Monday 31 December 2018

The Honeycombs: Have I the Right?

Published on Jan 13, 2016 by petrusbreda
YouTube: 1964 The Honeycombs - Have i the right

Have I the right to hold you?
You know I've always told you
That we must never ever part
Oh ooh ooh oh

Have I the right to kiss you?
You know I'll always miss you
I've loved you from the very start

Come right back I just can't bear it
I've got this love and I long to share it
Come right back I'll show my love is strong
Oh yeah

Have I the right to touch you?
If I could, you'd see how much you
Send those shivers running down my spine
Ooh ooh ooh oh

Have I the right to thrill you?
You know I'll wait until you
Give me the right to make you mine

Well, Come right back I just can't bear it
I've got this love and I long to share it
Come right back I'll show my love is strong
Oh yeah
All right!


Wikipedia: Have I the Right?
"Have I the Right?" was the début single and biggest hit of British band The Honeycombs. It was composed by Ken Howard and Alan Blaikley.

Chart success
"Have I the Right?" was presented by [record producer Joe] Meek to several major labels, who turned it down. It was released in June 1964 on the Pye record label (Pye 7N 15664). Louis Benjamin (1922–1994), Pye’s later chairman, rechristened the group The Honeycombs, a pun on the drummer’s name and her job as a hairdresser's assistant. The single’s sales started slowly, but by the end of July the record started to climb in the UK Singles Chart. At the end of August the record reached No. 1. Outside the UK "Have I the Right?" was a big success too. The song became #1 in Australia, Canada and Sweden. In the US the record reached #5 and in the Netherlands #2. "Have I the Right?" sold worldwide about two million copies within a year.

Wikipedia: The Honeycombs
The Honeycombs were an English beat/pop group, founded in 1963 in North London, best known for their chart-topping 1964 hit, the million selling "Have I the Right?" The band was also notable for having Honey Lantree on drums, one of the few female drummers in bands at that time.

The Honeycombs in Rotterdam, 1964.
Left to right: John Lantree, Martin Murray, Honey Lantree, Denis D'Ell and Alan Ward.


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Sunday 30 December 2018

White Jesus

Published on Apr 12, 2018 by BBC Three
YouTube: There Is No White Jesus | Famalam
Jesus answers the desperate pleas of a man in need. But the man is surprised by what he sees.

Independent - Apr 14/2018
TV preview, Famalam (BBC3): A sublime achievement of satire by Sean O'Grady
The mark of truly great satire is that it can make you laugh even if you’re not quite familiar with that which is being satirised. Such is the sublime achievement of Famalam (street slang for close friends and family, I believe), and its all-black cast.

IMDb: Famalam
A zany, new comedy sketch show featuring an array of oddball characters and off-the-wall situations ranging from a misunderstood superhero to Croydon's leading witch-doctor.

Was Jesus white?
Considering Jesus was born in the Middle East, there's an absurdity to even asking the question. However, considering all that's recently happened politically, how many people continue to ask such a question? Nationalism, being for your country, is supposed a good thing if you ignore that the entire expression is "White Nationalism" which, believe me, isn't a good thing. After all, we did fight a world war over it.

But the question persists. Well, it seems to persist for the illiterate, the uneducated, and, well, the prejudiced. Back in 2013, then Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly was soundly laughed at when she claimed that Jesus and Santa were white. (Daily Mail - Dec 14/2013) She later said she was joking, but I'm afraid that explanation didn't cut it. Ms. Kelly is a true member of the Fox community.

Wikipedia: Race and appearance of Jesus
The race and appearance of Jesus has been a topic of discussion since the days of early Christianity. There are no firsthand accounts of Jesus' physical appearance, although some authors have suggested that physical descriptions may have been removed from the Bible at some point to emphasize his universality. Most scholars consequently assume that Jesus was similar in appearance to the present inhabitants of the Middle East, due to the Bible (and other historical accounts) unequivocally referring to him as a Galilean Jew.

Various theories about the race of Jesus have been proposed and debated. By the Middle Ages, a number of documents, generally of unknown or questionable origin, had been composed and were circulating with details of the appearance of Jesus. Now these documents are mostly considered forgeries. By the 19th century, theories that Jesus was non-Semitic were being developed, with writers suggesting he was variously white, black, Indian, or some other race. However, as in other cases of the assignment of race to Biblical individuals, these claims have been mostly pseudoscientific, based on cultural stereotypes, ethnocentrism, and societal trends rather than on scientific analysis or historical method.

