Monday, September 03, 2007
Monday, April 16, 2007
No Sex Milady, Monsieur Unless Your of Age
Country Music’s Verne Gosden was singing about martial fidelity, or its mirror, infidelity.
Academia; our government are reprising a similar old song about teens, sex, and mores.
Another study has just late last week been published repeating much of what’s been published in the not-so-distant past while our cousins from across the Atlantic have been busy repudiating one leading verse of America’s tune about how to control a teen’s sexual drive.
The Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States says approximately three million teenagers become infected with an STD every year
According to Campaign for Our Children, one million teenagers become pregnant annually, and approximately 40 percent of girls in the United States become pregnant at least once before the age of 20.
Students who participated in sexual abstinence programs were just as likely to have sex as those who did not, according to a study ordered by Congress.
Students, who attended one of the four abstinence classes reviewed, reported having similar numbers of sexual partners as those who did not attend the classes.
And they first had sex about the same age as other students — 14.9 years, according to Mathematica Policy Research Inc.
The federal government spends about $176 million a year promoting abstinence until marriage. Critics have repeatedly said they did not believe the programs worked.
Bush administration officials cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions from the study, saying the four programs were some of the very first established after Congress overhauled the nation’s welfare laws in 1996.
Officials said one lesson they learned from the study was that the abstinence message should be reinforced in subsequent years.
“This report confirms that these interventions are not like vaccines,” said Harry Wilson, associate commissioner of the Family and Youth Services Bureau at the federal Administration for Children and Families. “You can’t expect one dose in middle school, or a small dose, to be protective all throughout the youth’s high school career.”
Christian comedian Keith Deltano has been performing at a number of high schools in Loudon County, Virginia this year with the intent of pushing abstinence-only education through comedy. How does he do this, do you ask? He dangles a cinderblock over a male students' crotch to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of condoms against HIV.
Because what's funnier than a brick possibly dropping on your dick?? Ha! Ha! Ha! Heh!
In 2004, Sexual Intelligence noted: Texas educators are now debating the content of new high school sex education books. The Board of Education is choosing among four books, all of which passionately praise abstinence. Three omit contraception completely, while one barely mentions condoms.
Not surprisingly, federal data show Texas once again among the top five states in the country for teenage pregnancies and STDs
Then Governor of Texas, George W. Bush pushed an abstinence-based sex education curriculum.
America's supposedly "conservative" governments--national, state, and local--have spent trillions of dollars intruding on citizens’ private lives with relentless wars on pornography, contraception, sex toys, strip clubs, and other forms of alleged "indecency." There's nothing "conservative" about that--just good old-fashioned hypocrisy and repressed voyeurism, ordered by too-big government and paid for by tax dollars.
Across the Pond, on the other hand, real conservatives are talking with integrity about an approach to teen sexuality. Andrew Lansley, the health secretary-in-waiting for UK's opposition Tory party, has unveiled a plan that would encourage teens to take more control of their sexual lives to combat a recent increase in STDs and HIV..
The plan is a big departure from years of right-wingers demanding that children be taught to abstain.
Dismissing calls for US-style programs that encourage teens to remain virgins until marriage, Lansley told the London Observer, "I'm not talking about abstinence, I'm talking about something designed to empower young people to choose. It's feeling one has a greater sense of control over what one does with one's body, and being able to resist peer pressure or pressure from boyfriends."
British research has consistently shown that teenagers delay starting sex and are less likely to get pregnant when they are taught both the mechanics of contraception and about self-esteem and how relationships work.
Of course, the English have more experience as conservatives, founding the Tory party back in 1689. How nice to see that they're combining this with respect for science, attention to reality, and compassion for people's lives and choices.
That's how far America's sex education policies have sunk--compassionate conservatism would actually be an improvement.
According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), at least 80 percent of college students have engaged in sexual intercourse,
Again, we’re back on the sexual merry go round and let us look at 2005, the American Midwest, the State of Illinois, Chicago to be exact.
Three phrases stand out in large, white letters on the long blackboard: “To abstain,” “sexual activity” and “subliminal seduction.” Close to 50 freshmen shift in their desks, watching the teacher or talking to their peers in the crowded, windowless classroom at Kenwood Academy.
Elaine Jones blows on a whistle around her neck to gain the students’ attention and launches into her lesson on subliminal seduction—how teens are bombarded with images of sex every day, and how they can resist those seductions and abstain from sexual activity. Not just now or in the near future, she says, but until marriage.“What is a sex act?” Jones asks the class, pointing to the “sexual activity” portion of the blackboard.
