“. . . the reason all these smart people are chilling their brains is not some new health fad but to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the lethal neurodegenerative disorder also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The original idea was that when the gauntlet was thrown down in the ice bucket challenge, you either need to give $100 to ALS or dump ice water on your head.” ~ Matthew Herper, Forbes (8/19/2014)

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

 

Sunday afternoon. Cloudy and cool, 70’s.

Hello folks. Long time, no write.

I know that I’ve been missing for a bit. It’s been very hectic around here, things we’ve been doing and taking care of, and I just haven’t had the time to sit and gather my thoughts. I’m hoping to remedy that this week.

For those of you who have recently begun following this blog, I wish you greetings and thanks.

Here is a little something I’ve been wanting to share ever since I saw my son Eamonn’s video of his own ice bucket challenge. I love how my kids can still amaze me with their kindness and thoughtfulness.

Enjoy.

                   

From the Huffington Post:

There’s been such a deluge of videos made of these ice bucket challenges (some of which have been hilarious, others more serious) that you might be tempted to skip this new video that was uploaded Monday by a man named Anthony Carbajal. But as Upworthy put it, this is one clip that “you really should see.”

The video begins humorously as Carbajal, a photographer, dresses up in a neon bikini top and soaps up a car before being doused with ice water. “OK, that was probably the most embarrassing thing that I’ve ever done in my entire life.”

But the clip, at around the two-minute mark, takes a somber turn as Carbajal explains why he chose to take the challenge. “I’ve been so terrified of ALS my entire life because it runs in my family,” he says, breaking down. “My grandmother had it. She was a second mother to me. My mother was diagnosed when I was in high school and five months ago, I was diagnosed at 26 years old. ALS is so, so f—king scary, you have no idea.”

Carbajal says he’s already started losing movement in his fingers. Eventually, just like other ALS patients, he will lose the ability to walk, talk, eat and breathe on his own.

In the video, Carbajal shows footage of him caring for his mother who cannot walk or eat without assistance. “I hate talking about [ALS],” Carbajal says in the clip. “That’s probably why nobody talks about it because… it’s so challenging to see, and to talk about. Nobody wants to see a depressing person that’s dying… they don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want their day ruined.”

But we need to keep this discussion alive, says Carbajal, so pharmaceutical companies and others will continue to be pushed to find a cure for this fatal disease. According to the ALS Association, more than $31 million has been raised so far for ALS research and patient care thanks to the ice bucket challenge.

“This is the first successful advocacy [ALS has] ever really… had and I’m so, so, so grateful,” he said. “You have no idea how every single challenge makes me feel, lifts my spirits, lifts every single ALS patient’s spirits. You’re really, truly making a difference.”

In Carbajal’s video, there’s a suggestion made that viewers should watch all the way to the end.

Please do.

Anthony Carbajal Ice Bucket video:

For more information:

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Blows Up Social Media

What is ALS?

                   

Music by Laura Jansen, “A Call to Arms”

                   

Alone With Everybody

the flesh covers the bone
and they put a mind
in there and
sometimes a soul,
and the women break
vases against the walls
and the men drink too
much
and nobody finds the
one
but keep
looking
crawling in and out
of beds.
flesh covers
the bone and the
flesh searches
for more than
flesh.

there’s no chance
at all:
we are all trapped
by a singular
fate.

nobody ever finds
the one.

the city dumps fill
the junkyards fill
the madhouses fill
the hospitals fill
the graveyards fill

nothing else
fills.

~ Charles Bukowski

“When we don’t speak up, we tacitly affirm the ‘whistle’ as a display of manhood. Thus we affirm misogyny and toxic masculinity” ~ Imran Siddiquee

Content warning.

                   

practice violence against women but live with the threat of male violence. Every. Single. Day. All over the world.” ~ Soraya Chemaly, Twitter post

Thursday afternoon. Cloudy and much cooler, 65 degrees.

I know that I’m on a bit of a tear lately, but I make no apologies.

