Category Archives: Sexuality


I was invited by my friend Marci Stromgren to have her interview me again on her PAC (Public Access Cable) television show which is recorded in City Hall. While she was at it she invited me to talk to the conservative CRC group that will meet at noon today. I, of course, agreed. She proceeded to tell me about a proposed state law to teach sexual intercourse to children in forth grade. I have a grandson that age. I just dropped him off at his public school this morning. The law states categorically that children will be taught, among other things, “anal sex.” That’s what Marci told me and I told her I’d do a little research on the law before I arrived to talk to her or to the CRC.

Well, here’s an article that spells out the law and how the opposition feels about it.

The chief bad guys in this article are Planned Parenthood, various unnamed LGBT groups, (sorry that acronym is missing a letter) and Democrats.

I have mixed feelings about this law. If I read the article correctly the teaching of this unit is to be carried out by approved experts who will no doubt be comfortable talking about this topic but not our children’s teachers. To be frank, I’d prefer timid forth grade teachers to teach this just as reluctant teachers taught me sex-ed in my all-boys health class. My friend Jim asked Mr. Roloff, “Is it true women’s nipples get hard during intercourse.” Poor Mr. Roloff!

I was in tenth grade during this class not forth grade. Vaginas and penises were in the text book, albeit, as line drawings. Much was left to my imagination. My imagination, limited as it was, was much more pleasant than any pornography I’ve ever seen on the Internet.

I was in 7th or 8th grade when Sex-ed classes were first being introduced in Minnesota. They were very controversial. The opponants argued that it was up to parents to teach their children about sex. Perhaps that was because most parents would have rather died than teach their kids anything sexual other than suggesting to their daughters the old cross-your-legs gambit. My Mother, however, did want me to know a thing or two about sex. My Dad was less enthusiastic. I was even less so. Up to that point My Dad’s advice had been limited to telling me he preferred cowboy movie stars, like Hopalong Cassidy, who didn’t kiss in their movies. A few years later he got worried I wasn’t interested enough in girls.

Long before I could even imagine anal sex I had a serious talk with my Mother about why an older boy would cry when he was called a “queer.”

It was my Dad, however, who broached the notion of anal sex with me when I was about 17. He told me about a well regarded book he was reading about the poor of Pueto Rico. The story involved a young woman who had to prostitute herself to survive. My Dad told me how she engaged in sex with an American sailor but in such a way as to avoid getting pregnant. It was anal intercourse. The warning from my Dad had to do with the consequences of this safe sex. When the sailor pulled out he pulled her rectum out of her anus as well.

We have a very articulate gay Presidential candidate running for the Presidency today. That follows a GOP appointed majority of the Supreme Court who ruled that men can marry each other and women can marry each other. The American acceptance of homosexuality has suddenly bloomed. But even I have some qualms about sending in teams of professional sex educators to tell my Grandson in fourth grade about anal sex. And my Grandson was just in a play about homosexuality called Funhome where two young women tussled under the covers discovering the joys of sex – presumably non-anal sex.

Am I up in arms about Democrats? NO!

Am I up in arms about Planned Parenthood? NO!

Am I thrilled with this law? No. Sometimes I prefer being mealy-mouthed in front of fourth graders about graphic sex. Although, I rather think such education is so off-putting that its about the most successful deterrent to pregnancy since the AIDS epidemic.

So what will I tell Marci when I go and talk to her and her conservative organization today? I know! I’ll tell them to look at this blog post.

A much appreciated pat on the back

My first round of “book selling” fundraising was very disappointing. I was almost afraid to send out the same letter again to a different precinct. Because of the new Postal routing the earliest I can receive a donation or comment in my return envelopes is five days after I mail it out on Friday. Today was the fifth day and several donations “book purhases” came in and one check was bound with this postit note:

I can’t count on the school board to continue reminding voters that a board without me on it can be dysfunctional. I have to keep campaigning and selling enough books (fund raising) to pay to keep mailing out my campaign letters. And 10,000 District 2 voters will not be visiting this ridiculous blog. So, I’ll share the letter that at least one donor thought was a good one with anyone who stumbles into this post. Its followed by a donation button if any of you would care to see me back on the School Board.

*** Continue reading

What I originally woke up to write about at 2AM

My Grandson got a kindly and accurate nod in this generous review:

I was at the performance and was amply rewarded. I would have been even without the family connection but that made it all the sweeter. Leaving the closet, sex, suicide, all in a fun home or funeral home if you want to be funereal about it; that’s what it was all about.

