Saturday, April 4, 2020

A Unit of Male Coolness

Previously, a unit of feminine beauty, the millihelen, has already been proposed.  This useful concept, based on the conceit that because Helen of Troy was rumored to cause the launching of a thousand ships, you could express the degree of feminine beauty in terms of how many ships a given female would she cause to be launched.  For example, if Heidi Klum inspired the sailors of 44 ships to go out, she would warrant a rating of 44 millihelens.  And Britney Spears would draw the exertions of ten ships, gaining her 10 millihelens.
Guys, of course, are not required to be beautiful.  As a matter of fact, evolutionary psychologists have proposed the women choose potential mates on the basis of being a good provider, having higher status, liking children (and pets), being ambitious and industrious, being dependable, having athletic process, and  having good health.  Less emphasis is placed on physical attractiveness, except as a possible index of good health (Buss, 2004).  However, many of those important traits may be summarized in terms of how cool the guy manages to be (or dissemble).
The Concept
I am indebted to the movie, The Tao of Steve, for this idea.  In that movie, the male protagonist noted that really, really cool guys tended to be named Steve.  For example, the actor Steve McQueen, still charismatic in the reruns of The Magnificant Seven, The Getaway, and Bullitt, and the Hawaiian detective character Steve McGarett of the oldie Hawaii Five-o.  Does coolness devolve to Steveness?  Perhaps so; therefore, if we could express how cool a guy is in terms of how much Steveness he has, we'd have a workable measure.
Therefore, I propose the unit of measure, the millisteve.  A man (or boy) measuring one millisteve has one/thousandth the degree of coolness of Steve McQueen.
Some Examples
My extra X-chromosome entitles me to an opinion on this, okay?
     Name                           Millisteves    
 Matthew McConaughey                 33
 Hugh Jackman         28
 Patrick Swayze         21
 Rob Lowe         17 
 Charlie Sheen         14
  Hugh Grant         11
  John Wayne*           8
  Robert Redford           6
  Alec Baldwin*           2
  Justin Bieber             -30
*Grossly overrated.

And Now, Something for the Guys:
Implications for Males
Once you all get this point in mind, you guys can score a winning impression and possibly score in other ways, too.  [Swear now that you will use this information for good only!]  I'll admit, women and girls are confusing for males who are inclined only toward the black-and-white obvious and unable to get subtleties.  After all, how good are they at getting hints?  And, they're well-known to be disposed to like action movies or the Three Stooges.
Here's the essence.  Just ask yourself, What Would Steve Do?  (WWSD!)  And do the same.
Yes.  Be Steve.
     Buss, D. M.  (2004).  Evolutionary Psychology, 2nd ed.  Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Earl K. Long, Known as "Uncle Earl"

Earl K. Long, one of the Governors of Louisiana, was elected to three nonconsecutive terms as Governor in the period of time between the late 1939s to 1960. As a matter of fact, he died while running for the U.S. Senate. He was flamboyant, to say the least! He was a progressive, 1950's-style in the South. He even had a lady friend who was a mainstay on Bourbon Street and was tucked away for a time in one of the state's mental hospitals. He got out by firing the Superintendent.

His older brother was Huey Long.

He had been referred to as "The Last of the Red-Hot Papas."

He was the subject of this rockabilly song by Jay Chevalier:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Another Session of EN 455, Victorian Poetry

Another session of EN 455, Victorian Poetry:

Dr. Smathers (Visiting Professor from the United Kingdom): Today we will discuss a poem by one of the most beloved of Victorian poets: "Pippa Passes," by Robert Browning. Can any of you scholars give us some insights into the poem, its theme and message?

Mike Brown (a member of the football team): Uh, it's about this chick named Pippa; and she's got a very gifted arm. She's a triple threat, as she can execute the option three ways, and passes accurately for 50 yards!. Because of that, she's the first girl to make the varsity, and may eventually be a pro prospect.

Belinda Cortez (a pre-med major): You would make a lewd interpretation on that poem.  Actually, it's a poem about the success of her eliminative processes.

Mike Brown:  That's a very alimentary conclusion.

Dr. Smathers: Now, Ms. Cortez, I think that you might have missed the optimistic message: God's in His heaven/All's right with the world!  How does that fit in?

Belinda Cortez: She had a successful movement; and she has afterwards that satisfied feeling. My boyfriend and my dog both always feel better when they have successfully pottied.

Mike Brown: No, she completed a pass for a touchdown!
Tom Wilson: Touchdown is the clown in As You Like It.

Dr. Smathers: No, the poem is about a young, silk-winding girl who wandes innocently through the region of Asolo, kindness and virtue to the people she passes. As she sings her song she influences others to act for the good — or, at the least, reminds them of the existence of a moral order. 

Dewayne Fontenot: %$%+$$!-oh?
Clarissa Tyler: She was also known for her ass.

