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Archive for May, 2007

To Flow or Not To Flow, That Is the Question

Thursday, May 24th, 2007

The media is abuzz this week with the FDA approval of a new, period-free birth control pill called Lybrel. Most women, it seems, are jumping at the bit to start downing Lybrel as soon as it floods the market.

"No more periods – whoopee!" seems to be the common consensus. Still, the entire thing has me feeling "not quite right" about this pill and its lofty promises of making life easier and better for menstruating women.

In the ABC News article, Gender Bender: Redefining the Curse of Menstruation, experts go on to assure those with concerns that the pill is safe and – although not always effective at actual birth control – as natural as natural gets.

I'm not so sure. I couldn't quite put my finger on why the idea of Lybrel and a consciously period-free life bothered me so much. Then, in browsing the comments on the aforementioned article, I came across this post by reader nenny528:

And then there's this 'expert': "Menstruating every month is not the natural course of events. Some women have been slow to accept that and have been proselytizing that they must have a menstrual cycle every month." Oh, please. Menstruating every month IS the natural course of events when a woman chooses not to become pregnant. And that is a perfectly natural state for loads of women. I am so not comfortable with a drug company suggesting that I treat menstruation as an illness by taking their pills.

It struck me suddenly that that was what felt so wrong to me about all of this. The underlying current, unspoken but certainly present, that a woman's menses were an illness – a trifling inconvenience that need to be eliminated.

With all of the horrible, fatal diseases that are out there today – shouldn't scientists, doctors, and pharmaceutical companies be spending their time and money on researching medicines that eradicate true illnesses, rather than attempting to "fix" conceived inconveniences? So periods are a pain – for some women that pain is near unbearable, true; but is it killing them? No.

In the USA TODAY article, FDA Approves Period Suppression Pill, Jean Elson, a sociologist at University of New Hampshire says:

…for most women menstruation is a normal life event -- not a medical condition. Why medicate away a normal life event if we're not sure of the long-term effects?

Indeed.

People are so very quick to jump onto any and everything that appears to make their lives simpler – even at the cost of their good health and common sense. These "birth control" pills are – admittedly – not as effective at birth control as the pills we already take. This article said they only they were "not 100% effective", especially in overweight women. An earlier article I read said they were only about 80% effective. Why would I take a birth control pill that's main priority isn't birth control?

There could be other problems. Doctors and scientists claim there are "most likely not" any adverse side effects of not having a period, or of sticking your body into an eternally estrogen-ized state. They admit the pill can cause problems with iron retention, as if that's nothing to worry about, which can cause anemia.

Let's not forget that about half of the women who began the study dropped out – some due to irregular bleeding and spotting – others for reasons we aren't being told.

Proponents of Lybrel say it's natural to not menstruate. I find this a bold statement, and one without any merit whatsoever. Women's bodies, under extreme and non-healthy situations, have ceased to have monthly periods; anorexics and those who obsessively over-exercise are two that fall into this category. If the cessation of menstrual flow in a woman is usually brought on naturally by extremely unhealthy conditions in the body, how is that natural and/or safe and healthy?

I won't be switching to Lybrel, and I suggest you don't either. If you're looking to be period-free, wait a year or two and see what side effects are coming about because of this pill. Many seemingly "safe" medicines are pulled off the market after being introduced to the public because of unforeseen side effects. I have a very deep feeling that Lybrel is going to be one of these.

Don't choose convenience over your own health.

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Can You Handle…Pipelayer?

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Random web surfing can lead to some pretty amazing finds. From all out hilarious to completely out-there weird, regardless of what you find, it's not usually something you were prepared for.

I can safely say that nothing - not a solitary, single thing in my life - could have prepared me for this YouTube video (found courtesy of Pointless Waste of Time's enlightening piece on the video, "Now... Go! Hump the ottoman!").

I encourage - no insist - that you take a few moments of your time to watch Pretty Ricky - Late Night Special - the whole way through. Please be sure you are over 18, and are not holding any liquid in your mouth which may end up all over your screen after exiting your nose.

I'll be waiting...

I know - I know. Those are 3 minutes and 13 seconds of your life you will never get back, but I really want us to discuss what we just saw here.

If ever there was a time in my life that I truly wish I were a fly on the wall, the day these young men sat down and came up with this idea would have been it. And, as PWOT pointed out, this was not a random, grab the camera on a whim and shoot kind of deal. This was planned...choreographed even! This was discussed, plotted out, rehashed, and likely practiced numerous times. And, as PWOT said, they edited it, obviously watching it numerous times BEFORE posting it to YouTube. Therefore, I cannot fathom why, at no point during any of that, did any one of them not stand up and say, "What's up? This is fucking stupid."

Did they think this would attract chicks? Did they think girls would be beating down their doors after seeing them gyrating against an ottoman surrounded by their male friends humping the air, the wall, and damn near each other? Has a single one of them ever even had sex?

It confounds the mind trying to determine whether they were trying to be funny or honestly trying to be sexy. Unfortunately, I think it's the latter and that makes this all the more painful to watch...though still fairly easy to laugh at.

I just had to share - because, no matter what stupid things you might have done in your past, you can take comfort knowing there is no video floating around on the Internet of yourself humping an ottoman with your friends.

