It’s All About The Exposure

userpic=tortuga-heuvosIt’s Saturday — and time to start clearing the accumulated links. First up, a trio of links all connected to sex and exposure:

  • The Sexy Tampon. It has become a parody of itself, the “Sexy …” costume. So here are some more entries for your Halloween Costuming needs: the Sexy Cockroach, the Sexy Fetus, the Sexy Tampon… well, you get the idea.
  • It’s a Business. Here’s a fascinating article about the porn business: it explores why the business you think you know is nothing like the business you think you know. For example, is that oft-repeated claim that porn drives tech adoption true? Right now, the porn industry is going through hard times, with new media, “free” streaming attempting to compete with paid, condom laws, and often being barred from app stores.
  • Alone in a Hotel? You’re alone on a business trip, and in your hotel. What do you do? Increasingly, the answer is not to watch porn. Both Hyatt Hotels and Marriott Hotels have announced they are dropping pay-per-view adult movies.  Why? A number of reasons. With the increasing number of intrusions into hotels, patrons don’t want their porn preferences exposed to the world when their bills are exposed. Probably more importantly, people can watch for free over the Internet. As a result, revenue has plummeted, and hotels are looking for profit in different areas.
  • Nudes and Economics. Here’s an interesting detailed analysis of Playboy’s announcement to drop nudes from its magazine. Playboy has been faced with a significant circulation drop, and they discovered when they made their website SFW, views increased. To become a mainstream media brand — and one that attracts the lifestyle advertisers they want and need — they need to be more mainstream. How do they do that? Drop the nudity. It’s not like people can’t find it elsewhere these days — something that wasn’t true in the 1950s-1970s — they top days of Playboy.



A Day Late and a Dollar… Saturday Stew on Sunday

Observation StewThe smell of stew cooking in the crockpot reminded me I need to post a stew of my own; with vacation and such, it’s been a few weeks. So let’s clear out those links…

  • Burger Continental is Gone. We discovered this as we returned home from the Ren Faire a few weeks ago: BC has closed their doors. No more can Adrian, their long-time waiter (and one of the owners, from what I’ve heard) flirt with my wife. They were a reliable dinner when we were going to the Pasadena Playhouse. I’ll miss them.
  • Airline Safety, Take 1: Fitting In The Butts. As we all know, airlines are squeezing passengers closer and closer together, both through thinner seats and decreased pitch. The big problem: That may not be safe. A consumer advisory group has asked DOT to look into the matter.
  • Airline Safety, Take 2: Reading the Signs. An interesting airline risk has just come to light — significant if you are flying Boeing 787s. It appears there is a software glitch that could cause power units (APUs) to go into failsafe mode after running continuously for more than 8 months. Specifically, if all four APUs were started at the same time, and run for 248.55 hours… they shut down. 248.55 just happens to be the point where a signed 32-bit integer holding time in hundreths of a second overflows and goes negative. No problem: That age old advice still works: “Have you tried turning it off, and back on again?”
  • Cleaning Out the Stash. One of the problem when your parents die is cleaning out what they left at the house. That problem turns weird when you discover their adult stash — i.e., their porn collection. Yes, your parents think about sex — who do you think made you the horndog you are? Yes, I’m looking at you. Luckily, there is an adult bookstore in London that will take that porn off of your, umm, hands.
  • Ah, Catherine the Great. As you probably remember, I loved Steve Allen’s Meeting of Minds. Therefore, it is with sad news that I report the passing of Mrs. Steve Allen, better known as Jayne Meadows, who started in numerous episodes. She made it to 95 and had a good life. I thank her for her contributions.
  • Security and Maturity. Here’s an interesting metric: Brian Krebs on measuring a company’s security maturity level.
  • Damn. Yesterday was National Naked Gardening Day. Here’s an interesting article on a garden rework in Beverlywood that not only saves water, but grows vegetables. For future reference…
  • Where to Go For Dinner. Another “for future reference”: Here’s a listing of 20 recommended places to eat in the Valley. We’ve actually been to about 2/3s of these.
  • But What Will I Watch in Hawaii. I don’t know what you did when you visited Hawaii in your college years, but I…. programmed. I have fond memories of listening to the Jerry Lewis Telethon (back in the late 1970s, mind you) and programming for the UCLA Computer Club. Today’s children will have to find something else to do: MDA has cancelled the Labor Day Telethon. I’ll note that it had really gone downhill without Jerry Lewis and the folks he drew in, and MDA parted ways with him a few years ago.

