Again With The Double Standard (Sorta)

Yesterday I posted about the double standard when it comes to adults having sex with minors. I just ran into an interesting movie review related to that topic.

Hard Candy seems to be a movie about revenge. A guy meets a 14 year old girl online. They get together at a coffee bar and end up deciding on a more personal rendezvous. Once they get behind closed doors he falls to the floor drugged. It turns out this 14 year old girl has decided to punish guys who have sex with underage girls, and she’s doing it one man at a time in a very personal way.

I haven’t seen this movie yet, but from what I hear it’s very interesting in a disturbing sort of way. If anyone in Nashville is brave enough to show it, I just might go see it. And no doubt squirm in my seat the entire time.

The Second Season

Last night The Lady Friend and I attended the last game of the Predators regular season. I wasn’t sure what to expect since they’ve already made it into the playoffs, and guaranteed (or clinched as they say in sports) the home ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs. But they were playing the hated Red Wings, and that almost always makes things really interesting.

The first 10 minutes or so were pretty dull. Just what you would expect from two teams who already had playoff guarantees. Then they realized who they were playing, and remembered the rivalry. After that it got a little mean. I was surprised at some of the checking going on. All those guys should want to stay healthy for the playoffs but they were throwing each other around pretty hard. To make a long story short, the Predators won 6-3, and the Predators points included a hat trick by Paul Kariya.

Nobody seems to know quite what to expect from the Predators in the playoffs. That’s mostly due to the loss of their first string goaltender, Tomas Vokoun. Vokoun got sidelined by a rare blood clotting condition at just about the time the Predators guaranteed their entry into the playoffs. I feel really bad for Vokun. He has essentially carried that team through a lot of rough spots. And what games the Predators won in the playoffs back in ’04, he pretty much won for them, at least as much as any man who can’t score goals can. Now he’s sidelined for the playoffs when his team could go into the second or third round. On the other hand, I saw a quote by Vokoun saying “it's a lot better to find out the way we did than in an autopsy report."

The other Western Conference teams are sensing blood in the water without Vokoun. Chris Mason, the replacement goalie has been in the league since 1995, and has only started in 44 NHL games. I don’t follow hockey that closely, but I have been a casual fan of the Predators since 2003. I think losing Vokoun makes things harder for them, but I’d be very disappointed if they didn’t make it to the second round and possibly even the conference finals in the third round. Mason has some good stuff, and the loss of Vokoun seems to have made the rest of the guys realize they need to step up their game a little and not rely on stellar goaltending to get them through the game. Plus, Mason becomes an unrestricted free agent after this season, so the better he does now the more money he makes later.

So keep your fingers crossed, and keep your eye on this blog. Playoff tickets are expensive, and I’ll probably be looking to get rid of a game or two just to keep expenses down.


Beware The Double Standard

Some interesting reading in the Tennessean yesterday. We’re all familiar with the story of local hottie(?) Pamela Rogers Turner, who got flung into jail for a sexual affair with a 14 year old last year. When she was sentenced to 270 days in jail, there was a pretty serious outcry about double standards. She was just recently released, and is already back into trouble.

Now, it seems that the reason the local DA made that deal with her was fear of the double standard. He had a jury with men on it, and was concerned that the men on the jury just wouldn’t think the boy was harmed by having sex with a hot 28 year old woman. The DA then goes on to state that he would have thrown the book at her if he had gotten a jury of only women (that’s my paraphrase at any rate). There were a couple of other factors, but that is the most interesting one mentioned in the article.

I have to admit, I’m conflicted about it. On the one hand, she definitely manipulated him. On the other hand, he got to have sex. I have no idea who it was, but some wit came up with a very true saying. “Even bad sex is good.”

I suppose my conflict makes me part of the double standard. If the genders were reversed, I’d have no trouble throwing the book at a guy that did that to a 14 year old girl. So is it just that I’ve internalized the idea that men are bad as Aunt B likes to theorize? No, I don’t think so. I think it’s just that I was once a 14 year old boy, so I can put myself in his place and have a pretty good idea how he feels about the whole situation. That’s not to say I think a 14 year old girl in that situation would have to be a victim. I have no doubt that a 14 year old girl can have the raging hormones and be curious about sex. But that’s merely on an intellectual level. The boy I can relate to on a much more visceral level.

Having thought about it as I type this, I’ve decided I’d probably vote to convict her. Of course the boy was consenting, he’s a teenage boy. But she took advantage of his raging hormones to fulfill her need to feel special. Aunt B (geeze, I site her a lot) has a pretty good discussion of why an adult would want a sexual relationship with a teen. I think for either gender it comes down to a certain amount of hero worship. A teen will generally see an older sex partner in a much better light than a partner of the same general age would.

