jeudi, janvier 07, 2010

Amateur minute

I'm getting spammed a lot on this blog -- pretty much every other comment is spam.

The latest one asked readers to click on a link to discover more about "amateur telefonsex" --

First of all, if you want phone sex, why go to another amateur if you already have one as a contact on your cell phone?

And if you want professional level phone sex, complete with all the words and gasps and faux intimacy, why call an amateur?

Most of my blog readers, though not all, are Americans.
For many, English is their native tongue.
So why would they need phone sex in a language they didn't understand?
And who knows?

Telefonsex might not be sex.

Or it could be a German riff on sex, which sparks a fantasy of huge Wagnerian sopranos chasing equally large tenors -- I don't find Vikings erotic. Do you?

Calling an amateur you don't know for sex is like asking your neighbor to, err, unclog the drain, when you've seen him hit the curb pulling into his own driveway.

He's not reliable.

Amateur phone sex -- what an insult!

Who do I call to protest?

mardi, janvier 05, 2010

How I am not aging gracefully

For the past eight months or so, I've had problems with my back. About 20 years ago, I had surgery on a herniated disc, and while that gave me 20 really excellent years, it also, from what I've been told hastened deterioriation in that part of the back.

Having a few hours a day when my back hurts is a vivid symbol for the physical challenges that seem to go with getting older -- to all of us, eventually, but for some of us faster than others.

A I have written here before, I come from a family of scholars. I doubt that too many of them ran a lot, unless a bear was chasing them.

That being said, for a non athlete, I like being active -- and not being able to run and hike the way I am used to has been very trying -- inducing a sense of anxiety that perhaps I won't be able to again...ever.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not part of the "epidemic" of psychosomatic disorders that Dr. Sarno wrote about in the 1990s. Have you ever wondered why we Americans have so much acid reflux? Why do we spend millions of lost hours on our backs (and no, not THOSE hours, those hours aren't lost)? What of fibromyalgia?

These appear to be the stress related problems of our age.

I give myself the Sarno lecture. Then I try to get on the used treadmill we got for a present each day -- just to see if I can get my feet off the ground. Actually, I've started jogging again.

My physical therapist is much less categorical -- part of the problem is in my mind, but some of it is in my back. He thinks I'll have good times and not so great ones. Lots of people have even worse backs, he says with typical Matt commonsense.

And, after an epidural injection, I am doing better than I was a month ago. When I want to see the doctor on Monday, he told me he also had a bad back. Asked what he does for it, he suggested I buy one of those huge inflatable balls to strengthen my core.

A little skeptical, I asked him: do you use yours? No, he said. But he feels I've got a good personality for someone with back problems in that I'm tenacious and don't feel self-pity.

Fury? Yes. Pity, no.

But he does take 800 milligrams of Motrin if he is going to do something challenging for his back.

Sounds like a plan.

So are there ways in which you aren't aging gracefully? Things you have lost that you would want to have back? What have you learned?

No fear, the next post will examine the benefits of age -- so you all better come up with a few!

lundi, janvier 04, 2010

The second time as farce

I didn't think I was going to weigh in on former FOX anchor Brit Hume's suggestion that golfer Tiger Woods find forgiveness and redemption in Christianity, 'cause Buddhism doesn't offer it.

There are some good reasons for staying silent --

I didn't know Tiger Woods was a Buddhist. I still don't.

There's not the slightest chance I could assert more than a minimum of knowledge about Buddhism.

I didn't know Brit Hume was still on the FOX network. I thought he'd retired.

The whole controversy seems totally ridiculous to me -- excepting the comment about Buddhism.

What is wrong with somebody offering a well-meaning remark about a potential way for Woods, who apparently has caused his wife and family a lot of pain, to find a way to recover his soul? Hume displays a compassion for the man sorely lacking in other stories.

I wonder what the reax would have been like if Hume hadn't compared Buddhism and Christian notions of forgiveness. Frankly, I doubt he knows more about Buddhism than he might have learned in Christian apologetics 101.

But whatever he knows or doesn't, it was the setup for a perfect flurry of idiocy. Offended Buddhists. Outraged Christians feeling persecuted. And a narrative that a gossip prone press (c'mon fellas -- and I mean fellas) is loving.

They can condemn Tiger Woods for his alleged multiple affairs, admire his golf expertise (gag me) and most of all, they can KEEP TALKING about it.

As to the topic of all of this chatter? I think this spirit comes out with prayer, fasting and years of counseling.

Brit made the way of the cross sound too easy, which does faith no favors. But the fact that his comment has become press fodder (not to mention blogs!) is an indication of the shallowness of religious discourse in America.

Witness the fact that I wrote about it -- in spite of my best intentions.

Maybe I need also redemption.

Anybody in the media want to save me?

dimanche, janvier 03, 2010

Not your grandma's clergy

Yes. I confess to you, gentle readers.

I read the New York Times marriage announcements.

Not all of the announcements -- and not in general the conventional ones. It's very sweet that 25 year old Mary in human resources is wedding 27 year old Tony, who has a steady income as an architect -- but is it all that fascinating to anyone outside their immediate family?

The people who can't stand one another when they first meet. The woman who gets pregnant before she gets engaged. The college honeys have separate lives for 50 years and then meet again. Middle aged couples my age, and, of course the famous or close to famous.

Those are the profiles that lure me. And it seems to me that more and more couples are choosing to be married by nondenominational ministers. They may or may not fall into the "spiritual but not religious" arena -- but they surely don't represent traditional Abrahamic faiths.

So what's going on? Is it just the Times being trendy? Or is some researcher digging beneath the statistics as we read?

But you always have the Times factor. Who knows what quirky standard the editors use to chose the people who get honored?

I have a feeling that there's something big going on in American religious life when it comes to weddings. But I wonder if asking couples outside New York might give us a better picture.

Have you been reading, too? What's happening in your city?