks about the books here.

Halley talks about the latest book here.

Terry Real says this about the Oprah gig:

"I wanted to share my excitement with you. On Monday Oct 28th at 4pm Eastern Standard (check your local listings in your area) I will appear on the Oprah Winfrey Show talking about "the reality of marriage " - a subject for which I am at no loss of words. The show deals with women's relationship to their wedding and then what happens after. I'm the "after" part. I thought everyone on the show was great."

He encourages feedback through his website and Oprah's. Should be an interesting show. I plan to watch--if you do, let me know what you think here or at ewriter@bellsouth.net. I'll collect the comments for Dr. Real or send him to our site.

Thanks!!

fellow sisters...

oops, ahem. That wasn't supposed to happen. I must now edit.

Hi. I recently came across blogsisters and joined. I'm looking forward to new and stimulating conversation. :-)
Have a great day;.

Her site's pretty cool
Hello there! Wassup?
Hello there

new here

Umm...not sure what I am supposed to say or do...I am new....If I want to put a link to this where do I link to here http://blogsisters.blogspot.com/ .
Also Can i use the blogsisters logo picture?

Just Chillin'

Hiya, 'sup? I wanted to add this blog sister's site to mine, u know like a "sites I read" thingy? But I dunnoe how to do it. I reallie want to put it on my site cos this site's interesting! ;) Newayz, I dun even noe how to do my archives on my site. Visit my site & drop a post for me if ya want to?
http://www.allyville.blogspot.com

Wednesday, October 23, 2002

Greetings!!!

Hello! I'm Helen, or Lady H to my friends. I'm 23 and i live and work in Liverpool (uk). I enjoy web design, music and socialising with my friends. Good god i sound like a lonely hearts ad dont i!!! eek!!! anyways, i'm glad to be part of this, i think its brilliant. I'll come back soon and post something worthwhile i promise!!!

Want to tell me about you and blogging?

Hello all. It's time. To say something to the world about women bloggers. Some good books have come out recently on weblogging and I've enjoyed every one of them. But I've also felt that while they do an excellent job at explaining the what, when, and how of weblogging, none have really tackled the who and why. So here I am. Looking to all of the women bloggers who play and share here, for your permission to use posts from your weblogs, and to ask if you'd like to tackle a survey form--write your hearts out, in other words.

I'm looking to write a book, possibly a series of articles, on the topic of women and weblogging, our voices online, how writing online (and what we write online) is affecting our relationships with others, ourselves, our world, and more. Although I can't pay you for your contributions, I'll give the contributors I use in publication credit for your contributions with your name (or pseudonym if you choose) and your weblog URL.

Want to start sharing? Let's get jiggy with it.

Open the RTF file below. Save it to your hard drive, wherever, with the file name of your choice (your name or blog name would be good). Have your say. Save again. And attach as an email back to me at ewriter@bellsouth.net. I'll add the link to the survey to the margin as well, so as this post drops down you'll know where to find it. Feel free to send to other women webloggers too. (And don't worry, I'll get the fellas' input along the way, if, when, and where it's fitting.) Thanks a ton!

BLOG SISTERS SURVEY!

Monday, October 21, 2002

Speaking of Societal Measures of Masculinity...

I found over at Uppity Negro this interesting, though maybe over-vocabularized article, on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and notions of masculinity. The article focuses on one of the long-standing male villians, a vampire named Spike, who started out as the worst kind of violent, macho baddie; became, through a government microchip, impotent as a vampire (it prevented him from inflicting any pain on a human being by causing a massive headache); and is now struggling with a full-on human conscience/soul (OK, remember, this tv show is very fictional ;-) ) in a demon's body.

