Sunday, June 27, 2010

a long time coming...

it's a time to celebrate for the sisterhood - julia's prime minister... like her or not, it's groundbreaking (or should that be ceiling-shattering?!) herstory in the making here in australia - we finally have a female in the 'top job' - she's intelligent, articulate, and has a good sense of humour - she's from a working class background, is proud of her heritage and believes in social equity - she was the national president of the australian union of students, then became a solicitor with slater & gordon ("... a law firm focussed on servicing the needs of unions and their members, in particular in the area of workers compensation.") and after 3 years became a partner in the firm - it was here she earned respect from the unions as an advocate for people's rights (and still maintains their support) - she was appointed chief of staff of the victorian opposition in 1996 and moved into the federal sphere in 1998... she is a supporter of womyn's rights and is pro-choice... she's not religious, nor is she married - she is very much her own person - she certainly appears to have more going for her than any of australia's previous male prime ministers or any current challengers!!!!

but unfortunately she hasn't been voted in by the people yet, although with an election just around the corner she may just romp it in - labor's approval rating has already risen since she became pm!!!

why has it taken so long to vote in a womon? since obtaining the vote in 1902 (thanks to the committed suffragists) it took until 1921 for edith cowan to be elected to an australian parliament when she won a seat in the western australian legislative assembly...

it then took another 22 years for womyn to be elected to federal parliament when dorothy tangney became senator for western australia and enid lyons was elected to the house of representatives in 1943...

since then there have been numerous womyn elected to federal politics, but it's taken far too long for us to place a womon in 'the top job'... for a once politically progressive country, we've been lagging a tad behind in political gender equality here in australia, as this list of womyn who have attained the highest office in their respective countries attests:

Sirimavo Bandaranaike, prime minister of Sri Lanka - 1960, 1970, 1994
Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India - 1966, 1980
Golda Meir, prime minister of Israel - 1969
Isabel Peron, president of Argentina - 1974
Elisabeth Domitien, prime minister of Central African Republic - 1975
Margaret Thatcher, prime minister of Great Britain - 1979
Maria da Lourdes Pintasilgo, prime minister of Portugal - 1979
Lidia Gueiler Tejada, prime minister of Bolivia - 1979
Dame Eugenia Charles, prime minister of Dominica - 1980
Vigdis Finnbogadottir, president of Iceland - 1980
Gro Harlem Brundtland, prime minister of Norway - 1981, 1986, 1990
Milka Planinc, federal prime minister of Yugoslavia - 1982
Agatha Barbara, president of Malta - 1982
Maria Liberia-Peters, prime minister of Netherlands Antilles - 1984, 1988
Corazon Aquino, president of Philippines - 1986
Benazir Bhutto, prime minister of Pakistan - 1988, 1993
Kazimiera Danuta Prunskiene, prime minister of Lithuania - 1990
Violeta Barrios de Chamorro, prime minister of Nicaragua - 1990
Mary Robinson, president of Ireland - 1990
Ertha Pascal Trouillot, interim president of Haiti - 1990
Sabine Bergmann-Pohl, president of German Democratic Republic - 1990
Khaleda Zia, prime minister of Bangladesh - 1991, 2001
Edith Cresson, prime minister of France - 1991
Hanna Suchocka, prime minister of Poland - 1992
Kim Campbell, prime minister of Canada - 1993
Sylvie Kinigi, prime minister of Burundi - 1993
Agathe Uwilingiyimana, prime minister of Rwanda - 1993
Susanne Camelia-Romer, prime minister of Netherlands Antilles - 1993, 1998
Tansu Ciller, prime minister of Turkey - 1993
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, president of Sri Lanka - 1994
Reneta Indzhova, interim prime minister of Bulgaria - 1994
Claudette Werleigh, prime minister of Haiti - 1995
Sheikh Hasina Wajed, prime minister of Bangladesh - 1996
Mary McAleese, president of Ireland - 1997
Pamela Gordon, premier of Bermuda - 1997
Janet Jagan, prime minister of Guyana - 1997
Jenny Shipley, prime minister of New Zealand - 1997
Ruth Dreifuss, president of Switzerland - 1999
Jennifer M. Smith, prime minister of Bermuda - 1998
Helen Clark, prime minister of New Zealand - 1999
Mireya Moscoso, president of Panama - 1999
Vaira Vike-Freiberga, president of Latvia - 1999
Tarja Halonen, president of Finland - 2000
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, president of the Philippines - 2001
Mame Madior Boye, prime minister of Senegal - 2001
Megawati Sukarnoputri, president of Indonesia - 2001
Maria das Neves, Prime Minster of Sao Tome and Principe - 2002
Beatriz Merino, prime minister of Peru - 2003
Luisa Diogo, prime minister of Mozambique - 2004
Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany - 2005
Yulia Tymoshenko, prime minister of Ukraine - 2005
Michelle Bachelet, president of Chile - 2006
Micheline Calmy-Rey, president of Switzerland - 2006
Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, president of Liberia - 2006
Han Myeong-sook, prime minister of South Korea - 2006
Portia Simpson Miller, prime minister of Jamaica - 2006
Pratibha Devisingh Patil, president of India - 2007
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, president of Argentina - 2007
Borjana Kristo, president of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzogovina - 2007
Zinaida Greceanii - prime minister of Moldova, 2008
Dalia Grybauskaite - president of Lithuania, 2009
Laura Chinchilla - president of Costa Rica, 2010
Kamla Persad Bissessar, prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago, 2010
and of course Aung San Suu Kyi should have been prime minister of Myanmar in 1990, but the military government refused to recognize the results of that election!

