Friday, December 29, 2017

A Demoralizing Form of Clickbait

Life can be hard at times; and most of us are not Home on the Range. We get discouraging words. Sometimes they're in the guise of what seems to be wise advice. But there's a cost. This so-called advice makes us question ourselves and doubt unnecessarily.

There's the point: There is a cheap and easy approach to writing an internet article: Compile an arbitrary list of things that people of a specific age (usually 30 or 40) should not wear or do. And be as bitchy as possible about it!

The moral for waste of time articles is: 'If it is bitchy, they will read it.'

Choices of women's clothes or accessories are often taken to task in these articles. Here's the usual suspects: yoga pants, miniskirts, bikinis, Uggs, F-M shoes, knee socks, scrunchies, large hoop earrings. and the like. Here's a representative list of fashion no-nos for women over thirty.  But guys are not immune: here's an article about what guys over 30 should not wear. These articles are simply subjective opinions; there is no hard and fast real life rule.

Well, guys: you might not emulate Johnny Depp in your sartorial choices.

But in general, I'll channel the Second Amendment purists on this one: They can take away my scrunchie when they pry it from my cold, dead hands.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Being a Psychology Major

It's time for a light-hearted look at being a psychology major. Yes, you can wind up with a real job. 

It's not for the faint-hearted, especially on the graduate level; nor is it a easy major. People misunderstand it. As a matter of fact, there is a shock for first-year psychology students when they find our what the total picture is about.

Please big it if some of the print is too small.

Likewise, psychological research is often misconstrued: (I have never used hypnosis, psychoanalysis, aversive shock treatment, or electroconvulsive therapy. Likewise, like most Millennials, I don't smoke.)

Be ready for a lot of statistics: analyses of variance, t-tests, chi- squares, and the like. Research psychologists love to crunch numbers. 

Still, there is sometimes some fun research that raises eyebrows. Here's one on playing footsie.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

For Veterans of the War on Christmas

Apparently, the War on Christmas as reported on Fox is subsiding for another year. It's time for the vets of this conflict to come home, have a parade down Main Street, and be awarded medals.

And, naturally, they can duly cite their service if they run for public office.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Getting Discovered in Nashville

Nashville has styled itself the Athens of the South; and even had built a concrete Parthenon to drive that point across. But it also advertises itself as Music City, being where a lot of country music comes from. It's not uncommon to see guys strut around in the downtown area wearing Stetson hats and carrying guitars. Don't inquire too closely; they might have come from Ohio or Iowa and occasionally slip into an accent that betrays their origins.

Anyway, Nashville is a pretty nice city, if you stay off the interstates passing through.

Bubba and Billy Bob went there once to hock some stuff they stole from a remand store; and they each were toting a guitar and looking weather beaten, having crossed the Cumberland Plateau and seriously in need of some cheap gas station coffee. No sissy high-end coffee for our guys, no siree! They were walking along the street when some tourists shot their pictures on big Nikon picture-taking gadgets, saying that those guys were the Real Deal: country singers coming to Music City to make it big time! Even better: the tourists tipped them!

So the little wheels go around in Bubba's haid and he thought, "Did we just stumble on an honest way of makin' money?"  

At this stage, our two heroes were not adverse to trying anything for scratch, even if it is sorta honest work. They're not that proud. So they hung out with the gals with painted torsos, the guys dressed as Eeyore or The Village People, and other photo-op ready people. They later even made a successful run at Times Square in Noo Yawk where the big buildings and fast talkers are. Be sure to tip these good ol' boys who are going to make it big in Music City, y'all!

Or Hollywood. They ain't proud. 

Anyway, with them the Real Deal Country type managed to get mixed up with the type intended for public consumption. But that's Nashville for you - Music City things stopped being really authentic in the late 1960's!  

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Democrats, Republicans, and Sex

A survey from reported that conservative Republicans have less sex than liberal Democrats, but that, when they do, it's more likely to result in females experiencing an orgasm.

A survey relied on 6,000 American singles reported on their political leanings and their sexual activities.

About 53% of Republicans said they had orgasms almost every time they had sex, compared to 40 percent of Democrats. Republicans also engaged in love-making less frequently than Democrats.

Why do these differences occur? I offer several possible hypotheses:

1.  Democrats lie.

2.  Republicans lie.

3.  Both Democrats and Republicans lie, but with different emphases.

4.  Given that more orgasms are clitoral, Republican women are more into DIY.

5.  Republican men, having wide experience with golf (a stereotypical Republican sport), learn better the intricacies of foreplay. 