The article finds parallels to the struggle of the modern Western male, who with the recent rise in female empowerment and status as of the turn of the century, needs to find new ways to express the masculine ideal in terms of status symbols, behavior, and appearance. What I found somewhat disappointing, though, was what I felt was a not very thorough examination of the character history of Spike. What the article doesn't mention is Spike's beginning as a vampire: he was once a failed poet, and essentially an utter failure as the "traditional" ideal of masculine. He was effeminite, sentimental, unattractive to women, and also a really sucky poet. After being socially rejected, he becomes a vampire, and takes on the hyper-macho personality of violence, strength, recklessness, and conventional male power. When finally confronted with a female equal (Buffy), he becomes emasculated again, only this time to (I think) gain the potential to grow beyond the stereotype of male-strong-violent-phallus-power. An interesting spiral of development, methinks. What the show then provides, is, perhaps (if you can believe that a television show about a teenage girl who is destined to kill demons can offer any kind of deep significance) a model for the modern man to accept a new form of gender idealism which doesn't focus solely on brute force and masculine strength.

I could go on, but that's enough blather for now. ;-)

Well Endowed?

It seems to be my week to comment on biology and related topics. So forgive me, here I go on another rant.

Okay gents, I know this is a touchy subject. But it keeps coming up (*ahem*), and so I would like to spread a little light (where did you think I was going?) on the subject from a female perspective.

As reported by Reuters and called to my attention by boing boing:


On the heels of a previous report that debunked the notion that a man's shoe size could be used to estimate the length of his penis, a new study now claims that those with inquiring minds need merely take a gander at a man's forefinger...

Dr. Evangelos Spyropoulos and colleagues from the Naval and Veterans Hospital of Athens, Greece say they conducted their investigation to gather more information on the relationship between body measurements and male genitalia size. They argue that such information--as well as a clearer definition of "normal penile size"--will help doctors counsel and treat the many men who are concerned about perceived inadequacies relating to their genitals.

The "lack of standardized metric data and the absence of widely acceptable criteria on the proper size of the external genitalia poses major difficulties in the counseling and/or treatment of young adult men with worries of sexual inadequacy," the authors write.


Okay. So let me be as clear about this as possible.

Within reasonably normal parameters (let's say, a standard deviation), we women JUST DON'T CARE how long your penis is. There may be a certain occular thrill associated with length, but I'm here to tell you that it's trivial, temporary, and nothing to get yerself in a twist over. As it were.

But.

(You knew there was going to be a "but," didn't you?)

If we care about your proportions at all, what we care about is girth. There are good anatomical reasons for this, the technical details of which I will spare you.

Double-but.

(Urrrk. That didn't come out quite right.)

Surely by now, you enlightened fellows you, you realize that anatomy is not destiny, right? You do realize that the "endowment" of the guy that all the girls whisper about to one another with misty eyes ultimately has nothing whatsoever to do with the meatpacking industry and everything to do with what's between his ears and in his heart, right? You know that it's about what he pays attention to, and how, and why, and what kind of attention, no? That's the gift that keeps on giving.

Granted, it would be easier for everybody if we could just say: Hoo-boy, that's a sure fire winner there, no question, let's get right on that!

Aren't you (admit it!) glad that's not the way it actually works?

Okay. So could we quit it with the size correlation articles already????

Cross-posted at both2and: beyond binary.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

"Men are always wrong...about women."

The above is a quote from a superbly produced play, "A Killing's Tale," written by my ex-husband and b!X's dad. The play, a murder mystery set in the Globe Theater during Shakespeare's time, has Shakespeare deliver the above line.

The play deserves a post all of its own, but that's not where I'm heading with this. I saw the play with a couple who are good friends of mine. I've known the woman, a lawyer and child advocate, for years; her live-in male companion has been with her for the past several years, and so I've gotten to know him through her.

The three of us went to dinner before the play, and, because we were going to see a play by my ex-husband, the conversation naturally meandered toward relationships and why they work and don't work. Now, the woman in this couple is liberal, feminist, creative, childless, and previously divorced. The man has kids from a previous marriage, is intelligent and well-read, and has a wry sense of humor. And he takes great pleasure in asserting Neanderthal attitudes about relationships and women. Yet, they seem to have a good time together.

