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BS: Women in space

mousethief 22 Mar 01 - 02:03 PM
annamill 22 Mar 01 - 02:14 PM
mousethief 22 Mar 01 - 03:08 PM
Naemanson 22 Mar 01 - 03:27 PM
Hawker 22 Mar 01 - 03:31 PM
mousethief 22 Mar 01 - 03:34 PM
Amos 22 Mar 01 - 03:34 PM
GUEST,Fretless 22 Mar 01 - 04:10 PM
Mrrzy 23 Mar 01 - 09:27 AM
sian, west wales 23 Mar 01 - 10:26 AM
mousethief 23 Mar 01 - 10:45 AM
kimmers 23 Mar 01 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Midchuck upstairs 23 Mar 01 - 10:53 AM
Mrrzy 23 Mar 01 - 11:11 AM
mousethief 23 Mar 01 - 11:19 AM
Mrrzy 23 Mar 01 - 11:26 AM
Sorcha 23 Mar 01 - 11:27 AM
Mrrzy 23 Mar 01 - 11:30 AM
Blackcatter 23 Mar 01 - 11:33 AM
Linda Kelly 23 Mar 01 - 11:36 AM
Blackcatter 23 Mar 01 - 11:41 AM
Mrrzy 23 Mar 01 - 11:43 AM
Blackcatter 23 Mar 01 - 11:47 AM
mousethief 23 Mar 01 - 11:48 AM
Pseudolus 23 Mar 01 - 11:49 AM
Blackcatter 23 Mar 01 - 11:54 AM
Blackcatter 23 Mar 01 - 12:12 PM
mousethief 23 Mar 01 - 12:16 PM
Mrrzy 23 Mar 01 - 12:42 PM
Ely 23 Mar 01 - 02:00 PM
mousethief 23 Mar 01 - 02:08 PM
GUEST 23 Mar 01 - 03:33 PM
Kim C 23 Mar 01 - 04:48 PM
kimmers 23 Mar 01 - 11:52 PM
Amos 24 Mar 01 - 12:13 AM
Sorcha 24 Mar 01 - 01:34 AM
Blackcatter 24 Mar 01 - 03:07 AM
Penny S. 24 Mar 01 - 06:07 AM
Naemanson 24 Mar 01 - 07:28 AM
mousethief 24 Mar 01 - 11:18 AM
kimmers 24 Mar 01 - 11:46 AM
Sorcha 24 Mar 01 - 11:55 AM
Blackcatter 24 Mar 01 - 02:48 PM
mousethief 24 Mar 01 - 04:04 PM
Blackcatter 25 Mar 01 - 06:02 PM
JulieF 26 Mar 01 - 06:37 AM
Mrrzy 26 Mar 01 - 12:15 PM
mousethief 26 Mar 01 - 12:36 PM
cait 26 Mar 01 - 01:21 PM
mousethief 26 Mar 01 - 01:27 PM
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Subject: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 22 Mar 01 - 02:03 PM

Please forgive me if this is just really stupid, or really sexist, but ever since they said a female astronaut was goign to be living on the space station for 3 months, this has been gnawing away at my mind.

Also forgive me for indelicacy of phrasing but it's a pretty graphic topic.

Isn't menstruation a gravity-dependent process? If you were weightless during your menses, would the fluids find their way to the exit?

Maybe a little time spent on a human-sized centrifuge each day would do the trick? Or does Mom Nature take care of such things automatically?

curious in Seattle,
Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: annamill
Date: 22 Mar 01 - 02:14 PM

Sounds like the makings of a song. Kinda like "If it doesn't snow on Christmas".

L.A.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 22 Mar 01 - 03:08 PM

Surely somebody here must have an opinion -- or some medical insight -- that can help here? I mean it's idle curiosity, I'll admit. And more than a little prurient. But by golly, there have been far worse threads and this does have SOME scientific value.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Naemanson
Date: 22 Mar 01 - 03:27 PM

Kimmers is a doctor. Maybe she knows and will enlighten you when she signs on again.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Hawker
Date: 22 Mar 01 - 03:31 PM

Don't know, but I have heard that the pill taken constantly can prevent the monthly event occuring, but I don't know how safe that would be with blood pressure, clots etc and being in space?
Lucy


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 22 Mar 01 - 03:34 PM

Yes, I'm told by my wife the pill will prevent IT from happening. And presumably if it's not safe to have IT happen in zero gravity, that's what they would do.