Many people have a mental image of Jesus drawn from artistic depictions. A wide range of depictions have appeared over the two millennia since Jesus's death, often influenced by cultural settings, political circumstances and theological contexts. The depiction of Jesus in art of the first Christian centuries gradually standardized his appearance with a short beard. These images are often based on second- or third-hand interpretations of spurious sources, and are generally not historically accurate.

Final Word
I ran across this meme on Twitter. I can't help thinking it accurately sums up just how religious self-professed religious people are.


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Wednesday 26 December 2018

Cream: Badge

Published on Mar 22, 2012 by Gñåf Ütøpìe
YouTube: Cream - Badge

Thinkin' 'bout the times you drove in my car
Thinkin' that I might have drove you too far
And I'm thinkin' 'bout the love that you laid on my table

I told you not to wander 'round in the dark
I told you 'bout the swans that they live in the park
Then I told you 'bout our kid, now he's married to Mabel

Yes, I told you that the light goes up and down
Don't you notice how the wheel goes 'round?
And you'd better pick yourself up from the ground
Before they bring the curtain down
Yes, before they bring the curtain down, woo-ooh

Get up, get up, get up
Yeah, yeah, yeah
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Talkin' 'bout a girl that looks quite like you
She didn't have the time to wait in the queue
She cried away her life since she fell off the cradle


Wikipedia: Badge (song)
"Badge" is a song performed by British rock music group Cream. It was written by Eric Clapton and George Harrison, and was included as a track on Cream's final album, Goodbye. Also issued as a single in March 1969, "Badge" peaked at number 18 in the United Kingdom and number 60 on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Wikipedia: Goodbye (Cream album)
Goodbye (also called Goodbye Cream) is the fourth and final studio album by Cream, with three tracks recorded live, and three recorded in the studio. It was released in Europe by Polydor Records and by Atco Records in the United States, debuting in Billboard on 15 February 1969. It reached number one in the United Kingdom and number two in the US. A single, "Badge", was subsequently released from the album a month later. The album was released after Cream disbanded in November 1968.

Wikipedia: Cream (band)
Cream were a 1960s British rock supergroup power trio consisting of bassist/singer Jack Bruce, drummer Ginger Baker, and guitarist/singer Eric Clapton. Their sound was characterised by a hybrid of blues rock, hard rock and psychedelic rock, combining the psychedelia-themed lyrics, Eric Clapton's blues guitar playing and vocals, Jack Bruce's voice and prominent bass playing and Ginger Baker's jazz-influenced drumming. The group's third album, Wheels of Fire, was the world's first platinum-selling double album. Cream are widely regarded as being the world's first successful supergroup. In their career, they sold over 15 million albums worldwide. Cream's music included songs based on traditional blues such as "Crossroads" and "Spoonful", and modern blues such as "Born Under a Bad Sign", as well as more eccentric songs such as "Strange Brew", "Tales of Brave Ulysses" and "Toad".


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Tuesday 25 December 2018

Death at Christmas

Brett is 75. His wife contracted ALS, and he spent years taking care of her before she died.

Molly is 63. She spent 27 years married to an alcoholic member of my family. The divorce wasn’t the surprise; the surprise was how long she stayed. (The alcoholic is now sober.)

The two of them met nearly twenty years ago. It was a good fit, and the two of them have had a good life together. They both got a second chance. They never married.

Earlier this year, Brett was diagnosed with cancer. The doctor said he had six months or so. Radiation and chemo would control the situation, but this was incurable.

At the beginning of December, his doctor told him he had weeks left. Would he make it to Christmas?

On Sunday, December 23, 2018, I dropped in to visit. I don’t really know Brett at all. We’ve seen each other periodically at family events, or during my visits to Molly, but I don’t know him. Molly and family has told me he’s a good man: stable, hard-working, generous with his family, and kind.

We sat in the living room. Brett used to weigh about 160 but is now down to 120. He looks gaunt, but he was fairly lively, in good spirits. Curious, I asked him frank questions about his pain management. My mother died from cancer, and I’ve always thought the last few weeks of her life were cruel. Despite methadone, she spent all day curled up in the fetal position, shaking. I now understand this was from pain.

In 2012, I suffered a sports injury so bad that I had to take pain medication every day for six months straight. I now understand what it’s like to get up in the morning and spend your entire day focused on pain management. Who cares about the weather? Who cares about the news, what’s on TV, or anything else in life? My biggest preoccupation was how to get through the next sixty seconds.

I discovered that pain medication can dull pain, but it doesn’t make it go away. I compared it to having an umbrella in a torrential downpour: Your head may be dry, but you’re getting soaked.

I can still picture my mother lying there, shaking like a leaf. If she had been a dog, the vet would have put her down. I’ve thought more than once, collectively we are more humane to animals than to other human beings.

