Sex Trade

31 July 2012

Accepting Brothels and the Burlesque.

 

I’m all for the sex trade. Truly. Just like everything else that has been a part of human society since as far back as we can imagine, we should accept that it is a part of us, and do what must be done to make it as safe as possible for all parties. Recent challenges to laws in Canada saw certain laws struck down, while others were upheld. You see, although prostitution itself has always been legal in Canada, pretty much everything surrounding it hasn’t been, such as running a bawdy house, living off the proceeds, or soliciting. I guess psychic prostitutes do well in such a restrictive environment. Granted, the laws are designed to undermine exploitative practices, however, the result is a dangerous environment for those who work in the sex trade.

It’s a difficult issue, in that not everyone involved is a willing participant. It is these situations that need to be dealt with, in a manner that protects workers, ensures health and so on. How to do it is a whole other matter.

In Vancouver, sex trade workers began putting on Burlesque shows, in part to raise money and awareness, and in no small part to work together to make their lives safer. I’m not sure how successful they’ve been, but I wish them all the best.

Recently, I noticed this article, which may be as a threat to parents, who may lobby to have visas for foreign sex trade workers (dancers) renewed.

Strip clubs set to recruit high school students

TORONTO – Recruiters of teenage strippers may soon be scouring Toronto high schools in search of female students who can be groomed into disrobing part-time as exotic dancers to earn college tuition.

A flyer praising the benefits of the burlesque trade has been produced to target students in high schools, colleges and universities in the Toronto area, says a group representing dancers and club owners.

The brochure claims working as a dancer pays well, offers flexible hours and makes a “great part-time job to raise college tuition.”

A scramble is underway by the Adult Entertainment Association of Canada to fill a demand for dancers after the federal government this month stopped issuing visas or extensions for foreign strippers to work here. There are up to 800 foreign strippers in Canada and most vow to go underground and work in the sex trade if they can’t dance legally.

I find it hard to understand such morality-based laws, such as prohibition (all drugs except alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, sugar, and prescription), anti-sex trade and the like. If the acts are between consenting adults, and pose no risk to the rest of us, do we really care what anyone does? If you want to get high, go to a brothel to pay someone to spank you, what business is that of ours?

Fred Willard and Pee-Wee Herman were both arrested for exposing themselves or masturbating in an adult theatre. I mean, really? What on earth do police expect to be going on? Either close the place down, or stop busting people. Or remind them what the Internet is.

It’s a waste of time and resources to continue persecuting these members of society, while the truly destructive are rewarded. It’s gobsmacking to say the least.

143 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Dis-course

30 July 2012

Rambling about a prefix: dis-

I’m a bit of a word geek. I have been known to read the dictionary, and books on grammar, and visit the online etymology dictionary just for fun. That may make me a logophile, but I draw the line at logophilia. I also dig calligraphy. I mean, check some of this out:

Alright, well, the point of today’s post, if there is a point (which I’m beginning to doubt), is to look at one of my favourite prefixes: dis-. Although it changes the root word to its opposite, ascribing a sense of apartness (dishonest), there is a connection that I feel is intuitive (i.e. I haven’t found it substantiated in any reference on the subject). It can denote a negative meaning to the root, but it feels to me that it imparts a sense of corruption or degeneration.

ease becomes disease. It is not a simple opposition, like up and down, it is something more sinister, like right and left.

In Dante’s Inferno, Dis is the name of the city in Hell that encompasses the 6th through 9th circles, which is to say, the most serious transgressions. Despite that he wrote in the Italian of his day and region, I’m looking at the flavour of these words in English (which was only really distinguishing itself in Dante’s time).

The Romans were known to call Pluto, their god of the underworld, by the title Dis Pater, which is Father Dis. (see American Plutocracy).

So dis- takes on a hellish meaning (at least to me).

Here’s a sampling of words to show you what I mean:

  • disable, disability
  • disadvantage
  • disbelieve
  • discharge
  • disembowel
  • disgrace
  • disorder

We could have used un- as a prefix (except that its of Germanic origin, but at this point, it’s all the same in English). Look at the difference between disease and unease, disable and unable, disbeliever and unbeliever.

The city of Dis contains sinners guilty of first degree crimes (premeditated, and requiring action on their part, as opposed to spontaneous or passive crimes). In a sense, the above examples (given that I have only a smattering of them) show a sinister or far more negative meaning associated with dis- than un-, and in some cases, the difference is one of intent. A disbeliever refuses to believe. An unbeliever may be persuaded.

A distressing display.

What is most telling about this underlying significance is the use of the prefix as a word, a word which serves to substitute for the word disrespect used as a verb. Don’t dis me. Although this usage has fallen out of vogue, it was widely used for a while around the turn of the millennium. In fact, a dis was sufficient grounds for retaliation, fisticuffs, dislocated shoulders and all.

I think if there were a verb that most closely defines “dis,” it would be dismiss. Like blowing someone off completely and utterly. A short form of the equally insulting “whatever.” Either way, disaffecting.

I don’t really have a point, just riffing on this thing. I’m going to be out of town for a few days, and wanted to take care to make sure I had a few posts lined up for my absence.

Enjoy.

144 Days to Dec 21st 2012


World Lacrosse Championships

29 July 2012

under 19, that is

The championships are held every 4 years (just like the Olympics, of which they are not a part, although they were a demonstration sport in the past). The under 19 is divided into men’s and women’s, and there is one notable exception to the teams: the Iroquois Nationals. This is a team that represents the 6 nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora) whose territories cover parts of Canada and the USA (both of which have separate teams). This is a particularly important development, as these are the originators of the spot of lacrosse, and it is great to see them participating as an independent team.

This year (if I’m not mistaken) the USA came in first, Canada second, and the Iroquois third. Nice to know that the home of lacrosse took all three medals.

145 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Maya Lunar Calendar

28 July 2012

Survives the Ravages of Time and the Jungle in Guatemala

An interesting discovery on the walls of a structure in Guatemala – a Maya Lunar Calendar. It seems evident from the Lunar series in the Dresden codex that the Maya were keen skywatchers to say the very least, yet what we have come to know about their calendar systems make no mention about the cycles of the Moon. Definitely a strange omission.

Well, archaeologists have found a scribe’s notes which define a lunar calendar. Doo-lang doo-lang.

Maya lunar calendar notes discovered in Guatemala

 WASHINGTON (Reuters) – On the wall of a tiny structure buried under forest debris in Guatemala, archaeologists have discovered a scribe’s notes about the Maya lunar calendar, which they say could be the first known records by an official chronicler of this ancient civilization.

These notes pertain to the same Maya calendar that is sometimes erroneously thought to predict the world’s end on or about December 22, 2012. The researchers who helped uncover and decipher the wall’s inscriptions said the Maya calendar foresaw a vast progression of time, with the December 2012 date the beginning of a new calendar cycle called a baktun.

“They were looking at the way these cycles were turning,” said William Saturno of Boston University, an author of an article on the find in the journal Science. “The Maya calendar is going to keep going and keep going for billions, trillions, octillions of years into the future, a huge number that we can’t even wrap our heads around.”

The faint numerical inscriptions on the wall in Guatemala measure out time in approximate six-month increments, based on six lunar cycles, with small stylized pictures of Maya gods to indicate which deity was the patron of a specific slice of time, the researchers said Thursday in an online briefing.

“It seems pretty clear that what we have here is a lunar calendar,” said David Stuart of the University of Texas at Austin, another author of the Science article. The findings will also be published in the June issue of National Geographic, which funded some of the research.

The numbers on the wall were likely written by a scribe or calendar priest, who would have been an important figure in the Maya court, where monarchs were keenly interested in astronomy and sought to harmonize sacred rituals with events in the sky.

The wall was used the way a modern scientist might use a whiteboard, to write down frequently consulted formulas instead of having to look them up in a book, he said.

The fact that these calendar details were inscribed on the wall preserved them better than any book would have, since no books remain from the period when the inscriptions were made, probably around 800 AD, the researchers said.

In addition to the inscribed numbers, there were pictures on other walls of the structure, including an image of a king in a feather headdress, seated on a throne, with a white-garbed person peeking out from behind him. A painting of a scribe holding a stylus was on another wall.

These paintings were the first Maya art to be found on the walls of a house, the researchers said.

The structure, covered with vegetation, was detected in 2010 at the ruined Maya complex at Xultun in a rainforest area of Guatemala. Xultun, once home to tens of thousands of people, stretches over 12 square miles (31 square km), and thousands of the remaining structures have not yet been explored.

“It’s weird that the Xultun finds exist at all,” Saturno said in a statement. “Such writings and artwork on walls don’t preserve well in the Maya lowlands, especially in a house buried only a meter below the surface.”

146 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Olympic Game-Playing

27 July 2012

It’s not all fair game.

I’m a big fan of the athletes, athletic competition, and the ritual of the games, but I certainly can’t say I’m  a fan of the commercial excess, the corportaziation, and politicization of the olympics. Really, anything that isn’t a sport is a distraction. Unfortunately, the athletes do not receive the reward that I feel should be their due.

