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Arts, Crafts and Hoo-has

Regretsy is a blog that chronicles the more special craft projects for sale on everybody's favorite handmade products Web site. The bit I find most interesting about this blog (and, by extension, Etsy, itself), is that there's a whole, separate category for vagina arts/crafts.

Yes, vaginas.

At present, it includes the felted placenta shown above, plus knit tampon cozies, celebrity-inspired uterus dolls, and a few other things. (Elsewhere on the site, you'll find a catnip toy in the shape of a fetus.)

I'll admit, I have a hard time getting these projects from any angle other than humor. But once I stop sniggering, I find myself fascinated by the decision to take a cutesy, "comfort food" medium--knitting, home-made dolls--and use it to illustrate parts of the body that (like most organs) aren't exactly the most visually attractive. In fact, I kind of wish the artists would branch out into spleens, kidneys, or maybe various glands. Or does the meme only work with ostensibly "dirty" organs? What do you think?

BTW: If you want to purchase your own felted placenta, you can find them on the real Etsy. They're made in Australia by user lumiknits.

(Re)cycler: YA science fiction that tackles sex, gender with a lot of smarts

(Re)Cycler: genderbending sfRead the rest

It's Time To Play...Is! It! Sinful!?

Say you're an average medieval Euro-Joe and you want to have sex with your wife. But first, you need to know, IS IT SINFUL? Digging through all those manuscripts of canon law can take forever (plus, as average medieval Euro-Joe, you can't read, anyway). Luckily, James A. Brundage has prepared a handy flow chart for sexual decision making the summarizes the medieval Christian church's take on when sex was OK (Think: In the dark, Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays only), and when you were totally going to go to hell.

Unfortunately, I'm not cool enough to figure out how to gank a picture from a Google Books page, so you'll have to follow this link to see the flow chart in all its glory.

Arse Electronika sex/tech conference, San Francisco Oct 1-4

Johannes writes in with the news of this year's sex/tech Arse Electronika conference in San Francisco:

We may not forget that mankind is a sexual and tool-using species. And that's why our annual conference Arse Elektronika deals with sex, technology and the future. As bio-hacking, sexually enhanced bodies, genetic utopias and plethora of gender have long been the focus of literature, science fiction and, increasingly, pornography, this year will see us explore the possibilities that fictional and authentic bodies have to offer. Our world is already way more bizarre than our ancestors could have ever imagined. But it may not be bizarre enough. "Bizarre enough for what?" -- you might ask. Bizarre enough to subvert the heterosexist matrix that is underlying our world and that we should hack and overcome for some quite pressing reasons within the next century. Don't you think, replicants?
Arse Elektronika 2009 (Thanks, Johannes!)

Will a clean fridge get you laid?

Jesse Brown, a BoingBoing guest blogger, is the host of TVO's Search Engine podcast.

My friend Corey Mintz is so proud of his well-stocked, spotless refrigerator that he sends pictures of its interior to girls he's wooing and has used it in place of a headshot on his online dating profile (high-rez link).

Now, this is no ordinary fridge- Corey is a chef and food writer (a good one, for the Toronto Star) so his fridge is filled with wonderful delights- top-notch doggie-bags, fancy mustards, homemade pickles and the occasional action figure. He obsessively packages and labels his sauces and glazes and eliminates any item at the first sight or smell of rottenness. He's actually indexed and published his fridge's contents (link).

So ladies, I put the question to you: does this fridge turn you on?

Conservative California legislator gives pornographic account of his multiple affairs (including a lobbyist) into open mic

Back in July, Michael Duvall, a second-term California assemblyman who "is the vice-chairman of the legislature's commerce committee and a member of its ethics committee, are married with two children and are known as a staunch defender of conservative family values" was to appear on a televised committee meeting. Not realizing his mic was already live, he began to brag about his sexual conquests.
Make sure your microphone is OFF before bragging about and giving disgustingly lewd details of your affair with a much younger woman who is also a lobbyist whose clients have business before your committee, and also laughing about the fact that you are simultaneously cheating on your wife and your mistress with yet another woman...

Not content with mentioning the fact he was having an affair, which would have caused problems enough, Duvall -- who I am now officially christening "Open Mike" -- launched into explicit details, many of which are too nasty to reprint here, and all of which were captured by his microphone. (Among them: tiny underwear, spankings, and the 19-year-age difference....

