Search This Blog

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Dan Savage tells readers to not send armed militia camping in Oregon dildos

Dildo partially inserted in Reality Female Condom plus original package design PHOTO: The type of supplies that are being sent to the armed militia camping in Oregon include a dildo, shown above partially inserted into a female condom, which feminists and AIDS activists hoped would help stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. (See my previous posts Michael Petrelis, female condoms, PEG-ES enemas for gay men (3/14/09), FDA approves 2nd female condom, but not for gays (3/13/09) and Female condom for anal sex editorial (5/12/09))

A militia group that is camping in Oregon, because it wants to privatize public lands, prompted the following news headline: BURNS, Ore. (AP), "Frustration grows as armed Oregon standoff continues ," posted Jan. 26, 2016.

In response, the Seattle newspaper columnist Dan Savage humorously gave the following advice to readers who asked how to properly recycle their old dildos in both a safe and environmentally correct manner:

" In Seattle, where I live, a community tool bank recently opened in my neighborhood-but they don't collect and lend the kind of tools you're looking to donate. . . . burying sex toys isn't environmentally responsible. And while high-quality dildos can be cleaned and safely reused, most people are pretty squeamish about the idea. Which is odd, considering that we routinely reuse actual cocks that have been enjoyed by others-so why not the fake ones?

"But even if I can't tell you what to do with your dildos, . . . I can tell you what not to do with them: Do not ship your used dildos to the anti-government militia currently occupying a federal wildlife refuge in rural Oregon. After militia members asked supporters to send them supplies -- via the US Postal Service -- their spokesperson complained bitterly about all the dildos they were getting in the mail. So if you decide to put your used dildos in a box and send them somewhere, RRR, please make sure the address on the box doesn't read: Bundy Militia, c/o Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, 36391 Sodhouse Lane, Princeton, OR, 97721."
(Quoted from Dan Savage, "Savage Love: No Place for Old Dildos," posted Jan. 20, 2016)

Dan Savage, as part of his answer, also references a colleague's blog post by Shelby R. King, "SLOG - Hey #bundyeroticfanfic: There Are Actual Double-Headed Dildos At the Wildlife Refuge," posted Jan 13, 2016, who noted the news report that said one of the protestors "Jon Ritzheimer wants you to stop sending your "hate mail," to the militia holed up at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. And by hate mail, Ritzheimer means dildos and other assorted dicks."

I first heard about this story on an early morning TV newscast that was staffed with a fill-staff of young twenty-something anchors, who laughed while telling the story that people were sending "phallic shaped" objects to the militia group because the militia group had asked to be sent camping supplies to support their militia operation. It did not surprise me that all of the newscasts I saw later in the day had deleted any reference to these "phallic" objects, and I suspect this censorship was intentionally ordered by an older station manager who wanted to avoid complaints from prudish viewers and possible fines from the FCC for violating the decency rules for free over-the-air broadcast TV stations.

One of the armed protestors was shot today and some others were arrested. It appears the seigie is nearing its end.

See previous posts:

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Gay dating app bought by China reported by 'Bloomberg West' cable TV business news show

GRINDR gay date app shown on Bloomberg West cable TV business news show Jan. 12, 2016 3:07PM PT

PHOTO: The gay dating app GRINDR was shown on screen during the very "straight" San Francisco Silicon Valley cable TV business show "Bloomberg West" (watched live Jan. 12, 2016 3:07PM PT on Bloomberg Corvallis Comcast cable TV channel 743). While photos of cute guys were being shown looking for dates, a financial expert speculated about the reasons behind the related business news story ("Chinese Gaming Billionaire Buys U.S. Gay Dating App GRINDR," posted Jan. 11, 2016) In his opinion, the biggest reason might have to do more with the fact that Chinese investors are desperately moving money out of the unstable China stock market to anyplace that might be more stable, instead of them moving money to a specific stock pick like the GRINDR stock. I agree, the business demand for sex services is likely to remain strong!

