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Archive for June, 2012

There was a time in my life when I went down to The South a fair bit.

By this I mean primarily Arkansas, North and South Carolina with a bit of driving through Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. Haven’t yet been to Louisiana, Alabama or Georgia.

As for Mississippi… well, there are people in Mississippi who don’t want to be in Mississippi! (Just kidding. Please don’t shoot me!)

(When you hear them say, “Ah hell no!”… you better run!)

I haven’t been to The South since the Passover/Easter weekend before 9/11.

There’s so much I love and miss about The South.

(1861 Navy Colt – the classic handgun of The South)

One of the most striking things you find down there is the entire gun culture. [1]

It’s not that everyone in The South has a gun. I would suspect that most don’t.

But… there is this general all-round feeling among most Southerners that is in some way supportive of the general idea of guns for personal protection.

There is a gleefulness… and also a kind of playfulness… about this mindset that I find hard to resist.

The over-riding sense is that this attitude of bravado is ‘half in jest – whole in earnest.’ Kind of like, “I’m kidding… but not really.”

I love it. I miss it.

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[1] Full disclosure:  None of the friends I visited or stayed with in The South was a gun owner (as far as I know).

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I have memory problems. Specifically, I have a problem remembering people’s names.

Which is why this article at ScienceDaily.com caught my eye.

The article begins, “Most of us have experienced it. You are introduced to someone, only to forget his or her name within seconds. You rack your brain trying to remember, but can’t seem to even come up with the first letter. Then you get frustrated and think, “Why is it so hard for me to remember names?”

All these years, I presumed I had a faulty or weak memory. I was relieved to find that this may not be the case at all.

It appears that lack of interest, not the brain’s ability (or lack thereof) may be why we forget!

According to Kansas State University’s Richard Harris, professor of psychology, it’s not necessarily your brain’s ability that determines how well you can remember names, but rather your level of interest.

“Some people, perhaps those who are more socially aware, are just more interested in people, more interested in relationships,” Harris said. “They would be more motivated to remember somebody’s name.”

This goes for people in professions like politics or teaching where knowing names is beneficial. But just because someone can’t remember names doesn’t mean they have a bad memory.

“Almost everybody has a very good memory for something,” Harris said.

The key to a good memory is your level of interest, he said. The more interest you show in a topic, the more likely it will imprint itself on your brain. If it is a topic you enjoy, then it will not seem like you are using your memory.

This explains a lot, really, since I generally find most people singularly uninteresting.

It’s not that other people are somehow unimportant or that their lives and problems are invalid. It’s just that they don’t interest me, usually. There are exceptions, of course. Rare ones.

The general rule, however, is that most people I meet are a dusk-to-dawn snooze-a-thon.

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Every once in a while I venture to say a few well-chosen words about fashion.

I believe my last foray into beaking off about the world of couture (haute or otherwise) was in my October 26, 2011, article “Fashionate!

I’m due for another venting.

I’d like to discuss a disturbing phenomenon of which I’ve recently become aware…

People (and by this I mean The Great Unwashed [1]) deriving a sick, perverse thrill from watching fashion models fall down.

And yes, I get the humorous angle at play here.

In The Comedy Biz, it is referred to as a Status Drop. It is as least as old as Graeco-Roman comedies… that is, when the actors weren’t parading around the stage wearing enormous phalli. [2]

The principle at work is this… an exalted person suffers a swift and sudden drop in status. The classic example from silent films is the rich, pompous and usually fat man slipping and falling on a banana peel.

A cheap, easy laugh, to be sure.

But what goes on when The Wretched Refuse watch a fashion model slip and fall is much nastier. There is a meanness of spirit that I don’t believe enters into the old Charlie Chaplin ‘fat banker banana fall’ schtick.

The Huddled Masses LOVE it. There is a fiendish glee that is simply absent when, for example, you see some chunky southern girl destroy an above-ground pool simply by going into it.

The models, people feel, somehow deserve to fall. They’ve earned the humiliation and the howls of derisive laughter. It ‘takes them down a few notches’… it ‘cuts them down to size.’

