Monday, November 30, 2009

The gay junkie

Monday meanderings...

The English language is fascinating because it is constantly changing. Words that meant one thing in one era can evolve to mean something else.

"Junkie" and "gay" now have meanings they didn't have in 1939, when the September 2 issue of Liberty magazine was published. Reading through this entertaining 70-year-old letter column I find one letter in which "junkie" was what we might now call a junker, an old car, rather than a person addicted to heroin.

"Gay" didn't mean homosexual in 1939. The Webster's Dictionary from 1940 defines the word as joyous and lively; merry; happy; lighthearted. Reading this letter about "gay parties" in the current sense of the word gay gives an entirely different meaning to what the letter writer originally intended.


I liked Bruce Springsteen's performance on the HBO Rock and Roll Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary Special Sunday, November 29. Besides collaborating with people as different in style as Billy Joel, John Fogarty and Darlene Love, he did two songs I like from Born To Run, the title song and "Jungleland." I haven't been a Bruce Springsteen fan, but I'm a fan of an artist who gives everything he has to an audience. Springsteen left it all on stage.

There aren't any videos from that set available yet, but this is a performance from Madison Square Garden in 2000 that shows the level of devotion Springsteen gives to the material and to his audience.


This Target commercial with Maria Bamford is calculated. Advertisers don't spend millions of dollars on a campaign without knowing what they're doing. She's so excited and whoops! premature ejaculation. That's not even subliminal porn...that's overt.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Watching Watchmen

I waited months to see Watchmen because of the negative reviews I read on its theatrical release. I wanted the furor to die down.

When the movie was released I read that it was too long, too much back story, exposition, talking. As I watched the DVD of Watchmen I thought, "Too long, too much back story, exposition and talking." Guess I should have paid more attention to the reviews.

I read the graphic novel when it came out in the 1980s and I remember being impressed by what seemed new and inventive. Writer Alan Moore (who had his name taken off the movie) and Dave Gibbons, the illustrator, had produced an epic. Not only that, but the characters were one-and-done...they appeared in that novel and they weren't used again. I liked that because too much of one thing becomes boring.

The strongest point of the graphic novel was the flawed character Rorschach, whose story was the most interesting.

The weakest point of the graphic novel was the ending, which was too much like an episode of The Outer Limits twenty years earlier. The movie changed that ending but in a bizarre bit of business a postscript showed a television playing the Outer Limits intro. Was it a nod to what I had noticed or just coincidence?

The high point of the graphic novel was halfway through when the psychotic Rorschach is put in prison. In the graphic novel it seemed reasonable to me, but in the movie it seemed glaringly strange he'd be put in with the general population, since as one character put it, "Fifty percent of the people are in here because of you." The New Mexico prison riot of 1980, with prison informants cut apart by acetylene torches wielded by other inmates, was the inspiration for the scene.

What the movie also reminded me of is that comics exist in their own cartoony world and don't always translate into live action movies. The costumes for the most part look silly, especially Silk Spectre, who wears high-heeled boots. It looks great in the comics but in the film you wonder how much her feet hurt chasing down villains.

The costumes are well done, but when put in juxtaposition with the real life eye of the camera they come off as stagy and odd. At least Rorschach, who wears a trenchcoat and fedora, with a full head mask that is a moving Rorschach blot, looks more real than someone like Night Owl, whose costume is so elaborate it must take him two hours to put on. On the other hand the only affectation the Comedian has, besides body armor, firepower and his cigar, is a pasted-on mask, which would fool exactly nobody.

The music was pretentious. "The Times They Are A'Changing" by Bob Dylan is not about superheroes being banned, it's about a major shift in the social order. Using "Sounds of Silence" by Simon and Garfunkel is a puzzler, but the outright howler is having "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen as the soundtrack to a softcore sex scene.

The last thing I want to mention is that often the dialogue spoken by the characters sounds like it should be in speech balloons over their heads. It's pure comic book at times, not speech that would be spoken aloud by normal (or abnormal, or even supernormal) human beings.

I give Watchmen two-and-a-half stars. It cost a lot to make and I see the money on the screen, but it didn't need all of what it showed. It could have been edited down to make it leaner and faster paced. As it was, by the ending I was bored.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Here's your Christmas fruit basket

Thanksgiving is over. It's time to start the Christmas celebration. To kick it off here's a story from the school district I retired from:

Jim G. was the head of the Food Services department of our school district. The district has 100 schools and the District Kitchen serves over 30,000 meals a day. Jim was short and pudgy. He struck us all as someone who had been teased as a youngster and was taking it out on other people. If he'd been in the military he'd have been a martinet.

