Berger – Ways of Seeing

Ways of Seeing by John Berger
Date read: 01-10 January 2017
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2017look, 2017nfc

Cover image of Ways of Seeing by John Berger

Paperback, 166 pages
Published 1977 [©1973] by British Broadcasting Corp. and Penguin Books
Source: Central Oregon Community College Barber Library [N7430.5 .W39 1973]

I read this to Sara beginning in the evening of 1 January and the next day saw via Twitter that Berger had died.

There are seven essays, three of which are entirely visual, while the others contain lots of images to illustrate his points.

I quite enjoyed this book although at times I simply had to suspend belief, if you will, as his writing style here is very aphoristic. He makes many claims, most with little to no justification. When I understood what he was on about—happened several times—then I pretty much agreed. When I did not it was easier to begin questioning those claims.

Essay 7 on what he calls “Publicity” is about advertising (and perhaps slightly broader) and I understood almost all of it. And agreed with most all of it. But then I once did a couple semesters with Richard Stivers on technology and advertising and spent much time with his books, The Technology of Magic and The Culture of Cynicism, so was well prepared for Berger’s take.

The book is a very 1970s book in so many ways. That in no way diminishes its value today though.

If you can take the aphoristic writing style then it is highly recommended. I only gave it 3 stars for that reason. I prefer a little more “justification” with the claims I read. If one has to know enough about something to be able to understand, and potentially agree with, an author’s claims then what is the point of reading them in the first place?

This is the 2nd book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2017 [2017nfc] and 1st review.

This book counts for the category A book of essays in my 2017 “the looking all around list” Self-Reading Challenge.

Gunders – Waste Free Kitchen Handbook

Waste Free Kitchen Handbook: A guide to eating well and saving money by wasting less food by Dana Gunders

Date read: 17 February – 01 March 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016nfc

Cover image of Gunder's Waste Free Kitchen Handbook

Paperback, 200 pages
Published 2015 by Chronicle Books
Source: Own

Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction: Making a Difference
  • Part One: Strategies for Everyday Life
  • Part Two: Recipes
  • Part Three: Directory
  • Foodborne Illness
  • Notes
  • Index

“The author is a staff scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and leads NRDC’s work on reducing the amount of food wasted across the country” (back cover).

The Introduction covers where food is wasted, what contributes to food waste in homes, what it takes to produce food, how wasting food saves money and resources, and how this is about “small, easy changes you can make in your daily food rhythm that will streamline your consumption” (21).

“My journey into becoming a food-waste warrior started at work, where I was researching how to improve farming. My aim was to help farmers use less water, fertilizers, and pesticides. But what I found startled me. After all the effort and resources that were being invested to get food to our plates, a huge amount of it was going uneaten! It occurred to me that no matter how organically or sustainably we grow our food, if it doesn’t get eaten, it doesn’t do anyone any good.

About 40 percent of all food in the United States does not get eaten.1 That’s crazy! It’s like buying five bags of groceries and then dropping two of the bags in the grocery store parking lot and not bothering to pick them up.

Collectively, consumers are responsible for more wasted food than farmers, grocery stores, or any other part of the food supply chain” (Introduction, 9).

You may have noticed the footnote in the above quote. The book contains a fair few (61 total) endnotes, many of which are to free and open sources. I have added the two citations used in quotes I am using near the bottom of this post.

Growing portion sizes come in for a bit of analysis in the Intro. “Portion sizes are now sometimes 2 to 8 tines larger than the standard serving sizes defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration7” (11). There is a chart on p. 12 showing the growth in portion sizes from 1982 to 2002 for nine food items. The smallest increase of 70% was for pepperoni pizza to 205% for soda and 400% for a chocolate chip cookie!

Part One covers Sage Shopping (tricks of the grocery trade, meal planning, shopping guidelines, and waste diagnostics), Smarter Storage (refrigerators, freezers, blanching, canning, pickling, drying, and root cellars; although these last four are simply overviews), The Crafty Kitchen (setting up your kitchen, tenets of mindful cooking, making the right amount, salvaging kitchen crises, leftovers, keeping food safe, and food waste management for parties), Can I Eat It? (what happens to food as it ages, expiration dates, and who should be particularly careful), Getting Scrappy (food scraps for and not for pets, things that can be (re)planted, household uses for scraps, and composting), and Go Forth and Go For It, which provides a short recap so far.

Part Two consists of 20 recipes ranging from infused vodkas through desserts and main dishes to side dishes by using food items that are nearing or just past prime.

Part Three covers Fruits; Vegetables; Meat, Poultry, and Seafood; Pantry Staples; Dairy and Eggs; Beans, Nuts, and Vegetarian Proteins; Oils, Condiments, and Spices. The Directory “… offers advice on how to store foods, how to freeze them, and how long they stay at their best quality. It also has helpful tidbits on ways to use parts that you might have thought were inedible, tips for reviving foods, and answers to questions like, “What are those brown spots?” (146)

It clearly cannot cover everything but it does have many, if not most, of the more normal fruits, vegetables, meats, etc.

Foodborne Illness addessses pathogens, toxins, Listeria, and pasteurization.

Recommended. A fairly quick read with lots of ideas, some more practical than others depending on your situation, which she does acknowledge. Early on the author comes across as a bit of a zealot but then this is a huge problem worldwide. See, for instance, Food Waste: The Facts by the United Nations Environment Programme, Regional Office of North Africa.

The scale of food waste is truly terrifying and criminally unjust.

1 K. D. Hall, J. Guo, M. Dore, and C. C. Chow, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, “The Progressive Increase of Food Waste in American and its Environmental Impact,” PloS One 4 no. 11 (2009), e7940.

7 L. Young and M. Nestle, “Expanding Portion Sizes in the U.S. Marketplace: Implications for U.S. Counsleing,” Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 103, no. 2 (February 2003): portionteller.com/pdf/portsize.pdf [link verified 05 March 2016]

Actually the 12th nonfiction book for me this year but the review for number 11 is taking a while.

This is the 11th book in my Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables

Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables John J. McKendry, selector

Date read: 18 January 2016
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Challenges: 2016transl, 2016gnc

Cover image of Aesop, Five Centuries of Illustrated Fables

Hardback (Museum issue), 96 pages
Published 1964 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Source: COCC Barber Library

Gorgeous in so many ways! Boy did I luck out listening to the universe on Friday.

Four stars as many of the morals are as or more cryptic than the fables themselves.

There is a five plus-page introduction by McKendry, the Assistant Curator of Prints, that does a wonderful job of situating Aesop’s Fables as possibly the finest work to show “the history of the printed illustrated book,” along with providing an overview of the evolution of the illustrations made for it and the various translations, along with revolutions in printing and image-making technologies that accompanied it.

In this lovely edition the images paired with the fable are fairly contemporaneous. For instance, the first eight are translations by William Caxton in 1484 with illustrations from four different sources, with the biggest difference being all of thirteen years. There are a couple at the end translated by Marianne Moore in 1954 with the illustrations from between one and nine years difference.

