Monthly Archives: August 2003

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Aviation Artifacts — Lost, Stolen or Strayed

No big surprise, since the former chief of collections was indicted. But a recent inventory of the Air Force Museum revealed that it’s missing thousands of artifacts, including the wooden pattern the Wrights used to make their first airplane engine, as well as treasures from POW camps and the astronaut program.

On one occasion, Harris said, he and another employee visited the “vault” where guns, swords, knives and other items are stored. “It looked like a hurricane hit it,” Harris said. “I was shocked. Stuff was pulled out all over the floor.”

The Air Force Museum has formed a review panel to deal with the problem.

By the way, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum also had this problem a few years ago. The militaria market is large and lucrative. Others may remember the theft of moon rocks, also for sale to bidders. Here’s a good post about both, which includes some wonderful quotes from Barbara Weitbrech:

….an evil that we in the museum community see too often–a member of the inner circle who goes spectacularly bad.

One reason the NASM staff is reacting so strongly [to the moon rock thefts] is that we had our own Thad
Roberts. A member of the curatorial staff–not a curator, though he described himself as one–was stealing the artifacts in his care and selling them at auction. The first we knew of it was when FBI agents showed up at the Registrar’s office. The offender spent six months in prison, but to our amazement he continued to work in the aerospace museum community. Through sheer force of personality he convinced prospective employers, not to mention his wife, that the charges against him were fabricated–the result of a personal
vendetta by the Smithsonian administration spawned, apparently, by jealousy.

…His life seemed dedicated to proving to the world at large “the wonderfulness of ME!” And the world was mostly convinced, though not as fast or as fully as our would-be curator had hoped. In the end, his raids on the collection seem to have been as much about revenge as the need for money. Tellingly, he defended his thefts by saying that the items were not being properly cared for. This is an interesting justification, considering that the parts of the collection raided were his responsibility.

…But disillusionment is ultimately egotism. Disillusionment is the world not living up to your expectations. It is the conviction that the world is not worthy of your labor, your love and integrity–that it is not worthy of the wonderfulness of YOU.

You can also learn about similar problems at Ethics and the Archaeologist.

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Tiger Cub Saga

A few weeks ago, a tiger cub got confiscated. Now another one’s in custody. Meanwhile, someone broke into the Humane Society, probably looking for the tiger cub! What next?

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Schooldays, Schooldays, Happy Golden Rule Days….

From the Dayton Daily NewsFour Pre-Teens Accused of Extortion. I thank God once again that I’m done with school.

Four elementary school boys, ages 10 to 12, were in juvenile detention Wednesday facing allegations they robbed and extorted hundreds of dollars since March from a 10-year-old classmate at Franklin Montessori Year-round School…

The victim told police he had given the four boys regular payments of all but 3 cents of his personal savings of $85, a $100 bill he had swiped from his parents and other money he had taken from his parents, police said. One defendant told police he received weekly $5 payments since April. When school resumed in July after a five-week break, the payments resumed and the three others joined in, demanding payments for themselves…

Interviewed separately by police, one boy quickly admitted the threats, beating and robbery, police said. “(The boy) explained to me that he robbed (the 10-year-old) for fun and when the robberies had occurred, he found it funny and was laughing,” a Dayton police investigator wrote in the report.

Police said the boy was so familiar with police television shows and movies that he could “recite the common rights and said that he knew what they meant.”

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Festival Time!

Yesterday after Mass we went downtown to the St. Ignatius Lebanese festival. St. Ignatius of Antioch is a Maronite parish here in town. This is their first year holding the festival at Riverscape on the shore of the Great Miami, mostly because their church grounds are tiny and hard to get to and the Polish Country Club could no longer hold them as an auxiliary site.

