Monday, April 25, 2016

A Statue Without Bird Poop

There's an ancient statue of Yamato Takeru no Mikoto in a garden in Japan that has an epic distinction: unlike other out-of-doors statues, it is singularly unmarred by pigeon or other bird poop! Now that is extraordinary! 

A scientist, Yukio Hirose of Kanazawa University, observed this non-phenomenon and set out to determine why. Was it the severe visage of Yamato that frightened the birds? Or it some kind of oriental magic? Professor Hirose looked instead into natural causes. For example, could it be something in the statue's substance that made it unattractive for birds to roost and poop there?

A minute chemical analysis of the statue yielded that it was bronze, but laced with arsenic! Could this be the culprit? Professor Hirose did an experiment. He prepared sheets of bronze with the same amount of arsenic in it, and they too became bird-repellant! 

Yukio Hirose saw an interesting fact, and went beyond it into looking why this didn't happen. Sometimes discoveries come to people who have the good sense to ask why! 

For his discovery, he was awarded the Ig Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2004.

And, who knows? Maybe we will one day see an equestrian statue of President Trump or President Clinton on the Washington Mall, completely unsullied with bird poop! Some people will call that a miracle! Can they ride horsies?

Friday, April 22, 2016

Equality in Spring Break / Swimsuit Coverage

It's almost an annual thing for the media; much like those end-of-the-year lists or light items during the silly season. Each Spring it's time for them to avail themselves in that for sure readership or viewership elevation: pictures of college students relaxing, partying, or sunbathing on the beaches of warmer places. (Do they do Spring Break on Lake Huron or Cape Cod?) And 80% - 85% of the scenes feature girls in bikinis.

But I think it's high time to give us ladies equal viewing pleasure. How about at least parity by having at least half of the pictures featuring hot guys? Now that is something that a lot of us could go for.

Strangely enough, seems to be doing its part with their guy/gal quotient. But come on, other media forms, do your part too! Is this some kind of sex bias in editorial decisions that makes this unequivocal bias taking place? It seems that there is some sex bias even in the so-called progressive newspapers and staid conservative outlets. Both types do like to sugar coat their coverage of Spring Break by mimicking sounds of disapproval to satisfy the essential puritanism of their audiences, but we know where their hearts and minds are, don't we?

Maybe the ancestor of all of this emphasis on female bodies to the non-coverage of males' bods, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, should be persuaded into a swimsuit issue featuring both women and men wearing skimpy swimsuits or body paint. That would be a real giant step on the path to sexual equality! 

This is my 1000th post. It took me six years to do it!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

"Sweet Susannah" Battle of the Bands Results

This Battle of the Bands "Sweet Susannah" edition came out with some surprises but mixed opinions.

The emergent winner turned out to be the version offered by The Flying Burrito Brothers, a version that I came to like more with each playing. Anyway, they garnered 8 votes from the participants.

The Kris Kristofferon / Rita Coolidge effort was not without support with their more conventional 1970's country duet style. Five votes were cast for them.

Apparently, some may have issues with Kris Kristofferson, who has been inclined to be self-indulgent in some of his songs.

Clint West brought up the rear with 3 votes.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lady Chatterley's Lover Review

Lady Chatterley's Lover was written by D. H. Lawrence in 1928 and was considered obscene soon after it was published. It was the topic of an obscenity trial in 1959. This surprising review appeared in Field and Stream back then:

"Although written many years ago, Lady Chatterley's Lover has just been reissued by the Grove Press, and this pictorial account of the day-to-day life of an English gamekeeper is full of considerable interest to outdoor minded readers, as it contains many passages on pheasant-raising, the apprehending of poachers, ways to control vermin, and other chores and duties of the professional gamekeeper. Unfortunately, one is obliged to wade through many pages of extraneous material in order to discover and savour those sidelights on the management of a midland shooting estate, and in this reviewer's opinion the book cannot take the place of J. R. Miller's 'Practical Gamekeeping.'''

Despite being in a column entitled "Exit Laughing," some people took this little item written by Ed Zern as serious. In fact, it's a masterpiece of satire.

By the way, there is no such book as "Practical Gamekeeping." 

Monday, April 18, 2016

Coaching from the Sidelines

There's something about a crisp, sunny Spring morning that calls for a little run.

Donning a running outfit and running shoes, going to a popular greenway alongside a street, and communing by putting as much of nature past you as you feel like. It's before the noonday sun bears down, and there's a little moisture still in the air so I figure I'll pass on wearing a light jacket along with my shorts and tee.

Dew is still on the grass, and light moisture still in the air. Stillness prevails. In all, it's a fine morning for a run along the side of the road. Going for the burn before breakfast!

And then the sound of brakes. A jeering voice: "Hey, Bay-bee! You got-a some nice legs." Outside of shin splints or blisters, this is the occasional blight of the runner. The catcalling creep.

