Fellow Scrogue Russ Wellen called our attention to an article in the New York Times, “A Cold War Fought by Women,” about research by Dr. Sarah Hrdy that quantifies female competition and aggression. Not surprisingly, Dr. Hrdy and her colleagues conclude that it exists and, importantly from a scientific standpoint, it can be measured through experiments that can be replicated. Continue reading
In the aftermath of Anthony Weiner’s most recent sexting scandal, I keep hearing this argument for better technology from pundits and late night hosts. Something along the lines of “Why didn’t he just use SnapChat? Those photos on only last up to 10 seconds! Any middle schooler who has ever sent a picture of their bits knows that!”
There are a bunch of problems with this argument, and I wanted to address them.
First, let’s take care of the “use better technology” part. SnapChat, for the uninitiated, is an app for iPhone and Android phones that allows users to take and share photos with other SnapChat users. They allow captions, drawings on the photos, and a set expiration time: usually 10 seconds or less. In my experience, the technology is used to send dumb, double-chinned photos with Perez Hilton-esque finger paintings back and forth to your friends. But the app gained some popularity with sexters because of the set time limit. Finally, people could send NSFW photos to others and have them disappear after mere seconds!
This argument is flawed. Even with this “new and improved” sexting technology, there are ways to keep that photo. You can still screen grab them – and screen grabbing DOES allow you to send the photo along to others. The app has developed a notification system for the sender in case this happens, but it doesn’t actually do anything to stop the recipient from freezing that photo, adding it to their camera roll, and then sharing it with others.
The second problem with this argument is, technology is not the problem we should be focusing on.
By focusing on the technology part of this scandal, we’re ignoring the fundamental fact that Anthony Weiner sent photos of his junk to women who were not his wife – some of whom probably didn’t want that photo in their inbox. After doing so, he lied about it and said his Twitter feed was hacked, and spent thousands of dollars to investigate the hack (when he could’ve saved that money and simply owned up to sending the photos). After swearing to never send those photos again, he sent more photos of himself to women who were not his wife, and appeared unrepentant when asked about it.
In this way, the news media and entertainment media focusing on the technology used, instead of the transgression, is a disservice to their viewers. This is an elected official lying about his personal life, and wasting campaign money in investigating a “hack” to save face. This is a candidate for public office, expected to be (semi) honest with the people he governs, and by focusing on SnapChat as a solution rather than his lies as a problem, it’s not helping anyone.
More importantly, by suggesting a technological “work around” to getting caught sexting, we’re acknowledging that politicians are going to sext people, and that it’s acceptable behavior. We’re not holding someone accountable for their actions here – we’re telling them how to obfuscate their behavior even further. By saying “Just use SnapChat!” we’re saying “You’re an idiot, instead of not sending pictures of your junk, you should’ve just sent them another way so we have less chance of finding out about it.”
Call me crazy, but I think people should be held accountable for stupid things that they do. I think Wall Street bankers that shafted millions out of their homes and retirement savings should be punished by more than pithy fines. I believe that 18 year-olds that post drinking photos on Facebook without at least making their profiles private should have employers find them and question them. I believe that journalists that mislead people and report false news should be exposed as the frauds they are. And I believe that public figures should be questioned when they do dumb things like send photos of their naughty bits to constituents. I don’t think we should be advising them on how to lie more easily, because this just grows the problem into something larger – and it has nothing to do with technology.
I’ve gotten called some awful things when I tell people that I’m both a practicing Catholic and an advocate for women’s choice – from baby killer to hypocrite. But hear me out.
I was raised with a strong sense of faith in a “cafeteria Catholic” family – that is, a family that picked and chose from doctrine and tradition what we would actually practice. There was an overarching idea of being good to other people, whether you agreed with them or not, and trying to stand in someone else’s shoes when considering situations. I was raised to help the poor, to speak up for those who couldn’t, and to be as good of a person as I could be.
I was raised in a church where my LGBT friends weren’t accepted, but in a family where they were welcomed; in a church where stem cell research wasn’t embraced because it killed live embryos, but in a family with history of diabetes and dementia, diseases that could be potentially cured by such research; in a church where women aren’t allowed to be priests, but in a family that sees it as a practical and natural progression for an aging priest population.