Even so, it was pretty crowded. Apparently the rest of Dayton agrees that Lebanese food is one of the good things of life, because they ran out of the dinners before we even got there! We stood in line for half an hour or more to get food. But it was worth the wait. Also, this year there was entertainment we could watch while we waited; a live singer with a synth sang Lebanese songs while anyone who wanted to could get up on the stage and dance. The children of the parish were having a great time. Many of them were wearing little dancing outfits or had spangled cloths tied over their shorts. Someone handed out big shawl-sized scarves, and the kids started dancing with them, too. In among the chaos, teenaged and adult dancers showed how it was done — but without either denigrating the kids or using them for cuteness value. Everyone on the stage who was dancing had a legitimate place in their art.

After we got our food, the musician got a break and there was an organized dance presentation. Eight or so teenaged/college age girls and an older woman who looked like their teacher did some very elaborate numbers, which seemed to combine elements of different dances. They did one while carrying canes, which was a weird but fun blend of Lebanese dancing with Fred Astaire, and then segued into linking three cane heads and going in circles or two and making a sort of “cane arch”! Probably the most impressive dance was one which the older lady did on top of some glasses with a veil over her head. (I got the feeling it was some kind of bridal dance, but don’t quote me.) Anyway, it was all very nicely done. Meanwhile, the kids down in the audience area danced along almost continuously, delighting my mom. I have to admit cracking up when one kindergartener executed a really nice backbend while doing lots of shoulder action. I have to admit to some jealousy, as I’ve never been able to do backbends. (That was my bane in gymnastics class when I was seven.)

Now, maybe I’m pessimistic, but I bet somebody out there is thinking, “Belly dancing has no place at a parish festival!” or “How dare they let children dance like that!” The thing I want to say here is that Middle Eastern dancing is not necessarily comprised of sexy dancing. Women (and men) and little toddler kids can shake and shimmy and have fun with the strength and flexibility of their bodies, without trying to sell themselves. In this case, the intent was simply to dance and have fun, and so the dancing was perfectly modest. (We weren’t talking women in tight clingy costumes, either.) It’s actually quite a flaw in our culture that women should never be allowed to shake their hips without it being an open invitation. (If you want to know why American women have problems with fat on their butts and thighs…there you go.)

Furthermore, I have to say that the few times I’ve gotten to see male Middle Eastern dancing, it’s been similarly modest. (Although the guys definitely play to the women in the audience….) I’d like to see more of it, frankly. Like Russian and Greek male dancing, it requires strength, agility, and flexibility.

All in all, being able to dance is definitely a good reason to be Catholic. Too bad most Catholics don’t do more with their freedom. (Me included.) I love to dance, but there’s not really any way to go dancing by yourself. You can join a club for contra dancing or whatever, but then you’re asking for a big investment in time and money and learning. I do miss the SCA, in which dancing a bransle or two was just part of normal socializing and didn’t require a date.

Oh, and today we went to the new festival at Temple Beth Or. (This is the same congregation that my dad’s Methodist church studied the Book of Ruth with. Nice folks.) There was a lot of good Jewish food, but I really didn’t eat as much as I would have wanted. (Given all that I’d eaten on Saturday, I didn’t have a lot of cash on me….) My mom was of course enthusiastic about everything, and my dad liked what he got, too. We are ecumenical on food.

Adventures in Cantoring

Oh, and I cantored yesterday again. We had the new priest, who is very nice. He had us all introduce ourselves to him again. Also, this time he asked everybody in the sacristy to pray with him before Mass. It was a good prayer. Mass went very well, even though it included that tricky reading from Ephesians about “wives, submit to your husbands” or whatever. I do think the second reader, being a guy, should probably have read the reading with a bit more…um…tact…and less booming. It’s not really a “lay down the law” sort of reading, when you look at the analogies Paul’s giving.

I thought it was most interesting in the context of the other two readings, which hadn’t really occurred to me before. “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord”…”God forbid we should leave the Lord and serve strange gods.” And then, we move over to Ephesians, which is all about the relationship between Christ and His Church being the relationship we should have for each other. “The mystery is a profound one….” Then we get to the famous Gospel bit (coming right after last week’s reading) where Jesus’ disciples decide that this whole bit about eating and drinking their teacher was just too weird for them, but Peter and his crowd stick around because “You have the words of eternal life.”

