Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Interesting essay on "not-rape":
Not rape comes in many forms - it is often known by other names. What happened to me is called a sexual assault. It is not the same as rape, but it is damaging and painful. My friends experienced statutory rape, molest[ation], and coercion.


Not rape was being pressured into losing your virginity in a swimming pool pump room to keep your older boyfriend happy.

Not rape was waking up in the middle of the night to find a trusted family friend in bed with you - and having nightmares about something that you can’t remember during the daylight hours.

Not rape was having your mother’s boyfriends ask you for sexual favors.

Not rape was feeling the same group of boys grope you between classes, day after day after day.

Not rape was being twelve years old, having a “boyfriend” who was twenty-four and trading sex for free rides, pocket money, Reeboks, and a place to stay when your mother was tripping.

My friends and I confided in each other, swapping stories, sharing out pain, while keeping it all hidden from the adults in our lives. After all, who could we tell? This wasn’t rape - it didn’t fit the definitions. This was Not rape. We should have known better. We were the ones who would take the blame. We would be punished, and no one wanted that. So, these actions went on, aided by a cloak of silence.
Being not-raped is no fun.

Monday, December 29, 2008

CIA bribes chieftains with Viagra

Am I the only one who finds this morally questionable on feminist grounds?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Transplantable hearts don't grow on trees

On TV: A couple waiting for God to provide their baby daughter a new heart for Christmas. Doesn't this mean someone else's baby has to die for Christmas?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Global Warming versus Animal Rights

I've been eating less meat lately, so I thought that this chart showing the carbon cost per pound of food was interesting.

Klein observes:
The carbon implication is that vegetarianism is best, but if people insist on eating meat, chicken is far better than beef. This puts the carbon argument at odd with the animal rights movement. For them, chicken is far worse than beef. It takes a human being years to eat a cow but only a single dinner to consume a chicken. The death toll of a poultry diet is far higher than a beef diet. And chicken are treated far worse than cows.
One of Klein's commenters converts the numbers to pounds of CO2 per 1,000 calories of the foodstuff. Tomatoes, being mostly water, come off poorly, but so does shrimp.

Milk 3.3
Cheese 5.9
Chicken 2.4
Pork 8.8
Salmon 12.5
Shrimp 24.9
Beef 25.0
Oat Flakes 0.4
Flour 0.3
Carrots 1.4
Tomatoes 20.3

Pescetarians can take comfort in the relatively low suffering burden imposed by their choice of protein source, but might want to abstain from unnecessary auto travel.

Monday, December 22, 2008

All my girls at the party, look at that body: The Female Gaze and Male Physicality

Since the recent discussion of chest hair broke the previous PTN record for most comments, it seems like there might be an audience for additional ruminations in this area.* There seemed to be a consensus that, whatever the media might say about changing standards for masculine appearance, women were generally accepting of anything short of serious outlier status and men, as would be consistent with this lackadaisical attitude, were not often altering their natural state.

But if women don't take this particular trait into serious account, what do we care about? What do we notice about a man who attracts us? Specifically, is the female gaze (insofar as it can be generalized---and perhaps it cannot) fragmented or holistic? Are we more or less likely than men to focus on distinct aspect of appearance, divorced from the whole? Or are women more likely to describe their attraction in a gestalt sense: that is, that to classify a man as attractive or unattractive, without immediate recourse to description of the features that compose the whole?

It's often said that women's desire is less visually oriented than men's, but the composition of that vision could be just as important as the weight of the sense generally. Could women be just as visual as men, but more willing to disregard suboptimal traits by focusing instead on optimal ones? Does it follow that women would thus have "lower standards" for appearance than men? Female choosiness rebuts this somewhat, but there are of course other factors than appearance at work in sexual attraction.**

So, women: When you see a man, do you classify him as attractive or unattractive first, or do you initially notice particular attractive or unattractive features?

* This is all extremely het-focused, for which I apologize in advance.

** The Kissingerian, the "good sense of humor," etc. But once you broaden this to include non-physical traits, we're getting into an examination of personality characteristics as an engine for female sexual desire, which are perhaps more challenging to describe, and an even greater matter of individual taste than chest hair.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Experimental Cooking: Oxtail Soup

I went to the funky international supermarket a while back and picked up some oxtails, so today when I finished the last of my tomato soup I immediately started scheming how to fill my pre-holiday schedule with more leftover soup. I still shudder a bit at the thought of the dog-food taste of some lamb and Guinness stew from a couple of years ago, so I wanted to turn the oxtails into something with a cleaner flavor. Was it a success? Partially.