The introduction mentions that:

“Although the fables had been illustrated from early times, the invention of the printing press produced a virtual onslaught of the illustrations and made them a major par of our pictorial history. Before the end of the fifteenth century, there were over twenty different illustrated editions of them. The earliest editions are those of Mondavi, Ulm, and Verona, all published between 1476 and 1479, which are among the best books of the fifteenth century” 97-8).

Holy cow! That is insane and seriously supports the selectors contention regarding their importance to the history of the printed illustrated book.

There are forty fables included, with translations ranging from William Caxton (1484) to Marianne Moore (1954) and including ones from every century in between.

If you read this book PLEASE read the introduction. It provides so much context and makes watching the evolution of printing/image-making technology as it advanced and is represented by the included illustrations far more understandable and interesting.

The copy COCC holds has a bookplate which states: “Donated by Dr. Orde Pinckney to Central Oregon Community College Library.”  

Highly recommended but more for its description and depiction of illustrated book history than for the fables, many of which are in hard-to-understand English, irrespective of when translated.

There seems to be copies in some shape that are affordable. May look into acquiring one.

This is the 3rd book in my Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

Reading goals for 2016

My reading goals for 2016 are as varied as usual.

This is what I said near the end of my Books read in 2015 post:

“I want to keep reading things in translation; I feel I did well this year. I should try to read a bit more poetry and erotica, sex & gender this year. I am satisfied with the amount of re-reading, the number of ebooks, and of nonfiction. I hope to read a few less graphic novels and more varied things in literature & language; e.g., more actual lit, more on language and more poetry as previously mentioned. Maybe some re-reading there. Poetry books are close at hand.”

  • More poetry; re-reading encouraged here.
  • More Erotica, Sex & Gender.
  • Less graphic novels.
  • More literature.
  • Librariana? Didn’t read any in 2015. “Who have I become?,” one might ask.
  • Translations check.
  • Ebooks check.
  • Nonfiction check.
  • More essays and short stories.

In a more specific vein I offer the following up to myself:

Books currently reading being read [2016current].

Finish all nine of the books I am supposedly currently reading.

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide)
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living
  • Farhi – The Breathing Book
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and Its Role in the Evolution of Human Society
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table
  • Gilbert – Collected Poems
  • Bennett, ed. – Japanese Love Poems

2016 Books To Read Challenge (personal) [2016poss]

Key: * = currently reading, [on pause] = on pause

Total of 44 books, including some 8 on pause and 2 that I am currently reading. Of these, I challenge myself to complete 12.

Beer and Brewing

  • *The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food – Garrett Oliver
  • Water: A Comprehensive Guide for Brewers (Brewing Elements) – John J. Palmer and Kaminski
  • The Complete Beer Course: Boot Camp for Beer Geeks: From Novice to Expert in Twelve Tasting Classes – Joshua Bernstein

Central Oregon

  • Hiking Oregon’s History – William L. Sullivan [DPL]
  • Bend: A Pictorial History – Elsie Horn Williams [COCC]

Erotica, Sex & Gender

  • Straight: The Surprisingly Short History Of Heterosexuality – Hanne Blank [Summit]
  • Flow: The Cultural Story of Menstruation – Elissa Stein [Summit]

History

  • Bettie Page: The Life of a Pin-Up Legend – Karen Essex
  • The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffeehouse – Brian Cowan [COCC online]
  • Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage – Stephanie Coontz [DPL]

Librariana

  • Cataloging the World: Paul Otlet and the Birth of the Information Age – Alex Wright
  • The Discipline of Organizing – Glushko, ed.
  • Everyday Information: The Evolution of Information Seeking in America – Aspray & Hayes, eds. [COCC online]

Literature and Language

Language and Related

  • Is That a Fish in Your Ear?: Translation and the Meaning of Everything – David Bellos
  • Integrating Reality – Roy Harris
  • Integrationist Notes and Papers 2014 – Roy Harris

Literature and Literary Theory

  • The Literary Mind: The Origins of Thought and Language – Mark Turner
  • Imagination in Place: Essays – Wendell Berry
  • If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler – Italo Calvino
  • The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Brontë [Summit]
  • Seven Gothic Tales – Isak Dinesen

Philosophy [loosely defined]

  • *The Power of Ideas – Isaiah Berlin
  • Culture in Mind: Cognition, Culture, and the Problem of Meaning – Bradd Shore
  • The Sovereignty of Good – Iris Murdoch [Summit]
  • You Must Change Your Life: Poetry, Philosophy, and the Birth of Sense – John T. Lysacker
  • Self and Soul: A Defense of Ideals – Mark Edmundson
  • The Nature and Value of Happiness – Christine Vitrano [COCC]

Renewal

  • The Anti-Inflammation Diet and Recipe Book: Protect Yourself and Your Family from Heart Disease, Arthritis, Diabetes, Allergies and More – Jessica K. Black
  • Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain – John J. Ratey, MD and Eric Hagerman
  • The Wayward Mind: An Intimate History of the Unconscious – Guy Claxton
  • Feeding Your Demons: Ancient Wisdom for Resolving Inner Conflict – Tsultrim Allione [DPL]

Tech & Software

  • Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas – Seymour Papert
  • Just My Type: A Book About Fonts – Garfield
  • Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation – Pollan [DPL]

Assorted/Too Lazy to Classify

  • How to Worry Less about Money – John Armstrong [Summit]
  • Tasty: The Art and Science of What We Eat – John McQuaid

On Pause

  • Second-Hand Knowledge: An Inquiry into Cognitive Authority – Patrick Wilson [Philosophy]
  • Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight – James Atlee [Assorted]
  • Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life – Chungliang Al Huang & Jerry Lynch [Assorted]
  • The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook – Rev: 250 No-Fail Recipes … – Beth Hensperger [Renewal, Assorted/Cookery]
  • Take Control of Automating Your Mac – Joe Kissell [Tech & Software]
  • The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest – Timothy Egan [DPL ebook]
  • Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain – Carol Krucoff [Renewal] [Summit]
  • The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason – Mark Johnson [Philosophy, Renewal] [Summit]

There are, of course, tons of others and those I will come across this year, whether for the first time or not.

The only book not followed by a source [library x] that I do not own and did not find an easy source is the one on Bettie Page.

2016 Goodreads Challenge

My goal is 100 this year, up from 75 last year. I have been alternating between demolishing my goals and being a bit over here for several years.

Challenges hosted elsewhere

Nonfiction Reading Challenge 2016 [2016NFC]

Nonfiction Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

I did this one last year and this is how it turned out [per my Books read in 2015 post]:

“Completed 20 April 2015 [includes 1 reread from previous year + 3 in graphic novel challenge also; does not include 3 on pause or 1 I never reviewed]. I finished 68 nonfiction books but clearly did not review or link then to the challenge.”

Guess I’ll just declare myself for doing the Master level right now as I plan to read over 20 nonfiction books.

