Thursday, July 29, 2010

Is Louisiana America's Laziest State?

There's a lame article in Business Week alleging that Louisiana is America's laziest state. 

Louisiana in general, and New Orleans in particular, seems to be topics that result in a lot of internet shooting from the hip and making hostile assumptions, both by writers and by commenters. We are a different culture: we tend to emphasize different values, styles of life, and modes of expression than do people living in many other places.

It can be summarized as follows: "People in Louisiana work to live.  Everywhere else, they live to work."  In short, why work for work's sake?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

We Need a Muse for Internet Blogging

The nine Muses of antiquity each had roles assigned to them: Clio was the Muse of History, Melpomene was the Muse of Tragedy, Calliope was the Muse of Music, Erato was the muse of Dirty Poetry, and so forth.  The point is, each was tasked with a particular role in the creative process.  In that oblique way their randy granddad (Paw-Paw) furthered the course of civilization and bestowed gifts on mortals.  Well, it beats goddesses rigging beauty contests or giving misleading prophecies, I must admit.

However admirable the division of muse labor might have been 2500 years ago, the forms of creativity have changed: modes of expression now exist that were not available in the past due to the internet and other routes to creativity.  Therefore, we need more muse talent to fill in the muse gap!

Let's see now . . . . Melpomene, the Muse of Tragedy, seems to be underemployed lately; and has been putting on a little weight due to too many venti-sized raspberry mocha lattes.  She's moving towards venti-size, herself!  And poor Erato, if the best that mortals can do with her assistance is:

I luv you
I adore you
Pull down your dress
Let me explore you.

then things are definitely sub-prime now.

Of course, there have been attempts to retrain these ladies, but re-casting Melpomene as the Muse of Blogging.  However, it's apparent that many blogsters simply degenerate into mere scolds or curmudgenons.  I firmly believe that Andy Rooney has set the national standard for crumudgenondom; and others are pale counterfeits!  No, Thomas Sowell did not exactly mean that when he coined the term "Tragic Vision."  Melpomene too often goes back into her old, outdated ways.  This is not good.  Plus tragic poetry is now in short supply.

So do we have anyone who could be called up from the minors, enrobed, and be designated a tenth muse?  It's obvious that we have a critical need in the blogsphere.

I though of one.  Make Clarissa the Muse of Internet Blogging!

You remember Clarissa, the Melissa Joan Hart character on the television program Clarissa Tells It All?  Okay, it was a girl thing years ago.  But she could be our Muse of Bloggers.  She was credible, entertaining, and friendly, if no-nonsense.  Those are blogger qualities to emulate!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Problem With 'Hooking Up'

If there's anything that would get me provoked, it's the guys that ask me out with the notion that I might be an occasion for short-term sex, referred to loosely nowadays as 'hooking up.'  It's not the sex thing at all, it's the absence of desire for a relationship that is troubling.  The message comes out as:

"You're okay for a casual mounting as a way to cap off the evening, but I don't find you very desirable to get to know and have a long-term relationship with."  Whether the reason is because you're boring or unconventional or plain or simply have small boobs you're not told.

Well, gee, thanks for the vote of confidence, Podnah.

This 'Sex and the City' thing is really a guy fantasy that we're having sold to us without our looking much into it.  What is in it for us?

I can see now why some women (and guys) insist on premarital virginity: this is a way to select out the classy guys from these hit and run players.  Anyway, I will go out with someone new; but however sweet and charming he seems to be, my panties stay on!

You know, they're like the people who order the shortcake and eat only the whipped cream.  They really are missing out on the full richness of a relationship.  In that way, we are not the problem; it's these guys and their inability to see beyond the immediate.

On the other hand, developmental psychologists have found that the ability to commit to a long-term relationship with another person takes time during young adulthood.  It may be that some guys need a bit more maturing.  Those who expect too much, too soon with them are acting like fisherwomen who catch and keep fish that are below the legal size limit.

They might be ready some day, but their day is not now.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Muses as Underachievers

According to Hesiod's Theogeny, the nine muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory. The number of muses were classically set at nine; with each having her own area of divine specialization:

Calliope (the 'beautiful of speech'): chief of the muses and muse of epic or heroic poetry
Clio (the 'glorious one'): muse of history
Erato (the 'amorous one'): muse of love or erotic poetry, lyrics, and marriage songs
Euterpe (the 'well-pleasing'): muse of music and lyric poetry
Melpomene (the 'chanting one'): muse of tragedy
Polyhymnia or Polymnia (the '[singer] of many hymns'): muse of sacred song, oratory, lyric, singing and rhetoric
Terpiscore (the 'one who delights in dance'): muse of choral
song and dance
Thalia (the 'blossoming one'): muse of comedy and bucolic poetry
Urania (the 'celestial one'): muse of astronomy.

