Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Gaggle of Guys?

How  about a little trip into Single Girl Fantasy Land?  I bet you won't mind much.  Or Curious Married Woman Fantasy Land?  Let's test the waters of some recent books for the single, Sex in the City, market.

The premise of The Gaggle, a new book from Jessica Massa and Rebecca Wiegand, is that every woman, whether single or married, should have her own gaggle, a group of guys that occupy different roles in her life.

As Jessica Massa explained, "You probably have a gaggle of friends, who all play different roles and fulfill different needs for you.  You might call one friend to go shopping versus another friend when you’re upset versus another friend when you need a serious professional opinion. Your romantic gaggle is just another piece of the much larger, long-term puzzle of how you structure the relationships in your life to feel full, happy and loved.”

So what can this hypothetical gaggle consist of?  Well, it can include the clerk at the convenience store you flirt with, your boyfriend in absentia due to attending another university, a pal that you lunch with, someone you shop with, your platonic friend, the postman, anyone!

As she put it, "As a woman, having a gaggle provides you with a love life full of possibility: you have many men in your life, in many ambiguous but enriching ways, who are all teaching you about yourself and your needs and desires and leading you closer to the guy and relationship you want.” 

Diane Trespicio, a dating and relationship coach, suggests seeing three different men regularly.  By doing this, you reduce the pressure to commit, even if you’re not ready.  She opined that if you see two men, you feel an implicit need to choose between them.  But if you have three guys, they tend to balance each other out, like a tripod.

Like the “gaggle," these three men can fulfill different needs - maybe you like to see movies with one, travel with another, shop with another, and cuddle with a third - which removes the burden of one man to fill all those slots.  “This can also help you worry less about whether or not someone is your ‘match’,” says Trespicio, “and shifts your focus to the sheer joy of connecting with other people.”

This hypothetical gaggle might include ex-boyfriends or lovers, hot sex prospects, and perhaps even a cuddle-guy, according to the author.  Oh, wow!  Talk about a fantasy!  As she put it, "It’s your love-life, so do it your way. As long as you’re open and honest with your dates - and practice safe sex - there’s no reason why you can’t be intimate with more than one person."

Well, this sounds like a Cosmo article, one that's meant as a pleasant fantasy-inducer after a long workday but not a serious blueprint for how to do things.

First of all, there's the sheer availability matter.  There's guys aplenty out there; but finding several different yet suitable ones is another matter.  Instead of a tripod that balances, you might wind up with three boozy fraternity guys!

And there's the reality issue: most of us are not irresistible.

And, then, guys have their own feelings and preferences.  Maybe the guy you have designated as your cuddle guy or your platonic go-to-the-movies friend may want to get more physical.   Or less.  Or maybe he might feel devaluated by the role in which you have cast him.

Interpersonal relationships have a way of shifting over time.  And we're not likely to be constant, either.

Finally, "gaggle" is a word used to refer to a bunch of geese, as in "a gaggle of geese."  Guys really deserve better than that!

Therefore, read books like these as agreeable but risqué fantasy material for idle moments, but not as a do-it-yourself manual.

In their book, The Ethical Slut, Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy describe the ways in which single women (and men) can juggle multiple sexual partners and enjoy intimacy safely and “ethically."   In that way, their different sexual needs can be met.  [The book title has, by its oxymoronic nature, a sure raiser of curiosity.]

Can we get an App for that?  Or maybe a scarlet letter as an accessory?

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Forrest Gump and the Inverse Power Law

"Life is a box of chocolates."
                     -- Forrest Gump

That bit of homespun wisdom from Winston Groom's engaging hero for our time needs some clarification because of the conditions of modern life.  Suffice to say, the common pleasures of the palate have done much to make the lives of humans more enjoyable.

However, many of us live in a world where there is a glut of opportunities for experiencing high- and intense-quality taste or flavors, substances that deliver in copious amounts the four basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and bitter.  Now we had in evolutionary history developed some specific taste receptors that allow us to detect certain chamicals (or their similitudes), but nowadays there are so available in amazingly large and potent quantities.  Gaining sweetness from wild strawberries does not deliver the sweet fructose punch that can be found so often in candy stores, the ice cream freezer, and other places.

So some of us develop weight problems.

