Sunday, September 30, 2012

fathered by a man other than

“In an analysis of about twenty-four thousand children across nine mostly Anglo-Saxon countries, about 3 percent were found to have been fathered by a man other than the presumed father. That means that about one out of thirty men was unknowingly raising someone else’s child …”

quoted from A Billion Wicked Thoughts: what the world’s largest experiment reveals about human desire by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam

Six generations back every one of us has 32 great grandfathers. If you draw your family tree past the sixth generation, chances are you’re beginning to or already are running down the pasts of men not related to you.

Does this statistic include the artificial inseminations? I guess sperm banks don’t go far back. But there’s always been adoption. And it’s not always been something people have talked about.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

straight but not thick – or long

“The average length of the gay penis is 6.32 inches. The average length of the straight penis is 5.99 inches. … When it comes to the prime organ of masculinity, [gay men] have been endowed with nearly an extra half inch.”

Authors Ogas and Gaddam even speculate that the fayest of the gays have the meatiest of the cocks. A study waiting to be undertaken?

From the notes in the back of the book: “Gay men are thicker too: straights have a penis circumference of 4.80 inches, while gay men have 4.95 inches.”

source: A Billion Wicked Thoughts: what the world’s largest experiment reveals about human desire by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam

Friday, September 28, 2012

40% chance

“According to recent DNA analysis, through the history of the human race about 80 percent of the women reproduced, but only 40 percent of men reproduced.”

quoted from A Billion Wicked Thoughts: what the world’s largest experiment reveals about human desire by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam

I remember a primate researcher saying that human sexual dimorphism (in regard to the relative sizes of men and women) is consistent with our being the descendants of families of one father and two mothers. In a species that is primarily monogamous the males and females are much the same size and weight. Gibbons, an example. On the other extreme would be gorillas – big big male, several much smaller females.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

the single most popular

“[W]hat is the single most popular search term users enter into the PornHub search engine?


quoted from A Billion Wicked Thoughts: what the world’s largest experiment reveals about human desire by Ogi Ogas and Sai Gaddam

Monday, September 24, 2012

Glenn Ingersoll in silhouette at 2012 Berkeley Poetry Festival

This was in May of this year. The sound is fairly good. Crank it up!

update: When I first watched this I couldn't see my face, but it looks like the contrast has been improved quite a bit. Thanks, litseen!

More Berkeley Poetry Festivals vids at the litseen youtube channel.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How’s your cultural literacy?

Delving my pile of reading one night I passed from Heaney to Meeker:

from “In the Attic” by Seamus Heaney

Like Jim Hawkins aloft in the crosstrees
Of Hispaniola, nothing underneath him
But still green water and clean bottom sand,

The ship aground, the canted mast far out
Above a seafloor where striped fish pass in shoals –
And when they’ve passed, the face of Israel Hands

That rose in the shrouds before Jim shot him dead
Appears to rise again … “But he was dead enough,”
the story says, “being both shot and drowned.”

source: The New Yorker February 9 & 16, 2009
The dunes rose steeply at the back of the cottage with their endless waves of white sand; the paths twisted and climbed through the stunted sprawling pines, half buried in sand – pines that could be climbed, and that, if you sort of squinted your eyes, became very like the crow’s nest of a sailing ship such as the one Jim Hawkins had sailed on. He could imagine his tormenters, in gay pirate costumes (but none so gay as his), toppling one after the other into the sea after some particularly deadly encounter with his trusty blade.
source: Better Angel a novel by Richard Meeker

The Meeker novel was originally published in 1933. I was reading an Alyson Publications paperback reissue. According to the introduction “Better Angel is possibly the first novel published in America to show male homosexuality in a positive light …” The excerpt above is from when the hero was a boy.

I didn’t remember who Jim Hawkins was until I got to the second passage. Oh yeah. Him.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Sambo unexpectedly in the pile of reading

When I was a kid for a treat my mother would take our family to Sambo’s, a diner not unlike Lyon’s or Denny’s. I remember the art on the walls, menus, and placemats told the Sambo story, not quite so I understood it, but colorfully enough that I was fascinated by particular scenes – the boy in the turban, the tigers. At some point I heard the Sambo story was considered racist. Why? The boy seemed clever and resourceful and won out over scary tigers. Was it mainly the illustrations in the original storybook, The Story of Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman, that created the problem? Bannerman was British and may have intended the story to be about dark-skinned South Asians; tigers live in Indian, not Africa, after all. David Pilgrim in an essay about “The Picaninny Caricature” says Bannerman’s Sambo “is very dark, has a broad nose, and the stereotypical exaggerated red lips and rolling eyes found in black caricatures,” which he sees as a clearly African rather than South Asian lampoon. Besides the illustrations, the names Bannerman chose for her characters suggest racist stereotypes. “At the time that the book was originally published Sambo was an established anti-black epithet, a generic degrading reference.” And there’s nothing flattering about Sambo’s parents’ names – Mumbo and Jumbo.

