Friday, October 24, 2008

613 - ok, not laughing now

Let's hope this is just media speculation but the mere suggestion that Palin is considering making a bid for for the White House in 2012 if McCain fails to win next month - is just plain scary.

Not laughing now. Oh no.

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

612 - quickie

Howler - headline of the day: Sarah Palin ‘considers herself intellectual’.

Reminds me of some classic New Zealand political graffiti about a Maori MP at the time:
A prominent right wing businessman erected a billboard in the mid ‘70’s with the words:
“Matt Rata reads comics”
Later someone scrawled on it:
“No he doesn’t he just looks at the pictures”

I wonder if recounting that makes me racist? But that means I’m sexist for thinking Palin aint the brightest light on the christmas tree?

Speaking of which - the big fake christmas tree is almost ready for action at City Square in Melbourne. It's October for f*cks sake!

Growler #1: The NB on the massage therapist as rapist post “But there were people around, why did no one complain?”. Oh boy, you are naked, vulnerable and this man parading as a therapist is groping you. Did you misinterpret that move he just made? He works here and I have to keep coming back to this gym, what if I just ignore him instead of complaining? Everyone else seems to like him, I must have got that wrong?

Growler #2: On a late afternoon tram. Group of four very rowdy (drunk or drug affected) kooris get on. One guy starts screaming verbal abuse at one of the women. I head up to the front where it is jam packed full of women trying to ignore what is going on. “Has anyone alerted the driver?”, I ask. They look kind of guilty, “That’s domestic violence going on down there”. But at that moment the four get off the tram, much to everyone’s relief.

The conversation following went something like:

“Oh, she’s following them”

“You can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themself”

“She could have of jumped off the tram earlier and got away from him”

Oh boy!

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

611 - the stress made me do it!

Oh no another sexual criminal using the “stress excuse”.

Melbourne massage therapist, Adam Alikakos, is up on five charges of indecent assault and two of rape. He doesn’t appear to be denying the accusations and expects a custodial sentence according to The Age.

Mitigating circumstances? Stress.

Julie Sutherland, for Alikakos, said her client and his wife were under pressure from family and friends to have children and during the time of his offending he had become stressed out about their failure to do so.
"He said that over the years he felt more and more at fault as a man and more and more emasculated," she told the court.


Update 22.10.08: It seems the world can't get enough of Adam Alikakos. From Singapore to Moscow, Idaho - they've been googling him. With dozens of hits yesterday, looking just for him. I wonder if his aim in life was to be famous? For now, at least, he's getting his 15 minutes of glory.

You really do have to be careful for what you wish for.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

610 - ponderings of a small brain

While others are grappling with more pressing issues like – is this the death of capitalism and what happens if someone who only applied for a passport for the first time last year becomes VP of the most powerful nation in the world, my thoughts lately have been revolving around more domestic matters.

Like:

Is it better to put cutlery in the dishwasher pointing up or down? Does it negate using all that hot water to then have a clean, tine up fork plucked from the basket with grubby mitts?

And:

How long has it taken us to notice the down size in the egg packaging from dozen’s to ten’s?



Or:

Ladybirds sited in the nettle patch in the garden today – yippee, that’s a good sign isn’t it?

And even:

As a Sri Lankan woman told me yesterday, it means someone is thinking good thoughts about you – who the hell was thinking a truckload of good things about the NB at 4 am this morning?

What’s occupying your tiny minds?

Have a good Sunday.

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

609 - I'm a member of a new club

"Socially infertile".

That’s the latest phrase to call a growing number of women in our society. Single or gay, we are the ones that got missed in the tsunami of heterosexual coupling. While the term is still too contemporary to have it’s own wiki yet, some more enterprising Assisted Reproduction Technology companies have identified a lucrative niche market to exploit or offer hope to. Depending on how you read it.

According to today’s Age report, for $3,000 plus ongoing storage costs, a woman can have eggs harvested and stored til she finds “Mr Right”.

The piece is quick to point out that the procedure is experimental. Although young women undergoing cancer treatment have had access to the technology for some time with very limited success. The problem is due to the fragility of the ‘shell’ of the ova, 98% are unviable on thawing. This differs from current IVF statistics, which uses ova that have then been successfully fertilized and frozen after a few days of cell division.