Now I like chocolate; and I like root beer.  And a lot of other sweet things.

However, I've noticed that the impression of enjoyable changes with quantity consumed.  The first piece of chocolate: bliss.  The fifth one: not so much.  And eating more results in a corresponding less enjoyment per piece of chocolate consumed.

Consuming cola and other beverages would follow that same pattern.  There are some people who consume as many as five or six soft drinks (Cokes, etc.) per day.  The result is, they don't get the bang for their buck with this prodigious amount of cola intake.

Keeping this in mind, it might be a very adaptive strategy to spread our our pleasures, both from the economic and the hedonic-maintaining reasons.  Overindulgence can have very bad consequences.  And, yes, I'll specifically mention:

1.  Sweets
2.  Cola beverages
3.  Alcohol
4.  Sleep
5.  Television viewing
6.  Exposure to scents

You might think of others.

So maybe we should modify Forrest Gump's principle:

"Like is like a box of chocolates; better if its a small- or fun-size box."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Antilogies are words that have a secondary meaning that is the opposite to their primary one.  This words confound and confuse.  And sometimes amuse.  Here are some of these.

Bag (it): Capture it; (slang) discard it

Below par : Inferior; superior (golf score)

Blown away : (We were): Crushed; ( US colloq.) overjoyed

Boned : Containing bones (e.g., corset stays); without bones (e.g., serving fish)

Buckle (v.): Fasten; collapse

Charterer : Provider; user

Cite : Praise; condemn

Cleave : Chop apart; stick together

Commencement : Beginning; end (of college education)

Finish (v.): Perfect (e.g., furniture); destroy (e.g., finish off)

Fix : Repair; (colloq.) destroy (e.g., “I'll fix him”)

Garnish : Add (e.g., parsley to food); take away (from salary)

Historic : Past; present (“This is a historic moment”)

In charge of : ( U.S. ) managing; ( U.K. ) managed by
Knockout : Collapse; (colloq.) triumph

Late : New (e.g., model); defunct (e.g., spouse)

Liberal : ( U.S. ) in favor of government intervention; (elsewhere) against government intervention

Marketing : Selling (business); buying (household)

Maximum : The most, without limit; no more than a limit

Minimum (notably, commission or order): Least possible; no less than

Moot : (1) Under consideration; not under consideration; (2) Undecided; (law) decided

Overlook : Observe; fail to observe

Overwhelmed : Horrified; delighted

Oversight : Supervision; failure to supervise

Ravel : Entangle; disentangle

Renter : Landlord; tenant

Spare : Excess (e.g., time); meager

Spoil (verb): overindulge; become rotten

Stay : Halt; continue (e.g., the course)

Strike (verb): Hit; (labor) stop acting

Table (parliamentary): Bring up for discussion; defer discussing

Temper : Harden (e.g., steel); soften (e.g., justice with mercy)

Trim : Cut down; embellish (e.g., a turkey or Christmas tree)

Unbending : Rigid; easing off from rigidity

Vegetate : Grow; stagnate

Wicked : Deplorable; (colloq.) admirable (e.g., a wicked serve)

Wind up : Prepare to start (pitches and watches); prepare to stop (companies)

You can't be too… (e.g., thin): You should be as thin as possible; don't be excessively thin

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Quintessinal French Song

About 50 years ago, a pop music style developed as an alternative in France: the songs of the yé-yé girls.  This style very heavily was influenced by British and American pop motifs; and was primarily about teen interests.  Some of the important singers were Françoise Hardy, Sylvie Vartan, France Gall, and Johnny Halladay.  Here is "Tout les Garçons et les Filles" performed by Françoise Hardy:

This might be the qunitessinal French song of the 1960's.

Other Yé-yé girls performed noteworthy songa, to be found on YouTube.

Sacré Charlemagne, by France Gall, was a childhood protest against the rigidity of French schools.  She later performed a Serge Gainsborough song (Les Succettes) that had a shocking subtext for the times and of which she was unaware when it was recorded.

Sylvie Vartan did French covers of a number of English and American pop tunes, such as Le Locomotion.  

