Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ahhhhh....The Good Old Days....






.....when people smoked, drank, and screwed around with the office staff with reckless abandon. I am, of course, talking about "Madmen," a marvelous paen to the early 1960s lifestyle. It's an amazing show-whoever did the research has captured the language, colour, vibe, and fashion of an era not too far in our past (hell, I remember doctors smoking....). Everybody is drawn instantly to Jon Hamm's suave, confident Organization Man Don Draper, but I like John Slattery's laconic Roger Sterling.

Roger Sterling, World War II vet to Don Draper, Korean War vet:

"You don't know how to drink. Your whole generation, you drink for the wrong reasons. My generation, we drink because it's good, because it feels better than unbuttoning your collar, because we deserve it. We drink because it's what men do."

or my favourite:

"Oysters Rockefeller, Beef Wellington, Napoleons, if we leave this lunch alone much longer it's likely to take over Europe."


And who can forget Christina Hendricks' Joan Holloway, the redhead Machiavelli controlling the secretarial pool? What-women had NO power back then???? Paging Camille Paglia:

"I said congratulations, didn't I? Although, sometimes when people get what they want they realize how limited their goals were."


OWWWW!!!!

Lauren M.E. Goodlad has an excellent article in the Chronicle of Higher Education:



Why We Love 'Mad Men'


Like most women who call themselves feminists, I've spent my life avoiding men like Don Draper, the incorrigible ladies' man at the center of Mad Men, a show about a Madison Avenue advertising agency in the early 1960s. I took a pass on the show during its first season, catching up with it on DVD when the mounting enthusiasm of friends and co-workers piqued my curiosity.

By the time the season-three premier was promoted this month, my friends (men and women in their 30s and 40s) had taken to posting Madmenized avatars of themselves on their Facebook pages. And I was one of them, styling myself on madmenyourself.com in a chic red dress, gloves, and cat's-eye glasses. What had happened to make these politically progressive adults in the last days of their youth identify with characters from their parents' generation?

I have been intrigued by the mysteries of culture before. In the 1990s, I was writing on gothic subculture and the phenomenon of "men who feel and cry"—men like Anne Rice's vampires, Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands, and Nine Inch Nails' Trent Reznor, all of whom beckoned young men to dramatize emotion in ways that previous generations had scorned as unmasculine. Alongside those men in black were harsher specimens of masculinity in crisis: men like Tyler Durden, the split personality who launches an underground subculture called Fight Club.

While superficially different, both kinds of men were desperate to feel, through catharsis or brutal violence. Yet most of these tales focused on men's relationships with one another, like Tyler's two halves, or Lestat and Louis in Rice's Interview With the Vampire. They were men searching for their feelings in the company of other men.

And now comes Don Draper, icon of masculinity-in-crisis for the 21st century. Don is in pain, yes, and hurting himself, too (for all his spectacular emotional reserve). But he is also different. No tears or blood on that impeccably pressed suit. No close ties to other men. What is it that makes this odd blend of Jay Gatsby, American Gigolo, and the Man in the Gray Flannel Suit so captivating a figure for today?

When I asked a sample of folks close to hand what they thought of the show, strangely enough, the first three said virtually the same thing—all references to Don: "The guy is hot." (OK, my mother, a veteran of the Mad Men era, said "very handsome," not "hot"). To be sure, the show need not be experienced as the story of a "hot" guy in crisis. A close female colleague, indifferent to Don's eros, tunes in mostly for the Peggy Olson narrative. And there is my husband, who enjoys the show for its complexity and period detail, but hates Don Draper for his selfishness and lies. Like Don, my husband is a hard-working professional father of two in his late 30s. Unlike Don … well, you could call him the anti-Don.

Although Don Draper is the show's center of gravity, a constellation of intriguing personalities surrounds him. Several of those characters suggest series that might have been: Mad Women, in which Joan Holloway and Peggy Olson take different paths in the struggle for integrity in a man's world; Mad Closet, the story of Salvatore Romano's slow-motion sexual awakening; Bad Men, a close study of Pete Campbell's toxic cocktail of ambition and insecurity; Race Men, in which Paul Kinsey strives to be a hero in the civil-rights movement without exposing himself as an insufferable honkie; Sad Men, a nighttime soap in which Roger Sterling deludes himself about his impending mortality; and of course Mod Men, a show about style.

And then there is Don's beautiful wife, Betty, who, though clearly his better half, is not his patsy. A kind of Donna Reed on steroids, she is much, much more than the first woman on television to have a passionate affair with a household appliance. Her vigorous horsemanship, her facility with a shotgun: These are the signs that though raised to follow the grooves, Betty cannot be underestimated. Witness the end of the first season when, opening the phone bill, she learns that Don has been checking up on her with her psychoanalyst. We think she is in the dark about Don's infidelity; but then, as she lies on the couch, we learn that she has known all along. Betty's decision to tell the good doctor wasn't Freud's talking cure but a savvy move on the chess board that is the Draper marriage. She knows that the shrink will tell Don, so that Don will learn, with a minimum of confrontation, that his fooling around isn't fooling anyone.

Conventional wisdom says that women are irresistibly attracted to power. And yet, professionally speaking, Don's position is precarious. Less Gordon Gekko in Wall Street than Montgomery Clift's character in A Place in the Sun, he is vulnerable to corporate management, professional rivals, and the whims of clients. With no family connections to buttress him, Don has nothing to sell but himself. If he is powerful, it's because the particular commodity he has to offer is selling itself: the trick of making selling seem magical in a consumer society. That is why Don's "hotness" is not the garden-variety sort—not the televised equivalent of an Abercrombie & Fitch ad—but the aspect of his character that connects his existential crisis to ours.

Don's sexual tensions bespeak his brilliance as an ad man. His genius for spinning fantasies works in boardroom and bedroom alike. Though superficially a "man's man," he does not long for intimacy with other men. Women are his m├ętier; their desire is the complement to the seductive powers his clients pay him to wield. This is not to say that "sex sells"—a crude logic that Don despises. It is to a say that in a consumer society, the fine art of selling is a lot like sex.

While his milieu is fundamentally misogynistic, Don himself is far less so. At home he is a possessive, philandering husband, but at work he is the least sexist of the lot, respecting the feelings of middle-age women and promoting his talented secretary.

