What I carry – a #letsblogoff post

7 Comments

penandpaper What I carry   a #letsblogoff post

Some time around my junior year in high school, I bought myself a blue and silver pen. It wasn’t anything special — a Parker or Papermate — but it was just the right weight, thickness and flow of ink. I carried that pen everywhere I went, through college and the first few years of my professional life.

I even bought a Mont Blanc pen to go with the suits I was required to wear, but I kept coming back to that pedestrian blue pen. I suspect it embarrassed a few of my colleagues, but that was their issue.

Then one day, I lost it. Or it was taken from me through the careless act of someone borrowing it and walking away with it while I was distracted. And I have spent the past fifteen or so years trying to replace it with no luck at all. The Fisher Space Pen and Moleskin notebook I carry now comes close, but… it’s not the same.

I carry a pen and paper with me, even as I forget my wallet and phone at home. I am never without a pen.

What? That wasn’t the real theme? You were wondering about emotional baggage and all that other stuff? Yeah, well, that’s why I write. What I want to tell you I carry, I do here.

And when I write it down, I am no longer carrying it because I gave it to you to hold for a while. Or cast away.

With my pen.

This blog post is part of a blog-off series with a group of bloggers from different professions and world views, each exploring a theme from his/her world view. This was about answering the question, What are you carrying? To explore how others handled the theme, check them out below. I will add links as they publish.

white 15 What I carry   a #letsblogoff postSend to Kindle
Comment | 7 Comments
Posted in BlogOff, Just thinking out loud, Pop Culture | Tagged | 7 Comments

None of your reality is really real

3 Comments

mainstreet None of your reality is really real

This is the town center of North Clayton Village in Clayton, Ohio. It has a nice wide Main Street, store front shops, a coffee shop, a park around the corner and apartments on top of the shops. It has everything you would ever want in a village.

Only it is a fake.

The stores are real; the houses people live in are real and the coffee is real, but it is a a planned, manufactured town straight out of a Norman Rockwell print. It is nostalgia. It is a movie set, a Pleasantville or a Walt Disney town square. Only it is marketed as a place to live and work for real people. It is a place that TV told us existed in the “good ol’ days.” It is the “pro-America” of the Sarah Palin VP tour.

It is a place where real people can immerse their entire lives living in a fantasy.

Eventually, they convince themselves this is real life.

if you think this is a bit far-fetched, consider our cultural migration sixty or so years ago. As the WWII vets came home, they were sold a Dream of a white picket fence, a car and a detached garage. They had seen a world of ugliness, their families lived through a period of austerity and they wanted it to end. They wanted a more sanitized, orderly, predictable life.

Home builders and local governments pushed the Dream as a “reality” to a burgeoning population. There was money to be made in building houses, selling cars, building roads, electric grids and water pipes to the center of nowhere. Eventually, the false “communities” of suburbia became a reality of what the American Dream is.

Harmless. Until that façade BECOMES your reality. And you start making public policy based on your perception of that reality. Or a national economy crumbles, leaving vast communities of people stranded in a pocket of land, fed by expensive roads and gasoline-fueled connections where people have to travel large distances to work instead of being able to walk to the office.

The Conservative Conference is being held today in Des Moines, Iowa and Rep. Steve King had a short interview on NPR. He declared that the economic ills are caused by the cultural ills of our country, specifically the attack on marriage and the breakdown of the two-parent family. He asserts that the “ideal way to raise children is with a two-parent family… with an anchor in their faith” and that if we fix that, all the economic ills of America will be fixed.

Each of those thing — marriage, two-parents, religion — are all artificial institutions designed by government for population control. All of them are as artificial as the North Clayton Village. The reality Rep. King is referring to is the reality TV of the 1950s Ozzy and Harriet, Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver that never was.

When you make public policy based on realities that you refuse to accept never were, it is the same as averaging averages. You never arrive at the right answer and never know why. And all you know how to do is average more.