Several years ago in December Jim sent my coworker, Barry, to pick up a load of produce from a local produce company owned by Gene R. When Jim sent Barry he gave him instructions. "I want you to tell Gene I didn't get a fruit basket from him this year. Tell him I'd like my fruit basket. We do a lot of business with him, and the least he can do is give me a fruit basket."

Barry, being a dutiful employee, was on the loading dock of Gene R.'s produce company, and Gene, a gentleman if ever there was one, was helping him load the boxes of vegetables and fruit onto the truck. Barry said, "Oh, by the way, Jim G. said he didn't get a fruit basket from you this year."

Gene came to a complete stop and looked at him.

"Jim said what?"

"He said he didn't get a fruit basket from you this year. He said we do a lot of business with you and he'd like a fruit basket."

"Oh. He does 'a lot of business' with me and wants a fruit basket."


"He wants a fruit basket. OK."

Gene went to a big stack of bananas, pulled one off, took his Magic Marker and wrote, Merry Christmas, Gene.

"Here. Tell Jim this is his fruit basket."

Barry went back to the District Kitchen and was unloading the produce. Jim G. approached him, "So did you get my fruit basket."

Barry went to the cab of the truck, took out the banana and handed it to Jim. "Gene said this is it."

Jim stood looking at the banana, mouth agape, skin turning various shades of red and purple, then turned on his heel to go to the telephone. Barry said Jim slammed his office door but he could hear a lot of yelling from his office, Jim telling Gene R. what he thought of him.

The school district continued to do a "lot of business" with Gene R., because it's a business of low bid, after all, and Gene was very competitive. But according to Barry Jim never got a fruit basket from Gene R., not from then right up until a few years later when Jim G. died.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"For Christmas I want a gun, hon!"

I got this advertising postcard in the mail the other day. I thought of doing what it says, "leave this where your wife pays the bills!" right amongst the gas and electric bills. Then I remembered we pay those bills online.

I love the ribbon. "Ah, honey! Just what I wanted! I can't wait to show off my new Smith & Wesson .357 Magnum!"

Utah has one of the more liberal gun carry permit laws in the country. If you don't have a criminal record or history of mental illness you qualify to pack a gun. You can conceal the weapon, or wear it openly. We're real liberal here when it comes to packing heat. People from other states regularly apply for concealed weapons permits in Utah. I'm not sure how it works if a person from a state with more restrictive laws applies for a Utah permit and produces it for a police officer.

A look at Utah gun laws shows that if you want to carry a weapon you have the law on your side in Utah.

Carrying a Gun in Utah

In Person

It is unlawful for a person with or without a firearm permit to carry a firearm in the following locations:

1. Any secure area in which firearms are prohibited and notice of the prohibition is posted
2. A secure area of an airport
3. Any courthouse, churches if posted, mental health facility or correctional facility that may provide by rule that no firearm may be transported, sold, given, or possessed upon the facility. At least one notice shall be prominently displayed at each entrance to a secure area in which a dangerous weapon, firearm, or explosive is restricted.

A concealed weapon permit is not a defense to prosecution for any person who carries a weapon while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.

It is lawful to carry a firearm "capable of being concealed" in one’s home or place of business without a permit.

It is unlawful to carry a loaded firearm on any public street without a permit.

It is unlawful to carry a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance with or without a permit.

Carrying in Vehicles

A person may not carry a loaded weapon in a vehicle unless they have a valid permit to carry or:

They are at least 18 years old and

Has lawful possession of the vehicle or consent of the person who has lawful possession of the vehicle and

The weapon is not a rifle, shotgun or muzzle-loading rifle

It is lawful for a person with a concealed firearms permit to carry a firearm into a bus terminal.

It is lawful for a person with a concealed firearm permit to board a bus or a train or enter a terminal with a firearm upon their person or effects. This also applies to law enforcement officers or commercial security personnel with firearms used in their employment.

It is lawful to carry a firearm in a vehicle without a permit if: the firearm is unloaded; securely encased (not including a glove box or console box) and is not readily accessible for immediate use.

Laws governing the use of concealed firearms differ from state to state. It is important to understand the laws to ensure that your actions are in compliance with Utah law.

Sources: 53-5-704 Division duties - Utah Code §§ 23-20-11 et seq., 24-2-17, 76-10-301, 76-10-501 et seq.


