Monday, July 30, 2007

A Libertine's Dream

A few years ago, I decided to keep a handwritten dream journal, as I seem to have so many interesting ones. I even draw diagrams in them of certain aspects of the dream that make them easier to remember. It's not for any particular purpose, though I do go back and re-read it from time to time. Below, is my latest dream:

As the dream began, I'd allowed this woman and her mother to drag me to their church. It was a fundamentalist church of the worst sort that met in an old K-Mart type store. It was located in the middle of a big city block, with other buildings on either side of it. I'd agreed to go with them because she said she wouldn't have sex with me unless I did this first.

After about 20 minutes of listening to the self-righteous judgmental sermon, I couldn't stand it anymore and knew I had to get out of there. But I still wanted to have sex with the woman, so I whispered that I was having stomach pains and that I'd be in the men's room.

As soon as I cleared the sanctuary, I headed for the door to get out of there. I walked quickly down the block, looking for someone else to have a quick lay with, in order to get the stench of the church off me.

When I reached the corner, I looked momentarily inside the windows of a jewelry store there, fascinated by the wide variety of gems that were available. But then I remembered I had to get some relief, so I turned the corner to walk down the other side of the block.

A few doors down, I came upon a store that sold new and used musical instruments. I went inside, looking the instruments over to see if there were any good deals. I was unimpressed with what they have to offer.

But as I turned to leave, the female clerk started talking to me and she agreed that the store had a poor selection at the time, but that she had something better to offer. She took me in the back room, where we proceeded to have a quickie, with me bending her over a table. After we were done, she told me to come back anytime; that even if they never get any better instruments in, that she'll always make the trip worth my while.

As I left, I realized I'd been gone longer than I intended and I rushed back to the church just in time to see the woman and her mother coming out. They saw me rushing up the street, still tucking my shirt into my pants. She accurately guessed what I'd been up to. As I caught up with her, she told me just to forget it and not call her anymore.

I walked off, disappointed, but not overly concerned with it.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

The Word is Absurd

Normally when I write about language, about words and phrases, it's to rant about the ones that I think are polluting the English language.

Today will be a bit different. There are a couple of expressions I've heard people using more and more lately that I get a kick out of.

The first is "throwing (name) under the bus", meaning to push blame onto someone else and let them take the blame. It refers to making a scapegoat out of someone, sometimes shifting the blame off oneself. It also means not sticking up for or trying to help someone who has done something wrong. Someone thrown under the bus is a sacrificial lamb.

I don't know why I find this expression so amusing, but I can't help but laugh whenever I hear it.

The second is "trainwreck", to mean something that turns out to be a total disaster. I recently heard someone say that they thought the 7th Harry Potter movie would be a real "trainwreck", because they thought that no one will be able to do justice to the book.

For me, getting married years ago was a real trainwreck. You get the idea.

But I can't end this entry without a couple of language rants. It just wouldn't be right.

The other night while listening to the radio I heard a badly made-up word that made me cringe.

"Impactful". The person who uttered this abomination meant "Influential". "Impact" used when "affect" or "influence" is called for is bad enough, but to embellish it into a non-word makes me grind my teeth.

Also on the radio, I heard someone say "canceller" when they meant "counselor": "You can arrange to see a "canceller"....".

No thanks. I think I'll counsel people not to see the canceller and cancel seeing the counselor.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Not Quite So Permanent Anymore

I don't have any tattoos. And I don't want any, especially now when everybody and their brother has one. But I must admit that I'd considered getting one a time or two over the years, especially years ago, when they were not as ubiquitous as they are today. Back in the 70s, fewer people had tattoos, with them being confined mainly to military personnel and bikers. And, of course, there were the plain blue "jailhouse" tattoos. Tattoos on women were rarer yet and the ones they got were tiny and inconspicuous -- huge tramp stamps were unheard of.

One thing always stopped me from going through with it. I'd always ask myself the question, "Will I like this on my body when I'm sixty". I never could honestly answer yes, so I remain tattoo-free to the present day.

During my years on the police force, I arrested many people with tattoos of varying levels of taste. Most of the older people I saw with tattoos said they regretted having them and wished they could get rid of them, as they'd faded and stretched over the years or they were tattooed with the names of women they no longer loved.

There was one man we arrested that I'll never forget. He was nearly completely covered in tattoos and he had them everywhere. And I mean everywhere -- the man had ended up with a green and blue dick.

Tattoos can be removed, but it is a costly and painful procedure requiring several treatments. But there is something new on the horizon that will be quicker and less painful for people wanting to get rid of tattoos they now regret getting.

This fall, a new type of combustible dye will be available at tattoo parlors that will make it easier to remove unwanted tattoos. It will be permanent but removable ink. The dye pigments are in microscopic beads coated with a safe, biodegradable plastic.