there's a lot of herstory there - and Julia Gillard finally adds australian representation to that list - way to go sister!!!!

unfortunately all i can see is the same labor party that sold out their rank and file decades ago - once considered the left-wing alternative, it's definitely moved much further to the right these days - could julia change that? but it is scary to think what the right faction of the party might expect of her in throwing their support behind her and getting rid of one of their own!! all i can hope is that she's strong enough to not sell out for the sake of the position, and is able to maintain her leftist politics and social conscience - and her own identity... it will no doubt be an interesting political time ahead!!!

but unless there's a dramatic change in the federal political scene it will be hard to entice me to vote - perhaps the newly established and soon to be registered animal justice party  could be part of  the change i've been waiting for - unless of course julia and the labor party choose to end animal cruelty, put a stop to animal abuse and exploitation, support the universal declaration on animal welfare - and then there's social justice....

Monday, June 21, 2010

a 'decadent' day...

yay – i’ve got absolutely nothing planned today!!!

the weekend’s been quite busy… had to do some shopping for me mother on saturday morning 'cause she didn’t feel up to getting down the street – she’s having bad effects from one of the medications she’s been on - spiriva for her copd - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – knocks her about for most of the day, and on reading the information that came with it apparently people with kidney disease and glaucoma maybe shouldn’t take it – she has both of those 'conditions' as well – way to go alfred hospital renal department – now that sounds competent!!! i spoke to her this morning though and she's rejigged when she takes this one until she goes for a check up next week and was feeling much better...

here's a photo of me mum with me brother at 5 months (big fucker wasn't he!! - i need to record my mother telling her story about his birth - it's priceless!!!) - that would make it june 1952... and i thought i'd 'throw in' one of her mum with their beautiful spaniel honey - that would have been in the very late 50s or early 60s because i remember honey and recognise the house in highett where they were living at the time - although it looks like there's another dog (that looks very much like my allie) on the verandah - but i don't remember them having 2 dogs at the one time...

talking of allie, my beautiful old incontinent girl keeps me busy – I’m forever mopping up piss and washing towels!!! a small ‘price’ really for her years of companionship, love and loyalty – but it can get you down sometimes – but there is only limited time for depression and self-pity – coming from a working-class background of battlers and survivors I learnt early that you just have to ‘pick yourself up, dust yourself off and get on with life' – until the next crisis anyway... and of course there's shadow too - he has needs and demands on my time as well!!!

