Saturday, March 31, 2007

A Lover or a Challenge?

"Your thorns are the best part of you." Marianne Moore

Part of my success with women is no doubt due to my "bad boy" aura. Most women say they want a stable, "good guy", family man type, and I suppose they do on most levels.

Yet, with many of the women I've been with, it's been like a moth to a flame for them. They want me precisely because I am none of those things. I'm a walk on the wild side, a bit of living dangerously for them.

I've been told many times that it is precisely my independence and that I live my life on my own terms was what attracted them to me. I tend to bring out the rebellious side in them.

As long as they accept me as I am and not try to get me into the cage of domesticity, all is copacetic. It's when they try to make an "urban renewal project" out of me, that I get balky.

I am a challenge to many women. Many women think I've simply not met the "right" woman yet. Several have thought that if they just "love me enough" that I'll want to settle down into monogamous domesticity like "everyone else".

But that's missing the point. If someone really loves me, they love me as I am. Life is not a romance novel and happily ever after cannot involve caging the wild animal in me, even if the cage is made out of gold.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

More Fundamentalist Hypocrisy

If you or a relative is ever unfortunate enough to attend Jerry Falwell's grossly misnamed Liberty University, he'll find there is a strictly enforced dress/appearance code for all students. The men's part of the student handbook reads, in part (bold emphasis is mine):

Philosophy of Dress Code

Liberty University trains students from all walks of life for many different professions and, most importantly, for serving as Champions for Christ. For this reason, the University has established a standard of dress for the University community, which is conducive to a Christ-like environment. Cleanliness, neatness, appropriateness, and modesty are important as guiding factors.

Standard of Dress for MEN

Hair and clothing styles related to a counterculture (as determined by the Deans' Review Committee) are not acceptable. Hair should be cut in such a way that it will not come over the ears, collar or eyebrows at any time...Ponytails for men are unacceptable. Facial hair should be neatly trimmed. Earrings and/or plugs are not permitted on or off campus, nor is body piercing.

Morons. Need I say more?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Here We Go Again

Here we go again.

Moral hysteria has raised its ugly head once more, this time in a new book, Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both by Laura Sessions Stepp. In this book, the author uses junk science to back up her disapproval of the growing trend among young, unmarried women who view sex as men always have and who are engaging in one-night stands; random "hookups", to use the current common parlance. Not limiting her classification of a "hookup" as simply a one-time sexual encounter, Stepp paints with a broad brush including make out sessions and falling asleep half clothed on the same bed under the same label.

She laments the decline of traditional, old-fashioned dating, but what especially draws her ire is the fact that these women are engaging in sex for sex's sake, and are not looking for love and/or commitment.

Included in the book are interviews with six sexually active, young, college women, all from privileged backgrounds

Stepp claims to be a feminist, but she comes off sounding like a member of the fundamentalist Moral Majority. She takes a patronizing tone with women, telling them they don't really like going out carousing, getting drunk and getting laid; they just think they do, regardless of what they say.

She trots out the tired, junk science "oxytocin" argument, most recently promoted by Dr Eric Keroack, an anti-choice advocate recently appointed by President Bush to oversee federal family planning programs. The oxytocin theory claims that women, but not men, produce oxytocin, a chemical that makes them "bond" with their sexual partner, and that women who have multiple partners ultimately stop producing oxytocin, which would make it difficult, if not impossible for them to later settle down with one partner into a monogamous relationship.

Stepp also drags out the musty old assertion that women are naturally coy and not biologically suited to initiating sex, which has been largely disproven by recent research. She claims that modern society has made women think they "have to" go out and pursue men, when what they'd really rather be doing is waiting quietly at home for men to make the first move.

She also advocates a return to the sexual double standard: men initiate, women wait, for what she claims are feminist reasons: so that young woman will avoiding getting hurt (as if hurt is inevitable and women could not possibly know their own minds) and that "loving relationships" will occur later in life.

Stepp believes that love, not academic or career ambitions, should be the focus of young women's energies. "When you talk about ambition, there's probably no one who's more ambitious than I was in college," she said. "But I didn't want to let that ambition get in the way of having boyfriends."

Apparently, Stepp is about as much of a feminist as Al Sharpton is a member of the KKK.

