Friday, January 30, 2015

How to Get Your Best Bikini Body Ever!

Recently Action News Morning Show in New Orleans featured a series of interviews with locals on how to deal with this serious issue:

Missy Chauvin, moderator:  "How to get your best bikini body ever.  If there's ever an article title appearing on a magazine's cover during the late winter or early spring that evokes terrors, this is it!

Yes, you may have enjoyed a few snacks over the months, your tan is underwhelming, you have accomplished few of your fitness goals, and all of those possibilities for regrets -- but chill a little, dawlin'! Here's a few local Orleanians with some tips on how to cope."  

[Video shifts to each interviewee in turn.]

Clotilde Badeaux:  "Start off by loving your body. No one is likely to be as critical of it as you are. As a matter of fact, when guys see you in a swimsuit, they are ready to like!"

Suzette, the Existential Stripper:  "I sometimes have this problem despite my profession. My suggestion is to start a deliberate fitness program about the time of Groundhog Day. Of course, you can move to Minneapolis and never have to worry about this at all. Even the strippers there wear long johns."

Madeline the Prophetess:  "If you're overly scrupulous about modesty, I suggest that you start off by wearing a jacket or short robe over your swimsuit, and gradually get comfortable baring more. Oh, and to be safe, pray for St. Buffy's* help in overcoming your concerns.

Tina Moreaux:  "Often women worry about their caboose. Tell yourself, if Kim Kardashian can flaunt hers on the cover of a magazine, you will pass too."**

Megan O'Connor:  "If you see you have a muffin top visible when wearing a cropped top, get a new bikini, preferably in a becoming shade of green.  Wearing that shade compares you favorably to Babar the Elephant. And, trust me***, it's less noticeable if you go full throttle wearing a bikini from the start."

Luisa Gomez:  "Wear whatever you like; but go with a friend who dresses like a putain! They will notice her instead."

Fiona Carlyle, exercise guru:  "The bad news is that you have to reduce sodium and carbohydrate intake, cease to drink alcohol, drink at least eight glasses of water daily, and exercise. Do both the treadmill and weights.  Especially do ab crunches."

Missy:  "There you have it, folks.  Very clearly, New Orleanians are taking their preparations for swimsuit season very seriously, even if it's a few months away and they may be expecting a warm Mardi Gras.

*Patron saint of bikini-wearers; probably not a real saint.
**She didn't break the internet, did she?
***Megan is a member of the local Bar as well as the President of the Daughters of Hibernia.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Do It for the U.S.A.!

Denmark has a problem: it's birth rate has fallen; yet it wants to support a lot of social services. However, this short film proposed a fun solution for Danes. Perhaps this might also offer a long-term solution for America:

Here's how. The U.S, population experienced an unprecedented birth rate increase between 1946 and 1964. These are the Baby Boomers. And the Baby Boomers are getting older: The oldest of these boomers are 67 or 68; about age for retirement. And life expectancy is increasing. Therefore, the Social Security, health care, and corporate retirement plans should experience increased strains. (You can bet that Our Esteemed Elected Officials and high-level bureaucrats will float by this crisis with their own retirement packages.) 

Recently President Obama proposed funding the two years of community college by the government, based on what Tennessee (of all places) is now doing. However, Tennessee does not have the cash flow problems that the Federal government or certain blue states have. How is this going to be paid for? Well, they're banking that more people will go to community colleges (thus maybe ensuring Angel gets a job teaching them also) and acquire employable skills. That idea should pay off within a few years.

But we still need to consider the big picture. What will save us from the specter of the Baby Boomers is another baby boom, and quickly! Therefore, I propose that good Americans should consider it their social duty to make babies! For entirely utilitarian purposes, of course. So I tell you, fellow Americans: Do it for the U.S.A.! We need some more tax-payers for the future!

Now governments have tried to affect natality rates with bonuses and taxes. For example, Quebec paid proud parents of newborns up to $8000 per baby! The Soviet Union, predictably, taxed childlessness with a 6% income tax on childless men between 25 and 50, and childless married women between 20 and 45.

But Americans are still moved with a desire to act in prosocial ways. Therefore, as the PSA put it:

"Two, four, six, eight,
You got to fornicate!"

Monday, January 26, 2015

Riding the Sin Bus to Gulfport

The church ladies of Pearl River County met in the school parking lot on Saturday for that long-anticipated and never talked-about bus trip, arranged by Cordie Mae Wilson, pecan grower and confectioner. They huddled in little groups, the Methodists, the Baptists, and the most strict Church of Christ and holy roller contingents. It was not stated, but universally understood, that they were going for a ride on the wild side! The trip was touted as an all-day visit to Bellingrath Gardens near Mobile, but they all knew the score!