5.  There is a water-bursting-through-the-dam factor to be weighed.  Those who have sex less often enjoy it more when they do.

6.  Republicans, having less experience, have easier standards to meet.

7.  Democrats are jaded by too much sex.

8.  Republicans try sex, and feel guilty because they enjoy it so much and it isn't golf.

The survey also revealed that the those in the differing political groups seek different traits in a partner.

What do liberal Democrats want? They place more importance on a sense of humor, independence, and someone whom they consider the equal and share a similar lifestyle to their own.

Republicans look for someone with the same background and political party and are more concerned with dating someone who's interested in marriage.

 But neither is 100% absolute in party homogeneity. Only 17% of men and 20% of women said they "must have" someone belonging to their party.

I see further questions about this, though. The inform
ation that I found from different sources refers to "conservative Republicans" and "liberal Democrats." These seem like Procrustean categories.  What about Blue Dog Democrats and RINOs? Does either group make love like bunnies and also have high rates of orgasms; or does the other group have sex rarely and also rarely experience it as orgasmic?  

So, for the fans of casual sex: if you want to do it often, find a Democrat; if you want to enjoy it more, find a Republican!

[I hope this doesn't offend sensibilities.  I realize that I am writing about two of the three no-no categories: politics and sex, but hopefully by mentioning dogs I made up for it.]

Obviously, a Southern Democrat.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

"Kiss Me" -- Sixpence None the Richer

"Kiss Me" was the breakthrough song by the alternative Christian rock group Sixpence None the Richer. It is a sweet song that hopefully will brighten your day.

Kiss me out of the bearded barley
Nightly, beside the green, green grass
Swing, swing, swing the spinning step
You'll wear those shoes and I will wear that dress
Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift you open hand
Strike up the band, and make the fireflies dance silvermoon's sparkling
So kiss me
Kiss me down by the broken tree house
Swing me, upon its hanging tire
Bring, bring, bring your flowered hat
We'll take the trail marked on your father's map
Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift you open hand
Strike up the band, and make the fireflies dance silvermoon's sparkling
So kiss me
kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift you open hand
Strike up the band, and make the fireflies dance silvermoon's sparkling
So kiss me
So kiss me
So kiss me
So kiss me

Monday, December 18, 2017

Late-Night Basketball

Years ago, we lived next door to a cute teen guy named Jeremy; and he was a subject of fascination for me, my sisters, and my brothers.

He would go out on Friday or Saturday nights; and obviously what he would then do would be beyond scrutiny by the kids next door. Still we wondered. But occasionally, he would come home and start to shoot baskets at the goal over the garage. This made him into an occasional nuisance because of the noise from the ball striking the backboard.

It seemed like a strange time for basketball; but no one has ever explained the doings of teen boys to me. I'm more predictable: 12 A.M. is beyond my bedtime.

So I have this problem with his shooting, much less his dribbling; a form of nocturnal activity not welcome to sleepyheads. And I would be irritable the next day. 

One day I overheard an exchange between my two brothers: "Jeremy played basketball last night; so he must not have gotten laid." They obviously found it all to be funny; but I could not understand why failures to make a lay up was a matter of long discussion, much less humor. I guess the "up" is not really necessary.  

Later on that day, my Tante Marie was visiting my Mama. I was playing nicely in the room, and listening.

Mama goes, "Goodness, Jeremy next door played basketball late last night. I felt like dozing off during the 11 o'clock mass! I don't know what's wrong with that boy playing basketball so late!"

So I say, "It's okay, Mama. Jeremy just didn't get laaa-id last night and he was practicing!"

Mama was concerned; and asked where I got that notion from. I said it was sumthin' my brothers were saying having to do with basketball.

So later on, I overheard her telling my brother about little pictures having big ears. I never saw any pictures with bunny ears or squirrel ears or even donkey ears.  Adults just don't make any sense at times! Or I don't notice things like I should . . . .

Friday, December 15, 2017

Some Quotations of Victor Hugo

Victor Marie Hugo (1802-1885) is considered one of the best Romantic writers in the nineteenth century. While Americans are most familiar with best-known works, Les Misérables and the Hunchback of Notre-Dame (Notre Dame de Paris), he wrote numerous others which qualified him for the French Academy. Additionally, he was involved in politics in opposition to Napoleon III. This led to his making himself an exile on the English Channel islands. 