Books in Translation Reading Challenge 2016 [2016TRANS]

Books in Translation Reading Challenge hosted at The Introverted Reader

I want to keep reading books in translation so this seems like a good one. It only takes 10-12 for the top level of Linguist and I read 21 titles in translation last year. Currently working my way through a book of Japanese love poetry which I started on January 1st.

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge [2016GNC]

2016 9th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge Sign-Ups

I started this one slow last year and ended up creaming it early.

“52. Completed on 25 April 2015. In total, I read 99 graphic novels or manga [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2 + 1 gave up] but did not post & link reviews for the challenge.”

I think I’ll begin with 12 for Modern Age this year also. Hoping to shift some of my graphic novel and manga reading into other things but seeing as I read almost twice what I needed in the end and that I had read and reviewed the 52 I needed before the first third of the year was up I think I’ll be fine.

Wrap-Up

These reading goals for 2016 should do it for now. I know there are many other reading challenges out there but seeing however as every last one requires additional work—such as keeping track, writing a review (which I want to do more of), placing said review online somewhere, linking to the proper challenge, etc.—I think this is a more than good start.

Now I need to go create 2016-possibles, 2016nfc, 2016transl and 2016gnc shelves in Goodreads and “stock” them.

Maybe I can actually get back to reading soon?! If I had spent half the time reading as I have on data and writing about reading in the last couple of days I would have finished a couple decent length books already.

Books read in 2015

It looks like I read 171 titles in 2015 with another 7 re-read which were previously read in other years and 2 re-read which were also first read in 2015. There were, of course, titles skimmed, put on pause and given up on.

This year I have been tracking my reading in a Google Sheet and at Goodreads. Still working out workflow for this mess of an activity; i.e., tracking book reading.

The first grouping will be data from my Google Sheet, followed by some from Goodreads, links to previous 2015 reading-related posts, and a list of titles read in 2015 by gross categories.

Google Sheet

This data consists of total entered in Sheet, breakdown of reading status of titles brought forward from 2014, titles entered in 2015 and their breakdown of reading status, reading challenges, books re-read, ebooks, “genre” breakdowns, and sources for the books.

Total

198 [all are in Goodreads]

Brought forward from 2014:

Total 7
Finished 3
On pause 3
Currently Reading 1

Entered  in 2015:

Total 191
Read 171
Gave up 4
Skimmed 3 [skimmed many I did not enter in Sheet; 34 in 2015 according to Goodreads]
On pause 11
Currently reading 8 + 1 started in 2016

Reading Challenges

My own reading goals for 2015: 9 Read [of 12 committed to] + 2 currently reading + 3 on pause. I may post on this separately but calling it met, if barely.

2015 Reading Challenge: 35* of 50 categories. I may’ve accomplished some of the others but I have no good way of knowing re a couple categories. Not concerned. I may post on this separately. Calling it met; had no real criteria in mind so 35 seems fair.

2015 8th Annual Graphic Novel/Manga Challenge: 52. Completed on 25 April 2015. In total, I read 99 graphic novels or manga [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2 + 1 gave up] but did not post & link reviews for the challenge.

2015 Nonfiction Reading Challenge: 20. Completed 20 April 2015 [includes 1 reread from previous year + 3 in graphic novel challenge also; does not include 3 on pause or 1 I never reviewed]. I finished 68 nonfiction books but clearly did not review or link then to the challenge.

Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge: Goal of 75, reached 29 April 2015. Recorded 166 books for 221% of goal. These totals do not include ~3 books re-read nor those titles read and re-read in 2015.

Books Re-read

Total 11
Read 1st in previous year 8 [Nonfiction/Beer, NF/Literature & Language, 2 Graphic Novels, 4 Lit]
Read 1st & 2nd in 2015 3 [Nonfiction/Beer, 2 Graphic Novels]

Titles Re-read

Saunders – Dinner in the Beer Garden
Doyle – Through the Magic Door
Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 1: Flora & Fauna $
Folio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City (Girl Genius 13) $
Vaughan & Staples – Saga, Volume One
Vaughan & Staples – Saga, Volume Two
Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
Adams – Life, The Universe and Everything
Adams – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
Boak & Bailey – Gambrinus Waltz $

[$ = read & re-read in 2015]

Ebooks

Total 36 + 2 on pause (1 each)
Kindle 3 finished (2 Beer, Erotica)(incl. 1 re/read 2015 Beer) + 1 on pause (Tech)
PDF 34 (2 Assorted, 30 Graphic Novels + 1 on pause (Tech)

I read so many PDF graphic novels as they are all from either the Girl Genius series via a Kickstarter or from a Dungeons & Dragons Humble Bundle I bought earlier in 2015. I have done a couple Humble Bundles and have read few of them; I tend to forget them. So I wanted to get to work on that and chose these first.

Genre

NF [includes 6 graphic novels, 1 of which is of war poetry + memoir]

Total 92
Finished 68
On pause 11
Currently Reading 7
Gave up 3
Skimmed 3

Fiction

Total 104
Graphic Novels 93 + 1 gave up
Erotica 2
Lit 8
Poetry 1 + 1 currently reading

Other Breakdowns

Photo 6
Beer 26 + 2 currently reading
Graphic novel 99 + 1 gave up [includes 11 manga & 6 nonfiction]
Erotica 2
Poetry 3
Memoir 3 + 1 gave up
Central OR 4 + 1 currently reading
History 10 + 1 currently reading
Translations 21

Together

Read 1
On pause 1
Switch to ind. reading 1
Currently reading 1

Sources

Own 92 + 3 more bought after getting from a library
DPL 77 + 1 gave up + 3 on pause + 1 skimmed + 3 then bought (1 of which still reading) + lots more skimmed. 85 total.
COCC 6
ILL 0 [acquired 2 : 1 gave up and 1 on pause]
Summit 6 + 2 currently reading
Friend 1

Goodreads

This data from my Goodreads account includes, 2015 Goodreads Challenge status, reading status breakdown, and some numbers from specific shelves (mostly used to verify same info from elsewhere).

2015 Challenge goal 75
Read 163 [does not include 7 re-reads]
Currently reading 8 + 1 from 2016
Gave up 2
Skimmed 34
On pause 6

Shelves

2015-gnc 61 [does not include rereads: 2015 2 + previous years 2]
2015nfc 21 [includes 1 reread from previous year; 1 review not written]
translation 21
together 1 + 1 currently reading + 1 on pause + 1 switched to individual reading

Other 2015 reading posts [re challenges, etc.]

