Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Any Port in a Storm




Now, that's what I call making the best use of what's available! Any port in a storm and all that.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Sunday Rambling

As I was driving down the road last night, I was thinking of how many Christians strongly disapprove of nonmarital sex and unwed motherhood.

I thought of Mary, who in the Bible was pregnant before her marriage to Joseph. Whether or not one believes in immaculate conception, the point remains that she was pregnant at the altar.

Personally, I don't believe in immaculate conception. I think that she and Joseph simply had the honeymoon before the wedding and, in a society that could stone a woman to death for such an "offense", that this story was concocted to save Mary's honor and her life.

Nor do I think that Jesus' very human origins should make any difference to religious people in regards to his status as a teacher and a prophet. Virginity holds no particular value to me, and if I were a religious person, it wouldn't matter at all how Jesus was conceived.

So, considering that Mary was pregnant at the altar, regardless of how she came to be in that condition, it would seem to me that modern Christians could be more understanding and tolerant toward unwed mothers today.

Too much to ask for, I know.


While listening to the radio the other night, a woman called in requesting a religious Christmas carol, saying that songs about Santa Claus didn't reflect what Christmas "should" be all about; the "reason for the season".

I don't agree. Santa Claus has always represented generosity and giving of all kinds to me. Anything that promotes goodwill among humans, even if it doesn't last the entire year, isn't a bad thing in my book.

And at least we know that Santa Claus is based on a real person, St. Nicholas, who lived in the 4th century.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

My Horizontal Life : A Collection of One-Night Stands

My Horizontal Life : A Collection of One-Night Stands

Chelsea Handler

Date: 06 June, 2005 — $11.16 — Book

product page

Rating:

As the title indicates, this book contains several anecdotes about a female libertine's one night stands. The author is a comedian by profession, and the book reads like Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum doing promiscuity.

Handler spends more time writing about her hookup disasters, the "fish" she threw back, rather than her successful encounters.
This is probably because the book is classified as humor, despite it being also a memoir. Some successful scores are included, of course, written in a non-explicit manner.

Though I enjoyed this book, particularly Handler's writing style, her rampant alcohol and drug overindulgence was off-putting. More than simply being a sexual libertine, Handler is more of an across-the-board hedonist.

The book ends with her predictably reassessing her libertinism, with her speculating that if she keeps on, that eventually that the only men she'd be able to get would be "men like her", which she didn't want. She didn't see that the main source of her problems was her substance abuse, rather than her promiscuity, per se.

Still, an engaging read, and I hope Handler writes another book.

Friday, November 25, 2005

What's Good For the Gander is Good for the Goose

Several days ago, I read a news story reporting that former "Hollywood Madam", Heidi Fleiss, is planning to open a brothel with male prostitutes catering to female customers. The brothel, appropriately named "The Stud Farm", will be located in Crystal, Nevada, the only state in which prostitution is legal.

I think it's a fine idea that was well overdue. Why shouldn't women have the same convenience that men have had for millenia? Like some men, many women who desire casual sex do not feel comfortable with the bar scene, largely because of safety and health issues. Nevada has very strict rules about legal prostitution and conducts routine testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, which would be reassuring to women.

Some have said that women don't need to pay for sex, as there are plenty of men available to do it for free. While there is truth in this, I can't imagine this is true for all women, as there are plenty of women unable to find partners because of age, homeliness and similar reasons. Also, there are the newly divorced/widowed who are horny but not wanting relationships, women with sexually inept husbands, who could have this need met anonymously without sticky entanglements.

I'm guessing that Heidi will probably employ mainly "Chippendale" types in their early 20s, but I can imagine her finding a place for a horny old bastard like me, as there's much to be said for a practiced technique honed by years of widely varied experience. I can't imagine doing something like that full time, but it would be a lot of fun to try it for occasional weekends.

Thoughts?

Bad Attitude

I have a new philosophy. I'm only going to dread one day at a time.
- Charles M. Schulz, Charlie Brown in "Peanuts"

I hate having to work. I resent that so many of my waking hours are taken up in making a living to support myself. The work itself is just a small part of it. What I dislike most is having to deal with people not on my own terms and I hate giving up such large chunks of my privacy.

