Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Naughty Nurses and the Cult of Halloween Sex

Strange things happen on Halloween. Perhaps the strangest is the tendency for women across America to abandon all pretense of Red State virtue and don the most outrageous, barley decent, costumes – so for your Halloween reading pleasure this year we offer the following notes on Halloween and Naughty Nurse Sex.

Let’s start with the Times Union’s “Sexy Scare,” written by Times Union intern Kelly Smith, which points to the latest tendency of costume manufacturers (presumably supplying a need) to provide the scantiest clad costumes for, well, kids.

For years, Halloween parties have had their share of hot nurses and seductive pirates. But these are parties for adults, right? Not anymore. With names like “Transylvania Temptress,” “Handy Candy,” “Major Flirt,” and “Red Velvet Devil Bride,” there is no doubt that costumes marketed to children and teens have become more suggestive.

Such costumes, which typically feature plunging necklines, fishnet stockings, knee-high boots and very short skirts, dominate the display at most costume shops and party supply stores, and parents are having a hard time avoiding them.

Parents might be having a hard time avoiding them, because they are so busy finding their own sexified costumes, their presence points to a failure to understand the kinds of messages these companies (and their financial supporters) are sending:

When it comes to Halloween, Sharon Lamb, a co-author of Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters From Marketers’ Schemes, the costumes marketed to girls severely limit the options they see for themselves. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a little girl dressing up as a pretty princess, Lamb said, but the problem comes when such feminine, passive characters are all girls can envision for themselves. And she thinks it is that same ideology that pushes girls toward hyper-sexual costumes as they get older.

Doubt it’s true what they say about “the problem comes when such feminine, passive characters are all girls can envision for themselves”? Consider the role of the “naughty nurse” when you’re out in Pottersville at the Black Bear Halloween Party this Saturday night.

According to the Center for Nursing Advocacy the naughty nurse is a cultural phenomenon that sexualizes one of America’s most important professions:

Linking sexual images so closely to the profession of nursing–to even the fantasy idea that working nurses are sexually available to patients–reinforces long-standing stereotypes. Those stereotypes continue to discourage practicing and potential nurses, foster sexual violence in the workplace, and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect. Desexualizing the nursing image is a key part of building the strength the profession needs to overcome the current shortage, which threatens lives worldwide, and to meet the challenges of 21st Century health care.

Most people today probably don’t think the average nurse goes to work in lingerie, looking for sex. But the relentless fusing of lingerie with nurses’ work uniforms in popular media images, and the frequent exposure of sexy “nurses'” bodies in these images, still associates the profession with sex in the public mind… Other people may simply see nurses as looking to meet a physician–even an already married one–to take them away from the dead end job of nursing, a horrific stereotype that was actually expressed in late 2004 by Dr. Phil McGraw on his popular television show.

Wow… and let’s just say right now, that media images matter – we wouldn’t consider for a minute that children don’t learn from Sesame Street, why should we think the naughty nurse imagery doesn’t have a similar impact, even with adults.

Don’t think this is really a serious problem? France Presse recently reported that a study of just over 1800 adults found that “Nurses and firemen dominate the sexual fantasies of men and women in Britain.” What’s important here is something the Nurse Advocates picked up on:

It reports that a new poll has found that 54% of British men have sexual fantasies about nurses. No other profession hit the 50% mark for male or female, though 47% of women apparently dream about “firemen.” The results seem to show that nursing leads a list of traditionally female, service-oriented jobs about which men fantasize.

In addition to nurses, men fantasize about maids (44%) and flight attendants (40%), rounding out the stereotypical usual suspects. For their part, women also dreamed of soldiers (28%), businessmen (27%), and physicians (26%). At the other end of the list, less than 2% of women fantasized about politicians, while less than 7% of men fantasized about “traffic wardens.”

The jobs that women fantasize most about are associated with economic, physical, and/or mental power, while those that top the men’s list are associated with care-taking or service–a classic dominant-submissive division. It is not clear if any allowance was made for the possibilities of male nurses or flight attendants, or female firefighters or physicians. Perhaps no one would fantasize about such freakish people, who defy all the accepted rules.

