Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Provocative T-Shirt

There are a few t-shirts that probably should not be worn, even in a sense of irony.   Anyway, irony is often overlooked by many observers.
I'm familiar with the term 'Alpha Bitch,' presumably the feminine form of 'Alpha Dog,' the dominant dog in the pack.  For the more conventional, 'alpha male' and 'alpha female' apply appropriately to the species Homo sapiens with no aspersions.  When worn on a shirt, they seem totally presumptuous.
But, getting back to the Alpha Bitch t-shirt, it comes in several designs and colors.  This one comes in eight different colors: red, blue, black, gray, etc.  It sells for $24.95; it is hard to imagine someone wearing one, yet I've seen more than one in real life.  What are people thinking?
Shirts like this make a good case for at least minimal dress codes. 
I cannot imagine someone wearing one on an occasion for possibly meeting guys.  Maybe the message has the same effect as 'I've got herpes!"  And, it's true: some women (and girls) are bitches (like the four in Mean Girls); but the smart strategy for mean girls is to disguise it.
And how is the message going to be received?  Some guys may take it as a challenge; and some gals, too.  The wearer may inspire thoughts of the type, "No you're not; I'M THE ALPHA BITCH!"  Will that result in what some guys want to see: a cat fight?  [I'm not sure why guys like this; it's not like the fighters' skill is very much.....]
And wearing a message shirt means that anyone period can read it.  Can you imagine someone's granny's reaction on seeing her granddaughter in one?
As a matter of fact, the only setting I can imagine wearing one of these t-shirts is in a wet t-shirt contest.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

When Are You Going to Marry and Settle Down?

This is an oft-posed question to unmarried, not permanently-situated young adults in their mid-20's.  Talk about posing a personal question!   The subtext is almost "when are you going to start having children and being responsible, for a change?" 

Some of it is due to the fact that at one time young adults married earlier: 22 was the average age for men, 20 for women.  Nowadays, it's close to 28 for men and 25 for women.  In other words, there's a layer of intergenerational perspective differences to start with.  Older people had gotten married at an earlier age; they assume that it's still the norm.

But there's some other things going.  One is the envy of the unmarried young adult being free of responsibilities.  It's disengenuous to assume that working at an entry-level service job (like a barista) provides the material resources for being really free of responsibilities.  And for many of us, there are the student loans to pay back.  Most of us manage.  Somehow.

There's even the cohabitation issue as well.    Eeek!  A girl living with a guy!  The incidence of unmarried cohabitants has increased dramatically in the past 20 years.  As a result, some elders perceive that there's all this wild sex going on.  In reality, the fact that a man and woman are living together does not mean automaically that they are having sex: some might be lovers, some might be friends with benefits, but a sizeable number simply are roommates!  [Yes, even sharing a bed with no sex.  Supposedly married couples do that too.  :-)]  Still, there's the excessive fear of premarital sex.  Sufficient to say, if a man and woman are living togther, most of us Millenials assume that they're also sleeping together.  And it's no big deal!

The process of getting an education in part of it too.  First of all, few individuals complete their undergraduate studies in four years; if they work part-time (as many do), it may take five or six years.  Secondly, there's graduate school.  Depending on the level, this can run four or five more years.  At no time in the student's career is he or she living a ostentatious lifestyle!  Graduate student life is somewhat halfway between the old 1960's-type settled down life and college student life without the frat parties.  First of all, some are married and even might have young children.  secondly, there's a desire for small comforts, like dining on nice plates, relaxing at the shore rather than the rowdy Spring Break experience, having a lover, keeping a pet or two.  Some I know would even aspire to the Rotary Club, if they qualified.  And one is a deacon at church.

A desire for travel is another factor.  It's really easier to travel if you're single and casually employed.  Certain occupations take a dim view of workers who take extended periods for travel.

Even those young adults who are working usually are given entry-level salaries.  Even when a couple's resources are pooled, it might not be enough.  It's awkward for a couple to live together in one of their parents' household, so they often live separately and look for the occasional prospect for privacy.  Some parents actually abet that by making themselves scarce around those occasions.  [I hope this is not too surprising a revelation.]

Anyway, it's not just the Otakus who live in their parents' basements; even engaged couples might.  I think it's a form of family resiliance that families can be flexible about their moral judgments when circumstances force them to be.

There is some money that has to be accumulated to purchase the materials for a household: furniture, appliances, health insurance. cars, and so forth.  Plus there's rent.  In the meantime, millenials are in a state of flux or transition: approaching that "settled down" condition by increments.  Some household items, like chairs and sofas, might be literally cast off.  There's a end-of-semester furniture scavenging that goes on in some university towns.

