Archive for the ‘Sociology’ Category

The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounter weirdness: September 2015 edition

It’s a little early for my monthly review of the local (Hartford, Connecticut) Craigslist casual encounter section. I usually wait until the first Friday of the month because weekend postings tend to the most weird. But I’m between clients at the moment and a bit bored. Moreover, I’ve done a lot of weighty posts lately so it’s time for a bit of fantasy, which is almost always the case for these postings being realized.

Looking at my August traffic, there were at least 221 web page requests for my Craigslist posts on a total of 1376 page views. So while overall page views were in their usual summer doldrums, my Craigslist post accounted for 16% of traffic, up from last month.

Looking at who’s posting I count the types of ads on the first page that comes up. It’s mostly men looking for other men today. I was thinking after the recent Ashley Madison hack the married men would have moved to Craigslist, but apparently not in large numbers. Anyhow:

  • 30 men are looking for a woman
  • 48 men are looking for a man
  • 6 men are looking for a couple
  • 4 men are looking for a transgender/transvestite
  • 0 women are looking for a man. That’s likely because their ads were quickly flagged.
  • 4 women are looking for a woman
  • 2 couples are looking for a woman
  • 1 transgender/transvestite is looking for a man
  • 1 transgender/transvestite is looking for a transgender/transvestite

Time to put on the dark shades and latex gloves and document some of this month’s weird nastiness. Since there aren’t many postings from women today, I’m going to spice it up by adding some postings from women more locally, i.e. the Western Massachusetts Craigslist section.

  • She’s a married BBW from Windsor Locks and her husband is okay with you screwing her bareback. In fact, he only wants you to take her bareback because apparently because he’s apparently quite interested in whatever you end up depositing. Eee-yuck!
  • Lots of women post for very well endowed men. Here’s a twist. Here’s a guy who wants you served his way. Hold the pickles; ladies he only wants you if you have big buns. And he wants to plant some hickeys on those buns too.
  • This is pretty strange. He sounds like a married farmer in the Farmington Valley but he’s willing to provide a free room to a woman if he gets to look at you (presumably undressed). He won’t touch you unless you are okay with it. You do have to help with chores. And somehow his wifey is not going to figure this out.
  • Attention Home Depot security at the Glastonbury store. He’s 40 and stroking his eight inches in the store (discreetly, I hope) and is hoping to find a man to join him. Let’s hope they don’t scare the women, children and horses.
  • He’s hoping! He’s near Wethersfield and he’s hoping you’re a woman with a car and you will pick him up for some naughty stuff because his car is in the shop and his roommates annoy him. He’s probably still sporting acne (he’s 19).
  • Now this is interesting. It’s illegal to exchange money for sex but I don’t think it’s illegal to barter for sex. In exchange for a woman’s pleasure he’ll provide handyman services. It sounds though like he wants a lot of your services in exchange, so I’m not sure it’s a fair deal. Ladies, he’s got six inches and he lives near Plainville.
  • I was dimly aware of a device called a fleshlight. It’s a wanking device for a man who has everything but a woman with a vagina. I didn’t know it came in a double size so two (presumably gay) men could use it at once. Anyhow, this young man from Windsor Heights is looking for another man for multiple dual fleshlight sessions.
  • They claim to be three people from Newington (two men, one woman) that play together. They are looking for a fourth, and she needs to be a she. Anyhow, in the unlikely event a woman tries to hook up with this triad, I’m betting the woman in the triad is mysteriously absent and came down with a sudden cold or something.
  • About that transgender looking for a transgender? She is now a he and all the surgery is behind him. He is now looking for a fellow transitioning male in any stage of his transition for naughty intimate play mostly involving his new part.
  • He’s from Manchester and is looking for Hooters girls only. He’ll make it worth your while.
  • Attention grandpas near Southampton, Massachusetts. (I might add it is about five miles down the road from me and I happen to be old enough to be a grandpa). Anyhow, if you have had your Cialis and you don’t mind catching some dread disease this submissive woman from Southampton wants you to take her bareback. Umm, pass.
  • I don’t quite understand why a butch lesbian would be advertising for a guy but she’s all-natural apparently. Either she’s bisexual or she’s hoping to get pregnant.

That’s about all the weirdness I can find this month. Perhaps there will be better postings in October.

 
The Thinker

Ashley Madison stupidly lets itself get pwned

So I have been streaming Mad Men on Netflix. It’s a strangely compelling series about the world of Madison Avenue in the 1960s. It’s a world of constant drinking, endless cigarettes and infidelity. The principle character is Don Draper (played by Jon Hamm), the creative director for the advertising firm Sterling & Cooper. As we quickly learn, Don was previously Dick, he is a deeply messed up man, and he also happens to be one hunk of a guy. Don’s a liberal drinker, a liberal smoker and a liberal bed hopper as well. He does this while somehow staying married to his ultra pretty and slinky wife Betty (January Jones).

It takes a few seasons but Betty eventually figures out Don’s infidelities. They divorce but Don keeps bedding the women, often inappropriately, including his secretary. Yet Don is hardly the only character in the series with his pants down. Most of the characters are involved in an illicit relationship or two. I have no idea how close any of this is to real life on Madison Avenue, but from what I’ve read it was not too far off the mark. Most of the men are caught between who they really are and the roles they are supposed to play. How they manage all this screwing around in these pre-Ashley Madison days is kind of mysterious, but likely all that booze helped reduce inhibitions.

Yesterday of course the infidelity website ashleymadison.com quickly went dark after hackers posted a dump of its database on a number of websites. While bad for cheaters out there, what it said about Ashley Madison was even worse. First, its security system was laughably bad. Second, even after the hack they could have taken down their site and saved their forty million members embarrassment, but they didn’t. They kept collecting fees right up until they went dark. In short, they gave the online infidelity business not only a moral stink but in an unexpected way: they were so busy chasing short term profits that they were willing to throw its forty million customers on mercy of their spouses. Doubtless the hackers provided samples to prove they had hacked the good stuff, including apparently seven years of credit card transactions. AM was hoping they would blink.