A "one size fits all" approach to sex and relationships is maladaptive in my opinion. Sure, old-fashioned dating suits some people, but, for others, either for a time in their lives, or permanently, casual sex suits their lives better. The predisposition for initiating or for coyness varies greatly among individuals of both genders, and neither way is intrinsically "wrong". People should feel free to find out what works best for them without prudish, condescending harridans like Stepp trying to make them feel guilty.

Stepp fails to prove her assertion that women lose out when they delay love and committed relationships in college. The vast majority of women who engage in hookups eventually settle down into committed, monogamous relatiionships after college, and for the ones who don't, so what? Not everyone needs or wants monogamy or commitment. And that goes for women as much as it goes for men.


Monday, March 26, 2007


The other day, I was checking my calendar to see if that particular week was "pay week", and I realized that it would have been my wedding anniversary, if I'd been fool enough to stay married. And it would have been the 27th anniversary. 27 years. Damn, that made me feel f'in old, not to mention that it also sounded like a very long prison term.

As my thoughts turned back to that time, I wondered what in the hell was in my mind to let her talk me into marriage. Granted, I was very young then and didn't have as strong of a sense of myself as I do now, but even then I wasn't completely clueless as to my basic nature. She was the first one I'd actually lived with, as opposed to all the random hookups I had back then. Perhaps I'd allowed her to talk me into the notion that she was "different" from all the rest, somehow.

I'd met her at a party and she spent the night with me afterwards. She kind of grew on me and we were soon spending a lot of time together. And when her roommate moved out of her apartment and she could no longer keep up the rent on her own, I let her move in with me. It was comfortable for awhile, especially because she put up with my wandering ways, and when she got it in her head to get married, I let myself be talked into it.

My grandmother wanted me to get married in her home church and, as it didn't matter to me where the marriage took place, I agreed. My uncle, my father's brother, who was a Baptist minister, was to perform the ceremony. And as the ex's parents lived within a couple of hours of my grandmother, getting married there would also allow us to visit her parents for the one and only time I would meet them.

As I waited in a little room before the ceremony, I almost gave in to the urge to climb out the window and go running for the hills. Unfortunately, my brother talked me out of my natural impulses, and I went out to meet my doom, resplendent in a dark green tux.

The day after the wedding, we drove up to spend a couple of days with her family, which was a total boregasm for me. But we didn't have the money for a proper honeymoon, so we had to make do with this. At least her parents lived in a scenic area, so there was that to enjoy.

After we returned home, I was back to my old ways within two weeks, unable to endure the monotony...errr, monogamy any longer.

I hadn't thought about any of this for a long time but, all these years later, I'm still amazed that I actually went through with it.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


Presenteeism ( n. The feeling that one must show up for work even if one is too sick, stressed, or distracted to be productive; the feeling that one needs to work extra hours even if one has no extra work to do.
presentee n.

cf. {absenteeism}

"Presenteeism", a neologism that dates from the mid 1990s, describes a phenomenon that has been on the rise in recent years. It is motivated by two basic concerns: the fear of losing one's job in an era where there have been relaxations in employment protection laws, and the potential loss of income, as more companies reduce employee benefits, particularly pertaining to sick leave.

Almost half of all American workers don't have paid sick leave. Those who do are most likely to work for the federal, state or local government or are union members. Even when people have sick leave, most employers don't have provisions that allow people to take time off to care for ailing children or other family members. For many people, it's a matter of choosing between one's own health or that of dependent family members and one's job. For many others, it's choosing between one's health or paying their bills that month.

So, many American workers bite the bullet and make the miserable "choice" of dragging themselves to work, even though they are unable to perform at 100% capacity and are also frequently contagious to others.

But according to a Cornell University study, presenteeism costs employers about $255 per employee per year, for a total of $180 billion. A sick employee who comes to work, anyway, may only function at a fraction of their normal productivity level, but they employer pays the same expenditure in wages, social contributions and taxes as an employee operating at 100%. They may also be more prone to mistakes, and in the case of contagious diseases, they will likely pass it along to coworkers, causing a more widespread decline in work efficiency.

I think that it's a disgrace that, for many Americans, adequate health benefits and sick leave are a luxury. But at present, no laws require private employers to provide paid sick leave, except for a local San Francisco ordinance.

In 2005, Democrats in the Senate and the House introduced the Healthy Families Act, which unfortunately ended up languishing in committee. The legislation was reintroduced last week and, if passed, would require employers with more than 15 workers to provide seven days of paid sick leave. It's a far cry from the 18 paid sick days per year I enjoyed while on the police force, but it's a very good start for millions of Americans who presently are not allotted even a single day.


