Let’s Talk About Sex — With & For Youth With Disabilities & Special Needs

As a parent, I’ve long been upset with the sad state of sex education in this country. As a parent of a (now adult) child with special needs, I’m even more upset. Children and even adults with special needs, especially those with disabilities which are not physical or so easily seen, receive even less sex ed than their mainstream counterparts. And this lack of knowledge apparently extends to the professionals and staff which work with those who have disabilities.

This has been made quite clear to me over the past few years in staff meetings for my daughter — especially when I have broached the subject of getting my now 25 year old daughter a vibrator or other sex toy. I don’t find it odd or irresponsible to teach young adults, especially young women how to please themselves; like former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, I believe a lot of good can come from masturbation (pun kind of intended?). Or at least a lot of bad, including bad relationships, can be avoided if a person knows how to thrill and please themselves. But while I have often been reminded by the professionals in my daughter’s life that “those with disabilities have the right to fail”, few, if any, have any comprehension that part of a full life is the right to a sexual life — and a pleasing one at that.

This was why I was so astonished and delighted to find this series of videos produced by KIDS, a charity which works with disabled children, young people and their families. While broken-up into three parts, the videos are from The Love Programme – Relationships and Sexuality, a Young Person’s Perspective, a film mad by and for young adults with disabilities. These young adults discuss good and bad relationships, personal space, forms of birth control (including which ones prevent sexually transmitted infections and diseases — and which do not), how to buy and use a condom — and part three even has a section for parents, with links to resources, and an amazing glossary (which even includes the word “consent”!).

Watch and be amazed.

[Be prepared to turn up the volume after the intro song (Let’s Talk About Sex, of course); the voices are a bit quiet.]

But, of course, the KIDS organization is in the UK.

Meanwhile, we in the US still fight over whether or not there should even be any sex education for “regular kids”. Never mind that if there’s one expectation in the “family values” culture, it is to produce a family. So shouldn’t one know just how that happens?

For the sane among us, we also know that there’s more to sex than pregnancy. There are health matters to contend with, such as STIs and STDs. And there are relationship issues as well. Which is why I so applaud the KIDS videos. The icing on top is the frank and accepting matter of sexual orientations as well.

Recommended Reading

Sex education: young people with learning disabilities are being left out:

“Learning about sex and relationships equips young people not only with the skills to say yes, but to say no, too,” [Gill] Leno says. “Understanding emotions, boundaries and how to stay safe are vital for people with learning disabilities. A good, well-rounded awareness of sex and relationships is important as it helps to protect against abuse and exploitation as well as providing a solid framework for appropriate behaviour, both sexually and socially.”

Sex Education for Physically, Emotionally, and Mentally Challenged Youth:

Myth 1: People with disabilities are not sexual. All people—including young people—are sexual beings, regardless of whether or not they live with physical, mental, or emotional disabilities. And, all people need affection, love and intimacy, acceptance, and companionship.

…Start talking with your children about sexuality while they are very young. Do not wait until they reach puberty (or later) for these conversations!

Additional resources on Sex & Disability at the Sexual Health & Disability Alliance (SHADA).

FireShot Screen Capture #397 - 'The Love Programme - Relationships and Sexuality, a Young Person's Perspective Part 1_mov - YouTube' - www_youtube_com_watch_v=4ASCysU1wto&feature=plcp

Context Is Credibility

I’ve written before about the importance of context; and ranted too about “stolen” images used, uncredited etc., at Tumblr and other sites. I’ve tweeted and posted at Facebook about my hatred of such things. Others have taken a far more direct and pointed-tongued approach (NWS) regarding the issue. But Sarah Werner‘s It’s History, Not A Viral Feed is the most direct and well-articulated article — complete with excellent resources.

— A. History (@AhistoricalPics) January 24, 2014

 

No Subsidy For Cupid, Stupid (Lessons In Pay Equity & The Value Of Teachers, From 1948)

I found this article, Subsidy For Cupid: Request for Salary Differential for Married Teachers Is Unsound, in the December 10, 1948, edition of The Wisconsin State Journal.

