“Opportunity is missed by most people because
it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”
-Thomas A. Edison
Elizabeth Hoff is one of my favorite modern fashion photographers and just might have kicked David LaChapelle off of the top spot. She’s very accomplished for her age (35) and reminds me that I need to kick my ass into gear. She’s had an interesting life as well, this from her website
Our calendar system has all the planned proficiency of urban sprawl. Accuracy will be thrown on the grinding wheel of path dependency. How many days should there be in a month? fuck it, lets just say somewhere between 28 and 31! Should there be an order? Kinda, but not really. Honestly, I’m probably just bitter because I’ve always secretly had trouble learning the months. I have to convert between month numbers and month names using my fingers (tricky around sept).
I guess this is the time when people look back at the preceding year and try to draw useful lessons and alter behavior. This was a grand year for creativity. I made a name for myself as an “artist” and feel creatively fulfilled for the first time. It’s been a horrid year for school. I’ve never been so gratingly bored in my life, and I’m an expert in making things interesting. Working at google has been one of the sweetest, most surreal things ever largely because there is not a single douchebag in my working group. All of my coworkers are incredible human beings and I am constantly taking awesome lessons from everyone. Like all people, I operate with a fair amount of fear based emotion. This year was my biggest onslaught against it yet. There were some notable victories and a couple terribly painful failures. I’m not a big fan of the gregorian calendar, it doesn’t make sense to me and it never will. I generally divide my year by burning man so this is like April for me.
And while I’m whining about time, it’s really stupid when people make flyers for events that mention the date it will occur but not the day. Quick >> what day of the week is 1/19/07? congratulations, someone just didn’t go to your event because they didn’t feel like looking up the day of the event and then mentally cross referencing it with their schedule to see if they could attend. Every time I see a group of flyers at least one of them makes that mistake. Usability is about making things take as few steps as possible and designing things for people who aren’t you.
people are always whining about information overload.
if properly organized, too much information becomes not enough information!
Like most organs, kidneys have impressive reserves, and the slower they deteriorate, the longer they can keep up a good front, maintaining blood pressure, balancing the salt and electrolytes in the blood and, of course, producing about one to two liters of urine a day. I remembered a line from “The Sun Also Rises,” when a drunkard is asked how he went bankrupt. “Two ways,” he answers. “Gradually and then suddenly.” That was how my kidneys went out of business too.
From an excellent article in the New York Times Magazine
:: Desperately Seeking A Kidney via Email (thanks Wex!) ::
ps DONATE YOUR ORGANS!
As she races through Iowa in the days before next week’s caucuses, Hillary Clinton is taking few chances. She tells crowds that it’s their turn to “pick a president,’’ but over the last two days she has not invited them to ask her any questions. Before the brief Christmas break, the New York senator had been setting aside time after campaign speeches to hear from the audience. Now when she’s done speaking, her theme songs blare from loudspeakers, preventing any kind of public Q&A.
She was no more inviting when a television reporter approached her after a rally on Thursday and asked if she was “moved’’ by Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Clinton turned away without answering. Her daughter, Chelsea, had the same reaction when a reporter approached her with a question. Hillary Clinton’s no-question policy didn’t sit well with some of the Iowans who came to see her speak. “I was a little bit underwhelmed,’’ said Doug Rohde, 46, as he left her a rally in a fire station in Denison. “The message was very generic — and no questions.’’
:: via latimes blog ::
Wow, she’s not even taking questions that she planted. ZING!
Taking your first steps. Riding a bike. Your first kiss. The first time you have sex. All standard rites of passage for anyone growing up in much of the world. But what if you never took your first step? What if you couldn’t ride a bike? What if the disability you were born with distanced you socially? What if there never was a first time?