For the party that claims to be governing based on the Constitution, its members have failed to understand the most profound lesson on culture issues taught by the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment and subsequent repeal by the twenty-first. Alcohol then was seen as the demon of American “wholesomeness” and was portrayed by the temperance movement as the root of all evils of civilized life. Get rid of the booze, they argued, and you will create a moral middle class.

That also turned out to be a fake. And the results produced far more immorality than the sponsors intended.

But it did grow an economy, stupid.

This post inspired by something Paul Anater said during a recent telephone conversation. Paul is most definitely not a fake human being. You can read his blog here. All these thoughts above are my own and Paul is not to blame for any of my conclusions or assertions, though I’m confident if he agrees or disagrees, he will do so below.

.

white 15 None of your reality is really realSend to Kindle
Comment | 3 Comments
Posted in American Culture, Dayton Ohio, Just thinking out loud, Local politics, Ohio, Political thoughts, Pop Culture, Serious Stuff, Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

How I know bigotry is alive in Middle America

2 Comments

I was passing through the playground at a nearby school in Englewood, Ohio. Sallie had climbed up the stairs that ended in a tube slide and I thought it might be cool if I encouraged her to slide down.

So, I poked my head in on the bottom side so I could see her at the top to talk her down. My eye caught the graffiti on the inside top of the slide.

I took a photo of it and it is posted below.

lesbos How I know bigotry is alive in Middle America

In case it is hard to read, the words “I [heart] lesbos” is etched into the plastic.

The media of the east and west coasts may have convinced themselves that bigotry and hatred are dead in America — especially with the eager adoption of gay marriage and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell — but what kids scratch into the inside of playground equipment tells me we have a very, very long way to go.

They learn this from somewhere.

.

white 15 How I know bigotry is alive in Middle AmericaSend to Kindle
Comment | 2 Comments
Posted in American Culture, Dayton Ohio, Just thinking out loud, Local politics, Ohio, Pop Culture, Random Stuff | Tagged , | 2 Comments

How I accidentally learned German and the real meaning of cheating

5 Comments

hstypingclass How I accidentally learned German and the real meaning of cheating

I was going through an old high school yearbook and came upon this photo above. It reminded me of my typing class a very long time ago.

My dad worked at a heavy equipment dealer that sold bulldozers, backhoes and road-laying equipment. He used to bring home tons of stuff that the company would just throw out anyway (at least that what he said.) Among our valued possessions as kids were typing stands, huge nuts and bolts, big boxes of railroad marking chalk, a large slate chalkboard and lots of manual typewriters the company was getting rid of when electric ones came out.

By the sixth grade, I had learned how to type at least 85 words per minute and was publishing my own newspaper, The Van Buren Times with editorial offices at 670 Van Buren Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104. It was an 8 1/2×11 sheet, 4 column, 2 sided newspaper which was a bear to set with an old Royal typewriter. I’m certain the endless clatter and ink fingerprints of five kids gave my mom no end of angst, but she was good at biting her tongue when my dad was around, especially when it came to writing and music (but that is a story for another day.)

When I started high school, I had signed up for typing class as a freshman, thinking this was going to be an easy A. The first day, we all were seated — me in the back row — introduced to the typewriter (electrics!) and how to care for the cover, where the home row was, etc. We were then told to type the left home row, then the right, then the left, etc.

The class dutifully typed. Rat…. tat…. tat… tat. Rat…. tat…. tat… tat.

And I begin: Ra-ta-ta-tat. Ra-ta-ta-tat. Ra-ta-ta-tat. Ra-ta-ta-tat with machine-gun like precision and speed.

“MR. DOGG!!” bellowed Sister Mary Whatever from the front of the room. “DO you think this class is a JOKE?”

Everyone fell silent as she marched toward my desk and looked at my paper in the carriage, fully expecting to see jibberish. The paper was perfectly aligned and the letters were all correctly typed. a-s-d-f-g ;-l-k-j-h.

“Put the cover back on that machine, get your things and march into the hallway,” she ordered.

When we got in the hallway, she closed the door and started yelling at me.