Of course, the biggest determinant is pregnancy.  Babies impose nonnegotiable demands.  That's when the traditional settling down occurs.

There's some good news to consider: Couples who marry when they're older tend to have more stable marriages.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Further Moves Toward Governmental Control

Positively flushed from his success at banning large-capacity carbonated beverages from fast-food places and convenience stores, the Mayor of New York launched a spate of new regulations over the lives of the helpless and, by now, totally cowed New Yorkers.

The sale of cigarettes to persons under 21 was banned.  Feeling good about that, they lifted the age of legal smokes to 25.

The next measure was in response to the seeming manic pace of the citizens, which was deemed to be bad.  Henceforth, coffee was to be sold only in the "tall" size: "Grande-" and "venti-sized" coffee was banned.  This led to an eleven o'clock slowdown by taxicabs and bicycle messengers.   Pick-me-up tall coffees in early afternoon became the norm. 

Then mustard in public places was banned.  No longer could you get your hot dog with mustard.  Somehow, ranch dressing took the edge off this popular street food.  But this was part of the fiendish plot to make New Yorkers eat more healthy by schmear regulation.

New York, as the fine arts capital of the United States, needed to protect its reputation by reducing esthetic blight.  While Times Square, the obvious culprit was overlooked, there were laws pased against public display of garden gnomes and plastic flamingoes.  Hizzonor the Mayor was quoted, "We don't want our fine city to begin looking like Atlanta, do we?"

While these impositions were accepted in good grace and good faith, eventually the Mayor went too far.  It dawned upon him that high-heeled shoes were a safety habit.  Accordingly, an ordinance was drafted "prohibiting the wearing of shoes with heels more than two inches of length."  Actually, he was able to come up with statistics which indicated that high heel-wearing women were more likely to have sprains, fractures, or bruising from falling than were the sensible shoe-wearing set. 

Naturally, this new ordinance raised a lot of mention in the news.

The title of the New York Post's article read, "Mayor Seeks to Ban Fuck-Me Shoes!!!"  [Worth three exclaimation points!]  They were against it.

The more prim New York Times led with "Mayor Would Prohibit Wearing of 'I Desire Intercourse' Shoes.'"  The Times saw it as a health and birth-control initiative. and applauded it.

The Boston Globe wrote that New Yorkers were obsessed with sex, as usual.

And Jay Leno and Dave Letterman had a field day.  But orthopedists and obstreticians feared a drop-off in business.

Rush Limbaugh rushed to assert that this was un-American: A free-born American should wear as slutty footwear as she pleases.

Mainline churches kept silent; hoping that this would go away, and figuring that anything they said would backfire on them.  Sometimes silence is golden.

But the purveyors of Fashion Week, being ever forward-looking, conceived of emphasizing walking shoes as the new style in sophisticated ladies' footwear.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Establishing a State Religion and Bras

Recently the North Carolina legislature had a measure introduced that would make Christianity the official state religion.  Now I am no Constitutional scholar, so I cannot say for sure that the First Amendment applies only to the Federal government, and the states can do whatever they fancy at any given time.  (I'm opposed to the notion of an established religion, for what it's worth!)

But  it seems that an act of such a type opens a Pandora's box of problems.  Would the state wind up paying ministers' salaries?  Would church attendance become mandatory?  Could churches hold sessions on legal holidays?

And then there's the specificity of Christianity.  Would the State establish as its official theism one that presumes free will, or predestination?  And what about the role of the Virgin Mary?  Or how about the saints?  Would the state necessarily forbid the Carolina Panthers from playing the New Orleans Saints?  And would the legislature delve into the Filioque issue (don't even think of going there!)  Then there's the Rapture!  Now, that has nothing to do with great sex (unfortunately), but rather the exotic belief that the righteous will be transported upward into Heaven before the unspecified poop hits the fan on Earth, resulting in the Tribulation.  But will the lucky ones be raptured clothed or naked?

Making an Christianity an official state religion would even affect choices of bras available.  Let me explain by dragging up an old joke:

Religious Bras

A man walked into the ladies department of a Macy 's and shyly walked up to the woman behind the counter and said,

"I'd like to buy a bra for my wife."

"What type of bra?" asked the clerk

"Type?" inquires the man, "There's more than one type?"

"Look around" said the saleslady, as she showed a sea of bras in every shape, size, color and material imaginable. "Actually, even with all of this variety, there are really only four types of bras to choose from."
Relieved, the man asked about the types.

The saleslady replied:

"There are the Catholic, the Salvation Army, the Presbyterian, and the Baptist types. Which one would you prefer?"

Now totally befuddled, the man asked about the differences between them.

The Saleslady responded, "It is all really quite simple. . .

