Friday, May 30, 2008

Thoughts on the Sexual Double Standard

I read an article on Alternet this morning about the sexual double standard: "He's a Stud, She's a Slut"

This article, based on the author's book of the same name, focuses on the fact that women have traditionally be more negatively judged for being promiscuous than men have been. However, she greatly overstated her position by saying, "'Slut' is applied to women engaged in any activity besides knitting, praying, or sitting perfectly still lest any sudden movements be deemed whorish." She was similarly simplistic when she assumed that promiscuous men are always viewed in a positive manner.

My reply to this article:

I am one of those males with a lot of sex partners the author speaks of. The author is essentially right to say that my female partners are judged much more harshly than I am, though men like me don't go entirely without being judged negatively either.

Men like me are commonly viewed as being "afraid of commitment", "emotionally unavailable", "immature", "jerks", "assholes", "sexist", "misogynist", and so on. Need I elaborate further? I could, because I've heard it all.

But this wouldn't be any more true for me than it would be for a woman who similarly prefers variety and novelty in her sex life.

Nor do I apply a different standard to women who prefer casual sex than I do to myself, as that would be highly hypocritical to say the least. Indeed, where would I be at if all women were strictly monogamous, one-man women? Instead, when I find a woman who is like me, I feel as if I've found a kindred spirit.

And I'm not particularly fond of the words used to describe the actively non-monogamous male than women are thrilled by the word "slut". This is mainly because such words connote a rather mindless, thoughtless approach to sex, rather than the deliberately promiscuous-by-philosophy approach that I have taken.

Rather, I've adopted a term hundreds of years old to self-define my sexual inclinations: libertine. This has the benefit of being a value-neutral term equally applicable to both men and women.

I never refer to a woman as a "slut", nor would I care to be described as a "player". I refer to all people who prefer a variety of casual sex partners as libertines instead.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

More Funny Bumper Stickers

A Big Truck Is No Substitute For Proper Genitalia
Constipated People Don't Give a Crap
Love May Be Blind, But Marriage Is a Real Eye Opener
If You Don't Believe in Oral Sex, Keep Your Mouth Shut
My Kid Got Your Honor Roll Student Pregnant
To All You Virgins: Thanks for Nothing
If you can read this it's not foggy, turn off your damn fog lamps
Get a New Car for Your Spouse. It'll Be a Great Trade
Impotence: Nature's Way of Saying 'No Hard Feelings'
I Have the Body of a God: Buddha
I FOUND JESUS -- He was behind the sofa the whole time.
Illiterate? Write For Help
If Sex Is A Pain In The Ass, Then You're Doing It Wrong
Wanted: Meaningful Overnight Relationship
(Spotted on a passing motorcycle)
If You Can Read This, My Wife Fell Off
Veni, Vedi, Visa: I Came, I Saw, I Did a Little Shopping
What If the Hokey Pokey Is Really What It's All About?
Liberal Arts Major. Will Think for Food
Gravity...It's Not Just a Good Idea. It's the Law
If You Want Breakfast in Bed, Sleep in the Kitchen
First National Bank of Dad; Sorry, Closed
If at First You Don't Succeed, Skydiving Isn't for You
The Trouble With the Gene Pool Is That There's No Lifeguard
In America, Anyone Can Be President. That's One of the Risks You Take
Some people are only alive because it is illegal to shoot them.
I used to have a handle on life, but it broke.
I need someone real bad... Are you real bad?
The more you complain, the longer God makes you live.
I(nternal) R(evenue) S(ervice): We've got what it takes to take what you've got.
Hard work has a future payoff. Laziness pays off now.
Out of my mind...Back in five minutes.
As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in public schools.
Hang up and drive.
God must love stupid people...He made SO many.
Your kid may be an Honor Student, but YOU'RE still an idiot.
Smile, it's the second best thing you can do with your lips.
Where there's a will..I want to be in it.
HONK ... If You Want To See My Finger
Support Cannibalism - EAT ME!
God is my co-pilot, but the Devil is my bombardier.
I don't have a license to kill. I have a learner's permit.
Keep honking while I reload.
Taxation WITH representation isn't so hot, either!
Who were the testers for Preparations A through G?
5 days a week my body is a temple. The other two, it's an amusement park.
EARTH FIRST! We'll strip-mine the other planets later.
If you drink, don't park. Accidents cause people.
If you can read this, I can hit my brakes and sue you..
Jack Kevorkian for White House physician.
Sure you can trust the government! Just ask an Indian!
Alcohol and calculus don't mix. Never drink and derive.
If we are what we eat, I'm cheap, fast, and easy.
Stop repeat offenders. Don't re-elect them!
Focus on your own damn family!
Save Gas.... Fart in a bottle

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hospital Visitation and Families

Alternet had an article today that took the position:

Gay marriage does nothing to address fundamental problems of inequality. What is needed is universal access to basic necessities like housing, health care, food, and the benefits now obtained through citizenship (like the right to stay in this country). Legalized gay marriage means only that certain people in a specific type of long-term, monogamous relationship sanctioned by a state contract might be able to access benefits. While marriage could confer inclusion under a spouse's health-care policy, it does nothing to provide such a policy. Marriage might ensure hospital visitation rights, but not for anyone without a spouse

I read the article, not intending to comment, but after reading one comment to this article, I was prompted to make a response;

The original comment:

So the article wants universal healthcare. And allowing homosexuals to marry doesn't help that. But the article seems to suggest that hospital visitation rights should be extended. That seems nuts to me. I can imagine some idiot trying to sell me a burial plot or a home alarm system when I'm in a hospital bed. Why not restrict that to family?

