Archive for February, 2008

Art and Erotica and Attitudes About Sex

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

So this is a risky post. I’m going to talk about naked people. Sort of. The big news today was that Lindsay Lohan has taken part in a photo shoot to re-create the last photo shoot that Marilyn Monroe did. The pictures are in New York magazine. Apparently the pictures are so popular that the magazine’s web site crashed. The Today show showed some of the pictures with a big read "ribbon" in strategic places.

This brings up item number one. Apparently you can show as much of a woman’s breasts as you want as long as the nipples don’t show. This is an advance from the past. The old "I Dream of Jeanie" show was not allowed to show belly buttons. The original Star Trek was not only not allowed to show nipples but could not show the underside of a breast. I had no idea the underside was so much more titillating than the top side. Sigh.

Recently I watched a few minutes of a show on Discovery Channel or Travel Channel (I wasn’t paying much attention) that was chronicling life in an African village. The women wore nothing but jewelry above the waist. The nipples were magically airbrushed into invisibility. I guess if you can’t see them they aren’t there. And if they aren’t there no one will get all excited. I mean really, do they think no one knows what they look like?

Coming back to Ms. Lohan’s photo shoot. I’ve seen some of the images from Marilyn Monroe’s shoot. They have been on display in an fancy art gallery near where my father lives. They’ve been put on display in the windows with no Today style red ribbon. Apparently no one complains. Now I think the images are more artsy than erotic though I’m not sure I’d be comfortable having them on display in my house. They are not quite our style. I suspect that Ms. Lohan’s images are the same. But somehow I doubt that the people whose traffic crashed the web site were looking for art.

Outside the US attitudes about showing the human body are different. Bare breasts, and other body parts, are more common and people tend not to get all worked up about it. I was on a beach, quite unexpectedly I assure you, where a number of young women were topless. Honestly you can get used to it pretty quickly and it need not get one all hot and bothered. I asked a BG student once about a visit a group of them made to a nude beach oversees on a field trip and his comment was that "not everyone looks good naked." No kidding!

But of course in the US we make such a big thing of it that when people do see it they get all bothered because, in part I think, they think they are supposed to. Is this helpful? I’m not so sure it is.

Now I am not advocating a sudden and dramatic change nor am I suggesting that we need more nudity in the world. It just seems that f the way we treat the nude form contributes to the objectification of women. We let or perhaps encourage people to look everywhere but at the face. It becomes all about how a woman looks and not who she is. I think I need do little more than suggest one watch a minute or two of "Deal or No Deal." Does anyone really believe that show would be as popular without "hot women" in short dresses with lots of cleavage holding the suitcases? I don’t think so. Could you recognize any of them by their faces? Somehow I doubt it.

The photographer who took these pictures is an artist to be sure. But it seems like everyone else involved from Ms. Lohan to the magazine are just using her body to make money. And that seems to me a shame.

The Life of a Hermit

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

There are times when I just want to get away from it all. I get tired of the people, the work, the phone, the Internet, the TV and pretty much all the distractions of daily life. I read an article today about a guy who built a cottage in his back yard to get away a little. I think I like that idea. Of course people can find you a little too easily there so maybe some times you have to go further away.

I like to go to my Dad’s house when he isn’t there. Now don’t get me wrong I love visiting my Dad. In fact I’ll be visiting him in about a week and a half for a couple of days. But he has a house in a summer resort area that he’s not always at in the winter. To me going there then is just relaxing. Now I could not do it often or for long. Mrs. T went away for a couple of days tonight and I miss her already. But sometimes and for short times it is a good recharge.

Probably the ideal world would be to get away from everyone but my wife with us each going our own ways during the day. I’m sure not ready to live completely alone for a long time. Although to be honest, if not for my wife, I think I could get used to it.

What kind of a sports car are you

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

I’m a Chevrolet Corvette!

You’re a classic – powerful, athletic, and competitive. You’re all about winning the race and getting the job done. While you have a practical everyday side, you get wild when anyone pushes your pedal. You hate to lose, but you hardly ever do.

Take the Which Sports Car Are You? quiz.


Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Have you all heard about Dreamspark yet? It is a program Bill Gates announced earlier this week to allow students to get a bunch of Microsoft development software including the new Expression design and web tools, Visual Studio, Windows Server and a free membership in the XNA Creators Club.

There are more details here. Since you don’t have to dump the software after graduation even those of you close to graduation may want to get a hold of this so you can try some things out on the cheap.

Grasping at Straws

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

Now to be honest I never liked Hilary Clinton so I am predisposed to disagree with her on a lot of things that she does and says. So this flap she is trying to start about Obama "plagiarizing" from Gov. Patrick is something I was skeptical of from the start. After watching a clip of this issue being brought up on the Texas debate I’ve concluded she was way out of line.

Patrick is an Obama advisor and someone who apparently frequently makes suggestions about what Obama should say in speeches. In this case that Clinton is trying to make a big deal of she is more or less accusing Obama of having a speech writer. And if you look at it that way its pretty silly to bring it up at all.

Can Clinton win on substance? Bringing this silly item up makes me wonder if she and her team are afraid that substance is not enough. Interesting.

License Plates

Monday, February 18th, 2008

Once upon a time the only way to get custom licence plates was to know someone with pull in the department that gave out the plates. Today of course most states pick up extra money by selling special plates. In some countries special plates are auctioned off. For example this recent auction in Abu Dhabi where someone spent $14million for a plate with only the number 1 on it. In some countries the number 8 which is thought of as very lucky brings high prices.

I once had a special plate (ACT-2 which are my initials) and it was fun, brought a few comments, but really after a while I didn’t care so much when I got a new car and didn’t transfer the plate. It just didn’t seem worth the money. Perhaps that is because I am not a car person. My car is not a part of my identity to me.

In more recent years I have also developed a philosophical disagreement with the very idea of licence plates (and to some extent driver’s licenses) on cars. It seems like a violation of my privacy to be forced to where identification on my car. Now I wear a badge at work but that is a private agreement with a private company. Having the government force me to have, let alone wear (in a sense) identification just for government use seems invasive. Of course I understand the rationalization for the rules. They are pretty much the same as those for searching a house without a warrant though aren’t they? And we don’t allow that!

Now I am not ready to make a Federal case over it and I suspect I would lose if I tried but more and more it just bugs me.

I’m Starting to Fade

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

There is an expression in German that translates to “work makes life sweet.” There is a corollary thought that translates to “but too much is too much.” I’m starting to feel that later expression.

Eleven days ago I left home for a business trip to Seattle. I’m still there and have two more days before I get home. And it is all starting to catch up with me. In that time I have had exactly one day off – last Saturday. Unfortunately (in some ways) I spent that day having a lot of fun. The list of things we did is embarrassingly long and started with breakfast and ended with a return to my hotel well after 1AM. Mentally relaxing but not physically.

People who don’t travel on business often don’t understand how much work it is. One generally starts with meeting people for breakfast and ends it with a long dinner also with a lot of work components. In between are meetings broken up only by more meetings. Think about having a school day that runs 14 hours long and continuing even while you are eating.

I was a little late for breakfast this morning – I just could not get up. Right now between sessions (this is a training week) I am trying to get some of my regular day job work done. There is a big party tonight (yes we do have some fun) but I’m not sure I’ll be going. If I do go I will be leaving early. The younger people and the people who only arrived this week may have energy left but I’m about spent. I am seriously looking forward to sleeping on the plane ride home on Saturday.

In the long run it is worth it of course. I am learning a lot of good things and meeting a lot of interesting people. There are 6000 people from around the world at this event and I have made some good contacts and added friends to my Facebook account. Last week was a smaller group of people and there I met new people but also reconnected with people I know from previous meetings. There are people from South America and South Africa, Japan, China, England and all over eastern and western Europe. It’s pretty cool actually.

Tomorrow I will hear Bill Gates talk to the conference and that should be interesting. But you know, part of me would like to go home tonight.

So did you see me interviewed on the web?

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

OK it’s short, very short, the whole clip is less than 2 minutes and I’m one of about four or five people in it. But for those of you who don’t know me in person or who haven’t seen me in a while – here I am. 🙂

The rest of the Channel 8 web site is more interesting.