AI has been in the news a lot lately, or at least in IFLS a lot lately, lots of the news about blunders, but as a binary type and one who has also been sexually harassed in this life, and kind of raped, something I’ve thought about lots and lots over the years, lots of women would say oh yeah, rape, my wise elder of a psychologist said that, lots of men, no, not even close, and vice versa, such opinions aren’t totally gender oriented, and I’ve just about gotten to the place of no, but close, but not really, because I was not physically overpowered by the guy in question. Ultimately, I gave in.
Coercion, for sure. Scumbaggery? Well, I’d have to get into the details, and I don’t want to, but yeah, I’d toss old whats his name into that category, for sure. He had a pretty nefarious life after that, too, as I understand it.
Harassed? A few times. Once pretty intensely, but ultimately, I jumped right into a relationship there, so go figure. I suppose if I’d not been harassed I’d never have jumped right into the relationship, but still, I jumped. And I harassed right back, without saying f**k right off. When it comes down to it, almost all of the harassment in my life was met with a no nonsense f**k right off from me, mostly because I’d already had the displeasure of Mr. Scumbaggery and knew damned well I wasn’t going there again.
That had been costly. I set clear boundaries thereafter.
At any rate, another sexual episode that has oft come to mind in my life, and this one was a three week episode, the magical romantic run through Greece and its Isles making mad passionate love with a beautiful Austrian man, so sweet, one who probably looks like Werner Klemperer used to look if he’s still alive, and I’ll always remember his approach to getting me in the sack that first night we met was to say, gee, I like you, would you like to sleep with me?
It was really that simple.
And so it occurs to me, if we’re going to live in a culture that has as much baggage with sexual harassment as it has, gosh, we could make a few simple yes/no rules that would solve everything. And it could be transgender, like, used with all sorts of gender relationships, but particularly with those physically intimate.
Assume you meet someone with whom you’d like to be physically or sexually intimate. It could go like this:
Gosh Marvin, I’d like to be physically intimate with you. May I hold your hand? Note that check one box comes immediately to mind, but I’m old school and have the mentality of a 10 year old, and we’re talking conversation here and not note passing, so there you go. But in conversation, those yes or no questions tend to work really well with just about anyone, and anything.
I mean, it worked well for Alois, that’s for sure.
Thing is, Marvin has the option of saying, no thanks, I’m uncomfortable with hand holding. And of course in the work place or on the streets or in the bar or on campus, or at the library, one always has the option of saying f**k right off, repeatedly, if necessary, or being more polite about it if that’s called for. I suppose if someone in the work place is saying things sexually offensive or some such, one has the option of noise canceling headphones, pretty much the same option one has in defense against any other aural assault, such as inane conversation or fascist or racist worldviews or other irritating noises.
Physical harassment? That’s assault. If it's sexual, after a clear no, it's crossing a line, and it's sexual assault. Even a no thanks to hand holding is pretty clear. A no at any stage of the binary safe or out at first or second base, yeah, old Meatloaf’s stop right there might suck when you’re sliding into home, but oh well, a girl can always go pleasure herself if a guy decides at the last minute he doesn’t want to, and sometimes that old long shot out comes flying in from the outfield in ways unexpected. Except no is far easier than is out or safe, no means no, no umpire needed, no instant replay. And yeah, it works both ways, sometimes girls change their minds, too.
Clearly I’m kidding, in terms of gender, but not really. If yes to home is a go, a guy is pretty much going to score. A woman might well be left in the dust of his slide to the plate. Still, yes it was, no question.
Scoring in the baseball game of sex is often quite different for men than for women, no doubt about it. Perhaps that’s why women so often feel so sexually harassed. Food for thought, and I’m hungry.
It’s something I’ve done many times in my life, illegally. It’s something I don’t do any more, or at least haven’t in quite a while. I never did it to make money, I did it to help make weed, because I like weed, nay, I love weed, and I enjoy sharing it with others when I’ve grown it. It’s kind of like baking a pie for someone.