The Yé-yé Girls did not translate across the Atlantic very well, though Hardy was a fashion model and had cameo appearances in a few American movies.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Cowgirl Melinda Tries Aromatherapy

I'm sorry to report that our heroine Cowgirl Melinda was feeling out of sorts.  Now, she tried the usual patent medicines found around the bunkhouse, but found that they did little to make her feel better, just more groggier.  The various pills and elixirs that the cowhands had around the stable or bunkhouse didn't do anything, so she went into Buffalo to find a friendly saloon; but time spent there did not make her feel better, either.

She visited a doctor, and he ran some tests.  The results were inconclusive: the doctor told her to give up drinking and get more exercise.

"Doctor, I'm a cowgirl.  I get more exercise before breakfast than most people have all day.  Breakfast is at six A.M."

"Okay, then get more rest.  And eat less red meat, no pork sausages, no alcohol, and only one cup of joe!"

That convienced Melinda that she needed to go the alternative medicine route.  She visited a chiropractor, and came out of it all stove up and really out of sorts.  It took a full bottle of horse linement to bring her around!  So Melinda managed to combine grogginess and being achy.

So she visited a homeopath.  She was hesitant, because she didn't feel gay, you know; but was really ready to accept herself if she was.  Homeopathy resulted in her producing very expensive urine and spending unusual amounts of time in the brush.

So in desperation Cowgirl Melinda found out about aromatherapy while visiting an odd supermarket in  an unnamed and scary big city.  The contents of the containers smelled good, that was for sure.

She found one that was advertised "helps promote restoring female balance."  This sounded promising, as she was unequivocally female; and she was out of sorts for sure.  Maybe this would work, she thought.  "I just need to get myself balanced or aligned."

So she bought a large container, and used it as bath salts as per the directions while the other cowhands were off in town at the saloon.  (Cowgirl Melinda was very modest; none of that nude bathing for her in front of the others in the wshtub.)   It felt good, and smelled good.

The next day, her bunkhouse mates made fun of her, commenting that she smelled like a Cheyenne cat house!  The maker of that rude remark got his ears boxed by Melinda; and went around all day out of sorts.

Melinda then decided that the aromatherapy she needed was from cows and her favorite:

However, she did get a pedicure and pink nail polish as her secret under her riding boots.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Art Scene in Thailand, Plus the Start of Yankee Imperialism

A Thai artist recently made the news by using the traditional paint on canvas medium, but using her bare breasts as the means of applying the paint.  Unfortunately, the news coverage of her art focused strictly on the process, and not on the end product.  Duangjai Jansauoni's creative process took place on stage while televised and it resulted in strong criticism from the Thai government, who pronounced it 'very shocking.'

One wonders what Siamese king from The King and I would have said.

Will someday we be able to see Duangjai Jansaouni's paints in the Metropolitan or the Museum of Fine Arts or even the National Gallery some day?


In a completely unrelated story, here's a claim of the origins of Yankee imperialism: its anchluss over the Republic of West Florida in 1812.

The Republic of West Florida declared its independence from Spain; and was an independent nation for 74 days before the United States moved in.

Interestingly, the BBC article made no mention of the desire by Spain to reclaim its lost territory.  Maybe that it because they don't have the military and naval assets that Britain did when it reclaimed Canada and the Falklands.  

Monday, June 18, 2012

Swimwear Choice and Political Affiliation

There are some common assumptions regarding behavioral correlates of political orientations that should be examined critically. One of those is the expected relationship that more politically conservative people should also be more conservative in dress also. 
Three of us, each dressed in a different style of swimwear, approached 200 young women (estimated ages 18 to 30, but no hard data here) and asked them whether they considered themselves to be liberal, conservative, or middle-of-the-road.  While noting their answers, we unobtrusively noted what style of swimsuit they were wearing, coding the possibilities as follows:

0 = wearing non-swimwear
1 = one-piece
2 = bikini
3 = string bikini
4 = topfree

Without going into the details or inferential statistics, the following results were obtained:

                                     Lib.       Mid        Con.

0 (non-swimwear)              9            7            9

1 (one-piece)                   13          23          15

2 (bikini)                          19          20          34
3 (string bikini)                 8           20          21

4 (topfree)                       0            0            0

Total                              49          70          79      198

Caution should be made regarding any extrapolations regarding the 2012 Presidental election: this informal polling was done on a beach commonly known as the Redneck Rivieria, and the Conservative - Liberal trends probably reflect better the locales from which the beachgoers came.
Statistically, there does not seem to be any significant relationship between type of swimwear and political orientation.

