Monday, 28 February 2011

Charlie Sheen: me 23 years ago

Star of the hit television series Two and a Half Men. Played opposite Michael Douglas in the 1987 movie Wall Street. Currently the highest paid actor on television at $1.8 million per episode. That's me 23 years ago?

[chuckles] Well, not quite. Ha! Not even close. However, all of the papers have been full of stories about Sheen, interviews given by Sheen and tabloid pictures of Sheen which have painted an unflattering portrait of a man possessed by a runaway addictive personality. Alcohol, drugs and sex, not necessarily in that order, have taken a hold of dear old Chuck and he has no idea of which way is up whether he realises it or not. I'm seen the interviews. Believe me, he's hasn't got a clue.

Just this past February 8th, I celebrated 23 years of sobriety, Now I'm sure any of you who continue to trip the light fantastic may be thinking this could be the start of a holier than thou diatribe against the evil of spirits and a rant about the merits of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and the reinstatement of prohibition. Nothing could be further from the truth. I buy alcohol; I serve it; I do my part to let wine breath properly by decanting it and try in assist in the creation of a good pairing of grape and entrée. My expertise in this area is admittedly limited but my point is that what I choose to do is in no way a factor in determining how others choose to imbibe. My choice is a personal one.

However, a person who suffers from an addiction can be just as loony when they're sober as when they're high. Yep, you heard me. Being addicted to alcohol and/or drugs can change your thinking; some call it the alcoholic thinking. Charlie Sheen has all the classic symptoms. He's got it good, but he's ungrateful. He wants more; he's never satisfied or satiated for that matter. He's not at fault; any problem has been caused by somebody else.

As I read the columns in various publications, I know that Charlie's days are numbered. If Time Magazine is going to refer to him as a "class-A tool", I am certain that his employers are going to begin question the profit margin on a commodity which is looking more like a liability. And this is a burdensome liability which is not getting any cheaper. Sheen is getting $1.8 million per episode right now and is shooting his mouth off about demanding $3 million for the next season. Guess what? No one is irreplaceable and all good things must come to an end.

Robert Downey Jr., right in the middle of starring in the television series Ally McBeal for which he was nominated for an Emmy in 2001, gets fired and is written out of the show because he is arrested for drugs not once but twice!

Dear Mr. Sheen,

Please read the following. It is personal and it is my story. But it is your story as well. You have more to do in this world; do not waste one more minute of it in an altered state of consciousness.

You can turn this one around. And I don't mean through your deluded ramblings about curing yourself with your mind. I mean actually turning your entire life around.

23 years. I can do it. You can do it too.

Yours sincerely,

wb :-)


Conan O'Brian had the Tonight Show taken away from him. Has anybody been more shafted by circumstances and by decisions made by other people? However in leaving, he was gracious, appreciative and took the high road towards his employers. He was a gentleman. We would all love to see that Charlie Sheen. Conan is anything but a class-A tool.

Conan O'Brien Goodbye Speech - May 11, 2010


Wikipedia: Charlie Sheen

The New York Times: Famous, With Foot in Mouth
By Alessandra Stanley - Feb 28/2011
Troubled politicians and celebrities often turn to television and radio to retune their images radically — it’s a One Step program to persuade themselves of their own powers of persuasion. And self-delusion has no borders.
Mr. Sheen’s grandiose rants on the nation’s two leading morning talk shows — and via live stream on the gossip Web site TMZ — were more unmoored than most, but he showed all the usual symptoms of an insulated star with an unreasoned belief in his own invulnerability.

Asked if he was bipolar, Mr. Sheen said he was “bi-winning.”

That he only made himself look worse isn’t exactly new. Mr. Sheen, who spoke out after CBS suspended production of his hit television sitcom, “Two and a Half Men,” follows in the unsteady footsteps of Tom Cruise and his 2005 diatribe against psychiatry, Ritalin and Brooke Shields. There were echoes of Michael Jackson’s infamous 2003 interview with Martin Bashir in which he described sharing a bed with children at the Neverland ranch, and also of Whitney Houston, who in 2002 denied to Diane Sawyer that she used crack. (“Crack is whack,” she said.)


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Oscars 2011: my recap, my reviews

Anne Hathaway and James Franco co-hosted. Their opening skit had some great special effects but I think the jury is still out on the overall value. Melissa Leo dropped the F bomb during her acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress, apparently a first for the Academy Awards. Kirk Douglas did a presentation at the age of 94. For those who don't know, Douglas suffered a stroke in 1996 and had to teach himself to talk all over again chronicling his experiences in the 2003 book My Stroke of Luck.

The biggie of the night was, of course, The King's Speech. Whew! Finally the waiting is over; we now know. The conjecturing just went on and on and on. And now for the Monday morning papers as everyone dissects all the minutiae of the ceremony: who wore what; who committed a faux pas; which films should have won, etc. Admittedly, the Oscars represent quite a bit of hoopla when Hollywood rolls out its glamour and glitz however we love our entertainment so we love Hollywood.

Below is a listing of the winners showing all of the nominees. It's good to see who lost. After all, there are some pretty good films here and selecting a clear winner is difficult. And just because somebody lost doesn't mean you shouldn't go see that film.

At the end, there are reviews of some of the films which will hopefully remind us of some of last year's highlights or, if you didn't get a chance to see a particular film, to consider doing a rental one of these fine Saturday evenings with a bowl of your finest popcorn and enjoy a couple of hours of great escapism.

Best Motion Picture of the Year
Black Swan
The Fighter
The Kids are All Right
The King’s Speech - Winner
The Social Network
127 Hours
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Annette Bening (The Kids are All Right)
Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole)
Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone)
Natalie Portman (Black Swan) - Winner
Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine)

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Javier Bardem (Biutiful)
Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network)
Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) - Winner
James Franco (127 Hours)
Jeff Bridges (True Grit)

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Christian Bale (The Fighter) - Winner
John Hawkes (Winter’s Bone)
Jeremy Renner (The Town)
Mark Ruffalo (The Kids are All Right)
Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech)

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
Amy Adams (The Fighter)
Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech)
Melissa Leo (The Fighter) - Winner
Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit)
Jacki Weaver (Animal Kingdom)

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year
How to Train Your Dragon
The Illusionist
Toy Story 3 - Winner

Best Documentary Short Subject
Killing in the Name
Poster Girl
Strangers No More - Winner
Sun Come Up
The Warriors of Qiugang

Best Short Film (Animated)
Day & Night
The Gruffalo
Let’s Pollute
The Lost Thing - Winner
Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)

Best Short Film (Live Action)
The Confession
The Crush
God of Love - Winner
Na Wewe
Wish 143

Achievement in Art Direction
Alice in Wonderland - Winner
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
The King’s Speech
True Grit

Achievement in Cinematography
Black Swan
Inception - Winner
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Achievement in Costume Design
Alice in Wonderland - Winner
I Am Love
The King’s Speech
The Tempest
True Grit

Achievement in Directing
Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
David O. Russell (The Fighter)
Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) - Winner
David Fincher (The Social Network)
Joel and Ethan Coen (True Grit)

Best Documentary Feature
Exit through the Gift Shop
Inside Job - Winner
Waste Land

