‘TIL THE CLOUDS ROLL BY

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Well, I just have to share this. Yesterday, in the middle of the July 4th celebration that included a host of parties, fireworks, friends and neighbors and a show on one of my favorite subjects CHOCOLATE! CHOCOLATE! CHOCOLATE!  (as if the day wasn’t a culinary orgy as it was) that included a lively interchange with the best fans a show could have in our chat-room, the day was made even more memorable when I witnessed a rare weather phenomenon: a roll cloud, officially known as an arcus cloud. According to Wikipedia, “they differ from shelf clouds by being completely detached from other cloud features. Roll clouds usually appear to be “rolling” about a horizontal axis. They are a solitary wave called a soliton, which is a wave that has a single crest and moves without changing speed or shape.”  Who knows if I’ll ever see one again in my lifetime. But I recorded this, and now I’m sharing my photo with you. I hope you enjoy! By the way, be sure to listen to the podcast of CHOCOLATE! CHOCOLATE! CHOCOLATE! You know, you can download it from the link above, and also from iTunes. By the way, if you do download it from iTunes, we’d love for you to give us an, of course, great review on the page!

 

 

SOME THOUGHTS ON TODAY’S SUPREME COURT DECISION

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

Chief Justice Roberts votes to uphold The Affordable Care Act

The Supreme Court, in particular Chief Justice John Roberts, surprised just about everyone today when it upheld President Obama’s signature legislation, The Affordable Care Act. The ruling leads to my thought that the election just might be over. With the ruling, Obama gets to reframe the health care discussion — the Republican cry against him — and fix the biggest blunder of his administration: the failure to properly frame in a positive sense, Obamacare…or is it Romneycare…ah…aren’t they the same?

Kudos to Justice Roberts. Who would a thunk it? Roberts is a mensch,  as my good friend Sheila Weller who will be our guest on The Halli Casser-Jayne Show  July 18th, called him on hearing the news of the decision. Justice Roberts of the right, broke ranks and voted with the left of the court. Will wonders never cease?  Democracy surely will never cease to amaze me. Just when it looked like the Supreme Court was going the way of partisanship like so many institutions in America, Robert’s actually made a judicial decision, not a political one.

We should all be celebrating a fair decision in a difficult political climate, a bipartisan decision that gives this American hope for our future.

 

ENTER OUR CONTEST AND WIN THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN, VOL. 1

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

The report of my death was an exaggeration…

…but reports of a GIVE-AWAY

Mark Twain in front of his home in Hannibal, Mo.

from The Halli Casser Jayne Show? Those are spot-on. If you want to win the AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MARK TWAIN, VOLUME 1, to read yourself or to give to the brilliant/irreverent/troublemaking genius in YOUR life, you’re in luck! Just pop over to our Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/HalliCasserJayne) before July 8, 2012 and click the “LIKE” button! At the end of the week, one of you will be the big winner, and we’ll ship the book right to you. There is a hitch (there always is. Did Twain say that?) We want at least 100 new “likes” before we issue a prize. So, tell all your friends to join in the fun.

Whether you’re looking for a great gift or just want to know more about the man who taught us that, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society,” you can’t argue with free stuff. See you over there!

I THOUGHT THIS MIGHT INTEREST YOU…

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

It’s an insane Monday here at The Halli Casser-Jayne Show as we prepare for Wednesday’s broadcast. I promise that our show L.A. NOIR: THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF L.A.’S NOTORIOUS MOBSTERS is going to be fascinating. That being said, I just took a break and was checking the news when I came across the following. It’s sometimes nice to get away from the politics of Washington and remember that our politicians are people, too. No doubt this was released to help lend a human quality to President Obama for purely political purposes. Still, the images are of our president and the First Lady and other dignitaries are interesting.  I hope you enjoy.