List of 2015 Books Read by Category

Assorted

  • Quadback-Seeger – World of the Elements: Elements of the World
  • Attlee – Nocturne: A Journey in Search of Moonlight [on pause]
  • Backes – Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana [on pause]
  • Kondo – The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
  • Stilgoe – Outside Lies Magic: Regaining History and Awareness in Everyday Places
  • Stivers – Hair of the Dog: Irish Drinking and Its American Stereotype
  • Scerri – The Periodic Table: A Very Short Introduction
  • Rubel – Bread: A Global History (The Edible Series)
  • Jung – Man and His Symbols [gave up]
  • Bishop – Living with Thunder: Exploring the Past, Present, and Future of the Pacific Northwest [currently reading]
  • Rothenberg, ed. – White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism
  • Egan – The Good Rain: Across Time & Terrain in the Pacific Northwest [on pause]
  • Sahlins – Waiting for Foucault, Still
  • Babauta – Focus: a simplicity manifesto in the Age of Distraction

Assorted Cookery

  • Robertson – Fresh from the Vegan Slow Cooker
  • Steen & Noyes – The Great Vegan Protein Book
  • Scicolone – The Italian Slow Cooker

Assorted Memoir

  • Nguyen – Stealing Buddha’s Dinner [gave up]
  • Pollan – A Place of My Own: The Architecture of Daydreams

Beer & Brewing

  • Boak & Bailey – Brew Britannia: The Strange Rebirth of British Beer
  • Yaeger – Oregon Breweries
  • Allen and Cantwell – Barley Wine: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes
  • Mallett – Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse
  • Saunders – Dinner in the Beer Garden [re-read]
  • Dunlop – Portland Beer: Crafting the Road to Beervana
  • Amato – Beerology: Everything You Need to Know to Enjoy Beer … Even More
  • Fix – Principles of Brewing Science: A Study of Serious Brewing Issues
  • Coutts – The Perfect Keg: Sowing, Scything, Malting and Brewing My Way to the Best Ever Pint of Beer
  • Mosher – Mastering Homebrew: The Complete Guide to Brewing Delicious Beer
  • Barich – A Pint of Plain: Tradition, Change, and the Fate of the Irish Pub
  • Alworth – The Beer Bible
  • Nelson – The Barbarian’s Beverage: A History of Beer in Ancient Europe
  • Beechum and Conn – Experimental Homebrewing: Mad Science in the Pursuit of Great Beer
  • Acitelli – The Audacity of Hops: The History of America’s Craft Beer Revolution
  • Hornsey – Alcohol and Its Role in the Evolution of Human Society [currently reading]
  • Boak & Bailey – Gambrinus Waltz: German Lager Beer in Victorian and Edwardian London [read & re-read this year]
  • Palmer – How to Brew: Everything You Need to Know to Brew Beer Right the First Time
  • Bostwick and Rymil – Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer
  • Mosher – The Brewer’s Companion: Being a Complete Compendium of Brewing Knowledge … [skimmed]
  • Foster – Pale Ale: History and Brewing Techniques, Recipes: History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes
  • Papazian – The Complete Joy of Home Brewing 4th ed
  • Hughes – A Treatise on the Brewing of Beer
  • Zainasheff & Palmer – Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew
  • Oliver – The Brewmaster’s Table: Discovering the Pleasures of Real Beer with Real Food [currently reading]
  • Shales – Brewing Better Beers

Central Oregon

  • Dunegan – Best Hikes Near Bend (A Falcon Guide) [currently reading]

Central Oregon Memoir

  • Waterston – Where the Crooked River Rises: A High Desert Home

Central Oregon Memoir & History

  • Ramsey – New Era: Reflections on the Human and Natural History of Central Oregon

Erotica, Sex & Gender

  • Williams – Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History
  • Christina – Bending: Dirty Kinky Stories about Pain, Power, Religion, Unicorns, & More
  • Tyler, ed. – Luscious: Stories of Anal Eroticism

Graphic Novels

  • Foglio, et al. – The Secret Blueprints For Volume One (Girl Genius 0)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne & the Beetleburg clank (Girl Genius 1)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Airship City (Girl Genius 2)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Monster Engine (Girl Genius 3)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Circus of Dreams (Girl Genius 4)
  • Bendis & Maleev – Scarlet
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Clockwork Princess (Girl Genius 5)
  • B. and MacOrlan – The Littlest Pirate King
  • Pham – Sumo
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Golden Trilobite (Girl Genius 6)
  • Abnett and Culbard – The New Deadwardians
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Voice of the Castle (Girl Genius 7)
  • Kerascoët and Hubert – Beauty
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Chapel of Bones (Girl Genius 8)
  • Vehlmann & Kerascoët – Beautiful Darkness
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Heirs of the Storm (Girl Genius 9)
  • David and Lopez – Fallen Angel
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Guardian Muse (Girl Genius 10)
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Hammerless Bell (Girl Genius 11)
  • Mina, et al. – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 1
  • Mina, et al. – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Book 2
  • TenNapel – Ratfist
  • Moon and Bá – De: Tales: Stories From Urban Brazil
  • Tobin and Dewey – I Was The Cat
  • Merveille and Tati – Hello, Mr. Hulot
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Siege of Mechanicsburg (Girl Genius 12)
  • Cruse – Stuck Rubber Baby
  • Pedrosa – Three Shadows
  • Perlow, et al. – Watson and Holmes: A Study in Black
  • Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 1: Flora & Fauna [read & re-read this year]
  • Collins & Rayner – Road to Perdition
  • Moning, et al. – Fever Moon: The Fear Dorcha
  • Lucke – The Lunch Witch (#1)
  • Wilson and Alphona – Ms. Marvel: No Normal
  • Wilson, et al. – Ms. Marvel: Generation Why 2
  • Dingess, et al. – Manifest Destiny, Vol. 2: Amphibia & Insecta
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 1: Cold Dead Fingers
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 2: Crossroads
  • Greenberg – The Encyclopedia of Early Earth
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 3: Bound
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 4: A Town Called Penance
  • Foglio, et al. – Agatha Heterodyne and the Sleeping City (Girl Genius 13) [read & re-read this year]
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 5: Winter Wolves
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth Gun: Book 6: Ghost Dance
  • Bunn and Hurtt – The Sixth gun: Book 7: Not the Bullet, But the Fall
  • Nolan – Hunters of the Great Forest
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume One [re-read]
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Two [re-read]
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Three
  • Vaughan and Staples – Saga, Volume Four
  • McCloud – The Sculptor
  • Carey, Willingham, et al. – The Unwritten: The Unwritten Fables, vol. 9
  • Carey & Gross, et al. – The Unwritten: War Stories, vol. 10
  • Miller & Varley – 300
  • Vance & Burr – Kings in Disguise: A Novel
  • Hagio – A Drunken Dream and Other Stories
  • Remender – Strange Girl Omnibus
  • Fawkes – The People Inside [gave up]
  • Moore & O’Neill – Nemo: Heart of Ice
  • Ralph – Daybreak
  • Kelso – The Squirrel Mother
  • Selznick – The Marvels
  • Doctorow and Wang – In Real Life
  • Fleisher, Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 1
  • Grubb, Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 2
  • Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 3
  • Mishkin, et al. – Dungeon & Dragons Classics, Volume 4
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms: Cutter
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 1
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 2
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 3
  • Grubb, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms Classics, Volume 4
  • Greenwood, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Forgotten Realms, Volume 1
  • Zub, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Legends of Baldur’s Gate
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt – Neverwinter Tales
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt, volume 1: Homeland
  • Salvatore, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt, Exile
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Shadowplague
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: First Encounters
  • Rogers, et al. – Dungeons & Dragons: Down
  • Foglio, et al. – Girl Genius: Second Journey Book One: The Beast of the Rails