Brett told me his pain had been so far under control. The one to ten scale is quite subjective, but he estimated he was around a four. It was manageable.

Sitting here writing this, I can’t help comparing him to my mother. She was diagnosed in the summer, given six months to live, and died pretty much six months later, toward the end of January. Brett’s going to make it through Christmas and New Year and will probably die in January.

When I got up to left, I shook Brett’s hand.

Me: “Are you scared?”

Brett: “No.”

Me: “Are you angry?”

Brett: “No.”

Maybe me asking that seems insensitive, but does he ever talk about it with anyone? With Molly? With his own family? This seems like the sort of thing people would be uncomfortable talking about, and the person in question never gets a chance to discuss it.

As I walked out the door, Brett said, “See you.”

Actually, I will never see Brett again. He will await his time. He has apparently lots of methadone, so I hope his pain will not be too much of a burden. Although, I think toward the end – judging from my mother – the pain can become excruciating. And as I said, medication dulls pain but doesn’t make it disappear. It’s always there, tugging at your conscious mind, constantly reminding you that as soon as the pills wear off, sheer, utter hell awaits. At what point does death become a blessing?

I got in my car and drove away. I went back to my life, my daily routine and my plans for the future. Some day, my turn will come. Will I be scared? Will I be angry? Will I hope for a blessing as I manage my pain?

Some day. Just not today.

Update: 2018-12-29
Brett went downhill quickly yesterday. He was transported to the hospital and died just after 1am, today. Molly's daughter phoned to give me the news. She was with her mother. I specifically brought up the question of pain. Apparently, the nurses had him shot up with the maximum amount of methadone. Was that enough? We all have to resign ourselves to facing death. It's inevitable. It's an integral part of the human experience. However, not all of us die peacefully in our sleep.


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Friday 21 December 2018

Mollena Williams and Georg Friedrich Haas: a love story and then some

I'm reminded that some people are living extraordinary lives, and some people have extraordinary relationships.

Mollena Williams-Haas is an black American writer, BDSM educator, and actor. Georg Friedrich Haas is a white European from Austria, a renowned contemporary composer. In 2013, the two of them met through OkCupid. He was 62 and she was 46. After three failed marriages, Haas wanted to get it right. They laid their cards on the table and told each other what they were looking for in life and a relationship. She was submissive. He was dominant. It was, to coin a phrase, love at first sight. This is an amazing story.

How to explore this story: Below, Mollena tells her tale in a NSFW video filmed at Bawdy Storytelling. I link to a 2016 New York Times article detailing their story: who they are and how they met. At the bottom, is the trailer for the 2018 film "The Artist and the Pervert", an exploration into their special bond. Enjoy. And wow.

Published on Jun 11, 2014 by Bawdy Storytelling
YouTube: Bawdy Storytelling presents Mollena Williams : Lucky! (14:34)
This was at Bawdy Storytelling's 7th anniversary show in San Francisco. The evening's theme was "Lucky!" Recorded live at the Verdi Club on Feb 26th, 2014.

Mollena wrote a posting on her blog as an introduction to the above video.

The Perverted Negress - Dec 18/2018
It goes to show you never can tell. by Mollena
Tomorrow marks five years since I received my first message from some OKCupid dude who went by the bemusing handle “spicyspiritlove.”

The New York Times ran an in-depth article about the couple. This is a must-read to fully appreciate who this couple is, their relationship, and why the two of them have something quite special.
The New York Times - Feb23/2016
A Composer and His Wife: Creativity Through Kink by Zachary Woolfe
The OkCupid message Mollena Williams received in December 2013 was, in some ways, standard. It was complimentary: “Wow — your profile is great.” It was confident: “I am an artist, very successful (probably member of the top 10 or 20 in my genre in the world).” It was polite, signing off with “warm wishes.”

But something was a bit out of the ordinary, speaking to its author’s interest in domination and submission. The central desire? “I would like to tame you.”

The writer was Georg Friedrich Haas, whose powerfully emotional, politically charged music and explorations of microtonality make him one of the world’s leading composers. His work had brought widespread acclaim, but his personal life was troubled, with three failed marriages in his wake, when he met Ms. Williams, a writer and sex educator who specializes in alternative lifestyles. Shortly after he messaged her, the two began a relationship and were married last fall.

IMDb: The Artist & The Pervert - documentary, Nov 11/2018, 1 hr 36 min
Georg is a famous Austrian composer, his wife Mollena a renowned American kink educator. Together they live in a public kinky relationship. This film documents their lives between perversion, art, love and radical self-determination.