If a person wants to get rid of the tattoo in the future, it will be completely removed with a single, less painful laser treatment. The tattoos will cost more than traditional tattoos, but it would seem worth it to me for the "escape hatch" feature.

Though this new procedure won't make me change my mind about getting a tattoo, it provides another choice for those who do end up getting them.


To learn more about the new dyes visit this website.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

New Type of Recurring Dream

I've written many times in the past about having recurring dreams. Sometimes the entire dream recurs, but much more often, it's only certain elements in the dream that recur, not the whole dream.

For years, I've dealt with a the same recurring elements: tornadoes, trains, having to move, traveling/being on a quest, dead relatives, and the Chrysler Building, to name a few.

I've got a new theme now. Cell phones. For the last year or so, I've had dreams where I cannot complete my calls when trying to use a cell phone. The problem is usually one of an unfamiliar keypad that keeps changing every time I pick it up. Many times, a fear of being late or taking a nap accompanies the cell phone dreams.

This afternoon, while taking a nap before work on the couch, I dreamed that I was....taking a nap before work! As I do in real life, I had my cell phone lying on the end table near the couch. I lived in a different house in the dream, but the basic elements were the same.

In the dream, as I do in real life, I woke up briefly several times to pick up the cell phone to see if it was time to get ready for work yet. But each time I picked it up it was a different phone, each showing a different time that I knew was totally wrong. I'd push buttons trying to get it to show the right time, but it never would. I picked up flip phones, camera phones, the straight, flat phones, and even one phone that looked exactly like a pack of cigarettes. There were black phones, silver phones, and one bright yellow phone.

Finally, I got tired of all the different phones giving me the wrong time, so I got up and went into the bedroom where I looked under the pillows for more cell phones.

I woke up for real before I resolved the problem in the dream.

I wonder what's making me dream of cell phones all of a sudden?

What are some of your recurring dream elements?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

House Sounds

I own what I call a middle-aged house. It's not new, but it's not old enough to be considered a bona fide old house, having been built in 1968.

Like many homes, my house has its own individual creaky sounds. There are two that happen intermittently on a regular basis.

One is kind of a "squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak" sound that happens at a medium pace. It sounds like a little kid riding a tricycle that badly needs to be oiled. It only happens when it's windy outside, so I'm guessing it might be the TV antenna moving in the breeze. I can remember my son as a kid saying, "That kid is riding his tricycle again!" It's kind of a private joke between us.

Another sound is like someone playing a kettledrum at a fairly rapid pace, with a two-tone sound. It beats the hell out of me what's causing it. This sound isn't very loud and the house has to be quiet to even hear it at all because it's so subtle.

Every now and then at random times, I'll hear a BANG! somewhere in the house. I get up and investigate, but can never determine the source. Who the hell knows what's causing it.

What are some of your "house sounds?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Looney Letter to the Editor

While reading the letters to the editor section of my local paper recently, I came upon a letter that was so ignorant as almost not to be believed. The letter writer was a name familiar to me; a woman who has been going around stirring up shit in my town for years. I first became aware of her over a year ago when she unsuccessfully led a campaign to drive a store that sells sexy lingerie and sex toys out of business.

This time, she decided to attack Harry Potter ..... a fictional character. Her letter reads:

America has given herself over to sorcery if the millions spent for Harry Potter indicate anything. Some think it’s just entertainment. The Bible issues stern warnings against sorcery: “Then will I come near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers, against false swearers and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless…” (Malachi 3:5)

I believe God’s marking angels that have charge over each city are now marking those who groan over America’s gross sins. Judgment must soon follow and it has begun at God’s house.

Terrorists are here and marking cities also. But few are taking this seriously. Many are benumbed with Harry Potter or too busy screaming at President Bush, “Get out of the war!”

Our great opportunity in this window before the next attack is to repent. Jesus Christ, the only way to God, is still crying out: “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

Is anyone listening?

That's right -- terrorists attacked this country because Americans were reading Harry Potter! I've heard some conspiracy theories in my time, but this one takes the cake. This woman is as nutty as squirrel shit in my opinion.

But there is hope. The paper had a reply from what seems to be a teen reader of Harry Potter and also a Christian:

I am a Christian and I LOVE Harry Potter. Do I worship him? No! Do I believe it is all real? No! Get a life!!! It is a FICTIONAL story. For those too "ignorant" to know what that means the story is NOT TRUE. It is MADE-UP. It is a FAIRY TALE. The "Rev" is the reason people are looking down on Christians. Concentrate your efforts on REAL problems and not made-up ones.