Finally, the bus pulled in, and Cordie Mae took up the tickets as Jim Bob idled the motor. And they're off!

It was a short ride, through Necaise and Kiln, to that fabled land of Cockagnie: the casinos of Gulfport and Biloxi! This was the girls' afternoon and evening out! En route, Cordie Mae served some of her special punch. No one asked questions. They considered themselves in good hands with Cordie Mae!

Screech! Jim Bob jammed on the brakes by this Palace of Iniquity, the Casino. They noticed in the parking lot a number of unfamiliar license plates, including some from that mythical land of Nevada! Was that a real state, after all?

In entering the casino, the ladies were awed by the neon lights and rows upon rows of slot machines. To the side, there were cashiers who would make change into quarters, half dollars, and even big damn cartwheels, as the head of the Baptist choir termed these unfamiliar and heavy coins not seen in the stores or Picyaune and Poplarville!

Well, it turned out that several of the ladies were wearing dresses that you don't wear to Marge's Diner, or to church on Sunday!  Or, for that matter, while shopping at Belk's in Hattiesburg. It's nice to dress daring and avoid censure by the clergy. However, Brother Barksdale and the Rev. Howland didn't see this side of them, nor did their husbands or bosses. Not to mention their kids: don't set a bad example for them! Momma needs her fun.

But back to the Casino. The ladies started off with the slots, where a few jackpots started them off on the right foot. But they filtered off into blackjack, roulette, and poker! Those Thursday night card players were soon able to shout Hallelujah! They had a light lunch at the buffet, and found that mimosas went with the beef. This led them to drink experimental daiquiris. They pronounced them delicious!

Going to the Casino would not be complete unless they took in a few shows; and they found it easy to hang out with some dissolute Gulfport guys! These dudes introduced them to gin fizzes and dry martinis! But, stalwart as they were, they were not deterred from the business at hand, but a few of those Gulfport guys had their butts squeezed as they parted. Turnabout is fair play! 

Another session with the slots, and then capping off the evening with a few spins of the roulette! Marge hit the jackpot on the dollar machine, and Celia Anne won at roulette. They bought a few bottles of champagne to pass around on the bus. It was a gleeful time in old Pearl River and Lamar Counties.

The church ladies arrived back at 9 P.M. What happened in Gulfport stayed in Gulfport! They were collected by their families, and went home to bathe away their possible sins because the next day was a church day.

For the next week or so, the local betting parlor had few customers through its private, secure back door.  

Dry counties can be fun at times, as long as there's a county nearby that's as wet as a bar rag.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

There Is Such a Preference. and There's a Word for It!

"Kinky sex involves the use of duck feathers. Perverted sex involves the whole duck." -- Lewis Grizzard

Let us tread lightly into the world of paraphilias or unusual sexual preferences. These are objects that have peculiar sexual meaning for some people. Some are fairly common, some are rare, and some are downright disgusting. Alfred Binet proposed that sexual fetishes were learned through an associative process.

Remember Rule 34: If it exists, there must be porn of it. Perhaps we should add a corollary to Rule 34:  If a paraphilia exists, there must be a word for it.

Agalmatophilia -- Statues or mannequins. Said to be more common in Europe, primarily as a prank.

Altocalciphilia -- High heels. Wearing super high heels is an occupational prerequisite for dominatrixes.

Anlilagnia -- Desire for older women by young men. Cougars like this one.

Anthropophagia -- Desire to eat human flesh.

Aquaphilia -- Arousal from water and/or in watery environments, including bathtubs or swimming pools. 

Aretifism -- Sexual attraction to people who are without footwear, in contrast to retifism

Autagonistophilia -- Desire to be on stage or on camera.

Autoerotic asphyxiation -- Self-asphyxiation or strangulation as a form of arousal. This can be a cause of accidental death.

Coprophilia -- Feces.  Ugh!

Diaper fetishism -- Diapers, hopefully clean ones.

Dendrophilia -- Trees.  Practitioners are called tree huggers.

Eproctophilia -- Sexual attraction to flatulence.  Ugh.

Exhibitionism -- Exposing one's genitals to unwilling and unsuspecting other people.  A major reason for someone wearing a trench coat in summer.

Forniphilia -- Turning oneself or another into a piece of furniture. What?  Was this common in the Ottoman Empire?

Frotteurism -- Rubbing against an unwilling other person. Creepy!

Gerontophilia -- Elderly people.

Hematophilia -- Blood.

Kleptophilia -- Stealing for erotic purposes.

Klismaphilia -- Giving or receiving enemas.

Macrohpilia -- Giants, giantesses.