Achievement in Makeup
Barney’s Version
The Way Back
The Wolfman - Winner

Achievement in Film Editing
Black Swan
The Fighter
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network - Winner

Best Foreign Language Film of the Year
Biutiful (Mexico)
Dogtooth (Greece)
In a Better World (Denmark) - Winner
Incendies (Canada)
Hors la Loi (Algeria)

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Score)
How to Train Your Dragon
The King’s Speech
127 Hours
The Social Network - Winner

Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song)
“Coming Home” from Country Strong
“I See the Light” from Tangled
“If I Rise” from 127 Hours
“We Belong Together” from Toy Story 3 - Winner

Achievement in Sound Editing
Inception - Winner
Toy Story 3
TRON: Legacy
True Grit

Achievement in Sound Mixing
Inception - Winner
The King’s Speech
The Social Network
True Grit

Achievement in Visual Effects
Alice in Wonderland
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
Inception - Winner
Iron Man 2

Adapted Screenplay
127 Hours (Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle)
The Social Network (Aaron Sorkin) - Winner
Toy Story 3 (Michael Arndt, story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
True Grit (Joel Coen and Ethan Coen)
Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik and Anne Rossellini)

Original Screenplay
Another Year (Mike Leigh)
The Fighter (Paul Attanasio, Lewis Colich, Eric Johnson, Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy)
Inception (Christopher Nolan)
The Kids are All Right (Stuart Blumberg and Lisa Cholodenko)
The King’s Speech (David Seidler) - Winner

Anne Hathaway James Franco: Opening Oscar Skit 2011
[chuckles] I found this video, not the best quality, of the opening skit of the co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco. I leave it to you to judge if it was good or lame but yes, the special effects were interesting.

EUX TV - Feb28, 2011
EU-backed 'King's Speech' and 'In a better world' take Oscars in Hollywood
The European Commission on Monday did not hesitate to claim credit for its role in the success of the Oscars for the British film The King's Speech. In a press release, the commission said it had supported this film with 562.000 euro in distribution support via the EU MEDIA fund for cinema. This money was used to promote the film outside the United Kingdom. The King's speech earlier on Monday won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor and best original screenplay. Director Tom Hooper made The King's Speech on a shoe-string budget of less than 11 million euro. The Danish film 'In a better world', directed by Denmark's Susanne Bier, won the Oscar for best foreign language film. This film was also promoted via the Media programme.

The Nominations for Best Film
Going down the list gives me an opportunity to re-live a few of those moments parked in front of the silver screen: some great films, some not so great films but a successful attempt nevertheless to lure me into the dark and get me to cough up my hard earned dollars for that cinematic entertainment.

Black Swan - Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

The Fighter - Rotten Tomatoes: 89%

Inception - Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
my blog: Why wasn't this movie made in 3D? While it is visually stunning, I had a problem with the premise. Like the Matrix, we start with an idea which allows the maker to do anything he wants to twist reality. That's a good thing and leads to some great movie scenes. Nevertheless, I found that unlike the Matrix, the supporting premise was not adequately explained and seemed just a tad convoluted for the necessary suspension of belief

The Kids Are All Right - Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

The King's Speech - Rotten Tomatoes: 96%
my blog: I found this slice of history to be well done, well acted and well told.

127 Hours - Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

The Social Network - Rotten Tomatoes: 97%
my blog: I found the movie fascinating and would give credit to Aaron Sorkin who wrote the screenplay. That man did a fabulous job with the TV series The West Wing and once again, his writing shines. Of course, considering the story is a true story makes it all that much more interesting. Fact wins over fiction.

Toy Story 3 - Rotten Tomatoes: 99%
my blog: Is 3D a fad or is it here to stay? Pixar once again show themselves to be excellent makers of great family entertainment.

True Grit - Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
my blog: This is a movie which has some meat on its bones. Jeff Bridges had a colourful role, far better than Tron Legacy and much deserves his nomination.

Winter's Bone - Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Other Films
There were a few other films of note in 2010 I would like to point out.

Barney's Version was an excellent film and an excellent adaption of the book by Canadian author Mordecai Richler. You can't take your eyes off of Paul Giamatti. This love story will tug at your heart strings.

Blue Valentine is a sorrowful tale. This love story shows us the highs of love at first sight and the lows of two people who have grown apart.

Another Year is a wonderful character study written and directed by England's Mike Leigh. No car chase scenes but a lot of "small" action nevertheless.

I do want to add here how some documentaries proved to be some of the best if not the best films for me in 2010. Fiction is great and who doesn't love a well told story. But what about reality? Both Inside Job and Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer deal with events surrounding the financial crisis of 2008 and taking into account just what happened to all of us, to the entire world, I found these films to be truly the most fascinating films I had seen last year. I can't recommend them enough.

See my blog's site map for all of my movie reviews.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
83rd Academy Awards: winners

AddThis Blog - Feb 28/2011
Data from Last Night’s Oscars by Justin Thorp
Like the rest of the world, we were glued to our televisions to see who’d take home Oscar gold at the Academy Awards last night. The AddThis sharing platform provides sharing and social analytics to more than 8MM sites and over 1B unique users monthly.  So, we’re able to have our finger on the pulse of activity on the Web. While watching the show, we kept an eye on which actors and movies were getting shared about and searched for. Here are some interesting data points that we found…


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Sunday, 27 February 2011

Sex: Men can be creeps

Kat Wilder raises the issue of men staring at women and the subtle distinction between a welcome glance and an uncomfortable gaze. Considering that we men are spending 43 minutes each day looking at women according to a 2009 study, one would think we would be better adept at achieving a glimpse which is positive, that is, appreciated by women, as opposed to a leer with its negative connotation. (see Sex: Men stare at women. Who knew?) There seems, however, a very thin line between the welcome and the creepy; presentation is everything. A man can glance and add a smile or a nod to show polite appreciation for the woman in question as opposed to just staring while licking his lips. Eew.

Clarisse Thorn writes about the problem of a man expressing his sexuality without being a "creep".

Many of us women go through our daily lives fending off unwanted male attention; most of us have worried about being attacked by men. So it’s completely understandable that we’re all on high alert for predatory expressions of male sexuality.

Do we men fully understand and appreciate what's happening on the other side of the great divide? Do we know the difference between a glance and a stare? Clarisse continues:

... while certain situations and certain people deserve our disdain — like, say, the guy who once leered at me as I walked out of the public library and whispered, "I can smell your pussy" — most guys really don’t. The pressure put on men to be initiators, yet avoid seeming creepy or aggressive, leads to an unpleasant double bind. After all, the same gross cultural pressures that make women into objects force men into instigators.

She keeps this train of thought elsewhere:

Because women aren’t seen as threatening, we have an easier time doing confrontational things like approaching strangers on the street. Because women aren’t seen as fighters, we stand a lower chance of being mugged than men do. Because women are seen as emotional, we’re given a huge amount of social space to consider and discuss our feelings. I can work with and be affectionate with children far more easily than a man could. I can be explicit and overt about my sexuality without being viewed as a creep.

