March 04, 2009

Utah #1 for online p0rn consumption

As reported in this Salt Lake Tribune article, Utah is the number one consumer of online p0rn of all of the states in the USA. Why?

Well, there could be several reasons. My own unscientific suspicion is that desire for something increases as that something is judged to be forbidden. The Harvard analysis mentioned in the article alludes to the same.

I attended Catholic schools for the first 9 grades. While my then shy, short, round self never experienced it, rumor has it that it was not uncommon for parochial school girls to be somewhat, um, forward. If true, could the reason be the repression. As the late George Carlin described, the nuns taught us that if we liked it - it was bad. And if we thought about those bad things that we liked - that was bad too. And, by the way, God knows if you're thinking about it, so there's no escape. Ever heard the expression, "Don't think of an elephant"?

I was tortured by some of these thoughts - and thoughts about my thoughts - and fear of what God or others might think about what I was thinking and then the potential ramifications (eternal and otherwise) and what family / friends / clergy would think about me if they knew all the sinful thoughts in my pubescent little brain. Of course, now I know that those thoughts - compared to what's available online - were like comparing a spitwad to an RPG.

Anyway... my main thought is that I find this amusing, and I was quite happy to read this article instead of another article about things that really are bad.

Posted by Joe Litton | March 4, 2009 in Misc | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 16, 2008

Found a stranger passed out on our back porch

Well that was an odd way to start our Sunday!

About 6am I heard some noise - a little *bump* or something. Shirley was - and still is - asleep. This will shock her when I tell her later. Anyway, I took a peek out to our lanai - the patio area around the pool in the back. There was a gentleman passed out just outside our sliding glass back door - mostly prone but with his head leaning at what looked to be a very uncomfortable angle up against the wall.

Stepping outside, I asked who he was. No response. Asked another time or two and he stirred. I asked where he lived. This might have been when he slowly made his way to a standing position. He said, "right here", gesturing palms down as though patting the ground a few feet below. I replied, "Dude, you don't live here. This is my home. Where do you live?" Again the same gesture with the same words, "right here".

Great. I was guessing that the gent was extremely intoxicated, but figured it was also possible that he was mentally challenged and lost. Either way, he did not seem to pose a threat to others. But I was worried that he'd fall in the pool; I did not want to have to fetch a semi-conscious individual out of the water.

Putting a hand on his back, I gestured to a chair a few paces away and invited him to have a seat over there. I went back in and dialed 911 (police). The dispatcher remained on the phone with me until the police arrived. While on the phone, I described the gent: white male, about 30 years old, approx 5ft 8inches, 180pounds. Was wearing light-colored slacks and a red t-shirt with the word "Random". How appropriate. As the operator and I chatted, I could see the gent's shadow through the closed drapes. He was now trying to open our sliding glass door (which I locked again when I went back in after our initial meeting). He was first trying to slide the door, then was trying to lift it out of its tracks.

It turns out that he lives nearby. Apparently he'd taken a cab (so glad he took a cab instead of driving!). The dispatcher - and then the police - told me that they'd had a report that a cab driver dropped a passenger off just a bit earlier, and the passenger had been a tad confused. I brought the 2 officers through the house to the back. They were able to assist the gent with finding where he really lives ...which is not "right here".

We know a number of our immediate neighbors -- the folks next to us on either side, and next to them, and next to them. We know the folks who live across the street and next to them, the folks who live behind the folks across the street, and the folks who live behind us. This gent lives in the area, but not quite that close. So he most likely was able to get the cab driver to the general area, and then whether the cabbie decided he'd had enough of the passenger, or the gent really believed that he was seeing his house ...he ended up on our lanai.

Some of our friends, relatives, acquaintances probably would have chosen to go outside carrying a firearm, and I could see something like that taking a very sad twist. On the other hand, this gent could have been armed and dangerous (he wasn't), so perhaps it would have been better if I had just called police without engaging him.

The one thing of which I am confident is that this gent is going to feel terrible (in more ways than one) when he awakens after a few hours of sleep. For now, one of us is going to grab a shower and a cup of coffee, and try for a more normal start to the day. I am thankful that things worked out ok :)

Posted by Joe Litton | November 16, 2008 in Misc | Permalink | Comments (8)

September 29, 2008

Welcome to guest blogger Aaron

Mr. Aaron Butts, a fellow liberal whom I've known for a couple of years or so, has graciously accepted an invitation to author some blog posts here. Aaron and 10 or 12 others and Shirley and I typically gather weekly to enjoy a beer and discuss the many goings-on in our region and in the world. I've talked with Aaron before about perhaps using a blog to share some of his thoughts; I'm elated that he's taking me up on the offer.

Later today or tonight I'll see about modifying the design of the blog to include listing the author name. That was never a concern when it was just me posting :) ...Just for the record, Aaron and I are both liberals, and we each think for ourselves. We agree on many things, and I'm sure that there are some things on which we disagree. And that hopefully fosters more discussion.

