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General / Baggage
« on: August 18, 2010, 05:21:15 PM »
Have to admit, I'm enjoying this show way too much.  But then, I tend to like terrible TV.

Share my world, share my garbage

GSN's Baggage is the most cynical dating show I've ever seen, and it just might be the best. It's as though the genre itself has hardened and grown bitter in the 45 years since its birth and this is the result: a show that suggests everyone has suitcases full of shit that you have to put up with, and the most suitable mate is the shit-bearer you find most tolerable. At least philosophically, the very idea of keeping up appearances isn't relevant here -- the people who go on Baggage go out of their way to exaggerate their flaws (in many cases, absolute statements like "I pretend I'm famous to get laid," end up describing an incident, not a habit). Maybe as we've grown more comfortable with ourselves as an increasingly over-sharing culture, so have our game shows -- the dating show is now so comfortable that it's shitting with the door open.

Calling Baggage a game show, though, isn't exactly fair -- yes, there is a grand prize (a paid date) and a few consolation ones (online dating subscriptions), and yes, the bachelors and bachelorettes competing for the love of the episode's deciding bachelor or bachelorette are clearly encouraged to get competitive and chide each other over respective baggage. However, there is no real sense of play. This is more a process or a system than a game -- it's more akin to visiting the DMV and standing in this line and then going to that one and then filling out some paperwork and then getting your picture taken and then waiting in another line to pick up your license. You can read a detailed description of the Baggage process, as described by Jordan Carr last month on The Awl, but basically, it's like this: three people compete for a date with one person (we'll call that person "the decider"). These people reveal one increasingly embarrassing detail for each of three rounds. One of the competitors is kicked out in the second round (the "dealbreaker" round) -- that round is the only time a person isn't immediately paired with his or her baggage (the three competitors' medium-sized baggage is revealed anonymously, the decider picks what he or she won't tolerate, and, after we see whose baggage is whose, that person is out of the running). In the final round, the decider is left with two potential dates, but since he or she is looking at them the entire time, what their biggest baggage is matters little because he or she can always just pick the one he or she is most attracted to anyway. The person chosen (the "winner," if you will) then gets the opportunity to hear about the decider's baggage and, having stared at them for the duration of filming, can also accept or reject that based on attractiveness alone.The Baggage system is the exact opposite of fool-proof.

Fools are the point, though -- what speed dating is to regular dating, Baggage is to reality TV. By encouraging people to reveal their quirks ("I'm extremely gassy." "I tape myself having sex." "I will only stay at four-star hotels." "I've never had sex and probably never will." "I pee in the shower to conserve water." "I'm uncircumcised."), it can portray the extreme human behavior we crave in reality TV in an extremely efficient way. We aren't following our weirdos over the course of a multi-episode plot arc, but over 30 minutes, and so Baggage gets right to the point. Other dating shows wine and dine the viewer; Baggage asks, "Wanna fuck?" As host, Jerry Springer goes from proto-reality TV ringmaster to post-reality TV MC (in at least one case, this is literally post-reality TV -- Rock of Love's Heather Chadwell taped an episode for the second season, which begins today). Not only is Springer making great genre bookends, he's obviously got the perfect skill set for hosting something so lurid.

(Read the rest here)

Probably not many people get GSN, and probably a lot (like me) had never even heard of it before, but free full episodes are available here.  

If you were on this show.....what would your smallest, medium-sized, and biggest "baggage" be?

General / Drowning Doesn't Look Like Drowning
« on: August 07, 2010, 04:58:26 PM »
Please give this article a read, if you ever spend time around a pool, lake, ocean, etc. and especially if you have children who do. It's about how to recognize drowning-- it doesn't look like in movies, with the waving, yelling, and splashing. In fact, even though it's the 2nd greatest accidental killer of children in America, 10% of parents whose children drown will actually watch them do it, unaware of what's happening.

