Saturday, December 31, 2016

The War on New Year's Eve™

Ah! Holidays. In times lately there are the usual naysayers and old grouches. Plus a few that are definitely anti- whatever holidays there is. And a counter trend: the pros that take umbrage with the naysayers; thus "The War on Christmas™ beloved by Bill O'Reilly and others.

Valentine's Day is one such occasion. Do we need to talk about a War on Valentine's Day™? Well, there is a small minority of parents who object to the exchange of Valentines in schools. Yes, is it because they weren't sent sufficient valentines when they were little snowflakes? And there's the killjoys who object to the cards, the boxes of chocolates, and the Valentine-suitable gifts. (Not undies if the recipient is still living with her parents.)*

But some curmudgeon raised the issue of Daylight Savings Time. Specifically, why have it? Keep things on Standard Time all year. Now it's a fact of geography. It may be so that It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia**, but not as long as when the winter solstice is approached. There's good logic behind the using regular time year round: fewer accidents, less disruption of natural rhythms, and so forth. So, eventually, everyone went along. But Boston took another step and discussed going on Atlantic Standard Time, like the Maritime Provinces and Puerto Rico.***

Daylight Savings Time was not popular, anyway.

But what about New Year's Eve? Now New Year's Day is kind of a non-occasion, except for eating black-eyed peas and cabbage and watching endless football games and the Rose Bowl Parade. But cut out the Eve part. Let's face it: people drink too much, make out with others they're not married to, engage in celebratory gunfire, and wake up with hangovers the next day. Not to mention those routs called New Year's Parties! 

So let's declare a War on New Year's Eve™! That will dampen this rampant occasion for risky merry-making! Who knows: maybe someone with even come out with New Year's Eve maypoles! After all, would could be less righteous than people having fun? T'ain't American, ya know! 

*One such gift I got as a teen provoked commentary from the auntosphere.

**A television program.

***For true; this has been proposed lately.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The First Presidential Skinny-Dipper

John Quincy Adams, our sixth President, was quite the proper Bostonian. And, in the proper spirit of his times, refused to grant an interview with woman reporter, Anne Royall. However, Ms. Royall, like Megyn Kelly of a more forthright time, was not about to take no for an answer.

She heard a rumor that Quincy liked to go swimming in the Potomac in the early morning before starting his Presidential duties and looking like an old crab, maybe. So she waited a few minutes before Nature Boy was properly immersed, and surprised him while he was skinny-dipping. 

She sat on his clothes, and demanded an interview.

John Quincy Adams was not happy, to say the least; but he relented, and gave her the first Presidential interview to a female reporter! It's surprising that he was the first known skinny-dipper, and not some he-man like Andrew Jackson. But JQA was elected first.

Now that's being resourceful in getting an interview!

I can also mention that he was the first President to be photographed.

But suppose there were tabloids in that time frame; would Anne Royall have stayed in order to get the real deal? Can you imagine the teaser headline on the first page? 

"How does Quincy measure up? Details below!"

She could have at least led with: "Qunicy: Boxers or briefs?"

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Bonfires on Christmas Eve

In St. James Parish, just upriver from New Orleans, they have a tradition of lighting bonfires along the levee for Papa Nöel. These are large teepees of firewood, and make for a spectacular sight. You can see these at Lutcher and Gramercy. 

Merry Christmas! -- Joyeux Noël! -- Feliz Navidad!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Mental Hygiene Film: What to Do on a Date

In a bygone era, once teens started dating, there was the universal question "What to do?" As part of the Zeitgeist of that era, training movies to be shown in schools instructed teens on what to do on a date. Here's a 1950's vintage Mental Hygiene film on "What to Do on a Date." See how a clueless, somewhat shy guy learns how to do it: 

These mental hygiene films were made in a different time, in which different dating practices took place. This film, unfortunately, has Jason and the Bots making cheap wisecracks added to it that were added to be annoying. Still, if you ignore them, you can get the oh-so-serious didactic approach to this early training film. I wonder how well these films were received. My guess is that they were with relief, as they substituted for an ordinary class.

