Monday, December 30, 2013

Pets des Nonnes

These are a tasty fritter commonly called nun's farts. They're called beignets in Louisiana. The recipe makes about 40.

6 tablespoons of butter
2 teaspoon sugar
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
4 eggs
1 cup of flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon rum or bourbon, dark;

Oil; for deep-frying
Sugar, confectioners

Put the butter, sugar, salt, and lemon rind together with 1 cup water in a saucepan and warm it all slowly to a boil. When the butter has completely melted, remove the pan from the heat. While the pan is heating, break each of the eggs into a separate custard cup or similar small dish and have these ready. When the pan is removed from the heat, add all the flour at once, stirring, first carefully, then, when the flour is absorbed, vigorously with a wooden spoon.

When you have a thick paste, turn the heat to medium high and put the pan back on it. Cook this mixture for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring constantly and scraping the sides and bottom, until the batter clings together in a solid mass, leaving the bottom and sides of the pan clean, and has a glossy appearance. Turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove.


Beat in the vanilla, and the rum or bourbon if used, giving the batter a chance to cool a little. When it has done so, make a well in its center, pour in 1 egg, and beat this into the mass. When the booze is incorporated, beat in another egg and proceed until all the eggs are used. The resulting pastry should be flexible and soft, firm enough to hold its shape and not at all runny. Set it aside and let it rest for about 45 minutes, or for the duration of supper.

When ready to make the pets des nonnes, fill a deep skillet or deep-fat fryer about two-thirds full of oil and heat to 360 degrees.F (not too hot, or the exteriors will brown before the center is cooked). If you are using a deep-fat fryer, do not use the basket, but a slotted spoon or wire mesh skimmer instead. Drop the batter into the hot oil a teaspoonful at a time, dipping the spoon into the oil after each scoop. Don't overcrowd the pan, since they puff up to about four times their original size. Nudge them to roll over, so that they color evenly on all sides. When golden brown, drain on paper towels and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar. Serve hot.


The story of how these pastries got their name is that they were accidentally discovered in a French convent in earlier times. A young nun, working in the kitchen, accidentally farted and dropped the piece of dough she was handling into a pot of hot oil. The dough fried; and an old nun fished it out and tasted it. She found it delightful.


Ever since then these are referred to as 'nuns' farts, or pets des nonnes.



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Hang Loose

A weekend is a gift that should not be taken for granted.  It's a time to charge one's batteries and just discover your rhythms anew.  The girl in the picture offers both advice and a good wish with the shaka sign: hang loose.

"Hang loose" is an expression that apparently originated in Hawaii and in California among the surfers; but strangely took hold in Southern Louisiana sometime in the past as well.  It's a quirk of linguistic adoption: you don't ordinarily think of surfer dudes and Cajuns doing something alike, but it happens.

Hang loose means, roughly, take it easy.  Let life flow, relax.  Open a Coke or beer or something.  Beaches and coastal cheniers are so lovely because the offer blue horizons and the gentle undulating of the waves or the roaring of the surf.  In both cases their periodicy induces relaxation and a tranquil frame of mind.  There are no rules to hanging loose: you get to find your own mini-nirvana.

This is a time for a mini-vacation.  It's time well-spent for your spiritual good.



Giving the hang loose (shaka) sign.

 
 
The Shaka sign consists of extending the thumb and little finger pointing outward and your palm upward.  When you have reconnected with your tranquility, some stretching or yoga exercises can be enjoyed.  Or maybe just another beer.  Screw your cares . . . .

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Having a Memorable Hissy Fit

A hissy fit is more or less defined as a temper tantrum over something trivial.  Apparently, this term is used primarily in the South, and is most often thought of as a feminine excess.  Unfortunately, as males have been able to have their equivalent while flying under the radar and their emotional display not be labeled a "hissy fit."

I did a little internet into hissy fits, and mostly it is of the definitional type.  However, Wikihow does give some pointers on how to have a good hissy fit:

http://www.wikihow.com/Throw-a-Good-Hissy-Fit

In my opinion, this was just a bare framework, hardly sufficient for its purposes.  It's obvious that the writer did not put a lot of work into it.  Having a good hissy fit is a social art in itself, don't let me kid you!

So here are some working points:

1.  Find some issue to get emotionally labile about.  It doesn't have to be trivial; anyway, "trivial" is strictly in the eyes of one person only.

2.  Start off slow . . . . but start to hyperventilate.  This might cause reddening of the cheeks or a feeling of dizziness.