This young woman makes a good point in that rantings like the original letter do absolutely nothing for the cause of Christianity.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Fair and Balanced?

While at the DMV today, I noticed a sign on the wall which showed two different license plates, with the words, "Which one do you want? They cost the same!" The sign showed both the standard state plate, plus another plate that proclaimed, "In God We Trust".

My state, like all US states, offers several different license plate designs in addition to the standard state plate. But these specialty plates usually cost quite a bit more than the standard plate. Also, none of the other specialty plates available were shown anywhere in plain sight. One apparently must ask to see the designs, unlike with the God plate, which this sign called special attention to.

Irritated at this apparent violation of the separation of church and state, I went to the DMV website when I got home to look at all the specialty plates offered. To my surprise, there was an offering for secular humanists, with the words "In Reason We Trust":

At first glance, it appears that the state has been fair to offer plates for both religious people and for humanists. But South Carolina manages to subvert the idea of fairness, while at the same time technically upholding it.

By offering both plates, they are being fair. But there are several factors that clearly indicate that the state favors the God plate over the humanist plate.

The first is cost. The God plate costs the same as the standard plate, while the humanist plate costs several dollars more.

The second is availability. The God plate is available to everyone, but the humanist plate is only available to those who are members of an organization, "Secular Humanists of the Low Country".

The third is visibility. The God plate is shown on a poster that is clearly visible to all visitors to the DMV, which calls attention to its low cost. The humanist plate is on an unseen sheet of paper or in a catalogue, which a person must request to see. The average person visiting the DMV will have no idea that a humanist plate is even available.

Is this fair or balanced?

I think not.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thoughts on the Michael Vick Case

Today, while out driving, I was listening to a sports talk show discussing the Michael Vick case. Vick, a quarterback for the Falcons was recently indicted, along with three others, for actions involving cruelty to animals and other crimes relating to staging dogfights.

The 18 page indictment summarizes the charges thusly: "In or about April of 2007, Peace, Phillips and Vick executed approximately eight dogs that did not perform well in 'testing' sessions at 1915 Moonlight Road by various methods, including hanging, drowning and slamming at least one dog's body to the ground." One female dog, after losing a fight was executed by being wetted down with water and then electrocuted.

Those who promote dog fights test pups to see if they'll make good fighting dogs. The dogs are put in an enclosed area to see how they react. Then, they incite the dogs, attempting to anger them. If a dog acts aggressively toward another dog, they are then used for fighting in the future. But if a dog is timid, it is useless. Some fighters give away pups unsuitable for fighting. Others simply kill the peaceful dogs.

"If you want to kill a dog, why exert the energy to slam him into the ground or drown him? Why not just shoot him, which is the most common method?" said John Goodwin, dogfighting expert for the Humane Society of the United States. "That is insane. These guys, if they did that, have serious problems."

Amazingly enough, one guy on the radio show was trying to rationalize these heinous actions. He attempted to excuse the killings by speculating that such dogs might have been too badly injured after a fight and that they simply "felt sorry" for the dogs and were simply putting them out of their misery.

Give me a fucking break! If they "felt sorry" for the dogs and cared about them not suffering, then they'd not be engaging in dog fighting in the first place! Secondly, as John Goodwin mentioned above, you don't humanely put a suffering dog down by torturing it to death.

There is nothing that can excuse the behavior of the ones who tortured these helpless animals. If Vick and his cohorts are found guilty, they need to be thrown into prison to rot for a very long time -- it's just too bad that the penalty for these sickos won't be anything close to what it would be if they'd done this to human beings.

The dogfighting charges carry a possible sentence of only one year in prison, a $100,000 fine or both. I would hope that the NFL will also put a lifetime ban on him and that he will never again be allowed to play professional football.

As far as I'm concerned, that's not enough, but it's the best we can expect.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Bathing Suit or Potato Sack?

It's no surprise that many fundamentalists find currently fashionable women's swimsuits, even the most conservative styles, to be unacceptably immodest. In reaction to this, some have come up with their own styles, which they consider to be properly "modest" beach wear.

Yes, these are supposed to be bathing suits. They expect women to SWIM while wearing all this cloth. These suits are modest all right -- they'd fit right in on the beach of 1897. But in 2007, they're bug-ugly as hell; the potato sack of swimsuits. And I would imagine they'd get waterlogged in short order, dragging the wearer down.

In contrast, the following suits from the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s are quite modest compared to today's suits, but are positively racy compared to the fundamentalist "burkinis" above. I've got a picture of my mother at around 18 wearing a suit very much like the yellow one below.

1920s suit

1930s suit

1940s suit

I find it both hilarious and absurd when a bathing suit my grandmother might have worn in the 1920s and one my mother would have worn in the 1940s would be considered "immodest" by fundamentalists today. Surely, anyone with any sense would realize that a more modest alternative to a thong bikini need not be a "burkini".