The production isn’t really recommended for a young audience but there were some youngsters in the audience including my other grandson. I think there is a temptation to shield children from the facts of life. Farm kids used to see their mothers wringing chicken necks for the Sunday dinner. That wasn’t a bad thing.

I woke up with a lot more to say about this but Helter Skelter distracted me.

In the Absence of Humility

In the absence of humility sexual predation is rampant. We expect it in secular quarters like politics but its true in the church as well. Catholics are and will continue to reel from recent expose’s. Ditto the Boy Scouts. Pedophiles flocked to the schools where Indian children were taken from their parents and shipped away to forget their Indian languages and learn of the greatness of the United States. It has made its way into Christian evangelism where, as was the case with Leroy Moore of Alabama, the true believers refuse to take the scales off their eyes.

What I didn’t know is that in a lot of the new evangelical churches the decks are stacked against victims by a contract kind of like Donald Trump’s non disclosure agreements. The Times’ story today about pedophiles in the evangelical world explains it thusly:

“It was the kind of community that Ms. Bragg, who was not raised in the church, wanted for her children. They signed the church’s Membership Covenant, an agreement stating they would submit to the Bible and to the authority and spiritual discipline of church leaders. Members promise to “practice complete chastity” unless in a heterosexual marriage, to “refrain from illegal drug use, drunkenness, gossip,” and to “diligently strive for unity and peace within the church.” Leaders promise “to lovingly exercise discipline when necessary.”

“Ms. Bragg could feel her faith growing. She embraced evangelical tenets, like trusting God, not one’s own feelings. She learned the importance of being slow to anger and quick to forgive.

Mrs. Bragg would learn the hard way that bowing to this church was like putting on a pair of handcuffs. Like the first eruptions of scandal in the Catholic Church these evangelical churches have no room for apology or confession. In this they are just like their hero Donald Trump and the new Republicans and Bill Clinton too for that matter.

I really like Jimmy Kimmel

If you put Jimmy Kimmel in this blog’s search engine you will find four posts (now five) with the talk show host’s name in them. Its ironic given what prompted this post that in this one I said of Jimmy what I’ve said recently of the newest Supreme Court Justice that Jimmy’s show had the reputation of being “a bawdy frat show.”

The video below is a repeat of a wonderful, dead on, song I just posted. Jimmy Kimmel who has become anything but a male chauvinist saw it too. This time Lynzy Lab is accompanied by a chorus. I am a sucker for human decency and I teared up. So did Claudia when she saw it.

When my daughter was in college and started going to “raves” I worried for her. It wasn’t only frat boys and father figure Bill Cosby who slipped knock out drugs in women’s drinks. In the old days getting a girl drunk was supposed to an invitation for sex but that wasn’t good enough for some guys. Pro Choice hero, Senator Bob Packwood was exposed thirty years ago for giving woman a mysterious pink drink which clouded their memories. I can’t find a quick google reference to the drink but look at this old SNL cold opening from 1993.

Its always been a scary time for fathers of young women. But I bet a lot of them are the same fathers who are going to Trump rallies to preserve what made America great.

I told Claudia that the silver lining in the Trump Presidency is that it has pointed a Klieg light on men. She agreed and said that at a women’s book club yesterday everyone agreed that the Trump presidency was exposing racism and sexism as never before. Here’s the video from the Kimmel Show:

How are the Republicans attempting to save themselves? Through duplicity, cheating and the theft of votes. That the worst of this is happening in the Republican south is testament to how wrong the Robert’s Court was to shelve the monitoring of the South’s notoriously racist election laws.

But don’t worry. Our President loves black folks. Why as Florida was being pummeled to smithereens by hurricane Michael he chose to have a press conference with his most loyal black supporter:

On the pretext of stopping “rampant” but, in fact, almost non-existent voting fraud all the deep south and many other Trump heavy states now require photo IDs. Its not like to good old days in the 1940’s when a rich Texas oil man could give a poor Mexican American five bucks to vote for anyone who was against the oil depletion allowance that kept them rich. Now those Mexicans might vote for a Democrat instead and have to be prevented from voting by any means necessary.

