Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Divorce Equality for All!

                                   
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
The same-sex marriage people have missed a crucial point in their quest to get married.  They should have looked at same-sex divorce. At some point, their marriages will fail and, just like rest rest of us, they will want a divorce.

It is really easy to get married.  You just have to show up at City Hall, pay a tax for a license, say some vows and done, you are married.  No one asks questions like: Do you have a job?  Are you compatible?  How many times have you been married?  Do you have any children?  Do you love this person?  Incredibly,  no one asks if you are gay.  Guess that explains why gay people sometimes mistakenly marry the opposite sex.

Now, getting a divorce is not so easy.  Questions will be asked by a judge who gets to decide if you are worthy of a divorce.  The judge gets to poke around in your life just to figure out if you can divorce.  Imagine that, you do not have to qualify to get married but you have to qualify to get divorced.  Judge: "What do  you mean you don't like each other? What kind of an excuse is that? Lots of married people don't like each other and they don't file for divorce. Go away!"  

I hear that some states have no-fault divorce laws.  I do not understand that.  Your marriage is broken, you are getting a divorce, so somebody is at fault.  Maybe your spouse has more blame than you but as Dr. Phil likes to say, "...and what did you do to contribute to this mess?"  If nothing else, you picked the wrong person to marry and that is your fault.

Judges get lots of discretion to decide divorces.  A favorite of judges is marriage therapy.  What ridiculousness.  Some Ph.D. who probably has a divorce hiding in their past to counsel you.  No, a better way is to go to the experts, Indian Parents.

I hear that Indians, that is the Indians from India not the Native Americans, have arranged marriages.  The bride's and the groom's parents pick your spouse and your marriage lasts forever.  You know, these are the same folks who came up with the Kama Sutra, so those parents know something.  The Indian Parents should open an Ashram where judges can send divorcing couples to learn about marriages.

Since a marriage begins with the groom asking the bride's father for her hand in marriage, a rather sexist business, then a divorce should begin with the bride asking the groom's mother for the groom's hand in divorce. That is certainly a very effective way of balancing the sexist scale.  If the groom's mother agrees, then the judge should grant the divorce, no questions asked.  [Insert favorite mother-in-law joke here]

I have heard that divorcing couples have been known to refer to each other as "ball and chain", a prison term.  Prisons use a heavy ball with a chain tied to prisoners' legs to prevent escape.  Well, judges can take a hint from this statement and send the divorcing couple to prison for thirty days.  After some time in a real prison, the divorcing couple may see life in their marriage in a more beautiful light.

The Supreme Court and Justice Department have handed down numerous decisions that will eventually pave the way for same-sex marriage in all states. But the Supreme Court did not say anything about divorce, did they?  Typical short-sightedness of bureaucrats.  So a state that does not like same sex marriage can say they don't like same sex divorces either.  "We refuse to permit same-sex divorce.  Eh, just give us a minute to find the right verse in The Bible somewhere."


 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Analyze This, Part 6A: It's in the Bag

                   

As part of my ongoing series, in which I talk about my daily routine and associated consumption habits, the all-important contents of my purse is the next topic. But first, a few general thoughts...

There are people out there who make a living crawling around in caves, collecting samples of bat guano and dinosaur poop. Not to take anything away from them, but the real Medal of Courage is reserved for anyone who dares to plumb the depths of such collection bottomless-pits as closets, junk drawers and bags. The latter includes suitcases, backpacks, duffels, and purses. Yeah, I saved that one for last, because as a woman, I've heard my share of derisive comments regarding purses in general and how they somehow illustrate how women's basic nature is somehow different from men's.

I doubt it has anything to do with “basic nature.” I think it's deeply ingrained, culturally. I have a couple of Australian friends* (technically, we're talking Facebook friends) and one of these days I'm going to query them on whether women in Australia are quite as prone to dragging bagsful of stuff around with them wherever they go.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Analyze This, Part 5: Mirror, Mirror

                                       

[For anyone who may have unwittingly stumbled onto this blog and is wondering what this vanity-run-amok is about, I'm responding to a book called The Numerati, by Stephen Baker, who claims that market researchers have found a way to comb through every blog there is in a matter of seconds, to cull out any references to products and determine consumer preferences. Like Dr. Emmett Brown putting on his bullet-proof vest, I figured, what the hell. In the last few posts, I've gotten out of bed, made breakfast, picked out my clothes and showered. Onward...]
~
OK, I'm reasonably clean, so time to get out of the tub. My hairdryer is a ConAir 1875 watt, with a retractable cord and a fold-up handle. It replaced a Revlon dryer that exploded on me in January and left a scar. That one was ionic, and I miss how fast it worked. However, this new one is acceptable. As I finish drying, I apply some Garnier Fructis Style “Sleek & shine Blow Dry Perfector Straightening Balm with argan oil," which claims to provide three days of “frizz resistance.” Maybe sí, maybe no, but I feel almost compelled to put something in my hair for styling. I ran out of mousse and gel; one of these days I'll splurge and get some more, but this will do for now. I also have a new can of Vidal Sassoon hairspray. Extra firm hold, level 4.