This isn’t to say that I was raised in a family that espoused abortion. They didn’t. I formed that opinion on my own. But it comes back around to the idea of thinking of others first, and trying to see a situation from their perspective. I consider myself pro-choice, and pro-quality of life, rather than pro-life.
Let me explain.
In states like Texas, Virginia, Kansas, and Wisconsin, legislators are not necessarily banning abortion and pre-natal care, but making it harder and harder to obtain. By instituting waiting periods, enacting parental consent requirements, building specifications that are nearly impossible to meet, and other hurdles, they have created a de facto ban on abortion in their states, tearing away at the freedom and rights that Roe v. Wade guaranteed to American women over 40 years ago. But what these politicians fail to acknowledge is that women have been having abortions for years, and will continue to have them whether they’re legal or not. The difference is that by keeping them legal, regulated, and performed by doctors, we can save more lives than the abortions end and keep thousands of women from shoddily performed procedures that result in their sickness or death.
These legislators, and their supporters, consider themselves to be a righteous, “pro-life” movement, where every life is sacred (except for the mother in question), and where we as people have no right to end a life (unless it’s someone on death row). What I argue is that these people are not pro-life. They are pro-birth.
Legislators who are against women terminating their pregnancies are also the ones who want to cut funds to programs helping families. They aim to slash the budgets for SNAP, food assistance, child care credits, education, and health care. Parents who couldn’t afford to have a child to begin with, but couldn’t abort the pregnancy, are now faced with the challenge of raising a child without the means to do so, and with little to no assistance. Not only is this difficult for the parents, but for the child. Yes, the child is alive, and that’s wonderful. But what is the quality of his or her life like? Is it really best for a child to be born when their quality of life is subpar?
I mention this argument and tie it to my religious upbringing because many of the legislators making it difficult for women to have abortions and nearly impossible for them to receive government assistance once they deliver claim to be Christian men and women of high moral standing –they’re just trying to stop people from killing babies, they say.
I don’t agree with this misguided sense of morality.
As Christians, as Americans, as people, we cannot let this counter-intuitive, counter-productive set of principles guide our legislation and limit a woman’s ability to plan her family and access health care. We must help women do what is best for themselves, their partners, and their families, even if we don’t personally agree with their choices. It is not our place, and it goes against the sort of Christianity I was taught growing up – the “judge not, lest ye be judged” kind that Bible thumpers seem to forget about when they’re spewing t their hateful ideas and claiming them as Christian doctrine.
Am I comfortable with abortion? Not really, no. But as a woman, I could never deny or legislate against a sister or a friend or a mother or a stranger seeking one because it was her best option. As a woman, I can’t bear to watch states domino one-by-one into legislating against half of the population. And as a Catholic, I cannot bear to watch legislators who fail to listen to the voices of their constituents and who refuse to care for their brothers and sisters and children as they were elected to do.
I wanted to end with a quote by Sister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine Catholic nun who talks about human rights, war, poverty and women’s rights. I think she sums up my position more succinctly and eloquently than I ever could when she said:
I do not believe that just because you’re opposed to abortion, that that makes you pro-life. In fact, I think in many cases, your morality is deeply lacking if all you want is a child born but not a child fed, not a child educated, not a child housed. And why would I think that you don’t? Because you don’t want any tax money to go there. That’s not pro-life. That’s pro-birth. We need a much broader conversation on what the morality of pro-life is.
Often, the evidence suggests, sex in long-term relationships.
What most people know about Sigmund Freud could fit on the head of a penis. But many are familiar with his late-life lament: “What does woman want?” In 2009, reporter Daniel Bergner wrote a piece for the New York Times Magazine titled What Do Women Want?, in which he reported on research into the nature of women’s sexuality. This week the magazine published Bergner’s latest article, which might well have been titled “What Does Woman Not Want?”
Dietrich Klusmann, a psychologist at the University of Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany, has provided a glimpse into the bedrooms of longtime couples. His surveys, involving a total of almost 2,500 subjects, comprise one of the few systematic comparisons of female and male desire at progressive stages of committed relationships. He shows women and men in new relationships reporting, on average, more or less equal lust for each other. But for women who’ve been with their partners between one and four years, a dive begins — and continues, leaving male desire far higher.
