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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Links - 10th January 2013

"Accident, n.: A condition in which presence of mind is good, but absence of body is better." - Unknown

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Dirty Words: A Probing Analysis of 5000 Call Girl Reviews - "Are they sweet and romantic (sometimes) or boorish, with the air of misogyny you might expect? (Not that I saw)... the ‘girlfriend experience’ is more popular than the ‘pornstar experience’ and that foreplay is ranked 16 out of 20 in the list I compiled of most mentioned sex acts... Other reviews are written like erotic fiction: the reviewer describes his booking in massive depth, with no details overlooked. I got the impression that some punters gained an additional sexual kick from the chance to retell their story. Either that or they had nothing better to do... there are very rarely, if ever, comments that could be classed as abusive, woman-hating or anything of the sort. In fact, a lot of the guys display attitudes that are not only highly complimentary of the girls, but bordering on sycophantic. Again, though, if the service isn’t up to scratch, the punter will always let the community know: accuracy seems to be king, with flattery second and cringe-worthy outdated UK colloquialisms for sex acts and body parts coming in third, like ‘frig’,‘bonk’ and—brace yourself—‘cunny’... the average cost for a UK escort is £103 ($161) per hour and the average duration of a session is 75 minutes... There was only one review I read that didn’t include sex. The punter paid the escort to sit on a bed with him and recreate romantic scenes from famous films, like the ‘I’m flying’ part of Titantic... The infographic was the thing I was most excited about producing for this project... Working 3 hours a day, the average escort could make £50k a year before tax. This would put her firmly in the top 10% of earners, alongside architects, air traffic controllers, coroners and police inspectors... I learnt many new things from Laura during the break, including how to make scrambled eggs"
Again, not what you would expect given feminist analysis

Life of a Call Girl: Fantasy vs. Reality - "Where I expected to find controversy, there was none (29 of the 30 women entered into the job by choice)... Billie Piper’s TV portrayal of ‘Belle de Jour’, the high-class escort-turned-author, was also mentioned as a direct inspiration for getting into the business... many of the women said the same thing: point to the guy in the street you’d least expect to be a punter—he probably punts... The women described the average client’s attitude towards sex as primarily being respectful, nervous and eager. I got the impression from the way the escorts spoke about their clients that they do respect the men who pay them for sex, but it’s mostly a professional type of respect, much like the kind any seller would have for a buyer... the men don’t get the sex and intimacy they desire elsewhere, or simply prefer it without the other ‘baggage’ of a relationship... One respondent had an exceptionally succinct summary of her clients’ motivations for using her services: “Because they require an uncomplicated emotionally detached sexual service as opposed to an affair. This allows them to cognitively justify the act of adultery and therefore alleviates feelings of guilt and betrayal”... I was really interested to see what the responses would be for ‘How often do you genuinely feel turned on?’ and ‘How often do you fake orgasm?’, but they turned out to be anything but clear cut. 13 of the 30 women ‘sometimes’ genuinely climax and a similar number reported ‘sometimes’ feeling turned on. The rest of the women’s answers were spread across the other options pretty equally. It seems, as in standard sexual relationships, variation abounds... “I had a client that used to hire a ballet studio, bring his own tutu, ballet shoes etc and I was the ballet mistress putting him through his positions and paces to the ‘Flight of the bumble bee’”... well-known fund manager and art collector, who asked me to poo on a plate, and then ate my turd with a knife and fork (both fully-dressed) while sitting at his dining room table, with two gorgeous early period Picassos on the wall"
Cited at #5 in "What are the main benefits of your job?" was "Improving lives"

David Cameron must not be led astray by Norway's 'Golden Skirts’ - "Touchingly, the Prime Minister seems to believe that the female directors who now make up 40 per cent of the boards of Norway’s listed companies are referred to as the “Golden Skirts” (Gullskjørtene) because of their fantastic capacity to generate wealth. In fact, the term is used sarcastically by the quota’s opponents, who have observed that a relatively small number of women have taken advantage of it to scoop up handfuls of non-executive directorships. This new well-heeled elite may have golden skirts – and plenty of designer frocks – in their wardrobes. But Norway’s recent economic success has had more to do with its plentiful natural energy reserves and lack of exposure to EU debt than to a woman’s touch in the boardroom... Americans lead the way in promoting women to top jobs; in fact, there’s less job segregation (where women are stuck in stereotypical female work) in the US than in any other OECD country. But would it be tactless to point out that the US has one of the lowest levels of labour regulation of any Western economy? Their lack of maternity leave and job protection appears to have boosted female ambition; no quotas and targets for American businesswomen, thank you very much. In the US, sisters are doing it for themselves. As the private equity millionaire Nichola Pease pointed out to a Commons committee a couple of years ago, red tape and generous maternity leave are setting back women’s progress, making them a risky prospect for employers. Nor do women like to be patronised by box-ticking equality monitors... legally binding targets would soon lead to the perception that women have not been appointed on their merits, but merely to meet a quota, undermining their credibility as well as their confidence."

