Monday, June 30, 2014

World's Sexiest Guys by Nationality

According to the Travel section of the Huffington Post, the world's sexiest men are Australians, followed by Italians.  American guys came out sixth, which was not too shabby.  I'm totally flummoxed by the British coming in third; and the absence of French and Swedish guys.

What gives?  Especially with the real sleeper, Canadian guys!  This bears a trip to Montreal or Calgary, eh?

10. Dutch
9. Canadian
8. Brazilian
7. Irish
6. American
5. Spanish
4. Scottish -- Still part of Britain, I think!
3. British
2. Italian
1. Australian

As for the world's sexiest women, the ladies of Brazil top the list.  The Girl from Ipanema lives on, in newer generations.  Russian ladies come in second place; possibly a tradition started with Anna Kournikova. 

We can't chant U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.! when it comes to how our women rank in pulchritude.  Alas!  We failed to make the top ten in the Huffy Post's ratings.  This clearly calls for a federal initiative to bring us up in the rankings.  After all, if the U.S. government could bail out General Motors, then we need some bailing out too!

10. Canadian
9. South African
8. Bulgarian
7. Australian
6. Spanish
5. Filipina
4. British
3. Colombian
2. Russian
1. Brazilian

But where are the French and Swedish women?  Talk about stereotypes crashing down!

Beach Lad: this one's for you!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Some Additional Southern Types

Having emerged from New Orleans and for a while being in the Great Elsewhere (everything not in Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard Parishes), I have encountered a variety of Southerners of different types that deserve mention.  Now the iconic ones, the Good Ole Boy, the Good Ole Girl, the Urban Black, the Blues Singer, the Redneck, the Fin de Race Aristocrat, the Southern Writer, and others.  Actually, read Florence King or John Shelton Reed for a more complete sense of the major types.

But here are a few others:

The Helpful Bubba -- This is a subtype that is largely invisible and inarticulate.  They occasionally be seen holding the downs markers at football games or mowing the soccer field.  If you have a flat, they will stop and help.  ("No problem, little lady, we'll get that old tire changed quickly; and I'll follow you to the station.")  However, they are really in their glory when snow events occur; they spend the morning riding around helping people get unstuck or out of ditches.  Of all the extra Southern types, these really need hugs!

The Frail Old Thing -- She looks like she's 80, at least; and get she manages to keep a spotless garden despite using a cane or walker and set out a pitcher of daiquiris for when the preacher comes to visit.

The Shag Queen -- No, this has nothing to do with sexual promiscuity or carpet fetishes; it has everything to do with her skill in doing the Shag, a dance popular on the South Carolina coast.  She typically wears a Confederate flag bikini when participating in Shag contests.

The Yellow Dog Democrat -- Votes the straight Democratic ticket, without inquiring too carefully about the candidates.

The Deer Camp Commando -- Ostensibly, he spends time in season hunting deer.  However, this is mostly an occasion for serious drinking without the Forces of Rectitude (the minister, the local community, the wife) censoring his actions.  Look at it this way: at least he's not in Atlanta getting lap dances.  He leans towards being a Republican; but would not fit in your typical country club.

The Outlet Mall Adept -- Whether Foley or Pigeon Forge or Boaz, she shops till she drops, then does a double espresso to revive herself.

The Zydeco Fan -- African-American Southerners in Louisiana have generated and maintain this magnificent music genre.  I'll bet you will want to dance!  They manage to go beyond the blues and enjoy.  Hey, let the good times roll!

The Highland Gamer -- A Southerner of Scotch-Irish ancestry who regularly participates in highland games.  Primarily in North Carolina (Grandfather Mountain), but in other places.  No, they're not dressing like Catholic schoolgirls!

The Superfan -- Whether pro- or university-oriented, they wear their sports loyalties on their sleeves.  Their true colors come out every Friday and Saturday in the Fall.  Furthermore, there are those addicts who require their sports fix during the off-season by listening to and discussing on sports talk radio.  Think of it as a kinder and gentler version of the Rush Limbaugh Show, without dittoheads.  Occasionally, some will run off the rails, like the clown who poisoned the beautiful trees in Auburn.