Frat Boy Justice

My column made it to the Reader today:

It begins:

“My first stab at writing about our newest Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was from the perspective of my “frat boy” experience ten years before Brett allegedly made a habit of getting black out drunk in college. The crappy behavior I witnessed during the age of Aquarius was not unlike the self-entitled depredations Kavanaugh has been accused of in the Reagan Era. Experience leads me to believe that our newest justice was as guilty of attempted rape as OJ Simpson was of murdering his wife. If I’m right that’s a triumph for the “rule of law” which can be greatly diluted if one attends prestigious universities and/or has plenty of money.”

To read the rest click the link in the lead sentence.

For Hysterical Trumpmen

Forty years ago male teachers started getting called for getting too touchy feely with female students. I remember older men telling me, then a young teacher, how paranoid people were getting and how they were glad they weren’t teachers.

I tried not to roll my eyes.

Here’s a young lady whose eyes sparkle while they roll over a new scarry time for men.

Here’s a cheap picture to keep you reading to the end of the post.

The DNT editors endorsed the candidate that strikes me as being the toughest challenger to Pete Stauber on the DFL side today. That’s Joe Radinovich. I can’t argue with their reasoning although its likely to make the supporters of the other four DFLer’s apoplectic. Let’s hope they don’t surrender to Pete Stauber in their disgust.

I discovered that an old acquaintance of mine, Tom West, who used to edit the DNT’s former Budgeteer has offered a brief analysis of all the Minnesota Congressional campaigns for the ECM newspapers. (East Central Minnesota papers) Tom called me a “gadfly” and I gratefully agree. Tom once offered me a job writing for the Budgeteer after reading my work in the Duluth Reader. I declined out of loyalty to Duluth’s now twenty year old tabloid.

With two weeks of campaign left before August 14th’s primary I have been shifting away from a campaign intended mostly as a symbolic stab at Donald Trump clones. My original thought that I might catch lightning in a bottle has not panned out and with two weeks left that is an all but impossible hope. Even Donald needed about half a year to dismantle the GOP Presidential contenders he faced. I am not one for irrational optimism. Back in 1982 I was a campaign manager for, Marnie Luce, a pro choice republican candidate running against the very Pro-life, Jim Oberstar, for Congress. I got in dutch with Marnie’s supporters when I told a reporter that I thought Marnie regarded the campaign as a “lark.” Sometimes one doesn’t need to tread all that heavily on the obvious.

I’ve been planting trees at our church and painting the bell tower recently. I have a second coat to apply today. Then I’ve got a weekend trip to Chicago with my family to see the musical Hamilton. My Grandson’s have come close to memorizing the lyrics and that, by itself, is worthy of a post sometime after we return. My oldest readers have noticed that for the last month or two I’ve held back writing about many of my usual subjects to focus on my “campaign” for Congress. That’s been part of my attempt to attract a lightning strike. The Duluth School Board doesn’t fit well into national politics or Donald Trump’s tweets.

But sometimes I have no choice. Today’s DNT put Art Johnston on the front page again. After eight frustrating years of trying to get the School District’s Red Plan addled administration to hand over public information about the Duluth Schools the state agency in charge of public data came down on Art’s side. Superintendent Bill Gronseth has been as stingy with this public data as Donald Trump has been of his tax records. I wonder why?

For the four years I’ve been on the school board and in my subsequent year of retirement I’ve been thinking about writing a book about how America got so dysfunctional these days. Of course, that implies some kind of Trumpian golden age. Well, there has never been such a thing. Donald Trump who dissed the loser John McCain for getting captured by the Vietnamese and who said that his personal Vietnam was avoiding venereal disease in the 1970’s might like to go back to this forgotten episode of America’s Twentieth Century history. Back in these golden days America knew which sex to put behind bars and it wasn’t the one with big hands.

Moral clarity in the age of “deplorables” running amok

I’ve woken up to a second day’s fallout concerning the latest scandal over Rick Nolan’s coddling of a long-time buddy and butt grabber. Nolan’s gaffe has left a field of victims like that duckboat sinking yesterday in Branson. Both pilots should have seen the storm coming but were too preoccupied to avoid disaster. I’m still ruminating on the news and practicing my french so I’ll tackle it later today for my “eight loyal readers.” Before I return I’ll leave them with proof that I’m no prude. (I kinda doubt that there is such a thing as a prude anymore. I suspect most of them are hypocrites.) Continue reading

But Pete. How about the man who started the “me too” movement?

