Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Tea Party’s right Angle in NV


The NV Tea Party Angle, eliminate the EPA and Social Security

The New York Times
By BRIAN STELTER
28, 2010

In Nevada, Running for Senate and From Cameras

RENO — There is a game in Nevada called “Where’s Sharron Angle?” that the press is tired of playing.

Ms. Angle, a Nevada Senate candidate and Tea Party darling, has steadfastly refused to talk to reporters here, leading to some unusually aggressive behavior by local television stations. In a segment fit for TMZ, one intrepid reporter chased her on foot outside a restaurant this month, repeatedly asking why she had once said that “if this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.” She ignored the questioner and tried to outpace him, in a video clip replayed across the state.

In her silence, Ms. Angle has exposed a fault line in political journalism. Candidates typically live and die by television exposure, with interviews supplementing the usual barrage of advertisements. But in local races across the country, there are fewer reporters asking questions on behalf of voters, and there are more media alternatives than ever, including talk radio and Facebook.

Still, Ms. Angle is quickly discovering that there is no better way to wake up a sleepy TV news crew than to refuse an interview request — or 10 requests, or 20.

“I can’t remember a time that we’ve ever had trouble with interviews,” said Mary Beth Farrell, the news director at KRNV, the local NBC affiliate. “Especially with people running for office — they usually beat our door down.”

After weeks of private rejections, KRNV last Monday publicly called on Ms. Angle to explain her positions to Nevada voters, an unprecedented step by the station, Ms. Farrell said. A day later, apparently coincidentally, she agreed to a single TV interview, to be broadcast on Tuesday.

In a state where reporters say they can knock at the Governor’s Mansion and say hello, people are wondering whether Ms. Angle’s “no comments” — except to friendly radio hosts — are indicative of something bigger. The reporters said they suspect that Ms. Angle, who has said that the Environmental Protection Agency should be eliminated and that Social Security should be “transitioned out,” is afraid of running into the same interview buzz saw as Rand Paul’s Senate campaign did in Kentucky.

Mr. Paul, another Tea Party favorite, was widely criticized for his views on civil rights after an appearance on MSNBC last month, leading him to cancel an appearance on “Meet the Press,” the gold standard of political TV interviews. (Since that, though, local stations in Kentucky have had access to Mr. Paul, said Mark Neerman, the news director at WHAS in Louisville.)

“One bad moment can derail an entire campaign,” said Mark Macias, a former producer for New York, Miami and Phoenix stations and the author of “Beat the Press,” who pointed to the bad press accumulated by Sarah Palin when she was interviewed in the 2008 presidential campaign. Now out of office, Ms. Palin may be a role model of sorts for subverting the news media; she now rarely gives interviews, except to Fox News, which pays her to be a contributor.

Ms. Angle, a local Republican legislator, was friendlier to the press back when she was deemed a long shot in the Senate race, according to reporters who have known her for years. But that changed after she was enthroned as the Tea Party’s choice to challenge Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, this fall. A week before the June 8 primary, her spokesman, Jerry Stacy, was quoted as saying, “She’s not interested in meeting up with any media or anything.”

Ms. Angle’s campaign strategy — if it is indeed a strategy; a spokesman did not respond to a request for comment — is representative of a pick-and-choose media landscape. Since the primary victory, she has showed up on Fox News and sat down with several conservative radio hosts, including Bill Manders of KOH, the dominant talk station in Reno. “She answers every question I ask her,” Mr. Manders said, although he said he had advised her to give more interviews.

At the moment, said Anjeanette Damon, a longtime political reporter for The Reno Gazette-Journal who recently moved to The Las Vegas Sun, “she is just talking to the base, people who are going to start sending her money.” Jason Pasco, the news director at KTVN, the CBS affiliate in Reno, called that tactic a “disservice to our viewers,” some of whom have been calling local stations and asking questions about Ms. Angle’s views. He speculated that Internet outlets like YouTube and Twitter, which allow for unfettered connections between candidates and voters, had emboldened her campaign.

“Maybe they think they can hit the people they want to hit directly,” he said. “I don’t think that hits the undecided voters though.”

Republican officials have said that reporters will hear from Ms. Angle in due time, once she builds up her campaign staff. Mr. Macias said, “If she’s not answering all the questions, it’s probably because she doesn’t have the answers yet.”

In the meantime, Mr. Reid’s campaign has made Ms. Angle’s silence a campaign issue, and the state Democratic committee has designed a Web site showing her in an underground bunker, hiding from a camera crew.

Mr. Manders, who displays a bumper sticker on his radio studio switchboard that says, “Elect anyone but Harry Reid,” said Mr. Reid was actually the one who “runs and hides,” having granted only three interviews to him in seven years. But local news executives scoff at the comparison, saying Mr. Reid and his staff had worked to demonstrate that he was not ignoring his home state.

“He may still dodge questions, but at least you can see him do it,” Mr. Pasco said.

As for the reporter in the restaurant parking lot, Nathan Baca of KLAS in Las Vegas, he says he was called “an idiot” by an Angle campaign aide after trying to interview her. Her campaign later denied that, saying, “the official in-state spokesman was not at the event.”

Jon Ralston, the political columnist who will interview Ms. Angle this week on his television show, “Face to Face,” had talked on the air about the problems getting hold of her. On one broadcast he mentioned that her spokesman’s voice mailbox was full.

When the spokesman called back, he told Mr. Ralston that they wanted the “toughest in the business” to interview her.

“Flattering, perhaps,” Mr. Ralston said last week, “but it’s also possible they were advised to get it over with on June 29 to mitigate any fallout. The election is still four-plus months away.”

Personal Comment: Sharron Angle is a Sarah Palin wannabe complete with interview gaffs and far right views who if elected would isolate Nevada from the rest of the country. While campaigning at least she won’t be able to give that she can see Russia from her home as a reason to be elected to high public office.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Clueless in Phoenix – Part II


Still Clueless in Phoenix

Personal comment: In My June 4, 2010 entry, Clueless in Phoenix, I posted that a nun in hospital administration at a Catholic hospital in Phoenix, AZ was excommunicated for sanctioning an abortion to save the life of a pregnant woman who had 4 small children at home. The Catholic Church has ‘clarified it’s position’ on such situations, giving further evidence, as if any was necessary, that the Church hierarchy is misogynistic and very much an old boys club.

Daily Women's Health Policy Report
Monday, June 28, 2010 11:54 AM

Catholic Bishops Clarify Abortion Definitions in Light of Ariz. Case

June 28, 2010 — The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine released a statement last week clarifying how the church classifies direct abortions and indirect abortions, the Arizona Republic reports.

The statement refers to a recent case in which Sister Margaret McBride, an administrator at a Catholic hospital in Arizona, was excommunicated for her role in authorizing an abortion to save a woman's life. The statement did not review the particulars of the case or take a position on the excommunication; instead, it said USCCB wanted to clarify "confusion" about the church's stance on abortion.

According to the Republic, the church condemns direct abortion -- meant to terminate a pregnancy -- but permits indirect abortion -- in which fetal death is a secondary effect of another necessary procedure -- in some cases, such as a hysterectomy to treat uterine cancer. "As the church has said many times, direct abortion is never permissible because a good end cannot justify an evil means," the statement said, adding, "There are no situations in which it can be justified."

The statement "appears to confirm" the Phoenix bishop's classification of the Arizona case as a direct abortion, the Republic reports (Clancy, Arizona Republic, 6/25). In the case, the young mother of four was 11 weeks pregnant and had pulmonary hypertension, a rare condition in which continuing the pregnancy often jeopardizes the life of the woman. Physicians concluded that the placenta had to be removed to prevent the patient from dying

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Last Dance


Darci Kistler with Damian Woetzel in Swan Lake in 1999

The New York Times
June 22, 2010
Last Dance
By GIA KOURLAS

“DARCI KISTLER has a way of walking onto a stage and casting a spell. For years you could be sure that someone in the audience — in barely a whisper — would remind you that the woman with the honey blond hair, broad shoulders and killer legs was the last ballerina trained and hired by George Balanchine.

More recently, as her performances have become less frequent, those whispers have given way to something a little more soulful: a collective holding of breath.

On Sunday afternoon Ms. Kistler, who is 46, intends to finish her 30-year career at New York City Ballet in a farewell program at Lincoln Center, the end of an era. Not only is she Balanchine’s last ballerina; she is also one of the New York ballet world’s last stars.

Her power lies in an irresistible combination of tomboy daring paired with an inherent romantic softness. As Rudolf Nureyev said after first seeing her when she was 17: “There’s that devil inside. She already knows how to move to make everybody watch.”
Robert La Fosse, one of her most important partners at City Ballet, said that watching Ms. Kistler dance early on was like being in the presence of a gift. “The light that she shines is a kind of starlight,” he said.

That star power today arises from the free-spirited nature of her dancing as well as the way her name is so strongly linked to Balanchine’s. Her departure is more than a retirement: as long as she danced, he lived on, not just in ballets but also in a body.

But Ms. Kistler, seated comfortably on a sofa at the School of American Ballet, the academy affiliated with City Ballet, didn’t like being reminded of her celebrity. Her playfulness faded; her blue eyes wearied. The kiss of death, she said later, is being known as someone.

“I never am aware of it,” she said. “I don’t feel that.” After a pause she tossed her hair, considerably darker now, and found her smile. “No.”