The Catholic type supports the masses;

The Salvation Army type lifts the fallen;
The Presbyterian type keeps them staunch and upright; and

The Baptist type makes mountains out of mole hills."

[Unfortunately, this joke seems not have been expanded to lampoon other brands of Christianity.  Maybe readers can think of a few, maybe for Methodists, Mormons, or Holy Rollers.]

If the North Carolina law were to be re-introduced and pass constitutionality (unlikely), would that limit the varieties that could be sold?  Would there be state-line bra boutiques that crop up along the borders of Virginia and South Carolina specializing in the sale of those non-official bras, much like "dry" counties have beverage outlets on the borders of adjacent "wet" counties?

In other bra news, Scottish female hikers are advised to take off their bras before ascending peaks so that their compasses might not be skewed.  Alternatively, avoid those with underwiring or, if feasible, use Band-Aids.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Bumper Stickers Predict Driver's Road Rage

Bumper stickers affixed to automobiles are a definite step towards individualizing what is otherwise a relatively anonymous vehicle.  The content of these stickers can be hortatory, political, humorous, or a variety of other possibilities.  There's two dimensions that need consideration: (a) the content of the bumper stickers themselves; (b) the sheer number of stickers.

Obviously, a driver of a vehicle with a hostile or aggressively-toned sticker should set off alarms: it's adaptive to be wary of someone displaying the message:

This Car Protected by Smith and Wesson

But not necessarily:

Commit Random Acts of Kindness and Beauty.

But what about the number? 

Paul Bell, Lucy Troup, and William Szlemko reported in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology that drivers who plaster their vehicles with more stickers are more prone to road rage than drivers who leave their car or truck unadorned.

It’s related to territoriality. Researchers have long known that drivers who have a strong sense of personal space while in their vehicle are more likely to be road-ragers, and the more someone plasters his vehicle with bumper stickers and decals tend to be more territorial about the areas around their cars.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bad Dog!

Bad Dog; great art.  Bad Dog is the actual title of this outdoor sculpture.

Artist Richard Jackson installed this sculpture of a Labrador Retreiver on the side of the Orange County Art Museum.  It releases gallons of yellow paint against the side of the building.

Is this art in bad taste?  Or is it a comment on the architecture of the building itself?  Or perhaps a jibe at the contents of the museum?

The viewer is free to form his or her own opinion.  Anyway, you don't get many opportunities to see a 28-foot puppy voiding on an art museum.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Naked Truth

There's a statue in Compton Hill Reservoir Park in St. Louis that is of an allegorical figure: The Naked Truth.   She has her arms extended, and a torch in each hand.  Her expression is serious, if not grim.  Is she represented as thinking, "These darned torches are heavy," or was the model simply thinking, "I really feel embarassed doing these nude poses"?

Originally, the bronze statue was the winner in an open competition sponsored by a German-American society to honor three prominent German editors: Carl Schurz, Emil Preetorius, and Carl Daenzer.  The winning entrant was submitted by Wilhelm Wandschneider.  When the model of the final statue was first submitted, there was concern about the figure's nudity.  As a matter of fact, some wanted a different entrant to replace it.  One of the movers and shakers requested that she be depicted clothed.  The sculpturer refused, saying that "Den she would not be naked!"  It was erected in 1914.

It seemed that the good citizens should have held out for a different allegorical figure: The Semi-Clothed Truth.  Actually, seeing Truth depicted in a transparent nightie should have sufficed.

An additional part of the story unfolded when the United States went to war with Germany in 1917.  Some St. Louis citizens tried to get the bronze statue melted down and used for bullets to fight the Kaiser.  The Women's Christian Temperance Union Unchristian-like and intemperantly pushed for this to be done.

Fortunately, the statue was unaffected.

Therefore, if you have a desire to see the Truth, you know where to go.  Nowadays truth-encounters are about as rare as seeing pileated woodpeckers.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Open Mike Night at the Philosophical Society

It dawned upon the Membership Committee that New Orleans just may not be into conventional academic philosophy, but that there were a number of unsung philosophers out there that needed to be discovered.  It's like the new veins of literature and music that get found, and ultimately lionized.  But how to tap this unreported resource?  Well, reading the Letters to the Editor for The Times-Picyaune or Gambit did not seem to provide any culprits.

So they decided to try a different tack:  Hold an Open Meeting for all interested in philosophy, where anyone could come up to the mike and give a short presentation.  As a special inducement, they got a NEA grant to fund the meeting, using a sizeable amount of the funds to provide catering for the hungry philosophers who were likely to show up.

And to ensure that it would have street cred for philosophy, they got the Lucky Dog Guy to cater the event.  Yes, this Bourbon Street homespun philosopher dispensed hot dogs to hungry members of the audience.