Doubtless too that marital counselors and divorce lawyers are going to get a sharp increase in business. It would not surprise me if their phones were ringing off the hooks. As for AM, I wouldn’t blame its customers if they arrived en masse to torch its offices. Cheaters of the world, unite! Anyhow, fifty years after Mad Men, there are still plenty of Don Drapers out there that are mostly hooking up online. Until a couple of days ago apparently Ashley Madison had the lion’s share and then some of this market.

What interests me is not that AM brokered infidelity. As disgusting as most people at least claim to view infidelity and those that aid them, there are far worse things on the Internet, with ISIS beheading videos coming immediately to mind. Some entities like AM are to be expected in our electronic age. What’s interesting and more than a little appalling is how bad a job they did in keeping their clients’ information confidential. As a software engineer, but also as a guy that is currently getting paid to ghostwrite articles about data security, AM gets an F.

Yes, AM kept a record of all its credit card transactions for the last seven years! It’s such a mind boggling, stupid and reckless thing to do, particularly given the profitability of the site. It would have made much more sense to give in to the hackers’ demands and quietly establish a new site under a new name, oh and fix those security problems too. Doubtless they had the money to do it. Forty million customers, figure 30 million of them men, figure each putting out at least $50 each, that’s at least $150 million in revenue. Since they’ve been in business fifteen years, it’s likely a lot more than that. Likely their overall revenue likely exceeded a billion dollars, not that we’ll know for sure. They aren’t publicly traded, although maybe their successor or whoever buys the brand (Vivid Entertainment?) will be publicly traded, and doubtless do a better job at security.

If I had fewer scruples and more money I might create the next AM site, one that its dubious clients could actually trust. Of course there are always risks in anything done over the Internet. AM’s clients now understand that. The next AM is bound to arise from its ashes, and probably sooner rather than later. Here are some actions items for whatever entrepreneur wants to sail in these turbulent waters in the future:

  • Do not keep records of credit card transactions. Just don’t. Purge these daily, if not more often, from any internal databases. Don’t journal them on backup somewhere.
  • Do not collect any privacy information from your customers, you know like their real names, address and phone numbers. Instead, let some third party act as your broker. Your client gives the broker some money and the broker provides some electronic token identifying the payee that doesn’t actually identify them to your company. The future AM should never collect anything that could identify their clients.
  • Accept more discreet ways of payment. There are lower tech and anonymous ways to pay fees confidentially: wire deposits and money orders, for example. I’d say accept BitCoins but BitCoins are hardly anonymous.
  • Don’t use cloud hosting. Use your own data centers that only you can access and control.
  • One person can’t do this in his basement. So find employees who have a history of being trustworthy, very talented, and discreet and pay them very well. Give them incentives to be discreet. Make their bonuses contingent upon their contributions to improving the business’s security.
  • Retain security experts. To get AM’s entire database required a whole lot of bandwidth. This can be monitored. The tools exist to cut off suspicious behavior already.
  • Do regular vulnerability testing of your website and applications. The tools are out there. Of course fix any vulnerabilities found quickly.
  • Hire a CISO, a Chief Information Security Officer with of course the right credentials.
  • Don’t store obviously sensitive information, like a client’s IP address. Passwords should be encrypted in a MD5 hash in the database.
  • Tell your customers what your security plan is. Get an annual (or more often) security audit from a trusted security auditor and publicize the results for your customers.
  • Provide your customers security tips, like clearing your browser history. I can think of another one. Figure out a way for clients to share pictures anonymously. I’m pretty sure it could be done with Instagram.

As for AM’s clients, those who are not on their way to marital counseling or divorce court, you might consider picking up strangers at bars again or just plastering them with lots of alcohol in the privacy of your office. It sounds cheaper and faster. It worked for Don Draper.

 
The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounter weirdness: August 2015 edition

And we’re back with our monthly local look at Craigslist’s casual encounters section. We always hope as usual to find some unusual gems of weirdness among the heaping pile of mostly mediocre postings. We’re looking at Craigslist’s Hartford, Connecticut section again because it’s a sizeable community not too far from me. I may move to Boston or Albany on occasion just to see if posts are any weirder over there.

In June I had close to three hundred web page views for this stuff. Passion must be cooling as I can only document 180 reads in July for my Craigslist posts. However, traffic was down in July in general, a phenomenon I see every summer, with 1466 web page views, so this traffic still accounted for 12% of traffic, which is about normal.

Scanning the first page of posts on this Friday morning I see:

  • 43 men looking for a woman
  • 39 men looking for a man
  • 2 men looking for a couple
  • 2 men looking for multiple men
  • 1 group of men looking for a man
  • 5 women looking for a man
  • 2 women looking for a woman
  • 1 couple looking for a woman
  • 2 transgender persons looking for a man

Let’s see what the cat drags in today:

  • This is promising. The first post is from a man with a breast pump looking for an adult breastfeed/adult nursing relationship. He’s open to just about anyone but presumably there has to be a woman in there somewhere, although he is happy if you are a couple, lesbian or straight. Naturally he prefers if you are lactating but I guess he is willing to try to get things primed given that beggars can’t be choosers. Oh, and about him: six foot, 43 and he’s XXX which in this case means extra, extra, extra large but he’s cool with his size. He will send you his picture if you reply. He doesn’t have to worry about straining his fingers from attaching his picture to all the replies he will get.
  • She’s from Enfield and eight months pregnant but horny as a toad. Her idea of a good time is not a well-endowed man but a woman with a strap on. You have to host and drive.
  • Ladies: he’s 21 and wants to eat your ass out, but only if you are clean. Go figure. No reciprocation and you must host for some reason. Gents: here’s a 28-year-old woman with the same obsession but only if you have nice buns.
  • If it’s one thing female posters tend to be clear about when looking for men online: no dick pictures! Men put them up anyhow assuming just the opposite, including men like this 21 year old dude from East Hartford. He is hoping they will attract black women, although apparently any woman will do. Curiously although you can see two explicit dick pictures, he’s willing to send you more. Umm, dude, there’s nothing left to reveal!
  • Speaking of big dicks, if you are you 50+ and have one, this 50+ married woman wants to hear from you.
  • Be her date … to the Hartford “Arts” Cinema where XXX movies play all day and kinky action happens inside the theater that at least occasionally can model the action on the screen. This black coed will be your date. For the price of two tickets (you pay) she will be the slut you always wanted and presumably both you and the raincoat crowd there will have plenty of carnal knowledge of her.
  • Now this is definitely weird: here’s a guy looking for a public wanker: another guy under 40 to jerk off on his car window or dashboard window.
  • He’s looking for a guy but has a unique requirement: you must be Russian.
  • She can’t get enough and must be too much for her swinging partner so he’s cutting her loose. She likes dominant guys with hard bodies and prefers younger men for their rapid recovery power. Like the Energizer bunny she claims she can keep going and going all night. Bring the Cialis.
  • Having stinky feet is an asset to this man, and he is willing to pay a woman for the opportunity for a close encounter with them.
  • Her boyfriend is going to be surprised when she (flying in from California) comes to visit and brings you along for a little threesome action. You must be a woman between 24 and 30.
  • It’s not everyday that you find a cross dresser looking for another cross dresser. I’m not sure what they would do together. Compare erotic underwear? I probably don’t want to know.