Pilgrim doesn’t think Helen Bannerman meant to be malicious. But her work was much pirated and imitated – and itself subject to lampoon and caricature – and non-Bannerman versions took the Sambo story into clearly ugly territory, reinforcing hateful attitudes about African Americans. Says David Pilgrim, “By the 1960s the book was seen as a remnant of a racist past.”

The Sambo’s restaurant chain is no more. At its height in the 70s, according to Wikipedia, there were 1200 Sambo’s restaurants. Controversy over the name as well as some sort of “corporate level decisions … led to Sambo's … demise.” The first Sambo’s still exists in Santa Barbara, California.

Sambo popped his head up one night recently. I was reading a little of this and a little of that, as I do. In his book on the Moon’s origins, The Big Splat, Dana Mackenzie says back in the early days of the solar system the Moon and the Earth orbited quite close to each other, they spun a lot quicker, and they hadn’t yet cooled into hard globes. They were, in other words, “whirling around each other like the tigers in an Indian folktale who chased each other around a tree until they melted into butter.” Oh, I said to myself, Mackenzie’s talking about the Sambo story.

In Ellen Conroy Kennedy’s The Negritude Poets the Sambo story comes up in a very different context. Kennedy says two women were getting to know each other “at the Dakar Festival, in April 1966.” Both women were American. One woman had a son, “a beautiful child of about five or six, [who] had been playing tiger, and growling, ‘Watch out! Watch out! I’m going to eat you up!’ [The white woman said] in surprise, ‘Hey, that’s what the tiger said to Sambo! And he said, “Oh, please, Mister Tiger, don’t eat me up, and I’ll give you my fine green umbrella! …”’ [ellipsis in original] Suddenly the boy’s mother, who was black, turned on the other woman and gave her a furious tongue-lashing. Hearing the word ‘Sambo,’ she thought the stranger had meant to insult her child.” The white woman, shocked at this reaction, reports the incident to her friend, the poet Edouart J. Maunick. “[S]he burst into uncontrollable sobs trying to explain what had happened. Maunick was much moved.”

Edouard Maunick wrote a poem in response, “Letter to Ellen Conroy Kennedy.” Yes, the white woman was the editor/translator herself. Maunick offers solace and a philosophical shake of the head at the legacy of painful words. “The byword is despair / sign and symbol of / a terrible divide / the war of words / the war of roots and branches / lies heavy in a stranger’s mouth / despite her uncontrary mind …”

Monday, September 10, 2012

a found poem by Kent Mannis

can a profit business
use voluntaries
people from a non profit organization
for a set price
for each voluntaries,
in other word a profit business
for stadium stand
using voluntaries people thought
a non profit organization
an classify them
as non employees.


No, Kent did not write the above. He works for an internet company that provides employment law compliance information to employers. So he gets questions, some straightforward (“Do I have to pay my employees overtime on a federal holiday?”), some less so … The one above – Kent broke it into lines – has, as one of Kent’s colleagues said, “a certain beauty.”

Even if I didn’t hear stories nearly every day from Kent about this or that employment law topic he’s had to confront, I think I’d find this one funny. It has that flavor of language that ought to resolve into meaning, that you feel is surely about to, that if you only held it on your tongue a bit longer you’d be able to name, and yet …

Sunday, September 09, 2012

a senryu by Kent Mannis

bumper to bumper
rolling a joint on College
such concentration

Monday, September 03, 2012

word of the day: plantigrade

[S]aid Snuffer gruffly, “but let me tell you one thing, never cross a bear. A crossed bear is a cross bear and beware of him.” Paying no attention to the mirth of the outlaws, Snuffer went calmly on with his recital. “I am as you have probably noticed, a plantigrade, carnivorous animal, though I much prefer fruit, vegetables, fish and honey.”
definition: walking on the whole sole of the foot, as humans, and bears.

source: Ojo in Oz by Ruth Plumly Thompson

I am reading through Ruth Plumly Thompson’s contributions to the Oz series for the first time in chronological order. On the whole I’m enjoying the experience. In Ojo in Oz Thompson gives Ojo his biggest role since his first appearance in Baum’s The Patchwork Girl of Oz.