Ms. Kistler’s smiles are frequent and often followed by shrieks of laughter. In the studio — she is on the school faculty — she is a tough motivator in the guise of a mischievous sprite. After marking a pirouette combination, she turned to face a group of 12- and 13-year-olds: “Want to try another fun one, girls? Let’s give it a whirl.” And they whirled.

Ms. Kistler began studying at the school in 1976. She joined City Ballet in 1980 and was promoted to principal two years later.

Though he never created a ballet for her, she worked intensely with Balanchine, who died in 1983. Ms. Kistler said she believed she was his last visitor in the hospital. “Who knows what death is,” she added, “but it was rough to see that. He turned away, and I grabbed his hand, and he looked back, and I just spoke to him. It was very traumatic.”

Eight years later Ms. Kistler eloped with Peter Martins, the company’s ballet master in chief. “We knew what we were doing, and we wanted to do it,” Mr. Martins said in a phone interview, “and nobody was going to come between us.”

In 1996 they had a daughter, Talicia Tove Martins — a slender beauty known as Cia — and they are slightly animal crazy. Their household includes two cats (Ms. Kistler couldn’t leave the shelter with just one) and four dogs.

After she retires Ms. Kistler plans to continue teaching. But she has other ideas too. “I always say to Peter, ‘I’m going to pet-grooming school,’ ” Ms. Kistler said. “Darci Scissorhands!” She whooped, testing out titles for her potential new business. “I was going to call it Petipaw,” she continued, pausing. (The name is a play on the 19th-century choreographer Petipa.) “I really am serious.”

Growing up in Riverside, Calif., Ms. Kistler had four older brothers. The siblings, each a year apart, were some version of the lost boys and a girl; when they got into trouble, they went down together. One incident involved bows and arrows, BB guns and a baby sitter. “I guess we ran her off,” Ms. Kistler said, “so she called our parents.”

For Ms. Kistler ballet, which she started studying at 5, was an escape, with its quietness and femininity. “It was something that I could have on my own,” she said. “I think, really, it was a refuge. Going and taking class was the best part of my day. It still is, actually.”

In California Ms. Kistler trained at Mary Lynn’s Ballet Arts and with Irina Kosmovska, who also taught at the School of American Ballet and instilled in her a reverence for Balanchine. She also became entranced with an article in her mother’s Vogue magazine in which she learned how Balanchine chose a different perfume for each of his favorite dancers. Regretfully, she said he never picked a scent for her.

“I know he liked the perfume I was wearing at the time,” Ms. Kistler said. “It was called Pavlova, and I remember him asking me what it was. He probably giggled. ‘What is it with this girl?’ That’s how much I wanted to be a ballerina.”

Ms. Kistler didn’t have to wait long. After she performed Balanchine’s one-act “Swan Lake” at the School of American Ballet Workshop Performances in 1980, reaction in the ballet world was ecstatic.

She was young; it took some work to get her there. The Russian ballerina Alexandra Danilova taught her the role; Balanchine chose her for it. As she recalled, his corrections were severe, especially after he could sense that she had been influenced by another performance. Ms. Kistler said she had watched Natalia Makarova.

“In rehearsal I think I did the fast version of her slow version,” Ms. Kistler said before mimicking a panicked Balanchine. “‘No dear! Where did you see? What are you doing?’ Screamed at me. ‘You don’t look anywhere, you don’t watch anything, I want you. I don’t want that.’ When he stomped his foot and raised his voice, you were like, ‘I’m fired.’ The thing that he was on me about constantly was to just be myself. He’d even pull me out of the wings when Suzanne Farrell was dancing.”

Now Ms. Kistler is a nurturer. Jared Angle first started dancing with Ms. Kistler in 1999, one year after he joined the company. “If I missed one thing, I’d be so upset and ready to kill myself,” Mr. Angle said. But afterward, “she’d say: ‘Oh my gosh, that was so much fun, wasn’t it? Thank you!’ instead of being like, ‘Why didn’t you hold me here?’ ”

Though they didn’t have an extensive partnership onstage, Mr. Martins, at Balanchine’s request, danced with her too. “Mr. B would say, ‘You know, dear, she needs help,” Mr. Martins said. “She needs a better partner. Can you do this with her?’ ”

Their dancing now is restricted to City Ballet galas. “I whip her out of her chair and I say, ‘Honey, let’s dance,’ and she’s great,” Mr. Martins said. “As assertive as she is in life and in every other area of her existence, when she gets on the dance floor, she is malleable like nobody else.”

Ms. Kistler has maintained for years that dancing Balanchine ballets makes one a Balanchine dancer. Looking back, she seems to acknowledge what she had: “The real reality is there is nothing in the world like being talked to and being graced by his presence, by his words, by his thoughts.”

There is a quotation, frequently attributed to Ms. Kistler, in which Balanchine instructed her not to think but just to dance. “He knew people better than anybody,” Ms. Kistler said. “I don’t think he would tell another dancer to ‘just dance.’ But that’s what he said to me. He probably thought that I was an overthinker. Maybe he didn’t want me to get in my own way.”

Ms. Kistler began teaching in the early 1990s. Her mentor was Stanley Williams, the celebrated teacher who worked with her after she slipped on a piece of tape during a television shoot and sustained a debilitating ankle injury.

“It was just an accident,” she said. “You know, none of my injuries were ever from overworking. Never. And then the operation went bad. They didn’t fix it. They had to close it up, and then I literally was dancing on a broken ankle. I think my problem is I shouldn’t be able to take that much pain.”

Partly because of injury and partly because of age, Ms. Kistler’s fading technique has drawn critical attention. Writing in The New York Times in 2008, Alastair Macaulay noted that she was “very limited in dance power these days.”

Ms. Kistler wouldn’t address whether she thought some critics turned against her because she married Mr. Martins. Soon after they wed Mr. Martins was accused of assaulting her; later, the charge was dropped. More to the point, his direction of City Ballet has been called into question many times since Balanchine’s death. But Ms. Kistler said: “I was a ballerina before I was with him. Of course, if I wasn’t very bright, I’d think, ‘Oh, this is going to make my career better.’ No. I knew when I married Peter that I had had my career.”

Her professional experience, she knows, is rare, but because she was so young when Balanchine died, and because she is as much a part of Mr. Martins’s era as Balanchine’s, she also has perspective.

“You’re 16, and you have the most incredible moment ever, and then you have to live and grow up and become the woman you want to be, the mother you want to be,” she said. “Responsible. Human. I don’t think a lot of people who were with Mr. B could grow up. That’s why a lot of them became angry or unhappy.”

Yet she said that she could also identify with such anguish. “I magnify the little time I spent with him to people who knew him,” she said, alluding to dancers who devoted many more years to Balanchine and found it difficult to adjust to a new regime. “That loss. How do you fill that? What fills that?”

For Ms. Kistler one way is clearly through her daughter, who, despite her lineage, decided not to dance. “But just the other day she told me: ‘You know, Mom, I think I talked myself out of being a dancer because of you. I thought I’d never be as good as you.’ And I wanted to cry.”

There was a night in early June when Ms. Kistler was scheduled to perform at City Ballet as Mr. Martins was expected across the plaza at the School of American Ballet. “Peter said, ‘Well, Cia, you’ll be my date,’ and she said, ‘No, I really want to sit in the wing and watch Mom,’ ” Ms. Kistler recalled, her eyes welling. “Those are the moments when I tear up. It’s that she’s the one saying, ‘Oh, I’m not going to get to see you,’ and I’m like, ‘Ahhhhh.’ ”

Ms. Kistler took a deep breath. “But she’s never seen me tear up. I just teared up. I would never let her see me do that.”

Why is that? “Oh, because I pretend I don’t care.” Wiping her eyes, she left to teach a ballet class. Her laughter rang down the hall”

Personal comment: I knew Darci when I was at SAB , but only because she taught an occasional class. She was already a Principal by the time I entered SAB in 1987. She is a lovely person. I was never in her social circle or at her level artistically. Her artistry will be missed.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Pointe Shoe Quiz 06-26-2010



Who is the Maker of these Shoes?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dive-sex with Daddy


Sildenafil citrate the Pfizer Riser

Anya’s father’s stamina: Anya’s dad said he had a wonderful time with me on Fathers Day. He loves a struggle to see who can last the longest though we all know that unless a woman is injured she can outlast a man any day. At the end after he had taken me 4 times in an hour and a half I pretended I was exhausted because I could feel him beginning to fade and we enjoyed the afterglow snuggled together and slept for an hour then showered and had a light dinner. Afterward we watched Ironman 2 while we digested the meal and planned our dive-sex encounter. He said he was going to wear a cock ring and take 50 mg of Viagra (Sildenafil citrate) so when we went to the bottom of the pit, my 65 ft deep pool, he would be back to his physical peak as far as his erection was concerned. The Viagra worked quickly and he was ready again in a lot less than the 30 minutes the Viagra patient information leaflet says.