That’s your stew for this Sunday. Now go work out….


It’s What The Internet Is For…

userpic=tortuga-heuvosToday’s news chum post brings together a collection of articles about what pervades the Internet, but about which no one talks: porn. Maybe its astrological, but there have been a bunch of interesting articles of late (which I read for the articles): [I’ll note that all the top-level links in the post are SFW, although the articles themselves may link to NSFW stuff]

  • Making It Pay. We’ve all heard that porn is at the forefront of all Internet innovations. That may be true, but porn is suffering from the same problem as digital music: People are asking themselves …. why should I pay for it when I can get it for free (and there is lots of free porn out there, at sites that subsist from advertising). So, as NPR reports, the porn industry is trying to come up with new ways to get people to pay… and the primary way is to make it interactive where people can make online requests. The interesting aspect here (to me) is a problem the porn industry has: they can’t mine “big data” because people don’t want to leave tracks — they browse in private mode, they don’t like to use credit cards… and there’s not that big of a market to buy the data.
  • Who’s Making It. When you look at the actors who make porn, there are two camps: professionals and amateurs. Despite what you may be led to believe, most people don’t want to see “manufactured” (artificially enhanced) actors — they want to see actors that look like them, with imperfections and flaws. So who is uploading the amateur stuff? Huffington Post reports on a survey with the answers: One porn site discovered that almost one-third of homemade sex tapes submitted between July and December 2013 were created not in sexually liberal coastal cities, as one might imagine, but in the Bible Belt. Furthermore, 56.9 percent of videos were submitted by women. The states with the highest number of submissions were California (20.6 percent) and Pennsylvania (11.8 percent), but 10.8 percent of submissions came from Florida and 6.9 percent from Texas. Other Bible Belt states contributing submissions included North Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana and Kentucky. Perhaps this is because “religious” cities watch as much porn as non-religious cities. Yup, some folks do mine big data from visitors to porn sites.
  • Why They Do It? Perhaps you’re thinking that all these folks visiting the sites are the lonely single guys out there (how come Avenue Q is coming to mind again). But you might be surprised again. A recent survey quoted by the Huffington Post shows the people who watch more porn have more sex. The article has a nice infographic with the results of the survey.

And with that, I’ll leave you to your late night reading…

P.S.: Trying to figure out the icon? This will explain it.


Altered Lives: Pastrami, Porn, Kings, and Maps

userpic=pastramiToday’s news chum brings together a few stories of people or situations that have altered lives:

Music: Finale (Loggins & Messina): “Medley: Thinking of You”



The Internet Is For …

[Short Post #1 before we head out…] There was an interesting article I ran across while skimming the LA Times this morning. It appears the porn industry is having (ahem) hard times. The problem is that the Internet really is for porn, much of it free, much of it amateur. Their paid sites aren’t making the money that they used to… and of course, no one is buying DVDs. As such, pay rates in the industry are (ahem) shrinking fast, and folks are turning to real jobs to make their money. Of course, this is of interest to me as a concerned citizen, for I live in the San Fernando Valley (and I’m sure it is affecting lots of ancillary businesses).

Seriously, though, the article is an interesting read with respect to unanticipated side-effects of the Internet.


Theatre News (of the NC-17 variety)

Some theatre news that made me go “huh?” [yes, this is all real news. I haven’t followed the non-news links, so they may be NSFW]:

