Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Do Men Prefer Conformist Women?

It is seen as a truism that, while women are attracted to nonconformist men, men tend to prefer conformist women. That is, they see more conventional women as more feminine, safe, and predictable. The trope that women are attracted to edgy, seemingly dangerous bad boys has been around for a long time, as the Sandy character gravitated towards Danny in the movie Grease. 

But is the attraction of Greg for Dharma equally possible? (Dharma and Greg, an old television show.)

But is the preference for attraction really non-symmetric? Matthew J. Hornsey and his associates at the University of Queensland and Griffith University did a series of four experiments to test this proposition.

In general, they found that both men and women preferred nonconformist romantic partners. In fact, the less conforming a woman was, they greater the likelihood of dating success she was likely to have. However, women tended to see men as preferring more conventional, nonthreatening romantic partners. So what does this tell us? 

It tells us that there is a disconnect between perception and reality in this case. Women need not fear to fly their freak flag if they also want to get along with guys. Think of that: no need to present yourself as colorless, conformist, or uninteresting any longer. It may be that seeing a young woman acting confidently nonconforming boosts their courage to follow their heartfelt desires more and not be so conforming. After all, an obvious freak is less likely to disapproving of someone else's departures from the norm!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Really Crappy Art

The art of Italian artist Piero Manzoni (1933 - 1963) was once criticized by his father as being "shit," so he filled 90 cans with 30 grams of his feces each and began selling them at the market price of gold, about $35 an ounce then. The artwork was titled, "Artist's Shit (Merde d' Artista). Eventually, all cans were sold. 

A few years ago, the Tate Gallery in London purchased one of the cans for 22,350 pounds from Southeby's. Needless to say, this acquisition evoked a lot of commentary! And, as you can see, the artist signed each individual work.  

But this raises some questions. What is his artistic message, if any? Did Manzoni have an intended use for these cans? Did he expect many sales of cans? Did he effectively thumb his nose at the art world?

Several years ago, a friend of his, Agostino Bonalumi, claimed that Manzoni did not can the his feces, but only plaster. This raised some sort of dilemma, or did it? Does the artistic concept of shit in a can require actual shit to meet it? After all this is conceptual art. 

The owner or gallery possessing the can has a problem. If the can is opened to determine the contents, this would damage the art work, and drastically reduce its value. On the other hand, wherein lies the art? Is it the physical work, or is it in the eccentric idea? If it's the latter, then the actual contents would be unimportant.

As a matter of fact, it might be sufficient to paste a titled 4" X 6" card on the wall and call it "art." We can get interesting ideas too. Therefore we can also be artists. "Artist" becomes more democratic and less of a gallery- or museum-labeled priesthood. Here are a few concepts that may or may not be turned into art.

"Barney on a Riding Lawnmower"

"Break Dancing by Democrats"

"Boredom from a Bad Movie"

Or, come up with your own concepts and declare it "art."

Friday, June 24, 2016

The "Ugliest Color" in a Fashion Statement

Recent research has revealed that Pantone 448 C (opaque couché) has been rated by over 1,000 people as the world's ugliest color. Here's a color square of this much-maligned color from which you may draw your own conclusions:

To me, the color does resemble that of cat poop; hardly one to paint a bedroom in; but maybe a cell for ISIS terrorists or serious masochists. 

Given those kinds of associations, it it surprising that opaque couché can serve as a fashion statement:

Risk-taking and edginess have always been in the world of couture; but this is certainly a bold move! Wearing red or yellow is regarded as a bold statement, not without risks. But the woman who wears an opaque couché garment radiates a confident message: "I'm so beautiful and charismatic that I can dare to wear a dress that is the color of cat or baby poop!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Lie Back and Think of England

When I was a freshman at L.S.U. and lived in the dorm, people would be sure to ask who you were hanging out with that evening. Sometimes sisterly advice was offered; often sarcastic comments were the commentary. Guys, you certainly did not think that this was not going to happen, did you? Anyway, some frat guys speedily acquired a reputation for being brazenly forward; like stealing second base within the first hour!

One older guy, a grad student, asked me out for dinner and a movie! When I answered the inevitable question about who I was hanging out with, I was simply told to "lie back and think of England." I my naiveity I thought this meant that he was English, and tended to dwell on that topic overly long. 

Foolish thought! It turned out he was all hands, and he wasn't following the old "five dates" rule. Anyway, to make a long story mercifully short, I pulled the plug early in the evening. And walked back to the dorm. Fortunately, we had been in Tigerland so it wasn't far. Does coming back early still wearing all your undies constitute the Walk of Virtue?