“Don’t you know it is a MORTAL SIN to cheat your way to an A? Your mom and dad pay good money for you to come to this school and you will burn in HELL for ….. cheat yourself and cheat God and cheat your fellow classmates by not …. talents and …. ” It went on for what seemed forever in nun-speak. All I heard was the crackling of hell-fires licking at my rear end.

“Give me you schedule,” she demanded. “Come with me.”

We marched down the hallway, through the cafeteria and into the old school building.

“Pardon me, Sister, but I have another student who would like to take your German class. Do you have room?” she asked the nun who was sitting at a desk on a rather tall stage at the front of the class.

And she left me there where I showed up every day for the next four years, struggling with German, not getting an easy A but loving every minute of it.

.

white 15 How I accidentally learned German and the real meaning of cheatingSend to Kindle
Comment | 5 Comments
Posted in American Culture, Just thinking out loud, Pop Culture, Puppyhood, Random Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Triangle Shirt Company fire

2 Comments

Lest we forget how things were just a hundred years ago. It appears some in Wisconsin and Ohio have already. March 25, 1911 was not all that long ago.

Those who do not read and understand history are not only bound to repeat the mistakes of the past, but drag an entire generation with them. An informed, educated, literate citizenry is essential for a democracy to sustain itself.

I suppose that is why conservatives are also attacking teachers and have declared war on book nerds.

white 15 The Triangle Shirt Company fireSend to Kindle
Comment | 2 Comments
Posted in American Culture, Business, Just thinking out loud, Kasich Kuts, Local politics, Ohio, Political thoughts, Serious Stuff | Tagged | 2 Comments

Here, let me help you

9 Comments

help Here, let me help you

“Here, let me help you with that,” I heard to my left as I was waiting for some testing at the doctor’s office. I glanced over to an older gentleman who was trying to tie his shoe that has come undone. His wife had jumped in to tie his shoe for him.

Our eyes met briefly before he turned his head, silently resigned to the public indignity of having someone else tie his own shoes for him. And what made it worse was that he had to accept it from someone whom he should be trusting would never inflict that embarrassment on him.

Throughout the drive home, I could not shake this man’s eyes from my own mind’s eye. In a moment, he showed anger, shame and then resignation as he stared off into the distance. He knew I knew what he was thinking and feeling and he didn’t want to share that with me.

In the ensuing time between that chance encounter, we’ve seen the revolution in Egypt, the tragedies in Japan and the revolt in Libya. At every instance, we’ve had groups of people in this country rise up and demand that the United States — specifically President Obama — get in there and help. And I kept thinking back to that old man in the waiting area and how his wife jumped in without his permission to tie his shoe for him. I was sure he did not feel at all “helped” but emasculated.

Are we jumping in to help because it solves a problem for us or for the people we are trying to help? Do we ask ourselves this question before we demand that our leaders do something?

Shouldn’t we be asking, “What do you need?” before we jump in to help out? Should the person we’re asking trust us to believe he knows what he needs better than we do?

What the old man needed from his wife was patience while he tied his own shoe and the resolve to allow him the dignity of self-reliance — regardless of how long that took — even if the nurse came in and tried to rush him along for his testing. While I’m sure in her mind she was helping him, she was really only helping herself cope with her own annoyance at having to wait for him to tie his shoe. To her, the issue was hurrying the process of getting him into his medical testing appointment on time.

Sometimes all we need to help another is the patience and strength to just be there as he struggles through helping himself.

This post was inspired by Saxon Henry who pulled this memory out of my brain with her post A Steady View of Heaven which is part of The Road to Promise. Please read it.

.

white 15 Here, let me help youSend to Kindle
Comment | 9 Comments
Posted in American Culture, Dayton Ohio, Just thinking out loud, Pop Culture, Random Stuff | Tagged | 9 Comments

Celebrating Spring 2011 like dogs

Comments Off

We’re celebrating the first day of spring 2011 like the dogs we are. Enjoy!

white 15 Celebrating Spring 2011 like dogsSend to Kindle
Comment | Comments Off
Posted in Cute Puppy Videos | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

I have to move to Brooklyn, NYC

Comments Off

I want to be represented by Anthony Weiner.

