Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Phone-y Warranty

I got to the AT&T phone store yesterday, and after the usual half hour wait to actually see someone, the clerk confirmed that Honey's phone was, in fact, dead, and since it was just six months old, it was covered under a one year warranty.
"Great!" I said, "Give me another one."
"It doesn't work that way."
"How does it work, then."
"We don't replace phones here at the phone store.  We take your information and AT&T will mail you a new phone.  Once you get it, you can bring it back here to set it up." 
"That's ridiculous! That means she will be without a phone for at least a week."
"That's the way it works."
"OK. What do you have in house that I can get her today?"
We settled on an LG phone, and by putting the SIM card from her dead phone in my phone, they were able to retrieve and transfer MOST of her saved files to the new phone.
I upgraded to the LG Phoenix phone as well, and so far, I think I like it.
They were still going to send us a replacement for Honey's old dead phone, and warned me that if we didn't send the dead phone back when we received the replacement we would be charged double.  I told them that as long as we had two working phones, I didn't want a replacement.  I suggested that they issue us a credit instead, but of course, they don't do that.
 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Dead Phone

 
That's a picture of the cell phones that Honey and I carry.  At least that is what they should look like.  
Yesterday, Honey's phone just died.  
It was working fine in the morning, but in the afternoon, the screen was black and it would not turn on for love or money.  
I tried swapping batteries between phones, but that didn't work, so I'm off to the ATT store this morning to get it replaced. We just got these phones last February, so you'd think they would last longer than longer than six months - apparently not.
It wasn't that many years ago that cell phones didn't exist, and we seemed to get along fine without them.  Now, a phone that doesn't work will ruin your whole day.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Scary Thought

The first amendment to the Constitution seems pretty straightforward:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
This has given Americans the right to hold and express some pretty outrageous opinions, and more people from the fringes of both right and left seem to be taking advantage of this. It only becomes a problem when folks with opposing views choose to confront each other and counter-demonstrations lead to violence like we saw this past weekend.
This led me to a disturbing thought.  
It is not something I'm advocating, just something that occurred to me -
The Supreme Court has ruled that the act of burning the American Flag is protected under the free speech portion of the first amendment.  If the physical act of setting fire to a flag is "free speech," should the act of driving an automobile into a crowd expressing an opposing view be considered "free speech" as well?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Amost Edible

Conservators from the New Zealand based Antarctic Heritage Trust have come across a 106 year old fruitcake in one of the oldest buildings on the continent.  They believe it was left by British explorers on an ill-fated expedition to the South Pole.
The tin it came in had almost completely rusted away, but the paper it was wrapped in was pretty much intact.
The fruitcake itself did not seem any worse for wear, and was described as "almost edible."
That is probably as good as any fruitcake can get.

Friday, August 11, 2017

That's No Joke

Someone posted this on Facebook this morning - 
Even without getting the joke, you can tell that this is supposed to be funny.  But, unless you can decipher the next-to-last panel - and I can't -  it is just a waste of time.  
If you do understand it, and would care to explain it to me, fine, but jokes that have to be explained usually aren't very funny - at least to the one who needed the explanation.
It did remind me of something one of my professors said once, "If I told you a horribly obscene joke in Pashtu,  and you didn't speak the language, it wouldn't be funny, it wouldn't be dirty, and it wouldn't be a joke.  It would only be a collection of nonsense syllables."

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Happy Birthday to Me

I woke up humming this song this morning - 
 For some reason this was on the jukebox in the Student Union at Stephen F. Austin the year I met my wife.
It probably got more plays than the top hits of the day, because there was a group of folks that thought it was so bad they couldn't leave it alone - sort of like picking at a scab.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Extrapolation

If you accept the theory that the Human race has evolved, then one of the reasons for our progress has been the ability of intelligent humans to extrapolate - to use a set of facts from one situation to make assumptions in another.  In some circles, this is referred to as a SWAG - scientific, wild-ass guess - but it, rather than necessity may well be the mother of invention.
Unfortunately, successful extrapolation requires a mindset that is not available to many, and this often leads to wildly erroneous conclusions.  We see this all the time in politics, where two intelligent individuals will draw totally different  conclusions from the same set of facts.
If, for example, we accept that 
A. Cowboys like their eggs over easy, and
B. Jockeys prefer theirs scrambled,
we might correctly conclude that
C. Some riders like eggs. 
But - if we assume that everyone who ever straddled a horse eats eggs, that would be erroneous. 
Even worse, in today's environment, some scientific group or some  news organization will use that same set of  facts to publish a headline saying "CHICKENS ARE THREATENED WITH EXTINCTION BY EQUESTRIANS!"