My hypocrisy detector is on full alert after this story about a groper in Congressman Nolan’s Office made the Duluth News Tribune. Evidently Republican candidate Pete Stauber’s staff is in a tizzy over it:

Radinovich’s DFL primary opponents seemed to be keeping mum about the report on Thursday, but the Republican Party was not. Pete Stauber’s campaign spokesperson, Caroline Tarwid, tweeted that Radinovich “took no action in protecting the employees” on the Nolan campaign, and National Republican Congressional Committee spokesperson Maddie Anderson said Radinovich “enthusiastically agreed to let someone fired for sexual harassment join his team.”

I wonder if Pete’s campaign is indignant about the man who’s breast pocket Pete is peaking out from?

On Being Charlie

“That’s just Charlie being Charlie.” That was the rationalization Charlie Rose’s right-hand woman gave the young ladies who told her disturbing stories about their boss. She just chalked it up to …I don’t know, eccentricity I guess.

A cavalcade of clay feet have been revealed to be little more than heels in recent weeks. I, for one, appreciate the stink. It’s long overdue and there is nothing eccentric about this. From CK’s exhibitionistic Onanism to the barring of a District Attorney from his local shopping mall all of these stories have been “creepy.” As our soon-to-be President said on tape, “When you’re a star they let you do it,” adding, “You can do anything.”

I’ve put a lot of thought into the sexual proclivities of men since my best friend told me how he persuaded a neighbor kid to pimp his twelve-year old sister so that my buddy could have sex with her. We were high school freshmen. I would be five years older before my first such experience and it would be with an older woman where the power differential was more nearly equal. Continue reading

Does reporting the words and deeds of an elected official constitute “sexism” if the official is a female …

… and the reporter is a male? Or, vice versa?

Last night Rosie Loeffler-Kemp and I attended the Chamber of Commerce’s Pat ourselves on the Back dinner at the DECC. The School District has a table at it every year. (We are Chamber members) In fact, this year we paid for two tables. I sat at a table with two Board members that I’ve not spared in recent blog posts. One was Rosie.

After the dinner Rosie stopped in front of me and gave me a tongue lashing about not asking her where she’d been before I blogged that she may have been avoiding speaking at a candidate forum. I only once began to say something but she shushed me and plowed on to her threat at that women were noticing how sexist I was treating women. She told me she had missed the forum for a family function that had been planned for over a year. She chided me for not asking her where she was before insinuating that she was skipping town to avoid the exposure. It occurred to me that this was fair enough criticism. This is the offending paragraph:

“She ducked out of recent school board forums quite possibly because someone warned her she is a poor public speaker. That did not stop the Trib’s editors from granting her the only private interview with the Editorial Board of the four District School Board candidates. Such favoritism is hard to swallow but what they said of Rosie’s challenger Kurt Kuehn could also have been applied to the two at-large candidates the Trib’s editors did endorse. What did they say of Kurt? Just this:”

This is the offending post if you’d like to keep reading.

Had I asked Rosie where she’d been off to I’d have reported her answer. I’ll add, perhaps gratuitously, that our relationship is strained enough that I wouldn’t have necessarily believed her excuse. I will also add that Rosie has known for four years that October of 2017 would be her last month to campaign for reelection. That she was willing to set a trip far away from Duluth when she would be expected to speak at forums (she missed two of them) was her own fault even if it was a family function. She nonetheless left her daughter to stand in for her at both functions although the folks running both refused to let her daughter speak for Rosie. Geez, I forced my wife to take a trip to China in the most excruciatingly hot month of summer so I could file for reelection.

If anything, my mention of Rosie’s special treatment by the Trib’s editors was my chief target of ridicule. Rosie was collateral damage.

As for the threat that I’d be pegged a “sexist” that was hardly news. Rosie began consorting with a newly organized woman’s group months ago and had already won their devotion although to my knowledge none of Feminist’s Action’s members knew a whit about the Duluth School Board. Heck, I probably marched with most of them during the Women’s March last winter. They never approached me for information but I learned from a friend who attended their semi-secret meetings that they had already targeted me as an enemy of women. Is it possible that Rosie and other school board members attending these meetings said the same kind of things about me privately that I publicly say about Rosie on my blog where everyone knows it comes from me? I’m not really asking. I have no doubt Rosie has little good to say about me. If I’m right about this Rosie is violating one of the tenets of the School District’s Civility Code, “Don’t gossip,” that she reads aloud before every school board meeting gets underway.

Whatever the Feminists discussed I began seeing signs of their repugnance for my politics six or seven weeks ago.

