Girls in the windows

Click to enlarge

…It was the summer of 1960, and photographer Ormond Gigli was working in his studio on 58th Street, across the street from a group of brownstones that were about to be demolished. The windows had been removed and Gigli had an idea of photographing a group of women, one in each of the window openings, wearing formalwear…

Gigli and his staff only had 24 hours to plan the photo, find volunteer models to pose for the shot, and get permission from the city. There was a gaping hole in front of the building so they also located a Rolls-Royce to sit on the sidewalk in front.

…After the photo was taken, the models left, and the building came down.

Thanks, UrsaRodinia

Finland’s Hobbyhorse Girls

Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

❝ For years, a subculture of teenage hobbyhorse enthusiasts flourished under the radar. Now the craze is a national export, and a celebration of girlhood

❝ It is impossible to say exactly when the Finnish hobbyhorse craze began, because it spread for years under the radar before adults became aware of it.

In 2012, a filmmaker, Selma Vilhunen, stumbled across internet discussion boards used by hobbyhorse enthusiasts and was enraptured…

❝ Teenage girls had invented a form of hobbyhorse dressage, in which the rider’s lower body pranced and galloped like a horse, while her upper body remained erect and motionless like a rider. This evolved into an elaborate network of coaches and students and competitions, but it was discussed only online, for the most part.

“It was like a secret society,” Ms. Vilhunen said…

My sister would have loved this when she was a girl. And, eventually, her daughters. No doubt.

Under Trump, the White House council for women and girls is killed

❝ When President George W. Bush took office, he quickly and quietly disbanded President Bill Clinton’s Office for Women’s Initiatives and Outreach — and now President Donald Trump appears to be doing the same thing to President Barack Obama’s White House Council on Women and Girls.

The council, created by Obama in 2009 to monitor the impact of policy changes and liaise with women’s groups has been defunct while the Trump administration evaluates whether to keep it, according to three senior White House officials…

❝ But veterans of Obama’s White House say the existence of a robust office supporting women and girls sends a strong message about the president’s priorities — and that the lack of such an office does as well…

❝ National Organization for Women President Terry O’Neill, whose organization has partnerships with over 200 women’s groups, said she and others have yet to find a point person in the White House.

I see no evidence, zero, that Donald Trump has anyone in his orbit to advocate for women and girls,” said O’Neill…

❝ Other groups say they’re moving on.

“We wish [the agency] was still intact, but it’s not and it’s not going to be,” said Deborah Holmes, head of communications and engagement for the Women’s Funding Network.

The group was among the private philanthropies that made a $100 million joint commitment in 2015 through the Obama women’s council to support gender equality through a fundraising campaign called “Prosperity Together.”…

❝ They’ve since built a partnership with an outside organization called the United States of Women to maintain the fundraising momentum created by the agency and continue to raise money that would help build women’s economic security by way of education and training and leadership.

Giving Trump voters the benefit of a doubt and classifying them solely as ignorant is kind, Anyone who expects more than 19th Century ideology, regressive policies and brutish allegiance to the richest profiteering pimps – qualifies as stupid.

iPotty…now with added iPad [sold separately]

One of the more bizarre products on show at CES, the base of the iPotty looks like a traditional potty with a removable bowl, seat and a pee-guard for the boys. But at the front it all gets a little weird, because there’s a stand designed specifically to hold an iPad.

The iPotty has been designed to help children learn to use the potty by keeping them entertained when nature calls. The idea is that they won’t mind sitting there for longer if they’re watching a favorite cartoon or playing Angry Birds. And we’ve seen enough iPad toy add-ons – from the Mattel Apptivity Play to the iTikes range – to know kids love playing with an iPad…

Currently, there are no specific apps for the iPotty…There are plenty of potty training apps in the Apple App store though, and obviously there’s no shortage of other apps which could be used to distract/entertain children while they sit on the potty.

Maker CTA Digital says there’s also a seat cover which means the iPotty can be used as a traditional seat when your little one is not peeing or pooping. The iPad stand can also be removed completely … which could come in handy if you’ve got guests coming round and you don’t want them to know you’re the sort of parents who would buy an iPad potty.

I believe you will be exempt from patent lawsuits by Samsung.