Monday, August 7, 2017

Sometimes I Just Can't Help Myself

There is a story on the news this morning about three Boy Scouts who were electrocuted while sailing on Lake of the Pines in East Texas yesterday.  Apparently, the mast of their catamaran came in contact with a power line.  Two of the boys were killed outright and the third was flown to a hospital in Shreveport.
I felt terrible when I read the story, felt remorse for the pain and suffering their families and friends must be going through, but - God help me - my first thought was "Well, that gives a whole new meaning to the term Floating Ground ."

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Day of Rest


There's an old joke that goes something like "Woke up this morning with nothing to do, and this evening I'm less than half done."
Today is one of those days.  
I woke up late.  
I have plenty of projects that I could be doing, but none that require immediate attention. 
I'm out of books to read.
It's almost eleven o'clock, and I still haven't settled on anything I want to do, but nothing is headed toward the top of the list.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

It Ain't An Ant

In her years of walking five miles each morning, Honey had only called me to come get her twice - once when she was caught in a sudden rainstorm and once when she was bitten by a dog.  
Call number three came last week.  
She was about as far away from the house as she gets when she was stung between the toes by a Cow Ant.  We don't know if the critter was inside her sock when she put it on, or how it could have gotten there, and we have no idea why it chose that moment to sting her.  I do know that it hurt bad enough that Honey didn't think she could make it home. 
The original pain subsided shortly after we got home - she actually talked about resuming her walk, but decided against it - and life went back to normal.  Two days later, it started itching so bad it was driving her nuts.
I did some on line research and learned more than I ever wanted to know about Cow Ants - also known as Red Velvet Ants and Cow Killer Ants, they are not an ant at all, they're Wasps!  If you get stung, it was a female - females are wingless but have stingers, males have wings but no stinger.  
They are solitary, so at least you'll never come across a colony of Cow Ants. They lay their eggs in the ground in the nests of burrowing wasps and other insects, and their offspring feed on the larvae of the host. 
The one useful thing I learned is that Cortisone will relieve the itch.  Honey tried that, and it worked.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Three Quarters

I have a birthday coming up in a few days.  
Normally, I try to ignore birthdays, or at least treat them like just another day, but this one is number 75, and for some reason it seems like that ought to be sort of a big deal.
When I was 25, or even when I was 50, it never occurred to me that I would make it this far, but - barring some catastrophe in the next couple of days - it looks like I have.  Not only that, I'm in relatively good health and don't feel any older than I did ten years ago.
Honey asked me the other day what I wanted for my birthday, and I couldn't think of a single thing.  I have a loving wife, a house that's paid for, just enough retirement to get by without having to do without, and I still have my health.  It doesn't get much better than that.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Celia 1970

Today is the actual anniversary of Hurricane Celia's 1970 landfall in Corpus Christi, and I've been talking about Hurricane Celia here on my blog for over a week now.  It's time to wrap it up and move on.
Just a few more memories:
  • On the morning of August 3rd, frantic shoppers emptied the shelves of the local grocery stores.  There were several reports of folks actually stealing stuff from another shopper's grocery cart.
  • A few days later, those same folks were emptying their freezers and hosting neighborhood barbecues to eat the food before it spoiled.
  • I'll never forget the ungodly smell from our freezer when I opened it a day or two too late.  Hours of nausea and gallons of Clorox later, I finally got it usable again, but when it got warm months later during our move back to Houston, I realized the smell would never go away.
  • And I'll never forget the taste of the first cold beer after the storm.  We had heard a rumor, so several coworkers and I went to Nolan's Steakhouse for lunch, and sure enough, they had icy mugs of cold draft beer. I don't think any beer before or since has tasted that good.
  • I can't close this out without mentioning that Honey was right there beside me during those 19 days of sweltering heat and low supplies - and she did it while pregnant! She did make a trip to Houston, but after she was sure her dad was OK, she turned around and came back to Corpus.
A few months after the storm, when everything was more-or-less back to normal, I received an award from the City of Corpus Christi for my work in getting the news out before, during and after the storm.  I was very proud of that - included it in my resume - though I suspect the same Certificate of Appreciation was handed out to dozens of folks, probably just about anyone connected to a local radio or TV station.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Celia - Not JUST Corpus Christi

