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Some of you may have noticed that the address of this blog has changed; it’s now my own domain instead of a WordPress subdomain.  I’ve owned the domain for a while, but it used to point toward my escort site (whose address is subtly different), and now it points here.  It’s probably a move I should’ve made six or seven years ago, but some of you may have also noticed that I’m pathologically change-averse and rarely do anything like that unless I’m forced to.  Well, I was finally forced to.  Like most internet companies, WordPress employs a small army of programmers, and like most US employers it demands they stay busy; the result is a steady trickle of “improvements” that aren’t.  For several years now, the company has been trying to push its new “block editor”; I took one look and realized it was far less useful than the so-called “classic” editor (take a look at some sample one-star reviews, which outnumber all other reviews of the block editor by a factor of > 2 to 1).  But they kept pushing it, and sometime last year changed the site to default to it.  The “classic” editor was still available, but harder to get to, so I had to create several workarounds to keep going.  Then on the morning of March 17th, I awoke to discover that the company had removed the “classic” editor entirely; Google helped me discover that it was now only availble as a plugin, and plugins only work on upgraded sites, so here we are.  The change introduced some back-end problems (they only affected my view of the site, not readers’) which were solved with the help of WordPress tech support, and one gremlin seemed to have escaped into my android phone via Chrome and had to be exterminated separately.  But as of this writing, things seem fully functional again.

Other than the new, shorter address, another change is coming:  after all these years, I’m going to start taking advertising.  Since I’m now semi-retired and I don’t have nearly as much subscription income as I’d like, I definitely need to monetize the tremendous amount of work I’ve put into this site for over a decade and continue to put in on a daily basis. This doesn’t mean I’m throwing all of my standards out the window; I don’t like blinking, flashing, jumping, moving, distracting or otherwise annoying ads on other sites and I’m not going to allow them on mine if I can help it (that goes double for popups).  But since I’m not at all familiar with how the sytem works, it’s possible that such ads may get in without my permission via whatever delivery system I use, so it’s important y’all let me know if something like that appears (I may add a “report annoying ad” button or the like).  And if anyone wants to buy an ad from me, obviously we can talk.  The change will probably be slow as I feel things out and decide exactly what works for me, but I thought it only fair to let y’all know that it’s on the way.

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Ordering author copies is a much slower, more cumbersome process than it formerly was; now the system treats it like any other Amazon order, albeit slower.  I ordered a box of Ask Maggie, Volume II almost a week before I announced the book was available, and it was finally delivered last week, so now I’m offering autographed copies in my store; if you’d like one (or an autographed copy of any of my other books), please visit my store by clicking on the picture at the top of the right-hand column.  I’d also like to ask a favor; once you buy and read the book (whether from me or directly from Amazon), would you please take the time to review it?  Since I now have a number of products available there (six books, two short stories and a documentary), I only lack a sufficient number of reviews to trigger Amazon’s algorthms to start suggesting it to browsers in the greater Amazon ecosystem (though they’ve sent me an advertising offer I’ll probably try out).  And given how economically difficult last year was, that would be a great help to me.

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At last, Ask Maggie, Volume II is available for purchase!  I was finished with the text back in October, and even uploaded it and assigned a release date; however, I then sort of ran out of steam with regard to commissioning the cover and other finishing details.  I started to get back into the swing of it around Christmas, but not quickly, so it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I ordered my proof and put the Kindle edition together.  But now it’s all done, and you can buy it on Amazon in either paperback or Kindle form!  If you prefer an autographed copy, you shouldn’t have long to wait; I’ve already ordered a box, and as soon as it arrives I’ll add this book to my store along with all the others.  If you’re wondering what’s next, I think I’m leaning toward a third fiction collection, which will bear the title Lost Angels; I want to write several original stories for it to go with the usual reprints, and I’m hoping Chester Brown will agree to do a cover so the three volumes match.  It will probably be out in the autumn, but I’m not going to commit myself to a specific time frame; though I was able to pull off four new collections last year (counting this one, which was officially published in October), it was tough and a bit stressful, and a bit too much by the end.  So I’d rather not do that again.  As usual, if you buy and read this one, please review it; I’m not sure how Amazon’s algorithms work, but I know good reviews help.

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Green

For someone fairly “green”, how much of an obstacle will lack of references be?  I only have one prior engagement made through an international agency some years ago; would that suffice?  I saw a reference to “verification service” on the contact form on your website; could this help me?  Also, I’m from a small city; scheduling an appointment in the nearest large one is challenging for a variety of reasons, though I do intend be opportunistic, if I’m in the area.

