Books I Read in March 2013

March 2013 Books Read Word Cloud

The Third Man by Graham Greene Dracula by Bram Stoker Incandescence by Greg Egan The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde Don’t Kiss Them Good-Bye by Allison DuBois One for the Money by Janet Evanovich Twilight and Philosophy: Vampires, Vegetarians, and … Continue reading

Learned behaviour

People who imagine that children are resistant to learning have a nonexistent understanding of how human culture developed in the first place. Culture is no more and no less than the totality of learned behavior and information that is passed from one generation to the next.

Daniel Quinn in The Unschooling Unmanual


The world’s most famous farter was Joseph Pojul who, in 1892, had a famous act at the Moulin Rouge in Paris under the name ‘Le Petomane’. His act opened by telling a story using a remarkable range of farts for the voices of the characters.He could smoke a cigarette through a tube placed up his bum and also play the National Anthem with a flute connected to the end of the tube. Women were reported to laugh much more than men to the extent that some would pass out and be taken to hospital to recover.

— Allan & Barbara Pease in Why Men Lie and Women Cry


Portrait of a girl, 21st century, meant to loo...

Portrait of a girl, 21st century, meant to look vintage (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is the speech I did for my ninth Competent Communications manual speech at Toastmasters. The aim of this speech is meant to be to persuade the audience. It is a 5-7 minute speech but I went overtime at just over 8 minutes. I didn’t actually write my speech out word for word, but the points I endeavored to make are listed below. I was meant to do this without notes, but that is just too many stats for me to memorize.

I began my speech by having three other women stand at the front – one wearing skimpy clothing, one wearing conservative casual attire and one wearing long pants, long sleeved shirt and a hijab. I then asked the audience which of the three they felt was more oppressed. After giving them a chance to answer, I made the point that I felt the most oppressed woman there was the one in skimpy clothing, before moving on. In the end, my speech contained the following points:

Head coverings are also worn by Jews, Christians, Hindis and a growing number of Pagans. Many European cultures wear them to indicate marital status or availability.

Hijab is not just headscarf.

Men also have rules of dress.

Women are exploited as sexual objects in advertising. Women’s magazine’s downplay a woman’s intellect and spirituality and exaggerate the importance of physical beauty.

In a survey by Teen People magazine, 27% of the girls felt that the media pressures them to have a perfect body. A poll conducted in 1996 by the international ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi found that ads made women fear being unattractive or old.

US women spend an average of $7 billion per year (around $100 a month each) on beauty products and cosmetics.

From an early age girls are brainwashed by emphasis on beauty from toys to ‘princess’ cartoon characters.

Some of the Rights given to women in Islam about 1400 years ago:

1. The right and duty to obtain education.
2. The right to have their own independent property.
3. The right to work to earn money if they need it or want it.
4. Equality of reward for equal deeds.
5. The right to express their opinion and be heard.
6. The right to provisions from the husband for all her needs and more.
7. The right to negotiate marriage terms of her choice.
8. The right to obtain divorce from her husband, even on the grounds that she simply can’t stand him.
9. The right to keep all her own money (she is not responsible to maintain any relations).
10. The right to get sexual satisfaction from her husband.
11. custody of their children after divorce.
12. to refuse any marriage that does not please them
13. The right to vote

Domestic Violence:

  • America: 25%
  • Canada: 29%
  • Australia: 31%
  • New Zealand: 35%
  • India: 70%
  • Egypt: 34%


  • Egypt: 0.1/100,000
  • Turkey: 1.4/100,000
  • USA: 28.6/100,000
  • Northern Ireland: 22.3/100,000
  • Rest of UK: 24.1/100,000

Hijab allows focus on intellect and spirituality rather than physical beauty.


The Perfect Wife and Mother has not been tortured (at least not in the sense normally understood by the word), blown up, or suffered in any grandiose way. Her daily tasks seem too mundane to justify powerful protests or claims to high public honour. Her suffering is of an invisible kind. It is the anguish of the downtrodden, of the silent, suffering majority.

—Allan & Barbara Pease in Why Men Lie and Women Cry

Books I Read in April 2011

Word Cloud of Books Read in April 2011

The People’s Manifesto by Mark Thomas The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier Beyond Armageddon: Survivors of the Megawar Edited by Walter M. Miller, Jr. & Martin H. Greenberg Don’ts for Wives by Blanche Ebbutt Don’ts for Husbands … Continue reading

Random Note #1

Why do people keep voting for the same politician then whining about the job they do?

Kathy Lette in ‘How to Kill Your Husband (and other handy household hints)’

“All husbands think they’re gods. If only their wives weren’t atheists…”

~ Kathy Lette in ‘How to Kill Your Husband (and other handy household hints)’

Barry Rubin in ‘The Tragedy of the Middle East’

Woman wearing a scarf wrapped around her head ...

Woman wearing a scarf wrapped around her head and face as a niqab, a popular style in the Levant region. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“…with rulers, writers, clerics, generals, and professors swearing that real peace, moderation, and reform would destroy religion and betray the Arab and Muslim people, who could persuade the people otherwise? And if everyone who disagreed was branded a traitor and enemy agent, how many would dare to dissent from this chorus?”

~ Barry Rubin in ‘The Tragedy of the Middle East’

Harold Schechter in ‘Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America’s Youngest Serial Killer’

“Virtually every notorious case of juvenile murder in recent years has been blamed, at least partly, on media violence.”

