September rambling #2, hernia operation edition: Consent 101

SamuraiFrog completes his Weird Al epic.

Am I having fun this morning? Hernia operation. I may be “out of pocket” for a few days.

Why did the Speaker of the House quit? The Plot Against Planned Parenthood and John Boehner.

From the American Conservative, no less: The Quiet Grand Strategy of Barack Obama. “Are the president’s diplomatic initiatives winning a new American Century?”

Study: White people react to evidence of white privilege by claiming greater personal hardships.

There Is No Excuse for How Universities Treat Adjuncts.

Re: the Muslim teen who created a clock and got arrested, it’s now clear they didn’t think he had a bomb. And talk about foolishness in school settings: 11-year-old gifted student suspended 1 year for having a pot leaf that wasn’t a pot leaf.

From Wondermark: Fauxtopia.

A TIDE commercial.

And now for the sex portion of our post: Consent 101 and How Often the Average Couple Has Sex.

Too Much in Love to Say Good Night.

End Daylight Saving Time.

Harvard linguist points out the 58 most commonly misused words and phrases.

Now I Know: Switzerland Making Headway Against Rabies and The Mystery of the Appalachian Bend and Everyday Superheroes at the Elder Care Facility and How Smoking Gave PEZ a Boost and How to Pay Yourself $2.1 Million in Taxes.

From Donna: “Thinking of writing a bedtime book for grownups along the lines of GOODNIGHT MOON. It will be titled SHUTUP BRAIN.”

R.I.P., Nancy J. Ellegate, who sat about 40 meters from my desk at work, and who I talked with about myriad topics several times a week.

A bridge comes down in Binghamton, my hometown.

Ron Marz on reviewing comics.

There Will Officially Be NO MORE X-Men in Marvel Comics.

A nice little primer on aspect ratio in movies.

Muppets. As of this writing, I haven’t yet watched the first episode of the new show yet. TV’s Newest Reality Stars (e.g., Kermit Gets Set Up) and has the new show taken an-unfortunately-dark-turn and Joey Mazzarino has left Sesame Street.

I Made Alex Trebek Say ‘Turd Ferguson’.

The longest-running shows on Broadway.


R.I.P., Ben Cauley of the Mar-Keys.

Like what you like, ABBA division.

Joe Jackson’s Ode To Joy.

SamuraiFrog completes his Weird Al epic: 10-6, and 5-1. Could my response to his response to a post of mine be far behind?

Chuck Miller says goodbye to his 78s.

MASHUPS: Blondie Vs. The Doors – Rapture Riders and Stevie Wonder vs The Clash – Uptight/Rock The Casbah.

The history of the memorable and covinous Dick Van Dyke Show comic books published by Gold Key in the sixties.

What was the first comic book you remember reading? and Tips for Surviving and Thriving at The Albany Comic Con and a roundtable discussion on the topic of comics blogging and Do comics matter? (And I don’t mean Chris Rock, I mean Sgt. Rock.)

Re: the second cartoon:
Reza Farazmand says: “Feel free to repost these comics on your blog/website/forehead, as long as it’s for non-commercial purposes. Just attribute the comic to and include a link back. Thaaanks.”

L is for lunaversary

Luna- is the prefix, not just for moon-based objects, from which the word “month” comes, but for “lunatics” and “lunacy,” all the things “early-stage intense romantic love” is.

moon-20120922-thm“Six-month anniversary.” Something is just linguistically WRONG about that. Anni- refers to the year. Now, semi-anniversary, or some variation would be OK.

You may have read about the studies dealing with the “swooning magic of head-over-heels love.” Researchers “found high amounts of activity in a ‘reward’ part of the brain when the smitten subjects were shown photos of their honeys. That part of the brain has previously been linked to the desire for cocaine, chocolate, and money.

“It shows us exactly why love looks so crazy. It’s activating these circuits that are associated with very intense desire,” said SUNY Stony Brook psychologist Arthur Aron,” who helped lead one study.

Well, luna- is the prefix, not just for moon-based objects, from which the word “month” comes, but for “lunatics” and “lunacy,” all the things “early-stage intense romantic love” is. Lunaversary (loon’ a ver’ sah ree) is the monthly recurrence of a notable event. It is far more accurate than “one-month anniversary”, and far shorter to boot.

You never heard of lunaversary before? That’s because I created it. Or so I believe. When I wrote about this previously, some other guy claims HE invented it, and he probably did, and around the same time; the logic is rather rudimentary.