First of all, you may find this article I wrote for Reason magazine three years ago useful; it has a lot of basic information you may not have considered.  I think it’s unlikely most US escorts would accept an international reference, except from Canada; since it’s rare for prospective US clients to produce international references, even the attempt might seem odd to most US escorts.  And because we learn to trust our instincts, even an odd feeling might cause an escort to reject you, especially during this time when cops are aggresssively trophy-hunting.  I therefore think it would be better for you to look for an escort who is “newbie friendly” (ladies who are will generally advertise thus), and relies on some form of screening other than references.  You will need to provide whatever information she uses for the check (probably full name, profession, phone number, stuff like that; she may also require a deposit).  After you see her, she can in turn provide references to other escorts.  A verification service may help you; this is a company which verifies that you are who you represent yourself to be, usually by checking your employment and/or a background check.  You needn’t worry about discretion; it is not in such services’ best interest to violate your confidence or risk exposing you, because such a breach would undermine its business model (the same can be said for escorts, BTB; one of the things you’re paying for is discretion).  The best-known such service in the US is probably P411; it is not without faults, but I doubt you’ll have to worry about them.

I think it would probably be better for you to seek your first US experience in the nearby large city rather than your own small one, even if that means making some excuse to travel to the city overnight.  In a larger city, you’re more likely to find experienced professionals who will work with you, and references from well-known escorts are more likely to be widely accepted than references from a relative unknown in a small city.  Also, many of the escorts in smaller cities tend on average to be less professional for the simple reason that they have less business and fewer personal contacts with other pros; many small-city escorts don’t screen as thoroughly, and their vouch for you is therefore less likely to be useful when booking other escorts in the future.  Plan ahead; do your research and make a date well in advance rather than simply blowing into town and then opportunistically trying to make a same-day appointment, because that will sharply limit your selection and you may not be able to arrange anything at all.

(Have a question of your own?  Please consult this page to see if I’ve answered it in a previous column, and if not just click here to ask me via email.)

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Twenty-one years ago today, on January 2nd, 2000, I started escorting full-time; now today I’m officially semi-retiring.  I had originally hoped this day would come much sooner, but life happened and financial disasters befell me, and it wasn’t until two years ago that I realized the time had finally come to scale back my professional life.  When I first went full-time I had already been doing various kinds of sex work (compensated dating, sugaring, stripping, etc) on and off for fifteen years, and after today I’ll still be seeing my regular clients (and other gents who have seen me at least once before) and a very few who come recommended by friends.  Even during the past 21 years I’ve done several different kinds of work (agency escorting, bachelor parties, running my own agency, independent escorting, and even a long-term exclusive gig).  So, this isn’t a simple, linear matter of retirement as it is in straight jobs, and yet it does feel like an ending.  I’m no longer using traditional advertising, no longer allowing myself to be solicited via text message by marginally-literate cretins, no longer screening so as to avoid said cretins (not to mention violent costumed rapists), and no longer seeing anyone without planning days or weeks in advance.  This doesn’t mean I’m cutting back on activism just yet; I plan to keep writing regularly for a while, and doing public appearances when those become a thing again, and in fact I may possibly have more time and energy for such activities now.  But even in that department, things have changed; when I first became an activist there weren’t all that many of us in the US, and now I’m glad to say there are thousands.  So all in all, I feel like it’s time to put away my dancing shoes, and settle into my role as an “elder stateswoman” of the demimonde, leaving the field of action to my much younger sisters…including those who weren’t even born yet when I started.

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I think the ideal philosophy is to only care about the fact that you do your job with integrity.  –  Kiran Deshmukh

Social Autoimmune Disorder

Cops think they can never have enough pretexts to harass people:

Dallas [cops]…arrested 88 people in [just the first half of this year for]…driv[ing through a particular neighborhood, claiming they committed the thoughtcrime of]…looking for sex…All but one of those arrested were people of color.  [And now] Dallas [politicians want to make it easier for them to dramatically increase the score by]…allow[ing them] to [arrest people for the “crime” of] passing through [that neighborhood three times]…in…two hours…[using the all-purpose excuse of] trafficking women for sex.  The penalty is a fine of up to $500…[if pigs claim they] suspect[ed their victims]…of being pimps…

An Example to the West (#329)

An interview with Kiran Deshmukh, president of the National Network of Sex Workers in India:

