Wednesday, October 28, 2009

here it is, finally: the explanation to the man-flu, and the man-cold

The New York Times is quoting research that has found that "women’s bodies generate a stronger antibody response than men’s do". As there is a shortage of influenza vaccine (the swine variety) they were trying to figure out if half-doses of the influenza vaccine will be enough. The answer seems to be yes. And especially for women.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

cheerful, I know

Here is a good New York Times article on cancer treatment.

what oppression looks like

My friend Babs told me the other day that she likes foreign movies and TV shows because in them, people look like people.

I thought of that this morning when I came across a pledge drive on my local PBS station that featured two British actresses. My guess would be that they are in their 40s, because they looked it. They had wrinkles and dyed hair, and one of them was overweight.

There needs to be a movement against the impossible-to-achieve ideals for women that are coming out of almost all American film, TV, and advertising.

It gets into your head, no matter what you do. And you forget what real people look like. So that when you see your own face in the mirror, you think there is something wrong with you.

I remember watching an interview with Frances McDormand about ten years ago, where she said that she would never have any work done to her face because that way when she got to be 60, she would be the only one in Hollywood who would look 60 and she would get all the parts.

Next time I saw her was about five years ago in Something's Gotta Give. And, guess what, she was skinnier than all hell and I was sad.

Then I saw her just now, in this photo on her imdb page. I didn't recognize her. Pretty, yes. But also an entirely new face.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

with the intense 1980s revival that is going on, it was bound to happen sooner or later

Today I bought a dress that looks exactly like one had 20 years ago. Black, short sleeves, square neck, mid thigh length. (Size 6, thanks for asking.)

Monday, October 19, 2009

my god the rain

California State University, East Bay, in Hayward, sits on top of a high hill. How can it get flooded?

-- Posted from my iPhone

Sunday, October 18, 2009

maybe I'd like the guy a little bit better if he wasn't wearing those silly glasses all the time

I've been telling people lately that Europeans really want to like the US, but that it's been really hard for them to do so the past eight years.

I think that's part of the reason why President Obama is so popular abroad. Obama gives people in many nations an opportunity to renew their hope. Not their hope in him necessarily, but their hope in the US.

Guess who just stole this whole line of thought and had it printed in the New York Times?

Yep, everyone's favorite Irishman, Bono.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

happy national coming out day

The Human Rights Campaign: The Coming Out Project helps LGBT, as well as straight-supportive people live openly and talk about their support for equality at home, at work and in their communities each and every day.

I just caught the end of an HBO documentary, OUTRAGE: Do Ask. Do Tell. From the synopsis:

An official selection of the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival, OUTRAGE investigates the hidden lives of some of the country's most powerful policymakers - from now-retired Idaho Senator Larry Craig, to former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevy - and examines how these and other politicians have inflicted damage on millions of Americans by opposing gay rights. Equally disturbing, the film explores the mainstream media's complicity in keeping those secrets, despite the growing efforts to "out" them by gay rights organizations and bloggers.

Through a combination of archival news footage and exclusive interviews with politicians and members of the media, OUTRAGE probes the psychology of a double lifestyle, the ethics of outing closeted politicians, and the double standards that the media upholds in its coverage of the sex lives of gay public figures. As Barney Frank, perhaps the best-known openly gay member of Congress explains, "There is a right to privacy, but not a right to hypocrisy. It is very important that the people who make the law be subject to the law."

Friday, October 09, 2009

clogs, anyone? anyone?

I got this link from Noel. "I thought of you when I saw this", he writes. Why? Probably because I am the proud owner of two pairs of kurbits decorated wooden clogs, dark blue. Kurbits painting is a traditional style of Swedish painting: stylized flowers, colorful and squiggly. (It's what's all over those wooden horses, actually.)

Anyway. Clogs are in every 7 years or so, and this time Karl Lagerfeld is making an attempt for Chanel. New York Magazine doesn't seem to appreciate it. I kind of like these ones.

he could just give the prize money to fund free health clinics

So they gave the Nobel Peace Prize to Obama... I think that's a measure of two things:

First, it's a measure of the impact of the US in the world. This country is so strong, that anything that happens here impacts people in all other nations in the world.

Second, I think it's a measure of how divisive George W. Bush was that anybody who comes after him, and sets out to actually listen to other nations, gets a peace prize.

I also think the Europeans are still in the honeymoon phase with Barack Obama.

more from caitlin, she calls it 'inspirational'

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

watch it

Just as I was going to find the link for today's hour long 'Special Comment' by Keith Olbermann, I got this email from Caitlin:

It's long, but thoughtful; and I found it politically entertaining enough to watch it twice.