Note:  This project was done just in fun.  If we attempted to publish in even a minor psychological journal, we'd be a laughing stock! 


Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Liberal Alternative to Term Limitations

Many people have at least the loose sense that there is a lot of dead wood in Congress; and various solutions have been proposed from time to time.  After all, some people reason, our Founding Fathers did not expect that there would arise individuals making a lifetime career out of serving as Senators and Representatives.  Or state officials, for that matter.  One solution sometimes offered from one side of the aisle is that of term limitations; however the prospect of these term limitations looks less rosy once one has become an officeholder and used to the perks that go with the job! 

Voting the rascals out is a hard proposition, as incumbents usually have a hugh advantage in getting campaign contributions.  And waiting them out is a long-term proposition, unless we were to adopt the drastic methods of the French in 1793-1795!  But wait, we're the most powerful nation in the world, and still the land of opportunity and imagination: surely we can come up with a creative way to eliminate this Congressional constipation?

While term limitations is usually championed by Conservatives not holding office; maybe the Liberal office-seekers can steal their thunder by proposing a Liberal alternative to reducing the dead wood on our Ship of State!

Here's a possibility: develop a massive make-work program for former Members of Congress and other blights on the public scene!  We have a liberal tradition of throwing money at a problem to see if it works.

How can this be implemented?  Well, there's college president positions for some.  In many cases, it's not as if most college presidents are that important in the day-to-day running of a university: deans and vice-presidents do that routinely.  But especially the President's Administrative Assistant (and the Dean's, for that matter)!  Therefore, it wouldn't hurt to have another figurehead.

For less important ones, they can be given a beach dive in some off-shore island, such as those currently being developed by cruise ship lines.  There they can drink, carouse with the beach crowd, coin money, and be out of Washington.  Or for some with more plebian tastes, let them be sheriffs for a dry county.  This is win-win, in my way of seeing it.

But what about the ones with pretensions of grandeur?  Well, we could pesuade some native people that those more difficult-to-place politicians could serve as a god and tribal grandfather (with a little U.S. foreign aid assistance).  There's a precedence for this: the natives of Vanuatu regard Prince Philip as a god (the offspring of the brother of Jon Frum and a mountain spirit); and tried to purchase him.  The affable Prince was given a traditional pig-killing club, a nal-nal, which he obligingly posed wielding it.  He got to wear a dapper morning suit; whereas his male admirers habitually go around wearing penis sheaths!

Wouldn't this serve as a solution for the Newt Gingrich problem?   Who knows, he might find his place in the sun!   And get a lot of sun, at that.  [Memo: Sunscreen for the Newtster.]

And we can find some other gullible natives willing to adopt Howard Dean or Harry Reid as gods, too?

Just tell Howardor Harry that they get the nal-nal, and the penis sheath is optional.   Most politicians would be delighted.  As for the natives, this is their lucky day.  If there's anything that liberals are good at, it's give away programs!  One bodacious pile of cargo coming up!

This would not work with Rush Limbaugh: He would expect to fill in for the big God.  And she would not be amused in the least.

I guess one possible specific means of implementing this program is to do like the Ancient Greeks did.  Periodically hold elections where every one votes for one person on a shard of pottery (ὄστρακα ostraka).*  He or she who gets the most votes goes into this golden parachute of exile.  The Athenians gave them a ten-year term of exile. 

*Our word ostracism comes from the Greek word for pottery shards.

Nal-nal, for the well-equipped god.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Prophetess and Officer O'Shaughnessy at the Beach

It was a spur-of-the moment thing: Officer Pete O'Shaughnessy observed New Orleans eccentric The Prophetess on her favorite corner and, on a whim, asked her to a day at the beach on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.  While their relationship had started off rockily, with a fellow officer arresting the Prophetess for being a disturbance, Pete over time developed a friendly relationship with her, even to the extent of sharing cups of café au lait and beignets.  After all, she was pleasant and cute, even if she did not seem to be always playing with a full deck and dressed so outlandish!