One student, who has been tossing out jokes throughout the class, raises his hand from the corner. “Say, if I was a virgin,” he asks. “If I had oral sex, I’m not a virgin?”The students look expectantly at Jones.
The guidelines of the abstinence-only curriculum certainly do not consider oral sex acceptable behavior for unmarried persons, but it is an act Jones says the teens are curious about.Jones explains that technically, if a girl engages in oral sex, “she is still a virgin. But, in her sexual abstinence, she is not a virgin anymore.”
Along with other sources, Jones teaches from an abstinence-only curriculum called Project Reality, created by an independent organization of the same name and used in 525 middle schools and high schools in Illinois, including 130 in Chicago Public Schools.But abstinence-only curricula like Project Reality are coming under increasing fire.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois recently sent a letter to some 1,300 school superintendents across the state, warning that abstinence-only programs often include false or misleading information about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases—for instance, that condoms are not effective in preventing the spread of STDs.
According to the ACLU, recent studies show that abstinence-only programs do not prevent teens from engaging in premarital sex and may deter young people from using condoms or from getting tested and treated for STDs.
Yet under policies put in place by the Bush Administration, schools that want federal funds for sex education can only receive grants if they agree to teach solely from abstinence-only curricula, says Lorie Chaiten, director of the reproductive rights program at the ACLU of Illinois.Jobi Peterson, executive director of the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health and a former CPS administrator, says very few students receive adequate information in health classes because schools lack the resources to pay for comprehensive sex education programs.
The caucus is lobbying legislators to provide federal funds for comprehensive sex education curricula, which the group notes would include a strong message in favor of abstinence but also medically accurate information on reproductive health, STDs and pregnancy prevention.
“Teachers really do want to give more information to young people but they just don’t have the curriculum or materials,” Petersen says.
The issue is particularly critical in Chicago, where teen birth rates have declined in recent years but remain higher than the averages—in some communities, more than double—for the state and surrounding Cook County suburbs.
In the classroom, however, sticking to a strict outline of “abstinence only” is not always practical. Teens bring questions and experiences that fall outside of these rigid parameters. And while students recognize the wisdom behind abstinence-focused teachings, they are also the first to point out the irony of such instruction in schools filled with pregnant students and teen parents.
“Every time you look up, someone’s pregnant,” says Kiyona Jackson, a soft-spoken senior at Hyde Park Academy in Woodlawn, which has a teen birth rate of 19 percent. “I don’t think they get pregnant on purpose. They listen to [sex education], but they go against it or whatever.”
Even though she knows not all students will listen to the sex-can-wait message, Kendra Thomas, another Hyde Park student, says she believes that it’s an important viewpoint for students to receive. “They tell you that [sex] can cause you to do things you don’t want to do, and emotional stress,” she says.
According to Denise Everhart, one of Hyde Park Academy’s physical education teachers, the school supplements its health education program with lesson plans from ABJ Community Services Inc., an agency that trains instructors to teach abstinence-only materials, and Project VIDA, a group founded in 1992 to address the rising number of HIV and AIDS cases in Chicago’s black and Latino communities.
Everhart supports this combination.
Students are getting the facts now,” she says. “Oftentimes, they misunderstand the whole reproductive process—for example, some think that they can’t get pregnant standing up. They don’t understand conception, and that’s something they definitely understand by the end [of the course].
”Najamusahar Muneeruddin, a sophomore at Lane Tech High in North Center, says some students might rebel against the Project Reality curriculum taught there. “Some kids that take the sex ed class get angry, thinking ‘Why are they telling me what to do?’” she says.
Classmate Rex Libunao agreed. “If we are going to have sex, we might as well have choices,” he says. “At least you’d know about condoms, but they never told us about that.”
Abstinence-only supporters believe Project Reality and other such lessons arm students with information they need to refuse sexual activity until marriage.But detractors claim that message is realistic only to a handful of students in today’s classrooms.
The debate has gained momentum over the years. The Bush Administration increased funding for abstinence-only curricula to $206 million for fiscal year 2006, from $170 million for fiscal year 2005.
Most recently in Illinois, some lawmakers have proposed a measure to guarantee state funding for “abstinence-based” sex education, which would promote abstinence as the best way to prevent sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancies but would also provide age-appropriate information about condoms and birth control.
The Illinois School Code specifies only that health education curricula should include instruction on “family life, including sexual abstinence until marriage.”Caught in between are students left with valid questions and no answers to be found in their workbooks, like “The Navigator,” a text that supplements the Project Reality curriculum.
