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Consensual Crazy

I spent yesterday afternoon at a jam packed memorial service, held in a very large Catholic church, for a teen who died in a skiing accident.

not the actual funeral

Surrounded as I was by such obvious pain and grief, it was not the time to sound off on my own beliefs or show disrespect for the apparently sincere expressions of utter nonsense. Not the right time to mock. It was disconcerting to hear so much crazy, and so many people who seem unable to understand that time passes and things actually change.

If I were to lose an arm, yet run around insisting that my arm was still there, that I would be reunited with my arm soon, that my arm still existed, healthy and invisible, in another place, people would think me insane. If I were to lose my job, yet insist that the job was still mine and that soon the pay cheques would come my way again, people would recognize that I was in denial. Yet somehow the massive denial that goes with the death of a loved one is an accepted, encouraged, and expected (demanded?) characteristic of human beings.

There was a lot of crazy in my afternoon yesterday. I just hope I never catch it.

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What is it about nose hair?

We need a good evo-psych theory to explain this.  (So that PZ Myers can rightfully scoff at it as a “Just So Story” ) I love head hair.  Long, shiny, or clipped very short, it doesn’t matter.  It’s all sensual.  Beautiful.  Body hair in moderation is also okay, sort of, and what Alan Ginsberg called “fuzzy fucky blondes” are a major turn on.  But nose hair?  Repulsive.  Why?  It’s just hair, and has as much functionality as any other hair we sport, serving as a first line of defence against dangerous dust and asbestos particles.  Yet it turns the stomach.

Hair that we are not accustomed to can have the same effect.  I well remember my first German class at university.  It was lead by a jolly overweight woman who didn’t shave her armpits.  I had a very visceral reaction to those clumps of black hair.  Leg hair on a woman gets the same reaction from most men, but I’m convinced that this is just a cultural thing, like finding a circumcised (read mutilated) penis more attractive than an intact one.  I no longer react to armpit hair or body hair on a woman.  Somehow I seem to have accepted that it as natural, and I prefer natural.  But nose hair is different.

 Sir Tim Hunt doesn't care about his nose hairs.

Sir Tim Hunt doesn’t care about his nose hairs.

Does anybody find nose hair attractive?  Is there a group of nose hair fetishists out there someplace?  Probably, but they are being very quiet about it.

I remember my grandfather showing up at our home when I was a child.  He was nearly blind, and could be forgiven for wearing nose hair walrus tusks that looked to me to be two inches long.  My father took him to our bathroom and trimmed him to a respectable state.  No doubt the day will come when I also lose control of my nasal foliage, but right now I’m embarrassed if so much as a single hair shows itself outside of my nostril, which they all seem to want to do.

In “The Black Knight” there’s a scene in which Martin Lawrence plucks his nose hairs and dances around in pain after each pluck.  It’s supposed to be funny.  I used to cut my nose hairs.  Now I pluck them on the, apparently unsubstantiated, theory that they will be slower to grow back.  The pain is not that bad.

In the first episode of “Six Feet Under” there’s a scene where the ghost of the father, played by Richard Jenkins, is watching his own funeral from a lawn chair at the edge of the cemetery.  The sunlight is sparkling on a nose hair that must extend at least an inch under his his nose.  Either the director and cameraman felt this added to the realism of their show, or they missed it.  My bet is, they missed it.  My bet is there was gnashing of teeth in the screening room that night.

Few people, if any, like nose hairs.  Please tell me why.

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Remembering Charlie Hebdo – a suggestion.

I just received this letter from another blogger.  It speaks for itself.


Hello Mr. Darwin Harmless


I just visited your site, and having a blog on my own ( – but it’s in Dutch) I wonder if you would join me in something I wish all bloggers of free speech would participate.
In about 2 months, 7th January 2016, it will be the sad anniversary of the killings of Charlie Hebdo. I think this day should be remembered for eternity, and remembered by publishing a Mohamed cartoon. I intend to do so on my blog, and I announced it already.
Would you join me in this endeavour, by publishing on your blog that day a Mohamed-cartoon, and by writing to other bloggers that you know to participate in this Charlie Hebdo-day ?
Thanks in advance for your reply
Art. 25
Art.25 is the article of the Belgian Constitution that guarantees the freedom of the press and the abolishment of censorship.
The original  Draw Mohamed Day was back in 2010.  It’s worth taking a look at the history of that protest.  But I do like this idea, and if I can remember to do it I shall post my own drawing of Mohamed on January 7th.  Perhaps you’d like to join me.

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An Open Letter to Zunera Ishaq

Dear Zunera Ishaq:

Welcome.  Welcome to Canada and congratulations on becoming a Canadian citizen.  You are joining a great country, as the debate you triggered by deciding to wear the niqab at your citizenship ceremony proves.