I started noticing the retro-'60s look a couple of years ago. Since I notice fashion trends just about the time they're going out, I supposed this look would be quickly gone but a look at an ad with Penélope Cruz shows that it's still here.

Penélope, like Amy Winebottle here, is going for a look that was popular twenty years before they were born.

Winehouse's hair reminds me of the urban legends of beehive hairdos hiding spiders. I don't want to get too close lest one of them jump on me.

Cruz just doesn't look right in a blonde wig. It's too Marilyn Monroe, and Penélope is beautiful enough with her Mediterranean looks.

Jane Fonda to me epitomizes a tousled, sexy '60s, more than the early '60s tough girl look on Winehouse. And unlike the retro look, Fonda's is contemporary, from the '68 movie, Barbarella.

Occasionally my wife Sally and I see a woman who has kept the same hairstyle since the '60s, a woman who goes to the salon every week for a shampoo and set. Sally calls them boofheads, for bouffant. For some this style never went away. It will probably have to die with the wearer.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Scam I am

Andy Warhol. The man. The scam.

In 2006 the website Pyramid Scheme Alert gave Utah a special designation as "the scam state." Not exactly something to be proud of, but round these parts you've got to be wary of smooth talking con men using church connections. Many of the frauds start amongst the LDS faithful, although certainly not all con games are played with Mormons. There are plenty of other yokels waiting to be had.

Consider a story from the November 18, 2009 Salt Lake Tribune, which tells the tale of a 65-year-old con man and his 29-year-old female accomplice who were charged with attempting to sell six bogus Andy Warhol artworks to a man for $100,000. He paid $25,000 down for a print of Matthew Baldwin, one of the famous family of actors, and signed 1996. The man, hereinafter referred to as the mark, took it to an art appraiser in Los Angeles who told him that not only was there NOT a Baldwin brother named Matthew, but artist Andy Warhol died in 1987.


Real Warhol.

The man took the artworks back and wanted his $25,000. The couple wanted to exchange the artworks for a painting the con man claimed was worth $70 million. That should have set off a fraud alert right then. An art appraiser said the painting was worth $1000. Back went the mark to the couple who wanted to give him a Warhol lithograph of a pink cat to "pay him back." They claimed the litho was worth $30,000. When the man took it out of the frame he discovered it was cut from a newspaper.

Wow. You'd think the guy would've learned the first time, eh? It took three separate incidents for him to realize that these folks weren't on the level.

Not a real Warhol; this is a photo done in Warhol's style on PhotoShop.

Ironically, the subject of the scam, Andy Warhol, tried to pull a scam in Utah himself. As told in this excellent blog by reporter Peter Rosen, in 1967 Warhol sent a man posing as him to a lecture at the University of Utah. They were caught for that and Warhol offered to come to the University himself, but University officials decided that one Warhol was enough and they rejected the offer.

So what does all of this teach any of us? Don't believe anybody who wants to sell you something. Or if you're a con man and want to find easy pickins, come to Utah, where every day people are buying gold-painted bricks, prime real estate in Florida and the Brooklyn Bridge.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Leaf me alone!

Yesterday I was in my front yard with my lawn mower. The grass hasn't grown a millimeter in weeks, but the lawn is covered in leaves. I made a couple of circuits with the mower, picking up the leaves as I went, when a man who was walking on the sidewalk stopped.

I saw he wanted to talk to me so I stopped the mower.

"Are you cutting your lawn? What are you doing, getting an early start on next year?"

I looked at him. He was a man roughly my age. I didn't know him. "No," I said. "I'm picking up leaves with the mower." I went to turn it on when I saw he was making arm motions. He was pantomiming a raking motion. "This is what you should be doing," he said.

"I'll rake if I have to, but as a last resort."

"No," he said firmly. "You always rake as a first resort." He started to walk away. "I mean it."

Well, pardon the hell outta me! I'm sorry that using my lawnmower to pick up leaves offends you, or that it isn't in line with your way of thinking. What are you doing walking past my house in the middle of the day, anyway? Are you out catching people not using the proper methods of getting leaves off the ground?

Sheesh. I continued on with my mowing, and when I was done and had picked up all the leaves I could with the mower, I took out the rake and used that to get the stragglers. I looked up and down the street to see if he was in the vicinity. Damn Nosey Parker. I'll show him!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Happy birthday, Diana Krall

Diana Krall is 45 years old today. Did I say old? Does this woman look old? She doesn't look much different to me than when I first saw her 10 years ago.

