I pre-ordered my copy of Tony Pierce's busblog book the other day, which I guess puts me in company with a pretty cool group of people, including Glenn Reynolds, Matt Welch and the Mox. This may be the only time I can consider myself in the same sentence as those people. Anyway, when Tony emailed me to thank me for the purchase, he called me Christopher, which is really weird because I almost never go by that name, even in my current dignified position. (Maybe I should start using that name, because far too many people already go by Chris. However, I wouldn't want to burden my friends with two extra syllables.)

Back to the point: pre-order your copy of the busblog book too. Aside from wanting to support good art, you should do so becase Tony is once again breaking ground, and you should get on it while you can.

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A friend of mine pointed this out today:

The Hose Monster Blog: where you can read about Supreme Court decisions and the connecting legal/moral debates and about my penis within the same week.

I love having a blog.

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Email from this morning:

hey hosemonster:

i noticed on your xmas list that you said you wanted penile enlargement. feeling a little unsure of yourself these days, eh?

actually, i was just writing to say excellent work on the rape/murder supreme court post, and just in general to say that i like your blog.

take it easy,
a. fugazi

First of all, thanks for the compliments and for reading A. Fugazi. Now to address the fun part of the email...

I tend to talk about myself a fair amount in this blog, but rather than actually talking about me in physical respects, I talk about my opinions or tell stories about a lot of the dumb shit I've done over the years. Also, when I talk about myself, I tend to inject a healthy amount of self-deprecation into the discussion because I recognize that I have a lot of ridiculous characteristics and do a lot of silly things.

Talking about penile enlargement was meant to be a joke. But if you're really curious...

DISCLAIMER: I'm about to talk all about my schlong. Consider yourself warned.

I have a good relationship with my little Hose Monster. I keep it clean and wash it in the shower, it allows me to pee standing up. I am comfortable with the size of my unit, and under no circumstances would I ever actually think about taking pills to beef up my beef, and if you think I'd let anyone with a scalpel or whatever even near it, then I think you're crazy.

However, I don't think I have a huge popsicle.

I think I might have mentioned this in one of my interviews, but I'm not a big guy. 5'7", generally between 140 and 145 pounds. Given those stats, if I had a 9" dick, I'd probably think I was a mutant or something.

I've never measured it, so I don't have any idea of its size, nor have I taken a tape measure to it to determine my girth. And I'm really not one of those guys who gets hung up on size all that much (though that might have something to do with the fact that I am comfortable with schween). It's been quite a while since I've made a size comment in any context without meaning to make myself look absolutely ridiculous. It's my hoohaa, and I focus more on using it correctly than on wondering if I'm a penis midget.

So I don't think I need penis enlargement, and I don't think I truly am a Hose Monster. I have some fun stories about it, but I don't really think they're appropriate for retelling here, a) because I don't want to seem like I'm bragging, and b) because it's not really my business to tell stories like that in such a forum. But I cannot resist two stories because I don't really think they say anything either way.

  • My mother and a friend of hers had their sons at roughly the same time, so they used to spend time with their kiddies together. A few years ago she was telling me that one day she was changing my diaper and her friend was doing the same with her son, and she happened to catch a glimpse of the other boy's crotch, and her first thought was "Well where is it?" She was telling me that in comparison, this other little kid had nothing. And for the record, when my mother told me this story, I was extremely disturbed that she talking about my size, even when I was less than a year old.

  • One girl (who swore me to secrecy with regard to our little sexual tryst) told a mutual friend that I was the biggest she'd ever had. Of course, she was still drunk from the evening before when we danced naked that morning (I swear I thought she was sober, I had refused her the night before; nice guy image still intact...), and she has since told me she hardly remembers the incident, which is sort of depressing. So I don't know how much credence we can lend to this story. However, for the next year, my mutual friend tried to gather as much additional information relating to my schween as possible. It was pretty damn funny.