There is nothing like a dream to create the future.

Short as life is, we can still make it shorter by the careless waste of time.

To rise from error to truth is rare and beautiful.

Strong and bitter words indicate a weak cause.

We see past time in a telescope and present time in a microscope. Hence the apparent enormities of the present.

It is from books that wise men derive consolation in the troubles of life.

To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.

As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled.

Pain is as diverse as man. One suffers as one can.

When a woman is talking to you, listen to what she says with her eyes.

To love beauty is to see light.

Initiative is doing the right thing without being told.

Life is the flower for which love is the honey.

What would be ugly in a garden constitutes beauty in a mountain.

Change your opinions; keep to your principles; change your leaves; leave intact your roots.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Judgmental Maps of Cities

What a concept! A book of city maps with snarky comments about various neighborhoods.  

There's a high probability of finding things to being offended with Judgmental Maps. Here's one of New Orleans; click it to enlarge. But there's a lot of funny too.

There are Judgmental Maps of other cities: Huntsville, Knoxville, Nashville, San Francisco, Washington, Austin.  Try your favorite place out.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Sisters Saying Good-Nights to Their Boyfriends

Advocates of curfews for teens often have complications to what should be a straightforward profess. Like take the situation in which parents have multiple teens; each with the same curfew.

A case history that comes to mind happened in the case of my poor Mama who had two teen daughters that could go out on weekend nights (and sometimes for special events), and a preteen daughter (moi) who would be also be going out down the road. The rule: 12 A.M. curfew. A bit strict, you might say.

Seriously, Mama did not want her two daughters to linger in their b.f.'s cars too long, as it might cause the neighbors undue entertainment from speculating on their morals! Nor did she want extended leave-taking on the porch which would provide post-Leno entertainment for the neighbors.

But, especially, she did not want post-evening tattling; as "Mama, Heather let Walter kiss her too long and feel her up last night." Seriously! Clearly, having two couples fondling each other on the porch at the same time was not a happy outcome.

So Mama, desperate, asked for advice. Not from the parish priest (what would an ostensibly celibate guy know about such affairs!), but to the ultimate source: Maw-Maw! Yes, her mother! 

Maw-Maw was straightforward: Extend the older girl's (Jessica's) curfew by 15 minutes. Senior rights. Now Heather did bitch a bit; but she did get 15 minutes of some privacy. Unless Jessica and her b.f. had a fight, which did happen!)

This argues for a proper spacing of daughters.

Friday, December 8, 2017

What Do You Think Is the Worst Popular Song Ever?

Listeners of popular music usually are vocal in their music preferences; and are quite willing to opine on what they consider to be the worst songs. 

I'll freely list a few of my choices; but this list is definitely open to additions as I unfortunately recover some memories. Here's a few:

My Humps

Cat's in the Cradle

We Built This City

Achy Breaky Heart

I'm Too Sexy

Stacy's Mom

Who Let the Dogs Out

My Heart Will Go On

Accidential Racist

. . . . and this one which I won't name but let you figure it out:

But what do think is the worst popular song ever? Surely you've encountered some really awful ones. Share! It's good for the soul!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Talking About Pregnancy

Euphemisms are mild or pleasant words that serve to soften the delivery of a more direct concept, such as 'passed away" instead of "died," "seeking new opportunities" or "made redundant" instead of "unemployed," "expecting" instead of "pregnant," and so forth. 

Now euphemisms have their skanky sisters as well: dysphemisms. Thus we can speak of people as having "bought the farm," "fired,"  "knocked up."  This is the province of the dysphemism. In these ungentle times dysphemisms seem to be on an upswing in usage. Sometimes they're used as cheap means for shocking others; sometimes they're naked expressions of aggression.

Sometimes dysphemisms are used to take someone down a peg, like "croaker" or "sawbones" for physician, "shrink" for psychiatrist or clinical psychologist, or "ambulance chaser" for lawyer. We can also throw in such terms for intellectual disability: "moron," "imbecile," and "idiot," which used to be technical terms.

But let's confine ourselves to how refer to being pregnant. For a completely natural (and sometimes enjoyable) state humans with a way with words find many ways of talking around it. To be honest, it is considered gauche* to ask someone is pregnant because she might not be, or has not formally announced this to all and sundry.

(There is a certain protocol to be observed: parents, grandparents, and in-laws first; then close friends; before co-workers or casual acquaintances.)

