September 11, 2006
Last week the online classified service made the news for its role in a Bucks County prostitution ring. News articles reported that Bensalem police busted a dozen suspected prostitutes who advertised their services in barely-clad code. One claimed she was in Langhorne for the day and wanted donations of "300 a visit." Another described herself as a "quick afternoon snack" for "100 roses."
Now a couple web experiments involving craigslist are causing problems for everyone involved.
A blogger named Simon Owens went to the site's "Casual Encounters" section to test just how easy a hook-up might be. He posted ads in New York, Chicago and Houston versions of the service, advertising that he was looking for a sexual partner. In different ads, he posed as a male and as female, and announced is interest in members of the same and opposite sexes.
He got responses immediately - mostly from men looking for women. In Chicago he attracted 200 replies when he posed as woman looking to have sex with a man. And zero when he posed as a man looking to have sex with a woman. In New York, it was 165 to zero. In Houston it was 54 to 1. In each city his ad as a bi-curious male looking for another male earned 10 or less responses. His ad as a bi-curious female earned 2 or less.
Predictable? Maybe. But what amazed him was the quick responses and the stupidity of those emailing him back.
His "straight female" postings pulled more than 20 emails after only three or four minutes of being posted. He was "overwhelmed" how many straight males sent pictures of their equipment - and nothing else. "Were they really expecting that a girl would see a picture of their penis and exclaim "That's the guy for me?" One romantic sent a 2,000-word erotic short story.
The most troubling part is that many included their full name and pictures, and the blogger easily tracked down "most of them" through Google. Most said they were between 20 and 40. Two said they were Congressional aides. Maybe that's not so surprising.
His conclusions included this: "If a really malicious person wanted to get on craigslist and ruin a lot of people's lives, he easily could."
Which leads to the second experiment.
Last week, a Seattle web developer named Jason Fortuny started his own craigslist research project. He wondered how many responses he'd get in 24 hours if he posed as '27 yo sexy str8 woman' -- a submissive woman looking for to be dominated by a man.'
He tallied 178 responses, including 145 with photos of men in "various states of undress." Responses included email addresses, names, IM screen names and phone numbers.
Then he published the information - unedited - on Encyclopedia Dramatica, which is to web fads what Wikipedia is to the popular knowledge.
Instantly, commenters started identifying the men. Not everyone appreciated his spirit of transparency. Some were emailed by those who found the whole business unfair.
Waxy.org's Andy Baio does a first-rate job of recapping the ensuing storm and exploring legal and privacy issues. Fortuny used to post his own contact information on his site. After being threatened for his actions, he has since taken down any details that would make it easy to reach him. Monday, as he attracted coverage in Slashdot and Metafilter, his entire server was down.
But the guy whose MySpace page says he likes pushing people's buttons, was charting reaction here.
(Illustration by the San Jose Mercury News)
August 08, 2006
Quote Of The Day
A friend sends this from Rush & Molloy in the New York Daily News:
Colin Farrell may have sworn off booze, but his libido still rages.
Having been burned by former Playmate Nicole Narain (who tried to sell a video of their lovemaking) and by phone sex operator Dessarae Bradford (who wrote "Colin Farrell: A Dark, Twisted Puppy"), the actor is now being mocked as a lousy lover by a former au pair to Woody Allen.
French minx Angelique Jerome claims she hooked up with Farrell just hours before the London premiere of his movie "Miami Vice," when she knocked at his hotel suite around breakfast. She says they made love three times before lunch.
"Maybe he has lots of women because he's not that good in bed," says the 24-year-old Jerome, who sold her tale to London's Sunday Mirror. "Maybe they don't want to stay.
"He has a great body and a charm that any woman would kill for. But he's all talk. Between the sheets, he is a letdown with only half a baguette in his lunchbox, if you know what I mean. He comes across as a tiger onscreen, but behind closed doors he's as wild as Mickey Mouse."
Farrell's rep had no immediate comment.
February 08, 2006
Did They Say 'Sex?'
The "technical difficulties" are fixed now, the Drexel online magazine promises, and what they're produced is a head-turner -starting with the home page that shows an ordinary room.
You roll your cursor around, and Playboy magazines spring out of bottom drawers, Valentine's red underthings pop out of cupboards, beds unfold from unseen closet doors. Porn sprouts from a dark computer screen. Each animation leads to another chapter in what will be a days-long look at that which once dared not speak its name.
A letter from editor Amy. L. Webb begins:
There is one, single factor uniting each of us in a collective hatred, a secretive longing, a shared experience, and the inevitable urge for human preservation: sex. It doesn’t matter where you live or what you believe. Sex – the act of – cannot be separated from virtually any aspect of our modern lives.
Over the next several days Dragonfire promises this:
Because they're adding content each day this week, some of the roll-overs disappoint. So while one empty drawer yields pieces on sex blogs, others just tease. Click again tomorrow, I guess.
January 05, 2006
Not For Your Eyes Only
Does anyone still read it?