~Harold Schechter in ‘Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America’s Youngest Serial Killer’

Lyall Watson in ‘Dark Nature’ quoted in ‘Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America’s Youngest Serial Killer’ by Harold Schechter

“The level of actual violence as measured by homicide…has never been lower…It may seem that we live in violent times, but even the famously gentle Bushmen of the Kallahari have a homicide rate that eclipses those of the most notorious American cities. All appearances to the contrary, we who live in today’s industrial societies stand a better chance of dying peacefully in our beds than any of our predecessors anywhere.”

~ Lyall Watson in ‘Dark Nature’ quoted in ‘Fiend: The Shocking True Story of America’s Youngest Serial Killer’ by Harold Schechter

Diane Setterfield in ‘The Thirteenth Tale’

“People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is a exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humour, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. All this even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved.”

—Diane Setterfield in ‘The Thirteenth Tale’

Joe Queenan in ‘Balsamic Dreams’

“Baby Boomers like to take credit for everything good that has happened to this society in the past three decades, but invariably blame anonymous miscreants or wayfaring strangers for everything bad.”

—Joe Queenan in ‘Balsamic Dreams’

Joe Queenan in ‘Balsamic Dreams’

“Baby Boomers are the most obnoxious people in the history of the human race.”

Joe Queenan in ‘Balsamic Dreams’

Baby Boomers Haven

“Tragically, self-immolation is the only completely egocentric activity that Baby Boomers scrupulously avoid.”

Joe Queenan in ‘Balsamic Dreams’

“…Baby Boomers make up the largest generation in American history, and are unarguably the most self-absorbed, the most avaricious, the most deeply entrenched, and the most annoying.”

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Brave New World

Opening Sentence:A squat grey building of only thirty-four stories. Synopsis:Into the neatly programmed ‘Brave New World’ of test-tube babies and drug-controlled happiness, misfit Bernard Marx brings the innocent Savage… Genre:Science Fiction Rating:@@@@ Pages:213 ISBN:o-582-06016-8 Year:1991 Format:Hardcover Comments:Aldous Huxley first published … Continue reading

He’ll be OK: Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men by Celia Lashlie

Book Cover for He'll be OK Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men by Celia Lashlie

Opening Sentence:Recently I was invited to convene a breakfast for fathers whose sons attended a Gosford grammar school. Synopsis:Adolescent boys – they seem to disappear into another world where they barely communicate, and where fast cars, alcohol and drugs are … Continue reading

A Woman’s Work

c1939 Holland, Hannie and the other secretarie...

Tips for male supervisors on ‘getting more efficiency out of women employees’ from the July 1943 issue of Mass Transportation magazine.

  • If you can get them, pick young married women. They have these advantages, according to the reports of western companies: they usually have more of a sense of responsibility than do their unmarried sisters; they’re less likely to be flirtatious; as a rule, they need the work or they wouldn’t be doing it – maybe a sick husband or one who’s in the army; they still have the pep and interest to work hard and to deal with the public efficiently.
  • When you have to use older women, try to get ones who have worked outside the home at some time in their lives. Most transportation companies have found that older women who have never contacted the public, have a hard time adapting themselves, are inclined to be cantankerous and fussy. It’s always well to impress on older the older woman the importance of friendliness and courtesy.
  • While there are exceptions, of course, to this rule, general experience indicates that ‘husky’ girls – those who are just a little on the heavy side – are likely to be more even-tempered and efficient than their underweight sisters.
  • Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination – one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibility of lawsuits but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.
  • In breaking in women who haven’t previously done outside work, stress at the outset the importance of time – the fact that a minute or two lost here and there makes serious inroads on schedules. Until this point is gotten across, service is likely to be slowed up.
  • Give the female employee in garage or office a definite day-long schedule of duties so that she’ll keep busy without bothering the management for instructions every few minutes. Numerous properties say that women make excellent workers when they have their jobs cut out for them but that they lack initiative in finding work for themselves.
  • Whenever possible, let the inside employee change from one job to another at some time during the day. Women are inclined to be nervous and they’re happier with change.
  • Give every girl an adequate number of rest periods during the day. Companies that are already using large numbers of women stress the fact that you have to make some allowance for feminine psychology. A girl has more confidence and consequently is more efficient if she can keep her hair tidied, apply fresh lipstick and wash her hands several times a day.
  • Be tactful in issuing instructions or in making criticisms. Women are often sensitive; they can’t shrug off harsh words in the way that men do. Never ridicule a woman – it breaks her spirit and cuts her efficiency.
  • Be reasonably considerate about using strong language around women. Even though a girl’s husband or father may swear vociferously, she’ll grow to dislike a place of business where she hears too much of this.
  • Get enough size variety in operator uniforms that each girl can have a proper fit. This point can’t be stressed too strongly as a means of keeping women happy, according to western properties.

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

Book Cover for A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

Opening Sentence:Sir, It is not necessary, with courtly insincerity, to apologise to you for thus intruding on your precious time, nor to profess that I think it an honour to discuss an important subject with a man whose literary abilities … Continue reading

Sins of the Blood by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Book Cover for Sins of the Blood by Kathryn Rusch

Opening Sentence:‘Suitcases?’ Synopsis:BORN, NOT BLED… Vampires, as they are now – parasites, an ancient disease brought from old Europe to America; keeping themselves private, hiding themselves cleverly, in the modern world. The Pacific north-west – a society dealing with the … Continue reading