Georg Friedrich Haas is a famous Austrian composer and child of Nazi parents, his wife Mollena a renowned American kink educator and descendant of African slaves. Together they live in a public kinky relationship they have craved for 40 years: She is his 'slave' and muse, he is her master - a combination that pushes many people's buttons and touches on matters of race, sexuality, politics and power relations. This film documents their lives between perversion, art, love and radical self-determination.

The Artist & The Pervert: A Film by Beatrice Behn and René Gebhardt

A famous Austrian composer & a renowned African-American kink educator fall in love and start on a controversial journey towards radical self-determination that touches on matters of race, sexuality, politics & power relations. Some call them perverted, others revolutionary.

Trailer, clips, more information

Published on Feb 17, 2018 by The Artist & The Pervert
YouTube: The Artist & The Pervert – Trailer (1:10)


Wikipedia: Mollena Williams-Haas
Mollena Williams-Haas is an American writer, BDSM educator, actor, and former International Ms. Leather. She is married to the composer Georg Friedrich Haas.

web site: The Perverted Negress: "it ain't just the hair that's kinky"
This “Delicate, Trembling Flower of Submission” © is a NYC born and raised writer, actress, BDSM Educator, Storyteller, sobriety fiend since March 14th 2007, and an Award-Winning Executive Pervert. Owned and collared by renowned contemporary composer Georg Friedrich Haas since December 2013 and his wife since September 2015, she serves as his beloved slave, submissive, wife, servant and Muse. February 2016 saw a groundbreaking piece about their relationship featured in the New York Times.

Twitter: Mollena WilliamsHaas @Mollena
Executive Slave & Muse. Funny. Friendly. Foulmouthed. Fabulous.Overachiever, Ass-Kicker, Submissive Scheherazade, Fat Fetish Model & Cupcake bitch. Jai Ganesh!

Wikipedia: Georg Friedrich Haas
Georg Friedrich Haas (born 16 August 1953 in Graz, Austria) is an Austrian composer.

Education and career
Georg Friedrich Haas grew up in Tschagguns (Vorarlberg) and studied composition with Gösta Neuwirth [de], Iván Erőd, and piano with Doris Wolf at the Musikhochschule in Graz, the capital of the Austrian federal state of Styria. Since 1978, he has been teaching at the Hochschule as an instructor, and since 1989 as an associate professor in counterpoint, contemporary composition techniques, analysis, and introduction to microtonal music. Haas is a founding member of the Graz composers' collective Die andere Seite. He composes in a cottage in Fischbach, Styria.
Since 2005, he has lectured at the Hochschule in Basel, Switzerland; from September 2013 on, Haas has been a Professor of Composition at Columbia University, New York.

web site: Bawdy Storytelling
Storytelling is about building a connection. So is sex.

For almost 12 years now, Bawdy has featured true stories of sex, kink, body image, gender and more to build community and bring people together. We do regular live storytelling events in two cities, but that's just one way to enjoy Bawdy. Our podcast and YouTube channel are great ways to get your Bawdy fix, too.

Our live events feature an eclectic mix of authors, poets, comedians and actors – along with real people just like you - sharing their (true) adventures in ten minutes or less. Storytellers submit their material online and are chosen for their panache and sense of (mis)adventure.


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Tuesday 18 December 2018

Baby, it's cold outside. What's all the hubbub?

There's been quite a controversy as of late over this 1949 song. Some people have interpreted the lyrics as promoting rape. Some radio stations have dropped the song from their playlist. But is that, in fact, true? Or have those people not understood the historical meaning of the words and situations? Think about it. The Hollywood studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer releases Neptune's Daughter, a 1949 Technicolor musical romantic comedy film starring Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Ricardo Montalbán, Betty Garrett, Keenan Wynn, Xavier Cugat and Mel Blanc. Would anyone involved possibly have done this while promoting rape? Really?

Is this an example of political correctness running out of control? While the #MeToo movement has been a long time coming, and that's very much a good thing, is there a danger of pendulum swinging too far on the other side? Do we become hypersensitive to the issue and start seeing bad everywhere, even when bad is not the intent?

Published on Dec 24, 2011 by mrdaft
YouTube: Baby it's cold outside
The original from Neptune's Daughter Neptune's Daughter is a 1949 musical romantic comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer starring Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Ricardo Montalbán, Betty Garrett, Keenan Wynn, Xavier Cugat and Mel Blanc. It was directed by Edward Buzzell, and features the Academy Award winning song Baby, It's Cold Outside by Frank Loesser.