If Betty is stuck playing Don's Madonna—the angelic mother he never had—the other women in his life are more like female variations on Don. There is Midge, the independent bohemian who doesn't make breakfast; Bobbie Barrett, the shrewd businesswoman whose frank sexual hunger ignites Don's kinky side; and Rachel, also a businesswoman, but memorable as the one who got away. Her Jewishness stands for a kind of depth that might cut through Don's mad world if only his desire to connect could trump his need to seduce. In one of many grace notes, Don, in need of a pseudonym, calls himself Tilden Katz—the man Rachel marries after she ends their affair. It is Don imagining himself as an anti-Don.

In the title poem of Meditations in an Emergency, a collection by Frank O'Hara that Don reads, the speaker writes, "no one trusts me" because "I am always looking away." As we eventually learn, Don sends this book to the widow of the man whose identity he stole. But Don's past is really window dressing for a more systemic crisis. There are lots of men with Don's issues who aren't orphans and didn't change their names. If there is anyone who trusts Don it is Peggy, a woman whose loyalty he values too much to throw away—perhaps because he knows that she is like him: Her talent for selling will take her places.

For some viewers, the secret of Mad Men's success is the pleasure of watching characters who don't know, as we do, that "change is gonna come." If that's true, we have more reason to be anxious voyeurs than smug ones. We may know more than Don, Roger, and Betty about the dangers of booze and cigarettes—but we still die as they do (and die increasingly of cancer). And while we have made real gains in sexual and racial equality, the price we have paid is the reactionary anger that haunts every aspect of our social being.

The open secret of our time is that we are less secure than were our precursors in the Mad Men era. If we know them to be in the grips of a cold war that finally came to an end, we know ourselves to be losing wars of our own making—a boundless "war on terror" and the destruction of our own environment. We do not watch Mad Men because we imagine ourselves as free of vice and illusions; we watch it because we know that our lives, too, are one long meditation in an emergency.

In the dwindling prosperity that is capitalism in the 21st century, every one of us knows that we must sell ourselves, make our pitch, compete for our place in the sun. Though Don has a nice house and car, like most of us, he will never join the big leagues. Among us today, he would not be a Wall Street banker or CEO, for he is not cut from that cloth. His golden parachute is the dream of another life in a California that, if it ever existed, exists no more.

"The guy is hot." If we feast our eyes on Don, wanting him and wanting to be like him, it is perhaps because we, too, want to make it look that good. As Frank O'Hara wrote, "It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so." Don gratifies the illusion that a life lived as a commodity can somehow be meaningful; that if we close our eyes, the art of selling will be like the best sex we ever had.

Lauren M.E. Goodlad is an associate professor of English at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she teaches Victorian literature and directs the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory. Most recently a co-editor of "Goth: Undead Subculture" (Duke University Press, 2007), she worked in the 1980s as a cosmetics and fragrance copywriter in New York City.

Happy Halloween

Just remember that beer and pumpkins don't mix well.



Pix-napped from my buddy John.
--
X1

Friday, October 30, 2009

Exploding Testicles

"Honey Bee: Exploding Testicles.

The reproductive cycle of bees is fascinating – and complex. But here’s the short story: a queen is selectively bred in a special "queen cell" in the hive and fed royal jelly by worker bees to induce her to become sexually mature.

A virgin queen that survives to adulthood without being killed by her rivals will take a mating flight with a dozen or so male drones (out of tens of thousands eligible bachelors in the colony). But don’t call these drones lucky because during mating, their genitals explode and snap off inside the queen!

Strange as it is, this actually makes evolutionary sense: the snapped-off penis acts as a genital plug to prevent other drones from fertilizing the queen. But tell that to the dead drone whose penis just exploded.

[Note: this strategy is so successful that it is apparently employed by other species of animals, such as the male wasp spider]"

snagged from here: http://www.neatorama.com/2007/04/30/30-strangest-animal-mating-habits/

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Anonymous.....










Let's look at a case study, X1. Anonymous, an internet-based protest movement, has taken on the monolithic Scientology church/cult/corporation...and generated so much attention on the organization that it has lashed out with brute force to shut down free speech IRL and on the net. The tools? Mockery. Satire. Humour. Riff on pop culture till it bleeds. Plus some exceptionally well-produced video messages using an altered voice and wallpaper background video. Creepy....and effective. Videos essentially explaining how information operations work followed. Verrry impressive, but not as impressive as thousands of people showing up worldwide IRL to protest at Scientology sites wearing Guy Fawkes masks a la "V for Vendetta." Not to mention the leakage and display of internal Scientology memoranda explaining how they're going to fuck with the protesters for the rest of their LIVES. Anonymous is a social movement-an extremely focused and small one, but a portent. Here we have a loose network of people bound by a common cause, taking on what amounts to a corporation that skirts if not flouts the law....and generating significant, credible bad press.


See http://encyclopediadramatica.com/Anonymous for MOAR! (MUCH MOAR!)

Medium, Message, McLuhan

Back to thinking about the article from yesterday. The "how" or medium through which we receive the message or view the media affects our perception of the content.

I found the following slide show recently and tagged it as something to share, just for the name of it if nothing else. Now it, like many other things has been sitting on the back burner in the nether regions of my mind simmering away.



I wonder what McLuhan would have made of the modern internet and the social objects it has spawned in view of his light bulb analogy, where a bulb, though void of information content, is a medium that has the effect of lighting the night and thus creating a social effect of allowing people to congregate in what would otherwise have been a dark space. The simple presence the lit bulb creates a new environment.

In examining traditional media in their traditional medium, news on TV, is the newscast really about the news stories or is it about us? As consumers of the news we have allowed ourselves to accept that watching horrific news at supper-time with the children is perfectly reasonable thing to do. The story the news tells is not so much about the horrors of the world but about the changes in what we deem acceptable behavior on our part. The content of the newscast has distracted us and in turn has changed the structure of our daily lives in the past 50 years.

The internet has already changed the structure of our daily lives. It has changed our business norms and our social interactions and how we gather information. The interesting thing about the internet as the slide show demonstrates, is how it has affected our consumption of traditional media in their traditional mediums. The internet will continue to change society in ways that we can not yet understand or see.

--
X1

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

What Constitutes Extreme Pornography

This article crossed my radar this morning and after thinking about the issue, I have to say that I am disappointed that the directors/producers of extreme porn have been jailed, all the while A-list actors et al are jumping to the defense of Polanski. Yes, I know that his victim has asked that the charges be dropped and that the case be dismissed, but the rape he committed against a 13 year old was NOT consensual, but at least the same government that is prosecuting for play-acting rape is attempting to prosecute for real rape.

Filming a play-acted scene, albeit 'rape', acted out by consenting adults (people 19+), is a jail-able offense and no big names in Hollywood protested the censoring of the porn industry.