More next month.

 
The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounters weirdness: July 2015 edition

It’s a Friday in New England and thus a good day for my monthly sample of the postings on the Craigslist’s Hartford (Connecticut) casual encounters section. My guess is at best only 1% of these will get realized this weekend, if that much. But we humans like to dream big, so let’s see how big these dreams are this weekend.

My traffic tends to slow down in the summer, due to vacations or whatnot. This was true in June, with Google Analytics showing a total of 1,334 web page views. Significantly though traffic for Craigslist posts on my site was way up: at least 280 page views, or 21% of my web traffic. So this posting is for you fellow Craigslist fans, who are always curious to see what curated bizarre and unusual requests from the id I can find every month.

Surveying the first page of postings I find:

  • 33 men are looking for a woman
  • 32 men are looking for a man
  • 5 men are looking for a couple
  • 6 men are looking for a transgender
  • 2 women are looking for a man
  • 1 woman is looking for a woman
  • 3 couples are looking for a woman
  • 2 couples are looking for a man
  • 2 couples are looking for another couple
  • 3 transgender people are looking for men
  • 1 transgender person is looking for a couple

Let’s don our latex suits and dive into the cesspool:

  • Do you like your transvestite men in leather? This guy who actually lives in Vermont likes his leather, likes his bike and cruises New England regularly looking for pretty much anyone (man or woman) who wants to use him as his or her submissive biker “bitch”. He may be in leather, but he’s not much to look at. Amazingly, there are pictures of him at it with at least one guy, so you probably won’t be the first one on Craigslist to actually meet this “woman”. And you won’t have to wait long to contact him. His phone number is embedded in a picture. Happy cruising!
  • Life is coming up yellow for this Plainville man, or at least he hopes it will. He’s basically looking for a woman to piss all over him, and if you want he’ll return the favor. I’m betting he provides plenty of free drinks. There’s a dorky picture of him next to a Christmas tree to see what you will get, but if you don’t go blind from looking at it, you’ll probably feel an urge to run away instead. He wants to stay super clean so good news: urine is generally very sterile.
  • She’s 28, married and looking for another guy for sex only. The only thing that makes this post unusual is she’s quite flexible about your age. She’s willing to consider a married man up to age 50.
  • He’s not a real doctor and he lives near the border between Connecticut and Massachusetts, but I have to give him an A for effort for his “doctor/patient” fantasy. He must have taken a creative writing class. Anyhow ladies if you want to try this scenario with this pretend physician or just need to read something to buzz off to bliss with his post is at least worth a read. This poster will do too, ladies, particularly if you have fantasies about oral sex.
  • This 30-year-old woman from Mansfield wants to discreetly give head to a guy through a gloryhole. It must be at her house or apartment, because her husband will be in the next room and won’t know what’s going on. You must be completely quiet. If she is doing her work right would be pretty hard to stay silent, I would think. As for hubby, I would think the hole in the door might be a clue. No wonder she is “super nervous”.
  • Men, are you stupid and horny enough to leave two twenties somewhere and then rush somewhere else to meet a woman you haven’t met for some paid sex? This poster apparently thinks some men on Craigslist are stupid enough. He’s certainly right. Avoid this lady from East Hampton.
  • Hey, there’s potential glory for any of us older men with a still highly active endocrine system: there’s another post from a 20-something woman looking for age 50+ men like me. Also, likely the same woman is looking for her daddy in two posts.
  • Some men like to be used with a strap on. Good news: here’s a woman that wants to do it to her “slave”.
  • Ladies: she just wants to watch you get off by yourself.
  • This young woman from Meriden is looking for a woman for a short-term friend with benefits relationship. But goodness, from her detailed ad I think she’s interviewing potential marriage partners! Oh, and she’s sharing dozens of pictures.
  • In perhaps an attempt to increase interracial harmony this white couple (age 40) in a hotel in Hartford wants to hook up with a local black couple tonight, providing the male is very well endowed.
  • In a similar vein, here’s a senior couple looking for thin seniors only to mess around with.
  • This couple I think is the same one I mentioned last month because she is 54 and he is announcing that she will be available Sunday at the Hartford Art Cinema from noon to 4:30 PM. This is as likely as many men is going to get to finding sexual contact through Craigslist this weekend, so I’d go with this option guys. I doubt your minister will approve.
  • Hey straight men, if you so horny you don’t mind oral sex from both husband and wife, and you are age 30 to 45 and fit, then this 39-year-old couple from Windsor Locks will tag team you. But boy they sure do have some unusual and kinky requirements. After reading them you may figure out you aren’t as horny as you thought.
  • I guess this gay guy is flexible because he is willing to tag team with his bi guy friend with a woman or a couple. Some women though get off on watching two guys get off, so this may be a rare opportunity to experience it live. If you strike out with these guys, try these two guys.

There will likely be more in August.

 
The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounters weirdness: June 2015 edition

It’s that time of the month … for my review of the local Craigslist casual encounters section. When I say “local”, in this case “local” is Hartford, Connecticut, about an hour’s drive south from where I am living now. It’s the first sizeable metropolitan area near me now. If it’s not sizeable, the postings tend to be lame. I tried reviewing Hartford last month and found it quite promising.

