Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Sex and Marriage Talk

One of the hazards of encountering organized religion when being a teen is having to experience the Mandatory Sex and Marriage Talk.  Now, first of all, this is always delivered to a single sex audience: either all boys or all girls, since parents are often remiss in this duty, according to educational authorities.

The dramatis personae for this painful entertainment can be:

a)  A priest or nun, for Catholics; a hip minister for Protestants;
b)  A doctor;
c)  A not-so-hip married couple.

Obviously, the slant is going to be in the direction of "don't do it until you're married, and only to him/her, and not too often, otherwise he will get ideas."  Never mind the hormones . . . .

Catholic teens are supposed to get the message that the only acceptable form of birth control is the rhythm method, but most priests have long ago accepted the idea that not all God's children got rhythm.  And there's the prohibitive cost and maternal wear and tear from having too many bambinos!  

Anyway, these sessions almost always have to include time for some anonymously written questions:

1.  How many times per week do married couples, you know, do it?

2.  After a heavy makeout session, my boyfriend complains that his testicles hurt.  Is there anything I can do to help?

3.  Is it a sin to go commando if you're not in the British Army?

4.  What is a reasonable amount of submitting to your husband?

5.  Do husbands have to submit to their wives also?

6.  How do you resolve differences over disciplining your children?

7.  (For priests)  Do you think that Kim Kardashian is hot?

8.  (For the doctor)  Is there any physical harm from getting good vibrations?

9.  How do I get my girlfriend to stop nagging me?

10.  How do I tell my boyfriend to shower more often?

Not surprisingly, the doctor tends to give the most matter-of-fact information.

The members of the audience can include a number of snarky girls.  I suppose guys refrain from snarkiness and are totally polite.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Polite Clickbait, as Opposed to the Other Kind

Clickbait is a common accompaniment to featured sites. Their purpose is to attract readers to additional sites to further advertisement or persuasive goals. Some clickbait is rather raw, promising wardrobe malfunctions or scandalous doings or perhaps revealing secrets that people might find embarrassing!

From the start I'll define the term polite clickbait as sites that are generally inoffensive, yet one squanders time pursuing. Conde-Nast Traveler, for instance, has lists of the ten friendliest and ten least friendly cities in the U.S. Where does your city fall? Which places are friendly; and which are unfriendly? Is Nashville a friendly place? What about Baltimore? I'll give you a freebie: C-N cites Charleston as the most friendly place.  

No, not the ones in West Virginia or Massachusetts.

Not surprisingly, the least friendly place cited is in New Jersey. You wanna make something of it?

We now consider the Most Boring Cities. Forbes magazine lists the most boring cities. Apparently, there's not a lot of love for California, Arizona, and Nevada. 

And there's web sites that allow you to scroll among old pictures. These are typically mundane, yet described in sensationalistic ways. You can tell the links to this kind of click bait by suggestible come-on lines as "you won't believe what she was doing." 

What can be said of these sites? They're harmless; but are sort of open-ended wastes of time. At least you don't come away from them feeling icky, like the semipornish ones or the fake news ones. Or, especially, the ones that have viruses attached.

Friday, October 13, 2017

On the Sunny Side of Discreet

Today is a special day to be marked privately by women.

This is an occasion for discreet independence from one usual convention. October 13th is National No Bra Day. It's time to free las niñas!

However, for politeness's sake and a little less conspicuousness, then you can get some breast petals so as not make a fashion statement:

Who knows: you might also find a reason to celebrate National No Bra Day + 1 and +2!

For lasses of Hibernian ancestry, there's also Saint Patrick's Day.

Monday, October 9, 2017

What's With the Falsettos?

As I have sometimes alluded to, I'm a sometime fan of classical rock; though sometimes making cracks about some examples that I thought were excessive.

However, there's a phenomenon that seems confusing to me: periodically, male groups came out with songs suns wholly or partly in falsetto. What's with this odd practice? Frank Valli and the Four Seasons were particularly notorious; with songs like "Big Girls Don't Cry" and "Sherry." But even the Beach Boys have gone the falsetto route, with "Sloop John B." Others include Lou Christie, Beck, and The Bee Gees.