Yes it can be argued that Polanski creates art and that porn is base and degrading and does not qualify for 'art' status. Here's the question though, does the medium in which sex is portrayed make it art or porn?



This image is Arthur de Pins' from his archive gallery.

Arthur de Pins creates his sexy and sex-filled images by computer and they are decidedly cartoon-like but they most definitely portray human sexuality in its various forms.



If we begin to disregard the medium with which the art is produced or where it is displayed, at what point does it cross the line to become pornography, and then to further extrapolate, at what point does if become so offensive that the producers/creators/artists are jailed for their creations?

It is a rather subjective question isn't it? Like human sexuality, what offends about human sexuality is unique to each of us. There is no one simple answer, but the easiest is still this: what consenting adults decide to do with other consenting adults is OK.

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X1

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Barbie is BAD......

Sooooo bad.....is NOTHING sacred, X1? NOTHING???






Courtesy of our twisted fiends at: http://barby.bertisevil.tv/pages/smbarby.htm

Just because...

... we sometimes like to pick on Barbie.


Cougar Barbie - 50th Anniversary - Watch more Funny Videos

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X1

Monday, October 26, 2009

Those Cheeky Brits...

...have something for all occasions.



If hard candies aren't something you like to suck on, there is chocolate, peppermint, licorice, and pasta... yes, pasta.

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X1

You Light Up My Life

Consideration must occasionally be given to good interior lighting design in a home. I can think of no better way to do that than through a well thought out and hand crafted custom design for the home owner. Rock and Royal, based out of Rotterdam is one such place that should be given a look for anyone seeking a high end personalized chandelier. They also do custom mosaic work based on photographs.

Samples of work that would be suitable for a play space:







And as for a mosaic:



I can only dream of what Bettie Paige would like as a glass tile construct.

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X1

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Just Because......




.....I like Animal House. It was art imitating life-or was it the other way around?


John Vernon's wonderfully deep Establishment voice intoning: "Daniel Simpson Day.....HAS no grade point average."

right up there with John Belushi:

"They took the bar. THE WHOLE FUCKING BAR!"

and:

"Pre-Law? I thought you were Pre-Med!"

"What's the difference?"

Oh yeah: Academia uses the movie to teach:

"Cinematic college: National Lampoon's Animal House teaches theories of student development."
College Student Journal, Dec, 2007 by Krista M. Tucciarone

It's here: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0FCR/is_4_41/ai_n27484171/

Mixed Bag

Radiolab - Radio that makes you smarter, not sure about that yet, but the pop-culture sure is fun.

--

"hell yeah it's fast"
A Lazy-boy with motor, headlights and steering, involved in a drunk driving accident in Minnisota is going up for auction.


Personally, I'm looking at this as an ideal vehicle for my future mid-life crises.

--

And lastly something to remind us that we are getting older "Morrissey collapses during show"

Former Smiths singer Morrissey has been taken to hospital after collapsing on stage with breathing difficulties.

Eyewitnesses said the 50-year-old fell to the floor during a performance of his former band's song This Charming Man at Oasis Leisure Centre in Swindon.

Two of his current band's members took him off stage and an ambulance took him to Great Western Hospital, where his condition was described as "stable".

The singer has cancelled several dates this year because of illness.



Damn!, he didn't look like that 25 years ago.... better idea, get Morrissey the Lazy-Boy chair from Minnesota so he can scoot around the concert stage without getting as winded.

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X1

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sex & Violence at Sea

"It is the greatest animal battle on the planet, and it has finally been caught on camera.

A BBC natural history crew has filmed the "humpback whale heat run", where 15m long, 40 tonne male whales fight it out to mate with even larger females.

During the first complete sequence of this behaviour ever captured, the male humpbacks swim at high speed behind the female, violently jostling for access.

The collisions between the males can be violent enough to kill."

Entire story with video here.

The footage is beautiful and dynamic, and the "how we did it" footage is equally as compelling.

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X1

Friday, October 23, 2009

BDSM is NOT abuse.....




....despite what feminist theory as administered through the United Nations asserts. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD), published by the World Health Organization (WHO), designated Fetishism (F65.0), Fetishistic Transvestism (F65.1), and Sadomasochism (F65.5) as dangerous paraphilas on par with child abuse. We emphatically object to this characterization-as does most of the psychological and psychiatric community.


From www.revisef65.org:

Among other sources, this text is collected from Jay Wiseman's book “SM 101” and Park Elliot Dietz, one of the worlds leading authorities on the connection between sex and violence
http://www.greenerypress.com/articles.htm
http://members.aol.com/NOWSM/Psychiatrists.html/#Psychiatrists

SM versus violence

1. Perhaps the biggest difference between a violent sadist and an SM Master is that the former destroys the self confidence, value and dignity of the victim. An SM Master does the opposite.

2. SM sexual games have neither perpetrators nor victims. An SM scene is a win-win situation for mutual satisfaction.

3. The submissive partner wishes and longs for the domination. Most people do not want to be abused, and consensual domination is not abuse.

4. Planning, communication and warming up (like in extreme sports) are essential for preventing damage. Sadistic psychopaths, on the other hand, damage their victims, physically and emotionally, deliberately.

5. A sadistic psychopath has usually a history of sexual abuse like rape and incest. Sadomasochists are, as a rule, ordinary people without criminal records or criminal interests.

6. SM is played out in safe settings and safe ways. Abuse is out of control.

7. SM games are negotiated beforehand by equal partners. They decide upon limits and safe words. A perpetrator decides unilaterally without any concern for the wishes, limits or the well being of the victim.

8. SM games contain rules that are mutually agreed upon. In an abusive relationship there is no agreement and the victim has no rights.

9. SM is built upon respect and confidence and is always consensual. Abuse is non consensual and ruins the relationship.

10. The violent sadist is cold and without empathy during the torture. The SM Master uses communication and empathy to find out what turns the slave on.

11. An SM relationship can be loving, intimate, and involve personal growth. Victims of violence experience anxiety, guilt, shame and powerlessness.

12. Many SM practitioners switch roles during the interaction, from time to time, or as a personal development. In an abusive relationship the roles, as a rule, are static.

13. SM is often practiced with support from friends and often in an SM environment. Abuse, on the other hand, requires isolation and secrecy.

14. The dominant in the SM relation respects the borders of the partner. To the extent the borders are stretched, it takes place according to mutual agreement.

15. Using a safe word (e.g. “red”) the slave can immediately stop the game for whatever reason, whether it is physical or emotional. A victim has no such possibility with a perpetrator.