By way of contrast, here are 100 ideas suggested by for young adults by Cosmopolitan magazine. The bed and breakfast date idea seems over the top, particularly for a first date! 

Monday, December 19, 2016

A New Charismatic Species Debuts

All God's creatures aren't equally loved and lovely. Some make few hit parades, while a blessed few star on nature catalogs and requests for donations. Likewise, which ones get made into children's stuffed animals?

What is less known is that some species get overused in conservation campaigns. After all, impressive ones like grizzly bears (even though their scientific name is ursus horribilis), kingfishers, robins, and pronghorn antelopes get overused and lose their impact. Therefore, ad campaigns need to find new charismatic species to stimulate interest and possible contributions. Now, they should be impressive, cute, and have an environmental impact.

Dung beetles and maggots may be with environmental impacts; but no one is going to be moved to contribute money to help save the dung beetles. Well, maybe politicians who recognize a kindred spirit. 

Revis Wainwright, a ad man for Cookem, Eatem, Burton, and Wank, was assigned to develop a campaign advertisement for a nature group. He decided to forego the usual overused creatures, and develop a new charismatic animal for a fund-raising campaign. He found a likely new one:

The nutria!

Furthermore, his campaign included lobbying for lower speed limits in Louisiana swamps to reduce the number of fatalities for this new charismatic species so prematurely terminated before their time! Now that's taking edgy to a new level!

At least he rejected rattus norwegicus!

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Dirt Road Sports Get Carded in a Bootleg Joint

Despite their best intentions, Bubba and Billy Bob got jobs in a nearby dry county. Seasonal work for these shiftless characters. However, after an exhausting day, they felt in need of a few cold brews. But how to find them in a dry county? Well, they used a little reconnoitering skills learned from their National Guard training to look for a bootlegger.

Now the usual way to go about this is to look for an unusual number of cars or pickups, or look for large numbers of tire tracks. If it ain't a church or convenience store, that means that something hinky is going on there, be it a dog fight or a bootlegger or a undercover strip show or a seller of hot goods that fell off of a truck. Some guys just have a nose for such things, so to speak!

Well, the boys were wearing work clothes; and darn it, they looked respectful!

So much so that the old lady who was running the suspicious joint that they thought was running a bootleg joint asked to see their driver's licenses! Now that's a turnabout; getting asked for I.D. before they could enter a bootlegger's establishment! Like it was a respectable place and she wanted proof of age! 

Well, Billy Bob's mind was trashed; he was quite a few years older than 21 and hadn't been asked for an I.D. in years when it was an issue! But Bubba showed his, and gained admission. The old lady just wanted to make sure he wasn't a local deputy acting undercover. The North Carolina driver's license sort of did that. So Billy Bob showed his. Having proved they were from out of state and not deputies gone undercover, the boys were admitted. 

[A long time ago, bootleg joints were sometimes called blind tigers.]

Friday, December 9, 2016

Hipster Corsages for Homecoming

Yes, the dreaded hipster style as slowly migrated into the land of sunshine and southern belles! How can this be possible? Well, styles change, even in Dixie!

Now let me explain! There are just some events that call for looking your best; even it it can be construed as a surrendering to bourgeois taste. No, I'm not referring to the practicality of wearing a suit to a job interview or a uniform if you are a fast food worker.

This is totally serious! Something is just done in the Deep South. You must dress up for the Homecoming football game. Now this is a mandatory dress occasion, kind of like going to Maw-Maw's for Sunday dinner or appearing in Court. (Southern judges have been known to charge déclassé jurors or attorneys with contempt of court for sartorial misdemeanors.)

Here's a tip for hipster guys: if you take a date to the Homecoming game in the South, she will dress up and expect you to give her a corsage! Even if she wears dress-up hipster clothing! To fail to bestow one is to disrespect her. She will be in a testy mood; and guess what? No lovin' for you later on, Bubba!