  • Playbill is reporting that “the plan to stage ‘The Deep Throat Sex Scandal’, a new play by David Bertolino, turns out to be anticlimactic — at least for now.” Yup, that’s how they said it. The announcement was made by “When Harry Met Linda, LLC”, the producers of the new play about the famed porn film, “Deep Throat.” As for what the play is about, the producers describe it thusly: “It all started as a little movie that nobody expected to do much at the box office, certainly not gross over $600 million. Or spark the sexual revolution. But that’s exactly what ‘Deep Throat’ accomplished. The Deep Throat Sex Scandal, a new play, takes you through the historic, chaotic and controversial episodes that would determine what Americans consider obscene. From the film’s creation to the players that would become legends, including Linda Lovelace, Harry Reems and trial attorney Allen Dershowitz, to the arrests, bans, courtroom drama and political fallout, this bizarre journey gives you an unprecedented look behind the scenes of the adult film industry. And it will inevitably ignite conversation and debate about freedom of speech, expression, and of course, sex.”
  • The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a stage musical on the LA Porn Industry is in the works. The production is a partnership between New York’s experimental group the Civilians and L.A.’s Center Theatre Group (i.e., the folks behind the Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum, and Kirk Douglas theatres). The still-untitled show “will explore the real-life stories of the people who work in California’s pornography industry,” according to CTG. There is no opening date yet for the musical, which is being developed under CTG’s New Play Production Program. You can learn more about it by following @pornmusical on Twitter.
  • Playbill is also reporting that a rock musical is in the works about Lizzie Borden. With music by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, additional music by Tim Maner, and lyrics by Cheslik-DeMeyer and Maner, the musical tells the story of the brutal 1892 murder of Andrew and Abby Borden, father and stepmother to 32-year-old Lizzie Borden, who was acquitted of murdering the two with a hatchet in their home. As the producers describe it, “This dark, hard, campy, bloody, sexy, loud show offers a glimpse of these infamous events through the eyes of Lizzie, her older sister Emma, Lizzie’s close friend Alice, and the housemaid Bridget. Packed with kick-ass original songs, four fierce rocker divas, and two very bloody murders, our tale of repression and patricide sheds some light on why Lizzie Borden took that axe, and why we see her as a heroine for doing it.”

It sorta makes one long for simpler plays, like “Puppetry of the Penis”.


Thursday News Chum

Cheer up. It’s Thursday, meaning tomorrow is Friday and the weekend is nigh. Here’s some lunchtime chunks o’ chum to help with the cheer:

  • From the “Interesting Juxtaposition” Department: Two articles in the LA Times today create an interesting juxtaposition: The first has to do with a major SF Valley employer: the adult film industry. It reports how an industry actress has tested positive for HIV, and discusses how that will impact the industry. The test indicated that so far her partners had clean tests, and she only works infrequently. On the same page, however, was an article about how LA County is launching a new campaign against sexually transmitted diseases, aimed primarily at black and Latina women below the age of 25, who make up a disproportionate number of those infected. Specifically, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is offering free in-home testing kits through a new mail-in service. Of course, how could they advertise this service? I wonder if there are any actresses familiar with STDs who might be looking for work? In related news, the WSJ is reporting (last item) that “Gentlemen’s Clubs” are also feeling the recession. In response, they are eliminating cover charges and lowering the price of drinks… however they do report an upside: “it’s easier to hire “exotic dancers” now that many women are being laid off from more buttoned-down, white-collar jobs. Among the new recruits at [two clubs in Dallas TX] are a laid-off paralegal, a laid-off fashion designer, a Bank of America banker, a former paralegal and two Los Angeles real estate agents.”
  • From the “Should YouTube Be Rated E/I” Department: The NY Times has an interesting article on how the childbirth experiences has changed in the Internet age: now women are watching childbirth videos on YouTube so they can be prepared for the pain. Better than books, women are typing “childbirth” into YouTube’s search engine, and getting links to thousands of videos, showing everything from women giving birth under hypnosis, to Caesarean sections, to births in bathtubs.There are a couple of interesting things in the article. First, they note how society has changed: “A hundred and fifty years ago women viewed birth on a pretty regular basis — they saw their sisters or neighbors giving birth. […] it wasn’t until the late 19th century that birthing moved out of living rooms and bedrooms and into hospitals. […] now, with YouTube, we’ve come back around and women have this opportunity to view births again.” The other interesting item was from a poster of such a video regarding the comments received: “…her comments section breaks down like this: excited and apprehensive moms-to-be; a few comments so obscene she refuses to post them; and lastly, comments from […] “repetitive guys” who are always like, ‘Whoa, I’m so glad I’m not a woman.’ ”
  • From the “Let’s Start Panicing” Department: If childbirth doesn’t scare you, how about the earth colliding with another planet. According to the SF Chronicle, it will happen. When? Five billion years or so. The time frame coincides with accepted theory that by the end of that same 5 billion years the sun will have burned up its hydrogen and in a cooler state will inflate itself into what’s called a red giant star, engulfing the entire inner solar system while the planets are still colliding. The odds of the collision are low: the scientitst sifted through 2,501 possible constructions of planetary orbits in the far future and found that only a single one led to possible encounters of Earth and either Venus or Mars, with other scenarios in the computer calculations depicting a variety of other inner solar system collisions, including Mercury smashing into Venus and Mercury even colliding with the sun. Now, what I like in the article is how it demonstrates the thought process of astronmers: “With 99 percent certainty, we can rely on the clockwork of the celestial rhythm – but with the remaining 1 percent, we are afforded a vicarious thrill of danger.”
  • From the “I Left My Heart… in a Green Trashcan in San Francisco” Department: San Francisco is poised to introduce a tough new garbage separating ordinance. The legislation calls for every residence and business in the city to have three separate color-coded bins for waste: blue for recycling, green for compost and black for trash. Failing to properly sort your refuse could result in a fine after several warnings. You’re probably saying: but what’s so hard about the separation… hell, even Los Angeles can do it. The devil is in the details. *All* food waste (including meat) and food grade paper goes in the *green* can (most folks are used to putting non-vegetable food in the black can, and paper in the blue). But seeming recyclables in other cities (such as styrofoam) goes in the black. Screw it up, and you get a warning, and keep screwing up, and you get a fine. I’d send in Penn and Teller to parody this, but they already have.
  • From the “Creative Recycling” Department: A woman in Lakemoor IL has found a way to reuse old bathroom fixtures: she turns them into planters. Her front yard is filled with discarded toilets and sinks filled with pretty flowers. You think her neighbors would be enjoying the display. Nope. Someone filed a complaint, and now police in the village, citing the village’s public nuisance ordinance, have given her 30 days to remove the commodes. If she refuses, she faces a fine of $25 to $500 a day. Shit.
  • From the “On the Bus From Van Nuys” Department: The last item is a bit more serious: beginning August 1, fares on LAWA’s Flyaway Buses are increasing by $1 (one-way). The article also notes how they are looking for a new operator for the Westwood run, and will be adding an Irvine run. This will give them four: the original Van Nuys operation, Westwood, Union Station, and Irvine. But wait, there’s more. Yup, Los Angeles World Airports is required to have a total of nine FlyAway stops by 2015, under the terms of a legal settlement reached nearly four years ago with the county, three cities and a community group opposed to expansion at LAX.