The Snowbird -- This is a person from one of the East Coast or Midwestern states or Canada who winters in the South.  They may claim residency in a Southern state for tax purposes due to their second home or return to the same RV park.  They love plastic pink flamingos and tiki torches.

The Certified Eccentric -- Small Southern towns pride themselves on theirs: unconventional thinkers but especially actors.  These unusual people feel a social obligation to do things that puzzle their neighbors.  They provide a ready source of interest but manage to be non-threatening as well.  

The Bootlegger -- This worthy chap brings liquid solace to unfortunates who live in dry counties.  It is considered a social grace for residents of a dry county to introduce newcomers to the local bootlegger.

 The Country Singer Wannabee -- This type of Southerner is really turned on by Country music, even to the point of dressing in Western clothes or Nudie suits (named after the legendary clothier, Nudie; these are the rhinestone and bespangled jackets or suits favored by old time country singers.)  

Thursday, June 26, 2014

A Clarification of a Not-So-Weird French Law

In compendiums of odd or weird laws, one of those often cited is that in France, it is illegal to kiss on railways. (Something tells me this law often gets broken in France.)

Actually, the law specifically was written as a safety measure.  It is a measure to prevent kissers from engaging in osculation (and possible follow-up activities) while being physically on the railroad tracks.  It anticipates that the lovers might be distracted, and fail to see, hear, or feel an incoming train.

However, if you are riding in a coach, you may kiss a willing partner to your mutual hearts' delights.

There's still the odd French law to be explained: why it is illegal to name your pig Napoleon?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Faking of Orgasms

Erin Cooper and other researchers at  Temple University and Kenyon College have recently looked into the faking of orgasms by women, using a Faking Orgasm Scale for Women and querying 481 heterosexual women who were sexually active yet not yet in committed relationships about why they do so.

They determined that there were four motives for their doing so:

1)  Altruistic deceit -- To spare the feelings of one's sexual partner ("Poor baby!  He tries so hard . . . . he needs to be encouraged.")
2)  Fear and insecurity -- To avoid the negative emotions that might go with the disappointment that bells did not ring on that occasion.
3)  To speed up the end of the sexual activity -- ("Maybe if I act out an orgasm, he will stop in time for me to watch The Good Wife.")
4)  To increase their own arousal -- ("If I act out an orgasm, maybe it will follow.  Much like 'If you build it, they will come.'")  

(Over two years ago, I suggested that this might be a reason for women faking orgasms.)

While altruistic deceit was the most commonly-reported reason, fear and insecurity came in second.  Interestingly, to increase their own arousal was the third most commonly-cited reason.  In general,  pretending to enjoy sex can actually make the whole experience more pleasurable, according to their published research in the Journal of Sexual Archives.

The team found that women were more likely to fake orgasms to turn themselves on, rather than to do it to end sex.

But the most common reason for faking an orgasm was altruism, with women reporting they did not want to hurt their sexual partner’s feelings.  However, the Faking Orgasm Scale for Women provided quantitative evidence suggesting women may also fake orgasm for far more ‘selfish’ reasons, like increasing their own arousal.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Tapirs and Dreams

In a Japanese myth, Bakus are spirits that eat dreams and nightmares. They are frequently represented as tapirs.

These creatures may thus serve a useful function, or engage in ill-timed behavior. For example, if you’re dreaming of some accomplishment, say winning the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physics, writing the Great American Novel, appearing on a magazine cover, or making that sublime cherry pie, a dream-eating tapir is highly inconvenient, to say the least! On the other hand, you are glad when he comes up with an appetite to deal with that nightmare of being unprepared for that examination, receiving an unexpected budget-wrecking bill, losing your best friend, or being in the guillotine!

Dream eater or nightmare eater? That is the question. How do you tell the difference in tapirs? I asked a highly-qualified scientist from Minnesota Technological Institute and Divinity School, Dr. B. Fuddle.  Dr. Fuddle in fact informed me that there were two subtypes of tapirs, motivated by different flavor preferences. He informed me that pleasant dreams have a flavor of barbecue with a tomato and molasses-based sauce, while nightmares taste like barbecue with a Carolina mustard-based sauce.

