Tuesday, March 3, 2015

St. Gertrude of Nivelles, Cats, and Go-cups

St. Gertrude of Nivelles (621-659) was a noblewoman who, when aged ten, rejected a potential arranged marriage between the offspring of a king and her and declared that "she was a bride of Christ." Unfortunately, she was married anyway.  After his death, Gertrude became an abbess instead and is recognized as the Patron of Cats as well as the sick, the mentally ill, and travelers. She is historically invoked against mice and rats. Does that make her first of the crazy cat ladies?

How many cats must a woman possess in order to be a crazy cat lady?  Is there any generally accepted number?  I can accept that the general concept requires that the person must be (1) a lady, (2) be crazy, and (3) have many cats. It can be expressed in set notation as:

 [Lady ∩ Crazy ∩ Many Cats.] 

Does this concept exempt tramps or skanks, mentally sound people, or collectors of Pound Purries (stuffed kitties)?

I might also add that Gertrude is invoked a by travelers for a safe journey. Supposedly, a drink before hitting the road is referred to as 'St. Gertrude's cup.'

I guess that also makes her the patron saint of go-cups. Would that also apply to go-cups of coffee, or is that only for alcohol? At least drive-in daiquiri stands have a patron! (People find it incredible that there are drive-in daiquiri stands on SE Louisiana!)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Pwisen Malek

The island of Pohnpei, one of those in Micronesia, has an interesting yet unfortunately-named physical feature. It is called Pwisen Malek, which translates literally to Chickenshit Mountain. This landmark acquired its name because of an old native legend which traced its origins as due to a giant chicken defecating on that spot, leaving a mountain of manure. I'm glad I don't have to clean up that!

[Thanks to Dee Dee for this story.]

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Monstre Sacré

A monstre sacré is the French term for "sacred monster"; a celebrity whose fame, talent, charisma, or earning power gives him or her a cushion from the consequences of his misconduct.  Therefore, this person can get away with acting abusive, insufferable, and jerk-like.  She or he may offer unqualified pronouncements and engage in bizarre behavior.

The entertainment magazines and the paparazzi feed this tendency, as do the "posses" (camp followers) that these luminaries have around them.

Do you really think that show-biz temperament displays are anything more than power displays?  Or the "train wreck" actresses who flash more than they should?  Do you think their displays were entirely accidental?

There's the Hollywood conception that any publicity is better than no publicity at all.  This principle, fortunately, does not extend to politicians.  After all, they have to be re-elected, and cannot alienate too critical a mass of potential voters.

[Memo: To The Donald
If you want to dabble in politics, you need to commit fully to playing the game! Stop acting like a jerk.]

The fact is, outrageousness is permitted by default in people with special talents, position, or connections because those people can get away with it.  There's both the absence of the moorings of custom for them together with their acquiring a sense of entitlement.  And the result is that they become nuisances. This applies to assistant principals too.

Ultimately, monstre sacrés are people who advertise their importance and power by he prodigious expenditure of social capital in terms of other peoples' patience and good will.  These are people who want to make it absolutely evident to others that they can get away with it, or the social costs for misbehavior are trivial for them, who see themselves as above the common herd.  Does this help to understand wacky or rude attention-grabbing at the Grammys or the Academy Awards, or the errant douchery of people in the media?

A comparably well-behaved monster.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Class of '06 Alumnae News

Greetings, fellow sisters! And first a quick reminder of our tenth reunion brunch on October 27th at Brennan's! So get Hubby or Granny to sit with the kids, and turn out.

Time for some gossip: Melanie just had her fourth bambino! Hey, shouldn't Jack be relegated to a second bedroom, or what? Anyway, Baby Kristie is a real sweetie. She must be the apple of Dada's eye! 

A raven-haired member of our class is said to have made a preliminary announcement of coming out of the closet. When will she share it will all of us? It's very hard to remember who is in the know and who is yet to be told. 

Bitsy got her J.D. degree and didn't have to sleep around to get her first job. She only has to turn in eighty billable hours per week on it.

Maria seems to have gained some weight. Is this the result of her appetite for beignets, or is a possible new little stranger? And will there also be wedding bells? 

Guess whose brother Arnaud recently paroled, and will probably bunk on Big Sister's couch?

We're all glad for Marie that the Boob Fairy finally paid her a visit! Share with us, Marie, the gory details!