“What if a girl was reading that, and was pregnant?” questions Lane Tech student Halla Karaman. “What if she wanted an abortion? Where would she go? How much would it cost? Do you need parental permission?”“That’s the problem,” continues classmate Quetzalli Castro. “They tell you how you get pregnant, but not what to do. They tell you about abstinence, but they stop there.”
For her students, Jones has helped supply some of the answers. It was Rahkeisha Teagues’ favorite part of the class. “She gave us little cards to write questions down on. It’s fun,” Teagues says.In aging metal file cabinets near the door of her classroom, Jones keeps several stacks of note cards bound with rubber bands.
On each note card is a single health-related question written on the first day of class by a student; Jones proceeds through them as the semester progresses, answering each and every one of the students’ anonymous questions in class.“I’m an advocate of abstinence, but I’m also realistic,”
Jones says. “I try to teach to the whole class.” Usually the cards cover a range of topics, but this past year the cards shared an obvious theme, Jones says. “Every question was on sex, and they’re very detailed.”
Because many children are forbidden to talk about sex, they learn what little they know from hearsay and vulgar jokes.
As a result, many people make it as far as college knowing virtually nothing about sex or even about their own bodies. Since approximately half of all high school students are sexually active, this ignorance about sex can have devastating consequences.
Many teenagers do not realize the severity of the consequences of unprotected sex, are not aware of the available kinds of protection, are not educated about how to use them properly, cannot afford them, or are too embarrassed to purchase them.
Consequently, sexually active teenagers are at a very high risk for sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
According to Campaign for Our Children, one million teenagers become pregnant annually, and approximately 40 percent of girls in the United States become pregnant at least once before the age of 20.
The problem is that most children do not receive an adequate sex education from their parents or their schools.
Only 19 states require their schools to provide sex ed, and of those, only nine require the programs to include information about both abstinence and safe sex.
Many of the more conservative Christian churches believe that if children are to be taught about sex, they should only learn about remaining abstinent until marriage.
This attitude pervades a large part of American society.
For the Catholic Church in particular, all teachings about sexuality are based on the belief that sexual intercourse exists purely for the purpose of procreation.
Pope John Paul II stated in his Humanae Vitae, "The Church teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life."
It is seen as wrong to derive pleasure from sex unless it is done within the act of procreation. Thus masturbation is wrong because it is not connected with reproduction.
Oral sex is unacceptable, even within marriage, because it cannot lead to pregnancy. Homosexuality is viewed as "intrinsically evil," artificial insemination is seen as an attempt to defy biology, and even birth control is forbidden because it implies sex is being used for pleasure instead of procreation.
Many churches are very influential in maintaining abstinence-only sexual education and contend that knowledge about contraception causes more teenagers to engage in sexual activity.
Ideally, if all teenagers could be convinced to remain chaste, abstinence education would be effective in getting rid of STDs and unplanned teenage pregnancies.
Realistically, though, people are going to have sex, so teaching them about abstinence alone does not accomplish anything.
The World Health Organization has concluded that programs that teach both abstinence and safe sex are more effective than those teaching only abstinence and that sex education does not actually increase sexual activity. Studies have found that sex ed actually reduces teen pregnancy rates and that condom availability leads to safe sex without encouraging abstinent teenagers to begin having sex.
In conclusion, if a certain segment of American society has its way, this part of an old dirty joke could well apply: “…The nun, clearly confused, started scratching her head, and replied, "Gee, that's a hard one." And the lights started flashing, the music started playing......”
Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Let's Cruze Shall We?
Monday, January 15, 2007
It's a "Shame," or Is it Not?
Shame, Shame on you or should it be Shame Shame on me?
First there were (and are) “outings” of famous, infamous and not-so-famous men and women some of which were public figures and some who were not pinned under the public eye. These “outings” dealt with scandalous doings such as Bill 's affair with Monica, sexual deviants in the Catholic priesthood and in our educational system. All the fingers seemed to point at our sexual mores.
Now, the medium that not too many years ago was touted as the means to bring the world together and would be free to all is transmogrifying to not “outings” but “shaming” with many looking to make a buck by the click at the same time; all of this without personal responsibility for pointing an internet finger.
We're all fascinated by our “user names” and revel in the “anonymity” they provide which could also be called “privacy.” Or, could these monikers for which we work so hard at to either shock or delight our viewers serve as a virtual wall to hide behind?
