Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Some end-of-the-year thoughts

As of Wed. afternoon, I'll be on vacation. Posting might be more sporadic than usual; however, I'm not going anywhere (like most Americans, I'm strapped right now - the depression hit our household in July sometime), so maybe I'll be inspired. Stay tuned, as they say.

Was talking to someone the other day who I've come to know as practical and gifted with the not-so-common trait of common sense. We weren't even near the topic of politics when somehow the topic suddenly loomed, and this guy repeats a few of the common BS wingnut tropes that Obama is gonna take away our guns, that he won't say the pledge of allegience, and he has no respect for the flag, which he demonstrated by having it removed from his campaign jet - all much to my disappointment and surprise. (Invasion of the Body Snatchers comes to mind.)


This is someone I can't just haul off and say, "Dude, you gotta stop watching Fox Pretend News. It's mostly bullshit. And what isn't bullshit is horseshit."

I've said it before that we should've kept those WWII rules on the books about foreign ownership of media outlets. I think that the second biggest threat to America is the existence of the huge propaganda machine that is Fox Pretend News and its bastard cousins, like the Moonie owned Washington Times and UPI (the first being the demolishment of a large part of the Constitution and the two depressions brought about by Bush's policies).

Oh, and this same guy said that "they" would probably blame this depression on Bush, too. Well, who the hell else IS there to blame but the guys who oversaw the dismantling of oversight and regulation on the finance industry, and the suppression of enforcing those laws that remain?

I think the mainstream news agencies need to set up fact-checking departments that constantly report all the lies and stretches of the truth these propaganda outlets excrete. Something like Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert do, but seriously. We can't legally force them out of business, but we could kill them with the facts.

Btw, here are the facts on Obama's stance on guns (one and two) and various efforts to corrupt the truth. (I usta like the NRA, too.) Here're the facts about the pledge of allegiance stuff and the flag on his plane.

We needs ourselves some reality patrol.

Roissy had a post about the future of robot sex and, from what I can tell, he wasn't kidding.

I was gonna write a whole take-down post, but then thought the better of it. (Partially because it would be just mean, but mostly because I couldn't make it very funny.)

Here's the gist of the take-down part: we already have life-size sex dolls that are just what he's talking about, they just don't move (which may be realistic for some guys, and let's just leave it at that). (Ok, let's not. Here's a hilarious song that contains a reference to moving around - here's the MP3 if you wanna add it to the iPod.) Besides, there's the uncanny valley (ha ha, sometimes they write themselves), and I think most people would be too creeped-out by a sex robot. To further state the obvious, sex is about way more than genital friction. If all the so-called betas of the world were gonna stay away from those scary real live girls and recede to the comforts of plastic, they'd have done it by now.

(I debated on putting this link up at all, but decided to leave the choice to go there to you. NSFW, natch. The sex dolls Roissy believes will conquer the betas are found at http://www.realdoll.com/.)

The reason I brought this up at all is to (again) pimp for the great Asimov robot series The Caves of Steel, The Naked Sun, and The Robots of Dawn.

In The Naked Sun, Asimov explores Roissy's scenario, where the whole human population is completely surrounded by robots, so they imprint (if you will) on them sexually - so much so that the government had to pass a law that forces everyone to have a human "spouse" whom they have to mate with to keep up the race. Essentially the scenario that Roissy lays out, but more thought through.

Then, in The Robots of Dawn, sexual mores are such that people screw as readily as we shake hands, and refusing sex is considered a very serious rebuff. One of the subplots involves a scientist who is estranged from his daughter because he wouldn't have sex with her when she asked (which is considered normal in that society) because he considers it wrong. So here we here we have the main, er, thrust of Roissy's preoccupation, getting laid as much as possible. Again, thought through a bit deeper.

Even if you don't like sci-fi, you'll like these.

We've been having a lot of talks around the house about time machines because my daughter's class read the classic by H.G. Wells. It's been fun because time travel has always been on of my favorite sci-fi topics.