My response to this comment was aimed directly at the last sentence: "Why not restrict it to family?":

The problem with hospital visitation rights is that the hospital defines who may count as "family".

For some of us, gay and straight, our best friends and lovers mean more to us than our blood kin. The author is saying that all people ought to be able to define who their next of kin is for themselves, not have the hospital dictate who that is. If need be, people could carry cards in their wallets listing such self-chosen next of kin.

To suggest that she meant than anyone off the street, such as an obnoxious salesman, should be able to randomly come in and bother a hospital patient was being deliberately obtuse, I'm thinking.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Hot or Sexy?

This woman is hot.

This woman is sexy.

This woman is hot AND sexy.

Any questions?

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Attraction of the Forbidden

As my readers all know, I regularly monitor the media for opinions I vehemently disagree with, all for the purpose of having something to rant about on this blog. And, as usual, Focus on the Family provided me with some good rant-worthy blogging fodder.

What set me off this time was an interview James Dobson conducted with a woman who'd written a book about mothers who feel as if they are "good enough" mothers. The author mentioned one woman who felt like she was a bad mother for not protecting her teenage son from internet porn, simply because she allowed him to use a computer with an internet connection.

Dobson agreed, mentioning that he had decided not to have internet access in his home because he didn't want to deal with internet porn. One thing to note is that Dobson is of an age where his children are adults and no longer live in his home.

I thought this was a rather extreme measure to go to in order to avoid internet porn, and it smacks of "protesting too much." A person who really wishes to avoid looking at porn has several options open to them that doesn't require the drastic step of banning the entire internet altogether. One doesn't need to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

One can simply avoid visiting porn websites. Most email programs have effective spam filters that relegate porn spam to a spam folder. Spam emails that slip through into one's regular email folder can be quickly deleted and the senders blocked. For those with minor children in the home, several types of filtering software, such as Net Nanny, are available that will block such sites, but will allow users to otherwise use the internet.

I'm guessing the reason Dobson has no internet in his home is likely that he's attracted to such sites and knows he won't be able to keep from looking at them if he has a handy internet connection available.

Leaving aside the fact that indulging in internet porn would make him a hypocrite, considering his religious and political opinions, I just don't get his assertion (and that of the aforementioned book's author) that looking at internet porn is a catastrophe on the level of being a crack addict.

One can indulge in internet porn without it ruining one's life. To use myself as an example, though I look at it occasionally, I am in no way a regular consumer of porn. Indeed, I avoid looking at it too much because after awhile it ceases to be arousing and becomes the same ol' thing. Besides, I'd much rather DO it than merely look at it. At best, porn is best used along with real sex as a sex toy would, or as a wanking aid when alone.

For fundamentalists, I'm guessing that the forbidden nature of it for them is precisely what makes it so irresistible for them. Thus, they feel they must take such drastic steps as described above, lest they fall into temptation.

On the other hand, for people like me, for whom it is not forbidden, it's merely another possibility -- and a minor one at that -- in my sexual tool box. Thus I have no particular irrestible compulsion to view it. It's there whenever I want it, so there's no particular urgency for me to do so.


Saturday, May 24, 2008

One of My Worst Faults, Illustrated

Below is a funny illustration of one of my worst faults. I challenge readers to find a picture that depicts one of their worst faults.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Hagee Claims That Holocaust Was God's Will

Recently, convervatives were climbing all over one another to criticize Barack Obama for not repudiating the support of his controversial pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

At the same time, they saw no problem with John McCain actively seeking the endorsement of fundamentalist preacher, John Hagee, who was known to have extreme anti-Catholic views.

It turns out that this was just the tip of a very dirty iceberg. A shocking 1990s-era Hagee sermon has recently come to light that underscores just how extreme Hagee's bigotry is:

I'll let Hagee's words speak for themselves:

Theodore Hertzel is the father of Zionism. He was a Jew who at the turn of the 19th century said, this land is our land, God wants us to live there. So he went to the Jews of Europe and said 'I want you to come and join me in the land of Israel.' So few went that Hertzel went into depression. Those who came founded Israel; those who did not went through the hell of the holocaust.

Then god sent a hunter. A hunter is someone with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter. And the Bible says — Jeremiah writing — 'They shall hunt them from every mountain and from every hill and from the holes of the rocks,' meaning there's no place to hide. And that might be offensive to some people but don't let your heart be offended. I didn't write it, Jeremiah wrote it. It was the truth and it is the truth. How did it happen? Because God allowed it to happen. Why did it happen? Because God said my top priority for the Jewish people is to get them to come back to the land of Israel.

