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May 31, 2005

The Carnival Of Bad History Is Up

The Carnival of Bad History is up. This is the first time I've entered it. I entered with my Ocean-Born Mary post. I'm going to have to read the rest of the entries on the pc downstairs. I don't know why, but Coturnix's blog makes my iMac and my laptop freeze. I hope I can read the entries with no trouble on the pc.

Posted on May 31, 2005 at 06:43 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

May 30, 2005

Welcome, Bloggers From Atrios

Avedon Carol was kind enough to link to me while she's posting at Atrios. Welcome, everyone from Atrios who is new here. Since it's a holiday weekend, I've been doing some light-hearted blogging. I'm better known for my posts about feminism, family law, and the fathers' rights movement. I was a finalist for this year's Koufax Awards for "Best Single Issue Blog." I was a finalist last year for "Best Expert Blog." To see my awards, go to this link.

To read more of my blog's usual contents, go to the following categories:

Family Issues and Family Law

Fathers' Rights

Women's Issues

Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone.

Posted on May 30, 2005 at 12:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bird Watch

The moment I filled the birdfeeders the birds came back. I saw the usual crows, sea gulls, house sparrows, and starlings. The starlings went to town on my suet. Those are Trash Birds. They eat everthing in site.

I also saw a catbird, a red-breasted nuthatch, chickadees, a cardinal, some wrens, and some goldfinches. I put out the suet for the woodpecker, but it hasn't been by lately.

It rained yesterday, so the birds will be back soon. I like sitting in my garden and watching them go to the feeders. It's very relaxing.

I need to fill the hummingbird feeder. We have hummingbirds. Once the Bee Balm blooms they'll show up. They like those trumpet-shaped red flowers.

Posted on May 30, 2005 at 06:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 29, 2005

Men Are Hard-Wired For Rape And Other Swill From Men's News Daily

This pile of piss and vinegar from Men's News Daily is making the rounds. Amanda at Pandagon, Sadly, No!, Anne Jumps, and Pharyngula have already pounded the hell out of it with a mallet.

Sex, Security and PC Heresy

By Max Ross

"Treat a lady like a whore and a whore like a lady and you’ll never go wrong." Words of wisdom from my late uncle, an average looking fellow who was 5’7” bald, slightly overweight and had more ladies on the string than I could count. How did he do that? After the end of his first marriage (but regrettably not his last) Uncle Donald always had a date… always. As my own father was something of a dolt when it came to the true nature of women, my dear uncle was kind enough to explain to me a great many things.

"Ladies on a string" equals "ladies who got the hell away from the lout when they figured out what he was really all about." This gem has had several marriages end. This guy is no one to hold up as a male role model, but that doesn't stop dear old Max from praising the idiot. How was Max's father a "dolt" when it came to the "true nature" of women? Did his dad treat women like intelligent human beings? Can't have that now, can we? Not a Men's News Daily.

Almost universal among mammals, 'nature' has mostly opted to leave the desires of females out of the equation in regards to procreating. Yes, females are more receptive at some times, but the male in most of these species, especially primates, generally takes a female at his whim. Human beings are not much different than are tree swinging, sexually uninhibited cousins in this respect. Men are psychologically hardwired for sex and women are emotionally hardwired for security, and both genders are willing to trade one for the other.

Max doesn't know his biology and anthropology, but that doesn't stop him from spouting inaccurate pseudo-essentialist garbage. Even I know that it is the female who selects the mate. It isn't done by what amounts to males raping females. He doesn't mention that male chimpanzees are known for killing the offspring of other males in order to establish themselves as the dominant male. He also doesn't mention that female chimps run off with non-alpha males to procreate while the alpha-males are busy doing their alpha things. Our tree swinging, sexually uninhibited cousins must be embarrassed to have to count Max as a relative.

Hunt, gather, fight, copulate… these are the four basic 'drives' of man. Whether you believe in evolution, creation or intelligent design, the human male is uniquely designed and desirous to accomplish these tasks. In human men, sperm production is so ridiculously high that 23 men in a period of one month could produce enough gene juice to impregnate and repopulate the entire planet, currently standing at around 6 billion… Basically, the boys were designed to 'hit' as many females in the shortest period of time, whether the women want to mate or not. Through out human history this has been the 'natural order.'