The pressure is on men to be initiators but without being creepy or aggressive. Some wise person pointed out the distinction in two pairs of terms: dominate and submissive as opposed to assertive and receptive. The idea is that the first pair of terms could be construed as negative or unwelcome while the second pair of terms is desirable in that the people in question are more equal and the concept of "choice" is integral. Never was this as apparent to me as when I had the opportunity to take some ballroom dance lessons a few years ago. (see Ballroom Dancing: A metaphor for men and women)

Ballroom dancing involves rules. While the man has the job of leading, he can only do so with the full cooperation of his partner; he cannot "force" his partner to do anything. There is no dominate and submissive; this is purely assertive and receptive. The man asks the woman to dance; she has the choice to accept or refuse. They can only dance together if, of course, they both know the steps but more importantly that they both do so willingly.

Avoiding the predatory
Yes, we men need to be assertive, sometimes forward; we need to be the instigator. But we must avoid coming across as predatory. I'm sure somebody has written some sort of metaphor about "don't scare the prey" in a men's advice column in an attempt to joke about comparing meeting women to hunting your target. Funny maybe, but let's remember that anything smacking of stalking is not. No is no.

During the evening, if I am walking down a street which is dimly lit and I see a woman coming towards me, I have, depending on my read of the situation, crossed to the other side of the street. Why? My gut instinct is that she would be more comfortable if she didn't have to come close to a stranger in the dark. I have done the same thing in, let's say, the library where I end up in some obscure corner and discover somebody there. I exit and leave them alone. Not all the time; it depends on how I judge the other person's body language. Exiting is not always an option or desirable. Defusing that fear of the "predator" can be achieved with a smile, a polite hello or just going about your business while ignoring the other person.

By the way, I have been in situations on a dark street where I have crossed to the opposite side of the street when I've seen a man or a group of men that, for whatever reason, makes me feel uncomfortable. I will add that I myself have never felt uncomfortable when I've seen a woman or a group of women. Telling, isn't it?

Now take this dark street and turn into anything else: the supermarket, a coffee shop or any public place. Are we being predatory? Are we being perceived as being predatory? Are we leering while licking our lips? Eew!

What a curious thing to write about. Then again, reading the blogs of Kat Wilder and Clarisse Thorn reminds me that none of this is imaginary. There is a "great divide". Do we talk about history, tradition, a mostly patriarchal society and a culture which is male dominated? Is there more of dominate and submissive as opposed to assertive and receptive? Yes, we have laws about equality but the true litmus test is the conversation around the water cooler with a bunch of guys. There is more predator and less equality than we think, than we would like.

True Story
Years ago I'm doing some computer consulting work. I'm at a small company talking with Bill the manager and Lori the head secretary. Out of the blue, Bill the manager decides to tell me a joke and says, "What's the difference between a woman and a walrus? ... One has a moustache and smells like fish, the other lives in the sea."

I was stunned. He says this in front of Lori. She nervously laughs not really knowing what to do. After all, Bill is her boss and signs her pay check. I didn't know what to say either; I was positively appalled he would say such a thing in front of a woman for starters but secondly; the premise of the entire joke is based on a sexist stereotype to which I do not at all subscribe. What an absolute idiot!

Where does this stuff come from?
In his article "How We Turn Men Into Creeps", author Steve Biddulph talks of how we collectively have failed to teach boys how to be sexually mature. He is of the mind that the development of mature, loving men requires some deliberate help and training during the first two decades of a man's life, and that this process frequently does not take place. He paints a not good picture of the current state of affairs but does give a glimmer of hope.

Boys have many positive impulses around sexuality. Deep down most teenage boys are deeply romantic, capable of quite spiritual feelings towards women and girls. Yet schoolyard and pub culture with its derisive dialogue about women and sex can erode and destroy a boy's finer feelings. This yob-culture must simply be overpowered by more persuasive, more affirming messages from men who live what they speak.

The University of Southern California reported on a study that showed boys raised by lesbians appear to be less aggressive and more nurturing than boys raised in heterosexual families. Just what is junior learning from dear old Dad? (see my blog: Marc Lépine: in remembrance of December 6, 1989)

How can men not help being creeps?
Steve Biddulph talks about help and training during the first two decades of a man's life. If I think about, if any of us think about it, without instruction, without training, without an education, how could anybody do anything?

Cindy Gallop started a web site called "Make Love Not Porn" (see Cindy Gallop: Make Love Not Porn) dedicated to eradicating some myths about reality as portrayed in pornography. She explained that her motivation for doing this was based on her personal experiences with younger men whose sexual education seems to have only come from watching pornographic films.

I'm sure that any of the conservative readers will immediately jump on the word pornography but for me, the more important point is how could a young man grow up and date Cindy Gallop but have never had a proper sexual education? While some of Ms. Gallop's stories are amusing, I was absolutely flabbergasted to hear what some of her dates thought women wanted. It was a testimony to parents who taught their sons nothing and an education system that failed as well.

Final Word
Men can be creeps; no doubt about it. But I do think men have the same potential for being good as anybody else however I qualify that by adding "with a proper upbringing".

If all of us guys are truly spending 43 minutes a day checking out the ladies, can we do it without being creeps? Can we throw out dominate and submissive and trade it in for assertive and receptive?

But, but, but I have to come back to Mr. Biddulph's talk about help and training during the first two decades of a man's life. What are we as parents teaching our children? What is our education system teaching our children? Are kids really being taught about sex, relations with the opposite sex and love or are they being thrown out the door with the idea "they'll figure it out for themselves"? Does it end up by default that porn is how kids are learning about sex and relations? Gee, would a Schwarzenegger film teach us about justice?

Isn't it odd? You have to take driver education course and pass a test to get your licence before you are allowed to get behind the wheel of a car. I can add to that pilot, engineer, teacher, car mechanic, doctor and plumber. Need I list off just how many things we can do in life without proving to a single soul that we have the foggiest notion about what the heck we're doing? Things which may have a critical influence on other people? I would include here dating, sex, marriage and being a parent. Odd, indeed. We expect people to be good - okay, half decent - at something all while providing no instruction and not mandating any testing before getting behind the wheel.

Men can be creeps? "What's the difference between a woman and a walrus?" Men can be pigs.


Kat Wilder - Oct 20/2010
It’s not OK to stare

Clarisse Thorn - Jan 2/2011
Men don’t deserve the word “creep”

Steve Biddulph
How We Turn Men Into Creeps

my blog: Cindy Gallop: Make Love Not Porn
I think Ms. Gallop displayed a lot of guts in making this web site and making a public speech about it. The truth is never easy and sometimes you have to go against traditions and silence and just speak your mind.

my blog: Marc Lépine: in remembrance of December 6, 1989
As reported by the University of Southern California, a study of children raised by gay parents showed differences in their behaviour from those raised by heterosexual parents. For example, boys raised by lesbians appear to be less aggressive and more nurturing than boys raised in heterosexual families.

Craigslist (anonymous) - Dec 28/2006
Rant: All men aren't creeps...
(I'm copying the entire message as I'm afraid it might someday get taken down.)
This woman is intelligent and a shrewd observer of men.

I have been approached more times than I can count over the years by men trying to get to know me better. I think that is average for most women in their 20s.