I read a post yesterday about a young woman who was being harassed in school because of the size of her breasts. When she confronted the group of boys, she was groped. When she lashed out verbally, the boys escalated in their behavior. Ultimately, the school officials told here that “boys will be boys” and that she should just not pay attention . . . School officials took no action against the boys, told the girl she was lucky she wasn’t being suspended, and made no report. Only once the student confided in a teacher who then went to security and didn’t back down was something done.

And this really made me pause. Why should females bear the brunt of not paying attention, of ignoring unwanted advances and/or catcalls? Why is the excuse “boys will be boys” such an ingrained part of our culture? I don’t know exactly when it entered my brain that I would not rise to any catcalls, that I would simply keep walking, but at some point it did, and that is how I have always reacted. It’s a socialized female response. But you know what? It pisses me off that this has to be our response. But the truly frightening part is how ignoring such unwanted verbal attention can now morph into acts of violence. I find this horrendous.

Want to know something else I find horrendous, the incredible male backlash regarding women speaking out. Here’s an example: “: I’d like to see more women walking around with cigarette burns on their faces.”

I didn’t just make that up.

 

This, right here, is exactly why we need to continue to have this discussion.

“Women are people and you can’t own ANY people. Also, she owes you nothing. And you are not bigger for demeaning her.” ~ Imram Siddiquee, Twitter post

The clipped image above from a Twitter feed is a prime example of everything that is wrong in this discussion. I made the mistake of tracking down this guy’s feed, mostly to try to determine if his assholiness is isolated to the #yesallwomen feed, but it’s not. His feed is just filled with deliberate baiting, like his pondering of whether or not rapeable has an e, or his discussions of all of the things he wants to do to someone’s *hole. He even jokes (using the term way too loosely) that you can send him rape stories so that he can jerk off, and declares that he’ll “rip through this like some vagina.”

Look, this guy would probably rely on that age-old fallback justification—that he’s just joking, just being irreverent, that women should loosen up and not take everything so seriously. But I would bet my house that if a woman he knew were ever raped, he would go ballistic. But that incense wouldn’t come from her pain; it would come from his sense of power being taken. What men like this don’t understand is that some subjects aren’t joke-worthy. All of his male posturing is just so much bullshit.

Consider this: When was the last time you heard of a man being told to text his friends to make sure he made it home without being raped and/or abducted? How many men do you know who carry pepper spray with them just in case some strange woman tries to drag them behind a dumpster? Do any of the men in your family walk with their keys between their fingers because they were told that keys could be used as weapons?

Will we ever reach a point at which men no longer feel that they can call out sexual advances to total strangers? Will we ever reach a point at which these men realize that unwanted catcalls are not flattering, and that ignoring them is not an excuse to escalate behavior? I doubt we’ll ever reach a point at which subhumans such as the poorexcuse guy will not find it hilarious to make fun of subjects that aren’t even remotely funny.

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, she stands up for all women.” ~Maya Angelou

I don’t know that I will see the end of this behavior any time soon, not in my lifetime, and perhaps not in my children’s lifetimes, mostly because so much of this behavior is ingrained in our society—it’s in our faces 24/7, in movies, television, magazines, advertising, billboards, songs, even on our clothing. The female body is an object, and even though that object happens to belong to a person, that person is secondary to her sex.

Her breasts are there for people to ogle. Her derriere is there for people to rub against. God forbid she might be clad in something form-fitting, something short, something tight. Doesn’t she know that by doing so, she’s putting herself out there to be objectified. You know, like a pork chop? Doesn’t she know it’s her responsibility not to cause sexual arousal in total strangers?

Think about this: Maybe she lost 50 pounds and wants to show off her new form. Maybe spaghetti straps are cooler in the summer. Maybe yoga pants are easy to throw on for errands. Just because a woman is wearing a thong, and you can see that thong line, it doesn’t mean that she wants you to comment on her underwear. It doesn’t mean that she wants you to come up and rub her butt. ‘Tis no matter. It’s her responsibility to make sure the males out there don’t get any hard ons. It certainly not the responsibility of those red-blooded males. I mean, no one ever told them that their penises weren’t the end all and be all of their identity.

Please.