Yes, another sighting/hearing of Anus americanus vulgaris: The common American asshole. Still, you can't physically confront these overstuffed specimens, just hope that they will go on their merry, obtuse ways. 

No, he is a dawdling pest. Now he goes, "Hup, two, three, four!" in full volume at me.

So I did the ill-advised: I shot him the digital avain.

Screech! He came to a sudden stop, and got out out of his car. Like wow! He's a big bloke!

I ran across the neutral ground, and dared him to get me.

He finds out he's not up to a chase. Being called 'lardass' doesn't improve his mood.

Runner 1, Heckler 0.

Friday, April 15, 2016

"Sweet Susannah" -- Battle of the Bands

The song today is a Cajun one metamorphized into different modalities: "Sweet Susannah." tells a tale about a woman who was not immune from the wiles of a traveling salesman. They can be persuasive, you know!

Well, let's start off with the Clint West version (1972). You can listen to this and read the accompanied lyrics (the French refrain translated into English) that gives a sense of a typical Cajun song. [Kind of a modern version of the Jolie Blonde theme. By the way, I'm a Cajun from Louisiana.}

Here's the Clint West version, with lyrics as well as song accessed by the link below:

Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge did this song as a duet:

Lastly, the Flying Burrito Brothers tried their hand at it:

Having tried these, wholly or in part, which version did you enjoy best?

Clint West _____

Kris Kristofferson and Rita Coolidge _____

The Flying Burrito Brothers _____

Please cast your vote and make whatever comments you might want to make. 

And please visit other Battles of the Bands okay!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

North Carolina's Private Parts Inspection Corps

Recently North Carolina passed a law requiring people, when they go (ahem!), they go in the rest room of the sex listed on their birth certificates. Not surprisingly, this has generated a lot of controversy; not a surprise, given the presence of transgender people and our national media's taste for sensational controversy. But this is the American Way. Think of it in the Wonderbra analogy: making mountains out of molehills; and there's nothing that legislators like more than being busybodies!

But there are the little practical issue: how is this law going to be enforced?

Well, one possible solution that might be adopted by North Carolina is to establish a State Private Parts Inspection Corps. This, of course, would be defined in civil service terms, specifying training, snappy uniforms, requiring long lines in front of the rest rooms, and a lengthy handbook of policies to make sure no one pees in the inappropriate place.

Naturally, these Private Parts Inspectors will need special vehicles to transport them to their workplaces and look efficient while doing so. Clearly, their Private Parts cars will need sirens (si-reens as they're referred to in the sticks) and powerful engines to speed to any Inappropriate bowel or bladder relief that might be taking place and beat the offender into state-approved submission!

Legislation enabling this creepy corps will result in a large swelling of state employees; in addition to the paper-shufflers in the D.M.V. or the Income Tax Department there will be the paperwork to complete afterwards by these inspectors. The job's not over until the paperwork is complete! What scale do they use to grade them?

Obviously, the rigors of monitoring private parts will require these stalwarts periodic rest and relaxation leaves and periodic therapy to deal with job-related post-traumatic stress disorder! After all, the Tarheel State looks after its own, and each other's members! 

Henceforth, there are no private parts in North Carolina exempt from bureaucratic inspection.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Breaux Bridge, LA's Phone Book

Breaux Bridge, LA is a small town in Cajun Country, was once cited by the Louisiana Legislature as the "Crawfish Capital of the World." It's located in St. Martin Parish; and it's an intimate place, small enough that most often people know each other.

It also has an interesting peculiarity: its phone book lists people by nickname as well. This is because many people are often known by their nickname rather than by their given name. This has been going on since 1950 or so. The pace of life is different here. Somehow, it just seems like a more friendly feature in a place where everyone sort of knows your name, at least the name you go by. Also see:

Angélique (Tee Angel)

The Bridge over Bayou Teche

Thursday, April 7, 2016

"Sweet Home Alabama" - BOTB Results

It's been six days since my last BOTB round; and this one looks like a blow out, for sure!

In the competition among Laura Cox, Guns N Roses, and the Leningrad Cowboys, Laura Cox came out the winner! Here's how the voting went:

Laura Cox: 13 votes
The Leningrad Cowboys: 2 votes
Guns N Roses: 2 votes

As for Guns N Roses and the Leningrad Cowboys, they got very little love at all. Laura Cox, referred to as the 'French Chick' probably did it because of her guitar skills and her no frills performance.

Anyway, I hope you all liked this round of Battle of the Bands.

