Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

No Thanks

Were it not for Halloween’s growing popularity as an adult drinking holiday [Christmas displays] might have broken into October by now.  –  “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Black Friday memeIt didn’t take long for my prediction to become a reality; last year I saw Christmas displays at a farm supply store two weeks before Halloween, and this year I saw them at Lowe’s around the same time.  Stores that don’t carry Halloween merchandise have now broken the Halloween barrier, and even retailers like Wal-mart are inching past it in parts of the store, with full-on Christmas displays emerging on Halloween afternoon.  Long-time readers know that though I love Christmas, I like seasons to be seasonal; part of what makes Christmas fun is that it’s a special time of year, and something that occupies a quarter of the calendar can hardly be considered “special”.  Did you notice the color of my nails in the photo I posted Tuesday?  Brown.  For autumn, and for the browned foods of Thanksgiving.  They won’t go Christmas red until my next visit to the nail parlor this coming Tuesday.  And they haven’t been black since shortly after Halloween; no matter what the marketers may push, black is not the appropriate color for today or for any other part of the Christmas season.  If you want to go out there and risk death, dismemberment or police brutality for a chance at one of an artificially-small number of low-priced bait-and-switch items hurled down by the millionaire top-management of “big box” stores like scraps tossed off the palace balcony to the starving peasantry, be my guest; I won’t be joining you.  Though I won’t be spending the day out in the country as I have for the past 10 years, I’ll mostly be spending it with friends and I’m not going anywhere near a retail store.  I will, however, be continuing one of my long-standing traditions:  collecting toys to donate to needy children via the Toys for Tots program.  If you live in or near Seattle and would like to help me in this effort, please email me; from now until the 18th I’m also offering a special deal for clients as part of that effort, and if you’d like to take advantage of that you can click here to get in touch with me about it.  Christmas is what we make it:  it can be a time to rush and stress, or a time to relax and enjoy; a time to let marketers lead you around by the nose, or a time to share what you have.  I know how I’m going to celebrate, and as I do every year I invite you to join me.  And if you see any Sallies ringing bells, please give them this with my compliments.Salvation Army donation

Read Full Post »

I am a mistress right now.  I love my boyfriend very much, but I am very confused about everything that I have researched about mistresses and wives.  Apparently, I am supposed to be a homewrecker, an evil temptress whose only desire is to take him away from his family.  Nothing could be further from my mind–I even give my boyfriend advice on how to get along with his wife.  The more I look around the net, the more I find sites that tell me how I am going to be disappointed because he will not leave his wife, because he uses me sexually, because I will not have an intimate emotional connection with him.  But I do not want him to leave his wife, and if the affair was ever discovered I would call her and promise her that I would never see him again so that he can be with his family.  I don’t get money from him, either; I don’t really understand how I am supposed to fit into the expectations society has of mistresses.

succubusWhen I was a teenager, I figured that my sexuality made me a weirdo.  I didn’t think sex was some special, magical thing to be shared only with certain consecrated people; nor did I believe it was dirty and polluting and had some special power to destroy my soul.  I was attracted to men and women equally, was willing to try new things, and was polyamorous at a time and place where that term didn’t exist (we called them “open relationships”, and some of my older partners called it “free love”).  The idea of jealousy made no sense at all to me; I didn’t care if my partners had sex with other people and I probably had more three-ways before I was 20 than more conventional girls have had sex partners of any kind.  But society told me that was all abnormal; sex possessed some kind of magical mumbo-jumbo taboo energy which made it different from all other human activity, and if I had “too much” I would be “ruined”, and I should be angry and hostile and hateful and throw my relationship away if I discovered a boyfriend or girlfriend had slept with somebody else.  I didn’t believe any of that crap, but I did believe that believing in it was “normal”; I was therefore a freak.  By the end of my twenties I had a much broader outlook; I felt that everyone was different, and that my way of perceiving sex was no less “normal” than the more common view.  But after 18 years of harlotry, I’ve begun to realize that my initial position was closer to the truth, except for big difference:  I’m not the one with the freakish way of looking at sex; society at large is.  Sex isn’t any more magical or holy or special than any other thing we can do with other people; it doesn’t have any unique power to destroy souls, and it isn’t “ruined” or “polluted” or whatever if one has it with multiple partners, or pays for it, or engages in it for reasons other than “love” or “pleasure”.  Rape is not a fate worse than death, sex society brands as “illicit” is mostly harmful to young people because of the stigma society inflicts rather than because of the activity itself, and extramarital sex has no intrinsic power to “wreck” a home; it’s jealousy and insecurity which do that.  The taboo/magical/possessive paradigm of sexuality is deeply sick and twisted, and has probably caused more evil, sorrow and destruction than any other single cultural construct on earth.

