The Sunday Story Club: Real-life stories that reveal the untidiness beneath the shiny surface of modern life

The Sunday Story Club begins:

“Ironically, considering how strongly we advocate face-to-face contact, the two of us met online. It was 2014 and Doris had just published a memoir, The Twelfth Raven, recounting her husband Martin’s dev­astating stroke and extraordinary recovery. That same year I had established a website, ­Sibylesque, dedicated to breaking down the female stereotypes of age, size, marital status and so on.”

This is the Blog.

And this is the book.

There is the extract in The Weekend Australian Magazine (See pic below)

BOOKTOPIA

AMAZON AUS

BOLINDA AUDIO BOOK LISTEN HERE.

When we started this blog, we never realised it would lead to a book. Fabulous!

 

Stop Oxidants? Stop Breathing! The Antioxidant Hoax

by Kerry Cue

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Evidence gathered over the past few years shows that, at best, antioxidant supplements do little or nothing to benefit our health. dark red quote 2

Lisa Melton,The antioxidant myth: a medical fairy tale, New Scientist, 05 August 2006.

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Eat. Pray. Breathe Oxidants.

We breathe oxygen. The oxygen is carried around our body by red blood cells. And, guess what? Oxygen is an oxidant. It ‘burns’ or ‘oxidises’ fuel in our cells. We get energy. The red blood cells then carry the carbon dioxide produced by oxidation back to our lungs and we breathe it out. Sometimes, these oxidising reactions are incomplete producing free radicals or, as scientists like to call them, Reactive Oxygen Species, ROS.

Sibylesque Cup cakes

Lisa Melton attacked the popular belief that anti-oxidants have magical health benefits in the New Scientist. In the article biochemist, Barry Halliwell from the National University of Singapore explains that “One percent of the oxygen we consume turns into ROS.” Other free radical producing factors include X-rays, smoking, air pollutants, bacteria, and intensive exercise. When subjects with diets high in fruit and veg were found to suffer a lower incidence of heart disease, diabetes, dementia, stroke and some cancers the theory that antioxidants mop up free radicals was born. It has sponsored a $US 23 Billion supplement industry and that is not even including superfoods.

According to Melton ‘Time and again, however, the supplements failed to pass the test. ‘True, they knock the wind out of free radicals in a test tube. But once inside the human body, they seem strangely powerless.’ Evidence suggests that sometimes anti-oxidants can even do harm. One study involving 18,000 subjects had to be stopped when researchers found the cancer rates rose in those given beta carotene supplements.

Even antioxidants should be consumed in moderation.

Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019

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Photo Source: atomictoasters blog

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Drinking 8 glasses of water a day for Dummies

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Navy quote 1You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him water ski.

ff………….Kerry Cue, Sibylesque (Just made that one up to be annoying)

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Even as I write these lines some self-proclaimed health adviser will be insisting that for optimum health you should drink 8 glasses of water a day.

This assumes two things:

1. You are incapable of deciding if you are or are not thirsty. Answer this question. What day is it? Correct. As you do not appear to have dementia, you will remember to drink fluids.

2. That 8 glasses is the correct fluid intake for you. How do they know?

8 glasses a day women under hairdryer pinterest

Meanwhile, the claim that you need eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day has been debunked.

Drs. Dan Negoianu and Stanley Goldfarb at the University of Pennsylvania reviewed published clinical studies on the topic and found no data to suggest people need to stick to the “8 x 8″ rule.

“Indeed, it is unclear where this recommendation came from,” they write in an editorial in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019)

Photo source: Vintage Hairdryers pinterest

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The Salt Wars are Over!

by Kerry Cue

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“There is little evidence for long-term benefit from reducing salt intake.”

Navy quote 2f………….Cochrane Collaboration, 2003

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Stop the maths and pass the salt!

salt and pepper wizards eBbayIn 2006, the New York Times article titled ‘The War over salt’, Melanie Warner (13 Sept 2006) reported that the American Medical Association, AMA, had called on the Food and Drug Administration, FDA, to limit the amount of salt in food. This was the first time the AMA had called for the regulation of a food ingredient.

The article stated: ‘In 2004, researchers at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute published a study in The American Journal of Public Health concluding that 150,000 lives could be saved annually if sodium levels in packaged and restaurant foods were cut in half.’