Indeed, the deep-seated–and this study suggests unparalleled–association of nursing and sexuality continues to discourage practicing and potential nurses, foster sexual violence in the workplace, and contribute to a general atmosphere of disrespect that weakens nurses’ claims to adequate resources. When you combine the lack of respect that this poll reflects, the college-level training nursing actually requires, and the difficulty and stress of actual nursing practice, it is no surprise that the profession remains in the midst of a crisis driven by rampant short-staffing. In fact, we hear short-staffing has gotten so bad, nurses don’t have as much time as they once did to spend in male sexual fantasies.

This has serious economic effects for local Adirondack health care (as outlined in this CDC report):

It’s diverting for some men, apparently, to think that the little handmaiden job of nursing is populated by disposable bimbos, which may also help such men handle the notion that female nurses actually have some power over them in clinical settings. But the disposable bimbo is not an image that appeals to most career seekers, particularly men, which is a key reason the profession remains over 90% female–never a prescription for power and respect. And it’s not an image that persuades decision-makers to allocate sufficient resources to nursing practice, notably adequate staffing. Get back to us… about how sexy you feel after a 12-hour shift spent rushing from room to room in a desperate effort not to kill any patients, hauling the obese ones around until your back throbs, all the while contending with leering demands for a little sexual healing.

So this Halloween we side with JockeyStreet [sadly now long gone) who says:

Don’t even get me going on the Adult stuff. Guys get the typical choices. The ladies get, essentially, Hooker Combo 1, Hooker Combo 2, Stripper Kit A, Stripper Kit B.

Maybe I sound like a prude. I’m not. Really, really, really. I’m not.

But it offends me that we continue to shove these roles down our kids’ throats at such an early age. It offends me that our culture has taken to sexualizing and objectifying girls so young. It offends me that [costume retailer] Party City seems to think that the only thing a female over 13 might want to be for Halloween is “sexier.”

Agreed.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Ku Klux Klan in the Adirondacks

We recently received a note from a reader about the Ku Klux Klan presence in the Adirondack region. A Wilmington (Essex County) woman had the following story to tell. She believes it dates from the 1930s –

My mom had told me how when she was a little girl the kkk had burned a house down just up a ways on the Whiteface Memorial Highway, and had run the family out of town. » Continue Reading.


Friday, October 20, 2006

TAUNY Presents North Country Heritage Awards

Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY) has announced its 2007 North Country Heritage Awards:

Chief Tom Porter (Sakokwenionkwas), spokesman and spiritual leader of the Mohawk community of Kanatsiohareke (Ga na jo ha lay go) in Fonda.

Vincent and Louise Boyea, French American musicians from Westville.

The Greek pastry makers of St. Vasilios Church in Watertown.

Barry Gregson, rustic furniture builder from Schroon Lake.

The awards recognize “masters of local traditions and celebrates their contributions to the traditions and local culture of the region.”


Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Adirondack Architectural Heritage 2007 Awards

Adirondack Architectural Heritage has announced awards for six local property owners and partnerships for “sensitive restoration, rehabilitation and long-term stewardship.” Unfortunately, their website does not include the most recent winners. From what we’ve gathered from the Press Republican, they are:

Bob Reiss and Doug Waterbury for stewardship of Santa’s Workshop, founded in 1949 in Wilmington.

Fred Schneider, Web Parker, and Chris Covert of Renaissance Development for restoration of the circa 1906 Stark Hardware Building in Saranac Lake.

Robert Mayket, Tim Maloney, Todd Kemp, and Brian Boyer for a sensitive restoration of the Twin Pines boathouse on Loon Lake (circa early 1900s).

Bill Zullo for long-term stewardship the 1870 Bed & Breakfast in Indian Lake.

Gary Heurich for restoration and relighting of the Split Rock lighthouse, in Essex on Lake Champlain. The lighthouse was established in 1838 and replaced in 1867.

Paul and Shirley Bubar for appropriate restoration of the Wells House in Pottersville (built in 1845).

From their website, where they maintain a list of endangered properties in the Adirondacks:

Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) is the nonprofit historic preservation organization for New York State’s Adirondack Park. AARCH was formed in 1990 with a mission to promote better public understanding, appreciation and stewardship of the Adirondack’s unique and diverse architectural heritage. This legacy includes not only the nationally recognized “Great Camps” and other rustic buildings but also the many other structures that embody the whole range of human experience in the region. These other structures include: a wide variety of homes and farmsteads; the churches, commercial buildings, town halls and libraries that make up most Adirondack settlements; bridges, railroad buildings, lighthouses and other transportation related structures; and industrial sites related to the region’s important iron, wood, quarrying and tanning industries.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Adirondack Hacks

Selected by the Adirondack Almanack editor, Adirondack Hacks are somewhat random links to things, projects, and ideas for life in the Adirondacks – cool gear, technology tools and tips, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, and more.