I always try to be respectful whether I am attracted to them or not. Believe it or not, women get rejected too and I try to treat folks like I would like to be treated.

These are just some questions I would love to have answered. I am sure I will get some s**t for writing this. I don't want to be negative; I love men and think for the most part that they are great. I have been approached by nice guys (attractive-to-me and not) in class, at work, at bars, at cafes, at the roller rink, etc and have appreciated the conversation and the stuff that sometimes follows.

That being said, please tell me why men think that it is ok to do the following:

-Skulk around the bar for hours and stare at me while I am drinking with my friends and only approach me at the VERY end of the night (even though I said hello and smiled a few times) when I am outside of the bar and parting ways with my friends. Either you think I am drunk enough to make you look good or you are waiting until I am alone for some creepy reason...ugh.

-Try to kiss a woman's hand the first time you meet her. It is not the Victorian era and it is not the Renaissance Fair. From my understanding it was customary for ladies to wear gloves and for gentlemen to "air kiss", anyway. I don't know you and you don't know where my hand has been. I certainly don't want your lips on me the first minute that we meet. I had to repeatedly tell a 50-something year old guy with scraggly hair and a beret to please not kiss my hand and that a hand shake was enough. I said this politely but he persisted x3. When I said "PLEASE DON'T" in a firm tone to him he called me a "bitch". That was 4 years ago and I still see the guy in my neighborhood and he STILL glares at me. Grow up and get over it grandpa.

-Try to dry hump women while they are talking to their friends...I know you are drunk and I am so sorry that your girlfriend broke up with you, but wtf?

-invite my friend and I home with you...believe me darling, if we want a threesome with you, WE will come to YOU. We are pretty sure of getting a taker if we are offering that set up. You are just asking for rejection there and will be given no sympathy.

-Not take a hint that my friend and I are not up to flirting when she is crying her eyes out after being dumped...especially when we say point-blank "sorry, now is not a good time. Maybe we can hang out next week".

-Loudly ask me and my friend (in front of my mom) to smoke weed with you in the back alley when it is pouring rain. You could at least introduce yourself first...sheesh.

-cockblocking sucks. Don't do it. If I am speaking intently with a hottie please don't try to sit between us and take over the conversation.
-yes I am a busty lady. I am not interested in hearing about how you used to like skinnier gals but you have come to the realization recently that curvy women are sexy, too. Yawn. Or is that your way of letting me know that I am on your hotlist and you find me dateable even though your jockohomo friends might make fun of you. Oh boy! Lucky me!

-being rude to my male friends when I bring them in the bar/cafe that where I and you both happen to be regulars. That will not impress me. It was really funny watching this regular get all huffy and competitive with my GAY co-worker who I brought to the cafe. I know we usually exchange pleasantries when we see each other, but I have no commitment to you. If you want to show you care, be nice to my friends

-why would a man tell a me that he had painted a portrait of me face and superimposed it on a picture he had previously painted on his ex-girlfriend? I don't want to know that I have a "divine" face that is the muse to your artistic genius. For one thing, I don't even know your last name. Secondly, I am not impressed by the "art in pain" persona. Finally, that conversation was so creepy that I avoided that location for several months.

-I'm with the Clinton biography reader who posted. If I am reading a book or doing my coursework, I don't mind a "hello" but being unable to take a hint is just f**king pathetic and unattractive in the extreme. A man who doesn't catch normal social cues or even worse pushes my boundaries on the first meeting is not going to get too far with me.

-If you are an older gentleman, expect to be rejected if you approach a younger woman. I have enjoyed dating older men myself, but most women don't. Sorry but that's the way the cookie crumbles pops.

Thanks for letting me rant!


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Saturday, 26 February 2011

Sex: Men stare at women. Who knew?

Men will spend almost one year of their lives ogling women, while women will spend nearly the same amount of time deciding what clothes to wear, according to some 2009 surveys done in the UK by OnePoll, a British firm specialising in surveying people for market research.

Britain’s Kodak Lens Vision Centres commissioned the first poll to study 3,000 people about eyesight and ended up with the following stats.

Heterosexual men spend almost one full year of their entire lives, as they said, "ogling" women. The average guy will spend almost 43 minutes a day eyeing-up ten different women. That adds up to 259 hours - almost 11 days - each year, making a total 11 months and 11 days between the ages of 18 and 50.

Heterosexual women also admire the opposite sex but researchers discovered the bar was set lower: women sneak a peek at six men for just over 20 minutes a day. That's almost six months admiring men from afar between the ages of 18 and 50.

One could say that men have a harder time trying to impress the ladies as the ladies are only looking at them half the time.

The most popular places for checking out the opposite sex by sex reveals some striking differences and similarities.

Top five spots men look at women
  1. Supermarket
  2. Pub/bar
  3. Nightclub
  4. Work
  5. Shops
Top five places women look at men
  1. Pub/bar
  2. Shops
  3. On public transport
  4. Supermarket
  5. Work
Who likes to be stared at? The majority of men and women feel flattered being the subject of attention but guys are more likely to enjoy it with 19 per cent saying it makes them feel happy, compared to just nine per cent of women. 6 per cent of girls feel uncomfortable, while 20 per cent say it embarrasses them.

For women, over 40 per cent of them, a man's eyes are the first thing they look at. For men, it's a woman's figure.

Apparently more than half of those surveyed had been embarrassed by being caught eyeing someone up. A third of those folk have ended up arguing with their other half over their roving eye and one in ten have even split up with a partner because of their constant roving eyes.

35 per cent of Brits saying they started a relationship with someone they eyed-up.

The study also found that more than a third of Brits would miss being able to admire the opposite sex if they couldn't see, whilst another 71 per cent would miss their partner's face.

Oh, the survey was supposed to be about eyesight - after all it was sponsored by the Kodak Lens Vision Centres - and it also included these numbers;
  • 61 per cent of people are worried about their eyesight fading.
  • Despite this, two thirds admit they don't prioritise the health of their eyes, and 38 per cent haven't had their eyes tested for over two years.
What to wear
The clothier Matalan commissioned a separate poll of nearly 2,500 females in the UK which determined that women will spend almost one year of their lives deciding what to wear. On average, a female will spend 287 days of her life rifling through her wardrobe. The one-year projection is based on an adult lifetime that spans from ages 16 to 60.

The study did not investigate how much time men spend choosing clothes.

Final Word
I note that the study uses the word "ogle" but doesn't make the distinction between an ogle, a stare and the quick but respectful glance. Is it me? I thought a gentleman casts an admiring glance while a pervert ogles. (Old joke: It's only a leer if the woman is not interested.)

"35 per cent of Brits saying they started a relationship with someone they eyed-up." Staring works? Is the other 65 per cent equally divided up amongst call the cops, pepper spray and a quick kick to the groin?

Men stare at chicks at the supermarket? Hmmm, now that I think of it, the ladies are quite occupied in selecting the right produce so what better time to steal a glance or maybe a long impolite I'm-getting-out-my-can-of-Mace ogle. If anybody looks at the surveillance tapes, they'll find out that while I'm holding a cantaloupe as if I am trying to determine if it's too ripe or not, I am actually stealing a long uninterrupted glance at the MILF in aisle 6.