There's no order to my morning routine. Sometimes I reach for the hairdryer right away; other days it's the last thing I take care of. More often than not, though, my first after-shower product is deodorant. I'm currently using something called Crystal Essence roll-on, containing none of that pesky aluminum. It's a light lavender scent; it will do. I also have a years-old container of Lady Speed Stick, which I use during the summer, if I should wear sandals over bare feet. I never do that at work. I'm a little too much in need of a pedicure.

I use scent occasionally. There's a spray bottle of Chantilly, and a smaller bottle of 4711 cologne. Both are fragrances that people either love or loathe. Nowadays, a lot of people have allergy issues, so I'm very conservative with perfumes. Typically, spray goes into the air and I walk through it, or I'll dab it behind the knees, since scent rises. This way I don't have to worry about perspiring or anything. For special occasions I have a leftover bottle of body lotion from Yves Rocher, in a now-defunct scent called Neonatura. It blended chocolate, vanilla and patchouli and I really liked it.

My fingernails are nothing to brag about, either. I'm a veteran biter of nails and cuticles and have never, ever, been able to stop. All it takes is 15 absent-minded seconds between my teeth (usually while reading), and it's bye-bye salon look, hello Godzilla. I have a big bottle of Salon Formula 100% Acetone nail polish remover from Family Dollar; it's easy on & off with Rite Aid Renewal Cotton Balls (regular size).

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Analyze This, Part 4: The Shower

                                

Now that I’ve decided what to wear, I head to the shower, where I hang my sleepwear over a PVC bar affixed to the door after being purchased from Walmart in 2006, and retrieve the oversized bath towel that I bought at Big Lots in 2010. Slippers off, to be guarded by the cat. The bath mat, purchased at Walmart in 2006 when we first moved here, is very much in need of replacement, and when that occasion comes, I’ll also splurge on one of those little rugs you put at the base of the toilet for cold-floor mornings. I will try to avoid buying one of those fuzzy things that you put over the lid of the toilet – I’ve always found those to be beyond frivolous.

The shower curtain is a “hookless” type from Walmart, also purchased in 2006. Over the shower pipe is a mesh organizer from Dollar General (don’t remember the price, but they were so cheap in the fall of 2011, I bought two, one for each of our two bathrooms). In the organizer are: a wide-tooth pink plastic comb I bought so long ago I remember nothing about it; a Bic Soleil razor (more about this in awhile); matching purple bottles of Back to Basics shampoo and conditioner. These were bought at Ollie’s and are nearly empty. I don’t like them that much; I bought them because they were cheap. I keep them around for spares and chances are they contain some other old stuff that I poured in to consolidate. Infusium 23 shampoo, most likely: I had a big bottle, also mostly empty, stashed in the other bathroom.

I think this is classic consumer behavior and certainly hope someone is making note of it.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Analyze This, Part 3: What to Wear

                           
After breakfast in the kitchen (where I tidied up the sink with a sheet of Kirkland Signature pick-a-size paper towel from Costco), and on my way to the bed- and bathrooms, I stop to love on my cat, who is lounging atop a printer cabinet, purchased at Walmart for about $30 and self-assembled. To make her sleeping area soft, I’ve given her a bath towel and one of my son’s old crib blankets, with a Disney Babies motif, purchased at Toys "R" Us in 1989. At 25 years of age, it qualifies (I think) as a genuine antique. When the cat wakes up from her nap, maybe I’ll steal her blankie and get it appraised on Antiques Road Show.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Analyze This, Part 2: Outa Bed, Sleepyhead

                        
...Giving the number-crunchers of the world something to do in their spare time...

5:00 a.m., East South Central U.S.

My LG Rumor2 cell phone awakens me, and after “snoozing” it 2-3 times, I reluctantly drag myself upright. If the morning is chilly, I make sure I’m wearing a robe and pajamas from K-mart and fuzzy leopard-print bedroom slippers from Walmart.

First stop, the bathroom, where I make use of Charmin Ultra-soft mega-roll and check the status of my cat’s litterbox, which is periodically replenished with Special Kitty clumping litter from Walmart. This is a good time to brush my teeth with an Oral-B toothbrush and Sensitive formula toothpaste from Rite-Aid. The antiseptic mouthwash is Equate brand from Walmart, but the bottle is so huge, I transfer an ounce or two into a sample-size Listerine bottle. Both have very stubborn child-proof caps.