Fortunately, some helpful florists in key Southern cities also include a line of hipster Homecoming corsages; for example, in Tuscaloosa, Baton Rouge, Knoxville, Athens, and Oxford. Hipster corsages run a complete gamut of stylistic embellishments: in addition to the mandatory chrysanthemum, tiny black pansies or hellebores or maybe a black dahlia instead. Naturally, the institutional colors must also be incorporated as well. The arrangement would logically call for purple and gold for L.S.U.'s Homecoming. Don't come a calling without one! 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Where Dixie Came From

There are conflicting stories about how the South came to be known as Dixie. Some say that it was thus named after The Mason and Dixon survey of the Maryland-Pennsylvania boundary. Why wasn't it called Masie, instead? Well podners, that ain't right. Here's the real deal:

In the early days of the 19th century, when the flatboat and keelboat men from the Midwest states and Kentucky tiresomely poled their ways down the Mississippi, they were looking forward to the end of the trip and getting paid. )Think of Mike Fink, the King of the River.) Now typically these keelboat men were paid is locally-issued banknotes with the French word "dix" on  for "ten" on them. Now the keelboat men, not pronouncing the French word dix properly with a silent "x", referred to New Orleans as the land of the Dixies.  Gradually, the scope of Dixie spread until it included the entire South. It could have been worse: if the keelboatmen pronounced dix right, we might have wound up with 'Dee-hee."

And that's why there is Dixie Beer! Drink a bottle in honor of the tired, French-challenged keelboat men!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Bowling for Dollars

In days of auld, when coaches were bold, players wore leather helmets, and sportswriters were very particular, there were originally four bowl games: The Rose Bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, and the Cotton Bowl. 

Others were added over time, such as the Gator Bowl, the Liberty Bowl, the Tangerine Bowl, and others. As a matter of fact, the number of postseason games exceeded 40 with no end in sight. Corporate sponsors added their names to certain bowls, and even American football took on a very American trait: commercialization. No surprise: many bowls had, quite frankly, justifications in terms of increasing the economic health of the communities where the bowls were played. Hence, the All State Sugar Bowl, the Capital One Orange Bowl, and others. Originally, these extra bowls were in at least passably warm cities, but this soon changed.

While purists might object to this, no one takes too seriously the notion that it doesn't really add to a team's reputation whether they won the Chick fil-A Peach Bowl or the Music City Bowl or the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, or not. Have you ever driven into a town that proclaims on its outskirts that the local college won one of the minor bowls? But, there's the revenue enhancement for the programs!

I can see this clearly now, the rain is gone: Potash State College: Winner of the Go-Daddy Bowl 2016!

Setting myself as a possible persona non grata in Alabama, can I say that the Iron Bowl is a Faux Bowl in which the same two teams always play? Still, the winner of that game will bask in statewide glory for the next year.

A passably attractive, neat city in Ames, Iowa decided to get into the bowl business, partly to pay for its local stadium and to make money during December, Christmas shopping being insufficient. So they decided, with much fanfare, to have a bowl of their own.

Unfortunately, the major attribute of the community was that it was tidy and neat. So out of that the Tidy Bowl was born! Imagine what joy accompanied the triumphant team and university winning this elite bowl!

Or the Toilet Bowl! Wouldn't any city be proud to host the Toilet Bowl?

Still other bowl games emerged with time. Phoenix, Arizona sponsored the Metamucil Bowl, Trenton, New Jersey hosted the Superfund Site Bowl, Birmingham, Alabama adopted the Smog Bowl, and St. Paul hosted the Lutefisk Bowl. And each one had an accompanying basketball tournament as well. Proud of their states' heritage, the steering committee of the Smog Bowl had the Luv Guv toss the coin before the kickoff. It too them five minutes to find it because of the smog.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The Cowhands Have a Lingerie Shower

It was a happy occasion for the small group in Wyoming; one of their number was feeling a little low and getting cabin fever, and they decided to have a lingerie shower to cheer her up.

A lingerie shower is usually where a bride-to-be is feted at a party where female friends bestow lingerie gifts, drink wine or champagne, and have a good old time exchanging ribald repartee, laughing, whooping, and hollering.

To be sure, the lingerie is often politely risqué, including panties and thongs, sexy bras, guêpières, nightgowns, and the like.  