Father went really heavy on the hard saying bit and finished out the series of homilies on the Eucharist that our parish priests have been doing over the last few Gospel readings. But he also mentioned the Ephesian thing, and that the real point is the bit where we’re all supposed to submit to one another. He made a nice point, which is that the only way out of the power struggle between the sexes is to love and serve each other.

Cantoring went fine. I had problems with the psalm again, though. Apparently, the practice in most of the parishes I’ve been in is to sing all the verses to one set of music, ignoring any other happy little melodies that the composer has given us per verse. Alas, we have the choral edition at my current parish, so I’m stuck learning new and complicated verses fifteen minutes before Mass. Ah, well. In the words of my new role model in the faith, Sharona Fleming of Monk, “Suck it up.” (Okay, so “offer it up” sounds nicer….)

I did think of my compadres in the blogosphere, though, as they would have gone nutso. We have two part-time pianists for Masses as well as the normal music directors, and said music directors are down to one Mass per weekend now. Given this load, the ladies are also given a free hand to play what they like. What the pianist at my Mass liked was to change half the selections to something she could more easily play in her sleep. So it was back to the church of my childhood for me — seventies/eighties church music! Bwahahaha! “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace”, “Sing to the Mountains”, and “Morning Has Broken”! Alas, she did not do her own nifty accompaniment to “We Come to Your Feast”, which makes one of my least favorite Communion songs of all time a little less leaden.

My basic thoughts were that the golden oldies really weren’t that bad. If you had to sing music off just printed lyrics, the music had to be fairly memorable. No, it wasn’t until the late eighties when the really bad stuff hit. I was sorry not to sing “All People That on Earth Do Dwell”, but I like “Morning Is Broken”, too. (Though “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” is way better than both of them, and I don’t know what the heck Mr. Weigel’s problem is with Henry Van Dyke, one of our great American writers. Even gutted by the politically correct, that “chanting bird and flowing fountain” still roll trippingly off the tongue.)

But despite all the bad hymns we get subjected to, it’s important not to let yourself get distracted by them. Given all the bad things that can happen in this world, Michael Joncas making me sing “the fabric of our lives” with a straight face is not exactly making me suffer for the Faith. If it’s a good song, I’m happy. If it’s not, I just don’t think about it. People have to let these things go (when they don’t have a chance to do something about them, anyway), or they’re going to make themselves spiritually sick. As Sharona would say, “S.I.U. Do you know what S.I.U. means?”

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Banshee TV: My Cartoon Picks for Fall

As usual, America’s children’s programming is all over the map this fall. A lot of good shows won’t be returning until later in the year (Static Shock, frex), and a lot of neat-sounding new shows won’t be along till later, either. But there’s some good stuff out there for kids to watch.

Kids’ WB: Still the best cartoon lineup on broadcast TV. Too bad that’s largely by default. Ozzy and Drix, Jackie Chan Adventures, and X-Men: Evolution will all be back. Ozzy and Drix is a decent kids’ cop show, with some health info on top. Ignore the fact that it’s a tie-in to a bad movie; the writers and actors on this version are much better than their big-screen counterparts. (Something very common in the world of animation.) If you haven’t been watching Jackie Chan Adventures, you might want to jump in. Sony/Columbia’s usual band of skilled writers and artists tell stories in which chi magic collides with modern life, while going through every possible permutation of using martial arts in a story without actually showing people getting hit much. (Gotta love the censors.) Each season usually includes one major story arc about thirteen eps long, as well as thirteen or so stand-alone eps. X-Men: Evolution is the X-Men with most of the merry mutants as teenagers going to public school and only living with Professor Xavier. I hate the premise and the “trendy” outfits, but I love the writers on this thing. With great angst comes great responsibility. As for the other shows…I haven’t cared about Pokemon since the end of first season, Mucha Lucha gives me hives with both its premise and art style, Yu-Gi-Oh may be well-loved but I hate its art and its card game, and What’s New, Scooby Doo? or whatever it’s called is just wrong, somehow. (Maybe it’s their Velma’s voice. Ew. Way too high.) Maybe I just missed all the good episodes, though; there are some good writers working on the show.