“So, the dream-eating tapirs prefer Memphis barbecue, while the nightmare-eating tapirs prefer Carolina barbecue?”

“Precisely,” Professor Fuddle asserted without any of the usual beating around the bush associated with scientists.
I regard mustard-based sauces for barbecue to be nightmarish, anyway; and prefer the Memphis dry rub preparation, myself.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Swim Suit Anxiety

In general, I don't worry overly much about the appropriateness of my swimwear, since it is within the normal range of acceptability, except perhaps in Utah.  However, recently I experienced a turnabout that caused me to think about things from a different perspective.

The occasion was a trip to a pool party; and I was invited by a guy I know casually and I accepted.  It was a nice gathering, and most of the people were convivial.  A few drinks helped things along.

However, when it came time to actually go swimming, and we disrobed down to our swimsuits, I was startled with the sight: my companion was wearing a very brief, unlined swimsuit!  As brief a swimsuit as males could wear publicly, and it really did not conceal any secrets at all!  Too much information, considering our brief acquaintance.

My first thought was, "My God, does he know how much he's showing?"  (Yes!)  My second one was, "Oh please God, let that thing have a back to it!"  (It did.)  I was totally conflicted: one side of me viewed him as having a perfect right to flaunt his body if he desired however tacky it might seem; but the other side of me was totally distracted and embarrassed by the overt display of his crotch.

While in the Ladies' Room, one of the other women commented to me, "Angel, your date's definitely proud of the size of his package."  And there was speculation on how it would perform in service, as ribald a topic as might be discussed in such a setting.  I was uncomfortable until he finally put his outer garments on.  I wonder also, if I should dress more conservatively for the beach or pool.

Actually, I remembered an other occasion in which, while I was walking, a runner approached who was wearing an equivalent-sized swimsuit and no shirt.

It was one of the professors.  Definitely not dressed as at the campus.  I thought he was underdressed for street wear.  Proud of his physique, I guess. 

I have a bit of a prudish side, I guess.  Therefore, no picture today.

Okay, I wrote this about two weeks ago.  Since, then, this article came out in Slate.

Apparently, he's in favor of speedos.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ghostwriters in the Sky

"Stealing from one is plagiarism; stealing from many is research."
                                                         --Wilson Mizner

Lately, the subrosa trade of ghostwriting has made the news.  Apparently, the ghostwriter of Hillary Clinton's upcoming book has been reported as having been paid $500,000 for her job.  What's more, her name is before the public; an advantage in case some other political aspirant would like to increase her or his gravitas by adding a book to the credentials.  Her previous ghostwriter, the one who wrote It Takes a Village, merited nary a word.

It must produce some mixed feelings in the writer and the faux author when the product wins a major award, like when Profiles in Courage won the Pulitzer Prize!  Theodore Sorensen, who actually wrote the book for all practical purposes, surely wished it was his name on the cover and not John Kennedy's!

Anyway, this is a fairly common and accepted practice among politicians, a dismal bunch who you can always tell when they're lying: Their lips move.

In academe, there is a more severe standard; at least in reputation.  Just about every university has formal standards regarding plagiarism: the passing off of another's writing as one's own.  And grave penalties are assessed for any sin of plagiarism.  Usually a failing grade and sometimes ritual beheading.

Unless the person is an athlete on an Atlantic Coast Conference institution or a college president.

What is not generally known is that on many universities there is an underclass of grad student who will write, for a fee, a term paper on a specific topic, including doing some of the research to support the paper.  These literary call girls or gigolos can usually write an A- or B-level paper while still having it read like it was written by an undergraduate.  Using a little pot while writing helps!

However, if the undergraduate purchaser in question has a fourth-grade vocabulary, then professors develop skepticism.

As a matter of fact, some of the recently-reported chicanery regarding term papers written for athletes was due to Athletic Departments referring the writer!

Now, we're not talking big bucks here.  Athletic Department largesse does not run high for that service.  But, in the increasing likelihood of the unionization and paying of college athletes, would it be possible for these term paper ghostwriters to be likewise unionized, better paid, and have the usual package of fringe benefits as well?