Apparently Brian Sack of Banterist. The New York blogger found a copy in an abandoned building, and experienced the sort of dislocation, he writes, one would get from having Courtney Cox fix your stove.
It's normal to not want Playboy in Braille to exist. Because it's weird. It raises too many questions ... How do you explain a naked woman to a pubescent, visually impaired teen?
I have a sense that you don't have to explain a naked woman to a pubescent, visually impaired teen, but let's proceed.
Apparently, at least four issues were published this way. The one that now sits on his coffee table - a novelty, he writes, akin to owning a Day-glo orange monkey that speaks Farsi - is from November, 1995. That was the one with Tahnee Welch, Racquel's daughter, on the cover.
Sack wonders how the captions must read:
"Elka leans against a wall, wearing only a carpenter's tool belt. She's hot. Believe me."
I buy the whole idea. Back in school, when I remember late-night discussions over the relative merits of Playboy v Penthouse, I came down on the side on letting your imagination work for you.
November 29, 2005
Imagine ... the 50 Cent vibrator.
“I need to make a 50 Cent condom, and a motorised version of me," Fiddy tells GQ Magazine. "A motorised version of me will definitely have to be waterproof, so you could utilise it in the tub. A lot of them (vibrators) aren't waterproof."
Pesky Apostrophe has imagined it. Color her unmoved.
An on-going debate here at work is whether or not 50 Cent is attractive. Brenda and I say no, and our Baptist co-worker Melanie says yes.
Now, if I say this guy walking down the street, I would not automatically think him ugly. Granted, he’s got hideous teeth but other than that, he’s not completely unfortunate. The problem Brenda and I have with him is his attitude. And attitude makes people hideous.
It's one thing seeing him walk down the street.
In the GQ piece, Fiddy is quoted as saying blue is his favorite color. He's not sure about size. Nothing too big, because that might make her real men uncomfortable.
This irks Pesky Apostrophe: Leave it to 50 Cent to create a vibrator for women while not really being concerned with her pleasure.
That's about all of her post that I can quote without inviting a visit from the Blinq police.
But a stimulating reply to her post comes from "girlplease" who writes:
he’s the perfect example of how fame is attractive (not in my eyes, mind you). any ugly-assed person put in the spotlight can be deemed “hot”. i mean, look at paris hilton, steve buschemi, rod stewart’s she-man daughter. if they were average shmoes, no one would look at them besides a freakshow.
I'm still not sure, after reading his quotes a couple times, whether he's planning for the design to be modeled after all of him or just part of him.
November 18, 2005
Sex At The Bar
If I watched local television news (when we first moved here from Kentucky I had to assure my wife it wasn't real) then I'd know about the SECRET SEX CLUB ON SOUTH STREET.
Actually, this is a good reason to watch local tv news.
Undercover producer goes into the Kama Sutra private club at 7th and South and discovers people having carnal knowledge. At the bar.
“There’s people having sex at the bar. There was just every kind of sex, everywhere,” said a CBS 3 Undercover Producer.
Let's quote some more from KYW's Web article:
CBS 3 showed L&I our undercover video and after a surprise inspection they concluded the club at seventh and South streets is illegal. L&I officials say it's zoned to be a restaurant, not a place were people can have sex while others watch.
That sort of zoning probably costs more.
The community is not amused.
David Hammond, the director of the South Street Headhouse District wants Kama Sutra gone for good.
“South Street has the reputation of being the hippest street in town, but you gotta draw the line somewhere,” stated Hammond.
Apparently AD Amorosi was hip to it, though. In a City Paper column from October 2004, he wrote: Club Kama Sutra of South Street fame will open its second secret sex club, this one in the Allentown area with pre-opening parties Oct. 16 and Oct. 23. Call 866-CLUB-CKS.
Tip to Allentown reporters. Check it out.
Seems the City Paper did a whole cover story on the SECRET SEX CLUB in February 2004.
The Daily News's Dan Gross reached the owner yesterday:
"Club Kama Sutra has been operating for five years with the full knowledge and approval of all governmental authorities," owner Alan Tizer told us yesterday.
"CKS complies with all laws and has all necessary permits, licenses and certificates," Tizer said. "CKS parties are private assemblies of consenting adults. To the extent that L&I may have found some minor code violations, they will be examined and immediately corrected. Any business in the city, subject to a secret midnight raid, would probably turn up a few code violations."
The club, which from the outside appears to be a restaurant called Señor Rattler's Cantina, initially welcomed only couples, but recently began allowing single adults to party there, too, Gross reported.
October 05, 2005
Sports in your Shorts
So far the connection between serious biking and a decline in sexual performance has been largely anectdotal, I mean who can think of romance when that special someone's wearing one of those hideous spandex skins?
Now this, the New York Times most e-mailed article of the day:
Men's bicycles seats - particularly those with narrow rears and pointy notes - cause problems, several news studies suggest.
Some saddle designs are more damaging than others, scientists say. But even so-called ergonomic seats, to protect the sex organs, can be harmful, the research finds. The dozen or so studies, from peer-reviewed journals, are summarized in three articles in September's Journal of Sexual Medicine.
