Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Meeting a Friend and Fellow Blogger

If you read PK's blog, you know we had lunch after becoming blogging friends for the past three years. This is the first time I've met one of my online friends.

In case you missed it, here is what she wrote about it:

As she said, it was a great lunch and there were none of the usual awkward moments that you sometimes have in a conversation when you meet someone for the first time. But then even though we hadn't met in person, we know each other so well from sharing our lives online that it wasn't like a first meeting. More like two old friends getting together again. And fun talking about our lives and the various bloggers we both read. And how Cassie had been in her head when she was just a kid. So nice she is able to share her with us.

If you read my blog, you know I often call her my mentor. She convinced me to start writing stories (which I need to start doing again) and to start a blog. She even set it up for me because I tend to be a computer clueless type.

And she is a wonderful wife and mother. Nick is so lucky to have her. And she raised two delightful kids who have left the nest and are making their way in the world although she is so modest, she takes no credit and simply says she didn't screw them up. If you know her, she deserves plenty of credit.

And nice that Nick has no issues when her becoming online friends with a guy although I've always felt married couples should be able to have friends of the opposite sex. One of my high school classmates lives in my town and we have lunch occasionally (she has no idea about my dom side) and the husband sometimes joins us for lunch, talks sports a while and then leaves as we continue to chit chat. Many guys don't like to talk about their lives but I enjoy it.

Anyway, if you read enjoy reading PK's blog and become friends with her, I hope you do you do get to meet her sometime. You will be glad you did.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

What Happened to Middle Class America?

If you are old enough, you may remember when America tended to be a middle class country.
Here's a column showing how all that has changed as policy shifted from the middle class to the wealthy. I found it interesting:


The Social Contract

This week President Obama said the obvious: that wealthy Americans, many of whom pay remarkably little in taxes, should bear part of the cost of reducing the long-run budget deficit. And Republicans like Representative Paul Ryan responded with shrieks of “class warfare.”

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Paul Krugman

Related in Opinion

Do Taxes Narrow the Wealth Gap?

Obama wants to tax the rich. Republicans say he's promoting class warfare. What's the role of tax policy in bridging a wealth gap?

Readers’ Comments

Readers shared their thoughts on this article.

It was, of course, nothing of the sort. On the contrary, it’s people like Mr. Ryan, who want to exempt the very rich from bearing any of the burden of making our finances sustainable, who are waging class war.

As background, it helps to know what has been happening to incomes over the past three decades. Detailed estimates from the Congressional Budget Office — which only go up to 2005, but the basic picture surely hasn’t changed — show that between 1979 and 2005 the inflation-adjusted income of families in the middle of the income distribution rose 21 percent. That’s growth, but it’s slow, especially compared with the 100 percent rise in median income over a generation after World War II.

Meanwhile, over the same period, the income of the very rich, the top 100th of 1 percent of the income distribution, rose by 480 percent. No, that isn’t a misprint. In 2005 dollars, the average annual income of that group rose from $4.2 million to $24.3 million.

So do the wealthy look to you like the victims of class warfare?

To be fair, there is argument about the extent to which government policy was responsible for the spectacular disparity in income growth. What we know for sure, however, is that policy has consistently tilted to the advantage of the wealthy as opposed to the middle class.

Some of the most important aspects of that tilt involved such things as the sustained attack on organized labor and financial deregulation, which created huge fortunes even as it paved the way for economic disaster. For today, however, let’s focus just on taxes.

The budget office’s numbers show that the federal tax burden has fallen for all income classes, which itself runs counter to the rhetoric you hear from the usual suspects. But that burden has fallen much more, as a percentage of income, for the wealthy. Partly this reflects big cuts in top income tax rates, but, beyond that, there has been a major shift of taxation away from wealth and toward work: tax rates on corporate profits, capital gains and dividends have all fallen, while the payroll tax — the main tax paid by most workers — has gone up.

And one consequence of the shift of taxation away from wealth and toward work is the creation of many situations in which — just as Warren Buffett and Mr. Obama say — people with multimillion-dollar incomes, who typically derive much of that income from capital gains and other sources that face low taxes, end up paying a lower overall tax rate than middle-class workers. And we’re not talking about a few exceptional cases.