As I’m sure you know, many in Canada would like to follow the lead of France and the Netherlands and ban the wearing of the niqab.  I am not one of those Canadians.  I believe that you have every right in a free country to wear whatever you want, even if what you are wearing is considered rude and offensive to millions of your fellow citizens.  I believe in the right to offend.  You have not come to a country where people riot or murder over perceived insults.

Zunera Ishaq, or possibly somebody else, wearing a niqab.

Zunera Ishaq, or possibly somebody else. Who can say?

Unfortunately you have come from a country where such things do happen.  I’m sure you are aware of Salman Taseer, the Pakistani politician who was murdered by his own bodyguard because he called for the abolition of the death penalty for insulting Islam, and defended a woman who was facing death under that horrible and unjust law.  When the murderer appeared in court, supporters showered him with rose petals. Salman Taseer’s son, Shabaz, who was a witness at the trial, was also kidnapped and murdered. So this is a part, possibly just a small part but a part none the less, of the culture you have left behind.  I think you can understand why Canadians would not want to see that culture in your new country.

So that explains our first reaction to your traditional garment.  For us it represents a horrible, brutal, disgusting, odious, malignant and oppressive culture.  The aura of that culture clings to the niqab like a bad smell. For us it is far more offensive than any cartoon or verbal statement could ever be.  When you wear it, I hope you will be aware that we find it offensive and why.

Our offence taken goes beyond an acute distaste for the culture the burka and the niqab represent to us.  Many of us have been accused of racism when we criticize the wearing of these cultural symbols.  But race is something that a person does not choose and can do nothing about.  I am a man of Caucasian descent.  These are things I did not choose and can’t change.  But the customs and trappings of my culture are things I can choose and can change.  There are many actual racists in Canada, and many racists, in fact all racists, are indeed ignorant.  But this is not a matter of race but of culture.
My offence is not founded on ignorance but on verifiable news reports from your original country.

So I reject the ad hominem that is thrown at people who object to your display of freedom.  We are not necessarily racist, though some may be.  And there is a second and a third source of our offence.  I’ve read that one purpose of your complete covering is to prevent men looking at a woman and thinking impure thoughts, that they cannot control their uncontrollable lust.  This seems to me unlikely to be true.  Even if it is true in some cases, it is an insulting assumption about me and most men.  It infantalizes us as a gender.  It is also ineffective, in that men assume there is a woman under that cloth and their imagination is quite able to give an image to what the garment conceals.

Canada is a country of inclusion.  We welcome you.  By wearing the niqab or the burka, you say to us that you do not want to be included.  You want to stay in your own culture, insulated from the common culture of by far the majority of Canadians.  A large part of our communication is through body language and facial expressions.  You deny us this access to your thoughts and feelings.  You say, to our understanding, that while you claim to have come here because you like Canada and like our culture of freedom, in fact you don’t.  You would really prefer to be back in the culture you have left behind.  It should hardly come as a surprise when many Canadians suggest you would be happier if you went back where you came from.

It is not my place to tell any woman what to wear.  If being, at the very least, provocative, if not rude and offensive, is your aim, then you have succeeded.  If none of this was your intention, then please understand that it is the result no matter what your intention might be.

I support, even applaud, your offensive statement.  But please understand that you are being offensive.  Please do not be surprised when people respond by being and acting offended.

With all due respect

Darwin Harmless

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Vote Early Vote Often (once a day for the next fourteen days)

The web series, QUILTBAGS, is trying to get ten grand out of Telus so they can buy some decent equipment and take their productions up a notch.

Please click on this link, find QUILTBAGS “Don’t Bug Me”, and vote.  This shouldn’t take much of your time, but it could really help a worthy creative endeavour.  Please.

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I have this little hose…

I have this little hose attached to my body a few inches below my belly button.  It’s very convenient because sometimes i need to void waste water and the little hose makes this easy.  I can void waste water standing up.  I can write my name in the snow.


Apparently roughly half of the human population has a hose something like mine.  Some are much bigger, and some are smaller.  But they all have the same function – a little tube through which waste water can be directed.

Oh yes, of course, the little hoses have another function as well.  Under some circumstances they will become stiff and inflexible.  Then they can be used to insert reproductive material into the body of another human, one of the ones who doesn’t have a little hose attached to their body but have, instead, a hole for the little hose to go into.  This is essential for he continuation of our species.  It’s also very pleasurable, probably because if it wasn’t pleasurable it wouldn’t happen enough to keep our species from going extinct.