The Prophetess accepted his kind offer.  However, both soon began to have second thoughts.  Pete wondered if starting a relationship with someone so different was wise: would she feel out-of-place in his crowd, would the cop wives behave poorly towards her, would she do embarassing things, like disapprove of beer drinking, would she launch into sermons!.  And, what kind of swim outfit would the Prophetess wear?  Did the idea of dressing in a swimsuit offend her sensibilities?  As for the Prophetess, she wondered if Pete viewed her as easy, that she was to be the butt of some kind of male humor, that Officer O'Shaughnessy would horrify her with bloodcurdling tales of violence (the Prophetess was very squeamish about violence), or that this was all a joke.  And, what to wear?  This was to her a big issue.  The Prophetess was not accustomed to swim dates; her crowd not frequenting pools.  Well, maybe football pools . . . .

She asked her friend, Crazy Chester the bookie, what to do.  (After all, who else might a prophetess rely on for the correct answers?)  Crazy Chester said something to the effect that if nothing is ventured, then nothing is gained.  And Chester advised her, get a swimsuit that will make her look great if she wanted further interest from Pete.  He also mentioned the necessity of a suitably strong sun block!  As a further tip, he urged the Prophetess to express an interest in minature golf, so that Pete could show her how to play.  Close up.

Crazy Chester obviously had more real life experience going beyond experience with the ponies.

On the Saturday of the swim date, the Prophetess donned conventional going-to-the-beach clothes:  a Saints jersey and cutoffs.  Clearly, she was not in her habitual eccentric dress mode.  She also brought along some sun screen, a cooler with cold drinks and bottled water, and a gourmet picnic lunch. 

Although both initially had trepidations, the date seemed to be going well.  They talked about current affairs, primarily those of the Crescent City.  [Us Yats can be so focused on New Orleans.]  They talked about books.  Both were pleasantly surprised that the other did read; and read good books at that!  Both liked to try new restaurants, and had a spirit of adventure.

The Prophetess requested, "Call me Madeline."

Pete, in turn, requested that she just call him Pete.

When it came time to get into the water, Pete and Madeline removed their outer wear.  Pete was astonished to see Madeline in her blue swimsuit!  This was a side she had never presented before! 

While swimming, Officer Pete began to wonder: Should I try to kiss the Prophetess at the end of the evening?  Very clearly, he was conflicted:  he enjoyed her company, things seemed to be going well, and he didn't want to do anything that would lend a discordant note to it. 

While there were both wading in the water, The Prophetess Madeline impulsively kissed him; and they continued the kiss together.  Sometimes you have to help guys carpe diem!  Madeline had a hard time going to sleep that night; a proper kiss can do that!

[I thought I'd give Prophetess Madeline a little romance.]

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Princess Tu Tu's Ballet Costume

There's something esthetically delightful and fulfilling about being in a ballet costume.  Studying ballet was one of the high points of my childhood and adolescence.  Princess Tu Tu's costume in this illustration is slightly sexy, eye-catching, and definitely flattering.  Any from a pre-teen's perspective, to die for!!!!!

Having indulged in my bit of nostalgia, here's a little story of how Dee-Doh's older sister got him to go to the ballet recital years ago. 

Now there are fewer things less appealing to a pre-teen boy than spending a Sunday afternoon watching girls and women dancing, or attempting to dance.  He was recalcitrant, despite his sister (and me) being in the program.  But his clever older sister intimated that the older girls went commando under their costumes!   (Probably not true; but Dee-Doh would not have known the difference.)  Anyway, undies or not, the tutus would prevent any preadolescent boys' empiricism.  The imagination of boys (and men) of any age is their entertainment, but we can harness it.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Zeke the Moonshiner

Old Zeke was a moonshiner.  It so happened that one night he was very enthusiastic in testing his product, and he stumbled off into the woods.  After wandering aimlessly, he stumled on a grass arbor prayer meeting where folks in Buncombe County get spells of religion.  He sat in the back, listened to the testimony and the singing, started tapping his feet, and started to get the spirit!

Now it so happened that his wife, Samantha, got concerned lest Zeke wander his fool self off in the woods again, so she sent her two preteen sons to find him.  The boys found their father just as the spirit (or the spirits) began to move him, and he got the fits and began to bark like a dawg!  Just then, the assembly burst out in a song to welcome the repentant Zeke into the ways of the LORD!