She says it's because he makes her laugh, they enjoy doing the same kinds of things together (like taking me along with them to see a play); he doesn't care if she shaves her legs or under her armspits; he doesn't expect her to cook or clean (he's neater than she is and so he often does the cleaning). Neither tries to make the other into something he/she is not.

But she also says that if they had met during an earlier stage of their lives, they would have hated each other. They could never have raised children together. But they are at that last partnership stage of life where it's not necessary to agree on a lot of things. What one looks for is companionship, a sharing of everyday things good and bad, a good friend who makes you laugh and will travel with you even though he doesn't really like to fly.

They both loved the play -- which is full of wit and witticisms, has two strong women characters, and includes lots of relevant sub-themes, including homosexuality, religious censorship, and the complexities of male-female relationships. As the Shakespeare character demonstrates, talented playwrights do not necessarily good husbands make.

(This is also posted on my own weblog. I seem to be inclined these days to turn my back on the big disturbing polictical picture -- which seems so removed from anything that I can influence -- and focus more on the small, personal and interpersonal interactions that, to me as of late, seem more real and ultimately momentous.)

Saturday, October 19, 2002

The Curse, Re-visited

After reading Pascale's post about menstruation, I just had to bring one of my blogger page posts over here.

For some unknown reason~~~I got to thinking about my prepubescent days and how different the world was then. I really need to share this tender slice of innocence, c. 1943. Two of my girlfriends had started their menstrual periods and were strutting around like they invented the ovulating egg. I was jealous, 13 and no sign of this passage into "womanhood". My mother had told me about this awesome situation and bought a "belt" and a package of Kotex pads so I would be prepared for the momentuous day.

Well, I grew impatient. One day I took my new belt and a Kotex, spritzed a load of ketchup on the pad, put the gear on and went to my friend's house..........where I loudly proclaimed that I too, was now a woman. And even showed them the evidence by pulling my virginal white cotton panties down and displaying "proof". I wore that mess for a couple of hours but even I couldn't take it anymore and the Big Revelation was dumped into the garbage.

Friday, October 18, 2002

The Curse

I'm 44, and I think it's about time I got a little something off my chest.

So here it is: I hate having my period. At best it's an annoying inconvenience, and at worst it's a messy, painful, unpleasant aggravation.

I grew up during the first flower of modern feminism, when we were all supposed to celebrate our bodies and the miracle of the female cycle. Our mothers told us how lucky we were to have tampons, so that we could do anything ~ even "at that time of the month." Taste your menstrual blood! Cramps are a figment of your patriarchally dominated mind, free yourself and your uterus will follow! Let's dance in the moonlight and celebrate our fertility! Three cheers for womanhood!

Bah humbug, I say to you.

I hate everything about it. I hate having to remember to carry various paraphernalia around. I hate the "accidents" that require me to soak and scrub underwear when my body decides to go into overflow mode. I hate spending a fortune on little cotton-rayon blend plugs. I hate cramps and backache. Frankly, I'm just not psyched about all that blood in the toilet either.

I hate having my period when, for god's sake, I'm on vacation. Or I want to have sex (it's not a question of what he thinks, I just don't relish having to deal with a RED wet spot). Or on the day I have to make a presentation to a new client, or the morning when a conference panel runs long.

Back in the day, when I was a sprout on the Pill and realized that you could just keep taking it ~ that there was no reason to lay off once a month for five days except to simulate menstrual bleeding ~ I couldn't understand WHY anyone would do that. Except of course I did do it, because that's what was most like your natural cycle. And we wanted to be natural, didn't we?

All through my teens and twenties I was blessed with a five week cycle. So I spent about 20% of my days bleeding. In my thirties it gradually contracted to a 4 week cycle, so now I spend nearly 25% of my days bleeding. It's a pain in the ass.

There may be a downside to menopause (and I hope some sisters will feel free to share their thoughts about that, positive and negative), but as far as I'm concerned the cessation of menstruation is definitely NOT going to be one of them. I can't wait. Bring it on.