Analyze This, Part 1: Inquiring Minds Want to Know, So I'll Tell 'em

                                               

I’m reading Stephen Baker’s The Numerati (2008). Slightly out of date by now, but interesting nonetheless.  The one thing I’ve gleaned from it so far is that blogging is a very powerful tool, and I have not been making use of it.

According to Mr. Baker, computers worldwide are very hard at work reading all the blogs (yes, all of them) to dig out information about which products we use, how we feel about them, and what all of this says about us. It’s about how marketers figure out which "bucket" to put us in.  It is part of the system that includes monitoring our supermarket loyalty cards to parse out our buying patterns and use psychological tricks to nudge us toward higher-priced items.

I read several paragraphs about different kinds of shoppers and noticed that Baker was describing me. It gave me a brief thrill of gratification, but that was very brief indeed. The paragraph finished up by defining me and my ilk as “barnacles.”

            Barnacles, from a retailer’s perspective, are detestable creatures. They’re the folks…buying discounted goods, and practically nothing else. Like the mollusks clinging to a ship, they hitch free rides and contribute nothing of value.

Sometimes I detach my clammy little suction-cup hands from the hull of the Ship of Commerce, spread my wings, and briefly become a "Butterfly":

            …customers who drop in at the store on occasion, spend good money and then flit away, sometimes for months or years on end. They’re unreliable, and retailers are warned to avoid lavishing attention on them.

It would be nice to “spend good money” more than once every 5-10 years, really it would. I’m much more inclined to gripe about a lack of legal tender than to rhapsodize about my latest purchases.

To my knowledge, I mention such things very rarely. This is for two reasons:
  1. I’m afraid someone will tell me “You use Smith brand? Anybody who’s anybody uses Jones. You are soooooooooo uncool.” Yes, it’s true: I never recovered from high school.
  2. Just as bad, I don’t buy new, cutting-edge stuff. Nearly everything I ever bought new is now very old, and everything else since that time is second-hand or bargain-basement. It’s just the way I roll, peeps.
 But who knows? Maybe I’d be doing the world an untold service by detailing my life as a consumer.


With that noble goal in mind, I’ll try my hand at writing the sort of blog that computers like to read. (To be continued)

/V

Sunday, March 9, 2014

I've always wanted people to call me "Iron Woman."

                                                     

Even us trailing-edge Baby Boomers can't elude our age forever. For the past 9 years I've received a series of annoying (if not alarming) medical diagnoses. I'm not any more mortal than anyone else, so far as I know, but it is still not a happy occasion to have to factor in the annual cost of maintenance prescriptions when planning one's fiscal year. Phooey on that, say I.

Having done my due diligence, research shows that pretty much everything I've been prescribed is fairly new. No one in Big Pharma is experimenting on me -- those unproven meds are pricey. In other words, if it doesn't kill you with side effects, it will make you poor.

No, most of the stuff I'm having to take has been on the market long enough to bring the cost down and avoid any nasty surprises. It's ho-hum stuff, for the most part.

Still, I get nostalgic thinking about all the conventional wisdom that dominated my childhood. My mother's favorite remedy for almost everything was milk (or "milt" as she liked to say when she lapsed into baby-talk for my sake). I really didn't like milk, and that seemed to doubly convince her that she was on the right track in prescribing it for me. I guess there's some logic there: Kool-Aid and Coca-Cola never cured anything, and I liked those just fine.

I'm glad no one ever told my mother about cod-liver oil.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Being a friend without being a friend

                                         

by The Urban Blabbermouth

I have joined social media.  I have set up a Tumblr account, The Urban Blabbermouth, for the past two weeks now.   Join me in social media and go visit my site.

The top three interests in Tumblr seem to be fashion and cosmetics, naked people, and twenty-somethings with teen angst.  I have no interest in fashion other than in dressing myself, and I am certainly not a twenty-    something.  The only angst I have is what to do with myself when I eventually retire.  Thanks to Tumblr, I learned a new word, selfie, where you take cell phone pictures of yourself.  If I want to build a following there in Tumblr, I will have to start posting naked selfies.  Nearest as I can tell, Tumblr is going to be a dud for me from a social perspective.  However, it has been quite a social learning experience.

Its the naked selfies that first caught my interest the most.  I am just amazed that people will stand in front of a mirror and take naked pictures of themselves, then post it in their Tumblr blog.  The nakedness ranges from exposed underwear to nothing on. These folks are trying to send a message and I do not know what it is.  It does not appear to be to be really about porn, so I don't know what they are trying to say.  What I have noticed, and it may be because I am a male, is that most of the naked selfies are young girls exposing their boobs.  The young boys are there but I just seem to stumble across more young girls than young boys.  I do not see older people, male or female, posting naked selfies.  Seems to be a young girl phenomenon.  BTW (By-the-way in text speak), I use the word boobs because that is how the young girls in Tumblr are referring to their parts.

