Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience.

Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

William Bradford

Ye Governor of Ye Colony


Monday, November 25, 2013

The New Boob Tube

Our family only subscribes to basic cable.  I am vaguely aware that the content standards for basic cable, while of course much stricter than premium stations, are looser than broadcast stations.  But still:  I had thought that frontal nudity wasn’t allowed on basic, for the simple reason that I had never seen it.

So I was quite surprised this summer when I was watching MGM and saw they were running She’s Gotta Have It apparently unedited.  Maybe that’s just MGM, I thought.  But then, a few days later, AMC showed the vampire movie The Hunger, also apparently unedited.

Anybody familiar with my movie reviews knows that I hardly have grounds to get all prudish about this.  Still, though, I was pretty happy with the content tiers that kept R-rated material on the pay stations.

So what’s going on?  Was there a formal rule change?  Is 0bama’s FCC asleep at the wheel?

* Okay, that’s not quite true.  On the History channel, I did see a documentary that showed the famous picture of Marilyn Monroe (link NSFW, obviously).  But I didn’t think that really counted, because Art.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Juicy Bars and the Perks of Power

From Stars and Stripes:

Air Force Puts Squeeze on Juicy Bars

OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea — Juicy bars might soon be a thing of the past in the area just outside the gates here.

U.S. Air Force officials have in recent months been systematically putting the notorious bars in the Songtan Entertainment District off-limits and giving their owners a choice: Get rid of your juicy girls or American servicemen will not be allowed to patronize your establishments.

As a result, the number of juicy bars — where scantily clad women flirt with servicemen to get them to buy high-priced juice drinks for the hostesses in exchange for their company — has dropped from 44 to 10 over the past year outside Osan Air Base.

I don't recall spending much time around Osan (although I probably spent some). But I did prowl around Itaewon a few evenings back in the early 90s. I vaguely recall the term "juicy bar" now that I read it -- it may be local to Osan -- but the word I used at the time was cabaret. Years later, an officer described the environment around our Korean installations as "the Wal-Mart of sex", and I'm inclined to agree. Back then, everything was inexpensive, including the women.

The effort by Osan Air Base officials to put juicy bars off-limits or to force them to jettison their flirtatious hostesses -– even those not deemed to be in the business of prostitution -- marks a dramatic change from the way the U.S. military in South Korea has dealt with such establishments.

Seventh Air Force commander Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas said, “The Department of Defense, the U.S. Forces Korea (and the) Air Force (are) pretty explicit in the fact that we have zero tolerance toward trafficking in persons. What is new is that we are putting that into action and placing (off-limits) these establishments that, in our view … are trafficking in persons.

“The presence of juicy girls that are contracted, whose passports are held by the bar owners, who are moved from city to city and bar to bar – it’s indentured servitude and it’s inconsistent with who we are as a service, and the standards we’re trying to establish on base and within the sphere of influence we have outside the gate,” he said.

"Human trafficking." Much in the same way that liberals have ruled out-of-order objections to extra-marital sex and then stretched the definition of "rape" -- a real and bad thing -- to cover sex with legal minors, they have ruled out-of-order objections to immigration and then stretched the definition of "human trafficking" -- a plausibly real and bad thing -- to cover "sex" for money . . . which is now stretched to include conversation for money. So yes, if in fact Filipinas are being held in Korea under conditions of involuntary servitude, then absolutely the American military should cooperate with the Korean and Philippine governments in freeing them. But there are several levels of rhetorical dishonesty, the point of which is to communicate the message: "I have power, and you do not."

[I]n 2010, then USFK commander Gen. Walter Sharp said it would be unfair to punish the owners of all juicy bars for the sins of a minority of proprietors.

“The bottom line is that juicy bars … have women that are there to talk to soldiers and sailors and airmen and Marines,” he said. “You can’t presume that things go beyond that, which is what you would have to do if you want to put them (all) off-limits.”

Which sounds reasonable to me. Personally, in my youth I was unable to sufficiently escape from the contrived nature of those kind of interaction to enjoy them. I remember being angry, upon subsequent visits to my dentist when I was in college, that the beautiful dental technician who asked the same questions about my engineering classes wasn't really interested in either me or my academic career. She was just doing her job of ensuring customer loyalty. I shrug about this now, but as a very single young man I felt like my emotions were being triffled with.

My personal reaction aside, I'm not sure why what "juicy girls" are doing is any worse than what psychotherapists do.

Jouas said most juicy girls are brought into South Korea illegally on visas saying they are here to work as entertainers. Instead, they are “put to work in bars to sell drinks at an exorbitant price, but what they’re really selling is their company and that oftentimes leads to prostitution.