Hold that thought.

1950s TV spidersden blog

In 2011, the Scientific American ran this headline : It’s Time to End the War on Salt. ( Melinda Wenner Moyer, 8 JUL 2011)

Meta-studies by the Cochrane Collaboration, an international, independent, not-for-profit health care research organization concluded as early as 2003 “there is little evidence for long-term benefit from reducing salt intake.” Moreoever, the Cochrane Institute found that reducing salt intake does not reduce blood pressure significantly. The groups hypersensitive to salt include some elderly and some Afro-Americans.

Hillel Cohen, an epidemiologist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine noted ‘A great number of promises are being made to the public with regard to this enormous benefit and lives saved’, but it is ‘based on wild extrapolations.’ That’s simply bad maths!

In other words, take extreme recommendations about your salt intake with a grain of salt.

Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019)

Photo source: 1. eBay, 2. spidersden blog

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How marketing controls your mind or, would you eat buttons? Guess what? Millions do.

by Kerry Cue

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I’m on a maroon quote-130-day diet, so far I’ve lost 15 days.dark red quote 2

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Button sandwich anyone?

casein button 2 etsyThe chemistry I studied at university long, long ago included the industrial uses of casein. Now casein is the protein in milk. It is used to make buttons.

Traditionally, buttons were made from shells, wood, metal, glass, and bone. The advantage of casein is that it can be molded and coloured. (See Plastics Historial Society for the history of casein buttons.)

Casein buttons, buckles and knitting needles were first produced in the UK in 1914 and continued through until the 1980s!!!! Casein buttons are still manufactured in small batches today.

creepy kid grilled cheesery blogNow cheese consists of three major ingredients.: fat, protein and water. If you remove the fat, then all you have left is the protein, casein, and water. If you place a piece of low-fat cheese in the sun to dry our all you have left is the casein (and some fat). It is a little rubbery. Pop it into a solvent (Nail polish remover. That sort of thing.) to remove the residual fat. Bingo! You get a button.

Of course, the marketing folk want us to believe that low-fat cheese is healthy. But, would you eat a button?

Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019)

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Photo Source:1.  etsy, 2. grilled cheesery blog.

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Fifty Five Years Ago Today, The Beatles Came Here to Play

by Kerry Cue

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purple quote 1Those who do not move,

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………………do not notice their chains.

     ………………………..Rosa Luxemburg, Polish Jewish Philosopher, 1871 – 1919.

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Fifty-Five Years Ago and Far, Far Away!

On 12 JUNE 1964, the Beatles landed in Adelaide to begin their month-long Australian tour.

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The Australia of the time was rigidly conservative. In his book, The Lucky Country, published in 1964 author Donald Horne wrote ‘Australia is a lucky country, run by second-rate people who share its luck.’  

Although The Beatles were mobbed on their Aussie tour, more Australians turned out a few years earlier, in 1959, to hear American evangelist, Billy Graham preach the word of the Lord. In fact, 3 million Australians (Aus Pop: 12 million) attended Graham’s sermons.

Billy Graham MCG 1959

Billy Graham Rally MCG 1959

The Beatles music, including the 1964 tour, was simply the pop music fanfare announcing the massive social and political change sweeping through Australia in the 1960s. Australians were, at last, in Rosa Luxemberg’s view (quote above) beginning to move. The changes included the Sexual Revolution (The pill hit the market here in 1961, ironically, that was the year Marriage rates peaked at 62% of Aussie adults.), Civil Rights (All Indigenous Australian adults got the vote in 1962), anti-war protests (Starting around 1962), feminism (Starting with The Female Mystique, Betty Freidman, 1963), environmental protection (Silent Spring, Rachel Carson, 1962), Gay Rights (Groups formed at the end of the 1960s but laws took much longer to change.) and more.