This leaves me nearly speechless; there are not words enough to express just how deep my contempt is for Hagee.

Though McCain has rightly repudiated Hagee's support in light of this sermon, other conservatives have so far been strangely silent. Do I detect a double standard here?

Suddenly, Rev Wright doesn't seem so bad, after all.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

There Are Plenty of Things to Dislike About Hillary Clinton, But This Isn't One of Them

I read an article at Alternet this morning entitled There's Something About Hillary. The article explores the question about just what it is about her that provokes such strong reactions from people, wondering whether the problem is her or whether it's us. (Personally, I think it's a combination of the two, but that's not the point of this entry).

After reading the article, I went on to the comments. Most of the comments were unremarkable, both detailing what's wrong with HRC and also decrying the ubiquitous sexism of our culture.

But then I came upon a comment that was so asinine that I had to comment. Below is the comment that set me off, followed by my response.

The original comment:

Hillary's a WOMAN?

Sorry, I don't think so... she may be a member of the female sex, but that's no woman - that's a crocodile in disguise. Hillary showed us what's she's made of when she did not immediately walk out the door when Slick Willie got caught with his damp cigar smoking. If she had any conscience, any concern for other women, she would have set an example and made mincemeat of the guy. Who would have needed an impeachment hearing if he had his just desserts from the person who ought to have delivered them?

Nope, sorry, no Hillary now or ever.

My reply:

There Are Plenty of Things to Dislike About HRC, But This Isn't One of Them

Let me get this straight -- you dislike Hillary Clinton for not publicly acting like a jealous shrew and throwing a tantrum about Bill's dalliances, but rather for choosing to act in a mature, dignified way?

Number one, none of us knows the exact dynamics behind the Clinton marriage: why they got married in the first place, what they expect out of their marriage, and why they remain married and no doubt will continue to be. It apparently works for them, so who are any of us to criticize them for departing from the script of expected reactions to certain events.

Secondly, her private relationship with Bill is just that, private, and has absolutely nothing relevant to do with her fitness or lack thereof to be elected President of the Unites States. It's not as if the President is elected to uphold the sacred cow of monogamy.

If one chooses to vote against her, there are plenty of relevant reasons to do so, without having to resort to Judge Judy or Jerry Springer reasoning.

This comment also made me think of the recent negative attention directed toward John McCain about his apparent anger problem, which was partially touched off by news that he'd once called his wife a "cunt" in public with very little provocation.

Attention was called to his anger problem, with people being concerned about someone who apparently cannot adequately control their anger being POTUS. People rightly expect those who hold powerful offices to be able to control their negative emotions and act in a responsible manner.

But the comment above betrayed a common mindset that expressing uncontrolled jealousy, especially about infidelity, is not only acceptable, but should be mandatory. They believe controlling jealousy is not only not possible, but that it's not healthy, either.

I couldn't disagree more. Jealousy, like anger, is natural, but it's also a negative emotion that should and can be controlled, especially by someone in a position of power. Just as we don't want someone as President who cannot control their anger, we don't need someone who can't control their jealousy, either.

Hillary gets a thumbs up for me on this one for handling this issue in a mature fashion.

Your thoughts?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Tacky Tattoos

Following is a collection of tacky tattoos for your shuddering pleasure:

All I can say is that I'm glad I wasn't the tattoo artist for any of these creations.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Some Thoughts on Sex Education

Over at Alternet today, there's an article entitled "Sex Ed in the Bible Belt", which is about the author's experience with abstinence-based sex education.

My reply contrasted my own experience with sex education with that of the author and follows below:

My junior high and high school sex-ed classes were in the early to mid 70s in New Jersey. The junior high classes were sex-segregated and dealt mainly with the biological facts of reproduction.

In high school, however, it was in mixed-sex classes conducted by the football coach and the emphasis was pregnancy prevention, not abstinence. It was assumed that we would be having sex before we were married, though some attention was given to encouraging us to wait until we were mature enough to handle it.

I remember one class in particular where the coach couldn't stress strongly enough how useless the "withdrawal" method was, telling us that people who used withdrawal were usually more commonly known as "parents".

Abortion had recently become legal when I was in high school, and this, too, was addressed in the classes, with the emphasis being that consistent use of birth control would make this option unnecessary.

Questions were encouraged, no matter how frank, and were answered in an equally frank manner.

The issue of love and relationships as how it related to sex were covered in a separate family living class.

I'm glad I grew up when and where I did and was fortunate enough to receive a comprehensive sex education.

The only topics not covered in what would be considered in an adequate manner today would have been the topic of STDs, which were still commonly referred to as "VD" back then. But, to be fair, AIDs did not yet exist at the time and what STDs that did exist could be cured with a trip to the doctor, so what education we did receive on STDs was adequate for the time.

What was your experience of school sex education?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Fundamentalist Inconsistency

The other day while out in the car, I tuned into the Focus on the Family broadcast, hoping to hear some good ranty blogging fodder. As usual, they did not disappoint.

They regularly review new movies, mainly to decide whether or not the movie is "family friendly". And their definition of "family friendly" is rather narrow, to say the least.