Anyway, I think that's just about enough on my little Hose Monster for now. Meesh would be upset at me for not going further, but since she's sadly disappeared, I think it's okay for now.

Anyway, I'm not feeling the need for enlargement, and I don't think I'm huge. And it's fine.

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Two days in a row. Amazing.

My dear Sarah hits again with another brilliant post. Read this one for a very insightful look at one person's own development.

Where did this come from, I suddenly ask myself. And I hope it continues.

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Since the holiday season is rapidly approaching, and all of you love me so much as to almost certainly have spent wondering what I might like to receive in gift form to celebrate the holidays, I thought I'd give you some hints.

  • A Nimbus 2000
  • An all-expenses paid scuba diving trip to either the Cayman Islands or Australia. Either will be fine.
  • A busblog t-shirt
  • Los Angeles Kings: Stanley Cup Champions
  • A political campaign focusing on issues without a single negative campaign ad
  • Concert tickets to see any of the following groups: Bon Jovi, Pearl Jam, Bachman Turner Overdrive, Huey Lewis and the News, Britney Spears, Maná, Journey (with Steve Perry) or Elton John.
  • Blogchildren. When the hell are the Blondemaster and Bennitt going to get their acts together?
  • Safe, effective and all-natural penile enlargement
  • Peter Engel agreeing to release a collector’s edition DVD series of Saved by the Bell
  • A Bowflex Ultimate and space in my apartment to put it somewhere
  • Lots of comments to even the most mundane things I write in the HM Blog
  • A parking spot closer than three blocks away from my apartment
  • Vegas
  • Better ideas for stupid holiday gift lists

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In their 1977 opinion in the case of Coker v. Georgia, the United States Supreme Court struck down a portion of a Georgia statute authorizing the death penalty in certain rape cases. The four Justices compromising the plurality thought the death penalty "grossly disproportionate and excessive punishment for the crime of rape," and therefore violated the 8th Amendment outlawing cruel and unusual punishment. 433 U.S. 584, 598. While the plurality opinion did characterize rape as "the ultimate violation of self," it nonetheless found rape to be less heinous than homicide and concluded that rape "does not compare with murder ... in terms of moral depravity and ... the injury to the person and to the public." Id. at 597-98.

I strongly disagree. But my disagreement makes me wonder if I have a skewed sense of the external world.

The recent history of the criminal law seems to generally support the notion that murder and rape constitute the two most serious violations of self by another person (for the sake of argument, I will not consider this blanket statement in light of various categories of unintentional homicide or non-aggravated/statutory rape situations). I agree with the argument that murder has more serious empirical consequences. The victim is dead. You do not come back from death. End of story. I will also agree that you can make a strong argument that a perpetrator requires an extreme amount of moral depravity or an inability to think rationally in order to commit such a crime as murder. And I will agree that parties convicted of murder deserve very stringent punishments, generally leveraged closer to the maximum penalties our criminal justice system will permit.

But I have to disagree with the general theory that rape is a less serious offense than homicide in terms of a violation of the self and even in terms of moral depravity.

Empircally, the consequences of rape may seem less than those of murder. The victim becomes a survivor and has the opportunity to continue living his or her life and pursuing his or her goals. What the plurality opinion seems to neglect, even as it characterizes rape as the ultimate violation of self (and then immediately contradicts itself by saying an ultimate violation does not compare with the more heinous crime of murder, negating the descriptor "ultimate" entirely) is that while homicide is a strong violation of self, that violation may only last so long as the victim breathes away the remnants of his or her life. With rape, that infringement on the self of the victim lasts for the duration of his or her life; we apply the term "survivor" to them because we imagine they have already been to hell and back.

And back. Are we sure about this? Before making this assumption, we have a duty to consider the psychological impact of the violation on the survivor and those who will meet that survivor throughout the rest of his or her days. The violence of the violation committed in rape does not end when the commission of the rape ends and the bruises fade; it endures to the end of the survivor's days and beyond, carried on in the memories and nightmares of his or her family and friends.

