Saturday, January 21, 2017

The Group W bench, Crime Fighting, and Psychic Sexpots

A long time ago, there was a song called "Alice's Restaurant." It was written and performed by Arlo Guthrie, and it related the story of the Alice's Restaurant Massacree, which took place in Stockbridge Massachusetts, with a closing which took place in a big building on Whitehall Street where Arlo went for his draft physical.
"You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
 You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant.
Just walk right in, it's around the back, just a half a mile from the railroad track,
You can get anything you want, at Alice's Restaurant."
If you don't know the story, take 18 -23 minutes of your time, and go listen to the ORIGINAL 1965 version of it here,  or if you DO know the story,  you can listen to the 1996 updated version here. or you can take 40 minutes of yer time and listen to both. It's a good way to spend your time. I'll wait here.......

Okay, yer back. Wasn't that great?

Now, just in case you are one of those folks who DIDN'T click on the link, I'm gonna give you the punchline. Yeah, I guess that means it's a SPOILER, but it's your own fault. You COULD have listened to one of the links! Anyway, Arlo gets arrested for littering, and it becomes an issue when he has to report for his draft screening. Because he had a prior arrest, he had to go sit on the Group W bench with the other criminals: mother rapers, father stabbers, FATHER RAPERS! 

Umm...I should point out, that for gentlemen now of a certain age, the draft was a big deal. There were a few years there in the late 60's and very early 70's where if you got drafted, you went to Viet Nam, or possibly Germany. Nobody worried about going to Germany. (That's where I went.) But if you were a young man during those years, the thoughts of being drafted and sent to Viet Nam was never far from your mind.

And, the song "Alice's Restaurant" was one of the ways we had of dealing with our fear. We listened to it over and over, and in the case of the VERY talented, such as Billy Doniel, my best friend in high school; well, they actually LEARNED the entire song, and played it and we sang along in spots, reciting the parts of the dialogue that we could retain. Billy lived with his grandmother, and she never could understand how he could remember all the words to the song, and couldn't remember the answers on a history test. Obviously, she didn't know what was important to a 17 year old boy.

Time passed, and what with one thing and another, I left Alice's Restaurant behind. I wasn't drafted, I joined, and so that happy little song wasn't quite as relevant. My high school class, that of 1971, had a number of guys drafted, but not to the extent that earlier classes had, and nobody in my class went to Viet Nam.

But today, to the best of my knowledge, at least two of my daughters attended the Atlanta version of the Million Woman March. To the best of my knowledge, they weren't wearing those ridiculous freaken hats; they have a sense of style that I don't see fitting in with that, but who knows? I just hope they don't wind up on the Group W bench. If they do, though, they know Papa Pat will post their bail. And I wish there were singing 'Alice's Restaurant' as they march.

And that's all I have to say about that.

On a completely different topic, Amie Gibbons has written a lovely book about a crime-fighting FBI agent named Ariana Ryder, a cute little smidgen of a woman with psychic abilities. She has appeared in previous short stories, but I missed them. There is enough back story revealed in 'Psychic Undercover' that you don't HAVE to read the previous work, but I will likely go back and read them for enjoyment, time permitting.

I'm not so much writing a book review here, as I am revealing how I deal with the sex scenes. Other than being a psychic (well, and being an FBI agent), Ariana is an average 23 year old young woman. She has some baggage, related to her  family, but she is bright, energetic, and talented. And she is also inordinately interested in members of the opposite sex. She's not sexually active, due to part of the baggage she's carrying, but she has a HUGE crush on her boss. Because she is not a freaken lamebrain, she hasn't attempted to act out, but she does more than her share of swooning and mooning, in private. (But others know.) Those do not feature in the sex scenes, however.

It's a bad idea to get sexually or romantically involved with a vampire. Everybody knows that; it's one of the things they teach you in kindergarten, along with not taking candy from strangers. So, silly person that she is, Ariana gets involved with a vampire.

There are extenuating circumstances! He is wounded by a silver arrow while saving her life, and will die if the silver reaches her heart. She has to suck the silver-contaminated blood out of the wound, or he dies.

Parenthetically: this may be EXACTLY the way to treat silver contamination in a vampire; I do not know. However, despite what Ariana thinks, it is NOT the way to treat a snake-bit wound. With all snakebite wounds except one, evacuate the bite victim to a medical facility; the only treatment is antivenin. In the last case, the bite of the Black Mamba, you have 10 minutes to make a will, because you are going to die.

So: Ariana sucks the wounded vampire's blood, and becomes intoxicated and sexually aroused. Evidently, that's the way it works. So, much later, the vampire shows up on her door and makes his move, and she is receptive. Then follows a chapter of explicit sex, with a few vampire flavors tossed in.

Okay. I don't like sex scenes. The REASON I don't like sex scenes is tied into the same reason I don't look at porn or frequent strip clubs: it's all a tease. I see no point whatsoever in the tickle. And I absolutely want to do nothing that would cause me to create a mental sex scene with someone other than my wife. Now, you may find me a prude, but this is a choice I made years ago, and it's kept me from THAT problem, at least. So, how do I deal with it when the book I'm reading gets explicitly racy?

Well there is some stuff I skip altogether. I loved the 'Ghost' series by John Ringo, but there were entire sections I just skipped.  However, what if it's milder?

My motivation here is to keep myself safe. I am REQUIRED to live a life of rigorous honesty; otherwise, I will fall into secrets, then resentments, and if I stay there long enough, I will become so miserable that I will seek a chemical solution. So, I insist on being utterly open, and that means:

It means I read those sections of a book to my gift-from-God, happily-ever-after trophy wife Vanessa, the elegant, foxy, praying black grandmother of Woodstock, GA.  She understands that reading and reviewing is my job; it's what I do. But if, in HER opinion, a particular scene is over the top, then I accept her evaluation and turn the page. 

I do the same thing with movies and TV.  
We do NOT have the same tastes. And frankly, hers are safer than mine, I think. But I will be John Brown if I willingly watch those stupid Hallmark movies or dorky Christmas special. So, we share some things, and we serve as a check and balance on each other, and it works.

And that's all I have today.


  1. Correction:FOUR of my daughters went to the Washington DC march. They got there too late to march, though, and had to watch from the sidelines. And they didn't wear the hats!

  2. That's hilarious, sorry!

    One of my kids went to the San Franciso march, and I had friends who posted pictures at several others.

    As for sex scenes, as soon as they get explicit, I skip - and don't read that author again. Not my tribe - I don't want my mind filled up with other people's ideas of sex.

    On TV, I just want to get out of there - because it's all fake (or should be), and it freaks me out to know how many people were standing around filming, etc., so I can't suspend disbelief. So I literally leave the room.

    Your wife is a pearl of great price if she lets you read stuff to her. I suppose you could both laugh at it, too. My husband is a sweetheart, but reading fiction isn't his thing, so I couldn't do that - but then, I don't review, and I pretend no one I ever knew will read my writing, even as I try to peddle it to them. Yes, I am able to hold two completely opposite thoughts in my mind at the same time.

    I think the march organizers would have been fine with you marching; but the daughters would know whether they should give their approval, I assume, because they know you.

    I don't think I will read this one, but I don't usually read anything with vampires in it.