Nevertheless, I had sent this word to the late William Safire’s “On Language” column in the New York Times about twenty years ago. Safire thought it was interesting construction, and he did type me a response suggesting that the idea had merit. He said he considered using it in his column, but never did. I still have that blue postcard somewhere in the attic.

Use “lunaversary” at will. Tell them when they say “fifth month anniversary” that the PREFERRED term is “fifth lunaversary.” Impress your friends, and confound those who aren’t familiar with this word.

(Based on a post from June 15, 2005.)

abc 17 (1)
ABC Wednesday – Round 17

Bernie v. the Donald; To Fall in Love with Anyone

What’s it like to use a scientific formula to fall in love?

beingthereChris asked:

Something I find interesting about both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump – the two most popular candidates that Nate Silver says don’t have a chance in hell – is that their supporters repeatedly cite their authenticity.

Maybe that says something interesting about the American psychology in 2015. What do you think?

Well, I suppose so. And if people actually voted, maybe either one COULD be elected. But Donald’s “authenticity” is ersatz. To that point: Far from destroying our democracy, he’s exposing all its phoniness and corruption in ways as serious as he is not. And changing it in the process. Frank Rich compares him with a couple of fictional characters.

I would suggest another one. In the movie Being There (1979), Peter Sellers, in his last film before his death, played a gardener of limited intellectual ability, but who eventually awes the Shirley MacLaine character and others with his supposedly deft political insight. (That was one of the first three movies I ever bought on VHS tape.)

Erick Erickson, the conservative pundit from – hey, I’m using donotlink – may well also be correct:

I think Donald Trump’s success is a reflection of the frustration people have in being told to act like adults. I really do. I think we’ve become such a repressed society in terms of what you can say to people these days (largely due to the damn lawyers like me). You can’t say anything about anyone – either at your workplace or anywhere in public, without being called into the HR office or getting sued or having the government come knocking at your door…

I think we’ve become a nation full of people who are painfully repressed and that there’s a significant part of the population that is sick to death of it. I think that’s why people behave the way they do online. The things people will say through their phones and through email are things you never hear people say real life, and I think that is reflective of the fact people are dying for an outlet to just achieve catharsis sometimes and just let it all out – and Donald Trump is just a personification of that.

I don’t think the Trump support is reflective of any issue at all. I don’t think it’s even reflective of disgust with the GOP. I think it’s reflective of the disgust we have with the new unwritten rules of society…

The reality is that people are excited to see, hey, here’s a guy who goes on TV, and if he wants to pop off at the mouth, he pops off at the mouth, and if this guy can rise to being President of the United States then maybe I don’t have to always shut my mouth and I can sometimes say what I feel and maybe I can call my annoying coworker ugly and not have to risk being sued, too.

Those guys who used to make jokes about women’s periods, or someone’s looks, or whatever, feel oppressed. I believe that they think so. And truth is, being a grown-up is a drag. Popping off and saying whatever crosses one’s mind, with no consequences – hey, wouldn’t that be great?

(This, BTW, is why I don’t tweet anything except news stories and blog posts because I prefer to think before I write, or speak. But maybe that’s just me.)

Bernie Sanders, on the other hand, has been relatively the same guy his whole political life. He is authentically authentic if one can (or need to) say that. He doesn’t worry that people will discover he’s (HORRORS!) a self-described democratic socialist, which he has not hidden.

He’s appealing to that group of folks that believe the Occupy Wall Street folks were pretty much right, that the 1% are getting richer at working people’s expense.

What Bernie and the Donald DO have in common is that they seem to bug the political parties’ establishments, terrified that if he is nominated, a chance to win the 2016 will have been thrown away. Scott Walker, in his departure from the GOP race, specifically targeted Trump. The Democratic liberal establishment frets that it won’t be Hillary.

Not that anyone asked me, but I can’t help but think Marco Rubio will be on the ticket in 2016, probably as someone’s vice-presidential running mate.
Chris also noted:

This really interesting TED talk about questions that made me think of Ask Roger Anything. Interested in your thoughts.

The link is to that video, but here’s the background:

What’s it like to use a scientific formula to fall in love, share the tale in the New York Times and then find yourself overwhelmed by a world fascinated with your love life? Hear the story from Mandy Len Catron, whose essay, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” set hearts and minds aflutter.