Dive-sex with daddy: For dive-sex I wore a pair of Gepetto’s new underwater bondage boots (UBBs) that are weighted to hold the wearer on the bottom of whatever body of water she is diving. [There is more about these new diving bondage boots later in this entry.] He had seen them in my dive equipment room and became fully aroused almost the moment he saw them so he was delighted when I asked if he would like me to wear them during our dive encounter. We each wore a single 130 cu ft tank and Ocean Reef Raptor FFMs (the black ones) and breathed Nitrox II (36% oxygen) to lessen the chance of decompression sickness. He wanted to ‘help’ protect me by inserting my gas guard for me, a flat spring latex Reflexions diaphragm and I let him. He was not used to the very stiff spring in the rim – his wife wears an All-Flex as a gas guard in their hot tub - and it took several tries before he was comfortable with his grip so that he could spread my labia and, while holding the rim compressed into a long oval, insert the gas guard, gently pushing the rim along the back wall of my vagina until it was behind my cervix, then tucking the anterior rim up into the notch behind my pubic bone. I checked before he started that his fingernails were short and smooth so he wouldn’t accidentally puncture or tear the stretchy latex dome of my protective rubber wall and I checked afterward to make certain that he had positioned the diaphragm correctly so my cervix was protected. “Trust but verify” as one of our presidents used to say.

Tunneling: I was CD17 and luteal on Fathers Day. So there was no real concern about my becoming preggers, because I had ovulated three days earlier, but a torn or punctured gas guard would have left me exposed to the possibility of an embolism if the hydraulics of his thrusting forced an air bubble into my uterus. So, just in case, I was wearing an Oves cap sucking on my cervix (which I never told him about) so I was double bagged for our dive encounter, in case he thrust into me at such an acute angle that he was able to break the seal and get his tip under the rim of my gas guard and shoot his wad directly against my cervix. Wearing an Oves under the Reflexions I didn’t have to pay attention to which way he was thrusting, I could just enjoy his body working inside mine as much he was enjoying drilling me. “Tunneling” - acute angle thrusting allowing penetration of the penis under the rim of a properly fitted gas guard - is rare, but it can happen if the woman tents a great deal. And, she is at greatest risk of having tunneling occur when she is penetrated from behind while on all fours or standing with her hands on her knees so that gravity pulls her uterus further back and down deepening her vagina and pulling the anterior rim of her gas guard further out of her pubic notch.

The dive: To add a bit of spice and mystery I wore one of my Casinos signature canary yellow string-tie thong bikinis. I think it’s far more fun when I wear a bit of clothing however small for my men to remove which keeps their imaginations active. And I wore a BCD with an integrated weight system, but wearing my UBBs I removed most of the weight packs since each boot weighs 13 lbs. He was fascinated to watch me put on my dive boots wearing nylon calf length hose to ease getting them on and off and minimize the likelihood of rubbing blisters on my toes. I had already adjusted the laces so it was a matter of seating my toes in the blocks and then letting him zip them up. He wanted to fasten the shaft locks so when he locked me in my boots I had 26 pounds of lead on my feet that I couldn’t get off w/o a key. As we descended he seemed spellbound watching the air bubbles rise from around my calves as the water filled my boots and pushed out the trapped air. I thought there was going to be a problem with him equalizing the pressure in his ears and sinuses as we descended, but after a try or two he got the hang of pushing on the mask to operate the equalization system and when we got to the bottom he was comfortable and alert with no sign of nitrogen narcosis. I didn’t think there would be a problem, but I’d never dived with him at a depth past 20 feet so I couldn’t be certain.

On the bottom I enjoyed the relative freedom wearing the bondage pointe boots gave me so I wasn’t held in place by ankle leashes and could move around and even do flips though with that much weight on my feet that took planning and effort. Then I slipped his package out of the cup of his navy blue Speedo slingshot. I had to be careful because he was already erect from watching my boots outgas during our descent and I helped him get his cock ring in place. A nice thing about him having waxed pubes is that it made getting a cock ring onto him a lot simpler because I didn’t have to be careful not to get his hair tangled and pulled which I imagine can be a distraction. I had already inserted a 10 ml applicator of DiveGel before we began our descent so I was ready to rock and roll.

Penetration: After I spread my labia and helped him insert himself I let him set the pace and it seemed that with the Viagra and the cock ring he was as hard as I’d ever seen him He took me three times while we were on the bottom. The first two were in modified missionary with me straddling his hips and by the time he finished the second I could see by his bubbles that he was beginning to tire. For our last time I had him penetrate me from behind where I could take him deeper inside me. Even though I was working with the rim of my gas guard hampering the contractions of my vaginal muscles I ripple gripped him to make sure he had a wonderful final dive orgasm. I could tell from his moans and the strength of his grip on my hips as he held himself buried as deep in me as he could get that when he spewed it was going to be the most violent orgasm he had had with me so I checked the area to make sure that when he bucked he wouldn’t throw us into a wall. We were mid pool and relatively safe so I continued my ripple grip and when he shot off he threw us over backwards. With his death grip on my hips he was still locked inside me and trying to go deeper. I thought as we somersaulted we might land on his back, but I managed to stroke for a bit of height that allowed us to complete a 360° flip and I managed to land on the platforms of my boots and only have to take a tiny step back with one foot to stabilize us on the bottom again and after a few more gentle thrusts into me it was over and he withdrew. I checked my air and it was about half gone but his was three-quarters gone so we had no time to linger on the bottom for him to enjoy the afterglow. It was a good thing we stopped when we did because he was a lot more tired than he first seemed. He slept most of the next day and he is fine now, but I think perhaps the last time or two might have been pushing it and if we have another encounter I’m not going to push him as hard. Too much of a good thing can be dangerous.

Underwater Bondage boots and shaft locks: As I mentioned earlier in this post, Gepetto has designed a new version of his rubber Dive-Boots, which are ballet boots with neutral buoyancy. All Gepetto’s pointe boots have shaft locks as an option so the wearer can be locked in her boots and her Dom or boyfriend can keep the key so she is unable to get them off w/o his permission. His new underwater bondage boots are dive-boots with lead weights fitted under the soles and platforms to hold the wearer underwater. She can wear a BCD with enough lift to get her to the surface while wearing her UBBs or if she isn’t wearing a BCD she can remove her boots. Of course if the shaft locks have been closed then she needs the key to get them off. Testing the prototype UBB here has already brought about one fatality and two near misses. The fatality occurred when a new tester took her test boots home (which she wasn’t supposed to do) and her teen daughter wore them in a pool alone with the shaft locks closed and was unable to get out. She had no back-up plan like a knotted ascent line or pool ladder so she could get off the bottom w/o taking her boots off and ran out of air. She was found the next morning. The shaft lock key was on a patio table by the pool. Gepetto’s lawyers are telling him the boots are too dangerous to sell even to professionals if they have as features both weights to keep the diver on the bottom and locks so she can’t get them off.

The locking garter that circles the wearer’s leg above the calf at the top of the shaft is made of titanium mesh to prevent a Sub from cutting the lock off with a dive knife while her Dom is not watching. Gepetto is considering a ‘safety’ version that has the locking garter made of Kevlar that can be cut through in a few minutes time with a sharp knife. Meanwhile what I’m having my escorts who are testing the UBB prototype is to wear a diamond wire saw in the string casing of their thongs. A diamond wire saw is a piece of specially treated wire with tiny ceramic chips imbedded in it as teeth. The first diamond wire saws were made with real diamond chips which is where the name came from, but with new extremely hard metals ceramic blades work a lot better. With practice a girl can cut through the shackle in two or three minutes per boot so you have to realize you are in trouble and have a few minutes to be able cut your way out.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Hormonal birth control over the counter?


A dial pack of birth control pills

The New York Times
Op-Ed Contributor
June 21, 2010
By KELLY BLANCHARD
Cambridge, Mass.

Let the Pill Go Free

LAST month, the 50th anniversary of the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the birth control pill was marked by a lot of discussion about the ways in which the pill has failed to deliver on its promises. It did not solve women’s problems juggling work and family life — nor did it end gender discrimination or eliminate unintended pregnancies. Clearly, approving the use of the pill was only the beginning of the effort to meet women’s contraception needs.

The pill remains part of the solution, but its usefulness has been limited because it’s available only by prescription. As every woman who has run out of pills on a Sunday or forgotten to take them along on vacation knows, refills are not always easy to come by.

What’s more, the difficulties involved in obtaining a pill prescription, especially for women without access to a doctor, can cause gaps in contraceptive use. And the birth control methods that are available without prescription — condoms, spermicide and the sponge — have higher failure rates than the pill.

But there is something we could do to help the pill live up to its potential: let women purchase it over the counter. A half-century of evidence shows us that it’s safe to dispense the pill without a prescription.

The pill meets F.D.A. criteria for over-the-counter medications. Women don’t need a doctor to tell them whether they need the pill — they know when they are sexually active and want to avoid pregnancy. Pill instructions are easy to follow: Take one each day. There’s no chance of becoming addicted. Taking too many will make you nauseated, but won’t endanger your life, in contrast to some over-the-counter drugs, like analgesics. (There are even side benefits to taking the pill, like reduced risks of ovarian and uterine cancer.)

It’s true that the pill could be dangerous for women with certain conditions. Women who are 35 or older and smoke, and those with high blood pressure, are at greater risk of a heart attack or stroke if they take oral contraceptives that combine estrogen and progestin. But these are not complicated conditions to identify; women already have to tell their doctor about their health problems when they get a prescription, and research shows that women can screen themselves for contraindications almost as well as providers do. Progestin-only pills, or minipills, might be an ideal option for an initial over-the-counter switch since they have fewer (and rarer) contraindications and potential complications. Along with the change, the pharmaceutical company, nonprofits and the government should collaborate on an educational campaign, including pamphlets packaged with the pills and public service announcements that would give women information about how to use the pill, deal with side effects, recognize serious complications and of course remind them to get regular checkups for preventative care like Pap smears.