Ladies, you cannot sit still for this kind of attitude from the common rabble!

It’s bad enough that you’re treated like dogs or glorified clothes hangers from those within the business.

You must reclaim the fashion faux-pas… the runway tragedy… and transform it into something chic and glorious.

Let’s take that frown and turn it upside down, ladies. Find the fun in a bad situation!

I give you… SPAZTIQUE!!

Your slip and fall at Paris Fashion Week Spring 2012? It is no longer clumsy… it is Très Spaztique!

That time you lost your balance and fell off the runway in Milan? Proprio Spazticamente!

Everyone thinks your ankle-twisting walk on the Prada runway was klutzy? Far from it! It was Totally Spaztique!

Don’t let Walmart zombie shoppers define you!

Be Chic. Be Spaztique!!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

This article is affectionately dedicated to my dearly beloved friend, Chelsea Dagger [3], who is tall, slender, blonde, gorgeous, smart, athletic, fun, funny, generous, philanthropic, kindhearted, sweet… and a totally spastic klutz!

If it’s beside her or near her, she will find a way to knock it down, trip over or bump into it.

Here’s to you, my darling Chelsea. You’re delightfully Spaztique!

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[1] (i.e. The General Public) I doubt many in the fashion world experience quite the ‘laugh riot’ when a model twists, sprains or breaks her ankle, cracks her kneecap or fractures her wrist.

[2] See Aristophenes’ deliciously funny play Lysistrata – a hilarious account of one woman’s extraordinary mission to end the Peloponnesian War. The title character Lysistrata persuades the other women of Greece to withhold sexual privileges from their husbands and lovers as a means of forcing the men to negotiate peace.

[3] She has, hands down, the coolest name in the world.

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Ever heard or seen nerd humour?

Let me give you an example…

Or how about some literary nerd humour…

How about this version?

You either get them or you don’t.

Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog. You can open it up, analyze it and figure out exactly what makes it tick…

But the frog rarely survives the process.

I think one of the things I love most about nerd humour is that there is a certain amount of elitism involved with it.

It’s the ultimate “in” joke because you know only about 6% of the population truly “gets” it.

So lighten up, get in touch with your inner nerd… and have a good snorty chuckle.

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I’ve been told on more than one occasion that I have an odd fascination with bugs.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon these great photos courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution website, Retina.

Macro Photos Reveal Mystical World of Insects

These photos were taken in 2009 and 2010 by photographer Thomas Shahan.

It’s a good thing bugs are small. Could you imagine one of these things the size of a cow?

OK. I’ve had my bug photo fix for the day!

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Yes, it’s true.

I have an unhealthy interest in Hello Kitty.

(I have this soap in my bathroom. Really)

But this isn’t some fledgling, new-found friendship. Hello Kitty and I go back a long way.

(OK, maybe not THAT long!)

There are strong Hello Kitty connections with Jews…

(Hello Hasidish)

..I’m not sure why but so many Jews are just dippy about Hello Kitty.

(Hello Kitty mezuzah)

Seriously. We just can’t seem to get enough of Hello Kitty!

(Hello Kitty Hanukah menorah)

And Israel! My kids say Hello Kitty is HUGE in Israel… especially Jerusalem!!

When he was in Israel this year, I got my son Exhibit Two to bring me a Hello Kiddush Cup!

(…”asher kittyshanu”…)

I promise you, this cup will be a regular feature on Shabbes and Yontiff tables from here on in.

(The heart reads “b’ahava” ~ ‘with love’)

I only wish I had the presence of mind to have him bring me another one that I could use during Passover as Elijah’s Cup.

(Open the door for ~ Eliyahu HaKitty!)

Oh well, maybe I can talk my daughter Exhibit One who lives in Israel into sending one to me in the mail.

(Hello Kitty Bento lunch)

 Hello Kitty has a fun, lovable side. But as with so many things…

(Darth Kitty)

There is a Dark Side…

(Hello Kitty Stormtrooper)

And there are those who have no qualms about exploiting that side of Hello Kitty!

