Monday, March 31, 2008

Moral Indignation vs Jealousy

Moral indignation is jealousy with a halo.
-- H. G. Wells

My brother and I have led very different lives. He is a few years shy of being old enough to be my father. And though he came of age during the turbulent sixties, the sexual revolution pretty much passed him by. As a teenager and young adult, he was passive and reserved among strangers and I don't think he dated until he left high school.

I remember him having only one girlfriend before meeting the woman who is now his wife. From the very beginning, she was the dominant force of the couple -- she was even the one to propose marriage.

They've been married for around thirty-five years and he's just as passive as ever. Whenever I've spoken to him over the phone, I can always hear the wife bickering in the background, and his attitude toward his marriage and his life seems more resigned than content to me.

As those who have read my blog for any time, my life is entirely different from his. I'm not the slightest bit passive when it comes to pursuing the opposite sex, nor have I ever allowed a woman to lead me around by the nose, nor would I abide a woman who constantly bickered just to hear her own voice. And I can't imagine myself staying in a situation that I was merely resigned to stick out, and not there because it made me happy.

Several years ago, when I was still in my brief marriage, not long after my son was born, my brother abandoned his passive nature for once and took it upon himself to lecture me about my tomcatting, telling me that I ought to settle down for the sake of my wife and son, that what I was doing was "disgusting", blah, blah, blah.

I didn't take kindly to this, as I never discussed my personal life with him and felt like it wasn't any of his business and I told him so, noting that he didn't seem particularly happy in the life he led.

He never mentioned it again, but ever since, there has been an invisible wall between us, and we've never been entirely comfortable with one another since.

From the perspective of years, I've realized that part of the motivation to his meddling was jealousy and, of course, "sour grapes".

I've not seen him in over a decade, nor spoken with him in about five years or so. I'm perfectly willing to do so, but I'm not going to go out of my way to do it, either.

It's too bad because we always got along fine when I was a kid and before he got married.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

We Are Family

Researchers at the New England Historic Genealogical Society looked into the genealogy of the three main Presidential candidates and found some rather interesting family connections.

Barack Obama is related to six American presidents through his mother's side: George Bush Sr and Jr,, Gerald Ford, Lyndon Johnson, Harry Truman, and James Madison. He is also related to Dick Cheney, Winston Churchill, General Robert E. Lee, and Brad Pitt.

Hillary Clinton is related to Angelina Jolie, Madonna, Celine Dion, Alanis Morrissette, author Jack Kerouac, and the wife of Prince Charles, Camilla Parker-Bowles, the Duchess of Cornwall.

McCain's ancestry was somewhat harder to trace because the records available for his family were not as complete as for the other two. Researchers were able to find that he is a distant cousin of First Lady Laura Bush, however.

Obama and President Bush are 10th cousins, once removed, linked by Samuel Hinkley of Cape Cod, who died in 1662.

Pitt and Obama are ninth cousins, linked by Edwin Hickman, who died in Virginia in 1769. Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, declined to comment on the senator's ancestry.

Clinton and Jolie are ninth cousins, twice removed, both related to Jean Cusson who died in St. Sulpice, Quebec, in 1718.

It makes me wonder who I am related to. Casanova, perhaps?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

New Books For Deep Space Nine Fans

Fans of Deep Space Nine have four new books to look forward to this spring. Three of the books are a trilogy all bearing the subtitle, Star Trek: Terok Nor. These books are a prequel to Deep Space Nine and tell the story of the Cardassian occupation of Bajor before the Federation took over in 2369 and cover the years 2318 to 2369.

The first in the trilogy, Day of the Vipers, 2318-2328, was published last week and I'm reading it now. The other two, Night of the Wolves, 2345-2357 and Dawn of the Eagles, 2360-2369, will follow in monthly intervals. This is a story I'd long wished that would be told and from what I've read of the first book so far, they're doing an excellent job of it.

The fourth book, Fearful Symmetry, picks up the threads of unanswered questions from the third season episode, Second Skin, where Kira discovers that there was a Cardassian spy who had been surgically altered to look like her. The episode ends without revealing what had happened to this Cardassian spy. This book will answer that question. As this was one of my favorite DS9 episodes, I especially look forward to this novel.

Friday, March 28, 2008

More Wacky Dreams

Last night was recurring dream theme night.

In the first dream, I was driving down a main road in my town when I suddenly saw several tornadoes approaching from all directions. I was trying to find shelter, but was hampered from doing so because the tornadoes were coming from everywhere. I turned down several different streets, trying to avoid the twisters.

I got it into my mind that I needed to get downtown to city hall, to go down into the basement next to the police department. I don't know if I ever made it there because the dream shifted before it came to its conclusion.

In the second dream, I had to move back to Texas unwillingly with my father. In the dream, I was in my late 20s and my father was in his early sixties.

I wasn't happy with the move, because I had to leave all my belongings behind and I was wondering how I'd find a job in Texas. There is an assumption in the dream that I would be delivering pizzas, that all I needed to do was to pick a pizza place and show up in khaki pants and voila! I'd have a job.

I had an argument with my father, telling him that it was important to live near family members, but here in Texas we had nobody. He was unimpressed with my argument, and I went into the house to go to bed. When I woke up, the room had changed dimensions and it had been redecorated.

I went out into the kitchen and found stuff from my father's office, as he'd just retired. I picked up the calendar from the counter that had been tacked up to the wall of his office and saw that it was a porn calendar.

Then I went to the front door, and saw my father getting ready to go out wearing the most godawful outfit I'd ever seen: an orange leather jacket, combined with lime green satin pants and a white studded belt. I looked at him like he was crazy and told him that he'd be laughed out of town if he left the house in that.