According to new estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, one-fourth of those with incomes of more than $1 million a year pay income and payroll tax of 12.6 percent of their income or less, putting their tax burden below that of many in the middle class.

Now, I know how the right will respond to these facts: with misleading statistics and dubious moral claims.

On one side, we have the claim that the rising share of taxes paid by the rich shows that their burden is rising, not falling. To point out the obvious, the rich are paying more taxes because they’re much richer than they used to be. When middle-class incomes barely grow while the incomes of the wealthiest rise by a factor of six, how could the tax share of the rich not go up, even if their tax rate is falling?

On the other side, we have the claim that the rich have the right to keep their money — which misses the point that all of us live in and benefit from being part of a larger society.

Elizabeth Warren, the financial reformer who is now running for the United States Senate in Massachusetts, recently made some eloquent remarks to this effect that are, rightly, getting a lot of attention. “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody,” she declared, pointing out that the rich can only get rich thanks to the “social contract” that provides a decent, functioning society in which they can prosper.

Which brings us back to those cries of “class warfare.”

Republicans claim to be deeply worried by budget deficits. Indeed, Mr. Ryan has called the deficit an “existential threat” to America. Yet they are insisting that the wealthy — who presumably have as much of a stake as everyone else in the nation’s future — should not be called upon to play any role in warding off that existential threat.

Well, that amounts to a demand that a small number of very lucky people be exempted from the social contract that applies to everyone else. And that, in case you’re wondering, is what real class warfare looks like.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ricky Spanking Lucy

I always like to come across new blogs by couples who are new to the spanking lifestyles and reading about their experiences.

Well, I just found out by Loving and it has a treat -- a picture of Ricky spanking Lucy. I don't remember this scene or seeing this picture.

I'm sure most of you have seen the reruns or if you old enough, saw them when they were first broadcast and they were a sensation in the early days of TV.

In real life, I doubt Lucy was too submissive. She was a very good business woman, especially in her day, and built a TV empire. She started the show to keep Ricky, a band leader with a wandering eye, at home instead of traveling on the road. She married Ricky in 1940 and they divorced in 1960.

An interesting sidelight is that most shows then were done live on the East Coast and shown in inferior kinescope on the West Coast. Lucy and Ricky offered to take a paycut to film the show rather than move to New York if they got the rights to the films. Which became worth millions because the show is still in syndication.

Anyway, here's a link to the picture. If any of you know the context to the scene, please share it with us.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Romance Novels

If you are a woman, do you read romance novels? You are not alone.

Another tidbit in that book "A Billion Wicked Thoughts'' is that romance novels generated $1.37 billion in sales in 2008. The romance genre has the single largest share of the fiction market. At least 74.8 million people read romance novels in 2008. And more than 90 per cent are women.

To put those numbers in perspective, about 100 million men in the U.S. and Canada accessed online porn in 2008 only a quarter more than the number of women who read romance novels. About 25 per cent of the porn watchers are women. But women won't pay for porn and the companies often flag credit cards with female names that try to pay for porn. But they will spend over $1billion on romance novels.

Another interesting thing is that sex is not absolutely essential to a romance novel. But the sex scene is important. The heroine is sexually inexperienced until her lover introduces it to her. The awakening to love is that much more powerful when it's accompanied by a sexual awakening as well.

Since our readers tend to be kinky, do you like a romance novel with no kink?

There's more on what women like in their romance novels, but I thought I'd ask my readers what they like and see if it fits with what the authors say they like.

And who knew romance novels are a billion dollar industry? Hmmm. Maybe I should try to write one. LOL.

Your thoughts on romance novels.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Why Are We Like We Are?

I have come across a fascinating book called, "A Billion Wicked Thoughts.''

It is written by two neuroscientists who have a initiated a revolution in the scientific study of sexual attraction. They point out that very little sex research has ever been done. Kinsey interviewed only 18,000 middle class Caucasians. It was groundbreaking but not a broad sample. And people don't often tell the truth about their sexual desires. So they went to the Internet, analyzing the sexual behavior of more than one hundred million people around the world. They analyzed a billion web searches, a million websites, a million erotic videos, a million erotic stories, millions of personal ads and tens of thousands of digitized romance novels.