 

MITT ROMNEY AIN’T NOTHING BUT A HOUND DOG

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

I begin with this: we don’t have to agree with everyone about everything. But we must be respectful of each other’s point of view. This simple notion, long the tenet of American society, seems to have gone to the dogs. Ruff…ruff…rough.

Rough is what we all seem these days. We’ve, like dogs, separated into packs: staunch Republicans, die-hard liberals, and somewhere in the middle a bunch of stray blue-dogs, if you will, who have wandered.

And then there is Mitt Romney, top dog of the current Republican Party, their candidate to lead the pack that hopes to unseat President Barack Obama. Obama’s somewhat in the doghouse these days due to an uncompromising economy, not helpful to his hope to remain chief dog.

About Mitt Romney, he’s no mutt. He presents himself as a pedigree: well-mannered, well-educated, well-bred, and oh, so successful. No doubt he’s a handsome puppy, which ought to garner him a pack of votes because the animal instinct of most human beings is to be attracted to the best-looking dog.

But there is a character issue that has dogged Romney since the start of his campaign – no, not the one about his flip-flopping – but instead the one about his intolerance to those who don’t share the Romney pedigree and all that it means.

The character issue, one of intolerance, apparently surfaced early in Romney’s privileged life. A recent Washington Post story revealed that senior high school student Mitt Romney didn’t much care for a soft-spoken (code description for gay back in the day) new student at the prestigious Cranbrook School, John Lauber, also deemed a non-conformist. When Lauber returned to school after a vacation with bleached-blonde hair, which seductively draped over one eye, it was too much for the upper-crust, high school senior, the un-MITT-igated bigot Romney.

“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” a riled Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.

A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school pack shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.

The incident was recalled similarly by five students, who gave their accounts independently of one another.

Is it fair to judge the character of the adult Romney by the acts of a high school senior? If you don’t think so, it is worth noting that Team Romney’s reaction to the incident as revealed most definitively fails the character test.

Laughing non-denials and a half-assed “if I hurt anyone” apology in response to charges of violence and violation is the hallmark, not just of a bully, but of the culture that enables them. And laughing off the incident is exactly what Romney and his team attempted to do.

Did Romney also lie? He said he doesn’t remember the incident. WTF? Doesn’t remember the incident? He doesn’t remember leading a pack of assaulting students with sharp implements?

He’s also made the claim that he didn’t think that the soft-spoken, bleached blonde guy he attacked was gay (so he did remember?). What? Did bigotry against sexual orientation just begin today? No. Bullies like Romney were attacking what they called “faggots” long before Romney’s violent attack against a closeted homosexual. Finally, what kind of person isn’t quite sure “if I hurt anyone” by holding down a whimpering young man and chopping off his hair?

Romney makes me want to howl, and so I will now at the latest revelation about Romney and his disdain for the LGBT community.

Hear me. I’m howling. HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWLING!

As reported in the Boston Globe, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s administration in 2006 blocked publication of a state anti-bullying guide for Massachusetts public schools because officials objected to use of the terms “bisexual’’ and “transgender’’ in passages about protecting certain students from harassment, according to state records and interviews with current and former state officials.

Suppressing the guide’s publication was among steps that Romney and his aides took during his last year in office to distance the Republican governor from state programs designed to specifically support gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people. His critics said it was part of an effort to court social conservatives as he prepared for his first campaign for president in 2008.

Pretty lame excuse for not standing up for the LGBT community, as a man of character would. What kind of man wouldn’t?

A hound dog.

REVIEW HC-J SHOW: ADULT ENTERTAINMENT AND THE NEW FEMINIST WAVE

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

For those of you who missed Wednesday’s show:

This week’s Halli Casser-Jayne show is all about answering the question: is feminism in porn an oxymoron? The adult entertainment business has been a male-dominated industry for so long–is it even possible that these two seemingly incompatible realms could (and, if we might say so ourselves, should) work together?