The Court claims that rape does not compare to murder with respect to the injury to the person and to the public. But what do we consider as these injuries? With the commission of every murder, I would argue that a sense of fear seeps into the public consciousness, a fear of certain ethnic groups or neighborhoods or activities or whatever else you want to consider. Certainly this is an ill to the public, but perhaps an ill confined to the certain zones of fear in our head. Not to be racist, because I don't think I am, but when was the last time you were walking at night through an affluent white subarb and felt a small fear in the back of your mind that you or someone you loved might become a victim of murder? How about the last time you drove through the south side of Chicago, or East L.A. or Detroit? You have to admit that your state of mind is a little different in those two situations.

Now contrast this with rape. Allow me to throw at you some unresearched statistics that I remember generally from hearing them
previously. I know this is somewhat irresponsible, but I am on a tirade, so just let it go. (You should also take into account the fact that these statistics are based generally on reported cases of rape, and some theorists think that as many as 70% of rapes go unreported, which if true, greatly distorts the numbers into the realm of utter horror.) A woman is raped between every five and seven seconds in this country. The great majority of rape does not happen through violent assault or other incidents generally termed as aggravated rape, but between two people who previously knew each other.

Date rape, the use of alcohol or drugs to impair judgment, psychological pressures and fear of violence: these are more common tools of rapists, not guns and knives, though those certainly play a role in a number of rapes as well. Moreover, where do rapes frequently happen? College campuses, house parties, apartments, and on and on. Everyday places for a large number of us.

I hypothesized above that murder can create a fear of proximity in the public, that this fear is a great ill to the public sense of welfare and security. But rape, which can permeate the everyday situations of our lives, according to the Supreme Court, does not compare with homicide with respect to its injury to the public? What about the shattering of trust and the feeling of general safety we feel in our homes, with our friends, with people we meet at a party or a bar because they flashed a nice smile from across the room? What about the fact that we might fear the most basic of social situations because we cannot be positively sure of our own safety unless we are extremely cautious? What is the public cost of this caution, and how greatly do this caution restrict our enumerated basic right of the pursuit of happiness? Obviously I am dropping a great number of rhetorical questions here, but I nonetheless think I make the point that ill caused by rape is greater than an injury; it is a cancer feeding off itself and always growing. It metastisizes and pursues us into the most basic moments of our lives. It leaves us fearful of being alone with another person on suburban college campuses and makes us distrust dating, relationships, sex, love, emotional commitment, building a family, and on and on. I would consider these some of the most basic liberties that we have the right to pursue in this country, and the fear perpetuated by rape certainly can touch every one of these basic desires that seem simple enough goals for a great number of us to pursue.

And note that I have spent the great majority of the time talking about the ill to the public here. The difficulties a survivor of rape must endure are for the most part beyond my reach of discussion, for I have never raped anyone, nor am I a survivor of rape. Tragically, I have in my 23 years already met and come to know way too many survivors of rape to last an entire lifetime, and I shake my head in sorrow at the realization that I will meet more before my tenure on this Earth comes to an end. Nonetheless, I consider myself unsuited to try and explore how a rape affects the rest of a survivor's life. I can only assume the horror of it.

All that said, I have serious issues with the contention by the pluarilty of the Coker Court that rape does not compare with murder in terms of moral depravity and the injury to the person and to the public. I agree they do not directly compare, and as heinous as murder can be, I am of the opinion that rape is worse than murder. I agree with then Chief Justice Berger and Justice Rehnquist (and this is an extreme rarity that I agree with Rehnquist) in the observation that "the long-range effect [of rape] upon the victim's life and health is likely to be irreparable" and that "rape thus is not a crime 'light years' removed from murder in the degree of its heinousness." Id. at 611-12, 620. Personally I would rather be shot, execution style, in the back of the head, than raped. That may be the sickest thing I will ever write, but it's true.