TLD: The greatest of the best in time travel fiction are:
- Primer (Here's a graphic representation of the plot - a huge SPOILER natch. The wikipedia link also has a simpler graphic of the plot, so ignore it and see the flick first if you intend to.)
- The Man Who Folded Himself
- I also have warm feelings for the whole Back to the Future series, especially how they handle Marty's mom coming on to him. But, the time travel is really just a plot device and not a hardcore geeky examination of it, like the two above; the same goes for the great Terminator series.

Alas, real time travel is simply not possible according to Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow in the fun A Briefer History of Time. It has something to do with the fact that our universe isn't spinning.

So, when we were discussing time machines with MPC1, besides sharing the fact that it probably can't happen, we alerted her to the two smart-ass "there really is time travel" memes out there:
- We do travel in time: we are constantly moving forward through time.
- Our minds are time machines.

Sorry, but I can't go back in time and take out Hitler and Marx with my mind. Argument over.

That said, I had a very visceral memory evoked while I was writing the first section in this post, which gave birth to this section. The song "Riders on the Storm" by the Doors circled up in my playlist and suddenly I was sitting in the window of my dorm room, which was on the 14th floor, had no screen, and faced out across the campus; I was listening to that song echo and phase through the dorm buildings, an amazingly haunting sound I've never heard reproduced otherwise. The town had one FM station that all the college students tuned in to, and for some reason every time that song came on - the station always played it when it rained - everyone opened up their dorm windows and turned it way up, so it would echo across the campus. It was always a great moment.

Since we have a three-year-old, we have dealings with the big guy in the red, fur-trimmed suit. (I keep waiting for PETA to take on Santa, since they've done so many other brain-dead and ugly things.)

Or at least we try to have said dealings.

Our youngest is slightly braver than our eldest was at this age, but she just will NOT get near Santa. Just won't have it.

Yes, we have the requisite shot of both chilluns in full wail on Santa's lap, but this year MPC2 just said "no."

My suspicion as to why kids utterly freak out is: it's probably a lot like meeting God. Here's this huge guy who can magically get into your house and bring you toys, and he's supposed to be super nice and everything, but holy cow here he is IN THE FLESH!

Right now I'm reading the controversial "event" book, The Shack (and I don't remember which group doesn't like it, the fundies or the mainliners), where supposedly the hero talks with God. It'll be interesting to see how the fear angle is played, if at all. I've yet to read a (fictional) book about someone meeting God where they even deal with the topic of how truly terrifying it would be. In the Bible, the first thing the angel or messenger from God says to the poor soul is something like "fear not" or "don't freak out!", so it is clearly something that makes you loose your shit.

Hmmm, maybe I'll write a short story about Tom Cruise meeting Zenu!

This has been a very contemplative year for me as:
- Leaders I've loathed have been replaced (or soon will be) by leaders I like very much, both on the national scale and at work.
- My wife and I are facing the fact that our three-year-old is the last child we'll have. And she's already pretty much a kid, as she's completely potty trained, can speak in full sentences better than the current occupant, can count pretty high, and already recognizes many letters. We love kids and so this is bittersweet for us. We like that we're getting our adult lives back to some extent, but having a baby in the house sure is sweet.
- I'm truly, irrevocably middle-aged and am experiencing some standard things that come with that, such as I now typically prefer non-fiction to fiction (the fiction's got to be better than usual or I can't stay with it); I like pretty, melodic music more than I do bleeding edge stuff, though am thrilled that rock seems to be gaining ground again; and am completely invisible to anyone under 30. (Let me assure you that last one is not self-pity, but a fact. I'm more bemused by it than anything.)

So my mind drifts to hopes for the New Year.