Save Samar

Sunday, May 13th, 2007

Samar Saed Abdullah is a victim of an unjust judicial system; one based on an appallingly dreadful parody of a democratic system. After being convicted from a coerced confession after torture, Samar may become one of over one hundred people executed by the Iraqi government since August of 2004 when the death penalty was reinstated by the new Iraqi-controlled government.

Every Wednesday, those sentenced to die are called - seemingly randomly and with no prior warning – to the gallows. Samar has endured the bated terror of Wednesdays for two years now; never knowing during those agonizing twenty-four hours if she will be called to hang for a crime of which she is innocent.

Even more heart breaking to Samar's story is the knowledge that she banks everything – including her sanity - on the faint hope of an appeal. The stark truth is that the appeal was long ago denied; a fact her loved ones cannot bear to divulge to her.

There is little hope for Samar, her appeals lawyer, Ali Azzawi confirms.

In 2004, Samar's husband locked her in the kitchen of her wealthy uncle's home and murdered him, his wife, and grown daughter. He then threatened to kill Samar if she did not tell him where her uncle kept his gold. He ran off – not to be heard from since – and Samar was picked up by authorities later in the day.

Her "confession" came only after she was tortured. Her "trial" – if it could be called that – began and ended in one day. Her testimony was disregarded, and she was sentenced to die for her crimes. Her allegations of torture were never investigated, though under Iraqi law, they should have been.

Amnesty International is working hard to save Samar, and others like her. They have been successful on two accounts so far of appealing sentences; one of a woman who was severely and brutally tortured and raped to force her "confession".

Unfortunately, every week that passes could make it too late for Samar – any Wednesday it is her name that could be called.

A few other blogs have taken up the call to help Samar and get her story – and others' like hers – heard. People are rallying and trying to help…but will it be enough?

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Jenny Martin Cancer Fund

Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

This is Shanna, and this is a post I wish there was no need to make...

A close friend of my brother's, and a friend to our entire family, is dying of cancer; they have given her six months left on this Earth - though she probably will have less time left to her than that. Her name is Jenny Lynn Martin, and she is only 23 years of age.

Jenny was diagnosed in August 2005, and has been undergoing treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Tennessee since that time. Both of her parents have quit their jobs to be with her, and as a result there is no income to help fulfill Jenny's dying wish: to return home to Maringouin, Louisiana and spend her remaining time in the comfort of her childhood home surrounded by friends and family.

Home improvements are needed to prepare the house for Jenny; someone in her condition needs special things done to ensure she is comfortable and peaceful in the home during her time left with us. The money must be raised and improvements made quickly; her time is short and her need is urgent.

It is because of this that I am asking for donations to the Jenny Martin Cancer Fund. We are also trying to plan a raffle, dinner sale, etc. to raise money, but at this time even a simple donation of as little as $5 would be a great start and a big help. All I ask is a few spare dollars and a few moments of your time, fellow bloggers, to post a link to this entry on your own blogs.

This is not a hoax or a scam, or a multi-forwarded message from some non-existent person. Jenny Martin is a real person; she is a real young woman who is dying of terminal cancer at the tender age of 23. She is a graduate of False River Academy in New Roads, Louisiana and a native of Maringouin, Louisiana. She's a beautiful, sweet young woman and she is my friend.

If you would like more information, please contact me via email: Shanna.

I have also put together Jenny's information on a website: JennyMartinCancerFund.com that we will keep updated with information about Jenny and the fund.

If you can donate even a few dollars, I ask you to please mail a check or money order made out to Jenny Martin Cancer Fund and mail it to:

Jenny Martin Cancer Fund
P.O. Box 41082
Memphis, TN 38174

4 May 2007 Update: Jenny and her family have been unable to set up the Jenny Martin Cancer Fund bank account. However, we are still taking donations via PayPal.

If you would like to make a donation, please use the Jenny Martin Cancer Fund: PayPal Donations to do so. All funds will go directly to Jenny and her family for the necessary repairs.

Thank you.

Also, if you would like to donate directly from your bank account or a credit card, you may do so securely, via PayPal, by going to the following page: Jenny Martin Cancer Fund: PayPal Donations. These funds will be transferred directly into the Jenny Martin Cancer Fund bank account.

I thank you so very much from the bottom of my heart, as does Jenny:

Hello,

This is Jenny Martin speaking and I am not asking for much and I understand if you are unable to provide any kind of assistance. Whatever you can do will be much appreciated. I thank any and everyone who even reads this from the bottom of my heart. I am a St. Jude patient, so I am lucky enough to have my medical expenses taken care of. However, since I was diagnosed in August of 2005, my mother quit her job to move to Memphis, TN to take care of me. My father also recently quit his job to be closer to me to spend as much time with me as he can. This is why I am asking for assistance from anyone that is willing or able to help. I am starting a checking/savings account in the name of "Jenny Martin Cancer Fund", so if any checks are made out, that's who to make them to. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for taking the time to read this.

Sincerely,
Jenny Lynn Martin

Blessings To Each of You, and Thank You:
Shanna

P.S. If you or anyone you know is willing or able to donate items for a raffle, please contact me a.s.a.p. Thank you.