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Survival of the Blog

Human Skull Linked to Yale Secret Society to Be Sold

 

 

A human skull that apparently was turned into a ballot box for Yale’s mysterious Skull and Bones society is going on the auction block.

Christie’s estimates the skull will sell for $10,000 to $20,000 when it is auctioned on Jan. 22. Fittingly, the auction house has agreed to keep the seller’s name a secret. On Monday, it described the person only as a European art collector.

The skull is fitted with a hinged flap and is believed to have been used during voting at the famous society’s meetings. The auction house said it also may have been displayed at the society’s tomblike headquarters on Yale’s campus in New Haven, Conn., during the late 1800s.

Skull and Bones, an elite society founded in 1832, has closely guarded its members’ names and its activities since the early 1970s. Prior to that time, the group published an annual roster.

Publicly known members, known as Bonesmen, include President William Howard Taft, both presidents Bush, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, businessman and diplomat Averell Harriman, publisher Henry Luce and author and commentator William F. Buckley Jr.

“I think it’s a macabre artifact,” Margot Rosenberg, heard of Christie’s American decorative arts department, said Tuesday. “It’s an intriguing story tied to America, tied to Yale. I think it will generate interest for people who are former Bonesmen, people who collect Americana, people who are interested in history.”

The skull is believed to have been owned by Edward T. Owen, who graduated Yale in 1872 and went to become professor of French and linguistics at the University of Wisconsin. The word THOR is etched into the skull; it may have been the nickname given to Owen or another society member.

The skull is being sold with a black book, inscribed with Owen’s name, the year 1872 and the numeral 322, a reference to the society’s year of inception and to the death of the orator Demosthenes in 322 B.C. It contains the names and photographs of about 50 Bonesmen, including Taft, who became the 27th president of the United States; Morrison Remick Waite, who became U.S. chief justice in 1874; and William Maxwell Evarts, who served as U.S. secretary of state and U.S. attorney general.

Skull and Bones invites 15 Yale seniors to join each year. Bonesmen swear an oath of secrecy about the group and its strange rituals, which include initiation rites such as confessing sexual secrets and kissing a skull.

On Tuesday, the society’s secrecy remained intact. Efforts to reach a society member or a representative of its business arm, the Russell Trust Association, through a Yale spokesman were unsuccessful. The Ivy League school, which is not affiliated with the society, did not return a reporter’s call.

January 8, 2010 Posted by | Art/Culture, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Evolution of Porn and Erotica

Not so long ago, many people treated pornography like a dirty little secret. Adult movies were kept in video stores’ back rooms or sold in seedy sex shops. Erotic books, magazines and toys were created with men in mind, and women were largely ignored…unless they were nude.   But times are changing. As the Internet gained popularity, pornography found its way into more and more homes. Now, Americans spend up to $10 billion a year on porn, and men aren’t the only ones supporting this highly profitable industry.

“Something’s going on in bedrooms across America,” Oprah says. “It has been reported that 1 in 3 consumers of online porn in our country are now women.”   To find out how porn is changing and why women are more open to the experience, Lisa Ling visited adult film sets and spoke to industry insiders. Though 70 percent of women say they keep their online viewing habits secret, Lisa says there’s no question that more and more women are watching and buying erotica and porn.

“It’s not so much that it’s gotten better. It’s changing,” she says. “Now there is porn that is being produced specifically for women by women, in some cases, and it just looks different. It feels different. There’s more of a storyline. It’s more romantic.”    During her investigation, Lisa met Steve Hirsch, the Ivy League–educated CEO of the world’s largest adult film studio, Vivid Entertainment. Steve says porn producers are trying to keep up with the needs of new female consumers.

“I would say that 30 to 40 percent of the market is female. Now, some of that are men who rent movies to watch with their wives,” he says. “We saw this huge couples’ market that was untapped and nobody was really going after.”   To make porn more appealing to women, Steve says his studio began producing a different sort of adult film. “I think that there’s more foreplay. There’s more tease,” he says. “Women, in a lot of cases, like to watch movies with story lines.”   Continue reading…

December 28, 2009 Posted by | Dating/Sex, Love, News | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lock Down His Love

by Elise Nersesian Women’s Health.com

It happened slowly, over time. Relationships became less defined, and now it’s often hard to know if you’re actually in one. “Even if a guy acts like a boyfriend, he may not be committed,” says Scott Haltzman, M.D., author of The Secrets of Happily Married Women. “Online dating gives you so many choices that some guys prefer to keep their options open.”

That’s where Facebook comes in—not only does it connect men with new potential mates, it also keeps them in touch with old flames. “Our studies show that 80 percent of people keep in contact with their exes through social-networking sites,” says Amy Muise, a Ph.D. candidate in the department of applied social psychology at the University of Guelph in Ontario. “With all these reminders of the past, it can become harder for men to live in the present and make their relationships official.”

The provider complex
But perhaps the biggest factor that’s keeping men perpetually single is the economy. Significantly more men than women have lost their jobs. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 75 percent of lost jobs have been to men since the recession began. Understandably, guys feel overwhelming pressure to focus solely on their careers. “Many men have decided they simply can’t afford to have a girlfriend right now,” says Bethany Marshall, Ph.D., author of Deal Breakers. “They don’t have the money to buy expensive dinners or fancy gifts.” Nor do they feel they have the time or energy necessary for making a relationship work.

As a result, many couples (and we’re using that term loosely) fall into a gray area that sort of resembles a relationship but lacks the exclusivity and respect that a real romance requires. And this state of being may suit men better than women. “It’s important to women to know where they stand,” Marshall says. “They are relational by nature and need to know their role with a man in order to feel comfortable.”

How to make him your boyfriend
According to research, women have a greater chance of landing a boyfriend when they don’t have sex on the first date. “Even if he’s trying to angle his way upstairs, men actually enjoy waiting,” advises Haltzman. Log three or four dates before sleeping with him. If that’s too retro for you, at least limit the number of nights you hang out. “Don’t skip yoga or happy hour just because he wants to see you,” says Marshall. “Not always being available keeps the mystery alive.”

Also, when he asks what you want to do on a date, throw out something low-key, like dinner at a bar or a bike ride. That will take the pressure off him financially, and you’ll appear fun and unpretentious—qualities all men admire.

Done all that and he’s still not committing? It’s time to articulate your desires. “Guys may hate ‘the talk,’ but it’s fair for you to express that you would like to be exclusive,” Haltzman says. Try saying something like, “I’m having fun with you and I don’t really want to see other people anymore. Do you?” If he says he can’t commit, break it off. Sometimes, realizing you’re slipping away is what gives him the kick in the butt to hold on.

December 19, 2009 Posted by | Dating/Sex, Love | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CIA Mentored By Magicians

At the height of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency paid $3,000 to renowned magician John Mulholland to write a manual on misdirection, concealment, and stagecraft. All known copies of the document — and a related paper, on conveying hidden signals — were believed to be destroyed in 1973. But recently, the manuals resurfaced, and have now been published as “The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception.” Topics include working a clandestine partner, slipping a pill into the drink of the unsuspecting, and “surreptitious removal of objects by women.”  Continue reading at Wired…

November 24, 2009 Posted by | News, Weapons | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment