Category Archives: soap box

Stick to Your Own Bedrooms

 

The Fetish Fair Fleamarket was held this weekend at the Crowne Plaza in Warwick, hosted by the New England Leather Alliance. Billed as the largest and lowest costing event for the BDSM community in New England, the two day event brought thousands of people into town, as well as vendors, workshops, guest speakers and presentations.  The ballroom was converted into a fully equipped dungeon.

This being my weekend to work I was unable to attend the party (not the only reason) but if any of my readers were there I hope you stayed safe and had fun.

If any of my readers were among those protesting, trying to drive the event out of town, I’d like to know why?  Held twice a year at rotating sites, the Fetish Fair Fleamarket is thought to bring a million dollars in revenue to local businesses in the towns where it is held. The entire hotel is rented and nobody without a ticket bought in advance is admitted.  Nudity is not allowed in the lobby or any other areas where a perv with a telescopic lens ( teenage boys ) might be able to observe from off premises.  Private security as well as the local police are hired and rules of conduct strictly enforced. I understand if this isn’t something that you would like to participate in, but why care if others do?

One place that the event won’t ever be held is  Attleborro, a town where a similar party was once raided by police for being in violation of “chastity, morality, decency, and good order.”  Who deemed themselves  worthy of making this determination is unclear, but one woman was subsequently arrested for “assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.” Her crime was spanking another woman across the buttocks with a wooden spatula.

 

Mind Your Own
memoires dun Flagellant de Marque

 

Also held this weekend was the 2007 NBA All Star Game. Originally scheduled to be played in Charlotte, the game and it’s surrounding festivities were moved to New Orleans as a response to North Carolina’s ban on local ordinances that sought to extend protections for members of the LGBT community.  It was a big loss for Charlotte. The 2004 game in New Orleans generated 106.1 million dollars in economic impact and 60.4 million in direct spending.

It was an unprecedented statement for a major sports league, but also a great example of what to do if you object to what is happening somewhere.  Don’t go.

Even though the Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that it is a violation of the 14th amendment to bar consensual sex of any kind between adults, a dozen states still have anti-sodomy laws on the books.  Oral sex is illegal in 18 states, although in Kansas and Kentucky it is OK if you are straight.  Many of you may not be quite the law abiding citizen you once believed yourself to be.

Isn’t it time that we as a society started minding our own damn business?  I’m not particularly interested in S & M, but Fifty Shades Darker has earned 92.8 million dollars in the last eleven days, so some of you are intrigued.  I’ve never engaged in homosexual activity, but I’ve also never been propositioned by Tom Hardy.

 

Mind Your Own Business
youre welcome ladies

 

Here’s a list of the people that should have a say in what goes on in my bedroom : my wife.  That’s it, short list, and I’ll afford you the same courtesy.  Is it too much to ask for everyone else to expect the same?

 

 

 

Sore Losers, Hoping For Failure

 

It’s about to become official folks.  The fat lady has sung and it’s time to put down your signs and go home.  Despite almost 2.9 million more people voting for Hillary Clinton, on January 6th a Joint Session of Congress officially tallied up the Electoral College votes and on Friday, January 20th, Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America.

 

from two years ago, but does that really matter?

 

Senator Barbara Boxer of California and House of Representatives Congressman Charlie Rangel of New York, both from states that voted heavily for Hillary Clinton, have introduced legislation proposing to abolish the current Electoral College system.  More than fifty other Democratic lawmakers will be skipping the inauguration, an unprecedented boycott.  According to the Director of Homeland Security for the District of Columbia, there is an expected 800,000-900,000 people expected to be in Washington DC to cheer on the incoming President.  Up to 750,000 are expected to be there in protest.

I would agree that a system in which the person with the most votes doesn’t win seems decidedly undemocratic , that there seems to be something somewhat flawed with 80,000 people spread out over three states deciding the fate of an entire nation, but would it really be any fairer for the large population centers of California and the Northeast to hold such an unbalanced influence?

We enter the next four years uncertain about the direction of our country.  Advisory positions and a potential new cabinet of Wall Street insiders, climate deniers, creationists and alt-right conspiracy theorists challenging my ability to remain cautiously optimistic.

 

snake warning
PublicDomainPictures.net

 

Are those of us unhappy with his victory just being sore losers, as many of his supporters gleefully claim?  Our angst and trepidation about people not even on the job yet is used as an example of why we needed a strong leader to “Make America Great Again”.  ( Not to be confused with “Keep America Great”, his proposed 2020 slogan and also the phrase used to justify the state sanctioned crime sprees of The Purge horror films. )

I don’t think so.  Ignorance and incompetence should always be feared, should be fought against.  Acceptance of the results is a requisite for democracy, but so is an involved populace not afraid to voice their opinion, their opposition to policies or behaviors that appear antithesis to our own principles and values.