I can't help but hear the echoes of my fundamentalist high school: holding hands is not permitted. Holding hands might lead to kissing, which might lead to petting, which might lead to . . . .

Not that I'm judging or anything. I'm all in favor of drawing defensible lines in an effort to uphold Christian morality.

Of course, that's not the agenda. We finally arrive at the real reason for the War on Juicy Bars:

Referring to juicy bars, Jouas said, “There’s nothing good about them. I think they further an attitude toward women that’s unacceptable. There are a lot of our servicemembers that don’t want to go into those bars because they’re pretty creepy.”

Robert Woltman, a 51st Security Forces Squadron investigator, said, “They’re selling women for companionship. They are selling time with females, which is leading to sexual assaults down the road. That environment is moving on base.”

A draft report by an 8th Army sexual assault task force – obtained by Stars and Stripes earlier this year – suggested something similar.

“Contradicting messages portrayed in the facilities patronized off-post, which send a message in support of sexual activity and contrary to the values of proper conduct,” the report said. “This may lead the malleable to engage in conduct that they know is not acceptable.”

Let it burn. The military has, at the highest levels, been busy attempting to extirpate Christian influence since 2004. If the feminists are now having trouble with what non-Christian morality looks like, they're on their own.

Monday, November 18, 2013

A Rare Sighting of Supply-and-Demand

From The Economist:

Sex doesn’t sell:  An old industry is in deep recession

. . . In part, this reflects the sluggish economy. Overall consumer spending at the end of 2012 was almost 4% lower than its 2007 peak. And Vivienne, an independent escort in the south who works part-time to supplement her income as a photographer, says paying for sex is a luxury: “Food is more important; the mortgage is more important; petrol is more important.” She is offering discounts out of desperation, reckoning it is better to reduce prices by £20 ($30) than to have no customers at all.

The days of being able to make a full-time living out of prostitution are long gone, reckons Vivienne, at least in larger towns and cities. “It’s stupidly competitive right now,” she laments. More people are entering prostitution, agrees Cari Mitchell of the English Collective of Prostitutes. Some working women in Westminster say they have halved their prices because the market has become so saturated. In London, and increasingly elsewhere, immigrants provide strong competition. But Sophie, an expensive escort in Edinburgh, says she is seeing an influx of newbies including students and the recently laid-off, many of them offering more for less.

Parts of the sex trade are comparatively hale. At the top end of the market, Marie, another escort in Scotland, says custom has not dried up. Girls increasingly report requests for discounts, she says. But those who lower their prices sometimes swiftly raise them again, deterred by the kind of customer who is attracted to bargains.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

My poems

Poem 1:

My Closet
What’s in the closet in my room?
Three old bottles from long ago
A bunch of broken bits of shells
Some pens that in pieces lie around
A few pencils that are no more than erasers
Cards from a time long forgotten
Clothing that is spread almost everywhere
And the paint that has come off the door

Poem 2:

The Dragon
They all had to conform to the rules
Now they were familiar to the rest of those fools
These erroneous laws you could not obey
You were jubilant to break them in any way
They could not endorse this so out you went
You flew far away without lament
When you saw the rural town below
You descended upon them your eyes aglow
As you landed with infinite power and grace
They were mesmerized at the sight of your face
Your lips puckered at the sight
At so many people standing in fright
You commanded them all easily then
You ordered some people to build you a den
Then your days slipped idly past
As they all cared for you first to last
But as you reposed in your cave
You became as ancient as the grave
Now this adaptation of The Dragon is done
I am now leaving it’s been quite fun

Poem 3:

[Ed. – The English teacher played a video of Garth Brooks singing his Gay Rights Plus anthem, We Shall Be Free, and instructed her students to write a poem about it.  Here is the result.]
The Minstrel
“We’ll be free!” the minstrel sang
Launching his globalist harangue
But I believe the world brought much
Of problems to us by the clutch
Immigration has gone too far
They’re taking over near and far
With them come their drug cartels
Putting our youth under poisonous spells
As people demanding jobs arrive, surprise!
Unemployment rates reach the skies
As unemployment rates increase by day
Businesses can start to lower the pay
As the poor and uneducated are moving in
The ethnic cleansing can begin
As birds of a feather flock
They take over block by block
As they don’t bother to learn the language we speak
The linguistic ghettos will grow by the week
They have no money and so what will they eat?
The answer is welfare their needs it will meet
The minstrel sang we will be free;
The invaders will dance on our graves with glee

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Civil Carry

In a carefully worded letter, the CEO of Starbucks asked customers to “no longer bring firearms into our stores or outdoor seating areas.