The first line reads, “The board of education has been asked to establish a permanent salary differential of $600 annually for instructors who are married.” This had me thinking that the proposed salary adjustment would remove $600 a year for married teachers; you know, because married women are therefore little women who do not really need a salary anyway. But then we get to the second line. “The request comes from the recently-organized Madison Schoolmasters club, whose members are married teachers in the city’s school system.” Surely this club would not be suggesting they cut their own salaries?!

Read on:

This type of a salary differential is based upon a poorly-thought-out idea, upon a misconception of the purposes of a salary structure, and is suggested without foresight.

Teachers’ salaries, like all others, should be based upon value received. All teachers should be paid decently, and The State Journal has pushed hard for a minimum teachers salary law that will attract qualified men and women to the profession.

[Hear that, Scott Walker, et al.?]

But in any good system, workers’ salaries are set with an eye on the value of the individual worker. The scales are based on training and background, efficiency, ability to cooperate, and perhaps seniority.

Unmarried teachers should not be penalized because they happen to prefer to remain unmarried.

[The picture becomes a bit clearer now…]

Taxpayers should not be asked to grant special subsidies to teachers who prefer to get married, any more than they should be asked to subsidize teachers who choose to buy automobiles or houses or trips to Europe.

[I am astounded at the suggestion that at any time in our history a teacher could afford a trip to Europe on their own salary!]

By all means, school salaries should be substantial enough to allow a teacher to get married if he wishes.

A-ha! So here it is! We are primarily speaking of male teachers! You know men, they have to take care of the little woman, the kids, the bills, the dog… No woman has to do that.]

But he shouldn’t get a bonus for walking to the altar, or for accumulating other personal obligations. Those matters are up to the individual.

***

There is good reason for teachers — particularly those who are married — to oppose the plan.

During a depression, boards of education must cut expenses, If that married-teacher salary differential were on the books, the inclination of money-conscious school board members would be to hire instructors whose personal status didn’t require payment of that extra $600. That would man less job-security for the very people who would need it most.

While the ending line nearly eradicates my hopes of some sort of gender equality, the lines before it certainly are felt in the pink ghetto and by women at every level during the rough economic times. When talking heads speak of how women are faring better, their 77 cents to a man’s dollar means a twisted sort of job-security.

Boil, Toil & Trouble: What You Don’t Know About Women’s Changing Bodies (A Halloween Special)

It occurs to me, as I sit awake, unable to sleep because I am a sweaty mess of hormones and hot flashes, that we have done women a(nother) great disservice.

You know how we start in grade school to educate girls about that special “womanhood” thing? We separate them from the boys, and tell them all about their changing bodies — even before those bodies are changing. I’m not saying it’s all aces in terms of such education; but there are far fewer girls running home crying thinking the blood in their panties means they are dying. So why don’t we pull young women aside in say high school, and them them all about the other changes their bodies will go through — namely menopause or perimenopause.

And when we teach it, we should teach all of it.

First of all, menopause isn’t “the change.” As a woman, we experience lots of changes. Menstruation, for example, is not the mere existence of blood in the crotch of our panties. It’s not even the evidence of the miracle of life in terms of the biological machinations. Yeah, egg released, womb is lined, womb is shed — but no one tells you about what that means for you and your changing body.

No one tells you that the hormones requires to start this perfectly natural cycle will make you feel like 900 pissed-off and pointy cats live inside of you. Their sharp teeth and claws may not exactly puncture you internally; but are like sandpaper on every last nerve.

