Real Life Film Festival

If you find yourself in Sudbury June 5-7, you can catch a film at this festival. (I’ve seen one of the shorts, Most, which is Czech for “bridge” and thought it was quite good. A little unfulfilling, and yet, thought-provoking.)

I also think that the way to reach the culture on life as on all issues of any importance is through movies, art, good documentaries, that kind of thing. So this festival is a good idea.

If you are unhappy and you know it, clap your hands

Women are liberated and unhappy. Men are confined and unhappy. Oh gender warfare, how do I not love thee? Happily, I’ve decided to combine what could have been two posts into one, to spare you the pain of reading about our chronic malaise twice.

To read about how women are unhappy, click here.

To read about how men are unhappy, click here.

On men: I for one, still believe men are capable of being strong and chivalrous, without engaging in this sort of petty tit for tat mentality–the kind many a feminist has busied herself with for years now. If this dad is so disgruntled, perhaps he married the wrong woman–or perhaps he should take on his rightful role as a father who is more than a chauffeur. I’m sure his wife would thank him for it.

On women: was it really worth it? 1.5 children, in exchange for many, many hours in a cubicle?  Apparently not.

My two cents on gender warfare for the day.

Coming soon–the equal footwear movement

I must have missed the major exposé in yesterday’s paper about a lack of safety-approved feminine rubber boots. No matter, at least I caught this letter to the editor today, so as to make me aware of this grand injustice:

I was recently hired by a major corporation as an archeological field technician. My field work mainly involves surveying properties before development and requires that I wear Canadian Safety Association (CSA) footwear.

While I was able to find CSA approved work boots without a problem, I was shocked to learn that there is no such thing as CSA approved rubber boots for women. In fact, no manufacturer even produces them.

For the first time in my life I feel the pains of what my mother and grandmother fought for. Women in Canada have in fact left the office and have entered the manufacturing and environmental sectors where safety footwear is required. Not producing safety footwear for women is a sexist policy.

For the first time in her life she “feels the pains” of what her mother and grandmother fought for?

Don’t think we need better evidence than that for the fact that equality has been achieved.


Brigitte would like to sympathize: I mean, come on! If dogs get feminine gear, why not girl archeological field technicians? Aren’t people, well, people too? (Buy a shirt…)


Andrea adds: I really hate to say this, but there’s probably more demand for pink camouflage jackets for dogs than there is for pink archeological dig boots.

The dignity of the body

I have a piece over at about the dignity of the body and the necessity to exercise regularly.

If you were trying to get me huffing and puffing, you might want to try quoting Saudi clerics. It usually works; especially when they claim that a woman who likes to exercise is shameless.

At our dojo we are preparing for a harsh weekend; Saturday and Sunday is our annual black belt test, where brown belts will test for their first-degree black belts and some first-degree black belts will test for their second-degree black belts. It’s a pretty tough test (I went through it twice), about 6-7 hours of gruelling exercise and self-defence drills, spread over the two days. The group testing this weekend has been training extremely hard since November to prepare for this coming weekend. I’ve helped train them, and it’s just so cool to see their determination to succeed (although these days they also look anxious and somewhat scared – that test is a challenge and a half, I tell you).

There are some people in that group I’m especially proud of – we have a few middle-aged women, nice moms (one grandma), who have slowly become fierce martial artists through constant discipline and exercise. Women who never thought of themselves as fighters who now cheerfully fling each other onto the floor, kick and elbow-strike their opponents with nary a second thought, and can do 50 push-ups at the drop of a hat. I’m not sure they believe they are fierce martial artists – yet. But I know. And when they put on their shiny new black belts at the end of the weekend, it will look good on them.

There’s a saying we have – something that’s written on the wall of our dojo – about becoming the best person we can be by disciplining both body and mind. Exercise is a great way to discipline both. We can’t all do karate, but we can all do something. And we should. If only to show those clerics how wrong they are.

Other than that, though…

I distinctly remember that Seinfeld episode where Elaine talked (incessantly) about who was, and wasn’t, “spongeworthy”. Turns out the “sponge” in question really exists:

It was made famous in the 1995 episode of Seinfeld when Elaine stockpiled it for boyfriends deemed “spongeworthy”—and now, the contraceptive sponge is set to return to store shelves in the U.S. Introduced in 1983, the Today Sponge, a spermicide-coated polyurethane barrier placed in the vagina to inhibit sperm, was once the most popular over-the-counter birth control for women. It was removed from pharmacies in 1994 after manufacturing problems, then reintroduced in 2005 under new ownership. After the new owner went bankrupt in 2007, the Today Sponge went out of production. Repackaged for a younger generation, it will be sold by a new distributor as of this weekend. Despite its pop culture bankability, the New York Times reports, the Today Sponge might generate comparatively little revenue: its failure rate can be over 10 per cent, and it doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

OK, so it doesn’t really work, and it’s only available if you’re lucky. Other than that, it’s great!