Since I returned at around nine, there was a lot of speculation about it having gone south. Yes, it did; and he had bigger paws than a Great Dane!

But the evening intrigued me in another way. I did not detect anything Anglo in his speech or interests. He had no apparent interest in cricket or rugby. And did't wear an old school tie, whatever that entailed.

No, it turned out it was a faux historical allusion.

This advice, "Just lie back and think of England" had been around for a while; presumably referring to advice given to Victorian age brides by their mothers in dealing with undesired sexual activity from their husbands. It played on a stereotype of proper English upper-class women as being sexually unresponsive, patiently tolerating the fact that men will be men but they don't have to be pleased with that part. The remark has been specifically attributed to Queen Victoria (probably stridently false) and Lady Hillington, who wrote in her journal "When I hear his steps outside my door I lie down on my bed, spread my legs, and think of England."

[I wonder that if she thought of France or Italy instead, would her experience be different.]

Actually this is good advice for our dealings with the government. 

It's also good advice for the Scots, the Welsh, and the Irish. And, historically, for us before 1776.

Monday, June 20, 2016

What Do Gothic Letters Suggest?

It just dawned on me after gliding over them for several years: Many of our nation's major newspapers use Gothic letters in the masthead! Here are a few examples : The Times Picayune, the Los Angeles TimesThe New York TimesThe Boston GlobeThe Washington PostThe Chicago Tribune, the Miami HeraldThe Philadelphia Inquirer, and several others follow this pattern.

The Baltimore Sun, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution do not follow that convention. For most of us this is about personal tastes. But some journals use this Gothic text to convey a notion of gravity, or deep seriousness. It's like they carry a banner implying "take me seriously, for God's sake! The NYT does have a mostly rich, influential urbanites that take themselves so seriously and expect the proles to do so as well. 

What if the New York Times were to use a different type face. To take an extreme example, how about Comic Sans?

At least it's not boring, like Times New Roman.

Years ago a cartoonist, Walt Kelly of Pogo fame, chose to depict Deacon Mushrat* speaking in Gothic letters. Perhaps the Deacon aspired to an opinion column in the New York Times:

Therein lies a problem with Gothic type face: It takes itself too seriously and comes off as a tad stodgy, like Deacon Mushrat. But maybe that's a newspapery fault that they try to plead being authoritative, like some modern-day prayer:

From Trumpies and ghosties
And long-leggedy models
And Politicians that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

*As cartoonist Walt Kelly styled him in Pogo.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Rayne, LA: Frog Capital of the World

Small towns have a need to proclaim their place in the sun. In the process, some have some extraordinary claims to fame.

Rayne, Louisiana styles itself "The Frog Capital of the World." And they have an amusing statue of a top-hatted frog:

Rayne is also known as The City of Murals. Often these are frog-themed. Here's a few to inform and mostly entertain you:

Clearly, this is a place where Kermit would feel at home. After all, it isn't easy being green! There's even more; some neat statuary in front of stores:

Why did Rayne become so froggy? Well, it seems that a restauranteur from New York City tried some, liked them, and added them to the menu. They were a hit. And other restaurants started featuring frogs' legs. And eventually the town started shipping them to Paris and other places on the Continent. No, the French were referred to as 'frogs' much earlier, because of this dietary proclivity they already supposedly had. But that's another story.

It's not hard being green in Rayne, Louisiana.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Hanlon's Razor

Occam's Razor has been around for a long time. Briefly, it states that when explaining things, make the fewest assumptions possible.

Hanlon's razor is a special case of this general rule. It state that "you should never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity." I think that's a good principle to follow in everyday life, whether in politics, interpersonal relationships, or the world of work. For example, recently a Tennessee legislator, Rep. Andy Holt (R - Dresden) said that he would give away an AR - 15 at his fundraiser on June 25th. Note to Bilbo: A possible nominee for Left Cheek Ass Clown  for June.

The fact is, there's a lot of stupidity around. I don't have to enumerate examples; you can come up with a slew of them yourself.  And it's true; whether the action that results in trouble is due to malice or stupidity, the result is often the same.

So, for your own peace of mind, say, "Bless her or his heart, and just assume that the offender is just a few bricks shy of a load! Chances are, you're as right as rain on a tin roof without getting your panties in a bunch. Self-inflicted wedgies are no fun!

I'm not doing a Battle of the Bands today; however, I should have one by July 15!