Graphic Novels Manga

  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 1
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 2
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 3
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner Chamber, vol. 1
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 4
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 5
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner Chamber, vol. 2
  • Mori – A Bride’s Story 6
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner chamber, vol. 3
  • Yoshinaga – Ooku: The Inner chamber, vol. 4
  • Anno – Sakuran: Blossoms Wild

Graphic Novel Nonfiction

  • Redniss – Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love & Fallout

Graphic Novel Nonfiction History

  • Wilson, Dickson, et al. – Fight the power!: A visual history of protest among the English-speaking peoples
  • Stavans and Alcaraz – A Most Imperfect Union: A Contrarian History of the United States
  • Bagge – Woman Rebel: The Margaret Sanger Story

Graphic Novel Nonfiction Memoir

  • Abirached – I Remember Beirut

Graphic Novel Nonfiction  War Poetry

  • Duffy, ed. -Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics

History

  • Schivelbusch – Tastes of Paradise: A Social History of Spices, Stimulants, and Intoxicants
  • Swaby – Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science-and the World

History Memoir

  • Coe – Frontier Doctor: Observations on Central Oregon & the Changing West

Literature & Language

  • Ozecki – A Tale for the Time Being
  • Adams – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, #1) [re-read]
  • Adams – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #2) [re-read]
  • Adams – Life, the Universe and Everything (Hitchhiker’s Guide, #3) [re-read]
  • Adams – So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish (Hitchhiker’s Guide #4) [re-read]
  • Johnson – Rasselas, Prince of Abyssinia
  • Brontë – Wuthering Heights
  • King – Euphoria [2016 DPL A Novel Idea Selection]
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2009-2011
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2012
  • Harris – Integationist Notes and Papers 2013
  • Doyle – Through the Magic Door [re-read]
  • Ramsey – Thinking Like a Canyon: New and Selected Poems, 1973-2010
  • Gilbert – Collected poems [currently reading]

Literature & Language Graphic Novel War Poetry

  • Duffy, ed. – Above the Dreamless Dead: World War I in Poetry and Comics [also listed above]

Philosophy

  • Wilson – Second-Hand Knowledge: An Inquiry into Cognitive Authority [on pause]
  • Wellmuth – The Nature and Origins of Scientism
  • Berlin – The Power of Ideas [currently reading]

Photography

  • Atkeson – Oregon, My Oregon
  • Atkeson & Miller – Ski & Snow Country: The Golden Years of Skiing in the West, 1930s-1950s
  • Atkeson – Oregon II
  • Atkeson & Ross – Oregon III
  • Marbach and Pokarney – Oregon Harvest
  • Curtis – The North American Indian: The Complete Portfolios

Renewal

  • Huang and Lynch – Thinking Body, Dancing Mind: Taosports for Extraordinary Performance in Athletics, Business, and Life [on pause]
  • Kabat-Zinn – Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness [currently reading]
  • Johnson – The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination, and Reason [on pause]
  • Segal – Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression: A New Approach to Preventing Relapse [on pause]
  • Levine – Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma: The Innate Capacity to Transform Overwhelming Experiences
  • Farhi – The Breathing Book: Good Health and Vitality Through Essential Breath Work [currently reading]
  • Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning
  • Smalley & Winston – Fully Present: The Science, Art, and Practice of Mindfulness
  • Krznaric – How To Find Fulfilling Work
  • Black – More Anti-Inflammation Diet Tips and Recipes
  • Wahls – The Wahls Protocol: How I Beat Progressive MS Using Paleo Principles and Functional Medicine
  • Gunaratana – Mindfulness in Plain English
  • Krucoff – Healing Yoga for Neck and Shoulder Pain: Easy, Effective Practices for Releasing Tension and Relieving Pain [on pause]
  • Moore & Gillette – Lover Within: Accessing the Lover in the Male Psyche [on pause]
  • Cooksley – Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease, and Revitalizing Body and Soul [skimmed]
  • Brantley & Millstine – Five Good Minutes in Your Body [skimmed]
  • Fallon – Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook That Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats

Tech & Software

  • Kissell – Take Control of Automating Your Mac [on pause]
  • Martinez and Stager – Invent to Learn: Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom [on pause]
  • Rawlins – Slaves of the Machine: The Quickening of Computer Technology [gave up]

Final Comments

I think this slices and dices this data more than enough for me this year. I would not mind having a breakdown of authors by gender but that is loaded with many problems (multiple authors, determining gender of some, etc.) and I am not that concerned about it. I read fairly widely and try to read from a diversity of diversities, knowing that I can always do better.

I want to keep reading things in translation; I feel I did well this year. I should try to read a bit more poetry and erotica, sex & gender this year. I am satisfied with the amount of re-reading, the number of ebooks, and of nonfiction. I hope to read a few less graphic novels and more varied things in literature & language; e.g., more actual lit, more on language and more poetry as previously mentioned. Maybe some re-reading there. Poetry books are close at hand.

All in all, I’m calling 2015 a good year for me and reading. I met all of my goals, and only one of them I feel could have been more solidly met.

I am very happy to be ending some part of my 2015 with a great score for the year. Particularly happy to have the thought documented.

Here’s to your (and my) reading in 2016.

[Post(s) coming soon]

 

What’s up so far in 2014? Home buying, it seems

[N.B.: Mostly written 6 January with minor updates over next 2-3 days. Current follow-up follows.]

So what’s up in 2014 so far? 2014 got off to a great start. For one day.

Sara and I do a kind of annual review, along with a semi-annual review and weekly reviews using assorted tools such as calendars, OmniFocus and some text documents. Neither of us do resolutions but we do want to have goals for the year, and to check up on them now and again so that we might have a chance to actually accomplish most of them. We entered 2014 with this year’s annual review pretty much done. Mine was primarily complete except for final formatting as a document in Scrivener.

Then on the 2nd of January the mail was delivered. Our place was recently bought by some out-of-towners and we got notice that our rent was going up 15%! We are already stretched pretty thin and that is just ridiculous. We immediately jumped into “can we buy a house” mode. We have been considering that anyway but we figured it was at least 6 months to more like 2-3 years in the future for us. Nope. [We need to find out right now whether we can get a loan for enough to buy a house here in Bend or we need to find a cheaper place to rent until we can qualify for said loan. If we can get a loan then we need to be seriously looking for a house that meets all of [ok, much of, hopefully]  our criteria.