Uhm... it is females who are supposed to be driven to "gather," not males. Even worse, this guy is promoting mass rape of women, which the excuse that men are "hardwired" for it.

One of the most interesting web sites on the subject of 'consensual non-consent' is taken in hand, ran by a lovely woman who truly believes women and men are better if the man is in charge. Sarah Penny (definitely not her real name) has mused on many occasions as to the excitement and security of being taken forcibly by a man. 'It is soooo hot' she mention during one conversation. In her most explosive article to date "When Rape is a Gift" Sarah explains the following to 'civilized' men who are interested in pleasing an adventurous woman:

Here we go - trot out an anonymous, unknown woman to support his crap. I wonder if "Sarah" is really a woman. I'm suspicious. However, I wouldn't be surprised if some idiotic women would actually believe this crap. Stranger things have happened. "Sarah" also doesn't know the difference between sexual fantasies, which are in a controlled environment complete with safe words to say when either partner thinks things are getting out of hand, to forcible rape.

He must have faith that she knows what she wants and is willing to take the risk. He must believe in his ability not to misjudge the situation, and in the woman's ability to deal with it well if he does. He must be willing to be profoundly and intensely intimate with the other person.

And none of this means that women want to be forcibly raped. I wonder how many times Max and his asshat uncle have misjudged the situation?

From a civilized standpoint, a Judeo-Christian standpoint, people would write this off as heretical, dangerous and degrading to women. But what if she wants it that way? If this is the natural order and men have evolved or were designed to breed regardless of context, is it not possible or even probable that females have a deep, abiding need to be taken, dominated and then provided for? Yes Hunt-Gather-Fight-Screw is important, but what about Gestate-Lactate-Nurture-Educate, the four basic drives of a woman? Someone needs to raise the young and females are primarily designed and qualified for this task.

Let's see how far Max would get in court when charged with rape when he says "this is the natural order" of things. He'd end up being Bubba's favorite plaything in Rikers. He should welcome that, because he believes "this is the natural order," and men are driven to have sex. He just doesn't say that men are driven to have sex only with women. When women aren't available to straight men, would other men suffice?

In the context of consensual non-consent, both parties are simply acting out what has been programmed into them genetically. Of course, in a modern society all of this interaction requires order… men can't 'have' anyone they want, and women have a way becoming 'control freaks' if left to their own desires. In my own experiences, no less five lovers have confessed their desire to be taken and ravaged. Two of them wanted it at random; after work in her parking garage, the other suggested I break into her home and wait. On neither of these requests did I acquiesce. It sounded like a great way to get shot, beat up by some guy wanting to be a hero or (gasp) what if I got the wrong woman? Orange suits, cages and a 'boyfriend' named Bubba don’t appeal to me. Sarah and her friends are welcome to their desires and maybe someday this will be alluring, but under the current realities of gender relations, the 'natural order' will have to wait.

As Amanda said, Freudian Slip. He wrote "ravaged" when he meant "ravished." Very telling. Yeah, sure, those women asked him to "ravage" them. How much you want to bet he misjudged the situation? Notice that he said that he did not do it. Something in the reptilian part of his brain must have sent up warning lights.

This is beyond ridiculous. Do men who read Men's News Daily really believe this swill? It's a bunch of woman-hating tripe, dressed up in fake biology and fake anthropology. Max should have learned his lessons about sex from someone other than an asshat uncle. He admits that Bubba wouldn't appeal to him, but doesn't that admission go against his own hard-drived need for sex? If he's hard-drived for sex, he'd have to give in to those urges to give both himself and Bubba what they want, especially since Bubette isn't available.

Sorry, Max, but you're full of shit. It's no wonder you can't get a date. Women don't want to be "forcibly taken," no matter what you and your asshat uncle might think. I'm not surprised to see swill like this at Men's News Daily. That's par for the course on that web site.

Posted on May 29, 2005 at 12:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

The Truth About The "Haunting" Of Ocean-Born Mary

I have been asked by coturnix to submit a post to the Carnival of Bad History. I've decided to write about a popular New England legend that will not die because it is so romantic.

