Sunday, December 09, 2012

Happy Second Sunday of Advent


  1. Howard is still and always first.

    I just love the "heart effect" on those lights.

  2. Howard would certainly be first! Again.

    That critter in the Ark? Thinking maybe it's a baby seal? Went looking, but couldn't find either a list or much of a different angle.

    Not a fan of saying if we lose part of our body's normal functioning, then we should just accept. And while I'm certain that there are women of a certain age who are just as glad their hubbies can't, I promise you there are *also* women of that certain age who'd miss that particular function, mightily.

    As a parody, the piece is hilarious. As reality? Not so much.

  3. Bill, I've never had experience getting birth control pills. Came very close a few years back. Apparently there is a medication that is marvelous for controlling very heavy menstrual bleeding such as I suffer from. The medication just happens to be a form of the Pill. Getting that medication would have made my life a whole lot more comfortable, but what with one thing and another I never did talk to the doctor about it.

    Nowadays of course single women have - supposedly - no trouble getting birth control. Yes, all you need is a prescription. But Right Wing fanatics have been trying to change that, certainly by bringing social pressure to bear if not legal. Rush Limbaugh calling a young college student - was she in law school? - a slut on national television and demanding to see video tapes of her sexual encounters simply because she publicly advocated for wider access to contraceptives is perhaps the most nauseating and memorable example of such coercive speech, but it is by no means the only one.

    1. What do you expect of Rush Limgaugh? I totally ignore the man.

    2. That's the best thing to do, of course. Sometimes it's hard not to notice him though.

  4. Puddle, perhaps if I were with Phil my attitude towards sex would be rather different. On the whole though, the idea that life is a gift from God, who can withdraw it or any part of it is not such a bad one. Mankind does not, objectively speaking have a right even to be alive. The very breath in our lungs, the beating of our hearts is a gift from God, an anomaly in the universe, what you will, but by no stretch of the imagination our right. Rights, like duties and responsibilities and respect, are human conventions

    Or rather, they are conventions imposed by relationship. We have a relationship with our Creator which is in its essential nature different from our relationship with our fellow creatures. He gives us the desire, imposes on us the duty, to cherish life for example. But we aren't in a position to make demands or assumptions of the Creator. I have no more right to have my vision restored than a man who has lost his potency to age or illness has a right to have that potency restored. It just so happens that Mankind has figured out how to restore potency, but not how to restore vision.

    The ability to restore potency is a gift, a blessing though undoubtedly a mixed one. Even by human standards, the ability to obtain that gift, that blessing is by no means a right. To watch the ads though, a person could certainly be forgiven for thinking male sexual ability is indeed a God given right that not even God has any business taking away. It's just plain human hubris. We think that because we've worked out how to do something, that gives us the right to stand in God's place. Correcting impotence isn't the same as relieving suffering; though the warnings and lists of side effects on some medications that do relieve suffering are so dire that I truly wonder if taking them is really worthwhile.

    I have been forced, whether I like it or not, to live with the loss of, what, function? ability? I am deeply grateful not to be completely blind, and I live in constant fear of losing my hard-won mobility, such as it is, to a fall or other accident. It also goes without saying that if i had my druthers I'd choose to be fully sighted and able bodied. But the fact of the matter is, losing bits of oneself is not the end of life. One adjusts. One goes on. No one ever said it was easy or pleasant, or that one had to like it.

    1. Guess I really am a frustrated university lecturer, the way I go on and on and on at the drop of a hat. Sorry, guys!

    2. We have in fact learned to restore vision lost to cataract. And we are in the process of learning to restore vision lost to retinal problems, although it will be at least a decade and probably closer to two before what can be provided is better than what I have now. Is there honestly any reason we should not take advantage of what is available?

      I don't understand how "right" comes into it. Of course, I never see TV ads. But if I did, I would start and end with the assumption that they exist to sell me something.

    3. Bill, no reason not to take advantage of what's available.

      Sex is different. It's the double standard that gets me, or not even a double standard. The assumption Right Wing men hang on to that in fact they do have a right to lay anything in a skirt they take a fancy to and at the same time they also have the right to dictate to women - not just their own women, *all* women - whether we can use contraceptives, whether in extreme circumstances we can get a legal abortion overseen by the same medical standards of safety etc. as other major operations, even to define which women are good girls - that is those they honor with their sexual attentions - and which are whores - that is all other sexually active women. ED treatments are just the lightning rod for all this.

      I watch commercial television for an hour or less every day to see the network evening news. During that time, I usually see at least one ED treatment ad. Never have I seen an ad for any variety of contraceptive - the Pill, condoms, *anything*. Once in my entire life I saw an add for the Pill on Lifetime or one of the other women's cable channels. And the wording was so convoluted that I only realized after the ad was over what it had been for. Nothing indirect about ads for Viagra and co. They hit you over the head with the idea that a man who can't get it up is not a man and can't possibly have any other pleasures in life. Now that I think about it, actually, it's pretty degrading. The implication seems to be that the sexual act defines a man and without it, he has no reason to go on living.