16. SM role-playing typically ends with mutual cuddling and evaluation.

17. The SM slave typically feels grateful to the Master. A victim is not grateful.

18. SM people don’t feel that they have any rights to control their partners by virtue of gender, income or other external, circumstances. Perpetrators often do.

19. There are reasons to believe that SM, like other kinds of consensual sexual practices, liberate bodily and emotional energy, promotes health and prevent violence.


See also: Giddens, A. (1991). Modernity and self-identity. Self and society in late modern age. Stanford University Press. Stanford.

Dreamworlds

This came to my attention via Coilhouse. Fascinating and horrific all at once.



Here's a link to the full length albeit with watermark.
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X1

Just because...

...it's in the news and not a surprise.

Canadian missionary arrested on sex charges in Dominican

Date: Thursday Oct. 22, 2009 6:08 PM ET

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — A Canadian missionary who once served as a Roman Catholic priest in the southwestern Ontario border city of Windsor has been arrested in the Dominican Republic on charges of sexually exploiting teen boys, police said Thursday.

The Ontario Provincial Police issued a statement confirming that Joao Jose Corriera Duarte, also known as John Duarte, was arrested earlier this week near the Dominican city of Puerto Plata.

The 44-year-old Duarte is facing nine counts of sexual exploitation related to the alleged abuse of young boys in Haiti, where he had been working as a missionary. Earlier media reports said he was facing 12 charges.

Police say the alleged offences took place over a 10-year period starting in 1995.

Duarte is currently in custody in the Dominican and will be extradited to Canada, said police, who credited the arrest to a collaborative investigation between provincial and federal authorities, in co-operation with local officers in the Dominican.

Duarte had a long history of missionary work in Haiti, where a former parishioner said he relocated permanently in 2003.

Marcia Spratt knew Duarte when he was pastor at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Windsor.

In 2001 Spratt and her husband also joined the charity she said Duarte helped to found, Hearts Together for Haiti, where they currently serve as co-ordinators of the child sponsorship program.

Spratt said Duarte, who spoke Creole, had been admired for the dedication he showed to his cause of improving life in the impoverished island country. She described the allegations against her former pastor as shocking and "devastating."

"He was such a wonderful, compassionate, charismatic person," she said. "It shook my faith. It shook my very being."

Spratt said she fears for the future of the charity Duarte helped to launch, saying the situation may discourage potential donors.

"We're just really, really concerned that this might ruin Hearts Together for Haiti. It's a big fear that we have, because people might not want to be involved with a charity that has big problems like this."




Obviously this window was designed by someone who understood all too well that perverts infiltrate the ranks of the ministry. Makes me wonder what their story is.

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X1

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Brought to you by...



.. the number 2

The last time I checked in person there was only one, but since you talk, and that is good, I understand that there is another is the family.

--
X1

I LUVVV Piercings....






Guess how many I have, X1?

A Little herstory for yah from Lori Wilkerson:

Body piercings have seen a resurgence of interest in the last ten to twenty years and are becoming more and more a part of the mainstream Western culture. Take a look at any fashion or entertainment magazine and you’ll see plenty of well-known celebrities with body piercings like navel rings or a labret. You might be surprised to find out that piercing is actually an ancient form of expression that most cultures have practiced at some time or other for thousands of years.

Egyptian body piercings reflected status and love of beauty

The earliest known mummified remains of a human that was pierced is over 5,000 years old. This worthy gentleman had his ears pierced with larger-gauge plugs in his ears, so plugs may be one of the oldest forms of body modification there is! We also know that the Egyptians loved to adorn themselves elaborately, and even restricted certain types of body piercings to the royal family. In fact, only pharaoh himself could have his navel pierced. Any one else who tried to get a belly button ring could be executed. (Tell that to Britney Spears!) Almost every well-to-do Egyptian wore earrings, though, to display their wealth and accent their beauty. Elaborate enameled and gold earrings frequently portrayed items in nature such as lotus blossoms.

Body piercings are also mentioned in the Bible. In the Old Testament it’s obvious that body jewelry is considered a mark of beauty and wealth, especially for Bedouin and nomadic tribes. In many cases, body jewelry was given as a bridal gift or as part of a dowry. It is clear that piercing was a sign of status and attractiveness in Biblical times.

Romans were practical piercers

Romans were very practical people, and for them piercing almost always served a purpose. Roman centurions pierced their nipples not because they liked the way it looked, but to signify their strength and virility. It was a badge of honor that demonstrated the centurion’s dedication to the Roman Empire. As a symbol, it was important and served a specific function, unifying and bonding the army. Even Julius Caesar pierced his nipples to show his strength and his identification with his men.

Genital piercing through the head of the penis was performed on gladiators, who were almost always slaves, for two reasons. A ring through the head of the penis could be used to tie the organ back to the testicles with a length of leather. In gladiatorial combat, this prevented serious injury. With a large enough ring or bar, it also prevented the slave from having sex without the owner’s consent. Since the gladiator was “property,” a stud fee could be charged to another slave owner for the highly prized opportunity to raise the next generation of great fighter.

Making love or war, piercing makes it better

Going across the ocean at around the same time, the Aztecs, Maya and some American Indians practiced tongue piercing as part of their religious rituals. It was thought to bring them closer to their gods and was a type of ritual blood-letting. The Aztec and Maya were warrior tribes, and also practiced septum piercing in order to appear fiercer to their enemies. Nothing looks quite as frightening as an opponent sporting a huge boar tusk thrust through his nose!

This practice was also common among tribes in New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Some of the materials commonly used were bone, tusks and feathers. Hundreds of years later, French fur trappers in Washington State discovered American Indian tribes who wore bones through their septum and called them the Nez Perce, meaning “Pierced Noses” in French. It’s interesting that civilizations separated by thousands of miles and even centuries often developed a love for the same kind of body piercings to enhance certain features, isn’t it?

In Central and South America, lip labrets were popular for purely aesthetic reasons – women with pierced lips were considered more attractive. In fact, the holes were often stretched to incredible size as progressively larger wooden plates were inserted to emphasize the lips as much as possible. (Kind of like collagen today). The Aztecs and Maya also sported lip labrets of gold and jade, many of them elaborately carved into mythical or religious figures or sporting gemstones. These were seen as highly attractive and to enhance sexuality.

As the world moved into the dark ages, interest in piercing died down somewhat and the medieval church began to condemn it as sinful. For a few hundred years, Western civilization abandoned the practice. As the Renaissance went into full swing, however, interest in piercing began to pick up again.