Monday, June 16, 2014

How I Was Pranked

I'm going to admit to being pranked, but good.

It happened back when I was a textbook rep.  Now part of the job was working the academic conventions.  These combined the aspects of the true scholarly meeting with learned papers presented and discussed on a celestial level, a meat market for hiring new talent for teaching America's young adults, and a venue for advertising new products, primarily textbooks.

Actually, working a convention was a plum job occasion, unlike being a road warrior visiting individual campuses and calling on busy professors.  Usually, you get to stay in a nice hotel; and there are social occasions open in the evening.  If you're a textbook rep, it's an opportunity to meet potential customers; and if you have grad school ambitions, it's possibly a way of making connections to get into a good program.

Anyway, one evening I was invited to a party to be held in a hotel suite.  I put on my best evening clothes, made myself up artfully (I thought), and hoped to make a good impression.

When I arrived, I was offered an alcoholic beverage.  Since I was barely legal, I accepted.

Then I noticed the composition of the group.  The men were of mature age, no twenties and few in their thirties; the women were twenty-something and flashy.
I felt mismatched.  I was the only one not displaying major décolletage.  As a matter of fact, I think I was the only woman wearing underwear!  Well, not quite.  I met another textbook rep, and we compared notes.

It seems that the other ladies at the party were a different kind of working girl!

Just then an older man approached us, commented that we seem to be  the innocents, and asked if one of us would like to accompany him to his room later on.

We declined politely, and got the hell out of there!

Apparently, this sort of party does happen after hours at some conventions.  Some clown decided that it would be a hoot to invite the textbook girls to a bimbo party!

Saturday, June 14, 2014


The summer months bring an interesting natural phenomenon on the Eastern shore of Mobile Bay in Alabama: the Jubilee!   Irregularly, during the summer, the depletion of the oxygen levels in the water cause marine life in the Bay to seek out shallow waters.  This results in masses of crabs, shrimp, and flounders being easily accessible for people to pick up and put in baskets.

This Jubilee phenomenon only happens in the Summer, primarily in August.  It is a pre-dawn phenomenon.  And it only occurs in the Baldwin County section of Mobile Bay from just north of Daphne to Point Clear.  It never happened on the Mobile County side; and apparently it does not occur in other bays.  (Biloxi Bay, Pensacola Bay, and Pascagoula Bay have never recorded a Jubilee event, for example.)

These Jubilees are hard to predict, except for occurring in the summer, primarily in August, and pre-dawn.  When one does occur, there's spreading of the word through the bay coastal towns, to Foley, and to Gulf Shores.  People appear with bushel baskets and coolers.  Package stores are induced to open; and people bring beer down to the waterside and pass cans to strangers in an impromptu festival!   Sharing beer and cold drinks is part of the ritual.  It's a spontaneous party that pops up at 3 or 4 A.M, and goes on for hours.

The participants are jubilant; and after a while go home and sleep a little late in the morning.  That is why some Baldwin County businesses may open late without warning. 

Friday, June 13, 2014

Fountain of the Future

The Polish town of Nowa Huta,  near Krakow, recently erected a replacement of Vladimir Ilych Lenin to replace the older, standard Marxist monument to honor the old Communist boss.  This one has Lenin proudly engaging in an approved Socialist activity: urination.

I assume that this is an example of post-Warsaw Pact lésé majesté.  The bilious dork green color furthers this impression.  However, it makes a campy statement, to say the least.

However, I understand that some Polish feminists are arguing that the statue of Lenin peeing while standing be replaced by one in which he is seated on the toilet.  And one assumes that he would not raise the seat afterwards. 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Gina and Anna

Gina and Anna were identical twins from St. Croix.  Because they shared 100% of genes in common with each other, and didn't acquire any phenotypic differences, their parents made an effort to dress them differently, and avoided the use of rhyming names unlike what many parents of identical twins tend to do.  This was to avoid the tendency for the twins to be fused in identity as 'the twins.'  Besides, practically, they wanted ease in being able to tell their girls apart.