That's a picture of the shrimp fleet at the harbor in Port Aransas.
I have been talking about Hurricane Celia and Corpus Christi as though that was the only city affected.  
It wasn't.  
  • Highest wind gusts  (180 mph) were recorded at Aransas Pass and Robstown.  The Corpus Christi weather station recorded 161 before the anemometer blew away.
  • At 95%, the City of Portland had the highest percentage of homes and businesses that sustained damage.
  • Still a Tropical Storm, Celia did over a million dollars worth of damage to Del Rio, and it was still a Tropical Depression as far west as El Paso.
  • Shortly after forming in the western Caribbean, the Tropical Depression that would become Celia crossed over Cuba where it caused five people to drown, and once in the Gulf of Mexico and before it turned west, the storm surge from Tropical Storm Celia caused nine deaths along the coast of Florida.
  • Total damage from Celia - homes, businesses and crops - exceeded $3 billion in today's dollars.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Celia, the Driscoll and the Red Cross

I mentioned on Saturday about watching all the water being sucked out of the pool at the Driscoll Hotel.  Yesterday, I came across this "after" photo which shows the damage.  As you can see, there was almost no glass left in any of the hotel's windows.
Honey reminded me that the Driscoll was one more reason we love and respect the Red Cross so much.  
When she got to our studios on the day Celia hit, Honey called her dad at the hospital in Houston.  She assured him that we were safe and would be riding out the storm in the hotel.  That night, Channel 2 in Houston reported that the Driscoll had suffered over $2 million in damage.  Of course, by then there was no telephone service. We didn't know about the TV report, but we did know they would be worried.  
The Red Cross had announced that they were coordinating with HAM radio operators, and offering to send emergency messages.  We went by their office, and Honey filled out the message form which they assured us would be delivered. Days later, when phone service was restored and we finally got through, we learned that the message was never delivered. 
One last bit about the Red Cross and Celia:  
Power was still out in much of the area - ours was out for 19 days - when the movie theater reopened downtown.  Honey could tell you what was playing, but I really don't remember - I was mainly there to cool off and relax for a couple hours.  What I do remember - will never forget - is that at intermission the Red Cross ran a film saying "We helped you, now it's time for you to pay back." and sent ushers down the aisles with collection boxes.
The ushers escaped with their lives (barely) and some remarkably novel suggestions about where to put those boxes. 
I'm sure that somewhere, at some time, the Red Cross has done something good, but Celia showed me that there are other agencies - the Salvation Army, for one - that do more and ask for less in return.

Monday, July 31, 2017

More Celia - Driscoll Roof

We hired a steeple-jack company to repair the hurricane damage to our radio towers.  The AM station, between Sinton and Taft only had a couple of guy wires that needed replacing, but the FM tower atop the Driscoll Hotel had lost its top third and needed extensive repair.
I brought a couple of cokes up to roof, and was watching the guy working on our tower.  He had just cut the mast off right below where it had broken.  They had fabricated a new top with a sleeve that would fit down over what had been left standing, and he would later rig a sky hook to lift the new piece and lower it into position.
When he came down off the tower, I handed him a coke, and he sat down beside me to take a break.
Remember, he had just been 30 feet or so above the sloping roof of a 20 plus story building, often working with his safety belt unattached.  
As he sat there enjoying his coke, he looked across the street where two men were on a scaffold suspended from the roof the building.  
They were breaking out the remaining shattered glass and installing plywood as a temporary fix.
He watched them for a while, then looked at me and said, "Those F**king people are crazy.  I wouldn't get out on that G## damn scaffold for all the f**king money in the world!"