Some changes were slow. In 1963 pubs still closed at 6pm perpetuating the 6 o’clock swill in Qld, Vic, and SA. City centres were dead on Sundays. The shops closed at 12pm Saturday. Then again, there were no credit cards. No credit. You paid cash.(That’s in £sd. $ arrived in 1966) But you could smoke anywhere!

student protest Sydney Uni 1962

Look at these uni students of ’62. They are conservatively dressed. Some are even wearing ties! In the early ‘60s young people dressed like their parents. Boys wore ties. Girls wore suits. The fans that mobbed The Beatles in 1964 dressed like their parents. Even The Beatles wore ties! The Youth Culture, however, was about to begin. ( See 1964 – 1970: When fashion was a social revolution, not just a brand! )

In 1964, conservative Australia was crumbling, but it took time. In June 1964, I watched The Beatles arrive in Melbourne on a Black and White TV set with my friend Lynette screaming ‘Ringo’ and sobbing into a handkerchief. I was in year 8 at the Sacred Heart Convent Kyneton. The nuns didn’t teach maths to girls just arithmetic and needlework! (See Bimbos 4Eva)

My parents let me leave the convent to attend the local high school where they DID teach maths to girls and I went on to study maths at University. But I was fortunate. Girls’ choices were still limited in the 1960s. We were guided into ‘family friendly’ occupations such as hairdressing, nursing, teaching, and secretarial work. These were perfectly fine occupations, but often poorly paid. Meanwhile, married women could not work in the Public Service (until 1966). Equal pay was not ratified until 1974. (Many female occupations were exempt until that date.)

Perhaps, we should have listened more closely when in 1968 The Beatles sang Lady Madonna:

The Beatles Lady Madonna
Who finds the money when you pay the rent

Did you think that money was heaven sent

Despite being taught arithmetic and needlework, finding the money is something we’ve had to deal with ever since the ‘60s.

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Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019)

Photo source: 1. Britishbeatlemania blog, 2. Wheaton College Archive, 3. Wheaaton College Archive, 4. Sydney Uni Archive. 5. Unsourved

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1964 – 1970: When Fashion was a social revolution, not just a brand!

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dark green quote 1Clothes make the man but often imprison the woman.
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………………………….Kerry Cue, Sibylesque (Written for this post).


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This is the story of a Fashion Revolution

1. How our mothers dressed in 1960.

1 Melbourne Cup 1960 island continent blog

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2. How we dressed in 1964.

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3. We wore the same clothes as our mothers and the same UNDERWEAR too!

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4. Ads were patronising. This was pre-feminism! Women, apparently, didn’t have brains back then.

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5. Mothers bought girdles for their girls, but they were a fashion statement!

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6. Bloomers could be worn over the ‘tarty’ suspender belts!

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7. 1964: The revolution begins ….

6 Anita 1964 Flikr Paul Galesko photostream

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8. 1965: Now hemlines go up, Up, UP!

8a JeanShrimpton Derby Day 1965 The Vine Blog

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9. 1966: Mother cannot wear this new mini-skirt fashion!

7 Mini skirt is born vintageeveryday blog

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10. 1967: The mini-skirt becomes the hottest fashion.

9 Melbourne Cup 1967 pinterest

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11. 1968: The mini-skirt goes mainstream

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12. 1969: The mini-skirt defines Pop Culture

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13. Don’t forget the boots …

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14. 1970: Mama don’t rule no more!

12 Hot Pants dellamoda blog

Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019).

Photo Source: 1. Islandcontinent blog, 2. Queensland State Library Archive, 3. barbarafalconernewhall blog, 4. pinterest, 5.eBay, 6. eBay, 7. Flikr Paul Galesko photostream, 8. The Vine, 9. vintageeveryday blog, 10. pinterest, 11. 63highlanders blog, 12. goretro blog, 13 eBay, 14. dellamoda blog

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The Sibyls Salute: Jennette Williams

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Navy quote 1I think the lushness of the platinum printing and the timelessness of the platinum prints, .

the exotic setting and the nude women with their classical poses work together to fool us into believing

that women of this size and age and shape were always a subject in the arts and not just crones in the background.

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ff………….Jennette Williams, The Bathers, Duke university Press, 2009.

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Sibylesque Jennette WilliamsMany women do not live comfortably in their own skin. They are highly critical of their shape, wobbly bits, orange peel, fullness, skinniness, generous hips, flat chests and so on and on. Self-criticism, sometimes loathing, becomes over the years an ingrained habit. The thought of being photographed naked would, for many women, send them running screaming out the door. In this context, aging simply ramps up the self-disgust.