The Instinctive Drowning Response – so named by Francesco A. Pia, Ph.D.,  is what people do to avoid actual or perceived suffocation in the water.  And it does not look like most people expect.  There is very little splashing, no waving, and no yelling or calls for help of any kind.  To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this:  It is the number two cause of accidental death in children, age 15 and under (just behind vehicle accidents) – of the approximately 750 children who will drown next year, about 375 of them will do so within 25 yards of a parent or other adult.  In ten percent of those drownings, the adult will actually watch them do it, having no idea it is happening (source: CDC).  Drowning does not look like drowning – Dr. Pia, in an article in the Coast Guard’s On Scene Magazine, described the instinctive drowning response like this:

      1. Except in rare circumstances, drowning people are physiologically unable to call out for help. The respiratory system was designed for breathing. Speech is the secondary or overlaid function. Breathing must be fulfilled, before speech occurs.
       2. Drowning people’s mouths alternately sink below and reappear above the surface of the water. The mouths of drowning people are not above the surface of the water long enough for them to exhale, inhale, and call out for help. When the drowning people’s mouths are above the surface, they exhale and inhale quickly as their mouths start to sink below the surface of the water.
       3. Drowning people cannot wave for help. Nature instinctively forces them to extend their arms laterally and press down on the water’s surface. Pressing down on the surface of the water, permits drowning people to leverage their bodies so they can lift their mouths out of the water to breathe.
       4. Throughout the Instinctive Drowning Response, drowning people cannot voluntarily control their arm movements. Physiologically, drowning people who are struggling on the surface of the water cannot stop drowning and perform voluntary movements such as waving for help, moving toward a rescuer, or reaching out for a piece of rescue equipment.
       5. From beginning to end of the Instinctive Drowning Response people’s bodies remain upright in the water, with no evidence of a supporting kick. Unless rescued by a trained lifeguard, these drowning people can only struggle on the surface of the water from 20 to 60 seconds before submersion occurs.

    (Source: On Scene Magazine: Fall 2006 (page 14))

General / Sex work and women and stupidity
« on: August 03, 2010, 03:33:46 PM »
Lawrence Fishburne is angry that his daughter, Montana Fishburne, made a porn movie.  Reporter asks "Is this not what all fathers fear their daughters will do to them?"  Both men, though presumably straight and having presumably seen at least a bit of porn in their time, are apparently not aware that every male and female in every porn movie is somebody's son or daughter.

Suggestion: If your daughter makes a porn movie, don't watch it.  Don't attend the strip club where she works.  Don't call the escort service she's employed with.  Don't call the sex line she works the phones for.  Nobody's making you.  It's her life, her job.  If that makes you uncomfortable, it's your problem.  Not something she "did to you."  Feel embarrassed or ashamed if your daughter becomes a corrupt cop; leave her alone if she dances around a freakin' pole.  She's making people happy for a living.  Get pissed if she makes her living hurting people.  


Guys, you are not inherently superior to your wank material.  I know if feels good to think you are, but you're not.  The fact that she's the one who is naked and you're the one with your dick in your hand does not somehow make you better, more worthwhile, more intelligent, or more interesting.  Stop thinking it does, and you might be less likely to throw a judgmental fit if your daughter/mother/sister decides to go into the profession.  

General / Two years in prison
« on: July 18, 2010, 02:04:28 AM »
There's no way I'm going to try and cut and paste this entire thing, because it's way too long.  I thought it was an interesting read though, and horrifying if it's even 5% true. 

General / The Juvenile Thread
« on: July 12, 2010, 11:49:02 AM »
Gene has denounced this forum as childish.  I think a bit of childishness can be fun sometimes.  So this thread is designated as a repository for childishness, puerility, immaturity, and occasional silliness.

[youtube=425,350]<object width="640" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/PSEYXWmEse8&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/PSEYXWmEse8&amp;hl=en_US&amp;fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="640" height="385"></embed></object>[/youtube]

This makes me want to see a lot of those movies again. 

General / The 24 types of libertarian
« on: July 02, 2010, 10:45:27 AM »
Let's play Name That Strawman.  Go!

General / Unelected sponges throw another taxpayer-funded party
« on: June 20, 2010, 03:20:43 PM »
...but a lot of people refused to show up:

So the crown princess of Sweden, Princess Victoria, got married yesterday to Clark Kent.