3.  Start off with your voice low, and gradually increase its volume.

4.  Changing the octave of your voice is particularly effective, especially if it increases a notch or two or three!

5.  Cuss.  But in a lady-like way.

6.  Throw small objects.  It's even more effective if they're breakable.  Throwing your shoes carries a particularly dramatic touch.  Your bra, not so much.

7.  Flounce out of the room.  Note -- It is a good idea to practice your flouncing to prefect its expression.  There's nothing less effective than a lame flouncing out of the room.

8.  Give your audience a little time to think that the storm is over, then blow back into the room.

9.  Be really loud.  Babble.

10.  Throw yourself on the floor and kick wildly.

11.  Feign a faint.

12.  Pay attention to your audience.  It is important to keep them surprised and off balance.

Having a hissy fit can be an art form.  It is well-worth perfecting.  Guys can have them too.  As a matter of fact, some are jedi masters at hissy fits:



Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

Best wishes for a Merry Christmas full of peace and love.



Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Des Moines

The origins of the name of the Iowa city Des Moines has an amusing set of origins. The city, of course, was once named Fort Des Moines because of being on the Des Moines River. That place name was in turn based on a Native American term. When Pere Marquette and Louis Joliet explored the upper part of the Mississippi, a tribal leader of the Peorias told them that the tribe living in that area (their rivals) was named the Moingoana, which became the root of Des Moines.

But it turns out that Moingoana was really the Peoria word for "shitfaces," according to cunning linguists Michael McCafferty and David Costa. Perhaps the Peoria tribal leader was pulling Marquette and Joilet's Gallic jambes; or he was taking a gratuitous shot at a rival tribe.

Possibly this suggests a more ancient origin to the concept “shit-faced drunk,” although the earliest documented usage of that expression dates from the 1950s.  It would be helpful if we had some insight into that tribe's penchant for alcohol.  Or Des Moines citizens'.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Foreplay

 
I must admit that I'm in favor of sex education.  But, in my opinion, the present-day approaches are more oriented toward birth control and family planning -- treating it like it's something dirty and embarassing.  It's almost as if there's an assumption that teens and unmarried persons will do it; but we just don't want any bébés to result from them doing this dirty deed!  In that way, they are very similar in outlook to the moralistic, religious opponents of sex-ed.
 
It seems to me that there should also be instruction on how to make it more enjoyable!   What a fantastic idea!  Surely even the most benighted educators and legislatures have encountered that possibility.  Why not instruction in how to perform foreplay better?   Or, how about considering some noncoital forms of sex?
 
I mean, the average Catholic girl picks these up from other girls' talking about their experiences.  Are the people who design curricula that dense or inexperienced that they cannot find information of this type properly?  Apparently, some guys could use some pointers, like our politicians.  But holders of Ed.Ds should know how to do the rudiments of basic research!  They need to do it, and put it in their curricula!

 
 
 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Fashion Advice for Textbook Salespeople

I confess that I was a textbook company representative for a brief period.  I wish I had done something wild and reportable, instead.  Nevertheless, it was a source of money when I seriously needed it.  I spent each day, into the evening, calling at professors' offices.  And I picked up some pointers in the meantime:

1.  Don't wear pink unless you're Reese Witherspoon.
2.  Beanies with propellers are so 1930's, and a guy thing -- wear them not. 
3.  Plaid sports jackets are for Sports Central, not for textbook selling calls.
4.  If wearing a décollété sundress, have sufficient décolletage so that there's no doubt that you're a woman; but sufficient modesty that there's also no doubt that you're a lady.
5.  Drindle is risky, unless you work part-time in a bierhaus.  Make mine Lowenbrau.
6.  Your choice of footwear should not suggest that you moonlight as a dominatrix.
7.  Pastel colors are okay only if you're Hello Kitty. 
8.  A purse with a kitty cat on it does not go with a business suit.
9.  Shorts and halters are okay in Southern California, but not elsewhere; and only if you are calling at University of California for Strippers.
10.  Miniskirts are generally not a good idea, as many profs are women who won't approve and a small percent who would too readily approve.
11.  Adopt neither Lindsay Lohan or Avril Lavigne as your fashion examplar.
12.  Don't wear open toed shoes.
13.  Don't wear heels above 2 inches; you might have to run the 440 to get across the campus.
14.  Don't wear sports jerseys when making business calls, especially if they are for rival teams.
15. Don't ever wear an Ole Miss jersey or sweat shirt while calling on clients: people might think you're admitting to advanced age for sympathy purposes.
16.  Flip-flops are risky footwear unless you plan to shower with the client.
17.  White shoes should not be worn after Labor Day.
18.  Bowling shoes should not be worn, except in New Jersey.
19.  Don't wear hoodies unless you're a vendor in the 'hood.
20.  Don't accessorize with sporks on a chain, even if silver plated.
21.  Berets are allowable only if calling on clients in liberal arts colleges.
22.  Wearing a trout for a tie is permissible in Minnesota.
23.  T-shirts and cargo pants make you look like a used textbook buyer.
24.  Wear hose, not gym socks, unless selling P.E. texts.
25.  Don't wear anything that makes dogs or Deans sick. 
26.  Only Babar the Elephant can wear a suit with a becoming shade of lime green. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Cruise from Hell