- Joe

Posted by Joe Litton | September 29, 2008 in Misc | Permalink | Comments (1)

April 14, 2008

Please let me just cancel service if I ask nicely

Think how nice it would be if we could ask for (insert name of any company here) to cancel our service, and have the friendly voice on the phone agree to do that, we wish each other a pleasant day, and we move on. It doesn't work that way yet.

Lawn pest/weed control: We have to keep a lawn in our front yard. It's our own fault for buying in a neighborhood with an HOA. Most of the side and back lawn is gone now (Florida-friendly fruit trees, ornamentals, flowers, etc, in its place, with no need for sprinkler). But we are required to have St Augustine grass in the front, which I am certain was an invention of Scotts fertilizer company. So for a while, we subscribed to a service (close to a year). I decided to cancel, convinced I could do as good of a job as they did, and for less money and using less chemicals. I've done it before. So I called to cancel the service. Seemed to go well. Then someone stopped by the house to see what the 'problem' was and to see how they could fix it. I told them no problem at all, I just wanted to save money, have more control (surprised? :) ...and thank you anyway for checking. Then a manager called. This time (still being polite) I stated firmly that there had been no problem, and I was not going to use their service or any service, and please do not call again, we are through, thank you. A week or two later another manager called. This time I figured (as I've sadly learned time and again) that I would have to be 'crazy customer' to get them to stop calling. So I raised my voice and told him that I would file formal complaints about their harassing techniques if they ever contact me again. It's been a month or so now with no contact.

Credit card: Being a bleeding heart liberal, I've considered using a Working Assets VISA for some time. I finally signed up, and, now that the other card was paid off and automatic payments had been switched, I called today to cancel the account. First I was transferred to someone who could better 'help' me (right). 'Jason' reminded me how much they value my business and what great features the old card has. I told Jason that I was very familiar with all the features, that the company has been great, but I'm a bleeding heart liberal and really wanted a card that would be doing a little good each time I use it, and please respect my wishes, please don't make me get nasty, please just honor my request to close the account. Jason needed to remind me (two more times) about the great features and how they really appreciate my business all of these years, and ...SO I raised my voice (I don't yell, I just raise it a little so they know that the mood is changed) and stated that he needed to do what I was asking and JUST CLOSE THE ACCOUNT!!! So then he finally did agree ...with a very different no-longer-appreciating-me tone of voice.

I understand that it's cheaper to retain a customer than to get a new one. But come on, there's got to be a better way to handle a break up.

Posted by Joe Litton | April 14, 2008 in Misc | Permalink | Comments (3)

January 05, 2008

Auto Detailing from '2Xtreme'

Auto detailingI've had my Subaru Outback for 10 years, and it's been a great car. Never been in a wreck, so it's got great 'bones'. But it was really needing a day at the spa - a good thorough cleaning. So I called Derwin (1-813-900-8000) from 2Xtreme. Derwin used to do auto detailing out of his shop, but decided he could offer a better price for customers and have less overhead by devising a mobile system. So for only $50, Derwin came to our house, and in about 2 hours he had the inside and outside of my car looking the best it's looked since it was new 10 years ago. I was amazed. You can see more pics of the finished job up here on Flickr.

For those in the Tampa area, Derwin will come to you and do his magic anywhere in Hillsborough County, and in parts of Pinellas County. And for the record, I am not receiving any discount or other benefit from this posting; I just felt that this was a fantastic job for an extremely reasonable price.

Posted by Joe Litton | January 5, 2008 in Misc | Permalink | Comments (0)

November 25, 2007

Great Thanksgiving weekend draws to a close

TurkeyAs has become our tradition in Florida, our Thanksgiving day turkey was cooked on the outdoor grill. You really can't beat that. I just rinsed the bird, rubbed it inside and out with olive oil, sprinkled on some garlic powder, and tossed in on the grill (indirect medium heat) for just over 3 hours. The 17+ pound turkey was perfect. Shirley had prepared the rest of the feast - various veggies, potatoes, sweet potatoes, etc. Mmmm.

Ben came down from North Carolina, arriving Wednesday evening. Jon, one of his roommates from last year - who now lives and works about an hour east in Orlando - joined us on Thursday. Bob, one of our buddies from our local Drinking Liberally gang was also able to make it. And Paul and Rachna, our very good friends who used to live across the street came over as we were starting on dessert. So it was wonderful. It was a beautiful autumn day in Florida, which meant we were dining outside on the lanai by the pool.

