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BDSM as business: An interview with the owners of a dungeon

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Torture proliferates American headlines today: whether its use is defensible in certain contexts and the morality of the practice. Wikinews reporter David Shankbone was curious about torture in American popular culture. This is the first of a two part series examining the BDSM business. This interview focuses on the owners of a dungeon, what they charge, what the clients are like and how they handle their needs.

When Shankbone rings the bell of “HC & Co.” he has no idea what to expect. A BDSM (Bondage Discipline Sadism Masochism) dungeon is a legal enterprise in New York City, and there are more than a few businesses that cater to a clientèle that wants an enema, a spanking, to be dressed like a baby or to wear women’s clothing. Shankbone went to find out what these businesses are like, who runs them, who works at them, and who frequents them. He spent three hours one night in what is considered one of the more upscale establishments in Manhattan, Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber, where according to The Village Voice, “you can take your girlfriend or wife, and have them treated with respect—unless they hope to be treated with something other than respect!”

When Shankbone arrived on the sixth floor of a midtown office building, the elevator opened up to a hallway where a smiling Rebecca greeted him. She is a beautiful forty-ish Long Island mother of three who is dressed in smart black pants and a black turtleneck that reaches up to her blond-streaked hair pulled back in a bushy ponytail. “Are you David Shankbone? We’re so excited to meet you!” she says, and leads him down the hall to a living room area with a sofa, a television playing an action-thriller, an open supply cabinet stocked with enema kits, and her husband Bill sitting at the computer trying to find where the re-release of Blade Runner is playing at the local theater. “I don’t like that movie,” says Rebecca.

Perhaps the most poignant moment came at the end of the night when Shankbone was waiting to be escorted out (to avoid running into a client). Rebecca came into the room and sat on the sofa. “You know, a lot of people out there would like to see me burn for what I do,” she says. Rebecca is a woman who has faced challenges in her life, and dealt with them the best she could given her circumstances. She sees herself as providing a service to people who have needs, no matter how debauched the outside world deems them. They sat talking mutual challenges they have faced and politics (she’s supporting Hillary); Rebecca reflected upon the irony that many of the people who supported the torture at Abu Ghraib would want her closed down. It was in this conversation that Shankbone saw that humanity can be found anywhere, including in places that appear on the surface to cater to the inhumanity some people in our society feel towards themselves, or others.

“The best way to describe it,” says Bill, “is if you had a kink, and you had a wife and you had two kids, and every time you had sex with your wife it just didn’t hit the nail on the head. What would you do about it? How would you handle it? You might go through life feeling unfulfilled. Or you might say, ‘No, my kink is I really need to dress in women’s clothing.’ We’re that outlet. We’re not the evil devil out here, plucking people off the street, keeping them chained up for days on end.”

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with Bill & Rebecca, owners of Rebecca’s Hidden Chamber, a BDSM dungeon.

Contents

  • 1 Meet Bill & Rebecca, owners of a BDSM dungeon
    • 1.1 Their home life
  • 2 Operating the business
    • 2.1 The costs
    • 2.2 Hiring employees
    • 2.3 The prices
  • 3 The clients
    • 3.1 What happens when a client walks through the door
    • 3.2 Motivations of the clients
    • 3.3 Typical requests
    • 3.4 What is not typical
  • 4 The environment
    • 4.1 Is an S&M dungeon dangerous?
    • 4.2 On S&M burnout
  • 5 Criticism of BDSM
  • 6 Related news
  • 7 External links
  • 8 Sources
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Navy helping New Orleans pets

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Spanish word “tortuga” means “turtle.” But in the wake of the New Orleans disaster, the USS Tortuga is helping other animals.

For nearly two weeks now, sailors from Tortuga’s repair division have devoted much of their time during this disaster relief operation to ensure the health and comfort of displaced pets.

September 4th, just after the ship moored to a pier at Naval Support Activity (NSA) New Orleans, HT1(SW) Mark Hanley and DC1(SW) Antony Graves gathered materials from the repair shop on board to construct a kennel along the levee. The facility they made soon became a popular shelter for the homeless animals of the storm.

Tortuga’s search and rescue team brought aboard more than 170 displaced citizens during this past week, providing them with food, water, medical aid and a place to sleep.

Tortuga’s makeshift kennel, named ‘Camp Milo & Otis,’ has housed as many as 90 dogs, eight cats, one rabbit, one guinea pig, a pair of parakeets and a flightless pigeon during the past week of operation.

Currently, there are 14 dogs that remain in Tortuga’s care, as many of the other pets have been taken to animal shelters in the area for extra medical attention, or been claimed by their owners upon arrival to Tortuga. The pets that Tortuga has registered have all been in the hands of professional veterinarians assigned to provide expert medical attention to the members of Camp Milo & Otis.