One of the stated goals of the company that sells these monstrosities, "Wholesome Wear", was to create a suit where undue attention would not be paid to the body, that their suits would "highlight the face, not the body". But anyone showing up at a beach in one of these getups is guaranteed to get a LOT of unwanted attention -- they might as well show up in a Civil War hoopskirt. They'll get MORE attention, not less, which defeats their stated goal. But I suppose they believe that being laughed at is preferable to being lusted after, who knows?


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Brake Checks and Screen Tests

Have you ever given a tailgater a "brake check"? Admit it. You know you have.

Don't know what a "brake check" is? Let me enlighten you. A brake check happens when you get so tired of some moron riding your ass that you decide to slam on your brakes for no reason, which has two possible results. One, the moron gets pissed off at having to slow down or stop and, secondly, he rear-ends you, which would be, of course, his fault.

But the experienced driver is able to determine the right time for a brake check in order to merely piss off the other driver and not be rear-ended in the process.

There is a police version of the "brake check" known as the "screen test". A "screen test" typically happens when the cop has a particularly obnoxious arrestee in the back seat. Once the cop has had enough of the moron's attitude, he or she will slam on their brakes, hard. Because the arrestee is handcuffed with their hands behind the back, they can't brace themselves against the forward momentum and they end up slamming their face on the screen that separates the front seat from the back in a cop car. Hence, the name "screen test".

After performing the screen test, the cop says something like, "Oooops! A dog just ran out in front of the car!"

Works like a charm every time in improving an obnoxious person's attitude.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

David Vitter, a Republican senator from Louisiana, was recently outed as being a regular customer of the "DC Madam".

Why am I bothering to report something that I would normally classify as a person's private business, you might ask.


Vitter, a socially conservative Christian, was a vocal critic of Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky, saying at the time that President Clinton was "morally unfit to govern" and that he should resign because of the "mess" he made.

Hmm. It seems what goes around, comes around. Karma's a bitch.

Vitter's wife, Wendy, had likewise criticized Hillary Clinton for choosing to remain with her husband after the Lewinsky issue: "I'm a lot more like Lorena Bobbitt than Hillary [Clinton]. If he does something like that, I'm walking away with one thing, and it's not alimony, trust me."

But it seems as if Mrs Vitter has done precisely what she criticized Mrs Clinton for doing several years ago. David Vitter, in an email to the Associated Press said, in part, "...I asked for and received forgiveness from God and my wife..."

I wonder if, in the last few days, they've even given a second's thought and felt the tiniest glimmer of regret for their judgmental, self-righteous attitude toward the Clintons.

Somehow, I sincerely doubt it.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I went to the movies yesterday to see the latest Harry Potter installation. Wanting to avoid a crowd, I chose the early matinee show, so I could sit wherever I wanted without feeling crowded. I was in luck; there were fewer than 10 people in the theater watching the movie with me. Because I don't want to spoil it for my readers, I won't make any comments about the movie itself, except to say that I think it was better than the last one, though not the best of them all.

Going to the movies is quite a bit different now than when I was a kid. The most obvious difference is the price. I paid $5.50 for the matinee showing; going at night would have cost a few dollars more. I remember when I was a kid, going to the matinee show was fifty cents, 75 cents to a dollar to go at night.

And we didn't have mammoth theaters with a dozen or more screening rooms. Most of the theaters I went to as a kid had only one screen, though, admittedly, there was seating for a lot more people than what is typical in today's multi-screen theaters. It was a big deal to go to a theater that had two screens back then. In the town I live in now, up until ten years ago or so, our largest theater still had only five screens. Now we have two 14 screen theaters, with a host of smaller ones in the general area. And I'm guessing that the theaters are even larger in more heavily populated areas.

We also started going to the movies without our parents at an earlier age back in the sixties. From about age ten or so, the typical pattern was for our parents to drop us off at the theater for a Saturday afternoon matinee, and then be there to pick us up when the movie was over. They got a break from us and we got to see a movie.

Our old theater had a balcony, as many theaters did then, and my friends and I always preferred to sit up there. I'd carry a bag of rubber bands in with me, then buy a large box of Raisinets at the concession. The Raisinets weren't for eating; I bought these to hurl at the audience below. Likewise, I shot the rubber bands at unsuspecting movie goers down below. I never got caught, but I saw more than one kid get thrown out of the theater for doing similar stuff.

Drive-in movies were more common back then, and my family went every so often. Some theaters had a little playground for the kids to play and it wasn't uncommon to see younger kids on the swings in their pajamas. Once the movie started, the kids would have pillows and blankets in the back seat of their parents' cars waiting for them.