That's all I remembered of this dream.

I hope I have more relaxed dreams tonight.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Democratic Self-Sabotage

Last night, while listening to the radio, the host was talking about a poll taken of Clinton and Obama supporters. The poll results showed that a sizable percentage of each group said that they would not vote for the other candidate if their candidate was not the nominee, but would vote for McCain instead.

Similarly, both Clinton and Obama see each other as their prime opponent, and not McCain. Plus, as the campaign drags on, they've each had their own issues to deal with: Obama with his Rev Wright problem, Clinton with her useless lies about Bosnia, for example. In the news, I hear more about their criticisms of each other than I do of either of their criticisms of McCain and the Republican party in general.

While they both continue to shoot themselves, and the Democratic Party by association, in the foot, John McCain is just standing back watching it all, no doubt in glee, as the Democrats continue to sabotage their chances of winning in November. He's not had much to say against either Obama or Clinton so far -- he doesn't have to, as they're doing it to themselves.

It would seem a better strategy for both candidates to plan on having the other as their running mate if nominated and concentrate on getting a Democrat elected in November. Such a strategy would likely keep those people now contemplating voting for McCain from doing so.

But it seems that both Obama and Clinton care more about their own egos than preventing four more years of a Bush-clone presidency.

I, for one, don't want to see McCain laughing all the way to the bank in November. I prefer Obama, but I will cast my vote firmly for Clinton if that's what it takes to prevent this.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wheelchairs For Pets

While browsing the net today, I found a website, Eddie's Wheels, which is a business devoted to making wheelchairs for handicapped pets with disabilities of various kinds, both temporary and permanent.

I've seen many pets over the years who have lost the use of their rear legs or lost multiple limbs who were otherwise healthy, who nonetheless had to be put down.

The founder of Eddie's Wheels started this business when his own dog lost her mobility due to disc disease. He devised and built a dogcart for her that would allow her explore the woods, wade in the river, and play with other dogs, as she had always done. Fortunately, her disabilities were temporary, and she later regained the full use of her legs, her recovery no doubt hastened by the cart that allowed her to get around.

Now, he builds pet wheelchairs, individually designed for each client, according to the pet's size and type of disability.

It's a great idea that allows many disabled pets to live a normal life to old age, who wouldn't have had a chance before. I wish I'd thought of it.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Multiplicity of Vices

Never support two weaknesses at the same time. It's your combination sinners - your lecherous liars and your miserly drunkards - who dishonor the vices and bring them into bad repute. ~Thornton Wilder

There are those who would consider my voracious sexual appetite and my non-traditional ways of going about meeting this need to be a "vice". Naturally, I don't consider it a vice, but, rather as my basic nature. If I did find it be a failing of character, I would certainly take better pains to conceal and/or deny it.

Rather, I think my primary failing, my personal vice, is sloth, better known as laziness. I'm a procrastinator of the first order and I've never worked any harder on a job than was necessary to keep that job. I do what I'm required to do, but not one iota more. My personal motto regarding work is "Never volunteer for anything".

I never do today what I can safely put off until tomorrow. I live in the one house on the block that makes the rest of the neighborhood look bad with its unkempt yard, gutters that need replacing, bits of trash unpicked-up on the lawn. The inside of the house looks similarly "lived in".

My lack of ambition and industriousness has had a major negative influence on my life -- the college diploma never earned, the book not published, the musical career not pursued -- and is, of course, the major reason why I'm as poor as a college student though in my late forties.

Though, for the most part, I don't regret or apologize for my laid-back approach to life, I do regret not getting my degree and I know I need to get my rear in gear and publish a book.

On the other hand, there is nothing I regret about my sexual proclivities. It hasn't had a negative effect on my life and I won't go to my grave with unfulfilled fantasies in this realm. Hence, it is not a "vice" in my life.

In reference to the quote above, many people exhibit more than one major vice in their lives, as part of an underlying addictive personality. Heavy drinkers are usually heavy smokers, and drug addicts often have problems with smoking and drinking along with their primary addiction. Excessive drinking often accompanies chronic overeating, and compulsive gamblers are often heavy smokers as well.

You get the drill; though vices can happen singly, they commonly occur in various combinations together.

Though I consider myself to have the single vice of sloth, and though some would add sex as my second vice, I'm not at all tempted by any of the other common vices.

In fact, I can be rather anal and self-righteous about some of the other vices. I don't allow anyone to smoke in my car and I make gibes about "taking a health break" to my co-workers standing outside smoking. Though I went through a phase in college where I drank a good bit of beer, I left the habit behind when I left college. After years of dealing with asshole drunks on the police force, I never drink at all now, nor can I abide the company of drunks. The only reason you'll ever see me in a bar these days is looking for a hookup -- I always order Coke or Pepsi until I've made my conquest for the night.

I've never done any drugs at all, including pot. I saw all my college roommates doing it, and they'd always choke with their eyes running every time they took a hit, and combined with the revolting odor, it completely soured me on the idea of taking part. Similarly, I don't overeat very often, nor do I gamble beyond buying a lottery ticket once in a blue moon.

I'm not particularly bothered with feelings of envy, greed (indeed, my sloth prevents me from being too greedy), jealousy, and though I can get angry, it doesn't happen constantly, nor at the drop of a hat.

So, what's my point with all this rambling? It's simple. I advise everyone to have one vice and do it really well. ;-)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Obama's White Grandmother Brouhaha

In an attempt to justify his ongoing association with Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Barack Obama compared him and his brand of racism with that of his white grandmother:

"As imperfect as he [Rev. Wright] may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother – a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”

I don't think this is a fair comparison. For one thing, his white grandmother came into his life at birth -- he didn't get a choice about whether to associate with her and even if he turned his back on her, she'd still be his grandmother. His association with Rev. Wright, on the other hand, isn't by default; he had and still has a choice in the matter.

