"I'm a guy who likes to raise hell, but since there isn't one, we'll lobby." - Kenneth Bronstein, head of New York City Atheists, quoted in U.S. News and World Report 1/16/2006, on starting the Center for Atheism in Washington, D.C.
Susie Bright continues to write blog entries about sexual politics that inspire me. Today I read The Abstinence War Room, about a documentary of an abstinence program in a New Mexico high school. It reminded me of when I made a big stir as a senior in my public high school 20 years ago by writing an essay for English class expressing that sexuality was normal and healthy with the proper precautions. It was the 80's, after the revolution of the 60's and the overt sexuality of the 70's, during the heyday of "Just Say No" to drugs, at the beginning of MADD and AIDS. I am part of the last generation that came of age when the biggest concern about having sex was getting pregnant, not dying. I lived in a progressive time and place. I had taken sex positive sex education through my temple and at school. Abstinence was presented as an option, but we were also taught how pregnancy occurs and how to prevent it. Although I knew they were possibilities, I knew no one who got pregnant in high school and no one who dropped out. Today I live in a conservative state with a high school dropout rate of nearly 7%, the highest dropout rate in the country. The high school age pregnancy rate in Arizona is almost 6%. Athough correlation is not causation, it doesn't take a leap of faith to understand that teen pregnancy makes dropout very likely. To best protect our children's futures, we must present them with complete sex education, not just abstinence, and make contracption widely available.
Today the Washington Post announced that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) issued a federal report that all women of childbearing age should be treated as pre-pregnant, including, "All women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control." Other than taking folic acid, the kinds of recommendations that they are giving, are general health recommendations that are good for you regardless of your age or childbearing status. By linking these recommendations to pregnancy instead of general health, the government is once again infantilizing women and assuming that they are ruled by their reproductive organs. While I am currently actively trying to become pregnant, I strenuously object to this advisory. There were many years when I was happily sexually active and taking precautions to not become pregnant. There was no reason to treat me as "pre-pregnant" against my will. Reading this report disgusts me. It reminds me of medical and social advice from the 1950's and earlier which treated women as chattel. Get into the Twenty-First Century and away from my uterus!
Last week, I spotted this straw in its wrapper on the way into work and stopped to pick it up as a great example of useless legalese in everyday life. The writing on the wrapper reads, "Not Recommended For Use in Hot Beverages." This is a great example of an outcome of the legalistic American culture. I've used a straw to drink a hot beverage and had the unpleasant result of burning a large portion of my mouth by sucking a large swallow of the hottest part of the beverage from the bottom of the cup into my mouth. I'm sure that someone somewhere thought that by printing this on the wrapper that the company would be immune from liability if seriously injured themselves by just such an action. However, the problem is that although the language seems to imply a warning, it's not strong enough. It doesn't say, "Do not use this straw to drink hot beverages." It only gives a mild recommendation, that it's "not recommended," which means that it is still a valid use of the straw. The company could still be liable for damages for scalding victims who purchased a drink and used the straw to drink beverages which were too hot.
It's getting a little bit easier to walk everyday. My ankle is slowly but surely loosening up as it heals and with the help of physical therapy, including electrical stimulation, ultrasound, massage and exercises. I can get a better than 90 degrees bend in my ankle now and it only feels a little bruised, making it much easier to walk. I have noticed a new tendency to pronate since the surgery, which hopefully will be corrected as time goes on. I've switched back to the brace I was using before the surgery because it allows my ankle to bend while providing great lateral support and I don't have to deal with the extra thick sole of the boot hurting my hip.
My ankle isn't the only thing that's improving over time. I went to the Optometrist this weekend because I thought that I might need bifocals. I'd been having more trouble reading small type and seeing other small details, like working on beading. It runs out that for the second visit in a row my eyesight has improved. I was having trouble because my prescription was too strong. I'm one of the lucky one. As I become more farsighted with age, it's correcting my nearsightedness. I still get photos of my retinas taken every year to double check the scar in my right eye from having toxicplasmosis as a fetus, but overall my vision is improving. It's nice to know something can get better with age.
Today I discovered Slide, a very easy to use web tool for creating slideshows. I was able to create the slideshow above without even logging into the site. I just followed the Flickr area link from their home page, gave them my Flickr account and the web page generated code for me to embed in my web pages. You can create slideshows on Slide using many different technologies, from uploading images to RSS feeds. There is also downloadable Slide Player if you'd rather play slideshows on your desktop. I like Slide much better than FilmLoop, a similar technology I found through Guy Kawasaki's blog. FilmLoop requires a download which can only be uninstalled using Add/Remove Programs. Also, the interface is not nearly as intuitive as Slide. If you'd like to display photographs or film clips on your web site, give Slide a try.
Note: I had to make a slight change to the Slide code to make Blogger accept the embed tag. Rather than using the self closing <embed /> tag, I had to change it to <embed></embed>. Blogger did not recognize the self-closing tag as proper HTML.
Today is our anniversary. It has been a wonderful seven years. Time flies when you're having fun and it seems like little more than yesterday that we got married. Around us our friends are going through their trials and tribulations, death, cancer, divorce, yet, despite our own, we manage to stay together and enjoy each other. Although we have very different styles in some ways, we almost always come to the same conclusion. My worst fear is losing my husband. I can't imagine ever finding anyone more loving, fun and intelligent.