Le jazz hot has produced one cool chick. Diana can sing, play jazz piano. By golly, I'll bet she's popular at parties, too!

Here are some songs by Diana I like. The first is an upbeat number she opened her Paris concert with, then from the same show a string arrangement on "Love Letters," the classic Nat King Cole song.

Diana, you've got the talent, and we've got the Look of Love from looking at you. I'd love to hear your arrangement of the classic "Happy Birthday" song. I'm sure no one could sing it to you as well as you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

How much time do I have left?

"Do you want to live forever?" is a cliché used in war movies when the sarge exhorts his troops to go over the top. He doesn't want any cowards.

Well, of course we're all cowards. Nobody wants to die; we all want to live forever. Or at least we want to live out our lifespan. It seems unfair if that lifespan gets cut short. For me the ideal would be to live long enough to outlive everyone who would come to my funeral and say, "Man, I'm glad I got a chance to see him dead."

Or we might think we still have unfinished business. I woke up this morning thinking of some things I'd like to do yet, time permitting, and it seems that no matter how late in the day it gets the major projects are unfinished. That's because I'm a procrastinator. I like to think--or fool myself--that I have a lot of time left in order to accomplish the things I want to accomplish.

To that end I took an Internet test to determine my "real age," and also to see how long I have to live. You can take the same test, and then come back and we'll talk about it a little bit:

Your Virtual Age

Does that make you feel better? It did me. What a relief it was when I found out that my virtual age is 49, not the 62.5 actual years since I clocked in on this planet. I'll live to be 91.6 years old, which gives me approximately 29 years left. Or maybe you noticed they even included the days. In my case it was 10,800. Since I took the test a couple of days ago I guess it's now 10,798.

I haven't gone back to see if I can add a few years to that total. Since I didn't use those two days I just mentioned to get anything important done I'd like to get them back. Maybe I shouldn't have clicked yes on the question of whether anyone in my family has died of a heart attack. Maybe I can squeeze out a few more days, months, or even a couple of years if I'd lie about my family's general health.

I got lucky because the test didn't ask if I'd ever had cancer. Yes, I've had cancer but it was removed and so far there's no sign it's come back. If there had been a question about cancer I would have answered yes and they might have chopped a decade or more off my longevity, giving me even less time to procrastinate.

So, I think I'll just be happy with my 10,798 days and go with those. I've already lived 22,812 and 1/2 days and not gotten done what I've wanted to get done, so maybe it's a wake-up call, time to shake a leg, as they say.

In the meantime, here's the procrastinators' theme song, "Mañana" by Peggy Lee. Peggy is gone now, and I hope she got done everything she wanted to get done before she left.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Gentlemen Broncos

I love movies made in Utah with Hollywood actors, because often they don't understand the quirkiness of the place where they're filming. They especially don't understand the quirkiness of the culture, even if the filmmakers do.

Gentlemen Broncos* is a movie about a depressed home schooled youngster, Benjamin (played by Michael Angarano), who writes science fiction, and shares the movie with some very odd characters. The movie was written and made by Jared and Jerusha Hess, who made the hit sleeper comedy Napoleon Dynamite. Napoleon was filmed in the Mormon town of Preston, Idaho. The Hesses know the Mormon culture, and it seeps into their movies. For instance, Benjamin's mom, played by Jennifer Coolidge, makes modesty lingerie. When I read a local review of the movie the reviewer called it that, but outside reviewers call it "ugly" or "hideous" clothing. The filmmakers presented it without explanation and let everyone watching sort it out in their own way. The Hesses know what modesty clothing is.

Besides the oh-yeah-they-nailed-it thrill of watching the culture I grew up in portrayed in a funhouse mirror, there were a couple of other things I really liked about the movie. One was Jemaine Clement as the egotistical Dr. Ronald Chevalier. Anyone familiar with HBO's Flight of the Conchords knows of this New Zealander actor/musician's gift for deadpan comedy. It is in full view in this movie. No matter what is going on around him Chevalier keeps his expressions the same, whether accused of stealing Michael's unpublished novelette Yeast Lords, or standing in front of a writing group explaining suffixes for alien names--easily one of the most droll and hilarious bits of comedy I've seen this year.

The other parts of the movie I loved were the inserts of fantasy sequences depicting both Benjamin's version of Yeast Lords, as a science fiction homage to his late father, Bronco, and Chevalier's rip-off called Brutus & Balzaak (a pun, "ball sack," referring to Bronco/Brutus' gonad, which is stolen). Sam Rockwell portrays both Bronco and Brutus. In Benjamin's story Bronco is a wild-haired, full-bearded mountain man-styled hero, whereas in Chevalier's Brutus is over-the-top swishy and effeminate. The sequences are out-and-out bizarre, funny, full of cheesy science fiction effects.