No one tells you that the process for shedding the uterine lining means more than “cramps”; how the body resists and reacts to these cramps with everything from hot constipation and burning diarrhea (yes, often both) to increased breast and genital sensitivity and increased sexual desires (yes, often with both again). You may not want to know the details of my lovely cycle, but let’s just say it’s the frustrating crush of a fist holding everything, including my breath, tight and still — followed by a rush of “everything must get out.” That includes skin eruptions and bowels along with my uterine lining.And while everything is sensitive, those utero-contractions make me feel like I’m on the edge of something… Like a great big orgasm, so let’s get on with that and get it out too. (Which reminds me, ladies, if we had proper sex education, we’d be telling young women about this reality — and how great vibrators and sex toys can be. Heaven knows, if I’d had known about the joys of a Hitachi Magic Wand in my 20’s, I’d have skipped many a bad romance, and better coped with my periods too.)

You’re right; this isn’t “ladylike.” But it’s what happens to ladies, to women; so let’s stop denying it.

Now, when it comes to menopause, there’s a lot more to the ending of this monthly cycle — which, while often hellish, is our damn monthly cycle. We can hate it, but we’ve just spend decades getting used to it, and now what the hell?!

Thanks to women’s magazines and shows like Oprah, there’s been some talk about menopause. Frankly, I didn’t tune into them all; like the little girl I once was, I figured that change was so far ahead in my life, I didn’t need to worry my pretty little head about it. Which is why it was great that sitting down to hear it was a forced mandatory school thing. Hence my belief that the same should be done regarding teaching the realities of menopause to young women in high school.  But anyway, like many of my sisters who are ushering in the age of chronedome, I am amazed to discover there is lots that I don’t know about this specific change. Knowing that this particular biological trip is the end of creating life, that this agonizingly slow, back and forth of you have a period then months without it, then BAM! have a period of some sort again, isn’t all there is to the story.

You’ve likely heard of those hot flashes. Well, they are real.

And they are a real bitch.

If you didn’t already have insomnia, the hot flashes are enough to give it to you. You lay awake, sweating. You kick off the covers. You turn a fan on, even when just hours before, you were begging your husband to turn the heat up. And when you do pass out for a bit, you wake up frigid. (Not just temperature wise, but sexually too. Because you are sleep deprived and you are aware just how much you freakin’ stink from sweating, so the last thing you can imagine is having sex. But wait a while… Your hormones will demand otherwise soon enough. Just pray you haven’t alienated your partner too much. Or hit that vib for medicinal reasons — because there will be times that orgams will be the only way to knock yourself out well enough to sleep a few hours.)

And then too, the fan is awesome white-noise to help alleviate insomnia in general. Your partner may not dig this. At best, this adds stress to an already stressful time — leading to more insomnia for you. At worst, you find yourself yelling sarcastically, “Yes, please do turn the fan off. I am completely faking all this wretched sweating just to make you cold at night! It’s all about you — always!”

Like I said, it’s not pretty. Especially when there’s little understanding. And how can there be understanding when the bulk of knowledge about menopause if a joke about the little old ladies with fans?

One other ugly thing I am experiencing is boils. Big nasty, angry-ass boils.

No one wants to talk about these hideous things. Just the other day, I was swapping horrible night-sweat stories with a friend. You know, in that bitter misery-loves-company way involving bitter laughter — until you cry. But I didn’t dare bring up the boils. They are just too ugly. Normal, it turns out; but still ugly.

But the whole drive home, I kept kicking myself in the ass for not saying something — for not speaking the truth. What if she had them, but didn’t know they were normal? What if she blamed herself for some imaginary hygiene problem? What if she was too embarrassed to talk to her doctor? What if she did mention to her doctor, but that doctor was an ass about it, like mine was? It took me going through some basic boil info to realize that boils are often a part of perimenopause because boils are caused by ingrown hairs (something affected by hormonal changes) and plugged sweat glands or oil ducts (thanks again, hot flashes). So a-duh you can have boils at this time. But thanks, Dr. Ass-Hat, for making me spell it out for you. (Thankfully, you can also have a new doctor at this time too.)

For these reasons, I remain silent to longer.

“Hey, world, I am a suffering yet another painful change in my body and life! This one comes with mood swings, the loss of ‘beauty’ (i.e. clues to health and fertility) and societal value, hot flashes, sleep deprivation, and big ol’ boils! Arg!”