Most of us have a cell phone and use it to varying degrees from simply a means to call 911 or Triple AAA or to excess as recently portrayed in an All State Insurance Co. TV ad.
Last month, Eva Burgess was eating breakfast at the Rose Cafe in Venice, Calif., when she remembered she needed to make an appointment with her eye doctor. So the New York theater director got on her cell phone and booked a date.
Almost immediately, she started receiving “weird and creepy” calls directing her to a blog. There, under the posting “Eva Burgess Is Getting Glasses!” her name, cell phone number and other details mentioned in her call to the doctor’s office were posted, along with the admonition “next time, you might take your business outside.”
The offended blogger had been sitting next to Burgess in the cafe.
It used to be the worst you could get for a petty wrong in public was a rude look.
One site documents locations where people have failed to pick up after their dogs. Capturing newspaper-stealing neighbors on video is an emerging genre.
Helping drive the exposés are a crop of entrepreneurs who hope to sell advertising and subscriptions.
One site that lets people identify bad drivers is about to offer a $5 monthly service, for people to register several of their own plate numbers and receive notices if they are cited by other drivers.
But the traffic and commercial prospects for many of the sites are so limited that clearly there is something else at work.
Enforcing decency and more
The embrace of the Web to expose trivial transgressions in part represents a return to shame as a check on social behavior, says Henry Jenkins, director of the comparative media studies program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The sites documenting minor wrongs are the flip side of an online vigilantism movement that tackles meatier social issues. Community organization Cop Watch Los Angeles encourages users to send in stories and pictures of people being brutalized or harassed by police.
The governor of Texas plans to launch a site this year that will air live video of the border, in hopes that people will watch and report illegal crossings. In a trial run in November, the site received more than 14,000 e-mails.
In China, Web postings have become a powerful social weapon, used to rally thousands of people to hound a man who allegedly had an affair with a married woman.
For people singled out, the sites can represent an unsettling form of street justice. Chris Roth’s driving skills have been roundly criticized online by self-anointed traffic monitors. “This man needs his license revoked,” wrote one poster, who accused Roth of cutting in and out.
Another charged him with driving on a shoulder and having the audacity to flip off an old lady who wouldn’t let him cut in.
Roth found the critiques when an anonymous writer added a comment to his MySpace.com profile in late November directing him to PlateWire, one of the handful of sites devoted to bad driving. There, a user had posted Roth’s license-plate information – his vanity plate is IDRVFAST – and complained about his reckless driving. Subsequent posters found and listed his full name, cell phone number and link to his MySpace page, as well as comments like “big jerk” and “meathead.”
“There is no accountability. You can just go online and say whatever you want whether it’s factual or not,” says the 37-year-old Roth, of Raleigh, N.C., who works in technology sales.
He admits he is an impatient driver and speeds, but he has no plans to change his driving style based on posts by anonymous commentators.
“Who are they to decide what is safe or not?” he says.
The digital age allows critics to quickly find a fair amount of information about their targets.
One day last November, at about 11:30 a.m., a blog focused on making New York streets more bike-friendly posted the license plate number of an SUV driver accused of zooming from a dead stop to hit a bicycle blocking his way.
At 1:16 p.m., someone posted the registration information for the license plate, including the SUV owner’s name and address. (The editor of the blog thinks the poster got the information from someone who had access to a license-plate look-up service, available to lawyers, private investigators and police.)
At 1:31 p.m., another person added the owner’s occupation, his business’s name and his title.
Ten minutes later, a user posted a link to an aerial photo of the owner’s house. Within another hour, the posting also included the accused’s picture and e-mail address.
The SUV’s owner, is Ian Goldman, the chief executive of Celerant Technology Corp. in the New York City borough of Staten Island.
According to an e-mail exchange posted on the blog, Goldman said he had lent the vehicle in question to a relative with “an urgent medical situation” and that he was not aware of any incident.
The victim has decided to drop the matter since the damage to the bicycle, which he was standing next to at the time, was under $20.
Legal beagles say alleged wrongdoers shamed online have small recourse under libel and privacy laws if the accusations in postings are true, if they are posters’ opinions about behavior witnessed in a public place and if the personal information listed is available to the public.
“It becomes very difficult when it comes to the shaming sites in terms of what you can do in creating a case,” says Daniel Solove, an associate professor of law at George Washington University Law School, who is working on a book about gossiping, shaming and privacy on the Internet.