Fox Box: This century’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series will return, which is good news for anyone who likes good animation, action, humor and writing all in one package. (Hey, they watch Korean soap operas too!) Adults, particularly comics fans, will get a lot of the references that kids won’t. I should be interested in Shaman King, but it’s another tournament show and it’s drawn Yugiesquely. Yuck. I feel very bad vibes coming from Funky Cops. Cops by day, disco stars by night? Um…there’s a remote possibility this could work, I suppose… Kinnukuman: Ultimate Muscle is returning. Ugggggly. Kirby is returning. Shrug. The unlikeable Cramp Twins are returning. Gag. Cubix has immigrated from the WB. Shrug. And there’s going to be a new Sonic the Hedgehog series, Sonic X. Historically, Sonic series have been good. (I must admit a very soft spot for Sonic Underground, which actually made good use of its ludicrous lost heirs/fugitive rebels/rock band premise. Good writers can do anything….) So maybe Fox Box will be a little better this season.

ABC: I won’t really be commenting on ABC. Most of their cartoons are set on Earth, in the real world. As a kid, I wished to forget about school and other kids as much as possible during my off hours. As an adult, I don’t really feel any need to revisit the horrors of childhood. However, ABC’s Fillmore is somewhat righteous, since Disney paid big bucks to use a riff by the filk rock group Ookla the Mok as the show’s theme song. (Thank you, Mr. Potato Head….) Oh, and I do like the concept of a kid cop show.

PBS: Same thing. But Sagwa‘s been pretty righteous, and Liberty’s Kids was better than I could have dreamed.

Nickelodeon: It’s all been downhill since 1985. But any network that would cancel Invader Zim deserves to rot in obscurity. Dang right I’m bitter.

DiC Kids’ Network: a three-hour syndicated block similar to what DiC did for Fox this year, designed to help stations reach their three hours of “educational programming”. It’s all reruns from DiC’s vaults. Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century will supposedly be part of it, along with Archie’s Weird Mysteries, The Littles, Stargate: Infinity, Savage Steve Holland’s Sabrina: The Animated Series, and a player to be named later. (Probably Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? or Alienators. ) I’m highly skeptical about the educational value of the nuggets of fact these shows contain, but they’re decent little shows for the most part. (Despite their premises.) Sherlock Holmes in the 22nd Century is particularly recommended for its quirky style, but Archie’s Weird Mysteries benefits from the amazing visual sequences of Jymn Magon, and Savage Steve Holland is always slipping in hilarious stuff. (Sabrina’s grandfather Gandalf, for example.) Worth waking up early for.

Cartoon Network: Still the best network for cartoons of any stripe (though sometimes that’s by default, also….). Justice League will be back in an hour-long format, and Teen Titans has already proved itself to be cute with brains and heart. (Although some of the anime jokes are getting a little much. Getting a Japanese group to sing the format was cute; Japanese-accented villains are maybe a bit much. Still, it’s a good show and well-drawn.) Duck Dodgers looks like it could be good. I’m not really into Totally Spies, but at least it’s an action show for girls. I suppose even popular girls deserve a few spy adventures. I’m not much on FLCL or Blue Gender, but the new season of Big O is of course a must-see.

Pazsaz has the lowdown on all the premieres coming up in the next few weeks. (Ignore the header that says it’s the 2000-2001 season.) Enjoy!

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All Dungeonmasters and No PCs

I really am out of the gaming mainstream. I still can’t believe I ended up missing GenCon now that it’s in Indianapolis…but I was sorta at Confluence at the time…and I have to say, my little brother should have realized that previewing the Stargate RPG was obviously more important than getting food poisoning. This is a sad comedown for one of the original playtesters for (IIRC the name correctly) the full RPG version of Kung-Fu CB Trucker Mamas vs. the Aztec Motorcycle Wrestling Nuns. (Yes, it is rather silly for someone to make a full RPG of a one-shot joke character sheet, but hey, gamers are silly. Fun game, too.)