I hope:
- My family is healthy, happy and safe.
- The depression will be short.
- The injuries and casualties to our troops will be as minimal as possible, and they'll be brought home.
- There are at least three music albums, a couple movies, and more than a few fictional novels that are amazing awaiting us out there in 2009.
- I finally drop some of this extra weight.
- All my friends who are getting divorced find solace and peace, and find someone new, if that is their wish. (This is the second wave of divorces I've experienced in my circle of friends).
- I still have a job throughout the year. (There doesn't appear to be any danger there, but I've been surprised before.)
- That I can manage to entertain you, dear reader, as much or more than I have in the past.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

European Commercials

Probably needless to say: NSFW!

Topless German (or Dutch?) Skydivers:

Link: Fleg Master Tlpizza

Source: Attu, also NSFW (though he tried not to be for a while).

After seeing this, I was chatting with my lovely wife and I opined, "if only we weren't so uptight about nudity in America, we'd have commercials like this, too." And the second that left my lips, the obvious probable result occurred to me: for at least three years, all we'd have were naked people in the commercials, given American advertising's predisposition to do whatever it takes to grab your attention.

Y'know, it's difficult enough to get through the dinner hour (when we watch the news) wading through every gross pharmaceutical*, feminine hygiene, and erectile dysfunction commercial, and then enduring ooey, gooey pizza commercials at 9 P.M., just when you're getting hungry again. Throwing nekkid boobage and pudenda - bald and pelted - into that mix would be a bit much. Hell, they'd probably demonstrate how to use tampons and condoms. The mind blanches.

*Though I have to admit, every time they have the "restless leg syndrome" drug commercials on, and they announce "impulse control disorders/compulsive behaviors may occur, such as gambling," I get a chuckle. I actually have this, and when my doctor suggested a prescription, I asked, "is that the drug where I'll end up in Vegas with a hooker on each arm?" He said if I did, I should inform him, preferably before I go so he can come, too. I actually loathe gambling, so I've not noticed any of those sort of side effects.

Anyway, back to the nekkid skydivers; something about their breasts dangling as prettily as they were jogged a memory. I remembered seeing this once (here's a second source in case the first link evaporates), and realized it was all special effects. You can't have concave breasts in your commercial for heaven's sake. Unless it's one for breast enhancement, of course.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Best Vocalists, according to moi

Rolling Stone polled a portion of music royalty to compile a list of "The 100 Greatest Singers of All Time". The issue was late in arriving, so decided I put together a list of who I thought should appear beforehand, just to see how much convergence there would be. Well, heavens to Murgatroid, here are the very few we agreed upon (in a very rough most fave to less fave order):

- Kurt Cobain
- Rod Stewart
- Elvis Presley
- Karen Carpenter
- Don Henley
- James Taylor
- Paul Rodgers
- Sam Cooke
- Stevie Wonder

Nine out of a hundred.

I choose to take that as a double-edged commentary on my musical tastes. I've always warned friends, lovers, and roommates (and my wife, who's all three) that I will eventually force them to ask to stop playing something, because I love it all 'cept gangster rap and opera. And I'll even listen to the bigger hits in those genres, too.

So, here's what remains of my list. This also ended up in rough order of faves near the top, which surprised me that it organically flowed into three categories, 1) the stellar voices who defy genre, 2) the rockers, 3) the crooners, with one little leftover.

The miracles:
- Nat King Cole: A voice for the ages. There's not enough hyperbole to fawn about this guy.

- Stephen Stills: I think this guy doesn't get the accolades he deserves (for his guitar chops, either) because, according to what I've read, he's a real arrogant prick who knows how talented he is. Sad that it would diminish that. I'm happy I've never met him so I can enjoy his amazing purr of a voice (and that guitar!).

- Maria McKee: I'll listen to this babe sing even a barely average song. My complete collection of her work thus far proves that in spades. She has some great songs there, but too many aren't worthy of her pipes. I'd love to see her do two albums: 1) a covers disc, 2) a disc of new songs written by big deal songsmiths, like "Show Me Heaven" that she did for that stupid race car movie.