I really can't stay - Baby it's cold outside
I've got to go away - Baby it's cold outside
This evening has been - Been hoping that you'd drop in
So very nice - I'll hold your hands, they're just like ice

My mother will start to worry - Beautiful, what's your hurry?
Father will be pacing the floor - Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I'd better scurry - Beautiful, please don't hurry
Maybe just a half a drink more - Put some records on while I pour

The neighbors might think - Baby, it's bad out there
Say, what's in this drink? - No cabs to be had out there
I wish I knew how - Your eyes are like starlight now
To break this spell - I'll take your hat, your hair looks swell

I ought to say no, no, no - Mind if I move in closer?
At least I'm gonna say that I tried - What's the sense in hurting my pride?
I really can't stay - Baby don't hold out
Ah, but it's cold outside

I've got to get home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your coat - It's up to your knees out there
You've really been grand - Thrill when you touch my hand
Why don't you see - How can you do this thing to me?

There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Think of my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can't stay - Get over that hold out
Ah, but it's cold outside
Oh, baby, it's cold outside
Oh, baby, it's cold outside

The following comes from a Tumblr blog "teachingwithcoffee", an interesting interpretation with a historical perspective. (For some reason, the original blog has deleted the posting. I can't link to it.)

teachingwithcoffee - an interpretation:
It’s time to bring an end to the Rape Anthem Masquerading As Christmas Carol

Hi there! Former English nerd/teacher here. Also a big fan of jazz of the 30s and 40s.

So. Here’s the thing. Given a cursory glance and applying today’s worldview to the song, yes, you’re right, it absolutely *sounds* like a rape anthem.

BUT! Let’s look closer!

“Hey what’s in this drink” was a stock joke at the time, and the punchline was invariably that there’s actually pretty much nothing in the drink, not even a significant amount of alcohol.

See, this woman is staying late, unchaperoned, at a dude’s house. In the 1940’s, that’s the kind of thing Good Girls aren’t supposed to do — and she wants people to think she’s a good girl. The woman in the song says outright, multiple times, that what other people will think of her staying is what she’s really concerned about: “the neighbors might think,” “my maiden aunt’s mind is vicious,” “there’s bound to be talk tomorrow.” But she’s having a really good time, and she wants to stay, and so she is excusing her uncharacteristically bold behavior (either to the guy or to herself) by blaming it on the drink — unaware that the drink is actually really weak, maybe not even alcoholic at all. That’s the joke. That is the standard joke that’s going on when a woman in media from the early-to-mid 20th century says “hey, what’s in this drink?” It is not a joke about how she’s drunk and about to be raped. It’s a joke about how she’s perfectly sober and about to have awesome consensual sex and use the drink for plausible deniability because she’s living in a society where women aren’t supposed to have sexual agency.

Basically, the song only makes sense in the context of a society in which women are expected to reject men’s advances whether they actually want to or not, and therefore it’s normal and expected for a lady’s gentleman companion to pressure her despite her protests, because he knows she would have to say that whether or not she meant it, and if she really wants to stay she won’t be able to justify doing so unless he offers her an excuse other than “I’m staying because I want to.” (That’s the main theme of the man’s lines in the song, suggesting excuses she can use when people ask later why she spent the night at his house: it was so cold out, there were no cabs available, he simply insisted because he was concerned about my safety in such awful weather, it was perfectly innocent and definitely not about sex at all!) In this particular case, he’s pretty clearly right, because the woman has a voice, and she’s using it to give all the culturally-understood signals that she actually does want to stay but can’t say so. She states explicitly that she’s resisting because she’s supposed to, not because she wants to: “I ought to say no no no…” She states explicitly that she’s just putting up a token resistance so she’ll be able to claim later that she did what’s expected of a decent woman in this situation: “at least I’m gonna say that I tried.” And at the end of the song they’re singing together, in harmony, because they’re both on the same page and they have been all along.

So it’s not actually a song about rape - in fact it’s a song about a woman finding a way to exercise sexual agency in a patriarchal society designed to stop her from doing so. But it’s also, at the same time, one of the best illustrations of rape culture that pop culture has ever produced. It’s a song about a society where women aren’t allowed to say yes…which happens to mean it’s also a society where women don’t have a clear and unambiguous way to say no.

Frank Loesser and Lynn Garland

History of the song
During the 1940s, whenever Hollywood celebrities attended parties, they were expected to perform. In 1944, Loesser wrote "Baby, It's Cold Outside" to sing with his wife, Lynn Garland, at their housewarming party in New York City at the Navarro Hotel. They sang the song to indicate to guests that it was time to leave.

Garland has written that after the first performance, "We became instant parlor room stars. We got invited to all the best parties for years on the basis of 'Baby.' It was our ticket to caviar and truffles. Parties were built around our being the closing act." In 1948, after years of performing the song, Loesser sold it to MGM for the 1949 romantic comedy Neptune's Daughter. Garland was furious: "I felt as betrayed as if I'd caught him in bed with another woman."