Saturday, March 24, 2007

Technical Difficulties

Up until about a month ago, when I finally got a new computer, this picture was an accurate representation of my daily computer usage. The guy in the drawing even looks like me -- it's almost as if someone was looking inside my window one day watching me use the computer and was inspired to draw this.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Chipping Away at the Right to Choose

Yesterday, the South Carolina House approved a bill that would require all women seeking abortions to view an ultrasound of the fetus before undergoing the abortion. No exceptions would be made, even in the cases of rape or incest. Though other states already make ultrasounds available for viewing by abortion patients, SC would be the first to require women to view them.

Some might think this ruling is a good idea, designed to make sure that women are fully informed before making that choice. But an opponent, Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, said there was no need to change the law, because women already have access to ultrasound images if they want them.

“It suggests that women don’t know what they’re doing, that they’ve arrived at this decision quite lightly, and nothing could be further from the truth,” Cobb-Hunter asserted.

I agree. The sponsors of this bill are not seeking to help women to make a more informed choice. Rather, their ultimate goal is to completely outlaw abortion, but because Roe vs Wade is unlikely to be overturned, their only recourse is to chip away at the right to choose, bit by bit.

In addition to those women who might change their minds after being compelled to view the ultrasounds, we must keep in mind how this requirement would affect those women who don't change their minds.

The price of the ultrasound would be tacked onto the price for the abortion, thus pushing the availability of abortion further out of reach for low-income women. Secondly, the extra time required for the ultrasound procedure, the viewing, and the mandated one-hour waiting period after the ultrasound reviews would result in clinics being able to see fewer patients per day. Clearly, making the viewing of ultrasounds legally mandatory, is largely meant to be a tactic of intimidation.

Things like this remind me why I'm glad to be a man.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Fundamentalist Rites of Passage

We all know that fundamentalist Christians believe in abstinence only sex education; that people should wait until they get married to have sex. Though this belief ostensibly applies to both males and females, most of their emphasis is on female chastity, or "purity" as they are wont to call it.

A growing trend in fundamentalist circles in the US is the "purity ball", which superficially resemble a prom. The girls dress in formals, but their "dates" are their tuxedo-clad fathers. After the girls promise to remain abstinent until marriage, the father promise to "war for" their daughter's purity, after which their fathers slip "purity" rings on their fingers. The fathers and daughters are served wedding cake, after which the daughters dance for their fathers to the tune of "Always Be Your Baby".

Let's note that mothers do not attend these balls with their adolescent sons. Nor do mothers promise to guard the chastity of their daughters. "Purity" t-shirts available to fundamentalist girls make it clear that fathers alone "own" their daughters' sexuality: "Notice: No Trespassing on this Property. My Father Is Watching."

Is anyone as squicked out about this as I am?

Randy and Lisa Wilson, parents of five girls started the purity ball at their Generations of Light ministry in Colorado Springs in 1998. Their mission is to preserve girls' chastity by building healthy father-daughter relationships. Though the fundies give lip service to the idea of celibacy until marriage for both sexes, these balls clearly show that they think so-called "impurity" is a "problem" only for girls. What's bad for the goose, is definitely not bad for the gander. It's the bad ol' double standard repackaged for a new generation.

I also have a big problem with the idea that a young woman who has had sex before marriage is "impure" and "defiled". A healthier thing would be to give both boys and girls comprehensive sex education and to reinforce that they own their own sexuality, and fully armed with relevant information, that they will decide to have sex only when they are ready for it, which may or may not be before marriage or instead of marriage.


Sunday, March 18, 2007

Baptist Leader Concedes Homosexuality is Inborn, But Still Thinks It's a Sin

The Rev. Albert Mohler Jr. president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky, has drawn criticism from both the right and the left for an article he wrote earlier this month about the nature of homosexuality. Mohler stated that scientific research "points to some level of biological causation" for homosexuality. He also went on to say that even though homosexuality is likely biologically caused and not a choice, that parents should consider seeking prenatal treatment that would reverse homosexual sexual orientation, if such a treatment is made possible in the future.