The United States has one of the highest teenage pregnancy rates in the developed world, and better access to the pill is part of the solution to this problem. During the debate leading up to F.D.A. approval of the emergency contraception pill called Plan B for over-the-counter sale, some people expressed concern about expanding access to contraception for young women without doctors’ oversight, and they might say the same about the birth control pill. But there are no special health risks for younger women on the pill, and sexually active women, whatever their age, should have freer access to the full range of options to prevent pregnancy.

We also need to address the problem of pricing. Plan B became more expensive when it went over the counter. If that happened to the pill, it could be unaffordable for many women on Medicaid whose prescriptions are now covered. In some states Medicaid already covers over-the-counter contraception like condoms; Medicaid coverage in all states should be extended to all over-the-counter methods, including the pill.

Women don’t need a doctor to tell them if they need cold medicine or condoms, and they shouldn’t need a doctor’s permission to take the pill. Over-the-counter sales would expand access to safe, effective contraception, and help women take control over their sexual and reproductive lives.

Why a Prescription for Birth Control Pills?


Opinion by RH Reality Check in Health / Women's Health
June 23, 2010

The president of Ibis Reproductive Health, Kelly Blanchard, argues in the New York Times for over-the-counter access to the pill. I’ve long thought that the pill should be nonprescription. What’s the argument for requiring a consultation with a doctor? The doctor will tell you not to smoke while on the pill, and perhaps remind you to continue to use condoms to prevent STI transmission. These are things many women know already, and they can, and should, be clearly indicated on the pill’s packaging. If a smoker has decided she’s going to risk it and smoke while on the pill, a doctor’s warning may not deter her, anyway.

The pill’s prescription status seems like a holdover from the days when contraception was forbidden: when women who wanted it were reprimanded and those who provided it were jailed. (Not that the days of contraception stigma are over—far from it.) As Blanchard points out, there are far more hazardous drugs on drugstore shelves: Tylenol, which can be deadly, and potentially addictive drugs like Benadryl or sleep aids. So why does a woman have to go through her doctor to get hormonal contraception? So that her doctor can remind her how STIs are contracted? With many women in this country unable to afford regular checkups, we don’t rely on the doctor-patient relationship to educate people about sexual health; this happens (hopefully) in school, in our families, if we’re lucky, and through public health campaigns.

The one downside to sending the pill over the counter is cost:

We also need to address the problem of pricing. Plan B became more expensive when it went over the counter. If that happened to the pill, it could be unaffordable for many women on Medicaid whose prescriptions are now covered. In some states Medicaid already covers over-the-counter contraception like condoms; Medicaid coverage in all states should be extended to all over-the-counter methods, including the pill.

If you’re fortunate enough to have insurance, but not fortunate enough to have infinite funds to spend on monthly medications, getting the pill over the counter could be a burden. I wonder, though, if the great number of pill brands would help keep the cost low. There are only two brands of EC currently available in the United States—Plan B and Next Choice—and over forty brands of the pill. In any event, it would be great if such an essential piece of women’s health care a) was not treated like a dangerous drug and b) was as affordable as ibuprofen. After fifty years, it might be time.

Personal comment: Actually, there are a lot more reasons than just insurance coverage for hormonal contraceptives to be by prescription. As much as I would like to see easier access to the pill there are valid medical reasons, things like liver disease, clotting disorders and breast cancer that doctors’ screen for that should preclude a woman from taking artificial hormones. First the writer says if the pill available OTC it would benefit women who have no access to medical attention and then goes on to gloss over serious medical conditions by saying that women can self-screen ourselves. If they haven’t been diagnosed with high BP, a clotting disorder or liver disease how will they know? And, the minipill she suggests is a lot less effective than the combined (estrogen/progestin) pill because the requirements for taking it are stricter and less likely to be followed.

Think about the number of women who are suing their hormonal contraceptives maker because they ended up with blood clots, liver damage or a stroke even after (supposedly) being screened by their doctors. Taking birth control hormones is a lot different than taking Tylenol!

What do you think readers, should hormonal contraceptives (pill, patch and ring) be available w/o a prescription?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The first day of Summer


Summer Solstice 2010 Stonehenge

I hope everyone in the Northern Hemisphere has a wonderful summer!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Fathers Day in Vegas


Lace wrapped Fathers Day gift

Doing Anya’s Dad: For Father’s Day I’m fucking Anya’s father, or is it that he’s fucking me? Readers who were with me when I was blogging on Yahoo 360 remember that Anya’s dad is a diamond merchant headquartered in NYC and that he and his wife have an open marriage where he keeps a mistress who is on his payroll as a personal assistant so she is available when he needs intimate support. However, her dad has always had a thing for me and since they are here for two weeks over Father’s Day his wife thought he would enjoy me as an Fathers Day gift. His wife has her own stable of lovers and neither of Anya’s parents would consider divorce so sexually gifting each other has become something of a hobby. Though Anya says I’m quite special since her dad lusts after me unbelievably and has been fantasizing about having dive-sex with me again.

Her mom suggested I have him use a cock ring and Cialis since taking me underwater might be a distraction for him. I think that would be ego bruising for him if I were to suggest that w/o him having trouble performing with me so I intend to have him penetrate me naturally as he has in the past. I didn’t tell her – and I don’t think she knows - that we had already been intimate more than a year ago at the bottom of a 20 ft deep training pool and he performed very well for a 56 y/o man w/o any performance enhancing equipment or chemicals. I think that was because he is extremely active sexually so he stays in shape. I hope things haven’t changed. His shaft is wonderfully thick and long enough to have his tip kiss my cervix when he takes me from behind so he is a really fun fuck. He’s actually a pretty good diver as well as a lover so I’m rather looking forward to our encounter. Anya and her mom are going shopping and doing the shows while we are in the pool and bed. After the show Anya’s stallion, Robin, and Pirate for her mom are meeting them at their pool bungalow for sex, dinner and a sleepover while her dad and I sleep at my place tonight.

The Barbie plug: Unlike a ‘Barbie Barrier’, a Semina diaphragm, a Barbie plug is a student’s Penetrator Plug with the anti-expulsion ridge and perineal removal ring. The students in our first SI several years ago named it for Barbie because when it is inserted all the wearer’s genitalia are concealed so her pelvis appears smooth like Barbie’s. We use it during the SI to get students used to the feel of working at the barre, center and en pointe while penetrated. Generally, after an adjustment interval, you can’t feel an inserted diaphragm, cervical cap or menstrual cup but a Penetrator fits snugly against the ring of nerves just inside the entrance to the vagina and over the labia and clitoris so dancing while plugged can be distracting at first and take some getting used to.

The Summer Intensive and Gardasil: A reader asked if we recommend the HPV vaccine Gardasil for SI students. The answer is yes. All our SI students have completed their three shot regimen of the HPV vaccine before coming to the SI. We see that as necessary because HPV is so easily transmitted and women with multiple partners are at a higher risk.

Rebreather Mistress: Abi, the German girl who is Adolph’s new Pool-Assistant [see my post for June 8, 2010] has also morphed into his latex encasement and rebreather mistress. He takes her everywhere with him showing off her lovely body sheathed in a skin tight latex membrane. Her encasement suits are usually black, but she has a rainbow of colors which she wears depending on what pleases Adolph at the time. For breath play as well as when they go shopping she wears an Ocean Reef Space Predator – the one with the gold colored regulator – and a 25 cuft air bottle for one ATA play. When they go to a restaurant she is allowed to take off her FFM to eat. Even in Vegas she stops traffic when she’s with him. In the desert in the summer wearing a latex encasement suit can be extremely dehydrating so when she is out and about on Adolph’s arm she has a thermal hydration bottle with her with a sports drink to replenish her electrolytes lost through sweat. Fortunately Abi has amazing stamina because even with A/C in cars, casinos, show venues and restaurants being an encasement and rebreather mistress can be exhausting, and that’s just while on display and before any sex.

The Maître D's in the better restaurants know Adolph. Even so, at first they were a bit concerned about seating him at his usual table with a mistress clad in full rubber fetish regalia. Their concern quickly turned to delight when they found that his presence with a mistress clad in skin tight latex was a gift to the bottom line as it increases the number of diners in the restaurant while he is there. At first apparently a rubber fetishist on a restaurant’s staff tweeted that Adolph was dining there with his rubber doll. Now it’s common practice for someone, it’s not Adolph, like me he doesn’t tweet or do Facebook, to tweet when he has a restaurant reservation. And, he is just vain enough to love the attention being seen with latex clad arm candy as long as he doesn’t have to get involved with interviews etc. No one else out here has the arrogance and nerve – or has a latex mistress who is skilled and beautiful enough - to be able to pull off dining in public with a fully encased rubber-chick so that both of them look confident and comfortable doing it.

An introduction to pointe shoes


From the Grishko Homepage

An introduction to pointe shoes: A reader, Mark, asked: “you have given occasional hints, but would it be possible to write an intro to toeshoes for your less knowledgeable readers?”