A new era and a new interest in body piercings

Sailors became convinced that piercing one ear would improve their long-distance site, and so the site of a sailor with a gold or brass ring became common. Word also spread that should a sailor be washed ashore after a shipwreck, the finder should keep the gold ring in exchange for providing a proper Christian burial. Sailors were both religious and superstitious, so they generally spent a lot for a large gold earring to hedge their bets.

Men became much more fashion-conscious during the Renaissance and Elizabethan eras, and almost any male member of the nobility would have at least one earring, if not more. Large pearl drops and enormous diamond studs were a great way to advertise your wealth and standing in the community. It could also designate royal favor if your earring was a gift from a member of the royal family.

Women, not wanting to be outshone by the men in all their finery, began to wear plunging necklines, with the Queen of Bavaria introducing the most outrageous, which consisted of not much at all above the waist. In order to adorn themselves, women began piercing their nipples to show off their jewelry. Soon they began wearing chains and even strands of pearls draped between the two.

Men and women both discovered that these nipple piercings were also delightful playthings in bed, adding sensitivity to the breasts and giving the men both visual and tactile stimulation. Men began getting pierced purely for pleasure as well. While not entirely mainstream, piercing of the nipples and, occasionally, the genitals, continued to hold interest for members of the upper crust of society in Europe on and off for the next few hundred years.

The next resurgence of interest was, surprisingly, during the Victorian age, which is usually seen as very repressed. Prince Albert, future husband of Queen Victoria, is said to have gotten the penis piercing that is named after him in order wear the tight-fitting trousers so popular at the time. The ring could then be attached to a hook on the inside of one pant leg, tucked safely away between the legs for a neat, trim look. Although we have no record of Victoria’s response to the piercing itself, there is ample evidence she was wildly in love with her husband and almost never left his side after their marriage!

Soon, Victorian men were getting Prince Albert's, frenums and a variety of other piercings purely for the pleasurable sexual effects, and women were doing the same. By the 1890’s, it was almost expected that a woman would have her nipples pierced. In fact, some doctors at the time suggested it improved conditions for breastfeeding, although not all agreed. It was an interesting double standard –- plenty of people were doing it, but no one was talking about it.

Modern-day body piercings

In the last hundred years or so, body piercings in the Western world have mostly been limited to the ears, a standard hold-over from the fact that both men and women wore earrings during Elizabethan times. The Puritan movement did away with men wearing earrings, however, and it didn’t really regain popularity until recently.

Nose rings found new interest when young people (they were called hippies then) from the U.S. began traveling in India extensively looking for enlightenment in the 1960’s. They noticed the nostril rings that most women had been wearing there since the sixteenth century. In India, this was a form of traditional, accepted adornment and was often linked to an earring by a chain. For rebellious teens from America, it was a great form of rebellion.

After bringing nose piercings back to the U.S., the interest in body piercings of all kinds quickly caught on during the 1980’s and 1990’s. Celebrities, sports stars and singers all began sporting a variety of piercings. Soon, high school students and even stay-at-home moms were flashing new body piercings. And the rest, as they say, is history!

This article on the "History of Body Piercings" reprinted with permission.
Copyright 2004 Evaluseek Publishing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mid-Life Crises



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X1

Oops, He Did It Again

...Ralph Lauren that is. Link provides full article in the UK Telegraph.

Seems the company ad department has photoshopped another ad image to create another unrealistically thin model.



the one on the left is the touched-up image, the right is the original. Yep, there's a difference, and it's visible to the naked eye.

From the article by Nick Allen in Los Angeles, published: 6:15PM BST 20 Oct 2009

"An image of the Russian-born model Valentina Zelyaeva appeared in a shop in Sydney, Australia, and on the clothing label's Australian website, with her waist digitally squeezed to appear impossibly skinny.

It followed a case last week when a photograph of another Ralph Lauren model, Filippa Hamilton, looking so thin that her waist and hips were smaller than her head, appeared in a department store in Tokyo.

The digitally altered picture of Miss Zelyaeva appeared on the fashion house's website alongside one of her that had not been altered that showed her with a noticeably wider waist. In the altered photograph her shoulders are clearly wider than her hips."

Got to wonder how many more of these altered ads exist in the world and have yet to be discovered.

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X1

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Man Song

I'm keeping things light this morning. The news provided no tidbits of entertainment, for me today and the 'to do' is a mile long, so fun it is.

This is Milton singing "The Man Song". Milton is apparently a character created by Sean Morey, a comedian who also composed the song. His web is seanmorey.com

/

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X1

More DIY...

...only this time it's better, it's latex.

Stumbled across this site some time ago and there are some great tutorials on working with latex for the purposes of redecorating household items and creating fashionable wearable goods.

Making Latex Clothing is an ideal site for the frugal fetishist.

Pix-napped of course, but here's an example:



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X1

Monday, October 19, 2009

On the subect of...

Forcible Male Genital Mutilation:

This is taking the DIY movement to an absurd level. Circumcision is not synonymous with knitting, or replacing a worn hinge. It's not taught at the local craft or hardware store. What was this guy thinking, 'cause it's not once but twice?

Dad convicted for botched circumcision on son

The Canadian Press

Date: Friday Oct. 16, 2009 6:58 AM ET

VANCOUVER — A Vancouver-area man has been convicted of criminal negligence causing bodily harm for a botched amateur circumcision he attempted on his four-year-old son.

However, Justice Marion Allan acquitted the man, who along with his family can't be identified under a publication ban, of aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

The child, now aged six, was treated in hospital for what doctors said was an incomplete circumcision and has since made a full recovery.

The boy's father, who subscribes to a religious philosophy that incorporates Hebrew elements, previously tried to circumcise himself and also had to seek medical help.

He learned about circumcision on the Internet and sent away for special instruments.

Court heard he put his son on the floor on some clean garbage bags and towels, with Band-Aids and a veterinary powder used to stop bleeding standing by.

The man tried to drug his young son with wine and told him lie still, but he apparently jerked during the procedure, causing the man's hand to slip while cutting the foreskin.

In his judgment posted Thursday, Allan said the man's first experience with home circumcision should have told him it was a serious, risky procedure.

Surgery was required to remove hardened layers of the veterinary blood-stopping material caked on the boy's penis and repair damage from the botched circumcision to prevent permanent disfigurement.

But the judge said the father's actions did not rise to the level of aggravated assault, nor could the razor instrument he used be considered a weapon that could cause death or injury.

The man's lawyer, Doug Christie, told Allan at the outset that he would try to have the case tossed out on constitutional grounds, saying his religious motive negated any criminal intent.

