Friday, 16 August 2013

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Feminism, motherhood and choice

If you are a married mother and think feminism is about giving you the choice between work and full-time motherhood, you might be sexist.

Freedom - equality - is, in this situation, not about YOU(singular)R choice, but rather YOU(plural)R choice. Or Y'alls choice, as the case may be. You are married. If you are treating this as your choice alone, you are telling your spouse he or she has no choice at all. And that's not helping.


Wednesday, 14 August 2013

This week on Wisdom of the Individual

And we have some good commentary already, check it out here.
Thank you to readers and participants

Wisdom of the Individual

I was recently reading an essay by P.J. O’Rourke titled Individualism ‘R’ Us, and it made me realise that we must specify a rather important point.
Here at we speak often and highly of the so-called “wisdom of crowds”: the opinions of many people will be closer to the truth than the one opinion of a single “expert”. The important thing to note here is the plural use of “opinions”. In other words, the accumulation of many individual opinions, made independently of one another. This is the opposite of a single collectivised opinion. Otherwise, as O’Rourke says, “the system that elected the prom queen at your high school is in charge of your whole life”.
So to use the wisdom of crowds, you have to ensure each individual is not aware of, or influenced by, the decisions, thoughts and guesses of the other individuals involved.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Ramsay Cascades

This was our selected hike for day 1 in the Great Smoky Mountain national park.

So we set off in the morning and hiked 6 km uphill climbing rocks, roots, and crossing a few of these:

on our way up. We hiked and climbed and hiked and climbed, and when we crossed people coming back down we asked them how much further to the top. 

"Half an hour", they said. 

5 minutes later we met more people and they also told us half an hour. Fine, makes sense, it's a guess. 

20 minutes later we met more people, and guess what they said? 

"Half an hour". 

So that's when I knew I was in a horror film. 

But anyway, as horror films go not much happened, and here is my first glimpse of our final destination:
A few more shots of the falls:

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Meet Dottie*

*Not her real name

I met Dottie in Gatlinburg, she was participating in the TN State SquareDancing Convention taking place there. She is originally from Memphis.

We started talking when I complimented her dress - and who wouldn't. She told me about her outfits:
she finds shirts for her husband (square dancing shirts), and then designs her own outfits around them. She makes them herself, having some parts made special by a seamstress in Alabama.

These outfits, by the way, consist of the shirt and wide skirt, as well as a voluminous petticoat and frilly shorts, what I know as "mutandoni".

Anyway, this led to her telling me how she got in to Square Dancing. This is a cool lady.

In 1979 she was working in a manufacturing plant. Correction: she was managing a manufacturing plant. Actually four of them. That's a woman. In the 70s. She started square dancing as a way to relieve stress.

Before all this she was growing up in Memphis, with her 8 siblings. Her father was a local fire marshal, and had a hard time keeping a young Elvis Presley and his hell-raising friends from sneaking in to the movie theatre at nights. As Elvis got older he joined a band which included one of Dottie's brothers, who eventually got so frustrated with Elvis that he refused to work with him, claiming "the boy will never accomplish anything anyway". Oops.

Another one of her brothers moved to California and became a stunt double on Western films. He would bring his Hollywood friends back home to Memphis for his mother's biscuits and gravy.

Dottie is now retired. Her plans had been retirement with her husband, maybe a winnebago and to relax and travel around the country, I suppose stopping here and there to square dance. That all changed when they adopted her great grandson, and so she is now starting that fun all over again.

I hope you enjoyed Dottie's story as much as I did in the original telling.

I'm asking about the shorts

Dottie shows me her shorts