Fortunately, one has already been written. The Pointe Book, revised edition 1989, has chapters on: The history of pointe dancing, The foot and the pointe shoe making process, The pointe shoe fitting process, preparing and caring for pointe shoes, Custom ordering pointe shoes and other chapters about pointe shoe makers, training methods, and pointe related injuries among other topics. The pointe shoe book is a good place to start for someone unfamiliar with pointe shoes as it will provide a basic understanding of the support a good pointe shoe must provide and the difficulties in making, fitting and wearing pointes.

What I try to do with my pointe shoe quizzes is to put up an image that has clues, things like: a sole pattern or vamp stitching that is unique to a model or style of particular maker or a logo of a maker whose shoes aren’t particularly well known. I’m fortunate to have several readers who are quite knowledgeable about pointe shoes and/or have good investigative skill and are adept at using the resources available on the Internet to come up with an answer. Two books that are full of information about pointe shoes are:

The Pointe Book (revised edition 1989) Janice Barringer and Sarah Schlesinger

Pointe Shoes Tips & Tricks 2007 (English edition 2008) Angela Reinhardt

Another book that anyone curious about the technical side of ballet might enjoy is: The Technical Manual and Dictionary of Classical Ballet by Gail Grant.

Another source of information about specific maker’s pointes is their websites: Capezio, Bloch, Freed, Gaynor Minden and Grishko to name a few have details about their styles in on-line catalogues as do large dance supply houses that carry wide selections of makers pointes.

I hope this will give my non dancer readers interested in learning more about pointe shoes a place to start.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pointe shoe quiz June 18, 2010


Who is the maker of these shoes?

Natalia Osipova – her back story


Bolshoi Principal Natalia Osipova

The New York Times
June 17, 2010
By ROSLYN SULCAS

A Determined Ballerina, Propelled to the Top

THE Bolshoi ballerina Natalia Osipova smiled brightly, theatrically, projecting outward as she danced the solo that Princess Aurora performs moments after arriving on stage in Act I of “The Sleeping Beauty.”

In a plain black leotard and a shabby practice tutu, Ms. Osipova was working before a single ballet mistress, Irina Kolpakova, in a rehearsal studio many floors under the stage of the Metropolitan Opera House. There, on Saturday night, she will dance this role with American Ballet Theater, with which she is spending a second season as a guest artist.

Ms. Osipova was suffering from a throat sore enough to warrant a doctor’s appointment immediately after the rehearsal. Later she would cry, feeling ill and frustrated at her inability to perform the steps as she would like. And a week later she would be the victim of a mugging that would leave her bruised and shaken. But for the moment she was Aurora, shy and curious, looking tentatively at the four suitors with whom she will dance the Rose Adagio.

Ms. Osipova’s single-minded focus in rehearsal comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen her perform. Since she burst on to the international dance scene in show-stopping performances of Kitri in “Don Quixote,” during a 2007 Bolshoi tour to London, the sheer energy and intensity of her stage presence has been as remarkable as her improbable floating jump and astounding technical prowess.

“Resistance is futile; you adore her on sight,” Luke Jennings wrote in The Observer. “Let us not exaggerate, but six stars seem to be in order,” Clement Crisp began in The Financial Times, adding, “Not since Plisetskaya and Maximova have we seen so adorable a Kitri and never one so divinely destined to claim the role as her own.”

Ms. Osipova, just 24, is now in demand by major ballet companies all over the world, and in Moscow she is an acknowledged star with a devoted following. But that wasn’t always a predictable fate for her, said Alexei Ratmansky, Ballet Theater’s artist in residence, who invited Ms. Osipova to join the Bolshoi during his tenure as the artistic director there.

“I watched the final exams at the Bolshoi school,” Mr. Ratmansky said, speaking on the phone from Jackson, Miss., where he was on the jury of the USA International Ballet Competition. “She got a lot of criticism from the examiners — not classical enough, no aesthetic, almost vulgar, just wrong,” he said. “But I felt you could see the physical talent and the openness, so I hired her.”

He gave her solo roles right from the outset. “There was a big division about her among the audience, and also among the dancers and coaches,” he said. “I don’t remember any dancer in my experience causing as much difference of opinion.”

Ms. Osipova’s extreme flexibility and steel-sprung jump — watching her hover in the air makes you realize how people felt when they saw Nijinsky — are quite possibly the legacy of her early training as a gymnast, which she began at 5 in Moscow, where she was born.

“I was very, very serious,” she said last week, speaking through a translator during an interview backstage at the Metropolitan Opera House. “I saw myself at the Olympics. When I seriously injured my back at 8 or 9, and my teachers recommended I stop, this was a tragedy for me.”

Her parents took her to audition at the Bolshoi academy, hoping ballet would distract her. She was accepted but remained, she said, indifferent to dance for several years and wanted to return to gymnastics. Then she was given a solo to perform during a school show at the Bolshoi.

“Afterward the audience was applauding, and I understood that this is incredible,” she said. “In that moment I realized, yes, I want to dance.”

Offstage Ms. Osipova is wiry and feisty looking, with pale skin, wide-set eyes and jet-black tresses. (She dyes her light brown hair to correspond to her ballerina ideals: Margot Fonteyn, with whom she shares a birthday, May 18, and Diana Vishneva, also a Ballet Theater guest artist.) Onstage she is a theater animal for whom the presence and attention of the public is the oxygen that she needs to come fully alive.

It seems unsurprising that one of her heroes is the similarly avid Rudolf Nureyev, whose “Romeo and Juliet” with Fonteyn is, she said, the single performance she would most like to have seen. Ms. Osipova described Juliet as her “dream role”; next month, she will dance it with David Hallberg and Ballet Theater.

“I am a very emotional person, and those emotions have to go somewhere,” she said. “So I am always happy when I have a role where my feelings can come into play. Of course sometimes I scare people. They say, Natasha” — Ms. Osipova’s nickname — “you’re crazy. But I have to go out onstage and give everything I have.”

Mr. Hallberg, who has danced with Ms. Osipova at the Bolshoi as well as in New York, said their performances together had been among the greatest experiences of his career.

“She doesn’t care what people think,” he said. “She is so artistically involved in each role that she is continually questioning, validating every moment. She taught me to release a lot of my inhibitions, just through our physical communication.”

Ms. Osipova, who was invited to perform with Ballet Theater by its artistic director, Kevin McKenzie, after he saw her on tape, said that she was extremely happy at the Bolshoi, where she was promoted to principal in May. But a ballerina in the 21st century, she added, has the opportunity to travel and experience the repertory and schooling of different companies.

The crime of different countries is an unpleasant extra; after the mugging, close to her rented apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, she said she was simply relieved that only her face had been bruised. “It was so quick that I think I felt more shock the next day,” she said. “But now I am thinking only about my first performance of ‘The Sleeping Beauty.’ ”

After just a few performances with Ballet Theater, it seems clear that Ms. Osipova’s technical gifts have raised the bar several notches higher for every other ballerina.

“If someone that talented comes out, it influences the dancers around her, and the younger ones,” Mr. Ratmansky said. “After her there was a wave of physical talent coming from the Bolshoi school. It’s an interesting phenomenon.”

Asked if he would like Ms. Osipova to join Ballet Theater’s roster of principal dancers, Mr. McKenzie said in an e-mail message that he “had that objective in mind.” Ms. Osipova said that while she would love to have a more permanent link to the company, her home was at the Bolshoi, where, she said, she felt she hadn’t yet fulfilled her potential. But she sounded touchingly girlish when talking of Ballet Theater.

“As little kids in school we were just thrilled looking at the stars of A.B.T.,” she said. “And now I’m walking next to them. It’s phenomenal.”

Natalia Osipova performs in “The Sleeping Beauty” on Saturday and “Romeo and Juliet” on July 10 with American Ballet Theater at the Metropolitan Opera House, Lincoln Center; (212) 362-6000, abt.org.

ellaOne closer to U.S availability


ellaOne (ulipristal acetate) another step closer

The New York Times
June 17, 2010
By GARDINER HARRIS

Panel Recommends Approval of After-Sex Pill to Prevent Pregnancy

GAITHERSBURG, Md. — A federal advisory panel voted unanimously Thursday that federal drug regulators should approve a medicine that could help prevent pregnancy if taken as late as five days after unprotected sex.

The pill, called ella, sprang from government labs and appears to be more effective than Plan B, a morning-after pill now available over the counter to women 18 and older that gradually loses efficacy after intercourse and can be taken at latest three days after sex. ella, by contrast, works just as well on the fifth day as the first after sex.

Ella blocks the effects of progesterone, a female hormone that spurs ovulation. It is a chemical relative to RU-486, the abortion pill, and some mystery remains over exactly how it works. That mystery spurred a fierce debate outside the committee over whether it should be considered an abortion drug, a debate that prompted the posting of several uniformed police officers around the meeting room.

The F.D.A. usually follows the advice of its advisory panels but not always.

The dispute is whether the drug works by delaying ovulation (as the pill’s manufacturer claims) or by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting itself in the uterus (as anti-abortion advocates say).

Dr. Jeffrey Bray, a pharmacologist at the Food and Drug Administration, said that ella may do both. And Dr. Scott Emerson, a committee member and professor of biostatistics at the University of Washington, said any drug that can prevent pregnancy if taken five days after unprotected sex must do more than simply delay ovulation.