I cannot help but think that in some way the naked young girl selfies are related to the way young girls are portrayed in music videos. The young girls are not there in music videos for their musical talents, the ability to sing, to dance, or to play an instrument.  The young girls are there solely for their sexy bodily gyrations.  They have no value other than sex.  So then, these young girls are posting naked selfies to try to establish their value in society.  Maybe it is more subtle, they are posting naked selfies as a rebellion to the social mores that says that they are only valuable for their boobs or a rebellion to the social mores that say you, as an owner of boobs, cannot expose your boobs as you please.  Jeez, I am spouting lots of psycho-babble today.

Back to social media.  I started Tumblr to see what all the fuss about social media is about.  So far, this aspect is overrated.  I suspect that Tumblr is somewhat self-selecting.  Only certain types of persons end up on Tumblr and when they grow tired of that, they move on.  I have to think on this a bit more. 

What I also find interesting about Tumblr is the anonymity of it all.  On Facebook, those are people you know, your family and friends.  On Tumblr, they are all strangers.  You can post whatever you like and no one will know who you are.  That may account for all the angst and naked pictures.  You can reveal your hidden side to strangers who don't care who you are but do care about what you have posted while, at the same time, hiding that same side from your friends and family.   As evidence to back up this thought, Tumblr lets you send anonymous messages, known as Anons.  Another new word to me.

There is no such thing as too much information (TMI in text speak) in Tumblr.  I have seen very highly personal information that I just cannot bring myself to mention here.  Some really surprising things go on in people's heads and you would never know it from looking at them.  It makes me wonder if I would ever want to read people's minds.

While it is sociable to interact with other people, how sociable can you be if these are strangers and not your friends?  It could well be that they are really your friends as you have revealed the hidden side of yourself that your in-person friends and family have never seen.  What kind of friend relationship can you have with someone who knows too much about you and yet you have never met them, much less know their name?  Maybe there is a very good reason that we cannot read each other's minds.  Wonder if any of these Tumblr friends ever meet each other?

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Castles in the sky

                       

by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I chanced to drive through one of the ritzy, rich, neighborhoods in my city.  I have not passed through this neighborhood in years since I have no money so I have no reason to go there.  I saw lots of new construction.  They were building what we now call McMansions.  I was in awe of these new mansions.

Where did that name McMansions come from? Possibly a reference to McDonald Big Mac hamburger sandwich.  That is supposed to be the king of hamburgers.  Not really sure of the allegory here.  Eat big burgers full of fat and cholesterol so you can have this big house?  Seems like the beer commercials with all the pretty girls, drink this brand of beer and you will attract all the pretty waitresses in this bar.

McMansions are built, not bought.  You have to buy what was already a mansion in the first place for probably a million dollars, then tear it down to build your McMansion for another two million dollars.  Where does all that money come from?

I must say, the architecture is not all that imaginative.  All the McMansions, really ALL, look like they were imported from someplace on the Mediterranean Sea.  They are all this pink brick, stucco, villa, kind of building with huge windows and huge french doors every where.  It's strange to see that style from a hot country here in the Northeast in middle of thirty degree winter.  Must have some huge heating bills, but I guess that if you can afford that kind of house, heating bills are not your problem.  And those huge windows?  What's with that?  We live close to each other, not much space in between houses.  Why would you want such large window so that you neighbors can see you wandering through your house doing your business?

Most of the McMansions have no yard.  What used to be the front lawn and the backyard is now filled up with house.  The McMansions are so much like big box retail stores but with some fake architectural accoutrements hanging off them to minimize the big box look.  

I suppose that I should not be so surprised that this style is so popular.  It's not the first time that architecture has been imported en masse from the Mediterranean.  After all, we have many, many buildings in the city built some one hundred years ago in the Greek temple style.  The temple style has been mostly preserved in bank architecture.  Look at your bank some time and you can see it.  Guess the bankers did not read that verse in the Bible about Jesus and the money changers in the Temple.

So who lives in the huge McMansions?  I do not know.  I do not hang out in that neighborhood.  Too rich for me.  But as a single family building, I imagine that it is one family.  Imagine a home where each person in the family can have a suite of rooms for themselves and for the servants too.  Of course there are servants.  You did not think that a family who can afford a McMansion would be cleaning and cooking for themselves?  Their time is too valuable, used up making more money to pay for the McMansion.

If I won the lottery and joined the ranks of the McMansion rich, I hope I would have better taste than that.  Maybe a huge English Tudor from the Cotswold or one of those English Lords' castles like the ones I saw on Downton Abbey.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Me, the Addict

                             



by The Urban Blabbermouth
~
I have been binging on Netflix.  Oh it's terrible, a bad habit I cannot resist.  I am addicted to Netflix.