This was the original intention. However, the nine muses, once being quite young, did not consistently apply themselves to their studies as they should have. They were . . . . Olympian slackers. They occasionally spent time in the Olympian Detention, slept late, made poor grades, and did not comport themselves like goddesses should. Mnemosyne worried about her beautiful but unenergetic daughters, but received no help at all from that bounder of their father: Zeus!
In fact, they all turned out okay; but were just not special in the realm of the offspring of the gods and goddesses. Here is what they became:

Calliope, the eldest, was the ringleader of her errant sisters. She became the chief of the muses and was also muse of advertising jingles. She was best known for this one:
Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener
That is what I truly want to be
'Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener
Everyone would be in love with me.
Clio failed Western Civ 101; but recovered and became the muse of the 10 o'clock news.
Erato read excessively of Ovid, Swinburne, and Nin; and became the muse of dirty poetry and song lyrics. However, she is positively regarded for having influenced Barry White.
Euterpe reached her full flowering during the 1970's; and became the muse of disco music. She is stll Stayin' alive; and shaking her now enlarged booty.
Melpomene adopted black garb, fishnet stockings, and a leather choker around her neck, and became the muse of Goths.
Polyhymnia or Polymnia listened to too many Christian redio stations, and became the muse of contemporary Christian music, and is wildly held to blame for Pat Boone's heavy metal album.
Terpiscore went to Vegas and ultimately became the muse of the pole dance
Thalia developed an interest in obvious formulaic jokes, becoming the muse of redneck comedy and inspired Larry the Cable Guy.
Urania moved to Beverly Hills, rose daily at dusk, and became caught in the throes of celebrity worship of such recently-emergent goddesses as Britney, Paris, and Lindsay. She became the muse of Hollywood stars and worked as one of the paparazzi.

Mnemosyne eventually came to accept her daughters, but did on occasion wish that they had achieved more. Moreover, she was disinclined to blame their father Zeus; after all, she too was one of his many 'other women.'

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Bikini Creep

Finding the right swimsuit is a task of heroic dimensions: there's such a range of styles, colors, patterns, accessories, and the ways that they fit. At first, you are in a serious search for the Platonic Ideal of swimsuits; after a while, reality enters in like a party-crasher at an afternoon tea!

A problem is that the swimsuit that you try on in the store may look so perfect, but in its natural habitat some obvious flaws begin to come out.  For example, there's the consequence of having been in cold water.  And the effects of sand or chlorine can be manifest after a while.  Having your swimsuit go from iridescent blue to a bluish gray tells you something: too much chlorine in the pool!  And sand can have an abrasive effect, as you can experience firsthand.  Please, oh please! Don't get sand down there

 It happened to me! I appeared in a shot from the rear at the beach, but with my head turned to the right so that I was not especially anonymous.  The photograph revealed it all. I was unmistakably showing about an inch or two of crack!  And this was unedited.

I learned then that I could deal with embarassment.
Arrrgh! There is the existential horror that the nicely contained bottom that you have started with being demurely covered by your swimsuit has now gone askew and you're revealing more than you wish!  This, unfortunately, is a consequence of sitting or exercising, but casual strangers may interpret it as a sign of universal carelessness or even moral turpitude.  And what can be worse?  Getting sand in the bottoms! There's no supercool way of easing the problem!  Can you slightly pull your suit away from your body, and rinse the offending residue away but also possibly give observers more of a view than they legitimately warrant?  And what about ride-up?  Suddenly you seem to have joined the plumbers' union, or have turned more of the other cheek than Jesus had suggested.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Sumo Wrestling as a Mate Selection Strategy

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."
-- Jane Austen

I'll admit vaguely to being of nubile age, and thus in the potential wife category.  Also, I'm mindful that Sigmund Freud once asked, "What do women want?'  To which the general answer must be: more than we're likely to get.   In other words, we tend not to be easily satisfied.  Well, us primates of the feminine categorydo have experience in comparison shopping.

We have a laundry list of what might make a good husband

.  Here's mine: he must be handsome, kind, ambitious, sincere, work hard, have a nice sense of humor, think I'm sexy and beautiful, generous, loves children, loves pets, make a good income, and be of high social status.  He must behave well, and dance well.

Oh, yes, he must be musically or artistically inclined.   And of the same religious belief as me.
 And be equally lukewarm about it.  And I have a few more . . . .

You get the point.

And remember the subplot of Portia from The Merchant of Venice?  Or Atalanta and the golden apples?  These were ladies who played hardball in mate selection.

But, as someone trained in evolutionary psychology, I feel that we should consider what other species do.  Yes.  Consider this one: the gladiator frog.

The female gladiator frog does the mate selection.  She tests potential mates by bumping forcefully into likely ones.  If she dislodges one or, especially if he runs off, he's history as far as she is concerned.  On the other hand, if she bumps into him and he doesn't budge, or at least much, then he is chosen!

There is an advantage to selecting such males: they tend to be stronger, healthier, of better genetic stock, and more able to defend the froggy couple's clutch of eggs.  We're talking primo dad material!

So, this is my idea: anyone that asks to marry me should agree to sumo wrestle me. We go into the ring, and I try to bump him out.  If I can, he's a loser.  If I can't, he gets to marry me.

I weigh 115 pounds, and am slenderly built. If I can dislodge someone, his Wimp Quotient is very high.

By the way, I don't plan to wear a sumo costume, but be more conventionally dressed in exercise clothes.  Choosing a mate is a semi-serious concern; not one to let it all hang out on!  After all, one should look nubile, not skanky.