Okay, for the record: I am a feminist. I do not hate my body, in fact I think it's just swell and even has some especially lovely bits. I do not particularly suffer from PMS. Yes, I know about exercise, menstrual extraction, caffeine reduction (as if!), and so on. My period has never kept me from doing something I really wanted or needed to do. And until writing this post I have never in my life before referred to it as "The Curse," which is just about the most political incorrect term imaginable. I hate my period. It's that simple.

Thank you for listening. You may now set your flamethrowers on "high."

Vikkicar signing in...

Hi there. I'm new here. I got in last week or so. Have been checking the archives and the blogs of the sisters here. Having fun reading different blogs from different females perspectives. I am quite new in the blogging community as well. [started May of this year] At first, I was hesitant to make my blog public but finally got brave enough and finally decided to think out loud. [that's also the title of my blog]

I'm 26. I have a job but I don't like it. It was supposed to be a temp job but after four years I'm still at it. It's just hard to look for another job here in the Philippines. [tell me about it...] I'm grateful though that I have a job. At least, I get to buy stuffs and all that. Also, my boss is a relative and he happens to be really nice. Though next year, I have to decide whether I'm staying or going.

I don't smoke or drink, by choice. I don't like smokers who smokes in my way. That's a pet peeve. I'm a homebody. I'd rather stay home in front of my TV than go out to clubs. I'm rather fascinated with men in briefs/boxerbriefs rather than boxers. [that requires another post...teehee]

Dinner with friends and girltalkin' galore over a cup of [the beverage of choice] is one of the things I enjoy doing. Movies. Music. JANE Magazines. TV. Books. [can't get enough of them] I need more time. I don't interact with people that well. I'm quiet. I'm insomniac. I'm Aquarian. If you want to know more about me, just visit my utopia.

I am excited to be a part of this sisterhood though the image of the nun really creeps me out. Big time. Thank you Miss Elaine for sending me the invitation.

Have a fine weekend to all the ladies in here. Godbless.

The Sensuous Male

(This is a double post from my own weblog.)
He's on my mind today both because last night was Salsa dancing at Club Matrixx and because there are some current posts here on Blog Sisters complaining about having to deal with men ogling them and making ridiculous noises and gestures.

I think that many men are confused about the differences between sexist and sexy. In my opinion, many men don't have clue about "sensuality," especially their own. In my opinion, the guys who stand around and ogle women are completely out of touch with their own sensuality.

Contrast that with the guys out dancing Salsa last night. I don't know any of their names yet; I've only been there several times so far, and I go there to dance, not talk. And I do dance -- and the Salsa is a sensuous dance.

One short, paunchy, thinly gray-haired guy, always dressed in a suit, is the best dancer there. He feels the music; every move reflects the intention of every beat. He leads gently but assuredly, holds me firmly, close but not suffacatingly so; he watches and makes sure we keep in touch. He is short, paunchy, thinly gray-haired and marvelously sensual. He loves to dance. He likes women. He doesn't ogle. He's having too much fun. He stops me on my way out to say goodnight. I ask him to save me a few dances next week. You bet, he says.

Another, a young guy, glasses, nice looking, serious, shy, dressed down. His movements are smaller scaled but just as sensual. When we get into a groove, the patterns flowing as though we had choreographed them, his face breaks into a wide smile. His eyes twinkle. We are one with the music and the sensuality of the dance. He is in the moment. He doesn't ogle. He's having too much fun.

I'm 62 years old and past the age at which I get ogled by guys out of touch with their own sensuality. Boy, do those guys need to learn to Salsa!

Mananitas?

Here's one for the Blog Sisters, since we seem to have Sisters from just about every ethnic group on the planet:

I'm trying to find out about the origins and history of the "mananita," which, according to a photo in a yarn catalog, is a lacey shawl knit in a spiral. I can't find anything on the Web. Does anyone know???

Beat The Oglers

Gals.......do we need the added stress of Oglers to our already fraught and difficult lives? No way! Gather together and Ogle back. Flip 'em the bird. I do. Walk tall and proud. You have the same inalienable right to freedom as they do. To hell in a handbasket with 'em.
Down With Oglers!!!!!!