Sunday, July 30, 2017

More Celia Memories

I mentioned that we lost the top third of our FM antenna during Celia.  Actually, the antenna only had minor damage; it was the tower it hung on that was damaged.
The top of the Driscoll Hotel wasn't large enough to support a tower with guy wires headed out at a typical 30° angle, so we had what was known as a self-guyed mast.  It used a heavy steel base plate and guy wires that headed out from it to cross-members about halfway up the mast and back to the mast about two thirds of the way to the top.  The mast had snapped just above where the guy wires connected, and two of the four guy wires had come off of the cross-members.
Once power was back on at the Driscoll, I went up on the tower to assess the damage.  Meanwhile, several floors below, our sales manager - Jim was also one of the station owners, a good guy and a great announcer who didn't know a damn thing about the technical side of radio broadcasting -  took it upon himself to turn the transmitter on.
Normally, with a properly balanced antenna, this wouldn't have mattered.  In this case, I started smelling something hot and quickly got back down to the roof.  What I was smelling was my belt buckle - it got hot enough to brand my belt.
I have one more story about the KTOD tower, but I think I'll save it for tomorrow.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Even More About Celia

This is an architect's rendering of the Driscoll Hotel in Corpus Christi.  It doesn't show all the other buildings around it, but it is pretty accurate. 
If you zoom in on the top of the picture
you will see that the top story had a Spanish tile roof that sloped toward the center, making the actual top of the hotel much smaller than the bottom.  That thing sticking up might have been the antenna for our FM radio station - that didn't exist at the time of the drawing, but it's about where it was located. Located, that is, before the hurricane - afterwards, we found the top third of our tower impaled in the street two blocks away. I have some stories about that, but I'll save them for later.
You can't see it here, but behind the hotel proper was an attached parking garage.  It was three stories tall, and on the roof of the garage was the hotel swimming pool. We had a great bird's eye view of this area from our studios in the hotel.
Honey had worked all morning at the blood bank, drawing blood and getting it distributed to local hospitals.  Just before things got too dangerous, they shut down and she came to the hotel.  As tenants, KTOD had several assigned parking spaces in the hotel garage, and I had her take mine.  I ended up parked on the street just outside the garage.  Her 68 Camaro was untouched by the storm, but my car, a 64 Chevelle, ended up with no glass and no paint on the driver's side.
As I mentioned, we had a great view of the pool from our studio windows.  Once the storm hit, the winds created a vortex over the pool, and we watched as the pool furniture - chaise lounges and tables - circled the pool then went straight up and out of sight.  Then all the water was sucked out of the pool, followed by the glass windows and doors of the cabana units surrounding the area.
The only way from the cabanas to the main hotel was across the pool area, and there were guests in several of those rooms.  The hotel advised them to stay in their bathrooms, and when the eye of the hurricane passed, they were all rescued.  Amazingly, no hotel guests were injured.

Friday, July 28, 2017

More Celia Stuff

Hurricane Celia struck Corpus Christi, Texas on August 3, 1970, and for the last few days I've been sharing memories of the storm.  I'm not sure how long I'll keep it up, but here are two more - what the internet calls Life Hacks - that you might find handy if you find yourself in the path of a hurricane.
  1. Among the first casualties of high winds are redwood fences, but we had one neighbor who solved that problem.  He tore down his fence and distributed the boards to neighbors to board up their windows.  A few days after the storm, he went around and collected the boards and put his fence back up.  As I remember, he only lost one board to the hurricane.
  2. At the "L" head docks off downtown, several sailboat owners who did not have time to pull their boats out of the water chose to sink them instead.  Insurance companies balked at the idea of paying claims on boats that were intentionally scuttled, but some of them did.  Whether they did or not, the boats that were sunk in place sustained much less damage than those that were left afloat.
 