Either way, (update to follow)] almost everything I had planned for this year has now been indefinitely placed on hold. My 2014 annual review/plan has been scrapped by the second day of the year. Yay, me!

Thankfully a lot of stuff is still in boxes from when we arrived here in August 2012. That will make moving somewhat easier. But we also have not weeded out near enough stuff that we were supposed to have gotten rid of by now. And we have probably acquired more stuff than we have gotten rid of. My surgery in May put in a big damper on my weeding which I had hoped to do this past summer. Sara’s full-time job has prevented her from making any progress on her stuff.

I have jumped into weeding pretty heavy the last couple of days and hope to continue. We’re donating a bunch of stuff to the Humane Society Thrift Store, some of the better books to the public library, and recycling a crapload of stuff. There is, sadly, plenty more to go through though. As we free up a bit of room by getting rid of stuff I have a bit more room to get at and sort through even more. So I guess one can say it’s looking up.

It is, though, extremely demoralizing to have just committed to and documented one’s goals for the year and to then have to toss it all away on January 2nd.

So what were/are some of my plans for 2014?

  • Read 75 books http://marklindner.info/blog/2014/01/01/reading-goals-2014/
  • Wrangle our ebooks into some kind of order, usability, etc.
  • Do some more beer tastings
  • Help with Central Oregon Beer Week
  • Do another book talk this year for Central Oregon Beer Week
  • Meet some of the beer folks in Bend who I haven’t been able to yet
  • Do some beer trading
  • Finish my “article” on Prohibition in Bend
  • Perhaps work on my Cicerone certification
  • Blog some book reviews that I am way behind on
  • Learn to make better use of Evernote, OmniFocus, Scrivener, etc.
  • Meal planning
  • Get my new tattoo started
  • Track down a citation for that damned Paracelsus quote or show that it is not attributable to him
  • Exercise more and get back into some semblance of shape
  • Visit some places in Oregon: Broken Top, lava tubes, Crater Lake, etc.

23 January update:

We found a house, put in an offer, got their counter and accepted. We have the inspection set for Saturday a.m. and are meeting with the mortgage broker tomorrow morning to do more paperwork and get VA appraisal scheduled. If all goes well with those we’ll be moving late winter / early spring.

I have been in full-on moving prep mode for about a week now. I am so damned sore. But. I am much closer to being ready. I have a good idea of what is packed, more stuff was topped off and packed and many binders and articles were packed, it is mostly segregated from other stuff, and the inventory is updated. More books were weeded.

We should have a couple weeks to move in. It kind of comes down to when we close and the 30-day notice we give our landlord. Current estimated closing is March 17.

My only big concern is weather. Well, and will my aging body hold out: preferably for it to treat all the labor as weightlifting and other “good” exercise. Seriously though, moving in the rain or a snowstorm or having ice/snow on the ground are the worst for moving. So far our winter has included almost none of any of that, which is not good. We need snow, at least outside of town.

It is all moving so fast. Which, of course, has deepened even more the feeling of upended plans. Not all is a loss, though. I am reading some and not quite as slowly as I suspected. I am helping with Central Oregon Beer Week as a member of their team this year. If you need me for any Central Oregon Beer Week business feel free to email me at mark@centraloregonbeerweek.com. I am trying to figure out what I want to do as Bend Beer Librarian for COBW; not up for another book talk for this year. Considering things and talking with people but need to decide soon to save 15% as a returning sponsor.

I met a few more Bend beer people, including one I wanted to meet in person, but, intriguingly, we met them in Portland. We attended the 1st Big Woody put on in Portland and a boatload of Bendites were there as attendees, volunteers, brewery folks representing, and event organizers/staff. That was nice and I finally met Matthew Ward (Bend Brew Daddy) and his wife Lisa. Definitely hope to hang out more with them. We also got to spend some time with non-Bendite but extremely nice guy Christopher (PortlandBeer.com) at Hair of the Dog. So possibly future trading and/or nice bottle swaps as it sounds like his are the kind of quality we are looking for. Maybe we can get Christopher to Bend, although we explored so little of Portland last weekend.

Blogging and other forms of writing have been practically non-existent, book reading is way down, research for either major topic of current interest is on hold, and most other projects listed above or not are pretty much forgotten about.

I hope this place works out and we can get settled in quickly. I’d like to get back to some of my projects recently put on hold and others, many of which have been a long time coming.

It is an adventure, and so far easier than expected, but its timing seems a little sudden.

 

 

Maines. The Technology of Orgasm

I really wanted to title this “universal orgasmic mutuality” [see below] but I figure this post is already going to draw too much of the wrong traffic to my blog. ::sigh::

This book was far more interesting than I ever imagined. It was quite the page turner. It describes the 2000-year plus history of the medicalization of normal female sexuality, the androcentric model of sex that supports this, the highly lucrative medical service of manual massage for “hysteric” female patients, the drive for efficiency in this procedure that led to the invention of the vibrator and related technologies, and how all this ties together in where we are today.

The story it tells, and the facts it is based on, are illuminating, intriguing, sometimes titillating, and frequently sad and maddening.

Let me record up front that the author does not lay this state of affairs entirely at the feet of men. In the last chapter she writes:

“The penetration myth is not a conspiracy perpetuated by men; women want to believe in the ideal of universal orgasmic mutuality in coitus” (115).

I am not so sure that men or, more specifically, the male medical establishment, ought be let off so easy, though.

Bottom line: I found this book fascinating and highly recommend it to pretty much anyone. OK, anyone past the age of puberty and with a modicum of maturity.

My one complaint is that it would have been nice to know where the images were when several pages away. That is, in addition to image number provide the page number as the images were never on the pages they were mentioned on and, frequently, were several or more pages away.

The rest will pretty much be some quotes to whet your appetite. I have also included all of the section headings so you can get a better feel for the content.

Contents:

  • Preface
  • 1 The Job Nobody Wanted
  • 2 Female Sexuality as Hysterical Pathology
  • 3 “My God, What Does She Want?”
  • 4 “Inviting the Juices Downward”
  • 5 Revising the Androcentric Model

1 The Job Nobody Wanted

“Descriptions of this treatment [manual stimulation] appear in the Hippocratic corpus, the works of Celsus in the first century A.D., those of Aretaeus, Soranus, and Galen in the second century, …. Given the ubiquity of these descriptions in the medical literature, it is surprising that the character and purpose of these treatments for hysteria and related disorders have received little attention from historians” (1-2)

While “hysteria” is no longer defined as a disease, it was “from at least the fourth century B.C. until American Psychiatric Association dropped the term in 1952, …. This purported disease and its sister ailments displayed a symptomatology consistent with the normal functioning of female sexuality, for which relief, not surprisingly, was obtained through orgasm, either through intercourse in the marriage bed or by means of massage on the physician’s table” (2).