- John Denver: I saw him on his last Denver show; man his voice had continued to grow. Overexposure and a weird public backlash expecting him to somehow be better than a mere human really seems to have eclipsed his music. But, damn it's good stuff. Like he sings about sunshine, his songs can make me cry.

- Dwight Yoakam: Trying to pick one performance that showcases how wonderful his voice is is nearly an exercise in futility .. just pick one! Any one! But if you have to pick just one, try that note he holds on the word "eternally" in "Johnson's Love." If you don't get goosebumps, call your doctor soon.

- Elvis Costello: Elvis can do it all. Try "Brilliant Mistake" on for size to hear for yourself.

- Rickie Lee Jones: To me, this woman is the style and phrasing master of the universe. Hope they have her complete works on the shelves in Heaven. (Presuming, of course.)

- David Gilmore: The nice voice of Pink Floyd. C'mon, you know you love him, too.

- Billy Joel: This is the one of the two guys where it amazes me he's not on the Rolling Stone list. Haven't these folks heard "Until the Night"? Sheesh.

- Alana Davis: She may be too young and fresh - and not widely popular enough - to be on this list. But her voice haunts me. Gawd it's wonderful.

- Gerry Rafferty: If you haven't really listened to how good this guy is, it's probably because the sheer vibrancy of his songs overshadows him. Try "Whatever's Written in Your Heart".

- Linda Ronstadt: This is the other guy who should be on this list. People sure have short memories. But, then again, these are mostly rock stars who did the list.

- Don Fagen: Mr. Steely Dan hisownself. I played "Deacon Blues" when I saw this omission. Was "I want a name when I lose" a self-fulfilling prophecy here?

- Dean Martin: If you've heard him, this probably needs no explanation. If you haven't, then you're just young. I bet he was in the rat pack so Sinatra could keep an eye on him. Or maybe it was that mafia "keep your enemies closer" thing. Best of that generation. My only quibble is the arrangements in his songs are sometimes corny and not as timeless as Sinatra's. That said, I still prefer his voice over Sinatra's.

- Bing Crosby: Like Dean, you know if you know.

The Rockers:
- Bob Seger: Who doesn't love themselves some Seger? He's such a part of the fabric of rock as a whole, maybe it didn't occur to anyone to include him anymore than people think of air when they breathe. Then again, it could be jealousy.

- Chrissie Hynde - Her performance on "Show Me" still moves me to goosebumps and sometimes still mists me up. Probably not a better song about how you feel when you have a baby.

- David Hidalgo (of Los Lobos): Smooth. Laid back. Sells the song. Most of the guys in Los Lobos are good at the mic, but I think Mr. Hidalgo is their gem.

- Terry Reid: The biggest "shoulda been a contender" of all time. Go listen to samples and wonder why.

- Micheal McDonald: So unique, you can pick him out of Steely Dan background vocals. If you know how Steely Dan does things, that's a statement unto itself.

- Tom Johnston (of the Doobie Brothers): "China Grove"? "Listen to the Music"? Beuller? Bueller? Who doesn't know and love this guy's distinctive howl?

- Dave Peverett ("Lonesome Dave") (of Foghat): Quintessential rock voice. Slow ride, baby.

- Burton Cummings (of the Guess Who): Like Seger and Stills, one of those great butter-on-sandpaper rock vocalists.

- Sting: Not as versatile as most here on the list, but still a unique, unmistakable sound that fits rock, jazz and stalker songs.

The Crooners:
- Lyle Lovett: His velvety lonesome croak rides across some of the best songs ever written, backed by one of the best bands around today. He is an event unto himself.

- Cee-Lo Green (Thomas Callaway) (of Gnarls Barkely) - Might be too young and unestablished to earn a "best ever" seat right now, but he will if he keeps it up.

- Chris O'Connor (of Primitive Radio Gods): This one might be more of a personal preference than a universal contender for best among the best. Love the voice, tho.

- Charlie Rich: Another old-timer who has probably been forgotten by the music biz and remembered only by fans. If you want a sample of his powers, listen to "Nothing In The World (To Do With Me)" from his biggest album The Most Beautiful Girl.