Dr. Smathers: I don't recall any beast of burden mentioned in Robert Browning's poem.

Kate Thomas: No, silly. Pippa's the sister of the model who married Prince William!  She has a Kardashian bum.

Dr. Smathers: Kardashian bum? Would you please clarify for the class that term you used . . . . I don't think you were referring to a vagrant?

Kate Thomas: You know, Kim Kardashian. She has a lot of junk in her trunk.

Later on, Dr. Smathers went into the English Department office.

The Secretary: Smathers, how did it go?

Dr. Smathers: Oh, they talked, for a change. But I got more than I bargained for.  I'm not au courant on modern slang.  Somehow the class wound up talking about debris in the boot of a Ms. Kardashian's auto.

The Secretary: Never end a sentence with a preposition.  One day you will learn to understand us Americans.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Comment on the Coronavirus

There is some serious stuff going on, and it's time to stop pussyfooting and get serious about it. This coronavirus is real, and should not be taken lightly. Yes, there is a broad range of symptoms that can occur, ranging from very unpleasant to life-threatening. And, presently, there is no vaccine. There may be one in the undetermined future; but right now all we can manage is a holding action.

Right now we don't know how many casualties will occur from it; but we should recognize that the loss of anyone's life is not acceptable. Because of this, all of us should take up the practice of social distancing. And hygiene. Scrub your hands. Wear disposable gloves. If you think you have symptoms, try to get tested. Lay a supply of provisions; but don't hoard. And profiteering from this crisis is beyond disgusting.

And, above all, start caring about our fellow man. And act with sense.

Now is the time to put our political and social differences behind us. These divide us at a time when we have long past our luxury of petty arguments. All of us are in this together; we may handle it if we're on the same page.


I regret to write that I have now enabled moderator control of comments. After nearly ten years I have to take this step. Sorry. I do value your thoughts -- but I do not want to provide an occasion for someone to indulge his sick fantasies. You know what I mean . . . .

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all. Here's a cheerful-sounding, yet pointed song "If I Should Fall From Grace With God" by the Irish folk-punk group The Pogues:

For those preferring a more traditional sound, here's the  Clancy Brothers singing "Rising of the Moon."

I did a St. Patrick's Day post once before. Here's a twist on the meaning of Erin Go Bragh. Anyway, in this time of coronavirus worries, it's important to keep our spirits up.

Erin go Bragh!


Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Ecumenical Prayer Session

In a wholesome spirit of Ecumenicism, the Real Deal Baptist Church and St. Cletus Parish decided to hold a joint prayer session, singing, and miniature golf tournament. After all, Brother Bob and Father Devereaux, both experienced in the foibles of their flocks, figured nothing could possibly go wrong by offering a mixed schedule.

But -- wait! This is New Orleans.

It was true. Missy Chauvin on Action News television slipped in a good word for the prayer session/singing. Moreover, the audience got a bump up because Action News also carried an announcement as follows:

"Nude party held at political meeting; details at ten!"

Now if there's anything that juices up interest in New Orleans, it's Saints football, scandal, and sheer quirkiness. Oh well, two out of three ain't  bad. Orleanians like their religion in small doses; fifteen-minute sermons tops! Especially if the Saints have an afternoon game.

Well, Brother Bob and Father Devereaux expected a small turnout for their efforts. However, Suzette the Existential Stripper decided to enter into the festivities as a way of riding the coattails of the free-lance stripper business. (She also did paint-stripping; she ain't proud, nohow!) And the Bearcat Marching Band, hoping for free glimpses and publicity, came around too.

The general confusion got the two events confused. Alas, neither Father Devereaux nor Brother Bob planned a political meeting; but that's how the mentis populi took it. 

Folks got too much politicking, and they got tired of this Lent thing right away. 

And there were a few people out there that were just jonesing for a miniature golf tournament! As far as they could tell, nobody had to give up miniature golf for Lent!

Note to prudes: This DOES NOT require action!

[I wrote this  before the apparent need for social distancing. I think that both Brother Bob and Father D. would have eschewed large gatherings now.]

Happy Pi Day, you all!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Correct Pronunciation of New Orleans

Now that Mardi Gras is past, and the local devout are into Lent, it's time to mention again that there is a correct way to pronounce the largest city in Louisiana but; a number of incorrect ways.

First off, it ain't N'Awlins. God Almighty! That sound is discordant to the ears of the locals. Don't even say that in fun. It is likely to be taken as making fun of Orleanians' accents. Perhaps some Lakeview Yat* or some uptown debutante or some Gentilly good old boy will kick you soundly in the seat for saying that!

Also, don't ever call it New ORLEENZ! Yes, I know; those damned songs use that pronunciation; but it ain't right! N.O. locals tend to roll their eyes.

It's correctly "Way down yonder in New Orlins."

Check this out from Business Insider.

*Like me. I'm a proud Yat.