The song won the 1949 Academy Award for Best Original Song.


Quartzy - Dec 6/2018
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” isn’t about rape—but the song hasn’t aged well by Adam Pasick
In 2015, writer Helen Rosner stripped out the part of the apparent aggressor and concluded that the song as clearly about a “sexually aware woman worried about slut shaming.”

“The first two verses are both: (1) I have to go. (2)I’m having a great time, but (3) I’m scared of my family’s opinions,” Rosner wrote on Twitter. “She clearly wants to stay, is scared of the social ramifications of that choice, and in the end says ‘fuck society’s repressiveness’ & stays.”

“If you think Baby It’s Cold Outside is creepy, you are robbing the woman in that song of her agency,” Rosner concludes. “You are the problem. I’m not kidding.”

Persephone - Dec 6/2010
Listening While Feminist: In Defense of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” by Slay Belle
This is a song about sex, wanting it, having it, maybe having a long night of it by the fire, but it’s not a song about rape. It’s a song about the desires even good girls have.

Snopes - Dec 18/2017
Is ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ About Date Rape? by Kim LaCapria, David Emery
we asked gender and culture scholar Adrienne Trier-Bieniek to weigh in, starting with the question: Is “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” really a song about rape?

“I don’t think it was written as one,” she replied via e-mail. “But it certainly has taken on this feeling as people have progressed in their thinking.” She continued:

I think it can be looked at a couple of ways. The first is the cultural context — when the song was written the “cat and mouse” game between the sexes was just a fun joke. And, that’s an important point to note. But, it’s also a slippery slope when we just rest in “historical context.” Because of course we don’t think about the song the way in the way it was, we think about it in the way it is. With all the coverage of sexual harassment and assault that is happening, it becomes difficult to not strip down parts of our culture in order to figure out where we are supporting this violence. And I’m not sure that is a bad thing. It’s important that we reevaluate what we once thought was right and grow.

She also told us she finds the self-empowerment reading, however reasonable-sounding, a stretch.

It’s hard, from a gendered perspective, to accept that she has the power. Even if we keep it in cultural context, as the author notes a few times, there is no doubt that she is being pursued and, at this point in music history, those types of wink-wink songs, where we accept that boys will be boys, were common. Also, if she’s playing coy because she wants to stay, this puts us back into the mindset that women really want sex, but can’t ask for it. So they have to be persuaded. No means yes.

And that’s the crux of the problem. Even if “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” wasn’t written as a date rape anthem, its lighthearted treatment of a scenario we can’t help but recognize as sexual entrapment helps keep the “boys will be boys,” “no means yes” mindset alive.

Final Word
If there a final word? I can see there is a historical context: Before condemning, we need to understand. I can also see that times have changed, and the way we view things has changed: What was acceptable yesterday, is not acceptable today. But I can see that your own interpretation of the song is very much dependent on how you yourself see the world. If the couples in the video above are strangers, the song has a nefarious tone. If the couples are friends, the song seems playful. I note that the composer originally wrote the song for his wife. To me, that says the original intent was fun, not dark.

I haven't done a survey, but I can't help thinking people would interpret the two scenes differently. When Ricardo Montalbán comes on to Esther Williams, it's nefrarious. But when Betty Garrett comes on to Red Skelton, it's funny. (see my blog: Double Standard: Why is female on male abuse funny? - Aug 17/2012)

I'm reminded of an old saying: "It's not a leer if she's interested." While the #MeToo movement has shone a much needed light on unacceptable behaviour, there is now confusion over what is acceptable and under what circumstances.

Years ago, my brother and his friend took their wives to a Chippendale's Night at a local bar, a ladies night out with male strippers. My brother said it was an eye-opener to see a room full of ladies behaving in an unladylike fashion, whopping and hollering in a manner one would normally associate with a bunch of drunken guys.

At one point, my brother was standing at the bar surveying the scene. A woman, a total stranger, came up to order a drink. As she was waiting, she reached down and grabbed my brother in the crotch. My brother's reaction? He was startled, but he was also amused. However, did he feel threatened? Did he call management? No, he carried on and chalked it up to a funny part of the night. I also note that this was woman on man, not the other way around.

Now don't get me wrong. The other side of the coin represented by Harvey Weinstein and ilk is jaw-droppingly crazy. As a man, I have no idea what is going through these men's minds. But I also recognise these can be confusing times, sorting out sexual coercion from playful fun.

In reading the papers this week (Dec 18/2018), some media outlets, after banning the song, have decided to play it. The initial fuss is dying down, and we can get back to enjoying a seasonal favourite.