And when people don’t get it, when they call you insane or mock you with even the slightest of eyeball rolls for your hormone-ridden life — be it menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause, you want to scream, “Hey, buddy, you can leave any time you friggin’ want — me, I’m f-ing stuck here with this situation!”

Now, maybe it’s sleep deprivation talking, but all of this reminds me of the depictions we have of witches…

Witches are usually old; with grey or white hair and long noses. Witches are typically depicted with what we call warts, often with a hair jetting out of them. Here I see boils. Boils, as mentioned, are often sprung from a hair follicle.

And witches are often shown sweating over a huge caldron of boiling something-or-other. Is that a reference to hot flashes?

Unlike the idea of wise crones, witches seem to be the ugliest, scariest, icons of menopause.

Perhaps the flying on brooms thing is about older women now being able to leave home and hearth; the scariest thing of all for a woman to do — other than be sexual, of course.

Borders Bleed & Blow My Mind (Thoughts On Context)

Sometimes history is thought of as it is taught: In separate chunks. But history passes, weaves, and certainly is attached and connected to time — the time behind it, the time before it, and simultaneously to persons and events which, even in attempts to understand and reclaim, we have neatly severed into subjects and categories.

History and culture isn’t simply a matter of dates or compartmentalized periods. The subject of context isn’t merely one for writers, bloggers or content curationists, i.e. photo or image with research or text story, properly credited, for real readers. Context is even more than the object, person, or event in cultural context of what came before it, what came after it. Context must include what and who are contemporaries.

For example, do you think of opera legend Marian Anderson and artist Frida Kahlo as contemporaries? As friends even? Most probably do not.

[About the image: Marian Anderson and Frida Kahlo with Diego Rivera, Miguel Covarrubias, Rosa Covarrubias, Ernesto de Quesada and others in Mexico, 1943.
More astonishing than this photo which went wild on Tumblr is the video.

The video is silent home film footage of that same trip, from the Penn Libraries Marian Anderson collection, A Life In Song, use of and upload to YouTube approved by Nancy M. Shawcross, Curator of Manuscripts, Rare Book & Manuscript Library, University of Pennsylvania on June 19, 2012.]

For in our (admirable) attempts to reclaim lost stories of Black Women and Hispanic Women (groups who have felt marginalized from Feminism and Women’s Studies), separate stories emerge. Separate stories may narrow focus, provide an ease for our brains (which many falsely claim are over-stimulated and bombarded with information; information overload is a myth) tasked with absorbing information, but so many separate stories not only lead to false notions of separate lives issues (which fosters a sense of competition, risks alienation, and further divides what is Us), but removes the full complex beauty of cultural context.

Oxford University historian Dr. Cliff Davies, in his discussion of the myth of the Tudor era, describes this compartmentalization of history as “seductive” and helping “to create the idea of a separate historical period, different from what came before and after.” I say this seduction also includes the temptation to remove the context of contemporaries. And that it ought to be avoided. Even in an age of working to create filtered focus.

Even when you have multiple blogs, collections, and curated topics — each with its own focus, there is likely to be some overlap between them. If you are aware of and include context with your collections, there will be, ought to be, some repeated content and objects across collections. Even those with the most dedicated focus.

I consider this to be not redundant overlap but more connections, yet another layer to your stories. Practically speaking from a marketing approach, it is another way to find more readers too.

And another way to blow their minds.

Newt Continues To Misuse History & Americans To Motivate Against America

Newt Gingrich continues to use the names of dead men inaccurately. Just as his faulty “recollections” Ronald Reagan are continuously used as a battle cry of “Republican Hero”, Newt’s now using Saul Alinsky’s name as some sort of devil. And just as wrongly.

Bill Moyers Essay: Newt’s Obesession with Saul Alinsky from BillMoyers.com on Vimeo.

For we progressives, Saul Alinsky is powerful positive imagery of America. I hope Bill Moyers piece helps educate and and motivate Americans.