So the meeting started slowly, with some piddle about deconstructionism and utilitarianism.  The usual suspects from UNO, Tulane, and Loyola made their appearances, as did one from LSU; they strutted and fretted their fifteen minutes on the stage, and then things got weird.

Now weird is normal in the French Quarter.  Even if the locals were not up to it, some tourists could rise to the occasion, as much as the N.O.P.D. guidelines allow.  Still, things kept on a philosophical level.

Crazy Chester gave his take on Utilitarianism:  "Whoa!  That Jeremy Bentham must have been one cold dude, with that Auto-Icon.  Did he figure that people wanted to see his stuffed self fifty years after?  And Utilitarianism has some cool notions: maximizing happiness and minimizing suffering.  Still, he was ahead of his time, being for women's rights and against slavery.  But animal rights?  Do the pigeons in Jackson Square have a right to poop on weddings at the Basilica?"

The Lewd Dude did a short one:  "Maximizing happiness means inexpensive drinks, public nudity, and no foul if you take a nap in Pirate's Alley."  Some members argued that happiness involved more than that, perhaps beignets and coffee, or an oyster po-boy for lunch.  Apparently, there was a loyal following of Epicurus locally that our not-so-innocent Hoosier tapped into.  They recommended Pere Antoine's Alley instead.

Random Ralph presented a spirited discourse on why "Bet I can tell where you got your shoes" is not a street scam, but a discourse on the ultimate essence of reality.  Several of the academic philosophers felt vindicated afterwards, as they had been taken in by that routine in the past.

Megan, the bikini barista,* gave a short discourse on the relative superiority of using Pet milk instead of whole milk or skim milk in lattés.  Some native Orleanians were pleased that she was still old school despite her minimalist costume.

Next, a long-term Saints fan gave testimony that the works of Marcus Aurelius helped him through the long drought of Saints failures.  He admitted that longneck Dixies helped as well.

An errant Baptist minister and a Jesuit priest had a mini-debate on the merits and demerits of scrupulosity.  The Jesuit was the one who argued against scrupulosity.  That figured; they had been accused of being without scrupules.  (Not the same thing: scrupulosity is sort of religious OCD.)

It was time for Suzette, the Existential Stripper to have her moment.  While she was initially wearing her dressing room robe, it became open during her discourse and perhaps detracted from her two major syllogisms on 'Zen and the Art of Pole Dancing.'  She apologized, and said that she had to be present in between sets, and that she was due back on the catwalk at 10:30 PM so she wore her costume underneath.

There was a lingering suspicion that this was a business ploy; still there was an interest in Zen from an existential perspective.

In general, the Philosophical Society thought that the event went quite well, and planned future open mike meetings on a bimonthly basis.  New Orleans will become a major league philosophy city yet!

*There are such wonders as bikini coffee stands and drive-in daiquiri stands.  Plus, if you want to walk around on the streets with your beer, ask for a go-cup.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Questions Guys Dread Being Asked

Whether it's the result of some form of female insecurity that prompts us to ask those kinds of questions, or we just enjoy seeing that 'deer in the headlights' look on guys, I don't know; but there's a genre of questions that guys hate to be asked because they fear that an answer they give might get them in trouble.  And, they're not sure sure of what the safe alternative, if any, is.

As a minister once put it, the first time such a question first occurred was in the Garden of Eden, when Eve asked Adam, "Is my butt too big, or may I eat this apple?"  Adam then existentially confronted The Fall.

Since Adam hadn't gone to Law School, and learned to squirm out of a troublesome question, you know the rest of the story.

Anyway, when it comes to boobs and butts, most guys operate on a simple algorithm: Bigger is better!  We're different: we're sort of programmed to feel our appearance is deficient but improveable in some way.  Blame it on advertisements, I guess.  Just don't ask your guy, "Do you think I need a boob job?"  And, above all, don't ask your priest!

Some things are not on their radar screen:  "Am I wearing too much make-up?"  "Am I showing through this blouse or t-shirt?"  "Do you prefer Hollandaise dressing or Vinegarette dressing on your salad?"  "How do you like this tango lesson?"  "Would you like to see Twilight?"  "Am I too moody?"

Questions of this type are asked sometimes, to ensure that guys are paying full attention.  But most of the time, out of simple insecurity.

Still, sometimes things come up that are the topic of valid curiosity.  For example, there was the item last week regarding men's preferences for women's bikini waxing.  I just wouldn't have the heart to ask my Semi-Platonic guy friend Dee-Doh which he preferred.