I'm certain social scientists have a field day with this sort of stuff. Maybe some critics of the male gender also find this fodder for analysing male behaviour as errant and irredeemable. In my blog Sex: Men are from Mars, I point out the old saying:

If a man isn't having sex, he's talking about sex.
If a man isn't talking about sex, he's thinking about sex.
And if a man isn't thinking about sex, he's dead.

Are men hard-wired? Is the Coolidge Effect true?

Then again, the results show that women are looking to; maybe only half as much but does that show "hard-wiring" or cultural differences? (women are supposed to be more modest, less aggressive than men) Who knows?

I wonder how many tombstones are out there with the inscription:

Here lies John Doe who spent a full year ogling women but wished it could have been more.


One Poll: August 4, 2009
Men spend almost ONE YEAR of their lives ogling women

One Poll: July 9, 2009
Women will spend almost ONE YEAR of their lives deciding what to wear

One Poll: archive of press releases

Wikipedia: One Poll
OnePoll is a survey-led marketing research company specialising in online and mobile polling. It has offices in London, UK and Bristol, UK. The company is owned by PR and marketing firm 72 Point and forms part of the South West News Service (SWNS) Group, the UK's largest independent press agency and newswire service. The firm has an online and iPhone panel of over 100,000 Britons ranging across all demographics. Panel members are paid for completing surveys, which typically contain between 10 and 20 questions. OnePoll has carried out projects for brands including Philips, Travelodge and Halifax.

my blog: Sex: Cleavage

Afterword: Let's not forget that no means no.
my blog: Justice Robert Dewar: rape is inconsiderate


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Friday, 25 February 2011

Justice Robert Dewar: rape is inconsiderate

I read about this incident and my jaw dropped. I scrambled to other news outlets to confirm that this had actually happened. I'm dumbfounded. But first, the story.

According to the National Post, back in 2006, Kenneth Rhodes and a male friend met two women outside a bar. It was summer and both women were wearing tube tops with high heels. Apparently, the women spoke of going swimming in a nearby lake even though neither one of them had a bathing suit.

"I wasn’t dressed like a skank. I was like 20 years old, wearing a tube top. It was summer," said the victim who cannot be identified as she is the victim of a sexual assault.

The foursome left the parking lot in a vehicle, headed into the woods, court was told. Rhodes began making sexual advances toward the victim, who initially rejected him but later returned his kisses.

"I didn’t like the guy. He was beyond creepy, a real pervert, " she said Thursday. "He deserves to be behind bars for what he did. " She had asked her friend to stop the car to let her out because she no longer wanted to be near Rhodes. Unfortunately, he also exited as the other two drove away, leaving them alone together on the highway.

The CBC reported on the next part of the story:

The woman said she went into the bushes off the road to urinate and the man followed her in.

"I wanted out of there and he wouldn't stop," she said about the attack, which left her covered in bruises.

Justice Robert Dewar
The judge in the case is in hot water now over remarks he made during the sentencing of Kenneth Rhodes. Dewar made mention of the women wearing no bras (you don't wear a bra with a tube top), of the women talking about going swimming even though they didn't have bathing suits, of wearing high heels and having "plenty of makeup". Manitoba Queen's Bench Judge Robert Dewar described Rhodes as a “clumsy Don Juan” but said the circumstances were "inviting" and that "Sex was in the air." He concluded by saying, "This is a case of misunderstanding signals and inconsiderate behaviour."

The Crown was seeking a three-year jail term but Dewar spared Rhodes jail time and gave him a two-year conditional sentence allowing him to remain free in the community.

The CBC spoke with Lorraine Parrington, who co-ordinates the sexual assault crisis program at Klinic, a community health centre in Winnipeg. She said Dewar's remarks show there needs to be more education about how women should be treated in sexual assault cases.

Fewer than 10 per cent of sexual assault cases are actually reported and Parrington worries Dewar's comments will discourage future victims from coming forward.

"I'd like to say I was shocked. Unfortunately, I'm not after doing this work for lots of years," she said. "But I was appalled. I was outraged. I was disheartened."

Men have to learn women can change their minds, and no, at any point in an encounter, means no, she said.

"People have a right to change their mind. If I decide that I want to be engaged in certain sexual behaviour with somebody I can do that and I'm allowed to say, 'Stop, I don't want to do it any more.' That needs to be respected."

On Friday, February 25, 2011, there was a rally of about 100 people at the Manitoba Law Courts Building both criticizing Justice Dewar and calling for his resignation. One placard carried the telling message, "No such thing as implied consent".

Final Word
Christine Blatchford in an revealing article points out that three years is supposed to be the starting point for judges in determining sentences for major sexual assault. She also notes that parliament removed from judges in 2007 any power to grant conditional sentences for any sexual assault. This incident happened, however in 2006.

Ms. Blatchford is talking about the law, the facts. I just have comments.

"Inviting circumstances" may explain what happened, but they don't justify what happened. No means no. There is no such thing as implied consent as only yes means yes. As Lorraine Parrington so aptly points out, everyone is allowed to change their mind.

The judge's mentioning of what the women were wearing is inexcusable. I don't care if the woman was wearing a Madonna/Lady Gaga cone bra with crotchless edible panties; no means no. The word skank doesn't come up at all.

The judge said that "Sex was in the air." "Money is in the air" every time I buy a lottery ticket but that doesn't mean I'm gettin' any.

The judge said that "This is a case of misunderstanding signals." Let's see now: struggling woman, repeated cries of "No", must use force to successfully hold her down, cause bruising. The judge is right. I can see that somebody would be completely baffled by these signals... if he was an utter moron.

The judge said that "This is a case of inconsiderate behaviour." I have to tip my hat at the perspicacity of Justice Dewar as yes, rape is "inconsiderate".

At the end of the day, I just have to shake my head. It is unfathomable what Justice Dewar was thinking when he opened his mouth but considering the flak in the media and the rally at the Manitoba Law Courts Building, I am confident others higher up the ladder are going to be taking a peek at this one. Already the Winnipeg Free Press is saying that a judicial body will be reviewing complaints against Dewar.


The National Post - Feb 25, 2011
‘No woman asks to be raped’: Victim slams judge’s decision by Mike McIntyre

CBC - Feb 25/2011
Judge's sex-assault comments spark rally

The National Post - Feb 24, 2011
Joe O’Connor: Do a tube top and high heels say, ‘Go ahead, rape me?’
So, there you have it: rape isn’t rape, even when it is. No doesn’t really mean no. And tight tops, by gum, they mean she wants IT. Bad. That she is dying for IT. That she is sending a signal to you, guys.

And that forcing her to have sex with you is “inconsiderate behaviour”, nothing more.

Justice Dewar said his aim wasn’t to blame the victim. What was it then? To send a message to men that raping a woman in a tube top because she gives you a suggestive wink is all part of the courtship process?

The Globe and Mail - Feb 24/2011
Manitoba judge is dead wrong in rape case by Christie Blatchford
[The case called R v Sandercock] famously, and controversially it appears, set three years as the starting point that judges should use in determining sentences for major sexual assault – that is, non-consensual vaginal intercourse and other equally serious sexual offences.