I have always looked sideways at the distaste of gossip. Gossip is the sharing of information informally regarding people who are not part of the conversation. This can be both innocent, instructive and corrosive. The latter quality is what springs to most people’s minds. Take, for example, the notorious daughter of Teddy Roosevelt, Alice Roosevelt Longworth. She had the legend “If you don’t have anything nice to say about anyone, come over and sit by me,” needle pointed onto a sofa pillow in her living room.

But I’ve just been hearing about a very useful kind of gossip regarding powerful people like Harvey Weinstein the Hollywood bully who did his exercise on the casting room couch. Gossip is how his victims warned other women to beware. Surely the Civility Code we adopted does not mean to prevent gossip under these circumstances.

I’d like to take one of Rosie’s implications to pieces – that by criticizing the words and deeds of women I’m a sexist. Tosh!

Bear in mind that my serious criticisms of Rosie et al began with the vicious attack on Art Johnston. Was that attack sexist on the part of his female colleagues?

When Alanna Oswald, not then on the school board, asked Annie Harala what had happened Annie told her privately, that if Alanna knew what Art had done she would want him off the school board too. Well, if there was anything Annie knew about Art I didn’t know she didn’t tell me what warranted canceling the election that put him on the School Board. In fact, I knew a lot of mitigating circumstances that made me extremely sympathetic to Art.

I would have to go back and read year’s worth of blog posts to discover exactly when I began emphasizing the not so sunny machinations of my board colleagues, both male and female, but I’ll bet there were very few pointed criticisms until the Board hired an attorney to assassinate Art’s character.

The names to look up for this research would be of both genders Male: Mike Miernicki, Bill Westholm Keith Dixon Kevin Rupp and female Annie Harala, Rosie Loeffler-Kemp and Judy Seliga-Pynyko.

If anything, the unwillingness of the Board to compensate Art for his legal expenses and the subsequent censuring of both Art and me only made my comments about our “colleagues” more pointed as diplomacy took a backseat to candor. And remember, my blog is read by a few hundred people each day. The News Trib has a far wider readership. How about waking up to this headline just before Christmas (although I do like the picture)?


I also laud people I like regardless of gender. I’ve heaped praise on many women including Mary Cameron, Alanna Oswald and Dana Krivogorsky. (I’ve sent out fundraising letters and paid for a pro-Krivogorsky flyer that I’ve been passing out for Dana) I’ve excoriated women, other than my colleagues on the School Board, like Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter and men like Donald Trump.

So Rosie. Its true I didn’t ask you where you went.

Readers, pay no attention to that post.

As for all the other posts I’ve written. Bear them in mind before you follow the siren song of the editors of the News Tribune. They didn’t think Hillary Clinton was any better than Donald Trump. They aren’t the sharpest pencils in the box either!


This is the corner of a Facebook Picture of one of the commentators responding to the hyped up allegation that I’m not honest. So far this nasty meme doesn’t seem to have gone very far but it has seven weeks yet to catch fire. I find the call to fight hate ironic.

I am about nintyfive percent positive that a nastygram sent to me telling me to “screw off” for causing trouble was inspired by this Facebook Page’s followers because it also added that “Gary Gl “ass”” was responsible too. Why would an anonymous corespondent mention Gary who quit the school board six years ago in disgust? Because someone mentioned Gary’s name as also being responsible in the comment section following the screed against me. But anyone paying attention to the Duluth School Board in the news, instead of on this Facebook Page, would know that it is Art Johnston’s name that has been linked with mine for four years not Gary’s. So, some members of this “feminist” organization are flattering the Putin-paid, anti-Hillary hackers who paid Facebook $100,000 to scuttle her campaign for President with lies and falsehoods. And ironically, they are bad mouthing Dana Krivogorsky because I donated to her campaign. Guilt by association, Anybody?

When I got the letter I jotted down my reaction:

“Long before pussy grabber, long before Hillary stalking, long before Neil Gorsuch I railed against the misogynist Donald Trump. In fact, almost a year before the woman’s march (which my wife and I marched in locally) I sculpted Donald Trump in snow as a warning against his demagogic misogyny and posted my revulsion for the man.”

I was an early supporter of the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment). I was a stay-at-home-Dad when my children were young. I was the de facto campaign manager three elections in a row for what I believe to be the first African-American woman elected to the Duluth School Board and I went to over 7000 doors to help elect Alanna Oswald to the school board two years ago.

We will not let hate win, indeed!

I’ve just signed up to receive this organizations e news

The Feminist Action Network

Maybe this explains the three women at the Harvest Fest who refused to take my campaign lit when one of them said they like my snow sculptures but not my “politics.”