Masochism -- Reception of pain or humiliation.

Melolagnia -- Fetish for music. An unpleasant thought: even accordion music?

Mucophilia -- Mucus.

Mysophilia -- Dirt or soiled things. 

Narratophilia -- Obscene words. 

Nasophilia -- Noses.

Necrophilia -- Corpses. Very rare, yet double yuck!

Oculolinctus -- Licking the eyeballs.

Pedophilia -- Children. Yuck!

Plushophilia -- Sexual attraction to stuffed toys or people in animal costume, such as theme park characters.  Not Goofy, hopefully. 

Podophilia -- Feet. This is supposed to be fairly common.

Pygophilia -- Buttocks.

Pyrophilia -- Fire.

Retifism -- Boots or shoes. Pumps, espadrilles, or army boots?

Sadism -- Inflicting pain on others. Conducting long speeches belongs here.

Telephone scatologia -- Making obscene telephone calls.

Teratophilia -- Deformed people.

Transvestic fetishism -- Dressing like a member of the opposite sex.

Trichophilia -- Hair.  Sometimes for a specific color.

Trolism -- Watching one's partner have sex with another person.

Zoophilia -- Animals

Altocalciphilia and a prescription for sore feet and ankles.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Calvin and Hobbes

Bill Watterson's cartoon Calvin and Hobbes represented the finest of the golden age of newspaper cartoons.  It's only serious competitor was Dilbert and The Far Side.

Thanks for the great cartoons, Mr. Watterson!

A take-off on the original Calvin and Hobbes, two guys that were less fun.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Fashion Mavens Comment on the N.F.L. Football Helmets

In light of the upcoming Super Bowl, it is not surprising that the media has been eager for another slant, another way to ride the Super Bowl hype. Naturally, the usual ones have been ridden too and and put up wet by previous media eager beavers: (a) a breath of scandal (helped by the sure presence of the Patriots), (b) beauties (players' hot wives or girlfriends, skimpily dressed cheerleaders), (c) tedious analysis of game strategy by commentators on meth, and (d) trash talk. But, the usuals get overworked, and new angles are sorely needed.

So the bright vice-presidents at Premier Sports Network decided to do a program on fashion and the N.F.L. Not what is seen in the audience at football games; that is not eye-popping, unless someone shows up in retro 1920's football fan togs! No, they got a few fashion critics from Boston, New York and Los Angeles to comment on the 32 helmet designs peculiar to each N.F.L. team:

Anyway, without further ado, here's a few assessments by these fashion mavens to inform your thinking of this somewhat neglected topic. After all, N.F.L. owners are not aesthetically sophisticated and need the firm hand of big city fashion critics!

Casper Filnoodle, New York: I like the elegance of the Vikings helmet, with its rich purple color and the stylized Viking horns. The Chargers, likewise look very dynamic with their lightning-festooned helmets. On the other hand, the Jets and the Titans mark theirs with exceptionally boring logos! While not much is expected from Tennessee (I'm surprised the players don't wear bib overalls), the Jets represent one of the most fashion-conscious cities of the world!

Chauncey Bigelow, Boston: Well, let me first of all say that the Redskins and Chiefs have tasteless logos, team names, and tacky helmets; and the Cleveland Browns neglects to have an emblem at all on their helmets. Clearly, this is what you can expect from those fashion-challenged cities. The Giants and the Forty-Niners, on the other hand, have sleek, straightforward helmet designs. And, like Casper, I like the Chargers' helmets.

Felicity Underbilt, New York: Too many N.F.L. teams have had helmet designs and colors that, while not awful, merely fell into the mediocre category: The Steelers, the Saints, the Falcons, and the Colts. The Bengals have a clever, kicky pattern to their helmets; I found the black tiger stripes on the orange helmets to be quite distinctive and compelling. Good design! The Buccaneers have an unfortunate logo, and the Colts need more color. The Bears use a dark blue helmet with a "C" on it. Now given that three other N.F.L. cities also begin with the letter "C", this seems to be ambiguous. As for the ones I like, the Falcons and the Seahawks are the bon ton, in my opinion! They are winners, even before the kickoff takes place!

Vivian Wilbertson, Los Angeles: The disgusting Oakland Raiders helmets go well with that embarrassing city on the West Coast and its rowdy fans. That has to be the worst! But the Patriots' chapeaux need re-designing too in addition to their efforts in bringing about the softer side of footballs. Actually, I like the basic design of the Dolphins' helmets; but they need to replace a teal blue or light green for the basic, boring white. The Eagles' helmets have a design worthy of the fashion-conscious Main Line; good going, fashion-conscious Philadelphia! The teams from the Deep South other than Miami should all be suspended until they replace their unspeakable helmets! The Cowboys have a great, straightforward design that is timeless, nothing faddish about it!