A popular example of bad history is the New Hampshire legend of Ocean-Born Mary. Being a fan of ghost stories since I was a child, I heard about it when I was about twelve, and it was one of my favorites until I learned the truth behind it. I have driven to New Hampshire before, and I was tempted to locate the "haunted" house until I learned that the "history" behind it was completely false.

According to the story, Ocean-Born Mary Wilson Wallace came to her name because she was born on the Irish immigrant ship, The Wolf, in 1720. A band of pirates had taken over the ship, and were set to sink and plunder it. The pirate captain, Don Pedro, learned that a baby had been born, and had told the Wilsons that he would spare the ship if the mother would name the baby after his mother, who was named Mary. They abided by his wishes, and the ship was saved. Don Pedro had also given Mary's parents a bolt of green brocaded silk. He wanted the silk used for Mary's wedding gown when she married. After the pirates left, the ship continued on its journey to Boston. Mary's parents settled in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Mary grew up to marry a man named Wallace, and she had four sons by him. Don Pedro had settled in Henneker, New Hampshire. When he had learned that Mary's husband had died, he invited her to live with him as his housekeeper (or according to some stories, his wife). Her four sons according to the legend also went to live in Henniker, New Hampshire. When Don Pedro died, Mary buried him beneath the fireplace hearth.

The ghost story goes that Mary continues to haunt the house in Henniker. One report states that two tourists had come to get a tour of the house. A tall woman with red hair and green eyes, wearing period dress, had answered the door. The tourists liked the idea of the house's staff dressing in clothing of the period to give tours. It was after hours, but the tall, red-haired woman with green eyes agreed to give them a tour of the house. They learned the next day that the house was closed when they had arrived, and that no one was present. When they described the woman who had given them the tour, they were in for a shock. Ocean-Born Mary was described as being six feet tall with red hair and green eyes. They had been given a tour of Ocean-Born Mary's house by Ocean-Born Mary herself.

The story has been a part of local history for many, many years. Parapsychologists have investigated the haunting. It is a favorite with paranormal investigators. One paranormal web site described the haunting at the Henniker house as follows:


A) Ghostly Appearances Seen and Felt by the Living

1). Soon after her death, an apparition of a 6 foot, red-haired woman with flashing green eyes started to be seen by the living standing by the upstairs bay windows and hanging around the central staircase.

2). Throughout the years,her apparition was often seen throwing something down the well, located in the yard.

3). Besides at Halloween as mentioned above, Some local people throughout the years, though not recently, have also seen the entity of Mary riding in a ghostly coach, touring around the countryside and roads of Henneker, being pulled by 4 ghostly horses.

4). Various police officers have seen Mary throughout the years. Recently, two state troopers also claimed to have seen an entity described as a tall, 6 foot, red-haired woman dressed in 18th century attire, crossing the road below the old mansion.

Visitors to the house also claim to have had ghostly contact of a sort. Some who have touched the hearthstone under which the pirate is buried have spoken of feeling "special vibrations." Mrs. James Nisula of Londonderry, who visited the house more than once, claimed to have "felt the vibrations" of spirits in the kitchen area.

While the mansion was deserted for awhile after Mary's death in 1814, falling into disreputable shape, it eventually was bought and lovingly renovated, which pleased the ghost immensely. She tries to be helpful to the living, even to the extent of saving various owners' lives and doing her part to protect the mansion.

1). Fierce storms have traditionally caused havoc in this coastal town. Mary's apparition was seen once helping a family repair the garage, during such a storm.

2). Louis Roy owned the house in the 1930s. A great hurricane hit the area in 1938. Roy later claimed that that Mary's ghost had saved his life nineteen times during a storm!

Roy's mother, a supposed psychic, claimed to have seen Mary's ghost on this and other occasions.

3). In 1963, Mrs. David Russell, the owner of the house at the time, had a more substantial supernatural incident. In her words: "Our caretaker dropped a space heater all the way down the stairs at the 'Ocean-Born Mary House,' and when it reached the bottom, the kerosene and the flames started to burn the stairs and climb the wall. There was no water in the house, so my husband went out after the snow. While I stood there looking at the fire and powerless to do anything about it, the fire went right out all by itself right in front of my eyes; when my husband got back with the snow it was out. It was just as if someone had smothered it with a blanket."