The TV business show "Bloomberg West" is based in the San Francisco Silicon Valley and it has been staffed by reporters who are very knowledgeable about the high technology businesses located there, including the many with a connection to Stanford University, in Palo Alto, such as the granddaddy of Silicon Valley, Hewlett-Packard, and successors, such as Apple Computer and Google. Silicon Valley acquired its nickname from the silicon semiconductor integrated circuit chip businesses that started there, including Intel and others.

One of China's newly minted technology billionaires signed a deal to buy a controlling stake in Grindr, the world's biggest gay social-networking app.

Beijing Kunlun Tech Co., an Internet games company that helped introduce Angry Birds to China, offered $93 million in cash for 60 percent of New Grindr LLC, the company said in a statement to the Shenzhen stock exchange. Beijing Kunlun Chairman Zhou Yahui, who became a billionaire after the company listed shares last year, was scouting other potential investments in the U.S., according to a company spokeswoman, Sophie Chen. . . .

China's attitude toward homosexuality has undergone a radical transformation in the past decade. Once a facet of Chinese culture among the elite, it was pushed underground during the Communist era, and the Chinese Psychiatric Association officially classified homosexuality as a psychiatric disorder until 2001.

Recently, the gay scene has seen a resurgence. Blued, a domestic gay social-networking app founded by a former police officer, has attracted more than 3 million daily users and secured funding from venture capitalists DCM Ventures.

(Quoted from "Chinese Gaming Billionaire Buys U.S. Gay Dating App GRINDR," posted Jan. 11, 2016)

I've not had a chance to explore the use of GRINDR by OSU students, but I have studied the ethnography of gay male MSM craigslist ads placed by OSU college students, who seem to use it when they are freshman, but then quickly abandon it for some unknown reason (I hypothesize the reason is that they find only a few hookups in the small college town of Corvallis and it becomes easier to cruise boys directly on campus, instead of having to fend off the trolls and weirdos that might harass them on a public dating website or smartphone app. Studying this would make a good research topic for a Master's thesis.)

UPDATE 1/20/16: This gay business story also received a one-sentence report in the printed edition of Businessweek, Jan. 18-24, p. 42, as part of the "Bid/Ask" column. They said, "A Chinese billionaire" paid $93 million for "60 percent of the gay dating app, which boasts 2 million daily visitors in 196 countries." This is a good example of a business that benefits from being able to do business globally on the internet.

See my previous posts:

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Portrayal of computers in 1957 and 1961 by movies and TV shows

Still from 1961 TV show Dobie Gillis in front of 6 million dollar computer

PHOTO: An example of the popular portrayal of computers can be seen in this still frame (at about 7 minutes) from the TV show The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, "Dobie vs. machine" (1961) Season 2, Episode 21 first aired Mar. 14, 1961 (Watched on free 0ver-the-air broadcast KEZI-TV Channel 9.2 5:30-6:00AM Jan. 10, 2016). The TV show's title character Dobie Gillis (right) is holding a computer punch card while standing in front of a $6,000,000 computer that is supposed to use the data on the card to calculate what job Dobie would be best suited for doing after high school based on the "scientific" psychological tests performed by a psychometrician that a high school counselor told Dobie to see because he couldn't figure out what he wanted to do after graduating from high school. The scientists who test Dobie are all dressed white lab coats and they parody the spirt of that era with tests loosely based on real ones. Likewise, the computer is not a real one, but the set and prop designer caricatured the common features of computers in that era, such as magnetic tape drive storage units and flashing lights. In fact, magnetic tape and punched cards were used for input to very expensive mainframe computers that were around when this show was made, but the common portrayal of computers as being infallible brains capable of independently solving problems, while simultaneously waging evil, was laughable both back then and today. (See previous post TV Lesbians in 1961 and grocery delivery rediscovered by Wal-Mart and Amazon (1/9/16) for more on Dobie Gillis.)

It appears that the above Dobie Gillis TV show computer prop and set could have been easily recycled from the one used for some previous Hollywood movies, such as "Desk Set" shown below.