In other words, he's acknowledging that homosexuality is inborn, and not a choice, but he still thinks it's a sin, anyway. It's a retread of the same ol' tired argument from some Christians who think they're tolerant when they assert that they don't think being gay is a sin, provided that the gay person will abstain from having sex for the rest of their lives.

Religious conservatives criticized Mohler's attitude because they believe that homosexuality is a sinful free choice that must be eradicated through prayer and counseling.

Liberals took a dim view of his insistence that homosexuality is still a sin, even though he concedes that it's biologically based. "He's willing to play God," said Harry Knox, from the Human Rights Campaign.

"What bothers me is the hypocrisy," said Jennifer Chrisler, of Family Pride, a group that supports gay and lesbian families. "In one breath, they say the sanctity of an unborn life is unconditional, and in the next breath, it's OK to perform medical treatments on them because of their own moral convictions, not because there's anything wrong with the child."

I agree. One's sexual orientation, be it gay, straight, or bisexual isn't a sin. Tampering with the DNA of a healthy unborn child for the sole purposing of changing sexual orientation, however, is what is immoral and a sin in my book.


Saturday, March 17, 2007

Rambling Thoughts About God

After reading a post at another blog, where the blogger stated that he felt both fear and an ignorance of God, I felt inspired to respond, as I've never quite understood the point of fearing God. My response turned into several paragraphs, turning into quite a ramble, so I thought I'd post my response here today as a blog entry of my own.

As an agnostic, I neither firmly believe nor disbelieve in God's existence. I just don't think there's enough proof in either direction. I'm inclined to think not, but humility makes it so that I can't quite shut and lock the door on the existence of God.

One thing I am sure of, however. And that's that any possible God is quite different from how He/She/It is presented by many Christians today. If God is omnipotent/omniscient/and omnipresent, then I don't think it's possible to contain knowledge of God in a tangible object -- the Bible. To try to do so is to put the Bible before God. I see the Bible more as a history book of Christianity rather than an instruction manual. Illuminating and useful, yes, but inerrant, no.

I also don't understand this "fear God" thing. If God is Love, then there's no reason to fear God. God is spoken of in metaphor as being like a father, and though there are some fathers on this earth that are feared, they aren't the same ones we love and respect. I loved my Dad and I respected him, but I never feared him, because I trusted him. It would seem as if those who trust God should never have any fear, either. Maybe it's just me, but I'd not have use for a God that I'd have to fear.

And as far as sin and Jesus having to die so that we could be forgiven, well, that leaves me scratching my head, too. If God wanted perfect, mistake-free (sinless) people, then we would have been created that way. God is supposed to be omniscient, so God should have known that the people He/She/It created would make mistakes. So, it would seem as if mistake-making(sinning) was intentionally part of our nature and we shouldn't have to be forgiven for our basic natures. Being made imperfect would have been intentional, as only imperfect people can learn and grow and make more of themselves than they originally were. It's a good thing. Perfect people would have been stagnant and boring, never learning a thing

Note: I refer to God as He/She/It because I believe that such a God could not be contained by any one human category. That is, God would be both male and female, and neither all at the same time. Calling God just "he" is to limit God, and one cannot limit an infinite God.


Friday, March 16, 2007

Sex on the Job

As I had nothing in particular that I planned to write about tonight, I browsed news sites for inspiration. Because I'm kind of tired tonight, I'm not up for writing anything much in depth. The news story I chose to write about tonight surprised me and has a parallel in my own life.

A fire fighter in my area has actually been arrested for having sex with a woman several times over the space of three months while on duty at the fire station. He is being charged with misconduct in office.

I confess that I had sex on duty many, many times when I was a cop. It usually occurred when I was on third shift when there was absolutely nothing going on; never when we were busy. I rarely did it on second shift, because that was usually the busiest time, and never on first, because it was harder to be discreet during the day.

Usually, I'd stop by a lover's house for a quick one during one of those long, dull nights. A few times, I hooked up with a female officer on my shift, and we'd meet in an out of the way place.

I knew I'd have been fired if I'd ever been caught -- fortunately I wasn't -- but back then I'd not have been arrested for it. I was very careful and discreet, and these trysts never caused me to fail to answer any calls assigned to me in a prompt fashion.

Ah, the good old days.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

TV Rant

Ever since first getting a computer in 1998, my TV watching has declined dramatically. There are many shows made since that time I've never seen. Because I've never had cable, there are many shows that aren't available for me to watch at home in the first place. And with the recent trend to the so-called "reality" shows, I'm guessing I'm not missing very much.