Anyway, if I were still in a gaming group, I have to say I’d be pushing to play the year-old Universalis. It’s diceless roleplaying for people who like worldbuilding and storytelling and don’t want to leave it all up to one gamemaster! But fear not — it’s all conducted in the sound capitalist fashion of giving people points (“Coins”) and letting them purchase what they want. Everybody gets to influence the game, but nobody controls it. A true marketplace of ideas.

I suspect this is pretty popular among gamers who know about it. Obviously this format lends itself well to pickup gaming. However, it also sounds like a good idea for playing long campaigns, as it allows everyone to have a stake in all the characters, villains, and plot complications instead of focusing solely on one’s own character and goals. Of course, good gamers are always concerned about the big picture and can try to influence it for the better; this system gives them overt power to do so.

The Universalis homepage linked above gives some really good information, but here’s a short but sweet review by Lael Hickman, and here’s a record of a game played in a techno-fantasy version of ancient Greece.

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More on St. Ita, aka Deirdre

Yet another Irish saint who had one name when she was a layperson and another when she entered religious life. Anyway, this page on St. Brigid also includes an interesting quote from St. Ita: “True faith in God with purity of heart; simplicity of life with religion; generosity with charity.” (Nice little triad, eh? You can tell she was a teacher.)

There’s also an old poem, “Isucan”, associated with the legend that she had a vision of holding the Baby Jesus. You get a lot of these POV poems in Irish stories; like a musical, it’s all prose until suddenly it breaks into song.

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A really nice short play

Iosagan by Padraic Pearse. This is really nice — a kids’ play that’s not childish. I wish I knew the songs, though.

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Rage against the Language

The Hillbilly Sophisticate has fits of irrational rage over West Virginian pronunciation, or (sic) “verbal manglings”.

The other night I was strolling through Wal-Mart when a woman announced over the intercom, “The associate in pets – a customer needs help by the FEESH tanks.” BAHHHHHH! And, of course, in her thoroughness, she repeated the page twice, clearly saying FEESH both times. What do you want to bet this same person says CRICK instead of creek? WHAT IS SO BLOODY HARD ABOUT THE SHORT ‘I’ SOUND?!

[Sarcasm On] Why, gee, it sounds like two vowels are being exchanged. Do you think it could be part of a larger dialectal sound shift? Wow, sounds like the kind of thing that happens in a living language that people actually speak and stuff.[Sarcasm Off]

The Hillbilly Sophisticate also points and laughs at the pronunciation of “hurricane” as “hurkin”. BBC English pronounces “hurricane” as “hurikin”, and sometimes it even sounds like “hurkin” if they’re in a hurry. Welcome to the wonderful world of Shakespeare’s English as preserved in the Appalachians. But then, that Bard said things funny, too.

By the way, in Dayton, the heartland of Standard American English, we routinely switch between “wash” and “warsh”; D.C. is almost always “Washington”, but George is “Warshington”. Phbbbbbt.

Now, if you want to complain that you’d like people to code-switch from their native dialect to the Standard American English one in any sort of formal public setting, you can do that. I think I’d laugh at the idea that Walmart’s a formal public setting, but whatever turns you on. But demanding that dialects change to suit you is as silly as King Canute commanding the tide — and he did that to demonstrate the limits of an individual human’s power. Your only hope is to convince people that Standard American English — or to be more honest, the way people talk in certain parts of Ohio and California — will be seen as cooler than this particular way some West Virginians talk. So start saying something cool, or give it up.

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Pennsic for Non-Scadians

It occurs to me that I’d best define Pennsic for those who’ve never been part of the medieval recreation group The Society for Creative Anachronism. For the first two weeks in August for the last twenty-odd years, SCA members have camped out at Cooper’s Lake Campground in New Castle, Pennsylvania. (Before that, it was held in Ohio for a few years.) The ostensible reason is to have a War, or rather, a series of melees and tournaments, between the members of the East and Middle Kingdoms and their allies. (The East Kingdom nearly always wins…this year, too.) The real reason is to spend a large amount of time with our twelve thousand closest friends, living in a reasonable attempt at a medieval world. Much revelry ensues.