Caughtya.org is dedicated mostly to the scofflaws who brutalize the disabled by parking in their parking slots; it lists fewer then 10 U.S. infractions
“If you have a mobility impairment, and a permit to park in accessible parking spaces, you have experienced the inability of using those spaces because someone who didn't have a permit parked there illegally. It happens, everyday, everywhere.
“This site aims to expose parking offenders. We track parking infractions. We display details of offending vehicles worldwide.
It isn't about revenge, though we readily admit to a certain satisfaction at the thought that offenders may be taught a lesson.
It is about getting a better picture of the problem (pun intended).
It is about being able to track data and show the "powers that be" what is happening in their parking lots and cities.
It is about increasing awareness of an ongoing problem.”
Many ask for donations to cover costs, but some owners hope to make money.
Mark Buckman launched PlateWire in May after almost getting run off the road a few months earlier by several drivers, including one who was looking in his back seat and steering with his leg.
The site now lists nearly 25,000 license-plate numbers. The plate owners chastised for moves like tailgating with brights on and driving too slowly in the left lane. To drum up revenue, Buckman recently added advertising and an online store with branded merchandise.
Users in about 15 states can pay $2 to have a postcard sent to an offending driver, directing the accused to the site.
He plans to launch another site this year that will allow people to rate and complain about local businesses and individuals.
“If I can create jobs and create an empire, that would be awesome, but my main goal is to make a Web site that can actually make real-world changes,” Buckman says.
Buckman said he endured a grueling HOV carpool from Fairfax to Arlington 5 days a week. “After coming close to being involved in 5 separate collisions on one fateful ride home from work, I had an idea. With very little capital to get started, I began the task, to make people more accountable for their actions on the roadways in one forum or another.
“ It has become an all too common fact that the only time people straighten up and drive safe is when there is a police car near by; a prime example of a society driven by fear. Adopting that same mentality, PlateWire intends to grow large enough to become a real deterrent to unsafe driving habits. My goal is to bring awareness to bad drivers so they become aware of the dangers associated with the aggressive driving they have become accustomed to. So join in, vent your rage, and let us all do our part to make the roads safer.
“Some of the crowd that oppose our website (The minority, our percentage of positive response is well over 90%), claim that there is nothing we can do curb road rage or carelessness. We couldn't disagree more!” Buckman's blog: http://BadMark.com/
At least eight PlateWire users have chastised themselves online, including one in Nevada last month who apologized for cutting another driver off in a post titled “Telling on Myself.”
“None: I have not seen one monkey driving today. Low: I made it to work, and only one person cut me off! Average: I got cut off, tailgated, blocked, the usual. High: I might have used my horn once, cursed, basically got angry once or more. Saw a monkey picking his nose. Lot's of speeding! Extreme Danger: Full moon drag racing, using your finger, people hanging their heads out the window to curse. ROAD RAGE! “
Comments: Photos and videos on the two sites have captions like “bad owner.” One YouTube chronicle, “a nice doggy’s bad owner leaves a landmine on Dean Street in Brooklyn,” has been viewed nearly 1,300 times since it went up in April.
Women can post pictures and videos of men who leer or make comments like “hey baby, wanna make love??!!” HollaBackNYC.com launched in 2005, inspired by one woman who photographed a lewd man on the subway. Now there are at least 14 other local sites in the U.S. and Canada.
“I had my cell phone clutched in my hand the whole time, unfortunately it didn't have a camera so I couldn't take a picture of the jerk's face. I'm 17 years old and even though I've been told I look 18 or 19, it's still no justification to hit on someone who is thirty years younger than you.
“It was just plain creepy and it left me completely shaken. I ended up in tears for the two hours that followed because I was totally unnerved and I lost all sense of safety. This incident was made worse by the fact that the night before I had a group of guys shouting "I want some of that pussy" at me while I was walking down the 42 street train station stairs.
I'm use to comments of "hey beautiful" and such and I've learned to ignore those, but the vulgarity of what those guys were shouting surprised me and left me a bit nervous. But it certainly compared nothing to how violated I felt last night.”
Submitted by C.C.
I am reminded of the ongoing Arby's TV commercial featuring a nerd walking the gauntlet of a trio of beefy louts who are hooting at him while he stumbles by clutching a paper sack with Arby's logo on it. He casts a hurried look and sees the outline of the famed “Arby's hat” hovering like little red halos over their heads. Hummmm.....?
This site doesn’t post license plate numbers of littering drivers, but it does act. Reported plate holders in participating states (Pennsylvania, Texas and North Carolina) get a notice. The site sends the details to the state, which then mails a letter to the vehicle owner. For other states, the site might send an e-mail to the governor.