But without “Mr Right” there is no semen to fertilize the eggs of the future dream child and this is the problem in the first place.

So, considering the odds of the eggs jumping the first hurdle let alone the next step of fertilization with “Mr Right’s” seed, are the two clinics in Australia offering these services to single women saviours or exploiters? The director of the Queensland clinic bandied more hopeful statistics for women up to 37, however there appears to be no peer reviewed published research to back this up. Overwhelmingly the current research negates the clinic’s optimistic statistics.

Perhaps this was what offered hope to the woman featured in the article to go through with “one of the more harrowing experiences of her life’, when she was 36. Some would find the ethics of that transaction highly questionable.

I found the article disturbing on so many levels. Beyond the exploitation of barren women for commercial means and the increasing medicalisation of fertility, the persistence of the myth of finding “Mr Right” troubles me.

Does the soulmate phenomena help our hinder our search for a partner? In a similar vein the Sunday Age last week ran a cover story on it’s colour supplement about single, financially independent women in their 40’s. The take home message is that after the rush of the late 30’s settling for “Mr He’ll Do”, at the biological cut off age for maternity, these women could afford to be fussy while they hung out for “the one” to appear. A contemporary take on the fairy tale of the tall, handsome man bounding up on his white charger to sweep us off our feet. A modern day Mr Darcy, oozing wet shirt sexiness, a sizable asset portfolio and stunning wit. Pre-made children an optional extra.

Once more women are portrayed as being incomplete without a man. We are left in some kind of holding pattern while we wait for our soulmate to recognize us in a crowded room one day and save us from our singleness.

Personally, I don’t subscribe to the soulmate theory. Maybe that is just a symptom of middle aged cynicism. Perhaps we have many perfect partners, or none at all. There have been many ‘right’ people at the ‘wrong’ time in my life. I’m aware now that we can’t put them aside for a rainy day and access them at will later on, only accept the situation for what it is at the time and make a choice to stay or leave.

But I wonder if the mythology of “Mr Right” hobbles our search for a partner or liberates it. I salute women who choose being single over a relationship that doesn’t meet their needs but does perfection exist, especially when none of us are perfect in the first place?

And do we really need a relationship to feel complete. What’s more is a relationship the consolation prize for not having our own children?

But back to todays article with the beautiful, single woman pictured in the romantic cliché of walking on the beach. While frozen ova may be a possible fertility option for a meager handful of women who access the technology before their mid-30’s, her odds are extremely slim. ART could offer her an option in the here in now with donor sperm and fresh eggs, plus a lot of medical intervention. But waiting for the picket fence and perfect man to complete the picture changes the odds entirely.


Cross-posted at my new collective blog Deliberately Barren cutting its teeth on issues around being childfree by choice or circumstance.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

608 - pussy video du jour



This could be why the NB won't let my cat sleep with us anymore.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

607 – media quickie

I don’t know whether to play the karma card or go down the “innocent til proved guilty” path on this one. But it does seem karmically very interesting that a politician who voted against the decriminalisation of abortion in Victoria only a few days ago, now finds himself being accused of sexual assault this week.

Alarm bells really rung when he delivered this statement today:
"I was shocked to read in today's Age statements from a person accusing me of the most horrible crimes that are totally against all the moral and religious values I believe in”


Moral and religious values. What, like a priest?

Or his brother, the first minister in the State parliament to be jailed.

Then there was the actress who I had til now respected, whose turned up in full page ads implying how good and healthy the world’s leading fizzy drink is. I’m guessing her life mightn’t be a bed of roses with her last teleseries being no “Sea Change” but it made me sad to see such a quirky, talented woman sell out like that.

But I’m nowhere near as mad as the Australian Dental Association who take umbrage with the same ad that says that it’s a myth that the aforementioned fizzy drink rots your teeth. Heck if it can clean off grease, how can it not eat away at your dental enamel too?

The only people I know who drink the stuff habitually haven’t many of their own teeth left. But I suppose we’d need a double blind, placebo controlled trial to prove the connection.