THe boys mis-heard the hymn, and concluded that their Dad was a-dying, so they went back home and told Samantha thusly:  "Mama, Daddy Zeke's dying!"

"Boys, how do you know?"  Samantha starting worrying that he mixed a bad batch of 'shine.

"Mama, he's at the church brush arbor meeting, and everyone there was a-saying "The Old Shit's a-Dying" 

Samantha said, "THat can't be true; yore Paw's gonna skin your wuthless hides when he gits home."

So Samantha went to the brush arbor meeting, there she found Zeke sitting and shaking hands with a bunch of people.  Samantha asked him how he was, saying that the boys said that he was dying and that all the people were saying that the old shit's a-dying.

Zeke said, "no, Sam; I just got myself a touch of religion.  And no one nohow called me a shit.  I'm going to give those boys one heck of a spanking when I get home."

Just then someone else got a spell of the Old Time Religion, and the choir launched into "That Old Ship of Zion."

Sam and Zeke looked at each other, and Sam said, "You know, I reckon the boys might have heard that,"

Zeke said, "I think you're right.  The boys didn't hear much church music around the house of a bootlegger."  And the boys didn't get a beating, but just Moon Pies.


Post #300.  I didn't think I'd get this far.


Friday, June 8, 2012

Where Do the Numbers Come From?

"Seventy-five percent of women are wearing the wrong sized bra."
                                    -- Variously quoted in different places

Now that I've got your attention, I've got a problem: where did that exact percentage come from?  Were those presumably uncomfortable ladies asked how their bras feel?  Was this empirically determined?  Is this an inappropriately precise quantification of a less precise amount (e.g., about three out of four).  Writing as a wearer (mostly), I can declare that proper fitting is a complex activity; made more complicated by the fact that there is some variation among brands as to what a specific size means.  Also, the type of bra to be considered.

But, anyway, this is not about bras: it's about numbers.

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."
                                                  -- Benjamin Disraeli

There are two kinds of statistics: the kind you look up and the kind you make up."
                                                         --Rex Stout

The print media loves numbers; as a matter of fact, it wallows in them.  But very often the numbers provide only very flimsy support for a particular statement.

"He uses statistics like a drunk uses a lightpost; not for illumination, but for support."

Consider the Best and Worst Cities lists.  More defensible criteria might employ crime data, health statistics, economic indices such as income, types of jobs available, recreational opportunities, and others.  But when you do that, you're metaphorically mixing apples and oranges.  If your abiding passion is golf, then being in a golfless community negatively impacts your life.  Also, the impact of some indices impacts certain parts of town more than others.  And certain age groups.  As a matter of fact, it might be appropriate to categorize cities as "Best for Single Women" or "College Students" or "Granolas and Earth Mothers"!

But most of those lists use very limited data, and stretch their conclusions overly much.

The same can be said for "Most Corrupt States."  Now this sticks in my craw a bit: the roll call here has the usual suspects: Louisiana, Illinois, New Jersey, California, and a few others.  Political corruption can be latent or manifest: evidences of political corruption are largely dependent on publicity and seriousness of law enforcement.  Let's face it: some states really fly under the radar: I know far less about Vermont, for example, than I do about Honduras!

But there's also what the numbers represent.  Here we come to the distinction between a population and a sample.  A population is the totality of cases of a particular category.   A sample is a subset of a population.  To go back to the bra issue, the population includes all women wearing bras.  The sample is the number of cases upon which we get our statistic.  So how much credence should we give the sample?  It depends.  Obviously, having a larger-sized sample would help make it more like the population.  But also very important is what type of sample used.  A convenience sample is just that: a group of people surveyed.  This is the cheapest and least powerful type.  A representative sample is one in which some important characteristics of the population (e.g., age, weight, etc.) is approximately replicated in the composition of the sample.  That's a better type, if you chose the dimensions of representativeness well.  A random sample is one in which all possible members of the population have an equal likelihood of being surveyed.  (In that way, you, your next door neighbor, Snooki, Hilary Clinton, some Manhattan socialite, some nutcase living in a cabin in Idaho, and Jon Stewart have an equal likelihood of being surveyed.)