      Yes, the purpose of advertizing is to make you feel your life is incomplete without the advertized product: This particular laundry detergent or cleaning product will make you a better housekeeper and by extension a better wife and mother; This toothpaste will give you a more attractive smile. But the ED treatment ads aren't merely selling a product, they aren't merely selling sex. They are selling the idea that life without sex is not worth living.

      Assuming for the sake of argument that this idea is true, well, it's not as simple as take a little blue pill, have sex and your life will be perfect. Sex implies not only relationship but responsibility. I think it is totally reasonable to require that every commercial for an ED treatment be followed by a commercial for some form of contraceptive. There's no question of decency here. The ED treatment ads would never have been allowed on television in 1970 or 1980, but then many of the programs on network television, to say nothing of cable, wouldn't have been allowed on the air either. There are no more standards of decency on television.

      If you can advertize Viagra, you can advertize the Pill etc. I honestly believe this would be good practice, fair practice, just practice. I also think if it were implemented the number of ED treatment ads would plummet as local TV stations refused to offend their viewership by broadcasting ads for contraceptives. There is a double standard and broadcasters know it.

      You can talk about curing impotence but you can't talk about safe sex. Safe sex isn't cool, isn't macho. Until it becomes cool and macho the zillion to one ad imbalance between ED treatment and contraceptives will continue. The idea that safe sex isn't cool, that a man needn't show consideration to his sexual partner because she is some sort of lower life form is terribly destructive. And that's just one of the poison pills the RW is selling.

      Real men, enlightened, evolved me like you and Alan don't think that way. But an awful lot of men do. As I say, Viagra etc. is just a symptom, albeit an extremely in-your-face symptom of the problem.

    4. And, of course, if you can't be logical, be verbose.

      Sorry again, guys. Maybe it's better for me to stay away.

  5. From the inbox:

    Dear friends,

    We are writing with gratitude to thank you for your support of Freedom to Walk and to share exciting news.

    As you know, last month, we led a group of volunteers on a 15 day, 370 kilometer walk from central Bangkok to the Thai-Burmese border. We aimed to raise $100,000 for five beneficiary organizations, to educate our Walkers about human trafficking, and to catalyze specific long-term actions after the Walk.

    With your help, our Walkers exceeded all of our expectations. Almost a thousand of you donated to the campaign. Because of you, $126,028 will go to our beneficiaries. THANK YOU!

    The journey was unforgettable. (To see pictures and blog posts, like us at Our Walkers came from Brazil, Myanmar, South Africa, Switzerland -- twelve countries in all. On the first day in Bangkok and the last day in Sangkhlaburi, we were joined by groups of close to 100 people, including US Ambassador to Thailand Kristie Kenney and former US Presidential candidate Howard Dean.

    We walked through crowded cities, industrial suburbs, and beautiful valleys; on sidewalks, highways, and dirt roads. We walked through tropical heat and mountain rain, and by the end of fifteen days, our blisters had blisters (literally). The day we reached Burma, we walked 18 kilometers with the stateless kids who live in the DREAM House, a children's home near the Thai-Burmese border that will be able to continue operating next year thanks to your donations.

    Each night, we spent time learning about the different forms of human trafficking (If you are interested in educating yourself, the full syllabus is on the "Join the Fight" page of On our last day, each person made a specific commitment to action. Our Walkers are back home now, working to start a volunteer program in Nepal, lobbying oil and gas companies Canada, organizing a national run for anti-trafficking in the US, and more. We are so excited to help these projects unfold.

    We are thankful for the support of our sponsors, and especially the Dubliner Irish Pub and Boutique Hotel for sponsoring the entire operational budget of the Walk. Because of their contribution, the Walk was free for our Walkers and your donations will go directly to our beneficiaries. As you know, the funds we raised will support hotlines for trafficked persons in Eastern Europe and the United States, protection for those vulnerable to trafficking in Ghana and Thailand, aftercare support for survivors of trafficking in Latin America, and more. If you haven't already, we hope you'll take a moment to visit the "Beneficiaries" page of to learn about their critical work.

    Though the Walk is over, there is much work left to do. We are particularly grateful to the Dream Project Foundation, our Asia beneficiary and operational partner, for their help in making the Walk a success. Their DREAM House has a waiting list of 76 vulnerable children whom we hope to support this year. In the coming months, we will be working to try to raise the $180,000 needed to house and care for those children.

    We are thankful for all you have given so far. We hope you will stay in touch and will continue to support the DREAM Project Foundation during this holiday season and beyond by visiting

    Thank you and happy holidays!

    With gratitude,

    Ali, Tanny, and the DREAM Project Foundation team

    Freedom to Walk -- A DREAM Project Foundation Campaign
    Twitter @dreamProjectF

    If you no longer wish to receive emails from the Dream Project Foundation, please reply to this email and let us know.

  6. Feeling sad tonight...

    I'm needing to take life gently.
    I'll pop in as I'm up to it. Am basically okay...just doing some self care.
    No need to send Sheriff Chuck.

  7. Having checked in, and wishing all well, I shall watch one or two humorous movies--Jack Benny's "The Horn Blows at Midnight," and maybe "The Mouse That Roared" with Peter Sellers, and Peter Sellers, and Peter Sellers etc.


    P.S.: Company holiday party and meal last night, all very respectable and enjoyable. I got some more roses pruned and sprayed with dormant oil.