Thursday, October 17, 2002

Oglers

I just posted over on my site about being ogled and catcalled as I'm just trying to go about my daily business. Does this bother anyone else as much as it does me? I mean, once in a while, a complimentary whistle or something can be flattering. But in my neighborhood, literally every human being with a penis finds the need to harass me as I walk down the street. I'm doing nothing to bring this on. I can be dressed totally plainly, no makeup, nothing--and still the unsolicited calls come.

I'm tired of having to walk down the street like I'm somehow at fault, head bowed, swift feet. I feel like a bone being dangled in front of a pack of dogs. And it's so frustrating, because there's nothing I can do to stop them.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

I blog therefore I am!

Hi to all Blog Sisters.
I may be a newbie but I've been watching this site for some time. Blog Sisters Rock!!!!! Email me anytime. I'm a sex columnist you know!
Hello there. Lovely to be part of a Blog Sisters. Just an addition to the 350 periods. I've calculated exactly 289 for me and I don't have any kids! Whats even more of thought provoking is that each month at least one egg was unfurtilised. (we know about multiple eggs right?). So, when I think about my 25 years and 8 months of worth of periods, I think about that. I know that millions of sperm get released each time a guy ejaculates, but to me, that's waaayyyyyyy different. Is that wrong? Anyway, thats all I have to say about that. Come and visit me if you like at http://xsclothingwoman.blogspot.com and read about my adventures and thoughts!
Nothing flash, just some fun stuff!

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

b!X's birthday bash?

On October 26, the day after his 33rd birthday, my son b!X will be marching in San Francisco to protest our government's warmongering policy on Iraq. I hope that it becomes a birthday bash and not a head bashing for him.

So, if any of you are in SF at the same time and run into him, give him a big birthday hug and kiss from his Momma, who hasn't had a chance to do that for years and years now.

And may all of you marchers and protesters be safe and successful. And so may all of us who don't believe that waging war against Iraq is going to make life better for anyone but those who are already protected by power and money.

Monday, October 14, 2002

In celebration of 350

The way I figure it, today I began my 350th period. I figure it this way--I started at age 10 (yes, young), which means I've been having my period for 30 years. At 12 months in a year, that's 360. Take away the 9 months of pregnancy and 1 month it stayed away after, and that brings me to my 350 milestone.

Why a milestone? Because it means I've lived through 350 episodes of stinking PMS, that's why. And this month was a doosey. Ask Halley. She talked to me during my downward spiral last week. "I don't know, Halley. Nothing's really right. Everything's basically wrong. It's pretty much useless." Those kinds of things. Anyone familiar with them?

Swiftly, without giving my household or my mind time to switch gears, the old hormones had me rocketing into anger mode. "WHAT DID YOU MEAN BY THAT??!" "JENNA STOP IT OR GET TO YOUR ROOM!" "DID I SAY I WAS ANGRY??" Holy cripe, I couldn't even stand myself. All the while, I wasn't sure what was up because I was a week late and vascilated between wondering, am I pregnant or did i mix up when I last had my little friend?

Let me tell you, the relief last night when old 350 hit was palpable. Children slept. The neighborhood dogs stopped baying. Birds began chirping from their quiet nests. The clouds parted to show a massive sky dotted with sparkling stars. Husbands around the world sighed. And me, I was suddenly Glenda, the good witch of the North again.

So for anyone wondering, 350's a charm.
Hi, everyone. I'm new to Blog Sisters, so just wanted to say thanks for creating such a wonderful, woman-friendly space on the net, and say how much I'm looking forward to participating!

I'd also like to offer my first link from ZDNet |UK| Computer grid to fight breast cancer. In contrast to some of the downsides of corporate sponsorship that Jennifer's story, below, points out, this ZDNet article discusses the plus sides of using standard, off-the-shelf technologies to develop a natiowide computer grid that will assist with early screening and diagnosis.