But I might ask my Guardian Angel Steve, just to tease him!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Even Cowgirl Melinda Gets the Blues

It's worse than a hanging judge or a dry county in Wyoming: the almost halcyon West also has that Federal memento mori around April 15th: income tax time.  I'm sad to report that Cowgirl Melinda's income was less for 2012; but somehow taxes managed to creep up.  It looked like the old saddle on her Appaloosa is going to have to last another year, even with Melinda moonlighting at a combination convenience store and tanning salon.  Still matters could be worse, except for the paperwork.

And Cowgirl Melinda, true to the Code of the West, reported all income, including her having won $50 for staying on the mechanical horse longest of all the ladies during the weekend festivities at the Buffalo Droppings Saloon!  She used the local tax filing professional in Goose Meadow, as she believed in supporting local businesses.  Still, she got that dreaded letter: she was to hie herself to dismal Cheyenne and submit to an auditing by the I.R.S.

The first thing she asked (being a proper Western lady) was: "What is the dress code for going to an audit?"

One of the more humorous fellas in the bunkhouse said, "If I were you, I'd dress like I was going to play strip poker.  Put on some extra layers of clothing lest the I.R.S. leave you bare nekkid by the time you're done!" 

Melinda was naturally credulous and sincerely modest, and so she wore her jeans, chaps, two blouses, her regular bra, a smaller one, her fringed vest, her hat, boots, and an odd skirt just for safety.  She left her shootin' irons back at the bunkhouse; not wishing to cause an incident but even more properly not wanting the I.R.S. to confiscate them for back taxes.  Instead, she packed two Mountain Dews in her holsters.  And she left Old Buck, her mount, back at the bunkhouse, not wanting them to seize her ride for taxes!

The session with the auditor went reasonably well: She had to pay more; and she didn't lose too much from confiscations.  Well, the I.R.S. took her chaps and fringed vest and some other stuff, but left her with her hat and Dews!  At least she could leave the office and not run afoul of the indecent dress law even though riding Buck while wearing a short skirt posed some problems!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Choosing a Politician's Mistress

The recurrent circus that passes for Italian politics is beyond understanding, but it must be at least entertaining for the seekers of la dolce vita!  Silvio Berlusconi, whatever his merits or otherwise, gives reliable fodder to both the respectable and disreputible journals of said country.  And he manages to surround himself with beautiful women that serve to stuff the magazines with photo ops!  And so it is with the politics of other countries, save possibly Germany and England.

And it seems to work!  After all, Silvio seems to come back, like some character from an Arnie movie!  No hasta la vista, Baby for him!

I think that he manages because of entertainment value.  After all, didn't a recent French head of state manage to solidify his position by marrying a beautiful Italian actress?  Maybe American politicians should take a page from Silvio's playbook.

Consider our recent major players in politics, Presidential and otherwise.  They uniformly projected an image of oppressive rectitude, like the Puritan Fathers had some 350 years ago.  At least we don't burn witches nowadays; they're even feted in California.

Well, not entirely true.  Sometimes playmates of politicians come to surface, but largely at the hands of investigative reporters.  But, after the initial excitement of the disclosure, there comes a lingering sense of disappointment.  Didn't some people wonder after some disclosures about a former President, "Hey, couldn't he have done better than that?"

Basically, it's because our major politicians don't have much experience in mistress selection.  And also because running for political office seems to be a full-time job!  However, I have a solution to this problem: a specifically American solution:

Assign the task to a committee!

Obviously, this committee might be staffed by representatives in whatever constitutency might be involved.  If we're talking the Presidency, we should make it bipartisan, maybe the House majority and minority members, a Supreme Court justice or two, and toss in a few media pundits.  It makes them feel important and it sweetens the media deal.  Besides, we can't have our President at a image disadvantage when it comes to functioning on the world stage!

In the case of political candidates, it makes good sense to balance the committee so as tap the maximum impact when the word gets out.

And, who knows, when we eventually elect a woman to the Presidency, she can have a First Dude!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Suzette, the Existential Stripper

"It is an unavoidable truth that some girls' personal names seem more suggestive of the ecydasist trade than others: the typical stripper is more likely to be named Crystal or Roxie or Candy or Brandy; less often yclept Elizabeth or Wilma or Madison or Clara.  I'm Suzette; and like many successful strippers, I have a gimmick.  It is a well-established fact that the most successful stripper's gimmicks are those that force the members of the audience to think, and not just simply what I would be like under the sheets.

I'm celibate by choice, by the way.  I feel that it gives me a mojo boost to help me in my search for truth and meaning.

You see, I'm really into this 'making people think' thing, and consider my art as the proper vehicle for doing so.  Yes, watching someone artfully strip can be an occasion for thought.  No, I'm not talking about lustful thoughts, I'm talking about thinking about the very fundamental questions of human existence.  Part of my art is subverting expectations.