A few months ago, there was a flurry of news items about the plight of the Carnival Triumph, a ship which due to power failures was uncooled, unable to move, and had nonfunctional toilets.  And cold food from the buffet.  It was variously styled the Poop Cruise or the Cruise from Hell.

Anyway, the ship had to be towed back to the U.S., before docking in Mobile.  A further indignity for many passengers.

It was a hot, miserable experience for the passengers.  I wonder why they had to sail back all the way back to the U.S.A.   Couldn't they land at some nearby port and charter flights for the passengers back home?

But, like other nautical misadventurous smaller than the Titantic class, this faded from public consciousness due to other, more current news.

But how did a cruise of this type affect the passengers?  I suspect that some might have sworn off sailing forever; but there would be others who might have seen it as a "unique experience," one to provide a topic of conversation in the future.  After all, humans do enjoy reliving past experiences; and their memories of adverse ones are sometimes softened with time, provided  they are not too traumatic.  They may come to see it as a test that they passed.

And, who knows, maybe there will be Cruise from Hell reunions in the future.  As a matter of fact, a canny cruise company might employ that for one of its currently popular theme cruises.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Well-Endowed Organist

St. Cletus Church had a well-endowed organist named Reneé.  Although she dressed properly on Sunday, her movements in playing the organ caused a distracting jiggle in them accompanied by an embarrassing nipple erection.  The men of the parish in particular found this attention-drawing.

The ladies of the Altar Society were appalled at this unseemly display.  They didn't know what to do, so they asked the Prophetess Madeline to intervene in her role as a traiteur.

When told, Reneé was mortified at this state of affairs.  Although she did always wear a bra, when the spirited moved her as she played the organ, she still showed.  Reneé did not want to undergo breast reduction surgery; feeling it was ungrateful to the LORD to do so and besides her boyfriend liked her that way.  The Prophetess agreed: whatever size boobs you got was part of God's cosmic plan.

So Madeline, the Prophetess, suggested an alternative approach: that Reneé try rubbing her breasts with green persimmon juice; that sour juice would cause them to pucker and they would become less noticeable.  She also told Reneé not to taste the green persimmons, as they would make her talk funny.

And it worked.  The next Sunday, her breasts minded their manners while she played the organ. 

But then, at the time it was to do the sermon, the priest said,  "Dew to thircumthanthis bewond my contwol, we will not have a sewmon today!"



Thursday, December 5, 2013

My Brief and Inglorious Career as a Model

"You too can be a model!  Travel!  Meet exciting people!  Excellent hours!  Great drug plan!"

Well, maybe not the latter . . . .

Anyway, on a whim, I answered the ad by telephone, gave them some particulars, and emailed some facial shots to see what came of it.

I got a call, amazingly enough.  But in the meantime I had mentally set some limitations on what or how I would model.  Nothing nude, topless, or thongy. Nothing involving too much exposure.  No boudoir shots.  Only something in good taste.

I would not be a "before" in a weight loss ad. Oh, pleeze! The indignity of it all!  I'm slightly underweight.

Okay, I submitted to some test shots while wearing a bare midriff outfit. I thought, "Is the retro look coming back in swim suits?" The photographer asked me to clutch my stomach and give a pained look. I gave my four-star, pained, pouty Angélique-is-unhappy look that would prompt a statement from the National Weather Service.

And I finally found out what I was to be a model in.

An antiacid commercial.


I will not be be on-line or visiting any web sites for about a week or ten days.  I'm taking a vacation/family visit.  Anyway, I'm less satisfied with what I've posted lately, and I hope to get some inspiration.  I'll catch up on yours when I return.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Clever Hans

Here's a story of a German horse who was reputed to be able to perform mathematics and other tasks.  He became an animal celebrity, much like Wishbone the dog became one in more recent times.  (But Wishbone had a cuter wardrobe.)