I once heard them decline to recommend a movie that they otherwise liked because the movie had three cuss words in it. The movie in question was a sports movie, and the reality is that people involved in sports commonly use cuss words. I'm thinking the makers of the movie probably were quite restrained limiting the incidences of foul language to just three times.

Most recently, they reviewed a movie in which there were a few passing references to the main character being separated from his live-in girlfriend. The reviewer said he was "disappointed" by other characters trying to get them back together. He wondered why couldn't they have been a married couple, as it would then would.have been "appropriate", in the reviewer's opinion, to help get the couple back together.

In other words, the reviewer believed the relationship wasn't worth saving unless it ended with a marriage. His comments also implied that the separation was a correction of sin, rather than a sad event.

As I listened to the broadcast, I thought of how such fundamentalists will respect any legal marriage as being legitimate, even those where religion has played no part and were not blessed by a member of the clergy.

On the other hand, they would not consider a couple who'd had a non-legal church ceremony as being truly married. Such marriages have happened most often with elderly people who don't feel right just living together, but do not want to get legally married because they'd lose various legal benefits as the survivors of deceased former spouses.

In their worldview, a couple ideally has been legally married in church, but a legal secular marriage is valid to them as well. A marriage, blessed only in church without a state marriage license, would be considered invalid by them.

I don't get it. Fundamentalists often assert that marriage was "ordained by God", blah, blah, blah, so it would seem more logical for them to consider the spiritual aspect of marriage as being more important than the legal aspect.

Apparently not, however, if the attitudes I mentioned above are any indication.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Current Booklist

This is the book I'm currently reading, which is the fifth of a currently ten book series known collectively as The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. The main character is a private detective, who is also a wizard. I came upon this series awhile back when looking for books that would appeal to adult Harry Potter fans. And this series fits the bill nicely, while also appealing to fans of more traditional detective novels.

Following below are a few books I hope to read soon.

The 18th book in John Sandford's Lucas Davenport mystery series

Escape by Carolyn Jessop

This is a tell-all memoir from a former member of the FLDS church.

Beyond Straight and Gay Marriage by Nancy Polikoff
The Publisher's Weekly blurb sums this book up best:

Polikoff, who has taught, litigated and written about family law, civil procedure and sexuality for more than 30 years, deftly argues that the law's narrow definitions of family and marriage no longer work in today's society—not just for the LGBT community but the country at large. With many households following untraditional family models, Polikoff says, we need to look at ways the law can change to value all families beyond those created by marriage, including same and different-sexed, married and unmarried couples. Polikoff draws on legal history and contemporary (often eye-opening) court cases to make her argument. Topics such as inheritance, tax consequences, workers' compensation death benefits, social security, probate, adoption and health care, plus their impact the diversity of today's family units are simplified for the reader. Polikoff wades through legislation and legalese with style and substance, plus a touch of flair. Impeccably researched, the book offers an evocative read that takes in the full breadth of the issues affecting marriages and avoids pedantry while remaining persuasive.

I'd be curious to know what my readers are reading and planning to read in the near future.

Friday, May 16, 2008

There's a Museum for Everything

We're all familiar with large, eclectic museums that are devoted to a wide variety of topics, such as the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Then there are smaller museums devoted to a single topic or a limited number of related topics. I've been to a couple of those: one devoted to gemstones and my county has one devoted to our county's history.

But the one I read about this morning should be filed under "Now I've Heard Everything".

It seems as if Iceland boasts a museum devoted entirely to the penis, the Icelandic Phallological Museum. The museum currently houses 261 preserved members from 90 species and began in 1974 with a bull's penis the size of a riding crop.

The largest, from a sperm whale, is 70 kg (154 lb) and 1.7 meters (5.58 ft) long. The smallest, a hamster penis bone, is just 2 mm and must be viewed through a magnifying glass.

So far there are no human specimens, but four men, a German, an American, an Icelander and a Briton have promised to donate their organs after they die.

The Icelandic donor, a 93-year-old retired libertine thought having his penis in the collection might bring him eternal fame. Recently, however, he's been having second thoughts, as his penis has been shrinking as he's gotten older.

The museum opened in 1997 and has had visitors from all over the world, sixty percent of them being women.

Somehow, I'm not surprised.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Time to Give It Up

I don't think the Carpathia is going to come this time, Hillary.

It's time to give it up and put your support behind Obama for the sake of party unity.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

May Odds and Ends

I'm worn out from my "birthday visits" to several women, so today will be an odds and ends entry.

It's cool and overcast here today, but I don't think it will rain. Perfect weather for me, as bright sunlight bothers my eyes. It would be nice if the weather would stay this way all summer, but I'm not holding my breath.

I've added a new commercial to my "love to hate" list. It's from Hardee's, who has a history of crappy commercials. I love their burgers, but I think they have some of the most obnoxious commercials going.

This latest commercial has two scruffy looking blue collar workers eating their burgers inside their vehicle. For much of the commercial all you hear is amplified slurping and smacking which. on its own, is enough to make me lose my appetite. It certainly doesn't make me want to run out to Hardee's for a burger.