I think I should probably explain at this point that Scadians are not hostile toward technology. In fact, it is characteristic of Pennsic that there are always folks with laptops who have the latest satellite weather pictures of what’s heading for Cooper’s Lake. I once had a very interesting talk about making kumiss the real old-fashioned Mongolian way with a scientist gentle who’d recently wintered over in Antarctica. Scadians appreciate the resourcefulness of our ancestors and the “good parts” of their world. We do not want to live there all the time, not even for two weeks in August (though some folks give it a very authentic try). But we also do not denigrate the past as a barbarous place populated by persons less human than ourselves.

Sometimes we may take the ideals of the Society and our love of Pennsic a little too seriously. But this gentle is neither the first nor the last to call it a pilgrimage, or this place sacred ground. “Mount Eislinn” commemmorates a lovely and noble queen who fought cancer so bravely that both the East and Middle fought in her name the summer before she died. When one favorite tree at the top of Runestone Hill lost a large branch in a storm, people took pieces of it home. And if you followed the link, you already know about the Runestone, where each year the kingdoms swear its oath again. In a world where ideals are few and honor is mocked, it is not strange that people sometimes go a bit overboard. They’re people in love.

That said, I can’t wait to hear my friends tell their stories about what I missed. The Midrealm won the fencing point! There was an Elizabethan fireworks display! (Now that this guy’s gotten sucked in, he’ll never get out again….) And for the first time at the War, there was sighthound coursing! (Dogs love it, and it’s really medieval….) Also, I’m sure I missed a lot of good bardic circles, siestas in the shade, arts and sciences classes, dances in the barn, wonderful food, wading in the crick, great parties, the latest celestial liquors from the Guild of St. Solange, jugs of sekanjabin (“a refreshingly minty Middle Eastern drink”), drums beating at midnight and bagpipes at dawn, whatever the Horde got up to, fresh chocolate milk from the local dairy, and Mass on the battlefield.

But there’s always next year.

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Gratuitous Scadian Religious Poetry

Here’s a little poem that I wrote tonight, based on something that happened to me once at Pennsic. You will note that, while it’s important to know where your towel is, the medieval hoopy frood needs to know where her cloak is. I recommend heavy blanket wool, because it gets warmer when it gets wet, and can be placed on the ground without worry.

I remember Pennsic, when the clouds
Dumped rain on us in sheets and thunder rolled.
The wind came up and lashed us, sharp and cold.
A child among the booming cried out loud.

But I was wearing my thick warm wool cloak.
I took it off and held it overhead.
It flapped its plaid: green, yellow, orange, red –
We huddled underneath till sunshine broke.

That’s how they drew you, Mother, long ago,
With sinners clinging to you like that child
Who feared the rain and wind that blew so wild.
Beneath your cloak we’re safe when worldwinds blow,

For you have weathered storms worse than this one.
You saw the sun grow dark and felt Earth shake,
And yet at last there came that bright daybreak
When suddenly you saw your risen Son.

The only problem is that this poem doesn’t really capture the moment: the weird light, the way we ended up cramming at least ten people under a fairly small circle cloak, the poor kid shivering, the way the cloak itself got heavier and heavier as it absorbed more rain, or how its height kept increasing as taller people got under its roof…nope, not even close.

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Thinking Positive

T.S. O’Rama made a good post on Why You Shouldn’t Apologize for Sucking at Apologetics, and Curt Jester added more reasons. Either my whining has gotten so epic that everybody’s reading it, or I’ve been sent a Message from God to CUT IT OUT. I’m not sure which is more unsettling. Either way, I’m shutting up! ;)

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Several Obvious Truths about Prostitution

For some reason, a lot of people seem to be confused about prostitution. So let’s chat, shall we?