The author uses the vibrator and its predecessors to examine three themes:

  • androcentric definitions of sexuality and the construction of ideal female sexuality to fit them
  • reduction of female sexual behavior outside the androcentric standard to disease paradigms requiring treatment
  • means by which physicians legitimated and justified the clinical production of orgasm in women as treatment for these disorders (2)

“Massage to orgasm of female patients was a staple of medical practice among some (but certainly not all) Western physicians from the time of Hippocrates until the 1920s, and mechanizing this task significantly increased the number of patients a doctor could treat in a working day” (3).

“The demand for treatment had two sources: the proscription on female masturbation as unchaste and possibly unhealthful, and the failure of androcentrically defined sexuality to produce orgasm regularly in women” (3).

“There is no evidence that male physicians enjoyed providing pelvic massage treatments. On the contrary, this male elite sought every opportunity to substitute other devices for their fingers, such as the attentions of a husband, the hands of a midwife, or the business end of some tireless and impersonal mechanism. This last, the capital-labor substitution option, reduced the time it took physicians to produce results from up to an hour to about ten minutes” (4).

“Hysterical women represented a large and lucrative market for physicians. These patients neither recovered nor died of their condition but continued to require regular treatment” (4). [See below for economic impact of women’s health in 1870s.]

§ The Androcentric Model of Sexuality

“The androcentric definition of sex as an activity recognizes three essential steps: preparation for penetration (“foreplay”), penetration, and male orgasm. Sexual activity that does not involve at least the last two has not been popularly or medically (and for that matter legally) regarded as “the real thing”” (5).

>50% (perhaps >70%) of women do not reach orgasm via penetration alone. “This majority of women have traditionally been defined as abnormal or “frigid,” somehow derelict in their duty to reinforce the androcentric model of satisfactory sex” (5).

“In the development of Western medical thought been thought on the subject of sexuality, it has been thought both reasonable and necessary to the social support of the male ego either that female orgasm be treated as a by-product of male orgasm, or that its existence or significance be denied entirely” (6).

§ Hysteria as a Disease Paradigm

§ The Evolution of the Technology

“In 1869 and 1872 an American physician, George Taylor, patented steam-powered massage and vibratory apparatus” (14)

The first electromechanical vibrator internationally marketed, a British model by Weiss, was designed by physician Joseph Mortimer Granville. Battery powered, it was patented in the early 1880s. (15)

“By 1900 a wide-range of vibratory apparatus available to physicians,” (15) and “Mary L.H. Arnold Snow, writing for a readership of physicians in 1904, discusses in some detail” about twenty-four different vibrators, “including musical vibro-massage, counterweighted types, tissue oscillators, vibratory forks, hand- or foot-powered massage devices, simple concussors and muscle beaters, vibrates (vibrating wire apparatus), combination cautery and pneumatic equipment with vibratory massage attachments, and vibrators powered by air pressure, water turbines, gas engines, batteries and street current through lamp-socket plugs” (16-17).

“In the first two decades of this century [20th], the vibrator began to be marketed as a home appliance through advertising in such periodicals as Needlecraft, Home Needlework Journal, Modern Women, Hearst’s, McClure’s, Woman’s Home Companion, and Modern Priscilla. The device was marketed mainly to women as a health and relaxation aid, in ambiguous phrases such as “all the pleasures of youth .. will throb within you”” (19).

In the late 1920s vibrators “disappeared both from doctor’s offices and from the respectable household press.” Was this due to “greater understanding of women’s sexuality by physicians” or the appearance of vibrators in erotic films? They reemerged in the 60s as an “openly marketed” sex aid. “Its efficiency in producing orgasm in women became an explicit selling point in the consumer market” (20).

2 Female Sexuality as Hysterical Pathology

§ Hysteria in Antiquity and the Middle Ages

“Hysteria was a set of symptoms that varied greatly between individuals (and their physicians), including but not limited to fainting (syncope), edema or hyperemia (congestion caused by fluid retention, either localized or general), nervousness, insomnia, sensations of heaviness in the abdomen, muscle spasms, shortness of breath, loss of appetite for food or for sex with the approved male partner, and sometimes a tendency to cause trouble for others, particularly members of the patient’s immediate family. The disorder was thought to be lack of sufficient sexual intercourse, deficiency of sexual gratification, or both (23).

“Hysteria appears in the medical corpus as early as 2000 B.C. in Egypt, but it was not until the time of Hippocrates in the fifth century B.C. that the Western clinical definition of the disorder began to take shape” (23).

§ Hysteria in Renaissance Medicine

§ The Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries

“Russell Thacher Trall, …, who was associated mainly with the hydropathic school, wrote in 1873 that women, including but not of course limited to hysterics, were an economic godsend to the profession of medicine, claiming that “more than three fourths of all the practice of the profession are devoted to the treatment of diseases peculiar to women” and that of the annual estimated aggregate income of United States physicians of more than $200 million, “three-fourths of this sum—one hundred and fifty millions—our physicians must thank frail woman for.” This amount “equaled just under half of the entire federal budget” (38).

§ The Freudian Revolution and Its Aftermath

3 “My God, What Does She Want?”

§ Physicians and the Female Orgasm

§ Masturbation

§ “Frigidity” and Anorgasmia

§ Female Orgasm in the Post-Freudian World

§ What Ought to Be, and What We’d Like to Be

4 “Inviting the Juices Downward”

§ Consumer Purchase of Vibrators After 1900

§ Hydropathy and Hydrotherapy

§ Electrotherapeutics

§ Mechanical Massagers and Vibrators

§ Instrumental Prestige in the Vibratory Operating Room

§ Consumer Purchase of Vibrators After 1900

5 Revising the Androcentric Model

§ Orgasmic Treatment in the Practice of Western Medicine

“The history of physical therapies for hysteroneurasthenic disorders … tell us several things about Western physicians.”:

  • normal conditions can be medicalized, especially in women
  • doctors both create and become invested in dominant social and medical paradigms
  • disease paradigms go in and out of fashion (111)

In Western medical practice, “[t]here is a systematic effort to subsume the knowledge that the clitoris, not the vagina, is the seat of greatest sexual feeling in most women into the androcentric model and to avoid one-to-one heterosexual confrontation over orgasmic mutuality by shifting the dispute onto medical ground” (112).

§ The Androcentric Model in Heterosexual Relationships

“Many questions can and should be raised about the persistence of Western belief that women ought to reach orgasm during heterosexual coitus” (115).

“The penetration myth is not a conspiracy perpetuated by men; women want to believe in the ideal of universal orgasmic mutuality in coitus” (115).

“In our own culture there have been, and remain, powerful means of negatively reinforcing women’s demand for orgasmic mutuality” (117). [See also the rest of the paragraph!]

“Despite the systematic perpetuation of ignorance and misunderstanding—by women as well as men—most heterosexual men have looked to the female orgasm to reinforce their self-respect as sexual beings” (118).

§ The Vibrator as Technology and Totem

My conclusion:

Bottom line, this is an excellent book. It does a first-rate job detailing a bizarre, multi-millenial history of the medicalization of the normal functioning of women’s sexuality. Sadly, we have not really left it behind despite physicians no longer manually massaging women to orgasm, while denying that was what it was, and despite the APA dropping “hysteria” as a psychiatric condition.