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Cosmic Wisdom of Gary Busey

Gary Busey (1944 - ) is a well-known film actor, having appeared in The Buddy Holly Story, The Bear, The Firm, and about 150 others. He also has an unusual take on success, life, and how to cope with it. Very clearly, he has an original perspective that deserves to be recognized. Here are some of his observations:

If you take shortcuts, you get cut short.

Winners do what losers don't want to do. 

Amen is not the end of a prayer, it just gets us ready to go to the next level. 

You know what 'DOUBT' stands for? It stands for 'Debate On Understanding Bewildersome Thoughts.' 

I don't know where I come from but I'm here now so deal with it. 

Fear is the dark room where the Devil develops his negatives.

I've been told by doctors and surgeons that I have the energy of ten men who have normal jobs.

Nothing changes like changes, because nothing changes but the changes.

I love love, and I love life. I love. I just love. It's just great. It's the most enduring element we have is love.

know what 'FAILING' stands for? It stands for 'Finding An Important Lesson, Inviting Needed Growth.'

I love love, and I love life. I just love. It's just great. The most enduring element we have is love.

My dark side, my shadow, my lower companion is now in the back room blowing up balloons for kids' parties.

There's got to be more to life than being a really, really ridiculously good actor.

Never dip lower than you can dip.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Chastity Belts for Guys

I think we're seeing the end times possibly. The end cannot hold. Some rough beast or other is plodding down to Bethlehem to be born.

No, it's not some Yeatsian cataclysm; just an everyday news item from Tennessee. Now I thought that New Orleans was odd; and Southern Mississippi had its moments. And North Carolina is capable of its moments. And, truly, California comes up with surprises now and then. But Tennessee takes the prize!

At least no one here still thinks that they are in Kansas any more.

I'll get on track. A few days ago, the Knox News reported that in Anderson County, Tennessee the Highway Patrol stopped a guy on suspicion of D.U.I. The man was outlandishly dressed wearing "red mesh see-through hose" and "a little skirt." Later it was identified as a tutu. Furthermore, he was wearing a locked chastity belt! A key was worn around the neck of his passenger, who was also intoxicated!

Unreported is where they came from or were going.

She was not arrested. He makes his appearance in court on July 12th. I wonder if he will wear his tutu to court. I will follow this one up.

Do things get stranger than this? Where, pay tell, did these desperadoes find a chastity belt for guys? Hey, I was so curious that I looked it up for you. You can get this from Amazon, among other places:

It doesn't look very comfortable.

Incredible! I had led such a sheltered life. Catholic school will do that to you.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Adding Diversity to Barbie Dolls

That old standby Barbie, much maligned by some feminists, recently underwent additional alternatives to its varieties, including Normal-Sizes Barbie and others with diverse skin tones and others.

But Barbie comes with different occupations and lifestyles, too. Why not Barbies going on the wild side of life? Artist Sarah Haney arranged several photographs of Barbie going on the dark side. Some of those are NSFW-ish, so be forewarned!

The pastel world of Barbie has not been immune from local satirization, also. Several years ago Big Sky Heidi shared some of these alternatives according to the northwest Alabama region called The Shoals. Definitely a non-PC commentary on local lifestyle stereotypes! 

Some Barbies have generated controversy. Most strongly, Tattoo Barbie!

On the other hand, Barbie made the 50th Anniversary of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Not too shabby!

So what? Barbie has become something of a litmus test for what is acceptable or not in terms of behaviors. Her swimsuit for the 'cover' was quite modest, by Swimsuit Issue standards. And disappointing for beach gawkers.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"Come and Stay With Me" - BOTB Results

The June 1 Battle of the Bands has come and went; time to pick up the pieces, and ignore hanging chads. It creeps me out doing it on the shadow of a gallows, though. Just kidding.

Anyway, the song, "Come and Stay With Me" featuring three female vocalists came up with the following results when all the ballots were counted:

Jackie DeShannon 15 votes 
Cher votes
Marianne Faithfull vote

Jackie DeShannon's rendition would have gotten my vote too. She was a prominent song writer from the 1960's, as well as having sung herself.

Thank you all for participating in this Battle of the Bands! Now check out the others:

 ‘TOSSING IT OUT’ by clicking HERE.
 ‘YOUR DAILY DOSE’ by clicking HERE.
 'MIKE'S RAMBLINGS' by clicking HERE.
 'CURIOUS AS A CATHY' by clicking HERE.
 'THE DOGLADY'S DEN' by clicking HERE.
 'ANGELS BARK' by clicking HERE.
 'J.A. SCOTT' by clicking HERE.
 'QUIET LAUGHTER' by clicking HERE

@ 'REINVINTAGED' by clicking HERE
@ 'EVIL POP TART' by clicking HERE.  