What you see up front is a large ta-taed honey that you think will take off her clothes until she is altogether in the altogether.  But there is an underlying agenda.  I show my audience how to discard the everyday humdrumness and to focus on the reality as it is of human existence.  After all, existence precedes essence, and nudity is the ultimate truth.  A naked person cannot lie.  My goal is to deliberately confront them with the transitoriness of everyday life that we choose to ignore and to deliberately question the point of their existence.  This is what makes me the 'existential stripper.'"

"Suzette, do you perform in costume or use props?"

"Yes, sometimes I perform while using handcuffs on a member of the audience while I give him a lap dance; but this gimmick has limited possibilties.  Lately, I have been dressing as an owl.  This is in part in homage of Goya's etching El sueño de la razón produce monstruos,  partly from Pauline Réage's The Story of O, and lastly because I stress that the audience should give a hoot!  Existential lessons require copious props; but I'm sure that Jean-Paul Sartre would have approved.

Today is my third blogoversary.  Thanks for following my blog, or visiting, dear friends!  Hopefull, I have been able to entertain or amuse you and brighten your day.  Best of everything!!   XXXX!!!!    
                   -- Angel


Monday, April 8, 2013

The Joy of Wearing Dirndl

I love the style of dirndl dresses so commonly associated with women in Bavaria and Austria.  They seem so feminine, romantic, festive, and charming!  Basically, the full dirndl consists of a bodice, white blouse, skirt, and apron.  You can, if you wish, wear the skirt in long, medium, or shorter styles (some traditionalists might take exception to this last choice).  The blouse can employ a little décollété, if you wish.  But don't be tacky! 

The bodice can be brightly colored or patterned, and is often ornate. 

The dirndl fashion is most consistently associated with rural, traditional, often conservative dress.  Maybe the Republican Party can encourage the style as appealing to the modern outlook.  However, it is also commonly adopted by waitresses in bierhauses.  This might be a perfect choice of ensemble to wear for a job interview in certain settings.

Unfortunately, urban North Carolina does not provide much of a setting for the wearing of a dirndl dress; and if I were to wear one, people might expect me to serve them a mug of beer or sing Edelweiss.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Shocking Secret About Granny Panties Revealed

Fashionistas, disappointed men, and sociologists have long wondered about the persistence of granny panties in these days and times.  Somehow, it seems counterintuitive: why would women wear such undergarments unless limited selection or other reason such as belonging to a cult that prescribes particular undergarments for its members to wear?

Well, some feminists had something to say about that.  Granny panties, as large, unsexy feminine nether underwear is called nowadays, is often deliberately worn by them as a reproof to the sexy underthing purveyors; in effect, they adopted this garb for its message, "No, we will not be sex objects under our clothes!"  

Strangely enough, there was an historical antecedent for these modern-day feminists advocating women wearing granny panties.  Amelia Bloomer, a 19th century feminist, advocated clothing reform for women.  Now at that time, well-to-do women wore very cumbersome clothing: whalebone corsets, numerous petticoats, crinoline skirts, and so on and so forth.  It had two singular effects on the wearer.   They were terribly hot to wear.  Also, they made it very hard for her to participate in various activities!  Amelia Bloomer advocated that women substitute pantaloons for the cumbersome skirts and petticoats, an innovation that was considered shocking at the time.  Few women went along with this garment, as it was viewed as immodest.  The women's pantaloons were known popularly then as bloomers.

And  we must respect the single guys' point of view and their fantasies.  Having been exposed to the display window of Victoria's Secret and other undie emporiums for a long time now, they must think that all young, lithe pony-tailed women  that they see at the mall or in the workplace go around wearing teeny bikini panties or thongs under their jeans!  Married guys know better.

But why do granny panties persist?  Because they're comfortable!  Thongs, in particular, are not!  As a matter of fact, single women with possibly prospects are entirely schizophrenic when it comes to underwear selection:  They wear granny panties during the week, and reserve their briefer, more colorful and exotic confections for those weekends when they might go out!

Therefore, if you see a young woman wearing jeans, remember this stark statistic: 70% of the time she is likely to be wearing granny panties underneath!  And remember this also, she is in a much sweeter mood for doing so!

Ain't America great?  A woman can wear, or not wear, any underwear that she chooses!

However, a demurral comes from that home of the Nanny State, California.  Supposedly, several bills would be introduced in the Assembly during the next term placing a substantial granny panties surcharge whenever one is purchased by of for someone who cannot produce sufficent proof that she is a bona-fide, card-carrying grandmother.  This was strictly viewed as a revenue-generating initiative.  Like, sure.

Thus granny panties will become regulated by the Nanny State.