Now be an angel and visit other BOTB sites and see which band or group or singer triumphed in that BOTB round:

Here's a hopefully complete list of sites offering Battle of the Band tests:

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Dating at the Self-Service Laundry

Other than nudists or world-class slobs, everyone needs to have his or her laundry done periodically. And, according to an older article in Time magazine, Millennials in NYC have incorporated it as a way for singles to meet while doing routine tasks for themselves.* And Time further baits interest in the article by featuring a couple engaging in a PDA by a dryer! Drying clothes is erotic; who knew! Anyway, these new-style laundries may have amenities like a coffee house, movies, and other singles draws.

Actually, this seems like a very practical way of killing two birds (two boids in Brooklyn) with one stone. And it solves the practical problem of mate-seeking without fishing in the corporate stream, a no-no in some settings where True Love is regarded with suspicion, anyway.

And it would not be long before the laundry dating process would become codified with time; starting with when to go (early evening) and where (not where people who look like sex offenders or game show hosts hang out). 

But the crucial refinement of this process is what kinds of props to set the stage for a successful laundry date expedition. The old 'take a book along' one seems rather limp, as enterprising laundry daters might bring along scientific journals, cheese and cracker plates (Brie is a hit with guys), or a cute, approachable puppy dog! Shaving, showering, and work casual is good for guys; gals should use makeup and a subtle hint of scent. Wearing unwashed athletic garb is verboten unless the laundry is next to a biker bar.

Clothes do make the man; and they provide clues as to the type of man he is. Same for women. Because of this, some people are not above a little subtle impression management by dropping dress cues as types of shirts, socks, pants, and interests just like wearing low-rise pants or having grotesque tats do.

And, of course, the contents of your laundry should reflect an interesting you! Cleaned athletic shirts should be for reputable institutions of sports teams; and avoid disliked colors if in cities heavily into sports. Don't be seen folding Yankee pinstripe colors if in Southie! 

But, must important, is your underwear on display on the folding table! Keep your everyday briefs or panties in a position less prominently displayed; and those thongs and lacy pink bras more visibly displayed. 

And they do serve as a moral grounding for corporate workaholics: no matter how stratospheric your aspirations, you still need to take care of everyday chores! But, in doing so, you may get to dance in the aisles!

*The manners and morals of Millennials is a perennial interest of the media because they might extract a way of getting a profit from it somehow.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Using Unicorns to Encourage Sexual Abstinence

Historically, one way of attaining sainthood was to go the virgin route. Let's face it; that way involves less mess that going the martyr route but not an effective way to be a Doctor of the Church. As for the Apostles, that was a boy's club.

Still, there are some people who make a lot about premarital virginity, especially for girls. That gives some parents conniption fits at the prospect of Prom Night. Actually, this is kind of late in the game for all practical purposes. Abstinence education has a high rate of failure, even with programs as True Love Waits and purity rings.

So is there any possible new direction that abstinence education may take? 

Here's a modest proposal based on a Medieval legend.

While stories about unicorns has gone as for back as the Book of Gilgamesh, by the Medieval period in history they included lore about the ability of virgins to attract unicorns.

As British writers Richard Barber and Anne Riches related it, "A virgin, both beautiful and naked, was bound to a tree; at which th unicorn, drawn to a creature as rare and chaste as itself, would approach and meekly lay its head in her lap; and this would so entrance it that it could be easily killed by the hunter waiting in ambush."

Well, most little girls like horses; and horse toys and movies were popular. Think of My Little Pony. And if horses and ponies are neat, how much cooler would having your own unicorn be? You would be the envy of every girl in town; especially when he farts rainbows! Now THAT might induce some girls to refraining from playing doctor with Tim or Justin.

Well, my idea might fly as well as most abstinence education programs.

No weeds were used in this post!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Sweet Home Alabama -- BOTB

Lynyrd Skynyrd's signature song has to be "Sweet Home Alabama!" This is the standard against which other cover versions should be compared. Having visited The Flora-Bama and other coastal dives, I can attest to what high esteem Ronnie and the boys are held. I just offer their version to refer to before looking at the BOTB entrants for today.

For my offerings for this Battle of the Bands, I give you one lone guitarist/singer, a hair band, and a campy international group.

For the first one, here's Laura Cox, a French lady doing her thing. She offers a new style to "Sweet Home Alabama."


This bunch of surlies is Guns N Roses doing their thing. They're more traditional:

And we go next to a Finnish group, The Leningrad Cowboys, ably assisted by the Red Army Chorus, camping it up. You have to enjoy their 'do's:

So out of these pretenders to wear the celestial crown of Lynyrd Skynyrd, who did Sweet Home Alabama best?

_____ Laura Cox

_____ Guns N Roses

_____ The Leningrad Cowboys

You might also speculate on which, if any, of those performers would be shouted a request to do Free Bird.*

As for other Battle of the Band sites, please go to these, and cast your ballots and musical remarks for their this week's offering:

*A tradition among Southern rock fans.