Asta Philpot, 25, is a confident, extroverted person, similar to many other British men in their 20s. But he was born with arthogryposis, a condition that severely limits the movement in his limbs. Last year, he chose to lose his virginity in a licensed Spanish brothel. This year he took two other disabled men on a bus trip to the same brothel, filmed by BBC’s One Life. “When I was younger I had a friend and we always used to talk about relationships. He had muscular dystrophy and passed away without having a sexual experience. Why should people struggle for that experience?”, Asta says.
:: via the beeb ::
I support legalization and regulation of prostitution. I would argue that the current trafficking problem is a result of a black market that emerges as a result of illegalization. I definitely support this guy going to a prostitute and taking his friends, but what if it scales?
In the small town of Zeist, Holland a small squad of Dutch “nurses” is going above and beyond whatever you may think the term “physical care for the disabled” entails. According to an article in the 2 April edition of the Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera (www.corrieredellasera.it) the alternative healthcare group “Sar di Zeist in Holland” is the first group of its kind in the world that tries to meet the intimate needs of disabled men and women. “Sar” is a Dutch term that describes Holland’s permissive culture in general, and this type of Dutch “health care” in particular.
But lest you think that this practice is a dressed up term for prostitution, then think again: The Sar di Zeist has been around since 1982 and averages about 2500 “consensual” sexual relations each year. This according to the group’s founder Rene’ Vercoutre – handicapped and confined to a wheelchair since the age of 15. According to a translated article on www.ufch.dk, Vercoutre — father of two and divorced – never considered sexual abstinence an option despite his disabilities. So he organized the Sar di Zeist to help others — male and female — with similar needs. The organization is run entirely by volunteers. The Corriere Della Sera quoted Vercoutre as saying, “…a typical “encounter” lasts about 90 minutes and costs about 85 euro…” A portion of that amount goes towards running the Sar’s “call center” and the rest goes towards expenses of the facilitator.
:: via Associated Content ::
For many years, society and even doctors have tried to deny the sexuality of disabled persons, or to portray them as asexual. We at ESCORTSFORTHEDISABLED refute this, utterly. Everyone on this planet has a need — and the right! — to express their sensual selves. We celebrate sexuality in all of its myriad forms, and embrace them. In doing so, we are touched on a deeper, and ultimately, more profound level.
This struck a note with me. It’s obvious that the rights defined in the constitution are not the sum cannon of what people in a just society are entitled to. Given that, I’m interested in thinking about what rights haven’t been fully defined and maybe consensual sex is one of them.
The Founder/CEO of escortsforthedisable/d.com has severe Cerebral Palsy! This is our world too!
So if consenting sex is a right, and it scales does the government have an obligation to provide/facilitate it?
HOBART, September 30, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – According to an apparently unembarrassed official of the Department of Health and Human Services in the Australian state of Tasmania, guidelines have been established that allow care givers to organise visits for disabled clients to Hobart’s local brothels. Disability Services state manager Michael Plaister said to The Mercury newspaper, “What we’ve got is a longstanding policy based around the principles of human rights that people with disabilities have the same rights as anyone else in the community and are entitled to be assisted to exercise those rights.”
Disability Services’ guidelines include a section developed in 2001, titled “Access to a Sex Worker.” It states, “Sex workers should be seen as one of a number of options to consider when supporting people with disabilities to make decisions about their sexual needs.” The report in The Mercury says that though the men usually pay for the services themselves, guidelines exist for social service funds to be made available should they be strapped for cash.
In Denmark, the government has arranged a more regimented system in which the social services pays for “sex workers” to service disabled men twice a month. The Danish guidelines state, “It could be of great importance that the carer speaks to the prostitute together with the person in their care, to help them express their wishes.”
:: via LifeSite::
AND if you’re a Deaf Lesbian, there is a website just for you http://www.deaflesbian.net/
I’d just like to close this blog post by reminding people that in our country we are busy debating if we should give out condoms in schools. Simultaneously, many people are baffled by our teen pregnancy rate. AND we have one of the highest infant mortality rates in the industrialized world.
Thinking about this a bit further:
-Given the current socioeconomic status of most prostitutes, I’m dubious that true consent in terms of prostitution actually exists.