USB-Powered Rechargeable Batteries

Making Simple Rustic Furniture

Build Your Own Home Theater PC

National Geographic Map Server

Wenger Giant Swiss Army Knife


Friday, October 13, 2006

APA Approves Ticonderoga Lowe’s

The APA has bent over once again to big business and approved the Ticonderoga Lowe’s out of character and proportion big box store and sign. According to the Adirondack Daily Enterprise, New York Legislators for the Adirondacks Theresa Sayward and Betty Little took the opportunity to pander to the local corporate boosters:

Still, state Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury, and Assemblywoman Teresa Sayward, R-Willsboro, have been critical of the APA’s handling of this case, saying it shouldn’thave jurisdiction over this project.

But several commissioners pointed out that Lowe’s could build a store less than 40 feet in height and away from the wetland, and it would have not fallen under APA jurisdiction. Lowe’s could have moved the building, “and the sign issue would have never been here today,” Whaley said. APA spokesman Keith McKeever said Wal-Mart, which is located next to the proposed Lowe’s site, built a store 39 feet in height and avoided the APA permitting process.

Lowe’s will be permitted to build a 245-square-foot illuminated sign 30 feet in height. The APA limitations for such signs are 15 square feet and 20 feet in height. The only limitation set on the Lowe’s sign at the meeting was that Lowe’s has to turn off the illumination when the store closes.

We’ve discussed Lowe’s and Ticonderoga and Essex County’s failures here before, but we’d like to point readers again to the Adirondack Wal-Mart Blog, a leader in regional big box development information. Recently, they took a trip to the Ticonderoga Wal-Mart, held a discussion of Ticonderoga’s plight, blogged on the Wal-Mart funded Citizens for Economic Opportunity, self-loathing in Saranac Lake, the Sound Adirondack Growth wiki-war, and the proposed Saranac Lake community store [more at Adirondack Musing on that].

The Lowe’s debacle is the latest effort by the anti-zoning unrstrained development folks, who found their latest voice is State Senate candidate Tim Merrick, who, according to NCPR ” is proposing to remove the permitting and enforcement authority of the Adirondack Park Agency.”

Check out what Brian had to say recently.


Friday, October 13, 2006

The Great Lake George Scrabble Tourney is On!

Yesterday (Sunday) at least 140 Scrabble players descended on Lake George for a National Scrabble Association Professional Tournament. They came from all over the east – Ontario, Quebec, New York, Vermont, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland – one of the entrants is Erica Moore of Midtown Manhattan’s Scrabble Club #56 who is blogging about her experience.

Who knew it required so much gear?

UPDATE 10/20/06: Check out this Scrabble furniture from Boing Boing.


Friday, October 13, 2006

A Little Bit o’ Michigan Here in The Adirondacks

According to the Press Republican:

Clare and Carl’s, Gus’ Red Hots and McSweeney’s Red Hots are featured in the October issue of Gourmet magazine, which has a story on michigans. The North Country hot dog and meat sauce combo has made the big time.

Unfortunately, it’s not online – but the paper’s Michigan Online Report is.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Global Warming Fantasies Revisited: Adirondack Edition

Our last post concerning the impacts of global warming in our region drew a lot of comments and discussion – including a comment by the Engineer for the Barton / Gore Mountain Wind Project Jim McAndrew about our opposition to his project which we’ll address in a future post on wind power in our region.

One thing is for sure – the experts are warning. Sadly, as is that case with over-development of the Adirondack Park, expanded roads and trails, and lots of other issues which pose dangers to America’s largest wilderness area east of the Mississippi – many of our local commentators, local media, and local cit zens don’t seem to get it.

Take this tidbit from Ed Shamy at the Burlington Free Press:

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) warned last week that if we don’t take immediate steps to curb global warming, Vermont and the other Northeastern states could face dire consequences by the end of this century.

Our winters could warm by 8 to 12 degrees. The length of the winter snow season could be cut in half. Our growing season could be extended by up to four weeks. We could tack three new summer-like weeks onto May and another three onto September and October. And spring could arrive three weeks earlier than it does now.