Secondly, Rev. Wright is the pastor of an extremely influential church, who essentially has a national pulpit, and his views affect many people. The influence of Obama's grandmother doesn't extend beyond her own family circle.

When called to clarify statements about his grandmother, Obama had this to say:

"the point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn't. But she is a typical white person, who, if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn't know, well there's a reaction that's in our experiences that won't go away and can sometimes come out in the wrong way. And that's just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it."

Typical white person? Pardon me, but if Hillary Clinton uttered the words "typical black person" in any context at all, people all over the country from the far left to the far right would be hanging her out to dry. I don't see why Obama should get a pass for this sweeping generalization.

If he'd said something to the effect that her view was common for a white woman of her generation, that would have been more reasonable. But it still wouldn't have made the comparison between her and Rev. Wright any more valid.

Nevertheless, I don't think this issue is a make-or-break deal for Obama, and I don't think he holds the same extreme views as Rev. Wright. Nor will this keep me from voting for him. Indeed, John McCain has some associations with Christian leaders who hold views just as extreme, and sometimes more so, such as John Hagee and Rod Parsley.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Couple Arrested For Having Sex in Church

A Florida couple was recently arrested for having sex inside a church. On the night of March 11th, deputies received a call of suspicious activity inside a Baptist church.

When they arrived and entered the church to investigate, they found the woman behind the altar. According to church deacon, Lonzie Altman, "Her drawers were in the stands. Her brazier [sic] was over on the outside the stands," Deputies found her male partner partially dressed underneath the church.

When asked why they'd chosen to break into a church to have sex, the woman told deputies that she wanted a “spiritual and sexual experience.”

"I don't know what has become of the people [that] somebody would just do something like that in a church," said Altman. "I was shocked," He added, "Don't think that the lord ain't got something for them."

Rowland and Pearce each face charges of criminal mischief and burglary.

I have to admit that my first reaction to hearing this story was to laugh. I've had sex in all sorts of odd places, both public and private, but I've not had sex in a church. I have to admit I've thought about it a time or two, though.

How about you? Have you ever had sex in an unusual place? Feel free to spill it in the comment box below.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ten Facts About Sex

I received this list of interesting facts about sex in an email that I thought I'd pass along.

1. Sex is a beauty treatment. Scientific tests find that when women make love they produce amounts of the hormone estrogen, which makes hair shine and skin smooth.

2. Gentle, relaxed lovemaking reduces your chances of suffering dermatitis, skin rashes and blemishes. The sweat produced cleanses the pores and makes your skin glow.

3. Lovemaking can burn up those calories you piled on during that romantic dinner.

4. Sex is one of the safest sports you can take up. It stretches and tones up just about every muscle in the body. It's more enjoyable than swimming 20 laps, or jogging 20 blocks and you don't need special sneakers!

5. Sex is an instant cure for mild depression It releases endorphins into the bloodstream, producing a sense of euphoria and leaving you with a feeling of well-being.

6. The more sex you have, the more you will be offered. The sexually active body gives off greater quantities of chemicals called pheromones. These subtle sex perfumes drive the opposite sex crazy!

7 . Sex is the safest tranquilizer in the world. IT IS 10 TIMES MORE EFFECTIVE THAN VALIUM.

8. Kissing each day will keep the dentist away. Kissing encourages saliva to wash food from the teeth and lowers the level of the acid that causes decay, preventing plaque build-up.

9. Sex actually relieves headaches. A lovemaking session can release the tension that restricts blood vessels in the brain.

10. A lot of lovemaking can unblock a stuffy nose. Sex is a natural antihistamine. It can help combat asthma and hay fever.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

White Guilt?

The other day, I read an article on Alternet that discussed the possibility that some white people support Barack Obama because of "white guilt" about our country's history of slavery and racism.

My comment in response to the article was:

I don't feel any personal guilt about slavery in the US, simply for the fact of being born white. I didn't choose to be born white any more than a black person chooses to be born black.

I don't know if any of my ancestors were slave-owners -- I doubt if they were because one side of my family lived in England until just before WWI and the other side consisted of poor whites who could not have afforded to own slaves.

At any rate, I can only feel guilt for actions I have personally taken, not any for those that my ancestors may have taken or those that members of my race have taken collectively. Racism is our national shame, but it's not something that any individual white person is responsible for, nor should feel guilt about.

Guilt by association just doesn't fly with me.

If Obama is the Democratic nominee, I will be voting for him simply because I believe that he'll be a better president than John McCain. His race, half of which he shares with me, is entirely beside the point. I'd vote for Obama over McCain even if he were a Klingon.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Ten Years On

I realized the other day that I've been a computer user and have been online for ten years now.

I'd wanted a computer as soon as personal computers were introduced, but because they were quite expensive at first, I was never able to afford one. If I remember correctly, the first IBM PCs back in the 80s cost a staggering six thousand dollars, with their monochromatic monitors and laughably paltry hard drives.

Fortunately, the trend has been that as computers have grown more sophisticated over the years, they've also become more affordable at the same time.

Still, for a long time, the price of a computer put them out of my reach. My first technological advance up from a typewriter was a word processor with a monochrome monitor, which I got in 1992. I think I paid something like four hundred bucks for it. As I remember, it had only one font on it, and you had two choices as to font size, 10 and 12, using the old typewriter terms of "pitch". Some word processors also provided 15 "pitch" as well.

The main value of this kind of word processor was that one could get their text perfect before committing it to paper. Storage was available on floppy disks, but each disk took only about ten to twelve pages of single spaced lines.