Herr Wilhelm von Osten, a mathematics teacher, was Hans's owner.  With training, and over time, he began to think that Hans could count, solve simple mathematics problems, and solve some thought problems.  Proud of his horse, von Osten put him on exhibit.

Was this an extraordinarily gifted horse, or was it a fraud by von Osten?  Because of the commotion Hans's unexpected abilities caused and because of the the possibility that horses could, on some level, think, some investigators from the prestigious University of Berlin led by psychologist Carl Stumpf looked into why this horse, now named Clever Hans, could do so well.  As a matter of fact, he clomped out his answer with his hoof correctly about 89% of the time when quizzed by his owner/handler.

Of course, one possible thing to look into was fraud; namely, Hans's owner was giving him signals to control his counting or problem-solving performance.  The investigators tried this out by substituting someone else doing the questioning instead of Wilhelm von Osten.  However, Clever Hans did just about as well when von Osten was not visible.

Finally, a graduate student in psychology, Oskar Pfungst, came up with the real reason for Hans's exceptional performances: the human asking the questions was unwittingly providing facial or postural cues that the horse picked up.  For example, suppose the questioner asked Clever Hans how much was 3 + 6?  Hans would dutifully stamp his hoof slowly while watching the questioner.  When Hans had performed the ninth hoof stamp, the questioner might raise his head, change his facial expression, or do something else.

Interestingly, Clever Hans came up with the correct answer about 89% of the time when the questioner, whether it was von Osten or someone else knew the answer.  If the questioner did not, then Hans was right only 6% of the time.

Therefore, Oskar Pfungst concluded that Clever Hans was clever in his detection of subtle nuances of humans' behavior, although he could not do sums or solve simple thought problems.

Is this a matter of horse sense?  Non-human creatures of several species can detect meaning in behaviors emitted by a completely different species.  Dogs, of course, come to mind.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clever_Hans



Sunday, December 1, 2013

Outmatched Football Games

I'm going to wade into perilous waters with this one; but here's my opinion, anyway.

College football teams have settled into a twelve-game ordinary season; with the SEC having a playoff between the top-ranked teams in the West and East.  Additionally, there's a lot of off-brand bowl games out there, in which  December and early January has these bowls such as the Diet Coke Bowl, the Viagra Bowl, the Daily Star Bowl, and a lot of other occasions to fill up television time and allow also-ran teams to boast that they went to a bowl.

But, the problem, as I see it, is that it is very hard for a university to schedule twelve games with seriously competitive opponents.  So we get such travesties as Alabama playing Tennessee at Chattanooga, Florida State playing Idaho, North Carolina playing Old Dominion, and a few other of these easy wins.

But none of those matched when Georgia Tech destroyed Cumberland College, 222-0!  Thats right: 222-0!  It seems to be that sportsmanship and good taste would have prevailed earlier, and not let the game get that much out of hand.

As a matter of fact, they usually result in the ranked team crushing the opponent.

Is there a point in which that it too much?

In some states, high school sports have a "mercy rule."  It provides that the game can end if one of the teams has at least a 50-point margin by halftime.

Or, two teams can agree to shortened quarters, as North Carolina and Old Dominion recently agreed to play a ten-minute fourth quarter.

Or, both teams can agree to a continuous running of the clock, as in 1988 Auburn and Kansas did when Auburn was leading 49-0 at halftime.  The game ended, 56-7.

Finally, the leading team can play only the bench-warmers.



Shakespeare put it beautifully:

“The quality of mercy is not strained.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest. It becomes
The thronèd monarch better than his crown.
His scepter shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings,
But mercy is above this sceptered sway.
It is enthronèd in the hearts of kings.

It is an attribute to God himself."


In my opinion, there should be some mercy rule when those kinds of margins occur.  The football stadium should not be the Colosseum.





Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

 
Happy Thanksgiving, Dear Readers!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Lucky Dog Guy and Crazy Chester as Professors


It's a open secret that, for many colleges and universities, more than half of the courses are taught by graduate students and part-time adjunct faculty.  These are hired as needs arise.  They are generally paid poorly (say, $2000 or $2500 a class), and are given no fringe benefits.  Some unfortunates make a living by teaching multiple classes, often with a teaching load exceeding that of the full-time professors.  This article explains.