Allan said Christie had not given the Crown sufficient notice leading up to the trial but the lawyers for both sides were now free to address it.



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X1

Friday, October 16, 2009

It Wouldn't REALLY be a Birthday Without the Spanking, Would It?

Thanx, X1! ;--)

Just for Y1


Happy Birthday to a special friend, we'll be thinking of you this weekend ;)




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X1

WTF???

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fashion/fashionnews/6334941/Barbie-doll-Christian-Louboutin-to-redesign-fat-legs.html

From the article:


Barbie doll: Christian Louboutin to redesign 'fat legs'

Three new Barbie dolls being designed by French shoe designer Christian Louboutin to celebrate the doll's 50th anniversary will have slimmer legs and ankles after he decided they were "too fat".

By Nick Collins
Published: 11:54AM BST 15 Oct 2009

Barbie is no stranger to controversy, having been attacked in the past for being too thin and sending out the wrong message to young girls about living healthily.

But fashion designer Mr Louboutin, whose luxury shoes retail for up to £1,500, thinks the model has 'cankles', or fat ankles, and is planning to make his three new dolls even slimmer.

A Louboutin spokeswoman told Metro: "They're completely wild and even come with mini Louboutin boxes for the shoes." But, she added: "He found her ankles were too fat."

Barbie manufacturer Mattel has previously been attacked for making her too top-heavy, while studies have revealed she also has too little body fat.

In 1965, Slumber Party Barbie came with a book entitled How To Lose Weight, which advised children: "Don't eat".

Mattel was also criticised in 1980 for releasing a black Barbie which lacked African facial features, and simply looked like a white Barbie painted black.

I am so impressed with Louboutin. NO ONE, ever, looks like a Barbie doll without extensive cosmetic surgery, body modifications, and intensive dieting. Yes, this is just what we need, another designer telling us what is wrong with being normal by telling us that the idolized Barbie is "FAT".

Thanks dude, I'm looking forward to the next generation of anorexic girls trying to fit into mommy's Louboutin's.

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X1

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Mixed Bag

Coffee as art. Being very fond of our java in its many forms, this caught my attention, because it is coffee that appeals to the visual sense as well as taste and smell.


I do enjoy 'art' that does have sensation for more than one sense, visual that is tactile, taste and smell, sound and vision, for example. Perhaps that's why 'scratch & sniff' advertising became so popular.

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Now this just confuses. Let's try to follow it: Design house Ralph Lauren hires a model, uses her as a face of Lauren for some time as she has appeared in many Lauren shoots over the years. Recently a photoshopped ad disaster was shown with this particular model appearing unbelievably thin, so much so, that one would believe the only thing going for her is a fat head. Lauren came under attack for the ad. It started to receive web attention, going viral, and they issued cease & desist orders to ISPs hosting webs that spread the image under what would appear to be fair copyright use of the image. Lauren had to back off their cease & desist tactics and actually admitted to being involved with the ad image being manipulated to a point of obvious unreality. The real topper for this is that they fired the model in the picture.

The reason: They fired me because they said I was overweight and I couldn't fit in their clothes anymore," she said. (Fillipa) Hamilton, a 5'10'' model, reportedly weighs only 120 pounds.

So let me get this straight. Ralph Lauren fired the model because they had to photoshop the ad image of her to the point where she looked totally emaciated because they only want people with anorexia to buy their line and since Fillipa Hamilton is only genetically blessed with a thin body, she doesn't qualify to work with them anymore because she doesn't fit the ideal Lauren image.

Other links on this, all of which contain images of the ad:
http://boingboing.net/2009/10/06/the-criticism-that-r.html
http://www.boingboing.net/2009/10/08/searching-for-the-sk.html
http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/fashion/2009/10/14/2009-10-14_model_fired_for_being_too_fat.html#ixzz0TueSS2PX
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/14/filippa-hamilton-ralph-la_n_320396.html

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Yes, I really needed to read that modern mankind does not measure up to it Neanderthal predecessors. Thank you for the head shot.

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X1

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Just because...

Tim Horton's, iconic, Canadian, serves the troops...



... at Fort Knox, Kentucky, USA.

I vote for Tim's for next year's Nobel Peace Prize for wanting to bring hot coffee to people around the world.

(pix-napped from here)
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X1

Mixed Bag

An answer to one question that we've all had lately:

Nobel jury speaks out in defence of Obama prize, calls critics patronizing
October 14, 2009 - 5:42
Ian Macdougall,Karl Ritter, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

"To those who say a Nobel is too much too soon in Obama's young presidency, "We simply disagree ... He got the prize for what he has done," committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland told The Associated Press by telephone from Strasbourg, France, where he was attending meetings of the Council of Europe.

Jagland singled out Obama's efforts to heal the divide between the West and the Muslim world and scale down a Bush-era proposal for an anti-missile shield in Europe.

"All these things have contributed to - I wouldn't say a safer world - but a world with less tension," he said.

In summation, I still think Obama got the award because he's not George Dubya, and the rest of the world likes that very much.

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This is still happening, and it always saddens that we can't live and love as we choose, safely:

Surveillance video captures brutal beating of gay man, Jack Price, in Queens; Both suspects arrested
BY Rocco Parascandola
DAILY NEWS POLICE BUREAU CHIEF

Updated Wednesday, October 14th 2009, 1:22 AM

A shocking video shows a gay man trying in vain to fend off two thugs who repeatedly punch and stomp him on a deserted Queens street.

Jack Price, 49, tries again and again to get to his feet and escape, only to have the cowards knock him back down in their brutal onslaught, the footage shows.

Two men have been arrested in the beatdown.

Daniel Aleman, 26, was nabbed Sunday night, and Daniel Rodriguez, 21, was captured Tuesday night in Norfolk, Va., police said.

The attackers walk away from Price at one point, only to return. One of them slugs Price one last time in the face before they leave for good, the video shows.

Late Tuesday, however, he remained in critical condition at New York Hospital Queens, hooked up to a respirator. His lungs are collapsed and his jaw and ribs are broken.

"It's a despicable crime," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said of the assault in College Point, where the victim and his alleged attackers all live.

"The individual was attacked simply for his orientation, and we're just not going to tolerate it in this city."

It shouldn't be tolerated in any city in any country that considers itself to be free, democratic, tolerant, for equality, first world, need I go on?

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This kind of medical work makes me wonder what kind of physical mutants humanity will have become in 25 or 50 years.