A Chilling Cold War Reminder Of The Freedom Of Media

Making Democracy Work & Grow: Practical Suggestions For Students, Teachers, Administrators, and Other Community Leaders, from the Federal Security Agency, Office of Education, Bulletin 1948 No 10, Oscar R. Ewing, Administrator, John W. Studebaker, Commissioner.

A more subtle Cold War publication, preaching that we must do more than “learn the values & working habits of democracy,” we must “live it” to “strengthen national security and to win the peace.” “We must also work together — to keep democracy free and make it strong and positive.” On the last page, advice on “cooperating” with the Motion Picture Council to “encourage the showing and reshowing of movies that stimulate an understanding and appreciation of American democracy” in your own community. Other media is included in this vintage propaganda booklet; but the film section rather covers it all — the seemingly benign advocacy setting darker things in motion…

Share & Share Alike: Why Posting Your “Junk” Is Worthy Of Your Time

In 2010, I was a presenter at the first Bookmark Collectors Virtual Convention, encouraging collectors not to be embarrassed about their collections (bookmarks or otherwise). And recently I discussed how I believe collectibles can — and ought to be — used to teach. Today I present an incredible example of the marriage between two these concepts.

In 2008, author Midori Snyder posted a photograph from the 1940s of her maternal grandmother at a crowded kitchen table, drinking and smoking with friends:

It was a cute, rather sentimental post, not only laden with nostalgia but whispering of stories and potential stories; charming, but nothing earth-shattering. Then, in June of this year, something happened…

On June 8, 2011, Snyder posted an update involving that vintage photograph. Snyder received an email from a middle school English teacher who’d been teaching poetry to sixth graders. This teacher was trying to move the students past the “misconception that all poetry is cryptic and impenetrable by nature,” including the use of photographs as inspiration, instructing the students to “bring in a picture to which they are emotionally connected in some way.” Knowing the err, limitations and penchants of students, the teacher had gone to the Internet in search of photographs for students who failed to bring their own in. Along the way, she had found Snyder’s photo. That photo became the “back up” photograph so that students could continue their classwork.

That was the moment of intersection between the teacher and Snyder.

This would be cool enough on it’s own. But what’s cooler than that, was the intersection between Snyder’s grandmother and her adult gal pals from the 1940s and 11 to 12 year old kids in school — and how that fictional “what if” emotional connection bridged a gap to inscrutable poetry. In the teacher’s words:

We wrote. I wrote one too, alongside them. We read them, we clapped, we nodded our heads, we listened. The purpose of this email is to let you know that the act of putting that picture out there changed some of us. It helped us look deeper. It forced us to connect. It made us listen to each other and see things the way we wouldtn’ve on our own, perhaps.

If Snyder had been too “embarrassed” or otherwise dismissed the idea of sharing such a little thing as an old family photograph (and some thoughts about it to assist searches), this magic may not have happened. Yes, the teacher is to be applauded; I make no mistake about that! But she and others like her would have lots less to choose from if the rest of us didn’t offer up our photographs, scans, images, etc.

This time is was a school teacher. And one who took the time to inform Snyder how great her act of sharing was; no small thing to those of us who do share. But every day, lots of other intersections and connections are made from the bits of “stuff” and pieces of “junk” that everyday folks and collectors share. These images and objects help connect students to literature, journalists to stories, researchers to proof, collectors to information, people to memories, individuals to their ancestors in family trees, nerds to history… People connect for the first time to abstract theories. People rediscover individual intimate connections. People reclaim the past, work toward a future. People find answers; people like me find more questions… Heck, people even just find more objects and photographs they must have (often in pursuit of much loftier things than materialistic motives).

The moral of the story is this: No matter what you have, no matter how big or small, how Big Picture or insignificant you think it is — someone is just waiting to see it, learn from it, remember it, be inspired by it.

PS You can read one of the student’s poems at Snyder’s post.