Now it just happened that one of the New Orleans universities needed to fill in two classes in philosophy with temp instructors due to overenrollment.  Now, why did this happen, you might ask?  The reason is simple.  University students with any degree of word fluency and bullshit ability can usually come up with credible  "A" garnering answers on exams.  For them, it serves as a possible display of this useful social trait, b.s.-ing.

For example, consider the question, "Is Hell endothermic or exothermic"?  An enterprising student answered thusly.

Anyway, getting back to the story at hand, the Chair of the Philosophy Department decided to put off his search by taking a little R and R in the French Quarter.  There, on Bourbon Street, he encountered the Lucky Dog Guy, selling hot dogs, and Crazy Chester, hanging out and taking bets on horses, and thought: "Screw it.  I'll just hire these two to teach those classes.  They both can B.S.; the typical philosophy major or instructor won't know the difference."

Chester's compadre, the Prophetess, was preaching nearby to the dissolute to mend their ways.  The Chair gave her the number for the Head of the Theology Department.  After all, why not make it easier for a pal?  Maybe, with a little makeover and more conventional clothing, she could pass as a part-time theology instructor?

So Professor Crazy Chester taught a course in Metaphysics, while the Lucky Dog Guy taught Symbolic Logic.  The L.D.G. also sold hot dogs on the side.  It was not until the end of the term that the campus food service got wind of his bootlegging hotdogs!  Crazy Chester made some extra cash on the side taking bets from C and D symbolic logic students.

By the was, both got the highest ratings on the "Rate Your Professor" site for the department.  And, with only a bit of exaggeration, that is how some institutions hire part-time instructors.




Monday, November 25, 2013

Perceptions of Locus of Women's Academic Performance

While doing internet-based research, I stumbled on this curious article:
http://www.prweb.com/releases/2006/2/prweb349458.htm

Basically, respondents provided photos and self-reports to WhatsMyImage.com. Then perfect strangers made guesses about certain aspects of their lives, such as academic performance, sexual experience and others.

Women and men were perceived to be about as smart. An interesting finding, however, was a statistically significant correlation between female bra size and perceived GPA. On average, these strangers guessed that "A-cup" students earned GPAs that were about 0.1 points higher than "B-cup" or "C-cup" students, and 0.3 points higher than those with "D-cup" students.  That's almost a third of a letter grade!

Some cautions in interpretation should be exercised here:

1. These data are correlative, and do not necessarily imply a causal linkage.
2. If there happens to be a causal linkage, in what direction does it go? Does being dumb give you bigger breasts in turn, or do bigger breasts make you less smart?

3. Could the phenomenon of many women getting breast augmentation surgery provide "noise" contanimating the results? Specifically, could those who chose to have breast enhancement surgery are also more likely to be poorer students because their interests are elsewhere?

4. Obviously, and very importantly, this result is based on peoples' opinions affected by limited data that they were provided in WhatsMyImage.com. The problem with human perceptions is that they are not always accurate. Indeed, these may reflect inaccurate stereotypes and there may not be any relationship between bra size and Grade Point Average.

5.  However, we may be able to mention an advantage to having small breasts besides wearing a bra being optional and not having to worry about loss of perkiness: people tend to think you're smarter!

With bonus décollété ministry.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Why Some Hoaxes Catch On

In the absence of facts, people are open to some strange beliefs or misinformation.

As odd as it might sound, there are the recurrent stories that predict the eventual extinction of blondes or redheads.  As a matter of fact, one of these was BBC_News, which predicted that blondes would be extinct in 200 years, with the last natural blonde being born in Finland.  Probably, this was due to some people not really understanding the persistence of recessive characters over extended numbers of generations.

Fairly recently, a news item came out that said that the North Dakota legislature recently enacted a ban on string  underwear.  The sources for this did not specify whether it was only thongs that were banned; or were string bikinis also included.  Now, I assume that North Dakotan women (or guys, for that matter) are not often purchasers of such insubstantial lingerie; and that seemed to be a very unlikely place for this to be seen as a problem, much one requiring a legislative remedy.*  It is true that several specific states, even Florida, have ordinances forbidding the wearing of thong swimwear; but nowhere does this apply to undies.  [There was at least one school forbidding said garments by girls, together with an inspection of contraband[!]; and, as usual, the school managed to look petty in doing so.]

Anyway, most people know nothing of North Dakota, other than it's a red state, fairly religious and Republican, underpopulated, and numbingly cold!  In the absence of facts, red herrings can be found on occasion.  This was apparently an April Fool's joke set up early.