I remember going to see "The Graduate" with my parents and great-aunt at the drive-in when I was ten years old. There were scenes in this movie that were considered very risque for the time -- that my parents wouldn't have wanted me to see if they'd been aware of ahead of time. Fortunately for me, however, all three adults had fallen asleep by the time those scenes were shown. But I was wide awake, and I watched the scenes with rapt attention.

When VCRs, with VHS and Beta formats, came out in the 70s, many people thought that movie theaters would quickly become a thing of the past as most people would prefer to view movies in the comfort of their own homes. Obviously, this didn't happen, partly because there was a delay on the release of new movies to VCR tapes, which was typically a year or more back then. But this isn't the whole story -- I think movie theaters survive partially because people enjoy the experience of seeing a movie in a theater and because movie-going remains popular simply for the social aspects.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Man Required to Pay Support For Child Who Isn't His

A Florida man is being forced by the state to pay child support for a 15 year old girl who isn't his.

In 1990, Francisco Rodriguez had a relationship for a few months with a girl when they both were teens. After they broke off their relationship, he didn't hear from her again until 2003 when papers were served on him for child support, naming him as the father.

Now, he has the results of a DNA test showing he is not the father, and even has obtained an affidavit from the mother saying that he isn't the father and should no longer be required to pay support.

Despite this proof, Florida is requiring him to pay $305 a month in support, plus ten thousand dollars in back support. He's even spent a night in jail for delinquent payments.

The reason for the state's obdurate stance?

Florida has a law which mandates a sixty day deadline for a man to contest paternity, which is totally ludicrous in my book. In Rodriguez' case, a court had already named him the father three years before he got the papers, when he did not respond to notices to appear in court. Rodriguez never received the notices because of several changes of address.

As far as I'm concerned, there should never be a deadline to contest paternity. If a man is proven not to be the father at any time past this deadline, he's NOT THE FATHER, period. This "somebody's got to pay" mindset that isn't particular on who that "somebody" is, just as long as money is being paid, is a clear violation of men's rights. In this case, Rodriguez had never lived with the woman, never married her, or even knew of the girl's existence. While the girl deserves to be supported and is an innocent victim in this case, neither should a man who had nothing to do with her conception or raising be compelled to take responsibility for it.

In other similar cases, men have paid child support and have later discovered that the children aren't theirs. Usually, they are released from this responsibility, but are disqualified from being refunded any of the money they've already paid.

What is the solution? Carnell Smith, representing a group called U.S. Citizens Against Paternity Fraud, suggests that mandatory DNA tests be performed when a child is born that would immediately establish paternity and would eliminate lengthy legal battles.

Works for me.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Gender Difference or Personality Difference?

Quite often, I deliberately tune into talk radio programs that I know I will heartily disagree with nearly everything that is said. The reasons for listening to such shows is twofold: it helps to sharpen my thinking about my own opinions when exposed to opposing views and, secondly, it's great fodder for ranty blogging.

One such show is the Focus on the Family weekend edition, which I sometimes hear when out in the car. I am against nearly everything this group stands for, so it is perfect for the purposes mentioned above.

The other night they were talking about a book about conflicts in marriage typically being caused by differences in thinking processes between men and women. It was the tired, hackneyed, "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" stereotyping crap all over again, this time in fundie garb.

The book, "Men Are Like Waffles--Women Are Like Spaghetti: Understanding and Delighting in Your Differences" focused on the issue of multitasking, taking the position that men are incapable of multitasking and that women are incapable of compartmentalized thinking.

To be a male "Waffle" thinker was to approach issues one at a time, much as a waffle is divided into completely separate squares. That is, they posit that men either are baffled by or simply ignore other simultaneous issues; that having to deal with several things at once throws men for a loop.

Conversely, they characterize the "Spaghetti" women as being natural multitaskers; that women approach everything as being interconnected, much like a pile of spaghetti strands on a plate. They also imply that women cannot compartmentalize or take a single minded approach.

This, of course, is the tired "blockheaded male", "flighty female" stereotype dished up in new wrapping. It's the old "head vs heart" argument. This stereotype has been used in the past to justify barring women from careers that demand a rational, single-minded approach, and pushing them toward jobs with repetitious, detail-oriented tasks. It's the mindset behind the mistaken idea that women make better nurses than men, because they are supposedly more "relational". And it's behind the ubiquitous humor about married couples: the husband who can't find anything and the wife who goes off on tangents when in an argument.