Animal studies showed that ella had little effect on established pregnancies, suggesting it acts differently than RU-486. Dr. David Archer, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Eastern Virginia Medical School who spoke on behalf of ella’s maker, said ella was not an abortion pill. “I just don’t think there is any element here that would allow me to say that this has an abortifacient activity,” Dr. Archer said.

ella is manufactured by HRA Pharma, a tiny French drug maker. If approved, the medicine would be available by prescription only. Born in the United States, ella was approved for sale in Europe last fall. During the meeting, anti-abortion and abortion rights advocates traded salvos. Wendy Wright, president of Concerned Women for America, a conservative group, called ella an unsafe abortion pill that men might slip to unsuspecting women.

“With ella, women will be enticed to buy a poorly tested abortion pill in the guise of a morning-after pill,” she said. Ms. Wright was followed to the microphone by Amy Allina, program director of the National Women’s Health Network, who said abortion questions were distractions intended to prevent “medically safe contraceptive options from becoming available.”

The committee spent the day in a cold discussion of the sobering realities that follow moments of passion, a discussion punctuated by the clacking of knitting needles from Dr. Paula Hilliard, a committee member and professor of gynecologic specialties at the Stanford University School of Medicine. It was a conversation mostly among women. Dr. Erin Gainer, HRA Pharma’s chief executive, is a young woman, and nine of the committee’s 11 members are women. Women’s health advocates say that the need for better contraceptive options is clear.

James Trussell, director of the Office of Population Research at Princeton University, who spoke on behalf of the company, said that more than one million women who do not want to get pregnant are estimated to have unprotected sex every night in the United States, and more than 25,000 become pregnant every year after being sexually assaulted. Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended even though contraceptives are almost universally accepted by women.

Even though ella is somewhat more effective and can be taken later than Plan B, the new drug would, if approved, probably do little to solve this epidemic of unplanned pregnancies. Plan B has been available without a prescription since 2006 for women 18 and older, but abortion and unintended-pregnancy rates have remained largely unchanged.

Women who have unprotected sex have about one chance in 20 of becoming pregnant. Those who take Plan B within three days cut that risk to about one chance in 40, and if ella is approved, that risk would be cut further to about one chance in 50. ella is less effective in obese women, studies show.

Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, a committee member and dean of Meharry Medical College in Nashville, pressed the company and F.D.A. to make the drug available over the counter, as is Plan B. “Why would we not move to O.T.C. status?” she asked. Dr. Gainer said the medicine was too new to consider such a step.

ella was originally developed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The institute, now named after Eunice Kennedy Shriver, is part of the National Institutes of Health. It decided in 2002 during the avowedly anti-abortion Bush administration to finance a crucial study to assess the drug’s efficacy as an emergency contraceptive.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Joe Barton: Apology #2


Rep Joe Barton apology #2

Associated Press
Associated Press Writer Laurie Kellman
June 17, 2010 5:40 PM EDT

GOP lawmaker apologizes for apologizing to BP exec

WASHINGTON – Who's sorry now? Rep. Joe Barton, that's who.

The Texas Republican, the House's top recipient of oil industry campaign contributions since 1990, apologized Thursday for apologizing to the chief of the British company that befouled the Gulf of Mexico with a massive oil spill.

His double mea culpa plus a retraction, executed under pressure from fuming GOP leaders, succeeded in shifting attention from the tragedy, BP's many missteps and the stoic British oil chief at the witness table, to his own party's close connection to the oil industry.

The subject of Barton's ire was the $20 billion relief fund for victims of the spill sought by the White House and agreed to by BP.

"I apologize," Barton said to BP CEO Tony Hayward, who was sitting at a witness table for another of Congress' ritual floggings of wayward corporate heads.

"I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong is subject to some sort of political pressure that is — again, in my words, amounts to a shakedown," Barton said. "So I apologize."

Cue the outrage — from Republicans, who came close to stripping Barton of his post as chairman-in-waiting of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. GOP leaders summoned Barton to the Capitol and demanded he apologize in specific terms. The leaders threatened to launch a process to strip Barton of his seniority on the powerful panel, a particularly painful threat to any long-term lawmaker, according to two knowledgeable Republican officials who demanded anonymity so they could speak freely about private meetings.

But it was the notion of an American lawmaker apologizing to a foreign head of a corporation that had caused great hardships for millions of Gulf Coast residents that incited rare Republican-on-Republican rage. Rep. Jeff Miller, R-Fla., became the first in his party to demand that Barton be stripped of his seniority. During a House vote later in the day, other Republicans pressed their leaders for Barton's punishment — and at least two in the leadership were still considering that option, the officials said.

As Barton returned to the committee, the leaders issued their own statement:

"Congressman Barton's statements this morning were wrong."

Vice President Joe Biden weighed in — lightheartedly at first, red-faced by the end.
"I find it incredibly insensitive, incredibly out of touch," Biden told reporters. "There's no shakedown. It's insisting on responsible conduct and a responsible response to something they caused."

Democrats, eager to tie Republicans to the oil industry during this midterm election year, piled on.

"While people in the Gulf are suffering from the actions of BP, the Republicans in the Congress are apologizing to BP," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

By mid-afternoon, Barton was back on the dais with a statement that was something short
of what the leaders had demanded.

"I want the record to be absolutely clear that I think BP is responsible for this accident," he said. "If anything I said this morning has been misconstrued, in opposite effect, I want to apologize for that misconstruction."

Barton then issued, and House Republican leader John Boehner's office forwarded out a somewhat different written statement.

"I apologize for using the term 'shakedown' with regard to yesterday's actions at the White House this morning, and I retract my apology to BP," it began, and finished: "I regret the impact that my statement this morning implied that BP should not pay for the consequences of their decisions and actions in this incident."

Barton has received $100,470 in campaign donations from oil and gas interests since the beginning of 2009, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Personal Comment: Do you have to be tone deaf in Texas to be elected to congress? No one could make this stuff up!

Joe Barton is ashamed, and he should be!


The face of big oil: Rep Joe Barton (R) Tx

Yahoo News
June 17, 2010
Brett Michael Dykes

Rep. Barton apologizes to BP for Obama 'shakedown'

Well, that was fast. Barely 10 minutes into Thursday's landmark congressional testimony — where BP CEO Tony Hayward and other leading company executives are revisiting the Gulf Coast oil spill before a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee — the first controversial statement has entered the record.

And no, it didn't come from the gaffe-prone BP brass. Instead, GOP Rep. Joe Barton of Texas, the ranking member on the House Energy Committee, made a decisive splash in his opening remarks (from which Republican leaders immediately began distancing themselves). A staunch conservative who has a long record of backing oil industry interests, Barton apologized to BP CEO Tony Hayward for the "shakedown" the Obama White House pulled on the company. (Barton has received more than $1.5 million in campaign donations from the oil industry, according to Open Secrets, a nonpartisan watchdog group.)

"I'm not speaking for anybody in the House of Representatives but myself," Barton explained, "but I'm ashamed of what happened in the White House yesterday. I think it is a tragedy of the first proportion that a private corporation can be subjected to what I would characterize as a shakedown. In this case a $20 billion shakedown."

Wrapping up, Barton said: "I apologize. I do not want to live in a country where any time a citizen or a corporation does something that is legitimately wrong, is subject to some sort of political pressure that is, again, in my words — amounts to a shakedown, so I apologize."

As Sam Stein of the Huffington Post points out, this isn't the first time that Barton has shown conspicuous deference to the interests of offshore oil drillers in deepwater. At a meeting of the House Subcommittee on Air Quality in 2004, Barton announced that "Offshore drilling and productions platforms are so technologically advanced that one platform on the surface of the water can handle production from several different wells several miles apart, house a myriad of technologically advances computer systems, enable people to face and conquer the adversities of living in the middle of the ocean, and do so for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all without losing so much as losing a gum wrapper over the side of the platform. It is truly amazing."

— Brett Michael Dykes is a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News.

Personal Comment: Joe Barton is ashamed, and he should be, for his comments in support of BP! I wonder how his comments are going over with people living on the Gulf Coast? I wouldn’t want to be anyone on his staff trying to explain his remarks.

Big Pharma and female desire


Flibanserin – Female Viagra?

The New York Times
June 16, 2010
By DUFF WILSON

Push to Market Pill Stirs Debate on Sexual Desire

Ever since Viagra met blockbuster success in 1998, the drug industry has sought a similar pill for women.

Now, a German drug giant says it has stumbled upon such a pill and is trying to persuade the Food and Drug Administration that its drug can help restore a depressed female sex drive. The effort has set off a debate over what constitutes a normal range of sexual desire among women, with critics saying the company is trying to turn a low libido into a medical pathology.

On Wednesday, an F.D.A. staff report recommended against approving the drug, saying the maker, Boehringer Ingelheim, had not made its case and that the benefits of the daily pill did not outweigh its side effects, which included dizziness, nausea and fatigue.

That staff report came ahead of a meeting Friday by an F.D.A. advisory panel of experts who are to vote on whether to recommend that the agency approve the pill, which would be the first drug aimed specifically at a low sex drive in premenopausal women.

F.D.A. staff reports carry weight but do not always sway how advisory panels vote, and advisory votes do not always predict what the F.D.A. might finally decide.

Some analysts forecast that if the drug does reach the market, it could have annual sales in this country of $2 billion — or about equal to the current combined annual American sales of the men’s drugs Viagra, Levitra and Cialis.