I'm not a go-getter Type A personality; I'm a definite classic Type B slacker. I believe that people on their deathbeds never wish they'd spent more time at the office.

The older I get, the younger my supervisors become, and the more menial, low-paying, and brainless the jobs are that I'm obliged to take, the worse this feeling becomes. I'm at the point now where I have to talk myself into going to work, each and every day, and talk myself out of reasons to call in sick. Sometimes, I lose the battle and I call in, but usually I can talk myself into showing up, simply for the reason that I need the money.

I do my best to do what I'm doing correctly, but I don't take the work itself too seriously. When my barely-20 year old supervisor tells me to "hustle up" in getting the orders out the door, I just roll my eyes at him and continue at precisely the same pace I was working at. I make sure I have all the correct items and have pinpointed where I'm going before I head out the door -- his urging me to hurry isn't going to change that a damned bit.

I'm tempted to tell him that we're just delivering pizzas here; we're not paramedics leaving to go save a life, and thirty seconds one way or the other isn't going to make a difference. But I don't bother, because I know I'd be wasting my breath.

Perhaps I'd feel differently if I'd ever had a job I was truly suited for; a job where I could actually use my natural strengths and abilities. But in all the jobs I've ever held, I've had to spend an inordinate amount of time fighting my weaknesses to do the job. It's very stressful to have to spend one's work days swimming against the current like a salmon, especially when I know I'm capable of something better.

Ideally, life is lived in a balance of work. leisure, and rest, but when you have a dead end job you abhor, it's hard to keep up the work end of the balance with a good attitude.

I'll stop ranting now. It was cathartic just to write about it and get it out of my system.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Last night while out driving, I stopped at an intersection for a red light. Standing on the corner was a wild-eyed man, perhaps in his early 30s, holding a large hand-lettered sign. Naturally curious, I turned to read it. I figured he was one of those "will work for food" people out working his corner. When the man saw me looking, he held the sign up high, making sure I could see it clearly.

But the man wasn't looking for a job; he was looking for converts. A long Bible passage was written on the sign, urging passing drivers to "repent". Not wanting to encourage him, I quickly averted my head.

After I drove off, I wondered what would make someone want to waste their time in that manner. Why is it so important for such people to have others believe as they do?

Continuing to think about the man on the corner as I drove along, I thought that talk is cheap and that actions speak louder than words. Instead of wasting his time standing at an intersection, that man could have been living his faith by actually helping people. He didn't have to talk about it, as his actions would have spoken for themselves. He'd have been much more useful by helping others meet their basic needs.

You know how it goes: feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and those in prison, comfort the lonely, shelter the homeless, etc. My libertine soul could not help but silently add, "and fuck the horny". Some might find that last thought offensive, but it's a basic need like all the others previously mentioned, so, to me, it's a perfectly legitimate way to meet another person's basic needs.

It certainly beats the hell out of standing for hours at an intersection in the cold dark, holding up a Bible verse sign.

Thoughts?

Saturday, November 19, 2005

More Quotes and Commentary


Anything too stupid to be said, is sung.
- Voltaire

Hmm, he must have anticipated modern music! And he obviously never could have predicted rap music.

Man's mind stretched to a new idea never goes back to its original dimensions.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Which is why all small minds and regressive forces favor censorship.

I have a new philosophy. I'm only going to dread one day at a time.
- Charles M. Schulz, Charlie Brown in "Peanuts"

Good advice to heed about my job!

Normal is not something to aspire to, it's something to get away from.
- Jodie Foster

Normal is for uncreative people too lazy to think.

Never go to bed mad. Stay up and fight.
- Phyllis Diller

Or in my instance, stay up and fuck....

There is nothing worse than aggressive stupidity.
— Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Did he know George Bush?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Never Going Back

Insomnia yet again, so I'm here writing the day's entry before I have another fruitless attempt at sleeping.

In the past decade, many people have asked me why I left the police department and why don't I try to go back into that line of work. To be honest, I've considered it a time or two, but each time I've rejected the idea. I'm a different person now, and I no longer have any interest in working in that capacity.