There was an old story of a cemetery in Montana where a tombstone had an ATM built in.  Said device had been placed there by the deceased to guarantee that family members would visit his grave to be able to withdraw $300 per visit.  Not true; but a nice story.

In my opinion, in order for a hoax to be successful, it must be on a limited bed of facts; and there must be a willingness on the part of some people to believe outlandish stories that emerge from those places.  Let's face it: states like Montana and Idaho rarely make the national news, which emphasizes the two coasts and Chicago.  And, if you take some esoterica out of context and broadly extend its meaning, you can get the groundwork for a good hoax.

Here's a possible example.  A college in Iowa stages Lysistrata, a play in which sometimes the male chorus may wear leather phalluses.  The story gets extended: Phallic worship and rituals are widely practiced in the Hawkeye State!  Nope, any more than eccentric farmers erect baseball stadia in cornfields.

But if the story is juicy, so much the better for it to take hold in the popular imagination!

Sometimes there are unexplained events, like overlarge footprints found in a swamp.  This can lead to the rumor of the Honey Island Swamp Monster!

Obviously, we can also infer that, in the absence of widespread knowledge of early French and Medieval history, books like Holy Blood, Holy Grail might catch on, and spawn novels as well.

And, sometimes, the unexpected surprise comes true, as in the case of the coelacanth.

*Just to be safe, I might purchase several pairs of granny panties if I ever visit North Dakota, not wishing to be apprehended by the Underwear Squad and having a rap sheet that includes wearing bikini underwear!
 
Not a thong; but a lovely pattern and trim.




Thursday, November 21, 2013

The Heart of Darkness

The Heart of Darkness was a famous novella by Joseph Conrad.  It raises some disturbing questions about human nature and relationships.  In it, Kurtz, originally intending to do good in the Congo, becomes cruel and monsterous in his treatment of the natives.  He ultimately dies; and his final words are "The horror!  The horror!"  Years later, they made it into a movie entitled "Apocalypse Now," starring Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen.
 
Neither the book nor the movie are exactly light-hearted, if you know what I mean.  And I suspect that the location of this heart of darkness in Conrad's book was internal in Kurtz, rather than geographical.
 
John Kennedy Toole wrote his outrageous comic novel A Confederacy of Dunces in the 1960's.  In this work, the protagonist Ignatius O'Reilly described his going to Baton Rouge as going into the Heart of Darkness.  Someone stole his hat with the ear flaps on that trip, which convinced him of the perils of travel to dangerous places.  Actually, Baton Rouge is a pretty nice city with more to offer than Alexandria or Shreveport or Monroe.  
 
But I think that The Heart of Darkness is potentially different for everyone.  I see it as Washington or L.A.  Where do you place yours? 

 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Buttocks Décolletage

Buttocks décolletage refers to a fashion in which the person deliberately wears her jeans or other clothing short or low enough to expose the upper part of the nether cheeks and crack.  This can occasionally be done either by males or females; and usually the person provides this exposure deliberately.  However, some plumbers may not be so aware.  The general consensus of buttocks décolletage is to tolerate it if done by plumbers, as this is should be considered an occupational perequisite.

Usage example: "The dress Wendy tried on allowed too much buttocks décolletage, even for the Gulf Coast beach hangouts."

On the other hand, there is a Biblical argument in favor of buttocks décolletage:  "Turn the other cheek."  I'm sure that this would be persuasive to preachers in the western part of North Carolina where such sights are not unheard of.

However, a few communities have passed ordinances against young men wearing their pants so low as to display their undies.  The thrust of these ordinances seems to be more esthetically- rather than modesty-driven, as the undershorts cover the nether parts in question.  I wonder if this is a peculiar form of sex discrimination directed towards males.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Science of One-Night Stands

I think that it's no surprise that beginning a budding relationship with going to bed on the first occasion is not an effective strategy for long-term mating (i.e., one that is marked by a marriage ceremony eventually), although some may regard this as a short-term mating strategy to be selectively used.

Years ago, a group of researchers from Florida found, to nobody's surprise, that men were less selective than women.  Young men and women were asked to approach people that they considered attractive enough to mate with and ask them (a) for a date; (b) to visit the asker's apartment; or (c) to mate with.  Only 3% of women agreed to the apartment visit; and none agreed to have sex.  The men respondents, on  the other hand, agreed to have sex with 75% of the women invitees, no matter their perceived attractiveness.

Reading further into what's available about one-night stands, two different reports indicated that Australian women or Norwegian women were most likely to have one-night stands. 