the malmsbury mob came down saturday evening and stayed the night - it’s always pleasurable to have irene and the gang visit – i get to see my louie boy… we laughed, smoked and enjoyed the poodles antics…i made us a yummy pasta that we had with some beautiful sourdough bread...

the contract for the land is being signed this week so we’ll know when settlement will be at that point – either 30 or 60 days - and then we’ll be able to move ahead with the ‘retreat’ design and plans… we’re still ‘umm-ing and ahh-ing’ about which design and company to go with but i’m really excited about it - it’ll be new, and it’ll be my home!!!!

sunday morning meant a run over at the leash free park for the poodles – where we met montgomery the beautiful cinnamon coloured standard poodle – and did he love meeting up with the poodle pack – poodles just love other poodles no matter their size!!!! then we met and cried with another womon who had recently lost her old dog, her companion of 15 years, to cancer – but she had just rescued a wee little terrier cross so we shed a few tears of happiness for the lucky little girl!!! a weepy start to the day - you just never know what a walk to the park will unveil!!!

time for the gang to go home then and me to psyche myself up and get ready for work – at least I only had to go to AP so the shift was only 3 ¾ hours – and it turned out to be a nice cruisy shift this weekend (unlike last Sunday!!!) so we got pretty much all of the shelving done – now that doesn’t happen very often these days!!!

so here it is monday morning - i’m blogging, having a smoke and thinking about making some decadent chocolate truffles or rum balls (recipes below) before i relax with either a movie or a book – haven’t decided yet… but that’s not until after I do some ‘domestic shit’ - after that sheer decadence is the order of the day!!!

  • 1 x 8 ounce container nondairy cream cheese
  • 3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 3 cups nondairy semisweet or dark chocolate chips (or any high-quality chocolate), melted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Ingredients for coating truffles (see below)
In the large bowl of a food processor, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add confectioners' sugar, 1 cup at a time, until well blended. Add melted chocolate and vanilla and stir until thoroughly combined.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or as long as overnight. The longer you refrigerate the batter, the easier it will be to roll into perfect balls. However, it will definitely require elbow grease to scoop them out.

Shape into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate again if the batter is too soft, especially if your kitchen is warm. Use a strong spoon or melon baller to create uniform sizes.

Once rolled, either send balls back to fridge or coat in any of the following:
  • Finely ground nuts (pecans, hazelnuts, walnuts, almonds)
  • Sifted cocoa powder
  • Toasted or raw coconut
  • Sifted confectioners' sugar
• To create a hard chocolate shell, refrigerate rolled truffle balls for at least 30 minutes (longer is fine, too). Melt some nondairy chocolate, either a good quality chocolate bar or chocolate chips, and dip each ball into the chocolate. Return to the refrigerator and let set for at least 1 hour.

Rum Balls

60g dairy-free margarine
2 tbsp treacle (i might use agave syrup)
60g brown sugar
1 tbsp cocoa
1 tbsp rum (or other liqueur)
2 tbsp almond meal
1 cup mixed chopped dates or fruits of choice
1 cup chopped mixed nuts

place margarine, treacle (or alternative) and sugar in saucepan and slowly bring to boil. Remove from heat and stir in remaining incredients. mix well, cool and roll into balls. roll in favourite coating.

nothing left to do but eat and enjoy!!!!

and here's an evening update...

it's 6.15 and this is a picture of the decadent chocolate truffles i made earlier this afternoon!!!

i halved the truffle recipe above, added chopped nuts to the mixture, rolled some in cocoa and some in crushed nuts - i got 14 truffles - they're decadent and oh so yummy - allie gives them the seal of approval too!!!!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

lucky kitty...

i got to have a bit of a play on (or is that with?) Curvy Kitty's ipad today - what can i say - i'd really, really like one... but that ain't gonna happen for a longgggg time!!

hey, i'm still paying off me laptop - and i've only just gotten a hd television on credit.... so $750 for a new toy is way out of my financial league... but maybe one day - in the far distant future...

