Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Judgmental Maps of Cities

What a concept! A book of city maps with snarky comments about various neighborhoods.  

There's a high probability of finding things to being offended with Judgmental Maps. Here's one of New Orleans; click it to enlarge. But there's a lot of funny too.

There are Judgmental Maps of other cities: Huntsville, Knoxville, Nashville, San Francisco, Washington, Austin.  Try your favorite place out.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sisters Saying Good-Nights to Their Boyfriends

Advocates of curfews for teens often have complications to what should be a straightforward profess. Like take the situation in which parents have multiple teens; each with the same curfew.

A case history that comes to mind happened in the case of my poor Mama who had two teen daughters that could go out on weekend nights (and sometimes for special events), and a preteen daughter (moi) who would be also be going out down the road. The rule: 12 A.M. curfew. A bit strict, you might say.

Seriously, Mama did not want her two daughters to linger in their b.f.'s cars too long, as it might cause the neighbors undue entertainment from speculating on their morals! Nor did she want extended leave-taking on the porch which would provide post-Leno entertainment for the neighbors.

But, especially, she did not want post-evening tattling; as "Mama, Heather let Walter kiss her too long and feel her up last night." Seriously! Clearly, having two couples fondling each other on the porch at the same time was not a happy outcome.

So Mama, desperate, asked for advice. Not from the parish priest (what would an ostensibly celibate guy know about such affairs!), but to the ultimate source: Maw-Maw! Yes, her mother! 

Maw-Maw was straightforward: Extend the older girl's (Jessica's) curfew by 15 minutes. Senior rights. Now Heather did bitch a bit; but she did get 15 minutes of some privacy. Unless Jessica and her b.f. had a fight, which did happen!)

This argues for a proper spacing of daughters.

Friday, December 8, 2017

What Do You Think Is the Worst Popular Song Ever?

Listeners of popular music usually are vocal in their music preferences; and are quite willing to opine on what they consider to be the worst songs. 

I'll freely list a few of my choices; but this list is definitely open to additions as I unfortunately recover some memories. Here's a few:

My Humps

Cat's in the Cradle

We Built This City

Achy Breaky Heart

I'm Too Sexy

Stacy's Mom

Who Let the Dogs Out

My Heart Will Go On

Accidential Racist

. . . . and this one which I won't name but let you figure it out:

But what do think is the worst popular song ever? Surely you've encountered some really awful ones. Share! It's good for the soul!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Talking About Pregnancy

Euphemisms are mild or pleasant words that serve to soften the delivery of a more direct concept, such as 'passed away" instead of "died," "seeking new opportunities" or "made redundant" instead of "unemployed," "expecting" instead of "pregnant," and so forth. 

Now euphemisms have their skanky sisters as well: dysphemisms. Thus we can speak of people as having "bought the farm," "fired,"  "knocked up."  This is the province of the dysphemism. In these ungentle times dysphemisms seem to be on an upswing in usage. Sometimes they're used as cheap means for shocking others; sometimes they're naked expressions of aggression.

Sometimes dysphemisms are used to take someone down a peg, like "croaker" or "sawbones" for physician, "shrink" for psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, or "ambulance chaser" for lawyer. We can also throw in such terms for intellectual disability: "moron," "imbecile," and "idiot," which used to be technical terms.

But let's confine ourselves to how refer to being pregnant. For a completely natural (and sometimes enjoyable) state humans with a way with words find many ways of talking around it. To be honest, it is considered gauche* to ask someone is pregnant because she might not be, or has not formally announced this to all and sundry.

(There is a certain protocol to be observed: parents, grandparents, and in-laws first; then close friends; before co-workers or casual acquaintances.)

Still, it's unsettling that so many people find it necessary to resort to euphemisms: like they treat it as a shameful state not to be mentioned in polite company

Anyway, here's a number of substitute terms, ranging from euphemisms to dysphemisms:

In a delicate condition -- This term suggests: treat me like a princess! This is so cute and Victorian! Still, I'd rather be seen in a delicate condition than some of the others.

Expecting -- Unless you're talking to high school seniors, this does not mean she's expecting letters of admission to colleges!

Pregnant -- Being forthright and honest goes a long way. Let's face it: no need to pretend how this happened!

In an interesting condition -- She's pregnant; but with some problems. Like not being married, being over age 40 and thus at risk for having a baby with Down's syndrome, having an absent spouse, or other possible story line.

Having a bun in the oven -- Cutesy; used only by maiden aunts. Put cinnamon and sugar on mine.

With child -- Sort of blunt; like she picked up a disease or something. 

Being late -- Sort of like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland?