Still Haunted? Yes. She is still appearing to the living, and helps out when she is needed by people living in her house. Also, others may be hanging around as well, such as Captain Don Pedro, especially in the kitchen area.

Hans Holzer, a well-known para-psychologist, with the help of a medium claims he was able to send the ghost of a young servant girl to the other side, freeing her from this world.

In his 1971 book, "Haunted House Album: A Ghostly Register Of The World's Most Haunted Houses," parapsychologist Hans Holzer had the help of medium Sybil Leek, whom he had often used in his investigations. He had written of the Ocean-Born Mary house that "But I have conducted several investigations - invited by the Russells [Trish's note: these were the current owners of the house at the time] - because of the ghostly goings-on. I have worked with a local medium and with Sybil Leek, and there is no doubt that the surviving spirit of Mary Wallace, whose home this once was, is still present in the structure."

He also wrote the following:

...I also drove up with Sybil Leek and attempted another trance session. Sybil managed to bring through a servant girl who had apparently met with foul play or was involved in it. At any rate, she must be the third resident ghost, in addition to Mary Wallace and her pirate friend. There was also talk of a buried treasure somewhere on the grounds. The directions were quite explicit and after Sybil came out of trance we all went out and looked for the treasure underneath the stones behind the house. We did not dig, of course, and treasures have a way of staying underground, especially after two hundred and fifty years. While there may be some speculation about the reality of the hidden treasure and possibly of the continued residence "in spirit" of the pirate, there is substantial evidence that the house is haunted by a woman greatly resembling the original owner."

There are many problems with these claims that the Henneker house is haunted. Most telling of all is that Mary Wilson Wallace had never lived in the Henneker house. The truth of the bad history behind this "haunting" is easy to find on the Internet, but the story remains strong. It is true that Mary Wilson Wallace was born at sea. She did live in New Hampshire, and her wedding dress was made of green silk. Some of this silk is located at the New Hampshire Historical Society in Concord, and at the libraries in Londonderry and Henniker. But that is where the truth ends.

The story of pirate Don Pedro is nothing more than legend. Pirate stories are very popular in this region, since Blackbeard and other well-known pirates had frequented the area. The Isles of Shoals are located off the coast of New Hampshire, and they were known for their pirate activity. It was rumored that Blackbeard had buried his treasure there, but no treasure was ever found.

Mary and her husband had five children named Elizabeth, Thomas, Robert, William, and James. After her husband's death, she went to live the remainder of her life in Henniker with her son William. She died in 1814. She did not live in the "haunted" house in Henniker. That house was built by her son Robert, and it was about a quarter mile away.

Most telling was that one of the owners of the Henniker house was familiar with the legend, and he chose to profit financially from it. Louis Maurice Auguste Roy bought the house in 1917. He had promoted the legend, even though Mary's descendents were unhappy about it. Roy had filled the house with period furniture, and claimed that Ocean-Born Mary had owned it. He had charged admission to tourists who wanted a tour of the house. He had also capitalized on the buried treasure story by charging tourists fifty cents to rent shovels to dig on the property. Of course, since the legend is bad history, no one found any treasure.

In 1939, children's writer Lois Lensky wrote a story based on the Ocean-Born Mary legend, setting the story in Portsmith, New Hampshire rather than Henniker. Even though she admits in the final pages of the book that Mary had never lived there, the legend was further propelled into mainstream imagination.

Roy died in 1965. Subsequent owners tried to discourage tourists from falling for the legend, but it still prevails to this day. The Ocean-Born Mary story is an excellent example of how romantic bad history has made its way into the minds of many people.

Posted on May 29, 2005 at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)

May 27, 2005

Friday Cat Blogging

In World Of Warcraft, if you want to buy a cat, you have to go to the Crazy Cat Lady's place. Her name is Donni Anthania. These two pictures are of one of my husband's game characters at the Crazy Cat Lady's house. You can buy a Siamese, a Bombay, a Silver Tabby, an Orange Tabby, or a Cornish Rex. My husband has the Siamese and the Bombay. He named the Siamese "Koala," after our Snowshoe who looked exactly like him. He named the Bombay "JiJi."