When a buddy of mine got one of the original Pentium computers, a Compaq Presario, in 1995, my desire to get one of my own only increased.

Finally, in 1998, after getting my inheritance after a two and a half year delay, I got my first computer. It was a 2 gig (count 'em -- two!) Gateway Pentium II. I had to pay two grand for it and I thought I was really uptown.

I signed up with a local dialup internet provider for 29.95 a month. That was back in the days of limited hours of service -- that thirty bucks was for only 150 hours of time per MONTH. Any time over that, and I'd have been paying a dollar an hour. Fortunately, they soon went to unlimited service. I can't imagine trying to keep within 150 hours a month now.

When I first went online, I was big into Yahoo chat rooms, which was in the days before advertising bots had taken it over and back when you couldn't use swear words in a chat room. For instance, if you typed "blow job", Yahoo rendered that as "puppy"! To this day, I can't hear the word puppy without snickering a bit.

I started with Windows 95, Internet Explorer 3, Eudora Lite email, and Word 97. I remember the first time I did an "illegal operation" -- it made me wonder what the hell I'd done and I was concerned that the cyber police were going to come along and fine me for something. I also remember the first time my computer froze and locked down on me -- I couldn't figure out what I'd done wrong and thought I'd broken the damned thing.

I'd had some snail mail correspondents back then, but they all fell by the wayside once I had people I could email, instead. I soon discovered Instant Messaging, with ICQ being my first IM program. I didn't stick with that very long; I moved to AOL IM and then to Yahoo IM, where I remain today.

Not long after going online, I discover message boards about all sorts of topics, and I still enjoy participating on the number of them today, though I've changed which boards I'm active on over the years. NASCAR message boards were the first ones I was active on, but I don't even read NASCAR boards at all any more.

This was also in the days before blogs. At that time, people were getting personal web sites with decidedly bare bones graphics, usually of one uniform (and ugly) color with severe font restrictions.

I discovered blogging in 2004, when a friend made in a chat room in 2002, told me I should start one and write about my less-than-conventional life. I started and abandoned two blogs at Diary-X and Diaryland, mainly because of their bare-bones appearances and lack of customization features. Finally, I started a blog at Blog-City in April of 2004, which I still maintain today and it now has three-quarters of a million hits. I started another blog at Modblog in August of 2004, as a blog full of my actual sexual experiences. When Modblog crashed and most Modbloggers ended up at the first EFX2, I ended up there as well, but I decided to make my EFX a mirror blog of Blog City and move the sex blog to Blogger. When the first EFX crashed, I started another Blogger blog to be yet another mirror blog, and then recreated it once again on the present EFX.

After ten years of computer and internet use, I can't imagine how I got along without it. I've made friends from all over the world with my computer, bought items unavailable in my own area by computer, kept in touch with family much cheaper than using the phone or traveling. I pay my bills online, I get my news and weather online, found new relatives while searching my family tree online, and so on. It's made all the difference in the world in my life. I would give up my TV, before I'd give up my computer.

How long have you been online?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Obama Declines to Lower Drinking Age

In a recent discussion with veterans, Presidential candidate Barack Obama said that if he was elected President that he would not lower the current drinking age.

"I know it drives you nuts. But I'm not going to lower the drinking age," he said.

When Army veteran Ernest Johnson pointed out the discrepancy between being considered a boy when it came to having a drink, but being considered a man when it came to being eligible to die for his country, Obama remained firm. He said that setting the legal drinking age at 21 had helped reduce drunken driving incidents and should remain.

OK, fine. Perhaps the minimum age for entering the armed forces ought to be set at 21, too. That would certainly save young lives as well. Surely if you're too young to have a beer at 18, then you're certainly too young to be used as cannon fodder in a war.

Your mileage may vary, but I call 'em as I see 'em.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Nature of Pleasure: Emotional or Physical?

Not too long ago, I got the first season of the original Star Trek on DVD. As I've re-watched the episodes, it's been almost like reliving some of the best parts of my childhood.

In several episodes, I saw Kirk the libertine in action seducing various women and it made me realize that he was probably my first role model in libertinism. I remember as a kid being very impressed with his conquests.

Then there was one episode where Nurse Chapel proclaims her love for Spock, but he cannot reciprocate because Vulcans cannot love as humans do, because it is an emotion contrary to logic. That reminded me of a subsequent episode where it is revealed that Vulcans only have sex every seven years for the purposes of reproduction, but are otherwise celibate. Again, the reason given is that celibacy is more congruent with a life devoted to logic than a sexually active life would be.

The underlying assumption is that sex is inseparable from love, thus is inherently an action of emotion.

I don't buy that. Sex, of course, can and does occur along with love, and it's true that many people prefer it that way. But it's not an inevitable thing.

Sex can be, and often is for me, a mainly physical matter, concentrating simply on the pleasure and release.

So, the question becomes: Is pleasure, sexual or otherwise, an inherently emotional experience, or is it mainly a physical phenomenon, though emotion can sometimes enter the picture?

Medical research has shown that having sex regularly is good for one's health in a number of ways. So, it would seem, that having an active sex life, be it for love or simply for pleasure, is a logical action, as it contributes to good health.

Viewed in this way, there were no logical reasons for Vulcans to abstain from sex for most of their lives nor to confine it strictly to reproduction. It would have not interfered with his devotion to logic, then, if Spock had had a sex life similar to Kirk's. He most certainly could have had a sex life without having a love life.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

Odd Dreams

I've been having a lot of vivid dreams lately, so I thought I'd share a few snippets of recent ones.

