Friday, May 26, 2006

The Virgin Keepers?

Katha Pollitt writes in The Nation about the opposition among some right-wing Christians to a vaccinne that could wipe out HPV and greatly reduce cervical cancer
'Giving the HPV vaccine to young women could be potentially harmful,' Bridget Maher of the Family Research Council told the British magazine New Scientist, 'because they may see it as a license to engage in premarital sex.' Raise your hand if you think that what is keeping girls virgins now is the threat of getting cervical cancer when they are 60 from a disease they've probably never heard of.
Excellent report, read the whole thing, as they say.

If we could dial back time a thousand years, these would be the same morons calling lice "pearls of God". Give them enough time, they'll want to bioengineer a virus to make people go blind from not being "masters of their domain".

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Belmont, Nova Scotia fire

Barbara J. Nelson sent me pictures of a recent fire near Belmont, Nova Scotia. Photographer is unknown.

Click picture for the rest of the photos.

I have a question

The Cleveland PeeDee carries a story about Cleveland wanting to host the 2008 GOP convention, Blah, blah, blah, then this cute little sentence:
The Q easily qualifies as a convention hall, Roche said, and the Cavs management supports the idea.
So why the #@%$ do we need to build a new convention center?

Pregnant Clauses?

January W. Payne writes in the Washington Post about a new program to advise women to change their habits in case they become pregnant
While most of these recommendations are well known to women who are pregnant or seeking to get pregnant, experts say it's important that women follow this advice throughout their reproductive lives, because about half of pregnancies are unplanned and so much damage can be done to a fetus between conception and the time the pregnancy is confirmed.
The authors of the study mentioned probably merely have good intentions, but it's enough to make one pause to consider what elected officials will make of this. Do some in government not only want to take care of the decisions of a woman when she's pregnant, but would like eminent domain over them before so as well? Just remember, when they came for the uteruses, I said nothing, because I did not have a uterus. So when they came for balls...

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Bill Gates needs a new Ivory backscratcher

Apparently Microsoft is running low on profits, so they're screwing some of their contract works out of a week's pay by having them on "unpaid leave". You can't blame MS, I suppose, since in capitalism you have to have a goal of being as profitable as possible, but it's depressing to see tech workers realize they can get just as beaten up by management as every other industry - we're not immune, kids. An old friend of mine said the one dirty word you can't say at most tech shops is "union".
(Link to story)

Thursday, May 11, 2006

This just in - teenagers are interested in sex

For some crazy reason, 'virginity pledges' are taking hold like they were supposed to:
Rosenbaum found that 52% of those who said they had signed virginity pledges had had sex within a year. And of those who had sex after telling the first interviewers they had taken the pledge, 73% denied in the second interview having made the pledge.
Only the human race has ascribed a special status to the first time sexual activity occurs, as if it's a commodity that people other than those it belongs to need to control. On the other hand, perhaps it indicates that taking a virginity pledge is a way to get lucky.

Monday, May 08, 2006

What I'm reading

In fairness, though, who hasn't been offered six hundred dollars to go away with some guy for the weekend? It's happened to me twice already just as I was writing this post. I said no, because what's six hundred dollars? This is 2006. That's a half tank of gas.

- Michael Schaub, writing at Bookslut (link).

Friday, May 05, 2006

Modern puzzles

I overheard some folks talking at the sandwich shop. One office work bee was in a lengthy monologue about some new employees. His two chief problems with their existence in our shared universe were that they failed to ask questions when they didn't know something, and that they made too many dumb statements and asked too many dumb questions. Whether I should ascribe abject stupidity to the speaker on the basis of saying that others both did not ask questions, and asked questions he didn't like, is the query that puzzled me long minutes after I devoured the too-plain bread. Perhaps it might be considered a modern zen koan, what is the sound of not asking enough questions and asking too many questions? His compatriots in lunchmeat dining raised no issues of this kind with him, but looked at their foodstuffs with well-disguised joy, I was left to think.

Abortion decline

Regina McEnery, writing for the Plain Dealer, reports on a study linking increased use of contraceptives with a decrease in abortions. No doubt those currently protesting abortion clinics with graphic, bloody posters will take up the cause of insuring contraceptives are more widely available then, yes? Or perhaps they will change their signs to show a saddened sperm bruising it's noggin on a condom and move the protest to the local drugstore.

As might be expected, the situation for the poor in the study is not so good as for the middle and upper classes, which is why more restrictive anti-abortion laws will have a disproportionate affect on those with fewer resources to travel for medical aid.