I suppose I haven’t added much to all the wind in the blogosphere on this topic, but it certainly helped me to lay it all out in my mind and on the screen. And in the end, I suppose that’s what blogging is all about for me.

Light Bulb Memories

Gail Kerr’s column in yesterday’s Tennessean inspired today’s post. Kerr was basically writing about how a city has to meet the needs of its sports teams and used light bulbs as a symbol. I’m not going to use any symbolism here, just telling what I think is a good story.

I grew up in east Tennessee, not too far from Knoxville. Back in 1982 Knoxville hosted a World’s Fair. This sort of thing doesn’t happen very often in Knoxville, so of course our family had to go (it was also a good time to celebrate my brother’s fifth birthday). At the time I was a precocious eight years old, and my brother was just turning five. My sister was still many years in the future.

I don’t have many clear memories of our trip to the fair, just vague impressions of walking, a lot of people, some funny looking buildings, and (of course) the Sunsphere. I also vaguely remember the huge ferris wheel they had, which at the time was claimed to be the world’s largest. Oh, and I’m pretty sure I could still sing the jingle from the television promos. (The first picture on an episode of The Simpsons when Bart found an old travel brochure and thought the fair was still going on. On The Simpsons, it was a wig storage warehouse and ended up falling onto Bart’s car.

If you are interested, here is an archive of a travel piece from the New York Times written on the fair in 1981 a year before it opened. You can also go here for a piece on the 20th anniversary of the fair.


Just A Little Odd

The Lady Friend and I were walking the dogs (hers and the neighbor dog who was staying over) yesterday evening and something really weird happened.

We were in her neighborhood which is fairly small and has a good community feel to it. We were just walking through a church parking lot when this car pulls up to us and a fairly clean cut guy in his mid-20s gets out. He walks over and asks if we can do him a favor.

Since this whole thing reminds me of a story from Snopes, we cautiously asked him what he wanted. His reply was, “I need some witnesses because I want to give her a ring.” And he indicates that the mysterious ‘her’ is back in the car. So we agree to it, and he goes and gets ‘her’ from the car.

I have no idea what he told her about why they were in the church parking lot talking to strangers, but after introductions all around, he pulls out a ring box. Turns out it was a promise ring. He promised to take care of their baby, and not cheat on her. My first response was disappointment that he didn’t get on one knee or anything interesting like that. My second was “A promise ring? You don’t look 13 years old?” (internally of course). And then The Lady Friend and I were on our way.

We were talking about it later and agreed it’s a very weird scenario. Just stopping in a parking lot and asking two random strangers to watch is weird. The Lady Friend thinks they are actors or part of some sociology experiment. I say that it was above board and the guy was just some dufus who for some reason thought it would mean more if someone else was watching. Either way it’s odd. But it makes for an interesting story.


Hell Is Other People

I’m not sure who originally uttered that little gem, but I’m firmly convinced of the truth in that statement. I took a little spring break recently, and The Lady Friend left halfway through to work in the land of the Mormons. Between the lack of work and the lack of The Lady Friend it got pretty quiet around the ole W. household. I enjoyed that first day with just me and the dog, so I decided to ride the trend for a few more days. Four days of talking to no one got me started thinking about the truth behind that quote. “Hell is other people.”

I spent most of my formative years in a relatively rural county in east Tennessee. We had a medium size town of about 20,000 nearby and it was an easy jaunt to Chattanooga or Knoxville. It was boring for a teenage boy, but it wasn’t crowded. I didn’t really appreciate that until later.

Now that I’ve been a Nashville native for ten years I’ve learned to understand a little about how other people are hell. I’m not the easy-going, patient guy I used to be because people constantly push your boundaries. And the more people there are around, the more your boundaries get pushed. After dealing with my daily commute, that moron at Wendy’s, and the couple in the apartment above me who like to fight at 4 AM, I totally understand where some of the old regional stereotypes come from. City dwellers are typically known for being rude and in a hurry (New York City is the pinnacle of this stereotype). Rural people are slower and more hospitable. Why? Let’s just say the Asshole Factor goes up exponentially as population density increases.

I realized all of this after about two days. By day four of just me and the dog it got more complicated. That was when I realized what Al Green was talking about. I was just tired of being on my own. In fact, I may have discovered the meaning of life.