Moderator: Ms. Wilbertson, you praise the Cowboys', and yet Ms. Underbilt labeled the Colts' as mediocre. Was that based on the logos on the plain white helmets?

Vivian: I got the sense that the Cowboys' was making a statement by being retro; but the Colts' was simply static. Now if some of their fans would refrain from wearing leisure suits, even as a retro statement, that would improve the team's morale and performance. And, goodness, put some clothes on the cheerleaders!

Sylvester Porcellino, fashion critic from the Times: The Cleveland Browns' helmets have adopted a minimalist fashion style, much in homage to the Minimalists in art during the mid-1960's. They make a statement: take us as we are. I like the rich irony of the New Orleans team being nicknamed the Saints! Anyway, the Giants and the Cowboys get their message across. Some teams have unfortunate helmets: the Carolina Panthers, the Tennessee Titans, and the New England Patriots come to mind. In my opinion, when a team moves to another city, they should take advantage of the period of novelty and unqualified fan support by adopting a uniform and helmet that shows homage to other modern art movements: pop art and op art, for example! That would go a long way to making football relevant to what's important: art.

Moderator: Excuse me......why does the cameraman have his head in a waste basket?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Parody of Wonder Woman

It was inevitable, that given the success of Wonder Woman, someone would develop a parody of her. Here she is; Dumb Bunny, a member of the Inferior Five!

Dumb Bunny, also known as Athena Tremor, works as a model in her day job. She is supposed to be as strong as an ox; and about as intelligent! This comic strip came out sometime in the long ago era of comic books, but she became a character for cosplay nowadays. (Understandably, considering the combination of the sexy costume and bunny ears.) She was teamed with four other limited ability superheroes who, working together, were able to fight evil and wickedness. Yes, blondes were stereotyped as dumb even back then. Still, there's the Anita Loos effect to consider!

I nominate Anna Faris to play her if they ever make a movie version of the Inferior Five.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Real Value of Pascal's Wager

A disclaimer: This is not a rehash of a seventeenth century theological view, but rather an argument regarding decision-making in hypothetical situations.

Basically, Pascal's Wager is the argument that, assuming uncertainty as to the existence of God, it's prudent to live your life assuming he does exist, because the rewards of having made that choice are great, versus the adverse consequences of not making that choice, and being wrong.

Pascal's Wager has even been satirized with regard to beliefs in unicorns:

Now it seems that there are two elements to consider in real-life wagering circumstances: (a) the likelihood of making the correct choice; (b) the payoff versus loss of making a particular decision.

Blaise Pascal was basically arguing where you should place your money in a wager, given unknown probabilities but understandable costs versus gains. In other words, bet on the favorite; but buy a place or show ticket rather than a win. And, especially, buying a lottery ticket is a good idea. Buying a hundred is not.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Creator of Wonder Woman

While some of the early figures in psychology have been often sung in one way or another, William Moulton Marston (1893-1947) remains somewhat of an odd one, being a lawyer, psychologist, inventor, and comic book writer. He finished at Harvard University with a B.A., a LL.B., and a Ph.D. (1921)

He is primarily known for three things: 

1) He developed a measure of systolic blood pressure as a measure of emotionality. This was one of the components of what became the old lie detector test.

3) He wrote Emotions of Normal People, which elaborated a theory based on two axes of behavior, with peoples' responses being either active or passive, depending on a perception of the environment being favorable or antagonistic. By placing the axes of these two dimensions at right angles to each other, four quadrants form with each describing a behavior pattern:
a) Dominance resulting in activity if the environment is antagonistic
b) Inducement resulting in activity if the environment is favorable
c) Submission resulting in passivity if the environment is favorable
d) Compliance resulting in passivity if the environment is antagonistic 

3) Seeing a need for a cartoon exemplar for girls, he developed the comic Wonder Woman. He gave his rationale in The American Scholar: "Not even girls want to be girls as long as our feminine archetype lacks force, strength, and power."

So he created the character Wonder Woman, also known as Diana Prince, (an Amazon princess): a beautiful woman who was powerful, forceful, and got things done.  She had an invisible plane and the Lasso of Truth! And she kicked butt!

However, little is known about Wonder Woman's personal life. This is ripe territory for the gossip magazines!