I have sat in my living room, in my bedroom, in my dining room, in every room with a TV,  watching episodes after episode of my favorite TV shows on Netflix.  I have a tablet so I have watched Netflix in the bathroom.  It is so addictive.

What makes Netflix so wonderful and so addictive is that you can watch your favorite TV show without commercials, without having to wait for a week between episodes, and you can watch continuously for hours and hours.  If an episode starts to bore me, I can immediately leave it and go the next episode.  And, when I cannot stand to watch any more episodes of one TV show, I can switch to the next TV show and start all over again.  I never have to leave my TV.  I can watch all five years of any show in one sitting.  It is so fabulous.

I have some of the classic symptoms of addiction.  My housework is getting done so slowly as I am watching Netflix as I work.  I have to  stop working as I get absorbed in the crucial moments of each episode.  The recycling cans/bottles keep piling up untouched in the kitchen.

I have turned on Netflix first thing in the morning as I prepare coffee and breakfast.  I watch at dinner time too.  I guess that I am eating slowly too.  That, though, is a good thing as I can lose some weight.  My employer must know about my addiction as the company's internet firewall now blocks Netflix.

So what am I watching? Well, Chuck, Switched at Birth, Scandal, and the like.  Not very manly, I know.  I have to go back to the beginning.  It is my beloved wife who had the initial subscription to Netflix.  She would watch her favorite shows and sometimes, I would watch with her.  Slowly and eventually, I got drawn into the dramas.  Really very good soap opera dramas.  So I am now addicted to watching girly shows on Netflix.  Another classic addict behavior -- someone you know pulls you into your addiction.

Unless you have watched many TV episodes back to back with no commercials, for as long as you like, you have no idea how easy it is to get addicted to Netflix.  I do not recommend it to you but do try to be understanding.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Food Friendsy

                         

(alternate title: Dinnerwhere)

"Okay, tell me this again?" asks my dear Carl, who should be used to my evening activities by now, but probably never will be.  He's in charge of dinner most nights and needs to know if it will be for two, or just one.

So this week, even I have to double-check the calendar because there's so much going on!

Monday and Tuesday I'm in for the night. Thank goodness, since those are usually my two craziest days at work.

Wednesday: A potluck at church with informal meditation and group reading. Starts at 5:30, so I won't be home for dinner. Normally I don't attend these because Wednesday is when I'm broke, but this week I'll simply pick up some fill-in food like drinks or chips or dessert. Everybody knows they're better off if I don't cook anyway.

Thursday: I will be home for dinner, but then right back out again for a committee meeting at church.

Friday: See ya, Carl--probably not until mid-afternoon Saturday since after work Friday I'm going directly to a brotherhood-sisterhood Shabbat service at a local synagogue, after which is dinner, consisting of some amazing kosher food. By the time I get home, Carl will have been in bed 3-4 hours; he gets up at some ridiculous morning hour and comes trudging home around 3:00 pm.

Next week: Probably the same Wednesday night potluck thing, then home for dinner & right back out Thursday (board meeting at church), and then Friday, out with a group that calls itself Roger's Rebels. Roger can't join us; not sure why. I suspect he doesn't like the name Roger's Rebels. But with or without him, we're having dinner. We haven't decided whether it will be at a local Chinese buffet or at a homestyle/family restaurant that we all like. Probably the latter. We're a good group; we bring out the best in each other. I'm ready for fried green tomatoes.

Or sushi.

/v

Thursday, February 13, 2014

My Valentine's Day Love Rant

                                                   
by The Urban Blabbermouth
~

I am not fond of Valentine's Day.  What a dumb idea.  Pick one day of the year to celebrate "how I love you" then ignore you for the rest of the year.  Really stupid.   How did we let ourselves get trapped into Valentine's Day? 

Then if you don't do something, your girlfriend feels rejected.  How do you figure?  Maybe it's that she did not get a "love" display to show off to her friends.  Yeah, that's what Valentine's Day is really all about, showing off.

If that wasn't bad enough, you have to buy very expensive, overpriced, month-old, red roses that keel over and wilt within one day of purchase.  It's the worst, Love followed by Death.

Stumbled across this on some other blog.  Proper angst for Valentine's Day:

I’m too drunk to write you a poem tonight,
but I miss you like hell
to the point that my mind is stuck on repeats of your smile
I’m too drunk to make good lines
about how much you mean to me
so I’ll just say this
You’re the answers I’m hoping to find in the bottom of my cup
Because maybe when I’m too drunk to write you
I’ll be too drunk to forget you won’t be there
When I stumble home 
(Source: sirchiefsalot)

It's a good thing I treat my beloved wife well.  I get to see her smile all year long.