 

missing the point

 

A failed Trump Presidency doesn’t have to mean catastrophic repercussions for the country, for the “plane that we are all on.”  It can also mean a repudiation of selfishness, ignorance, hate and isolationism.  A victory for tolerance, compassion, common sense and science.  I don’t want him to fail because he wasn’t my candidate, but because I vehemently disagree with just about every proposal that he has suggested and don’t want him to do most of the things that he has promised to do.

Failure would not mean failure for America.  We were already a great country and will continue to be so.  It would mean that our system of checks and balances have done their job.  That a bully can’t always tweet his way to getting what he wants.

 

commons.wikimedia.org

 

 

 

 

 

It’s Just Parenting

 

My work schedule doesn’t always make it easy, but I try my best to be as involved in my children’s lives as possible.  I’ll confess to knowing less about what’s going on in my teenage daughter’s life than I probably should, but I think that may have more to do with the nature of teenage daughters than it does with my effort.  I made it to as many soccer games and practices as I could, drove her to dance class when it fell on my night off and took vacation time for recitals.  I don’t do as much as I’d like, probably not as much as she would like, but I do what I can and hope that she realizes that.

The same thing goes for the little.  I’m up every morning to get her up and ready for school, just like I was with her sister.  As I type this I’m keeping an eye on the clock, a mid day holiday musical performance happening at her school very shortly.

This apparently will come as a surprise to some people, but this is also the attitude of every single other father I know.  Not some, not most, every other one.  I see them at school drop off in the morning, pick up in the afternoon, at parent teacher conferences, at dance practice, at the pediatrician’s office, at the movie theater and at the park.

Dads not doing anything special, not doing anything that deserves any measure of praise or celebration.  Just parenting.

Just parenting.

 

And yet this:

its just parenting

 

and this:

dads dont babysit

 

and just in time for the season:

 

I don’t get offended easily. Exasperated yes, but not offended.  When I scroll past something that I disagree with, I keep scrolling, feeling no need to inject my opinions into the comments of every Facebook post that I come across.  My object here today is not to rant, not to criticize or shame those that may find these and the many others like them to be funny.

My desire here today is to tell you I’m sorry.  Sorry that you feel the need to take passive aggressive swipes at your partner. That by receiving “likes” and shares you are getting needed confirmation that you are not alone. That you aren’t the only one out there that seems to have had a child with a douche bag.

I’m sorry that you have been left behind.  Most dads these days are doing their part.  They do the shopping, they wrap presents. They pack lunches and brush hair.  They even change diapers and get up in the middle of the night to dry tears and tuck their kids back into bed.

We don’t do it to be helpful.  Don’t do it to give mom a break or to try and impress anybody.  We do it because we couldn’t imagine doing anything different.

We’re just parenting.

 

 

 

Fight Club, Aisle 4

 

I understand why other people do, but I have never, or plan to ever, go shopping on Black Friday.  I can’t comprehend how early people begin standing in lines to try and ensure that they fully take advantage of the best deals. With no morning school run pending and typically a bit of a hangover, I’m not sure that anything less than a free car giveaway or my bed actually catching on fire could persuade me to move.

I hate the timing of it. As trite as it sounds, there really is something wrong with the idea that the biggest shopping day of the year should immediately follow a feast of Thanksgiving. It’s absurd.

I also have no desire to play witness to the further decay of civilized society. If you want to be depressed, a simple internet search will bring up hundreds of videos showing people around the country trampling and fighting each other over televisions, toys, and even multi packs of toilet paper. It’s the periphery of these videos that I find the most revolting however. I might not be willing to beat another human being to save a few dollars on butt wipe, but I can understand the primal instinct behind it and appreciate the desire to keep a clean ass. What I can’t understand is the circle of people surrounding the combatants and doing nothing but filming on their phones.

It’s not a phenomenon that occurs only with half priced flat screens or the last box of Hatchimals. It happens in night clubs, restaurants, and most alarmingly, high school bathrooms, on a daily basis. Random acts of violence easily captured and instantaneously uploaded, viewed by a staggering number of people. A “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” may not mean the same thing as it did in the days of Rome, but anonymously viewing from behind a screen absolves no one of the same culpability as those who chose filming over action. We’ve traded loincloths for sweatpants, but have we really come very far in 2000 years?

 

Black Friday

 

It would be hypocritical not to mention that I regularly watch both boxing and mixed martial arts matches, controlled contests between trained professionals with somebody on hand to intervene if necessary. Outside of the ring, nobody ever seems to be trying to break up these fights anymore, only jostle for better viewing angles.

One video that has crossed my feed multiple times over the past couple of days is of a fight in the stands at this weekend’s Miami Dolphins home game against the San Francisco 49ers.  I refuse to link to it, but at no time do I see anybody attempt to alert security or stop the brawl. The only people not filming on their phones are jumping in to throw punches of their own. As a parent, the scared children in the crowd sadden me. As a fan of the Dolphins that sees most of their games in other team’s stadiums, the apathy of the spectators frightens me.  As a human being, I’m disgusted by the entire display.