Now here is the strange part.  Nobody is allowed to see my little hose.  If I take it out in public, I will be arrested and charged with a crime.  Only doctors are allowed to see my little hose.  Well, doctors and select people who don’t have a little hose.  Or even select people who themselves have a little hose but like to play with the little hoses on other people.  The point is, showing your little hose is not a casual thing.  It’s accompanied by elaborate negotiation and rituals.

The way human beings reproduce seems very strange indeed.  Genetic material is passed through the little hose into the body of another human, one has a hole, where it joins with some genetic material from that person, eventually growing into a tiny human and being expelled from the host body.  This is a difficult, painful, and dangerous way for our species to reproduce, but that’s how it’s done.

Then things get really strange.  The people who don’t have little hoses have bumps on their chests.  After they expel a tiny human from their body, these bumps produce a liquid that is very nourishing.  The new tiny human gets to live on this liquid for several months, sometimes several years, until they grow teeth and have the ability to eat normal food.

In general, people are not allowed to see these bumps either.  They can see part of the bumps, but the spot where the liquid comes out is never supposed to be seen.

So some people have little hoses that they can’t let other people see.  And some people have bumps on their chests that they can’t let people see.  Oh, I forgot to mention.  they’re not supposed to let people see the entrance to their holes either.

The people who don’t have bumps on their chests still have spots on their chests very similar to the places where liquid comes out of the bumps on other peoples’ chests.  But nobody cares if people are allowed to see those spots.

If you have any questions about this, please feel free to write to me and I’ll do my best to answer.  Just keep in mind that the answers might not be very satisfying, because a lot of this doesn’t make much sense.

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No, It’s Not Complicated

I love Laci Green.  She’s always spot on with her opinion and on the right side of logic and compassion.  But this time I have a quibble.  She says that decriminalizing prostitution is a complicated issue.  No it’s not.

The only thing that makes this issue complicated is our fucked up attitudes towards sex.  If prostitution were seen the same way we see any other personal service, there’s no complication at all.

Why is this any more complicated than, say, massage therapy?  Or dog grooming?  If I take my dog to a groomer and she misbehaves (the dog, not the groomer), if she threatens to bite or attacks another dog, I could be told to take her someplace else or clip her toenails myself.  No problem.  Why is prostitution any different?

My daughter cuts hair for a living.  This would be complicated if it were a criminal activity, if having your hair cut was seen as something shameful, and if cutting somebody else’s  hair was seen as something we should proscribe.  Then my daughter’s present occupation would be complicated indeed.  In fact, it would be just as complicated as prostitution.

As it is, my daughter has the protection of the law if somebody tries to coerce her into cutting hair when she doesn’t want to.  As it is, she is free to leave her current employer and seek another if she’s not satisfied with the working conditions.  She can call on full social support if anybody threatens her or uses coercion to keep her chained to her chair. If she gets an abusive customer, she can refuse to serve them with no consequences, and legal recourse if threats or violence ensues.  Her work is covered by our labour laws.  She gets legal holidays, or extra pay if she works them.  She pays taxes and contributes to her government run pension fund.

When our society can see that consensual sexual acts between adults, even if for money, are none of our damn business, the complication of this issue suddenly disappears.  Then the answer is obvious.  Stop interfering.

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QUILTBAGS the Web Series

quiltbags cast

Here’s something worth supporting.  Check out the new web series, QUILTBAGS and help spread it around.

The acronym is not original to this series.  It stands for  Questioning/Queer, Undecided, Intersex, Lesbian, Trans, Bi, Asexual, Gay.  It’s gaining currency because it’s easier to remember and more inclusive than LGBTQ.   The series has added  the S, for Straight, so it includes everybody.

The series mission is to promote sex positive attitudes, tolerance and acceptance through dramatized comedy scenes.  The first two episodes are now on line.

Here’s QUILTBAGS episode 1  (You’ll  find episode 2 if you scroll down on that linked page)

Don’t forget to subscribe, so you get a notification of each new episode, then leave a comment on the site.  Give these people some guidance and encouragement.

(Full disclosure:  Yes, I’m involved.  I wrote the theme song and play one of the characters.)

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Nobody got the joke.

This was my April Fools Day gag for this year.  I think the impact of the line of staples was overwhelming, because nobody got the joke.

knee replacement with added grease nipple

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I am Charlie.

Protesting the massacre at Charlie Hedbo.

And you should be too.  The only way to fight people who are willing to kill you for insulting their beliefs or their imaginary friends is to insult their beliefs and imaginary friends.

Protesters after the massacre at Charlie Hedbo.e massacre at Charlie Hedbo.

Do it from hiding if you must, but do it.  Ridicule them into non-existence.

Protesters after the massacre at Charlie Hedbo.I am Charlie.

(I don’t know who deserves the credit for these pictures.  If you know, please tell me in the comments.)


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