Wikipedia: Baby, It's Cold Outside
"Baby, It's Cold Outside" is an Academy Award-winning popular song written by Frank Loesser in 1944, which gained wide recognition in 1949 when it was performed in the film Neptune's Daughter.

While the lyrics make no mention of any holiday, it is popularly regarded as a Christmas song owing to its winter theme. The song was released in no fewer than 8 recordings in 1949 and has been covered numerous times since.

Wikipedia: Neptune's Daughter (1949 film)
Neptune's Daughter is a 1949 Technicolor musical romantic comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer starring Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Ricardo Montalbán, Betty Garrett, Keenan Wynn, Xavier Cugat and Mel Blanc. It was directed by Edward Buzzell, and features the Academy Award winning song "Baby, It's Cold Outside" by Frank Loesser.

Uploaded on Aug 8, 2018 by Funny Or Die Too
YouTube: Baby, It's Cold Outside
Soup writers Nic Deleo (Mankini) and Tess Rafferty (The Dancing Maxi Pad) perform in this dark re-imagining of a holiday classic.


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Monday 17 December 2018

I love paying my taxes. You should, too.

I live in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and I recently received the following notification from the Toronto Revenue Services.

As you can see, the property taxes on my apartment building are being reduced. As a consequence, I am eligible for a reduction in my rent. My monthly rent is currently $1,065.43. The indicated reduction of 0.58% works out to a savings of $6.18 per month, or $74.16 per year. A savings is a savings, and money's money, right?

My personal confession: I'm not happy about this. I like paying taxes. Sometimes, I would be willing to pay more.

Am I crazy?

The government makes money through taxation. We could say that taxes are the government's income. We all need income to pay for stuff, and if we need stuff but don't have the money, we have to borrow to pay for it. That produces debt. Debt isn't always bad, but we all need a plan to deal with debt and make sure we don't end up bankrupt.

Headlines this week said Ontario's deficit is estimated to be $12.3 billion. (CTV News, 2018-12-10) Note: I just said deficit, not debt. The total debt of the province for 2018-2019 is estimated at $325 billion. (Wikipedia) It was reported that the bond rating agency Moody's has downgraded the province from Aa2 to Aa3, "citing the province's $14.5-billion deficit in 2018-2019 and projections that it will continue to post deficits in the coming years". (CTV News, 2018-12-14)

My course in Macro-Economics
A requisite of my business degree was economics where I learned that people and companies can go bankrupt but a government can't. Why? Because a government has the power of taxation. Need money? Make a new tax or increase an existing tax.

While sort of being logical, there always seemed to be something odd about this to me. Never go bankrupt? Is it really never or does it just take longer?

Government debt imposes real costs on individual Canadians and their families in the form of interest payments. Governments must pay interest on their debt—it’s not a choice. And the more money governments spend on interest payments, the less money is available for the programs and services that matter to Canadians. -Fraser Institute, 2017-01-23

In 2017, the GOP passed a $1.5 trillion tax cut in the United States. Now, they realise their deficit is exploding and are considering chopping various programs like Medicaid and Social Security. Please note that this situation gives to the wealthy and takes away from the poor. It also saddles future generations with the burden of debt.

My View
I'm not rich. I don't own a mansion. I don't drive a Porsche. And I don't vacation on the French Riviera.

But I don't need $6.18. In fact, I could walk into Starbucks, go for an Espresso and a bagel, blow through six bucks in the blink of an eye, and not think twice about it. In other words, $6.18 to me is insignificant. It's meaningless. If the government had some sort of "tax donation" service to contribute to paying off debt, I would give my rent reduction immediately.

Am I a nice guy or a sucker?

Maybe a bit of both.

For every dollar of my taxes that is used to service the debt is one less dollar devoted to public parks, road maintenance, electricity, water and sewage, museums, health care, etc. I enjoy my country. My country is good to me. It supports me. I want to support it. Collectively, we all benefit by paying our taxes and working together for the common good, the good of each one of us.

I'm not rich. But I'm okay. I can afford $6.18. I can actually afford more. I know that for some, $6.18 can be significant, so I say to not give me $6.18, but give it to somebody who needs it. I don't.

And of course, give it to the country. I want to continue to enjoy the public parks, health care, and a host of other pluses living in Canada. Tax me. I want to pay it forward.


CBC - Feb 23/2018
Where your tax dollar goes
The federal government spent $311 billion in the fiscal year 2016-17.

Financial Post - Oct 19/2018
Ottawa's annual spending breaches $300B for first time, pushing up Canada’s debt ratio
Federal spending continued to rise over the last fiscal year, ballooning to over $300 billion for the first time and helping push up Ottawa’s net debt-to-GDP ratio, long touted by the Liberals as evidence of their controlled spending habits.