Shonky politicians, lying multinationals, paedophile priests all in the same post – I was having a bad day but must admit I feel much better now.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

606 - Roseanne cross-post

Roseanne Barr is an outspoken woman, feminist and mother of five. She relinquished her first born, in her late teens. Check out the interview, below, in last week’s Guardian.

Roseanne on antidepressants:

She believes that society wants women "on anti-depressants so they are no longer creative or fierce". Has she taken anti-depressants? "Oh, hell yeah. There isn't anything that I haven't done. They dull your rage. People don't like angry women so they say, 'We're going to have to drug that bitch to get her to shut up. We will humiliate her and disenfranchise her, but first she has to shut up.' Oh yeah, I did those anti-depressants the last time I was famous. I needed to dull the horror of it."
Interview in The Guardian with Chrissy Iley, 8 October, 2008.

She also blogs like a blogger, with kooky photos, spirituality, poems and short explosions of rage. Fortunately, she still gets angry sometimes.

Cross-posted at Deliberately Barren

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Wednesday, October 08, 2008

605 - alert and alarmed

Twice today in the lift at work, while smiling hello at people I only have a nodding acquaintance with, I’ve been accosted with predictions of doom and gloom. Sure these people are all small business owners, mostly artisans or technicians in their trade but when someone whose voice is still thick with a family history that likely lost members in European pogroms tells you these are grim times, it makes me wonder.

I have clients now mentioning the “economic downturn” on a daily basis. The state of Wall Street is only tangentially linked to why they consult me. It sits on the far outskirts of our professional solar system and technically speaking, should not have any impact on the here and now.

But we are being taught to be afraid, be very afraid, and so we are.

Prior to this week’s Reserve Bank interest rate cut, our glorious leader already gave the banks a get out of jail free card. He signalled that it would be ok for them to not pass on any reduction in rate in full to their customers. Right on cue, most lenders are holding back 20-25 basis points of our whopping 1% drop.

We have effectively been dumbed down and instead of being outraged, feel gratitude about paying out a little less on the mortgage.

At home, discussions about the economy have segued from “recession” to “depression” citing various definitions of the “d” word. We consider ourselves fortunate for so many reasons and even with a limited income between us, our individual little piles of debt are quite manageable. However, even if I can get out of debt before the storm hits, my business is based on people having spare cash to take care of themselves and the Not Boyfriend, well he is an emerging artist. Enough said.

The thing that makes me maddest about all this is that we are being manipulated. Naomi Klein’s primer in disaster capitalism sets the scene so brilliantly for the recession or depression that we had to have. If you aren’t up to reading “The Shock Doctrine”, search for her on YouTube (or the likes) or spare 17 minutes to watch this interview with John Cusack (now that’s a dynamic duo, talk about thinking people’s crumpets!)

The take home message is this crash is predictable but there is much worse to come – further privatisation of resources, lower expectations of government and reduction in political accountability.

Only a revolution is going to save us all now. Or can we all jump ship and sail for Venezuela?

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Monday, October 06, 2008

604 - a serious post

The abortion reform legislation goes before the (Victorian State) Upper House this week and The Age continues to run it’s series of uncritical, clearly anti-abortion, “human story” style pieces that have been peppering the paper for the last couple of months.

The latest is all about little Thomas who was born at 26 weeks (a full 3.5 months early). Now six years old there’s a picture with his loving mother with the caption, “Thomas Sharples and his mother Deborah, who is disgusted by the idea of a 24-week termination”. With Deborah’s willing consent Thomas’s story has been part of the case delivered by Labour MP Marlene Kairouz against the Bill.

The story, no doubt supplied by the anti-choice lobby, is lazy and uncritical in its reporting of the facts. What was the cost of Thomas’s 3.5 months of post-natal hospitalization, much of it in NICU and ongoing special care? Not a mention. Has Thomas suffered for being kept alive ‘against all the odds’? The story glosses over his deafness and makes no other mention of the physical problems.