Genetic manipulation shows promise in preventing heart failure from aging:

In a paper published in the journal Circulation, Tetsuo Shioi, lead researcher and assistant professor of medicine at Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine in Kyoto, and his team described how they managed to suppress a variety of the P13K gene in a group of elderly mice.

Compared with another group of mice in which the gene was left intact, mice with the suppressed gene had improved cardiac function, less fibrosis (which makes the heart inflexible) and fewer biological markers of ageing.

I think this is promising research for people that have a heart... now if someone could just figure out how to give Canada's political elite a heart to start with...

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Perhaps this speaks to Obama's popularity in France. It also makes one ask, just what the hell were they thinking, were they thinking?

French Vogue, the fashion magazine, has prompted outrage by featuring pictures of a Dutch model with her pale skin painted a dark colour.

Published: 8:00AM BST 14 Oct 2009

The photo shoot, which was styled by the magazine's long-time editor, Carine Roitfeld, presents pictures of model Lara Stone "blacked up" alongside normal photographs of the model.

The magazine is no stranger to controversy and has run images of supposedly pregnant models puffing cigarettes in the past.

Yep, I remember that controversy too, we covered hearts in the last article, maybe we need research on how to give fashion editors a brain?
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On the bright side, Punk seems to making a strong revival in mainstream fashion. Studs and leather and goth look have been seen on a number of runways for the past year, but it has just been noted that the UK Telegraph is writing on "how to" get the look punk with make-up. Like anyone who saw it the first time around is going to forget the black eyeliner with the fuchsia and turquoise eye shadows with the glittery black nail polish and deep red lips on deathly pallid skin.

They also just covered studs. Those shiny, pointy, square, round, grommetted, metallic things for shoes, boots, jeans, coats, gloves, hats, or anywhere that they can be fastened without necessarily having them adhered to flesh. Now that's a look I can do.

...and to wrap it all up in a warm blanket, we can rely on the Canadian twins of Dsquared2 to promote the rugged Canadian look in men's fashions during their Milan Spring/Summer 2010 show. At least men aren't going to have to work too hard to be fashionable men. A beer, boxers, and a blanket in the woods should do the trick.

Pix-napped from here.

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X1

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

...and this

Forgot about the Nine Inch Nails video Happiness in Slavery, which I think only makes sense to those familiar with Bob himself.



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X1

Bob with Super-Cystic

...and I remember Bob for this:



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X1

If you pull out Fakir, I pull out...BOB!




Bob Flanagan aka the "Supermasochist", suffered from Cystic Fybrosis and shouldn't have lived as long as he did. He credited sadomasochism with keeping himself alive and sane. His poem "Why" Sums it allll up:

Why

a poem by Bob Flanagan

Because it feels good; because it gives me an erection; because it makes me come; because I’m sick; because there was so much sickness; because I say FUCK THE SICKNESS; because I like the attention; because I was alone a lot; because I was different; because kids beat me up on the way to school; because I was humiliated by nuns; because of Christ and the Crucifixion; because of Porky Pig in bondage, force-fed by some sinister creep in a black cape; because of stories of children hung by their wrists, burned on the stove, scalded in tubs; because of Mutiny on the Bounty; because of cowboys and Indians; because of Houdini; because of my cousin Cliff; because of the forts we built and the things we did inside them; because of what’s inside me; because of my genes; because of my parents; because of doctors and nurses; because they tied me to the crib so I wouldn’t hurt myself; because I had time to think; because I had time to hold my penis; because I had awful stomachaches and holding my penis made it feel better; because I felt like I was going to die; because it makes me feel invincible; because it makes me feel triumphant; because I’m a Catholic; because I still love Lent, and I still love my penis, and in spite of it all I have no guilt; because my parents said BE WHAT YOU WANT TO BE, and this is what I want to be; because I’m nothing but a big baby and I want to stay that way, and I want a mommy forever, even a mean one, especially a mean one; because of all the fairy tale witches, and the wicked stepmother, and the stepsisters, and how sexy Cinderella was, smudged with soot, doomed to a life of servitude; because of Hansel, locked in the witch’s cage until he was fat enough to eat; because of “O” and how desperately I wanted to be her; because of my dreams; because of the games we played; because I’ve got an active imagination; because my mother bought me Tinker Toys; because hardware stores give me hard-ons; because of hammers, nails, clothespins, wood, padlocks, pullies, eyebolts, thumbtacks, staple-guns, sewing needles, wooden spoons, fishing tackle, chains, metal rulers, rubber tubing, spatulas, rope, twine, C-clamps, S-hooks, razor blades, scissors, tweezers, knives, pushpins, two-by-fours, Ping-Pong paddles, alligator clips, duct tape, broomsticks, barbecue skewers, bungie cords, sawhorses, soldering irons; because of tool sheds; because of garages; because of basements; because of dungeons; because of The Pit and the Pendulum; because of the Tower of London; because of the Inquisition; because of the rack; because of the cross; because of the Addams Family playroom; because of Morticia Addams and her black dress with its octopus legs; because of motherhood; because of Amazons; because of the Goddess; because of the moon; because it’s in my nature; because it’s against nature; because it’s nasty; because it’s fun; because it flies in the face of all that’s normal (whatever that is); because I’m not normal; because I used to think that I was part of some vast experiment and that there was this implant in my penis that made me do these things and that allowed THEM (whoever THEY were) to monitor my activities; because I had to take my clothes off and lie inside this plastic bag so the doctors could collect my sweat; because once upon a time I had such a high fever that my parents had to strip me naked and wrap me in wet sheets to stop the convulsions; because my parents loved me even more when I was suffering; because surrender is sweet; because I was born into a world of suffering; because I’m attracted to it; because I’m addicted to it; because endorphins in the brain are like a natural kind of heroin; because I learned to take my medicine; because I was a big boy for taking it; because I can take it like a man; because, as somebody once said, HE’S GOT MORE BALLS THAN I DO; because it is an act of courage; because it does take guts; because I’m proud of it; because I can’t climb mountains; because I’m terrible at sports; because NO PAIN, NO GAIN; because SPARE THE ROD AND SPOIL THE CHILD; because YOU ALWAYS HURT THE ONE YOU LOVE.

Body Modifications

"Wilhelm Stekel believed that fetishism was not only a religion but a form of true asceticism in that it avoids so-called 'normal' sexual intercourse." from here

Tight-lacing
with corset designer Pearl, which leads back to Fakir Musafar.

A photographer and "father of the modern primitive movement" that explore spirituality though the body, which bring us back to needle and suspension play: Fakir Musafar, "Perfect Gentleman, Self Portrait", 1959, Edition 25

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X1

Monday, October 12, 2009

Not to needle you...