Megan is in her ninth semester at L.S.U., and has still not declared a college major. She spent four years on a protracted rest at home after a grueling leave of absence.

Emma dressed daringly for the Krewe of Porcellino ball this February. Unable to find a bra in your size, Hon?

Amaryllis is still teaching at that Charter School in Darkest, Alabama. Isn't it time to return to civilization, or are you waiting until the coast is clear?

Millie and Dave just returned from a honeymoon in Alaska. When will there be further good news?

Karen has developed into a highly successful entrepreneur of recreational herbs in Colorado. Don't bogart that mellow weed, Karen.

Bernadette has recently become a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader. Show us the moves, Bernie!

Tillie tried teaching Tom to tango; but it was too tough.

Which one of our class is also the mistress of that up-and-coming politician from Shreveport?

Ask Melanie was real desperation really is.

Sophie is still at large after winning America's Greatest Loser.

Speaking of losing, congratulations to Fifi for losing 170 unsightly pounds. Her divorce from Buster finally came through!

Remember: Our Class Reunion will be in October. Hopefully, this early reminder will give each of us time for our Jenny Craig programs!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Clotilde at the Shore

Clotilde loved to vacation at St. Yves in the off-season. She enjoyed the delicious sensation of having a lot of room and quiet for her thoughts and avoiding the madding crowd. She worked on her tan, and read a typical summer book even though it was not that season. Still, she was away from the reporters and paparazzi, even though it was a little bit cool.

With time, a number of gulls flocked around her, assuming that she could be about to cast some bread or gull feed along the road or beach. After all, the lazy gull does not get a meal!

But in this setting rendered noisy now by the birds, Clotilde had time to reflect that she had not a lover, and she felt the pangs of loneliness. Or maybe it was ennui! Models have busy lives; and some have lovers as well. But Clotilde did not meet anyone while in the bustling fashion world because the pace of life was so hectic there. And the people were in many cases so phony!

Clotilde shed a tear of loneliness.  "Stop", she thought to herself. "This is so self-indulgent, I need to get a grip or something. Or find some amusement."

Just then a stranger approached and asked about the birds. He seemed pleasant and unassuming.

"Hi, I'm Pete. And you?"


"Do you often come here, or are you on a holiday?"

"A holiday. And you?  What are your interests?"

"I like music and engineering. But I also like quiet walks with pretty ladies."

"Do I qualify for a walk? I am in need of company."

So they walked and conversed. And afterwards they drank pastis at a tavern. And passed an enjoyable afternoon.

Pete asked Clotilde, "May I see you again?"

"I would love it."

"You never told me many details about yourself. Are you married? And what do you do?"

"Ah, fortunately, I am not married. And I am a mannekin by trade."

"Tommorow at this time then?"


Clotilde mused that one is more optimistic and joyful if one has the possibility of love.  This was turning out to be a great vacation when one has someone to look share it with!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Crazy Jane Talks With the Bishop

Crazy Jane Talks With the Bishop
   by William Butler Yeats

I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
'Those breasts are flat and fallen now,
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty.'

'Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,' I cried.
'My friends are gone, but that's a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart's pride.

'A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.'  
A elderly, possibly deranged or at least eccentric woman named Crazy Jane encountered a Bishop while walking along a road. The Bishop scolded her for her unholy way of life and exhorts her to mend her ways and become more pious and virtuous. He pointed out to her the obvious facts that she is advancing in age, and doesn't have much time left.  Therefore, said the Bishop, she should become more religious and give up her life of sensuality.

But Crazy Jane countered the Bishop’s pious advice and admonition. She declared that fair and foul, virtue and vice, body and soul are unavoidably co-existent; and life is complete only with the union of each. Life becomes meaningful and entire only when body and soul work together. Rather than despise the body, a person should accept physical pleasure as a truth of life. In general, the sacred and the profane are both necessary ingredients in the composition of human life, and should coexist. We cannot accept the one and deny the other: the whole can be achieved only when a foul is also accepted along with the fair.