The federal debt-to-GDP ratio now stands at 31.3%, up from the 30.4% projection in the 2018 budget

Wikipedia: Canadian public debt
The Canadian government debt, commonly called the "public debt" or the "national debt", is the amount of money owed by the Government of Canada to holders of Canadian Treasury security. In 2014, this number stood at CAD$1.4 trillion across federal and provincial governments. With the total GDP somewhere around CAD$1.8 trillion, Canada's overall debt/GDP ratio is around 77%. "Gross debt" is the national debt plus intragovernmental debt obligations or debt held by trust funds. Types of securities sold by the government include treasury bills, notes, bonds, Real Return Bonds, Canada Savings Bonds, and provincial government securities.

The annual government "deficit" is the difference between government receipts and spending.


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Sunday 16 December 2018

Rachel Bloom: Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury

Published on Aug 15, 2010 by racheldoesstuff
YouTube: Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury - Rachel Bloom
A sexy pop song dedicated to the science fiction/fantasy author, Ray Bradbury. 2011 Hugo Award Nominee for "Best Dramatic Presentation: Short."

Steve called me up and said: "Wanna hang out tonight?
We could see an indie film or just grab a bite."
I said: "Oh, Steve, you're cute, but a movie's not what I need.
No offence, but I'd rather stay home and read."

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury
The greatest Sci-Fi writer in history
Oh Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury

Since I was twelve, I've been your number one fan
Kiss me, you Illustrated Man.
I'll feed you grapes and Dandelion Wine,
And we'll read a little Fahrenheit 69.
You're a prolific author, Ray Bradbury (Spoken)

Come on baby, I'm down on one knee
I carved our names on a Halloween Tree
You write about earthlings going to Mars
And I write about blowin' you in my car
You won an Emmy Award for the screen play adaptation of Halloween Tree (Spoken)

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury
The greatest Sci-Fi writer in history
Oh Fuck Me, (fuck me) Ray Bradbury

S is for Space, L is for love
S is for Space, L is for lo-o-o-ove
S is for Space, L is for love
S is for Space, L is for lo-o-o-o-o-ove
Houston, we have a throb-lem (Spoken)

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury
The greatest Sci-Fi writer in history
Oh Fuck Me, (fuck me) Ray Bradbury

Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury (fuck me)
The greatest Sci-Fi writer in history
'Cause when you fuck me
Ray Bradbury

Something Wicked This Way Will Come
Something Wicked This Way Will Come
Something Wicked This Way Will Come
Something Wicked This Way Will Come

And by come, I mean ejaculate on a book. (Spoken)


Wikipedia: Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury
Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury is a 2010 Internet music video nominated for a 2011 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form. The video features singer and comedian Rachel Bloom performing a sexually explicit song about her lust and admiration for writer Ray Bradbury.

Bradbury's response
On Bradbury's 90th birthday, Mark Edward visited Bradbury's home and showed him the video. He reported that Bradbury "was charmed by the whole thing", and that he watched it with a "wise old knowing gleam in his eyes" and "a few soft chuckles."

Wikipedia: Rachel Bloom
Rachel Leah Bloom (born April 3, 1987) is an American actress, singer, songwriter, and comedian. She wrote and plays the lead role of Rebecca Bunch in The CW comedy-drama series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, for which she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and a Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series. She also created the Hugo Award-nominated music video "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury".

web site: Rachel Bloom

Facebook: Rachel Bloom

Twitter: Rachel Bloom @Racheldoesstuff

Instagram: Rachel Bloom

Seatle PI - Aug 20/2010
The Girl Who (NSFW) Loves Ray Bradbury
Last Sunday, August 15, 2010, novelist Ray Bradbury received a very special advance birthday gift in celebration of his 90th birthday on August 22, 2010, that the whole world was invited to share. Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury, a video valentine/birthday card by Rachel Bloom has since been viewed 441,407 times on YouTube. Once upon a time the novel stood at the pinnacle of culture and novelists were idolized. That time has, alas, passed, so it’s good to see a little old fashioned hero-worship by a very sincere fan who has brought novelist-worship into the 21st century with a video camera, wit, and a wink. It’s a tender testimonial, in the tradition of Judy Garland’s love letter in song, You Made Me Love You, to Clark Gable on the occasion of his birthday in 1937 – with sex and grrrl power!

Genius: Rachel Bloom
On September 9th, 2010, Rachel was invited to meet him after he liked the song and received a signed special edition copy of The Martian Chronicles which is “not only [her] favorite book of [Bradbury’s] but [her] favorite book of all”.


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Saturday 1 December 2018