From two viewers:
“I understand where you are coming from with the litter issue, I agree. But in theory I could just enter as many plate numbers as I wanted and label them as litterers, i mean it's like convicting someone in public court with no evidence. I just think this anti- smoking thing is going too far. I must say I do NOT like the idea of the site.” ~ Phelux@aol.com
"I believe this was the type of thing the Nazi and Soviet secret police encouraged, 'turning your neighbor in'. I don't think it was for anything as egregious as throwing a cigarette butt out a window. FYI, I never throw cigarette butts out...I have a "butt can" which I fill with baking soda.
You zealots won't be happy until you see smoking banned. Why don't you at least be honest about your intent?"
Flickr abounds with pictures of people talking loudly on cell phones or displaying bad cell etiquette. Could you be there? Photos have titles and comments like “TalksTooLoud,” “Loud talker” and “Chatty McBlabsalot.”
“A whichy, bitchy, arrogrant foregner who doesn't care what happens to others, expecially her "friends a work", the residents, or family. If rude had a picture in the dictionery, it would have her there! By Observer of Rudeness, Section Stories
Posted on Sun Jan 14, 2007 at 02:16:48 PM EST
“...a witchy, bitchy, arrogant foreigner..." would be the correct spelling of the words in that sentence. Sadly, in you attempt to mock foreigners, you managed to mangle your mother tounge and make yourself look like an idiot.
“Being foreign has no bearing, whatsoever, on this person's character.
“Please rush off to your Klan rally, and be sure to pack an extra sheet.” This was a post in reply to her comments by a body named “state trooper.”
The five-month-old site has about 190 sightings so far, and most relate tales of bad behavior. Two more sites for nannies – Isawyourmommy.blogspot.com and Isawnannysemployer.blogspot.com – have since been launched in reaction.
I looked at the site and found it a strangely appealing niche site which certainly seems to strike a chord in a mother's heart. Here are some outtakes:
“Plus if the lady seemed gruff that's about how most people here are. There's always an edge to people in this part of Philly. Those kids probably did not even take notice that lady was "gruff.
“Just wanted to share that with you guys. I actually started laughing when I saw that location. There are two BK's on Frankford Avenue and both are in declining neighborhoods. The people with careers high tailed it out of these parts. Good lookout though. I like this blog.
“Your nanny was in 7th Avenue Donuts today wearing a skin tight low cut black shirt. She was holding the hand of your little boy who was wearing a corduroy blue jacket and blue jeans.”
There's sure to be more. I can think of an “American Idol” site promoting both aspiring actresses and actors walking down the street in various cities ala Paris, London and other exotic locales with a semi-literate, sarcastic MC making ill formed snide comments about the tone of the whistles and their length and intensity as well as the amount of sway in the watchee's booty.
Perhaps there will be a blogger's game show with prizes awarded according to the difficulty of the questions answered, or not answered as the case may be.
As the tools to build blogs become simpler and the cost for most bloggers is as good as it gets (FREE) the proliferation of blogs and bloggers will grow exponentially, of course. This is not a moot question: will the acceptance of responsibility by each and very blogger expand as well?
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
A Winter Wonderland Perhaps, of Sorts; Maybe,eh?
Could not resist. Mr. Gates was giving something away and now I am posting this to give Microsoft's LiveWriter beta program a try. This is a 3rd party app designed to post on the blog of your choice. Blog it is simple enuff but why not explore. I took the photo a few days ago from my back porch. It makes me happy I'm not a horse. The corral fencing I just completed late fall looks good. Western WA has been undergoing the heaviest rain in recorded history so far which certainly crimps my ability to get much cowpoke stuff accomplished. My Nikon's not for underwater so I have put picture taking on hiatus. I bought a cover for the camera but see no real value in hoping to rescue my camera by baking it under low heat in the oven. This is the weather when I miss film. Surrounded by ponies and horses is the packers rig I used when hauling a small load of ponies to a birthday party. I could ramp up three critters into the bed of a '74 F250 and even had a teeny tiny tack room and feed station. It is named so since it enables a cowboy or packer to quickly transport livestock reasonable distances down the road. There are not many on the road anymore. I recently took in “Old Lions” on DVD with Robert Duvall and Michael Caine. I yearn; yes I do yearn.
I yearn too much and as betas go I am disappointed but will try another some other time but will post this my tried and true way and thus not be blue.
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Well Cowboy, "Where the Heck Have You Been???"