While the bishop’s point was that Jane should live a more religious life, instead of feeling ashamed she argued that love and lust should be accepted as an important part of life. She ends her response with a philosophical twist. She points out that love has pitched his mansion in the place of excrement, and ends with the statement of the Platonic opposites.  With this poem William Butler Yeats creates a dynamic tension of the differing views.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Subcommittee Considers Banning Navel Display

Recently Heidi  [http://transplantedtennesseean.blogspot.com/2015/02/banning-yoga-pants.html]  and then Salon
mentioned a current bill before the Montana House (HB 365) that requires that "nipples and aureolae be completely concealed. The Salon article attributed this and nine other weird laws to the Tea Party. It may be; but I don't know whether opposition to more taxes or the ones we already have warrants legislating dress codes or other things. I guess the morality dictation crowd fits in with those tax opponents. Oh well.

What is not widely known is that this type of legislation has been noticed in other states; and some hyperprudish persons are proposing similar dress restrictions there. In Louisiana, for example, there's Hilda Walspurgis, mainstay of St. Cletus's Parish and too often seen figure in the halls of the Capitol Building in Baton Rouge. (Some people wonder, where is Carl Austin Weiss when we need him?  No, just kidding. Assassination is not an accredited government solution except in banana republics!)

Anyway, here's Hilda's argument for an additional restriction to a bill being considered in committee by the Louisiana House: 

Hilda Walspurgis: "Thank you for giving me the opportunity for legislative input on the bill based on similar legislation being considered in Montana and Idaho.  he bill before the committee, in its present form, does not go far enough. It should also prohibit  the display of navels as well as nipples, aureolas, anuses, and other indecent parts!"

Committee Chairwoman Felicia Jones: "Very interesting, Madam. You realize, of course, that this addition would de facto prohibit belly dancing and bikini swimwear?"

Hilda: "I do, Ma'am. Belly dancing is a lewd Middle Eastern practice found only in low clubs where you can get go-cups when closing time is near. It's been said that some strip teasers go to the extreme of flaunting their navels!"

Rep. Dillweed (Hard of hearing): "If you prohibit navel flaunting, you of course realize that doing so ends any possibility of New Orleans hosting Fleet Week...."

Chairwoman Jones: "Mr. Dillweed, I think that type of navel we're concerned with is spelled n-a-v-e-l, just to clarify things."

Hilda: "This bill would also make great strides to regulate the naughty abdomen displays in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras Day!"

Rep. Stanley Mossback: "I'm for this; there's too much display of bosoms, navels, camel shoes, and derrieres on Fat Tuesday, as it is. NOPD is just too lax; it's like they declared that Mardi Gras was a police holiday."

Rep. Gilbert Timmons: "In my opinion, this is fine legislation; but let's not limit it to female navels only. It would be more acceptable to the Courts if it is a non-sex discrimination navel ban."

Hilda Walspurgis: "I'm sure that a law that does not sexually discriminate would be desirable, and esthetically justifiable. The law I advocate, however, does  give greater penalties for displaying inverted navels."

Rep. Timmons: "But wouldn't that fall into problems under the Equal Protection Clause?"

[Aide whispering aloud to Rep. Dillweed: "Greater penalties for outies as opposed to innies."}

Rep. Dillweed: "Whose navels, Audrey's or Annies? Why not also Jack's or Bob's?" Leave it to Rep. Dillweed to deter any possible manifestation of sexual discrimination, at least.

Rep. René Fontenot: "Penalizing display of outies might antagonize pregnant women, who often have popped navels when in the last few months of pregnancy. Likewise for fat men.

Hilda Walspurgis: "Showing any navels, whether male or female ones, is an offense against God and man."

Rep. Claude Dupré: "Let's nip this outrage of navel displaying to include navel oranges. Plaquemines Parish can switch to Valencia oranges. Sell the navel oranges with duct tape over the navels."

Rep. Timmons: "Wouldn't doing this lead to navel orange pornography?"

Committee Chairwoman Jones: "We ought to outlaw the Fuzzy Navel drink too. And other suggestively named drinks: Sex on the Beach, Bosom Caresser, and so forth.  So, shall someone offer a motion to amend the nipple and aureola measures to include navels?"

Rep. Beau Jefferson: "Yeah! And clever bartenders will re-name their drinks fuzzy belly buttons!

Committee Chairwoman Jones: "Let's amend the proposed legislation to include 'the prohibition to display navels, also known as belly buttons!' It's better to stop up tha loophole."

Soon to be hidden in Louisiana.

[This is entirely fictional. Hairy beer bellies will continue to be seen in Louisiana.]