Just kidding.  She married her fitness trainer, Daniel Westling, which apparently caused some controversy as her father didn't consider him blue-blooded enough to join the royal family.  When King Carl XVI Gustaf eventually relented, he hired a team of courtiers to correct Daniel's rural accent, school him in history and "several European languages," and instruct him in etiquette. 

Royals don't always marry other royals apart from that, though-- when Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark got married in 2004, it was to an Australian real estate agent whom he met in a bar in Sydney during the 2000 Olympics.  When he and Mary got engaged, she was taught Danish and converted from Presbyterian to Lutheran.  I wasn't there at the time, but don't think there was any controversy about that.   The Australians were over the moon about it.  In 2005 Mary gave birth to their first child, a boy who was named Christian because it is tradition for the king of Denmark to be named Christian or Frederik alternately. Christian was, incidentally, a page in Victoria and Daniel's wedding:

That kid's gonna be a king someday.   Two of those girls are future queens, of the Netherlands and Norway respectively. 

Apparently attendance at Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel's wedding was sparser than expected because there are a lot of Swedes who want to end the monarchy:
But all did not run smoothly as Swedes, many of whom oppose the retention of a monarchy, did not turn out in the numbers expected.

The city had hoped to counter the public's apathy by splashing out eight million kronor on a two week long festival - ''Love Stockholm 2010'' - to mark the marriage. Public transport was free for the days, stores boasted huge sales and Stockholm's airport was renamed Official Love Airport 2010'' for the occasion.

But it wasn't enough to dispel the city's somewhat lacklustre response.

Advance sales of royal memorabilia were disappointing, coming nowhere close to the 2.5 billion kronor forecast by the national retail organisation. Hotels and guest houses who had hoped for record bookings found themselves struggling to fill rooms.

I have to agree with them.  I'm sure Princess Victoria is a lovely person, but there is no particular reason why she should be the one in Napolean's wife's tiara getting married in front of a military honor guard and riding off in a coach. 

It seems odd in this day and age for the population of a country to pay with their taxes for an unelected family to live ostentatiously. 

General / Caucasians
« on: May 22, 2010, 04:57:46 PM »
[youtube=425,350]<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/8XMvviFbkf0&hl=en_US&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/8XMvviFbkf0&hl=en_US&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>[/youtube].

General / Daughter, beware of men bearing pedestals
« on: March 19, 2010, 03:12:19 PM »
by Shel Silverstein:

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I like Dan Savage's response:

Nancy Elliott, a state representative in New Hampshire, wants to ban same-sex marriage in that state—where it’s been legal for less than three months—and here’s her reasoning: “We’re talking about taking the penis of one man and putting it in the rectum of another man and wiggling it around in excrement. And you have to think… would I allow that to be done to ME?”

Where to begin? How about here…

If you’re wiggling your penis around in excrement when you’re having anal sex, Representative Elliott, you’re doing it wrong. You would think this would be obvious even to people who’ve never had anal sex, but apparently not. So let me break it down for you, Representative Elliott: You don’t have anal sex with an ass full of shit for the same reason you don’t have oral sex with a mouth full of food. It’s messy, and no one wants a mess. (Except for the people who do want a mess, of course, but they’re a blessed rarity.) An empty, douched, and lubed anal cavity isn’t that much dirtier than an empty, flossed, and brushed oral cavity.

I will concede that excrement is for anal what Representative Elliott is for the New Hampshire State Legislature: a PR disaster. But excrement-free anal sex is easy. Make sure there’s some fiber in your diet, be regular, and only go for it when you’re empty—no anal during your butt menses!—and you’ll never get excrement on a single wigglin’ dick.

And now a question for you, Representative Elliott: Are you really sure you want to make it illegal for buttfuckers to get married?

“According to a 2005 survey conducted by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” a commenter whom I’m going to quote at length (hey, Baconcat!) wrote on a blog in reaction to Elliott’s remarks, “40 percent of men and 35 percent of women between 25 and 44 had engaged in heterosexual anal sex. Some studies put the incidence of anal sex in the heterosexual population as low as 24 percent and some as high as 56 percent. Averaging those numbers, let’s say 38.8 percent of heterosexuals engage in anal sex. Ninety-six percent of Americans are straight. There are 190,000,000 adults between the ages of 18 and 65 in the United States, so that means 70,771,200 adults are engaging in heterosexual anal sex. Four percent of the adult population is gay, or 7,600,000 people. Roughly half—3,800,000—are gay males. Polls indicate that between 55 and 80 percent of gay males participate in anal sex. Taking the average—67.5 percent—that means the number of gay men having anal sex comes to 2,565,000.”