There’s an old adage that goes, “in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king,” but that’s total bullshit; as H.G. Wells illustrated in his story “The Country of the Blind“, the real response of a nation of blind people to someone trying to describe the concept of sight would be to conclude he was an imbecile.  Were the hypothetical one-eyed man to peruse the (Braille-like) records of this blind nation, he might discover other cases of “sick”, “crazy” and perhaps even “dangerous” individuals who had claimed to possess this imaginary power called “sight”; he might even find analyses of why these people should give up their delusions of a fifth sense, and how they’d never be happy or fit into society until they stopped claiming to see, or possibly even descriptions of how such troublemakers had been sentenced to have their eyes plucked out to rid them of this twisted delusion of “sight”.  What I’m getting at is this:  there’s absolutely nothing wrong with you or your way of looking at your relationship, but since you live in the Country of the Blind, don’t be surprised if the great majority can’t understand your gift of sight.  And because they can’t, they will all try to convince you that you’re the one who’s wrong and sick.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

Read Full Post »

Diary #281

The Great UnknownIt’s been over a month since a careless driver wrecked into my car, and the slow wheels of his corporate insurance company have finally almost finished grinding; once the car was in the shop the damage was discovered to be far more extensive than it outwardly appeared, so the company decided to total it.  Luckily, I got a good deal on it, so I should actually be able to replace it with something at least as good; I’m looking at something today, and even if that doesn’t work out the insurance company is covering the rental until Friday.  So I reckon it’s all going to work out, but I’m still very annoyed at the whole affair; I didn’t think I was emotionally attached to the Hyundai, but I guess I was.  It was bought for me by my readers, carried me across the country several times, then dependably took me back to Idaho to tend to Jae and bring her home after her accident.  It served me well, never once stranded me and got excellent fuel mileage; this new car is going to have to go a long way to beat it.  Ah, well, all things must pass.

Today also marks the anniversary of a very memorable dinner party with Jae, Mistress Matisse and Savannah Sly; how much my world has changed since then!  If you had asked me two years ago, I would have predicted that my life would change only slowly and predictably in the future, but the gods delight in proving me wrong; I suppose the only way to stop that is to stop making predictions.  And maybe that’s for the best.

Read Full Post »

Diary #280

Sunday was the one-year anniversary of the day I arrived in Seattle by train on the visit that was to change my entire life.  I thought it was just going to be an ordinary, albeit extra-nice, tour stop; I had no idea that I would bond so deeply with my friends here, nor that I would develop such deep feelings for Jae so quickly.  By the time I left I knew I would return for at least a visit; within a few weeks I had decided to relocate.  And before 90 days had passed since my departure, I was back.  But that was no mere change of residence, oh no; those who have followed this diary feature over the past year know what a long, strange trip it’s been.  Where will it take me next?  I have absolutely no idea, and I’ve given up on trying to predict; I can barely even keep on schedule with this blog.  But I’m going to keep on working, and keep on writing, and keep on fighting the good fight, and keep on expanding my horizons, and chronicling the whole thing right here.  And maybe one day, I’ll even figure out what it all means.

Read Full Post »


The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.  –  Thomas Jefferson

sequoia wildfireThe quote which forms today’s epigram is probably a familiar one, but few people are familiar with the larger paragraph in which it is embedded.  Jefferson was referring to Shay’s Rebellion (arguably the single strongest motivator which caused the weak central government of the Articles of Confederation to be replaced by the strong one established by the US Constitution) when he wrote:

God forbid we should ever be 20 years without such a rebellion…If [the people] remain quiet under such misconceptions it is a lethargy, the forerunner of death to the public liberty…what country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance?

Every November 5th I call for a rededication of the holiday from one in which rebels are burned in effigy to one in which tyrants are burned in effigy instead; in most of those essays I have quoted what I wrote the first time, words which echo Jefferson’s sentiments expressed above:

Governments need to be reminded (at least annually if not constantly) that they only hold power by the sufferance of all the people, not merely the majority, and that the overthrow of any government by a disgruntled minority is always a possibility.  I would like to see most if not all politicians and their minions paying for their power and privilege by being forced to live in a constant state of nervous anxiety; maybe then fewer would choose that path and more would concern themselves with keeping all the citizenry happy rather than merely pleasing barely enough of the population to keep themselves in office.

Every time a cop murders some unarmed person, pig apologists sonorously remind us how dangerous police work is (which it isn’t, by the by), and how tewwified the poor widdle coppies are, boo hoo hoo.  To which I reply:  They aren’t nearly terrified enough.  I want them to be so fucking terrified that they can’t sleep at night, so utterly frightened that they don’t dare leave their fucking stations.  I want them so scared they piss themselves on a daily basis and quit long before they can develop the kind of swagger that lets them go around beating, robbing, raping and murdering without fear of repercussions.  I want them to have nightmares of surveillance cameras recording their every move, and I want televised trials of bad cops every fucking day to serve the same function as a coyote’s hide nailed to a fence post by a rancher.  Tyrants and their thug-enforcers alike deserve to be burned in effigy, to be cursed and spat upon every time they venture into public, to be (figuratively) crucified for the slightest abuse of power.  We make government positions attractive to sociopaths by heaping accolades and privileges upon them; instead, those positions need to be made so repellent that nobody will stay in them for very long.  The price of power needs to be very high indeed to prevent exactly what the United States has turned into: a fascist police state whose rulers can do anything they like to the ruled without any consequences at all.