Saturday, January 17, 2015

The Big Kahuna of Cookbooks

Here's a little breathtaking hubris on my part.  I'm going to cite my favorite cookbook.  Now I like such classics as Julia Child's Mastering The Art of French Cooking, The Italian Farmhouse Cookbook, The Joy of Cooking, James Beard's Cookbook, and several others.  But when I turn to Creole and Cajun recipes, this is the one I recommend:

For true!  This is where I get my special back home recipes for special occasions or when I'm trying to lay some culinary gris-gris on a guy or prof.  And for a church covered dish dinner, some of these recipes for gumbo or jambalaya overwhelm the competition.  Dat's right, dawlin'!

Friday, January 16, 2015

Pushing a Better Foundation

For some unfathomable reason, some clerks in stores think that they can bulldoze teen girls into making purchases. They know little about human nature. Here's an example of what not to do:

When we were teens, my friend and I were out shopping for makeup together. We decided to go into this store to check if they still were selling the same foundation she liked to use. We were quite happy browsing alone, but a shop assistant approached us and was in our faces.

Assistant: “Hi, girls, found everything you’re looking for?”

Friend: “Actually, I was just wondering if you still had (inexpensive) foundation?”

Assistant: “Oh, you don’t want that. It’s moisturizing.”

Friend: “Yes, I know. I use it a lot and wanted to check if you still had it. I have very dry skin.”

Assistant: “No! You’re a teenager and you have blemishes. Moisturizer will just make your skin even greasier! Come over, I’ll show you our special range for oily skin.”

Friend: “No, it’s fine…”

The assistant literally grabbed hold of my friend’s hand and led her over to their most expensive range of foundation. [!]

Assistant: “Now these will dry out the oil on your skin and stop all those oily spots you have!”

Friend: “My skin isn’t oily. It’s actually really dry. That’s why I have these spots! I just want the foundation I always get. That’s all!”

Assistant: “But you’re a teenager! Teenagers always have greasy skin! And look at you, you’re really spotty! That’s typical teenager symptoms. You NEED to have this foundation!”

Friend: “Actually, we’ll just leave. Those are too expensive for me anyway. Thanks for the… um… help.”  She was both mad and crushed.

Assistant: “Don’t walk away from me! You’re spotty! You need this!”

Me: “Thanks, but no…”

Assistant: “Well, you teenagers should get a damned job! At least you’d be able to afford decent makeup instead of the crap you use!”

We left without buying anything. I wonder how successful her selling strategy was on other occasions.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Pelicans of Pensacola

A few years ago, I discovered a Blue Angels pelican on the corner of Garden Street and Palafox in Pensacola. This was to honor the Naval Air Station and the Blue Angels based there:

It turns out that this was one of a series of pelicans in the Pensacola area, much like the cows of Chicago. Each has a particular theme. lHere's Presston, for the Pensacola News Journal:

Here's Jeremiah Pelican Lighthouse Keeper for Grand Crapaud []:

Why not a Pelikini in honor of the fine beaches in the area?

Here's one for Bilbo [] an Air Force pelican:

This pelican has style:

Here's the Tale of Two Cities pelican. Don't lose your head over it, Sidney Carton:

Finally, here's Don Tristan de Pelican, in honor of the Spanish founding Pensacola:

Anyway, I thought you would like this local sculpture series from this fun city. I must admit I am quite taken with fun or weird sculpture.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Modern-Day Scarlet Letters

The story line in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter is very familiar: Hester Prynne is exposed as an adulterer and is forced to wear a scarlet letter for adultery; not a volleyball, basketball, or track letter from a school that begins with an A! Nowadays, we don't do that; instead, famous adulterous scamps get written about in People or the tabloids. Or the New York Times, sometimes.

But society doth change; morals evolve, and people change in different selections from the Sin of the Month Club. As a matter of fact, there's a whole passel of scarlet letters out there for people who feel the slightest amount of guilt or tall poppies needing leveling. Here's a few for your edification:

B - Isn't wearing a bra. 
C - Eats cupcakes.
D - Dances (for Baptists).
DD - Well endowed.
G - Does not eat gluten-free foods.
H - Drives a Hummer.
M - Puts mayonnaise on barbecue.
PC - Did not use politically correct terminology.
R - Put recyclables in the garbage can.
S - Three Stooges fan.
V - Did not vote.
W - Cited Wikipedia in a reference.

Can you add some others? We need some serious grass roots reformation to get people on the Straight and Narrow again.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The War on Hipsterism

A surprising reconciliation took place on the political front: Liberals and Conservatives, Republicans and Democrats found some common ground. No, sorry folks, it was not on health care or gay marriage or gun control, but on that universal bipartisan annoyance.

No, not diarrhea or ISIS; but being anti-diarrhea or anti-ISIS is like a given for all.