Boys are reaching puberty earlier – as are girls

It is a truism common to nearly all family gatherings that grandparents will frequently remark on how fast their beloved grandchildren seem to be growing up these days.

But now, instead of provoking a bout of eye-rolling at such platitudes, a new report seems to show the old folks were right: boys are indeed hitting puberty at an earlier age than they used to.

A comprehensive study by the American Academy of Pediatrics was published on Saturday. Widely seen as the best measure of the onset of puberty in American boys, it showed that they are showing signs of puberty six months to two years earlier than previously assumed.

The surprise finding builds on previous discoveries that appeared to show girls have also been developing faster. A study in 2010, which was published in the US Journal of Pediatrics, created headlines when it revealed girls were hitting puberty earlier, with some developing breasts at seven. Nor was it just in the US. Other studies have revealed the same trend in girls all over the world.

Now the AAP study, officially unveiled at a national conference in the US, is showing the same trends in boys. It primarily identified the signs of puberty as the growth in size of testicles and largely shied away from speculating on what may be causing the shift, though it did refer to changes in diet, the fact that modern children are becoming less physically active and other environmental shifts.

All that has led to speculation that weight gain might be a possible factor. It certainly might explain the earlier development among girls, as body fat is linked to production of the female hormone oestrogen. But the link might be less clear with boys. Also, it is not certain if weight gain is a trigger for puberty or simply a consequence of it…

The policy implications of the shift could be helpful when it comes to dealing with boys as they grow up, especially in school and within their own families.

Dr Frank Biro, a puberty researcher at Cincinnati children’s hospital, told the New York Times: “If kids are looking older, it means that parents should be monitoring them, because that superego doesn’t kick in until late teens or early 20s. The kids need a hand. Know what they’re doing.”

Regardless, thoughts of parents paying more and closer attention to their kids raising another ton of questions. Given the economic context we labor within – it’s more likely than ever that workingclass parents are working more part-time jobs, extra jobs, to get by. So, they’re already giving short shrift to the attention they should be paying their children on Life 101 topics, e.g., education, health, exercise, play.

Well, here’s another. I expect the usual complainers will whine about teachers and schools not doing enough. What passes for conservatives, nowadays, will whine that unemployed parents have enough time, now, to spend with their children. Meaningless to anyone who’s ever spent time dedicated to job-hunting while sinking into poverty.

CDC now recommends routine HPV vaccination for boys

US health authorities on Friday urged all boys age 11-12 to get a routine vaccination against the most common sexually transmitted disease, human papillomavirus, or HPV.

Other changes as part of an annual update to US immunization schedules included a recommended hepatitis B vaccine to the protect the livers of adults up to age 60 who have diabetes and a vaccine against whooping cough for pregnant women…

The HPV vaccine has been approved for girls since 2006 but the CDC had not expressly urged it for boys, though boys were included among those who could receive it to prevent certain cancers and genital warts. Health experts have expressed hope that if pre-teen boys and girls are both encouraged to get the vaccine, the rate of infection will decrease in the general population.

About half of all sexually active adults will get HPV in their lifetime. There are more than 100 types of HPV, and most clear the body on their own, but some strains can linger and lead to cervical, anal or oral cancer…

The vaccine, currently recommended for girls age 11-26, has faced resistance from some parents over fears that immunizing young girls would encourage them to be promiscuous…

Which is about the dumbest piece of reasoning this side of legislation that says the Earth is flat.

I have another post in the hopper about the spooky drivel America’s latest clot of right-wing populists believe as biblical rote – along with tales about babies, storks and cabbages.

I haven’t scoured it for details, yet – but, I imagine crap beliefs like this one is there in all its glory.

Mining town rejects nude dancing as a boost to the economy

Voters in the town of Lead, South Dakota, have rejected a proposal that would have allowed nude dancing at bars in its historic downtown, a move supporters had said would give an economic boost to the struggling mining town.

The proposed easing of the state’s adult entertainment law was defeated by a vote of 535-303, Lead City Commissioner Casey Borsch said in a phone interview. He characterized turnout for the referendum as “considerably higher” than normal.

State law in South Dakota already permits nude dancing in bars — provided it does not take place within a quarter-mile of any residence, business or community gathering place.

But city commissioners in Lead, a town of about 3,000 near Deadwood in the Black Hills, voted in January to adopt a more lenient standard, eliminating the quarter-mile rule for their city by means of a special ordinance.