The meaning of life is……… wait for it…….. wait for it…………. Balance. It’s the cruelest irony that too much of just about anything is bad for you. When I was a kid I loved peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but I couldn’t eat them every day because I would ‘stunt my growth’. Then that two weeks I visited my grandparents I had them every day, after that they weren’t quite as enjoyable. Too much time around other people makes you mean. Too much time by yourself and the dog starts telling you the meaning of life. Hangovers are another good example. The proof is everywhere.

It’s that way for just about anything in life. You can’t take the easy way and concentrate on one thing you enjoy because you either get tired of that one thing, or all the other facets of your life go downhill. I think it’s the fault of (insert supreme being of your choice).

Life is like golf. Living is easy, living well is hard.

(BTW - I looked it up. The title quote was from Jean-Paul Sartre.)


A Very Special Episode

Sources tell me that George Lopez is throwing out his own take on the imigration issue in a roundabout sort of way. Apparently this week's season finally of the George Lopez Show has the revelation that the factory that George and all the other hispanic characters work in is moving to Mexico.

GLo is pretty funny as a stand-up comedian, but I rarely watch his show. I might tune into this one just to see where they go with an interesting idea.

ABC, is it really necessary for you to have pop up ads on your own website? Good grief.

The Ghost In The Machine

Today's alternate title "Blogger Is A Big Fat Liar".

I was starting to wonder about the total lack of comments. Then my brilliant, vivacious, and wise mentor pointed out that I probably had comment moderation turned on. Turns out she was right.

I had that feature turned off when I started the blog, but apparently blogger turned it on at some point in late February. Go figure.

One of these days I'm going to unlazy and spiff up the place with some links and my email. In the meantime, if anyone wants to get in touch, I can be reached at jstspanit AT aol DOT com. (I'm not sure why I bother trying to fool spambots, I already get at leat 30 spam emails a day.)


More On MRGO

After my last post, I did a little research on the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO as they call it down on the gulf). It’s a shortcut for river traffic from the Gulf of Mexico into the port of New Orleans which was completed in 1965. It allows for quicker traffic to New Orleans because it allows traffic to bypass the twists and turns of the Mississippi River, and it also allows larger ocean going vessels into the port. The levees along the canal were breeched during Hurricane Katrina at numerous locations causing extensive flooding in St Bernard Parish.

It turns out this particular canal has a bit of controversy to go along with it. Ever since it was first built, the MRGO has been the bane of environmentalists by contributing to the loss of thousands of acres of coastal marsh. But environmental impacts took the back burner after Katrina. Apparently LSU’s Hurricane Center did some modeling of Katrina and determined that the MRGO made the initial storm surge worse by 20% (about 3 ft) and increased the wave velocity from 3 feet per second to 8 feet per second. They contend this is why the levees failed so spectacularly rather than simply being overtopped. The Corps of Engineers contends that the levees would have failed like that anyway. (Which is an interesting contention in itself since they built the levees in the first place.)

There has been a drive to close the canal for years. Even the Corps of Engineers got on board and has been looking at the best way to close it since 1998. The local citizens of St. Bernard Parish certainly are ready to close it down. To quote the New Orleans Times-Picayune:

"It's over," declared Parish Council Chairman Joey DiFatta. "If the people of St. Bernard saw the Corps of Engineers out there dredging again, there would be some dead people on those dredges. Everybody in St. Bernard knows someone who died in that storm, and there are some very passionate feelings about that."

It’s an interesting study on the power of mother nature and one of her favorite mediums, water. The canal was originally 650 feet wide and is now approximately 1,500. It has silted in from 36 feet deep to as little as 21 feet in places since Katrina. That’s pretty typical of a river in flat open country like coastal Louisiana.

Rivers are dynamic and very active in this type of environment and they tend toward shallow, wide, and winding while humans prefer them deep, narrow, and straight. That’s the eternal battle between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and essentially every river in the country ever used for navigation (see also west Tennessee).

A New Export

It’s a running joke in the W household. Every six months or so there’s a study released ranking Tennessee 48th in something. So our slogan is ‘At least we aren’t Mississippi’ (or alternately Arkansas). But Mississippi has come up with a new money making scheme. Or if you prefer, they’re being generous to their fellow hurricane victims.

According to the Biloxi Sun Herald, Mississippi is exporting dirt to Louisiana to help rebuild levees along a shipping canal called the ‘Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet’. I suppose it’s not really a money making scheme because Hancock County, MS is making about $1.20 per ton. But they’re shipping 78 barges worth over to St. Bernard Parish in Louisiana.

Make your own jokes about dirt poor now.