We’re joined on the show first by Ohio University’s Professor Joseph Slade. Dr. Slade is a topic expert and the author of Pornography and Sexual Representation: A Reference Guide, the definitive book on the adult entertainment business. Professor Slade opens by informing–or, perhaps, reminding–us that, “It’s virtually impossible to define obscenity any longer to anyone’s satisfaction.” He goes on to give us a rational, educated definition (and history!) of a topic so many of us are afraid to talk about.

We speak next to Lux Alptraum, the editor of Fleshbot dot com, the web’s foremost blog about sexuality and adult entertainment. She says, “My mission is about promoting positive sex and sexuality, encouraging people to talk about sex and feel comfortable about sex, and in a lot of ways porn is a really direct way of doing that.” We talk about how the internet has changed the industry, broadened the availability, accessibility and appeal of various types of adult entertainment, and how between “feminist” porn and “humanist” porn are really joint concepts.

Leena Sky, a psychology professor, mother of three, and adult film star, is our next guest. Leena has three degrees, including a PhD in education, and says that the adult entertainment industry is something she would have gotten into younger than she did if she’d had the confidence at that time. For Leena, this career represents a sexual and existential liberation she’s long been seeking–she says she’s happier doing this than she was as a professor, a therapist, or a counselor. We discuss the erroneous concepts behind why people get into this industry, and how Leena’s path led her here. “I didn’t set out to be a porn star,” Leena says, “but I’ll be honest, as much as I maybe shouldn’t have wanted it, this role fits me most.”

Next we’re joined by Petra Joy, a celebrated director, producer, author and curator of feminist pornography, and Aurora Snow, an adult film star and writer. Petra’s been producing and directing erotic films since 2004, and says, “I think it’s very important that men and women are represented as as equals in all kinds of film, and especially in porn, because porn is just a mirror to me. Porn is very political, it shows what goes on in the bedroom, it shows what goes on in relationships, and if it just perpetuates the old and dated roles that gender has.…then things can’t improve and change.” Petra’s opinions and insights on this topic are as fascinating as they are invaluable, and her considerable experience (in producing, it must be said, absolutely exquisite films) adds a tenor of permanence and importance to this discussion that is rarely achieved when working with this topic.

Finally, Aurora Snow, an adult film star and writer, talks to us about a recent film experience that was definitely more harrowing than her typical fare! It wouldn’t make sense to spoil you for what is truly a fascinating story, and, of course, this review has hardly done the episode justice. Hear Aurora’s story, and engage in a discussion that’s as necessary as it is rare, by listening to this week’s Halli Casser-Jayne Show for yourself! We promise, it won’t disappoint.

ADULT ENTERTAINMENT AND THE NEW FEMINIST WAVE

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

 

The Halli Casser-Jayne Show has an extraordinary segment waiting for you this Wednesday, June 6, 3 pm, and this Thursday, June 7, 9 pm EST: ADULT ENTERTAINMENT AND THE NEW FEMINIST WAVE. Yes, we’re exploring pornography and women. And, yes, some of you might be horrified. We hope that most of you (women and men alike) will tune in with an open-mind for a riveting hour of talk radio at its best. (Check out the show page on this site for further information.)

In the spirit of the upcoming show, I am going to post a piece that originally ran on Huffington Post. It explores a topic we will discuss Wednesday and Thursday.  Some thoughts on the subject:  HOW I WILL TELL MY DAUGHTERS I WORK IN PORN, by porn star Erika Lust.

Of all the interesting points this article brings up, I’m stuck on this one: “I truly believe that if I were a man, I wouldn’t receive the constant moral questioning I referred to initially: about what my parents think and how I’m going to tell my girls, but we already know that being a woman, even today, has it’s ups and downs.”