The backstory is that Starbucks’ permissive policy – or rather, a lack of a prohibition – on firearms had attracted the attention of advocates of open carry, who were holding “Starbucks appreciation days” where they would, apparently in numbers, patronize Starbucks with their weapons in plain view.  This is, in fact, theoretically legal almost everywhere for everyone; it is only concealed carry that has required a license.  In practice, of course, open carry often attracts law enforcement attention, and usually provokes negative reaction from somebody.

America will be a safer, freer, more manly place when we recover a heritage in which almost all adults go about with arms, and those in plain view.  In the meantime, however, we’re stuck with the culture we have.  I agree with Ace:  a decent respect for the opinions of our fellow citizens ought to lead us to keep our weapons concealed.  At a minimum, it should make us aware that, say, carrying a rifle into Starbucks might be contextually inappropriate, and possibly provocative, even to people who don’t have a preexisting agenda about guns.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Spring Broken

I watched the movie Spring Breakers on DVD.

It won’t surprise my readers that the collegiate tradition of Spring Break is beyond my experience.  But it occurred to me, watching this movie, that amid the drinking games, trashed hotel rooms, and exhibitionism . . . there wasn’t very much actual sex going on.

Personally, this would make all the rest of the exercise pretty pointless.  But does anyone have any direct – or at rate, non-movie – knowledge about what normally goes on during those March trip to the Florida panhandle?

Thursday, November 07, 2013

CGI Sex II – the Non-CGI Version

A while back, I asked if anyone knew how mainstream actors and actresses kept on-screen sex scenes from . . . getting out of hand.  Agnostic at Dusk in Autumn links to a modest example from the filming of The Other Boleyn Girl:

Actors usually don’t have a problem staying in control during love scenes. Since romance is blocked and rehearsed and shot under the hot lights and in front of a large crew, even the most intimate scenes are usually little more than a carefully choreographed, technical exercise.

However, on the set of this one period film, things got a little out of control. During a kissing scene between a handsome, foreign-born actor and a sexy American actress, the actress suddenly stopped and backed away a few paces from her co-star. The actor was left standing there alone. Well, he wasn’t exactly alone. He was accompanied by the incredible bulge in his pants. Filming had to be halted for several minutes while the actor cooled off...

When Bana started getting excited during a love scene, Johansson simply backed away and waited for assistance. According to our source on the set, Johansson was totally professional about the whole situation, and went right back into the scene after a brief “cool down” period.

Agnostic laments that today’s actresses’ unwillingness to “get in the moment” diminishes the quality of movie love scenes.  I don’t know whether that’s necessarily true.  Were Kate Winslet and David Kross “in the moment” when they filmed one of the more deeply passionate love scenes I have ever had the pleasure of watching?    Either way, it’s a counter example to Agnostic’s generality.

But more to the point, there are other considerations.  In 2008, Scarlett Johansson was starting her (brief) marriage to Ryan Reynolds.  Now, I’m not necessarily arguing that married actors and actresses have to be as fastidious as, say, Kirk Cameron, although I fully respect his position.  But it would have been deeply inappropriate for Johansson to allow herself to become aroused during a love scene with a man-not-her-husband.  The presence of cameras do not make the immoral moral.

Monday, November 04, 2013

AUCs: They Don’t Mean What You Think

The androsphere (see here and here) is taking issue with a comment, originally appearing on Dalrock’s blog and echoed by Susan Walsh, by “Kelly the PhD Statistician” on the difference between men and women with respect to their changing sexual market values over their lifetimes:


Dr. Kelly opines:

Those graphs are wrong because, with a fixed number of people in the world, equal between the sexes, you have to scale the curves so that the area under each one is the same.

I wouldn’t make a firm assertion either way as to whether the area under the two Excel graphs above are equal or not – appearances can be deceptive – but I do want to offer qualified support to my fellow PhD’s contention that the areas under the SMV curves of men and women are equal – or if you prefer, that the useful comparison is between normalized curves – provided we stipulate the curves are derived from weighted averages.

That the curves are averages of their respective sexes is beyond dispute:  nobody is likely to pretend that individuals’ curves don’t differ substantially in both their AUC and their shape over time.  But the weighting of individuals’ curves is likely to escape many readers’ consideration.

I would argue that the curves should be weighted by not less than two factors:

  1. The relative attraction that each has for members of the opposite sex.

    All parties to this discussion recognize that, considered collectively, both men’s and women’s “buying power” is in inverse proportion to their attraction.   (Attraction here should be understood as “demand for” in general, not just sexual attraction.)  I stress that this only applies collectively; no single market player magically increases his individual buying power by being disinterested, not if there are lots of other buyers and sellers.  But if the downward-sloping demand curve moves left, the price increases.  Again, I will not make a dogmatic assertion that the attraction men and women have for each other are equal on lifetime averages, but I will say that there is plenty of circumstantial evidence that the relative demand has changed over time, and that such changes have in the last few hundred years raised the relative attractiveness of women.