Among the common-sense conclusions from that three-member panel, all men, was this: “It is surely not provocation, for example, simply to be a woman, or to be attractive, or to be prettily attired.”
“If the courts do not act to vindicate the promises of the law, and public confidence diminishes, then Parliament will.”

Parliament has.

In 2007, it removed from judges any power to grant conditional sentences for any sexual assault or other serious personal injury offence.
In other words, the sentence Judge Dewar handed Kenneth Rhodes, in that smarmy language, is now forbidden.

Mr. Rhodes had the good luck to rape – er, behave inconsiderately toward – his victim by a dark highway outside Thompson in 2006, the year before the law took effect.

The Winnipeg Free Press - Feb 25/2011
Judicial body reviewing complaints against judge
A body that investigates judicial misconduct confirmed this afternoon that it will be reviewing complaints against Manitoba Queen's Bench Judge Robert Dewar.

And the province of Manitoba announced it will file a formal complaint about the federal judge with the Canadian Judicial Council.

The council, which hears complaints of judicial misconduct, confirmed today that it has already received "several" complaints about the conduct of Dewar.

StatsCan: rape statistics
According to self-reported victimization data from the General Social Survey, less than one in ten sexual assaults were reported to police.

Is there something about judges in Manitoba?
Lori Douglas: the judge who is benched


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Thursday, 24 February 2011

You're never too old to be juvenile

On October 23, 2010, #1 Nana became a senior citizen when she turned 60. "It seems like it wasn’t so long ago that I wasn’t trusting anyone over thirty…and now I’m twice that age." Ah, now doesn't that make you stop and have a look in the mirror. Time marches on and what the heck are we going to do about it? I remember hearing somebody say something to the effect that we're all going to go through life once. We can go kicking and screaming, but we're going to go through it once.

However, a little humour is necessary to ease the burden and maybe ease the pain. After all, you might as well laugh as it feels better than crying. #1 Nana writes:

The spouse and I took a cruise in September. The boat was filled with older people. It came as a shock to me when, in a brief moment of enlightenment, I realized that they weren't older people, they were my peer group. I am a senior.

A friend of mine called 60 the start of the 4th quarter. His football metaphor - Or was it a simile? - clearly pointed out that we better fit it in now as this is pretty much our last kick at the can. Okay, that sounds a little ominous - We ain't dead yet! - but he certainly meant that we better stop saying, "One of these days, I'm going to get around to doing..." That day has come. Check your bucket list then put on your parachute and jump. (see my blog Parachuting: If God had meant me to...)

What I find so utterly amusing about this age is the experience and (supposed) wisdom one has in doing the everyday things we all do. A twenty something laughs at a "new" joke while I'm thinking that joke has been around since the beginning of time; it's just recycled, rebranded and repackaged. A twenty something looks at me as being "old" not realising that once, I was twenty years old too. A twenty something may be polite with me watching his choice of language not knowing that I grew up in the era of George Carlin's Seven Words You Can't Say On Television. The twenty year thinks that because I don't use my Twitter account as much as he does that somehow I am completely out of touch with life.

#1 Nana, as a retirement project, decided, like myself, to do some blogging and share her experiences and valuable insights with the rest of the (online) world. She got me laughing about a 60 year old dealing with a teenager.

According to her posting "WTF Wednesday: Nana Gets a $1.00 and a Boner", Nana has retired but is doing some substituting at a middle school. For those not in the know, this is a junior high school, grades 6 or 7 to grades 8 or 9 depending on the locale.

I immediately knew I would like Nana because I just love an educated, experienced, up-front woman who is not afraid to drop the F bomb. Tell it like it is, baby!

Apparently, a young gentleman was setting the rest of the class all in titters by showing off a one dollar bill on which he had written in large letters the letter B preceding the word "ONE" and the letter R just after it to form BONER. What caught my eye was that I still remember with some fondness (and embarrassment?) this silly type of off-colour humour which was the stable of the pre and post-pubescent ages of both middle and high schools. We thought we were utterly brilliant while anybody over the age of 18 considered us to be absolutely "retarded". - Anybody remember George Carlin riffing on how kids would snicker at saying something like "cockroach", a non profanity which just sounds dirty?

Nana's picture of this dollar bill is just hilarious and I am thoroughly amused that she would take a photo of it and publish it along with her story in her blog. Of course, she took the bill away from the student to keep order in the class but she did promise to give it back: I told him to have his mother stop by to see me and I was perfectly happy to give it back to her, after he explained to his mother the significance of the writing on the back.

It gets better. In her next "WTF Wednesday" published a week later, she tells of how the students discovered her blog and started leaving comments. While some of the comments are supposed to deliver a certain angry condemnation of the dollar bill being confiscated, they come across as being funny in their stupidity and ineffective communication. I like how the owner of the dollar bill posts his comment anonymously then turns around and writes a message which clearly indicates who he is. Smile for the CCTV.

So cold, so deep.
It just occurred to me; I had completely forgotten about this. Some of the Canadian bills have a picture of Queen Elizabeth on them. The older bills, dating back to around 1970 had a different picture and there was a way of folding them over so you could cover up part of the Queen's face leaving her cheeks exposed in a manner that looked like bare buttocks. Maybe this is slightly more creative than BONER but I suppose I would publish it in the same book of "(Dumbass) High School Pranks I Thought Made Me Look Like A Genius".

Nevertheless, this posting is to talk about it being never too late to be juvenile. A couple of years ago, at the ripe old age of 57, I go into the men's room to find a colleague, Roger, standing at one of the urinals. I silently take my place just next to him and we both stand there staring at the wall doing our business, all without talking. After 20 seconds of silence, Roger quietly says, "Boy, is the water ever cold."

Out of context, out of the blue like that, I'm not sure I understand what he is talking about. My mind races over the company we work for, the business we do together, our projects, etc. but comes up empty. Then there is this glimmer of recognition; this vague memory which had remained untouched, dormant for how long? Thirty years? Thirty-five years? Something from high school when we guys would make not brilliant but illuminating references to our genitalia. Yes, the remarks were not necessarily brilliant but they were illuminating about our post-pubescent fixation on being a man, scoring with girls and the size of our equipment. Could it be? Could Roger be making a reference to something from high school? I wasn't sure.

As I mull all of this over, another good ten seconds passes in complete silence until Roger once again speaks as softly as he did the first time. "And it's deep too."

I realise that yes, he is making a reference to life in high school. I cracked up. I started laughing so hard I'm surprised I didn't pee down my pant leg. The juxtaposition of two fifty-seven year old grown and supposedly mature men standing at the urinals and saying some high school joke about the size of one's equipment was the height of absurdity. I honestly had not heard anybody, any man say such a thing since high school when I must have been 16 or 17 years old. It was now over forty years later.

Roger can be a very funny guy. And yes, once in a while we will break from our moulds, a pair of now fifty-seven year old supposedly mature men, to make some juvenile joke about... well, I don't think we've said "boner" but I'm sure I wouldn't put it pass us.

Final Word
Are you ever too old? I guess a little humour is always called for. And sometimes a WTF doesn't hurt either.