1. The majority of prostitutes don’t want to be. They are desperate for money to stay alive, have a drug habit to support, or were lured in and kept in by an abusive pimp. Nowadays, we once more get a lot of women who’ve been brought from their own countries under false pretenses who are kept here either as outright slaves or through the burden of a debt they will never be allowed to pay off. There are a few women who have been abused or tricked enough that they actually think they like prostitution, but this is a small minority, usually highly paid. Women go back to prostitution after being arrested not because they like it, but because they are afraid or they know nothing else. Prostitutes tend to have drug habits after a while even if they didn’t have them before — because being a prostitute is nothing you want to be fully conscious for!

2. Johns should be arrested and sent to jail. For a good long time. Their pictures should go in the newspaper, too. Humiliations galore for these scum, since we wouldn’t have prostitution and white slavery if there were no customers for it. Since it’s not exactly difficult to obtain free sex in our promiscuous society, these people are clearly sickos who don’t want consenting sex from an equal.

3. Prostitutes should be given help and retrained for other jobs. Get them off the drugs, give them some self-esteem, and gee, they might just be able to reenter society and get real jobs.

4. Legalized prostitution just makes the state the pimp. Nothing like skimming off abused and brutalized women’s tax dollars. Sure, they get a little added protection — but the pimp does that, too. Since legalized prostitution is usually combined with legalized drugs, it doesn’t even protect them from that.

5. Every country should crack down on sex trafficking. It’s disgusting that the white slave trade is being allowed to flourish. We need to stop the trade, put all the scum doing it in prison, rescue the women (and boys, etc.), and give them some help getting back up on their feet. As a public health measure alone, it would be invaluable.

6. Calling it “sex work” just panders to the panderers. Yes, it is inherently brutalizing. The major reason to call it “sex work” is so that johns can use women without complaints by feminists. As an added bonus, they can bring in white slaves and claim they’re just undocumented workers — again, without complaints by feminists. Nothing like sleight of word.

7. Prostitution drives away legitimate businesses. Nobody decent wants to be mistaken for a john or a prostitute. (Especially since prostitutes tend to attract lovely people like serial killers.) So legitimate businesses die wherever prostitution takes root.

8. Prostitution victimizes everyone by teaching that sex is for sale. Women and children and young men become nothing but objects to johns. Again, note the lovely connection between johns and serial killers.

Incredibly obvious points, aren’t they? And yet they’re really controversial. Open your eyes, people. Prostitution is a terrible scourge on any society. For any feminist — for any human — to support it is insupportable.

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A Joan of Arc manga

Joan is a wonderful manga by Yoshikazu Yasuhiko. Beautiful scenes of medieval life blend with a really interesting story that both tells the story of Joan of Arc and of her effect on France after her death. Oh, and better yet — for once, Joan’s not depicted as crazy!

Emile is a gifted young knight, his adoptive father’s pride and joy. One catch: Emile is really Emilie, but was raised as a boy to protect her from her parents’ enemies. Emile’s hero is Joan of Arc, whom her father trained. Emile begins to see visions of Joan: sometimes visions of actual events back in time, and other times of Joan the saint coming to advise her. Joan tells Emile to do God’s will and protect the King (the same guy whom Joan helped become king, and who ultimately betrayed Joan). So Emile goes forth into France with a small band of her father’s men, her hopes high and her experience low. In the process, she and we get a good look at the important folks and forces in France back then. We also see a very nice examination of the difficulty of following God instead of just our own wills, and the struggle to keep faith or to go back to faith after losing it.

The only problem with this manga is that the translator obviously had problems with French words written in Japanese. The worst one is where he translates “Helas!” as “Alas!” So here’s the girl standing with a big grin on her face, and the speech balloon says, “Alas!” (Snicker…man, the editors these days stink like…gooseberries!) But hey, as long as you know the problem before you read it, you can translate it mentally for yourself.

Reviews from Sequential Tart, The Fourth Rail, artbomb.net, and Diamond Comics. If you don’t believe them, you can download a preview of Joan (and Yasuhiko’s other big religious manga, Jesus) from Comics One’s sample page in the manga section. (While you’re at it, tell me if Bass Master is any good, huh?) You won’t regret it!

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