I did tell a friend yesterday that if I had the choice to be honest or nice I’d pick the former. Does honesty make one a bully?

September 8, 2017

School Board Elections: Is this what passes for “honesty”?

I’m not much of a Duluth School Board aficionado. I pay closer attention during times of controversy and contention, and generally, I guess I feel grateful that anyone is willing to take on the job: it’s not just a political role with all of the barbed consequences you’d expect, it’s also an incredible time commitment (five-hour meetings!). This year I’m paying much closer attention.

We have so much work to do; the whole world feels divided. Whatever we can do locally, we should do. That’s why I need to talk about Harry Welty. I’ve heard for years that Welty is the cause of much of the dysfunction on the Board, and is obstructive and antagonistic when his peers disagree. To better understand what of this was rumor and what was fact, I read through Welty’s blog and watched School Board meeting footage. Welty’s blog is a collection of insults, condescension (to both peers and parents), rants, and outright bullying. He assaults the character and caliber of anyone who disagrees, calling them hysterical, inconsequential, or implying they’re stupid or irrelevant. Even cursory review of School Board meetings show him literally ignoring fellow members during decision-making, talking over peers, and dismissing or completely ignoring what his fellows are saying. More than ever before, we need leaders who listen, collaborate, and compromise. Welty does not, cannot, and will not – one great thing about Welty’s lengthy track record is that we can say that much with empirical certainty. I find myself asking whether the candidates he’s bankrolled (Bogdana Krivogorsky and Kurt Kuehn) can be expected to behave any differently.

The short of it is simple: a guy that resorts to name-calling, insults, and bullying has no place in any school system. That’s exactly what we’re trying to teach our kids not to do.

The School Board amended Duluth’s Civility Project’s list of dos and don’t’s by adding being honest and showing your evidence.


I have a great many blog posts to my credit but not one has been quoted to demonstrate evidence of my name calling. Neither has any link been provided to any portion of dozens of meetings which I’ve attended which shows me being anything other than collegial.

This post is as nasty a case of “name calling” as I’ve read. I would be willing to accept an apology because, as I’ve always said, “If we can’t be passionate about our children, what can we be passionate about?”


A family member recently Facebooked a Fake news story about the 700 Club’s smarmy Pat Robertson. In it Pat was accused of disparaging a sleveless dress worn by Michelle Obama while heaping praise on a semi nude pic of Melania Trump. Didn’t happen!

I thought I might have referred to a similar story in a previous blog post although it might have been a reply to an email. There was a story about Trump’s wife starting her career in America as an escort. If I mentioned it on my blog a cursory search doesn’t seem to have revealed the allegation.

Melania was born in the old Yugoslavia of my youth. After I moved to Northeastern Minnesota I became aware of the various slavic peoples of that nation who settled in the Iron Mining regions. When, after Rudy Perpich’s term as Governor, Yugoslavia broke up the first area to secede was Slovenia the most prosperous part of the nation. The Range had is share of Slovenes.

I regard our new first Lady as an interesting, if nontraditional, addition to the roll-call of First Ladies. She came here to take advantage of the beauty industry and she married a rich man I’ve never respected. The latter point is irrelevant to this discussion although not to my blogging in general.

Because my Father inculcated a love of Geography in me early on I was aware of “Trieste” the major city of Slovenia which has been contested between the Italians and Slavs for a very long time. Before I set out for Duluth forty years ago one of my Mother’s best friends and a business partners was a woman whose Mother was an Italian woman born in the City. In fact, Daria’s Mother never learned English and spoke Italian in her inner city Italian neighborhood for the rest of her life.

Daria was not a supermodel and she wasn’t “Slovenian.” She was a wonderful person and, like Melania, I would never blame her for anything her husband might have done.

But Melania is on a ride she never planned for. After reading the Snope’s correction I got curious about the much talked about photo shoot in GQ. I wondered if the January 2000 Issue with Melania on the cover had raised in value since November. I checked Ebay out. No Kidding! I’ll bet they only get more expensive as the Trump year’s continue.