We have to do better. All of us. We need to educate our children and our grandchildren, and our nieces and our nephews: it’s not okay to place another person—male or female—in a context that reduces that person to their sex.

We all have to do better.

tweet

“Dear , you deserve zero praise for not being a rapist. Aim higher. The best thing you can do is listen and support ” ~ Jay Wood, Twitter post

Consider this story by Soroya Chemaly, which appeared in the Huffington Post last September:

A man in a car pulled up next to a 14-year old girl on a street in Florida and offered to pay her $200 to have sex with him. Some people would say that’s a compliment. It’s part of being out in society, learning to deal with people, navigating relationships between men and women. Or, at least that what many commenters on articles I write about street harassment think. That or maybe they’re thinking, ‘She must have looked like a prostitute,’ and well, you know.

The girl said no. So what does this guy do? He reaches out, drags her, by her hair, into his car, chokes her until she blacks out, tosses her out of the car and then, not done yet, he runs her over several times . . . What was the Deadly Weapon referred to in the charge I wonder? Given our normatively male understanding interpretation of what is threatening, does a man pulling up to a girl like this and talking to her in this way constitute imminent harm?

This was an incident of street harassment taken to extremes.

You’re thinking,  “He’s crazy! You can’t possibly put what he did in the same category as street harassment!”  Yes, I can.

He stopped and talked to a girl he did not know and he told her what he thought and what he wanted her to do.  Clearly, he felt this was okay, or he wouldn’t have done it. This isn’t insanity, it’s entitlement. This is, in principle, the same as men who say, “Smile,” “Want a ride?” “Suck on this” and on and on and on.  And, that’s all before the public groping that might ensue.

OK. No big deal I’ve been told.  But, he went further, as is often the case.  When she said no, he just took her.  He crossed a red line that seriously needs to be moved.  “Taking someone” should not be the “red line” for public incivility and safe access to public space.

twitter pic
When you ask why I’m angry . . .

We hear about cases like this with dulling regularity and, undoubtedly, we don’t hear about even more. Just a smattering of examples:

  • In San Francisco last year, a man stabbed a woman in the face and arm after she didn’t respond positively to his sexually harassing her on the street.
  • In Bradenton, Fla., a man shot a high school senior to death after she and her friends refused to perform oral sex at his request. I
  • In Chicago, a scared 15-year-old was hit by a car and died after she tried escaping from harassers on a bus.
  • Again, in Chicago, a man grabbed a 19-year-old walking on a public thoroughfare, pulled her onto a gangway and assaulted her.
  • Last week, a runner in California — a woman — was stopped and asked, by a strange man in a car, if she wanted a ride. When she declined he ran her over twice.

are violent against women, but if we are just passive bystanders then we’re still part of the problem. ” ~ Kenny Miracle, Twitter post

I just started following a new tumblr called When Women Refuse, in which contributors share stories of women who have been murdered, raped, beaten, run over, and brutalized in countless other ways simply because they said no, because they said they didn’t want to get in the car, because they didn’t outwardly respond to some lewd comment, because they didn’t want to have sex, because they didn’t want to continue the relationship.

Each of these stories is mind-numbing individually, but collectively, they make a statement that is hard to turn away from: Women/girls who have the audacity to say no, are continually punished for doing so, and in many cases, their reactions/actions are dismissed by authorities.

Here are some of the stories that have been posted on When Women Refuse just in the past few days:

imgur

I think I have to stop now. I have a pit in the bottom of my stomach. Look, I have no answers, only suggestions. I only know that in a world in which so very many things are wrong, in which so very many things are heinous, that indifference to the very real problem of how women are treated is preventable in so many ways. No, we cannot cure rapists, but we can work on the essence of rape culture. No, we cannot eradicate misogyny, but we can do better in educating our sons and daughters.

We have to try, don’t we?

I mean, we just have to.

More later. Peace.

Music by Arctic Monkeys, “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards”

                   

Rape Poem

There is no difference between being raped
and being pushed down a flight of cement steps
except that the wounds also bleed inside.

There is no difference between being raped
and being run over by a truck
except that afterward men ask if you enjoyed it.