Still, it's unsettling that so many people find it necessary to resort to euphemisms: like they treat it as a shameful state not to be mentioned in polite company

Anyway, here's a number of substitute terms, ranging from euphemisms to dysphemisms:

In a delicate condition -- This term suggests: treat me like a princess! This is so cute and Victorian! Still, I'd rather be seen in a delicate condition than some of the others.

Expecting -- Unless you're talking to high school seniors, this does not mean she's expecting letters of admission to colleges!

Pregnant -- Being forthright and honest goes a long way. Let's face it: no need to pretend how this happened!

In an interesting condition -- She's pregnant; but with some problems. Like not being married, being over age 40 and thus at risk for having a baby with Down's syndrome, having an absent spouse, or other possible story line.

Having a bun in the oven -- Cutesy; used only by maiden aunts. Put cinnamon and sugar on mine.

With child -- Sort of blunt; like she picked up a disease or something. 

Being late -- Sort of like the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland?

In a family way -- I don't like this one simply because it denigrates the couple as less than a full family until baby comes along.

Preggers -- Pardon me while I twroh up in de garbage can!

Knocked up -- Now this dysphemism implies that the pregnancy was unplanned, unwanted, and burdened with societal disapproval! Never mind the baby was planned, desired, and the couple achieved all the criteria for couplehood!

Successfully screwed -- OMFG!

But I think that a lot of the diffidence governing how pregnancy is due to people reflecting on how it came about. So, because that happened to me, I'll say simply that I was successfully laid and enjoyed every minute of it!

*Seeing that I'm left-handed, you might linguistically expect a certain amount of gauchery from me!

Friday, December 1, 2017

Christmas Decorations

There's the perennial conflict between the Apollonian and Dionysian tendencies in humans; to champion rational thinking and order; or to celebrate extravagance and disorder. We can even see how this might impact our communal interactions and expressions.

Take those potential sources of neighborhood discord: H.O.A. rules. Some neighborhoods might have specific rules as to how their houses might be colored, what kinds of lawns or plantings may or may not be planted, and so forth.

No, I'm not talking about restrictions regarding growing a crop of marijuana on the front lawn; I'm talking about a requirement that it be a grass lawn and not ground cover or sand.

[No! No Zen garden in your front lawn; not yours.]

Even apartment owners get into the act; with rules about how renters can decorate their rented abodes. Ow!

This is one of the reasons why people love Christmas decorations: It's a reaction against the everyday conventions that restrict us like a bra two sizes too small!

If you want a blue Santa moose, go for it, Baby! Likewise, outline the roof, windows, sides of the house, and even trees with colorful lights! Have some inflated figures; but keep in mind that they typically lose air overnight as it gets cooler. [Something the heavy lifters in physics can explain, I guess.] So maybe your Christmas Dog sporting a stiffie is not a good long-range plan. Plus the N.O.P.D. might get on your case!

Speaking of the N.O.P.D., if you're an Orleanian with a heavily decorated house and lawn that people consider a destination when it's time to take Maw-Maw to see the lights, it's good form to hire an off-duty N.O.P.D. officer to help direct traffic. And ply him with cocoa or coffee, laced or not.

Now there are some kill-joy H.O.A.s that have time restraints regarding how long seasonal decorations can remain in place. Old M. Raoul Bourgeois had his own opinion about those rules.

So he put up his Christmas light string as soon as Advent rolled around. All the joyous holiday colors of the Christmastime palette. The neighborhood was charmed.

After Jan. 1, before the time ran out on Epiphany, he switched many of the colored bulbs for red, white, and blue lights: all the better for celebrating Andy Jackson's victory at New Orleans (Jan. 8th).

Come late January, the lights were again switched. This time to a green, purple, and gold scheme. Mardi Gras Colors.

In March, the purple bulbs were replaced with orange ones and the gold ones with white while the green bulbs remained in place for St. Patrick's Day.

Come March 18, Raoul quickly replaced the orange bulbs with red ones for St. Joseph's Day. This color scheme also tided the Bourgeoises through Cinco de Mayo!

And so to red, white, and blue for Flag Day and the Fourth of July.

Naturally M. Bourgeois was going to a lot of extra trouble. But he couldn't help it; he found confounding the H.O.A. to be very reinforcing. Plus it was good exercise.

As did a small following of his irreverent neighbors.

So there's more than one was to skin a H.O.A. cat.