Sometimes, though, when I happen to be at home using the computer in the evening, or when I come home from work late at night, I'll turn the TV on in the background. Many times, I'll turn it on initially to listen to the news when I'm surfing the net, and just leave it on after the news has ended. I've been exposed to several shows in this manner.

Most of what I've seen doesn't impress me much. I'll confine my remarks here to three shows, so that this entry doesn't turn into a novel.

Two shows that are on late at night here in reruns are According to Jim and Scrubs. I'd never heard of either of these until they started showing up in the late night slot.

According to Jim is simply unfunny. Weak jokes, lame plots; a total boregasm. This show stars Jim Belushi, and I'd have expected better from the brother of John Belushi.

Scrubs is equally tiresome in its own way. This show is basically an "insult-a-thon", where the characters spend the entire show's running time exchanging vicious put downs; again, with little or no plot. This show doesn't even belong in the genre of medical comedy with shows such as the timeless M*A*S*H.

A prime time show I sometimes catch in passing, or more often, hear endless reports of on the news, is American Idol. I'm sorry, but I just don't understand the American Idol mania and hype. As far as I'm concerned, it's a high-budget retread of The Gong Show, which at least had the sense to not take itself too seriously.

In the early part of the season, it seems as if some contestants are there only for comic relief -- some of these people can't sing any better than Alfalfa did on Little Rascals. If this is such a serious talent search show, then why are they allowing some of these people to humiliate themselves on stage for? You would think that every contestant that is televised would be able to at least sing in tune.

And then there's Simon, who thinks he's very witty as he engages in his ubiquitous insulting of contestants. I place his brand of humor in the same category as the insult-a-thons on Scrubs. And, again, if this is meant to be a serious talent search show, then why can't he engage in constructive, professional criticism like the other two judges do? I get the feeling that his boorish behavior is all an act for the sole purpose of driving up the ratings.

And what's even worse about this show is how my local news devotes at least ten minutes to this show nearly every night, sometimes as the lead-off story, when a brief mention would be more than adequate. Whatever happened to real news?

I'm slowly building up a collection of season sets of older shows, and I imagine I'll be spending more of my TV watching time watching these and movies.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Privacy, Hypocrisy, and Casting the First Stone

In a recent interview with James Dobson, potential 2008 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich admitted that he was having an affair at the same time he was involved in the push to impeach Bill Clinton for his involvement with Monica Lewinsky. Nevertheless, Gingrich, who is thrice divorced and who served divorce papers on one wife when she was in the hosptial with cancer, maintains that his actions were not hypocritical, as he claims his actions were motivated by Clinton lying about his affair, rather than the affair itself.

Apparently Jerry Falwell, who was also a vocal critic about Clinton's extramarital activities, doesn't judge Gingrich with the same yardstick, as he's invited Gingrich to deliver the commencement address at Falwell's Liberty University. It would seem as if he considers nonmonogamy to be a sin making one unfit to be president only for Democrats.

"I well remember the challenge we evangelicals faced in 1980 when our candidate, Ronald Reagan, was the first presidential candidate who had gone through a divorce. We wisely made allowance for God's forgiveness and America was the beneficiary of this historic champion," Falwell said. Well, that's mighty big of you, Jerry. Apparently your "forgiveness" doesn't extend to people whose political opinions you disagree with. And let's not even get into the real sin of thinking you have any business playing God and judging others' private lives in the first place.

I personally think that Gingrich's private life should be irrelevant in regards to his run for the presidency, just as Clinton's should have been irrelevant during his term in office. This goes for Rudy Guiliani and John McCain, both having been divorced, as well. The private lives of all political candidates should remain just that -- private.

However, I do have a problem with hypocrisy. Unlike Bill Clinton or Rudy Guiliani, Newt Gingrich has been a big proponent of the so-called family-values agenda. He's talking the talk, but not walking the walk.


Monday, March 12, 2007

Weather Rant

It's here. And it's three months early. Over the last two weeks, the many signs of its impending arrival have become increasingly more obvious and harder to ignore. The grass is growing, the lawn mowers are rumbling, the trees are blooming, the pollen is polluting, the birds are shitting, the crickets are chirping, the coats are disappearing to be replaced by shorts, the temperatures are rising, the sweat is trickling and stinking, and so on. The only things that have yet to return are the bugs.