It gets better:
"She wears little eye-patch underwear," said Duvall, who is married with two children. "So, the other day she came here with her underwear, Thursday. And
 so, we had made love Wednesday--a lot! And so she'll, she's all, 'I am going 
up and down the stairs, and you're dripping out of me!' So messy!"...

During his political career, Duvall has unabashedly espoused conservative
 principles and is known as a partisan Republican with a knack for theatrics:
 He has noisily driven his Harley-Davidson motorcycle to functions. In 2008, 
Duvall blasted efforts to condone gay marriage. Legislatively, he has 
proposed bills to aid the insurance industry and government contractors 
feeding off the state's massive transportation kitty.

 He has offered a law to alter the First Amendment rights of Americans by
 banning anti-war activists from putting the names of fallen soldiers on 
T-shirts with messages such as "Bush lied" on the front and "They died" on the back; he observed that the dead soldiers fought to protect freedom, and "opportunists" should not be allowed to "exploit" the sacrifices with political messages opposing war.

Such thinking impressed certain constituencies. Earlier this year, the man who never graduated from high school received "100 percent" approval scores 
by the California Republican Assembly, the state's leading conservative outfit, and the Capitol Resource Institute (CRI), a fierce guardian of traditional family values.

And best of all? He's refusing to resign (though he's taken to actually running away from reporters).

Open Mike Likely to Close Out Legislator's Career

OC Assemblyman In Bed With Lobbyist . . . No, Literally In Bed

Update: He resigned.

Dirty Tats: shocker, but lowbrow game marketing is lowbrow


Over at Needles and Sins, Marisa Kakoulas DiMattia blogs:

Yesterday was the US launch of the racing game Dirt 2, and what better way to promote virtual off-road rallies than, ya know, a Flash app that lets you tattoo some woman's breasts. The app is called "Dirty Tats." And that's not even the worst part.

The obviously sex starved Codemasters who created the tattoo game know how to do creepy well, albeit unintentionally. After the intro of loud and just plain bad pop-metal, you're treated to gooey come-ons from a volumptuous vixen who purrs "I like the personal touch," or "Looks like you have some hidden talents." My special talent was not vomiting while trying to get the words "misogyny" across her chest via the Lettering tool.

And like all bad tattoo Flash games, there are the bad tattoo flash stencils that you can stick on her, like the Tribal fish and Kanji for "why am I wasted my time."
"Dirty Tats." The Game. The Tragedy. (Needles and Sins, thanks Susannah Breslin)

You're weird in at least ten ways

The New Scientist's "Ten things we don't understand about humans" is a head-scratching tour of humanity's inexplicables from laughter to pubic hair:
Pubic hair: Scent radiator, warmth provider, or chafe protection? The answer to why humans have clumps of hair in private places is still open for debate...

Teenagers: Even our closest relatives, the great apes, move smoothly from their juvenile to adult life phases - so why do humans spend an agonising decade skulking around in hoodies?

Ten things we don't understand about humans (via Kottke)

Love in 2D

An article I wrote for the New York Times Magazine about men in Japan who are in love with anime characters is online now. The print version will be in this coming Sunday's magazine. I should point out that this phenomenon is not unique to Japan, or to men, but I think it's safe to say that that is where it originated. In the interest of space the editors and I had to cut out the sections about 2D love in the US and elsewhere, and among women.
Nisan didn't mean to fall in love with Nemutan. Their first encounter -- at a comic-book convention that Nisan's gaming friends dragged him to in Tokyo -- was serendipitous. Nisan was wandering aimlessly around the crowded exhibition hall when he suddenly found himself staring into Nemutan's bright blue eyes. In the beginning, they were just friends. Then, when Nisan got his driver's license a few months later, he invited Nemutan for a ride around town in his beat-up Toyota. They went to a beach, not far from the home he shares with his parents in a suburb of Tokyo. It was the first of many road trips they would take together. As they got to know each other, they traveled hundreds of miles west -- to Kyoto, Osaka and Nara, sleeping in his car or crashing on friends' couches to save money. They took touristy pictures under cherry trees, frolicked like children on merry-go-rounds and slurped noodles on street corners. Now, after three years together, they are virtually inseparable. "I've experienced so many amazing things because of her," Nisan told me, rubbing Nemutan's leg warmly. "She has really changed my life." Nemutan doesn't really have a leg. She's a stuffed pillowcase -- a 2-D depiction of a character, Nemu, from an X-rated version of a PC video game called Da Capo, printed on synthetic fabric. In the game, which is less a game than an interactive visual novel about a schoolyard romance, Nemu is the loudmouthed little sister of the main character, whom she calls nisan, or "big brother," a nickname Nisan adopted as his own when he met Nemu. When I joined the couple for lunch at their favorite all-you-can-eat salad bar in the Tokyo suburb of Hachioji, he insisted on being called only by this new nickname, addressing his body-pillow girlfriend using the suffix "tan" to show how much he adored her. Nemutan is 10, maybe 12 years old and wears a little blue bikini and gold ribbons in her hair. Nisan knows she's not real, but that hasn't stopped him from loving her just the same. "Of course she's my girlfriend," he said, widening his eyes as if shocked by the question. "I have real feelings for her."
Love in 2D [New York Times Magazine]

