Tuesday, February 27, 2018

This Will Blow Your Mind

This true story -- reported in The New York Times -- will explode your understanding of gender differences. The story can be found here.

Did you know -- and this is documented -- that a transgender-woman (i.e., someone borne "male") -- can breast-feed a baby? Not pretend to breast-feed but actually produce enough milk in her breasts (e.g., 8 oz.s) to nurture a baby. It's true!

The explanation is this: male and female humans are not as biologically different as most believe. In uterus, male and female fetuses have the same bodies until sex hormones start to alter them. After birth, even in adulthood, secondary sexual characteristics (like breasts) can be induced through taking hormones. When trans-women take estrogen, their breasts grow larger. When trans-men take testosterone, they grow facial hair.

Okay, you're thinking but... milk? Yes, milk. A trans-woman who takes certain drugs will start producing breast-milk. Enough to feed an infant.

Mind blown?

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Year Of The Dog

It's the Year of the Dog! I'm celebrating Chinese New Year with memories of my beloved Juno. He was my pal for sixteen years after I rescued him as a puppy.

Woof, woof!

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Another Reason To Love Canadians

Curling is an Olympic sport. Some people who don't understand it don't respect it. The fault in that is not curling's, it's people's. Things are interesting when you know them deeply; casual dismissal comes from ignorance.

Example: Because the Winter Olympics are currently on television, many are commenting on it. Actress Kirstie Alley, while claiming that she was “not trying to be mean,” tweeted she thinks “curling is boring.” The U.S. Curling team didn't take this lying down. They responded with a tweet of their own -- "We’re not trying to be mean either but your movies weren’t exactly riveting theater Kirstie. #justsaying #curling #rockit #TeamUSA."


I'm not going to launch into a discussion of the technical aspects of this sport but want to point out two important things. First, curling, while played in several countries, is especially popular in Canada. That fact is connected to my second point -- curling has a culture. A culture of sportsmanship. That's something missing from many sports today, including our professional ones (football, baseball, basketball).

Here's a description of the culture of curling (from Wikipedia). As you read it, tell me you don't think it's equally a description of Canadian culture:

"More so than in many other team sports, good sportsmanship, often referred to as the "Spirit of Curling", is an integral part of curling....

The Spirit of Curling...leads teams to congratulate their opponents for making a good shot, strong sweeping or spectacular form. Perhaps most importantly, the Spirit of Curling dictates that one never cheers mistakes, misses or gaffes by one's opponent (unlike most team sports) and one should not celebrate one's own good shots during the game beyond modest acknowledgement of the shot such as a head nod, fist bump or thumbs-up gesture. Modest congratulation, however, may be exchanged between winning team members after the match. On-the-ice celebration is usually reserved for the winners of a major tournament after winning the final game of the championship. It is completely unacceptable to attempt to throw opposing players off their game by way of negative comment, distraction or heckling.

A match traditionally begins with players shaking hands with and saying "good curling" or "have a pleasant game" to each member of the opposing team. It is also traditional in some areas for the winning team to buy the losing team a drink after the game. Even at the highest levels of play, players are expected to call their own fouls.

It is not uncommon for a team to concede a curling match after it believes it no longer has any hope of winning. Concession is an honorable act and does not carry the stigma associated with quitting, and also allows for more socializing. To concede a match, members of the losing team offer congratulatory handshakes to the winning team. Thanks, wishes of future good luck and hugs are usually exchanged between the teams. To continue playing when a team has no realistic chance of winning can be seen as a breach of etiquette."

Thoughts? Are you watching the Olympics?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Playing With Dolls

Did you have dolls as a child? You probably did.

I did not. Gender roles were sharply defined fifty years ago and my parents battled with me endlessly over my gender. In that effort they banned female toys. I was given a baseball and truck instead.

You may think it is silly or even foolish for an adult to own child's toys but I'm re-claiming the girlhood I never had. It's a healthy impulse. Living female life, to the extent I can, gives me hope. Dolls symbolize female childhood and I want girlish experiences, even if they're late to arrive.

I have two Barbies who were just joined by a Journey Girl. My new doll's name is Meredith. Journey Girls are big (18 inches tall) and similar to American Girls but cost a third of their hefty price. There are eight Journey Girl dolls sold (Toys R Us); they are aimed at girls 6-12 years old. Meredith is said to be "very athletic and outspoken." She's pictured below.

As you can see, Meredith enjoys riding my motorcycle. I need to get her a chic moto-jacket. Meredith is both a feminine fashionista and a badass biker-chick. Like me.

Above right is one of my Barbies whom I call Suzanne 'cause she resembles my BFF in Toronto. Suzanne talks with a lovely Canadian accent and has mad DIY skills.

What was your experience with dolls growing up?

Monday, February 12, 2018

Salmon Sisters

It's becoming more and more important to understand our food and its sources. For example most seafood is fraudulently mislabelled as being something other than it really is. Most fish in supermarkets travelled through Chinese factories where it was frozen and re-frozen several times, with unknown additives put into it. Scary stuff.