Still from 1957 movie 'Desk Set' Ms. Watson looks at an IBM EMARAC's line printer answer to a question submitted via punch cards

PHOTO: Still frame (at approx. 1:35) from a movie "Desk Set" (1957) (seen on Turner Classic Movie Channel, Comcast Ch. 784, Nov. 26, 2015 5PM PT 103 Minutes) that was made in Germany with aging Hollywood stars. It portrays the fictional IBM EMARAC computer (acronym for Electromagnetic Memory And Research Arithmetical Calculator) that was designed with enough artificial intelligence to do the job of a very skilled Reference librarian named, Ms. Watson, played by Katharine Hepburn, who is shown above examining the line printer's paper output in answer to a question submitted to the computer via a punch card typed up by the IBM computer operator seen to the left. Although the computer's flashing light display is only a fanciful invention of the set designer (who also chose, perhaps not by accident, the IBM blue company color theme) it was based on state-of-the-art IBM computer technology with the full cooperation of IBM, as was prominently mentioned in a credit at the beginning of the film. Even though the tape drive wheels are not turning in a functionally normal fashion, both the tape drive storage and the line printer look like the real ones used back then. Similarly, the small rows of lights and switches on the rack-mounted computer hardware also look like typical 1950's computer hardware. The name of the ace reference librarian character played by Hepburn, "Ms. Watson," was an ironic reference to Thomas Watson Jr. (1914-1993), who was the 2nd president of IBM, 1952-1971, and his father, Thomas J. Watson (1874-1956), who was the chairman and CEO of International Business Machines (IBM) from 1914 to 1956. Today, a more real IBM Watson computer is a a question answering computer system capable of answering questions posed in natural language, which is something this movie envisioned decades ago.

The movie "Desk Set" (1957) appears to be a masterful piece of IBM marketing because it got Hollywood stars, albeit aging ones, to help IBM sell computers by showing IBM's vision of computers being something that would help workers in their job, freeing up their time to do more things, to alleviate the common fears of workers that their jobs would be eliminated due to automation.

Spencer Tracy, Hepburn's costar in "Desk Set" (1957), plays a nerdy engineer and operations efficiency expert who has a blind faith in the ability of a computer to do the job of a reference librarian, which makes Hepburn and her co-workers fear that their jobs will be eliminated by the computer. Their fears are confirmed when everyone is terminated by the payroll department computer (payroll processing was one of the most common applications of IBM computers at the time). Happily, it all turns out to be just a fixable mistake due to human error. The movie uses this and other scenes to promote the ideas that computers are only as perfect as what humans tell them to do, and that a computer will help you do your job, instead of being a threat to it.

I saw "Desk Set" (1957) decades ago and since then I have seen it referenced by numerous books and papers from computer scientists and hardware engineers . I also heard about "Desk Set" from the head of advanced research at Hewlett-Packard, who had worked at IBM before becoming my boss 30 years after this movie was made. He was hired to bring IBM's vision of artificial intelligence research to HP Labs, where many niche applications were developed, but only recently has AI software become more common and profitable for HP.

I also noticed that the movie "Desk Set" (1957) was made in Germany, where IBM had a big operation, and so I wonder if German IBM employees any role in the making of it. Likewise, given that the movie was released around the time that Watson, Sr. died, I wonder if he even knew about it or approved it being made. Clearly, Watson's son was in charge at the time and very likely would have had to approve of it, unless it was a skunk works project by IBM people in Germany who hid from their corporate bosses. In my experience, conservative corporations like IBM would be timid about participating in anything like this with a risk of embarrassment or damage to the company reputation.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

TV Lesbians in 1961 and grocery delivery rediscovered by Wal-Mart and Amazon

Free grocery delivery truck of Herbert T. Gillis and 'Please serve yourselves' store sign over his son Dobie Gillis and friend Maynard G. Krebs in 1961 TV show 'The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis'