and now to relax - i just got home from work a little while ago after 'split-shifting' today so it's been a long day - and it was quite busy with returns and shelving tonight... but i like wednesdays - don't mind the split shift because i get to come home and spend some time with the gang in the middle of the day, and they can get out for a couple of hours too - although it's a bit cold for everybody at the moment - they'd rather just stay inside with the heater!!!

so, on that note, it's time for a smoke and a stretch out on the couch... cheers!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

listening and learning...

i went to a seminar the other day on e-audiobooks... i got to learn a bit more about the provider the library's gone with - so i thought i may as well start using the resource - i quite enjoy a talking book and these can be downloaded ("One-Click transfer to portable devices") to mp3 players, windows media player or ipods - so i downloaded the netlibrary media centre and at the moment i'm listening to sarah waters' "the little stranger" in the background while blogging...

i think this might be highly utilised... i can download up to 10 talking books at a time (for a 20-hour 'book' it takes around 20 mins) - the borrowing period is 3 weeks... there are 593 titles to choose from - almost half of those are mystery, a popular genre and one i like - so it'll take me a while to get through the titles i might want to listen to - doesn't seem like too bad a selection - and hopefully it'll grow... so if you're into audiobooks just join the library and start listening...

the seminar was in the city - a place i get to very rarely these days - there was no lunch being provided (which is often fortunate for a vegan) so with an hour to ourselves, i was looking forward to a bit of quiet down time after listening all morning - i headed off into the city to check out 'lord of the fries' and grab one of their vegan burgers - i'd checked online the night before to see if there was anywhere i'd be able to get something i could eat - and according to their website:

• Our fries = vegan, gluten fre
• Our patties = vegan, gluten free, do not contain garlic, onion
• Our nuggets = vegan, gluten free
• Our sour cream = no gelatine, gluten free
• Our cheese = rennet free, vegan (by request)
• Our buns = vegan, gluten free (by request)
• Our oil = we recycle & use as biodiesel in our delivery vans"

their claim to be wildlife victoria's largest cash contributor was an added reason to check them out - and should you be thinking of joining the sea shepard at some stage you'll get to eat at any lord of the fries for free... so i could at least get something quick and vegan to eat while walking around town - and my money was supporting a business that appears to have some ethics!!!! but of course it is fast food - now if only restaurants would 'take a leaf out of their book' and start catering to vegans, life would be a treat...

and now i'm off to make a mushroom pasta and maybe watch the last episode of the first series of true blood - if you don't know it's based on the southern vampire mysteries series featuring sookie stackhouse, written by charlaine harris ... and still i'm not sure what i think of it - yes, i'll watch series 2 when the library gets it but i'm reserving my judgement until then... i'm still working the characters out... i haven't read any of the books though so i don't know how true to the novels the tv series is...

by the way, i didn't really hear the first few chapters of the audiobook i was listening to... can't concentrate on listening while thinking and writing... will just have to listen to it from the start again sometime... but what i did catch sounded good - should entice me back to it...

Sunday, June 6, 2010

wise womyn and the wondrous weed...

little did i know that sitting down to read my latest edition of the NORML newsletter today would take me on a journey back through centuries of herstory to the christian inquisition...

i started with the article "Latest Research On Pot and Schizophrenia Runs Contrary to Mainstream Media Hype", moved on to "Marijuana Prohibition Corrupts; Absolute Marijuana Prohibition Corrupts Absolutely", read a few more articles, checked out the NORML Women's Alliance page and then ventured over to the site "mums for marijuana" where i watched this very interesting video:


that then led me to more research and the most interesting (and stimulating) reading of the day -the use of cannabis by womyn throughout the centuries - and the outlawing of it by the catholic church...

"During Europe's dark ages, pagan herbalists and witches - mostly women - used cannabis in their ointments and cures. During a time when illness was equated with evil, these pagans attracted a devout following for their miraculous healing lore.