Finally, one guy says to the other, who has just finished his burger, "Are you going to eat your cheese paper?" Blech. Totally fucking gross. And I ask you, what kind of man wants to lick the cheese off another man's burger wrapping? I'm getting nauseated just thinking about it.

On the Yahoo home page this morning, I noticed a box featuring very expensive cars. One was the Lamborghini Murcielago. Glancing at it quickly, I thought it was the Lamborghini Mucilage. You know -- that brownish-orange paste you used to use in art projects in elementary school.

I'm guessing the tires on this car really stick to the road!

I've ranted about a TV commercial, now it's time to move on to radio. And the focus of the rant is poor enunciation.

In one ad, the announcer speaks of "assessories" one can get with a particular product. Is that stuff for your ass or is it stuff to assess the original product with?

In another spot, the announcer urged listeners to buy "bloons" supporting breast cancer research for Mother's Day. Bloons? How lazy can this mush-mouthed announcer be if she couldn't say the entire two syllable of balloons?


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Frustration at the Bookstore

I've not been having very good luck recently when it comes to shopping for books.

I went into the bookstore yesterday looking for a few specific books. One of the books was the second of a Star Trek trilogy and had been recently released on the 29th of April. I'd bought the first book of the trilogy in this store the day it was released, so I was surprised to see that they didn't have the book.

When I went to the front desk, they looked it up for me. They found the book on their database with a note saying that the store wouldn't be carrying that book.

WTF? Why on Earth would a bookstore carry the first book of a trilogy, then decide not to carry the other two. If they weren't going to carry all three, then there was no point in stocking the first one. And it's Star Trek; it's not as if the books won't sell.

I was also looking for the paperback release of another series of books, which again, they didn't have.

I ended up leaving the store empty handed and irritated.

My town has only one mega bookstore, in this case, Books A Million. I've noticed that they're carrying far fewer books than previously. The politics and current events section, for example has more books displayed with the front cover showing, rather than shelving them with the spines showing. The only reason to shelve in this manner is to make fewer books fill up the same amount of space.

At the same time, they've recently devoted an entire aisle on both sides to those Japanese longer-length comic books, which has taken space away from other books of a more serious nature. Catering to the lowest common denominator, yet again.

Books A Million has had a monopoly in our town for nearly ten years, as the next closest mega-bookstore is thirty miles away. Thankfully, this monopoly is about to come to an end, as a new Barnes and Noble store is currently under construction in my town. I can only hope that it will not follow the same stocking decisions as Books A Million and I'll be able to find the books I'm looking for without always having to order online.

On a related note, I went to buy a new pair of sneakers today, as I had a fifteen dollars off coupon for the store. I found the shoes I wanted, but none in my size, naturally. I'd checked online to see if that store had the style in my size before driving there, which the website assured me that it did. I guess I could order them online, but shoes are something I like to try on before I buy to make sure the fit is correct and that they're comfortable.


Monday, May 12, 2008

A Thoughtful Gesture

Yesterday, a regular reader of my blog, John Sherck, contacted me on IM to wish me a happy birthday.

We chatted for awhile about various things and he eventually commented about my blog entry that day. I'd said that I wished I could stop by the cemetery and leaves flowers on my mother's grave on Mother's Day. As he lives in the same city where my parents are buried, he offered to take a trip down there and leave some flowers on the grave for me. He added that he'd take some photos, so that I could have a "virtual visit to the cemetery".

I gave him directions to where the grave was located in this large cemetery, where the first graves date from the 17th century, hoping for the best. Before he signed off, he promised me he'd email me later about what had transpired, and said he'd send photos if he'd found the grave.

Hours later, when I got home from work, his email was waiting for me, with an account of how he found the grave, along with nine photos complete with descriptions.

I am quite touched by his kindness and I'm using this entry to thank him publicly for his thoughtfulness. Below is one of the nine photos he snapped.

Thanks, John.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sharing Two Holidays on the Same Day

The dreaded day is here at last. My birthday. And it's also Mother's Day. The end result is that I'm bummed about the milestone birthday and I'm missing my mother, all at once.

She and I got to share my birthday and Mother's Day on the same day once or twice back when I was a kid. My mother would have been happy to let that day be all about me, but my Dad made sure that her day wasn't forgotten about, either. After all, on the day I was born, she became a mother (albeit for the third time).

Though my mother made the birthday cake from scratch for me as she did any other year, my father made the meal. And although my Dad usually got her a potted plant of some kind for her garden, he had me to present a dozen roses to her as well.

My memory is a bit unclear on this part, but think the Mother's Day gift presentations came first, before the candles on my cake were lit and my presents appeared.

And, as I remember, my mother would always feel a little blue on Mother's Day, missing her own mother who had died the same year I was born. But I think on the time or two we shared the day, she was able to keep those thoughts at bay.

If my mother wasn't buried nearly a thousand miles away from me, I'd have stopped by the cemetery and left her some flowers today. As it is, my memories will have to do.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Thoughts on The Duggar Family and Polygyny

I read yesterday that the ultra-fertile Michelle Duggar is pregnant yet again with her 18th child. That's right, 18th. Feel free to shudder now. The Duggars are believers of the "Quiverfull" philosophy, where they believe that it's up to God how many children they should have.