Oh, Those Von Dewitz Characters

Because I become obsessed with research, especially when so little is readily available…

In doing some additional research for a piece on silent film star Valda Valkyrien

I found juicy tidbits on her first husband, Baron Hrolf von Dewitz.

From The New York Times on September 7, 1919:

Special to The New York Times
GREENWHICH, Conn., Sept. 6.– A man calling himself Baron Hrolf J. O. E. Dewitz of New York, a moving picture director, and a girl who said she was A. M. Thaisn de Malmey, a moving picture actress, and daughter of Joseph W. de Malmey and Catherine Thomas de Malmey, were married today by Justice Albert S. Mead in his office. They came up by train from New York, and the bride changed from a traveling dress into a gorgeous pink creation for the ceremony and back again afterward into her traveling costume. Dewitz gave his age as 40, and said he was born in Denmark, and Miss de Melmey gave hers as 21, and said she was born in Spain and was a cousin of the late Empress Elizabeth of Austria. They said they had never been married before. They left for New York, saying they would leave New York Sunday morning for the Pacific Coast.

The so-called “Baron” Dewitz, in spire of his statements to the Greenwich Justice, has been married before, not only once, but several times, and his erstwhile wives are on record as divorcing him. Records show that on May 17, 1908, he was married to Nina Pastorelli, a toe dancer with “The Dancing Daisies.” On April 4, 1911 he married Mrs. Katheryn de Montford, an actress, who obtained a divorce from him on Jan. 18, 1912. His third venture was with Miss Freed, whose stage name was Mlle. Valkyrien, another dancer, who as Mrs. Adele Freed von Dewitz also got a divorce, the interloculory decree having been signed on Feb. 13, 1919, by Justice Albert F. Seeger at White Plains. She was then in the movies, and the decree gave her the two-year-old son of the pair.

At the time he married Miss Freed, otherwise Mlle. Valkyrien, the “Baron” sent out cards announcing that their residence would be at the Plaza after Sept. 1, 1914, but at the time the cards were issued he and his bride were living at 560 West End Avenue with a Miss Bessie M. Clay.

So far, I’ve not found anything substantive about the earlier Baronesses von Dewitz (and you know I’ll keep looking — The Dancing Daisies?! Oh. My. Gawd.).

But I did then find a lengthy wedding notice, also in The New York Times, dated June 23, 1914. (I’m so going to interject along the way for this one.)

Cards bearing the imprint of a jewelry house and the baronial crest of a noble Danish family were sent through the mails yesterday to well-known New Yorkers, saying that:

Lo Lieutenant Baron Hrolf von Dewitz,
et Mademoiselle
Valkyrien Freed de Copenhaque
ont l’honneur de vous
announcer leur mariage en date du
quatorze Mai, a L’eglise
Evangelicale-Lutherienne de Saint Mathieu
a Jersey City

Don’t you just love “Jersey” tacked on the end of all that French — and when, for that matter, did Valkyrien become French?

A second card states, also in French, that the Baron and Baroness would be at home at the Hotel Plaza after Sept. 1.

Baron von Dewitz, whose marriage on May 14 in Jersey City is thus announced, is the same Baron who on April 4, 1911, married Mrs. Kathryn de Montford, an actress, at Stamford, Conn., and who, several years previously was reported married to Nina Pastorelli, a toe dancer. Although the alleged marriage with Miss Pastorelli was extensively published in the newspapers, it was shown later that the wedding did not take place.

The matter of being shown that the marriage to Miss Pastorelli did not take place is A) not as reported later, and #2, not really shown at all.

In his most recent matrimonial venture Baron Dewitz again went to the stage for a wife, for Mlle. Valkyrien Freed is a dancer and a member of the ballet of the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen. Furthermore she is about to embark upon a professional career in this country despite her title, and at a dinner tonight at the home of Miss Jeannette L. Gilder, the writer, her stage future is to be talked over by her husband, Miss Gilder, who, through taking the management of another dancer has become an enthusiastic impresario, and the Baroness herself.