At the time I left the department, I was completely disillusioned by my work, not having enjoyed it since around my second year on the force. After a couple of years on the force, the rest of my time there was endured with gritted teeth. I was sick of the constant negativity of dealing with people not at their best, the Machiavellian internal politics, the lousy pay, the lousy hours, the stupid lawyers, many of my co-workers with their limited, authoritarian world views, and so on. Looking back at the vantage point of a decade off the force, the only consistently good thing about the job was the benefit package: a generous medical and sick leave policy and retirement plan. I certainly miss those things, but that's about all I miss.

Other things that wore me down were having to enforce certain kinds of laws I didn't believe in and witnessing the disparity of how the rich, middle class, and poor were treated in the court system. The job was also rapidly turning me into a racist, which wasn't the way I was raised, so this factor also contributed to my decision to leave the force.

Despite all this, in recent years, I've several times seriously considered returning there, solely for the job stability and the benefits. But considering that I've been gone for a decade, I'd have to go through the academy all over again, which is something I'd rather avoid. I've also spoken with some of my former coworkers and they've informed me that the hours suck even worse than when I was there, as they've gone to 12 hours shifts, which would suck royally, in my book.

And the older I get, the less I can tolerate bullshit, and if was nearly intolerable in my late 20s and into my 30s, there wouldn't be any "nearly" about it in my 40s.

Plus, I don't think I could deal with having to have short hair again. A definite deal breaker. :-p

Thoughts?

Sunday, November 13, 2005

A Few Books on My "To Be Read" List

While browsing in the bookstore the other day, I saw several books that I'll probably either buy or borrow to read in the future. Following is a list and short description of each book that caught my interest:


Our Endangered Values: American's Moral Crisis by Jimmy Carter

The former president criticizes Christian fundamentalists for their "rigidity, domination and exclusion". Mr Carter believes that their open hostility toward a range of "sinners" runs counter to America's legacy of democratic freedom. Fundamentalist attribute the abysmal crisis in which America allegedly finds itself to liberals and secular humanists, pointing to teen pregnancy, homosexuality, abortion, etc, as symptomatic proof of this decline. Carter, however, believes much of the problem lies with right wing Christian fundamentalists. Huge gaps between rich and poor, disrespect for human rights, cruel and unusual treatment of prisoners, a despoiled environment and a dangerous foreign policy -- these, for him, are the true indications of how far we have fallen.

The Republican War On Science by Chris Mooney

The author exposes how right-wing politicians have built institutions designed to discredit working scientists; how some energy companies have allied themselves with powerful Republicans to block or reverse U.S. steps to curb global warming; and how the present administration defies expert consensus on climate change, on mercury pollution, even on how to read statistics. Mooney tracks Bush administration efforts to spread misinformation about stem cells; the work of religious right regulators like Dr. David Hager (formerly on the FDA's Reproductive Health Drugs advisory committee) in restricting access to birth control; and the attempts of the Discovery Institute (and other think tanks linked to the Bush base) to fight the teaching of evolution.

A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis by David Friedman

After the recent dustup here and elsewhere about the issue of male circumcision, I thought this book might be interesting to read.

Predator by Patricia Cornwell

The latest installation of the Kay Scarpetta mystery series. If this one is like previous books in the series, it should be a good read.

I'm No Saint by Elizabeth Hayt

This book is apparently the confessions of a late-blooming female libertine, who engaged in a libertine lifestyle after leaving a conventional marriage.
__________

This is a fairly eclectic mix to keep me reading for awhile. I'll probably buy the two political books, and get the last three at the library. If the book about the female libertine is good, I'll also buy that one for my collection.

I'd be curious to know what's on your "To Be Read" list.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Stupidity From Pat Robertson

In light of Pat Robertson's most recent outbreak of foot in mouth disease in reference to the school board elections in Dover, PA, here is a small sampling of other moronic things he's said over the years. Makes me wonder why he's running around loose, let alone hosting a TV show.