The sad part is all the Republicans probably just waited for him to just quit talking.

white 15 I have to move to Brooklyn, NYCSend to Kindle
Comment | Comments Off
Posted in American Culture, Clever Stuff, Just thinking out loud, Political thoughts, Pop Culture, Random Stuff | Tagged , , | Comments Off

How’s your penmanship coming along? The notecard project

3 Comments

dear3 Hows your penmanship coming along? The notecard project

Earlier this year, I found Kara Matuszewski’s (@karamat) blog because she started following me on twitter and read a post she had written about hand-written notes. I clicked into the comment box to send her a note, stopped cold and thought, “Wait a minute, I can do better!”

And I went searching for her mailing address, pieced that together and sent her a hand-written note, thanking her for following me on twitter. (I know, corny but so what)

But then I got to thinking that while I send out thank you notes more often than most people, I probably don’t do it enough. Besides, my penmanship is getting worse and worse because I don’t practice. So, I bought me some Moleskins (I know, a cliché) and started writing my to do list in them to practice.

As I was writing last night, (I had a flashback of John Boy from the Waltons sitting at his desk, writing the events and thoughts of the day in his journal but that’s not the point) I realized that not only was my penmanship going down the tubes, but so was my ability to compose a quick thought on a thank you card or a note. It seems simple, but when I get to a blank card, I struggle for the right words. I used to be able to dash off half a dozen before finishing my first cup of coffee in the morning. Way back, when people sent cards.

So, here is the project: Starting April 1st and through the end of 2011, I want to send one note card a day to someone who follows me on twitter or reads this blog. It will help me get my penmanship and note-writing skills back as well as have something physical that connects me to you.

At the end of the year, I will have sent out 274 cards and connected with as many people in a more real way than just a tweet or a comment.

I will scan each card and share at the end of the year (minus your mailing address, of course.) I am not doing this to build a mailing list or anything so you need not worry about giving me your info. Just a fun little project that will help me gain back some skills and have some fun and human connection along the way. Maybe I’ll even build a Google map to see how far and wide we are all connected.

Ready?

Want a card? Fill out the form here.

*I’m starting April 1st because I need to get some cards printed up. I went looking to buy some at the store yesterday and found out the selection of stationery has really gone downhill since the email became fashionable. The first hundred or so will probably not be as skillfully done, but you can call them ‘my early works’ if you’d like.

white 15 Hows your penmanship coming along? The notecard projectSend to Kindle
Comment | 3 Comments
Posted in Clever Stuff, Creatives, Dayton Ohio, Just thinking out loud, Pop Culture, Random Stuff, Social Media | 3 Comments

Cool your jets – a #letsblogoff post

20 Comments

hurricane Cool your jets   a #letsblogoff post

When I was offered a job with Huffy that moved me from Minneapolis to Dayton, I was a young, ambitious, go-getter. Go, go, go. I supposed that is why they wanted me; lots of energy, lots of ideas, gonna change the world.

There was the courtship, the salary dance, the relocation package, the offer letter and then that period of silence. I was eager to get things decided, locked down, set on a to do list, go, go, go and these people were not returning my calls. What the hell was going on? I needed to know!

And then I get a call from Sandy, an older woman in the Human Resources department whom I knew only vaguely. She would later turn out to be a very good friend.

“Cool your jets,” she said.

I learned all I needed to know about salesmanship from those three little words, only I didn’t know it at the time. I learned that there was a natural ebb and flow to persuasion, that people needed time to process and that the timing and candace of information delivery was just as important as what you told them.

I learned how to be patiently calm in the eye of a storm.

I’m using this technique now with you in this blog post. Did you notice?

Does it affect how you feel about me that I told you?