- Darius Rucker (formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish): I think the blowfish owe their success to this guy's voice. Now he's a big country hit.

- BJ Thomas: Mr. "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head". He had a few hits, but with voice he shouldn't dominated the charts for most of his career. Rumor has it that ego and booze got in the way.

- Larry Gatlin: Amazing voice, but cocaine kept him from being bigger than he was. If talent were all it was about, he'd still be on the radio.

- Barbara Streisand: Now, how could a list of great singers not include da Babs? I wasn't surprise that it wasn't there - she's made a lot of enemies - but at least she should've been included in the selection committee. I don't think I need to praise or defend her singing; we've all heard it. And you know when it's her. There you have it.

The one non-singer (or as Mick Jagger refers to himself, a "vocalist" as compared to singer):
- Robert Smith (of The Cure): Smith doesn't sing, he ... well who really knows what he does other than him. His songs are endlessly fascinating, particularly given his vocal limitations, and I find myself actually listening to how he phrases things and what notes (if you can call them that) he hits - unlike, say, Neil Young or even Mick Jagger where I might enjoy the performance, but am not all that taken with the delivery thereof. I really should have him up in the "miracle" list, but then he deserves his own category.

And there you have it.

I do have some quibbles with some folks who did make the Rolling Stone list.

I have never liked Frank Sinatra all that much, though I understand what an influence he was. Personally, I just an not all that impressed with the basics of his voice. I think his phrasing and other stylistic quirks are original and can enjoy those. But his pipes are rather average if you ask me.

I also think Aretha is overrated. I do love some of her songs. The most famous collection of her songs (and inexplicably unavailable new) is Aretha's Gold, which - even though it's a hit's package - like Elton John's first hits set, is an entity unto itself. Still, her voice just doesn't strike me like the voices listed above do. Perhaps here's where my plebeian side shows.

My final question is how in the HELL did either Lou Reed or Neil Young get on that list?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Q: What's Worse than Creationism?

A: When (real) scientists claim they've gotten to the bottom of something when they haven't even gotten to second base.

Full Disclosure: Rant ahead.

The offense of both is neither has anything to do with actual science, or more specifically, any real proof that support their claims.

Case in point - a paper that was published recently about the phenomenon of widows and widowers seeing their recently deceased spouse and sometimes even having conversations with them. (Btw, I won't bother ranting about the abomination that is Creationism as it kneecaps itself. Christ on a dinosaur.)

Here's the abstract:
Ratings of grief reactions, post-bereavement hallucinations and illusions and quality of life were made during the first year after the death of a spouse among 14 men and 36 women in their early seventies. In both sexes, the reactions were generally moderate or mild and characterized by loneliness, low mood, fatigue, anxiety and cognitive dysfunctioning. Feeling lonely was the most persistent problem during the year. Post-bereavement hallucinations or illusions were very frequent and considered helpful. Half of the subjects felt the presence of the deceased (illusions); about one third reported seeing, hearing and talking to the deceased (hallucinations). Former marital harmony was found to make a person more prone to loneliness, crying and hallucinations or illusions. The quality of life was significantly lower among the bereaved than among married people and those who never married, but equalled that found among divorcees.

Here's the Slashdot.org post about it. It contains the link to the site that has the paper, but apparently you have to pay to download the paper itself.

My rub is the ASSUMPTION that these are hallucinations these folks are experiencing.

Now, yes, science typically operates under the unstated assumption that there are no supernatural causes or explanations for anything. That's fine. However, I don't feel that you can entirely dismiss events that cannot be entirely explained in cases like this - especially when it's a common occurrence that results from a specific event. That alone to me suggests that we need to leave the door open to what might be the actual cause and not write them off as mere hallucinations.