PHOTO: The then common, free delivery of groceries is depicted in 1961 by the popular TV character Herbert T. Gillis (top) carrying out groceries to his delivery van, which he had recently loaned out to his son Dobbie Gillis (bottom right) and friend Maynard G. Krebs (bottom left). Smaller grocers continued to deliver groceries, as a way to compete with the self-service supermarkets that became popular after World War II, in addition to welcoming customers with signs saying, "Please serve yourself" (bottom photo). It didn't work and the stores that did not go out of business morphed into being small, convenience stores selling gasoline, lottery tickets, snacks, etc. Unknown to Dobbie's father, inside his grocery delivery truck was a lost lion, which prompted the title for this episode, a parody of the TV game show "What's My Line? (1950)." The objective of this TV game show was for the panelists to guess the line of work or occupation of an ordinary guest, and when blindfolded the identity of a celebrity guest. (See "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis - What's My Lion?" (1961) release Date: January 10, 1961 (watched 12/27/2015 on free over-the-air broadcast TV channel KEZI-TV 9.2 and Comcast cable Channel 309)) and also see The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (season 2) See

The classic TV sitcom "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" included a historically important lesbian, gay, butch tomboy character named Zelda Gilroy, who plays the wannabe girlfriend of the title character. The character Zelda was played by the child actress Sheila Kuehl (See who would later move on to get a Harvard Law School degree and become the first openly gay person elected to the California legislature. Although she played an overtly heterosexual character, chasing after a boy, many people considered her to be too "butch" to play that role in a proposed spinoff show featuring her and Dobie. Back then, being butch caused most people to assume a woman was a lesbian dyke and in that era, any hint of homosexuality would blacklist any actor or actress except for the few roles where gender bending was considered normal.

Speaking of grocery delivery, the small Colorado town, where my Grandmother lived, had a small grocery store whose owner delivered groceries to her until the day she died. She was too blind and crippled to drive a car and shop at the big supermarkets that were built in nearby towns in the 1950's that took over most grovery sales. She was grateful for the grocery delivery service, which I assume vanished after the store owner retired.

When I saw Dobbie's father delivering groceries, it made me recall how grocery delivery was a common service years ago, and there are signs it might be coming back in the internet and smartphone age.

For example, Wal-Mart recently built a store in Corvallis to sell only groceries, and it seems like it was built mostly to be a perfect distribution point for delivering groceries to city residents because it is configured unlike typical grocery stores. It is hidden off the street, like a warehouse building, which makes me speculate that Wal-Mart plans to use this queer grocery store as a future distribution point for Wal-Mart groceries they sell customers online or via a smartphone. My speculation is further fueled further by a business magazine story by Phil Wahba, "Walmart testing new tools in e-commerce arms race with Amazon -- The world's largest retailer is testing out a free delivery service, as well as grocery pick up kiosks, as it looks for new ways to compete with Amazon," posted Jun. 19, 2015. The article said, "Walmart has in recent years equipped more than 80 of its U.S. super centers to help fill online orders and speed up delivery. That's about the same number of distribution centers Amazon operates."

The existence of grocery delivery will be important to people who are unable to drive, due to age or medical reasons, because it will free their dependence on family or church members to buy food and deliver it to them. It looks like Walt-Mart and Amazon are rediscovering grocery delivery, which means there must be a market for this service that is bigger than just those who are unable to drive to a grocery store.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Beatles 'When I'm 64' song in 'Yellow Submarine' movie - Happy 64th Birthday!

The Beatle Yellow Submarine record album cover bought circa 1970s

PHOTO: Cover of The Beatles "Yellow Submarine" record album, which I bought circa the 1970s, without any copyright date printed on it -- a common practice at that time, This LP record album includes the song "when I'm 64." (See "When I'm Sixty-Four," accessed Dec. 16, 2015 and some of the lyrics quoted below)

"When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine, birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out 'til quarter to three, would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm sixty-four?"

(Quoted from "When I'm 64 Lyrics," accessed Dec. 16, 2015)

Happy 64th Birthday!