I can count at least 194 web page views for this stuff in May, or about 11% of my total web traffic. Today at midweek looking at the first page of ads I find that as usual horny men are taking over the place:

  • 41 men are looking for a man
  • 42 men are looking for a woman
  • 1 man is looking for multiple men
  • 4 men are looking for a couple
  • 2 guys are teaming up and are looking for one woman
  • 2 transgender women are looking for a man
  • 2 couples are looking for a couple
  • 3 women looking for a man

Hopefully, Hartford won’t disappoint me in June. Let’s dig in:

  • Legitimate postings from women in this part of Craigslist are pretty rare. Here’s a 63-year-old woman looking for an endowed man to give him a blowjob. The only thing that piques my curiosity is how many men (probably much younger) are so horny they don’t care about her age. I’m betting it’s a lot but I’m not convinced the ad is legitimate.
  • Can a FWB (friend with benefits) also be a freak? That’s what this self-proclaimed big beautiful woman wants from her FWB. She doesn’t want just any freak, but a very well endowed black man who is freaky. She’s 44 but doesn’t want you if you are attached. Speaking for myself, the last thing I want in a friend is someone freaky.
  • Two female roommates are looking to “share” a well-endowed man, presumably at the same time. Curiously though they won’t host. What’s up with that?
  • She offers “sweet relief” but it sounds like she really offers especially intimate massages, all completely safe, so don’t expect kissing or penetration. I’d bring a lot of cash.
  • She offers even safer sex: naughty pictures by email of her 19-year-old coed body, but only for a fee, of course. She’s posted at least twice: here and here.
  • She is looking for officer material … literally. If you aren’t a police officer, don’t bother responding.
  • How respectful is a 59-year-old man posting as a woman so he can get you to read an ad where he says he wants to watch you masturbate to orgasm? Not very. Respect starts with being truthful, dude. Post this crap under m4w.
  • Are you a submissive lesbian woman hoping for a dominant 28-year-old woman? This lady from Glastonbury looks great in her red dress, so even if you are not submissive you might want to fake it for the chance to play with her.
  • Ladies, here’s your opportunity to try out a woman from Vernon who has never had a woman, but only if her 21-year-old boyfriend can watch. Pass.
  • In a similar vein, here’s a submissive lady looking for a “sister slave”. Pass on this one as well.
  • This is odd: a couple is looking for a well-endowed black man to see intimate pictures of his 45-year-old wife, but you will never meet. It all has to be done virtually. Why do their requirements matter? And why bother if this is your thing? You can see five intimate pictures of her posted in the ad and save yourself the hassle of contacting them.
  • This is odder: a couple is looking to get spanked by a man age 60 or older, but they are not looking for sex or inappropriate touching. A dirty old man can’t catch a break on Craigslist!
  • It’s not often that you can see what you will get in advance. Hartford has an art cinema and this couple is coming there to play on Saturday, and the wife will be very accommodating to all men that meet her criteria. Freshly showered and well-endowed guys should plan to be inside the Hartford Art cinema starting in the afternoon. They’ll be playing on both levels. She may be 51, but she can wash my car anytime. See photos.
  • This is a confusing ad: a man-woman couple is actually a dominant man and “she” is his slave boy, age 24. They are looking for you (a guy) to have “her” to degrade and do many other nasty things to “her”, but only safely.
  • He’s 55 and is looking for a man to “rim”. If you don’t know what that is, suffice to say you probably don’t want to know. He doesn’t want to reciprocate but you must be half his age or less. The main requirement is to have nice buns.
  • They are a couple. He wants her to squirt, but she doesn’t know how, so she needs a teacher. You (a woman) should come over and show her how it is done. My question: where do you get certified in this stuff?
  • Hair is good, the more the better according to this gay man who likes his men natural, including sporting an untrimmed beard.
  • Finally, an honest man: he’s simply looking for a “piece of meat”. I’d suggest a tube steak from the local Big Y.
  • Last but not least is this truly kinky ad from a woman looking for a man. Dildos and an open mouth are required. She’s in her late 30s.

More in July.

 
The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounters weirdness: May 2015 (Hartford CT) edition

Now that I’ve moved I’ve considered giving up monthly reviews of the local Craigslist Casual Encounters section. But my web statistics keep telling me to persevere. These posts remain popular for my small blog: 206 hits in the last 30 days, 218 hits for April, about 12% of my total hits. And that’s just the web traffic, and only the top ten pages with “Craigslist” in the title of the post. Add in syndicated traffic and my email subscribers and the number is doubtless higher.

Where I’m living now (Western Massachusetts) these postings are too lame to share. Springfield is fifteen miles away from me. It is Massachusetts’s third largest city with 700,000 people in the greater area. But it doesn’t warrant its own Craigslist section. So if I’m going to look for weird casual encounter postings, I either need to stop or broaden my range of “local”.

Aside from city of Springfield, the nearest largest cities are Hartford, Connecticut; Albany, New York; and Boston. Boston’s Craigslist includes most of the eastern part of Massachusetts including Worchester. Hartford is practically in spitting distance from Springfield. Its greater metropolitan area has about 1.2 million people, which makes it comparable to the Northern Virginia region that I used to scan. So it will do. But will it have the same bizarre flavor as Northern Virginia’s Craigslist section? Or are people less kinky in Greater Hartford? Let’s sample postings on this Wednesday night to find out.