But don’t take my word for it (not that you do, do you?), here’s what Ronda Rousey, Olympic bronze medalist in Judo at the Beijing Olympics, and MMA champion had to say:

Everyone talks about how awesome the Olympics are, but you know what? After the Olympics they give you ten grand a handshake. And you know what, it costs way more than ten grand to get there. The Olympics didn’t give a damn about me after I was done. And I gotta do what I gotta do to make a living. If I gotta pose for some magazines…I’m not gonna show my nipples or asshole or anything like that but if I gotta walk around at the beach in a bikini, why not let someone take a picture of me and put it in a magazine?

All these companies make millions and millions of dollars to put the Olympic rings as like a logo. I walked into 24 hour fitness the other day. They’re a multi-million dollar sponsor of the Olympic games. And they have all these Olympic rings all over the place. They know I’m an Olympic medalist. They know I’m an Olympian. They will not let me in there without paying. I have to pay to go into 24 hour fitness. I have to buy every single Gatorade bottle. That money does not go to the athletes. That money goes into a lot of really corrupt national governing bodies that bounce that money around, they give it to all their friends, and almost none of that money makes it to the athletes. USA Judo is the most corrupt organizations ever, and they hated me because I was not afraid to say it, and they always gave me as little funding as possible.

At the 2007 worlds they sent more officials and more people from their organization, and then they made most of the athletes pay for themselves to go. They only sponsorerd three athletes to go, and they sent like eleven different people. And I remember at the Pan Am games, or Pan-Am champsionships in wherever we were at, a bunch of the athletes had to pay for themselves to go and then they flew some PR girl at the last minute. Thousands of dollars just to show up and hang around. And they’re sending all their people first class, and they’re spending all this, you look at their budget and they’re spending thousands of dollars on entertainment for each other. All the people that work for this organization are sitting in these amazing hotels, and the athletes, I’m sitting in a hut. A chalet in the middle of Belgium.

All that money and none of it goes to the athletes, and the second that you’re done fighting they just give you a kick in the ass out the door. There’s nothing set in place to help the athletes after they’re done. What are you doing while you’re training your whole life? You’re not getting as much education as you could. You’re not getting as much work experience as you could. And so what happens after the Olympics Is that you have all these athletes that have no work experience, no education, and they have no health. And it’s all bullshit.

And that’s why I’m like screw everyone’s idea of ‘oh what sports are supposed to be like’. I did what sports were supposed to be like, and I was living in my car. So you know what, fine. I’m gonna talk a bunch of shit. I’m gonna pose in a couple of pictures. And I’m gonna break a couple of girl’s arms, and I’m not gonna feel the least bit sorry about it because you know what? At least I can feed my dog.

The Great Olympic Tax Swindle

In July and August this year Stratford, East London, will become a temporary tax haven. Millions of pounds will be channelled through foreign subsidiary companies operating in the area before it leaves these shores for the pockets of shareholders and CEOs the world over.

How is this possible in a country like the UK you might ask? The sad fact is that enacting tax avoidance legislation has now become a criteria for hosting international competitions such as the Olympics.

Big name athletes such as Usain Bolt (along with the organisers) have applied pressure to potential host nations to ensure that winnings (and profits) are not taxed. (8)

Zero tax

Without these tax sweeteners the IOC would simply take their corporate circus elsewhere and so begins a race to the bottom in a bidding process that echoes the offshore system. New tax rules ushered in as part of the winning Team GB bid include ‘a temporary exemption from UK Corporation Tax and UK Income Tax for certain non-resident companies’. (1)

The legislation is written to include ‘partner’ organisations such as McDonald’s and Visa. Both, along with other ‘partners’, look set to make a tax-free fortune. The former will a monopoly on vending branded food and the latter a total monopoly on venue and ticket payment methods.

The HMRC says “For the purpose of this exemption a London 2012 Partner is an organisation (known as a Commercial Delivery Partner) that is supplying services to LOCOG in return for the right to market and advertise themselves or their products for commercial purposes by reference to their association with the Games. It includes a company connected with the Commercial Delivery Partner.” (1)

The new legislation also exempts all foreign nationals working on the games in the UK from paying income tax on any earnings. Thousands will be exempt from taxation from competitors to media workers (including journalists, technicians and producers) to representatives of official Games bodies and technical officials (including judges, referees and classifiers) along with the athletes themselves.

You Must Throw Like a Girl

The IOC targets female athletes.

Caster Semenya was a world champion – then she was sidelined for 11 months of invasive gender testing because she was too fast and too muscular. She’s back in time for the 2012 Olympics, but now there’s a new rule targeting women who are “too good” at sport to be “real” women.