 

screenshot_20161129-193841

 

I’m certainly not advocating for people to begin attempting to break up every altercation that they may come across. The worst beating I’ve ever taken was a result of trying to do just that.  Just don’t stand there.  Don’t do nothing.

In the 1998 series finale of Seinfeld, the four main characters witness an overweight man being carjacked. Instead of doing anything to aid the man, they make jokes about his size while Kramer records the incident on his fancy new camcorder. They end the series in jail, incarcerated for a year for breaking The Good Samaritan Law, a fictional statute that would require bystanders to perform some helpful action if they are witness to a crime.

One of the greatest sitcoms of all time, Seinfeld jokingly billed itself as “a show about nothing.” In this case, I think they may actually have been on to something.

 

kramer-2

 

 

 

This is Why We’re Scared

 

I’m pretty confident in my assumption that not a lot of my readership comes from the hard right end of the political spectrum. Judging by my Facebook feed, twitter, and well…the results, I also think that it’s safe to assume that there is somebody, somewhere, that is reading this much happier with the election results than I am.

I don’t hate you. I’m not going to call you names or un-friend you. You’re probably not reading this on your way to a Klan rally or an underage whorehouse. When you cast this vote you honestly thought that you were doing the best thing for this country. You think that America is going to be a better place now.

I’ve spent the past few days trying to understand why.

 

There has never been a perfect candidate, there never will be. Every time we exercise our right to vote it’s based on an evaluation of pluses and minuses. We find the person that we believe most closely identifies with our opinions and beliefs. We ignore flaws in our choice because we are confident that they will represent us better than the alternative. Many of us held our noses as we pulled that lever on Tuesday, felt a little unclean as we blackened that circle. We weren’t enthusiastic but we were with her because we found the alternative to be so vastly objectionable. We assumed that the majority of others would do the same.

We were wrong.

There was an issue that mattered to you. Maybe it was the e-mails, maybe questionable donor activity. Maybe it’s the opportunity to seat a conservative Supreme Court judge or your fear that she would revoke your right to bear arms. Maybe you work in the coal industry and feared for your family’s financial future. I don’t know what it is but there was something important to you that allowed you to ignore or excuse all that is wrong with Donald Trump. There was something, and your numbers were vastly underestimated.

 

There was no lack of issues for our side to point to either. Lack of experience, inappropriate reactions to perceived slights or criticisms, a history of selfishness and need for attention. Personally, I don’t feel that I could ever vote for somebody that denies the scientific evidence about climate change. To me it’s the single most important challenge facing humanity and our future.

Mostly though, it’s about his words for us.

It sounds silly, I know. You’re shaking your head, muttering about how her actions offend you more than his words. That this is the sort of politically correct nonsense that he is supposed to be saving us from.

The problem with that line of thinking is that these aren’t “just words”, just “locker room talk” or empty rhetoric designed to gain support from specific subsets of the public. Once said, these words can’t be taken back. The man said John McCain wasn’t a war hero because he allowed himself to be captured. He mocked a handicapped reporter. Insults, lies, sexism, prejudice, racism, intolerance, misogyny, xenophobia. Some of the most vile statements I’ve ever heard, emitted from the man that you just voted for.

Why does this matter? It matters because by ignoring you are condoning, giving tacit approval to the notion that not only do some people in this country matter more than others, some don’t even matter at all.

 

On Wednesday afternoon a few women in a small town a few miles from where I grew up painted a sign based on a Facebook post by social activist Shaun King. The idea was to make sure that “anyone who did feel marginalized felt supported.”

 

fb_img_1478786690624

 

By Thursday morning it looked like this.

 

fb_img_1478786565012

 

This is why we’re scared, shocked by the repudiation of the progress that we seemed to have made.  Why we are so heartbroken about the defeat of a woman that many of us didn’t even really like all that much. You didn’t do this, but the people that did were emboldened by the words of the next President of the United States of America. Inspired by him and his homophobic Vice President they have crawled out of the shadows. They’ve been told that it’s OK to say these things, believe them, and ultimately, act on them. The man who now holds the most important political position in the world has issued a license to hate.

 

Maybe it’s what we needed. A pulling off of the scab to reveal the hidden purulence. The next generation of America is already more diverse and accepting than ours will ever be. It’s our job to raise our children to continue this trend. To put forth Donald Trump and his words as examples of what we are fighting against.

This is why we are scared, but we aren’t beaten. The signs have already been replaced. More are planned. Every revolution inevitably has a counter-revolution.

You voted for who you thought was the best person to lead this country. I don’t know your reasons but I refuse to believe that you all based that vote on hate. I fear that you have helped to usher in a new era of darkness in our country, but am hopeful that there is enough good, enough of the true ideals that this country was founded on, to fight back.  That there are more people painting signs of tolerance and love tonight than there are those that are vandalizing them.