  • This sexy black man with quite a bit to spare between the legs could have his choice of women into “larger” men, but for some reason is posting for a “tranny” instead. Whatever floats your boat, dude.
  • In Northern Virginia it wasn’t hard to find groups of heterosexual guys looking to gangbang one or more women. There is little evidence so far that there are groups of guys like this in Hartford, but there is at least this dynamic duo, age 30 from Newington.
  • Oh my goodness! There are scam artists on Craigslist! Who would have thought? Off Pascal Lane in Manchester is this “woman” (see her picture) who is actually a passable transvestite with a secret boyfriend in the back. Meet her and rather than get sex her boyfriend will rob you. At least this poster was kind enough to warn fellow casual encounters readers. Let’s hope this deters a few of these many highly hormone-infused men.
  • In fact there are plenty of women who are using Craigslist to pay a few bills, and then some. Yes, shockingly there are whores in this area of Craigslist. Of course, this is not news to regular readers of this area, and when looking at W4M posts they are easy to find. Some get missed but are easy to spot if you read between the lines:
    • She claims to be 25 and is looking for an older guy who “knows how to take care of a girl”
    • She’s 24, a BBW (big beautiful woman) and wants to spend quality time with you but only if you are not cheap
    • She’s not technically a whore as you won’t get any sex, but she is “trying to make ends meet” and will send you “private pictures” presumably only if you meet her ends, but not meet in her end
  • He’s stuck at an airport hotel. His idea of successfully getting unstuck is to stick something very personal of his into you (a woman). He wants to know if any women are intrigued enough to come to his hotel, but most likely a woman won’t even read his ad. I suggest the hotel’s bar, if it has one, for his cruising ground tonight. This guy from Enfield is also at a hotel and feeling frisky, so feel free to shop around ladies! Ask if there are free chocolate chip cookies at the hotel’s front desk.
  • Why are women having so much trouble finding age 60+ men for sex? My guess it is the generally high incidence of erectile dysfunction in this group caused by the lower testosterone levels of older men in general. Anyhow, this woman from Middlesex County is pissed about it and will give you a piece of her mind because she says she’s legit. She may actually be this poster too. She’s available near Dartmouth Crossing and is usually available between 9 AM and 1 PM. Perhaps the local Red Roof Inn has convenient hourly rates and a senior citizen discount.
  • Attention clueless Craigslist men: here are some signs that a posting from a woman might not be legit. She has the same URL plastered three times over her picture. Her ad title says she’s looking for “skaters” and “bbc” but her ad doesn’t mention either of these. Of course she looks very young and hot. How is this happening? Some scammers are picking erotic pictures off the Internet, embedding their adult site in the picture and wrapping them around a simple program that spits out lurid titles and one line “sentences” with no punctuation then posts them probably using an automated process. There are dozens of these a day that look similar, usually with no location attached because a spammer can’t be bothered to take time to find the names of cities near where they are targeting. Enlightened yet?
  • Women embed their phone numbers in these ads all the time. These women are hookers and their ads are quickly flagged. It is unusual to see a guy looking for a gal adapt the same strategy, but this 54-year-old dude seems to want mostly to cuddle and have conversation.
  • Another “dad” (49 from West Hartford) is looking for his “son”. Not to worry Dad, your 22-year-old son wants to hear from you too.
  • Apparently Hartford has an “art” cinema. You don’t find many of these anymore. They used to be called adult theaters, in those days before X rated videos became widely available. Now it’s all the porn you can want for free on the Internet. Anyhow apparently the Hartford Art Cinema is one of these theaters still catering to the raincoat crowd. Based on this review on Reddit, it sounds like a pretty disgusting theater, but apparently at least occasionally consenting adults do naughty things in semi-public there. It sounds like a place where dirty old men and dirty middle aged men can hang out. When not surreptitiously masturbating on a good day maybe a couple like this one will come in and provide a show, and maybe more.
  • Ladies: if you want to see a guy jerk off, this 50-year-old guy is happy to oblige. Here’s another guy with a simpler proposition: you want to get high? If you want to get high badly enough, you won’t care that he’s 39 and married.
  • If you are a gay man and want to use a man’s mouth for your urinal, this 27-year-old guy from Hartford with a suggestive picture taken in a men’s room is ready.
  • Most men looking for women in this section of Craigslist know it’s a waste of time. If you are going to post this type of ad anyhow, be specific. Ask for women with pigtails and sneakers, like this 36-year-old man from Hartford.

More next month, maybe. Hartford looks promising for this sort of entertainment.

 
The Thinker

No right to work in “right to work” laws

Wisconsin is the latest state to enact a so-called “right to work” law. With this law exactly half of the states are now right to work states. If your state is a right to work state, this means that you cannot be required to join a union as a condition for taking a job. If collective bargaining exists at a job site, the union can still negotiate benefits for you. You just have the right not to pay them union dues.

The effects on employees in these states are easily documented. In general you will earn less for the same job than in a state with no such laws. Unsurprisingly, this is because it is harder for a union to win the right to negotiate wages and benefits when they have fewer resources (union dues) to do it with. If paying union dues bothers you, there is an alternative: don’t take a job in the first place. If you think union dues are too high, as a union member you can petition for changes. Like any union (such as a credit union) a labor union is owned by its members. A union can disband itself if its members feel it is ineffective or if its dues are too onerous.

The supposed rationalization for right to work laws is that you as an employee should not have to pay from your wages fees that you do not want to pay. However, we are already required to have withheld from our wages federal income taxes, state income taxes, often city income taxes, pension contributions, Social Security and Medicare taxes. We can’t opt out of these. In many states other things are automatically withheld unless you explicitly opt out, such as your contribution to a 401-K retirement fund.

What if anything does all this have with a “right to work”? The theory seems to be that paying union dues by itself might be the difference between having a job that pays a wage you can live on and one you cannot live on. This is at best a dubious proposition, since you would be hard pressed to find a service-related profession where the real wage (after union dues) is less than a similar job without a union. It’s almost guaranteed that union members will negotiate better benefits for their members than you would by yourself bargaining with your employer.

“Right to work” laws are misnamed. You have no right to a job in any state. The closest we came was during the Great Depression. Government-created agencies like the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps hired the unemployed to build bridges and improve our national parks when private industry would not. My grandfather was one of these people that depended on a WPA job during the Great Depression. Today, if you are unemployed the best you can hope for are some limited unemployment benefits and food stamps. The reality for most people is that these benefits don’t begin to cover the real cost of living, so they are employed. They are just not employed enough to have a living wage. Many of these people are so good at finding jobs that they have two or three jobs simultaneously, generally part time with no benefits. Yet they still cannot afford to live and they survive at the margins, perhaps in group housing but often they end up homeless.

So right to work states don’t guarantee any right to work. Such laws thus provide no particular incentive to get work. And if you can’t find a job, state assistance at helping you find a job will be marginal at best. Maybe there is a state unemployment office where you can go to look at local job listings, although this is mostly done online now. To the extent you can get unemployment benefits, you will likely have to prove you are diligently searching for a job. This isn’t normally a problem because you cannot survive long on unemployment benefits. At best you will draw from your savings less quickly than you would without them.