Well, things happened differently on the range in Wyoming, where cowboys in the bunkhouse dealing with cold weather, wind, snow, mooing cows, and boredom on the range. Some of the cowhands noted that Cowgirl Melinda was feeling really down and that she liked being, well, a little feminine in some ways, so they decided to cheer her up and cheer themselves up. How? By having a lingerie shower, as one of them read about this notion in one of those magazines they turn to out of boredom and to check up on feminine bodies lest they forget.

So they planned, and shopped, and set the date! Truth to tell, they were all a little punchy from the cold, wind, and snow. But, by gum, cowboys are resourceful, especially the Dallas kind. Ask the Redskins.

They got neat invitations printed; and each did some special shopping on line or their day off in town. Talk about bulls in china shops: What about cowboys going in Victoria's Secret or even Trashy Lingerie? Well, the shoppers from the ranch could do without confused looks from salesgirls, so some shopped online.

The day of glory arrived. After Melinda unsaddled, fed, and watered her pony, she saw this sign on the door:
And the full ranch of cowpokes were inside, grinning like mules  eatin' briars. (Kind of like what Easterners call a shit-eating grin.) They whooped it up when Melinda entered, and the party began. First, a round of champagne to start things on, and this was chased by a dose of plonk from the master vinters of Denver! Them the party began, beginning with the cowboy's lament:

"With a ki-yi-yo, get along, little dogie, 
It's your misfortune, and none of my own....."

And brief testimonials from the buckeroos in honor of Cowgirl Melinda, who carried her own load as a ranch hand and didn't bitch about the constant wind. Melinda felt the love from her trail mates.

Then time for the gifts!

Pedro gave her a pink nightie with optional black bikini panties. This was pronounced "Darling!" by Melinda.

Jake came up with the lacy white gupiêrère that would make any woman look damned hot! The other hands wondered about where Jake's taste in women's clothing came from. A cat house in Rawlings? Anyway, everyone took a deep breath as they absorbed that vision.

Several thongs were bestowed on Melinda, guaranteeing her days of cooling tailwinds and silk wedgies.

And nightgowns. Demure ones, daring ones, Transparent ones. And transparent bras! And just barely there panties!

Pecos Al showed exquisite taste by gifting Melinda with a kimono.

Colorado Sam came up with a Colorado bikini top, giving a bit of humor in the process. Sorry, no Wyoming version.

And perfume, for when she tired of smelling like a horse.

Now how did Melinda take this unusual surprise party? Well, she asked for another round of bubbly while she modeled some of the outfits for the celebrating buckaroos!

As Melinda put it while modeling one of the thongs, "Now you can all be the judge as to whether my ass is too big." 

But the real show-stopper was when she came out in the lacy white gupiêrère! Mamma mia!

Sometimes the boys can be fun! But on the prairie, you have to make your own fun. But it helps if all are desperate, nonjudgmental, and have a sense of humor. Especially Melinda.

It's little perks like this that help with group cohesion.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Musical Interlude at the Roller Skating Rink

Well, Smiling Tom was an employee at an indoor skating rink. You know, one of those places where you can rent roller skates and race or awkwardly try to stand up on the roller rink while others skate. (I mean, Angel had many a fall and sore butts, to make a frank confession.) Anyway, Smiling Tom, the usually affable disc jockey, decided that the crowd was too rowdy and uncooperative, so he decided to take a coffee break. But he did it in a most petulant way. He repeatedly played a selected music offering not normally used in skating rinks: "My Humps" by the Black-Eyed Peas.

And he used earplugs to at least attenuate what he heard. The largely junior high crowd got the song out loud.

Now the first time the kids heard the song they laughed. In part because it was a risqué song not usually heard in skating rinks:

What you gon' do with all that junk?

All that junk inside that trunk?
I'ma get, get, get, get, you drunk,
Get you love drunk off my hump.
What you gon' do with all that ass?
All that ass inside them jeans?
I'm a make, make, make, make you scream
Make you scream, make you scream.
Cos of my hump (ha), my hump, my hump, my hump (what).
My hump, my hump, my hump (ha), my lovely lady lumps (Check it out) 

It was at first a real hoot.