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Memories of Celia

The actual anniversary of Hurricane Celia is August 3, still a week away, but yesterday's post got me thinking about the storm and its aftermath.  
Natural disasters bring out the best and the worst in people, and we saw multiple examples of both.  Here are just a few examples:
  • A day or two after the storm, we saw the Red Cross selling coffee and donuts downtown, while a block away, the Salvation Army was giving away free meals.
  • The woman who ran the concessions at the Corpus Christi Colosseum was actually arrested for selling 10 lb. sacks of ice for $10. Meanwhile, the local Budweiser distributor was bringing in truckloads of ice from San Antonio.  Drive by their warehouse with your trunk open and they would give you a 50 lb. sack for free.  They continued to do that until lights were back on throughout the area.
  • Speaking of driving, with no lights there was no way to pump gas.  You were limited to whatever you had in your tank until an enterprising owner of the Gulf station on Ocean Drive figured out how to run his pump with a fan belt attached to an lawn edger.  He could have charged just about anything, but he kept his price the same.  He did impose a 5 gallon limit.
  • Our next-door neighbor, a retired elementary school teacher that I had always found annoying, turned out to be an angel in disguise.  She had the only gas stove on the block, and for days she brought breakfast around to all the neighbors.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Celia

I came across a blog post on the web this morning that brought back memories from August of 1970.  
A young man who was 14 at the time, wrote of spending the summer with relatives from Oklahoma, and taking a trip to the Texas Gulf Coast.  They were originally headed for Galveston, but knew there was a hurricane in the gulf, and by the time they got just north of Houston, it was predicted to make turn to the right and make landfall along the upper Texas coast. So, instead of Galveston, they headed for Corpus Christi.
Of course, the predicted right turn never happened.  Celia scored a direct hit on the Corpus Christi area.
His story was eerily similar to ours. 
Honey and I lived in Corpus Christi at the time - she ran the Nueces County Blood Bank, and I was program director of KTOD, a radio station with studios in the Driscoll Hotel.  
We were in Houston to visit my father-in-law, who was in the hospital following a heart attack.   Since the storm was expected to hit the Galveston/Houston area, I left the hospital and boarded up all the windows on my in-laws' house.  
By the time we left Houston, it was becoming apparent that the turn to the north wasn't going to happen.  I called the station, and told the kid who worked weekends to stay on the air until I could get there.  
When we got home, we both went directly to work.
When Celia came ashore, the devastation was immense. Celia produced sustained winds of 110 to 130 mph, but gusts in some areas reached 180 mph. In Corpus Christi, 70 percent of residences were damaged. In Port Aransas, the number was closer to 75 percent. And in Portland, 90 percent of the homes and businesses sustained damage. All told, there were 15 deaths and about $500 million in damage.
The only damage to our house was the loss of an ugly screen door I had been threatening to replace, but just over a block away there was a bare strip where several homes had been.  It looked like it had been bulldozed.

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Brief Retreat

In my previous stories about getting my Driver's License at 14, I failed to mention that it did not last uninterrupted until now.  
There was a small break in 1966.  My license expired while I was in basic training at Ft. Polk, and I sort of had other things on my mind at the time.
Once I arrived at my permanent duty station at Ft. Hood, and was assigned my own jeep like the one above, I was able to remedy that situation.  I learned that a representative of the Texas DPS came to Ft. Hood one day a week and gave driver's exams on base.  I got permission from my commanding officer, took the afternoon off, and drove my US Army jeep to take the test.
The exam almost went without a hitch, but it was late in the day when we got started, and I had to stop mid-exam, get out of the jeep and stand at attention for Retreat.
I later learned that, because of the circumstances, I really hadn't been required to take the driver's test again.  All I really needed to do was pay the fee and my license would have been reinstated.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

License

I mentioned the other day that I got my Texas Driver's License on my 14th birthday.  I hadn't planned to do that, it just happened.  Here's how:
My pal Val Jahnke, who had earned his licence the month before,  had given me a ride to the DMV exam office - there was only one for the entire city of Houston, and it was in a residential area just north of Hermann Park - so I could take the written exam.  
I aced the written test, and when I came out, Val handed me the keys to his parent's car, and said to go on and take the driving test while we're here. Their car was a 54 model Oldsmobile 88, with power brakes and power steering, and I had never driven a car with either of those features.  I was nervous about that, but we figured the worst that could happen was that I would fail and have to come back, which was what I was planning to do when I went in to take my written exam to begin with.
Well, to my surprise, I passed!  
The examiner only gigged me for failing to use a hand signal when I pulled out of the parallel parking space.  We had a brief discussion about that.  I had turned on my left blinker, and figured one or the other ought to be enough.  I'm still pretty sure I was right - almost nobody ever uses hand signals anymore - but I didn't argue long, since he told me I had passed anyway.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Hemerocallis fulva