This blog post is part of a blog-off series with a group of bloggers from different professions and world views, each exploring a theme from his/her world view. This was about answering the question, What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? To explore how others handled the theme, check them out below. I will add links as they publish.

white 15 Cool your jets   a #letsblogoff postSend to Kindle
Comment | 20 Comments
Posted in BlogOff, Branding Thoughts, Business, Dayton Ohio, Just thinking out loud, Puppyhood, Random Stuff | Tagged , , , , , | 20 Comments

I sure do miss the smell of horse dung

6 Comments

happyfamily I sure do miss the smell of horse dung

Last year, an acquaintance who has a part-time firefighter job, supplemented by a full-time ambulance driver job with no health benefits had to go to the emergency room with asthma complications. The hospital ended up having to admit him for three days. The total cost of this unplanned vacation was $23,000 and some change.

He had no insurance and he did not have $23,000. He applied for Medicaid, went through some hearings, some denials, appeals and eventually Medicaid paid the bill.

He is a Republican through and through. When asked how he liked his socialist benefits provided by his government, he smiled sheepishly and looked away. He was caught in a lie and he and I both knew it. He is still a Republican. Having his medical bills paid for through no personal merit or responsibility did not change his mind one bit about his political loyalties or the argument for his loyalties.

And that is when it hit me solidly: The GOP is not about fiscal responsibility. They are entirely about social issues.

A little background
My friend was raised in the rural parts of Ohio, right outside my town of Englewood which is ten miles north of Dayton, sixty-five miles north of Cincinnati. So he wasn’t actually raised out on the farm, but enough where there is little if any diversity and no weird artsy-fartsy types with book-leraning and such. The men hunt every fall, fish in the summer, drink beer, watch football and chew tobacco. And the women tend to their men. And everybody goes to church on Sunday and if they don’t, they still believe in Jesus Christ. (Really, these places exist not too far out your front door, wherever in America you are.)

And this is also where they talk openly about “how in the hell we let a g*d**n n****r in the White House” right before they spit chew violently on the ground in disgust.

How we got here
The GOP has gotten its followers to believe and say there is a finite amount of money available and that your ne’er-do-well, slacker neighbors are taking your fair share of your hard-earned money. Only it’s not really true. It’s not what they really mean when they say “money.” Money is just code for “my white Christian culture.”

The Greatest Generation were better storytellers than they were social engineers. When the men went off to war, they brought back stories of valor, courage, bravery, camaraderie and honor. My grandfather never talked much about the War. My dad never talked about the Korean War either. All we had were photos, medals and a few stories of good times with their buddies. They never talked about the horror of seeing their friends die or body parts getting blown off. When they came home, they put the past behind them and created a narrative that was peaceful and prosperous, even though it was not the truth.

Women who went off to work in the factories did much the same thing. It was hard, back-breaking, grueling, greasy, filthy work but when it was over, it was over. They did not tell stories of workplace accidents, the long days and the restless nights. They spun yarns of achievement, honor and patriotism.

And three generations later, that is how we remember the past that never was. Families lived in harmonious, quiet neighborhoods with houses all lined up on clean streets. The dad went off to work, the mom stayed home and kept house. There were regular raises and good benefits at his job. The kids played baseball, went to school and played stickball in the middle of the street. When they grew older, the kids went out on dates, got married and had kids of their own.

Each year, the family would get together and have Thanksgiving dinner, then Christmas and celebrate Easter in the spring. There would be great news of babies and marriages and of course of deaths and funerals. Everyone married a virgin, everyone died at peace. This all played out like some great movie with a well-crafted script. There were things nobody talked about and everybody knew what those things were.

And the children forgot about the struggle the previous generations went through to build this Great Lie. The storytellers of television and the movies gladly filled in the gaps, fueling an even more memorable past that never was.

The Great Lie of our American Dream is even embedded into our future. The following is a video made by Corning. The cues of the Dream are embedded everywhere across generations. Take a look. Can you see them? Do you find yourself wanting to be there? It’s a powerful Dream.

The past is knowable and comfortable. The future is scary. I’m fairly certain in a generation back there were old men who sighed wistfully as a truck blowing smoke passed them by on a farm road. Sure do miss the smell of horse dung, they might be thinking.

Money as a mask
We use price as an excuse for almost every human behavior. If we don’t really want to buy something, we say “that costs too much” or “I don’t have the money right now.” When we really want something, we find a way to get it by charging it, putting it on layaway, leasing it or in the case of a house, commit to mortgage terms that are not in our financial best interest. We rationalize a debt to get the things that we really want.

