Rhapsodies & Rants: 12-07-2011

Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself

I was gratefully surprised to see the Open Mic piece on AIDS awareness (“Staying Negative,” Nov. 23). As a professional sex surrogate, I teach people about STDs daily.

Surprisingly, we still need better long-term studies for STDs. Opinions about degree of risk have changed more than once. Clinics and doctors don’t always keep current, and their personal prejudices can affect their judgment. Also, they have confided in me that they are afraid to overwhelm their patients, and therefore only give them basic information.

So this is a list of what I get checked for: AIDS/HIV, candida, chanchroids, bladder infections (because I’m bisexual), chlamydia, cytomegalovirus, crabs, Epstein-Barr virus, gonorrhea, hepatitis, herpes, HPV, intestinal parasites, lice, Molluscum contagiosum, mycoplasma, scabies, and MRSA.

In the 1970s and 1980s, I contracted STDs from nice, “careful” people. Now, I refrain from exchanging any body fluids with clients. Unfortunately, this also means no wet kisses or oral sex with new lovers until we’ve all been fully tested and made clear agreements about our “safer” behaviors with any other lovers (or sensual masseuses). Sometimes this requires going to more than one clinic. The Sebastopol Community Clinic is a good place to start.

I wish for a conscious, healthy and happy sex life for all..


Plaza Seminar on the Future

A few of us have been at the southwest corner of Healdsburg’s Plaza for a few weeks now. We have named ourselves Occupy Wall Street at Healdsburg, because we are truly part of the current national movement, but we’d prefer to call it the Plaza Seminar on the Future of America. We don’t do tents, porta-potties or confrontation, but we do signs, witness, information, dialogue and discussion.

It is often charged, with not a little smugness, that the Occupy movement has no platform, policies or goals, which is patently ridiculous. If you’re part of the 99%, you know intuitively many of the things that must be done to “restore” our America. Some of us seminarians suggest, for example, as a start that we raise the federal tax level on the rich, following the “Warren Buffett program”; levying a 90 percent tax on corporate and investment-industry bonuses; increase (or start enforcing!) regulation of banks, investment firms and hedge funds; introducing a federal campaign finance system with a publically funded feature; drastically (re-)limiting political campaign donations by businesses and corporations; shifting tax exemptions from large corporations to small- and medium-sized businesses; eliminating mortgage-payment tax write-offs for second homes; strengthening the powers and independence of the new U.S. Consumer Protection Bureau; ending subsidies to oil and gas companies; mandating contributions by large corporations and banks to local community-benefit programs; encouraging people to put their money in community-based banks instead of the Big Guys.

We think a vigorous capitalism with adequate regulation will give us an America fairer for all. Oh yes, very radical, but it delights us to think of what a terrific country we could be if any two or three of these were put into effect.

If you have similar ideas, you too belong to the Occupy movement, so please join us every Saturday from 2pm to 4pm (or even for a few minutes) on the southwest corner of the Plaza. Bring a sign or use one of ours. Hold dialogue with our tourists and your Healdsburg co-citizens.

If you disagree with us, that’s fine, too. Come on down and have a chat!


Dept. of Doyle

Last week’s article about the Doyle Scholarship (“Weakened Trust,” Nov. 30) erroneously described one of Exchange Bank’s criteria for dividend reinstatement as a reduction of nonperforming assets to $52 million. The correct figure is $30 million.

Still a proud Exchange Bank customer

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