Sex Education

One of the most engaging articles in the Sunday paper was written by an intern for the Duluth Budgeteer, Ryley Graham. It was about her appreciation for books written by today’s crop of American female comedians. Her story began with a bunch of rednecky old men who saw Ms. Graham reading Amy Schumer’s recent best seller “The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo.” . They let Ryley know they approved because Schumer was very funny and joked a lot about sex. That they were a bunch of red neck’s made no difference. Ms. Graham appreciated such books for a different reason. They are full of useful information. For instance, Schumer’s book has been controversial and contains anecdotes that none of the geezers probably ever heard about. Schumer’s candidly describes waking up to find her boyfriend stealing her virginity without asking permission. The memoir leaves it up to the reader to decide whether this was an act of rape or not.

I wrote about Schumer once before on the blog and the topic led me to use an all too common four letter word that I only use sparingly here. (A quick check suggests that this is only the 30th time that the word shit has made it into my blog either on its own or in compounds like “bullshit.”) That’s out of 17,598 posts or once every 586 posts. I’m not particularly prissy but after inflicting my fifth grade potty mouth on Topeka, Kansas, my Dad advised me not to waste perfectly good swear words through overuse. He said that if I wanted to catch people’s attention I needed to use them sparingly. Hell, (to use a word I’m less fussy with appearances in over 200 posts), young people today don’t think twice about using these words. I hear them shouted out by partying college students many a spring and summer night when my windows are open for the fresh air.

It’s a three letter word that had parents panicked during my junior high years “sex” as in sex education. Half of the parents were afraid these classes would give kids ideas. The other half were afraid that if we didn’t inflict the class on their children their children would inflict a lot of embarassing questions on them. A number of male comics have made hay with this subject through the years but female comics have been slower to follow suit. I’m not sure if this is because women want to appear demure or if they thought the “ick” factor would drive away the male half of their audience. But Ryley’s old farts haven’t been deterred. Yes, even the Chainsaw Massacre of subjects female business can catch a guy’s attention more successfully than the self submitted porno videos that litter the Internet.

Yesterday I finished reading American Rose to Claudia. Its a biography of stripper Gypsy Rose Lee. I found it in a thrift shop this summer and to my delight it dished about a lot of historical characters I’ve been reading about lately as well as vaudeville, and burlesque. It makes clear that Gypsy mythologized her life while giving new meaning to the term “stage mothers.” Her Mother was a lesbian/psychopath/serial murderer. Trust me, none of that got into Gypsy’s self created mythology. Gypsy and her sister survived one helluva childhood.

Gypsy was a product of those bad old days before sex education classes. You know, the Era of brothels, madams, back alley abortionists and casting room couches. I doubt that the departure of Roger Aisles will put an end to that Era and God knows, today a pernicious new sex trafficking epidemic to taken root. Thank goodness the idea of “fallen women” is being put to rest by women like Schumer. She might even kill off “slut” or force us to find an equivalent term for men that doesn’t leave us jealous or in awe of them. Talk about bragging rights Casanova claimed to have gotten his own daughter into bed.

I was in junior high when Sex Ed classes relieved my parents from the responsibility of embarassing me but just in case my folks had no objection to my seeing the movie Gypsy should sex ed fall short. Heck, my Aunt and Uncle were sophisticates and when they were visiting Duluth they took in the Saratoga as many young couples did in the Mad Men Era. Myth or not I suppose seeing the movie was every bit as edifying as anything I learned in Sex ed. It wasn’t graphic; and it was a myth; but it also gave my parent’s way of giving me a preview of coming attractions. Today Amy Schumer fits that bill.

Gypsy was famous for giving her audiences as little sex as possible and performing a parody of strip tease with a wink and faux blushes.
I prefer the candid conversation prompted by today’s young comics who don’t wink and who leave all the blushing up to me.

No miracles for this snow sculptor

What promised to begin as a good snow sculpting season hasn’t really materialized. We got a bit of snow before Thanksgiving but not enough. Besides that it was speckled with the leaves I didn’t get a chance to rake up first. I made a clay pilgrim and turkey as a model to speed up sculpting but no more snow arrived until Turkey day had come and gone.

I get occasional suggestions for what to sculpt which I only rarely decide to follow through on. Last Spring’s Wicked Witch of the West was such an example. Recently I got an email urging me to take on the School Board with some sort of parody or satire. I did that for several years running but I don’t have the heart to do that now. I quote Twain all the time but I also know that no one runs for the school board to do injury to children or schools. At the moment I’m looking for a holiday miracle to back away from a year’s worth of mayhem. Maybe I could pray for some decent snow while I’m at it.