Rambling train of thought

I've whined about the GCRTA before. I even stopped riding them for a while when they had a train driver on my route who managed to be 15 minutes late every single day he worked. If you happen to get a certain Leonard as your driver, you may want to try walking instead. But gas prices have gotten the better of my and I've returned to mass transit (hopefully not risking my neck). As luck would have it, Nancy is driving my train home now and she's been on-time despite the frequent people who - ignoring the signs printed all over the inside of the trains - stick their head into the cab area to ask her if the train goes to Tower City.

There's an interesting mix of folks on the train, poor and middle class, and inevitably the ones who are trouble on the ones least needing to be on a train, in that they do not appear to be going anywhere. I'm not sure what is it about the trains that take them want to make random jumping screaming, perhaps it reminds them of the journey from the womb that they have long regretted in the depths of their souls.

The cell phone loud talker seems to always be a middle-aged white guy (we always hate the funhouse mirror version of ourselves) who is in a miserable sounding sales job - but the descriptions he gives over the phone, trading such bon mots as "time flies when you're having fun" at volumes intended to insure that passing planes are sure to hear that he is "ON THE TRAIN NOW - YEAH. THE TRAIN. I'M ON THE TRAIN". The tiresome stream of crumbling clichés that spill from their maws both saddens me as the crumbling bridges the trains rumble 'neath, as makes me wish they'd think of better things to say instead of "I'M WORKING HARD - OR HARDLY WORKING HAHAHAHA". They could say "I drift from patchy lawns over forgotten broken driveways as the seed from a dandelion hated by the father decapitating weeds but the stuff of dreams to the child peering through grease-stained panes above".

Is the woman who sat in front of me yesterday and started sucking her thumb at war with the long-ago loss of childhood? Is she holding back a spirit from controlling her tongue that would otherwise cry out at the metalscreeching fumes of a mechanized beast that goes down tracks besides a wasteland of broken trees and brush strewn with human debris?

A series of the trains I ride have painting of famous people on them, and are labeled the "trains of fame". But what if instead of business luminaries of lost ages and sports heroes they contained portraits of the real people within? Would that be more truthful? Rockefeller would never ride the trains today. By painting us on there, do they tell cynical, complaining Canadians that it doesn't matter if the train is late, for a part of you will always be there, watching the city roll by slowly, without grace, but with grim determination?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Whistling Annoyance Equation

Why is it that the desire of people to whistle in earshot of me d is inversly proportional to their ability to carry a tune t, regardless of the number of blunt metal objects m at hand to strike them with?


Representative Diana "Snoopy" DeGette wants you to know she wants to be able to look over whatever you do on the internet, for the sake of "the children". She claims that because the proposed legislation is so darned simple, ISP's should be cooperating and retaining records for law enforcement folks - or whoever, I guess - to be able to peruse them at leisure, perhaps to see if they find anything interesting. Let's put aside the evidence that any investigation, anywhere has been shown to be hampered by the current laws - they require companies to retain records for 90 days upon a law enforcement request. Let's put it really far aside as it might not actually exist, as I don't see any examples being put forth this is actually a problem. The important thing is that elected representatives - and others - have a right to see what we're all doing, just in case. What could possibly go wrong?

In anticipation of the next step of this process, I would like to start a company that makes web cams that are grafted onto people to observer what they do when *not* on the Internet. Hello, government contracts!

For lack of an extension cord?

Anthony Fossaceca writing at Brewed Fresh Daily makes note of sheer incompetence in the election on Tuesday.
I asked the Presiding Judge if the machines were open and operating.
"Yes" she said.
"They've been up all day?", I asked
"Oh, no. We got them up at 1:30pm"


"What was the problem?" I asked.
"The plugs didn't fit" she said.

Yes. The plugs didn't fit. Three prong, grounded plugs wouldn'?t fit in the two prong, ungrounded outlets.
That is what caused a SEVEN HOUR DELAY in voting. Poll workers suddenly discovered a new device called an extension cord and ran one from the kitchen of the center to a power strip which was, thank God, three prong compatible.
There's a lot more too (linked above). As I am about to become a citizen this year, I have to wonder why elections are taken less seriously than the gravity with which I put up Christmas lights. If Mr. Blackwell wins becomes the governor of Ohio, will he improve things any? Him being elected is based on numbers of Democrats versus Republicans in the state per Jeff Hess at Have Coffee, Will Write. Or will complaints about elections be limited to the occasional column and news piece right aorund election time, to be forgetten later? No matter who wins, the way it's being done is simply an embarrassment.