Diversity Writing

The perfect woman

Ladies! Ladies! Please stop your housekeeping for one moment and pay attention to some absolutely vital information. A wonderful new treat is heading to the bookshelves in February, ladies. I know that you’re all shivery in anticipation just from my introduction, but be sure to fold your towels and take the curlers out of your hair before you rush past your 5.3 children on the way to the store to buy it.

What is this new treat? Why, dear hearts, it’s none other than Phyllis Schlafly’s newest book, Feminist Fantasies! Isn’t this just the biggest thrill!

Now, now, don’t swoon. I know that we couldn’t ask for a better valentine’s present, and you’re all agog in anticipation.

Don’t pee your panties, ladies, but there’s more — none other than Ann Coulter has written the forward to it! Yes! I would not josh you, ladies! Ann Coulter, herself! I am beside myself. Just beside myself.

Now you can tell that big, strong man in your life what to get you for Valentine’s Day instead of a silly box of chocolates (not to mention that you’ve gained a few pounds anyway, darling, and nothing turns that handsome man of yours off more than bulky thighs). Just make sure you re-assure him that you won’t take time out from your wifely duties to read it. You tell Charlie that Charlene, Charlie Joe, Billy Chuck, Cherrie Charlie, and Bob are more important than a book, even one as important as “Feminist Fantasies”.

However, since I am such a tease I thought I would re-print some of the advanced review of the book. Just for you, my darlings.

Just for you.


So, this feminist writer in her thirties started interviewing smart young women in their twenties and she learned quite a lot. She discovered that, among women in their twenties, “feminism has become a dirty word.” She discovered that young women in their twenties have concluded that feminists are “unhappy,” “bitter,” “angry,” “tired,” and “bored,” and that the happy, enthusiastic, relaxed women are not feminists. The writer found that young women are especially turned off by feminism because of its “incredible bitterness.” She admitted that “feminism had come to be strongly identified with lesbianism.”

The Wall Street Journal ran a series of news stories about the disruption in corporations and law firms caused by the wave of pregnancies at the managerial and professional levels. Since more women hold high-level jobs, their time off for pregnancy has caused serious company disruptions. In the past eight years, the number of women over thirty having a child has almost doubled

A study by the advertising firm of Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborne discovered that “the professional homemaker is a happy woman who feels good about herself and her ability to stick to her decision to remain at home, even under strong societal pressure to find an outside job.” She is feminine and traditional; she is not feminist.


I’m so excited about this book, my dears, that I’ve decided to celebrate it’s publication with a series of weblog postings focusing on Phyllis Schlafly and her impact on culture, titled The Perfect Woman in the inaugural launch of the new Evil Woman weblog.

Coming to a browser near you, February 5th.


Who is Ray and why is he on my book?

I’ve always been partial to Amazon, but as an author I have to say that the company’s data systems suck.

For instance, if you search on my name, “Shelley Powers”, you’ll find several of my books, such as Essential Blogging, Unix Power Tools 3rd edition, and so on. However, you’ll also find me on a few other computer books I’ve either never been involved with, or only peripherally involved with.

For instance, you’ll find Sybex’s Mastering Visual C# in my authored list, but you won’t see my name on the book. The reason why is because I pulled out of the C# book when I found out how Sybex handles its authors — poorly. I then high tailed it back to O’Reilly just in time to be a pain in the butt to Simon St. Laurent, my current editor.

However, once your name has been linked to a book in the vaults of Amazon’s data jungle (was that a mixed metaphor?), it’s linked for life. No matter how many times you write them, they won’t fix the problem.

My name is also linked with the Webmaster’s Guide to the Wireless Internet, and all I did for Syngress is create the outline for them. That’s it.

A few of the books in the list are Spanish and Portuguese language versions of some of my books. They’ve always liked me in Brazil for some reason. I’m a big hit there. I’m also a hit in Russia, and have Russian language books for Developing ASP Components and Dynamic HTML. What’s odd is my name looks different on both.

There’s another Spanish-language book with the title “Curso Completo de Cata de Vinos”. I’m not completely sure of the title, but I’m sure I never wrote a book on wine, or have ever been approached to write a book on wine. Now, if I was ever approached to write a book on margaritas…

What was a shocker for me, though, was when I discovered that Amazon has put another author’s name, a Ray Lischner, on my baby, my “Practical RDF”. Who the hell is Ray Lischner, and why is he on my book? That’s my book. Mine! Mine! Mine! Well, and O’Reilly’s, too.

What’s worse is that now that he’s been linked with the book in the Amazon vaults, he’s there for life. Grrr.



Grand idea #102

Thanks to Sean McGrath I found out about this discussion thread over at the Tag Soup discussion forum.

It starts off with Tim Berners-Lee basically asserting that a URI represents a web page, or at least a physical resource:

We know. Your “resource” is a vague thing which can be
a robot or a web page. That vagueness makes a system
which is less useful than a system in which the URI
identifies specifically the web page.

Luckily Tim Bray came along and hollered “Hold on Partner!”:


Once again, no matter how hard I try, it’s easy to believe that XML
Namespaces are resources, but really hard to believe that they’re web pages.

Concluding notes:
(a) In both of my examples, the resources identified by the URI map
fairly nicely onto the actual meaning of the English word “resource” –
one of Antarctica’s maps is a resource in human-speak (that’s why
people pay for the software), and if an XML Namespace (typically a
pre-coooked XML vocabulary with pre-cooked semantics) isn’t a resource
as the word is normally used, I don’t know what is. My point is not
only is the Fielding formalism useful to programmers and
self-consistent, the terminology is useful to ordinary people.

(b) In my vision of the semantic web, it makes all sorts of sense to
package up RDF assertions about Antarctica’s maps or XML namespaces and
these could be really useful without pretending, against the evidence,
that either kind of URI actually points at a “web page”.

In RDF/XML, URIs are used to identify a specific resource, but there is no assumption that this resource is actually accessible on the web as a hard and stable entity.

After reading a bit of this discussion thread, my head is bleeding, too, primarily because of my work with RDF, the darling daughter of the W3C. Seems to me that Tim BL’s interpretation just kicked dearest in the butt.

I really respect the W3C people, but this is frustrating. There does seem to be more and more of a disconnect between the W3C folks and us out here in the world trying to use the W3C products. I respect the W3C because without this organization, you wouldn’t reading this. But at the same, I kind of wish they would give their brains a rest every once in a while. I imagine Mark Pilgrim feels that way, too, because of XHTML 2.0 (which isn’t open source, BTW, Mark).

What’s needed at the W3C is someone to come in and keep these white-coat people in line. Someone experienced, practical, down to earth, and very easy going. I think I fit this description, ahem, and it just so happens that I’m looking for a job. Fancy that.

Yes, that’s my grand idea for today. I think the W3C should hire me as the Enforcer — the person who goes around and whacks a white coat in the head everytime they start to get a Grand Idea.

What think?