"You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war ... We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with."
–Pat Robertson, calling for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez

"Wait a minute, I didn't say 'assassination.' I said our special forces should 'take him out,' and 'take him out' can be a number of things, including kidnapping."
–Pat Robertson, clarifying his call to assassinate Hugo Chavez

"Maybe we need a very small nuke thrown off on Foggy Bottom to shake things up"
–Pat Robertson, on nuking the State Department

"That was never in the Constitution, however much the liberals laugh at me for saying it, they know good and well it was never in the Constitution! Such language only appeared in the constitution of the Communist Soviet Union."
–Pat Robertson, on the constitutional separation of church and state

"I know this is painful for the ladies to hear, but if you get married, you have accepted the headship of a man, your husband. Christ is the head of the household and the husband is the head of the wife, and that's the way it is, period."
–Pat Robertson

"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
–Pat Robertson

"I would warn Orlando that you're right in the way of some serious hurricanes, and I don't think I'd be waving those flags in God's face if I were you, This is not a message of hate -- this is a message of redemption. But a condition like this will bring about the destruction of your nation. It'll bring about terrorist bombs; it'll bring earthquakes, tornadoes, and possibly a meteor."
–Pat Robertson, on "gay days" at Disneyworld

"Well, I totally concur."
–Pat Robertson to Jerry Falwell following the Sept. 11 attacks, after Falwell said, "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People For the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say: "You helped this happen."

"Just like what Nazi Germany did to the Jews, so liberal America is now doing to the evangelical Christians. It's no different. It is the same thing. It is happening all over again. It is the Democratic Congress, the liberal-based media and the homosexuals who want to destroy the Christians. Wholesale abuse and discrimination and the worst bigotry directed toward any group in America today. More terrible than anything suffered by any minority in history."
–Pat Robertson

"Lord, give us righteous judges who will not try to legislate and dominate this society. Take control, Lord! We ask for additional vacancies on the court."
–Pat Robertson

"Over 100 years, I think the gradual erosion of the consensus that’s held our country together is probably more serious than a few bearded terrorists who fly into buildings."
–Pat Robertson, on the dangers of judicial activism

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Quotes and Commentary

A superstition is a premature explanation that overstays its time.
-- George Iles

Because the world's major religions began when science was all but nonexistent, much of their beliefs fall into this "premature explanation" category. Such superstitions have, unfortunately, hung on long after such "explanations" have been proven false.

That which has always been accepted by everyone, everywhere, is almost certain to be false.
-- Paul Valery

Can you say sacred cows?

Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions which differ from the prejudices of their social environment. Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.
-- Albert Einstein

Many people have an atavistic fear of being different, standing out from the crowd, or thinking for themselves in any way. A pity, really, as all great people have marched to the beat of their own drummer, at least to some extent.

Good questions outrank easy answers.
— Paul A. Samuelson

Many people are quick to give simple, easy answers to complex questions, such as "Why are some people fat? Because they eat too much." or "Why are some people poor? Because they're lazy and don't want to work." Though in some individual instances, these answers may be partially true, to give such flip, facile answers to situations that obviously have multifaceted causes is simply an example of lazy thinking -- or lack of thinking altogether -- in my book.

I respect faith, but doubt is what gives you an education.
— Wilson Mizner

Faith accepts things as they are, which promotes stagnation. Doubt inspires questions, which inspire more questions, which inspire learning.

Good advice is something a man gives when he is too old to set a bad example.
— Fran├žois VI Duke (duc) de La Rochefoucauld

I hope I am never old enough to give good advice

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

The Inevitability of Progress

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.

-- Arthur Schopenhauer

On Tuesday, Texas became the 19th state to vote to add the prohibition of same sex marriage to their constitution. Though this is a defeat in the battle for gay rights, I firmly believe that the forces against full human rights for all people will lose in the end. The pattern of historical precedent in the arena of human rights tends to back up my prediction.

At one time, slavery was believed to be a good thing; that some people were naturally suited to be enslaved and were better off that way. Not so very long ago, mainstream society believed that black people and women of all races were naturally inferior to white men in every way, and that their "place" in society was always meant to be a subordinate one.

When people first spoke out against slavery and against the unequal treatment of blacks and women, society reacted first with ridicule. Such notions challenging widely accepted societal attitudes and practices were considered to be so absurd as to not even be worth being seriously addressed.