What would a right to work look like? A right is distinguished from a privilege because it is inherent and inalienable. You have the right to practice the religion of your choice. If you had a true right to work then either a employer would have to hire you or the government would be the employer of last resort. You might not like the work they would give you but it would be work that you are capable of doing. And since it would be work instead of free labor, they would have to pay you a wage. And since we work to survive, the work would have to pay a living wage, i.e. you should be able to live above the poverty line from a full time job.

You’ll see none of this in any “right to work” state, or any state at all, which means there is no right to work in this country. What they really are is “the right to opt out of paying union dues while enjoying the benefits of a union should your job be covered by a collective bargaining agreement.” Of course if because of insufficient union dues, the union goes bankrupt then you are out of luck. And as is often the case in right to work states, with no requirement for you to pay union dues, most unions can’t organize to win collective bargaining rights. Unsurprisingly “right to work” states have much lower rates of unionized workers than other states.

Without a labor union not only are you likely to have fewer benefits, you are also more likely to lose your job, which contradicts the whole “right to work” philosophy. You are an “at will” employee, which means you can quit for anytime and any reason and leave your employer in the lurch. Your employer also has the right to fire you at any time, and generally for any reason except those few reasons (like due to your sex or race) prohibited by law. Of course, it is very hard to prove that you were deliberately fired due to these factors, so basically you can be let go at any time, for any reason or no reason at all, and with no severance pay unless there is a state law on that. You might be able to retain your health insurance under the COBRA law, only if you can pay the full cost of the premiums while getting no income.

Right to work laws are simply snake oil wherein the state gives you the “right” not to pay union dues at the almost certain cost of a reduced standard of living and with a greater likelihood of sudden unemployment. If it were explained to workers this way almost no employees would want them.

 
The Thinker

Don’t be the roadkill on the global climate change super highway

Most Americans are comfortably in denial about global climate change. In some places, like in the Florida state government, saying the phrases global warming or global climate change may get you in trouble. Governor Tim Scott doesn’t believe it’s happening and doesn’t want to hear his minions utter these naughty words. His overwhelmingly Republican legislature is happy to back him up. Meanwhile, in places like Miami and Fort Lauderdale, where rising sea levels are already happening, city and county officials are funding mitigation strategies to minimize flooding that is already underway. A king tide can pull ocean water onto streets at certain times of the year when the earth is closest to the sun and the moon is closest to the earth. Meanwhile, condos keep going up along Florida’s coasts.

My sister lives in Hollywood near Fort Lauderdale. She has the typical ranch house. Despite having a house on concrete blocks, twice in the last few years her house has flooded. Like most of her neighbors, she loves living in Florida and particularly near the coast. Her boat is parked at a local marina. Retirement is on her horizon. She is not stupid and understands that rising sea levels are already affecting her and it will be more of a problem in their future. Her retirement plans, such as they are, are to move inland to Arcadia, where the cost of living is very cheap and the elevation is 57 feet above sea level, which it at least higher than Hollywood’s 9 feet.

Perhaps that will work for her. As sea levels rise, it will be harder to get goods to places like Arcadia. In general there will be a lot of people along Florida’s coasts slowly coming to grasp the magnitude of climate change events underway. It’s not hard to predict more dikes and heightened sand dunes along the coasts as a coping mechanism. It’s not hard to figure out who will eventually win: Mother Nature. Rick Scott may want to deny it, but you can’t change chemistry or pretend it’s not happening. Add more carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere, and the atmosphere will warm, ice will melt and sea levels will rise. I’ve urged my sister to move out of Florida altogether, or if she must live in Florida to pick a place like Tallahassee where the elevation gets as high as 203 feet.

Meanwhile, California is trying to grasp with the magnitude of its issues, which is driven by global climate change, which was triggered by global warming. It’s not news to read they are about a decade into a steadily worsening drought. Only 5% of the normal snowpack fell in the mountains this year. Governor Jerry Brown, who does acknowledge global climate change, is trying to ration water but there are lots of legal exemptions. California is browning up, but it’s hardly alone in the west. Much of its population is in real risk of having their taps run dry in the next few years. In some places in California, it already has as wells run dry.

As Bachman-Turner Overdrive sang: “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.” To grasp the future, look at what is happening today in the Mediterranean Sea. Almost daily there are heartbreaking stories of refugees fleeing Africa and the east coast of the Mediterranean for Europe, and many are drowning at sea when their boats capsize or are deliberately sunk. It’s true that a lot of these refugees are escaping war or political unrest, and overpopulation in that area is also straining resources, which is contributing to their poverty and desperation. But climate change is certainly a factor there as well and some believe provided the fuel for wars in Syria. When it becomes sufficiently painful, people will use whatever resources they have to move from poverty to wealth and from war to peace. Thousands have already perished at sea but still they come despite the risks. As climate change worsens we’ll see this problem only get worse, and it will drive a lot of war and conflict. As sea levels rise people will simply vote with their feet and move to higher elevations, causing political instability and turmoil.

Global climate change is inescapable, but that doesn’t mean a lot of it cannot be mitigated. My wife and I are now residents of Massachusetts and were formerly residents of Northern Virginia. Nestled now in mountainous western Massachusetts, we are strategically positioned to minimize the effects of global climate change on our lives. The one comment we invariably got when we disclosed we were moving north was, “But you are supposed to move south when you retire.”

That’s the old rules. In 36 years of living in Northern Virginia we have already witnessed climate change (not to mention explosive growth). What were once native plantings in our area are no longer suited for the new climate reality. They are now considered native further north. We’ve seen temperatures rising in general and more frequent severe weather. Life was a lot more bearable in Northern Virginia in 1984 when I first moved to Reston than 31 years later. New England is changing too. It’s becoming the new Mid-Atlantic, with more severe weather and higher temperatures. It will get into the eighties up here this week, and it’s only the first week of May.

We made a conscious decision not to retire out west, at least not to those areas that are already impacted by climate change, which is most of the west. Their problems are only exacerbated by population growth. California is very vulnerable, but it is hardly alone. Most of the population of the southwest survives due to the largess of the Colorado River, which on average is recording reduced streamflow every year. The Colorado River is typically dry before it hits the Pacific Ocean, all due to human usage.