-Over the years I’ve known 5 women who were “sex workers,” 4 of them were doing it to fund a coke habit. Were they being exploited? I say yes.
-Consensual Sex may already be covered in the constitution under the right to privacy. So this might not be an issue of defining new rights but actually making sure that current rights are actually implemented.
Two anthropologists watched in mixed amazement and horror as several female chimpanzees crafted spears and used them to somewhat brutally hunt smaller mammals. Following a troop of the primates in a Senegalese savanna, Jill Pruetz of Iowa State University and Paco Bertolani of Cambridge observed them breaking the branches off of trees, picking leaves from the sides, and sharpening the tips to deadly points. In the March edition of Current Biology, the scientists explained that such sophisticated animal behavior could reveal a great deal about how early humans used primitive tools.
Somewhat brutally? I guess this isn’t strictly true but the word “brutal” strikes me as a binary identifier, ie it doesn’t really lend itself to shades of grey. I mean chimpanzees speared some mammal, that’s clearly brutal.
emolument noun emol·u·ment \i-ˈmäl-yə-mənt\
1: the returns arising from office or employment usually in the form of compensation or perquisites
Etymology: (we <3 etymology)
Middle English, from Latin emolumentum advantage, from emolere to produce by grinding, from e- + molere to grind — more at meal. 15th century.
but wait...what does perquisites mean?
per·qui·site /ˈpɜrkwəzɪt/ [pur-kwuh-zit]
1. an incidental payment, benefit, privilege, or advantage over and above regular income, salary, or wages: Among the president’s perquisites were free use of a company car and paid membership in a country club.
2. a gratuity or tip.
These words discovered in the course of reading up on Michael Ledeen.
So most of the GSF Board (Harmony, Vanessa, Eric and I) just met and wanted to send out an update of where things are with our second school, our plans for next year (including building our last classroom!) as well as ask for your support, if you are so inspired. (Your money goes a long way: for ex. $60 pays a teacher’s salary for a month, see below for more)
The Goma Student Fund (GSF):
For those of you who I haven’t shared this with before, GSF is an organization I started in 2002, after a trip to Goma as it was beginning to recover from a volcanic eruption. Add in 12 year civil war, aftermath of Rwandan refugee camps, and incredible poverty and you have thousands of kids orphaned or impoverished and needing education. NE Congo is still designated as a relief area, so very little development work is, or can, happen here. GSF is a small nonprofit, born primarily out of the interest and support of our friends and loved ones, that works with communities to start schools, both K-12 and vocational.
Read more about Goma and our work at: http://www.gomastudentfund.org/
GSF efforts this year:
With the first school running self-sufficiently at this point, our attention is on our second school in the refugee area of Mugunga. In its second year, this school gives educational opportunities and hope to a population that has been displaced for over a decade and whose needs are rarely addressed by aid organizations in Goma.
The next step for GSF is to improve the quality of education in this area to bring it up to the standards of schools in Goma. To date, the investments of friends and family have allowed us to build five classrooms and enroll 250 students. Each class is full beyond capacity, with children sharing notebooks and pens and sitting four to a desk. Even then, more students the school cannot accommodate line up at the windows to watch lessons.
Providing quality education in this refugee area demands greater financial support. Families are not able to pay enough in school fees to cover even the basic operational costs. Teachers must be paid to travel from Goma daily. There are greater infrastructural needs of the location, including the need for a water collection system and more-secure cement buildings, rather than wooden.
As a result, the GSF is shifting its approach from developing its first, self-sustaining school in Goma proper to committing to yearly financial support for the operations of this second school in Mugunga. We recognize that we have a unique role to play in helping this refugee community meet its needs, beyond those of immediate survival, by giving their children opportunities through education that will support the entire community in moving towards a new future.
How you can help:
Many other organizations and programs will not support development in a refugee area, so the vast majority of our funding comes from individual donors. GSF is a labor of love by the entirely volunteer staff and each of you is in some way personally connected to one of us. All funds donated will be directed 100% to the program. We are fortunate in that money goes very far in Goma.