The writer of the piece, Erika Lust, is talking about working in the porn industry, but isn’t this constant moral questioning part and parcel of the experience of the everyday American woman? Whether we’re writing and directing feminist adult films or working two jobs to make ends meet, there are always the questions: what are you wearing? Who are you sleeping with? Are you setting the “right” example for your daughters (though please don’t ask what the “right” example is — it does tend to make the boys uncomfortable, unpleasant, or both). If the Republican Penis Brigade has their way, those questions will be more than just awkward conversational pitfalls or implications sent along silently on judgmental looks. They’ll be government-mandated “confessions” with government-mandated “solutions,” and I don’t think we need to see that on the silver screen (X-Rated or not) to get why it’s terrifying.

There’s always something to learn from the things we don’t (or, more accurately, WON’T) talk about. This week’s Halli Casser-Jayne Show is all about feminism, porn, and how those two concepts can work beautifully together; join us on Wednesday, and see what you can learn from this taboo that we, as a society, are really old enough to grow out of.

HOW I WILL TELL MY DAUGHTERS I WORK IN PORN, by ERIKA LUST

When people around me learn of my profession, they immediately start asking morbid questions. And even if they’re liberal people, they all ask the same thing: how did you tell your parents and how are you going to tell your daughters? I realize that I have a controversial profession: I’ve written books about sex and feminism, and I also write, produce and direct porn for women.

The feminine voice is marginal in the discourse of porn, which has been expressed in masculine (and often chauvinist) terms for more than four decades. But in these last few years, other young directors and I have successfully demonstrated that another kind of adult film is possible: one where the woman is the protagonist and her pleasure has importance, where the roles that represent us aren’t those of the prostitute, Lolita, nurse, babysitter, nymphomaniac… where, finally, the men aren’t the stereotype of the f–king machine, where the styling and the locations make sense, where there are stories about feelings and passion, where the sex (although explicit) is human and beautiful, and not gynecological or athletic. We are successfully producing porn that is a pleasing experience in both aesthetics and ethics, so far beyond traditional porn, which is so often offensive, violent and displeasing.

I truly believe that if I were a man, I wouldn’t receive the constant moral questioning I referred to initially: about what my parents think and how I’m going to tell my girls, but we already know that being a woman, even today, has it’s ups and downs. I think that I was even judging myself at first, and because of it I had to resist telling my parents, who live in Stockholm, while I was safely away in Barcelona. But they had Internet and my mother, who I had believed incapable of using Google at 70 years old, searched for “Erika Lust” and forced it to come out. But both she and my father surprised me with a very positive reaction, and showed me they understood that there was a very important, very radical difference between my work and traditional porn. They would certainly have been more comfortable if I’d been a lawyer, professor or architect — at least it would have been easier to talk about their daughter’s work with their friends.

Regarding my daughters, I have to admit that I haven’t thought about it at all, since the oldest is four and the youngest is one. But I feel that when the moment arrives, there won’t be a problem: My work is honest, innovative and has a cause. Not only for the content and message of the movies I make, but also because the sex-positive feminism with which I identify, and which defends the idea that sexual freedom is an essential component to women’s rights. And I think porn that is intelligent, respectful of women, contemporary and thoughtful actually contributes to women’s full sexual liberation.

Society is always trying to control and oversee our sexuality, as it does with everything else. Sometimes it’s the state, many times it’s the church, sometimes the more radical feminists, the conservatives and the male chauvinists; all have their motives for controlling us. Their objective is to limit our sexuality to family and reproduction, with the intention that sex should never seem fun; should it, we become dangerous and unworthy of respect in their eyes.

Many times pornography is accused of being the lowest product of society, and of transmitting the worst values; but we shouldn’t forget about television, cinema, advertising, fashion, all of which quite often transmit negative messages about a woman’s body and breed confusion about gender and sexuality.

Fathers, mothers, teachers, aunts, friends, grandmothers, all of these in fact transmit values about sex and gender to children. We must all (including those in porn) think about what we say and how we say it, until the end of their childhood or early adolescence.