In the last month, Boehringer has been trying to lay the consumer groundwork with a promotional campaign about women’s low libido, including a Web site, a Twitter feed, a Discovery Channel documentary and a publicity tour by Lisa Rinna, a soap opera star and former Playboy model, who describes herself as someone who has suffered from a disorder that Boehringer refers to as a form of “female sexual dysfunction.”

There is no dispute that some women have a depressed level of sexual desire that causes them anguish. Boehringer cites a condition — hypoactive sexual desire disorder — that is included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, a reference book for psychiatrists and insurers.

But many experts say that unlike sexual dysfunction in men — which has an obvious physical component — sexual problems in women are much harder to diagnose. And among doctors and researchers, there is serious medical debate over whether female sexual problems are treatable with drugs. Some doctors advocate psychotherapy or counseling, while others have prescribed hormonal drugs approved for other uses.

There is also debate over how widespread hypoactive sexual desire disorder actually is among women. The medical literature, including articles in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, indicate numbers above 10 percent, but such studies have been financed by drug companies.

Critics say Boehringer’s market campaign exaggerates the prevalence of the condition and could create anxiety among women, making them think they have a condition that requires medical treatment.

“This is really a classic case of disease branding,” said Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman, an associate professor at Georgetown University’s medical school who researches drug marketing and has studied the campaign. “The messages are aimed at medicalizing normal conditions, and also preying on the insecurity of both the clinician and the patient.”

Boehringer developed the drug, Flibanserin, as an antidepressant, but it failed to lift depression. The company says it learned serendipitously that the pill, taken daily for weeks, could restore female libido.

Dr. Peter J. Piliero, Boehringer’s director of medical affairs in the United States, says the lack of libido to the point of distress is a serious problem for some women.

“This is a real disease,” Dr. Piliero said in an interview. “There’s an unmet medical need among premenopausal women to have a treatment.”

Boehringer says the drug reduces the brain chemical serotonin, which can blunt sexual desire, and increases dopamine and norepinephrine, which improve desire, the company said. By acting on a woman’s brain, it takes a different approach from hormonal drugs or the action of Viagra for men, which increases blood flow.

Boehringer’s application for F.D.A. approval said that its two key 24-month studies, of 1,323 premenopausal women who said they suffered distress over lack of libido, had found small but statistically significant improvements. The women lived in the United States or Canada, were mostly married, well-educated and found to have the sexual desire disorder but were otherwise healthy.

In results reported last fall at a medical conference in Europe, the drug was found to increase self-reported “sexually satisfying events” to 4.5 a month on average. The reported events, which did not have to include orgasm, compared with 3.7 a month by women taking a placebo and 2.7 by those who did not take any pills.

The F.D.A. staff report on Wednesday, though, said that Boehringer’s data had not sufficiently demonstrated a second criterion the agency had set for approving such a drug — specifically, that women also report an increased level of sexual desire. The F.D.A. required daily self-reporting by the women in the studies; Boehringer said it had provided monthly reports.

Lara Crissey, a spokeswoman for Boehringer, declined to comment on the F.D.A. staff report.

Other drug companies that have sought a drug to elevate women’s sexual desire have included Pfizer, which spent several years trying to show that its drug Viagra could work for women as well as men. When Pfizer ended that research in 2004, it said in a news release that female sexual disorders resulted “from a broad range of medical and psychological conditions.”

Procter & Gamble sought F.D.A. approval for a skin patch to raise the testosterone levels of women who had had their uterus and ovaries removed, but it was rejected in 2004 because of possible links to breast cancer and cardiovascular disease. In 2006, though, European regulators, saying the testosterone patch appeared safe at low doses, approved that drug to treat depressed sexual desire in women whose uterus and ovaries had been surgically removed.

BioSante Pharmaceuticals, a company in Illinois, is in late-stage testing of another testosterone patch product which it hopes to submit to the F.D.A. next year. And Vivus, a drug development company, is testing a testosterone-based daily abdominal spray for women which it says has proved effective in early trials. And other research is focusing on the antidepressant buproprion, better known as Wellbutrin or Zyban.

Dr. Steven E. Nissen, a Cleveland Clinic cardiologist and a member of the 2004 F.D.A. panel that unanimously rejected the testosterone patch, said that the depressed desire disorder was a real medical condition, especially for middle-age or older women, with both physiological and psychological causes.

“I got a lot of hate mail after that vote,” Dr. Nissen recalled. “People wrote me and said, ‘You men have your Viagra, why are you denying us this?’ I said hey, I’m just trying to do the right thing. It needs to be scientifically sound.”

Dr. Nissen said he had not studied the Boehringer drug.

Leonore Tiefer, a psychologist and professor at New York University who has researched the topic of female sexual desire for more than a decade and plans to testify to the F.D.A. panel on Friday, said Boehringer had gone too far with its publicity effort.

“Women’s sex lives are often a struggle, a disappointment, an archipelago of regret,” she said. “Is there a small group of women who could benefit from medical intervention — probably.”

But she said that if the drug were approved, she worried that “the much larger group of women without any medical reason for their sexual distress will inevitably be misinformed and misled into thinking that there is a pill that can get them the sex life they read about, the one they think everyone else is having.”

Boehringer has also sponsored medical education classes for doctors and nurses about hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

In one course, released online in May, a quiz asked doctors to diagnose the condition of a 42-year-old working mother who takes care of three children and her own sick mother, and who had no desire for sex. (Her husband is mentioned only in passing.)

The correct answer? Schedule a follow-up visit to evaluate whether she has diagnosable hypoactive sexual desire disorder.

Personal comment: I can attest to the libido enhancing effect of dopamine, which I take to reduce my milk output to prevent my breasts increasing - from all the nipple stimulation from being frequent milked - to more than a 32B cup. We have been using Boehringer Ingelheim’s Flibanserin in our escort training classes. We got it through Adolph’s German connections and have established a clinical trial protocol so it’s legal to use it for ‘desire enhancement’ with our escort trainees. We don’t use it to treat hypoactive sexual desire disorder (HSDD), all of our escort candidates have very healthy libidos, we use it to enhance their libidos further to offset anxiety about some of the more adventuresome sexual encounters they are involved in during training and it works wonderfully well for that.

Adolph is having Abigail (Abi) his new Pool-Assistant take it so she will show a bit more enthusiasm as a submissive (she's primarily Domme and isn’t really submissive in any real sense) for her encounters with him rather than trying to dominate him. He enjoyed the encounters with Elke where he was able to subdue and dominate her, but apparently Abi has an even stronger will (she is Prussian) and he needs an edge. Otherwise, he says, he is afraid he will kill her during a sexual encounter while trying to bend her to his will. It can take a few weeks for the drug to take effect – she has been on it for three weeks and there is another week to go before meaningful effects can be seen. Patience is not one of Adolph’s virtues and his temper when with her is getting worse by the day. Abi thinks its fun and is enjoying tormenting him.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Natalia Osipova


Natalia Osipova as Kitri in a Bolshoi production of Don Q

The New York Times
Dance Review
Sending an Old Dreamer Airborne
By ALASTAIR MACAULAY
Published: June 4, 2010

“Dancing as Kitri in “Don Quixote” on Tuesday night at the Metropolitan Opera House, Natalia Osipova proved herself the most sensational ballerina now before the public. Kitri was the first major role for which Ms. Osipova — a Russian star of the Bolshoi Ballet, now in her second spring season as guest artist with American Ballet Theater —earned international acclaim. It’s clear why. She has a gamine quality; you can imagine this Kitri as the most riveting of street urchins. And she’s a theater animal. …”

The complete review can be found at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/05/arts/dance/05osipova.html?scp=2&sq=Natalia%20Osipova&st=cse

The New York Times
Arts Briefly
By DANIEL J. WAKIN
June 15, 2010

Star Ballerina Attacked Near Lincoln Center

Two muggers attacked Natalia Osipova, right, a major international ballet star, as she left an American Ballet Theater performance early Tuesday morning, striking her in the nose and stealing her bag, her agent said. Ms. Osipova had attended a performance of Ballet Theater’s “Sleeping Beauty,” in which she is scheduled to dance on Saturday night, at the Metropolitan Opera House and was crossing Amsterdam Avenue on her way home when she was mugged, said the agent, Sergei Danilian. “Two guys just came from her back and they hit her and they took her bag,” he said. “She was so brave and so smart — she didn’t scream,” he said of the 5-foot-4 ballerina. Ms. Osipova had left her money at home and her computer at the Met, but the muggers got away with her point shoes and a small hammer used to shape them. The Met doctor was to examine her on Tuesday, Mr. Danilian said, and would determine whether she could dance full-out during an afternoon rehearsal or would just walk through it. She will “absolutely, no doubt,” perform on Saturday, he said. The police also interviewed her at the Met, he said. Ms. Osipova, who is Russian, is a star of the Bolshoi Ballet and in her second season as a guest artist with Ballet Theater.

Personal Comment: The good news is she wasn’t hurt and only lost some pointe shoes. If Sal had still been living on the upper west side that wouldn’t have happened! No dancers or other performers at Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall would have been dissed like that in Sal’s territory. The Don who is responsible for that area should be ashamed of himself!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Blogs first birthday


My Blogs first birthday

Jill’s World is one year old: Actually the Blog was a year old on May 30th but I’ve been so busy with the ballet SI and a new version of Don Quixote that we are rehearsing for the high rollers club than I haven’t had a moment to think about it.