Beatles 'When I'm 64' stills from 'Yellow Submarine' movie showing the aging Beatles singing Sixty-four years is 33,661,440 minutes and . . . is a long time . . . including Ringo and George with long white beards (middle bottom) and side shot of the Yellow Submarine

PHOTO: selected still frames from the Beatles 1968 animated film "Yellow Submarine," including the text screen, "When I'm 64 . . . Sixty-four years is a long time, . . .," (top) shown during the singing of the related song by an aged and white bearded Ringo and George (middle top and middle bottom). I fell in love with this animated film when I first saw it in the summer of 1968 - the music is still very popular to this day across all age groups. (See "Yellow Submarine (film)," accessed Dec. 16, 2015)

VIDEO: Courtesy "Yellow Submarine," accessed Dec. 16, 2015

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Gay skier celebrates New Year's Eve with 'fag hag' and gay TV anchorman

Skier Gus Kenworthy celebrates New Year's Eve 2016, wearing a crazy hat, next to Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper on New Year's Eve Live 2016 CNN cable TV show

PHOTO: Olympic champion skier Gus Kenworthy, who came out as gay this year, celebrated New Year's Eve 2016 in New York City Times Square with the professional comedian Kathy Griffin, a self-described "fag hag" (women who love gay men), and her favorite "straight man" comedy foil, the serious, but very out and openly gay, CNN TV news anchorman Anderson Cooper at 10:19PM ET Dec. 31, 3015 on the CNN cable TV news channel show "New Year's Eve Live with Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper." (See previous posts Breckenridge skier comes out apes 1963 ski flip by Stein Eriksen (12/10/15) and NBC won't say skier came out as gay only calling it 'a decision he made' this year (12/14/15))

It makes sense that Olympic champion skier Gus Kenworthy was their biggest guest because the CNN cable TV news channel show "New Year's Eve Live with Kathy Griffin and Anderson Cooper" has become the gayest place to be on New Years' Eve. The first year it aired, the professional comedian Kathy Griffin, a self-described "fag hag" (women who love gay men), and her favorite partner, the serious, but gay, CNN TV news anchorman Anderson Cooper, cracked so many risque jokes that CNN almost cancelled the show for the next year, until they saw the fabulous ratings and heard from enthusiastic fans of the show.

This year was no exception, as Kathy Griffin jokingly asked the skier Gus Kenworthy to explain what the X-Games he competes in are. When Gus seriously replied they were "like" snowboarding and skiing competition, Kathy quickly added, ". . . and Porn?" To which Gus quickly asked back, "Like the triple X games?" Kathy seemed elated that a guest had joined her in cracking jokes instead of being embarrassed and silent, as is often the case. Gus was shown kissing Kathy at the start of one segment and he even politely and gently asked Anderson Cooper if he could at least get kiss on the cheek, to which Anderson squirmed and said maybe during the next commercial break.

Anderson Cooper told Gus Kenworthy he had just come back from skiing in Telluride, Colorado, the town Gus grew up in, and he had seen Gus's high school principal, etc. Kathy Griffin razzed Gus by asking him if he had a hall pass from the principal to be in Times Square. Gus replied that since they wre giving "shout outs" to all of his acquaintances in Telluride he wanted to also give a "shout out" to his "boyfriend Matthew." Of course, on a more serious note, Gus also mentioned his plans to compete in the 2018 Olympic Games in Korea.

The bright-eyed and innocent looking Gus Kenworthy told Kathy and Anderson that this was his first time in "the big city" away from his small hometown of Telluride, Colorado. His enthusiasm and innocence were charming and I wondered if Gus is aware of the cultural history of Times Square, which only a few decades ago had degenerated into being a sleazy district of porno shops and prostitutes before it was "cleaned up" by a Major of New York City. There are several famous paintings, photos and movie scenes that have depicted Times Square, such as the homosexual male hustler scene in the movie "Midnight Cowboy."

Skier Gus Kenworthy comes out as gay and celebrates winning the 2015 Dew Tour on NBC TV

PHOTO: The skier Gus Kenworthy came out as gay this year and celebrates after winning again at the Toyota Dew Tour 2015 Men's FreeSki Slopestyle Championship at Breckenridge broadcast live on the NBC TV Network, Sun. Dec. 13, 2015 10:30AM-PT. (See previous posts Breckenridge skier comes out apes 1963 ski flip by Stein Eriksen (12/10/15) and NBC won't say skier came out as gay only calling it 'a decision he made' this year (12/14/15))