Dr. Kelly Crowdis and Dr. Latina Gambles, both from Tuskegee University and Christian Veterinary Missions, have treated many of the pets for infection, dehydration, malnourishment and broken bones at the Camp during the past week.

“The animals were bathed and assessed before physical interaction with the sailors,” said Dr. Crowdis. “They’ve been given immunizations, antibiotics and medications based on their medical needs.”

Dr. Crowdis added, “What these sailors have done on their own has been such a heart-warming thing. As an animal lover, it is so comforting to know that everyone cares about the animals in addition to the human lives rescued from the storm. I’m very pleased with these guys for taking the initiative to construct this kennel.”

Graves, Hanley and other members of their division have consistently bathed, fed, walked and given special attention to every dog, every day.

“We play with them,” said Hanley. “We take them out of their kennels to give them attention every day. And we’ll continue to do that for as long as our ship’s mission keeps us here.”

September 11th, the Agricultural Center at Louisiana State University donated supplies to “Camp Milo & Otis” in support of Tortuga’s efforts to help the animal victims.

”We got medical supplies, bowls, food, cages, leashes, collars, toys, cat litter and cleaning supplies from these people yesterday,” said Graves. “It’s nice to know that so many people out there have heard about what our ship is doing, and responded by donating so much to support us the best they can.”

A photo gallery of unclaimed pets is on the USS Tortuga’s web site.

As part of disaster plans, the Department of Homeland Security has also deployed Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams to provide medical care to pets and livestock, as well as provide any needed veterinary medical care for search and rescue dogs.

There are over 3,850 animals being sheltered around the state. If someone is looking for a pet they should contact their nearest Humane Society or go online to http://www.petfinder.org// . More information is also available at http://www.vetmed.lsu.edu//.

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Whoopi Goldberg to take Rosie O’Donnell’s spot on ‘The View’

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Actress, Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony Award winner, Whoopi Goldberg will be taking Rosie O’Donnell’s place as co-host of The View.

It was confirmed by the shows host Barbara Walters on Wednesday’s show who said that Goldberg will begin to co-host on September 4, the shows season premiere. Shortly after the announcement, Goldberg made an appearance on the show.

“I love this show! I love coming on it. I love hanging out with you guys,” said Goldberg who also said that she does not plan to have a feud with any of the other co-hosts.

“Who knows? Anybody could say ‘I don’t like her.’ That’s OK. I just won’t come to your home,” added Goldberg.

When O’Donnell co-hosted The View, she sparked a feud with Donald Trump after O’Donnell called Trump a “pimp” in her personal blog by saying that Trump “has no right to be the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America.”

Goldberg has starred in such films as The Color Purple (1985), Ghost (1990) and Sister Act One and Two (1992 & 1993)

New case of Mad Cow disease found in Canada

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New case of Mad Cow disease found in Canada
Author:

18 Sep

Monday, January 23, 2006

A cow in the Province Alberta, Canada, has tested positive for Mad Cow disease, said Canadian Food Inspection Agency officials on Monday.

Officials also stated that the six-year-old cross-bred cow did not make it into the human or animal feed chain.

“Last evening the…laboratory for BSE located in Winnipeg confirmed the presence of BSE in a cross-bred cow born and raised in Alberta,” said CFIA chief veterinarian Brian Evans. “The animal was detected on the farm where it was born and no part of this animal entered the food for human consumption or feed for animal consumption purposes.”

It is the fourth case to turn up in Canada since 2003.

Evans also stated that it is too early to tell whether or not export markets would ban Canadian cows and beef.

The United States has seen two cases of Mad Cow disease. The first was discovered in December of 2003 in the state of Washington. Officials later linked this case to Canada because the cow was born on a farm in Alberta. The second infected cow was discovered in Texas in 2005. The later case was diagnosed in England after earlier samples tested had shown conflicting results.

Much of inland New South Wales, Australia affected by flooding

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Much of inland New South Wales, Australia affected by flooding
Author:

7 Sep

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Much of the interior of New South Wales, Australia continues to be affected by floods caused by heavy rains. With more rain predicted, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has issued a flood watch for all western flowing rivers in New South Wales from the Namoi River in the north of the state to the Murrumbidgee River in the south.

Coonamble, in the central-western plains district of New South Wales, has been isolated by major flooding of the Castlereagh River. The State Emergency Service estimates that around 2,760 people are currently trapped in Coonamble. Mudgee, Canowindra, Eugowra, Dubbo, Wellington, and Young have also been severely affected.

A number of major highways in Western districts of the state have been closed or had diversions put in place, including the Newell Highway near Mirrool Bridge, the Castlereagh Highway between Gilgandra and Walgett, the Oxley Highway between Gilgandra and Warren, and the Lachlan Valley Way between 28km north of Cowra and 6km South Of Gooloogong. A number of local roads have also been affected.

Emergency Management NSW has declared the local government areas of Mid-Western Region, Weddin, Wellington, Warrumbungle, Cootamundra, Coonamble, Harden, and Young as natural disaster areas where significant damage to property and infrastructure has occurred.

Evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Wagga Wagga and parts of Coonamble due to flooding.

The SES is advising people who require assistance due to flooding to call 132 500 and to contact 000 for life threatening emergencies. For road closure information, residents are encouraged to contact their local council.

This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.

Object that fell through roof of New Jersey home not a meteorite

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Object that fell through roof of New Jersey home not a meteorite
Author:

7 Sep

Saturday, May 12, 2007

An object that fell through the roof of a New Jersey home in January was not a meteorite, according to Jeremy Delaney, a geologist at Rutgers University. Instead, it appears the object was space junk or orbital debris.

“Basically, it’s a piece of stainless steel. There’s huge amounts of material that have been left by the various space programs of the world,” said Delaney.

The meteorite shaped object was not from a naturally occurring substance and had a silver like reflection. It weighed about the same as a small can of soup, 13 ounces (about 370 grams), but was no bigger than a golf ball.

Earlier during the incident, scientists from Rutgers examined the object visually along with police who were at the scene, and determined it was a meteorite. But further tests by geologists confirmed that it was not a meteorite, but probably a metal piece from a rocket or satellite. They had earlier thought it was made of iron.

“That’s the nature of science. If the conclusion from the test says it’s not a meteorite, then it’s not a meteorite. We have to move forward,” said Srinivasan Nageswaran, a member of the family that found the object.

Greenpeace protest disrupts Tony Blair CBI speech

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Greenpeace protest disrupts Tony Blair CBI speech
Author:

7 Sep

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Two Greenpeace protestors entered the CBI conference at the Business Design Centre in Islington, London and delayed a speech being made by the Prime Minister Tony Blair, in which he was expected to announce the consideration of further nuclear power stations to offset the increasing gas prices being experienced by industry in the UK. The protestors, wearing yellow safety jackets over business suits, climbed up into the ceiling rafters and held banners saying “NUCLEAR: WRONG ANSWER”, and dropped ‘radioactive confetti’ onto the delegates down below.

Greenpeace threatened to make noise and throw missiles at the Prime Minister should he make his speech. They requested a ten minute speech before Tony Blair’s speech, but this was turned down by the conference organisers and the speech was delayed whilst delegates moved into an alternative room in the building so that the speech could continue without disruption.

Missing dog’s severed head found by 17-year old girl

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Missing dog’s severed head found by 17-year old girl
Author:

25 Aug

Thursday, March 15, 2007

A $2,500 reward has been issued by the Humane Society of the United States for information on an “implied terroristic threat”, according to Sergeant Jim Gray of the St. Paul Police Department.

According to Crystal Brown, 17 year old owner of the dog, a gift-wrapped box with a note saying “Congratulations Crystal. This side up. Batteries included.”, was left on her doorstep along with the severed head of her dog, Chevy, and a Valentine’s Day candy.

The dog, an Australian shepherd mix called Chevy, went missing in February and Crystal, his owner, spent weeks searching for him, posting fliers, going door to door, and visiting the local animal shelter.

Dale Bartlett, Deputy Manager for the Humane Society said that “This case was extremely heinous. I deal with hundreds and hundreds of cruelty cases each year. When I read about this case, it just took my breath away.”

“This was so cruel,” Crystal said. “We’re dealing with one sick, twisted person.”

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

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Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal
Author:

24 Aug

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

Israeli forces capture Hamas commander

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Israeli forces capture Hamas commander
Author:

24 Aug

Tuesday, May 23, 2006Israeli troops have captured Ibrahim Hamad, the leader of the military wing of the Islamic Group Hamas in the West Bank town of Ramallah. Israel accuses the 41-year-old Hamad (who has headed the Izzedine al- Qasam brigades in the West Bank since 2003) of masterminding a string of suicide bombings including attacks on cafes and universities in Jerusalem. Hamas, which has launched some of the biggest attacks against Israel, declared an informal truce 15 months ago. Since then, Hamas also won the palestinian parliamentary elections in January of this year.

The raid (which was executed early this morning) involved Israeli troops, jeeps and a bulldozer. Eye-witnesses say the soldiers surrounded a row of shops in which Hamad was hiding and threatened to demolish the building if he did not come out. The bulldozer then proceeded to ram the iron doors of the shops, after which Hamad emerged and surrendered. The Israeli troops then ordered him to strip to make sure he was unarmed. After this, he was arrested and taken away in his underwear.

Hamad had been wanted by Israel since 1998, he was arrested by the Palestinian Authority but was released in 2002 during a major Israeli offensive in the West Bank. The BBC’s correspondent in Jerusalem, Caroline Hawley says it is not clear why Israel moved against Hamad since Hamas has not carried out any attacks for over a year. Israeli operations in the past few months have been concentrated against the more active group Palestinian Islamic Jihad.