Monday, June 6, 2016

Twisted Translations of Foreign Phrases

We fall back on a lot of foreign phrases to supplement those used in English. But sometimes they can be misleading. Imagine these alternative meanings.

Pas de deux - Father of twins.
Honi soit qui mal y pense - I think I'm going to be sick
Objet d'arte - Bull's eye
Cave canem - Prehistoric dog
Summa cum laude - The summer thunderstorms are loud

Ciao - Italian dog food
Hors de combat - camp followers
Et tu, Brute? - Is that your cologne?
Con brio - Prison cheese
Paté de foie gras - Astroturf toupée

Pro rata - Licensed police informant
Coupe de grace - The bishop's car
Raison d'etre - A French breakfast food
More majorum - Pass the butter
À votre santé - A clean election

Götterdammerung - This damned ladder's rung is broken
In loco parentis - A mom and Pop store
Mon ami - My own cleaning powder
In Toto - Dorothy's dog recent meal
Merci beaucoup - A bloodless revolution.

Bonjour - A French pop group
Tour de force - Inspection of police department
Café au lait - Coffee for a successful matador
Faute de mieux - The cat did it
Laissez-faire - Summer reruns

Liederkranz - Take me to the Big Cheese
Rara avis - Unusual rental cars
Après moi, le deluge - Call me later, I'm swamped
Hic jacet - Gunnysack sports coat
Advocatus diaboli - I'll like more guacamole just for the hell of it

Cul de sac - An ice pack
Auf wiedershen mein herr - I'm losing my hair
Fond de lac - I like milk
A la carte - On the wagon
Hasta la vista - Hurry, get new scenery

Friday, June 3, 2016

Acanthonus Armata Antidefamation Society

The Acanthonus Armata Antidefamation Society (AAAS) has recently become the latest darling among the causes favored by celebrities.

After all, there is the empathy factor among the trendy progressives on the Left Coast seeking to affiliate with a new, sexy cause. And what better than to support the well-being of a fish that was not overly endowed with good looks? Well, the two West Coast Solutions, silicone and botox, would not suffice for this wretched fish; but, to make things worse, it was given an unfortunate and politically incorrect moniker: the bony-eared assfish! To compound the problem, it also has the smallest brain-to-body ratio among the vertebrates! The facile implication, is not only is it ugly, but also stupid! Oops! Possibly intellectually disabled.

Now it could be worse; it could be the bony-headed asswipe! Where was the sensitivity of its namer, ichthyologist Albert Günther when it came to naming this beaut back in 1878? Or was sensitivity invented in the 1990's, if I might butt in with a wild surmise? At least it wasn't discovered by an Englishman, who might have named it the bony-eared arsefish!

The cause of re-naming this unfortunate fish should be first taken up by Kim Kardashian, who has knowledge of matters of the derrière and her spouse. Jennifer Lopez could work behind the scenes to support this cause.  The two major Presidential hopefuls should also sign on to this cause, as should Congress and many of the East Coast journalists, if I may be utterly cheeky about this.

So there you have it. Ichthyologists need to get off their duffs and come up with a new name for Acanthonus that would be sensitive to the fish, broad-beamed Americans, and most college administrators.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

"Come And Stay With Me" - BOTB

Here's an oldie: "Come And Stay With Me." The original was done by Marianne Faithful in 1965; so it's over fifty years old! It has a nice beat and lyrics, in my opinion. Marianne Faithful was asked to record "As Tears Go By,"  by Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham. Later on, she recorded an album which made her a hitmaker in her own right. This song got a lot of radio play; reaching #4 in the U.K.

Shortly afterwards (1968), Jackie DeShannon, the original writer of the song, did her own version. It can be found in her Laurel Canyon album.

Jackie DeShannon wrote and performed a number of classics in her time; most notably, "What the World Needs Is Love. Born Sharon Lee Myers in Kentucky to a musical family, she was, in my opinion, the most underrated of the female song writers who also performed. Listen to her sing "The Weight."

Finally, Cher did a version around the same time frame as Marianne Faithfull and Jackie DeShannon. She is better known as half of the Sonny and Cher duo; and later as an actress.

So, with three versions of the same song, which of the artists did the best rendition?

Marianne Faithfull         _____
Jackie DeShannon         _____
Cher                              _____

Y'all cast your vote for your pick. (Chicago rules do not apply; only one vote per person, please.)

And check out these other Battle of the Band sites. You are certain to be delighted with many of the musical choices offered for this round.