A few years ago, a friend and I were sitting out on a terrace having a cup of coffee as we watched various people walk by. Please picture two 53 year old men. At one moment, a rather attractive young lady of 25 walked by. I leaned over to my friend and said quietly, "Hey Dennis. Look at that woman over there. She's wants it. [a pregnant pause] Just not from us."

Yep, you're never too old to be juvenile or maybe that just means you're never too old to be silly.


Benchmark 60
Serving the Blogosphere since 1/3/2010
I retired this past year. I hadn't really thought about what to do next; I just knew it was time to do something different. I will turn 60 this coming year. Both events seem like benchmarks in my life. Shouldn't I have some insight or well-won sense of purpose by now?


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Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Single people: alone but not necessarily lonely

Singles only want to get coupled. Singles are miserable and lonely; their lives are tragic. If you're married, you will be healthier and live longer. Single women are not getting any and are promiscuous. Single men are horny, slovenly and irresponsible. They are also scary criminals. If a man is single, fastidious, well-dressed and sexy, he's gay and here gay is a bad thing.

Good lord, shoot me now! As I sit here reading this in my 7th floor office, I now understand why skyscrapers don't have windows that open. You can't jump.

Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard, 1979) is the Visiting Professor of Psychology (since 2000) at the University of California, Santa Barbara and describes herself on the About of her web site as a social scientist, author, blogger, speaker and consultant. She has several books to her résumé but her hit seems to be "Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After". While her web site shows several areas of interest and research, her forte seems to be related to the study of singleness, the state of being single. She writes a blog / column on the web site Psychology Today entitled "Living Single: The truth about singles in our society".

10 Myths About Single People: Singles are not pining, selfish, sad, or sick
This article by Dr. DePaulo in Psychology Today (Feb 21/2011) reveals stereotypical characteristics the author feels are unjustly applied to anybody not married. The most telling aspect of the analysis is that the author dispels the negative portrayal of anybody who is single. Being single doesn't mean the person has failed at marriage. Being single doesn't mean the person is incomplete. - Time for a Jerry Maguire reference? - And most of all, being single doesn't imply any one of a number of negative characteristics which may indicate a personality that is bad right up to criminal. In fact, being single can just be who you are and there's nothing wrong with that.

Lonely: Learning to live with solitude
At the opposite end of the spectrum, you can find this book by Emily White which sets out to "de-glorify loneliness", rallying against the portrayals of being alone by people like DePaulo. Ms. White apparently has suffered from a feeling of disconnect which made social interaction - making friends and intimate relationships - difficult if not impossible which a reporter called "chronic loneliness. Unlike DePaulo who looks upon being single as a good thing, White seems to see being single as undesirable.

"We're born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we're not alone."
- Orson Welles

The Stats
Canada's agency for statistics, StatsCan points out that we are living longer and more of us are finding ourselves alone. It's just a number; no critique on this being good or bad. Of course the one funny comment I found in their research was the statement "25% of Canadians would like more time alone". Digging a little deeper, I discovered those who said this were those with children: 58% of women aged 25 to 44 with kids compared to 34% of men in the same circumstances. Ha! When we're alone, we'll complain about being lonely but when we're into it up to our armpits, we'll be praying for a moment of peace!

Living alone can be hazardous to your health, studies show
Of course examining this question turns into a no brainer. We can be pretty sloppy with doing anything for one.

Where's the inspiration to cook for one? It's just so easy to throw a Pizza Pocket in the microwave.

Who's going to tell me to go to bed and when? Come on, just one more time to flip through all the channels; there has to be something other than infomercials on at 2am.

Exercise? There's nobody here to comment on my paunch and make me think of doing something about it.

Hmmm, I wonder just how long it will take for anybody to find my body. So, just how long does it take for a rotting corpse to stink up the hallway outside my apartment?

Living Alone is Bad for the Environment
What? Ah, come on! Well, nope, About.Com tells us that one-person households use more than their share of energy and resources. There seems to be some economies of scale by having more than one person flush the same toilet. In fact, the author cites the study "Innovative solutions for averting a potential resource crisis—the case of one-person households in England and Wales" which points out the consumer behaviour of one-person households increases the overall consumption of energy, land and household goods. A country (in this case England) must look for solutions in the way of pro-environment behaviour and more resource efficient lifestyles.

Final Word
I didn't realise anybody could write so much about being single. Of course I discovered Dr. DePaulo is single and seems to have concluded that being single is who she is and there's nothing wrong with that. Hmmm, it almost seems like a paraphrase from Seinfeld. "She's single... Not that there's anything wrong with that!" Does her own singleness explain her interest in studying this phenomenon and writing about it and explaining it and defending it? I had never thought about being single as either positive or negative, I just thought about it as just, well, being.

However, this does remind me of something I've heard more than once over the years in amusing observations about life. If a woman finds a single man over 40, she should remember that it means two possible things: there's something wrong with him or he's gay. I remember the first time I saw this in a newspaper column written by a woman and thinking to myself, "I'm doomed!"

Nowadays, I don't know. Dr. DePaulo defends or explains being single as not being a horrible state of affairs and considering that the current statistics put divorce up around 50%, I suppose I'm going to look a little less odd being single because there will more single people around me. Of course, somebody could give the analogy of a nutbar doesn't look that crazy when he's in the psyche ward.

However, if I'm living alone, I'm not sharing and if I'm not sharing, I'm not being as efficient as I could be. So there, I need to share. And I guess if I share, somebody is going to be around on a regular basis and I wouldn't have to worry about my body going unnoticed for too long.


Psychology Today: Belle DePaulo - biography
Bella DePaulo (Ph.D., Harvard, 1979) is a social psychologist and the author of Singled Out: How Singles are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After (St. Martin's Press) and Single with Attitude: Not Your Typical Take on Health and Happiness, Love and Money, Marriage and Friendship. In Singled Out, and in her other work on people who are single, DePaulo has drawn from social science data to challenge the stereotypes of people who are single. DePaulo has also offered seminars and workshops on the science of singlehood. She is the recipient of a number of honors and awards, such as the James McKeen Cattell Award and the Research Scientist Development Award. DePaulo has published more than 100 scientific papers and has served in various leadership positions in professional organizations. She has written op-ed essays for publications such as the New York Times, the Chronicle of Higher Education, Newsday, and the San Francisco Chronicle, and she is also a contributor to the Huffington Post. Bella DePaulo has discussed the place of singles in society on radio and television, including NPR and CNN, and her work has been described in newspapers (such as the New York Times and the Washington Post) and magazines (such as Time, Business Week, and Psychology Today). She has been a Visiting Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara since the summer of 2000. Her personal blog is All Things Single (and More).

official web site: Bella DePaulo

Wikipedia: Single person
In legal definitions for interpersonal status, a single person is someone who is not in a relationship or is "unmarried".

Wikipedia: Loneliness
Loneliness is an unpleasant feeling in which a person experiences a strong sense of emptiness and solitude resulting from inadequate levels of social relationships, however it is a subjective experience.