Certainly as soon as growing it became legal here and there (well, it’s still not legal here, but it is there and there and there), I considered cashing in my assets and going into the bidness. From what I understand, it’s quite profitable. I invested in medical marijuana immediately when it became legal, on the stock market, supporting the cause and all, made a few grand before bailing.
Thing is, I’m not a bidness person, never have been, never will be. I prefer making pies and giving them to people, I’ve never had enough of a profit drive to be a good bidness person. And the reason I grew weed was because I liked growing weed. Nay, I loved growing weed.
With the exception of that one time, when I grew it outdoors in Arizona, I’ve not been able to grow it nearly quickly enough to keep myself supplied. I don’t have a freaking warehouse, and I do have a pretty healthy appetite. I guess maybe those plants I grew back in Florida kept me supplied, at least for a little while, back when I was a kid. I do recall all sorts of ways I tried drying down leafy stuff quickly without losing the bit of potency present there. When it budded and matured over the course of that frosty Florida winter, it was a sight to behold. I’m too lazy to go down and scan the image.
Massachusetts, I love you. You’re one of those wheres.
Growing weed outdoors in Arizona is one of those things like growing any other tough, well, weedy kind of a plant in Arizona, it is something to behold. Corn is, too. I used to drive by a cornfield twice a day to and from work at Mesa Lutheran and I’ll be put in the microwave and popped if a body couldn’t just watch that sh*t grow, I mean, literally.
I think technically it might even be legal there, growing weed, even if they will arrest you for it, especially if you’re deportable. I don’t know, haven’t checked in with my friends in AZ about the situation there in a long time. I do know it’s on the books. I do also know AZ pretty well.
But the watching it grow thing, same thing with the weed. My mentor taught me how to do it, it’s a matter of pruning and staking and gonads. In fact, with the laws thing, those laws about being able to grow six plants or some such here or there, I promise, I can lay down a couple of acres with six plants, no problem. Especially outdoors in Arizona.
That’s the thing about those laws, we can always kind of play around with them. Laws and language and playing the game. Life should be so much simpler.
But the thing is, if one is doing it there, well, illegally, that rapid growth rate must always be considered against the gonadosity, because part of the trick is that it’s pretty much sitting out there where anybody can see it. It's just hiding amidst that nice mix of Lantana and Verbena you've got there, and gee, that Vitex is just beautiful. If they know to look carefully, they might see it. If they don’t, it’s pretty invisible. It’s amazing what a body can do with a little knowledge.
But no, the reason I gave up on trying to grow weed is the lights thing. I cannot justify to myself using the electricity needed to grow weed, especially when, for practical purposes, the only purpose in doing so is love. When I can grow it outdoors, legally, I will.
But Patti Smith opted not to claim any of them, at least once upon a time. She did it in a really rockin’ version of Gloria, and just about every version of Gloria has kind of rocked, I especially like the remake Van Morrison did with Johnnie Lee Hooker, can’t not dance to that one. But Patti did it in that way she does, and it totally rocked. I can't not dance to hers, either.
Patti added that spoken line at the beginning. Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not hers.
Man, she must be one righteous chick. I mean, I think she totally is, and in terms of Jesus dying for somebody’s sins, well, I have to get all metaphorical here, and I’ve got to kind of go there and get metaphorical, but I’m not going to call myself a Christian, and heck, I’ll even capitalize it, I’m way more a Pagan, pretty totally a Pagan in fact, too many Buddhists are too uppity for me, it’s almost kind of like being an Anarchist but not really, because too many Anarchists are too freaking out there violent and self centered for me, but I guess when it comes down to it, I suppose I could take credit for some of the sins that Jesus died for.
Assuming there was such a guy, and I’m pretty sure the archeological evidence suggests that there was.
