When you can't live without bananas

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

"It's hard to argue against cynics—they always sound smarter than optimists because they have so much evidence on their side." - Molly Ivins


Excerpts from Isabel Allende's very amusing and interesting Ted Talk (I don't know why anyone watches them - I subscribe to the podcast, though I've hardly made a dent in the archive):

[On her being selected to carry the Olympic flag at the 2006 Winter Olympics] "One of the organisers of the Olympic ceremony, of the opening ceremony, call me and said that I had been selected to be one of the flagbearers... This would be the first time that only women would carry the Olympic flag. 5 women representing 5 continents and 3 Olympic gold medal winners. My first question was, naturally, what was I going to wear?"
I can't find out who brough the Olympic flag into the stadium at the 2002 session, but it probably wasn't 8 men.

"Heart is what drives us and determines our fate. That is what I need from my characters in my books. A passionate heart. I need mavericks, dissidents, adventurers, outsiders and rebels who ask questions, bend the rules and take risks. Nice people with common sense do not make interesting characters. They only make good former spouses"

"Sophia [Loren] is over 70 and she looks great. She's sexy, slim and tall with a deep tan. Now [indistinct] how can you have a deep tan and no wrinkles? I don't know. When asked in a TV interview how could she look so good, she replied 'posture'. 'My back is always straight and I don't make old people's noises'. So there you have some free advice from one of the most beautiful people on earth. No grunting, no coughing, no wheezing, no talking to yourself, no farting. What, she didn't say that exactly."

"My head was actually under the damn flag. All the cameras were, of course, on Sophia. That was fortunate for me. Because in most press photo I appear too. Although often between Sophia's legs. A place where most men would love to be. The best four minutes of my entire life were those in the Olympic stadium. My husband is offended when I say this, although I explain to him that what we do in private usually takes less than four minutes, so he shouldn't take it personally."
Luckily men, unlike feminists, have a sense of humour.

"80% of all refugees and displaced people in the world are women and girls."
That's probably because the men and boys are either dead, prisoners of war or forcibly conscripted.

"I was born in ancient times, at the end of the world. In a patriarchal, Catholic and conservative family. No wonder that by age five I was a raging feminist, although the term had not reached Chile yet. So nobody knew what the heck was wrong with me."

"Once, when my daughter Paola was in her 20s, she said to me that feminism was dated. That I should move on. We had a memorable fight. Feminism is dated? Yes. For privileged women like my daughter, but not for most of our sisters in the rest of the world, who are still forced into premature marriage, prostitution, forced labour. They have children that they don't want or cannot feed. They have no control over their bodies or their lives. They have no education and no freedom. They are raped, beaten up and sometimes killed with impunity. For most Western young women of today, being called a feminist is an insult. Feminism has never been sexy, but let me assure you that it never stopped me from flirting, and I have seldom suffered from lack of men. Feminism is by no means dead. It has evolved. If you don't like the term, change it for goddess sake. Call it Aphrodite, or Venus, or Bimbo, or whatever you want."

"Although women do 2/3s of the world's labour, they own less than 1% of the world's assets."
This sounds quite dodgy. I have a feeling they play with definitions here.

"The poorest and most backward societies are always those that put women down. Yet this obvious truth is ignored by governments and also by philanthropy. For every dollar given to a woman's program, 20 dollars are given to men's programs."
This is proof that Third World feminists talk rubbish as well. I've heard of programs that give money to women's causes, but never of any that give money to men's causes. Certainly, by "men's programs" she means programs which benefit everyone, i.e. both genders.

"Women working together, linked, informed and educated can bring peace and prosperity to this forsaken planet... Men run the world and look at the mess we have"
This would certainly qualify as misandry if we applied similar standards. And the best part is that this isn't even a rarely-expressed sentiment.
MFTTW: "Women working together...leading to inescapable episodes of bitchiness"

"For real change we need feminine energy, in the management of the world... We need to nurture the feminine energy in men. I'm talking about men with young minds, of course. Old guys are hopeless. We have to wait for them to die off."