The Official State . . . .

Recently, some North Carolina legislators sponsored a bill that would establish an official state religion.  After a few days of this hanging in the air, Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Charlotte) killed it deader than a mackerel.  Now this is Exhibit A of what not to do when legislating official state symbols.  It was probably unconstitutional, and it was sure to piss a number of people off plus garner unwanted negative press.  Bad doggie!


You can look at the penchant each of the fifty states have for adopting Official State ___________ (fill in category) as a time-wasting, foolish exercise, or you can benignly look upon it as an occasion for the various factions and political parties to have a love feast now and then.  Typically, legislative acts that specify the official state whatevers are non-controversial.  Passing one gives all involved a minor feel-good moment, and it counters any criticism of them as do-nothing or being hopelessly deadlocked.

And the sponsoring legislators can go back to their home district and brag that they got legislation passed that made the New York Finger to be the official state bird of the Empire State!*

There is a little problem, though.  Many categories of Official State Whatevers have been filled; in a few cases. overabundantly.  Tennessee, for example, has seven State Songs, so they pretty well saturated this category.  And a number of states have the same State Bird, betokening a dismal lack of imagination.  Multiple states have adopted Cardinals (7) and Mockingbirds (6) as state birds, though Kentucky makes their's the Kentucky Cardinal.  What is the species difference?  Perhaps a predeliction for mint juleps. 


Clearly, new categories of state symbols may provide fertile ground for this type of feel-good legislation.  Certainly New Mexico pioneered this by coming up with an Official State Necktie (Bolo), though I have never seen anyone actually wear one.  Perhaps this would be novel wear for a prom or a Mardi Gras ball.  Honorable mention should be given to Maryland's Official State Sport: Jousting.  Well, they're ready for Agincourt re-enactments; but the Orioles and the Ravens need more encouragement.

Part of the attraction for passing these outlandish legislations is that it generates a lot of publicity for the state and the sponsoring legislators.  For this reason, an unimaginative state like Ohio might make a Official State Invasive Plant with nary a notice in USA Today, or a miscellany comment on a television news program or PBS which people almost never watch anyway.  No, the way to do these Official State Things nowadays is to go over the top.  Here's a few possible ideas:

Official State Bikini Top Color:  UNC Powder Blue

Official State Weed: Marijuana

Official State Junk Food:  Cheetos

Official State Footwear:  Fuck-Me Shoes

Official State Hot Air Source:  Politicians

Official State Plus-Size Dress Color:  Manatee Gray from Target

Official State Dog:  Meth Lab

Official State Worm: Nematode

Official State Pork Barrel Project:  The Bridge to God Knows Where

Official State Curmudgeon:  Oscar the Grouch

Official State Recreational Activity:  Strip Poker

Official State Musical Instrument:  The Kazoo.

Official State Protective Gear: The Jock Strap

Official State Wrapping Material:  UNC Duct Tape

Official State Health Food:  The Corndog

Official State Obsession:  Basketball

Anyway, I hope you get the idea.  You can imagine the impact:

1.  People in other states will ask, "Is this real?" or "WTF?"

2.  They will immediately envy your state for having such a cool state whatever.

3.  The folks back home will be proud and re-elect you and invite you to speak at high school graduations if you sponsored the bill.

4.  Tourists will flock, hoping to see some examples of your state's whatever.  Well, maybe not the jock strap.

Is this a cunning idea whose time has come?  A linguist I consulted said so.

*Here's an idea for New York legislators.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

"A Tie Is Like Kissing Your Sister"

"A tie is like kissing your sister." - Eddie Erdelatz, Head Football Coach, U.S. Naval Academy, 1953.   This same coach also coined the expression, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going."

Anyway, this statement has been variously attributed to Bear Bryant, Duffy Daughtery, Woody Hayes, Darryl Royal, and other old timey football coaches from olden days when they still wore leather helmets.  Nowadays, football, basketball, and baseball are all played until someone wins.  However, it has been most definitely attributed to Erdelatz.

As a sister to two brothers, I'm somewhat confused about this concept.  Is sister-kissing a common practice among football players?  What about those who don't have sisters?  Should they be content to kiss their cousins?

[Here is a little example of possible superiority of French: it distinguishes cousin (M) from cousine (F), just like it distinguishes "copain" (male pal) from "copine" (female pal).]

There's a further permutation of the "sister-kissing simile" -- "If a tie is like kissing your sister, then losing is like kissing your brother." -- Lou Holtz

And, to the point, has this concept ever been tested experimentally?