At any rate, he was a guy, just like the Guido guy next door, although probably not Italian, I suspect he probably was really Jewish, and maybe a Rabbi, although I’m in no way a scholar on the matter and my investigation has been quite perfunctory, and years ago, but he was a guy who had something to say that was really important, and if a body just looks at what he said, assuming we can find much of it, that’s factually what he said, if we just look at that and interpret it for ourselves, not let somebody else do it for us, we can see it was really important, but almost everybody ignores it.
And the thing is, what he said was dangerous to the powers that were, so they crucified him. Jesus definitely died for somebody’s sins, and not his.
This is actually born of a meme I saw the other day, even commented on it, about Jesus not dying for your sins if he came back to life three days later, he took a long weekend for you, and several of us, me right on up there, got all snarky about it.
The more I thought about it, well, I started really thinking about where that metaphor might arise, because I flat out do not believe that the dude arose from the dead and ascended into a gilden kingdom called heaven to sit at the right hand of a big bearded dude, his dad, and ergo all of my sins ever and always are forgiven as long as I believe this fairy tale and am sorry, because that’s clearly total bullshit, a fairy tale, and I got snarkier still, until the metaphor came to me.
The dude was taken in by the man, and yeah, tortured, and then crucified, and it could be that maybe it took him three days to die. Heinous. South Parkian rendition of that Mel Gibson movie heinous that there’s no way I’d ever freaking watch, I know the sick and twisted version of Christianity all too well, but if indeed the dude took three days to die on the cross, and he took it, and the folks who watched it were all inspired to follow his teachings, although not very many of them did a great job of it, or at least there’s not a lot of evidence of that clear in the here and now, well, then his message lived on, even if it did get grossly distorted and then used by the man in ways heinous, well, yeah, I can work around to that.
So, in some round about metaphorical way, I can say that Jesus died for somebody’s sins, and I respect the shit out of that sacrifice, the dude tried, and some of those things I’ve done and even still do don't always live up to the rather high standard he set with his teachings, but when it comes down to it, that high standard is pretty hip, so some of those sins are mine, for sure.
The ticket is to forgive oneself, forgive the other, and endeavor to sin no more. The sins list needs a little work, maybe, and no, I’m still not a Christian. A body doesn’t need to have religion to know the difference between right and wrong. We know. And we know that we’re doing wrong, it’s instinctive.
See, I’m totally a Pagan. And I worship the sun.
Back in 1977, I worked for an Otologist, an ear surgeon, which he was always sure to make clear was not to be confused with an Otolaryngologist, an ENT. The man did not mess with noses or throats. Mostly he put tubes in kids' ears. Sometimes he’d have to remove a bunch of mastoid tissue, open up an ear canal, but mostly it was pretty tame. Infections and antibiotics. Decongestants. Antihistimines. And the tubes.
We did get quite a few dizzy old folks, too. Ménière's disease and the like.
My duties working for Dr. B included reception, answering the phones and scheduling and greeting the patients. I also did the daily books and filed the insurance claims. I typed up his dictation, something that took some getting used to with this Hungarian accent and the technical terms. I did have to explain to him that it was probably better to use the term “purulent” when referring to discharges from ears rather than pussy, as he had been wont to do. If I typed out his name and professional association right now my fingers would automatically go the next line, the address, right on down to the zip code. My mouth could not tell you those things, my fingers can type them.
I had a brand new, it could back up and correct with its white over ribbon typewriter, so high tech it was heavenly. I was around eighteen at the time.
Sue, his faithful sidekick and RN and probably more than likely special friend based on the non-verbal exchanges I often observed between them, was a motherly figure, a divorcee close to Dr. B’s age, which was probably close to fifty.
He had sex books in his office, apparently they’d come across the iron curtain with him when his family fled the Russian onslaught, as the text was all in Hungarian and the folks photographed in them were clearly middle Europeans. I found it fascinating that the books with the pictures were among the things they secreted across the border, kind of goes against the grain of some of the epic struggle aspect of the story. His wife also had interesting tastes in reading, as I recall, visited the library where my sister worked and sometimes requested books that the library didn’t carry. Wouldn’t carry. Dr. B. once told me “Never trust a man who drives a Corwet. You can pick one up for a few thousand dollars.”