Monday News Chum

Some interesting news articles of the day:

  • From the “Religion and Science” Department: No, I’m not talking about “Expelled”, the Ben Stein movie about teaching creationism. No, it is a different religion this time that thinks it is the center of the world. A prominent Muslim cleric, Sheikh Youssef al-Qaradawy, has said modern science had at last provided evidence that Mecca was the true centre of the Earth; proof, he said, of the greatness of the Muslim “qibla” – the Arabic word for the direction Muslims turn to when they pray. A Muslim geologist has argued that unlike other longitudes, Mecca’s was in perfect alignment to magnetic north. As a result, Muslim scientists and clerics have called for the adoption of Mecca time to replace GMT, seeing GMT as British imposition on the rest of the world by force from when Britain was a big colonial power. Muslim scientists have also developed a Mecca watch, which is said to rotate anti-clockwise and is supposed to help Muslims determine the direction of Mecca from any point on Earth. This information came out of a meeting in Qatar, part of a popular trend in some Muslim societies of seeking to find Koranic precedents for modern science. The underlying belief is that scientific truths were also revealed in the Muslim holy book, and it is the work of scholars to unearth and publicise the textual evidence. Sound familiar?
    [Tip o’the hat to patgund for bringing this to my attention.]

  • From the “Porn is Boring” Department: Turning from religion to porn, the Daily News has a very interesting interview with Larry Flynt in which he notes that (a) “nothing is more boring than pornography”, (b) “the Republicans are more fun”, (c) “[Cardinal Roger Mahoney] ought to be tarred and feathered”, and (d) “[what] some of the producers of porn are doing is they are giving the entire industry a bad reputation”. Highly recommended.
  • From the “Catholics and Cats” Department: Continuing with our theme, it turns out Pope Benedict XVI is a cat lover. He has a lifelong love of cats, his biography was written by a cat (Chico, a ginger tabby who lives across the road from Benedict’s old house in Germany), and as Cardinal, when he was the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he tended to the cats that frequented the garden of the congregation’s building in the Vatican and bandaged their wounds. We do not know what Muslim Clerics think of cats.