Which is why it's beneficial to your health and better for the world to eat good seafood. Wild, not farmed, and from trusted sources who care about sustainability.

Last year I discovered a small company started by two sisters who commercially fish in Alaska and sell directly to consumers (Salmon Sisters). Their fish is fresher and better than what's sitting in the supermarket. Plus they sell cute clothing celebrating nature's bounty. (I gave some of their shirts to friends as holiday gifts) I've had good success with their products and encourage you to give them a try. They ship everywhere.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Beach In Winter

From Spring through Fall one can travel by motorcycle with ease and comfort. Winter is different: everything is harder. This time of year, just getting to Jones Beach is an accomplishment.

I rode there today and faced numerous obstacles on the way. Besides scary potholes I encountered a mine-field of debris on the LIE. Cruising at 77 mph around a bend I suddenly saw a dozen objects in my path. They probably fell off a truck. Hitting one of those large items was survivable in a car but, on my sport-bike, they definitely would have sent me airborne. Like Superman but with a bad landing. Fortunately two of my strengths -- sharp reflexes and composure -- enabled me to quickly find a twisty path through the stuff. Whew!

All I want when I go out is relaxation but sometimes unexpected challenges pop up. Ah, life...

How do you handle dangerous surprises?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Chef Jacques Pepin

It saddens me that we give attention to people when they die but not before then. We should celebrate people while they are still alive. Let me tell you about one cool cat I admire.

I first saw Jacques Pepin on television forty years ago and found him charming. Despite being THE BEST IN THE WORLD at what he does (cook food), he was notably humble and gracious. Now approaching 80 years old, he still is. In a field of rabid ego-maniacs and publicity-seekers, Jacques is a welcome breath of humility.

Jacques was just profiled in an online magazine and asked about his life and growing old. He said something wise: "[I]n our world, you know, of living people, you get old. I’m old now, but yet, I’m not a star in Hollywood, and so I don’t have to keep my figure and my face. I can keep cooking if I get older and fat, or whatever! So yes, for us it is good.”

The profile is here.

Monday, February 5, 2018


There are many b/w dresses in the world but this one appeals to me a lot. Its clean style, clever design and surprising fit make it stand out. I found the dress at a retail-store (Fox's) which offers deep discounts on designer clothes. This beauty, on sale, is only $19.

Dresses are my favorite item so when one works for me, it really works. This dress puts a sincere smile on my punim. What do you think of it?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Victoria, BC

One thing I do before traveling is research my destination. The more I know about the place, the better time I have because I "see" more during my stay.

Inspired with desire to visit a good friend -- extraordinary blogger Sheila -- I plan to go to a place in Canada called Victoria. It's on an island west and separate from Vancouver. Sheila says you can't drive there: you have to take either a slow ferry or a fast seaplane. (I'm doing the latter.)

Researching Victoria is teaching me fascinating facts, like how it's the most densely-populated city in Canada despite have a small population. And it's geographical location -- Victoria is actually SOUTH of the Northwest corner of the U.S. That's because the island on which it sits (at the island's southernmost point) extends below the U.S./Canadian border out in the ocean. I recognize an American city in Washington state (Bellingham) and Victoria is actually below it. Plus, Victoria is only 60 miles from Seattle. That reminds me of how Toronto (another big Canadian city) is less than an hour's drive from Buffalo. Most of the populated areas in Canada are right over the U.S. border because it's warmer there than further north.

Have you ever been to the west coast of Canada?

Sheila has one of the best fashion blogs around. She creates amazingly original outfits and posts with enviable regularity. Her clothes and shoes are striking and she combines them with the skill of a pro. The education I've gotten from her during the past decade is invaluable; I really ought to pay her tuition.  :-)

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Winter Riding

I know bikers who shudder at the idea of riding in 40-degree weather. "Oh, that's too cold!" they say. Well, cold is relative.

Today's bright sunshine lured me out into 20 degrees. Aside for ice patches, the only real problem is your helmet fogs up. A cure for that, opening the visor, is worse than the disease -- blasts of arctic air freeze your face like liquid nitrogen. Oh well... YOLO.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Groundhog Day

Today is Groundhog Day! The day has special meaning for me as it reminds me of one of my most cherished memories.

Twenty years ago I took my first long motorcycle trip, from New York to North Dakota. Four thousand miles in eight days. On the way home, I rode east with no plan other than to head in that general direction. I wasn't looking at a map, it was before GPS and my route consisted of unknown small roads.

Riding through western Pennsylvania I suddenly saw a big wooden statue of a... groundhog? Yes, a groundhog. How odd. Then, I saw another. And another. Without warning, I'd entered Punxsutawney which is the worldwide capital of Groundhog Day. It is where groundhog Phil rules the weather forecast. I stopped and walked around: the entire town is devoted to groundhog-worship.

A few years ago I returned for another visit. Punxsutawney is a small rural town in the middle of nowhere but they've adopted a theme and it draws tourists from far away.

Do you believe groundhogs can predict the weather?