Researcher Anne Campbell of Durham University found that among 3,300 respondents between the ages of 17 and 40, more than half reported a one-night stand, about evenly split between men and women. Overall women's morning-after feelings were more negative than men's. While 80 percent of men had overall positive feelings, just 54 percent of women had positive feelings.
 
Women predominantly reported "regret at being used," with additional comments including: "I felt cheap," "horrified afterward," and "I felt degraded. Made myself look cheap and easy."  Apparently, they did not take into account the fact that guys' standards drop dramatically when it comes to an opportunity for easy sex.

In general, women are not well-adapted to a short-term mating strategy.  However, they might be more disposed to this during the peak of their menstrual cycles.  In general, they have too much more to lose.

[Pro tip: if you're unmarried and don't want a bambino, better stay home than go out looking to meet guys with this approach.  Or, even better, follow the old-fashioned Baseball Rule: second base only after the fifth occasion, etc.]

My point is that there are some bona fide reasons for the courtship rituals, whatever form they might take from culture to culture.  They allow for a couple to sort out whether or not they want a long-term relationship, or whether they're just responding to hormones.  It may be useful, too, for a graduated increase in the type and tempo of affections to serve to the man that his attempts are well-received, and that he is not just simply spinning his wheels.


Now after my pontificating, a little joke:

 John took his blind date to the carnival. "What would you like to do first, Kim?" asked the man. 

"I want to get weighed," said the girl.

They ambled over to the weight guesser. He guessed 120 pounds. She got on the scale; it read 117 and she won a prize.

Next the couple  went on the ferris wheel. When the ride was over, John again asked  Kim what she would like to do.

"I want to get weighed," she said.

Back to the weight guesser they went. Since they had been there before, he guessed her correct weight, and John lost his dollar.

The  couple walked around the carnival and again he asked where to next.

 "I want to get weighed," she responded. By this time, John figured she was really weird and took her home early, dropping her off with a handshake.

Her roommate, Laura, asked her about the blind date, "How'd it go?"

Kim responded, "Oh, Waura, it was wousy."





Friday, November 15, 2013

Melinda Learns to Tell the Real from the Fake

While Cowgirl Melinda was having coffee with some other girls (women, if you prefer), one of the group made a comment regarding someone at another table:  "Will you look at her; surely she has fake [breasts].*

Immediately, some others in the group joined in with their appraisals; pretty well in agreement with the first comment.  This confused our girl, who was totally clueless as to how they derived their conclusions.

So, in total naiveity, she asked.  And got several plausible reasons.

1.  The other girl had outsized breasts that seemed larger in proportion to her slim body;

2.  She was wearing form-fitting clothes;

3.  Her breasts were "too perfect:" they were cantaloupe-shaped rather than pear-shaped.

4.  They were positioned relatively high on her chest.

Melinda then queried, "Why don't you ask her if they're real or store-bought?"  And immediately became aware of the fallacy of that approach.

Later on, while back in the bunkhouse, Cowgirl Melinda decided to test that hypothesis.  Taking off her denim jacket and Western shirt, she donned a baby tee.  And checked herself over.

"Those bitches don't know what they're talking about," Melinda exclaimed!"

Smitty, who happened in at that moment, asked, "What bitches?"

"Oh, just the usual loudmouthed variety."

"You must have been in Ten Sleep today, Melinda."



*My substitution for the dysphemism that was actually used, which Cowgirl Melinda would never use.





Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Stuff in the Newspapers

When the Times-Picyaune was full strength years ago, some of the devout would post an ad in the personal section of the paper that would thank some saint for a supposed blessing:

"Thanks to St. Jude for favor granted."

"Thanks to St. Rose of Lima, St. Anthony, and the Infant of Prague for curing Mama from her illness.

"Thanks for answering my prayers, St. Thomas."

"Thanks to St. Joseph for helping sell my house."

"To St. Anthony, St. Expedite and St. Jude, I ask for forgiveness and Thank you for answering my request. I pray that you will always be with me. Your Humble Servant. G.T."

And others.  These were interspersed with the usual ones:

"I am applying for clemency."

"I am no longer responsible for any debts other than my own."

"I am applying for a license as a public notary."

"I am applying for divorce from that unfaithful hussy Mary Beth ______.  Second notice."  Apparently, this is a sad counterpart to the banns of marriage listed in church bulletins.