As a final jibe:  when the New York Times reported on the Times-Picyaune soon to come out three days a week, the writer characterized New Orleans as being a dystopia.  That would have been news to New Orleanians, if they gave a damn about what the New York Times wrote.  My point is this: it is the actual residents who get to decide whether their community is working or not.

To end this meandering discourse, I close with this intriguing chart:

Apparently, Italians are happy with their culture; more so than us or other Europeans.  For them, Italy seems to be working; even though it might not seem to be that way to me.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The First Time

What can one say about this cartoon situation?  Well, it implies that she had some sexual experience and that she did find it more than pleasant.  Maman was not so pleased.  One could wish that some people might be more supportive and less judgmental.  Losing one's virginity is one of those sources of anxiety beforehand that seem retrospectivelty to be overworked.

Maybe it's in the notion of women (and girls) as property; losing one's virginity is viewed as being like depreciation, or simply driving it off the lot.  If that's the case, then this idea is to be deplored.  On the other hand, maybe the problem lies in the semantics: to lose one's virginity naturally implies that the previous state was better.  Maybe we should come up with some more neutral terminology that does not load the dice in favor of one possibility over another.  I don't necessarily imply that getting rid of one's virginity would be better.

In this same way, all of these terms try to load the dice similarly:

(a) Conservative

(b) Liberal

(c) Pro-choice

(d) Pro-life

(e) Childless

(f) Childfree

(g) Topless

(h) Topfree

(i)  Progressive

And I can go on.

Just some thoughts about losing it that go beyond into the realm of semantics.  I could imagine the reactions of some people if the term husband-free or wife-free were to become used.  Instant polarization!!!

Of course, using  the suffixes -free and -less can be interesting, too:  pantyfree, feckfree, jobfree, newspaperless, and so forth.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Family Size

Since the 1970's the ideal family size has declined, leading to a lowered birth rate eventually.  At one time having four of more children was regarded as desirable; however since that time the most often-cited preferred number is two or three.

This leads to an interesting set of assumptions make when it comes to larger families; namely that the parents had so many children because they were bound by religion not to practice birth control or because they were too dumb or inept to do so.  And in the smooth outspoken style of the Oughts (both decade and prescriptive), these assumers let their dubious thoughts known.  As the youngest of five children, I have been told by nonfamily members that I was surely unplanned!  Beyond nervy, I must admit. 

[I am not about to ask my parents; and I have never had any indication that I was unwanted.]  So if I get a little testy about people mouthing off about Catholic families and who was obviously unplanned, that is why!

Anyway, some people like having many children, and desire large families.  Maybe those nosy people need to tend their own gardens.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Let's Move Toward Shame Equity

While I was attempting to cover up a hickey I wondered about my possibly experiencing shame if it was seen by others. Why should a person feel this?  After all, it is a result of an activity that other people occasionally are said to engage in from time to time. And do guys have a similar experience regarding that sort of tell-tale sign?

Even the expression "tell-tale sign" is fraught with meaning. It suggests ominousness and concern.

And what about the Walk of Shame?  On the morning afterwards, do guys feel this similarly when they come back to the dorm or apartment complex wearing yesterday's clothes? Somehow I doubt it. As a matter of fact, most guys seem to wear the same clothes on more than one day so very few can really keep score.

And those that do might regard the score in a different way.

It dawned upon me that feeling shame is hard work and no fun, and it befalls women and girls to carry the entire burden! This is not fair. We need to make some changes!

If we assume that Shame (and Shamelessness) is a constant in the world, and cannot be either created and destroyed, then both forms will always be around. It's not sufficient to simply assume that women can simply refrain from shame, because who will do the heavy lifting of shame? Guys, it's time for you to step up on this matter.

Now, I'm not asking for Shame Equity: it might be sufficient for now for guys to assume 20% of the shame burden; with an increased proportion to be assumed later as our society becomes more equitable.

Just my thoughts, you know. I could be wrong.

Completely unrelated, the news is that the Times-Picyaune will appear in a paper edition only on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.  So sad.  It's like having a cup of coffee without chicory.  The T-P was one of the oldest daily in the U.S., named after an old Spanish coin.