Taking Stock of Pioneering Law: Have Gender Quotas Really Helped Norwegian Women? - "Norwegian statistics resemble those of other countries in many respects. The majority of women work in the public sector, as teachers, nurses or kindergarten teachers. Many women return to part-time jobs after paid maternity leave, which is an important reason why they earn less than men. And the so-called glass ceiling that prevents women from rising to the top levels of corporations also exists in the land of fjords... According to surveys of corporate CEOs, women have hardly changed the working style on boards. "Only a few report that the culture of discussion has become more open," says the social scientist... There is one basic rule that still applies in her country: no meetings after 4 p.m. That's because most employees, men and women, are already on their way to the kindergarten by then. "Those kinds of working hours are only possible when you have productive work, flat hierarchies and the corresponding fast decision-making structures," she says. "In Frankfurt or London," the manager adds, "I would certainly not be home before nine in a job like mine.""

Hungry Man frozen dinners: Why the name needs to change - "1. It makes a woman feel like she's eating too much.
2. Unless she lives with a man, it feels silly to buy something called Hungry Man.
3. It's a sexist name"
Ironically, 1. and 3. conflict - who's the one who's expecting men to eat more here?

Intention vs. Reality: Why BMI Is Not Just a Tool - "Some health insurance companies charge people with higher BMIs more regardless of any other factors. A hospital in Texas precluded people from being hired based on BMI and no other measure of health, as does Weight Watchers. This is based on the belief that BMI is a sound single measure of health, one that clearly exists regardless of its falseness."

Top 10 DIY Miracles You Can Accomplish with a $1 Binder Clip - "10. Make a Smartphone Stand
8. Keep Your Sponges Dry and Grime-Free
3. Stack Beverages in Your Fridge"

Will False Belief in the SIVH Destroy Romney's Candidacy? - "Almost half of voters who earn less than the median income vote Republican in the typical election. A person doesn't support the nanny state because he wants government to take care of him; a person supports the nanny state because he wants government to take care of us"

The Social Costs of Getting Out the Vote - "Should we encourage everyone to vote? My answer, of course, is no. The average voter's understanding of politics and policy is disappointing at best. But hard as it is to believe, the average voter is an above-average citizen. Voters are more educated and know more about economics, politics, science, and statistics than non-voters. So if you think that politicians are pandering to the lowest common denominator, think again. With 100% turnout, the denominator could and would get lower still... If you're a normal American, you're likely to conclude that we just need more (or better) education. But if you're an economist, it's hard to ignore a much cheaper alternative: Encourage people who don't understand the issues to stay home. At minimum, we should stop trying to raise turnout, and stop trying to make the politically apathetic feel guilty about non-participation. Apathy may not be a virtue, but it's a lot better than the activism of the irrational"

Bride confronts friend for not giving red packet at her wedding

British have invaded nine out of ten countries - so look out Luxembourg - "The analysis of the histories of the almost 200 countries in the world found only 22 which have never experienced an invasion by the British. Among this select group of nations are far-off destinations such as Guatemala, Tajikistan and the Marshall Islands, as well some slightly closer to home, such as Luxembourg... Only a comparatively small proportion of the total in Mr Laycock's list of invaded states actually formed an official part of the empire. The remainder have been included because the British were found to have achieved some sort of military presence in the territory – however transitory – either through force, the threat of force, negotiation or payment. Incursions by British pirates, privateers or armed explorers have also been included, provided they were operating with the approval of their government... The only other nation which has achieved anything approaching the British total, Mr Laycock said, is France – which also holds the unfortunate record for having endured the most British invasions... "The book is not intended as any kind of moral judgment on our history or our empire. It is meant as a light-hearted bit of fun""
You might as well include economic imperialism in this definition of "invasion"

Britain may have invaded 90 per cent of the world, but we're not hated everywhere - "not all the memories are bad. Once in Nigeria, for example, I was asked by an internet cafe boss whether my surname made me a relation of Birch Freeman, a Victorian era missionary and colonial official. I told him (with some relief) that I wasn't, but braced myself nonetheless for a long lecture on the evils of colonialism. Instead, the cafe boss began to sing Birch Freeman's praises. "He brought education to the people", he told me. "Without those missionaries, where would we be now?"... Indeed, the question of Britain's colonial past is often a touchier subject with the Brits than it is with those they have conquered. On another occasion in Basra, I watched a British Army squirming with embarrassment when an Iraqi community leader informed him that "you British are so much better at running things than we are, just like you did a hundred years ago""
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