Listen, both my grandma and a great aunt of mine had this happen. These two ladies were WWII tough cookies who had been hard partiers back in the day (another one of those "greatest generation" things), so they knew a hallucination when they saw one. My grandma didn't tell anyone for years, because she was concerned someone would think she was nuts. When it happened to my aunt, she called my grandma because she knew about her seeing her hubby, too. She asked if she were going nuts because it certainly wasn't a hallucination. Grandma assured her she wasn't. Thank God neither of them asked a scientist.

If you're curious:
1)My grandma's "event": Her deceased husband just came walking down the hall into the dining room, stopped in front of the basement door, announced he was there to get his tools, opened the door, and went to the basement.
2)My aunt's "event": She heard something downstairs in the middle of the night, something like a chair scraping. As she was the only person home - "home" being a remote farmhouse - she figured she'd better check it out. Sitting in his favorite chair at the kitchen table was her deceased husband. When she arrived, he stood, announced that he needed to do some gardening (it was winter), and he went out the front door. The chair remained slid out from the table, so she knew it wasn't a dream or hallucination.

So, here are two level-headed ladies seeing something they shouldn't. Both dead husbands didn't say anything all that grand or enlightening. If it were a hallucination brought about by loneliness and grief, you'd think there'd be a bit more wish-fulfillment and comfort, not these odd statements about toolboxes and gardening. And, one left a door open and the other moved a chair. 'Slain that.

In other science (or more accurately, corporate) news, babies are dying because a company has a patent on the DNA sequence related to the disease, and charges thousands of dollars to test for it. There's a special place in hell, I'm tellin' ya....

Tell you what, people's babies dying because they can't afford an available test is going to create one hell of a monster. You are going to see executives gunned down as they leave work, angry mobs with torches, etc. Mark my words, baby.

And wouldn't it be rich if the superbug the scientists have been predicting for years came from mars?
Weird Art

Funny and inexplicable, but tells a whole story. I examined the picture closely looking for the Pope's hat since an infamous call and response is "Does a bear shit in the woods?" followed by the rejoinder "Does the Pope wear a funny hat?", but there isn't one that I can see. Alert me if you spot it.

The artist's site.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Gold Digger

Apparently there's an article/blog causing a small kurfuffle in the how-will-this-look obsessive feminist circles about a chick from Pennsylvania who was raised wealthy, but couldn't get a job that allowed her to live the lifestyle she was accustomed to (as a young person, straight out of college - image that), so she became some guy's concubine, with the posh apartment and the clothes in exchange for a few mattress rides.

"Holy pearl necklace, Batman!" they wonder, "Isn't this the same thing as prostitution?!?!"

Of course, Robin. But... well, let's come back to that.

I once knew a girl who's stated goal in life was to find a sugar-daddy. Last I heard, she had.

She informed me of this goal before I really got to know her (and I do NOT mean in the Biblical sense, more on that in a bit), and I was kind of shocked - partially because I'd always been somewhat provincial and naive when it comes to the complexity and variety of sexual mores out there. Eventually I have come to realize that there are a lot of folks out there who will fuck at the drop of a hat. To them, it's a just a function, or an activity on par with playing a round of Wii with someone. I never quite located the sexual boundaries of the lady in question - let's call her "Lolita" for convenience and because she wore the iconic heart-shaped sunglasses - because they were either not there or out so far on the horizon as to be invisible.

Lolita was engaged to a frat boy when she announced her sugar-daddy procurement life goal. She had even moved in with him as he attended college and was working in a lowly video store with me, biding time until her wedding day. (I was there because Ronnie Raygun's slashing of education funds had put graduate school out of reach for me; I had to drop out. I was cooling my heels, planning my next move since more edumakation wasn't going to be it.) (Oh, and here's a story about her when she went to help some poor unsuspecting onanist find a porno - scroll down to "TLD: Quick side story.")