The commission acted after the owners of the Wild Thing Saloon on Main Street, located a few blocks from the town’s opera house and public library, brought in nude dancers for two days in December to see how popular it would be.

The event reportedly drew hundreds of extra visitors into Lead, best known as the site of the Homestake gold mine.

Opponents of the easing, which the commission passed 3-2, gathered enough signatures to put the ordinance to a public vote. On Tuesday, they prevailed.

Not the first time we’ve commented on laws – up or down – dealing with the topic. Since residents of the town seem to have spoken in democratic fashion, I presume there will be no attempt to legislate or litigate around that referendum, eh?

Ohio laws don’t cover case of fake boy seducing girls

Patricia Dye and her public defender at arraignment in Juvenile Court

Warren County prosecutors searching Ohio law for felonies to file against Patricia Dye found a charge for rapists who pretend to be someone’s husband to lure their victims.

But the search failed to find any felony fitting the unique facts in the case of the 31-year-old Franklin woman accused of pretending to be a boy named Matt to help build sexual relationships with teenage girls in Springboro and Middletown…

To the chagrin of some observers around the country, Dye faces no prison — and no more than nine months in the county jail if convicted — as a result of the misdemeanor indictments against her.

Tracey Steele, director of Wright State University’s Criminal Justice program, said cases involving women pretending to be boys to lure girls into sexual relationships are “virtually nonexistent.”

“There’s no doubt we’re as unhappy as anyone out there that there isn’t a more high-level crime,” Nolan said.

Matt Nolan said prosecutors also were stifled by the absence of Ohio law making it a crime to pretend to be a different gender to pursue sexual relationships.


RTFA for some of the stuff that won’t surprise you. Shock and cultural whoop-de-doo over the reality of transgender and homosexual relationships. Face it – some of America won’t get out of the 19th Century until somewhere around the 24th Century.

But, I have to chuckle over a state that has at least as many archaic attitudes as any bible belt border state and never even got round to thinking this one up – as a problem.

Half of urban teen girls get STIs within 2 years of first sex

Half of urban teenage girls may acquire at least one of three common sexually transmitted infections (STI) within two years of becoming sexually active, according to a new study…

The researchers followed 381 girls enrolled at ages 14 to 17 years and found that repeated infection with the organisms that cause chlamydia, gonorrhea and trichomoniasis also was very common.

“Depending on the organism, within four to six months after treatment of the previous infection, a quarter of the women were re-infected with the same organism,” said Wanzhu Tu, Ph.D…

Within two years, about three-quarters of participants with an initial sexually transmitted STI were diagnosed with a second STI, although not necessarily of the same type. Within four years of an initial STI, virtually all (92 percent) of the participants had a subsequent STI.

“To our knowledge, this study provides the first data on the timing of the initial STI and subsequent STI following the onset of sexual activity in urban adolescent women,” said Dr. Tu.

The study also found that screening for STI may not be initiated until several years after sexual activity begins, especially for girls with earlier onset of sexual activity…

The study focuses on lower income urban adolescents; a group characterized by early onset of sexual activity, multiple sexual partners, and high STI rates.

As a result of their findings, the researchers call for STI screening in sexually active teenage girls within a year after first intercourse and for retesting of infected girls every 3 to 4 months. Continuing surveillance may be necessary…

Eeoough! Maybe I shouldn’t miss being a young dude, after all.

Naked girls plow fields to make it rain. OK.

Obviously – it worked

Farmers in an eastern Indian state have asked their unmarried daughters to plow parched fields naked in a bid to embarrass the weather gods to bring some badly needed monsoon rain, officials said on Thursday.

Witnesses said the naked girls in Bihar state plowed the fields and chanted ancient hymns after sunset to invoke the gods. They said elderly village women helped the girls drag the plows.

They (villagers) believe their acts would get the weather gods badly embarrassed, who in turn would ensure bumper crops by sending rains,” Upendra Kumar, a village council official, said from Bihar’s remote Banke Bazaar town.

“This is the most trusted social custom in the area and the villagers have vowed to continue this practice until it rains very heavily.”

India this year suffered its worst start to the vital monsoon rains in eight decades, causing drought in some states.

Something interesting had to come from climate change. South of Greenland.