But can IT work in zero G's? That's the real question.

curioser and curioser,
Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Amos
Date: 22 Mar 01 - 03:34 PM

I believe gravity is not the only force at work. Capillary action and whatever the muscular equivalent of peristalsis is probably also come in to play here. It's a much more dynamic situation than, say, a cup of water turned upside down in a zero-grav environment.

My 2 cents' worth.

A


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: GUEST,Fretless
Date: 22 Mar 01 - 04:10 PM

Why not ask NASA? Presumably, this is a question they've had to answer. http://science.msfc.nasa.gov/faq/ask-a-scientist.htm


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 09:27 AM

Fascinating question, I'm very interested in the answer. Now on the same topic, have they solved the problem of how a woman can PEE in free fall? Male astronauts have a tube thingie, but women have tended to have to use a catheter... ouch... what do they do now?

About the actual question, I would assume that the periods would be skipped by using birth control or similar pills. It is nowadays quite safe to do that, lower dosages and all that. In fact, some medical people are beginning to think that menstruating every month may actually be harmful, since Mother Nature indended us to be pregnant so much of the time, it might actually be safer to have fewer periods... but the data aren't in on that.

Do we have any members that are affiliated with the Space program?


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: sian, west wales
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 10:26 AM

I'm still trying to work out how the Pill can keep Information Technology (IT) from working...

puzzled sian


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 10:45 AM

I read on the NASA web site that both men and women pee into what amounts to a large vacuum cleaner tube.

I'm too chicken to ask this question on the "Just ask NASA" page. That's why I came here.

Sian: LOL.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: kimmers
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 10:51 AM

Well, if I were in space for 3 months, I would sure as heck not want to deal with the whole mess. I wouldn't be surprised if the women astronauts used Depo-Provera or something like it to manipulate their cycles. On the other hand, prolonged weightlessness leads to bone loss, and the absence of a normal menstrual cycle also leads to bone loss... so maybe suppressing the menses ain't such a hot idea.

As far as your original question, Alex, gravity is part of the process but not all. The non-pregnant uterus isn't very big, and liquid would find its way out eventually even if we all hung from gravity boots during our periods. Which would, I suppose, be an interesting test.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: GUEST,Midchuck upstairs
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 10:53 AM

Speaking of zero gravity and bodily fluids...I think it was Spider Robinson that saw the design for a zero-gravity toilet. One of the engineering features was, as I understand it, a centrifuge to separate solids from liquids.

Spider (or whoever it was) pointed out that this was some kind of an ultimate engineering triumph.

The shit is supposed to hit the fan.

Peter.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:11 AM

Where is this Just Ask Nasa page? I'm no shrinking violet, I'll ask...


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:19 AM

This is probably your best bet:

http://quest.arc.nasa.gov/mars/ask/question.html

Good luck!

your neighborhood shrinking violet,
Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:26 AM

OK, I asked somehow (not the above link, will try that next) and got this, not an answer, but pretty:

sts-102-crew_low.jpg


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Sorcha
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:27 AM

The URL is above, in Fretless' post......I tried it and none of the proper links (microgravity and biology or archived questions) would work.........


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:30 AM

I tried it too, all links worked for me, but it is specifically about the Mars part. Not that it matters, they'll have to pee/whatever on their way there too... but the question form pops up an Outlook email from me, so I can't try it here (at work) but I'll try later when I get home.

This issue is brought up a lot by Larry Niven. Will try to ask him, too, or Jerry Pournelle, or anyone who writes well-researched SciFi.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Blackcatter
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:33 AM

Greetings all

I think it can be accomplished with muscular action. There's not a lot of vaginal room and I believe the process is a more gentle version of solid waste removal (and for that matter urine removal as well - we don't pee because of gravity). Also a little regular cleaning during the time would be of help.

Mousthief is correct about peeing into a vacuum. That's pretty much how they do it. When you think about it, it may be easy for a man to pee in space but where does it all go without some other encouragement?

I'm going to ask NASA as well - maybe this should be a concerted effort. You know how government is when it comes to answering questions they don't want th answer.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Linda Kelly
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:36 AM

Well this is a disappointing thread-I thought it was goign to beabout women we would like sent into space -I was going to nominate Margaret Thatcher and Scary Spice.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Blackcatter
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:41 AM

My vote would be for Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris - but then again, her mind is probably already orbiting Pluto (or Goofy . . .)

pax


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:43 AM

All the women from my town. Maybe then I could get some! Also, I can't find anything that isn't a fan-based thing for Larry Niven. Might have to use snail mail, quelle idée!