But it got played again. And again. And again. The novelty began to wear off.

There were two parties of kids in the glassed-in party rooms, together with the mom of the honoree and some friends. The moms were not amused at all. "Clearly, the manager should have a word with the disc jockey," one said.

Those kids, bless their hearts, enjoyed the discomfort of the moms.

Still more "My Humps." Fergie's backside was honored quite enough, thank you. The kids, as well as the parents, got tired enough of it.

Finally,  Smiling Tom came back, and played a more varied list of songs to skate to; at the least the ones that didn't decamp.

The manager came in later to a big helping of grief from the mamas and the girls from the roller skate rental counter. He lost his cool; and fired Smiling Tom. Tom had overplayed his hand; but that can happen when you work at a roller skating rink.

So the manager hired Barbara. If the kids were rowdy, she would just play Christian music. As she put it tactfully, "That's quiet the little bastards down!"

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Local Characters Endorse Politicians

It's a true symbiotic relationship - political candidates and stars. For each major National election, including gubernatorial elections in California the stars and other illuminati strut out to express their heartfelt support for the person they're endorsing. This is somewhat redolent of the red carpet moments preceding the Oscars. They come out, like Punxsutawney Phil, to see their shadows from the camera flashes. Naturally, they're wearing their finest threads! And are accompanied by dutiful spouses, mistresses, their posses, and press agents. And they are so direct in telling why their fervently supporting their endorsee! It serves the function of a dumb show in a Medieval or Renaissance drama; except they have a lot to say.

But why? From whence does the knowledge or expertise of these stars flow from?

There is something cynical in me that detects career reasons for their doing so. Specifically, espousing certain views may be advantageous to their careers! (Some might protest that I'm too young to be with such a jaded outlook; but I'm from New Orleans!)

Anyway, I'll bring the story down close to home.

In our recent gubernatorial race, Democrat John Bel Edwards defeated Republican David Vitter. Now the usual news and television outlets lined up with one candidate or another. Local celebrity endorsements occurred even on the ward level. 

For example, the Lucky Dog Guy and Suzanne the Existential Stripper endorsed John Blutowski for Councilman while the while the "I Know Where You Got Your Shoes" guy endorsed Patricia Broussard. Finally, Honest John the  pawnbroker came out in support of Newton Minnow in the posh Uptown neighborhood. These endorsements were sought because of the notoriety of these mini-celebrities. Besides, each announced that, should their candidate lose, they would move to benighted Mississippi or even darkest Tennessee. 

Crazy Chester sat this one out; figuring that he could make more money on horse racing than he would endorsing some so-so candidate. Besides, the big money was in the gubernatorial race!

Suzanne was the big celebrity draw; especially because she also demonstrated part of her act; stripping down to a body suit emblazoned with the word Blutowski! The Lucky Dog Guy just brought hot dogs and his candidate came out a weiner. Honest John drummed up support for Newton Minnow; but his customer base largely did not come from that Uptown neighborhood. An oversight was that no candidate was endorsed by any of the local celebrity chefs. Whether this was due to adherence to chefs' ethics, or poor taste on the part of politicians was not known. After all, it might be a poor career move to endorse the same candidate as the Lucky Dog Guy.

Anyway, the election was held; voters did what they do. The TV news persons strutted and fretted their hours on the air; and soon were heard no more. 

No local celebrity left town in a huff because his candidate lost. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

What About Neckties?

Why are neckties for men expected in semiformal dress; and even women in some cases?

The surprising origin of this garb apparently came from a group of Croatian mercenaries in King Louis XIV's hire wearing bits of cloth around their necks. The Sun King apparently found this to be stylish, so the custom of neckties took off. After all, this was at a time when if King Louis said "jump," everybody jumped. (It is not known what happened whenever he ever exclaimed "Merde!")

Anyway, the French word cravat comes from the French word for Croatia.

It got included in military uniforms; and hypermilitaristic Europe became increasingly neck tied over the next centuries.