I naturally assumed the fiancée was going to be that sugar-daddy; after all, he was the president of his frat, was majoring in business, and appeared to already have access to lots of cash.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that she was regularly screwing one of the store managers after closing time on the risers in the showroom where we had our TVs (which were by several large windows), before she'd head home to her betrothed. Said manager told me this one day when I was defending her honor because some of the other employees were talking smack about her. Btw, the manager had steady girl, too, so he was a cheating SOB as well.

Then she started talking about being abused by her fiancée. Once he reportedly he punched her so hard that her head bounced off the passenger car window.

Well, hussy or not, no one should put up with abuse, so I agreed to help her move out when he was supposed to be out of the apartment one day. Sure enough, mid-move he arrives and starts the male silverback gorilla displays. Eventually he was gonna blow and start swinging at us, so I told Lolita to cut bait and pick the stuff she had to have, and leave for another day anything expendable. Luckily, we had managed to get everything and were on the last load, so off we went. He stood at the door, shirtless (and amazingly hirsute), arms raised and yelling at us, punching the door jam for emphasis. We had gotten out just in time.

She had a passing resemblance to Jessica Lange (as I mention in my side-story in that other post I linked to above), though a little more girl-next-door plain Jane, and somewhat of a doughy body, which she liked to show off. Over all, though, she was still a looker. It was obvious that most guys thought "I'd hit that" when they saw her (though that particular phrase did not exist back then).

She was a charmer, too. She once talked a security guard into letting us onto a private beach that only neighborhood residents were allowed to use. We were the only two people on the beach who were under 50, under 200 lbs., and not sporting a George Hamilton leathery tan. One guy was so brown the he probably got a funny look at the DMV when he claimed he was a white guy.

I mention that because this she is the ONLY woman whom I found attractive where I had no desire whatsoever to "hit that." She just didn't do it for me on that level for some reason. To this day I still can't explain it. For the most part, what Billy Crystal's character says in When Harry Met Sally is true: "no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her." Lolita was the one exception in my life so far.

And it was to this extreme: one day we were at the park sun-worshiping together, laying face to face, and her boob popped out. We've all heard of the "flight or fight" response; well, young men have a third just-as-automatic biological imperative that kicks into motion when they see a real live nekkid women, or any pink part thereof. To my surprise, mine merely glanced and went back to whatever it does on its own time. I said, "Your boob popped out." She said, "Oh, sorry," and put it back. And that's all there was to it.

Let me give you some perspective on how that usually goes. Once, I was buying a record, and when the salesgirl bent over to get a bag, her sweatshirt fell open enough that I got a full view of the grand tetons. My ears began to ring, I blushed so violently that I could even see my own nose turn red, and I started to shake. As I was leaving the store, I walked into the door and bounced off as I hadn't even attempted to open it. I found I had utterly lost the ability to speak. Outside, I nearly walked into a parking meter, and I walked off in the opposite direction from where I had parked. Now THAT'S a proper "spotting a breast in wild" response.

TLD: Btw, the end of our day in the park was inauspicious. Being Midwesterners, we sill hadn't grasped most of the racial politics of the south (the south east, to be specific). The park we were in was patronized by only whites in the day (and we'd noticed it was rather lily white when we arrived but naively chalked it up to black people not needing to suntan), but as dusk approached, a quiet, swift changeover took place. I don't know if we had our heads down dozing or what, but we both looked up at the same time and noticed we were the only white people there - and we noticed everyone else really noticing us. We got up and packed with faux casualness and made our egress. As we approached our car, someone yelled out, "It's about damn time!" A couple people even smacked our car as we pulled away. That, as they say, was a close one.

Anyway, after we had some adventures together, and her affair with the store manager (and others, reportedly) had petered out, she went back to her home town. One of the women at the store who stayed in touch with her said she'd gotten a call from Lolita about three months later where she ecstatically announced she'd found her sugar-daddy; that he was decent-looking and somewhat old, so he'd probably die within just a few years, leaving his money to her. She was so happy!!!!

Godspeed, sweetheart.

Anyway, back to the initial concern, is this essentially prostitution? Yeah, kinda.