When more people recognized the truth of the new ideas, the old guard, correctly sensing a serious threat to the old order, reacted with violent opposition, using every tool in their arsenal. But, by this stage, they'd already lost the war, and the best they could do, was to employ foot-dragging measures to delay the inevitable for as long as possible.

Once the lid is off Pandora's box, and new, truthful ideas spread, there's no stopping it permanently. This is the main reason why those who would turn back the clock on progress are for censorship and the gutting of public education; they know that knowledge is power.

Once an idea reaches "critical mass", that is, once a certain percentage of the population accepts an idea as true, then it is but a short time before the truth of the idea is accepted as self-evident by mainstream society.

And the acceptance of full human rights for gays is very close to reaching critical mass; which explains the stepped-up efforts in opposition by those who would turn back the clock.

The historical pattern has always been in the direction of progress, however slowly it evolves, and despite periodic setbacks. So it will be for gay rights and the issue of same sex marriage.

Thoughts?

Monday, November 7, 2005

More Songs I Love To Hate

I've written before of music and musicians I love to hate. I've mentioned how Mariah Carey and Minnie Riperton both sound as if they've got their feet caught in a bear trap while they're singing and of how Cher sounds like she's in pain, yelling out her songs.

I've got two new songs that have earned their way into my "Songs I Love to Hate" hall of fame:

"A Moment Like This" by Kelly Clarkson

She makes this odd, grunty sound several times while singing this song. It sounds as if she was sitting on a toilet trying to relieve some major constipation while recording this song. Ugh.


"Man! I Feel Like a Woman" by Shania Twain

First thing about this song -- a totally moronic title. What else would a woman feel like? A tree? And how would she know what being a man feels like in comparison?

Aside from the idiot lyrics of this song, Shania makes this weird yipping sound several times in the song. Hmm, does feeling like a woman have any similarity to feeling like a dog to her??

Sunday, November 6, 2005

Circumcision: Response to Comments

I started a reply in the comment box of my last entry to respond to those who'd commented on this apparently controversial issue. When I saw it turning into a novel, I decided to make my response a follow-up entry, instead of leaving it in the comment box.

First of all, to clarify what I wrote yesterday, I respect parents' decisions on this issue to do or not do, based on what they believe is best for their sons. It is, after all, a private decision. I also respect those uncircumcised males who are proud of their bodies as they are, and I support their decision to remain so. It is a mentally healthy attitude that should only be encouraged.

Though circumcised and "altered" from my original state at birth, I, too, am proud of my penis, both its appearance and its functionality. But I think that those circumcised males who have been persuaded that they are "victims" are a little sad, and would do better learning to accept themselves as they are, rather than trying to reconstruct a foreskin (as I've read about).

Though there may not be conclusive evidence that males should be circumcised for health reasons, I've read studies, though inconclusive, that there may be some benefits, however small. I'd rather be safe than sorry, so I'm grateful my parents had me circumcised and I'm glad I did so with my son.

While reading the responses to my last entry, I've seen some "selective reading" in some of the comments. I was very careful to say that the cleanliness issue is only a PERCEIVED one, not necessarily based on reality. I also made of point of emphasizing that there isn't any difference in the average levels of hygiene between circumcised and uncircumcised men. Perhaps people were so quick to disagree with my main point that they just skimmed over these points, hmm?

Sally P in particular was guilty of selective reading. I in NO way implied that female circumcision is done for aesthetic reasons, but rather for the larger sexist issue of controlling the sexuality of women. If she'd read carefully, she would have come upon the phrase: "it is done expressly to destroy a woman's enjoyment of sex and to keep her chaste and faithful to her future husband." Nothing about aesthetics there. Indeed, FGM destroys the beauty of the female genitalia. And I stand by my original assertion that it is ludicrous to compare routine male circumcision to female genital mutilation.

"Decrease sexual pleasure". Please, please don't make me laugh. I've had hundreds of sexual partners in my lifetime, and I hope to have dozens more before I die. I can't get enough sex, which has always been nothing BUT pleasurable for me. Circumcised and all. If I got any more pleasure from sex, I'd never find the time to go to work and make a living!