Posted on May 27, 2005 at 02:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Oh, To Be A Fly On The Wall...

This post just made my day. I wish I could have been there to witness it myself. I read about it at Lauren's.

Posted on May 27, 2005 at 01:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

With Cockleshells And Silver Bells and Pretty Maids, All In A Row

Some of the plants I was worried about are now sprouting in my garden, and I am both relieved and happy. The liatris is coming up. Those are gorgeous, with spikes with purple flowers on them. My purple loosestrife is also coming up. That won't bloom until late summer. My bee balm, red yarrow, and daisies are also beginning to come up. I don't think the white lupin made it, though. My butterfly bush is also starting to sprout leaves. I bought some sorry-looking purple and white pansies that were on sale, and now with the rain and plant food they are perking up very nicely. I trimmed off the deadheads so the plants have room to grow. They'll be fine.

I spent the morning clearing out weeds, and breaking up a huge bush. I put one half of the bush back where it was. It was so big it was blocking a walking path. I put the other half in the front yard. It will bloom with purple flowers in about a month or so. I have a Bird Girl statue, from the book "Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil." She has sunflower seeds in the plates in her hands. I also have a fairy statue in the garden in front of our bay window. I have a Chinese-styled statue that was a promotional item for the movie "Tomb Raider: The Cradle Of Life", but I'm keeping that in the bedroom for now. It will go in the side garden with the purple lamium that is blooming like crazy. When I get enough money saved up, I'm going to buy a replica of Frank Lloyd Wright's "Garden Sprite" statue. It's gorgeous. It will go in the lamium garden.

I like purple. It looks nice in the garden next to all the red and white flowers.

I just filled all the bird feeders with black oil sunflower seeds, and the chickadees are going at it. A starling found my suet. I put that out for the woodpecker that lives in the area. I hope it finds it. I make my own suet cakes for the birds, but the grocer is out of suet for the time being. So, I had to buy it.

Once it warms up and the rain finally stops, I'll read in my backyard. That's my sanctuary. I love gardening.

Posted on May 27, 2005 at 01:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Movie Meme

Denita at Who Tends The Fires tagged me to do this meme, which looks like fun. Here goes nothing.

1) Total number of films I own on DVD/video:

Roughly 350

2) The last film I bought:

I bought three movies at once: "Open Water", "Passionada", and "Confidence"

3) The last film I watched:

Open Water

4) Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me:

Dead/Alive (This was my test film for my husband. If he couldn't sit through it, we weren't meant to be together.)

Jaws (Because I live on the New England coast. It's our traditional July 4th movie.)

Die Hard With A Vengeance (Because I worked on it. I was a gaffer (lighting).)

12 Monkeys (Because I worked on it. I was a gaffer (lighting).)

Immortal (Because I worked on it. It was an Indie vampire movie, and it SUCKS. I was key makeup and assistant F/X. Update: A good thing about this movie, aside of my prosthetic makeup, which kicked ass, was that it introduced the band "Squirrel Nut Zippers" to the world before they caught on during the Pop-Swing crazy in the 1990s.)

5) Tag 5 people and have them put this in their journal/blog:

I won't tag anyone. I figure anyone who sees this on my blog can do it if they like.

Posted on May 27, 2005 at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

My Mexican Vanilla Arrived In The Mail!

My Mexican vanilla just arrived in the mail. It's scrumptious. So much better than the usual store-brand vanilla. I'm going to buy some coconut today, roll it in a little vanilla, and then roll it in dark chocolate. I'll make my own Mounds bars. I love Mounds.

Yesterday I made semi-sweet chocolate bark with toffee bits. I added too much toffee to the mix, but it still tastes great. I'll just add half the amount of toffee the next time. I also made white chocolate bark with hazelnuts as well as plain white chocolate bark. White chocolate is great in coffee. My son even likes the candy, and he's not a candy sort of dude.

I'm awaiting the vanilla sugar and the Droste cocoa. When they arrive, I'll try my hand at Droste brownies.

Posted on May 27, 2005 at 08:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (6)