Sounds like a great idea to me, with the exception of privacy concerns that this nationwide grid may bring to the fore. Given that privacy and personal information is treated differently in the UK (and Europe generally) than in the US, this may not be such a problem, though. As someone who has watched a mother and other family friends battle breast cancer, though, I'm in favor of this kind of technology, and hope that any privacy or confidentiality issues that arise can be effectively addressed by the technology, as well.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

Who needs bail?
It was a rough day for some of our educators today. I don't want to jump to conclusions but *ahem* it sounds as if some of our role models weren't so model-like.

I'm not too surprised with the whole storm over at Marshall High, I'm much more interested in the fact that I used to go by the school on my bus ride out of the city.

Then on the other side of the Bay, we've got this 26 year old exchange teacher (how sad that she's Filipino) doing some teen boy. Oy vey, couldn't she find a nice, older white man (I know, quite stereotypical but I'm in a mood) who will support her and her family back in the PI.

Sad thing is? Her family will probably disown her after hearing she gave her flower to an underaged boy and that her bail is one million dollars.

Nice.

Friday, October 11, 2002

Hope Springs Eternal

(this is a double post; also on my weblog)
Periodically, I get emails from various anti-war friends to sign an email petition or some such thing. Thanks to the education b!X has given me about separating the internet wheat from the chaff, I have learned to reply to such emails with a version of the following message -- which I just sent to the dozens of people who also received the latest email and whose addresses were at my mercy in the body of the message.

You should know that this effort is bogus and is just a waste of your time. There are several sites that you can check for the validity of similar efforts and other rumors spread over the internet. One of these is http://www.snopes.com/index.htm. If you go there and search for "United Nations Peace Petition," you will find an explanation of this untrue rumor.

Also, just a helpful hint for when you send out mass emails -- it's wise to enter those addresses in the BCC: box so that all of those addresses are not visible. (For example, I was able to send this message to everyone who was on the mailing list along with me.)

Finally, if you want to keep up with all kinds of non-mainstream information about "King George" and his efforts to propel us into a warring frenzy, check out www.poxamericana.us.

Thursday, October 10, 2002

Andy Rooney boycott, anyone?

From Romenesko:
"60 Minutes" commentator Andy Rooney said about football on "The Boomer Esiason Show": "The only thing that really bugs me about television's coverage is those damn women they have down on the sidelines who don't know what the hell they're talking about. I mean, I'm not a sexist person, but a woman has no business being down there trying to make some comment about a football game."

Um, "I'm not a sexist person"? Yeah. Right.

Marketing Hypocrisy and Breast Cancer

Peggy Orenstein has a new piece in the Los Angeles Times (free registration required). It begins:

The first time pink ribbons made me see red was a couple of years back, when I was stopped short by a sign at a gas station. Cunningly placed next to a pump, it sported the ubiquitous pink bow and read: "Be a driving force against breast cancer."

For me, who had finished treatment for the disease three years earlier at the age of 35, that tore it. Corporations know that those pink ribbons translate into green cash: According to a 2000 Opinion Research International poll, more than two-thirds of women said they would purchase a product linked to the fight against breast cancer.

But how many of them will ask how their money is actually spent or how corporate donors may themselves "drive" the breast cancer agenda?


Good stuff about the catch-22 of corporate-sponsored "breast cancer awareness" campaigns. Environmental toxins are believed by many to be contributors to cancer, yet the same companies that draw customers by supposedly supporting "the battle against breast cancer" and its "survivors" are some of the biggest environmental offenders out there.

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

hi sisters!!

first of all..thanks a million for invitin me to be one of the blog sisters..such an honour.. well anyway..i juz wanna know what u guys think abt this topic..
Should divorce be banned?
i got it for one of my examinations topic and well..i guess i didnt do my best on it..
its reali a good question eh??
anyway..blog away and tell me ur comments..
hehehe....

Monday, October 07, 2002

Voila!

The new design is in place. The most observant of you may notice that the archives are a bit funky. I'm blaming it on Blogger, because I can't think of anything I'm doing wrong to make the February link show March dates (though the more recent archives seem to be working just fine).