...but you'll appreciate this:



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X1

Foot Fetish

‘Just advertising departments with legs and high heels.’ — Richard Avedon

How nice that you finally have something in common with Tarantino. I found something you might enjoy Y1.

These are portfolio images from Bela Borsodi, who obviously does a fair number of advertising shoots among which is this one.

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X1



Back up a sec, to that picture of the Clunkies feet, X1....



Ever notice that nearly EVERY Quentin Tarantino movie references foot fetishism? Well, I did....(blush multiple shades of red)

Kill Bill
Jackie Brown
Death Proof
From Dusk Till Dawn
Pulp Fiction (BLATANTLY obvious...Uma Thurman's)
Inglorious Basterds

Well, Uma noticed too....


"Hollywood beauty UMA THURMAN is convinced maverick film-maker QUENTIN TARANTINO has a foot fetish because he is more interested in shooting his female stars' feet than wrapping up scenes.

The 35-year-old first spotted Tarantino's penchant for feet when they shot PULP FICTION in 1994 - and when he based an entire scene around her toes in 2003's KILL BILL: VOL. 1 she was amazed he still denied having a foot fetish.

She says, "Well, it started in Pulp Fiction with that foot massage speech. He denies his foot fetish, but he's accused of it regularly. I don't think it's me in particular.

"Many people commented during Kill Bill that he could release a whole version entirely on the foot-shots that he took of all the actors, shoed, un-shoed."


(Thanx to: http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/story/thurman-tarantino-has-a-foot-fetish )

The Voodoo, that YOU Do, So well....


Over to you, X1....


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Voodoo

A little Voodoo from Godsmack



Old but still good and it doesn't require eye bleach.

Also for a moment of sheer torture there is a virtual voodoo doll available here, or you can send a voodoo curse from here.

And finally a pic of a favorite form of Voodoo:


...and you're still wondering where I am going with this aren't you?

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X1

Friday, October 9, 2009

Cybex - the serious side

You have to thank AOL chat rooms for the first cyber-rape as noted in The Hot Rod Bodies of Cybersex - Sue-Ellen Case where a reader receives graphic sexual writing or content without first consenting to the be the recipient.

In AN EXPLORATORY STUDY ABOUT THE IMPACTS THAT CYBERSEX (THE USE OF THE INTERNET FOR SEXUAL PURPOSES) IS HAVING ON FAMILIES AND THE PRACTICES OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY THERAPISTS - Peter David Goldberg (2004) the then rapid rise of cybering practices was noted along with the recognition that this new form of sexual entertainment was presenting many problems for therapists that they were not prepared to deal with.

The interpretation of cybering as either a healthy practice of little consequence or one of dire circumstances depends completely on perspective and one's own interpretation of the activity as a sexual affair, akin to viewing pornography, acting in a pronographic manner, consensual, or attacking.

Personally, I'm still stuck in the 80's, and prefer phone sex over cybering. Somehow, the written word doesn't convey all that the voice can.

PS: Fetch the eye bleach NOW Y1! That first pic, OMG!
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X1

Next stop...Cybersex.



"I love you pumpkin."

"I love YOU, honey bunny."

"Any of you pricks MOVE, and I'll execute every motherfucking last one of ya!"

(Dick Dale's 'Miserlou' kicks in....)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

For the Love of Clunkies

And this Canadian guy got it right:

Inventor unveils anatomically correct fem-bot



Posted Wed Dec 17, 2008 9:33am AEDT
Updated Wed Dec 17, 2008 4:14pm AEDT
$24,000 woman...Aiko's anatomically-correct form has sparked some controversy.

$24,000 woman...Aiko's anatomically-correct form has sparked some controversy. (supplied: www.projectaiko.com)

Still looking for that special something for the friend who has everything?

A Canadian robotics enthusiast may have solved your problem with his invention of a life-sized female robot which can read newspapers and maps, recognise faces and even clean your ears.

News reports have dubbed the android the perfect wife, but the inventor insists there is nothing strange going on.

She may not be the best conversationalist, but Aiko the Android is pretty flexible when it comes to chores and making company.

Made of silicon and electronics, the life-size robot with soft Asian features and shiny, dark, shoulder length hair can recognise faces and objects.

The inventor is 33-year-old Canadian Le Trung, who has spent $24,000 on the project.

"Basically, it's a hobby, I have enjoyed building robots since I was four. This time I built an android which looks almost human and tries to mimic human behaviour," he said.

With more than 13,000 phrases in English and Japanese at her disposal, Aiko can have reasonable chat. She can read the newspaper, learn the layout of buildings and offer people directions or tell them to take an umbrella if it is raining.

According to Mr Trung, Aiko could prove to be a handy personal assistant.

"Basically, [she can] do basic stuff like face recognition, could do some maths, colours, could feel pain sensations," he said.

"She can do weather - access the weather stations, she can MSN your friend to cancel your going to the movies, she can be used as a receptionist or at an information desk."

She is also equipped with touch sensors and can indicate pain or annoyance.

Weighing 32 kilos, with a height of 152 centimetres and a bust of 82 centimetres, the most controversial feature of Aiko has proven to be her anatomically correct body.

Mr Trung denies he designed Aiko for sexual purposes. But he is hoping one day she will be able to clean his ears when he lies down on her lap.

He insists Aiko has far more useful skills, such as opening doors for grandparents, or reading to them.

Damian Conway from Thoughtstream IT Consultants says while Aiko is not an example of artificial intelligence, she is sophisticated enough to be useful, like an extra set of eyes with a brain behind them.

"We can pretty much say that she's not artificially intelligent. She's a set of very sophisticated responses that achieve important goals. But then, so also is an automobile," he said.

"If you can't read the paper yourself, it would be nice to have something that could read it to you. If you can't, for example, read the label on a pill bottle, it might be very nice to have some technology that could do that," he said.

"It mightn't necessarily look like a young Japanese girl. That technology doesn't have to come in that particular packaging. But that kind of technology is technology that a lot of people could use."

And Mr Conway says Aiko represents a huge change in the way humans interact with technology.

"We're finally starting to see people saying, 'Look, 17th century interfaces really aren't good enough for interacting with modern computers, with the power that they have'," he said.

"So we're going to see over the next couple of decades a shift in the way that we interact with computers. And that's what Aiko is really the harbinger of - new ways of interacting with computers.

"Ways that are, to us, more natural. Ways that seem like interacting with a person."

Based on a report by Emily Bourke for PM on December 17

From: www.abc.net.au

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X1