And yet, at the end of all this discussion, though I disagree with the Court's reasoning, I do nonetheless agree with the plurality's ruling that capital punishment penalties should not be applied to felons convicted of rape.

I might more successfully articulate an explanation for that feeling if I knew how I felt in regard to the utility and fairness of capital punishment. I do not believe that the death penalty is unconstitutional as a violation of the 8th Amendment; under the right circumstances, I have no problem thinking you should die for killing someone else. In fact, I once rather strongly supported capital punishment and felt it an essential element to the criminal justice system. But little pieces of evidence have eroded that certainty. Questions of proof in capital cases, the fact that most death penalty cases end up costing more than life imprisonment due to the expense of appellate litigation, and the fact that the United States is the only Western country that has retained the death penalty. Furthermore, we could launch into the possibly racist nature of the death penalty as well, but I will not even explore the race question at this point. However, I recognize that there exist a multitude of racial arguments you could articulate to attack the legitimacy of the death penalty as well.

One of the major reasons I might still support capital punishment (and honestly, if I had to decide this moment one way or another, I do not know which side I would join) is the argument that no stronger deterrence exists than the risk of death. Currently, I am mulling through two rebuttals to that argument. For one, I am tempted to think that if you are morally depraved enough to intentionally murder (and I will say that I believe the death penalty should only apply in cases of intentional homicide), than how much of an added deterrent will the prospect of your own death over that of lifetime imprisonment be? Secondly, with the way the criminal justice system administers the death penalty, the actual punishment is so far out of the line of sight of the criminal, in that the average death row felon waits years before going to the gas chamber or for lethal injection, does it really make sense to claim the death penalty is a deterrent to a 20 year old; will he or she think that he might be executed at 35 because of his actions now? Additionally, I wonder if offering death to a felon is not conferring on him or her grace for killing. With life imprisonment, you must live out the rest of your days in dealing with the danger of prison.

But back to the point. If I were to come out in support of capital punishment, I would defend it in cases of intentional homicide, and yet I would have a hard time saying that it should apply to rape. Given my arguments above about the moral reprehensibility of rape, I would expect myself to argue differently. But I'm not.

Were I to decide that I supported capital punishment, would that make me as hypocritical as the Coker Court?

I would love any comments on this issue, so please, if you have any thoughts, leave them for me. This is a tough issue through which I am trying to work.

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An excellent satirical post by my girl Sarah (make sure you read the extended version) on the sordid state of football affairs at Michigan State this year. This from a team expected in August to contend for the Big 10 title this year, but now, the college football pundits are calling MSU the biggest disappointment of the season.

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I like to consider myself a pretty smooth guy, as guys go. But I, like any halfwit with a Y chromosome, I could use some additional smoothing over. And I think I might have found a good place to start…

Can someone teach a little seminar on bra-unfastening for men? I rarely feel more inept than when things are getting hot and heavy in the bedroom, and I pull the reach around move to unfasten the bra … and forty-five seconds later I’ve got both hands on the clasp, I’m turning the poor semi-naked girl’s boobs into pancakes and I still cannot get the damn thing off. Nothing less intimate than the girl laughing at you and saying, “Need some help?” With a little bit of luck and some humility, this problem can probably come off as somewhat endearing, but one of these days I’d like to be smooth and sexy.

My first girlfriend once told me that the truly smooth guys can get them with just one hand, and even occasionally with the teeth. I managed the one-hander a few times in a respectable time and even once with the teeth, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve been out of practice for a number of years. I could use a refresher course.

I’ve watched a few girls put on and take off a few bras in my day, and I’m always astounded at how they do so with relative ease. Arms through the straps, preliminary positioning of the boobs, etc. I get that part no problem. But then the girl pulls this amazing contortion maneuver involving popping both arms out of the shoulder sockets to reach behind them and fasten the bra. Pop the arms back into the sockets, a final positioning of the boobs and on with life. 1 2 3. Seems simple enough.