At any rate, I hope y'all like the new look. If you have any specific, pressing concerns (like that brownish color scheme I chose makes you succumb to epileptic fits, etc.), please do let me know. I have no intention of being the Tech Nazi. :-)

Friday, October 04, 2002

More activism.

Hi sisters! I'm still really new to the community, but I thought I'd throw this link out there (and hopefully it hasn't been discussed earlier). I caught about 10 minutes of Oprah today, and was really drawn to what was being discussed.

Its the story of a Nigerian woman, who is in danger of being stoned ... and we can help.

From Amnesty International USA's website:

AMINA LAWAL, a 30 year-old Muslim woman, was sentenced on Friday 22 March 2002 to stoning to death by a Shari'ah court at Bakori in Katsina State in northern Nigeria. Amina allegedly confessed to having had a child while divorced. Pregnancy outside of marriage constitutes sufficient evidence for a woman to be convicted of adultery according to the new Shari'ah-based penal code for Muslims, introduced in Katsina State. The man named as the father of her baby girl reportedly denied having sex with her and his confession was enough for the charges against him to be discontinued. Amina did not have a lawyer during her first trial, when the judgement was passed. But she has now filed an appeal against her sentence with the help of a lawyer hired by a pool of Nigerian human rights and women's rights organisations.

The hearing of the appeal by the Shari'ah Court of Appeal of Funtua, Katsina State, was set for May 27, 2002 but adjourned twice, after her lawyer argued for an early hearing to take place instead of having the hearing postponed until next year as previously proposed by the court. Amina Lawal is still weaning her baby. Such a long adjournment of the case would have not served any useful purpose and would have deepened the climate of uncertainty created by the whole process. The terms of the bail have also been reviewed. Under these new terms for bail agreed by the court, Amina Lawal will no longer be reporting fortnightly to them. The only condition, however, is that Amina Lawal had to have a 'surety'.

On 8 July 2002, Amina Lawal made the submission of her appeal before the Shari'ah Court or Appeal of Funtua. The hearing of her appeal resumed on 5 August 2002 and the prosecutor presented his case and urged the court to maintain the sentence, death by stoning, passed by the Shari'ah court of Bakori. On August 19, Amina’s appeal was denied. She now has thirty days to make another appeal to the Supreme court in Abuja, the nation’s capital.

Go to the site and send an email off to the Nigerian ambassador. In fact, sign up for the newsletter. There's so much we can do, if we just invest a couple minutes here and there.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Masturbation

That got your attention.

:)

Over at Time's Shadow, Dave Rogers talks about trying to get a grip on Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle (hehe, great oxymoronic image!). Like me, he's fascinated by physics. Neither of us is ever going to push the frontiers of subatomic physics back, nor expand the limits of cosmology, but we think the ideas are neat and we like to learn and think about them.

Is this "mental masturbation"?

Well, so what if it is? First of all, let's all take a deep breath and get over the idea that masturbation is a bad, shameful thing. Masturbation ~ mental or otherwise ~ has a lot going for it. But, title notwithstanding (can you say "bait & switch"?), that's a topic for another day.

All knowledge needn't be sought purely for immediate and practical purposes. There is such a thing as intellectual play. Learning for learning's sake. Stretching ye olde grey matter. Thinking big thoughts because big thoughts feel cool inside the brain pan. Because one idea leads to another. Because everybody could always use another item in the potential analogy/metaphor file.

We are already professionally specialized almost to the point of extinction. It's a Good Thing to know a little something about fields beyond our own, to be able to sling the lingo about a bit (while not pretending that we actually KNOW what we're talking about in any truly professional way).

But most of all it's FUN. And we all need more actual, genuine fun in our lives. Fun keeps us from crusting up and becoming tedious pucker-butted fuddy-duddies. Fun is a surefire way to retain a sense of humor and some good-natured humility. And forget the virtues of fun, the key thing about fun is that it's fun. And sometimes that, right there, is enough.

Kinda like masturbation.

[Update: Okay, one other thought. Masturbation ~ of any kind ~ should in general be done in private. Unless you've got an eager audience for it. After all, no one forced you to visit this site.]

