By: Adam Turner
The Paralympics originated in Britain as a venue for people wounded in World War II to compete. Today, the Paralympic Games is one of the largest sporting events in the world. It provides an avenue for people of different physical and developmental types to compete on the world stage in a way they were never allowed to before. Like the Olympics, it celebrates friendly competition, teamwork, determination, and athletic accomplishment. The history of the Paralympics, however, reveals a far more complex picture, fraught with political, social, and even medical tensions. For many years, the Paralympics has received little media attention and poor funding. What little coverage it has gotten often reinforces stereotypes about disability as a personal tragedy to be "overcome" rather than highlighting ability and athleticism.
By Rebecca M. Bender
I recently came across this amazing vintage video "Family Planning," produced by Disney in 1968. Do yourself a favor and take 10 minutes to watch it. In addition to the frivolous use of Donald Duck and the caricature of a "simple" heterosexual couple who appear clueless as to how babies are made, this short film provides us with a wealth of information regarding attitudes towards reproduction in the U.S., and abroad, during the late 1960s. After doing a bit of research, for example, I found out this film was produced for the Population Council, a non-profit organization created by John Rockefeller in 1952.
By Jacqueline Antonovich
-Stethoscopes are really gross.
-The woman before Rosa Parks.
-The history of heroin addiction.
-Did slavery create modern medicine?
-Um...your earwax says a lot about you.
-Remembering Japan's kamikaze pilots.
By Helen McBride
As Ireland moves away from its uneasy coalition with the Catholic church, the issue of gay rights in Ireland is gaining more traction. The upcoming same-sex marriage referendum has resulted in gay rights being discussed on Irish television. On the January 11 edition of the Saturday Night Show on RTÉ, Ireland’s national broadcaster, Rory O’Neill (aka Ireland's arguably most famous Drag Queen, Panti Bliss) became the center of a national controversy over gay rights and homophobia in Ireland. During his live on-air interview with host Brendan O'Connor, O'Neill described a number of Irish journalists as well as a pressure group named the Iona Institute as homophobic in their views toward same-sex marriage.
By Cheryl Lemus
I have a scar just under my chin that I received as a young girl when I fell into a small bush with very sharp edged branches. The wound was very deep, and it bled like a broken faucet. Of course, I screamed and cried. My mother probably should have taken me to the emergency room, but she belonged to the generation that believed you only visited the hospital if you were dying. A bleeding chin did not meet the criteria, so I covered the cut with Aloe Vera and wore a lot of band aids. The cut took a long time to heal, and as I watched the redness fade, I was happy that the scar was just below my chin because no one could see it unless they looked closely. Even as a young girl, I understood that scars were unfeminine.
By Jacqueline Antonovich
-Very awkward vintage ads.
-Mark Twain's advice to little girls.
-23 amazing Black History Tumblrs.
-9 beautiful buildings we tore down.
-What Honest Abe's appetite can tell us.
-Was knitting a secret weapon in WWII?
By Carolyn Herbst Lewis
We don't have water. The pipes running through our walls are dry. I discovered this situation nine mornings ago. I woke to visit Aunt Nellie, as my great aunt would say, and, after contemplating the meaning of life, I rose, I flushed, and I washed my hands. Except where water once flowed at my beck and call, now there was none. By the end of the day, the plumbers would deliver the verdict: no water was reaching our meter, and there was no break in any of the lines. After two bouts with the polar vortex, the temps of the previous few days, hovering right around the zero mark, had allowed the frost layer to reach deeper than it had ever been. Roughly three times deeper, in the estimation of the local farmers. Somewhere along the eighty feet of pipe running between our meter and the city main (most probably the section that had been repaired last summer and thus is now sitting in disturbed earth, but no one can say for sure without exploratory digging), there is a freeze. All we can do is hope for a thaw.
By Carrie Adkins
Last Tuesday, February 11, the German athlete Carina Vogt became the first woman to win an Olympic gold medal in the women’s ski jump event. The sport itself is not new; ski jumping dates back to the early twentieth century, and men have been competing in the event at the Olympics since 1924. But until these 2014 games in Sochi, the International Olympic Committee refused again and again to allow women to participate – even when faced with mounting pressure from female skiers who wanted to compete in the 2006 and 2010 games.
And their rationale for denying women entry was incredibly stupid.
By Jacqueline Antonovich
-Vintage divorce postcards.
-Photos from 1938 Mardi Gras.
-A history of sex and chocolate.
-Hemingway ephemera digitized.
-A 19th century map of matrimony.
-25 historic images of breastfeeding.
By Sean Cosgrove
I like Valentine’s Day. Its initials give me pause for thought sometimes -- perhaps they are so appropriate as to be off-putting (‘V.D.’ anyone?) -- but overall it strikes me as a formalized excuse to show the people you care about that you love them. Last year, I even wrote up a little piece urging us to broaden our definitions of relationships to include the bromance in the Valentine’s festivities! So, when I say that I want your Valentine’s Day plans to be a success, I really do mean it.