Maybe this is something the the audiences don't get. The movie is deliberately made to look low budget. For instance, Benjamin has fallen in with a couple of wannabe filmmakers, Tabatha and Lonnie, portrayed by Halley Feiffer (daughter of cartoonist, novelist, playwright Jules Feiffer), and the toothsome Héctor Jiméniz (Nacho Libre). They make yet another version of Yeast Lords, with the mind-boggling vision of Jiméniz as the female lead. Their video version of Yeast Lords is completely amateurish, but its creators think of it as being on a level of a Hollywood movie. Maybe that's why Gentlemen Broncos was so funny to me. At various times in my life I've known all these people. I just didn't have the foresight to put all of them in a movie together.

Gentlemen Broncos is having a tough time right now. It was going into national release, then the release was canceled. The next day the release was back on. Fox Searchlight, who released the film, probably just doesn't know what to do with a movie that is getting such wildly divergent reviews, which swing from "worst movie ever," (or as one semi-illiterate commenter to the Fox Searchlight site said, "What a waist of time") to reviewers who actually understood the humor and point of view. The one thing that's true is that it isn't making any money. My wife and I, who attended an afternoon screening, were the only two people in the theater.** That can't be good for the future of the film.

Fox Searchlight should take a cue from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. I can see Gentlemen Broncos going into the midnight theater circuit. The '70s rock score--the title song is "In the Year 2525" by Zager and Evans--is very apt for the movie, and I see this movie picking up a cult status. It's strange, it's of Utah--I recognized several locales, including a high school I used to visit every day on my job--and it's funny. Jemaine Clement is an exceptional comic actor. So are Héctor Jiméniz, Halley Feiffer and Jennifer Coolidge. Michael Angarano, who played Benjamin, plays the straight man in the group, but he's a fine actor. Where the casting people found the odd extras who are populating this movie I don't know. I've lived in Utah for decades and have never seen such an aggregation in one place. The Hesses have a gift for the bizarre, perfect for the cult movie crowd.

*They might want to consider changing the title, which is baffling, even to those of us who know that "Bronco" is a character in a movie within the movie.

**Speaking of bizarre, when we bought our tickets we had to buy reserved seats. We had a computerized seating chart and we picked out our seats. We went into the theater when it was still dark and found our seats with great difficulty. We watched the movie from the first row of the second tier, surrounded by 1,000 empty seats. In retrospect, considering what we had just watched, it seemed appropriate.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dave Alvin

Songwriter/singer Dave Alvin is 54 today.

Alvin is one of a great tradition of guys who can rock down the house, and then tear your heart out with his lyrics and a sad song. One of my favorites is "Fourth of July."

She's waiting for me when I get home from work
But things just ain't the same
She turns out the light and cries in the dark
Won't answer when I call her name


On the stairs I smoke a cigarette alone
The Mexican kids are shooting fireworks below
Hey, baby, it's the Fourth of July
Hey, baby, it's the Fourth of July

She gives me her cheek when I want her lips
And I don't have the strength to go
On the lost side of town in a dark apartment
We gave up trying so long ago

Repeat Chorus

Whatever happened, I apologize
So dry your tears and baby, walk outside
It's the Fourth of July

Repeat Chorus

By Dave Alvin and Otis Blackwell

Copyright © 1987 Bug Music

Here's "The Fourth of July" from Austin City Limits:

Dave wrote the song "Marie Marie" for the roots rock group, The Blasters, with whom he made his mark in the early 1980s. His brother, Phil, is singing and Dave (with hair) is playing that incredible Fender gee-tar!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Join me for lunch at the Café Bella

My wife, Sally, just got back home. She's spent the past 10 days in Pennsylvania with our son and his family. His older daughter, Bella, will be five in December, and just had her first school picture taken.

Like all kids, Bella and her younger sister, Gabby, like to play at make believe. So Bella was a waitress in a cafe, and Sally and Gabby were customers.

Bella, standing with her pad and pencil, said, "What would you like?"

Sally: "What do you have?"

"We have chicken nuggets, rainbow ice cream and chocolate waffles."

"Chocolate waffles sound good. I'd like some of those."

Waitress Bella responded, "Well, some other customers might want them, so you can't have them."

Bella put the coffee pot and cup on the table. Sally asked her, "Would you pour me some coffee?"