The Catholic Church, threatened by the resurgence of ancient religions and by forms of medicine that challenged their exclusive right to perform healings, gruesomely tortured these women to extract confessions of supposedly satanic allegiance, and then burned them to death in public forums.

Cannabis was a common feature of pagan fertility celebrations in the first 1000 years AD. Like Ostara, the love goddesses Freya and Venus were also often worshipped with cannabis offerings.

Pagan healers, mostly wise women, used cannabis for a number of medicinal benefits. Curiously, some of the earliest evidence of medical-cannabis using pagans comes from the writings of famous Catholic nun and herbalist Hildegard von Bingen of Germany (1098-1179). Hildegard's self-education included ancient Greek medicine and local pagan folk remedies. From her education with pagan wise women, she learned of cannabis' healing powers. In her famous work Physia, in an entry titled "Of Hemp", she writes that "hemp is warm - it is wholesome for healthy people to eat - it can be easily digested, and it diminishes the bad humours and makes the good humours strong."

Curiously, Hildegard also wrote poetry to the "Green Power," and had strong visions, similar to Joan of Arc, who was accused of using the psychedelic mandrake plant and then burned as a witch. Hildegard von Bingen's unprecedented influence on the early German pharmacopoeia ensured that cannabis remedies would eventually become common across Europe - especially as the terrors of the Black Death crept up from European sewers and into the homes of millions, making the purveyors of mainstream medicine seem like helpless fools."... you can read more at cannabis culture

i did a bit more reading and came across a few references to a book called "The emperor wears no clothes" by Jack Herer, an american cannabis activist... and discovered the book online on his website... the following excerpt is from chapter 10 -  "Myth, Magic & Medicine: A Look at the Sociology of Cannabis Use Throughout World History"...

"From at least the 27th century B.C. up until this century, cannabis was incorporated into virtually all the cultures of the Middle East, Asia Minor, India, China, Japan, Europe, and Africa for its superior fiber, medicines, oils, food and for its meditative, euphoric, and relaxational uses.

Hemp medicine was found effective as wound healer, muscle relaxant, pain reliever, fever reducer and unparalleled aid to childbirth, not to mention hundreds of other medicinal applications.

Hemp was a major industry in biblical times. As in other cultures throughout the Middle East, the Hebrew tradition of mysticism (e.g., Cabala) was aware of, and entwined with, regional sects using natural intoxicants in their rituals. As usual, they hid this knowledge behind rituals, symbols and secret codes to protect natural sacraments like “sacred mushrooms” and mind-elevating herbs, including cannabis."

With constantine’s eventual (strategic) conversion to Christianity – hence the merging of church and state – "in the 4th, 5th and 6th centuries A.D., pagan religions and all the different Christian sects, belief systems, knowledge, gospels, etc., such as the Essenes, Gnostics and Merovingians (Franks), were either incorporated into or edited out of official doctrine and hierarchy.

Finally, in a series of councils, all contrary dogmas (e.g., that the Earth was round, and the sun and stars were more than five to 17 miles away) were summarily outlawed and driven underground during the Dark Ages, 400 -1000+ A.D.

By the early Middle Ages, at the beginning of the 11th century A.D., virtually all powers were placed in the hands of the Church and Pope" - the divine right to rule had become their dogma and the pope had become infallible!!!!

"To prohibit knowledge, people were literally kept in the dark, without a piece of paper to write on. The monasteries preserved and guarded hemp’s secrets. They saw that cannabis held two threats to this policy of absolute control: papermaking and lamp oil.

While embracing wine as a sacrament, and tolerating beer and hard liquor, the Inquisition outlawed cannabis ingestion in Spain in the 12th century, and France in the 13th. Many other natural remedies were simultaneously banned. Anyone using hemp to communicate, heal, etc. was labeled “witch.”

Virtually the only legal medical cures allowed the people of Western Europe by the Roman Catholic Church Fathers at this time were:

1. (a.) Wearing a bird mask for plague. (b.) Setting fractured bones or cleaning burns.