Like all stereotypes, there is a grain of truth in this one, but that's all it is, a grain. It is too sloppy a generalization, like all stereotypes are, to accurately apply to all men and all women. Rather, this type of difference in thinking styles is more of a difference in personality, rather than gender, per se. It is addressed more accurately in the Myers-Briggs personality system by the Thinking/Feeling and Intuitive/Sensing continua, where both men and women are represented in all of these distinctions of personality.

To use an example to show the faults of the multitasking/compartmentalizing gender stereotype, consider the profession of emergency dispatcher. This profession is all about multitasking: answering multiple telephones and dispatching to multiple officers simultaneously, while also using computers to run criminal histories, driver's license checks, and so on. For many years, all police dispatchers were male, just as patrolmen were. They apparently handled the multitasking just fine, as there was no evidence of police departments being in chaos because of male dispatchers! Nowadays, most dispatchers are female, but this has more to do with lingering discrimination against female patrol officers, rather than a belief that women are more naturally suited to it than men are. Dispatching has been, for the last forty years or so, available to women interested in police work.

This stereotype has also been used to explain why men tend to more readily engage in extramarital and casual sex; that men supposedly are more able to compartmentalize and separate different aspects of their lives. While I conform to stereotype in this instance, I know plenty of women who can, too -- otherwise, where would I be getting my sex partners from? Additionally, I know men who resist temptation because they consider how this action might relate to other parts of their lives.

While I admit that these two types of thinking processes exist, I think it's unhelpful and maladaptive to address it from a sharply divided gender line. First of all, I think all people are capable of employing both thinking processes in different situations, which is amply showed by the reality that nearly every profession employs both men and women and by the fact that both men and women are capable of casual sex. Secondly, I think it would be far more useful to approach this as an aspect of personality difference, as in the Myers-Briggs personality system, rather than one of gender.


Monday, July 9, 2007

A Friend With Benefits

I've got a new lover. She is 36, a police officer, who has been divorced for several years and has no children. Exactly my height, she has wavy red hair with green eyes -- with all the passion that comes with the red hair.

I'd seen her around town in her patrol car several times in the past, even encountering her a few times when gassing up at my favorite station. I'd casually checked her out, but had never really engaged her in conversation, as I was always pressed for time when I'd see her.

One day a few weeks ago, I ran into her at an apartment complex, after I'd delivered a pizza. She'd just wrapped up a call at a nearby apartment. We began to chat as we walked to the parking lot to our respective cars. After reaching our vehicles, we continued to chat; neither of us were particularly busy at the moment and were in no hurry to leave.

She looked closely at me, then asked, "You used to work at the police department, didn't you?"

"Uh-huh," I said. "I've been gone nearly fifteen years, though."

"I thought so," she said. "I'd noticed you around town several times and thought you looked vaguely familiar. I'd looked at some of the older department photos and had seen someone who looked like you. You look a lot different with long hair, but there's no mistaking those eyes."

The police department has several group department photos taken at various intervals over the years and I'm on two of the photos.

We talked some more before going our separate ways, but exchanged cell phone numbers before we left. A few days later, we got together and it worked out pretty well. She's happy being single and doesn't want a committed relationship -- she's pretty much married to her job -- but wants a friend with benefits to get together with now and then. The fact that I'd been in law enforcement myself was a big plus to her as she'd have someone to talk to about the job who understood how it was.

It should be a convenient relationship for me, as she's available at odd hours, is not likely to make demands on me, and who I probably can sometimes see on the fly when we're both working.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


A child needs a grandparent, anybody's grandparent, to grow a little more securely into an unfamiliar world.
~Charles and Ann Morse

In most ways, I consider my childhood to have been superior to that of my son. I grew up in a better time and place, with more affluent surroundings, and for most of my childhood, I had a larger immediate family. But there is one factor of his childhood that was largely missing from my own.


Yes, I had both a living great-grandmother and grandmother (mother and daughter) when I was born, but they always lived several states away, so they were more a concept than a reality when I was growing up. I met the great grandmother, born in 1879, once or twice when I was very young. She died when I was seven, so I have only the vaguest, most fleeting memory of her.

Her daughter, my father's mother, lived until I was nearly 30. Up until my mother died when I was thirteen, I knew her no better than my great grandmother. I met her a couple of times during family vacations, but she was not a part of my everyday life.

Both my grandfathers died before they were as old as I am now, so I have no concept whatsoever of having a grandparent of my own gender.

All my childhood friends had grandparents who lived nearby that they saw often who, more likely than not, were a source of gifts, cookies, patience, and understanding. I have to admit I'd be more than a little jealous about the attention my friends received from their grandparents, especially at Christmastime.

As a preteen, I got to know my mother's young aunt, only ten years her senior. She was everything my friends' grandmothers were to them, so she quickly became a grandmother figure to me. But though I got to see her more often than my real grandmother, she did live sufficiently far away that she was not quite an everyday part of my life, either.