The actual title of Bergner’s new article is Unexcited? There May Be a Pill for That, in which he describes the development of medication for women seeking help with flagging sexual desire. It seems that a Dutchman named Adriaan Tuiten has finally invented a drug, in two variations called Lybrido and Lybridos, that is effective and may soon be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The ill and the elderly aside, why do many women in good relationships avoid sex with their partners? Among the usual suspects: fatigue from juggling home and job; poor body image due to aging, lack of exercise, and childbirth; aversion to her partner’s out-of-shape body; and, of course, the festering resentments that infect even healthy relationships. Also, leave us not forget men’s relentless empty-out/fill-up sexual cycle, at obvious odds with many women’s longer cycle during which sexual desire peaks just before menstruation.
But what’s most likely to dash the hopes of men in relationships who feel deprived of sex has only just begun to be presented as a coherent whole. Setting – dinner, dress, intimacy – have traditionally been deemed important in aiding women, especially those in lengthy relationships, to “get in the mood.” In fact, enhancing desire thusly may come in a distant second to a mechanism Bergner outlines in the earlier article. He begins by explaining that
The generally accepted therapeutic notion that, for women, incubating intimacy leads to better sex is, [Professor of Psychology at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas Marta Meana] told me, often misguided. “Really,” she said, “women’s desire is not relational, it’s narcissistic” — it is dominated by the yearnings of “self-love,” by the wish to be the object of erotic admiration and sexual need. Still on the subject of narcissism, she talked about research indicating that, in comparison with men, women’s erotic fantasies center less on giving pleasure and more on getting it.
“When it comes to desire,” she added, “women may be far less relational than men.”
Broadly generalizing, if Professor Meana makes sense to you, sex for men is about women; sex for women, about women. Many women need to think of themselves as desirable to become aroused. But it doesn’t seem to matter to most men if women experience themselves as desirable. (Would that more men spent time making clear to their partners how desirable they find them. Facilitating that can be achieved, in part, by establishing setting, not to mention making themselves presentable.)
What’s more, while men are famous for looking for sexual thrills – as embodied, for example, by the phrase “get some strange” – that may better describe what women yearn for, according to Professor Meana. From the first article again.
… Meana thinks of female sexuality as divided into two systems. … On the one hand … there is the drive of sheer lust, and on the other the impetus of value [by which she means] the closeness and longevity of relationships: “But it’s wrong to think that because relationships are what women choose they’re the primary source of women’s desire.” [Emphasis added]
As I interpret Professor Meana, most women, like most men, first seek to meet their primary need. But, unlike men, they experience difficulty getting their primal needs met within the context of their relationship.
Meana posits that it takes a greater jolt, a more significant stimulus, to switch on a woman’s libido than a man’s. … And within a committed relationship, the crucial stimulus of being desired decreases considerably, not only because the woman’s partner loses a degree of interest but also, more important, because the woman feels that her partner is trapped, that a choice — the choosing of her — is no longer being carried out.
Some women just like the idea of sex and devote themselves to it as if it were an artistic pastime. But few individuals – men as well as women – are inclined to turn “in theory” into “in practice” on a regular basis. Bergner’s recent article reveals some of the issues the availability of a prescription raises.
But of course swallowing a tablet can take us only so far. Chemically enhancing a woman’s desire might play out in all kinds of ways within a relationship. … Women might feel yet more pressure to perform: Why not get that prescription? their partners might ask; why not take that pill?
As if to confirm their apprehensions, one of the article’s commenters, who calls herself Jewels, wrote:
Oh, ugh. Now I have to figure out a way to keep the nyt magazine out of my husband’s paws this weekend. … Just what he needs and I don’t: some ammo to wave around! “You should look into this pill! Right now!!!”
Implicit in her objection is what will likely prevent drugs such as the Lybridos family from ever achieving the mass popularity of erectile dysfunction drugs for men. In other words, many women don’t want to want sex. This includes, per Professor Meena, not only women who are unenthusiastic about the prospects of quotidian sex, but those who long to act on their fantasy of sex with an exciting stranger. They would be especially responsive, according to another researcher in the earlier article, to one who taps into a “take me” fantasy.