Listen to the episode for a lot of sad stories about women in the Third World.

And interestingly, there's a website that automatically transcribes the speech (albeit imperfectly). I shall use it for my next audio transcription.


"In the past quarter century, we exposed biases against other races and called it racism, and we exposed biases against women and called it sexism. Biases against men we call humor." - Warren Farrell

Friday, August 22, 2008

I now have a new email address:

"Catholic Online Webmail Registration

Your email address is: infidel@catholic.org

Thank You for Registering!"
Baltics trip
Day 6 - 21st May - Siauliai, Lithuania
; Selected pictures/videos from HWMNBN and YC

The train to Siauliai, our own train trip of the holiday. Notice the ad on the side of the train and the uniforms the conductors are in

This illustrates the opaque train carriage doors (...)

Nice church in Siauliai I missed

Illustrated tourist map of Siauliai

Hill of Crosses

A picnic lunch: bread, ham, cheese, salami and chips

My hair being exploited

Panevezys, our lovely transit point on the way from Siauliai to Riga. "Lietuvos spauda" is the country’s number one kiosk chain

I don't know what this phallic object is

Converted zeppelin sheds in Riga

The more modern architecture of Riga

Whole fish we had for dinner. Apparently no one took photos of the other mains. Oh well.

nw.t and YC sharing a pussy
"I've been on a diet for two weeks and all I've lost is two weeks." - Totie Fields


Japan trip
Day 6 - 11th June - Himeji jo
(Part 3)

To make the inside of the castle tower less dark and boring they should have refurbished it with stuff. But that would mean hordes could not be accommodated.

Some plant in a wall alcove somewhere

They claimed that the curve of the walls made it hard for attackers to scale them. To me it looked like it made it easier.

Bonsais they were showing off

Main tower blurb

Garden with mini-bridge (which I'm quite sure has some significance)

Besides the main tower of the castle, there was also a West bailey.


As you can see, the interior was much more interesting-looking than that of the main tower

Draining holes for rainwater


A disguised CCTV I also waved to

Ladies in waiting blurb

"Vanity tower" used by Princess Sen, who came here to marry into the family (gotta love the name)

Mockup of princess and lady in waiting. They seem to be playing pick-up-stones.

More about Princess Sen

More shots

Outside the walls of the greater compound


I was running to catch the Shinkansen back to Kyoto so I could see one more temple before going on a later-afternoon tour, but was distracted by various weird bronze statues, including:

I call this: "Jailbait and jailbait after she got knocked-up" (in between there was a statue of her in pants, looking in between these two statues in age)

Nude saxophonist. Maybe he was the one who knocked her up.

Side street

A few blocks before the train station, although I was running I noticed an advertisement for a basement selling Himeji specialities, so I decided to heck it and visit temples another day.

Since I didn't have to rush to catch the next Shinkansen anymore, I sat at a corner of the basement and witnessed almost all of the staff doing this:

The variation in bowing upon entering or exiting the customer area was large, from proper bows to a perfunctory nod of the head.

"Pick up gift" - In Japan you can use dried mushrooms to pick people up. Wonderful. Then again, these mushrooms cost Y5,250 (>S$65)

Snacks, and mystery fried fish thing (fishcake with salmon flakes in cheese) I had

Japanese keropok

Jap chewies

More sweets

After checking out the basement, I went to the station.

There was a stack of shinkansen timetables, and a sign in English about taking them. Inside, I found that there was no Romaji inside (English? You must be kidding. I was never hoping to see English inside), not even for placenames. Gah.

JR "Lady's Seat". I wonder if it costs more.
I speculate the women are thinking: "No chikan!", "Ah, this seat has an ATR" and "Damnit, it's good to be a girl"

Bento sold at train station. Notice the "Women's favourite" set ("女性人気")
氣"; yes, I know the last character is wrong, but I can't find the right one, so) - thanks to JX for the character
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