The GOP understands this about human nature — and particularly the American culture — very well and has masterfully crafted its message around money. “The state is broke,” they rail when a program is funding issues that are contrary to the Great Lie. “Our country is going bankrupt!” “Limited government” and “Take back our country” are all very attractive catch phrases for a population that has been led to believe that the supply of money is finite and being spent irresponsibly by your drunken neighbor. After all, many of these people don’t have much left from their paychecks at the end of the week, so it all makes common sense.

Everything the GOP wants to do is masked as a money issue because they know that American culture understands money. All this other stuff about happiness and rights and liberty is so hard to quantify. But money is easy. You can count money.

The inconsistency is the key
The key to understanding why money and fiscal responsibility is not the real issue is the inconsistency between what a conservative says and what he does. He will take a Medicaid handout to keep from paying a $23,000 hospital bill. He will take a government-supplied paycheck as a firefighter. He will take a home interest deduction on his taxes, a Pell grant from the Federal government, drive on the freeway system without paying a toll, attend a public school and do all these things as if it were his right to do so all the while saying we need less government. Taxes pay for all these things that give him a standard of living yet he perceives to have gotten these things through his own hard work and initiative.

And my favorite inconsistency of all, “Keep your government hands of my Medicare.”

The GOP knows that if they keep the discussion framed as “fiscal responsibility,” they don’t have to address all those other messy issues that go along with promoting the Great American Dream that never was. All they need do is step back in shock about why someone would not want to be fiscally responsible and they win the argument. Only the argument never really was about money. It never will be.

What’s in it for the GOP?
Power, I imagine. I can’t think of any other reason why someone would care more about the state budget being balanced than the health of their own household. Maybe some of these politicians really believe the rhetoric about fiscal responsibility, but I doubt many retain it. I think most of them are angry that not only have they lost their birthright, but it was stolen from them. They see political office as a way to take it back.

The GOP may have been about fiscal responsibility at some point in their distant past, but I think they have always been more about preserving the American Culture. As they become more and more desperate about preserving the Dream, the more they are letting their mask fall away. But judging from my friend above, they may think they can now afford to do it and start being honest about who they really are. Apparently lying about their true intent bears no consequence as at least half the country is one of them.

Am I off the mark here?

white 15 I sure do miss the smell of horse dungSend to Kindle
Comment | 6 Comments
Posted in American Culture, Dayton Ohio, Just thinking out loud, Local politics, Political thoughts, Pop Culture, Random Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Toy Story 4; Sallie’s Rescue

Comments Off

toystory4 Toy Story 4; Sallies Rescue

Yesterday was trash day. We got halfway around the block and Sallie “rescued” this baby Kermit with no eyes from one of the boxes thrown outside for bulk pickup.

She carried it home gently in her mouth and has been “protecting” it from Charlie ever since.

white 15 Toy Story 4; Sallies RescueSend to Kindle
Comment | Comments Off
Posted in Pop Culture, Puppyhood, Random Stuff | Tagged , , | Comments Off

Wisconsin feels like Sidney all over again

Comments Off

walker Wisconsin feels like Sidney all over again

Of the hundreds of soccer games I have seen my kids play, I remember that soccer game clearly. My daughter was playing U9 for Northmont and we had a game against the Sidney Bees on an unseasonably warm Saturday in April. This was her first full season with select soccer.

The game was pretty tight all the way through. We scored the first goal late in the first half, they scored the second goal early in the second. There were just a few minutes left in the game when their star had a break-away and dribbled the ball all the way to our goalie and took a shot. The goalie deflected, but not cleanly. It bounced to the side of the goal, off the pitch and through the net that was not fastened securely to the ground.

The referee called it a goal.

All the parents saw the ball roll into the side of the net. All the kids saw it. The coaches saw it. But the Sidney parents said nothing, amid the protests of the Northmont parents and coaches. All it would have taken was one brave parent to step forward and say, “We want to win, but not by cheating. We’re not going to accept that goal.”