As I sat there yesterday contemplating on how she and her horny, but clueless husband even manage to find the time, privacy, and energy to do the horizontal bop in a house bursting with 17 children, my thoughts drifted back to the recent raid on the FLDS ranch, then to the idea of polygyny in general. I couldn't help but make a few comparisons.

Before I proceed further, let me make it clear that my remarks about polygyny apply to the concept in general and where it is practiced between fully consenting adults and does not include the forced marriages of underage girls to old men.

In ancient times, polygyny, one man with multiple wives, often occurred in areas where population growth was desired and/or needed, such as in agricultural societies where many hands were needed to do the necessary work, and where women outnumbered men.

This is because polygyny is a much more efficient system than monogamy if the goal is to produce large amounts of children. One woman can produce only so many children regardless of the form her marriage takes, but one man can easily sire hundreds of children with multiple women.

Compared to the most fertile monogamous women, such as Michelle Duggar, a polygynous male can sire the same 18 children with, perhaps, six wives, with each woman bearing only three children each, which has to much easier on each woman's health than one woman bearing all 18. Plus each woman has five "sister wives" to help out with the child care.

Polyandry, one woman with multiple husbands, is suited well for societies where population growth needs to be halted and where men outnumber women. Polyandry limits population growth, as several men are sharing the limited reproductive capacities of one woman. Today's China is a society that would be ideally suited for polyandry, as China both desires to curb its rampant overpopulation and currently has a surplus of 30 million males.

Monogamy seems to split the difference between polygyny and polyandry. It limits the reproductive capacities of men compared to polygyny, but not as much as polyandry would. As a reproductive strategy for women, there are no inherent differences for women, especially in societies that do not need or encourage large families, as she can bear the same amount of children, regardless if she has one or multiple husbands.

But getting back to the original point of this entry, in a society that desires large families, the practical reality is much harder on monogamous women than polygynous ones (again making the disclaimer that I'm talking about polygyny between consenting adults only). It's harder on their bodies, their energy, and their time.

However, for most of us, this is a moot point, as very few people today desire such large families, nor does the world need that much population growth. And many people today desire to have no children at all and/or no wish to enter into any form of marriage. People are, or should be, able to choose whichever relationship form suits them based on personal criteria unrelated to reproductive strategy.

But I still can't help but feel sorry for Michelle Duggar, who probably hasn't had a full night's rest in 20 years.


Friday, May 9, 2008

Law Enforcement's Role Regarding Polygynous Religious Communes

Yet again, Alternet has provided me with blogging fodder for today's entry. Their question of the day that one writer addressed in an article was:

How Should States Deal with Polygamous Sects?

My comment to this article was:

Children should be protected from every sort of abuse. This includes enforcing laws against the forced marriages of underage girls to much older men. The last time I checked, such laws included young girls being forced into monogamous marriages with much older men, as well as the polygynous form of polygamy practiced by the FLDS.

In other words, the crime is the forced marriage and subsequent statutory rape of an underage child, not the form the marriage takes, which should be irrelevant.

If the FLDS practiced polygyny between fully consenting adults, I'd say to leave them alone, as I don't think it's the government's place to mandate what form a marriage should take, but only to assure that whatever form a marriage takes, that it's between fully consenting adults.

The welfare of children and the forms a marriage takes are two separate issues. Strictly enforce the former and disregard the latter.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

The Nature of Cheating

For the purposes of this entry, I will address the concept of cheating as the term is commonly used in reference to personal relationships, rather than that of breaking rules in regards to doing various types of work.

I've had many people refer to my lifestyle of intentional nonmonogamy as "cheating". On the other hand, I've had several married men who approve of my lifestyle and who are engaging in extramarital sex without their wives' knowledge tell me that they are "just like me".

Wrong on both counts. I am unmarried. I have not taken vows that promise sexual exclusivity to any woman. I remain unmarried so I can engage in the life I have chosen openly without any conflict of interest. That is not cheating.

If I ever chose to marry, I would not promise fidelity, nor would I expect any woman to do so. It would be what's known as an "open marriage". This also would not be cheating, as she and I would have agreed to different rules. One must agree to certain rules in order to be bound by them; the mere fact that most people agree to such rules does not automatically bind one to them, if one has openly declared to live by different rules.

Married men who engage in extramarital sex clandestinely without their wives' knowledge or approval are not "just like me" at all. They have not openly owned their non-monogamous natures and they have vowed to keep the traditional rules of marital fidelity. They want it both ways and are playing both ends against the middle. They want the convenience of a wife and domesticity and also the sexual freedom I enjoy, without having to admit to it honestly. They are cheaters. To be honest, they should either live up to what they agreed to or openly try to re-negotiate the terms of their marriages.


One Photo, Several Interpretations

I'm wondering exactly what this is. A fucking competition? A realllly progressive sex education class? An orgy?

At any rate, whatever it is, I think it's hilarious that all these couples are lined up in precise rows like a school classroom or an assembly line.