As you can imagine, when a woman demonstrates no interest in improving her sex life with her partner, the red flag it unfurls flaps wildly in the storm winds of a marriage. Her partner can’t help but conclude that his worst fears have come true and that, stuck in a sexless relationship, he’s now certifiably undesirable (never mind that may actually be the case), his masculinity shattered.
If he can afford to, a man can arrange to secure sex elsewhere. But, furtiveness inevitably erodes what’d left of the relationship. If up front, he’s likely to find that, to his partner, extramarital sex still qualifies as unfaithfulness and, despite herself, evokes jealousy.
With more people retaining their health longer, some speculate that – child-custody issues aside for the moment – succumbing to the seven-year itch deserves to sheltered under the same umbrella of social mores as, increasingly, same-sex marriage has been. In fact, though, not more than a handful of men and women have the stomach to purposely weather both the devastation of uncoupling and the subsequent grueling search for new love. Ultimately, most men seek one committed relationship. Women? The same, but, to many, sex is a clause that can be excised from the “contract” a few years later without necessarily renegotiating.
There may be no short-term answer, but, long-term solutions are readily apparent. We can begin by accepting that Professor Meana may be right and that, for many women, sex may never be part of daily life. Instead, we need to focus on what can change. Women should not be made to feel that that something is wrong with them just because they decline sex within a committed relationship. No one should attempt to shame them into taking medication.
Besides, that only succeeds in reminding them of all the men who have leered at them, groped them, perverted the concept of seduction by turning it into coercion, and, worst-case scenario, raped women or sexually abused them as children. No matter how wild women’s fantasies – still tame compared to those of many men – lack of interest in sex is more likely to be a symptom of how women have been treated by men both from their own births and from the beginning of the Neolithic Era than any “hard wiring.”
Credit is due those women who stand ready to seek medication to increase their sex drives. Nevertheless, it’s patently unfair to place more than a small portion of responsibility for any lack of interest in sex on women. It’s lamentable that, at this late date in history, it requires spelling out. But respect for young women in their formative years may be the truest indicator of sexual passion in the adult woman.
The Sanctity of Human Life Act is back.
In a new year only 3 days old at the time, Rep. Paul Ryan, fresh from seeing his chances at VP aborted, wasted no time trying to breathe life back into the Sanctity of Human Life Act.
As reported by Laura Beck at Jezebel:
But now it’s baaaaack, which is scary because not only is the above terrifying, there’s all sorts of other creepy shit hidden in this monster. Like, if a woman who was raped in a state that banned abortions went to a state that didn’t ban abortions and had an abortion? Her rapist could theoretically sue to stop the abortion from happening, and probably win. And it doesn’t stop there with the reproductive weirdness, if passed, it’ll probably make many forms of IVF illegal.
As of today he has sponsored zero bills and has only co-sponsored this one according to the data available at opencongress.org. We can see where his priorities are, and they clearly aren’t focused on the economy, thank goodness. I can understand, however much I may disagree, how pro-life/personhood advocates are so zealous on the issue. As a matter of faith, I’m sure it’s of paramount importance to them. But seriously, the assault on the other rights of women really needs to come to an end.
For the sake of argument, let’s just assume for a moment that even when a woman becomes pregnant from rape she shouldn’t have any say, legally, morally, ethically, or otherwise over the fate of her body or the undesired progeny of a rapist, replete with all of the possible genetic predisposition to sociopathic traits it may have instilled in it by the rapist’s insinuation of DNA into the mix. How in the ever living fuck does this translate into a violent criminal’s right to intervene in the legal proceedings involving his victim’s rights, or lack thereof, before the law?
Stop. Right there. Let’s cut right to the chase here. When a rapist decides to obstruct his victim’s access to abortion, let’s be really clear about what’s happening. This isn’t a morally ambiguous character in some graphic crime drama generated by Hollywood. We are talking about a man who, for a host of pathological reasons, takes it upon himself to overcome a woman’s objections by spewing his diseased sperm into her body. Suddenly we’re to believe that this paragon of virtue is only interested in preserving the life of a zygote he created without the consent of the incubator he raped? No.