That’s not a problem out here in western Massachusetts, at least not yet. We’re nowhere near the coast, so coastal storms will affect us less, although the last few years around here have seen record snowfalls. Water is in abundant supply and there are huge reservoirs to supplement the supply during droughts. We are close to local farms as well as major interstates. Not coincidentally we are not too far from major cities like New York and Boston, so we can enjoy their amenities as we age.

In short, our retirement choices were built around the reality of global climate change to maximize our happiness and to reduce our costs and vulnerabilities due to climate change. We have chosen to be proactive about this obvious problem rather than stick our heads in the sand like Rick Scott is doing.

We will all be impacted by climate change, and I suspect the majority will be severely impacted eventually. I can and do advocate for changes to reduce the rate of global warming. Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, who sees the future and plans to profit from it by offering batteries to power the home encourage me. In the new neighborhood we will call home when our house constructed is finished, about half the homes already have solar panels. I expect within a few years we will as well, with the eventual goal of going off-grid if we can. Massachusetts agrees as well, and offers generous credits for those interested in solar power and reducing energy usage. Don’t expect Rick Scott to do anything this intelligent for his citizens.

Human nature being what it is, most of us will live in ignorance or choose denial about global climate change until it is too late. By then it will be far more costly to do something about it than it is today. In the case of my sister in Florida, I’ve urged her to sell her house now. It’s not practical for her at the moment since she is not retired, but now she can get full price for her house. As the reality of global climate change settles in down there, it’s going to lower everyone’s home prices. Eventually these properties will be worthless and much of her net worth could be irretrievably lost.

I don’t want her to become roadkill on the global climate change superhighway. I don’t want you too either. It is time to get past the self-destructive denial on the issue, and plan your lives to minimize its impact. It’s coming at you and it will change everything but unfortunately it’s hard to see because it seems so abstract and nebulous. But it’s coming nonetheless.

Be prepared.

 
The Thinker

Craigslist casual encounters weirdness: April 2015 edition

This will be my last monthly survey of Northern Virginia Craigslist casual encounter section. A month from now I will be living in New England. Western Massachusetts (where I’ll be living) has a very lame Craigslist casual encounters section. But I’ll be an hour from Hartford, Connecticut and ninety minutes from Boston. I might survey this section for these cities for future posts. It’s a cheap form of entertainment for you and it’s an easy way for me to garner hits without sweating too much at the keyboard. These posts garnered at least 175 web page views in March, about a hundred less than in February and amounted to just ten percent of web traffic. So I may have mined this Craigslist meme for all it’s worth, which may be a relief to some of you looking for weightier content. I’ll see how it goes.

Surveying the first page of posts tonight I see:

  • 46 men looking for a woman
  • 24 men looking for a man
  • 5 men looking for a couple
  • 8 women looking for a man
  • 1 woman looking for a woman, which appears to be a post warning that the referenced ad is a fake
  • 4 transgender people looking for a man
  • 2 couples looking for another couple

And now for the naughty bits:

  • Linda Lovelace lives … or at least has been reincarnated. This youngish woman of an unspecified age is going retro (early 1970s) when the braless look and halter-tops were in. If you don’t know what Linda was known for, let’s just say she claimed her clitoris was deep down her throat. That should be enough for you to know what she wants to do with a man tonight, and she wants her man very wide between his legs. I suspect this is another bogus ad, but who knows? Maybe she is into erotic asphyxiation.
  • Couples, what’s the point of having a threesome with just any man when you can go with a reliable source? This 48-year-old man from McLean claims to have done this many times, and misses his FWB couple and actually prefers to be the extra male. He does have some competition tonight, such as this 42-year-old Scot from Arlington, so be selective couples!
  • As a 50-plus man, I can understand the appeal of a “sugar babe” half my age if I were independently wealthy. But how much sugar should a 48-year-old woman be worth, particularly when she spells sugar “surgar” and can’t complete a grammatical sentence? Men: give her Splenda instead.
  • He’s a 28-year-old man from Gaithersburg wanting to buy women’s used panties, the messier the better. He’s open to worn bras as well. He’s either into female pheromones or, more likely, he’s so unattractive that this is the closest he can get to intimacy with a woman, which is pathetic. He is willing to trade just in case you are a woman with a similar kink.
  • Men seem to find infinite ways to have their M4W ad stand out on Craigslist. Usually it’s the unappealing dick pic. This six foot one inch guy of an indeterminate age is going for the mentorship angle. It probably won’t work but he must figure it’s worth a try.
  • Faked incest ads are still in evidence this month. Here’s a 24-year-old “son” looking for his freaky “mom”. He is looking for a woman over age 30. So it’s okay if your mom was 7 years old when she had you? What’s up with that?
  • She’s 31, married but attracted to her gender and wants to work out her feelings through dirty texting only.
  • He’s from Montgomery County, horny but doesn’t want to get past third base. He’s willing to pay you for your time. What’s with not wanting to score that home run? Most likely: fear of erectile dysfunction.
  • This is weird. He’s a 42-year-old guy from Centreville looking for a guy, but he’s got a girlfriend. He wants to deep throat you wearing his girlfriend’s nylon panties and he wants to do this in your car in a parking lot near where he lives. He’s not only weird; he’s weirdly particular. And there are seven pictures of him wearing various colors of his girlfriend’s panties. He pretty much gets all the colors of the rainbow.
  • It’s a 23-year-old surfer dude from Woodbridge who hasn’t been laid in two years. Ladies, check out his Beach Boys approved picture and catch his wave!
  • She’s a 33-year-old African American “pillow princess” from Manassas. Basically she and her boyfriend want to have a threesome with a woman. She wants to get dirty with you but screwing her man is out, although a blowjob is maybe okay. However, if you do it she’ll probably be upset and pout. So it basically sounds like she is not ready for this, so find another ad instead ladies.
  • If you are a woman looking for a woman tonight, go for this extremely cute 19-year-old from Ashburn. Most men would willingly undergo a sex change operation to have one encounter with her. Even weirder: the ad looks legit.
  • Craigslist ads are often baffling and this one from what looks like a black woman who is never having sex again but wants to give oral sex is one of the most baffling tonight. She either has a phobia against her own genitals or has a terrible yeast infection. Or she’s high as a kite. I’m going with the last one.
  • Married men looking for a bit on the side ads tend to overwhelm this Craigslist section. They all want a single woman who can host and are desperately advertising for her. Finally, a 41-year-old single woman from Alexandria has an ad just for you horn dogs. Doubtless her email inbox is overflowing and may be crashing her email server.
  • Speaking of dogs: men, are you submissive? Would you like to be her dog? Prepare to start howling for her moons. Good doggy!
  • A married 42-year-old BBW female exhibitionist with her husband’s consent seeks a single male voyeur. She is looking for erotic modeling requests, hopefully outdoors. If you are hoping for more, it looks like this is as far as you will get with her.
  • A group of older and mostly married bikers is looking for one woman. Basically they are only interested in making sperm bank deposits into your mouth.