Love you Honey.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How to sucessfully fail without trying

             

By The Urban Blabbermouth
~
Today, I walked past the Woolworth Building.  The Woolworth Building is one of the oldest skyscrapers in the US and was the world's tallest building for more than fifteen years in the early twentieth century.  The building stands as a symbol of great architecture and as a symbol of  business failure.  The Woolworth company does not exist any more.  It may have morphed into some other company but it does not exist as the Woolworth stores that I knew when growing up.  

How does a company run by some very smart men go out of business?  I understand that the business environment does change and that Woolworth did not keep up.  But it's not like Woolworth's management did not have examples to show them what to do.  Walmart was rising up while Woolworth was going down.  All the management of Woolworth had to do was follow the Walmart example.  How hard can that be? 

Maybe the Woolworth management did not have what it takes to change the company.  Old companies get set in their ways and do not want to change.  Like dinosaurs, they fade and another company rises up to take its place.  Capitalism at work.

Maybe after the Woolworth founder, F. W. Woolworth, died, the Board of Directors could not find anyone to replace him.  The Board could not find other managers who had F. W. skill and knowledge to run his business.  I find it hard to believe that the Board could not find a capable manager in the entire USA.  It is not easy but the managers are there.  Could have hired some of the Walmart managers.

At the extreme, Ayn Rand, via Atlas Shrugged, would probably suggest that the freeloaders took over the company.  The company became full of employees who wanted the salary and did not want to work for it.  As a result,  the hard workers left Woolworth to work for other companies (eg Walmart)  or to start their own companies.  You would think that the freeloaders would save the company so as not to kill the golden goose.  But, you can kill a golden goose if another golden goose can be found to replace the dead one.

Woolworth has come and gone.  The professors who study business cannot explain why this happened.  The professors do not know if it was lack of skills or just bad luck that killed Woolworth.  This is bad news.  Today, There is a long list of companies on the same path as Woolworth.  Sears, J.C. Penny, and Blackberry have already commenced their trip to obscurity.  They will spend the next ten years slowly dying.  Walmart and Microsoft are now on the cusp of the same path.  Their next set of decisions will tell us if they can save themselves.

Maybe the companies will leave us some impressive buildings to remember them.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Kim who?

                                    
By The Urban Blabbermouth
~
My blog post, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, has sparked a question in my mind: Kim Kardashian has no known talent nor is she an undiscovered genius, so why is she so popular and why are so many people interested in her?  The answer is different reasons for men and for women.

For men, Kim is a woman so it is about sex.  Men do not see a person but a sex object.  Nothing new here.  Kim plays to this.  She is pretty, curvaceous, and flaunts it.  She comes across as the girl of your sex dream, approachable, sexually non-threatening, but out of your league.  In short, she is seen by many men as a walking p****y.

For women, well I do not know what women see.  Here I have to speculate and give you a man's view.  I suspect that Kim represents a liberated woman of some kind.  Kim flaunts rules that other women find binding them in place.  Kim bends society's rules about what a woman's behaviors are supposed to be in a way that benefits herself.  So for women, she is a liberating role model.  Let's face it, whatever men chose to do, they have the power to make it the right thing to do.  Women lack this but Kim has some of this power and perhaps that is why women follow her.  That she uses her body to acquire this power it is not so important to women just that she can and does have it.  Women may not like her behavior but they admire that she can bend rules of womanly behavior and still be accepted in our society.

Stumbled across a site that asks readers for a comparison of Kim Kardashian to Lena Dunham called Cultureby.  You can read the results for yourself.  My simple thought is that it is a comparison of the party girl to the intellectual nerd.  Isn't that the same comparison that we made of our Presidents, George W. Bush, the frat boy, to Barack Obama, the policy wonk?  CultureBy also asked a very interesting question, Who is really Kim Kardashian, and how is she in reality versus her created public image?  I do not think that there will be a true answer to the question unless Kim or one of her friends respond.

Kim has not created anything new.  She is only the latest in a line of women who have used this approach.  I still remember Marilyn Monroe.  Kim may be the next Marilyn, to be remembered for the next fifty years.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Anne Frank, for the umpteenth time

                         
Anyone who has ever kept a journal (or blogged) has probably compared themselves, however briefly, with one of history's greatest diarists, Anne Frank.

Anyone who's ever attended a public school. in the United States of America has read at least an excerpt from The Diary of a Young Girl.

I've read the book far too many times to be bowled over by the totality of the diary and its background (i.e. the Holocaust). But a fresh reading after 12 years or so is still worth reflecting on.