Shamy claims he wants to be concerned about “our grotesque automobile and factory emissions,” but really he’s thinking more about himself:

But most of the “perils” seem awfully appealing. If we don’t change our ways, we in Vermont will have winters more like Virginia, you say?

Is that a threat or a promise?

Gee, Shamy, that’s a funny column, but the fact is the threat is a real promise and it’s time people with an “authorized” voice such as yourself started taking it a little more seriously.

Though come to think of it, we only had two 90-degree days this year, so multiply that by three and you have six, which doesn’t sound all that rugged. I could live without more summer heat, but I could live without being a better cribbage player, too. Life is a mixed bag that way.

What exactly is left in your mixed bag when the big lakes no longer freeze, the maple trees are dying, the ski areas are slowly being put out of business, and the tourists move on to more suitable climes?

Here’s a couple of other items:

Almanack Reader and Interim Director of the Center for Environmental Programs at Bowling Green State University Philip G. Terrie has pointed us to the UCS site on local Global Warming impacts – thank you Mr. Terrie.

Ever wonder why the Albany Times Union has such a poor record in elucidating our warmer future? Maybe it has something to do with the big-wigs there, like Associate Editor William M. Dowd, who harbors old right-wing fantasies about global warming. Here’s a gem from a guy who I would guess doesn’t hold a steady interest in, let alone an advanced degree in climatology or environmental science:

I am not a believer in the theory of global warming.

Not that it isn’t getting warmer in some parts of the globe. It is, despite record cold spells and hideous weather across Europe again this year. No, I speak here of the unfortunately widely-promulgated notion that we humans have something to do with climate changes and have the power to influence it to a large extent.

Unfortunately, he’ll probably be long gone when it comes time to eat those words.

And finally from the “just doesn’t get it department,” we have StrikeSlip busy attacking the minds in the country’s most environmentally conscious state for “grandstanding” on global warming.

We know how this ends for the folks who just can’t believe in progress – slavery ends, women get to vote, we stop turning our rivers into sewers, we ban stuff that causes cancer, and we start taking our impacts (personal and otherwise) seriously – at least that the way we hope it happens, old media loudmouths be damned.

Take the time to check out:

The Adirondack Almanack’s complete series of articles on the environment

Groovy Green a really great environmental blog from central new york


Saturday, October 7, 2006

Adirondack Hacks

The second in our occasional feature of Adirondack Hacks which offer randomly organized links to make life in the Adirondacks easier – technology tools and tips, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, and anything else that offers a better, more convenient, or healthier way of life in our region.

18 Tricks to Teach Your Body

Resize Digital Images 8 Different Ways

Download the iPod Bartender

The Ultimate Computer Back-Up Guide

Clean Your Grill in Your Oven

A Cassette Deck for Your PC

Take a look at previous Adirondack Hacks here.


Thursday, October 5, 2006

How Much of the Earth’s Resources Do You Use?

Ever wonder how much productive land and water you need to support your lifestyle? The Earth Day Network offers 15 easy questions to compare your Ecological Footprint to what others use and how many planets we’d need if everyone lived the way we do. The results are amazing.


Tuesday, October 3, 2006

World Water Monitoring Day (October 4)

In honor of this week’s World Water Monitoring Day (October 4) take a look at Paul Smith College’s Adirondack Watershed Institute.

The AWI offers a range of services to the public, including invasive species management, water quality monitoring, public education, recreation use studies, fisheries management, ecological studies, forest management and educational publications. Additionally, the program hosts the annual Adirondack Water Quality Conference at Paul Smith’s College.

Water is one of our key Adirondack resources and it’s good news that students from the Earth and Environmental Science Department at SUNY Plattsburgh have recently finished a two year long baseline survey of the hydrology and invasive species in the the 280-square -mile Boquet River Watershed. This data will contribute immensely to our understanding of Adirondack waterways.

If you are interested in being involved in water monitoring day, you might ask the US Geological Survey scientists from the New York Water Science Center to take you along on their trip with students to visit a stream gauge station on Onondaga Creek in Syracuse where they will gather water samples and conduct water-quality tests. The event is sponsored by the Onondaga Environmental Institute and the Onondaga Lake Partnership, and scientists from the Upstate Freshwater Institute in Onondaga County. For more information contact William Kappela at (607) 266-0217, ext. 3013.