Things to say during sex (Doogie Horner flowchart lulz).

Picture 5.gif

Link to complete image. What's the name of the guy who does these? I'm sorry, but I do not know Created by the extremely funny Doogie Horner. (via @galadarling via @reversecowpie)

Did you know that Ron Jeremy has a pet tortoise?

Susannah Breslin is a guestblogger on Boing Boing. She is a freelance journalist who blogs at Reverse Cowgirl and is at work on a novel set in the adult movie industry.


The Independent did one of those things where they ask someone famous a bunch of questions, and this time they asked Ron Jeremy. The Hedgehog. The San Fernando Valley's Hirsute Thespian of Our Times.

There's a lot of pressure to perform when you're the best-known [porn] actor in the world; my biggest fear is that I'll be in a scene and I'll suck, and people will say, "Just look at that flaccid noodle." I'm getting older and it feels more of a strain, but I'm still enjoying doing the scenes.
Credo: Ron Jeremy, porn star, 56 (Image credit: Robert Yager)

German cemetery nixes sexualized tombstone for sex-worker/advocate's grave

A tombstone for the famed German sex-worker and advocate Domenica Niehoff has been turned down as too sexual by the cemetery where she was buried.

The 77-year-old artist Tomi Ungerer's parting gift to his friend Domenica Niehoff was to be a gravestone featuring two ample pink marble boulders in homage to her famously top-heavy figure. But those responsible for the Garden of Women cemetery, resting place of Hamburg's most famous women, turned his design down, the paper reported...

Ungerer and Niehoff were friends for decades, and even shared a flat for a while in 1984. He published drawings of Niehoff and her colleagues in a book entitled "Guardian Angels of Hell" at the time...

Niehoff, who gained fame for advocating the rights of sex workers in the 70s and 80s, died at age 63 in February 2009.

Famous prostitute's gravestone deemed too 'slutty' (Thanks, Rosa!)

Fertility interprets regulation as damage and routes around it

Here's the results from the first-ever survey of European fertility tourism:
Hundreds of women over the age of 40 are travelling to fertility clinics in Europe to try to get pregnant because NHS clinics in the UK will not take them, the first-ever Europe-wide study of fertility tourism shows.

The research shows considerable movement across Europe, with women seeking out procedures that are banned in their own country. Italian women are crossing the border in droves following tough legal restrictions on IVF imposed in 2004, while large numbers of gay French women bypass a ban by seeking treatment in Belgium.

NHS restrictions prompt fertility tourism boom

1964 Frederick's of Hollywood catalog

Flickr user What Makes The Pie Shops Tick? has posted a complete, high-rez) scan of the 1964 Frederick's of Hollywood catalog!

1964 Frederick's of Hollywood Catalog (Thanks, copyranter!)

Mind Over Ship: David Marusek's hyperfuturistic, hyperimaginative soap-opera

David Marusek's Mind Over Ship is the long-awaited sequel to his groundbreaking 2005 debut novel Counting Heads, and it was worth the wait.

Mind Over Ship returns to the awesomely weird and exciting Marusek future, where humanity trembles on the verge of transcendence, splintering into people, clones, avatars, AIs, temporary and permanent models (some made without the model-ee's consent) and a thousand other fragments. Each of these factions battles for the best deal it can get -- even as the individual members of each clade fight for their own personal best interests.