There is no difference between being raped
and being bit on the ankle by a rattlesnake
except that people ask if your skirt was short
and why you were out alone anyhow.

There is no difference between being raped
and going head first through a windshield
except that afterward you are afraid
not of cars
but half the human race.

The rapist is your boyfriend’s brother.
He sits beside you in the movies eating popcorn.
Rape fattens on the fantasies of the normal male
like a maggot in garbage.

Fear of rape is a cold wind blowing
all of the time on a woman’s hunched back.
Never to stroll alone on a sand road through pine woods,
never to climb a trail across a bald
without that aluminum in the mouth
when I see a man climbing toward me.

Never to open the door to a knock
without that razor just grazing the throat.
The fear of the dark side of hedges
the back seat of the car, the empty house
rattling keys like a snake’s warning.
The fear of the smiling man
in whose pocket is a knife.
The fear of the serious man
in whose fist is locked hatred.

All it takes to cast a rapist to be able to see your body
as jackhammer, as blowtorch, as adding-machine-gun.
All it takes is hating that body
your own, your self, your muscle that softens to flab.

All it takes is to push what you hate,
what you fear onto the soft alien flesh.
To bucket out invincible as a tank
armored with treads without senses
to possess and punish in one act,
to rip up pleasure, to murder those who dare
live in the leafy flesh open to love.

~ Marge Piercy

                   

Two other related poems, both worthy of reading but long: “Rape Poem To End All Rape Poems” by the Rutgers University slam team, and “Rape Joke,” by Patricia Lockwood

 

“Mayor Filner’s continued abuse of power knows no bounds” ~ Kevin Faulconer, San Diego City Council Member

Reblogged from the Huffington Post (click on the link to watch the heartbreaking video) because Filner just won’t go away . . .

Peggy Shannon, a 67-year-old great-grandmother who works at the Senior Citizens Service Desk in San Diego City Hall, allegedly faced "continuous inappropriate sexual advances by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner while trying to do her job," according to the office of her attorney, Gloria Allred. Click through the gallery of other women who have come forward in the case:
Peggy Shannon, one of 16 women accusing San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of inappropriate conduct/sexual harassment

SAN DIEGO — A volunteer city worker who assists senior citizens said Thursday that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner repeatedly asked her to rub his hands, requested dates and made sexually suggestive comments.

Peggy Shannon, 67, said she cried after Filner forcibly kissed her on the lips in January. She said she was offended by his constant requests for dates because she knew he was engaged to another woman at the time.

The 70-year-old mayor once took her hands and told her he could last eight hours at night, according to Shannon and her high-profile attorney, Gloria Allred.

“I was shocked that he would say that to me,” Shannon said at a news conference. “I was working and had to get myself together to continue my job at the senior citizens service desk. I was very bothered by this statement and went home and cried again.”

Since mid-July, more than a dozen women have publicly identified themselves as targets of Filner’s advances, including kisses, touching and lewd comments. Shannon is the second city employee to speak up, after Filner’s former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, said in a lawsuit that the mayor asked her to work without underwear, told her he wanted to see her naked and dragged her in a headlock while whispering in her ear.

Filner, a former 10-term congressman and San Diego’s first Democratic leader in 20 years, has resisted widespread calls to resign, insisting that he can be an effective mayor after two weeks of intensive therapy. He is scheduled to return to work next week after a three-week absence.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sharpened her criticism of Filner on Thursday, saying on Twitter, “Mayor Filner is out of rehab, he should be out of the Mayor’s Office – should not subject San Diegans to the pain & expense of a recall.”

Shannon, who lives on Social Security, said she was initially flattered when the mayor lavished attention on her but soon became fearful whenever he approached her desk, which happened several times a day.

When allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced last month, Filner allegedly walked past her and pressed a finger to his lips, which Shannon interpreted as a message to remain silent. Less than a week later, she filed a complaint with the city’s Equal Employment Investigations Office.

A spokeswoman for the mayor, Lena Lewis, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Shannon’s remarks. Filner has avoided addressing specific allegations and has insisted he is innocent of sexual harassment.