After my mother died, my grandmother came to live with us for a year, so I got to know her then, though I'd preferred to have done it when I wasn't grieving for my mother. But I am grateful for that year, because my grandmother became a reality for me, rather than a concept.

My son had a grandfather and later, a stepgrandmother, living near him from the day he was born until nearly fifteen years later when my father died. They were an integral part of his everyday life for those years; he spent as much or more time at their house as he did at mine. Much of who he is today is because of their influence.

I think one of the greatest gifts I gave my son was that of grandparents.

However, I have no desire to become a grandfather myself. Just as I preferred being a child to being a parent, I prefer being a grandchild to being a grandparent. I just don't think I have it in me to be one of those ideal patient, generous grandpas. I know it is bound to happen sooner or later, but my son seems in no hurry to reproduce.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Rambling Rant About Virginity

We might as well make up our minds that chastity is no more a virtue than malnutrition.
Alexander Comfort
The Joy of Sex, 1986

It is one of the superstitions of the human mind to have imagined that virginity could be a virtue.

While browsing the newspaper online the other day, I read the Dear Abby page where there were several letters in response to an original letter where a man had written to Abby about his dismay in finding that his fiancee was not a virgin.

I've never understood that mentality, why it would be so important to marry a person utterly lacking in practical knowledge about sex, especially when most experts agree that sex is a very important component of a successful marriage.

In the book, The Politics of Lust, author John Ince wrote:

The more sexual experience, the more pleasure we can provide our mates. In every other shared activity, such as cooking, cleaning, playing music, or dancing, more rather less experience is considered a benefit for a mate.

Indeed. Though I've deflowered my share of virgins in my time, a better time is always had when I'm with a woman who is sexually experienced. Those men who want virgin brides, while being sexually experienced themselves betray a certain arrogance in their desire that their wife's only knowledge of sex will come from them.

Much of this valuation of virginity comes from Christianity, originating in the Catholic church. They believe that Mary the mother of Jesus was a perpetual virgin: that she was a virgin before she became pregnant with Jesus and that she remained a virgin after he was born and for the rest of her life.

I don't see why this should be so important to Christian belief. Jesus' importance as a prophet or the son of God, should not be altered in any way by Mary's sexual experience or lack thereof. It's only when one believes that sex itself is a dirty and shameful thing that Mary's virginity would have relevance, as such Christians would want Jesus to be free of any "taint".

But I digress.

To me, virginity has no inherent value, either good or bad. It is an entirely neutral status. To those men hunting virgin brides, I'd advise them first to practice what they preach or, more realistically, to look for other, more important qualities in their prospective mates.

Friday, July 6, 2007

He's Just a Kid!

As I got into my car to drive off this afternoon, I turned on my favorite talk radio station to hear two men in the middle of talking about an NFL player who had been arrested for the second time. They never mentioned his name, but they said he'd been arrested for breaking and entering, then for selling guns and passing counterfeit money. Perhaps one of my readers is familiar with this case and can clue the rest of us in to his name.

One of the men speaking was a retired football player and he commented about how the man in question had let the money and fame go to his head. He added that though this man was 24 or 25 that he was immature and "still just a kid". He implied that this player ought to be given a break because of this and what he really needed was someone older to take him in hand as a mentor.

Oh, where to begin?

First of all, what in the hell does breaking the law repeatedly have to do with being a kid? When I was a real kid, ten or eleven years old, I knew right from wrong and wouldn't have engaged in the behavior this man did.

This man is not a "kid". He's an immature adult. Period. And he's beyond the age where a mentor would have much influence on him. The time for that was when he was actually a kid and first started showing his talent with a ball.

And I'm guessing that some nobody the same age who had done the same thing wouldn't have people trying to excuse his actions because he was "just a kid". No, his ass would be thrown in prison so fast that he'd not know what hit him. Why should it be any different for this other guy, just because he's got talent with a ball?

Paris Hilton had to be shown that being a celebrity doesn't keep your shit from stinking. Maybe this guy needs to be shown, too.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Catchphrases in Conversation

Everyone who watches TV and movies hears catchphrases and bits of dialogue they find funny and/or apt. Some of these catchphrases stick in our memories and, many times, show up in our conversations, even when we've forgotten the original sources of such phrases. Following are a few of the ones in my vocabulary, along with their sources.

You can't really *buy* beer... you can only rent it.

This sentiment was expressed by Archie Bunker on All in the Family, after Edith commented about his multiple trips to the bathroom over a short space of time.

I've gotten a lot of mileage out of this one over the years, especially when I used to drink.

There's a lot of THERE over there!