There still exists far too much ignorance and misunderstanding about normal sexual functioning and far too many men measure their sexual (and general) self-worth on bringing their partner to orgasm via the androcentric model.

Read this book. It will give you a lot to think about.

Is the iPad a consumption only device?

Yesterday I finished reading Walt Crawford’s “Zeitgeist: hypePad” article in the newest Cites & Insights.

Walt did a fine job of summarizing a lot of blowhards and a few sane persons. But. The further along I got the stronger my apprehension got. Was Walt going to notice something I was noticing or was he buying into a certain rhetoric and, if so, why?

Here’s the thing. Many people, people on both ends of the iPad hype spectrum, are claiming that it is purely a content consumption device and not a content creation device. And that, my friends, is pure horseshit.

While there are some serious issues with how proprietary the device is, the limits of the iTunes/app store model for acquiring software you need/want, and the rampant DRM, and these certainly deserve some critical ink spent on them, this in no way makes the device a “consumption only” platform.

I am not sure what constitutes content creation for the technophiles and Wired editors and the likes but I believe that Walt knows better. Almost no one is producing fancy, professional-quality, full-color glossy Web magazines. We are writing blog posts, interacting in Facebook, conversing in friendfeed, posting pictures to Flickr and other image sites, writing documents and reports that end up on the Web, and so on.

The iPad will not only allow but enable one to do the vast majority of these things! Sure, you won’t be able to run Dreamweaver or QuarkExpress or … but these are NOT the only things that generate “content” [By the way, let me go on record here as to how much I dislike this usage of “content.”].

According to the iPad features page it includes Safari, Mail, Notes, Keynote, Pages and Numbers, along with, of course, access to the App Store. While most of us probably do more consuming with our web browsers we also do creative work. This critique may be minor and it may not be very creative but I am not consuming it and I am creating it in a browser. I could have written this on my Touch.

The other programs are even more heavily toward the creation side of this supposed dichotomy. There are also apps for painting and drawing and many other forms of creative activity. Famous artists have even used their iPhones to create and share art.

Walt does say that “the iPad will succeed or fail largely on its own merits. While those merits may not meet my needs—and while I do believe you’re better off thinking of the iPad as an appliance, not another kind of computer, and that the closed model is dangerous—there’s no doubt its merits are real” (p. 30). Yes, I think the appliance label is useful. I certainly do not think of my Touch as a computer except in a generic sense.  I certainly do not confuse it with my MacBook and what it can do.

I am intrigued by the iPad but I highly doubt I will be buying one any time soon. I do my best not to buy 1st generation hardware/software from anyone. And I have serious concerns with the many other issues around the iLine of products—closed systems, DRM, etc. I also do not know where the iPad would fit into my way of being.

Walt finds the closed model dangerous and so do I; especially if it proliferates and closed systems become our only choices. But I also find lots of room for the closed appliance model of computing. There are an awful lot of people who could benefit from a device like this who are simply overwhelmed with a standard computer and all that that entails. Of course, most of the people Walt cited—the pundits anyway—probably cannot begin to relate to that thought.

So while the kinds of content that can be created on an iPad are reduced from what one could do with a full general-purpose computing device and appropriate software and input/output devices, it is not non-existent. To call an iPad—in general, irrespective of any particular use cases—a content consumption only (or primarily) device does more to show us what the commentor thinks they value over the truth of the matter.

For instance, Walt cites Lauren Pressley’s thinking (p. 16) “that things on the web are shifting from mass creation to primarily consumption (that is, “regular folks” are mostly tweeting, not contributing long-form content) with organizations creating more of the content ….” But since about Day 2 of the Internet that has probably been the case with organizations creating most of the (long-form) content.

Also, since when is Twittering not content creation? There seems to be a real discrepancy between what people consider not only “content” but “creation.” Until those nuances are pulled apart it is nonsensical to make such statements and to apply such labels to our devices.

In the end, I do think that devices like the iPad are restrictive in the way of content creation. But then so is my $2000 laptop. My laptop cannot help me paint a picture in oils on a real canvas, nor can it help me build a fancy gingerbread house. Now just hold on! If you want to tell me that I can find all kinds of good info on the web on how to paint, where to buy supplies, etc. that is only consumption towards a creative goal (under the current model). If you tell me I can find designs for gingerbread houses on the web then same thing. And I could do all of those with an iPad.

One thing to notice here is the complex issue of just when and how does consumption lead to/change into creation. There are no acts of immaculate conception in art/creation. It all comes from some influence; an influence that was consumed at some point, whether one knows it or not.

There are also larger issues of just who is doing content creation to share on their computers anyway. And of what we are calling content creation. Sure, precede it with long-form content, if you like. But you cannot separate long-form content until other kinds until you have delineated what content is, period.

In summary, while there are many issues surrounding the closed appliance model of the iPad to call it a primarily content consumption device, all the while ignoring what is or is not consumption vs. creation, ignoring other use cases than ones own, ignoring who is creating vs. primarily consuming, is simply to show ones biases.

In the end, once/if all these ideas are teased apart we might still label the iPad and similar devices as primarily consumption devices. I am perfectly fine with that, because then we will know what we are actually claiming.

Do I expect any of this to happen? At least on a broad-scale? Nope. No hope whatsoever. Academics will pull some of it apart, if they aren’t already, but little will filter down into the mainstream any time soon.

Unfortunately, this is an area that is rife with hype and I do not see it changing any time soon. But I intend to stay alert for this kind of framing—if one can call something framing which lacks much structure—and rhetoric so I can better assess the tools my society makes available.

Disclaimer: I am not an Apple fanboy although I am an Apple user. I have a 30GB photo iPod, a Touch, and a MacBook. I also have a 12″ PowerBook collecting dust until I possibly get around to totally reinstalling the OS and software.

But ask me about my 1st computer purchase years ago only to have Apple kill the Apple II line once they decided everyone had to have a Mac. My next and 3rd and 4th and 5th and … computers were all DOS/Wintel-based, for years after.

I think that, for now, Apple computers offer a good bargain; quality hardware and software for a reasonable price. Is there a premium? Sure there is. But I do not mind paying for quality in my important purchases. But, although far less than when I had Windows machines, I still yet at my computing devices on occasion, just as I frequently curse Steve Jobs and his (peoples’) design decisions that baffle me.

Ready for writing/research.


Ready for writing/research.

Originally uploaded by broken thoughts

Decided to clean up my writing/working areas before I buckle down and attempt to write my bibliographic essay.

Sure. It was a diversion to keep from real work. But this is a diversion that should pay huge dividends. I can actually see most of the desktop and I have room to spread things around again.

Yesterday, I also bought a laptop desk to use in my recliner. Hopefully that’ll help some so I’m not restricted to this uncomfortable chair in front of the computers.

Flickr set here.