2. Bleeding pints and even quarts of blood from all flu, pneumonia or fever patients (victims) which was the most used treatment in Europe and America by doctors until the beginning of the 1900s. It does not work! And did not work no matter how much blood they took.

3. Praying to specific saints for a miraculous cure, e.g., St. Anthony for ergotism (poisoning), St. Odilla for blindness, St. Benedict for poison sufferers, and St. Vitus for comedians and epileptics.

4. Alcohol for a variety of problems.

Saint Joan of Arc, for example, was accused in 1430-31 of using a variety of herbal “witch” drugs, including cannabis, to hear voices.

In 1484, Pope Innocent VIII singled out cannabis healers and other herbalists, proclaiming hemp an unholy sacrament of the second and third types of Satanic mass. This persecution lasted for more than 150 years. Satanic knowledge and masses, according to the Medieval Church, came in three types:

• To summon or worship Satan;

• To have Witch’s knowledge (e.g., herbalists or chemists) of making, using or giving others any unguent or preparation including cannabis as medicine or as a spiritual sacrament;

• The Mass of the Travesty - doing irreverent, farcical or satirical take-offs on the dogmas, doctrines, indulgences, and rituals of the R.C.Ch. mass and/or its absolute beliefs.

Because medieval priest bureaucrats thought they were sometimes laughed at, ridiculed and scorned by those under their influence - often by the most learned monks, clerics and leading citizens - ingesting cannabis was proclaimed heretical and Satanic.

For cannabis-related knowledge, or hundreds of other “sins” - owning a devil’s tool (dinner fork), reading a sorcerer’s book or speaking in tongues (foreign language), having a different faith, having the witch’s habit (taking a bath or falling into a river), etc. - from 10% to as many as 50% of the people in Western Europe were tortured or put to death without trial during the medieval Roman Catholic Church’s 500-year Inquisition (12th to 17th centuries).

The Pope could declare anything “heresy,” and use it as an excuse to legally rob, torture and kill his enemies or anyone else accused. For over 300 years, inquisitors divided up the property forfeited to them by suspected witches and heretics. Whoever denounced you got 1/3 of your property, 1/3 went to the government and 1/3 went to the Papal hierarchy."

the government and church definitely had a vested interest in whipping up a frenzy of fear... and what an incentive - accuse or be accused!!!! fear compels some to do terrible things - and fear always reigned... poverty could be alleviated by an accusation – greed could be rewarded - jealousies could be assuaged and competition could be gotten rid of - of course the worst atrocities were brutally perpetrated by the witch-hunters, who could satisfy their misogynistic and sadistic desires through terrible tortures, with suffering and death the result... it's estimated that anywhere from hundreds of thousands, to millions, of womyn died - but no matter the exact number, it was without a doubt a holocaust...

a little bit more reading enlightened me to the fact that Bast is the most important "goddess of cannabis witchcraft"...

"Bast, or Bastet, is one of the oldest of the Kemetic neteru (egyptian deities). The city of Per-Bastet, capital of the Am Khent sepat (or state), was dedicated to the worship of Bast. Bast is a very complex and complete Goddess. She if often described as the Goddess of cats and usually depicted as a beautiful human woman with the head of a cat. She is also the Goddess of cannabis and every cannabis plant is a physical embodiment of Bast. All followers of Am Khent Kemeticism are required by their religion to honor Bast, cats, and cannabis.

The Greeks called this same Goddess Artemis, one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Some scholars believe that the name, and indeed the goddess herself, was originally pre-Greek.. The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world."

and then there is Diana, the Roman version of the magick Goddess of cannabis, also known as Queen of Witches... "One of the primary goals of the Christian Inquisitions was to stamp out worship of Diana. Some scholars think this was the original reason for the Inquisition. The Christian clergy proclaimed that Diana was the Queen of the Witches. Torquemada, an infamous witchhunter and grand Inquisitor, claimed that Diana was Satan."... she was also called Goddess of the Pagans and the Night Goddess...

you just never know where a newsletter will lead... and now i'm off to partake of the 'witches weed'...