However, by the time Gina and Anna became teens, they found some advantages in being hard to distinguish.  In ninth grade, they swapped each other's class schedule; with the result being that the grades recorded for Gina were earned by Anna, and vice-versa.  Why?  Well, Gina was fond of a particular General Science teacher, while Anna was unmoved.  And Anna wanted to sit next to a particular boy, but he was enrolled in Gina's History class!

And, to the girls' amazement, when they swapped clothes, their parents could not tell them apart!

Speaking of boys, when they were allowed to date, they occasionally swapped off; each going out with the other one's boyfriend on occasion.  And they had a great time comparing notes afterwards! 

In a nutshell, Gina and Anna showed a response to their identical twinness developmentally opposite to what normally occurs.  Most identicals accept their twin status as children; but balk at being seen as a set when they become teens or older.  Sometimes they liked being indistinguishable.  When they worked at part-time jobs, and their schedules allowed, they occasionally substituted for each other.  This paid off if one wasn't feeling good, or stayed out late, or the like.

But the best thing that Gina and Anna experienced as a result of their identical twinship was the degree of sympatico that they mutually shared due both to heredity and to the highly similar experiences they shared!  Neither was ever completely alone in outlook; and instinctively understood how the other felt.  It's why identical twins remain so closely connected throughout their lives.

And sometimes it leads to humorous farces.  When it came time for prom season, Anna was asked by two boys; and Gina automatically got a prom date also.  This was the Prom of the Two Annas.  It was only when the two couples got together toward the end of the evening that the truth came out.

Neither guy was particularly unhappy.  Perhaps it was because they both had been relieved to be able to score a prom date.  And  the mild scoring afterwards wasn't bad, either!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Bubbette Wrapping

Some of the more rambunctious residents in Beat 5*, Pearl River County, Mississippi were having an outdoor barbecue and beer blast, despite the fact that such doings were illegal in a dry county.  Oh well, the Sheriff's Deputies knew better than to borrow trouble by disrupting this great meeting of the minds.  Truth to tell, three of them were in attendance as partiers.

Yes, quite a few of the good old boys and good old girls had a few too many, and were feeling no pain.  Now these impromptu gatherings were firearm-free and conducted with an easy casualness.  I might add, they were racially mixed, as it is 2014 and there was recognition that all were barbecue and beer lovers at heart.  Besides, politicians could use the occasion to schmooze potential voters.  The only potentially dividing issue: red sauce versus vinegar-based sauce.

Anyway, a few got passed-out drunk and sprawled on the picnic table tops.  This necessitated the inconvenience of eating around the sprawlers, but Mississippians can be resourceful when it comes to beer and barbecue..

Now there is a rural prank played when that happens: It's called Bubba Wrapping.**  What people do is to use duct tape to wrap the sleeping person to the table top, often leaving him until he was released by the deputies, or a stray minister, or some kinfolk sent out to look for him!  

One of the partiers out for the count was Cordie May Wilson.  Now she was a hefty lass, she had an orchard of pecan trees and made pecan candy.  She liked to strip as she increasingly became intoxicated, planning to be a part-time stripper when the next county fair came around.  As a matter of fact, she was down only to be very basics, not overencumbered with clothing.

So, Jim-Bob Varnado said, instead of having a bubba wrapping, why not have a bubbette wrapping?  When he explained the concept three or four times, the others were game.  After all, Cordie May would be the first one so wrapped and would go down in history as the first bubette wrapped.

But they had a problem: Cordie May had done some stripping; and her friends did not want the duct tape stuck to her bare skin; and anyway, they didn't want to see Cordie May wind up in the County Jail in Poplarville for indecent exposure.  That would be antithetical to old-fashioned Beat 5 backwoods loyalty!  So they sort of dressed her, then duct taped her to the table top so that she was fit to be released when sober.  And no one took pictures with their cell phones, either!

So that was how bubbette wrapping came about.  The Magnolia State acquired a new custom, thanks to the good ole boys and girls of Beat 5, Pearl River County.