Véronique adds: I never watched Seinfeld but I distinctively remember the sex-ed class in grade 9 where the sponge was hailed as the best thing since slice bread. All I remember thinking was “Gross…”  but then I went on to have 6 children so what do I know about contraception? Which leads me to wonder, when they write that the sponge’s failure rate can be over 10 percent, do they mean that out of 100 sexual encounters 10 will end up in pregnancy or that 10 will not protect you against pregnancy although you may not actually get pregnant depending on your cycle? Because if it’s the former, the failure rate is probably much higher than 10 percent.  But then again, what do I know about how babies are made?


Tanya says: Failure rates are a thing of beauty. They are often preceded by phrases such as ‘If used correctly’ or ‘it is estimated that.’ If used correctly, it is estimated that condoms have a less that 1 per cent failure rate. Which is good, right? And if you were flying at 2000 feet and the captain got on and said “Good morning! This is your captain speaking. It’s a balmy 30 degrees in Barbados right now and we should be arriving in a little over 2 hours. By the way, there’s a 99% chance this plane will get you there safely. Have a pleasant flight.” Well, see, I’m not sure that would go over too well.

A woman after my own heart

Love Naomi Lakritz on life. Here she does a good job of exposing why President Obama’s rhetoric calling for dialogue on abortion is pretty meaningless:

Obama, who intends to sign the Freedom of Choice Act, which permits partial-birth abortions, called on pro-life and pro-choice factions to find common ground.

Unless pro-choicers are prepared to acknowledge the scientific fact that a fetus as early as four weeks after conception is a human being with a beating heart and brain waves, and not a mere clump of cells whose humanness is relative only to its degree of wantedness, then no common ground is possible.

Obama made some redundant points when he said “let’s make adoption more available” and “let’s provide care and support for women who do carry their child to term.”

Adoption is already widely available through state and provincial governments and private agencies. What really needs to happen is for pro-choicers to stop limiting their talk to abortion when they discuss choice, and start promoting adoption. They need to talk in terms of women choosing life, as in putting their babies up for adoption, not in choosing death by condemning those unborn babies to being ripped apart and consigned to oblivion.

As far as providing care and support for women to see their pregnancies through to the end, there are plenty of pro-life agencies, both secular and faith-based, that are busy doing just that.

There’s no need to reinvent the wheel; there is only a need to promote the existence of the wheel so people can take advantage of it.

OK, my legs hurt

It’s race weekend in Ottawa, and I just did a 10K to raise funds for the Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre. I hadn’t done a 10K-run in ages, and it, ahem, showed. (Karate is awesome for fitness, but it’s not the same as running.) But I did it, however feebly, and a dashed good thing it was, too. The sun was shining, the crowds (including Andrea, who was kind enough to wave at me and take a picture – if it’s not too horrifying we’ll post it here) were cheering us along. A great experience. And one that reminds me that for all our troubles and daily frustrations and whatnot, life is pretty cool.


Brigitte's arm

Andrea is making a mental note: that cheering and taking good photos do not go hand in hand. I was straining to see Brigitte. When she saw me I got excited and yelled a resounding Woo Hooooo! first, before taking a picture. This is what I caught of her then. Sports photography is possibly not in my future. (But cheerleading might be.)


Brigitte admits: Yes, I’ve got lovely forearms.


Véronique adds: I was going to say “nice manicure” but forearms work too. Not as sexy but given the circumstances, nice forearms will probably serve you better. In the mean time, I’ll be at the spa…


Tanya says: But, you see Andrea, this actually isn’t the worst picture as long as you tell people you were trying to get an artsy shot of the gal in the white T-shirt. (Hey, is that one of our shirts?)

Good show!

From the Daily Telegraph:

An attempt by the Taliban to infiltrate Kalam village was repulsed in the first sign that the army’s action is encouraging residents to stand up against the militants. Kalam’s deputy mayor, Shamshad Haqqai, said that about 50 Taliban fighters tried to enter Kalam on Wednesday but that locals had fought them off.

The militants had come to the village to collect arms, ammunition and food.

Muhammadi Room, a Kalam resident, said the Taliban visited the house of a local elder, Mehar Rafi in the Bijlee Ghar area of Kalam but, as there were no men inside the house, the women climbed to the rooftop of the house and opened fire. Five Taliban were killed at the scene.

These “militants” are the kind of cretins who think nothing of attacking school girls and under whose rules women were treated worse than cattle. They won’t be missed.