In one dream, I was standing on the side of a rural road with a lover. A column of Army trucks drove past us, each full of infantry soldiers. But they were not the usual soldiers one might expect to see. They looked like ancient Greek or Roman foot soldiers, complete with chest armor, bare legs, sandals, those helmets with the crests that look like the bristle part of a push broom, round shields, and long spears.

The woman with me looked at me in confusion to see this incongruous sight and I told her that the men were hoplites.

I thought that this particular manifestation of history was odd because, even though I'm a history buff, I know very little about this particular time period and have not read any more about it than one would get in a general history book from school. I have no clue whatsoever why I remembered what a hoplite was and why they appeared in my dream.

In the next dream on the same night, I was in an auditorium and I was using the cell phone of one of my old college roommates. It's not clear who I was speaking of, but I was talking about my former roommate in a less than complimentary fashion, talking about how he had mental problems and needed some help.

The dream drifted a bit and the roommate came along and found his cell phone where I'd left it in the auditorium. I was watching from somewhere nearby, but unseen by the ex roommate. Unbeknownst to me, he had a cell phone that recorded all conversations made on it, so I witnessed him discovering the call I made, but not recognizing my voice on the phone -- it had been nearly 30 years since I'd seen him.

He was pissed and submitted the conversation to a voice recognition program to see if he could figure out who said the uncomplimentary things about him. I'm not sure if he ever did discover it, as the dream faded before he got to that point.

On another night, I was visiting with a former coworker from about 20 years ago in her high rise apartment building. Her husband was not at home and I was hoping to get her into bed. It's not clear if I did or not, but the dream fast-forwarded to several hours later and she got a call from her husband, saying he's on the way home.

I was standing behind where she was sitting on the sectional sofa and when she hung up, I said I have to leave. She looked at the clock and said that I can't get my car back after five thirty, so I won't be able to get home.

The apartment building had a parking area way up high inside the apartment building itself, with the cars being brought up that high by means of a vehicle elevator. (There is such a thing -- I remember my parents using a parking garage in Boston that took cars to upper levels by means of several car elevators.).

I looked at my watch and thought it was not yet five thirty -- but it was ten-thirty at night.

The dream drifted and she and I were wandering in hidden corridors of the building, the ones maintenance workers would use. We came upon a long row of cement columns, covered in thin metal sheets and metal guard rails. I see a crack, where one of the metal/guardrail sheets had come loose and I look to see what's on the other side.

It was part of the garage area, which was the length of a couple of football fields. I looked and saw my car parked, along with several others, at the bottom of one section. I pried the rest of the metal piece open and we squeezed through, but by the time we got to where the car was, it had disappeared. We saw two doors on either side of the garage area and we each took a door, to see if there were other garages behind them that would have my car.

I went through my door and found a room full of red metal rolling toolchests.

The dream drifted at this point, and I never found out how it ended.

Odd dreams, huh?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Dr Laura is Full of Crap

On a recent appearance on the Today show about the Eliot Spitzer brouhaha, pop-psychologist Dr Laura Schlessinger, made the comment that she believed that wives were largely to blame when a husband engaged in extramarital sex.

“When the wife does not focus in on the needs and the feelings, sexually, personally, to make him feel like a man, to make him feel like a success, to make him feel like her hero, he’s very susceptible to the charm of some other woman making him feel what he needs,” she said. "I hold women responsible for tossing out perfectly good men by not treating them with the love and kindness and respect and attention they need.”

“I would challenge the wife to find out what kind of wife she’s being,” Schlessinger elaborated. “Is she being supportive and approving and loving? Is she being sexually intimate and affectionate? Is she making him feel like he’s her man? If she’s not doing that, then she’s contributing to his wrong choice.”

To that I say, Bull-fucking-shit!

There are many reasons why a man has extramarital sex, most of them having little or nothing to do with the wife's/partner's behavior. Most of the time it has nothing whatsoever to do with her, and Schlessinger is playing a cruel game of blaming the victim.

The main reason why men engage in extramarital sex is the "fault" of their essential natures -- neither men nor women, for that matter, are naturally monogamous, and some people, usually men, have a harder time living monogamously than others. Powerful men, in particular, have a stronger tendency to be non-monogamous than those in the general population, as history has clearly shown.

Straying men often have good marriages with perfectly good sex lives with wives they love, yet they stray, nonetheless. As one who doesn't have a monogamous bone in his body, the reason is quite simple to me -- non-monogamous people, men and women, above all, crave VARIETY in their sex lives. And while variety in the type of sex acts engaged in is part of that, variety of partners is the stronger attraction.

Thus, a wife can be a perfectly good lover, willing to please her husband in any way he desires, yet he will still stray, simply for the reason of having someone else for a change. There is nothing the wife can do to change this basic fact -- all the sexy lingerie, hot tubs, sex advice books in the world won't change that need for variety.

Men usually don't do this because of a perceived lack in their wives or because they don't love her any longer. It really doesn't have anything to do with love at all; it's all about sex.

If there is any blame to apportion in such cases, it would lie with our society's belief that the only ethical form of marriage is a monogamous one. As long as those who aspire to public office or other types of high profile occupations must be in monogamous relationships or at least give the appearance of one, regardless of their actual inclinations, these kinds of scandals will continue to occur.

If society would accept the reality that some people are more monogamous than others and that different types of relationships should be recognized to acknowledge this fact, it would be easier for those who truly want monogamy to find a like-minded partner and avoid someone who has to "talk the talk" of monogamy, even if they are unable or unwilling to "walk the walk" and vice versa.


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Just As True Now As It Was Then

Following are some quotes from my favorite president, Harry Truman, that are just as true now as they were at the time he said them.