Bella's answer to that was, "I'm busy. That's why I brought you the coffee pot and cup, so you can pour it yourself!"

Bella, I'm sure you'll make an outstanding waitress some day, but you'll get more tips if you pour the coffee.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Sex dark and dangerous

A 40-year-old Utah woman, Jennifer Ann Montag, becomes the latest in a recent string of older women having sex with young boys. In this case Montag was the alleged victim's foster mother.

After writing up several of these stories, and sometimes I admit I have written them sarcastically as if it isn't any big deal for a woman to have sex with a teenage boy, I have begun to wonder if there's a possibility that in some of these cases a boy might be lying. The last woman I wrote about, Andrea Billingsley, went into her first court appearance protesting that the two 15-year-old boys who claimed she'd had sex with them were a couple of liars.

What? A boy lie about having a sexual encounter? Who's ever heard of such a thing? Why, just about everybody! Boys--and men--lie like hell when it comes to sexual conquests. As I recall from my own teenage days there wasn't any shortage of guys I ran with who had "scored," if you believed them. I didn't. The stories just sounded like typical male bullshit locker-room talk.

So should we believe the two 15-year-old boys who claimed Billingsley had sex with them, or can we believe the foster son of Ms. Montag? I hope the prosecutors have their facts straight and that this isn't just more hysteria like the stories of ritual Satanic abuse of children that ran wild in the 1980s. In some cases I've written about the teachers have admitted guilt and have been sentenced. No problems there. But in today's climate it would be easy for a boy to hold a grudge and accuse a teacher. The idea is out there, and teachers are very vulnerable to accusations.

On the other hand, since we're talking about kinky sex, how about Nicole Kidman admitting in an interview with British GQ she's had kinky, dangerous sex? And why would anyone doubt what she says? I'm sure all over the world a million guys have had kinky, dangerous sex with Nasty their dreams.

Anyway, Nicole, you said you burned your diaries, but you have given us a really tantalizing little bit to chew on. I'm sure we're all curious about your kinky, fetish and dangerous sex. If you care to talk about it, I volunteer to listen. I'm not judgmental, and unlike the boys in the locker rooms bragging about non-existent sexual encounters, I promise I won't mention it to a soul.

Oh, and if you have any pictures, heh-heh, I'd be happy to store them away from prying eyes. It'll feel good for you to unburden yourself, my dear, and as all women who meet me know, they can trust me completely.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Women beware. A cautionary tale.

The photographs in this posting are for illustration purposes only, and are not photos of the person named in the article.

Ashley Skiby, 22, went into the Connected Wireless store at the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City, Utah, to trade in her old phone for credit toward a new phone and Sprint calling plan. At the time her phone was dead, so she told store manager Matthew Kuyath she wanted to recharge it and delete some photos of herself of a "sensitive nature." Kuyath assured her no one would look at her photos, that they were done as a "mass deletion."

A few days later Skiby went back to the store with a relative, and saw another employee helping a customer delete photos from a phone. She saw her old phone sitting where she'd left it. She again expressed her desire to delete the photos, but Kuyath told her that the phone was now property of Sprint.

Less than a month later Ashley Skiby bumped into Matthew Kuyath at the mall. After a conversation, Kuyath got out his phone and showed Skiby several of the pictures she'd been worried about, now displayed on his phone. Later on that day Kuyath sent Skiby a message containing one of her pictures.

According to The Salt Lake Tribune of November 2, 2009, in a copyrighted article by Erin Alberty, Skiby is suing Sprint-Nextel and the store. Matthew Kuyath, who is a convicted sex offender, was fired from the Connected Wireless store earlier this year.

This should be a cautionary tale about the dangers of taking pictures of yourself that you wouldn't want others to see.

I have a feeling many of these pictures, available on several web sites on the Internet, weren't meant to be seen in public. In many cases I believe that girls take pictures of themselves for boyfriends or husbands, either at the guy's request or as a way of being provocative. At some point those pictures might "escape" the private domain and become public property on the far-reaching world wide web.

The pictures I've used as examples are actually tame. If you've seen many of these pictures you know there are a lot out there that show a whole lot more than these.

First of all, girls, thank you for taking these pictures so I can see them. Sorry if you're embarrassed, but if it helps, you're beautiful.

Second, when you take these pictures and send them to someone just figure you are sending them out to the entire world. As soon as you say, "Now, don't show these to anyone...these are just for you," your boyfriend is hitting the upload button to a site that specializes in this sort of photo.