Well, where in the heck have you been, Cowboy??? Don't you know I just been hanging out waiting for you to show up??? If you like my profile send me an e-mail;
Good morning Mr. Holbrook Well, thank goodness we got that politics thing out of the way! Its like our family get togethers---we are either alcoholics or podium pounding religious fanatics, and all hot headed rednecks, so we avoid talking about anything to do with churches! You don't have to worry about those little ponies coming this far to see me--I take the big grey dog every where! You didn't get the picture because I couldn't figure out how to do it on this confounded machine. I believe you are quite good on the computer, but I have a love/hate relationship going with mine. My son says that the reason I have so much trouble with it is because I call it so many mule skinning names that it thinks its a mule! I do have a couple of other pictures that I think I can send. I used to follow rodeos and flea markets around selling cowboy/Indian fry bread. That was fun.
Hey, pardner, have a good one!
Shirley wrote me on Yahoo Personals and we enjoyed a short correspondence and it faded away when the Rodeo Finals came on TV. Writing, photography and beautiful women do seem to go together. She had talked about packing mules and spending all her life on and around horses. I found Mr. C.M. Russell's “Mules are Diamonds” on the net and placed three of her e-mailed photos in the foreground. The following are excerpts from some of my mail to her:
What a blessing you have given me. You are a truly beautiful lady. You write with style, verve and directness giving me a breath of fresh air, a promise of Spring while heading into the stillness of Winter. I am attaching some photos that date back to 1983. Cussing out a computer is like cussing out that dern mule, you get the same amount of attention back. If you think a mule's stubborn why there I am on "Squeaks" an American standard Jenny that I packed for several thousand miles and have enough donkey tales to fill a book of her own. More I read what you have to say, the pattern of your words and see the strength in your face, the more I want to spill over excited words and photos and carry on like some tenderfoot not even knowing the words to "Home on the Range." I love country music especially the old tunes and most of all Bluegrass. I wrote a music column on country music years ago for a Bakersfield CA newspaper. Norton yelled at me about the on the road photo but it should be fine. I was replacing a shoe on my wheel mare crossing California's coastal range from Tracy to Niles on my way to a draft horse show in Oakland. It gives a good view of my first wagon which had everything Mr. Goodnight said a chuck wagon must have.
I am not sure we can be a match, for traveling between Utah and Western Wa can be a far piece at 4mph and slower yet when your hoss hits an upgrade over the pass. You look and write like quite a package and not only do I like what I see. I love what I read.
I am bypassing the normal Yahoo personals mail system since word verification is more than just a pain in the ol hinney. (I used to have a real hinney but traded that mule hybrid off for a portable generator some years back.) I work ponies during the warm festival season and in off season I am helping disabled senior citizens in their homes as a caregiver for Lutheran Community Services. I am also learning about the new age of journalism and digital photography. I dislike too much me in anything and want to say more and will if you wish. I have lots of photos even of me shoveling the old HS.
I never argue politics. Darn gal, you have this ol teamster athinking that's for sure. When I was bounding along the highway on my six-hitch I was more than once termed an "American eccentric" by some city slickers met along the way. You have long marched to a different drummer and I see in you a lot of the qualities that epitomize the spirit of the Old West which have been long romanticized but are at the same time so very real.( A convoluted sentence this). I did not receive the picture. Yahoo seemed to hiccup and it said to try again and I did and your mail unloaded sans attachment. I am using the beta version since it is a near carbon copy of Mozilla's Thunderbird. I use Firefox instead of IE. I like to avoid the black hats out lurking in the net and run some decent security programs to keep them out of my computer. I tried to IM you late this afternoon but could not seem to connect properly. I do not IM much. I feel too rushed and there goes spelling and syntax and gadzooks, no spell check. I returned to Western Washington in '95 (no, not 1895) and so many times I have felt out of sync.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
A Start of Sorts (But Could Well Be the Reverse) With A Whole Lot Later (Certainly Not Sooner)
I find it difficult to write about myself perhaps due to my years as a photojournalist. I started out hoping to be a great author, to be creative, to write the definitive American Novel. Is that enough cliches or what?
Joining the local writer's club was not where I wanted to be for it seemed to be a farce, a circle-jerk of people wanting to read their prose first and foremost and then happily accept any plaudits offered by all and sundry. Viola! The proverbial bright light lit: why not go to college?