Wikipedia: Loner
A loner is a person who avoids or does not actively seek human interaction or prefers to be alone. There are many reasons for solitude, intentional or otherwise, and "loner" implies no specific cause. Intentional reasons include spiritual and religious considerations or personal philosophies. Unintentional reasons involve being highly sensitive, having more extreme forms of shyness, or various mental disorders. The modern term "loner" is usually used with a negative connotation in the belief that human beings are social creatures and those that do not participate are deviant.

There are two distinct types of individuals that are called loners. The first type includes individuals that prefer solitude and are content to have very limited social interaction. The second type includes individuals that are forced to be isolated because they are rejected by society. This individual typically experiences loneliness. The first type are not lonely even when they are alone. However, these are very broad generalizations and it is not uncommon for loners to experience both of these dimensions at some point—their bliss due to solitude may come at the price of loneliness.

In popular culture, there is a certain romanticism in the idea of the loner since he or she is seen as special and unique. This can be attributed to the notion that truly great people often lurk in the shadows of societies that espouse corrupt or superficial standards of existence. As a result, the concept of a lonely hero is a recurring theme in stories.


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Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Open Salon disabled my blog "by mistake"

On Sunday, February 20, 2011, I go to my blog on Open Salon. I have my account set up to remember my login so I'm a little perplexed that my bookmark in Firefox doesn't immediately lead me to the account. I click to log in, fill in my information then get the following message:

User 217743 does not exist

Did I misspell my user name? I try again. Same response. Have I messed up my password? I click on the option "Forget your password". I get an email and follow the instructions but end up with the same message about User 217743 does not exist. Have I done something wrong?

I go to Google and search on my articles. I still find links to my articles but as I click on two, three, four links, I end up with this message telling me User 217743 does not exist. Then it dawns on me: my account has been suspended. But why?

Did I write something which violates the terms of agreement with Open Salon? The article I just posted the night before "Roxy aka Shelley Lubben vs. the (porn) world" didn't strike me as any more controversial than anything else I had written. Yes, I used the picture of the cover of a DVD for a porn movie but all body parts were strategically covered.

Was somebody upset I had written an article about pornography? I had touched upon the subject before and in doing a search, I found others in Open Salon had discussed this topic.

Was my language unacceptable? In my article, I hadn't uttered a single profanity. Once again, a search of Open Salon led me to examples for every one of George Carlin's Seven Words You Can't Say On TV.

My article dealt with Shelly Lubben, a former porn star who found God and has now made it a personal mission to convert all of us to non-porn good Christian ways. Had a supporter managed to infiltrate Open Salon and suppress any dissenting voices?

I write the following email to Open Salon

from     William Belle
date     Sun, Feb 20, 2011 at 8:50 AM
subject  Open Salon suspended my account?

Last night I posted an article from my blog

This morning I can't get in. Any links to my articles in Google come up with

    * Code 300: User 217743 does not exist
    * Detailed information has been written into the error log.

Ah, would anybody be kind enough to explain to me what's going on? Is this a technical error or have I violated some terms of service?

William Quincy Belle

No answer all day Sunday. I forward a copy of the email Monday morning. No answer all day Monday. I forward another copy Tuesday morning. I get a response late Tuesday afternoon.

from     ...
to       William Belle
date     Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 5:24 PM
subject  Re: Open Salon suspended my account?

Hello William,

Thank you for writing.  It appears your blog was deleted by mistake, but I have gone ahead and reinstated your blog.  I am terribly sorry about the inconvenience this may have caused.



I stare at this email for the longest time mulling over what has happened and the ramifications. I manage to log in and yes, my account is there. I discover though that out of the 260 blog postings I had, only two remain. The other 258 postings have disappeared. I check further and find that my list of followers is still there. I notice that my recent comments are showing which I find curious. In doing a Google search on my articles, I ran across a link to an Open Salon article which had one of my comments. When I looked at the article, I discovered my comment was no longer on the page. Now that I'm back in, my comments seem to have re-appeared.

Now, please keep in mind I am not holding any ill-will for ...; he's just a cog in the machine. I don't believe he's personally responsible for this "incident" - unless I hear otherwise! Consequently, when I wrote back, I controlled myself. I didn't write "WTF?" and I expressed in measured terms some questions and suggestions about the ease with which one was able to unceremoniously delete my account.

from     William Belle
to       ...
date     Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 7:00 PM
subject  Re: Open Salon suspended my account?

Deleted by mistake? I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the reinstatement, but I have to ask if this happens frequently? I had 260 postings which represent quite a bit of time on my part. Yes, my postings come from a blog elsewhere but I have had to edit many of the Salon postings because your system doesn't handle HTML in the same way Blogger does. I am sitting here stunned that someone, somewhere wiped out hours of my time and the response is "Oops".

Aren't there any checks and balances in your system from an administration level to double check the deletion of an account? Can anybody just go ahead and delete an account? If an account is deleted, you don't have some sort of safeguard of holding onto the information for X number of days or weeks before permanently deleting it?

I'm flabbergasted. What if I only had a Salon blog and didn't have a blog elsewhere? I would have lost the only copy of my blog. Unlike Blogger which has an export/import for the entire blog, I see no way of "backing up" a Salon blog.

Is the rest of the Open Salon community aware that their account could be deleted like mine?

I appreciate you reinstating me but as I've discovered that only 2 out of my original 260 blog posting remain, I'm wondering whether I want to take the time to put it all in again.


I am only a very small fish in a great big pond. Well may be it's an ocean. Nevertheless, like everybody else spending some of their valuable and oh so limited time in this world jotting down their thoughts about this, that and the other thing, I feel a degree of assurance that the cosmos is spinning properly when I log in and find "my stuff" where it should be.

My question to anybody else blogging at Open Salon or using any of the other blogging platforms: Can this happen to you? I guess question number two should be: Do you have a backup of your work?

A final email from ... explains that my account was not deleted, it was disabled. However, he explains that disabling an account breaks any links to an imported blog. Ah, I manually entered 2 postings; the other 258 were imported. That's why out of the 260, the majority disappeared. I'm not saying I understand, but I have an explanation.

If this is to be categorised as a "fluke", so be it, I matter not to the gods. However, I was serious about my questions and suggestions. As a developer, manager and observer in the workplace, I am fully cognisant of the vagaries of business procedures and their effectiveness. Getting a sign-off can be considered a PITA (Pain In The Administration) however it does avoid those moments where an individual performs an uninformed, ill-considered and unrecoverable action even if with the best of intentions. As I stroll around and overhear some poor soul curse their fate as they expound on the horrors of modern technology and lost time and effort (and unsaved, not backed up files), I smile ever so slightly and silently whisper to myself, "Thank God my computer is working okay."


Wikipedia: Open Salon
Open Salon is a hybrid blogging platform and social network site started by the Salon Media Group, Inc. According to Salon Editor-in-Chief Joan Walsh "Open Salon gets rid of traditional gatekeepers, and makes our smart, creative audience full partners in Salon's publishing future." After registering, users can start blogging immediately as well as rating and commenting on other posts. The Open Salon home page functions as a real-time magazine cover and is updated throughout the day. The best Open Salon content is featured on the cover of

Hmmm, would a gatekeeper be such a bad thing? All DEL keystrokes must have authorisation.


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