But so what - in a current-cultural-trends sense. Here we are, in an age where gay people are trying to change the law to recognize their relationships as legal entities so it's more expensive when they break up, the same as secular marriage between a man and a woman. And, where liberal editorialists, when they write about relationships, almost always genuflect to queer theory that everyone is really gay inside if only they'd face it (scroll down to "And as for girl-on-girl diversions").

So if a gal decides that a posh apartment is a fair trade for essentially being a sex slave, and this person is a consenting adult - why is it ours to judge her when we are supposedly moving towards acceptance of other sexual lifestyles that have been considered taboo, too?

(Do I think this is morally squishy myself? Yes. But that's about how I choose to live my own life, not about what I would impose on others. As long as those others are consenting adults.)

Just imagine what it's going to be like when the Mormon splinter groups foment for polygamy. That's gonna be big fun. Can't hardly wait.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Found Life

A while ago, this note dropped out of one of my library books:

What an odd combo of things to list, eh? Bible chapters, a reminder to put away the clothes, a reminder to respond to personal emails...

I'd have assumed it was someone with early Alzheimer's, except it's on the back of a completed NYT crossword puzzle. Or that might be evidence FOR that guess, since people with memory problems are urged to do puzzles like that for mental exercise.

But, then again, we're all different; I just would never leave reminders for stuff that is right there in front of you - like laundry and emails - so I can't imagine anyone else doing it. I mean, if you have to be reminded to do stuff like that, how do you get through a relatively complex day? Where would you leave yourself a reminder to stop at stop signs?

I personally don't memorize things I can look up because I've always been terrible at rote memorization, which some folks find odd. (Einstein did that, too.) But there are folks out there who can memorize stuff after a couple passes, and that's how they operate.

So, I'm taking quite the leap by assuming the author's a bit simple because she needed to write down a reminder to take a stack of laundry and put it in the drawer, for crying out loud...

Also, at first, I assumed the author was a guy. Gender feminists would say I did it out of sexism - leaping to a conclusion, but actually I assumed maleness due to the vapidity of the note in relation to chores, even though it does mention a facial, and the bad handwriting. Most women I know don't need to make lists for anyone other than their poor husbands, and when they do, the penmanship is usually close to calligraphy. And apparently it's common enough for guys to get facials these days that Brad Paisley put it in a song (that sample doesn't include the verse, here):

These days there's dudes gettin' facials,
manicured, waxed and botoxed.
With deep spray-on tans
and creamy lotiony hands
you can't grip a tackle box.

My wife is pretty sure it's a woman, though, and I'm now convinced it is, too.

Anyway, I got a whole half hour of amusement out of this. Frinstance, why are some items marked with a star and others aren't? Completion? Importance? Your guess is as good as mine. Is "stuff" a category, an acronym, or an item unto itself? Aren't all the things on the list "stuff"?

If you dig this kind of ... stuff, like moi, there's a whole site dedicated to it: http://www.foundmagazine.com/


Monday, December 01, 2008

Some Decent Mashups
Read: "Free Music"

Attu Sees All is doing his gol-darndest best to be SFW, but alas, is still kinda PG-13, imho. BUT, he is the best source for mashups this side of the Daytona 500.

Two I've really liked recently are:
- Mashed in Plastic: Source Page - Attu's Post -- this one is a remix of all the music and themes from David Lynch films.
- Flying White Dots: Source Page - Attu's Post

Btw, for those of you in the cheap seats (and by that I've always meant the last ones to hear it - nothing pejorative meant), a mashup is where someone with the patience and the software has mixed together existing source songs. It's still unclear if these are illegal or not.

I found this on Attu, too. Star Trek vs. Star Wars. Cute. I do wonder, though, about the guys (and you know it's guys) who spend all the time it takes to construct something like this.

Suffice to say, if'n yer not offended by the occasional rash of lust and/or nudity, Attu is really a fine and fun site.

Yes, I'll have to talk to Jesus about this one.