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Blackcatter
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:47 AM

Here's the response about personal hygene from the NASA FAQ page - unfortunately it doesn't discuss menstruation:

How do astronauts in space go to the bathroom and take care of their personal hygiene?

Astronauts brush their teeth just like they do on Earth. There is no shower on the Shuttle, so astronauts must make do with sponge baths until they return home.

Each Space Shuttle has a toilet that can be used by both men and women. Designed to be as much as possible like those on Earth, the units use flowing air instead of water to move waste through the system.

Solid wastes are compressed and stored onboard, and then removed after landing. Wastewater is vented to space, although future systems may recycle it. The air is filtered to remove odor and bacteria and then returned to the cabin.

pax yall


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:48 AM

Hmmm. Women we'd like to shoot into space? Besides my ex-wife, I assume. Hmmm. I'll have to think about that. But you can send Hillary while I'm thinking.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Pseudolus
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:49 AM

Very interesting thread, although next time I'll be smart enough to not read it during lunch!! *g*

Frank


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Blackcatter
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:54 AM

There has to be a website out there that discusses the indelegate issues of space flight - I just hope it's not a porn site . . .

pax yall


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Blackcatter
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 12:12 PM

Here we go:

From this website : www.eff.org/Net_culture/Misc/technoculture.paper

I got the following info: (an interviewer talking to a NASA scientitst (supposedly))

(2) About menstruation in space, he said "Even if there were a problem - and there isn't - there still wouldn't be a problem." Not only can flow be arrested with pills or endometrial fibulation (extraction), but the imagined problems of retrograde (backflowing) menstruation has never been found to have any consequences.

"So do they just bring tampons along on the space flights?" I asked.

"Basically, yes," he said. (He referred me to an article he wrote on the reproductive functions of men and women in the space environment in Obstetrical and Gynecological Survey, vol 45, #1, p. 7. (1989)


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 12:16 PM

Imagined problems of retrograte menstruation include horrible cramping in women where pieces of the sloughed-off endometrium (sp?) get into the abdominal cavity. But I don't imagine zero gravity would make it much worse; even being in earth's gravity can't prevent it for the women who get it (I dated one; I know).

But thanks for the answer. Finally, we know the truth.

Alex


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Mrrzy
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 12:42 PM

WAIT a minute. Backflow WHERE? There is only one exit, and that's the cervix. There IS no opening from the uterus to the abdominal cavity. I can see why these problems are "imagined" - and I find "Even if there were a problem - and there isn't - there still wouldn't be a problem" to be a great example of a nonanswer.

Tampons have positive absorbency, so inserting one will PULL fluids from wherever it can, perhaps substituting for gravity. Hadn't thought of that. Bet they just skip their periods while offplanet, though, must be easier, the way it is down here. And mousethief, what exactly did you date - a woman? (*BG*)


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Ely
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 02:00 PM

Well, if they pee into a vacuum, mightn't that help, um, move things along, too? Not that I'm anxious to find out, because the experience is unpleasant enough without needing that kind of extra help.

On the other note, I'd send Britney Spears to space. And some of those super-skinny actresses (can you send two actresses/models for the price of one if they both weigh half as much as a normal woman?).


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 02:08 PM

How much does a normal woman weigh?


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 03:33 PM

Ickle; you mean together? Wonderful!


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Kim C
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 04:48 PM

I'm glad someone besides me worries about this kind of stuff. I was beginning to think I was really weird or something.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: kimmers
Date: 23 Mar 01 - 11:52 PM

Mrrzy, there *is* another opening... two, to be exact. The uterine tubes or Fallopian tubes come out the top of the uterus and end in fringed openings. Normally, the ends of the tubes, with their little fingers, sit around the ovaries, ready to tickle that egg on its merry way. But under the right circumstances, things can escape out the tubes and enter the abdominal cavity. If bits of sloughed endometrium do this, you get endometriosis. Even plain menstrual blood can do this (rarely) and cause a lot of pain.

A fertilized egg can get lost and do this, and give the poor woman a condition known as an abdominal pregnancy. Very bad news.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Amos
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 12:13 AM

Holy Moly!! Another design flaw!!! The System Engineer isn't gonna like this!!! Who spec'ed this thing, anyway??