Mind Over Ship is so complex, with so many storylines and so many incredibly inventive premises, that it trembles on the verge of breakdown, acrobatically walking on a tightrope over the pit of too-weird. It's a book that demands and rewards attention, as it explores a hundred important philosophical questions about free will, destiny, bioethics, intelligence, and duty.

For example, there's the story of the betrayal of the cold-sleep deep-space ships, which are meant to be launching by the dozens to distant, unexplored stars (but which have been co-opted for use as space-condos in a hostile corporate takeover). This leaves their erstwhile owners -- semi-sovereign collectives of Jesus freaks, defective spare-organ clones of VIPs, fatalistic Ukrainian Chernorbyl survivors, and other disaffected groups yearning to breath the air of distant worlds -- out in the cold.

Then there's the biowar flu, "the 24-hour nonspecific grief flu," which causes its victims to feel, well, nonspecific grief for 24 hours, before their immune systems fight the bugs off. Or do they?

NASTIEs are nanoweapons, the scale of a dandelion seed, which take root and begin coopting nearby matter, sending out tree-like roots to seek out the raw materials to assemble themselves into "deadly weapons of mass destruction." The army that launched the NASTIEs disbanded sixty years ago, but the seeds still flutter on the wind, periodically dissolving whole housing complexes as cloned first-responders seek to disassemble them before they can realize their destiny.

Clones are in trouble -- different kinds of clones, provided by different workforce vendors, are all going through massive, wrenching existential trauma. Do they have "clone fatigue" that causes them to run against type? And of course, every clone wonders if his creators imbued him with "musts" (secret, tailored cocktails of trace minerals whose absence will kill a clone in short order) and "candy" (like "musts," except that these cocktails evince extreme ecstatic responses, acting as a powerful Skinnerian conditioning agent).

There's even weirder life in Mind Over Ship: a beheaded tycoon whose head is grafted onto a cloned baby's body; her mother, secretly alive, encoded in the modified brains of "panasonic" fish around the world. And then there's the lively media: nits and the nitwork, micro-, mezzo- and nano-scale spybots that form a ubiquitous surveillance grid around the planet, a grid that can only be avoided by taking powerful purgatives that destroy the artificial fauna populating your outer and inner self before passing through an airlock.

Marusek's hyperfuturistic, hyperimaginative soap-opera is a tour-de-force of imagination, philosophy, dark humor and humanity. Let's hope he writes the next one quickly!

Mind Over Ship

Video of people watching porn

Robbie Cooper's "Immersion: Porn" builds on his earlier work making video-recordings of gamers playing their favorite games; only this time, it's people talking about their relationship to pornography intercut with amazing, intimate footage of their faces as they watch the porn they enjoy.

Video: Robbie Cooper: Sex, Sighs & Videotape

Immersion: Porn By Robbie Cooper | Video

(via Kottke)

Eliot Spitzer explains himself

In this brief but compelling Vanity Fair interview with Eliot Spitzer, the disgraced former governor and attorney general of New York, the reporter repeatedly presses Spitzer to explain why he was having sex with a prostitute while campaigning against prostitution. Spitzer's responses are fascinating: it sounds like he had divided his life into two pieces, the values he believed in and the things that he was compelled by.

It reminds me of the scene in Stephenson's Diamond Age in which a neo-Victorian recounts, "Virtually all political discourse in the days of my youth was devoted to the ferreting out of hypocrisy... Because they were hypocrites, the Victorians were despised in the late twentieth century. Many of the persons who held such opinions were, of course, guilty of the most nefarious conduct themselves, and yet saw no paradox in holding such views because they were not hypocrites themselves-they took no moral stances and lived by none."

"I'm not going to make excuses," he replied evenly. "Let me ask you a question: Is there a difference between politicians and anybody else? Or is it that the lives of politicians are so very public?"

"There is a difference, Mr. Spitzer. You were elected to a position of public trust."

"That's right," he conceded. "It's why I resigned without delay. Some said I could try to ride it out. But I didn't see it that way. What I did was heinous and wrong..."

"You knew the risks. Either you felt you were above the law or you had some kind of death wish."

His response was that neither was the case. "It's a story that has been repeated since our earliest days as a species. It's both obvious and not susceptible to an answer," he insisted. "Nonetheless, we are led down a certain path. It wasn't hubris or a death wish--but frailty, temptation, and common miscalculation."

Lunch in the Park with Eliot (via Kottke)