In a family way -- I don't like this one simply because it denigrates the couple as less than a full family until baby comes along.

Preggers -- Pardon me while I twroh up in de garbage can!

Knocked up -- Now this dysphemism implies that the pregnancy was unplanned, unwanted, and burdened with societal disapproval! Never mind the baby was planned, desired, and the couple achieved all the criteria for couplehood!

Successfully screwed -- OMFG!

But I think that a lot of the diffidence governing how pregnancy is due to people reflecting on how it came about. So, when that happens to me, I'll say simply that I was successfully laid and enjoyed every minute of it!

*Seeing that I'm left-handed, you might linguistically expect a certain amount of gauchery from me!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas Decorations

There's the perennial conflict between the Apollonian and Dionysian tendencies in humans; to champion rational thinking and order; or to celebrate extravagance and disorder. We can even see how this might impact our communal interactions and expressions.

Take those potential sources of neighborhood discord: H.O.A. rules. Some neighborhoods might have specific rules as to how their houses might be colored, what kinds of lawns or plantings may or may not be planted, and so forth.

No, I'm not talking about restrictions regarding growing a crop of marijuana on the front lawn; I'm talking about a requirement that it be a grass lawn and not ground cover or sand.

[No! No Zen garden in your front lawn; not yours.]

Even apartment owners get into the act; with rules about how renters can decorate their rented abodes. Ow!

This is one of the reasons why people love Christmas decorations: It's a reaction against the everyday conventions that restrict us like a bra two sizes too small!

If you want a blue Santa moose, go for it, Baby! Likewise, outline the roof, windows, sides of the house, and even trees with colorful lights! Have some inflated figures; but keep in mind that they typically lose air overnight as it gets cooler. [Something the heavy lifters in physics can explain, I guess.] So maybe your Christmas Dog sporting a stiffie is not a good long-range plan. Plus the N.O.P.D. might get on your case!

Speaking of the N.O.P.D., if you're an Orleanian with a heavily decorated house and lawn that people consider a destination when it's time to take Maw-Maw to see the lights, it's good form to hire an off-duty N.O.P.D. officer to help direct traffic. And ply him with cocoa or coffee, laced or not.

Now there are some kill-joy H.O.A.s that have time restraints regarding how long seasonal decorations can remain in place. Old M. Raoul Bourgeois had his own opinion about those rules.

So he put up his Christmas light string as soon as Advent rolled around. All the joyous holiday colors of the Christmastime palette. The neighborhood was charmed.

After Jan. 1, before the time ran out on Epiphany, he switched many of the colored bulbs for red, white, and blue lights: all the better for celebrating Andy Jackson's victory at New Orleans (Jan. 8th).

Come late January, the lights were again switched. This time to a green, purple, and gold scheme. Mardi Gras Colors.

In March, the purple bulbs were replaced with orange ones and the gold ones with white while the green bulbs remained in place for St. Patrick's Day.

Come March 18, Raoul quickly replaced the orange bulbs with red ones for St. Joseph's Day. This color scheme also tided the Bourgeoises through Cinco de Mayo!

And so to red, white, and blue for Flag Day and the Fourth of July.

Naturally M. Bourgeois was going to a lot of extra trouble. But he couldn't help it; he found confounding the H.O.A. to be very reinforcing. Plus it was good exercise.

As did a small following of his irreverent neighbors.

So there's more than one was to skin a H.O.A. cat.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

USS New Orleans

During the 1940's, the U.S. Navy had a cruiser named the U.S.S. New Orleans.  It had a remarkable history, having been awarded 17 battle stars, one of the most cited of the Navy's ships.

She was at the Battle of Midway and the Battle of the Coral Sea.

During the Guadalcanal campaign at the Battle of Tassafaronga (November 30, 1942), she got severe damage due to a Japanese torpedo exploding in a forward magazine. As a result, about 150 feet of her bow was severed, including the first main turret. Somehow, the crew was able to keep her afloat, and brought her to Tulagi for temporary repairs. After being fitted with a truncated, replacement bow, she sailed in reverse back to Pearl Harbor.

The U.S.S. New Orleans was repaired, and continued to serve as part of the fleet in the Pacific. During the War, members of the crew were awarded 206 Purple Hearts, 5 Navy Crosses, and 10 Silver Stars.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Can-Can Dance

Why not take a break and enjoy the high-energy exuberance of the can-can dance? 
It's been popular for nearly 180 years now.

The music used for this can-can is Jacques Offenbach's Galop Infernal 
from Orpheus in the Underworld. This music is the 
go-to choice whenever the can-can is done.

The costumes are part of the spectacular. 
Can you imagine a can-can in which 
the dancers are wearing yoga clothes?