This rule violates everything the Olympics are about. Seeing people achieve the very fastest, highest, strongest limits of their sport is an inspiration for tens of millions of people globally – to work hard and love what you do. This new rule tells every kid watching the Olympics that you don’t just have to work hard, you have to look “right”.

With only a few days before the Olympics start, with all eyes turning to London, we have to show the International Olympic Committee that not even they have the right to tell someone that who they are is wrong – that there is no such thing as “playing like a girl”.

Time to take the Games Back

And how exactly do we do that? Developing world-class athletes is no small feat, and requires a large investment in time, energy, effort, and funds. Sponsoring athletes is a big money-maker for them, and I don’t know of anyone who begrudges athletes making a living off of their sport. There are degrees of separation between making a living and making a killing. Athletes shouldn’t have to sell their souls, and neither should they be making millions upon millions (then again, neither should anyone else).

The first step in the long journey of recovery from this atrocity, is to hold community athletic events. In every city, at community centres, at public pools, parks, and game fields. Everyone should be able to participate, and the money should be reinvested in the community. At the very least it will get us out from in front of our computer monitors.

Ideally (and I’m nothing if not an idealist), each city (or region in more rural areas) hold their local competitions, the winners qualify to district finals, the winners of which go on to city finals, then regional, provincial/state/prefectural/territorial/etc…, then national, the international. The whole process should take 4 years, such that the international competition occurs on the same schedule as the olympics. The games can’t be called “olympics” for legal reasons, so a new name would be in order. I suggest “the games [tm]”.

At any rate, anyone could participate, and only those with persistence, talent and luck will make it to the international finals.

It may not be as lucrative as the olympics (certainly not for the IOC or corporate sponsors), or top-tier athletes, but in the end, it would be more participatory for competitors, and a lot more fun. Imagine having to race against top athletes at your local community centre. Oh what fun.

Timing the Games

As I understand it, the ancient olympic games began on the New Moon (which would have been last week on July 19th), and continued for two weeks, ending on the Full Moon. This is one tradition that I would prefer to see reinstated, as the excitement of the competition builds to a lunatic climax.

147 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Open-Source Revolution

26 July 2012

How playing well with others leads to greater innovation.

Massimo Banzi talks about the current industrial revolution, and the advantages open-source software plays in it.

Arduino is at the heart of it. Just clever and meaningful creation that precedes governmental and private creation. This is the stuff that our lives are made of.

Also,check out One Community which works with open source

148 Days to Dec 21st 2012


Happy Day Out of Time

25 July 2012

New Year for the 13 Moon Law of Time Calendar

The Day Out of Time is the New Year Day for the Law of Time‘s 13 month calendar (same structure as theAbysmal, just aligned to the year differently). It also uses the number/glyph system from the Maya tzolkin, although it is not a version of the Maya Calendar. It has spread throughout the Americas and has a significant following.

This is the calendar system that Jose Arguelles developed to replace the gregorian. It’s a 13-month calendar. It inserts a leap year day on the day equal to February 29th. It also renames the weekdays (Dali, Seli, Gamma, Kali, Alpha, Limi, Silio). Most significantly is the comprehensive strategy the movement has developed, which foregrounds indigenous culture, environmental issues, and living harmoniously in the world in and around us. Certainly noble goals.

This system is what got me interested in calendars in the first place, but after delving into it for some time, it left me unsatisfied. Too many new age trappings for my taste. I didn’t feel it appealed broadly enough, in no small part because the New Year occurs as per the heliacal rising of Sirius, which may have been important to the Egyptians, but has very little significance to the world at large.

Nevertheless, starting from scratch and developing new weekdays, a new new year, and a different way of looking at time is as good a way to reform our global calendar as any.

They also assign adjectives instead of the numbers 1-13 to the months. As I’ve written before I find applying words, images, and ideas to the aspects of the calendar far more telling than simply numbering them. The progression from magnetic to cosmic is meant to follow a certain development and expansion of consciousness.

Along with the 13 month structure, there is the 260-day structure, which follows the same 13 numbers (magnetic-cosmic), as well as 20 glyphs (dragon to sun) and four colours (representing the cardinal directions).

Start at the top left and follow the series down. The first, colour: red, number 1: magnetic, glyph: dragon = red magnetic dragon. The second is white lunar wind, next is blue electric night, and so on, down to the final of the series in the bottom right corner yellow cosmic sun.

Today’s day out of time is white rhythmic mirror (number 58 in the image above).

So to all the Law of Timers, happy new year.

149 Days to Dec 21st 2012