They point out that if you have a fetish, it is on the Internet. Nobody exists who has a desire that other people don't have. They say if you type in, "Find people that have sex with goat that are on fire'' and the computer will say, "Specify type of goat.''

They say men prefer plump women to thin ones and men often seek erotic videos featuring women in their fifties and sixties. So much for the supposed preference for thin young women.

I haven't even finished the book and will share more in the future but wanted to share one fascinating tidbit with you. In the history of mankind, only 40 per cent of men have reproduced while 80 per cent of women have.

They quote one social psychologist, Roy Baumeister, as saying what this means to us.

"If you (a male) go along with the crowd and play it safe, the odds are you won't have children. Most men who ever existed did not have descendants who are alive today. Their lines were dead ends. Hence it was necessary to take chances...Sailing off into the unknown may be risky, and you might drown or be killed, but if you stay home, you won't reproduce anyway. We're descended from men who took chances (and were lucky).
"For women throughout history, the odds of reproducing have been pretty good. Taking chances like (sailing off into the unknown) would be stupid, from the perspective of a biological organism seeking to reproduce. Women might drown or be killed by savages or catch a disease. For women, the optimal thing to do is go along with the crowd, be nice, play it safe. The odds are good that men will come along and offer sex and you'll be able to have babies. All that matters is choosing the best offer. We're descended from women who played it safe.''

I hope you find that as fascinating as I do. I recommend the book but will be sharing more of their findings.


Friday, September 16, 2011

Thank You

My blog has now passed the 300 mark in followers and I just wanted to thank all of you who stop by and comment and become followers.

As regular readers know, I like to ask questions and so many of you have been kind enough to provide your thoughts and observations. I started this blog a couple of years ago at the urging of the lovely PK at elisnewbeginnings.blogspot.com and never expected to get the feedback I have gotten. I also want to thank all those lurkers who stop by and don't comment. I appreciate you reading the blog and ask you not to be so shy. Feel free to comment or become a follower. I should also thank Bonnie at bottomsmarts.blogspot.com for starting her Love Our Lurkers Day, which convinced me to start commetning.

As some of you know, I started this blog as a home for my Training Lisa series of fiction stories and somehow have let a year go by without updating it. One of these days, I plan to do that too.

Anyway, once again, I want to thank everybody who has welcomed me to this community. It is nice to find like-minded folks here to share our thoughts. And if you read but don't blog, feel free to start one of your own. We like to make everyone feel welcome.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

America in 2011

I suggest you read this link to a blog entitled, "Some real Shock and Awe: Racially profiled and cuffed in Detroit.''

It is about a n Arab looking woman traveling on 9/11 sitting in a row with two men she didn't know who were Indian and what happened to them when somebody said they were acting suspiciously.

It makes me wonder if we haven't if we haven't overreacted to the tragedy of 9/11.

Read the blog and tell me what you think.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Getting Wet

Following is a link to a post on the blog by pouredoutlett.blogspot.com.

If you click it on, it is about how she tends to squirt, but recently had two of what she calls Niagara Falls orgasms because she got so wet.

She asks by asking if any or the readers can relate to that so I will ask the same question.

Your thoughts?


Friday, September 2, 2011

Being Normal

I found what I think is a fascinating story on the NY Times website. It is hard to describe it so I ask you to read it. If you do, I think you will find it interesting. And if you do read it, I would be interested in your comments.



Townies is a series about life in New York.

Life in New York City requires the acceptance of a contradictory narrative about what loosely can be called ordinary existence. Even as a native of this city, I struggle to regard the punishment of its costs, the strain of its pace and the futility of its endless competitions — major, minor and residential — as normal.

But who’s to say what’s normal? It has been said that the only normal people are the ones we don’t know very well. But I disagree. Normal people, if they can be located outside the playpens of mythology and tall tales, are exactly those we do know, in our families and relationships, by choice or happenstance, or as is so often the case in this impossible city, out of necessity.