But nobody did.

All the kids on both teams learned the real rule of soccer that day. The more games you win, the more goals you score, the more your parents will love you. And it doesn’t matter how you get them. And to this day, when I hear about how team sports build character, sportsmanship, etc. Sidney, Ohio pops into my head and I know I am being lied to.

Wisconsin feels an awful lot like Sidney, Ohio on that warm April day.

white 15 Wisconsin feels like Sidney all over againSend to Kindle
Comment | Comments Off
Posted in Just thinking out loud, Local politics, Ohio, Political thoughts, Pop Culture, Thinking out loud | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

Public sex is just for animals, not humans

7 Comments

nwu Public sex is just for animals, not humans

Apparently there has been a big bruhaha over a Northwestern professor having a live demonstration of a sex act* performed for students as part of a human sexual psychology class.

Ok, so what.

Sex is part of nature. It’s primary function is for procreation. But, unlike animals, humans have the good fortune (or mis-fortune) of also having a brain with curiosity and a need for recreation attached to the same body as their genitals. When we deny that fact and refuse to study the psychology behind human sex, we’re not really exploring our entire humanity. What’s wrong with demonstrating a sex act as part of an academic exercise for the purpose of studying emotional and psychological reaction? Was it the practical application of a theory that upset people the most or was it just the fact that it was sex? Or maybe it was the modification of a perfectly good power tool?

Studying the psychology of human sexuality without a practical lab is like studying architecture and never building a bridge. Do you really want that guy in charge of the project?

Oh my god, dog, you are going to hell for those thoughts!

Actually, all dogs go to heaven, so I’m not really worried. And even if you believe God made you in His image, certainly He knew what He was doing when He gave guys danglies and women innies. He did it a lot so with your logic, He is either a genius or a pervert.

Secondly, sex acts are neutral. They are neither good nor bad. What makes them good or bad is all this morality and cultural crap we attach to them.

Thirdly, sex is a very large part of who we are (unless of course, you are married.) Why not study it more fully? Why would we not want to know everything about what makes us tick? Why does something like sex make us all giggly or nervous or outraged or ….

The rules of sex are not established by nature. They are established by the class of humans in power. Like every species in nature, the ones allowed to procreate are the ones best suited to advance the species. In the animal kingdom, we have the most cunning, the fastest, the most powerful, etc. In the human world, we have the class most willing and able to dominate the others. That class will use social norms, religion, laws, peer pressure, shame or any other means necessary to impose their will on others. Depriving the “weaker” classes of the means to procreate is the ultimate dominance one human can have over another. (Don’t even get me started on non-hetrosexual sex. I have no idea why anyone wants to prevent that or why they feel it threatens them. Maybe that deserves more study.)

Ever wonder why virginity is prized above all else in some cultures? There is no natural reason for it. It doesn’t destroy a woman or make her any less fit for companionship or procreation. Yet a “ruling class” gets that idea impregnated (pun intended) into a class (women) which prevents them from consenting to intercourse outside of a sanctioned union, i.e., marriage. When a women violates the rules, she is ostracized and in some cultures, killed. A population is now controlled by their own morality. Really simple crowd control, ain’t it? That statement is over-simplified, but you get the idea. You can apply the same kind of thinking to any type of sex. Attach a moral penalty to it and you control a population. Start from there and study outward.

Did you have a strong reaction to Professor Bailey’s demonstration? Why? Like him, do you eventually arrive at a logical, academic reason for not being curious about the psychological basis of sex-toy-induced orgasm? Did you recoil? Did you ever ask why you had that reaction? You probably should.

It seems an unfair symptom of our culture to know what sex is all about almost five decades into life rather than in the prime of youth. It not only robs you of some great interactions with other people, but also a deeper understanding of works of literature like The Awakening, The Scarlet Letter or Sister Carrie. Read them when you are young and intimidated by sex because of fear or confusion and you learn nothing. Read them when you are older and know a bit more and it produces anger and resentment. (Maybe I’m just projecting here.. sorry.) When we fail to give sex cultural or moral power it does not naturally posses, we also free ourselves from the power others wield over us.