    Consider, for instance, the discarded custom of dowry.  The cultural assumption of yore was apparently that the only way to persuade a young man to take a woman off her parents’ hands was to pay him some amount of money or other goods.  In contrast, while no money changes hands today, it is a commonly accepted generality that a man must earn more than any prospective mate, at least as far as marriage is concerned.

    Consider also that philosophers, from (for instance) Francis Bacon in the 17th century to Nietzsche in the 19th, could be taken seriously when they wrote that women in their sexual capacity were mostly nuisances not worth the bother.  (My apologies to those philosophical historians who can better characterize the nuances of their thoughts on this subject.)  To the extent their opinions were representative of the men of their station, such views required women to bring more to any effort at attracting them.  But I doubt such opinions would gain mainstream attention today – yes, because of feminist sensibility, but also because, lower-order physical needs having been broadly met, sexual gratification remains in relatively high demand as an important element of both physical pleasure and self-actualization.

    Meanwhile, on the distaff side of the supply-demand curve, the need of an individual woman to obtain the assistance of an individual man in her own material provision has, in the modern economy, mostly dissipated.  That’s not to say that women don’t desire men for their own sexual gratification, but this leads us to the second weighting of the SMV curves:

  2. The extent to which polygamy is tolerated.

       Specifically, any given man’s SMV should be weighted by his relative ability, desire, and permission to monopolize the attention of multiple women.  In a society in which monogamy is the legal and social norm, then each man’s SMV curve carries equal weight in the averaging.  But if a man’ s attractiveness is such that he can command the affections of, say, three women, either serially or simultaneously, then his effective contribution to the SMV average for the duration of this arrangement is thereby tripled.  Likewise, the (mathematically necessary) two uncompetitive men have their SMVs, whatever they might be, multiplied by zero for the averaging purposes, since they are not market players.  Of course, in the by-and-by, if either the well-endowed man or his women tire of the polygamous arrangement, there may be an opportunity for the two remaining men to get back in the game, and the SMV averages must be adjusted accordingly.

    It is a well-established critique of contemporary social arrangements that many women today embrace, if not formal polygamy, then at least a willingness to rotate in and out of the sexual orbits of sufficiently attractive men.  For their part, men may have always been willing to enjoy the affection of multiple women, to the extent they could afford them, although this demand was latent under the pressure of socially-enforced monogamy.  That pressure, while still present when children are at issue, is otherwise quite diminished, and the standard of “affordability” in the monetary sense has been obviated by female economic emancipation.  Notice that, in contrast to the first weighting, this would predict the increase in the area under the male SMV curve rather than a decrease.

With these caveats in mind, then, I would concur with Dr. Kelly’s judgment that the AUCs of the male and female SMV curves are identical.

But I find it somewhat ironic that, confronted with SMV curves that imply (maybe) that men have higher lifetime average attractiveness than do women, feminists* turn to arguing in favor of SMV equality as a first-order principle.  I could point to numerous comment threads here and elsewhere in which they see no problem pairing average men with far-left-tail war-pigs on the grounds that, “Hey, that’s who’ll have you!” ignoring the extent to which, say, de-facto polygamy makes that possible.

UPDATE:  Here is my own Excel graph of the Rayleigh distribution with modal SMVs at 25 and 35 years old for women and men respectively and subtracting the years prior to the onset of puberty (ages 10 and 11 according to Wikipedia).  I hasten to say that there is no theoretical reason why the Rayleigh distribution would apply here except that it seems to be shaped right and has the advantage that the AUCs are mathematically identical.


It occurs to me that one of the implications of these graphs is that the average female at her peak attractiveness has no equal among the average men at any age.  In practice, I would argue that the male SMV variance at any age is higher, so women will have equals among men.  But there are necessarily fewer such men, which is why the competition for them among hypergamously inclined women appears so fierce.  And the rest?

They settle.  Women at their peak attractiveness who accept an average man are betting that 10 – 15 years on, the man is still around.  That strategy is not without risk, but the divorce statistics imply that men tend to be pretty loyal to the women they fall in love with at their peak beauty.

Of course, many women do not settle.  They keep “chasing the alphas” until their own SMV has fallen below the male average.  This strategy is also not without risk:  many men are out of the game at this point, and the average male SMV of those that remain is (in general) much lower given their higher variance.  But I will leave women themselves to testify to the extent this strategy secures their happiness.

* Used here as a pejorative meaning “women I disagree with”.  I have no idea whether, say, Susan Walsh qualifies as a feminist in the philosophical sense.