I want my daughters to learn that sex is life and pleasure, not just the risk of disease and unwanted pregnancy. I will tell them that I am a writer and director of films, and this my movies talk about love, about men and women who desire each other, about passion and sex. And of course I have to tell them what sex is, but this isn’t just me, it’s all of the fathers and mothers in the world! If we learn to explain what sex is to our children tactfully and in a natural, intelligent manner, we avoid that first explanation being from Nacho Vidal or Rocco Sifreddi. Or in the case of my friend, from Google, when her eight-year-old son and an older friend searched the web for “bitch”.

When they are adolescents and a boyfriend shows them a porn film, I want my daughters to be able to decide what they like and what they don’t: to be critical, to laugh if necessary, and ideally, to show the boys a different kind of film, one that they prefer instead.

Follow Erika Lust on Twitter: www.twitter.com/erikalust
As originally posted on Huffington Post dot com

MY TAKE ON ZOMBIES TONIGHT AND SLEEP…SLEEP…SLEEP!

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

With all due respect for the state of Florida and its current influx of zombies, you are not alone. We are a nation of zombies. We don’t need drugs like the au courant bath salts that allegedly led a naked, zombie-like man to nibble on the face of a homeless man for a late night Draculean snack to prove it. In fact, in a play on words, a bad one, forgive me, I’m wondering if what this country doesn’t need isn’t a long, hot bath laced with…ah…bath salts.

If I hear one more person tell me how exhausted they are and how they feel like a zombie, like the walking dead, I think I’m going to scream like a banshee!

Wide-eyed and bushy-tailed ain’t the current mantra of most Americans who, if you haven’t noticed, lately are looking zombie-like. Today’s kids have an otherworld look in their eyes, and the pasty skin of vampires. Take a look around and you’ll see that the average Joe and Joanie have deep purple pockets etched beneath their tired eyes and lumber along like old Frankenstein Monsters from working too many jobs and sleeping too little.

According to too many studies too exhausting to name here, over 35 million Americans suffer from sleep deprivation. Yikes! Are Americans the living dead?

Is it any wonder that prescription drug use and consequential deaths are up? That we’ve turned into the most obese nation in the world? That approximately fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce? That although the crime rate is down statistically in the U.S., it ain’t for the zombies trying. Rather law enforcement has all sorts of technology at its disposal that they are quick on the draw to use like zombies enraged. Taser, anyone?

Our sleep-deprived (or is it depraved?) society is near hysteria. There appears to be a doomsday mentality amongst the many, when it used to be amongst the few. We’ve become a nation of zombies riveted to ugly news. What used to pepper the papers of the tabloids has become mainstream drama in our few remaining dailies.

Take the somnolent state of Florida where high-profile murders continue to titillate the nation in a state governed by a creature created by an unorthodox scientific experiment — modern-day Republicanism. That creature? Governor Rick Scott who, by the devil and the deep blue sea bears an uncommon resemblance to the product of that experiment, Frankenstein’s Monster.

Included in the long list of sensational dramas splashed across the Florida papers like the incoming tide thrashes against a barnacled wooden jetty is this delicious headline: Florida Doctor Spits Blood at Highway Patrolman.

OK, so it’s not just Florida. Illinois: Man Bites Women in Westchester. California: Man Bites Cousin’s Nose Off. It’s a regular feeding-frenzy out there by the sleep-deprived, mal-nourished soulless walking corpses that are too many Americans.

On Tumblr, the social networking site, the many cases of cannibalism and related dramas are listed under the I vant to suck your blood sensational heading: “Zombie Apocalypse Coming Soon.”

Guess what folks, it’s here.

Most of us are just too tired to care. 

AT THE HEART OF JOE BIDEN

Written by Halli Casser-Jayne on . Posted in HC-J Blog

These days, heart and politics seem to be anathema to one another. That is the American political reality. While we like to think that our elected officials seek office for the greater good and sacrifice their personal lives in order to serve, more of us know that the truth is that in these cynical times, far too many of our politicians are self-serving. Or, as I like to say, too many of them pledge their allegiance to their parties rather than to their constituents’ needs.