Originally from Appalachian Virginia, Mandy Len Catron now lives in Vancouver, B.C., where she teaches English and creative writing at the University of British Columbia. Her New York Times article, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This,” received more than eight million views and was syndicated all over the world. She’s now working on a book about the dangers of love stories. For more information, visit The Love Story Project

My thoughts:
1) I’ve seen a number of TED talks, and this isn’t my favorite. The presentation style was a bit flat.

2) Given the fact that this story went viral, I was oddly unaware of it.

3) That said, she was absolutely right not to put her boyfriend out there in the spotlight. They would become that couple on the cover of US Weekly, where every aspect of their relationship would be under scrutiny. That might well have crushed it.

4) To the primary question: sure, having a conversation can create intimacy (and by intimacy, I don’t necessarily mean sex). Intimacy could create that feeling of “in love.” But that phase almost never survives. Once the spark is lit, a couple must keep stoking the fire.


ant-manOddly, it was The Wife who said, “We need to see a movie,” before the school year went on for too long, and we were buried in homework hell. Of the three movies playing at the nearby Madison Theatre, we’d seen one film, and I actively didn’t want to see the second (Pixels). The obvious choice was to see Ant-Man.

I had read comic books for a number of years, so I knew that the original Ant-Man was Hank Pym. Of all the early Marvel characters, this one was arguably the most boring. So it was interesting that this version of Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) has hidden away for three decades the technology that allowed him to shrink down to the size of an industrious insect.

But now he needs to find someone to put on the suit with the ability to shrink, yet increase in strength. He engages cat burglar-for-a-good-cause Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) to pull off a heist that will stop the evil plans of Pym’s former protege Darren Cross (Corey Stoll). And what side is Pym’s daughter, Hope van Dyne (Evangeline Lilly), angry about her mother’s mysterious death, really on?

My spouse, who knows next to nothing about the Marvel universe, really liked the film and appreciated the way the various ants behaved. The Daughter was likewise pleased. Neither had ever seen a Marvel movie.

I too was pleased. I found the Lang character interesting and compelling character who loves his young daughter, and is resistant to the lure of another heist until, being unemployable because of his record, his buddies (Michael Peña as Luis, and others) push him into a “sure thing”.

There’s been a lot of analysis in the 80% positive reviews about where this film falls into the Marvel universe, and whether the movie was “big” enough. Not having seen any Marvel movie in three years – STILL haven’t seen the first Avengers film yet – I find the question superfluous. I’m watching THIS movie, and I’m less concerned about where it fits in the big picture.

Others complained that the setup – the initial heist and figuring out the suit – took too long. I SO disagree. It was the struggle that gave the character of Lang some depth. There was plenty of action in the third act.

Both The Wife and I have become fascinated how Bobby Cannavale has evolved from bad guy roles to the dad, or, in this case, the surrogate dad, to Lang’s daughter (Abby Ryder Fortson) as well as beau to Scott’s ex, Maggie (Judy Greer).

Early in the credits – so happy to see comic artist Jack Kirby’s name up there, as well as writers Stan Lee and his brother, Larry Lieber. Then there was a tease. But one must wait until the VERY end for a future plot twist.

The Lydster, Part 138: Dining in public with an infant

I have an odd fascination with that story about the mom whose encounter with an angry Maine diner owner went viral.

Without rehashing the whole thing, I was taken by this sentence in the mom’s version: “When the food came, my daughter was still fussing.” After extensive observation, I’ve discovered that parents have very different criteria for what constitutes “fussing,” and moreover, whether to stay or go.

I’ve decided that there are two types of parents of children `who are under two years old: those who don’t think other people would mind a little bit of adorable noise because ADORABLE, and those who are mortified by their child’s disruption. Maybe it’s because we became parents relatively late, but the Wife, and especially I, are most assuredly in the latter category.

The first time The Wife and I decided to go out to dinner after the Daughter was born was when she was six months old, give or take a couple weeks. She had been nursed before we went to a nice Vietnamese restaurant in Albany. She seemed fine in one of those car seat carriers.

Very soon after we were seated, the Daughter began wailing. Maybe it sounded like wailing to us because the stone floor was very echoey, but as it didn’t seem to stop, even as we took turns holding her. We left, leaving an enormous tip for a couple cups of tea.

Seems we went somewhere else to eat – McDonald’s? – and she was cheerful.

I told The Daughter this story about herself fairly recently. She felt badly about it, which was NOT the intent.

We avoided taking a transcontinental trip to Washington state when she was two, because she didn’t travel always well in the car, where we could control the environment. Surely, I didn’t want us to be those parents all the passengers glowered at for hours.

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