And before you go on about “think of the children” and other such nonsense, I am not advocating sex awareness that is not appropriate for children. But as a parent, have you crafted your exit strategy on sex before your child turns 18? Why not; it’s your job. Why are parents getting involved with the class demonstration that happened at Northwestern? Didn’t you give your off-spring the skills to determine his or her own sexual choices? If not, shame on you. You had eighteen years!

Ok, your turn. I’ve already said my piece.

—–
*Apparently the sex act was a dildo attached to a modified reciprocating saw where the woman disrobed and consented to the man using the device to penetrate her vagina. I’m not sure what the class was studying, but if they were studying reactions to facsimiles of a penis during intercourse, I’m pretty sure they got some interesting ones. Does my saying penis and vagina upset you? Does my description of the act above? Why? Be honest with yourself, please, even if only in your head. It’s the only way we grow.

And the title? It was a tweet I received yesterday from a fan in response to my 140 opinion on this mater. I promised I’d write more today. It wasn’t really public sex; it was in a classroom, as an academic study with everyone in the room an adult and with full consent.

.

white 15 Public sex is just for animals, not humansSend to Kindle
Comment | 7 Comments
Posted in American Culture, Dayton Ohio, Education, Just thinking out loud, Political thoughts, Pop Culture, Random Stuff, Serious Stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Fire for hire; the new public services

Comments Off

firedollar Fire for hire; the new public services

I read a rather dry account of the last Union, Ohio city council meeting in the Dayton Daily News this morning. Nobody goes to these things and fewer people read the articles recapping them. But maybe we should start paying more attention. (I looked for the article online and could not find it, so I scanned it here and will replace with a link when it gets posted.)

Here is why we should start paying attention.

Fire and police departments are receiving less tax revenue and are set to receive even less for salaries when bills like SB 5 pass. But they are still expected to be on the other end of a 911 call. (I think the City of Englewood has a EMS charge, but not fire.) It appears the City of Union would charge for police, fire and EMS services; first to your insurance company and if they don’t pay, to you.

I understand subrogation and why sometimes it is necessary. But when someone calls 911, the last thing they should be thinking is; “Can I afford this call?” If their house burns down, and they are insured, the insurance company will replace it. If their house catches fire, the fire department comes out, and the insurance company will pay for repairs but not fire services, the homeowner could end up paying a whole lot more than the house is worth in fire-fighting fees.

I think the last thing we need is for a family to be sitting on the front lawn with a calculator, estimating how much a 911 call is going to cost and whether or not it is worth it.

In truth, though, what these laws will eventually do is increase insurance costs. The insurance companies will spread out the risk for everyone, charging people who live in Zip Code 45322 a bit more of course. And since insurance in America is a for-profit game, these additional fees will include the profit expectation a publicly-held company demands. These are also post-tax dollars, so they are about 33% more expensive than an income tax assessment would be to cover the additional cost of fire-fighting services for a community.

Government cuts are always nice, but when your income tax tax bill is cut and your total cost of citizenship rises, where is the savings to the citizens? It’s like buying a really cheap printer but paying hundreds of dollars a year in ink cartridges. Or a really cheap car that costs you the retail prices in repairs every two years. Or buying cheap processed food and paying more than quadruple in medical insurance premiums because your BMI is out of whack (assuming you carry insurance.)

Subrogation for essential emergency services is a very slippery slope. I know that the proposed ordinance is limited to “at-fault” incidents. Anyone who has ever been in an accident knows that at-fault is almost never a 100/0% split. In most instances, you are partially at fault simply because you were on the road. Clearly, if your house was not there, there would be nothing to burn.

Once you crack the door, it is easier to fling open wide.

I wonder what other public service will be next?

When the City of Englewood “saved” a million dollars.
.

white 15 Fire for hire; the new public servicesSend to Kindle
Comment | Comments Off
Posted in American Culture, Dayton Ohio, Education, Just thinking out loud, Kasich Kuts, Local Events, Local politics, Ohio, Political thoughts, Pop Culture | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off