To a generation of Americans the naïve and sentimental Jefferson Smith, the dedicated politician so brilliantly portrayed by that regular guy actor Jimmy Stewart in the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, might appear to be a bit of a buffoon. In today’s times, does any politician really give a hoot about anything? Is there even one honest politician out there in the sea of many deceitful ones? I suppose it would be fair to say that they each have their moments, but the moments seem few and far between. If you can’t tell, I’ve been feeling down in the dumps about our country’s politics of late and have been close to losing all hope in our tarnished system.

But just when my cynicism reached full-bore, along came a moment in political history that deserves a shout-out and restores my hope that there is still some heart left in our politicians. In the case of Vice President Joe Biden there is a heart so big the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz would be proud. We Americans should be, too.

Vice President Biden has served his role as Vice President of the United States admirably. There are some who say that it is a vice president’s job to play the role of America’s buffoon. There’s a long history of vice presidential fall guys, with the poster child for the silliest veep, being, of course, Dan Quayle. Biden has given us some rare performances himself, and taken a few on the chin for his President, Barack Obama. As is our nation’s history, the opposition has played Biden with finesse. Any gaff, however small used to torture the president and vice president with glee.

But here’s the deal: Joe Biden ain’t like other vice presidents. Dumb like Quayle, he is not. Surreptitious like Aaron Burr, he is not. A crook like Spiro Agnew, he is not.

What Vice President Joe Biden is a mensch. For those of you who don’t understand Yiddish, a mensch is a person of integrity and honor. Biden honored us, last Friday, when addressing a group associated with the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a national nonprofit that supports friends and family of service members killed in action. Biden delivered what some might call the speech of our lifetime, an emotional retelling of his own family tragedy, the death of his wife and daughter in a car crash 40 years ago, saying the experience helped him understand why people commit suicide.

Biden described the shock and sting of the deaths in 1972, shortly after he was first elected to the Senate, as a “black hole you feel in your chest, like you’re being sucked back into it.”

“It was the first time in my career, my life, I realized someone could go out – and I probably shouldn’t say this with the press here, but – no, but it’s more important. You’re more important. For the first time in my life I understood how someone could consciously decide to commit suicide,” Biden said. “Not because they were deranged, not because they were nuts; because they’d been to the top of the mountain and they just knew in their heart they’d never get there again, that it was never going to be that way ever again. That’s how an awful lot of you feel.”

The vice president has previously spoken about his personal tragedy, although he rarely describes the emotional aftermath in such gut-wrenching detail. Biden recounted how he heard the news while in Washington.

“I was down in Washington hiring my staff, and I got a phone call saying that my family had been in an accident. And just like you guys know by the tone of a phone call – you just knew, didn’t you? You knew when they walked up the path. You knew when the call came. You knew. You just felt it in your bones something bad happened,” Biden said.

“And I knew. I don’t know how I knew. But the call said my wife was dead, my daughter was dead, and I wasn’t sure how my sons were going to make it. They were Christmas shopping, and a tractor trailer broadsided them and in one instant killed two of them and – well.”

Biden, an ardent Catholic, said he was so angry he cried out in the Capitol. “I remember being in the Rotunda, walking through to get to the plane to get home, to get to identify the – anyway. But I remember looking up and saying, ’God!’ It was if I was talking to God myself: ’You can’t be good! How can you be good?’”

Biden said he credits his return from his grief to the help of his mother, his sister and, eventually, his second wife, Jill Biden, whom he married five years later. “This woman literally saved my life,” he said.

“There will come a day, I promise you, and your parents as well, when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. It will happen,” he said. “My prayer for you is that day will come sooner or later. But the only thing I have more experience than you in is this: I’m telling you it will come.”

And so, out of tragedy comes something good: a vice president with heart, just when America needed a lot of heart.

 

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