By the 20th century, men's ties took on a general shape that has become ritualized, except for the ascot and the bowtie. Tie length and width may vary with fashions. At one time, skinny neckties were fashionable; but wide ties did a rebound, including the psychedelic "blow lunch" tie of the 1970's. I will leave you to figure that one out. But in the 1930's and 1940's, surprising patterns sometimes were used. Here's one that could serve to mark the ending of Prohibition:

And for guys who want to convince others that want to convince others that they are a sport who has all of his taste in his mouth and none in fashion sense. Don't wear this if you go out with a feminist:

Can this be an expression of sartorial freedom from the clutches of Prohibition and the military? This sort of neckware needs an explanation. However you may judge the wearer's taste, they are probably not good choices for job interviews, unless the person is interviewing for a job as a gangster or a bouncer at a gentleman's club. R-rated ties are generally not worn on Wall Street or in Congress, but things may change with the new administration.

How about a sedate Tabasco pepper tie?

Or maybe express pleasure for living in a particular state:

Finally, you can express loyalty to your favorite ailment, like swine flu. Or, at least,  a souvenir of being having been sick:

(Bit of sick humor!) I hope your day and your neck is trouble-free.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Judy in Disguise (with Glasses)

As a satire on the then-current Beatles' song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," John Fred and His Playboy offered this song in the 1960's.  The lyrics are nonsense, but so was the old Beatles song:

Judy in disguise, well that's what you are
Lemonade pies with a brand new car
Cantaloupe eyes come to me tonight
Judy in disguise, with glasses

Keep a-wearing your bracelets and your new rara*
Cross your heart with your living bra
Chimney sweep sparrow with guise
Judy in disguise, with glasses

Come to me tonight, come to me tonight
Taking everything in sight
Except for the strings on my kite

Judy in disguise, hey that's what you are
Lemonade pie, hey got your brand new car
Cantaloupe eyes come to me tonight
Judy in disguise, with glasses

Come to me tonight, come to me tonight
Taking everything in sight, except for the strings to my kite
(Oh, uh oh, uhhh)

Judy in disguise, what you aiming for
A circus of horrors, yea yea, well that's what you are
You made me a life of ashes
I guess I'll just take your glasses.

This is offered just for fun after a tensing and possibly disappointing week for a lot of folk. It has a nice tempo and horns.

John Fred Gorrier was a musician and song writer from Baton Rouge. He co-wrote this with Andrew Bernard. Apparently, John Fred and the Playboy Band was a one-hit wonder group. This one made number 1 in the U.S., Germany, and Switzerland. It peaked at number 3 in Britain and Ireland.

*a short skirt, like cheerleaders wear

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Hissy Fit-Throwing as a Life Skill

Some colleges offer continuing education classes so that people can bolster professional standings and continue license eligibility. Others are offered to the lay public for diversion, to help with hobbies or to deal with daily problems, and (finally) to make more money to support administrators' salaries and athletic programs. Seriously, that's a hidden reason.

So, in addition to learning programming, performing arcane medical tests, creative accounting, public speaking, and the like there are courses in Elementary Massage, Stripping for Your Boyfriend, Basic Gardening, and the like. Oh yes, Photography and Calligraphy are common offerings in Continuing Education catalogue too.

One reason people have for taking these courses, in addition to professional certification, curiosity, and self-improvement is to use them as a vehicle for meeting other people.

But we should never underestimate the self-improvement aspect.

Recently, Coastal Georgia Community College included a course in Basic Hissy Fit Throwing among its offerings. This is logical, since Georgia girls are better as hissy fit-throwing than those from anywhere else.

Now any Southern girl knows that the best way to get your way, relieve tension, or to provide an excuse for make-up sex is to throw a hissy fit. Girls who were born in the Northeast don't instinctively have this useful manipulative skill: too bad! It's a fault of their educational background. However, Coastal Georgia Community College saw a need and possible interest in acquiring this skills. Besides, some of those Yankee girls recognize how empowering throwing a hissy fit has! Still, a poorly-executed hissy fit is less effective than none at all. After all, one should intimidate through one, not cause unbridled mirth!