This one comes from MASH, though I don't remember from which episode. Hawkeye made this comment after he asked someone where a particular item was located and the person answered him by gesturing vaguely in one direction and saying, "It's over there."

I've used this phrase ever since in the same type of situation, as a way of asking the person to be more specific.

When my son first saw the episode in question, he turned to me and said, "So THAT'S where you get your sarcastic sense of humor from!"

...since Hitler was a corporal

This one comes from Hogan's Heroes. In one episode, Newkirk (Richard Dawson) tripped over a German woman and said, "Excuse me, Fraulein." He took a closer look at her, and added, "Oh, you haven't been a Fraulein since Hitler was a corporal!" In other words, it was a gibe about her age.

I've used this one occasionally, but not to insult a person. For example, one time my son was going through the fridge looking for leftovers to eat. He held something up and I said, "Don't eat that. It's been in there since Hitler was a corporal." Another time, I picked up a huge, ancient cell phone at the flea market and said, "They were using this one when Hitler was a corporal."

Oooooo neee way.....That's ONE WAY!

This one is from the Flintstones. Fred and Barney were driving round and round on a complicated highway cloverleaf and they couldn't find the ramp to get back on the main road. Fred ended up driving the wrong way on a one way ramp. Barney saw the sign and sounded it out slowly as Fred encountered a several cars coming at them: Ooooooo Neeeeeeee Way.....THAT'S ONE WAY!"

I've said this one a time or two when riding shotgun with someone and they're about the commit the same error.

Resistance is Futile

Anyone who is over the age of ten knows that this one comes from Star Trek: the Next Generation

I've used this one several times in a tongue in cheek fashion when engaged in seduction. devil

Feel free to add any TV/movie catchphrases that have wormed their way into your conversations. in reference to the Borg.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Trapped at Work

The topic of this post is one I've been mulling over for weeks. Because the root of the topic is one of feelings and attitude, it's been a challenge to bring my thoughts together in a rational, coherent manner. Please bear with me if my thoughts seem to ramble.

I have a confession to make. Not only do I hate my job, I also have to literally talk myself into showing up each day. A visceral feeling of dread overcomes me every day as the hour approaches that I must leave for yet another day of feeling trapped as I do what is necessary to support myself.

Almost without exception, however, I do what is necessary and I show up at my place of employment. It is never motivated by duty, but rather by my own pressing financial need. I take no pride nor see any intrinsic value whatsoever by what I do to earn money. It is simply a means toward an end.

Once I am there, I am counting the minutes until I am set free and my time is my own once again. Because of the nature of the job, there is no firm quitting time -- I have a certain time I am to begin my workday, but the end depends upon the level of business that day. If business is slow, I might get to leave early; if it is busy, I'll be there until closing time and sometimes beyond. More often than not, I'm stuck there until closing time.

I spend each day with my ear to the ground, paying close attention to trends that might indicate an early departure for me. When volunteers are requested for early departure, I'm the first one with my hand up. Getting to leave early generates exactly the same feeling for me that an early release for a prison inmate does.

Conversely, I follow the First Rule of the Army when it comes to management requests for volunteers to stay later or to do extra work -- Never Volunteer For Anything. I only do what is strictly required of me and I do it well, but at my level of pay and complete lack of benefits, I'm not going to put myself out and go beyond the call of duty.

Those who do have the chance to end up in management, but I think the management job there is even shittier than the job I already have. They don't make a whole lot more money -- and they have to work many more hours to get what little more they do get, plus have all the headaches of responsibility. No thanks. I'm already spending too many of my precious waking hours as it is engaged in feelings of quiet desperation.

Perhaps I might feel differently if I had a job that I liked or, at the minimum, tolerated well. But, with the exception of my job at the police department, I've never had a job that I actually wanted -- I've always had to take whatever I could get jobwise. I've never been in the position of having several job offers available to me where I get to pick and choose. The choice has always been "take this job or starve".

Even with working in law enforcement, a vocation that I actively desired and aggressively sought, the novelty wore off all too quickly and I came to despise it as much as the menial jobs I've been obliged to accept before and since. But even after I realized that police work was a poor fit for my temperament and outlook on life, the excellent benefits I got there alleviated my discontent to a great degree.

But I don't even have that to fall back on now. My current job has low pay and nonexistent benefits. And, unfortunately, the job market is my area continues to be depressed, so I must continue there until something better comes along, if it ever does. The only saving grace is that I don't have to take just anything as I've always been obliged to do when I've been seeking work while unemployed.

I feel somewhat better now simply to have gotten in all out in print.

Please do not offer any suggestions or advice in your comments, as I'm not looking for any. The sole purpose of this post was simply to vent my frustrations and perhaps to commiserate with those who have similar feelings toward their work.