*A beat is a county subdivision used in Mississippi.
**Done only in the boondocks.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Oronogo, Missouri

From where do communities obtain their names?  Consider the case of Oronogo, Missouri:

According to Wikipedia:  "The name, according to local tradition, came about when it was found that the previous name, "Minersville" was already taken. At a public meeting to change the name, after considering many possibilities, a man in the back blurted out "its ore or no go", referring to the mining operations. Elaborating on that, Colonel J. M. Young, suggested substituting the Spanish word "Oro" for ore, and the dropping the "or" to make the word euphonius. He pronounced it "Oronogo" and the audience accepted the name."

However, Vance Randolph, in his folklore book Pissing in the Snow, gives an alternative version.  According to local sources, a prostitute practiced her chosen profession there, but always required payment in gold ore.  She would say, "It's ore or no go."  And the town assumed that name.

You take your pick.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bad Taste in Yard Decor

Sometimes I understand the impulse towards HOAs and prior approval by landlords prior to changes in apartments or yards.  Here are some original ideas for planters that some people have thought up, and which others might find cringeworthy:

An old toilet as a planter

How about a pink bra as a planter for your petunias?

Using an old tire takes recycling to the next level!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Cleaning Out the School Backpacks

One of my sisters-in-law has two school-aged children, and a certain selective procrastination.  Maybe this is learned avoidance behavior.

At the end of each school year, her kids come home and joyfully cast in the corner of their rooms their no longer needed backpacks.  They remain in place until she finally can no longer stand the squalidness of the preadolescents' bedrooms due not so much to the clutter, but the aroma!

Anyway, she decided to be a paragon of housecleaning while I was visiting, and tackle the backpacks.  To her horror, in her son's she found a half-eaten hamburger still in its wrapper, an elastic cloth device referred to as a jock strap, an old copy of Maxim, some papers with what looked to be beverage stains, and numerous objects not readily identifiable.  There was three books, those 'required reading' literary works for English.  Even with the questionable contents removed, the backpack still reeked too much for it to continue being in the house.

I cleaned out the other one.  Her daughter's at least smelled better; but it smelled due to leakage from a bottle of cheap perfume of a brand favored by a popular singer.   This was chemical warfare, grade school style.

  Apparently my darling niece circumvented parental injunctions against scents by having a bottle of contraband at school.  Oh well, there was likely to be a painful scene later on.

She decided that both backpacks were beyond rehabilitating, and trashed them both!

Monday, June 2, 2014

The See-Through Bikini

One day in the summer  Heather went to the beach with her friends wearing her brand new bright yellow tan-through bikini, which was the latest fashion.  She wanted to get a tan line-free tan underneath, even though hardly anyone would know about it. 

She was swimming, then sunbathing when the hottest guy she had ever seen approached.  He was absolutely gorgeous!

Heather went up to him and stared talking to him.  The whole time, he kept glancing at her chest and started laughing.  Poor Heather did not understand why so she figured he was some sort of jerk.

Some other guys came and lingered and looked, and Heather figured, "At last I got it right!"

Afterwards, Heather went to talk to her friend Denise and, disconcertingly, she started laughing too!  When Heather asked her why, she just said, "Come to the changing room and I'll show you."

She brought Heather into the changing room in front of a mirror and said "look!"

Heather looked into the mirror and realized that her tan-through bikini was also COMPLETELY SEE THROUGH when wet.  She didn't expect this, and was sooo mortified!

However, a few years later, she met a guy in a bookstore, and he looked at her, started to laugh, and said, "Hey, aren't you the girl I talked to at the beach two years ago who was wearing a see-through bathing suit?"

Following that brief, awkward moment, things improved.  Her friend Karen saw the two of them talking, and she asked Heather who he was.

"A guy I met a little while ago."

"You two seemed to hit it off right away.  What were the two of you talking about?"

Heather answered, "Everything....But he asked me if I have any tan lines."

It turned out happily.  The guy asked Heather out, and they continued to hang out together.  Heather mused in her leisure about how sometimes an embarrassing situation worked out, anyway.  

A guy who is truly attracted to a girl does not have to unbutton her shirt to have a better view of her heart.  Sometimes it just happens.