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 01:34 AM

Thanks, kimmers. I knew that, but could not have put it so well. Back when I used to have this "problem", albiet not in null/micro gravity, I used tampons only on the last 2 or 3 days, so that I was certain I was finished. Stained knickers are just the pits.

One of the glorious things about menopause is that you can buy clean, white panties and they will stay that way!

Tampons do "draw", hence, Toxic Shock Syndrome if they are used too much or left in too long.

(my god, the things we discuss on Mudcat........any other personal stuff you want to know about? Childbirth and episiotomies for instance? PAP smears? Piles?)

Something that has not been mentioned here is that females who "train" heavily, such as Olympic atheletes, quite often skip menses while in training, and then later have trouble regularizing their cycles. When the body is over stressed, it deletes functions, often to the body's own detriment.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Blackcatter
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 03:07 AM

Yeah,

I remember something about the route from the ovaries to the uterus not being a tube like the vas deferens (sp?) is for men and having from what I remember something similar to a jump set-up with my old Hotwheels track. Goodness, isn't education a wonderful thing? I'm SO glad I learned that back in 9th grade health or biology or somewhere . . .

I guess whoever wrote the specs for women & men, must of assumed that eggs knew where the hell they were going, while sperm had to be shown the way (and prpelled at a high-rate of speed as well).

Hmmmmm - that makes me wonder one thing - just how fast does sperm travel during ejaculation (i.e. relative to their size).

Bicycle? Cheetah? Bullet?

pax yall,


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Penny S.
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 06:07 AM

Sorcha, isn't it great to leave a whole aisle of the supermarket out, and never have to go there again!

Penny


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Naemanson
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 07:28 AM

"I guess whoever wrote the specs for women & men, must of assumed that eggs knew where the hell they were going, while sperm had to be shown the way..."

Does this explain the difference between men and women when it comes to giving and receiving directions?


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 11:18 AM

Actually it's not that sperm have to be shown the way. It's that Mom Nature knew that unless there was ONLY ONE WAY they could go, they would go the wrong one. Eggs, on the other hand, could be relied upon to stop and ask for directions if they needed to.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: kimmers
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 11:46 AM

Hee hee. Not to throw cold water on this amusing analogy, but the little egg has no independent means of going anywhere. It must depend on the wavelike contractions of the Fallopian tube to get it to its destination; otherwise, it just sits there looking pathetic.

I don't know how fast the little wigglers are, though. I'll see if I can find out for you. Hey, surely there's a song parody on this subject, somewhere?


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Sorcha
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 11:55 AM

Penny, I still can't skip the aisle; I have a daughter and the dog food is on the other end, LOL!


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Blackcatter
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 02:48 PM

Dog food & feminine hygene - boy I DON'T want to go there . . .


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 24 Mar 01 - 04:04 PM

Did someone say tuna?

Bad, bad mouse.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Blackcatter
Date: 25 Mar 01 - 06:02 PM

Maybe we could do a song thread about "speedy lil wigglers "

Pax


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: JulieF
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 06:37 AM

Sian

I've always found that the Pill helps IT to work rather than stops IT - I don't end up throwing the bloody computer out the window.

Julie


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: Mrrzy
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 12:15 PM

OK, I stand corrected, thanks. That was really worrying me.

I was taught that sperm swim an inch an hour. If anyone knows their dimensions, you can do the math. My guess is Bullet, faster than Cheetah.

But back to the actual question...


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 12:36 PM

Always glad to oblige, Blackcatter.

Speedy Little Wigglers
(no tune yet)

Ain't but one of them little wigglers
Has a chance to penetrate
They may all die, fate unfulfilled
Depending on the date
They hit the deck a-runnin'
And swim with all their might
A-wigglin' in the warm and dark
And hopin' the time is right

(chorus) Well back in the corral
They sat around and waited
They felt the tension getting tense
And they anticipated
A jarring ride through tunnels dark
At a fast but pulsing pace
And then they start their midnight swim
Through women's inner space

These little wigglers' lives are hard
And very often brief
And bitter is their end if they
End up inside a sheath
They hope to find a brand-new orb
A new world, and a new life
Which may prove inconvenient if
This woman's not your wife

(repeat chorus)

(C) 2001 Alex Riggle. All Rights Reserved.
(Not that anyone would want to "steal" this dog...)


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Subject: um, gee...
From: cait
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 01:21 PM

it tends to make its way out while lying in bed or standing on head. gimme a break.


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Subject: RE: BS: Women in space
From: mousethief
Date: 26 Mar 01 - 01:27 PM

huh?


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