It was that both sides of the political spectrum realized that there was a common cultural flaw or social problem on which they both could work together: the dreaded hipster movement! Thankfully, our National Leadership was able to set aside their differences; President Obama called for a United Front against this threat! It was not very difficult, as even Head-in-the-Sand Republicans like John Boehner and Rigid Backside Democrats like Barbara Boxer could see the tell-tale signs: goatees on twentyish young men, ironic t-shirts, locavore food stores, artisan coffee shops, the tsunami of tedious poetry, people wearing lumberjack shirts, tattoos on both men and women, and the sudden popularity of Brooklyn, Minneapolis, Seattle, Austin, and Hoboken! This cultural cancer even spread to such unhip places as Birmingham and Bakersfield!

The President took initial action by nationalizing the Alabama and California National Guards, and intervening in those areas under hipster siege. However, those crack troops and the Texas Airborne could not stem the tide in Austin.  Clearly, other measures were needed; non-lethal ones, as hipsters could vote someday. A partial solution came when the yoga pants-wearing Ladies' Exercise Class Brigade was pressed into action, especially in concert with the Bubba Brigade of Pearl River County! Still, the President could not even prematurely unfurl his "Mission Accomplished" banner. Therefore, in consultation with Congress (being loath to blow this sudden national unity), he deployed the ultimate weapon: sound trucks loudly blaring 1960's - 1980's bubble gum pop music!* Just to be sure the job was fully done, he threw in The Spice Girls as the ultimate WMD!

*You know the genre, although you probably pretend ignorance. Does "Sugar, Sugar" or "I Think We're Alone Now" cause your foot to tap? For some reason, these musical nightmares are fodder for trendy shops. You know, the Tiffany version of "I Think We're Alone Now" is catchy....

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Being High Maintenance

Missy Chauvin, reporter and television personality of Greater New Orleans, conducted a daytime television panel discussion on high maintenance women. To do so, she collected a motley crew of French Quarter idlers. Here's a rough transcript of the program, for what it's worth.

Missy Chauvin: "Ladies, are you high maintenance? Here's a group of guys to weigh in on this subject. Fellas, what makes a woman high maintenance?"

Al Gautreaux: "Good question, Missy. A high maintenance woman is one who makes unusual or excessive demand on her man: taking her to opera rather than a Saints football game, needing spa treatments, Clinique products rather than Bath and Body Works, and a regular succession of reassuring presents."

Missy: "So high maintenance boils down to being costly?" (Frowns)

The Lucky Dog Guy: "Not necessarily. A high maintenance woman may be simply excessive with her demands. For example, her hot dogs or andouilles must be garnished just so. In short, she is a pain; not an alcolyte of Boethius. Missin' a Saints game is real pain!"

Crazy Chester, equine actuary: "A high maintenance woman makes you carry more freight than you can carry. She's demanding. Satisfying her takes up an increasing amount of your time."

Missy: "So a woman who is high maintenance is not satisfied ---"

The Third Precinct Desk Sergeant: "Lemme tell you about two fella cops. One's lady friend is a religious type who's satisfied if he takes her to Mass on Sunday and burgers at Bud's Broiler after; the second unfortunate sucka has to take her whole dam fambly to church and dinna at a big touristy place so she can put onna ack."

The Lewd Dude: "You can tell these high maintenance types. They got ornate fingernails, hair extensions, manicures and pedicures, and wear stripper heels more than four inches high. They're really into show. And no sex for you, Bubba."

Missy: "So a high maintenance woman is not so easy? Guys, what sort of advantages go with a woman being high maintenance?"

Big Mike the Cameraman, off camera: "Well, bein' high maintenance means that she's in da driver's seat and gets the poor nunu doin' her biddin'. Gettin' him broke in for marriage as a starter husband."

Missy Chavin (in high dudgeon): "So you don't think this sort of woman will be constant in the long run?"

The Cameraman: "Well, she has a vowel movement sometime."

Missy Chauvin: "I think you have something else in mind, Mike." (under her breath): These yahoos would not know class from Shinola."

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Gripe About A*terisks

No, this isn't a screed that's anti-asterisk per se.  I love those little suckers, especially when I want to throw something in that's not directly implicated with what I'm writing.  Anyway, they seem more charming than APA references (Breaux, 2013) or MLA ones with the names and page numbers (Thomas, 112).

No, ponders, I'm taking issue with the tawdry use of asterisks in vulgar words or profanities.  You know d***ed well know what I mean. 

No, I'm not pro-vulgar language.  That's not cool.  But Mark Twain had his own opinion on it.

My reason for objecting to the tawdry use of the inoffensive asterisk in this context is that it includes this little punctuation mark in with linguistic squalor.  And the user very coyly tries to have it both ways: by using a profane word, and not owning up to the fact that the bad word was used.  You see, using "d*mn" or "sh*t" does not hide the fact of the word's usage any more than wearing pasties and a g-string covers the fact of someone's nudity.