A couple days ago I thought I’d like to emphasize a miracle in my snow sculpting. The problem was I couldn’t think of something miraculous to sculpt that would convey that message. I typed in “miracle” in my Google search to see what sort of images I could come up with. Of all the images that popped up only one seemed to me to be really miraculous but it didn’t lend itself to any good analogy with our School District or School Board. It was an image of an adult’s hands cupping an infant’s feet. I decided to Google that particular image and dozens of others popped up.

I printed out the best of the hands and feet images and scraped up the minuscule new snow that fell earlier in the week piling it around what was meant to be my Pilgrim and Turkey. This morning Claudia walked by the picture and couldn’t tell what the heck it was although it was sitting by a small pile of clay. The clay was the sure sign that I intended to sculpt the picture. Claudia, who doesn’t read my blog, had no idea what such an image was meant to convey. Later this morning when I began to mold hands and feet out of the clay she told me she wasn’t sure the image was such a good idea. She worried people wouldn’t be able to tell what it was. She even said it looked vaguely sexual which reminded me of Georgia Okeeffe’s paintings which were infamous for that quality.

This is what I had in mind:

I’ve got two good days of sculpting weather ahead of me and a small pile of snow. Anyone with any suggestions on some hopeful looking image please send me your ideas at:

A sermon on bullying

This takes 63 minutes to watch in full. This is why all 50 states will likely soon accept gay marriage. Its the argument that evangelicals will succumb to and that will roll on through all other “conservative” Christian churches.

The attitude under girding this sermon could be applied to some of the Duluth School District’s dysfunction.

More on who this gentleman is here.

Pulling our trousers down

Prepare yourself for a little TMI. Not up on your acronyms? TMI = “too much information.” And to start this post at 2AM here’s a little for you in preparation for the next post that can’t let me get back to sleep at 2AM this morning.

I vividly recall my visit to the Mankato State Health Center for a syphilis shot. The Doctor there was the mother of a friend of mine from high school. That would have been about 1971. I say syphilis but frankly I’m not sure what she treated me for. Maybe it was that other disease Gonorrhea. The later was no big deal then but it is today as an incurable strain seems to be busy infecting the careless.

I found out that I had been exposed to one or the other by my first lover, a much older woman. She was hugely embarrassed to tell me this but she did and I was nothing if not incredibly sympathetic with her and I took the information with aplomb assuring her that it was no big deal. I’ll still confessed to being chagrinned to realize that the Doctor about to give me a shot in my tush was the mother of a friend. There are a few things all of us really don’t want the mother’s of our friends to know about us.

Perhaps the reason I could be so chivilrous had to do with my attitude about secrecy and a movie I had seen back in junior high school. I say movie but I could be wrong. It might have been a television production but I rather think it was a 1950’s black and white movie. Just now I tried to google it but was unsuccessful. I found the startling (for 1940) movie Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet. I may have seen this but its not the movie I was looking for. Then there is 1997 made for TV movie I’d not heard of about the infamous study of black Mississippi men who were never told they had syphilis so that they could be studied until they died of the disease. There are also a couple movies about Gonorrhea.

Here’s what I recall about the movie I had watched back in about seventh grade, although I might have seen it in grade school. A doctor was trying to prevent the spread of the disease, S or G, but it wasn’t easy. To do this he had to get victims to tell him who they had had sex with. This was necessary to find them and treat them. Funny, but the folks in the movie didn’t want to cooperate even though the result of non cooperation was possibly fatal to unnamed sex partners. Not surprisingly I took the doctor’s point of view which is what the makers of the movie had in mind for their audience. Consequently I was inclined to take my lover’s revelation quite evenly.

What started me thinking about this was an NPR story on “information aversion” I heard a couple days ago. The story only referenced sex in passing:

VEDANTAM: That’s right. It’s the idea that information can sometimes be scary. And in those cases, people can sometimes avoid that kind of information. I did a story a couple of weeks ago that looked at college students who didn’t want to find out that they had sexually transmitted diseases for example.

The issue in the story was about the surprising finding that women who knew someone who got breast cancer were less likely to have mammograms than those who did not have such acquaintances. I think my biggest problem on the school board is Information Aversion. I have a majority of the school board who don’t want to know how we got from some truly great educational opportunities for our children to piss poor after spending half a billion (or six hundred million) on brand spanking new buildings. How great is this aversion? Cripes, they’d rather frame the most rigorous investigator on the Board of bullshit accusations in order to remove him than peek under the Chairman’s carpet.

We’ve got syphilis, folks, and we need to get a shot for it. We better be prepared to pull our trousers down to get it just like I had to forty-five years ago.