He, personally, drove a 450 SL. A Mercedes Benz, something that would have appealed to Janis.
I’m such a gossip.
And this is actually about the American “healthcare” system. You see, I’ve been pretty familiar with it for quite some time. Personally, I want nothing to do with it. I can’t imagine why anyone in her right might would. That we pay for it? Nucking futs.
Back in those days, the Insurance Industry paid doctors based on what they charged. While doctors had been constrained at that point a tiny little bit (only very recently, back then) from charging whatever they wanted to charge and getting paid for it, they hadn’t yet had the rules totally flipped on them. So, basically, he’d tell me to charge $300 for a tympanostomy (ear tube), knowing the insurance would only pay $200, but also knowing that the following year the insurance industry would raise the rate it paid if the ear guys were all charging $300.
Like the ear guys didn’t all talk to ear other at ear guy conventions every year. Poor Dr. B. had to go to the ENT conventions, there weren’t enough ear snobs to make for a decent get together. He had to deal with those heathens who did tonsils and adenoids. Lots of risk in tonsils and adenoids.
At any rate, that was right around 1978 or so. In 1989, I completed a BS in Health Care Administration. At that point, things had gotten quite a bit different, we were messing around with DRGs, trying to create a system in which a physician got paid based on the patient’s diagnosis. One can only imagine what a mess of creative diagnostics that led to, the intricacies of insurance coding have gotten quite out of hand.
There were plenty of ideas thrown around for how to deal with this mess that had been created by Medicare, and really, when it comes down to it, as good intentioned and fine with my basically socialist heart Medicare is, when it is based upon the whims of guys who tell you never to trust someone who drives a Corwet because they are so cheap relative to his cute little Mercedes, well, it’s a bit of a problem.
One of the big ideas was “Health Maintenance Organizations”, you know HMOs. The idea was that folks were going to maintain their health. Doctors were going to encourage them to do so. There were going to be these nice little plans in place that would take care of everyone.
Yeah, right. What happened was that big Pharma saw its chance to jump right in, pills to prevent and treat everything and nothing were invented, they started marketing directly to the dumb public, the diagnosticians decided that everyone needed a mammogram and colonoscopy (which prevent nothing), and a bag of saline that ought to cost about a quarter now costs a couple of hundred bucks.
And then of course there’s the fact that nobody can tell anybody in this country what to do in terms of health maintenance, people do whatever they want to do, the food that is available in the grocery stores is barely fit to eat, and the same industry that produces that food funds the research that says it’s all just fine, now shut up and eat your glyphosate like a good citizen.
The folks who produce the pills fund it, the research on the pills, and don’t even really try to pretend it’s fine, or that the not fineness of it is simply one of those risks one must take if one wants to live forever and not endure the hardship of leg twitches. They’ve done the math, the risk is only to your life, not to their profit margin.
The lawyers pay attention to those side effects, those profit margins, those risks, as well. They’ve got to get their cut. They’ve done the math, too.
What does your health insurance dollar fund? Well, it funds the insurance industry pretty well. It funds the pharmaceutical industry pretty well. It pays a couple of hundred bucks for a dollar bag of saline and puts out such a clusterf**k of an EOB as to boggle the mind. The charge is different for those who are insured vs. those who are not, it is different depending on the doctor and the plan, on inpatient or outpatient. That none of it has done much of anything to really improve quality or quantity of life is beside the point.
Once upon a time, the insurance industry allowed Dr. B. to drive a Mercedes. These days, an awful lot of MDs are sitting in doc in the boxes trying like hell to pay off student loans and driving for Uber on the side.They can’t even afford a Corwet. Their cut isn’t what it once was, their jobs not nearly as tolerable.
What the health insurance dollar, public or private, sure as hell dose not fund in this country is health, not at all.