But let’s analyze this situation a little more. I don’t consider myself a bra expert by any means, and yet I know that you’ve got your hook and eye socket clasps, your regular hook clasps, then you’ve got back and front closing bra and probably some other ones I don’t even know about. Admittedly, they have to manipulate these things every day, so they get accustomed to working these out, so the smoothness of the above-described process does not altogether surprise. My question is, how do the ladies initially get this knowledge from whence they start establishing their smooth process?

Sorry for the rambling. I promise, there’s a bathroom posting the works soon.

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My hero Tony Pierce has put together what may be the best photo essay of the year.

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Ever get so busy with responsibilities and occasional attempts to relax between responsibilities that you fail to notice that you're almost blissfully happy? Yup, that's been me for the last month or so. But this week marks a slight reprieve in the intensity at school, and after finishing a largish memo at 8 p.m. last night, I sat back, relaxed and realized this week would not be so bad. No paper to worry about. Three different classes cancelled. The opportunity to sleep until noon on Thursday and Friday if I want to. And what amounted to a full body's sigh of relief escaped from my mouth.

I realized at that point that I haven't gone to bed upset, angry, overly frustrated, or even disappointed in quite some time. Stressed? Maybe a little. Tired? More than I care to remember. But those feelings, in my humble opinion, do not make any strong comment on my state of happiness. I plan to spend this week being happy that I think I'm happy.

I have a new girlfriend, and she makes me smile. And laugh. I'll just leave it at that before I start gushing.

While I don't have lots of friends, the ones I do have are amazing. They let me come visit them in new cities, take me to spy museums and sit up late at night reminding me that in my efforts to be a decent person, I've pretty much succeeded. They take me to Wendy's and bars with not many hot girls and we still manage to have a good time. They let me share rites of passage with them and laugh at them when they steam up the bushes at 4:30 a.m. after a hard night of boozing. And they tell me it's no big deal when the extremely cute girl they were talking to for a half an hour at the bar reveals that she's engaged. Good times indeed.

In honor of the week of happiness, the HM Blog, a blog that rules way way harder than the rulons, will be giving a little linky love today. And today, we're going to give some love to sites that have been heretofore appreciated but not necessarily expressly loved.

Jeff Cooper has me linked on his blog under the heading of "law student." This is in fact true, but because of this classification, I sometimes feel the obligation to examine legal situations or discuss pending judicial nominations or something obviously more profound than the drivel that generally appears in here. However, as any real lawyer would note before chasing me out of a court room for jury selection, I know just enough to be dangerous but know way too little to actually get anything right. So for the moment, I'll leave the legal stuff to Mr. Cooper and his other linked parties. In the meantime, go check out Cooped Up, because beyond interesting discussion of politics and the like, he simply writes well and his stuff is pleasant to read.

I dig sports. I would marry hockey if it were possible. And that's why Eric McErlain gets a little love today. From my personal opinion, Off-Wing Opinion might be approaching the level of the infamous Instapundit with respect to sports blogging. And he writes about the NHL more than anything else. Good man, I say.

Create your own George W. Bush speech.

Tyler is still a relatively new read for me, so I'm not going to comment on the blogging at this point. However, for an admitted new and amateur photographer, he has a world of talent and a great eye for composing his images. Take a look. I strongly recommend the black and white gallery.

At some point recently I made it on to Moxie's list of links. Very exciting times. If I were a little older, a little more Jewish, a little closer to LA, a little more confident and a little more single, I'll call her up and ask her on a date. But I'll leave that to all the other bloggers out there who like smart attractive women.

Linky love may continue later this week. All sorts of people have linked me recently, but I haven't had time to give their sites a read. More to try and accomplish this week. And for those of you who fit into this category: thanks. You've contributed to that almost blissful happiness I'm feeling.

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