Yes, that's right. Summer is here in all its cloying glory. The winters are always mild in this part of the country, nor do they last very long. And this winter has been milder than most -- summer hung on here well into December, and it's already back again. We really don't have a spring here; it seems to go directly from winter into summer. It's been in the high sixties to mid seventies during the day for the last two weeks or so, which would be great weather for June, but I don't want summer in March. And it's supposed to hit 80 tomorrow. Ugh.

I can tell which of my coworkers are summer lovers -- they are the first ones to start wearing shorts again, as soon as the temps rise above 55 degrees, and they are the diehards who wear them the longest in the fall. I'm just the opposite. I hate wearing shorts, as they seem little kid-ish, and I put off wearing them until the sweat is collecting on my kneecaps. I'm about at the point now where a short sleeve t-shirt with jeans is comfortable.

And then there are those with thin blood. I was out today and saw a woman with her kids, all bundled up in thick ski jackets, despite it being 70 degrees. I wanted to pass out with heat stroke just looking at them. Similarly, I've delivered to people in the last two weeks who have portable kerosene heaters going in their houses, despite it being about 65 degrees at the time. Each time, I could almost see the heat rolling out the door as they opened it, with the temperature almost knocking me down. Even if it was ten degrees outside, I'd not heat my house as hot as these people had their homes. I just shake my head, knowing these people would never make it if they lived up north.

It seems as if summer is a "stronger" season than winter in temperate climates. We've all heard of unseasonably warm days in December and January -- 80 degrees on Christmas Day, for example. But you never hear of it snowing in July or simply being 30 degrees on the Fourth of July. Summer is always slow to leave in the fall and quick to reappear again in the spring. Seems like Murphy's Law to me.

I liked summer as a kid. But I'm sure it's because I didn't have to go to school and because I lived up north where there was a real winter and where summer was shorter and less intense. I could even tolerate it now better, even down south, if I could have a three month vacation from working.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Recent Local Happenings

Readers of this blog will remember me writing about my county rescinding its Sunday Blue Laws, only to reinstate them less than two months later, at the behest of fundamentalist county council members.

Well, they've done it again. The blue laws have been voted out yet again. I hope that this is the end of it and that this issue isn't brought up again.

My local newspaper also reports that several cheerleaders from a local high school were dismissed from the cheerleading squad for having consensual sex with several members of the high school's basketball team in a hotel room. The only punishment meted out to the basketball players was a suspension from playing in a single game, but otherwise remain full fledged members of the team.

I thought this was 2007, not 1957. It floors me that the school administrators still can get away with such a flagrant example of the double standard. For breaking curfew -- NOT for engaging in consensual sex, as all were above the age of consent -- the one game suspension should have been applied to cheerleaders and basketball players alike. If I were the parents of these cheerleaders, I'd be raising hell about these unevenhanded punishments.

I know I'm going to get hammered for my opinion on this next incident, but here goes. A local middle school teacher was fired from her job and now faces criminal charges for multiple instances of having sex with several 14 and 15 year old male students. She has been charged with five counts of second degree criminal sexual conduct.

While I agree that her conduct was unprofessional and that this alone is reason enough to fire her, I'm definitely of mixed feelings about her being subject to criminal charges.

For one thing, it's hard for me to see these boys as being "victims" or being coerced in any way to engage in this behavior. I'm quite certain these boys participated of their own free well, and I doubt very seriously whether any of them will suffer any psychological harm for having done so.

How can I state this with such confidence, you might ask. Well, I'll tell you. When I was fifteen, I lost my virginity to a woman twenty years my senior, and over the course of a summer, I had sex with her on many different occasions. It didn't hurt me any; indeed, she trained me well for my subsequent lovers to come. I look back upon this experience with many fond memories.

I almost feel sorry for the woman. While she should have known better to have engaged in this behavior with students, I still think that dismissal from her job and being barred from teaching underage students is a sufficient enough punishment. I don't think putting her in jail will serve any useful purpose.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Favorite Words

As a lifelong bibliophile who also enjoys writing, I love the complexity of the English language. I have a friend whose native language is German, but who prefers writing in English because English has a larger vocabulary that allows for more precision and nuance in her writing.