To give you an idea:
$30 – Pairs of uniforms for five students
$60 – Teacher’s Salary for a month
$100 – One year’s tuition and supplies for two students
$300 – Furniture for an entire classroom
Many of you have donated in the past and I’m always reminded, when I sit down to do this yearly fundraising drive, of how much your words of encouragement, willingness to help or discuss, and overall vote of confidence through your donations keep me going when I’m far away from the kids and families over there that we are all working to help.
It was a conversation with a friend, this morning, that reminded me what a special opportunity this organization offers to me. For me, it is always easier to want to work with people and issues that are right in front of me. And, for now at least, I’m not willing to move longterm to Congo, or a similar place, because I miss the amazing community of friends and loved ones I have here. But I also can’t go through my days thinking I am only contributing to folks here in the US, which is why I’m grateful to have an easy pathway to reach out to folks a world away, and especially a part of the world where many cannot or choose not to work, to help them move themselves forward, by creating a new generation of literate, critical thinking, and empowered young people. Without a basic primary school education, they are unable to take advantage of so many other opportunities, from being able to read when to take their medication, to show up for a vaccination, or replace their water filter to voting in an election, reading a piece of news, managing their money, or reading a land deed.
Both parents and kids know it, and it’s what motivates parents to eat a meal only every other day to save the $1/month to send their kid to our school or kids to steal backpacks to try and get into the classroom. I wish you guys could meet them. No one I know who has gone to Goma, doesn’t plan to go back. But it does feel very far away from here, and I am so grateful for all of you who have made this organization something you care about. It started because of that care and wouldn’t exist any other way.
Coffee – Word of the Day
Today, clean up begins on South Korea’s worst oil spill ever. It spilled yesterday and already there are widespread uncertainty campaigns about the threats.
Today, Al Gore accepts the Nobel Peace Prize for countering uncertainty campaigns by conservatives who suggest suspending judgement on global warming.
Today, Togo gets a new Prime Minister and nobody knows or cares.
Consider for a minute the concept of uncertainty. Doubt. Ignorance.
Today, many people still believe oil spills can be cleaned, man-made global warming is debatable, and Togo does not exist. They’re not necessarily wrong. Doubt is important – and the study of ignorance is a serious discipline. So it should be no surprise that the word of the day, today, is agnotology.
Gnosos is Greek for knowledge. A-Gnosos means the absence of knowledge (like asymmetry, or anecrophilia – both of which I’ve been diagnosed with). Agnotology is the study of ignorance.
So how much knowledge can we have about ignorance? Consider this.
Answer one: there is enough knowledge about ignorance to merit the some five hundred doctorates and some thirty books that exist in the field.
Answer two: there is enough knowledge about ignorance, at least, to make a serious discipline of it.
Answer three: the term is itself a hoax invented earlier this week by Sean McGowan, who doctored a small number of open-source websites to engineer the term enough for others to reference it, thus creating the illusion of legitimacy and establishment. Outside of the claims in this email and the Wikipedia article, no proof exists that the word is even real.
What do you think?
This week work on trusting more of what you actually see. Build more confidence in your sense of smell and touch. Consider that, while your thoughts may not be the greatest in the history of mankind, they are probably better than something you read in a book.
And certainly more accurate than an email.
Sean McGowan (http://sean.mcgowan.be)
Sean is a gifted writer and old friend. He just published his first book, Click Click Snap which is quite delightful. I purchased it after reading the excerpt that he put online for free. I’m still busy but forever feel the whirring pull of your rss feeds.
So here’s my big secret to blogging. Basically my friends just send me cool stuff and then I post it here. I kind of view this blog as my friends all kinda being friends with each other. Anyway, I’ve been studying all week and I have finals all this week, which means that I haven’t really been checking email. no email = no blog. I think I’ll be back to things around thursday after my last final.