Ben was able to see a couple of his other friends - Yeon, who met him at the airport and had lunch with him before she left to head south to Naples and then over to West Palm Beach to spend the holiday with her family. And another of Ben's roommates from last year, Mo, just got back into town this weekend, so he and Ben were able to grab some sushi. And of course Ben was able to spend time with Brittany - including helping her move into the apartment that she and another woman have just leased. Yup, welcome home for your visit, Ben grab that box, would ya :)

But alas, the weekend flew by as even 4-day weekends are wont to do. This morning we got up at 5am and took Ben to the airport for his trip back up to Durham. The good thing, though, is that in just a few weeks he'll be back home for the Christmas holidays ...and another grilled turkey :)

Posted by Joe Litton | November 25, 2007 in Misc | Permalink | Comments (1)

November 03, 2007

Brief visit w/ Barry and Karen

TpaMy good friend Dr Lavine (not a real doctor);his wife Karen, esq. (a real lawyer); my wife Shirley, MT (makes teeth); and I - Joe, SBG (short bald geek) all met for a brief visit today at Tampa airport. Barry and Karen were heading back home after vacationing with relatives, and had a bit of a layover in Tampa. Gosh, I don't think I'd seen Barry since I was up in the Pacific Northwest in August 2006 after my dad had passed away. And I'm guessing it'd been a few years since we'd seen Karen.

So we gathered at the Wharf pub in the airport and bs'd for an hour or so. It was like being back up in Portland, just shooting the breeze with friends. Very cool. Oh, and I tried to take a pic of the four of us by holding my camera out and shooting semi-blindly. From the left, going clockwise, that's Karen, Barry, Shirley, and me.

Posted by Joe Litton | November 3, 2007 in Misc | Permalink | Comments (1)

February 25, 2007

THREE Tampa-area blogger gatherings!

The good folks at Sticks of Fire are coordinating a gathering:
Tuesday, 27 February 2007, 6:00pm
Hawks Neighborhood Grill, 3114 W Bay to Bay Blvd, Tampa, FL (map)

Blog & Multimedia Seminar
Saturday, 03 March 2007, 10:45am
Tampa Tribune Office, 3251 W Bay To Bay Blvd, Tampa, FL (map)

The Tampa/St.Pete Blog Writers Meetup Group will be meeting:
Monday, 05 March 2007, 6:30 PM
Panera Bread, 3181 Tampa Rd, Oldsmar, FL 34677 (map)

Don't know that I'll make the Saturday session, but I'm hoping to hit the other two :)

Posted by Joe Litton | February 25, 2007 in Misc | Permalink | Comments (4)

February 19, 2007

Solicitation for my son's fraternity

Ox My son, Ben, is in the middle of the final semester of his senior year of college. He'll graduate in a few months with his geek degree (Computer Information Systems , with a minor in Spanish). He's also working on his Greek pursuits; his fraternity is Theta Chi (motto: "Assisting Hand"). I was wary of fraternities in the past (a guy I knew in high school died during his frat initiation at college). Things have changed. There is no hazing of any kind. Fridays are volunteer day at the local Shriners Hospital. This is quite different than the image I'd had of fraternities. To a man, each of Ben's frat brothers whom I've met has been a true gentleman.

Well, this weekend they're trying to raise some funds for Theta Chi. They'll be bowling and are needing folks to pledge an amount per pin knocked down over the span of a few games. Ben doesn't bowl often (no time). When he has gone, I believe his score is in the 130-150 range. So 10 cents per pin could conceivably work out to US$45. Three cents per pin would most likely be under $15 total. I'm sure they're extremely grateful for anything.

So if anyone cares to help a college guy and his frat - reconnect with that university spirit - here's your chance. I'll update this post after Saturday with his final score, or you can email him directly, or you can donate through this PayPal link by sending funds to his email address: brlxboarder at gmail dot com

Posted by Joe Litton | February 19, 2007 in Misc | Permalink | Comments (0)

January 28, 2007

Sewing a button; sparking memory

I tend to wait longer than I should before replacing clothes -- usually wait until cuffs are fraying, elbows are wearing through, etc. So a few weeks ago, I finally bought a few new shirts. After wearing one of them only a time or two, a button fell off. Today (at least a couple of weeks later) I took the shirt and would-be-escapist button that I'd had next to the nightstand and decided to sew the rebel button back on.

It's interesting how the littlest things can awaken memories long-forgotten. While threading the needle - and having to grab for reading glasses for a better view - I flashed back to my grandma asking me on numerous occasions to help her get a thread through the needle. She lived with us after my grandpa died when I was in the very early years of school, and until I was part of the way through college.

And one memory threading through the nooks and crannies of the mind, as memories are wont to do, led to more memories of my grandma.

She was a rather short and quite round little German woman. She stood about 4 feet, 10 inches 'tall' ...and weighed quite a bit more than I do now. Of course, I would tower over her now, since I stretch all the way to 5 feet, 4 inches. Well, I have 2 sisters and 3 brothers. My brothers and I would fight pretty much every day. My grandma, of course, did not care for that, and used to grab our fireplace broom - which consisted of about a 2 foot length of straw, bound together where it joined the handle. The handle was a 2 foot length of round hardwood; the straw was a 3 inch diameter round bundle. So grandma would grab the broom at the bottom end of the straw and start to swinging, whacking whomever the hardwood of the handle could locate. Crude, but effective.

And that memory makes me smile.

Posted by Joe Litton | January 28, 2007 in Misc | Permalink | Comments (1)