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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Banks, Bras and Brilliance



Yet more fabulousness from xkcd.com

And those deep question of philosophy and Shakespeare...

In credit crunch news, "A man who chose "Lloyds is pants" as his telephone banking password said he found it had been changed by a member of staff to "no it's not"." read more...

That reminds me of the man who changed his name to Yorkshire Bank PLC are Fascist Bastards, and when the said bank told him to close his account he asked them to write a cheque for his remaining balance (a whopping 69p), payable to his new name.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Designer Vaginas

I'm watching a documentary called The Perfect Vagina, about the rising trend of women having cosmetic surgery on their vaginas.

It is the fastest growing area of cosmetic surgery, and seems to be predominantly due to women's concerns about the size of their labia minora. In a medical research paper referenced in the programme, we learn that labia minora range in size from 20mm to 100mm, so naturally there is a lot of variation, but it seems that the vaginas we see, especially in porn, are 'perfect' and contained and neat, with small labia minoras, and this is making many women insecure. To the point of wanting surgery to reduce theirs.

Girls of 14, 15 and 16 are enquiring about the surgery, and the numbers seeking it are unprecedented.

The operation is called a labiaplasty and it is done under local anaesthetic, the woman being awake while her labia are sliced off. It can take three months for the vagina to recover after surgery.

The presenter, Lisa Rogers was clearly moved and alarmed by the attitudes she came across, from women, from men and from medical professionals. We also saw her own changes throughout the film.

She continually wanted women to love their bodies, and their vaginas, and could see clearly that cutting bits off and stitching bits up was not any kind of answer to the problem of us feeling so pressurised by our pornified society that even intimate parts of our bodies do not look 'right' and must be brutally modified.

The whole programme made me incredibly sad. It strikes me that hating our vaginas is yet another way that our patriarchal society infiltrates our minds and destroys women. Piece by piece.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Wiki Birthday

Look up your birthday on Wikipedia. Pick 4 events, 3 births, 2 deaths, and 1 holiday.

May 14th

    Events

  • 1796 - Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox vaccination.
  • 1889 - The children's charity the NSPCC is launched in London.
  • 1925 - Virginia Woolf's novel Mrs Dalloway is published.
  • 2005 - Pope Benedict XVI observes his first beatification, elevating Blessed Marianne of Molokai on the road to canonization into sainthood.


    Births

  • 1666 - Victor Amadeus II of Sardinia (d. 1732)
  • 1926 - Eric Morecambe, British comedian (d. 1984)
  • 1982 - BeardyMan, English beatboxer


    Deaths

  • 1847 - Fanny Mendelssohn, German composer and pianist (b. 1805)
  • 1998 - Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor (b. 1915)


    Holidays

  • Feast Day of St. Boniface of Tarsus

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Diagnosis Research

At a hospital appointment last week, I received a diagnosis of sensorimotor axonal neuropathy. Possible causes they are looking at are medication-related, coeliac disease, and vasculitis. We know that I don't have diabetes or alcoholism, which are the most common causes.

So, of course, I'm doing all the googling. Amongst others, I have learned these two things:

1)
With exception of the Roman Catholic Church, most mainline Christian churches offer their communicants gluten-free alternatives to the sacramental bread, usually in the form of a rice-based cracker or gluten-free bread. These include United Methodist, Christian Reformed, Episcopal, Lutheran, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and many others.

Roman Catholic doctrine states that for a valid Eucharist the bread must be made from wheat. [...] On August 22, 1994, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith apparently barred coeliacs from ordination, stating, "Given the centrality of the celebration of the Eucharist in the life of the priest, candidates for the priesthood who are affected by coeliac disease or suffer from alcoholism or similar conditions may not be admitted to holy orders." After considerable debate, the congregation softened the ruling on 24 July 2003 to "Given the centrality of the celebration of the Eucharist in the life of a priest, one must proceed with great caution before admitting to Holy Orders those candidates unable to ingest gluten or alcohol without serious harm."


2)
In patients with an aggressive, evolving polyneuropathy or a specific paraneoplastic syndrome, additional testing for an occult malignancy is often performed
(my bold - am I possessed by some kind of ghost with cancer?!)

More seriously of course, it is good to finally have a diagnosis. Just need to try and get to the bottom of what's causing it, to be able to find out if it can be treated.