Anyway, thanking the saints still occurs; but less often.  Apparently, the Heavenly Throng has moved on to the Baton Rouge Advocate or even the Washington Post.

http://classifieds.nola.com/Merch?cur_cat=6872&orig_cat=&orig_prop=nola.com&property=nola.com&temp_type=browse&category=results&tp=ME_nola&classification=Notices and Announcements&ads_per_page=50&orderby=feature_value(featured_listing):nl,date_created:d


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Also, I have read that some changes have occurred in obituaries.  At one time, those generated by funeral parlors baldly stated that the deceased "died."  Apparently, in more recent times, the softer side of obits has crept in: 

"So-and-so has departed this life."

"She has gone to be with her LORD."

"He passed away after an untimely illness."

"He is among the Blessed in Heaven."

[Note: in funeral parlor usage, when in doubt, capitalize!]

I suppose it was better than sometimes in the 19th century when reporting accuracy trumped sentiment:

"Jack Slade was hung for being a general road agent and pain in the ass."

But some obituaries make reference to the individual's place in an afterlife, despite an absence of documented evidence.  Or, maybe the Times-Picyaune and the undertakers have sources that we are unaware of.

But, after all, Cher recently did the same with regard to Sonny Bono's status!

Who knows, maybe the millenials will reverse things, and come up with obituaries containing something like the following:

"Richard L________ bought the farm yesterday."

"Heather M________ went tits up on Oct. 7, 2032."

"Megan S_______ bit the dust on Nov. 1, 2056.

"Bradley ________ kicked the bucket yesterday."





Monday, November 11, 2013

When Girl Fight

The First Rule of Girls' Fight Club is not to talk about Girls' Fight Club.

Okay, this is entirely fictional; but why is there such a compelling interest from guys when two or more girls or women fight?  The participants are rarely skilled; there's a lot of hair-pulling and verbal abuse.

I'll offer a few possibilities for consideration:

1.  A girls' fight reveals a different side of girls: rather than seeming demure and quiet, they are noisy and forceful.

2.  Girls actually physically fighting is a rare event; the novelty itself attracts attention.

3.  The participants are rarely skilled at fighting by throwing punches or blocking them.  But there's a lot of scratching, hair-pulling, bumping and name-calling for the audience to enjoy.

4.  The participants tend to pull at each others' clothing, among other things.  And there's the possibility of the audience seeing parts of the body bared that are normally clothed.

5.  While there are some girls who have a reputation for toughness, rude people enjoy seeing the fighters experiencing an actual loss of class from this plebian activity.  ["Well, look at Miss Priss -- she's brawling like a common barfly!"] 

And, for God's sake, why is it referred to as a "cat fight"?  No cats are harmed in the process.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

"There's a Place in France . . . . "

One of those well-known rhymes of children is the one that goes,

"There's a place in France
Where  the women wear no pants . . . ."

or

"There's a place in France
Where the naked ladies dance . . . . "

With various alternative rhymes, sung to the tune of "The Streets of Cairo."  Which, being a very literal-minded child, I assumed to refer to a particular locality in France.  Now, using my well-honed powers of deduction, I assumed that it would not be in one of the large urban areas; otherwise, there would be television coverage of that fact.  Perhaps in France Profounde, the boondocks.

I had occasion to go to France when a teen and later; but gave it no further thought.  Then the truth came down on me one day in a flash of insight.

It happened that I was on the way to visit Bretagne*, and had dire need to use the facilities.  Now that's a problem with tourists: needs come upon them.  Finally, I found the ladies' room, and it was very, very basic.  And dirty.  Not to mention smelly!  Ugh!  It was a squatty!!!!  It must have been the last one in Europe!

The task: how to use this unfamiliar apparatus without getting my dress and undies wet?  Suddenly, the French concept of savior faire came to mind, and I was deficient!  Well, I managed to hike my my skirt as high as I could, and squatted in some unpracticed yoga position.  And held the additional garment.

Whew!  I managed to keep all body parts and clothing without touching the floor!

Now, the ladies' room was on a scale of dirty that would have outdone any American gas station's facilities, so I had to make some compromises.

And that is why I visited Mt. St. Michel while going commando, with my panties in my purse!  And I came to understand that I had actually discovered that fabled place in France, and why it is that way!

For the record, it is near Rennes.

*A perfectly amazing place to visit, with its landscape and seascape.

 
 
 
 





Friday, November 8, 2013

Desiderata

"Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass. Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy."
 
--Max Ehrmann, 1927
 
I thought that this little prose poem was inspiriting.  I hope you like it.