Cross-posted at both2and: beyond binary.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month - get yourself screened!

They tell me that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I don't know where these folks live, but in my corner of the world, breast cancer gets the full-calendar, 12 Month A Year kind of attention. There are so many women in my constellation of friends and acquaintances who have been touched by this disease, that it's become as familiar to me as the common cold. Were only the path of breast cancer as easy to travel.

Until 13 years ago, I'd never known anyone to develop cancer in her mammaries. Back then and outside of the erotic and push-up, I didn't give much thought to my tits. And then I learned about Cathy, my neighbor's daughter: a 30-something beauty who having survived the disease, was at the time I met her, in the throws of a heartbreaking divorce. A nice guy, but he had this really tough time dealing with her disfigurement and all of that chemotherapy business. Whatta guy, huh? With the help of good reconstructive surgery, a supportive family, some counseling, and I gather a prescription for Zoloft, she was back in fine fettle some two years later - just in time to help her older sister come to terms with her diagnosis. Nowadays, we all know women like these gals. Stories like theirs cause us to look at our breasts in a different way. They've become sort of like our personal pair of armed devices, set to go off at any time. It's no wonder that the women I know - Republican, Democrat, Green or Purple - all have an innate calling for nuclear disarmament. We live with that kind of fear every day.

A couple of years after losing the left and the right one, respectively, both women were back under the knife at Sloan-Kettering, each having her remaining breast removed, because it too had been found cancerous. The cycle began anew - loss of job, depression, recovery, reconstructive surgery, and recovery again. If it doesn't kill you, breast cancer will certainly test your mettle.

Another friend, who happens also to be my brave and wonderful boss, knows all about that fear. Susan had her left breast removed some 15 years ago. She relives the pain, and comes face to face with her mortality when each year her annual mammography returns inconclusive results. Thus begin her annual cold sweats - the ones that precede the pushing, the prodding, the exploratory procedures - the ones which thankfully, have for 14 years returned with good news: the lumps they discovered were merely cysts.

To my knowledge, the Breast Cancer Survivor's Club has never been incorporated, but its roster of members is impressive and long. Susan is joined on that list by young and old, by the celebrated and the not-so-well-known, like those two young mothers who live nearby. Last year, both of them discovered their own lumps during breast self-examination and soon began their own course of discovery, anger, acceptance, surgery, treatment and recovery. Fortunately, their husbands and children remained steadfast and supportive.

Breast cancer exacts a great price from the lives it touches. Right now, there is no cure for the disease but research continues through such organizations as The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, founded by cosmetics icon, Evelyn Lauder. Fact is, that until there comes a cure, the best defense we've got is regular breast cancer screening. Breast self-examination is encouraged for all women, but according to the Associated Press, without medical screening, the do-it-yourself method is not likely to save your life. This is not good news for the millions of Americans who are without health coverage in these days of tax break bonanzas for the wealthiest among us, and manufactured war which benefits the military industrial complex and energy interests. If you don't mind my saying so..our priorities as a nation are screwed up.

If you are a woman, or you are someone who loves women, please make sure you know the signs to look for, but most of all...get on into that doctor's office for a breast exam. For more information on breast cancer - information which may help to save yours, or the life of a woman you love, click here.

(cross posted at RuminateThis)

Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Warning: Design Ahead

As the first major undertaking of my office of "Technical Blog Sister Support", and at the behest of Jeneane and Elaine, I've done a little markup revising to give Blog Sisters a new look and more compliance with web standards, etc. This means that I will be changing the Blog Sisters template, and it will be looking pretty different by the time I'm done.

The day of the change is coming soon (rough estimate at this point: by the end of the week). If you'd like to offer your two cents before that happens, feel free to email me (Andrea). Hopefully this redesign should accomplish two things: to give the Blog Sisters web site a more distinct and unique appearance, and to make sure that it's relatively readable and visually consistent in all different kinds of web browsers, on all different kinds of computers.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog. :-)