I was struck today by this picture in the New York Times.
There’s an interesting case that recently came before the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals threatening free speech, our treasured first amendment right. The court ruled that “talk therapy” is more than just speech; it’s conduct and therefore not bound by the first amendment. The specific issue involved medical professionals who used talk therapy to dissuade a minor from his sexual wont, a form of counseling known as “reparative therapy.”
Whether we approve, condone or even believe in reparative therapy is not the issue, but rather the notion that it is regarded as conduct rather than what it is: speech. In today’s New York Times, Paul Sherman and Robert McNamara tell us this decision will affect “thousands of Americans who speak on all sorts of harmless, everyday topics.” In a similar case, North Carolina’s state dietitian licensing board ordered a man to stop giving dietary advice on his own web site.
Gee, I’m getting a little nervous here… See, today I was going to tell you how to get rid of ants in the infested kitchens of America, but I don’t want to tread on any expert toes, like the EPA or maybe even the NRA. After all, I don’t have any insectarian credentials and this advice requires action. Conduct.
I can’t talk about my friend who has shingles because that leads to an admonishment on my part if you haven’t bothered to get immunized, which in turn leads to conduct unbecoming a lay-person not in the medical profession.
Can I recommend an airline?
Tell you not to slurp your soup?
Offer advise to the lovelorn?
C’mon. Let’s get serious.
Do you know what a Harajuku girl is? Do you miss punching the keys on a jukebox? When, if ever, did you sip a cherry coke? Are you addicted to anything like coke, salt flakes, crystal meth or guavas? Have you ever held a live iguana? Did you see the film The Night of the Iguana ? Did you ever bury anybody on a beach up to the neck? Did you ever bury anybody on a beach? Were you ever on a beach with with your college amour, only to have a sea gull shit on your foot? Have you ever had sand in your Schlitz?
Have you ever ventured into a yurt? Do you like yogurt? Have you ever stomped grapes? Do you love Lucy? Do you know what the word quiddity means? Do you believe some people have their own essence? Man or woman, have you ever worn hot pants? Do you think too much time is twiddled away on twitter? Have you ever been groped? Have you ever shot yourself in the foot trying to kill a grouse?
Have you ever eaten a Hen of the Woods mushroom? How about a Trumpet Royale? This is why I love Craft in Century City (and New York). Pricey? You bet, but the restaurant is so beautifully decorated, and the food is so graciously presented and so tasty, it’s hard to beat. We invited our friends (he, the Universal Life Minister who married us) and had ourselves a delectable feast.
Sometimes I freak out so easily, like today.
I don’t know what happens when women get within fifty yards of a shoe sale, but I think it’s something hormonal. Yesterday (and continuing for several days) was sale day at Bloomingdale’s. Since I live around the corner, since I frequent Gelson’s which is situated in the mall, and since I can’t resist a sale, I spent a few hours milling around Bloomies, mostly in search of shoes. Do I need shoes? Do I need clothes? Do I need a stiff drink? haha. Here’s an example of how practical I can become when there’s a shoe sale:
Before I actually let myself enter the shoe department, I looked around for other things…that perfect dress, those perfect jeans, but alas was out of luck.
This is what I want to know (and now that I think about it, could easily find out the answer). Are these sales ladies on commission? Yesterday I found a perfect navy dress that I could wear out to my anniversary dinner tomorrow (and probably nowhere else) and since they didn’t have my size the saleslady said, “I have another one that’s basically the same dress. Let me get it!” She was so enthusiastic, beaming with ingenuity. She came back with a dress four inches shorter, pleated a foot from the hem and looking like it belonged on a flapper out of The Great Gatsby. I actually couldn’t speak for a few seconds. So, I went back to the shoe department.
When there’s a sale on, you look at shoes that are way out of your range, even when on sale, telling yourself what a great shopper you are. Wow! What a steal… which is what I was telling myself when I tried on a pair of blue loafers with sequined, heart shaped, UK flags on them. Wouldn’t they look great with the jeans I haven’t found yet? $500, but not really because they’re on sale. 20% off. Really just $400. Isn’t it great to save $100? I was thinking this when I looked down at them and said (not aloud, of course), “What are you, suddenly a Brit?” When I told the salesman that I didn’t think they would work, he said, “Well, since you like those, how about these?” He held up another pair of blue loafers, only these had what looked like fish skeletons on them. I didn’t even try to figure out what that was about.