It’s much, much too late for this to happen in the US; no decaying empire in the history of the world has ever been revived once it got to the level of corruption this country reached a generation ago, and things have grown much worse since then.  Two years ago I wrote:

…old, decaying things must be cleared away – sometimes forcibly – in order to make way for new, younger and often better things.  Old people must pass on to make room for new children; dilapidated buildings must be demolished to pave the way for new construction.  And old, moribund governments which serve only the entrenched and wealthy must be removed if we are to build new ones which better serve all of the people and protect minorities from oppression by both majorities and other, more privileged minorities…

Like it or not, this is the future Americans face; our rulers have made peaceful change impossible, therefore violent change has become inevitable.  The system will be burned to the ground, whether we want it to or not; I don’t really want to see it, but if I live to be as old as Maman that will be a forlorn hope, as I don’t actually believe the system can survive another 40 years the way things are going.  The fire is coming, but as The Onion satirically reminds us, that is not a bad thing:

…a study…found that regular, controlled Washington, D.C. wildfires are crucial to the restoration of a healthy political environment.  “Periodic blazes that destroy sections of the Beltway region are a natural part of the political cycle and play a key role in maintaining democratic balance,” read the study in part, which explained that occasional wildfires of mild to moderate intensity are the most important and effective mechanism for clearing out old federal agencies so that new ones can take their place and flourish.  “Although such fires are often considered a hazard, without them government would quickly become dense, overrun, and impenetrable, stifling political diversity and inhibiting the germination of new ideas”…The study concluded that attempts to suppress the wildfires would likely only lead to the occurrence of far more powerful blazes in the future capable of causing significant, permanent damage to the government’s branches.

In reality, the entrenched establishment has prevented those moderate fires; the big one which will cause permanent damage is coming.  We can only hope that the ashes left behind are fertile soil for something better, leaner and healthier.Washington burning

Read Full Post »

It seems to me most strange that men should fear, seeing that death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.  –  William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar (II, ii)

Just recently, we were once again subjected to the silly spectacle of grown men sonorously pronouncing that yet another of life’s simple pleasures leads to an “increased risk” of cancer…the implication being that one ought to avoid the stuff as though it were poison.  Dr. Brooke Magnanti (whose  judgment I trust much more than I would that of the WHO) assures me that the risk is small indeed:

A far smaller percentage of people who eat processed meat regularly will get cancer from it compared to the percentage who get cancer that smoke regularly…If it had been better reported, the news should not have alarmed people any more than knowing that sun exposure, hormone therapy of any kind including the Pill, wild garlic, alcohol, and salted fish also definitely cause cancer, in sufficient doses…

Since I’ve been on oral estrogen for over 20 years and don’t actually eat that much bacon or sausage, I have absolutely no plans to make any changes in my diet whatsoever, any more than I would due to any other nutritional proclamation by “experts” (which is to say somewhere between zero and not at all).  While I can think of many good reasons to alter one’s behavior, a slightly elevated risk of dying from one cause rather than another is not among them.  Colorectal cancer is probably not a particularly pleasant way to go, but guess what?  Most of the other possible routes aren’t any better, and some are much worse.  As I wrote in “The Day of the Dead“,

…death is the one inescapable experience of material existence.  You will die, and so will I, and there is absolutely nothing any of us can do about it…yet vast numbers are so obsessed with this simple and indisputable fact that they waste much of their time on Earth in a struggle they absolutely cannot win.  In a pathetic attempt to stretch their allotted quantity of days just a little further, many are willing to dramatically reduce the quality of the whole

If you really believe that it’s worth turning every meal into an ordeal (or at least a math problem) for the rest of your life in order to buy a ticket for a raffle whose prize is an extra year or two of senility and decrepitude at the end, be my guest; it’s your life and you are free to waste it as you like.  But please don’t expect me to join you; I’ve got better things to do with my time here on this plane than to spend it fleeing death.  Once a year on this day, I drink a toast to the Reaper and remind him that I’m not afraid of him; when he at last come to collect me it will be a rendezvous rather than a capture, a meeting (whether anticipated or unexpected) of old friends rather than the cornering of a terrified animal by a hunter who has never in the history of the world ever failed to run down his prey.

Read Full Post »

Diary #278

1027152344So here we are 9 days after Jae was discharged from the hospital, and we still haven’t got everything in place; I’m waiting for appointment-setting callbacks from two different rehab and therapy agencies, and she has a follow-up appointment with her primary doctor in just a few weeks.  On Monday I need to make some necessary changes to her health insurance, and it will still be another two weeks before my car goes in to be fixed by the insurance of the guy who hit me.  My stupid cell phone carrier sent her replacement phone to the wrong address, but it should be here today so she’ll be back to answering her own calls and making her own tweets.  What that means is, this will be the last column dominated by news of her recovery; I think it’s important that she start taking control of her own life again after two and a half months of other people doing that for her.  I’m still going to be managing a lot of the paperwork so as to keep her from getting overwhelmed by the sheer volume and depth of bureaucratic bullshit, but she should be in charge of her own story again; from here on out I’ll only be talking about her as she impacts my life, just as it was prior to the accident.  And that is the way it should be.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,976 other followers