Pacific Rim Oxtail Soup

Soak 2.5 lbs of oxtails in cold water for an hour, then rinse and boil for 25 minutes. Dump the water, rinse the oxtails, and then refill the pot and bring to a simmer again. I boiled the oxtails for about 3 hours, accompanied by 6-8 halved cloves of garlic, a roughly chopped 2 inch piece of peeled ginger, 1 tbsp of Szechuan peppercorns, and a whole star anise (contained within a mesh basket for easy removal). There was a lot of skimming and adding back water involved in this phase, and one round of straining. Once the oxtails looked tender, I took them out, tossed in 6-8 thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, shredded the meat from the bones (hot!), chopped the meat, and put it back in, along with some rice stick noodles and thinly sliced rounds of daikon. While the noodles cooked, I chopped up a couple of green onions and a similar quantity of cilantro, threw that in, stirred, and served with a sauce of equal parts soy sauce and grated fresh ginger.

It was kind of bland, so I added a lot of salt. Any thoughts on how to amp this up for next time?

ETA: So much better the next day. Sort of a gelatinous mess, what with the noodles and the stock, but hearty scoop of soup base + water = yum.

Friday, December 19, 2008

My two favorite final tracks

Only the first of these makes you want to shake a leg/your butt. Context:

Full song here.

More mellow. Just ignore the lame visuals on this one.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Weekend Plans

Tomorrow Saturday I will be seeing Rhett Miller, lead singer of the Old 97's.

Despite nudgings in that general direction from more than one quarter, I have never, to my knowledge or recollection, heard an Old 97's song.

There will also be shopping. What are you getting your family members for Christmas? I'm coming up dry for ideas. Anything I buy for them needs to be from Amazon due to airline baggage costs.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Chest hair: Making a comeback?

ETA: Via Andrew Sullivan, who quotes this rather purple passage:
When I meet a guy for the first time, I have no problem with his eyes wandering south for a second to check out my rack—that’s when I steal a glance at the little slip of landscape peeking out from the collar of his shirt. Is it heavily forested, gently grassy, or just a desert-like stretch of flesh, with nary a hair in sight to provide shade?

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Birthright Israel : Jewish :: IHS : libertarian.


Friday, December 12, 2008

Not the robot I've been waiting for.


I think in one of Asimov's I, Robot stories there is an explanation of why the society outlawed robots shaped like humans. Being Asimov, the reason was not "because people were having sex with them," but it probably would be. Get this guy together with those Real Doll fetishists and you'd have something truly frightening. (via J)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And now a message from our sponsor.

Not really. I don't take ads. But I will take a moment to endorse these stockings.

(OMG, it's another fashion post. This is your chance to leave.)

Looking to relive the 1990s? Hate the suffocation of pantyhose? Want to look hot and keep your legs warm? Then these are for you. Why?

- Cute fishnet band border.

- Extreme durability. A tiny snag was tugged back into place with ease.

- A range of sizes. Do they have extra smalls, for the short ladies? Why, yes indeed.

- They stay up. No, really. They don't budge. At all. But there's no uncomfortable pinch or above-the-band bulge. They are just held up by the power of Grayskull or something.

Seriously, if you wear hosiery, check them out.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Epistolary Migration

Belle and I have taken our exchange over to her place. My first post is up, so come by. There will of course still be blogging here at PTN.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Life in charts, sliced thinly

So, this chart, indicating that the USA has cruddy economic mobility:

Why choose fathers and sons? What does this chart look like for mothers and daughters, or household income (father and mother) and the average income of their children? A child's economic status is not solely a product of his/her father's salary, and likewise your adult status may not be a function solely of your own income (perhaps poor people are more likely in some places to marry out of their socioeconomic class. etc.).

Sunday, December 07, 2008

For Texans in exile

This recipe makes pretty good cheese enchiladas. Just make sure to not let the chili gravy get too thick and to salt it well.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

If She Fix You Eggs And Grits In The Morning

This looks really, really good. And I have hominy now!

Friday, December 05, 2008


The dog I wanted to adopt has been adopted by somebody else.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

S.S. Big Changes

Jacob Levy's blog will now have comments! And there is analysis of the Canadian political crisis, if that's your bag.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Can't wait to get back to D.C.