"Incredibly painful". Obviously not so anyone remembers as adults. I posted this entry on my other blog and a commenter (Benthere) described how her son was circumcised: "When his was done there was no cutting. They used something called a plasti-bell and tied it over the head. The foreskin and the bell fell off after a couple days. It was very non invasive...my son never even cried."

And to answer my own survey questions. My father, born in 1924 at home, was not circumcised. He once said that he wished he had been, but that this was not generally available for poor American families at that time. My very much older brother (born in 1945 in a hospital) is circumcised, as is his son.

So far as whether I am pro, anti, or indifferent to this issue -- as far as what other people do, I am indifferent. For myself and my son, I'm happy with being circumcised and I'm confident I made the right decision for my son, too. If I ever sire another son, he will be circumcised as well.

After all, at the core, it is a private decision.

Saturday, November 5, 2005

Circumcision


About a week ago, I read a thread about male circumcision on Longrider's News and Views message board. When I found this thread, the consensus was that circumcision was barbaric practice, a form of mutilation, butchery even.

Though I respected their opinion, I was baffled. I am circumcised and I've never had any problem with it. When my son was born, I had no problem whatsoever signing the papers approving his circumcision. I'd never really thought about the issue of circumcision; it's been a non-issue for me over the years.

About the only conversations I'd ever had about the subject were with women who had said that they preferred circumcised partners for two main reasons: the appearance and the perceived cleanliness issue.

Though uncircumcised men are no less likely to practice good hygiene than circumcised men, once women hear the word "smegma", it all goes downhill from there. The word even sounds disgusting. Especially when it comes to oral sex, the women I've known have said they prefer a circumcised man. Irrational or not, this has been my general experience when talking with women.

Also, the idea of male circumcision being a barbaric practice is not something I'd come across until very recently. For several years now, I've heard of female genital mutilation done in Africa and in Islamic countries, which I agree is a brutal thing. And I just don't think that routine male circumcision can even begin to compare to the female version.

For one thing, male circumcision is done in sterile conditions in approved medical facilities. And, rightly or wrongly, some believe there are health benefits to doing so, as inconclusive studies indicate that circumcised men have lower rates of HIV and penile cancer.

Female circumcision, on the other hand, is frequently a "do it yourself" thing, done in unsanitary conditions by members of the girl's own family. There is commonly a high rate of infection and other lasting complications for these women. And the purpose is much less than altruistic: it is done expressly to destroy a woman's enjoyment of sex and to keep her chaste and faithful to her future husband.

So, while male circumcision may not be strictly medically necessary to be done on a routine basis, as it is currently done in the US, it cannot be considered a "barbaric practice", either. Unlike the countless Islamic women in Africa and the Middle East, I have not suffered in any way because I am circumcised.

Now, for the survey end of this entry.

Men:

Are you circumcised or uncircumcised? Are you pro, anti, or indifferent about male circumcision? Have any of your lovers over the years expressed their preferences to you? If so, how? If you are circumcised, has this ever created any sorts of problems for you? If you are uncircumcised, has this ever created any sorts of problems for you? For both, if so, how? Was your father circumcised or uncircumcised? Your brothers?

Women and Gay Men:

Do you prefer a circumcised or uncircumcised partner? Why? For those who have had more than one lover in their lifetimes, have you been with both circumcised and uncircumcised men? For those in monogamous, long term relationships, is your husband/lover/partner circumcised or uncircumcised? Are you happy, unhappy, or indifferent to it? Was your father circumcised or uncircumcised? Your brothers?

Parents:

If you have sons, are they circumcised or uncircumcised? Why did you make the choice you did? If you don't have children yet, but plan to, will you have circumcised any sons born to you? Why or why not?

Thoughts?

Thursday, November 3, 2005

Snoring

Snoring. We all hate it and few of us admit to doing it.

I have to admit that I sometimes snore, especially if I'm sick or overtired, but I am in no way a champion, major-league sawer of logs. I could never even begin to compete with my father when it comes to sheer snoring power.

I remember as a kid, seeing a Flintstones episode where Fred snored so badly that his snores kept sucking the bedroom door shut, then blowing it open again. I saw this and thought, "That's my Dad!" If my father had slept facing a door, I'd not have been surprised if he could have done that as well.