What sort of skills? Such life skills as pouting, swearing with mild oaths, yelling, caterwhaling, foot-stomping, and even object-tossing. Generally, tossing some types of objects works better than others. It's better to throw crockery than pillows. Especially souvenir pillows commemerating that dirty weekend in Fort Walton Beach!

Think Brenda Jo on The Closer. You know darn well that she could use her charms and hissy fits to get her way, especially with Fritz or Chief Pope. Poor guys; bless their hearts.

Throwing a hissy fit is a skill acquired in late childhood or early adolescence. It is acquired and honed through practice, as research at the University of East Alabama has demonstrated. Further research indicated that later-acquirers of hissy fit throwing can, with extended effort, acquire sufficient hissy fit skills to deal effectively with most situations. It's good to have the nuclear option handy, if needed.

Georgia Coastal Community College was rewarded for its initiative by having maximum enrollment in its initial offering largely because of "-Rhoid Ladies.*"; and they offered two sections for the future. Furthermore, they planned to offer their unique class in three locations in the Northeast (Boston, New York, and New Haven) for enterprising Northeastern ladies who wish to expand their business and interpersonal skill base.

And at a cost a mere fraction of the cost of belonging to s top-notch sorority while going to a university.

*So-called because when they come down, and stay down, and complain about things, they can plumb be a pain in the ass.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Chill Out, America!

This is the longest, most contentious election I have every seen (about 600 days, more or less), and it sometimes seems that politics has descended into the level of monkeys throwing poo. Bad simians! Were Neanderthals so repulsive in their politics? I'm totally bummed out with this choices the general rudeness, and the nastiness. We need to spend the rest of the year getting our collective acts together; because for better or worse (hopefully better) we're going to live together.

And stop this red state - blue state crap! Guess what? We're all Americans, no matter where we live or what is our color or accent.

We celebrate Halloween, Christmas, and whatever occasion calls for a drink. We bitch about taxes and traffic, and live our lives of contentment or quiet desperation, as our mood suggests.

Last week we celebrated our true National Sport: baseball, ending with a final World Series game of legendary impact. This, folks, is America as we would like it to be. Yes, two perennial losing teams made it all the way. The winner, the Chicago Cubs, finally won after 108 seasons. 

But the other team, the Cleveland Indians, was very much a winner too!

And I think we should look at our recent election in the same way. Millions of U.S. citizens participated in our rite of continuity of government. No, we don't have hereditary kingships or queenships. Thank God. We get to vote each time. No coups, no juntas, no putsches, no shenanigans (well . . . .maybe in Chicago). And I'm confident that President and Mrs. Obama will leave the White House at the appointed time, and the new First Family settles in. Possibly with relief, who knows?

And I'm sure the process of orderly succession will continue. It's our national strength. As well as our National Experiment working.

So my thought is, it's time to chill out, to mend fences. And stop all that carping, backbiting, and acting metaphorically like those monkeys.

Have a beer, hamburgers or tacos, and enjoy sex with a spouse or friend. And thank whatever God you subscribe to that you are an American! Cause, people, we kick ass!

Don't give up on that. Don't threaten to flee to Canada or the Isle of the Blest or whatever fantasy you're into. We know you're just being full of bovine manure. Americans don't punt on first down.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Beer for Chicks?

I once met some guy, and he offered to buy me a beer in this coastal tavern.  I said, no thanks, I'm good.  Just then the bartender brought me an Abita Turbo Dog.

He goes, like, " That's a strong beer for a girl."

So I ask (not wishing to appear unfeminine), "What kind do you recommend for me?"

His reply was something like "Bud, or Mic, or Red Stripe, or maybe a Sam Adams Light."

And it dawned on me:  He thinks lagers are for girls; ales or porters are too much for them.

I wonder what he would have thought had I asked for a Guinness Stout?  Would that have gotten my girly girl card revoked? Not wishing to trouble his Weltanschauung, perhaps I should have asked for a Sam Adams. I guess I'm a supporter of certain stereotypes after all. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

La Dia de los Muertos

Today is All Souls' Day, as we call it in Louisiana. It's a day where family members remember their deceased family members with prayers; and refurbish or decorate their graves. It's celebrated each November 2nd, the day after All Saints' Day (Le Jour de Toussaints).