Please note the Baron’s involvement in his wife’s career; there is more flavor to savor later.

Although the wedding announcement cards say that the Baron and Baroness will be at home at the Plaza after Sept. 1, they are at present living at the home of Miss Bessie M. Clay, at 560 West End Avenue. It was explained last night by Baron Dewitz that this was because he and his bride wished to live in seclusion for a while, and at the same time it gave the Baroness an opportunity to practice her toe dancing.

The Miss Bessie M. Clay mentioned is likely the then President of The New York Institute of Music, located on West End Ave.; more on her, and why they would live with her, is here.

The marriage of Baron Dewitz and the toe dancer, who is not yet 19 years of age and who is a young woman of remarkable beauty, ends all the chances the Baron had of coming into a great estate and another title, he said last night. In fact, he is likey to be cut off by his relatives altogether for not returning to Copenhagen and marrying into a royal family.

“This wedding with Miss Freed,” said the Baron last night, “was a real romance. Two years ago when I was at home I met her and we fell in love. I returned to this country and we wrote each other frequently, but my family, and hers, too, put so many obstacles in our path that we gradually stopped writing. Last month we decided to marry after all, and so she came to this country. I met her at the boar and took her to the home of a married sister in Jersey, and a week later we were quietly married.

Put a pin in that “met two years ago” part — there will be some math.

“We are going to Newport in a short while, and she may give some exhibition dances there. I have been approached with offers to to upon the stage, but I am told that in this country a man who goes on the stage is not likely to be taken seriously in business affairs afterward. In my country I could go on the stage as a lark and nothing would be thought of it.

Remember when I asked you to note the Baron’s involvement with his latest wife’s performance career? Well, it sure seems to me that the Baron von Dewitz desperately wants a stage career himself. He’s willing to give up his title and wealth for it. And remember that first (though more recent) article wherein he calls himself “a moving picture director” — I guess that line’s a winner.

“The report that I have been married several times is all a mistake. I knew Miss Pastorelli when I was here some years ago and was seen about with her frequently. Some months after I had left this country I was surprised to get some old newspaper clippings saying that Miss Pastorelli and I were married. It was so long after the time that the stories had been published that I did nothing at all about it. I was divorced from Mrs. de Montford about a year and a half ago.”

But remember, the later clipping states that “records show” his marriage to Pastorelli on May 17, 1908. “Records,” not “reports.”

And remember, you have a pin in the number two, right? Do the math with his statement that he “was divorced from Mrs. de Montford about a year and a half ago.” Erm.

Baron Dewitz, who writes for the magazines, was a Danish naval officer who was one of the first to take up aeroplanes as war machines, and for some time was interested in perfecting air warship which he wished to sell to European Governments. He said last night that the cost of the enterprise was so heavy that he finally dropped it.

Baron Dewitz apparently did write, including a book titled War’s New Weapons.

At least that much is true.

*About Miss Bessie M. Clay and The New York Institute of Music: A bit from The New York Times, October 22, 1905:

An interesting feature of this college is what is known as the “Home Department.” As more and more girls have been coming from places far from New York to study music, there has been a growing demand for their proper accommodation in the city. Accordingly it is now possible to obtain not only musical instruction at the institute, but rooms, board, and chaperonage can be secured. But the care of the visitor does not stop here. Informal teas and receptions will be arranged to which persons prominent in the musical and artistic world will be invited. There are classes in dancing and fencing, and there is also a bowling alley and gymnasium. In other words, a student from the West can secure here many of the advantages and pleasures she would find at a college like Wellesley or Vassar.

I believe this 1906 issue of Music Trade Review is also on Miss Bessie Clay (said to be the niece of Major Clay of Sherman, Clay & Co.) and her marriage to Truman A. Glaser.

However likely this seems to be the same Bessie Clay, I cannot account for the continued reference to her as “Miss Bessie” past 1906.

And that brings us to the end of today’s (last night’s) obsession. Until I find out more — or you add to the story with what you know.