Like many people, there are many words I like, sometimes for their meaning, but more often for how they sound, regardless of what they mean. Following is a list of some of my favorite words. Readers are invited to add some of their favorite words in the comment section.


and, of course


Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Job Applications and Resumes

During my life, I've had periods where I had to work several short-term temporary jobs in a relatively quick succession. I've also had a couple of employment gaps between jobs for various reasons. For this reason, I've always used a "functional" resume; that is, one that highlights the most important jobs I've had, as opposed to a chronological resume, which lists every piddly little job a person has had.

However, most job application forms provide spaces between the jobs one lists for the purposes of explaining any gaps in employment. I understand employers asking why a person left a particular job, but I resent the hell out of being expected to justify gaps in employment, as if there is something inherently suspect about not being continuously employed. There are many reasons for employment gaps: health problems, family problems, going to school, sabbaticals, taking a long time to find suitable employment after leaving a job, and so on. I don't think employers necessarily need to know what someone was doing during those gaps.

Just as annoying, but not nearly as ubiquitous as the employment gap questions are the kind of applications that ask you what your hobbies are or what sort of organizations or clubs you might belong to. My personal life is private and none of the employer's concern.

I guess I'm a bit like my father this way. Back in the forties, when employers wanted you to specify your race on applications, my father would always check the box marked "other", then fill in "Human" in the space provided.


Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Open Mouth, Insert Food

The right wing's foremost attention whore has done it again. Apparently miffed that her name hadn't been in the headlines recently enough, Ann Coulter dropped yet another verbal bomb last Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington:

"I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, but it turns out you have to go into rehab if you use the word 'faggot,' so I — so kind of an impasse, can't really talk about Edwards."

Apparently, she doesn't have any constructive criticism of John Edwards' viewpoints to offer, as ad hominem attacks are the last resort for desperate people without a cogent argument in reponse to those with whom they disagree.

Indeed, there are conservatives who disagree with her tactics, if not her politics. Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition, said, "Frankly, I would have loved to have heard Ann expose and dissect the radical agenda of Senator Edwards instead of resorting to cheap name calling."

The three leading Republican candidates also condemned her remarks: "The comments were wildly inappropriate," John McCain's spokesman said. Rudy Guiliani remarked, "The comments were completely inappropriate and there should be no place for such name-calling in political debate." And Coulter's candidate of choice, a spokesman for Mitt Romney said, ""It was an offensive remark. Gov. Romney believes all people should be treated with dignity and respect."

It seems as if Coulter's shoot from the lip style has come back to bite her on the ass this time. A video of Coulter spouting her vitriol has been placed on Edwards' presidential campaign website, as a fund raising tool. Visitors to the website are asked to help raise $100,000 in what the site calls "Coulter Cash" to show Edwards can't be intimidated by such attacks; "We must show that inflaming prejudice to attack progressive leaders will only backfire."

Indeed. John Edwards probably should send Coulter a thank you note for her help to his campaign.


Friday, March 2, 2007

Political Gestures or Appropriate Legislation?

Ohio is considering a bill that would require convicted sex offenders to have a fluorescent green license plate on their cars. This legislation is one of several measures that have been adopted or are being considered in several states that would monitor and restrict convicted offenders after they have served their sentences in prison. New York will join several other states with legislation that will allow the state to continue to detain offenders even after they have served their time, under certain conditions. Other states place a lifetime limit where released offenders may live, bans on using the internet and cell phones, be listed in public online databases, and so on.

The point of all of this is purportedly to protect children from possibly being victimized by these people. Perhaps. I'm thinking that the inspiration behind a lot of this legislation is political; gestures to prove that someone is "doing something" about crime. I'm skeptical. I'm wondering why sex related offenses of all kinds are now considered to be the most heinous of crimes, that offenders can never sufficiently pay their debt to society for and never be considered to be rehabilitated from.

Murder was once considered to be the worst crime a person could commit, But convicted murderers released from prison are not required to use special license plates, are not restricted from living wherever they choose, listed in public databases, banned from using the internet, or held in custody after serving their sentences.

Another point to consider is that "sex offender" is a broad umbrella classification. When most people think of "sex offenders", they imagine the brutal rape of small children. Crimes such as these are heinous and deserve to be dealt with harshly.