Then New York based photographer Jennette Williams began to take photograph nude women and her work made us all rethink our relationship with our own bodies. In her 2009 book, The Bathers, Williams uses the texture and grey tones of platinum prints to illuminate the beauty in all women’s naked bodies regardless of shape, age or imperfections. Each photograph is based on poses found in iconic paintings of nude women by Paul Cézanne, Auguste Renoir, Sibylesque Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres and more.

Photograph from The Bathers by Jennette Williams

Photograph from The Bathers by Jennette Williams

Sibylesque Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres

 

Over an 8 year period, Williams photographed women bathers in Budapest and Istanbul to create these sublime images without ‘sentimentality or objectification’.

Here is Williams in her own words:

Williams was the fourth winner of the biennial CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography. More significantly, Williams has shown us how much our vision of beauty is seen through a window defined by the beauty product industry. We should view her images often to remind ourselves that there is a fragile beauty in honesty, which is diminished daily by grotesque images of advertising fakery.

 

The Sibyls Salute Jennette Williams

 

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Photo source: Duke University Press Website

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The Ascent of Man or, you took your time!

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An American monkey, after getting drunk on brandy, would never touch it again, and thus is much wiser than most men.purple quote 2

…………………….Charles Darwin, Brainyquote

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Sibylesque Wipe Your Feet

Photo Source: Collage from IFLS Facebook Page.

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Help! My Bubble Wrap Kid Just turned 40

by Kerry Cue

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‘My eldest daughter is 32 this year. So this is the one raised in the early 80s when Penelope Leach was the guru. Anyway, excuse me!

Bloody Penelope Leach where you had to be breast-feeding continually and everything was baby centered and child focused and you always had to stimulate the baby and raise their self-esteem.’

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     ………………………..Virginia, NSW, RN, Life Matters, ABC Talkback,28 MAR 2014

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Does Helicopter Parenting Harm Kids?

your-baby-and-child Penelope LeachOnce parents felt their role was to feed and clothe their children and wash behind their ears (for some reason). In the 1970s, however, a Parenting Revolution emerged. Suddenly, every stage of a child’s development (when they goo, poo, smile, sit, etc) demanded parental supervision and emotional support. The new era of Helicopter Parenting had begun. UK psychologist, Penelope Leach, was a flag bearer of this revolution.

Her book, Your Baby and Child: From Birth to Age Five (1977), became the child-rearing bible for many parents, myself included. She provided useful information about snivels and rashes, but constantly boosting a child’s self-esteem demands extreme vigilance. Children will fall over. They will come second in a race. They will get B in a test. So a parent had to stay vigilant and always cheer their child’s efforts (even the lamest pasta art effort).

Sibylesque Career Advice

Now it is time to ask: Does Helicopter Parenting Harm Kids? It can. In his book, How Not to Talk to Your Kids (2007), American journalist Po Bronson warned that constantly praising kids means ‘they never learn strategies to deal with failure’. Bubble Warp kids can become ‘risk adverse’ simply because they can’t deal with the emotional impact of failing.

We, Sibyls, were the first, if fairly moderate, Helicopter Parents. Our children are now adults so we can comment on some of the long-term outcomes as we observe the first ‘Bubble Wrap kids’ as they turn 40.

Bubble Wrap kids never have to share, never have to wait and never hear the word ‘No’. What would that look like when those kids are 40 years old. Ugly! Very ugly. Who would want to live with a Me-centric 40 year old who won’t share, wait, doesn’t take ‘No’ for an answer yet also needs constant emotional support? This isn’t just narcissism, it is needy, clingy narcissism. They will suck the emotional life out of any partner or mother (See Why are Feminist Daughters Angry with their Mothers.)

And one more thing. Will Bubble Wrap kids want to have children of their own? Maybe not. Firstly, children raised Helicopter-style have seen their parents hovering first hand. It looks like hard work.

And, secondly, having children involves risk. For ‘Bubble Wrap Kids’ the idea is terrifying. What if something goes wrong? What if the child is hideous? What if I can’t handle being a parent? Why do it? Having children is way, way too risky!

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Kerry Cue is a humorist, journalist, mathematician, and author. You can find more of her writing on her blog. Her latest book is a crime novel, Target 91, Penmore Press, Tucson, AZ (2019).

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