Math is hard, Representative Elliott, but see if you can’t wiggle this into your cranial cavity: 70,771,200 is more—a whole lot more—than 2,565,000. Anal sex in America is primarily a heterosexual pursuit. So if you really want to protect the sacred sanctity of marriage from the unholy taint of penises wiggling in rectums, Representative Elliott, you need to ban straight marriage first. (We needn’t protect marriage from lesbians, of course, because lesbians don’t have anuses.)

General / 13
« on: February 10, 2010, 12:54:49 AM »
What do you think?

General / Videographer almost thrown out of Campaign for Liberty meeting
« on: February 01, 2010, 10:43:18 AM »
...by Steve Bierfeldt, the same guy who made big news last year by refusing to explain why he was carrying a large amount of cash on an airplane trip and recorded his interactions with the TSA and police.  

Here's the story

The author of this blog interprets this as an indication that Campaign for Liberty in general doesn't care about freedom of speech, which sounds like a silly excuse for dismissing them to me.  But Bierfeldt does not make himself look good, either in the video or in his comments to and about Tarrin Lupo (the videographer) after the event.  

General / Karma Sutra buddies
« on: December 18, 2009, 11:52:42 AM »
You know you want to go to a site where you can mix and match obese men and women, average attractive men and women, and midget men and women and have them try out various sexual positions. 

In their underwear, fortunately or unfortunately depending on how you look at things.  But still often hilarious. 


(Suggestion: Choose the man of small stature and the larger woman, and have them try "wheelbarrow")

General / Improv people
« on: December 05, 2009, 01:53:20 PM »
Listening to NPR right now, This American Life.  They're interviewing a guy named Charlie from Improv Everywhere.  Basically what these people do is plan performance art stunts in public places.   Charlie says it's to make life more interesting for people, give them an unpredicted part of their day that they'll appreciate.  He makes it sound like they're following some grand mission.  

One example of what they did was The Moebius.  The group planned it out to happen in a Starbucks, to sort of make fun of the repetitiveness of what life is like there.  A couple goes in, gets in line.  The girl opens her purse, and the guy sees cigarettes in it and picks a fight about her smoking.  She storms out and he goes after her, calling her name.  Another guy sits at a table reading.  He knocks over his drink, gets up, and runs to get napkins and cleans it up.  Another guy gets up to go to the bathroom, notices the line is too long, complains, and goes back to his seat.  Another guy enters through one door of the Starbucks carrying a boombox playing "Shiny Happy People."  He dances through the shop and exits through another door.  The group repeats these actions at the same time in a loop, 12 times total.  Eventually people start to notice and comment.  They wonder why the anti-smoking guy bothers to chase after his girlfriend again and again.  They start to form theories about why the same things keep happening.  After 12 cycles, the group gets up and leaves.  

Another example is Ted's Birthday.  The group decides to go to a bar and pick a stranger, and pretend it's his birthday.  They decide his name will be Ted, and each plans ahead what his or her relationship is with "Ted."  In actuality, "Ted" turns out to be a shy college student named Chris who is freaked out by the whole thing.  He doesn't understand why these strangers are talking about their common history together.  He shows them his driver's license, but they laugh it off and encourage him to accept gift cards and free beer.  He tries repeatedly to leave, but they keep offering "Ted" more drinks and begging him to stay there.  Chris keeps thinking that eventually the real Ted will show up and want to know why he's hanging out with his friends, accepting their gifts.  He goes home confused.  The gift cards are there the next day, but Chris sure isn't going to use them.  The next year about the same time, Charlie calls Chris, refers to him as Ted, and says he wants to celebrate again. Chris does not call him back.  

Cool concept?  Pretentious excuse for fucking with people?  Your thoughts?

General / Capitalism in action
« on: November 19, 2009, 01:00:22 AM »
Apparently people would rather pay for what they view as a superior product:


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