A digression: As a child and as a young adult I never was interested in taking pictures. If it wasn't for Emily (1st wife) there never would've been one baby photo of any of my three oldest sons. I have four and the youngest arrived during my after I discovered photography period. I was an inverterate reader willingly walking 6 miles the length of Bell, CA to practically “read out” the local library. I ended up traveling solo on the street car into Central Los Angeles to devour books at the public library. LA in 1951 was far different then it is now. But then why should I point out the obvious?
I do just because I can.
Digressing further, downward, or upward (you choose), I went to a community college and majored in journalism which meant I had to write for the student newspaper. Fortuitous this as it turned my life in a different direction and nudged me into my love of photography as well as a decade long odyssey traveling America's Pacific Rim in a pony drawn covered wagon.
“Can you use a camera?” John Jopes, managing editor of The Ontario Daily Report, asked well into my job interview. “Of course,” I replied. As the cliché goes my mama didn't raise no dummy!
I was interviewing for a job since my second son was on the way and my GI Bill wasn't about to handle the expense. I had a pile of clippings from the junior college newspaper as my “portfolio.” I use that term quite loosely. “Ralph, what do I do?” I know Mr. Viggers saw right through me. He handed me a Mamiya C330 with a Honeywell “Potato Masher” strobe already attached. “F8 at 125th and use your strobe,” Ralph advised.
I soon began laying out my own Sunday photo features and started drifting away from my stillborn career as a Ernie Pyle wannabe. Another paper, another town, I had traded in my medium format Mamiya with a Honeywell potato masher strobe for a 35mm Nikon.
Richard Nixon, campaigning for reelection, stopped at the local airport for a photo op with then Gov. Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy. I snuck under the restraining ropes and calmly waited while the entourage of politicos and good fellas passed by encapsulated within their living wall of beady eyed secret service agents.
I melted in with the White House news hawks, press passes flashing under the halogen lights, and sans legality snapped frame after frame only to have my ego smashed against the shoals of hubris. I had forgotten to check the rewind lever and had not loaded the film correctly.
Us unlettered illiterates, and at times unwashed, called our paper, The Ontario Daily “Distort.” but softly and just when bending elbows over at Jake’s Grill. I composed under daily deadlines listening to the clackity clack of the lino types in the background.
I was a general assignment reporter primarily covering the police beat as well as photo features for the Sunday paper and specialized in covering the minority communities in the Pomona Valley.
I went on to work for a Fontana paper which published six days a week. There I covered school, city and county government as well as police and prisons. I handled all darkroom duties as well as photography in which I compiled my own file of photos those with a queasy stomach would be well advised to ignore.
I was soon promoted to Sports Editor in addition to my other beats. I enlisted the aid of a local police officer who delivered box scores like the pros. I wrote and photographed high school football, basketball track and baseball. There were no such critter as a “soccer mom” back then.
I enlisted the help of a local bowler who wrote a weekly gossip column about life on the lanes. She kept me in stitches and hot water as she tended to be bawdy and risqué at times.
I covered three cities and three counties and wrote stories about the big races at Ontario International Race Way as well as Riverside International and if space required did features like a photo spread on the 1st and only Nude Rodeo.
I briefly worked as managing editor of a small weekly in Colton, CA where aside from helping my one and only reporter choose what kind of pipe she should smoke and layout an ad rag for Bull Head City, AZ, I spent most of Wednesday afternoons sorting through a two foot length of chain from which dangled a huge assortment of varied and unmarked keys. The keys were for the coin vending machines which it was my duty upon duty, upon duty to fill with largely unwanted papers and collect the most wanted coins.
I published a monthly rock magazine with the help of young vigorous friends. My wife who used what then was the most advanced word processor, an IBM compositor, was my back shop and we quit when Guy, the most important one, left his job at the printing plant where he ran the press for us after hours.
I worked for The Bakersfield Californian where I covered eastern Kern County and wrote a column on country music but this was before Buck and Merle feuded their way out of “Nashville West.”
After moving up North, I opened my very own portrait studio since no publication in Puget Sound expressed much timely interest in a penniless ink stained wretch from down south who foolishly ignored the “No Californians Wanted” signs sprinkled along northbound I5.
During my decade traveling the dusty roads of rural California I stored my clip file with my mother. When she died the album walked away from her widower’s attic.
No longer doing film although I used to have a complete color darkroom, I now own a Nikon DSL with four lenses and am familiar with professional level photo editing software, I have my own laptop as well as a modern up-to-date desk computer.
I own and operate a pony ride business. I can write humorless when proper but then life can be quirky at times.
I really value this computer age for what would we do without spell ck and control-alt-delete?