"In most of my campaigns, I find it is best not to mention my opponent by name because, by doing so, it just gives him a chance to get into the headlines." 1948

Hear that, Hillary?

"It isn't important who is ahead at one time or another in either an election or horse race. It's the horse that comes in first at the finish line that counts".

Both Clinton and Obama should remember the truth of this.

"Secrecy and a free, democratic government don't mix."

Obviously Bush never heard this one.

"We should resolve now that the health of this nation is a national concern; that financial barriers in the way of attaining health shall be removed; that the health of all it's citizens deserves the help of all the nation."

"Millions of our citizens do not now have a full measure of opportunity to achieve and to enjoy good health. Millions do not now have protection or security against the economic effects of sickness. And the time has now arrived for action to help them attain that opportunity and to help them get that protection."

Too bad that no one listened to him back then or we wouldn't have the mess in the health care system that we have today.

"We must remember that the test of our religious principles lies not just in what we say, not only in our prayers, not even in living blameless lives - but in what we do for others" 9-28-1951

A lesson that the Religious Right has yet to learn.

"Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home--but not for housing. They are strong for labor--but they are stronger for restricting labor's rights. They favor minimum wage--the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all--but they won't spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine--for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing--but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it."

Nothing has changed here since Truman's time.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Should We Really Be All That Surprised?

Another public figure, Governor Eliot Spitzer, has bit the dust in relation to a sex scandal; i.e. for engaging in something other than society-approved sex within the context of marriage. The public reaction, in the media and elsewhere, is shocked indignation.

Shocked indignation? Come on, now, people. Scandals such as this one occur with such regularity as to be nearly ubiquitous. People naively put public figures onto moral pedestals and never fail to be shocked when it is proven time and time again, that these people are just as human as the rest of us.

Some of what I've been reading on this latest scandal du jour takes the opinion that what they object to isn't so much the type of sex he engaged in, that prostitution should be legal, blah, blah, blah, but rather the blatant hypocrisy involved.

Indeed, Spitzer's preferred public image has always been that of a valiant moral crusader working to clean up society. According to Susie Bright in an article on Alternet, Spitzer, in 2004, spoke "with revulsion" after announcing his arrest of eighteen people who ran an escort business out of Staten Island.

But, again, should we really be all that shocked? Invariably, those public figures who are brought down by scandals of this nature, are always the ones who hooted and hollered the loudest about the so-called "moral decline" of our society.

Personally, I'm not the least bit shocked or surprised by these types of scandals as I've always believed that the ones who squeal the loudest about morality are the very same ones who have the kinkiest types of skeletons rattling around in their closets. We've seen this truth recently with David Vitter, Larry Craig, and Ted Haggard, and in past years with Jimmy Swaggart and Jim Bakker, just to name a few.

Personally, I'd not be surprised if nearly all of the self-righteous public moralists did not have a skeleton or two in their closets. Denial and hypocrisy seem to be required in order to be a moral busybody in our society.

My reaction to these kinds of scandals is usually to point out that government officials were not elected to uphold certain tenets of private, personal morality and that the public should only be concerned with how they do their jobs.

But the ones who decry the hypocrisy of these people, no matter how expected it is, are essentially right. Those who make it their business to police the private morality of others when they should be concerned solely with their own behavior, should rightly have their asses tacked to the wall when they cannot and will not practice what they preach.

Better an honest, open "sinner", than a phony, hypocritical "saint".


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

12 Year Olds Arrested For Having Sex at School

Several days ago, police in my town arrested two 12 year olds for having sex at school. The preteens admitted to having sex there on at least three other occasions.

Both students had asked to be excused from class to go to the restroom. After they'd been gone an unusually long time, teachers went to investigate and found them having sex in the boys' bathroom.

Police arrested them for disrupting school and they've both been suspended from school and may also face expulsion.

Oh, please. I can understand the school suspending them; that is an appropriate response for their misbehavior. But expulsion? That goes over the top considering that even horny kids still need an education and that their actions didn't hurt other students in any way.

And to arrest them for "disrupting school"? I fail to see where the disrupting happened if they were able to successfully engage in clandestine sex at least three times with no one being any the wiser and even in the time they got caught, no other students were witnesses or otherwise involved.

Though their actions were inappropriate as to time and place, I don't think they deserve to be saddled with a criminal record simply for being sexually precocious. Back in the day when I was in school, such a matter would have been handled entirely by the school as an internal matter with suspensions and parent-teacher conferences, which I think still would be the most common sense approach.

Your mileage may vary, of course, as I'm sure it will with my more contentious readers.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Thick Southern Accent = Doomed to Failure?

I haven't ragged on my favorite self-righteous elitist, Neal Boortz, in some time. I listened to him the other night and he kindly supplied me with something to rant about.

Boortz was talking about a news story where a chunk of green ice from a plane's toilet had fallen out of the plane and ended up going through the roof of a tire business in a small town in Georgia.

Boortz included this story in his show in order to make fun of the accents of the store owner and his ten year old son, who were both interviewed by the news crew. The emphasis was on the nearly incomprehensibly thick hillbilly accent the little boy had. He went as far as to play clips of the father and son talking, so that the audience could have a good laugh at their expense. Boortz lamented the fact that they were interviewed at all because, in his opinion, such people make all Southerners look like "blithering idiots".

He then noted that any time there is some sort of disaster in the south, be it floods, tornadoes, or whatever, that the news people invariably interview hillbillies, whom Boortz thinks apparently come down from the hills for the sole purpose of embarrassing their more patrician Southern neighbors.