Some can go to extremes and even try to impose Hello Kitty upon others by means of brute force!

(Hello Kitty armoured personnel carrier)

Some have even turned the Hello Kitty motif into themes that are quite disturbing…

…quite disturbing indeed!

(Trick or Treat! It’s Hello Kitty Jason from [and for] Halloween!)

And I suppose it was just a matter of time before Hello Kitty was drafted into the service of preparing for The Upcoming Zombie Apocalypse!

(Clearly not a George A. Romero Hello Kitty zombie)

So, there you have it, folks… my addiction, for better or worse.

Hats off to the Sanrio corporation of Japan (celebrating its 50th anniversary this year) for bringing me so many hours of harmless fun over the years!

 どーもありがとう

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Sexual Perversion of Penguins Finally Revealed After Nearly a Century of Censorship

Hot chocolate! Finally! The down and dirty goods on that sickest, most sex-addled of creatures… the penguin!!

A study on the sexual habits of penguins with findings so graphic and “perverted” that it remained hidden for nearly 100 years is finally being revealed to the public.

Yes, boys and girls, you heard correctly! After 100 years under wraps, details of depraved sex acts by penguins during a polar exploration mission are finally published.

Curators from the National History Museum in Tring, England, have discovered an old paper written by Dr. George Murray Levick, a surgeon and medical officer who accompanied Captain Robert Scott on an expedition to the Antarctic in 1912, full of shocking revelations of the “astonishing depravity” among Adélie penguins.

(Perverted Adélie Penguin)

Details, including “sexual coercion”, recorded by Dr. Levick were considered so shocking that they were removed from official accounts.

Fortunately for us, a century’s worth of moral decay, depravity and desensitization has readied us for the unvarnished truth!

Let ‘er rip, boys!

Dr. Levick witnessed males attempting to mate with other males and also with dead females, including many who had died the previous year. He also reported that “hooligan males” would often “rape” or sexually coerce females, sexually and physically abuse chicks, occasionally killing them afterwards.

Levick was so horrified and shocked by the findings in his paper, the ‘Sexual Habits of the Adelie Penguin’, that he originally recorded his notes in Greek, and at one point even writing, “There seems to be no crime too low for these penguins.”

On his return to Britain, Mr Levick attempted to publish a paper entitled “the natural history of the adelie penguin”, but according to Douglas Russell, curator of eggs and nests at the Natural History Museum [1], it was too much for the times.

“I just happened to be going through the file on George Murray Levick when I shifted some papers and found underneath them this extraordinary paper which was headed ‘the sexual habits of the adelie penguin, not for publication’ in large black type.

“It’s just full of accounts of sexual coercion, sexual and physical abuse of chicks, non-procreative sex, and finishes with an account of what he considers homosexual behaviour, and it was fascinating.”

The report and Mr Levick’s handwritten notes are now on display at the Natural History Museum for the first time. Mr Russell believes they show a man who struggled to understand penguins as they really are.

“He’s just completely shocked. He, to a certain extent, falls into the same trap as an awful lot of people in seeing penguins as bipedal birds and seeing them as little people. They’re not. They are birds and should be interpreted as such.”

Scientists now understand the biological reasons for behaviour Dr Levick considered to be “depraved.” Mr Russell said they simply did not have the scientific knowledge at that time to explain Mr Levick’s accounts of penguin behaviour.

Piffle! [2]

That’s just the sort of liberal twaddle one might expect from the head egghead at the Natural History Museum. [3]

The message to us right-thinking members of society is this, plain and simple…

All penguins are rapists, necrophiliacs and child molesters.

Consider yourselves warned!

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[1] This has to be in the running for “World’s Nerdiest Job Title!”

[2] Yes, I said ‘Piffle’ and, by gum, I meant it!

[3] It is a well-known fact that there’s a certain amount of tosh to anything said by someone admitting to being a ‘curator of eggs and nests’ at a natural history museum.

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