In central and southern Mexico (especially Oaxaca), it takes a more exotic form: La Dia de los Muertos. Supposedly, today is the day when deceased relatives return to life and mingle with their living relatives. It's a day of celebration, with feasting and candies in the form of decorated sugar skulls, marigolds, and other offerings for the celebration. It's a joyous occasion in Mexico as well as a day of remembrance. Perhaps a little grim for some norteamericanos' taste, though.

Even the cat gets into the act.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Flourish of Strumpets

New Orleans photographer Ernest J. Bellocq did a series of photographs of prostitutes in Storyville, the famed red light district in New Orleans.

He was known retrospectively as an eccentric; not a mean feat in New Orleans where eccentricity flourishes like St, Augustine grass and hibiscus. Ernest Bellocq was known as a commercial photographer in his lifetime.  It was only in the 1950s that his secret avocation of portrait photography of the prostitutes of Storyville was discovered by Lee Friedlander.

Storyville was the notorious red-light district in the Tremé faubourg. It was so-named after Alderman Sidney Story, who proposed the ordinance limiting prostitution into this district. Alderman Story was not pleased at the name popularly given this district. That's a shame; most citizens know the names of few of the former mayors and city commissioners but his is remembered.

The district itself had both elaborate parlor houses and flimsy shacks (called cribs). The newly-emerging music form called jazz developed here. It became a haven for all sorts of unsavoriness: it became a tourist attraction.

The harlots accepted Bellocq, and several allowed him to document them and their lives with portraits and candid shots. Here are some examples of Bellocq's work. I have left out nudes, but they can easily be found with a Google search (NSFW). I have a sense that the photographer and the prostitutes were sympathetic with each other, and he respected their dignity.

Storyville was closed down by the Navy Department in 1917.

Unfortunately, E. J. Bellocq was not served well in either books nor movies that used him as a character. Louis Malle's Pretty Baby was especially notorious.  Malle's disgusting film (in my opinion) slandered this fine photographer, as well as had a then-twelve-year-old child appear in a nude scene. Don't waste your time with such cinematic dreck.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Authoritarianism as a Political Bogeyman

One by-product of our periodic elections is our latent tendency to try to explain what is going on in psychological or sociological terms. And, naturally, there's always someone from those disciplines who will offer quasi-erudite explanations for why people might be supporting a candidate that the professional in question finds to be unacceptable. 

Call that bemerding the opposition, to put it in quasi-French and therefore polite terms at least for monolinguists. This is nothing more than the equivalent of saying that people who disagree with me are wrong-headed, wicked, or possibly crazy. A cheap shot.

One such example is the old authoritarian personality, a person given over for fascistic impulses, supposedly a person who was brought up strictly; who has a strong superego coupled with a weak ego that deals with id impulses by suppressing them. 

Just a little aside back to old Freudian interpretations, which no one takes seriously any more.

Anyway, the so-called authoritarian personality is allegedly one that is disposed to fascism. This theory was posited in the post-World War II era when worries about fascism abounded. They developed a scale to measure authoritarianism, The California F Scale. Actually, the scale was flawed because of what we know now to be a rookie mistake: the items on the scale were keyed mainly in the positive direction. Therefore, people who simply tend to agree with statements regardless of content tend to come out as faux authoritarians. They just were agreeable; or in the lingo of the time, socially acquiescent.

Lately, this authoritarian concept has been invoked to explain Donald Trump's supporters: They're a bunch of fascists-to-be. Good Lord: our politics have already descended to the level of chimps in the zoo throwing poo at each other!

Actually, this personality construct could be used to cover either those on the right or the left.

Some on the Right might invoke our salvation and continued prosperity as the result of electing a strong man. [Big Daddy].

Some on the Left might likewise this as potentially due to a strong, all-encompassing government and institutions [Big Nanny].

The reality is that most of us are just trying to get by, to muddle through.

Jus† so neither of our Presidential candidates tries muscle-building poses like Vlad the Poser. Do us that service, at least. We have enough to be embarrassed about. Already we have been treated to naked statues of both. That is skerry enough!