When should vulgar or profane words definitely be used?  When they're part of a direct quotation, period.  To do otherwise is to falsify the facts.  In short, if you don't want to include the word or words, leave the quote out!

And I need to comment on word filters on web sites.  Having part of a foul word asterisked out while still leaving the impression of what the word was is total b******t!*  Everyone knows what was really meant.  And sometimes the word filter filters out words that are not vulgar, like the University of South Carolina's sports teams.**/***

As long as I sounded off on this little ole asterisk so sorely abused, I want to gripe about on-line articles with unnecessary vulgarities in the titles. Here's one of those; don't let the link fool you:

This comes from trying to be too cool for flyover country. Is this part of the hipster syndrome?

*I am kidding, seriously.

**Well maybe it's profane in Clemson.

***Some people may also cast a lewd interpretation on the sports nickname of the other USC.  If you do, you are naughty!

Today is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of New Orleans.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Shore Birds and Oil Spills

The coast of Louisiana is wild, beautiful, and for some forbidding; yet it is very fragile as well. The consequence of the BP oil spill due to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig of April 20, 2010 was visited on four different states, with cataclysmic consequences on the wildlife and scenery. The marshes and cheniers are not to played fast and loose with. There are some nonhuman losers when an oil spill occurs.  In addition to these birds, the charismatic brown pelican was affected.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Dating or Hanging Out While at a University

One of the sad realities of university life is the typical dormitory on the weekend: how many students are languishing in their rooms rather than going out and having fun, meeting members of the opposite sex, or so forth?  Or people of their own sex, if they are so inclined.

Some of this is due to their being socially unskilled, some of it is due to shyness, some of it is due to adherence of old-fashioned rules of dating or acquaintance formation,  and in a few cases it is due to not comporting yourself well.

Writing from only one-half of the equation: the female half, I can say that many guys are positively clueless about women.  And a small percentage may actually handicap themselves.  Using cheesy pick-up lines or trying to steal second too soon are definite no-nos that you should have learned as high school sophomores.  Right?  And no one makes a good impression with slurred speech or projectile vomiting.  So use alcohol in moderation, if at all.

But get out where people are.  Hanging out in coffee shops or group hangouts allows for better circulation.  Going into a place where people are already present as couples results in the feeling of being a spare tire. 

Singles' bars?  Maybe . . . . as long as you don't go with a group.  A guy might be interested in you; but may hesitate to approach if you are at a table with six other girls!  Don't make him feel vulnerable or that he will be evaluated by a critical group when he approaches.

Social clubs are good; church-affiliated social clubs are okay for the previously committed; but you can expect a large ration of Hallelujah! 

I find that athletic events are a good place.  Both guys and girls can go there alone; and there's a ready-made topic for easy conversation.  It gets you past the first hurdle: finding something to talk about.  So, for that matter, classes.  It's so easy to ask if the person of interest would like to continue the chat over a Coke or coffee afterwards.  And ladies, it's really okay to ask him!

Try some participant activity such playing pool, ping-pong, or tennis.  There is sure to be some guy who is willing to help you in developing that skill.  I prefer pool.  They're willing to show you how to break, or deal with carom shots, or so forth.

What about fraternities and sororities?  Membership in those groups can be costly; and you have to swallow a lot of pressure from other members, especially those higher in the hierarchy.  And sometimes put up with certain forms of conduct that you might not approve.  Actually, the Greek system does seem to grease the tracks when it comes to meeting men or women; but in a circumscribed way: they meet mostly other Greeks and some houses may actually penalize members for dating independents!

Don't be fooled by stale stereotypes regarding appearances.  As Ogden Nash once wrote:

"Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses."

Some guys are put off by hair styles: the library lady bun, the buzz cut, cornrows, puppy dog ears, or so forth.  Or hair colors.  For that matter, ladies: don't write off guys with dorky haircuts; fine points of appearance may not be in their radar at that time.

Read my lips:  Because she's blonde does not make her easy.  And gingers are not especially hot-tempered.

Geeks and nerds are okay.  Just stay away from anyone that registers dubious or dangerous to you.  You may not know exactly why you get those feelings, but they might be justified.

And learn to decipher certain possible signs of interest: the hair-flip, the lingering touch, the slightly-longer-than-usual stare, and so forth.  These may be conscious ploys, or they may occur unconsciously.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A New Superhero for an Underachieving City

Comic books and movies have their superheroes: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spiderman, the Green Lantern, and so on. Usually they are based in mythical places like Metropolis (not the one in Illinois) or Gotham City or cool places like L.A. or N.Y.C. It's less well-known that ordinary cities have superheroes as well. Because their exploits are covered by less than important newspapers and television stations, they usually are not nationally known.