Whoever may have standing in such a case, the rapist is the very last person who should have it. This is not about fatherhood. This is about a violent sociopath asserting more power over his victim, but this time, to compound injury with injury, it is legal power, the power to have his victim faced by police with guns, the power to have his victim caged like an animal, the power to potentially ruin her finances, her self-sufficiency.
Think that far-fetched? Then I humbly submit that you are not following the ramifications. A rape victim, served with a subpoena or an injunction, runs afoul of the legal process stacked against her by not playing according to the rules established for her by people more sympathetic to the rights of a rapist than they are to her suffering as a victim. At some point, a police officer will be involved. Should she resist enough, she faces the very real and tangible risk of being tased or looking down the barrel of a drawn weapon, to say nothing of charges ranging from resisting arrest to assaulting a police officer, depending on just how adamantly she defends herself from this incursion by the state into her womb, all because a man forced his semen into her against her will. Taken into custody, she will most certainly be behind bars, whether for an hour, a day, a week, or longer. Getting out under any circumstances other than solely on her own recognizance will result in costs.
So, again, assume that the birth of the child is the singlemost important outcome in your worldview. Just how many other ways do you feel it necessary to violate this woman’s person?
Of course, it’s not just Paul Ryan who, one might imagine, feels that his inner Fortress of Rectitude looks suspiciously like the walls of a vagina defended by the pristine Gates of Labia, both major and minor. He is but one knight at this round table, lance at the ready. King Arthur, in this demented twist of chivalry, is Paul Broun of Georgia. The other knights that stand tall and proud in their desire to plant flags for Christendom in vaginas across the country are: John Carter (TX), Michael Conaway (TX), Blake Farenthold (TX), John Fleming (LA), Trent Franks (AZ), Bob Gibbs (OH), Phil Gingrey (GA), Tim Huelskamp (KS), Walter Jones (NC), John Kline (MN), Stephen Palazzo (MS), Stevan Pearce (NM), Martha Roby (AL), David Roe (TN), Harold Rogers (KY), Lee Terry (NE), and Lynn Westmoreland (GA).
What fevered impulse puts one token woman on the side of the rapist is beyond me. Try as I might to put myself in the shoes of a pro-life zealot, I just cannot fathom this. Maybe, in this worldview, the victim always has it coming, what with being the spiritual heir of Eve, first temptress, and bearer of a foul cesspit of wanton promiscuity. No cry of “rape” is ever true and just. To be cursed with a vagina is to be subject, forever, to the caprices of men.
So, since these political knights (and their fair lady) fail to see just how very personal this is to the women they prefer to beat into submission with sociopaths’ penises, let’s turn the tide for just a moment and flip their script. Let’s make the same kind of horrid assumptions about them and their characters as they clearly make about rape victims. It’s okay for Rush, right? And we’re not ones for double standards, are we?
With her espousal for absolute subjection to men, one can only wonder just how lucky Ms. Roby is to not have an extensive brood of rape babies. Has she never been alone in the presence of a man (or men) before? Surely her vagina is clearly labeled “open for business,” right? After all, if the “rapist” is to have the kind of rights she sponsors in this bill, we’re not actually talking about “legitimate rape” and we are indeed talking about the prerogatives of genuine and authentic fatherhood. That kind of willingness to fully embrace the personal responsibility for what goes into her vagina, even without her express consent, must be an aphrodisiac to every swinging dick within 500 feet, and who is she to say no or allege rape, after the fact? With that kind of spiritual purity, one might be led to think that her well-trafficked bed is the best kept secret in town. Just how did she fund her election, anyway?
As for the men in this Society for the Creative Protection of Rapists, we may be led to wonder as to the ultimate source of their defense. Could it be that each and every single one of these gentlemen has a problem with understanding the nature of consent? Could it be that, according to the definition of rape as updated by the FBI, every single one of these men is a rapist with a vested interest in protecting the rights of their kind?
As long as people of this particularly troglodytic bent keep calling the shots, we may never, ever know for sure. Me? Were I to have a daughter, I think I’d make sure she gave all of these politicians and their associates a wide berth.
As you probably already know, the world ends tomorrow. If you didn’t know this, you might want to Google “Mayan calendar” and start getting right with Jesus. Anyhow, the end of the world is a pretty big deal, and we’d like to know how you plan on spending it. Also, we want to know how you’d spend it if you had your druthers. No answer is too fanciful, too fantastic, too outlandish. I mean, take a swing here, folks. The world will be over, so it’s not like anybody will be able to hold you accountable, right?