I have two possible theories for this:

(1) The occasional male group singing in falsetto is a kind of psychic rejection of puberty; with for boys no less than with girls puberty has a mixed bag to go with it.*

(2) The persistence of falsetto singing guys might be a cultural longing for castrati. As barbarous as it sounds, for several hundred years prepubescent boys were castrated to maintain their voices in an alto or soprano range.**

Anyway, I'm really puzzled. Does anyone have an idea for why male falsettos occur so often in popular music?

*Things suddenly got more serious; and there's no way out. I admit to having been ambivalent about it all at the time.

**A fictional example of this is found in Anne Rice's book Cry to Heaven. Warning: it is explicit; and not among her best. In my opinion, you might enjoy Feast of All Saints more. It's a novel about the Free People of Color in old New Orleans.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Why Do Witches Ride Brooms?

It's a common Halloween image, a witch riding on a broom.

But where did this notion come from?

Well, apparently there were a few individuals back in the Medieval times and later who practiced witchery; and sometimes this included the use of Witches' Brews.

Now among the ingredients used in these Witches' Brews included some psychoactive substances such as belladonna, henbane, mandrake, and nightshade, and others. These substances are rich in powerful alkaloids such as atropine. These were often used in their 'flying ointments,' so-called because they gave users a sense of flying.

These Witches' Brews were also highly toxic if ingested. However, they can also be absorbed into the skin in locations such as underarms, the rectum, or the vagina. The mode of application was to have the substances in an ointment that was in turn applied to the handle of a pitchfork or broom. 

Atropine can be poisonous in stronger doses. However, this method of application avoids some of the negative symptoms that oral intake would provide.

In short, by being astride a broomstick, and a little judicious friction, the witches could really get airborne in their witches' sabbats!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Passing of Hugh Hefner, Editor of Playboy

Last week Mr. Hugh Hefner, former editor of Playboy magazine, died. The magazine, in its heyday had millions of subscribers and newsstand purchasers. had since been eclipsed by others that featured semi- or completely nude women in a less slick and high-rent tone.

He was credited with being a major figure in the sexual revolution and in Civil Rights; yet was largely retrogressive in the rise of feminism. The magazine, except for in its last two years, featured a nude centerfold, excessively airbrushed and sometimes technically augmented. Each fall, Playboy magazine featured articles on college girls by conference

I suspect that a major reason why Playboy stopped using centerfolds is because of the times. Specifically, nudity and porn became so commonplace and easily accessed that, for many guys to indulge their fantasies, it became less of a big thing. It is also my understanding that the nature of porn has changed; Playboy's nudes now seem tame, as compared to what kinds of porn are available today.

Sometime in the past of the magazine, he launched a Playboy Philosophy. This translated into free sexual license (sometime back then effective birth control means were developed and marketed) coupled with consumerism. All of this was packaged into a  hedonistic lifestyle. He also established several Playboy Clubs in large cities where keyholder members could gain access to drinks and sophisticated entertainment. Finally, he lived in the Playboy Mansion in Chicago.

To many feminists, the most offensive aspect of his endeavors came in the form of the Playboy bunnies; young, attractive women dressed in satin swimsuit-like costumes with cotton tails on their tushes and bunny ears.* I personally find them offensive too. 

If there was a truly saving grace to Playboy magazine, it was in the cartoons. Many of the best cartoonists of the time drew for Playboy, and they were regarded highly. Some of the cartoons were truly funny in a risqué way.  However, a less-publicized editorial change that accompanied the elimination of the centerfold was the elimination of Playboy cartoons. This made it just another publication, despite its still-omnipresent consumerism and hedonism orientation. Kind of like Martha Stewart for guys.

Oh well, Captain Billy's Whiz Bang had its day too.

*Curiously, the bunny ears became a common motif in anime girls cartoons later on.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Retro Origins of a Horse's Name

The rock group America tiresomely sang about riding the desert with an anonymous horse. Was that a terminal case of procrastination on the horse's owner or parents?* 

Now there's Limousine Liberal, a horse with a funny name.

A limousine liberal tends to talk a good game of supporting liberal causes while being largely exempt from their impact. Specifically, they support environmental causes while using limousines or private jets, or ostensibly supporting public education while sending their children to private schools or Ivy League universities. 

This year, the winner of the Churchill Downs Stakes was a five-year old gelding horse named Limousine Liberal. It is not known whether this unfortunate horse supports liberal causes but is unaffected by them. It is also not known what are the politics of its owner.

This is not like a charley horse.

Poor Charley. Is he doomed to ride the M.T.A. also?

*I change stations with this one on WMTY.