Once again, I’d like to declare my deep abiding love of The New York Times for making their archives available.

I Was With 95% Of Americans In 1950

From the June 26, 1950, issue of Newsweek, results of Gallup Poll regarding “how well informed the average American is on terms and phrases appearing regularly in the news.”

The result: 94 percent understood the term “flying saucers”; 68 per cent, the term “bookie.” But only 26 per cent knew “bipartisan foreign policy,” and 5 per cent, “Point Four.”

1950-newsweek-how-well-informed-poll

So, the titular meaning of the 95% of Americans in 1950 means that I didn’t know what ‘Point Four’ was. (I did, however, know the rest of the terms, thank-you-very-much.)

While I was not alive in 1950, one would think I could be excused for my ignorance; but it turns out I shouldn’t be — ignorant, I mean. I might still have an excuse…

‘Point Four’ refers to President Truman’s fourth point in the foreign policy objectives he stated in his inaugural address, January 20, 1949. Seeing as this fourth proposal, announced as the Bold New Program, was not only the foreign policy equivalent of the New Deal but based on similar conservation, rural rehabilitation, public works, and economic development strategies, it seems I should have been taught this in school. Especially as Point Four is what inspired president John F. Kennedy to lay the foundations for the Peace Corps in his inaugural address, January 20, 1961.

Why did my public school education insist upon making me an Ugly American, omitting foreign policy and our connected world history instead of including it in discussion of domestic policy and affairs?

Less Physical Dating Violence & Greater Condom Use — Among Boys Only?

Research done at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Centre for Prevention Science in London, Canada, reveals that a course on dating violence and healthy relationships may provide benefits for high school students, particularly boys.

According to ModernMedicine.com:

David A. Wolfe, Ph.D., of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health Centre for Prevention Science in London, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 1,722 ninth-grade students attending schools that were randomly assigned to the intervention or to serve as controls. The intervention was a 21-lesson program led by teachers, integrating dating violence prevention with core lessons about sexual health, substance abuse prevention and healthy relationships.

After 2.5 years, the researchers found that physical dating violence was higher in control versus intervention students (adjusted odds ratio, 2.42). Although boys in intervention schools were less likely than the controls to engage in dating violence, girls in both groups had similar physical dating violence rates. Condom use was higher among sexually active boys in intervention schools (67.9 versus 58.6 percent).

“We found support for the hypothesis that teaching youth about healthy relationships and ways to avoid physical dating violence in Grade 9 Health classes would reduce physical dating violence 2.5 years later, but this effect may be limited to boys,” the authors write. “Although overall rates of substance use and peer violence were unaffected by the intervention, exploratory analyses indicated that boys in the intervention schools reported safer sexual practices (indicated by always using condoms).”

Before I say anything else, let me give a great big “Hooray!” that more young men were using condoms!

And a giant “Wo0t!” as the kids would say, that the boys were less likely to be involved in dating violence.

But isn’t it interesting that while the boys in the class were less likely to participate in dating violence, the girls in class were still experiencing the same amount of dating violence…

That sorta changes that “Wo0t!” to a “Shoot.”

Do we conclude that there was some gender bias in teaching &/or course work, and so the girls didn’t learn or accept the information as readily as the boys?

Do we conclude that a large number of the girls date boys outside those classes — and that the girls “knew better” but in the intimidation of the moment(s), they fell prey to boys with a more predatory nature?

Are there just a few bad boys dating all the girls?

Or do we conclude there is some sort of discrepancy between what the boys reported and what the boys did — *cough* LIARS!

Because the abstract gives very little information & reading the full report & findings published in the August issue of the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine requires a fee, I can’t really say for certain what I think…

Do you have any ideas?

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This post is part of the blogathon for Hope For Healing; Twolia generously sponsored me in this wonderful event raising awareness of domestic violence & funds for supporting victims!

You can help too: Comment, link, Tweet & use this special link to iSearch.iGive.comclicking it and performing searches will raise money for HopeForHealing.Org.