I still remember Meena Seshu…telling us that we had to band together…to fight back.  I still remember that exact day this realization sunk in:  A gangster was on the streets making a scene and threatening us with knives.  All the women who’d usually shut their doors and sit tight poured out into the streets.  One woman undid her saree on the road, and the others used it to tie the gangster to a nearby pole.  The women beat him up so much and so badly that not a single gangster has created a scene in our area since then.  Once women band together, they become formidable opponents…Sex workers…work put food on the table and feed their children.  Society, on the other hand, views the world in a moral–immoral binary…Society will point out how our work is related to our bodies and how many men we “sleep” with…two people having consensual sex is justified but if you attach sex to money, it’s completely immoral.  Why?  You’re all saying it’s totally fine to have sex for free?…As for tragedy, if a woman enters sex work due to a tragic situation, but eventually decides to continue in the same profession, why would you bother her with the circumstances that influenced her choice 30-40 years ago?…

Don’t Call It Trafficking (#934) 

Remember, this is not slavery, but lucrative, flexible, voluntary work is:

Most [drug] rehab programs that require work act essentially as temp agencies, farming the [pati]ents out to…third parties, such as tree trimming services, dairies, poultry processing plants or oil refineries.  The wages are remitted not to the workers but to the rehab centers…the…workers…receiv[e]…no pay, no Social Security credits, [and] no unemployment insurance payment…Other rehab-affiliated programs, notably the Salvation Army, have their patients perform grossly underpaid work for their commercial enterprises — if they did not have this captive workforce, they would have to seek [fairly-paid] labor from the open market…

You Were Warned (#1007)

But please, tell me more about the “wings”:

It is now broadly recognized that Joe Biden doesn’t like Section 230 and has repeatedly shown he doesn’t understand what it does…[now] his…top tech policy advisor, Bruce Reed, along with Common Sense Media’s Jim Steyer, have published a bizarre and misleading “but think of the children!” attack on Section 230 that misunderstands the law, misunderstands how it impacts kids, and…suggests incredibly dangerous changes to Section 230..[among] its myriad problems…is…citing FOSTA as a “good example” of how to amend Section 230…

Rotting Fruit (#1015)

Why are men with so much to lose so goddamned stupid about sex?

[Paul Alexander,] the owner of a charter-jet company…has been charged with sex trafficking after [NYPD cops claim he]…offer[ed them] sex with a 12-year-old girl and 14-year-old girl for $300…In March, an underage girl went to the police and told them Alexander…had been…pimping her out…An undercover cop posing as a customer met with Alexander—who showed him nude photos of the girls, charged him $300 for sex with them, and suggested he ply them with drugs and pot so they would be more cooperative…Alexander…has…a 1996 sexual assault conviction…and in 2003 he was convicted of possession of…child [porn]…

Dangerous Speech (#1092)

Backpage case judge claims it’s OK her husband has publicly attacked Backpage because the Backpage case “isn’t about Backpage”.  Seriously.

…the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals…[has] ordered federal prosecutors to respond to the defense’s request for a “writ of mandamus,” which would order U.S. District Court Judge Susan Brnovich to remove herself from the case.  The order…[comes only days after] a hearing in…[which] Judge Susan Brnovich claimed that inflammatory comments made by her husband, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, about Backpage.com’s alleged guilt in facilitating illegal sex work, were unimportant and did not warrant her recusal.  “This case is not about Backpage,” she contended at one point…an assertion that might come as a surprise for anyone familiar with the federal government’s superseding indictment in the case, which mentions Backpage more than 600 times[it also] seem[s] a startling statement given that the prosecution’s theory of the case from jump has been one of vicarious liability, in which the government seeks to hold Lacey and Larkin responsible for alleged illicit acts supposedly connected to 50 ads cited in the indictment — ads never seen by Lacey and Larkin and posted by persons unknown to them, among the millions that once existed on the site…

The Next Target

Prohibitionists care only about “messages”, not facts:

Pornhub has released…statements about…Visa and Mastercard [announcing] their cards would no longer be accepted on the platform, following…Nicholas Kristof[‘s spurious]…allegations against the company…”These actions…come just two days after Pornhub…[banned] unverified users…from uploading content — a policy no other platform has put in place, including Facebook…Any assertion that we allow CSAM is irresponsible and flagrantly untrue…Pornhub’s safeguards and technologies have proven effective:  while…Facebook reported that it removed 84,100,000 incidents of CSAM over two and a half years, Instagram reported that it removed 4,452,000 incidents…over one and a half years, and Twitter reported that it suspended 1,466,398 unique accounts for CSAM over two years, the Internet Watch Foundation…reported [only] 118 incidents of CSAM on Pornhub in a three year period”…

