Fifty Shades of Grey spanks the publishing world



Ah, the sweet sting of success.

Fifty Shades of Grey and its sequels, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed have spanked the publishing world with their surprising record-breaking sales.

The books were written by  E.L. James a British indie-author who got her start by posting an early version of this story on the internet as Twilight fan fiction. It was then picked up by the Australian publisher, The Writer’s Coffee Shop, who printed e-books and print-on-demand paperbacks.

The explosive success of this sexually explicit trilogy was primarily driven by female fans passing on their illicit find of “mommy porn” by word of mouth to female friends.  It has bound soccer moms to its pages with its deepening, romantic relationship between an ugly duckling, painfully-shy College senior and a darkly handsome, savagely-successful business magnate.

The author uses sexual dominance and submission (BDSM) as a whip to drive the deflowering of the relationship between the virgin Anastasia Steele and the damaged Christian Grey into an engorgement of something much more tumescent.  Although the novels contain astounding numbers of eye-rolling, lip-biting scenes (that only those in their twenties can live up to and will cause elders to smile in reminiscence) the story is not really about sex.  It is about the emotional relationship between Anastasia and Christian and that is what makes the novels so seductive.

The story’s success among women in the ongoing flowering of feminism is not surprising.  It is one woman’s story of her emotional triumph in the world of sexual politics.  Although Anastasia is initially invited into the world of BDSM as a submissive it is how she unshackles that relationship into one balanced with mutually acknowledged love and respect that makes her such a compelling character.  The tale is being hotly embraced by the ladies and those not so lady-like.

In spite of many disparaging reviews, one of which called Ms. James’ writing “torturous”, Fifty Shades of Grey remained on the New York Times list of top ten best selling print and e-books for 33 weeks, selling more than 40 million copies worldwide.  It broke the record on USA Today’s bestselling books list previously held by Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games, and set the record as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing even the Harry Potter series.  In April 2012, E. L. James was listed as one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.”

The movie rights have been purchased by Universal Pictures for $4 million.  Jamie Dornan and Dakota Johnson have been cast in the roles of Christian and Anastasia.  The film’s scheduled release date is said to be Valentine’s Day 2015.

Ms. James has recently released a CD entitled “The Classical Album” featuring the music she highlighted in her novels. In addition she has a line of wines, Red Velvet and White Silk, available by the bottle or the case.  Ah, the sweet sting of success!FotoFlexer_Photo Quill

An open apology to my wife concerning females in male locker rooms

Please, Honey,  let me explain

Please, Honey, let me explain

Baby, please let me explain.

It was just an article I wrote because of the episode with the Jets and the female reporter that was in the news.  I didn’t really mean it the way you took it.  You know how I get sometimes.  And, no, I don’t really want to interview Anna Kournikova while she’s showering.  I was just kidding.  Besides I don’t have the proper press pass.

Me and the guys were down at Hooters having a few beers and watching the game when the subject came up about that hot attractive female reporter who wanted to interview Mark Sanchez, the Jets QB, you know quarter back.  So we started discussing it and one of the guys, probably Tommy (you know how he gets) starts sticking up for the guys in the locker room.  Well, it got pretty funny at the time but then again we had all been drinking beer.

When you got on my case last night about my column I realized that I had overstepped my bounds with those “reporterette” and “chiquita” cracks.  You know I love you, Sweetheart.  Please forgive me.  I was just trying to be funny.

Likewise about the sprayed on pants.  They weren’t really sprayed on but they were awful tight – not that that’s an excuse.  I’m just trying to explain myself and as to the “teats” thing I just couldn’t think of another acceptable term to use and the editor didn’t change it and she’s a woman so how wrong could I have been.

OK, let’s get to the “packages” part.  That is a modern term that’s used a lot in hip-hop these days so I used it to try to sound cool.  I thought my comparison of their “packages” to her “package” made it even cooler until I saw how red your face got when you read that line back to me.  I guess that was pretty stupid of me, huh?

But wait until I get home tonight because I know you’ll just love the little “package” I have for you tonight.  Wait!  I didn’t mean it that way but that is funny isn’t it.  See, I can be a little funny sometimes without even knowing it.   I meant the “package” I bought for you today at one of your favorite stores.  You’re gonna love it.  It’s an “asking for forgiveness” package.

And I totally get your indignation at the “feminist thingy” thing.  I got carried away while I was writing the piece.  You know I support equal rights for men too.  It was the beers, I guess.  “Thingy” seemed funny since I was writing about “packages.”  OK, OK!  I’ll let it go.  It was just a weak joke and you know my sense of humor (or lack thereof – ha, ha, ha.)

And Pandora’s Box that was funny too.  Even you lightened up when you read me that part remembering it as a children’s story.  It’s really a Greek tragedy but the important thing is that you got it.

And now to the other difficult part for me to explain…that “cubbies” reference.  I must have gotten that right because you got that too even though it gave you a migraine.  And, yeah, I can see how the scent thing could be taken the wrong way but I’m innocent of all charges on that one.  It was that bear analogy again.  I think I explained what the word “analogy” meant when we were discussing the differences between our mothers.  Remember?

And wasn’t that “Goldilocks” reference clever.  Oh, oh, and forget about the work “fecundity.”  I don’t really know what it means anyway.  It just sounded good and it had more than three syllables which impresses my readers (and my editor.)

You know I love you and respect your opinion that’s why I am replying so openly.  Please forgive me and can I sleep in our bed tonight?  The couch is lumpy like cellulite and it frigid cold out there this time of year.

Love you,


XxxoooxxxFotoFlexer_Photo Quill

Concerning female reporters in male locker rooms


Tennis Champion Anna Kournikova

Females reporters in a male locker-room?

