Saturday, July 24, 2004

News, News, News

I can't think of a good and gripping title for this post which is a pity as it's a very interesting one, I hope. It's all about what I've read today that hasn't been on the relationships in Iraq or the relationships in American politics, you know all that stuff that women don't like to read about.

Instead, I give you three pieces of varying relevance but all with the characteristic that they lit that little lamp in my head. This may happen to you, too, unless you're already dipping into your nectar reserves or totally overwhelmed by the Convention fever. Or otherwise unable to enjoy anything whatsoever. Or a Republican, of course.

The first news are about daughterly love and adoration. Something we all are going to find uplifting and lovely. It's a statement by Barbara Bush, the daughter of our current president, and this is what she has to say about her "Dad":

The campaign trail has been so much fun -- we have had a blast hanging out with our Dad and meeting tons of people across the US. The entire experience has been awe-inspiring; especially since this is the first time we have had a chance to contribute most of our time. I went to my first rally with my Dad two weeks ago in Michigan and was completely floored by the event. I had never witnessed so many people so excited to get my Dad reelected. As I sat on stage waiting for my Dad to deliver his remarks, I was so overcome by the unbelievable excitement in the room, watching so many people yell and chant for my father, I could not help but get tears in my eyes. It was amazing to meet so many people that respect and love my dad almost as much as I do!

It must have been amazing indeed, given the amount of care and planning that goes into picking just the right people for Bush's public appearances. The ones that love him the best. Now I feel all mean and small-minded for pointing this out. It feels good.

The second piece of news is nowhere near as fun; it's pretty much what I nowadays expect when decisions are made about women's freedoms in lots of countries. Egypt has decided to ban music videos which show the woman's navel in belly-dancing, an ancient indigenous art form:

Egyptian TV viewers are questioning the appropriateness of suggestive music videos in a traditional, Islamic culture, saying they fear for "their daughter's morals". Last year, the exuberantly nubile Lebanese singer Nancy Agram excited the wrath of the People's Assembly, who called for a ban and fines to channels airing her video, though their threats were widely ignored. Recently, however, an Egyptian girl named Rubi upset members of parliament and the TV authority enough to institute a ban (affecting state-owned TV) on music videos where women's navels appear. In a characteristic mix of probity, lust and national pride, a Music Syndicate official described Rubi as a 'sex-bomb' whereas Nancy is merely a 'sex-pot'.

Note the careful reference to the daughters' morals. Their daughters are presumably watching these videos with their tongues hanging down to their waistlines... And the references to 'sex-bomb' and 'sex-pot' are fascinating. What's the difference? Does one just dip into a sex-pot but have the whole kitchen to clean if the sex-bomb goes off? - That belly-dancing has a much deeper significance and importance than its possible use for sexual excitation purposes seems not to concern those keeping count of the daughters' morals and sex-pot status.

Finally, this is a piece of news that should have general appeal: it's about someone overcoming a potentially fatal illness, about animals which are cute and about a miraculous change:

A young monkey at an Israeli zoo has started walking on its hind legs only -- aping humans -- after almost dying from a stomach illness, the zoo's veterinarian said Wednesday.
Natasha, a 5-year-old black macaque at the Safari Park near Tel Aviv, began walking exclusively on her hind legs after a stomach ailment nearly killed her, zookeepers said.
Monkeys usually alternate between upright movement and walking on all fours. A picture in the Maariv daily on Wednesday showed Natasha standing ramrod straight like a human. The picture was labeled humorously, "The Missing Link?"
Two weeks ago, Natasha and three other monkeys were diagnosed with severe stomach flu. At the zoo clinic, she slipped into critical condition, said Igal Horowitz, the veterinarian.
"I was sure that she was going to die," he said. "She could hardly breathe and her heart was not functioning properly."
After intensive treatment, Natasha's condition stabilized. When she was released from the clinic, Natasha began walking upright.
"I've never seen or heard of this before," said Horowitz. One possible explanation is brain damage from the illness, he said.
Otherwise, Horowitz said, Natasha's behavior has returned to normal.

Cute, isn't it? Click on the link to see a picture of Natasha striding purposefully and in a very familiar posture. Maybe the snakes are right when they pity all humans as suffering from brain damage? In any case, I like Natasha. She's one uppity monkey.
Props to Wonkette for story number one, phmnst for story number two and blue lily for the third story.