My closet is full of impractical shoes because I’ll buy shoes for a special occasion and end up never wearing them again. Like my wedding shoes, but that’s the exception, right? Actually I did wear my wedding shoes once with a pair of boot legged jeans. When my friend saw the toes peaking out from under the jeans she said, “Those look lethal,” but I don’t think she meant it in a good way.
A few days ago my “bro,” called me with this revelation, “Guess what”? Turns out you’re responsible for your own orgasm. Read today’s New York Times [September 29]. We don’t want to hear anymore complaints from the ladies.”
This sounds like a good way to get out of trying to sexually please your partner, doesn’t it? But it turns out that “spontaneous orgasm” is not that rare and is closely aligned with Tantra Yoga (which usually involves couples). The similarities lie in the idea that’s it’s all in our heads, but “autoerotism shows up mainly in women.” In Tantra Yoga (which I know little about and confess having acquired my info from Yogajournal.com), the idea is we all have a chakra that can be awakened. It’s a spiritual quest, whereas scientists who are now studying the spontaneous female orgasm are more mystified about why females even have an orgasm, as it has nothing to do with procreation.
I can answer that. So can you.
Research on this subject has been going on for a long time, dispelling the idea that men achieve orgasm more readily than women. A book released in 1996, Sexational Secrets prompted workshops for women and came with a “how-to” guide. Rutgers University has an on-going study they recently presented at the Society for Neuroscience. Their scans of women volunteers indicated that when women even thought about sexual stimulation, even of the breasts alone, the “brain’s corresponding sensory areas” lit up. This is new because, “sense organs are usually seen as responsible for the cortical responses.” Got that?
So ladies, do we need to start taking more responsibility for our own orgasms?
When I read more about Tantra Yoga, it sounds difficult for the men who sometimes have long periods requiring a “soft-on.” But there must be something to all those Indian carvings of interlaced men and women in sexual poses of ecstasy, all those prolonged acrobatics, right?
I’m going to watch the first episode of “Masters of Sex” tonight for some old fashioned enlightenment.
There is a lot of talk lately about the Cal State Universities and their general condition of disrepair. The trend is to allocate funds for student recruitment and increase enrollment. Get those bucks rolling in. In the meantime, several campuses are suffering leaking windows and broken elevators, with no sign of any help. Sure, student enrollment is important, but at what cost?
According to the L.A.Times, there are twenty-three Cal State campuses, and they are all operating on a “patch-and-fix-it” basis. Our “deferred maintenance bill tops more than $1.7 billion.” Our practical Governor, Jerry Brown, has suggested to the Board of Trustees that perhaps we should fix our buildings before we look to put more students in them. Previously, $50 million dollars was requested but didn’t pass the last budget.
At my university, Cal Sate, Northridge, my roaming space i.e. the amount of campus I cover on working days, is relatively small. I go from car, to building, to elevator, to English Department, to my own office, to class, to home. So there is a whole campus world out there I don’t see. But what I do see can be construed as unkempt, in a word, because occasionally, I go to the bathroom. Water is coming up under some stalls, or maybe isn’t draining (but then where does it come from?). Locks are broken, paper towel dispensers don’t work (a roll sits on the small metal rim of the mirror), and often the floor is muddy, even in summer. What’s with that? In general the “women’s room” is pretty much of a mess by late afternoon.
Sidebar: Ladies, why can’t you sit on the toilet? If there are no seat covers, use toilet paper. No kidding. What’s with the squatting over the toilet? Save that for when you visit third world countries. You can never entirely hit your mark because, hello, you don’t have a you-know-what. Just sit down, for God’s sake. Sidebar end.
As an adjunct professor, I share a very tiny office with six other professors. Books are stacked to the ceiling. And although we’ve managed to cram three desks into the space, there isn’t room for much else, say like a student… We have a brand new gym that the students love, but some of them can’t get the classes they need to graduate. We need to get our priorities straight, or we’re going to end up with a lot of very fit students who never graduate and rest rooms that eventually will rival those in poorer countries, where you have to squat out of necessity.