I can imagine a hypothetical experiment, in which participants each kiss two persons: one of their sisters, and an approximately age-similar unrelated female.  After each osculation, they are to rate it as to its hedonic value (how pleasurable it is).  In the interests of good experimental design, half of the participants should kiss their sisters first; the other half kiss the unrelated female first.  This would tease out any possible order effect as a confounding factor.

But let's look at this from the feminine perspective, shall we?  With Title IX, numerous girls participate in sports, including soccer.  A feature of soccer is that matches sometimes do end in a tie.  Even a scoreless tie, to the acute disappointment to the score-addicted Americans.  Has any girl ever described that possible outcome as: "A tie is like kissing your brother?"  I think it is very apropos.

Hopefully, any brotherly kiss will be with little or no passion or body contact, like air-kissing is done in the uptown set.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Bold Avenues in Revenue Enhancement

A rather Machiavellian yet effective means of increasing revenue by government entities is to discover what people desire or like to do, and tax it.

Michael Faraday was once asked by William Gladstone about the practical value of electricity.  His response was, "One day, sir, you may tax it."

Since our Federal and state governments seem to have perennial cash flow problems coupled with increased desires to spend money, maybe they can offset it by creative taxes.  And some of these should be especially easy to pass in legislatures if it affects only a small set of the population.

Sort of divide and conquer.  Not a bad approach.

Anyway, here's some ideas:

1.  A tax on do-rags.  Now I don't know what possesses otherwise grown men to affect the appearance of pirates, but they might adopt tricornered hats instead if this tax went through.

2.  A tax on oversized beverages.  Michael Bloomfield got it wrong: the best way to regulate it is to tax it.

3.  A tax on giving babies unusual names.  They actually do that in Sweden already.

4.  A tax on excessive copulation.  Okay, I know: how's the government going to know?  Well, do copulation tax reporting on the honor system; and have full public disclosure of taxes paid.  Hmmm . . . . some guys (and gals) might go for bragging rights.

5.  Some states should consider levying a tax  on unconventional plant containers, such as old automobile tires, toilets, and garbage pails.

6.  How about a tax on bikini waxes?  [No!  They're expensive enough as it is.]

7.  Lengthy graduation speeches and sermons should be subject to taxation.  Now that would be a popular levy!

8.  New ground could be broken by taxation of Christmas decorations: those that persist into February, those that are musical, those with lewd elfs, and so forth. 

Okay, how about some real ones?

1.  Chicago taxes soda bought in a bottle at a rate of 3%, but taxes soda from fountains at a rate of 9%.

2.  In Tennessee, there is a tax on all litigation. The amount varies case-by-case but it can be as low as $1 for a parking violation case. The tax tends to discourage frivolous lawsuits.

3. Minnesota has a special tax on fur.

4.  In Kansas, tethered hot air balloon rides, on the other hand, are considered to be an amusement ride and therefore are subject to sales tax.

5.  Japan imposed a tax on whiskey which is based on the percentage of alcohol by volume, so Japanese whiskey manufacturers began diluting their product with water to avoid the tax. European whiskey manufacturers were prohibited from doing so; therefore, Japanese whiskey had an advantage in Japan.

6.  Texas lawmakers imposed a $5 tax on establishments that host live nude shows and also allow alcohol consumption on their premises. Since strip clubs are the businesses that are affected by it, the tax was nicknamed the "pole tax". 

7.  Many cities and states levy a "jock tax" on any income earned by entertainers and athletes while working in that city. Therefore, athletes have to pay taxes on a portion of their income in any place they play.  Would they still be taxed if they went commando?

8.  Pennsylvania, and New Jersey exempts pumpkins from a sales tax but only if they will be eaten and not carved.

9.  Tennessee requires drug dealers to anonymously pay taxes on any illegal substances they sold.

10.  Although marijuana is illegal on a federal level and in most states, many states impose taxes on the sale of marijuana.

11.  Arkansas imposes a 6% sales tax on body piercings and pet grooming.

12.  In Chicago, candy that is prepared with flour is taxed as food at 1%, while candy that is prepared without flour is taxed as candy at 6.25%.

13.  In Florida, a sales tax holiday was created that included items like fanny packs, bowling shoes, school supplies, vests, and seemingly randomly assembled list of other items.

14.  Diapers may get taxed in Connecticut, but it Depends.  Diapers for infants are; but adult diapers aren't.

15.  Alabama levies a 10 cents tax on playing cards.

16.  In Colorado, you pay a tax on paper cup lids, but not the cups themselves.  Lids are considered "nonessential food packaging."

17.  At one time, England taxed houses according to the number of windows they had.  This was an indirect way of soaking the rich, who presumably could afford more windows.

18.  Durham, NC has a $10 tax on neutered or spayed pets.  If they're not, it bumps up to $75.  Sorry, Rover.