Are you kidding? Hello! Is anybody home?

Yeah?  Well, there are many male reporters would like to interview Anna Kournikova while she’s showering too.

Let’s get real here.

The New York Jets got into some unwarranted trouble a while back when a female reporterette entered the Jets locker-room after practice to conduct an interview. She was whistled at and called a “bonita senorita.”  The media reported the story and the feminists got all in a twitter.

You have fifty-some sweaty guys coming off the field with their testosterone all pumped up and in walks a pretty chiquita in spray-on pants with teats prominently on display and no one expects the guys to react?

If the guys did not react there would be a problem. To attempt to denigrate guys for being guys is full frontal sexism.

The reporter in question, Ms. Inez Sainz, twittered, “I’m in the Jet locker room and trying not to look at anything.” What is she trying not to look at?  Lockers or benches or exercise equipment?  No, she’s trying not to look at male packages, in their prime, with or without jock straps, wrapped or not wrapped in towels.

Ms. Sainz, a former Miss Universe contestant, is obviously in touch with her sexuality and should be mighty proud of the package in which she is wrapped. For her to feign surprise that some guys would whistle or call her a “bonita senorita” is just plain silly.

That’s what guys do.  Get over it.

Oh, that’s right the incident happened in the workplace where sexual harassment is verboten. For football players the workplace is the field on which they war. It is not the locker-room. Do men enter the ladies room at corporate HQ or vice verse? Verboten! Hell, they even have separate suites for his and her executive washrooms.

This is all part of that feminist thingy that has been around since the late sixties.  Feminism means well but it escaped Pandora’s Box. Guys interviewed guys in the locker-room after the game and some female reporters objected. It got into the courts and, in fairness to all, the gals won the battle. Since then, however, the repercussions in the war of the sexes have been ignored.

The sexes are not the same and no attempt should be made to treat them the same.

For decades now women have been protecting this ersatz equality like mama grizzlies protecting their cubbies.  Meanwhile they continue to leave their scent on other heretofore male territories. Trouble is males like that scent and follow it for reproductive (or not) purposes. When males smell it they whistle and make unbearable sounds meant to announce their presence.  The females, depending on their own sensitivities and/or the sensitivities of other females around them, can welcome those advances or not.

When the female is alone with a team of male jocks, depending on the fecundity of the female, she may or may not feel uneasy.  If that prickly feeling makes her uncomfortable she leaves.  If she chooses to stay she is welcome but she cannot, then, complain about her surroundings.  Like Goldilocks who wandered in uninvited she might find some circumstances too hard or hot, some too soft or cold but she also might find some just right.

That feminist thingy spoiled it for everyone. If males cannot interview males in locker-rooms without granting women the same allowance, than females cannot interview females in their locker-rooms without granting men the same privilege and gay men must be excluded from male locker rooms and lesbians from female locker rooms, anyplace that scent might arouse desire.

Consequently if no one was allowed to interview anyone, any more, in any locker room we would all suffer for it by losing the spontaneity that follows both triumph and defeat and can only be captured in the immediacy of the moments that follow the game.

Sexism is not treating the sexes differently but treating them the same.  Vive la difference!FotoFlexer_Photo Quill

The Journey is the Destination

tristate-custer-wildlifeloop 060

Brian, Tom and Greg at the SD/MT/WY tri-state marker

My two brothers (Brian and Greg) and I have enjoyed motorcycling, cumulatively, for over 100 years. When we can, we ride together. We currently ride cruising bikes capable of limited off-road use to enable us to go exploring. I ride a 1992 Kawasaki 750 Vulcan; Brian a 1992 Honda 750 Nighthawk; Greg a 2002 Suzuki 805 Intruder. We only dare travel 100 miles between refuelings so range is a serious on-going problem especially on our more remote trips.
We have explored much of LI from NYC to Montauk Point (check out the dirt trails north of Montauk Hwy. near the Lobster Roll Restaurant.) We have also explored most of Connecticut on three trips via the ferries over to Bridgeport and New London.
So where to next?
As we discussed our trips we realized that it was the journey we enjoyed. It’s the ride! The journey is the destination.
So…pick a destination, any destination.
Greg found a piece in a local paper about the NY/MA/CT tri-state marker. I recalled having hiked to that monument many years earlier on a camping trip with our father. So that became our next adventure. We rode the bikes as close to the marker as we could and hiked in the rest of the way, a small rock cairn indicating where we had to leave the trail to search the nearby woods.
So far we have visited 12 of 38 dry land tri-state markers, excluding the Four Corners (UT/CO/AZ/NM) and one for the District of Columbia. (Google “the corner corner” for directions and details.)
We visited the local tri-state markers first and then during the summer 06, on a trip to Sturgis, we did four more (OH/MI/IN; MN/SD/IA; MT/WY/SD; SD/WY NE.) We use the Atlas Gazetteer maps from DeLorme electing to take the most scenic and/or the faintest map lines shown if possible. Many roads are unpaved, some no more than trails, adding to the edgy enjoyment of our explorations. Use of a battery operated, hand-held GPS is under discussion. Searching out these markers has taken us places we probably would never have gone, meeting people we probably would never have met.
On one of our last trips while returning to base after locating our latest marker we took a wrong turn (somewhere) and wound up lost (somewhere) on this great motorcycle road. It was an ideal sweep of lefts and rights, of ups and downs with the pavement perfectly pitched. That ride home at dusk was the righteous ending to a glorious day.
Later Brian reminded me that even when you’re lost, when the journey is your destination, you’re always home FotoFlexer_Photo Quill