For me the woman looking for a man to be her dog wins the award for the most bizarre and disturbing ad this month.

 
The Thinker

The endless battle of the bulge

There is some good news, somewhat anecdotal, on the relentless war on our waists. The other day food conglomerates Heinz and Kraft announced they would merge, forming a new company, Heinz-Kraft. It’s unlikely that these companies would be merging at all except that their sales are down. These kings of processed foods like macaroni and cheese and Velveeta are finding that profits are falling with their sales. They hope that by merging they can reverse the trend, or at least find cost savings to prop up profits even as processed food sales seem to be receding.

If I were a stockholder in either of these companies, I would be buying more of their shares, not selling them. When forced to choose between what I would like Americans to do (eat healthy food) and what they are likely to do, I think the great expansion of the American gut is ultimately going to win. Of course there are plenty of Americans who eat healthy, as evidenced by the sales at stores like Whole Foods. Most of these customers though were eating healthy before they started shopping there. They are shopping there I believe principally because it is more convenient, and they get more variety at places like Whole Foods. They are also understandably paranoid: about processed foods, about genetically modified foods and want to live in good health to at least 100. Good luck to them on this quest.

I am not at all convinced that those of us who are principally Heinz and Kraft consumers will change our eating habits. Dieting is certainly doable, but only a relative few of those who do diet will manage to successfully make the lifestyle changes to keep the weight off. I am one of many people who have yo-yoed over the years. Dieters are great at taking the weight off. Keeping it off is the only trick they haven’t mastered.

So why is it? Dieticians have their own ideas, but I suspect most dieticians don’t really understand the problem because they don’t experience it. I think most diets fail for cultural reasons. But also, it’s almost impossible not to encounter temptation. One can of course choose to resist temptation, but it’s much easier to do so when the temptation is not constantly in your face.

Alcoholics go to AA meetings regularly, or at least try to. It’s unlikely though when they drive down the street that they will pass a package store on every block. Of course in some states it’s not too hard to find a package store on every block, or what seems like every block. Florida comes to mind but there are many other states like this. Unsurprisingly, if you are an alcoholic you’ll have more luck staying sober in states where package stores are relatively rare. It’s easier to resist temptation when you encounter temptation less often.

If you are a consumer of processed foods, avoiding temptation is virtually impossible. If you grew up eating healthy then temptation is less of an issue because you do not crave these foods, so you can pass down a strip blissfully immune from the lure of pizza and burger joints along your route. If you picked up the habit over the years then going down the street is like having a package store on every block is to an alcoholic. Of course the danger is not just your local strip. It’s your local grocery store as well where Kraft and Heinz stuff most of the aisles with products. It’s at the quick mart, it’s at the vending machine down the hall at work or school, and it’s at the airport, the train station and pretty much anywhere you go. Unhealthy food is everywhere and it’s relatively cheap.

If you can manage to unlearn the habit of eating this stuff, you can find salvation. As noted, few manage to do so in the long run. It would help to live a cloistered life, but even if you manage to do so, you also need to cut yourself off from the larger world. Madison Avenue will make sure that ads are calculated to make you give in to temptation. It’s no wonder then that few Americans succeed in permanent weight loss. For what you really need is the superhuman ability to resist temptation and it turns out that we are only human.

For most of our history, mankind has been hunter/gatherers. We foraged for food. We killed local animals for meat. Foraging is built into us. To survive foragers preferred food sources close to where they were living. So if there were berries to eat across the stream, they were more likely to be eaten than to travel a dozen miles for something else. Survival depended on expending calories wisely. This is so engrained in us that today we unconsciously select food choices close to us. So if there is an unhealthy food option a block away and a healthy food option two blocks away, when we get hungry more than likely the unhealthy option will win. Location tends to win. Meanwhile Madison Avenue keeps refining pitches to us via various media to try newer and tastier foods. So maybe we find that we prefer Papa Johns pizza to Pizza Hut, so over time that encourages Papa Johns to build a store near you, increasing the likelihood that you will prefer unhealthy food. In short, most of us are caught up in au unhealthy food cycle that will become virtually impossible to break. Hence, most diets fail in the long run.

Eating of course is also a highly social activity. No one would come to a party where no is food served, and they don’t come to eat healthy. We will tend to emulate the eating habits of those around us simply to fit in. So if other members of our family are eating unhealthy then we are likely to do so as well. But we’re also likelier to do so if our friends and neighbors do as well.

So breaking this cycle looks pretty hopeless. One way to increase the odds that you will break the odds is to hang out with people that eat healthy. Of course, there’s some likelihood that they won’t let you into their club because you aren’t skinny waifs like them. And they won’t understand your craving for a Ding Dong when they naturally select stalks of celery to munch on.

What can be done but probably won’t happen in this country is we could tax unhealthy food. We could also use zoning to limit the number of unhealthy places to acquire food, recognizing that these places are essentially public nuisances. One offshoot of the Affordable Care Act is that restaurants of a certain size are going to have to list calorie counts on their menus. This is a small step in the right direction, but resisting temptation is much easier when temptation is not in your face, or it costs extra to indulge in a temptation. Social engineering does work given time. It has dramatically reduced smoking rates over a couple of generations. However we have to find the moxey to put into office politicians that will do these things. Given that campaigns are increasingly funded by the very rich whose wealth often depends on you maintaining your unhealthy eating habits, this approach is unlikely at best.

Which is why it would be foolish to bet against Heinz-Kraft. Hold on to your stock and maybe use your capital gains to shop at Whole Foods instead. As for me, I’m sadly betting that in this Battle of the Bulge, our bulge is going to win out.

 

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