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Three weeks from today, I’ll be officially semi-retiring.  For those who somehow missed my previous announcements and reminders, what this means is that as of January 1st, I’m only going to see clients I’ve seen before.  I won’t be taking new ones unless they come recommended by people I know personally, and I won’t be doing any short-notice gigs unless everything is exactly right.  So for the most part I’ll only be seeing guys I’ve seen before, with enough notice to fit the dates into my existing schedule without having to turn handstands.  No more answering calls from unknown numbers, no more answering cold texts, no more screening, no more feeling annoyed because someone wants a same-day appointment and I feel I have to accept because I don’t want to turn away a blessing.  In other words, I’m eliminating all the parts of the job I dislike, the parts that stress me out and wear me down, and keeping all the stuff I like.  I’ve often said that one of the funniest of prohibitionist idiocies is the idea that the worst part of whoring is the sex; that’s the easy part!  The bad part is all the same crap one has to deal with in any other business, and I’ve never been especially good at business.  So I’m shedding as much of the unpleasant stuff as I can, and keeping as much of the pleasant stuff as I can manage, and with Aphrodite’s help, it will all work out for the best.

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[NOPD] argues the word “employ” means something else when it’s misleading the public.  –  Tim Cushing

The Puritan Recrudescence

No, Parler doesn’t have a “porn problem”; it has a spam problem:

Anyone following the #sexytrumpgirl hashtag on Parler…got an eyeful one recent Thursday evening as images of topless women and links to hardcore pornography websites appeared at a rapid-fire rate, often more than one per minute…The site’s lax moderation policies…have helped it become a magnet for pornographers, escort services and online sex merchants using hashtags…such as #keepamericasexy and #milfsfortrump2020.  The pornography…has the potential to complicate hopes the site may have to expand advertising…[because uptight] major companies typically avoid having their sales pitches appear alongside [sexu]al imagery…Parler once banned all pornography but in recent months revised its terms of service to permit essentially anything that’s legal, making its policy close to Twitter’s…[but] Twitter…has automated systems that prevent excessively rapid posting, as well as other spammy behavior…

I think most normal people would be just as annoyed by rapid-fire tweets hawking car warranties, miracle cures, get-rich-quick schemes, or political theater, but of course that wouldn’t be as lurid as focusing on porn.

Morality Lessons (#921)

Australian cops are envious of the FBI, and want permission to run their own kiddie porn sites:

[Australian pigs and spooks] will be [allowed] to take over the online accounts of [people they accuse of being]…paedophile[s], terrorists and drug-traffickers…under new laws to be introduced in Federal Parliament.  The [pigs and spooks] will also be a[llowed] to hack into people’s computer networks [to watch, steal and trade]…child [porn]…The new capabilities will give [pigs and spooks] unprecedented powers to [spy on people and justify it with all kinds of doubletalk about how “]criminals operating on the dark web…can more easily evade traditional law enforcement or investigation methods[“]…Under a new “account takeover power”, [pigs and spooks] will be able to take control of a person’s online account for the purposes of [creating false] evidence about criminal activity…

Pyrrhic Victory (#992) 

Why I keep telling you local laws banning facial recognition are feel-good bullshit:

…”The New Orleans Police Department has confirmed that it is utilizing facial recognition…despite years of assurances” t[o] the…contrary…this report by The Tenth Amendment Center makes the NOPD’s relationship with the tech more explicit…“the NOPD has…relied on technology operated by the Louisiana State Police…[via] the state fusion center”…the NOPD…”does not employ facial recognition software”…in the sense that the PD does not own the tech…It clearly does use it.  It just outsources that work to other agencies — including federal law enforcement — that do own the tech…The city is considering a facial recognition ban.  But this admission the PD outsources its facial recognition work means it won’t be enough to simply forbid the PD from buying and utilizing its own tech.  The proposal would need to be rewritten to prevent the PD from sending its photos to state or federal agencies for proxy searching.  The vote on the proposed ban has been delayed as city council members process the NOPD’s lies about its facial recognition use and decide what to do with this new information…now the city knows it can’t trust its own police department to be honest with it…

Take it from someone intimately acquainted with how things are done in New Orleans:  the city council already knew.  The vote has simply been delayed so they can think up good butt-covering lies.