Sunday, October 1, 2006

Canada: Our Enemy North of the Adirondacks?

Today Jessica Doyle over at Blog Herald has an interesting piece on plans to wall us off from our “neighbors” to the north. It’s a lengthy piece with lots of quotes, but here is the jist:

The U.S. Homeland Security Department announced Thursday that it will be installing high-tech devices along the border with Canada as part of a multibillion-dollar plan to reduce illegal entry into the United States.

Under the new plan, Canada’s border with the U.S. will, within three years, be patrolled by cameras, sensors, unmarked planes and watchtowers.

Apparently they are planning to install as many as 900 watchtowers along the Canadian border. Watchtowers! We can’t even think of a watchtower without calling to mind the Irish Pale, the Berlin Wall, and Internment Camps.

In the first step of the multibillion-dollar plan, the U.S. will implement the technology along a 45-kilometre stretch of border near Tucson, Ariz. This will be followed with similar security measures along the Canadian border.

A $67-million US contract was awarded to Boeing Co. for the implementation of the initial stages of the project.

Folks – who are we kidding besides ourselves. The idea of sealing off the longest undefended border in the world is ridiculous – it’s no wonder they gave the contract to one of America’s preeminent fear mongers and war profiteers.

Here’s a prediction – once the wall is built there will be a steady escalation in the criminality assigned to border-crossers until they start shooting them for leaving one country or the other without the “proper papers.” When the Berlin Wall was in action the zone between countries became known as the “death strip.”

Thousands managed to escape through or over the wall, which divided the city of Berlin for 28 years. But hundreds died trying to flee to the West before the wall fell [17] years ago — on November 9, 1989.

Some 5,000 East Germans escaped into West Berlin, often resorting to extraordinary means. They hid in hollowed out compartments in automobiles. Others swam, dug tunnels or piloted flying machines to freedom. One slid down a high tension line. Another hid between a pair of surfboards.

More than 170 of those killed trying to escape died in the Death Strip, where armed East German guards had orders to shoot to kill.

The most shocking failed attempt took place on August 17, 1962. Peter Fechter, an 18-year-old apprentice mason, broke for freedom across the Death Strip. East German bullets stopped his flight at the base of the wall. For 50 minutes he lay unaided, moaning, “Help me.”

West Berliners shouted “Murderers!” at the guards, hurled stones at U.S. military vehicles and threw first-aid supplies to Fechter.

Though the shootings are probably still some time away, here is the current problem for a region that depends on Canadian tourists and free trade with our LOCAL neighbors:

I think many Canadians are scared today. so scared that my Mom will not fly through the States on a much shorter route to reach Vancouver from NB to visit me. So scared that my two friends would not travel through the States driving from Vancouver Fredericton en route to live in Vancouver. I don’t believe that we are scared of the citizens of the US. I am not. But maybe we are scared that we won’t be able to get back home.

I feel the same way about the thought I taking a drive to Montreal – will they confuse me with a terrorist?


Thursday, September 28, 2006

Animal Encounters: Moose in the Adirondacks

Relatively fewer hunters and natural predators combined with the amazing adaptability of some species has led to a recent boom in the populations of New York’s largest animals – moose, bear, deer, coyotes and bobcats. In the past few years a 400 pound bear was shot in the City of Albany’s Washington Park after it wandered for a couple hours around the downtown area. In 1997, a moose wandered Albany’s inner city neighborhood of Arbor Hill before being relocated. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

New Feature: Adirondack Hacks

Today the Adirondack Almanack will begin a new occasional feature. Adirondack Hacks will offer randomly organized links to make life in the Adirondacks easier – technology tools and tips, do-it-yourself (DIY) projects, and anything else that offers a better, more convenient, or healthier way of life in our region.

DIY Jerky Machine
A simple jerky maker for dried fish, fruit, meat, or whatever

Become a del.icio.us Power User
Making the most of the popular social bookmarking program

Build Your Own Tiki Bar
Perfect for a South Pacific theme party

See Your Web Pages in 30+ Browsers
Find out how your site looks on various web browsers

Get Democracy Player
The future of Internet TV has arrived

Save Money on Your Wedding
Cutting the costs for the big day

The BBC’s Shopping List Generator
Be prepared for that next trip into town



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