After supper every night, he'd conk out in the easy chair while watching TV and his snores nearly brought up snow on the TV! When he went to bed, it was even worse. He could be in his bedroom with the door shut, I could be in mine with my door shut, both of us have fans going in our rooms and I could still hear him. Even with a pillow clamped over my head, the sound got through.

I don't know how my mother put up with it all those years. Which brings me to an inevitable corollary to Murphy's Law: The Snorer Always Falls Asleep First. I've had this to happen to me too many times to believe differently. And for any of you who think nice girls don't snore, you're full of shit. They can and they do. And they always fall asleep first!

Let's hear some of your snoring stories.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

The Inner Circle: Book Review

The Inner Circle

T. Coraghessan Boyle

Date: 09 September, 2004 — $17.65 — Book

product page

Rating:


A novel heavily based on fact, The Inner Circle is about the work of pioneer sex researcher Alfred Kinsey. Professor Kinsey was the author of The Kinsey Reports, published in two parts in 1949 and 1953. The reports were compilations of a scientific study, the purpose of which was to quantify male and female sexual behavior. Though Kinsey's objective, value-neutral conclusions shocked people at the time, both reports were best-sellers. Indeed, Kinsey's personal opinion was that that the human need for sex is little different from animal instinct, a view with which I concur.

The novel is told from the point of view of a fictional member of Kinsey's inner circle of research assistants, John Milk. Most of the book deals with Milk's conflict between his own libertine impulses and opinions, which were encouraged by the libertine Kinsey, and the love for his wife, Iris, who was frustrated with the amount of time Milk spent away from home with his work. Milk remains torn throughout the book, wanting to please himself, please his wife, and please Kinsey -- and he rarely gets to do all three at once.

I would have given the book five stars, but the ending, abruptly shifts tone and seems as if it was hurriedly written to meet a deadline. However, this does not seriously mar what is a fascinating, fast-moving book.


Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Having Children

esterday, John Sherck wrote an entry about why people want to have children and also why people don't want to have them.

This was one of those entries that as soon as I'd finished reading it, my words of response came flowing out of me in a torrent. I nearly wrote a novel myself, responding to his original post.

I like when this happens; when another person's writing inspires my own. Below, is my response to John's entry, after which you can go to his blog (Where's My Plan) to read the original entry for yourself:

So far as the desire to have sex and the unconscious desire to reproduce, it seems as if there is an inverse relation between level of promiscuity and desire to have children. Though I have a son, I've never had any burning desire to be a father and I approached parenthood rather reluctantly. Indeed, many have commented on the fact that I've only sired one child, despite having had hundreds of sex partners in my lifetime. Likewise, none of the fellow libertines I've met in my travels have been very child oriented, though I've known a few with children.

(John's response to my comment)
I hadn't gone that far with it, to see an inverse correlation, but as I said, the sex drive and the desire to reproduce are separate things, despite what some might think.

From my perspective as a former law enforcement officer, I firmly believe that not everyone should have children. For many people, there's not much thought to it: you get married, you have children. One naturally follows the other. Few people consciously examine their reasons for wanting children, erroneously thinking being a parent just comes naturally and needs no special aptitude or training. Most people give more thought and consideration to buying a new home than they do about the issue of whether to have children.

Nothing could be more wrong. Having seen countless cases of abuse at all levels of intensity during my police years -- mainly perpetrated not by "bad" people, per se, but merely by those ill suited to parenthood -- I think the decision to become a parent should be a more thoughtful one and not an automatic assumption. There would be a lot more happier adults and happier children that way.

(John's response)
Very good point. If I'd gotten more into the question, I probably would have gone in the same direction. It's a decision which should be taken seriously, not followed for poor reasons like "everyone is doing it" or because people have been conditioned to think of it as normal and right.

Some people have called those who have chosen to be childless (childfree?) "selfish", but I see the real selfish ones being the ones ill suited for parenthood having kids for all the wrong reasons. With most bad decisions, the consequences only affects oneself, but having kids when one isn't suited or isn't ready affects other people. Having kids isn't like getting a puppy, then returning it to the pound (which is bad enough!), when you get tired of it.

Thoughts?