I have to admit that he's right when he points out that interviews with redneck types are practically ubiquitous when it comes to news coverage of various types of disasters. But I'm guessing the news crews interview such people because such disasters tend to happen in the neighborhoods where they live. There's no point in interviewing the Snooty McRichpants types when no disaster has befallen their exclusive gated communities. The point is to get accounts from people who actually were affected by such disasters.

But this wasn't the part of Boortz' show that pissed me off. After making fun of the little boy and his father, he went on to say that children with such thick country accents ought to be taken away from their parents, because failing to teach their children proper English and demonstrating it in everyday use, that such parents were committing child abuse.

Why would allowing a child to speak in the local accent constitute as child abuse, you might ask?

If you're a regular Boortz listener, it's simple. He believes that speaking with such a thick accent will prevent the boy from ever being a success in life, regardless of his actual intelligence. He predicted the boy would never have a job any better than selling bait to fishermen in a bait shop. Never mind that the father was a successful business owner of a tire shop and the son could likely inherit that business from his father one day and be able to support a family quite nicely with profits from that business.

But that would only allow the boy to live a middle class life, which,to Boortz, is being a "failure". If one doesn't aspire to be a millionaire with a high-powered corporate job, then that person is a loser in Boortz' eyes. I don't know about you, but I think an honest tire store owner is more relevant and useful in my life than some rich, fat cat CEO.

Boortz also ignored the fact that many people can read and write perfectly well, despite having thick accents of varying kinds. When I was on the police force, several of the lawyers in town had thick, countrified accents that made a Yankee like me wonder if they'd just fallen off the hay truck. But I quickly learned it was a mistake to underestimate such lawyers, as they'd wipe the floor with you in court if you did. After hearing this, it made wish that Boortz, who was a lawyer before becoming a radio pest, had gone against one of these lawyers in court and been made an ass out of in court.

It also never occurred to him that a better solution to teach children proper English would be to improve local schools, not to take them away from otherwise good parents. Indeed, did it even matter to Boortz that this boy's parents were likely loving parents capable of raising him to be a man with good character, despite their apparent shortcomings in English grammar and enunciation?.


Saturday, March 8, 2008


Two kids somewhere in my neighborhood got mopeds recently. How do I know? It's easy -- they're constantly riding the damned things up and down the street at all hours. I'm guessing they think they're cool; that they're "real bikers". On the contrary. The buzzing, mosquito-like whine of a moped is nothing like the deep-throated growl of a full-fledged motorcycle. Sorry, kids. Riding a moped up and down the same street for hours on end doesn't make you a "real biker" -- rather it makes you a "pesty nerd".

It seems that the latest advertising buzz word in the fast food industry is "melty". I've been hearing it a lot in commercials in the last year, starting with a Taco Bell commercial, if I'm not mistaken. The latest use of this pseudo-word (the proper adjective is "melted") is on a commercial for the McDonald's double cheeseburger. The cheese is melted....errr "melty"...on a cheeseburger! Who knew?

I've found a funny website, Today's Gripe which is a blog full of rants, both from the webmaster and those submitted by readers. I contributed one of my favorite rants, "A Typical Trip to McDonald's" which can be read by clicking on the link. I'm sure the blog owner will be happy to post some of your rants as well.

Yesterday, I heard a news story about a golfer that killed a bird. What got my attention apart from the story was the golfer's first name, Trip. I hope this is only a nickname. Now I don't know about you, but I don't think I'd want to go through life being addressed by a word that is a synonym for "stumble". I mean, you might as well call the guy "Spaz".

This pretentious sounding (nick)name is one of several of this type: Skip, Buster, Buzzy, Binky, ad nauseum.

I got an email from a friend in Mississippi accompanied by pictures of the snowstorm they got last night.

Not us. Spring has been well under way for the last couple of weeks. It nearly hit 70 yesterday, the trees are budding, and I found bird shit on the car yesterday. The only thing yet to make its appearance is the yellow-green pollen on the cars.

Today we had a "cold snap" -- it's in the 40s today -- but nowhere near snowing weather. Sigh.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Bad Cats

Both my cats have had wild hairs this week, with both instances of their misbehavior centering on my computer.

A few days ago, I was sitting here using the computer and the big, clumsy-ass tom cat jumped on the computer table then leaped to the tower, missing it and going over the side. Unfortunately, he took the tower along with him, which flipped itself upside down before landing on the floor on its head.

Oddly enough, even though the front panel popped off and the side came open a bit, nothing was unplugged. When I picked it up and replaced it on the table, it was even still online, with everything still working. I was able to pop the front panel back on, though I'll have to use electrical tape to keep the side completely closed again.

The cat knew he'd done wrong and immediately ran and hid somewhere in the house, staying out of sight for several hours.

The next day, I was out for several hours and when I came back, I opened the front door to hear "beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep". I found the female cat sitting ON TOP of the keyboard, which was wrapped in a garbage bag so that it wouldn't get fried if she happened to throw up on it like she'd done to my previous keyboard a few weeks earlier.

I yelled, "NO!" and removed her from her perch. After I set her down elsewhere, she just walked right back to where she'd been and plopped herself back down and the beeping resumed. I ended up having to set the keyboard up on its side, wedged between the tower and monitor, when I went back out. So far, she's shown no more interest in it.

Feel free to tell me about some of the crap your cats and dogs have done in your house.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Too Little, Too Late

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton won the primaries in Rhode Island, Ohio, and Texas. Is this a big comeback? Will she give Obama a real run for his money? Is his nomination in jeopardy?

My guess is no; he's still got it pretty much in the bag at this point. And I'm also guessing that there will be some fierce mudslinging going on in the next few weeks before Clinton realizes that she's the "Huckabee" of the Democratic party. (Huckabee, by the way, didn't throw in the towel until yesterday, believe it or not.)