I thought about that a couple of weeks ago, in a setting abundant with the trappings of normal American life: one of my 5-year-old son J.P.’s peewee baseball games. The field where he plays sits in a little park off Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, on a tree-lined block of brownstones in the shadow of the construction site that will one day be an arena named for a global financial services provider. There is a playground in the park, and on this humid early evening, children scrambled up the jungle gym and ran screaming through the sprinkler. Young men played pickup basketball on the asphalt courts adjacent to the field. Teenage boys capered about on bicycles and skateboards, vying for the approval of the girls on the church stoop across the street. Old men loitered on the park benches, furtively sipping beers camouflaged in paper bags.

He hit, sprinted the bases and high-fived his teammates, then me, then my ex-wife’s girlfriend.

Standing at home plate with J.P. (I volunteer as an assistant coach for his team, the Red Dragons), I offered a few (mostly useless) batting tips, made sure that his helmet sat straight on his head and reminded him to have fun. He hit, he sprinted the bases, and eventually, when he reached home, high-fived his teammates, then me, then my ex-wife’s girlfriend, Kathy.

We separated about three years ago, and I found out about Kathy a few months later. We had put our apartment up for sale, and I had stopped by to make sure everything was in order before an open house. I noticed that someone had left a phone in the kitchen, and when I picked it up I saw that the wallpaper photo was an image of my son.

I was fairly certain the phone was not my ex-wife’s, but to make sure, I called her. The abandoned phone remained silent, and when she answered, I asked if perhaps she owned a second phone. She said no, Kathy — I believe this was the first time I heard her name — had some carpentry skills and had been doing a bit of work and forgot it there. They would stop by later to collect it.

Rich Tu

There is something disorienting, to say the least, about finding a photograph of your child in the possession of someone you have never met. As a parent, the shock of realizing that your child has a life and experiences and attachments independent of you never completely fades. It’s worse for divorced parents. J.P. has school, friends, his mother, the world he creates when he closes the door to his bedroom and orders me to stay out. Most of the time, though, that alternate existence remains safely theoretical. Confronting it head-on stung.

At the same time, the person who took this photo clearly cared about J.P., and for that I was grateful. I also — and this is embarrassing to admit — felt a sense of relief. It would have been worse for me if the unknown figure in J.P.’s life had been male. A man, another possible father, someone with a better jump shot, more adept with a wrench and a power tool, wiser, taller, and more at ease — would have been a greater threat. The photo suggested to me nurturing and affection and the world of motherhood. I understand that what I am describing is sexist and silly and an awful generalization. But it helped, and it still does.

(This is in marked contrast to the reactions of some of my friends and family members, who assumed that my ex’s sexual preference could not help but emasculate me, and worried that I might enter some panicked phase of male sexual overcompensation.)

J.P. took to the field and Kathy and I stood on the sidelines watching. We chatted amiably about J.P.’s summer camp and his eating habits (he will, apparently, consider a wider range of fruits and vegetables when in her care than in mine or his mother’s); the pleasures and irritations of my ex-wife’s large, loving and contentious Vietnamese family; and whether my ex-wife and Kathy felt pressured to wed now that New York’s marriage laws have been amended to reflect the new, and more just, consensus.

When the half-inning ended, J.P. sprinted in from first base, flushed, panting and demanding water. Kathy handed him his water bottle and patted him on the head while he drank.

Kathy and I are far from friends, but it’s easier to communicate with her than with my ex-wife, and so, when possible, I include her in the complex and fatiguing logistics of our shared parenting. In that light, our conversation during the game worked as kind of domestic diplomacy, a step along the path to knowing each other, a road that hopefully ends at a new normal.

The normal I am thinking of was in evidence on the ball field, too, in a way that I imagine would be hard to find outside of New York. The challenges and obstacles of this city throw people together in ways that encourage the intimacy that results in the ordinary. J.P.’s teammates on the Red Dragons come from families of wide diversity, a cross-section of class, race, income and sexual orientation. To watch them is to see change mingled with tradition, with ease, without judgment. It was the end of summer and children were playing baseball: what could be more normal?

Theodore Ross

Theodore Ross is the author of the forthcoming book “Am I a Jew” and a contributor to the blogDadwagon.