Thomas’s story does not address the issues of the Bill or the fact it is looking at abortion up to 24 weeks. At that stage of prematurity each day makes a substantive difference to likelihood of survival. While the medical advances in the past decade are increasing the odds for those born at 26-plus weeks gestation, there have been no significant changes for survival of 23 week old fetuses, which stays hovering at around 20%. It would be rare for the 1:5 who do survive to do so without blindness, deafness, brain damage, digestive problems, sleep apnea, heart irregularities and an inability to be fed naturally.

While I love a good survivor story and am not an eugenicist, the sloppy reporting does little to tell the whole story.

Catholic, and some other chrisitan, doctors or medical personal believe it is against their individual human rights to perform a termination on a woman who’s own life may be at stake if she continues the pregnancy. A strange lack of compassion in anyone’s book to choose a fetus that may have little chance of survival, over a functioning adult.

The Age continues to fail to bring it’s stories on this legislation back to the point which is to allow safe, legal access to abortions up to 24 weeks' gestation and remove unlawful abortion from the Crimes Act. While a small percentage of women may choose to go through an induced labour at 23 weeks for lifestyle reasons, the vast majority who seek a termination at this time is in response to the devastating news that their much wanted baby, if it was to survive birth, would have major brain or internal organ damage. I’ve met no woman who has been confronted with this to take the decision to terminate lightly. Nor has a single one of them forgotten what it was like to labour in vain and hold their child until it dies.

For those of us who support the final passing of this legislation, all we ask is that when for whatever reason, a woman chooses to terminate a pregnancy of up to 24 weeks, that it can be done so legally and safely. In short, that no woman die or be damaged from the consequences of an out of hospital abortion, or that she or the medical personal go to prison for pursuing an abortion up to 24 weeks.

What is so wrong with that?

"A number of people have asked me, 'Who speaks for the baby?' The answer, I believe, is that the mother speaks for the baby, and we need to respect that right, whether we agree or disagree with the decision they make."
Jeanette Powell, Victorian Nationals front bencher, speech to the Lower House. The Australian


Cross-posted at Deliberately Barren

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Sunday, October 05, 2008

603 - simple things

Like sands through the hourglass, so too are the transient blog post thoughts that rush through my mind.

Some things are making me angry:

Like the lone vigil outside the State Parliament by the anti-choice protester whose sign reads, “Unborn kids can’t defend themselves. Please don’t let abortion at 9 months become legal”. So, so wrong. Emotive and incorrect but that about sums up the good christian men who want to control women's bodies.

Or the fact that the USA can find close to a trillion dollars to prop up Wall Street but not fund universal healthcare in their own country.

And the worrying thought that their election campaign looks like a rerun of Dumb & Dumber. I’m not convinced even the “good guys” have got the gumption to steer that nation back to some semblance of humanity.

Instead of ranting ad nauseum about things that are distressing me – here’s a picture of spring (which you may have already eyeballed over here.)



Time to give thanks for the small pleasures in my life like:

The smell of jasmine scenting my street.

Blossoms everywhere.

Almost being motivated enough to do a good spring clean, or at least a de-clutter.

The affection of the household felines.

Buying an inexpensive oil on canvas by an emerging artist.

Feeding the worm farm.

The warm morning light in my backyard.

Solar powered Vitamin D.

Simple meals at home.

Chilled rosé on sunny days.

Watching clouds dance overhead.



What simple things are giving you pleasure at the moment?

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

602 - now you know what kind of broad you are dealing with!

Thanks to Doc Witch I now know just what kind of '30's classic screen star I am.



Ghetto superstar that is what you are, coming from afar, reaching for the stars... You are a citygirl at heart and your perseverence and sunny outlook on life are 2 of your most powerful attributes. Your loyalty and diligent nature should not be taken lightly either, and your easygoing demeanor helps you win friends wherever you go. However, that's not to say you let people take advantage of you. An attempt in doing so will result in your personal vendetta against them...maybe even for life. But with those you do get along with, you are a good listener, trustworthy confidant, and adored beyond words. Often times around your pals you're wild and crazy, but more reserved and even shy with your acquaintances and those you've only recently met. You're a very versatile actress, perhaps even the most versatile actress of all time, whom everyone, even your adversaries greatly respect.
From quizilla

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