I want to thank Eric, a good friend and frequent reader, for recommending BlogSpot when Yahoo 360 converted its blog function more toward social networking. I’m really pleased that Blogger/BlogSpot has such a good platform.

The FDA and ulipristal acetate


ellaOne pack ulipristal acetate

USA TODAY
By Rita Rubin
Updated 6/7/2010

FDA panel to mull 'morning-after pill' effective 5 days after sex

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee will meet June 17 to consider whether the agency should approve a new emergency contraceptive that studies show is more effective than Plan B, the only "morning-after pill" on the U.S. market.

HRA Pharma of Paris launched ulipristal acetate in October 2009 and sells it in 21 European countries under the brand name ellaOne. As in Europe, ulipristal would be available only by prescription in the USA. Plan B, the brand name for levonorgestrel, is available without a prescription to women 17 and older, but those under 17 require a prescription.

Plan B is approved for use up to 72 hours after unprotected sex; even within that window, though, it becomes less effective over time. But two company-funded trials involving more than 3,000 women, published in February, found that ulipristal was consistently effective up to 120 hours, or five days, after unprotected sex.

In one randomized study, researchers compared ulipristal to levonorgestrel in women who had sought emergency contraception at family-planning clinics in the USA, Britain and Ireland within five days of having unprotected sex.

About 1,700 of the women received emergency contraception within 72 hours of having unprotected sex. Half got ulipristal and the other half received levonorgestrel. In the ulipristal group, 15 ended up getting pregnant, compared with 22 who took levonorgestrel.

Among 203 women who received emergency contraception 72 hours to 120 hours after unprotected sex, there were three pregnancies, all in women who had been given levonorgestrel.

The other study published in February focused on 1,241 women who had come to Planned Parenthood clinics for emergency contraception 48 to 120 hours after unprotected sex. All of them received ulipristal. About 2%, or 26, still ended up getting pregnant, but those who took the pill five days after unprotected sex were no more likely to get pregnant than those who took it two days afterward.

"If it were my daughter, I'd want her to have ulipristal rather than Plan B in her medicine cabinet," says Paul Fine, co-author of the studies, professor of obstetrics, gynecology and urology at Houston's Baylor College of Medicine and medical director of Planned Parenthood of Houston, southeast Texas and Louisiana.

More safety data are needed before ulipristal could be sold without a prescription, Fine and his co-authors wrote Feb. 13 in The Lancet.

Ulipristal and levonorgestrel work by inhibiting ovulation, Fine says. He disputed comments filed with the FDA on June 1 by Americans United for Life, an anti-abortion group that likened ulipristal to RU-486, the so-called abortion pill, which is its chemical cousin.

But Fine counters that ulipristal did not cause abortions in women who got pregnant after taking it.

Personal comment: In my entry for January 29, 2010 I mentioned that Elke brought along a supply of ellaOne to use after encounters with Adolph, even though she has a GyneFix IUD implanted, because she had heard how fertile he is. Anyway, the FDA will be holding hearings this week to help decide if they should approve ulipristal acetate for use in the U.S. as an emergency contraceptive. There is sure to be a spirited discussion, but I hope it is quickly approved.

Ballet costumiers challenges


NYCB seamstress copying a costume

The New York Times
June 14, 2010
By CLAUDIA LA ROCCO

The Fresh Tutu Brigade

“If there is a heaven for people in the costume industry, it surely includes an infinite walk-in closet: one-stop shopping no matter the fabric, historical period or one-of-a-kind button needed.

For Marc Happel, director of New York City Ballet’s costume shop, reality is somewhat more challenging. He and his staff are charged with rebuilding costumes made years or decades ago, sometimes with materials that have long since gone out of style or production. Meanwhile, shrinking budgets, rising costs and an imperiled garment district make it increasingly difficult to keep City Ballet’s vast repertory looking fresh.

With seven costume-intense premieres this season, Mr. Happel and his staff have been on creation overdrive. But the work of maintaining existing ballets never ends. Audiences will see one of the shop’s major rebuilds this week in Balanchine’s “Scotch Symphony” (1952), the costumes’ lush black bodices, originally designed by the illustrious Barbara Karinska, remade after years of wear and tear.

“Different variations of the velvet have been used to alter them,” Mr. Happel said, the repairs leading to a mishmash of not-quite-right fabrics. But replacing the bodices meant the sleeves and handmade trim had to be redone too, with special attention paid to Karinska’s detail work. “It just became a much bigger project than initially we thought,” Mr. Happel said.

In the best of times, securing the right materials is quite a task, and shoppers like Tracey Herman, Mr. Happel’s assistant, delight in the thrill of the hunt. But over the last 15 years or so, as clothing manufacturing has shifted overseas and rising Manhattan rents have forced small businesses out, she and her colleagues have had fewer places to look.

“It used to be there were 10 button stores you would go to, and now there are two,” she said. “What the stores are selling more of tends to be mass produced, imported, not as high quality, and maybe catering to a different fashion sensibility.”

You might think that the Internet would be a paradise for costume makers and that new technologies would yield ingenious ways to recreate extinct patterns and dyes. Digital printing does allow for the cost-effective replication of old hand-painted patterns on fabric, sites like eBay occasionally yield finds, and authentic specialty items can be found on the Web. But the industry remains a largely local, personal one.

“It’s a very 19th-century art form,” said Jared Aswegan, owner of Barbara Matera, which makes costumes for performing arts groups ranging from circuses to American Ballet Theater. There’s no substitute, he said, for holding material in your hands. “Actually being able to see it and feel it and understand what it is that you’re getting, you really can’t get a sense of that on the Internet.”

What you see online isn’t always what you get in person, which leads to further delays. And time is a luxury costumiers seldom have, especially midseason. Mr. Happel mentioned one business, on the brink of folding, that sells his shop many everyday supplies.

“We are a little freaked out by that, because that means now what we have to do is get stuff shipped from California,” he said. No more sending a staff member down to 36th Street.

Of course, resourceful shoppers have their secret stashes. Ms. Herman remains in touch with many of the merchants who closed their doors permanently, no longer able to afford Manhattan. Some of them keep stock at home. (Only a very few moved to other boroughs.)

“Now we just call them, and we either get a box in the mail or we don’t,” she explained, but only as long as those supplies last. And then? “That’s a good question,” she said, laughing. “Certainly you can always get things made, but it becomes at what price and are the tools and the material even available anymore?”

Trades go out of style too. Marcia Ceppos, who runs Tinsel Trading, which her grandfather started in 1933, said that younger generations aren’t particularly interested in running family businesses. (Ms. Ceppos has no children and is unsure of Tinsel’s future.) And Mr. Aswegan is beginning an internship program for skills like sewing and embroidery, which he says are “heading onto the endangered species list” as people look to more lucrative careers.

The sour economy has only exacerbated these trends. Many remaining garment district stores are reinventing themselves to stay afloat: Tinsel Trading has diversified its stock, while Mood Fabrics has benefited from its association with the television show “Project Runway” and started its own production company, Preview Textile Group, to better cater to the needs of small, belt-tightening designers.

The strategy, said Eric Sauma, one of the owners of the family-run Mood, is to focus “on our smaller designers, who just need small yardages, and be able to grow with them.” He noted that many of his smallest customers were bringing production back to the United States — cause for hope, he said.

Costume shop budgets are shrinking too. Ballet Theater, which outsources all of its costume work, started the Costume Fund in 2003 for restoration purposes. Mr. Happel said he was hoping for big donors for ambitious rebuilding projects like “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” which still has its original 1962 Karinska-designed costumes.

Meanwhile, the show must go on, and costumiers have many masters to please. Beyond designers and choreographers, balletomanes have long memories and strong ideas about what a costume should look like. And dancers often become attached to, and even slightly superstitious about, old costumes, preferring to deal with disrepair and sweat stains than to break in new versions.

Yet they can see the difference. On a recent Thursday morning the corps member Faye Arthurs, who was being fitted for a new “Brahms-Schoenberg Quartet” costume, exclaimed with pleasure over the subtle range of colors in her new tutu.

Mr. Happel nodded in somewhat harried agreement before hurrying off to a storage closet, where row upon row of diaphanous, bejeweled costume hung.

“I walk through here a lot by myself,” he said. “It’s exciting, you see the history of this company in all its costumes. It’s also frustrating, because I see all there is to do.””

Personal comment: Our costumiers have a lot of the same problems with sweat and wear, but we have only had a ballet Co for 8 years and for most of that time rented costumes. It’s been only in the last three years that we opened our own costume shop to make costumes rather than to do minor repairs on rental ones. We have some really talented costumiers we lured away from Hollywood because they wanted a more stable career and the big studios were shedding most of their costume shop capacity. Even with the dip in revenue from the recent recession I’ve been able to hold on to the talent and not had to skimp on the materials for costumes, though many of the showgirl costumes themselves are pretty skimpy. Only rarely do we have a costume disaster where a girl bleeds through her tights and tutu. One nice thing about a strippers costume is that the outer costume; coats, skirts, tops etc come off early in the performance so there isn’t really that much wear and the performance lingerie that gets soaked in sweat - or ripped off if the girl is working the house - isn’t that expensive to repair or replace.

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Powys , Wales, United Kingdom
I'm a classically trained dancer and SAB grad. A Dance Captain and go-to girl overseeing high-roller entertainment for a major casino/resort