I’ll go first. What I’d like to be doing when the world ends… For dinner I’d like a big cut of prime rib from the Chop House, start it rare, then pan-blackened. Bourbon Stout. And I’d like a taste of Port Ellen, to boot. For dessert a generous helping of bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream and bourbon sauce. After dinner, I’d like to retire for the duration with the lovely Kaley Cuoco. Oh hell, dream big, Sam. Kaley Cuoco and Zooey Deschanel and Hannah Simone and Stana Katic.
What I probably will be doing is watching TV with the dog. Not with a bang, but a whimper.
And now, let’s hear from some of our favorite musical artists. Here’s REM:
And Rob Dickinson, with a romantic take for those of you lucky enough to be ending it all with the one you love.
So, bye, I guess. It’s been nice knowing everybody.
Not me – I LOVE campaign season. Why? Because it’s an opportunity to learn stuff that not only didn’t I know before, but that I’d never learn any other way.
For instance, look at some of the Science lessons I’ve learned in the past few months:
- A woman can’t get pregnant from a rape.
- If she does somehow get pregnant from rape (which she can’t, but just in case), it’s because God has “blessed” her.
- Sometimes women get raped and pregnant because that’s how God wants it.
- Vaccinations cause mental retardation.
- Embryology is a lie from the pit of hell. (NOTE: this one and the first item must be true because they come from members of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee.)
- There’s no science behind evolution.
And what about History? I’d never have learned this one:
- Slavery was a blessing in disguise for black people. (Granted, in parts of the country students can learn that most slaveowners were kind and that many blacks preferred being slaves, but it’s nice to have this kind of high-level, official validation.)
Many schools have slipped in their responsibility to teach Civics, but our candidates for public office are doing what they can to plug the gap:
- Muslims are a problem and the only solution is to run them all out of the US. (One assumes this includes the president.)
- 47% of Americans are freeloaders.
How about Economics? God knows we need to learn how to be more fiscally responsible.
- You can’t decrease the deficit increasing revenues, but you CAN by cutting a program that accounts for 14/100th of a percent of the budget.
Then there’s Engineering:
And Behavioral Psychology:
And, of course, Political Science:
- You don’t have to share a border with a nation that has coasts on three large bodies of water in order to be their gateway to the sea.
We’ve got a couple weeks left and I’m carrying my notebook with me everywhere I go.I feel certain that I’m not through learning interesting and important lessons about our wonderful world.
by Chip Ainsworth
A good nonfiction sports book is hard to find because most authors tend to put athletes on a pedestal. There are exceptions, such as Robert Creamer’s biography of Babe Ruth and Pat Jordan’s brutal self-assessment of being a failed Milwaukee Braves bonus baby in the 1950s. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods by Hank Haney falls into the former category.
Haney was Woods’ swing instructor from 2004 to 2010. During that time Woods won 39 tournaments, including a half-dozen majors. Regrettably, Haney can’t get past the golfer to talk about the man, and even the golfing prose is less than revelatory: “Tiger was so good he could still win with less than his best stuff.”
No kidding. Continue reading
When applied to sexual matters, the term “double standard” usually refers to the extent to which those who condemn it indulge in the activity themselves. This has traditionally been applied to society, especially in Europe, where men’s affairs are tolerated, while women were expected to remain faithful. Another, less harmful double standard is a complaint by some men that masturbation on their part is met with disapproval by their wives or girlfriends, who, theoretically, are engaging in the practice as well. Continue reading
by Lee Camp
I don’t know if this is some kind of bizarre ploy to lure the female vote or what, but personally I find would-be First Lady Ann Romney’s outing of her husband’s impotency to be wildly inappropriate, no matter what I think of his politics.
by Brittany Gasper
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
Despite misquotation, Plato famously spoke of the inability to define beauty. A woman’s culture declares the ideals of her beauty to the point that some societies oppose each other.
In the United States, many women consider a tan to imply sun-kissed, healthy skin. Citizens of Southeast Asia consider pale skin so beautiful consumers rarely find cosmetics without whitening agents. Despite government attempts to control the growing market, one research survey estimates four in every 10 women in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, South Korea and Taiwan use whitening cream.