I'll just mention Fartman, who overpowers miscreants with his accurately projected stench. In his case, Minneapolis underplays his exploits, regarding his crime-stopping prowess as embarrassing although effective in reducing their crime.

But the superhero I would like to acclaim is Atlanta's Adequate Man. Now Adequate Man is just plain average in so many ways. He's the guy who would never be chosen in a police lineup, nor is likely to appear in an awards ceremony. He's married, has two kids, lives in the suburbs in Bucktown, goes to church on Sunday, and writes advertising copy for a living.  Nothing inspired, no memorable slogans or jingles. He primarily dresses in a gray suit with red power tie; but eases into a gray jump suit on weekends. When you plop him into colorless Atlanta, filled with transplanted Yankees, Georgia politics, Peachtree Streets wherever you might happen to be, the Gone With the Wind myth, freeways, the MARTA, that hellish airport, and the Southern capital of corn dogs, it's easy to see how being nondescriptly adequate provides camouflage.

His father voted for Jimmy Carter for President. He hangs out at the Waffle House, and votes Democratic. You can always tell him by his cry, "How 'bout them Dawgs?" He catches bank robbers by driving while scraping their fenders when they're on I-285. After they both spin out, he apologizes, then takes them to jail if they're woozy. If not, he will call ahead to the Georgia State Police to do the heavy work.

After a hard day fighting crime in Hotlanta (the city that neither sleeps nor showers), he visits his girlfriend Prudie, a lap dancer at the Pink Pussycat Pub. Crime fighting is a labor of love for the unsung superheroes.
Adequate Man, looking spiffy.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Rebranding Pestilence

War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death.  Someone had to be the least cool of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.  War and Death had a iron grip on coolness when it came to mythical horsemen,  That left Famine and Pestilence.  Pestilence, however, tried a Hollywood- or Washington-type solution to his dilemma: hiring a publicist to refurbish the old image. 

Doralee Pilsudski took on this client, believing that this represented a major public relations challenge to demonstrate her awesomeness in putting lipstick on a pig.  But, she wondered, how do you emphasize the lighter and brighter side of disease?  Well, she had some ideas!

First, she needed to revamp the image of Mr. Pestilence.  Unfortunately, Albrecht Durer's famous engraving was most often seen in popular representations.  Accordingly, she prescribed some cosmetic surgery and some boot camp sessions at the gym.  After Mr. P. bulked out, was tanned, and got a contemporary hair styling, he looked somewhat like Channing Tatum!  Hmm.  Next, she recommended a sartorial change in terms of power suits instead of dressing like a character from a less successful Kevin Costner movie like Waterworld or The Postman.

Doralee then advised him to ditch his mangy horse, and take up driving a Ferrari to emphasize the fact that he is successful.  Mr. P. demurred; exclaiming that he was a horseman!  She countered that he still was, in a way: the horsepower under the hood!

Then she offered some quasi-Darwinian takes on the inevitability and desirability of diseases: they thin down the herd and reduce the number of the weakest links.  She stopped, however, at commissioning a television comedy featuring microbes and viruses as characters.  Even with the lousy fare on network television, they were not THAT desperate next.  

Furthermore, she pointed out that Mr. P. needed exposure in typical gossip magazines.  She arranged his acquaintance with several habitués of those publications who were famous for being famous.  The fact that they were also willing to wear clothing that hinted at their physical assets did not hurt, either.  Symbiosis occurs in nature, but especially in Hollywood!

In order to better serve Mr. Pestilence, Doralee asked him about his long-term plans so that she could better dovetail his expectations with the image improvement.  To no surprise, Mr. Pestilence expressed a hope of running for Congress and possibly the Presidency some day!  Finally, it all came together.  Doralee did a great job in re-imaging Pestilence knowing that he had a political future in mind! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

The Best Song/Music Video of 2014

It has to be Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off."  No other one comes close.

Taylor seriously and totally rocks!  No two ways about it!  This song is empowering and fun.

I stay up too late
Got nothing in my brain

That's what people say

That's what people say
I go on too many dates
But I can't make them stay
At least that's what people say
That's what people say
But I keep cruising
Can't stop, won't stop moving
It's like I got this music
In my mind, saying it's gonna be alright
Cause the players gonna play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate
Baby I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off
Heartbreakers gonna break, break, break
And the fakers gonna fake, fake, fake
Baby I'm just gonna shake, shake, shake
Shake it off, Shake it off