I am a documentary film director. Subjects of my films have included love, sex, 9/11, indigenous fisheries, hurricanes, refugees, HIV/AIDS orphans, and visualization of God. I am best known for the Real People, Real Life, Real Sex series of documentaries that simultaneously explore the vital role of sexual pleasure in committed relationships and the problematic place of explicit sexuality in cinema. This is my "Safe" blog.

La Bamba

Posted: May 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

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The sea-time I’ve been accumulating for most of my life. I submitted sea-service forms going all the way back to 1979 for days I spent with my father on a small swordfish and tuna boat we ran out of Mission Bay. The Coast Guard wouldn’t admit several summers of sailing on the Light Schooner Margaret Ellen, because the letter of the law says sea-service must take place on a registered vessel, and in New York State non-power driven vessels may be, but are not required to be registered with the state. Being a miniature pirate ship, the idea of voluntarily subjecting her to the authority of the revenuers, and disgracing her bow with registration numbers seemed appalling. Such are the hazards of thinking like an outlaw…

I forgot to submit sea-service forms for my 8′ tender. Being motor powered, the state claims it as its own, which means it has a registration number, which means the Coast Guard will count it. When I go for my upgrade, I’ll tack that time on. It’s sensical and nonsensical, depending on how you look at it. Mostly the process is designed to avoid judgement calls, and after 15 years of living in the hazy no-man’s land between the sacred and the profane, I’m mostly quite happy to begin a new career where nearly every aspect is covered, chapter and verse, in the Federal Code of Regulations.


The widely held belief is that sexually explicit cinema has failed to evolve because it is so highly regulated — 2257 regulations, obscenity laws, the MPAA and it’s nasty NC17 rating — if you’re a long-time reader all of this will be familiar to you.

But whatever impediments to making sexually explicit cinema exist today, it’s inarguably true that there’s vastly more freedom to explore sexuality in cinema today than there was 50 years ago. Laws are less restricted and less enforced, equipment is cheap and easy to use, and the Internet offers an easy means of distribution. And yet, if anything, depictions of sex in cinema have gone retro-grade. This might cause one to question the idea that the regulation of the sexual image is the reason that depictions of sexuality are so universally primitive…

When American Colonists faced off against British regular forces in the Battle of Lexington and Concord, they were similarly armed; muskets, bayonets, sabers, pistols. The Colonists fell back at Lexington, but stood their ground at Concord, and then mauled the British troops as they retreated back to Boston along the Bay Road. As a boy I was school to celebrate this battle, but as a man, walking along the road, my thoughts turned to the British troopers, thousands of miles from home, a simple raid to capture some trouble makers and heavy weapons (there was a canon in Concord) turned a bloody battle with hundreds dead and wounded.

The body-count would have been very different if the British had had helicopters, mini-guns, and APCs. Yes, I suppose the British still might of been pushed back, but the price would have been much higher. (US forces were pushed back in a very similar mission in 1993 Mogadishu, but casualites for the Somali militias is guessed to be in the thousands, where as US Delta and Ranger forces suffered only a 18 killed and 89 wounded.)

James Fallows’ wife Deborah had her gmail account hacked, along with several other of James’ acquaintances in what (anecdotally) appeared to be a series of related break-ins. Like all of us who keep important information online (my blogs for example) geography offers no protection. The internet’s concept of a “bad neighborhood” does an okay job of preventing people from finding their way to nefarious information, it does very little to keep nefarious people from finding their way to your front door, and not just to your front door, but right to the lock on your safe.

China is having problems (again) with tainted food. What the Chinese haven’t learned (yet) is that before you can join the Montauk chamber of commerce you have to show them your USCG Captain’s License and your insurance. Rest assured the Central Florida Better Business Bureau will be taking a closer look at new applicants.

Phil C. Bolger died two years ago this month. This is one of my favorite passages, from Build the New Instant Boats, for his Light Schooner plans:

“The two cockpits are long enough to sleep in, supposedly with the sails for tents, although I didn’t get around to examining in detail just that would be arranged. The motor and fuel are cut off from the rest so there won’t be spilled outboard mix underfoot. I see that I also didn’t show the very necessary cover for the aperture of the motor well. Probably I didn’t see any specially neat way to fit it and hoped the builder would come up with a better idea than any  of mine. This is a well established designer’s gambit and sometimes works.”

The Light Schooner Margaret Ellen with our dear departed Sweatbay’s Roxann

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