More commonly, however, those engaging is much lesser offenses, and, in some cases, merely exercising bad judgment can be branded forever with the title of "sex offender", ruining their lives. An example of this is a high school teacher who was convicted of honestly answering a question about sex that a student posed to him online via email. Bad judgment? Perhaps. But this teacher is hardly a dangerous "predator" who deserved to have the rest of his life ruined.

Another example is the unfortunate case of Genarlow Wilson, who, at 17, was convicted and given a ten year sentence, along with the indelible label of "sex offender", for allowing a 15 year old girl to perform oral sex on him. This is despite the fact that everyone agreed, including the prosecutor and the girl herself, that she initiated the act. The fact that this was even considered a "crime" just boggles my mind.


Not Fair: Ten Years For Consensual Oral Sex

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Rambling About My Cats

I share my home with two cats. I can't say that I "own" them -- it's more like they own me. Until five years ago, I kept one cat at a time. I took in my second cat when his former human was moving and had intended to take him to the pound if no one wanted him.

Though the original cat was more than a little miffed when I came home with another cat, she's adjusted to his presence with acceptance, though sometimes that acceptance is decidedly grudging. She's never forgotten that she was here first, and will sometimes remind the tom of that fact, especially if she thinks he's overstepping his boundaries. On rare occasions, I find them curled up together, but more often than not, she'll growl if he comes too near and if she's having the cat version of PMS, she'll reach out and swipe him with her paw. Most of the time, he'll just good-naturedly take it, despite being three times her size. But sometimes, when he's bored and gets a wild hair, he'll chase her around the house just to fuck with her, to which she responds to with screeching and more growling. Unfortunately, he tends to get those wild hairs when I'm in bed wanting to sleep. More on this later.

For the most part, both cats prefer their humans to each other. Both cats want to be wherever I am in the house. If I'm on the computer, they're on the tables next to it. The female cat will sometimes jump on my shoulder and sit there as I'm surfing the net. If I'm watching TV, one or both is sitting on the couch, on my lap, watching with me. They'll sit on the toilet and wait as I take a shower -- hell, I've had one jump on my lap and sit there while I'm on the toilet taking a dump!

Right now, both cats are sitting on either side of the computer, on tables, waiting for me to get up and feed them. I feed them every night just before I go to bed, so that they won't wake me up early in the morning begging for food. There's nothing more guaranteed to instantly turn me into a crabby bastard than waking me before I'm ready to get up. Of course, there is one exception to that -- if I've got a woman in bed with me who needs some early morning "attention". That I will happily make an exception for, but, even then, I prefer to roll back over and conk out again afterwards.

But I digress. Back to the cats. If I wait too long to feed them, they'll let me know to get off my lazy ass and feed them. The female cat used to knock things off the table to get my attention, but, nowadays, she leaves the tom to do the dirty work. He'll pull out his full arsenal of annoying behavior, designed to get my attention: he's got a deep-throated, loud, caterwauling meow he'll use only for this purpose that I call the "feed me" meow. If that doesn't do the trick, he'll become more annoying, with the tactic he chooses depending on what I'm doing at the time. He'll mess with the female cat setting off her meows and growls, run around the house jumping on and off things, walk in front of the computer screen, jump onto my lap, jump hard onto the bed, and so on. He's even knocked pictures off the wall a time or two. He'll keep it up until he gets his point across.

Last night, he really pissed off both me and my son. I'd fed both cats and both my son and I went to bed. Apparently, the cats didn't like the food I'd given them, because neither of them would eat it, despite the fact I'd given them that very kind several times in the past. No matter. They turned up their noses at it and walked off. When the tom realized I'd gone to bed and food more to their liking was not to be forthcoming, the tom decided to fuck with the female cat to get me out of bed. He chased her around the house, knocking things over, with her screeching. Telling them to shut up had no effect. They'd stop for a few minutes, then be back at it again.

Finally, my son had enough and he got up, got dressed and went out and got them a different brand of cat food, just so we could get some sleep. It did the trick, fortunately. I fell asleep, later than what I wanted, and awhile later, I felt one of the cats crawl into bed to sleep with me. I have one or both cats sleep with me every night, even when I'm sharing my bed with a woman; but on those nights, I keep them out until we're ready to actually go to sleep.

I've always had pets since childhood, though I've not had any dogs since I was a kid, mainly because dogs need more attention than cats do. Despite them occasionally being pains in the ass, they give so much more than they inconvenience me and I can't imagine living without them.

Time to go feed them and go to bed.