One of the sights that most impressed me on our recent trip was the bright orange day-lilies blooming wild in the ditches from Kentucky to Virginia.  My experience with day-lilies told me that they are just that -  the blossoms only open for a day, so I was amazed that there were so many in bloom.
A bit of research on line tells me that these are Hemerocallis fulva, among the first day-lilies imported from China 100 years ago and that they are particularly hardy.  If you look carefully at the picture above, you will first notice the flowers in full bloom, but then you'll see buds that have not yet opened, and the folded petals of flowers that bloomed yesterday.  They are prolific bloomers, which explains how a day-lily could seem to be in bloom for weeks or months.
I also learned that they are edible.  Chinese eat the bulbs, while Americans are said to prefer eating the blossoms.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Wasp

Cranked up my old tractor yesterday for the first time since before we went on vacation.  
The good news is that it fired right up.  
The bad news is that a family of wasps had decided it was theirs, and in the six weeks or so since I last used it they had built a home under the little tool box mounted on the left fender.
One of them was quick to demonstrate his displeasure, and I was stung on the hand before I realized they were there.  I went and got the wasp spray, and made short work of the nest, so I guess you could say that I won.
It didn't feel that way, though.  The original sting hurt like the dickens.  That fiery first burning sensation was followed by swelling - a soft lump about the size of a hen egg.  All around the periphery of the lump itched like the very devil, and it continued to itch for several hours.  

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Mc Cain

It was announced last night that Arizona Senator John McCain is suffering from a Glioblastoma - an aggressive and almost certainly fatal form of brain cancer.  The announcement says they are exploring treatment options and that he hopes to return to the Senate.
I have never been a fan of the Senator, but I do wish him well.  
As far as returning to the Senate, the right thing to do would be to resign now.  This would allow Arizona's Republican Governor to appoint a Republican  to take his place.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

No Brainer


I have a birthday coming up in a few weeks, and the other day, I got a reminder in the mail saying this year it is time to renew my Texas Driver's License.  I have now had a Texas Driver's License for over 60 years.  I took the written exam and the driving test on my 14th birthday. 
The letter gave me two options - I could:

  • Drive 23 miles to the nearest office
  • Search for a parking space
  • Stand in line for an hour
  • Fill out the forms
  • Pay $24 to get a new license
Or I could:
  • Fill out the form on line
  • Pay an extra dollar
  • Get my new license in the mail
Decisions, decisions... This is so difficult... 
How can I possibly be expected to choose?

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sodom's Song

I'm not sure I could define my religious belief with any degree of specificity.  
Some would say I am a Christian, while many would argue that I am not.  I did grow up in the Judaeo-Christian heritage, and (with a few exceptions) still hold to a Christian definition of what's right and what's wrong.
I say this because I see our society on a high speed slide into debauchery.  I'm not saying that people are doing anything today that hasn't been done for centuries; they're not.  The difference is that now acts that were considered abominations in the past are accepted as normal.  In the name of equality and inclusion, we are told we must accept whatever the latest perversion might be or be branded as hateful.
This descent into the cesspool may have started earlier, but I mark its start from late 1995 or early 96 when Bill Clinton claimed oral sex was not sexual intercourse and the media (and every horny teenager in the country) bought into his claim.  Things have gone steadily downhill from there.
Two items in the news sparked my column today.  The first was Cosmopolitan Magazines series of articles on ANAL SEX FOR BEGINNERS, and the second was the use of the term Bro-Job - a term for homosexual encounters between heterosexual men.  
I had never heard the term Bro-Job before, but it is sort of self explanatory. I didn't really need to look it up, but I did.  I learned that there's even an App for that - BRO - that's been around since January of 2016.
I'm not a Puritan, and I have no desire to return to a repressive society.  What you do to/with yourself or your partner is none of my business.  That being said, I do think it is time we stopped promoting alternative lifestyles and dragging them into the mainstream.