Anne received the diary as a birthday gift when she turned 13 in 1942, just weeks before her parents made the decision to go into hiding to avoid capture and deportation by the Nazis. She was "not yet sixteen" when she perished from typhus at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.In between those two milestones, she lived in very close quarters, often under straitened conditions, with her mother, father, sister, a family they were close to, consisting of husband, wife and son, and a retired dentist. They were protected by the owners of the business (Anne's father was co-owner but not on paper -- he had transferred legal ownership to colleagues so as to keep the company designated "not Jewish" and safe from being shut down) and their hiding place was in the same building with a warehouse and set of offices.During the day, they had to be extremely quiet so as not to give themselves away to the office and warehouse workers who weren't in on the secret. At night they still had to be quiet to avoid attracting attention from the cleaning crew, and the neighbors in a densely populated section of Amsterdam.

Motherly advice from a Father

                                         

By The Urban Blabbermouth

One of the crucial and most embarrassing conversations to have with your daughter is to tell her about boyfriends.  One has to be sure to give her advice, otherwise she will learn on her own and make some pretty stupid mistakes.  This conversation is necessarily short as men are notoriously poor at giving advice to women and father-to-daughter advice fares no better.  But do be careful.  Boundaries must be maintained so as not to intrude too much into her privacy or worse, to show her how you were a cad in your years as a boyfriend.

So here it is: a daughter should have three boyfriends at all times.
  • Boyfriend No. 1 is for sociability.  This is the guy you hang out with.  He is the one who you talk to, who takes you shopping and is your best friend.
  • Boyfriend No. 2 is the wallet.  He is the one to call when you are spending big bucks on trips or expensive purchases.
  • Boyfriend No. 3 is for the bedroom.  This is self explanatory.  Invoke boundary rules and tell her to call her mom.
Advise her that most guys only fit one trait, hence the three-boyfriend rule and it is extremely rare to find all three traits in one man.  If she finds two of the three traits in one man, then marry him.  If she gets lucky and find all three traits in one man, then get on her knees every day and thank God for His extreme kindness.

There are other traits such as a Fixer to make lots of repairs around the house but don’t bother to look for those.  That is what her brother is for, call him.

Nuf said.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Keeping Up With The Kardashians

                         

By The Urban Blabbermouth


Someone is creating an electronic money system on the internet and they have named it COINYE, a name play on Kanye West, the soon-to-be husband of Kim Kardashian.  Kanye is not happy about this and is suing them.  I would sue too as I think that the COINYE folks have mis-named it.  The electronic money should be called KarCASHians.   That is where the real money is.  The Kardashians have and make more money than Kayne, simply because there is a clan of them and he is only one guy.  KarCASHians, what a great idea, the Kardashians should change the spelling of their family name.  I will help them out and use the new spelling.

It is amazing that the KarCASHians have no talent and yet they are making pots of money.  They do this by behaving badly and broadcasting it on TV.  The TV folks are happy because you watch.   Then the KarCASHians use their name to promote products like perfume and clothes.  Their clothes line is called Kardashian Kollection.  I am not the only one who recognizes the value of playing off their name.

I am mistaken big time.  The KarCASHians do have talent.  I did not realized that until now.  They have a talent for behaving badly.  I never knew that this was a way to make a living.  Whenever I behaved as they do, my parents punished me.  I suspect that if I behaved that way today, my family and friends would desert me, unless... I made pots of money doing it.  That is the other KarCASHian talent, turning bad behavior into pots of money.  No wonder they changed the spelling of their name...

The KarCASHians have also spun off several TV shows about themselves from their main show.  Multiple opportunities to behave badly and to make bigger pots of money.  The more shows they have, the more they have to think of new and more outrageous ways to behave badly.  Let's see what we can expect from them.  Well, the KarCASHians now are having kids so the KarCASHian family will be outrageous in naming their next child -- Dollar Bill KarCASHian if it's a boy, Copper Penny KarCASHian, if it's a girl.  Copper Penny versus Dollar Bill, hmm, that's sexist to give a boy a higher value than a girl. 

Kim and Kanye have a child named North West.  For their next girl, they can name her Golden Coinye West.  That's assuming that Kim and Kanye do not pick from South West, East West, or West West.  Makes you wonder what childhood trauma Kanye suffered.  Must have gotten lost in the woods.  At least he is more creative than George Foreman who named all five of his sons...George Foreman. My favorite choice for a name is Moola KarCASHian. 

The KarCASHians have shown us that if you make pots of money by behaving badly, then that bad behavior is forgiven and becomes good behavior.  I don't get it, but there it is.

Friday, January 24, 2014

TV Wasteland

                                        

By The Urban Blabbermouth

I do waste a lot of time watching TV.  I cannot fathom any learning or any productive reason to watch Two and a Half Men.  If this was the only show like this that I watched, then, I would have no real complaint.  Unfortunately it is not.  Every evening, I spend several hours watching many TV shows of no real value other than that I like them.  Entertaining but not all that productive.  I need to do better.