In a bluntly worded editorial with the articles, Dr. Steven Schrader, a reproductive health expert who studies cycling at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, said he believed that it was no longer a question of "whether or not bicycle riding on a saddle causes erectile dysfunction."
Instead, he said in an interview, "The question is, What are we going to do about it?"
September 20, 2005
The Daily Pennsylvanian had an article today about a new sort of campus cyber-matchmaking service - "random hook-ups" for 'orney Ivies.
A freshman couple - Allison Karic and Scott Becker - brought the idea with them from Los Angeles, where they'd dated since attending Harvard-Westlake H.S. The article quotes Karic as saying:
"You go to a party in high school, all your friends will be there, nobody was comfortable enough to make a move," Karic said. "That sucks that everyone is watching and everyone would know. We need a way to fix that."
Their way was to create a site called theinterestlist.com that lets those with Penn email addresses list those they "want to hook up with," the article goes on. (Well, actually, they first called it whatevericanget.com, but they've changed it.) That list is kept confidential until two people list each other. Then - cue Cupid - an email is sent to each of them, informing them of their good fortune. The rest is up to them.
The site had 577 registered users by Monday, according to the piece. Becker explains the quick success: "It's a totally intellectual response to something so physical."
With great expectations we visited the actual site. Cold shower city.
Long disclaimer greets us.
"Whatevericanget.com was a humorous name, but it didn't accurately represent the philosophy behind the system.: It goes downhill from there. Says the new name "lacks the connotation of promiscuity falsely suggested by our previous title.... We apologize for the suggestion of a prurient intent; we merely intend this site to be a tool to find out if your interest is interested in you."
How could anyone have thought this was about sex?
In completely unrelated news, the FBI is looking for a few good porndogs. The bureau's Washington, D.C. office started recruiting people for its anti-obscenity squad, the Washington Post reports.
The article includes this excellent way to describe why a source was not willing to be identified.
"I guess this means we've won the war on terror," said one exasperated FBI agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity because poking fun at headquarters is not regarded as career-enhancing.
August 28, 2005
Woman Smart, Man Smarter?
The BBC has one that concludes woman smart, man smarter. The British Journal of Psychology will come out with a study later this year that says men score on average 5 points higher on IQ tests, the BBC reports. The differences begin to show up after age 14, and are most pronounced among the highest scorers. For instance, for every women scoring 155 - a level associated with genius - there were 5.5 men.
The Countess takes this one on, tying (thanks to Atrios) one of the study's authors to The Bell Curve, discredited by many as being racist. The comments are fiery.
The other piece to chew on is Faye Flam's Carnal Knowledge column in today's Inquirer. She debunks the conventional wisdom that it is men who are biologically wired to sleep around.
We quote: "The latest research suggests the mechanics of sexual intercourse and the shape of the human penis evolved as a countermeasure to the infidelity of our female forebears."
What do we take away from this? We males are relatively smart. And faithful. So we having trouble believing this?
August 10, 2005
Sex Toys and The City
Three things leap out from my morning reading. First, via Metroblogging, comes this list of the country's most active cities. Leading off is Washington, D.C. Joggers working off power lunches and all. Then Anchorage, Alaska. Gotta keep warm. Each gets an A+ for effort.
To get to Philadelphia, you've got to keep going, going, going. Past Newark, N.J. Huh?
Past Baltimore, Richmond, Tacoma, Cincinnati.
All the way to No. 50. We get a C+ from Men's Health, which if I remember has already listed us as fat and undesirable.
Suzanne Cole from Metroblogging wonders:
Is it the lack of good bike lanes? The fact that our only good bike trail is the one in Fairmont Park? Are we just lazy? Is it our weather?
I tried to look for the actual Men's Health article on its Web site, but it was too much work. Plus I got sidetracked by this article, about a Southern Jersey love toys party. It's called Why Women Love Vibrators.
A sample of author Joe Queenen's reporting:
If Passion Parties ever perfects a wireless vibrator shaped like an anaconda that comes with an attached MP3 player and has e-mail capacity and a Global Positioning System inside, well, at that point the male of the species could be in big trouble.
I was starting to doubt whether Men's Health got it right, about our being inactive. Then this piece jumped out of me from today's Phillyist. An advice column. About vibrators.
Jessica Haralson goes deep on the subject, headlined In Search of Philly's Phaux Phalluses. She suggests places to shop where one won't be hounded by cackling tourists or red-faced men, and advises on suitable manufacturing materials. Silicone over glass, for instance. Why?
It might sound space-agey and evoke Pamela Anderson's tracts of land, but it's got a reputation among those in the know as being one of the best materials for a durable, safe dildo. it's smooth and non-sticky (a plus if one owns a feline), is easy to clean, absorbs body heat quickly, and can be easily shaped into a penis, a penguin, or a large red atomic disintegrator (Hey man, different strokes for different folks.)
I wonder how we'd rate if Adam & Eve was keeping the list.
(photo credit: Philadelphialiving.com)