A beautiful woman’s skin has diverse interpretations throughout the world. Pakistan, Northern Libya and North India consider “mehndi” or henna to have “Barakah” blessings and apply it for luck, joy and beauty.
Recently I was e-mailed, via Match.com, by an attractive woman (to the extent that profile pictures can be trusted, anyway) named Kathleen. I love that name, and her profile made her sound like someone I’d be interested in talking to a bit more, so I replied. We exchanged a couple of e-mails and I was thinking that maybe I’d like to meet her in person.
Then she asked me if I liked skiing. I answered honestly. I love skiing, although I’m not great at it and I haven’t been on the hill since I annihilated my knees a few years back. I’d love to get back into it, though, but haven’t so far because I hate doing things alone.
I knew as I hit the send button that I’d never hear from her again. Continue reading
Actress and lesbian Cynthia Nixon has caused a firestorm in the gayosphere by saying that for her, sexual orientation was a choice.
Obviously, this view undermines the arguments of gay political orthodoxy, and gives the right wingnuts who run “gay rehabilitation prayer camps” support that they were right all along–”See Harold, I told you he was just doing it to be ornery.” Of course, the truth is probably like most things: The truth is somewhere in between. It may be for her, but it isn’t for most gay people.
Our question for today is: How is Otherwise not like Newt Gingrich?
Is it that Newt is a fat, slimy old scoundrel with creepy teeth and Otherwise is not?
So Otherwise is a fat, slimy old scoundrel with creepy teeth?
Stop it. Otherwise is not a slimy old scoundrel with creepy teeth. You know what I mean. I mean that is not the difference Otherwise is talking about. The difference is that Otherwise is accountable.
A-cow-and-a-bull? How do you spell that? What does it mean?
Ahhhh, I see you are a Republican. No matter, perhaps this post can help your understanding. Continue reading
We now have two scandals in college involving coaches using their positions to prey on young boys. They are different in degree—Sandusky apparently set up an elaborate system to deliver young victims to him while the allegations against Fine (he is uncharged and unconvicted) make him appear to have been more opportunistic. And they are different because at this point it appears that Penn State deliberately covered for Sandusky, allowing his predation machine to grind on while the university administrators counted the gate receipts, while Syracuse was far more responsible in its handling of the situation. But they are similar in that both these predators used the razzle dazzle of college sports as bait to attract young boys, the same way priests used the church and Boy Scout leaders used campfires.
The question, of course, is not why Sandusky and Fine did what they are alleged to have done. We know why they did it. Continue reading
by Jane Briggs-Bunting
Penn State, like many of the big schools, is focused on sports and football as the big ticket event. Sports is so big at Penn State that it is home to the John Curley Center for Sport Journalism and the Knight chair in Sports Journalism and Society. Sports is endemic. It’s part of Penn State’s DNA as Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Baer reports.
Though, as awful as the situation is, Penn State is not alone in revering athletics. At a lot of schools, in the Big Ten, the Big 12, the PAC 12 and so on, athletics is number one to its students, its alums and its board. The likelihood of blind eyes being turned for other matters (hopefully never sexual abuse) would not surprise me. It’s what happens when the questionable decision of elevating athletics over academics occurs. Continue reading
by Chip Ainsworth
The cold air chased me south from New York into Pennsylvania and on through Virginia into North Carolina. “We had snow here last week,” exclaimed Sarah Edwards. “We haven’t had snow in 15 years.”
Edwards was speaking from behind her desk at the Ava Gardner Museum in downtown Smithfield, a Tar Heel town of about 13,000 that’s located a few miles west of I-95. I’d pulled in once before but the museum was closed. Now I was back to get a glimpse into the life of the woman who became the flame who “taught Frank Sinatra how to sing a torch song,” as his band arranger, Nelson Riddle, once described her.
The museum attracts about 12,000 visitors a year — mostly seniors but also “a lot of younger people interested in Old Hollywood,” said Edwards. Admission is $6 and patrons can buy a variety of souvenirs from Ava Gardner post cards to five-ounce jars of regional delicacies like sweet potato butter and moonshine jelly. Continue reading