Olbermann: Health care as basic as life itself

Oct. 7: In a Special Comment Hour, Countdown's Keith Olbermann points out that there is no higher human priority than health and therefore no more basic government responsibility than ensuring the care of its citizens.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

and then what happened?

I saw Michael Moore's new film Capitalism: A Love Story tonight. What really got to me was that in his State of the Union address in 1944 (that's 65 years ago) Franklin D. Roosevelt proposed a "second bill of rights":

... under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all—regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

The Christian Science Monitor calls the scene showing FDR reading this part of his speech a 'previously unseen clip', so I guess I wasn't the only one who hadn't heard about it. The ideas were modern at the time, and they sound familiar to a Scandinavian. But in the US the list is still Utopian.

the value of education

I had a letter from the California Faculty Association today. That's the union that organizes state employed university professors. They say that between 2002 and 2004 half a billion dollars was cut from the California State University budget. In January of this year governor Schwarzenegger proposed another $386 million in cuts.

Faculty have taken a 10% pay cut this year.

Why do I have a feeling the Schwarzenegger children are in private schools?

to all american men: just so you know what people are saying about you

Anna Anka, married to Paul, is starring on Swedish TV in a reality show called Swedish Hollywood wives. Her gender-conservative views have caused concern in Sweden:

Anna Anka, who had a brief role in the film Dumb and Dumber, writes in an opinion piece for the Swedish website Newsmill that Swedish men, once proud Vikings, have been turned into "diaper changing" pansies who are too occupied with equality and instead should be like real American men. [American men] would apparently panic if they were left alone with a child for more than 20 minutes, and don't make dinner or do the ironing. (Full story here.)

I remember a young Mexican-American woman, one of my students, telling the class that her dad would do the laundry and the ironing at her house, but only if the shutters were closed so that no one could see him.

How about some male voices in the discussion about gender roles?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

women and a-g-e

Two things have happened recently that have made me think of women and age. First, a recent study showed that statistically American women get sadder as they get older, with a significant leap downwards in the late 40s. Shannon Kelley touched on this in her post on Undecided yesterday.

You don't hear a lot of women talking about why this might be. Women in their early 40s say things like "turning 40 made me feel stronger", but how do the supposedly sadder 47-year-olds really feel?

I am 48, and I am going to tell you what I think.

Turning 40 was a breeze. Turning 45? how shall I put it? Less of a breeze. It sucked, frankly.

At 45 you know that your next milestone is going to be 50, and that takes some getting used to for anyone. I am sure it's the same thing for men. Around the same time, middle to late 40s, your body starts giving in. And I am not talking about sagging, I am talking health problems. Earlier this year I met close friends I hadn't seen in years, and as part of the massive catching up we had to do we spent at least an hour talking about serious health issues.

And then there is the sagging. After 45, if you don't make changes to your diet and exercise habits, you will get fat. Your body burns less, and gets stiff if you don't stretch. Your face changes. Your arms change. (And creams don't work.)

Add to this that however you feel, in the eyes of the world around you, you are old. The check-out guy doesn't flirt. Heads don't turn, faces don't lit up. It's a tiny bit disheartening.

In my late 40s, and especially last year, when I was fat after chemo and my hair was gray because I hadn't gone back to coloring yet, for the first time I realized how much I have been depending on the attention from strangers. Not necessarily a healthy habit. It was a good reminder to have it go away.

It's real work to decide for yourself who you want to be. Getting your head and your body to align again. And act on how you feel, not what others think of you.

Which reminds me of that other period in our lives when mind and body are out of sync. The dreaded teenage years.

Roman Polanski raped a 13 year-old girl in 1972. He was arrested in Switzerland earlier this week. Friends and colleagues have come out in his defense.

Without getting too involved in that discussion, let me just say this: Reasonable people are making excuses for an adult having sex with a 13 year-old. Anyone's mind boggled?

We live in a male-dominated world. That means that the eye we have upon us is male. At 47 women may feel the same way they did at 42, yet "we" see them as old. Why? Because "we" have a male eye.

Anyone who has been a 13 year-old girl, or known a 13 year-old girl, know that at 13 a girl is still a child, even if her body looks grown-up.

The fact that people come out in defense of Roman Polanski is proof enough that in our society it's OK to treat a girl like the woman she looks to be, not the child that she is.

The eye is male. What a woman looks like to a man becomes the truth. What a woman feels like becomes the un-truth.

These are the notions we're up against. Guys and girls, it's up to you to decide what you want to do about it.