Your thoughts?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Earworms in Commercials

There are a few current commercials whose jingles have turned into earworms for me. That is, the tunes tend to replay endlessly in my head.

The first is a commercial for Sears' appliances. There's not much to the jingle, except them singing, "Well, all right!" and "Ooh Hoo" in an endless loop. Nevertheless, it's catchy and it's stuck in my head.

Another commercial is for K9 Advantix insect treatment for dogs. It has a dog singing a silly tune:

There ain't no bugs on me
There ain't no bugs on me
There may be bugs on some of you mugs
But there ain't no bugs on me

Yeah, there may be bugs on some of you mugs
But there ain't no bugs on me

It's silly, but I find myself singing the damn song sometimes when I'm driving down the road.

The last commercial is for The Money Store. I get a kick out of this commercial mainly for the visuals that go with the lyrics. One verse goes:

On title loans
The first month's free
And the repo man
Ain't gettin' your keys

During this part of the jingle, it shows a guy with messy hair wearing dirty clothes, shifting his bulging eyes back and forth, while he's sniffing and holding out his hand. I'd never do business with one of these places and the music is cheesy, so I guess it's the ridiculous looking repo man that makes the tune stick in my head.

Are there any commercials you like in spite of, or maybe because of, how stupid they are?

Dreading the Date

I'm in the home stretch -- I'm living the last week of my life in my forties. I've been down in the dumps about turning fifty since the beginning of the year.

Turning thirty didn't bother me, nor did turning forty. But fifty is different. It's either the last act of middle age or it's the prologue to old age.

Last week, I was sent an AARP membership package, though I'd not requested one. I'm not fucking ready for this shit! I threw the envelope into the trash and hoped that no one saw the mailman put it in my box with my name on it.

I'm not ready for cardigan sweaters, polyester sansabelt pants...errr trousers...up to my armpits, or velcro-fastening Hush Puppies. Nor am I ready for a light blue or light brown Buick Century. Ditto to senior citizen discounts. And I'm DAMN SURE not yet needing Viagra. Hell, I still get that amazed feeling that I'm a grown-up already from time to time.

I've slowed down some in my sex life since my early 20s, to be sure, but it's not because of a lack of virility. And my sex life is still a hell of a lot more busy than most men twenty years younger than me. But I must admit that since the beginning of the year, I've engaged in a lot more random hookups than I'd been doing in the few previous years. I don't know, I guess I'm reassuring myself that my virility and desirability to the opposite sex isn't about to go down the tubes.

But, still, the first time I hook up for a one night stand after my birthday, I don't think I'll be able to tell them that I'm fifty. It's only a year, but forty-nine sounds a lot younger than fifty for some odd reason.

For those of you who have already passed this milestone or will soon face it, how does/did it make you feel?

Saturday, May 3, 2008

More Wacky Dreams

Following is an account of some of my more recent dreams:

In the first dream I was at Wal Mart just before closing time. I bought an item and left the store through the lawn and garden area. The parking lot was completely empty when I came out. I got into my car and started driving away when I noticed several tornadoes approaching from several different directions. They were skinny, ropey-looking tornadoes.

I drove back to where I came out of Wal Mart, parking my car in a little open shed near the employee's entrance door. I banged on the door to be let back in, telling them there were tornadoes on the way.

They let me in and I followed them to a long, narrow corridor made out of cinder blocks to wait out the storm. At the end of the corridor was a small window with opaque, bubbled glass, like some people have in their bathrooms. I looked out the window and saw a tornado funnel waiting there, deciding which way to go. It came through the window and wall without destroying it, then passed harmlessly down the hall before heading back out into the parking lot.

In the next dream, I was running away from Hitler and his men before they killed everyone in the room. I ran outside a college building of some sort, across a large lawn, then across the street, then down a slight incline in a meadow that led to the edge of a river. The river's edge was lined with willow trees. I had someone with me, but it wasn't clear who it was. I was suddenly aware that Hitler and his henchmen were on our trail, but suddenly it wasn't Hitler anymore; he'd turned into Voldemort.

In the next dream, I was working at the police department and I was told I had to change shifts to temporarily cover the job of a dispatcher who was on leave. I told them I didn't know how to do that job, but they waved away my concerns.

When I arrived to do this job, I went into a room like a radio station control booth. I didn't know what to do, pushing buttons randomly, but somehow, I managed to get through the shift.

In yet another dream, I was taking a nap in my brother's room in the houseI lived in when I was a teenager. I woke up and went in to where my mother was taking a nap.

I was dismayed to see she'd gotten tattoos on one hand and wrist, with another tattoo extending up her forearm. The tattoos were pink and lime green and of a haphazard pattern with diamond-shaped latticework on the upper forearm. I asked her why she would do such a thing and her response to me was a defensive one.

I dreamed I got my job back at the police department and as the dream began, I was walking down the sidewalk across from the parking lot on my first day back. The entrance, unlike in real life, was in a recessed area, looking much like a garage with no door, except that the floor was tiled. Once I stepped in, the entrance doors themselves were in a recessed alcove to the left.