But you never know.

What do you think?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Illustrated Idioms

English is a language rich with idiomatic, or slang, expressions. Following are some illustrations for a few common idioms in English. Guess what they are in the comment box.









Monday, March 3, 2008

An Observation

Like most pizza delivery businesses, my store often delivers large orders to church groups, and also to clubs and bars. Some of these kinds of customers order weekly, others on a semi-regular basis. Churches typically order from about fifty dollars to five hundred dollars worth of pizzas when they order for one of their groups, with bars tending to be in the fifty dollar range.

I've noticed one main difference between church customers and bar customers. Churches, regardless of the size of the church, or the affluence of the neighborhood they're in, will stiff the driver nine times out of ten, regardless of how many pizzas are delivered. And the stiff is usually accompanied by a patronizing attitude on the part of the person taking delivery.

Bars, who typically order eight to ten pizzas for their customers, almost always tip generously, and are grateful for the convenience of having food delivered.

I find it amusing and ironic that the so-called "sinners" seem to know more about how to act in a Christian manner than the self-righteous stiffers from the churches.

Your thoughts?

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Women Making Money As Paid "Friends With Benefits"

The other day, I read a mildly interesting article on Alternet about an organization called Sugar, which matched up older, affluent, usually not-so-attractive men with young women, offering the women more money than they could make as college graduates in an average professional job, in exchange for being a "friend with benefits".

By the time I got to reading this article, there were already several comments and most of what I would have said had already been expressed, along with the typical comments of rebuttal. Nevertheless, I left what I considered to be a short, throwaway comment:

What's the Big Deal?

It's all out in the open, no one is trying to fool anyone about the true nature of the transaction, and the participants are all consenting adults.

Everyone who gets involved in this knows full well what they're getting themselves into; it doesn't occur under duress, so I see no reason to complain about it.

I'm guessing that the main objection is based on their belief that sex "should" occur only in relation to love and for no other reasons and that these transactions do not even give the illusion of love. That's perfectly well and good to conduct one's own sex life based upon this belief, but as far as I'm concerned, sex for any reason between fully consenting adults need not have to be justified to anyone.

I didn't think too much more about this article until I read a follow-up to it entitled, Readers Respond. This follow-up article featured what the site owners considered to be the best reponses to the original article.

To my surprise, my throwaway comment was the lead-off comment that set the tone for those that followed.

Again, there were several comments in reponse to this second article. I didn't make a comment of my own here, but responded to one that especially irked me, made by someone with whom I've tangled in the past: Her comment:

Buyers of Bodies

What does it say about us as humans, when we let men believe it is THEIR right to buy the bodies of women and children. And it is mostly women and children who are victims of prostituters. In reality, it is the world's poor, uneducated women and children who have been deemed, by your brother, your son, your uncle, as sub-human committed to live without any rights of human dignity.

My response to her was:

Women Are NOT the Same as Children.

Every time you refer to women, "and children" always follows. It is extremely sexist to always group women with children. Your attitude assumes that women are just as helpless as children and are no more competent to be responsible for their own actions, thus must be protected to the same degree as children should be.

I'm sorry, but women are not the intellectual and moral equivalent of children. Adult women can be and should be able to conduct their lives and take responsibility for them, just in the same way that adult men do. Save the protecting for real children.

I don't know about you, but if I were a woman, I'd find the "women and children" attitude to be patronizing and condescending.

Indeed. If this organization matched up young men with affluent, older gay men past their sexual primes, I sincerely doubt that this woman would have been hooting and hollering about victimhood, as most people assume that men can look after themselves and are responsible for their own choices, good and bad. After all, I don't think any of us has ever heard the term "men and children".


Saturday, March 1, 2008

Science Fiction Cliches

Following is a list of cliches we've all see in science fiction:

After being removed from a place/artifact that prevents aging, the character's biological progress attains unbelievable speed and he grows old quickly.

All Aliens seem to understand human body language (ex shaking head), despite that even humans sometimes have difficulties comprehending the non-verbal communication when confronted with foreign cultures.

When ships lights on fire, the flames are visible in outerspace, even though there's no oxygen.

After a ship blows up its debris scatter, but don't damage any other ship despite being large and traveling at high velocities.

When a laser misses in space, it ends abruptly instead of continuing to go through space until it hits something else.

The entire Alien Species is united under a single ruler/ruling body, not having been divided into different countries or territories.

Post-cataclysmic rag-tag armies struggle to survive against gangs of bandits, mutants, cyberpunks, bikers, etc.

The Good Guys travel through time to stop a historical Bad Guy, usually Hitler.

Aliens travel a zillion miles to loot the earth of resources which exist in far greater and much more easily exploitable quantities on the many uninhabited bodies they pass on the way to earth.

Brain-controlling parasites attempt to wrest control of human race.

A great hunter decides that humans are the most entertaining prey of all, and visits Earth to bag a few.

The bureaucratic/reactionary mindset stands in the way of scientific progress. A researcher overcomes it through ability, purity of heart, and use of the scientific method. Or not.

A human male becomes pregnant.

An android discovers emotions and loses control.

Humans are seen as a menace to galactic society, having developed technology over a few short centuries compared with the thousands it took the other races.

Aliens whose thinking is so different from ours that no communication is possible. Alien races that find our women attractive, while we find theirs to be repulsive.

Alien races who differ from us only in skin color and/or facial features.

Alien races whose names all have lots of hard consonants. Lots of apostrophes are packed into alien words and phrases for no apparent reason.

Humans of future have no ethnic, religious, cultural, philosophical or political variance.

Planets with the same exact climate planet-wide (planets without atmosphere excepted).

Can you name a few of your favorites?