A Moral Cancer (#1017) 

When government loses one excuse for violently intruding on private lives, it will invent another one:

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors has banned people from smoking in their own apartments…the board voted 10–1 in favor of a bill…to prohibit smoking tobacco inside private dwellings in buildings with three or more units.  Violators…could receive fines of up to $1,000…The…bill…at [first]…also applied to smoking legal cannabis…[but] an amendment…exempts marijuana…be[cause] cannabis [is politically correct but tobacco is not]…

A Broker in Pillage (#1062)

Burying government in lawsuits is the only way to slow its depredations:

Civil asset forfeiture laws, which allow the government to s[teal] property…without ever charging the owner, are fundamentally rigged in favor of the [cop shops] that get a cut of the proceeds.  Even when an owner manages to challenge a forfeiture…he has the burden of proving his innocence, and the process often costs more than the property is worth.  Adding insult to injury, the government can drag out the process for so long that even innocent owners feel compelled to surrender.  The Institute for Justice (I.J.) challenges that aspect of civil forfeiture in an appeal it filed this week, asking the Supreme Court to rule that due process requires a prompt post-seizure hearing…The…case involves Gerardo Serrano, a U.S. citizen and Kentucky resident whose pickup truck was s[tolen] by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in September 2015, while he was on his way to visit relatives in Mexico.  The official, patently absurd justification: The truck was suspected of involvement in international arms smuggling, because Serrano had forgotten about a handgun magazine and five rounds he had left in the center console.  He waited two years without a hearing until CBP suddenly decided to return the truck in 2017, a month after I.J. filed a lawsuit on his behalf.  The circumstances…strongly suggest that Serrano was punished for asserting his constitutional rights…

You Were Warned (#1082)

Congress won’t stop until it controls the internet:

…Legislation to limit or abolish Section 230 has become popular in Congress…but with the exception of the 2018 sex-ad law FOSTA, most of these have gone nowhere.  Now, some [politicians] are taking a different tack.  Instead of pushing a standalone attack on Section 230, Sen. Roger Wicker…will allegedly introduce an anti-Section 230 bit into the latest defense spending bill…

And guess who’s actually behind it?

Donald Trump is threatening to veto a defense policy bill unless it [allows]…internet companies t[o be sued or prosecuted]…for material posted by their users…Trump has been waging war against social media companies for months, claiming they are biased against [him]…the…veto threat is another potential roadblock for the passage of the annual defense policy measure, which is already being held up in Congress by a spat over military bases named for Confederate officers…

Winding Down

A big step toward ending the disastrous War on Drugs:

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs…[has] accepted a World Health Organization…recommendation to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.  The historic vote in Vienna could have far-reaching implications for the global medical cannabis industry, ranging from regulatory oversight to scientific research into the plant and its use as a medicine…it could help boost medical cannabis legalization efforts around the globe now that the CND tacitly acknowledges the medical utility of the drug…

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In the Store

It used to be that when I ordered a box of my own books, it arrived just as quickly as anything else I purchased from Amazon.  But the pandemic seems to have dramatically slowed the process; it now takes weeks after ordering for the books to show up.  I ordered a box of Ask Maggie, Volume I almost a week before I announced the book was available, and it was finally delivered on Saturday!  Since I didn’t want to have to sit on a number of orders until the books arrived, I didn’t start offering autographed copies until that date was at least closer.  But now I believe and hope it’s close enough; if you’d like an autographed copy of it or any of my other books, please visit my store by clicking on the picture at the top of the right-hand column.  I’d also like to ask a favor; once you buy and read the book (whether from me or directly from Amazon), would you please take the time to review it?  Since I now have a number of products available there (five books, two short stories and a documentary), I only lack a sufficient number of reviews to trigger Amazon’s algorthms to start suggesting it to browsers in the greater Amazon ecosystem.  And given how economically difficult this year has been, that would be a great help to me.

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You have two things against you — you’re black and I have a badge.  –  Donald Kincaid

Vincent Price was never too proud or snobbish to appear in just about anything, including a plethora of TV commercials from the ’70s and ’80s; this one was from one of the first credit cards to offer reward points.  The links above the video were provided by Scott Greenfield, Rick Horowitz, Tim Cushing, Radley Balko, Mike Siegel, and Thaddeus Russell, in that order.

From the Archives

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