It is Saturday morning as I write this and I have been watching nature shows on TV for the last two hours.  I like science shows.  I do not consider watching them to be a waste of my time as it is a form of learning.  I, however, have become a font of useless knowledge.  This morning, I learned about a tree in India that has foot long flowers that open up to look like Tiger Lilies.  What is the usefulness of this knowledge?  At the moment, I cannot think of any.  As far as I can tell, this interesting fact is now piled onto my store of useless knowledge.

I do need some entertainment but not all the time.  I could have studied calculus for thirty minutes each evening for the last ten years just by watching one less show.   It is much like a step back to my school days.  My parents would not let me watch TV unless my homework was done.  It was the same in college where I watched less TV so I could study at least enough to pass my courses and to graduate with a degree.  Maybe I can start studying again each evening.  

Like many men, I do spend a lot of time studying sports.  That is productive in some way.  I know lots of team and player stats and some game strategy.  That knowledge is not that far different from business management.  Managers study business stats and business strategy when preparing to make their decisions.  So studying sports is not such a wasteful use of my time.  The only issue is that I do not use these sporting skills in my job.  More useless knowledge?

TV folks can make all the wasteful shows they like.  I do not have to watch them.  It is up to me to do better.  I sit here thinking what can I do that would improve myself and improve the world?  I could have invented an amazing gizmo if I had indeed studied calculus for the last ten years.  I cannot draw but that would not stop me from creating some magnificent modern art based on, you guessed it, calculus.  You can see from this blog that I have discovered my interest in writing so I could write the next great novel that becomes a classic taught in every English class in the country.

It only takes a small bit of time, thirty minutes or so every evening, to improve my life and maybe the world.  It took me one hour to write this.  That takes care of today.  Now what to do in tomorrow's thirty minutes, start writing a script for Two and a Half Men?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Rock My World

                                

by The Urban Blabbermouth

~
An odd thought, why do humans have orgasms?  Well more accurately, women can become pregnant without experiencing any orgasm, while men cannot ejaculate without a corresponding orgasm.  This discrepancy has been burning up hours of thought and research at all the prestigious universities in the world and they have no answer.  I now turn my inquisitive mind to it.

It is a strange thing that women do not need an orgasm to participate in the reproductive process but men do.  I am unable to fathom mother nature's purpose in this discrepancy.  Let's say that the primary purpose of sex is reproduction.  Why then do we need orgasms?  Let's get rid of it.  Mother nature could have arranged it so that men do not need an orgasm to deliver their sperm.  Ejaculation could have been set up like a sneeze.  When we sneeze, the body is attempting to eject a dust particle from our nose.  No orgasm there.  So, if there is some stimulation to the male part, muscles will contract, and the body ejects the sperm without the orgasmic fanfare.  Then, both men and women can successfully reproduce without the presence of an orgasm for anybody.  A downside to this is that all men will be required to wear face masks for protection when sneezing in public.

If we have no orgasms, then why would we want to have sex?  Well, mother nature could have set things up differently here too. Consider how hunger works.  At some point you feel the need to eat, so you do.  That desire is built into you. Following the hunger example, you would feel the need to reproduce and you do, without any expectation of an orgasm.  Instinct would take over.  Women already have something of this approach.  At some point women become fertile and may have a corresponding increase in their desire to have babies regardless of their interest in sex or in any orgasm. Maybe that is the famous "ticking clock."   Well, men could also have the same instinct, become fertile, and have a desire to have babies regardless of their interest in sex. This may explain the male tendency to take a girl out to eat while on a date and then to have incredible desires to have sex with her afterwards.

There are some other secondary aspects to sex.  The sex and orgasm adds to the pair bonding.  People who engage in intimacy are attracted to each other and sex, including orgasm, strengthens this bond.  However, the pair bonding is not all that long lasting as is shown by the rate of divorce, the rate of adultery, and, gulp, the rate of pre-mature ejaculation.

I saw curious thesis on the internet.  It says that women really have three parts to them: the clitoris for orgasms, the urethra for urinary purposes, and the vagina for reproduction.  Men, on the other hand, have the male equivalent of the same three parts combined into one organ, the penis. This thesis posits that mother nature is still experimenting with us.  Mother nature is going on an alternate way of separating parts but has not yet finish evolving.  Women just turn out to be ahead of the evolutionary curve where their fertility is separated from their orgasms and, at some point, men will catch up.  Interesting, but I am skeptical of this.  Perhaps the all-in-one nature of the penis accounts for the male obsession with their penis and the three part nature of women accounts for their ability to multi-task.  But, that is off topic.

Getting rid of orgasms for everybody strikes me as a lousy solution to the discrepancy that women do not need an orgasms to participate in the reproductive process but men do.  What if to establish feminine equality with men, mother nature made it so that women must have an orgasm before an egg can present itself for fertilization?  It would mean that women can only have an orgasm once a month.  Another lousy solution.

So after all this, we have circled back to the question of why do humans have orgasms?  I don't know but I am not complaining.