There was a police car inside the garage-like area, facing the double glass doors. It was a tight fit because this area wasn't as large as a real garage and the car was facing sideways instead of straight in.

The driver's window was down and there were several red-and-blue bound law books resting on the window's "sill".

The car drove through the double doors and the law books fell out onto the ground. I went to pick the books up, then I went through the doors to find a long narrow room that had several desks and office personnel jammed up against the right wall in a row. At the top left of the room was a single door, which the car had also driven through. Inside the next room was the detectives' "bullpen".

The dream faded after this.

In the last dream, I was facing the wrong way on an interstate highway's shoulder. I was on my way to deliver a pizza, but I'd gotten lost and ended up stuck on the highway.

I got out of the car to walk up a ways to see if there was somewhere to turn around to get headed in the right direction.

A highway patrol car pulled up beside me and I leaned in the passenger window and said, "Hey, buddy." I immediately realized my mistake, as it was a female trooper, wearing her red hair in two pigtails. She decided to help me and not give me a ticket because she found me attractive.

She told me that I could back the car to the next exit; that it wasn't too far. I got in the car and backed a slight distance when I saw a break in the median. I decided to simply dash across that , where I merged with traffic that was heading in the same direction I was pointed.

Have any of you had an interesting dreams lately?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Don't Bother Us With Facts, We Have An Image To Maintain!

Once again, I've read something that shows just how insanely absurd some of our laws can be.

Last week, the Kentucky Supreme Court told a man he could no longer press the claim of paternity of his son, even though he has the incontrovertible proof of a DNA test that indicates that he is indeed the child's biological father.

Why, might you ask?

It's very simple. The child's mother was married to another man at the time of the conception and has remained married to that man throughout. The court considers holding up the image of what our society believes a marriage should be to be more important than the truth. They have decreed that in the interests of the institution of marriage, that a lie must take precedence over the truth.

Don't bother them with facts; they've got an image to maintain in Kentucky!

"As long as marriage is on the books, it must mean something," wrote Justice Bill Cunningham.

Really? Is he saying that it should mean more than the truth? I'd always thought that the law was about upholding the truth, no matter how inconvenient it may be to a society's ideals.

"We are in need of a bold declaration that the marriage circle, even one with an errant partner, will be invaded at one's own legal risk," he added. "While the legal status of marriage in this early 21st century appears to be on life support, it is not dead."

Marriage must really be in critical condition if he thinks the only way to support it is by perpetuating a lie, i.e., a "legal fiction".

But Kentucky's ruling is firmly grounded in legal history. The idea of "marital presumption" has barred attacks on the "legitimacy" of children for centuries. Courts have long held that allegations of fatherhood by third parties can only disrupt the family, confuse or embarrass the child, and unsettle the social order.

What the ruling ignored, however, is that these laws are obsolete in the face of modern technology, as in the instance of DNA tests, that can absolutely prove paternity. When such laws were adopted, there was no way to establish paternity with any certainty, thus these laws made better sense at the time.

Justice Lisabeth Hughes Abramson in a dissent attacking the majority's notion that the boy will be better off not knowing the truth about his parentage said, "Our world is full of inconvenient truths. We accomplish nothing for families, the broader community and our justice system when we deny those truths."

The truth is better than a lie, and the earlier the child learns the truth, the earlier he can adjust to it. I can't imagine it will be a happy moment for the boy when he inevitably finds out the truth as an adult and discovers he's been lied to all those years. His biological father isn't seeking custody or to deny him a relationship with his stepfather; he just wants to know his son, be a part of his life, and for the truth of his paternity to be formally acknowledged.

For laws to be respected and to have any relevance, they must keep pace with current realities. A law becomes obsolete and maladaptive when it is applied to circumstances that could not have existed at the time the law was enacted. To insist upon enforcing obsolete laws, even when they deny truth and perpetuate lies does not reflect the intentions of those who enacted the law with the information they had to work with at the time. Rather, it makes a mockery of the law.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Don't They Have Anything Better to Do

When I think I've heard everything when it comes to certain politicians wanting to turn this country into a Nanny state, I hear something new to prove me wrong.

Lawmakers in the Florida Senate have proposed a measure that would ban fake bull testicles that dangle from the trailer hitches of some trucks and cars.

Republican Sen. Cary Bake called the adornments offensive and proposed the ban. Motorists would be fined $60 for displaying the novelty items, which are known by brand names like "Truck Nutz".

Are you kidding me? Are these legislators bored and have nothing more important to devote their attention to? Are we paying them to outlaw tacky trucks? Don't they think that the police have enough...and indeed, too many...laws to enforce already?

Personally, I've never seen a set of "Truck Nutz", But one of the female police officers I worked with had a set of fake boobs attached to the grille on the front of her personal car and I thought that was pretty funny. I'm guessing if she'd lived in Florida, these busybodies would want to ban those, too.

And though the truck owners who have these things hanging from their trucks are no doubt micro-penised weenies trying to compensate, it's a free country and if that's how they want to express themselves, they should have the right to do so.

Is it any wonder that our government is going down the tubes?