28 February, 2005

Cottony Blanket

...you blinded my eyes/ You tricked me with visions of paradise....

And the snow comes down, swirling with the southern winds that bring it, rushing earthward in blinding blaze of white, coating dingy bleakness of cityscape.

The Questing Sniff is delighted by the first few minutes of our snowflake-studded promenade, quickly tires of wet in eyes and between toes. Brandishing a shovel, I attack the neighbor's walkway, my driveway, our street.

I stayed up most of the night, waiting for this. I'll be up most of the night, watching it.

(Snowblind; STYX)

27 February, 2005

Shape Up

...I got chills, they're multiplyin', and I'm losin' control....

I combat the Overly Intellectual content of the previous post with something deserving the designation of Trivial And Innane. Which is what I expect you've come to expect from Ms. Primarily Decorative, unless I've been even more naked than I realize.

It's about my ass. Which is, in most estimations, fairly shapely. However.

I stepped on a scale (for the first time since a toddler broke the last one using it as a stepstool repeatedly) and discovered that twenty-five extra pounds have mysteriously attached themselves to my person.

I never noticed because I've been sitting on them.

Now, I won't whinge, whine, or ask if this dress makes me look fat (yes, gentlemen, you're right, there IS no good answer- you lose no matter what) but I was watching Leno the other night, and his guest was fabulously intelligent, a self-made woman, a big time producer, a one-woman industry. She looked wonderful.

I make no comparisons. She has a full-time trainer, a full-time nutritionist, a full-time chef...and why shouldn't she? But still.

When my ass is bigger than Oprah's, I think it's safe to say I officially Have A Problem.

(You're The One That I Want; John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John; Grease)

23 February, 2005

Blink, Wink

...I've got something I can laugh about....

Add these to the list of reasons why it's better:

Because you can do it even if you think you’re too tired to do it.

Because once you start, it’s hard to stop, and that’s a GOOD thing.

Because even if you start alone, chances are others will join in quickly.


Because you can do it for a long, long time without getting the least bit sticky.

What you do with your face is important. In the National Geographic special I watched last night, a guard at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier spoke about how people told him he started to look 'mean'. He didn't mean to look mean, but because his face 'assumed the position', it became habitual. I submit that his outlook also changed.

There is empirical evidence that what you do with your face has a psychological and physiological effect. Don't believe me, talk to Malcolm Gladwell, who researched the inventors of the Facial Action Coding System, Paul Ekman and Wallace Friesen. In his article in The New Yorker, The Naked Face, Gladwell recounts the following incident.

Ekman received his most memorable lesson in this truth when he and Friesen first began working on expressions of anger and distress. "It was weeks before one of us finally admitted feeling terrible after a session where we' d been making one of those faces all day," Friesen says. "Then the other realized that he'd been feeling poorly, too, so we began to keep track." They then went back and began monitoring their body during particular facial movements. "Say you do A.U. one, raising the inner eyebrows, and six, raising the cheeks, and fifteen, the lowering of the corner of the lips," Ekman said, and then did all three. "What we discovered is that that expression alone is sufficient to create marked changes in the autonomic nervous system. When this first occurred, we were stunned. We weren't expecting this at all. And it happened to both of us. We felt terrible . What we were generating was sadness, anguish. And when I lower my brows, which is four, and raise the upper eyelid, which is five, and narrow the eyelids, which is seven, and press the lips together, which is twenty-four, I' m generating anger. My heartbeat will go up ten to twelve beats. My hands will get hot. As I do it, I can't disconnect from the system. It's very unpleasant, very unpleasant."

Ekman, Friesen, and another colleague, Robert Levenson, who teaches at Berkeley, published a study of this effect in Science. They monitored the bodily indices of anger, sadness, and fear—heart rate and body temperature—in two groups. The first group was instructed to remember and relive a particularly stressful experience. The other was told to simply produce a series of facial movements, as instructed by Ekman— to "assume the position," as they say in acting class. The second group, the people who were pretending, showed the same physiological responses as the first. A few years later, a German team of psychologists published a similar study. They had a group of subjects look at cartoons, either while holding a pen between their lips—an action that made it impossible to contract either of the two major smiling muscles, the risorius and the zygomatic major— or while holding a pen clenched between their teeth, which had the opposite effect and forced them to smile. The people with the pen between their teeth found the cartoons much funnier. Emotion doesn't just go from the inside out. It goes from the outside in. What's more, neither the subjects "assuming the position" nor the people with pens in their teeth knew they were making expressions of emotion. In the facial-feedback system, an expression you do not even know that you have can create an emotion you did not choose to feel.

This article might have been the beginning of Gladwell's new book, Blink, which I bought and devoured last week. No surprise, as his first book, The Tipping Point, is among my top ten favorite books ever (including everything by Albee, Bradbury, Christie, D’Aulaire, Eggers, Fulghum, Goldman, Heinlan, Ingalls, Jackson, Kipling, Lear, Marx, Nixon, Orman, Parker, Queen, Rowling, Shakespeare, Thurber, Updike, Virtue, Williams, Xavier, Yeats and Zane).

So laughter may not only be better than sex, it may actually be more important, as well. And to that end...

Last week, The Animal hooked me with a Watergate reference, which segued into a politics-as-mudslinging rant, but this week he just totally cracks me up. Tim Kreider, after yanking me down with a retrospective on his experience of the late Hunter S. Thompson, makes me laugh out loud, which is hard to explain to the other folks at the library. Wish him a happy birthday when you pop by.

Lurk has found something characteristic of his weird combination of humor and misery. Must remember to ask him if Mil Millington of Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About is his brother. Again with the laughing out loud. For those who'd like to get back to miserable humor, see Foamy The Squirrel at IllWillPress, brought to my attention by Soundguy, who is back in town and insisting on his fair share of hugs and kisses. The fact that he’s just the right size for hugging and smells really nice makes that a pleasant chore indeed.

So now I have to work on doing it with him.

I meant laughing. What did you think?

(Good Day, Sunshine; The Beatles)

21 February, 2005

Four Lines

...I know you ain't wearin' nothin' underneath that overcoat and that it's all a show....

"It's pretty abstract."

Yeah? I thought it was fairly imagistic. Wait, you've been reading poetry? Why would you do THAT?

"Dearth of comedy, lately."

Mmm. Agreed.

(Crazy; Aerosmith)

18 February, 2005

Naked Truth

...better have you naked by the end of this song....

In the moment between naked and not-naked, there are decisions to be made.

Whether it is preferable to nod to modesty, and hold ones nakedness to oneself with a roomy robe, toga or other loose gown, or to preserve the illusion of nakedness by donning the bare minimum of required garments, leaving exposed as much flesh as possible.

In the first instance, one appears to be fully dressed, but in reality is naked but for one simple cloth covering. In the second, one appears to be mostly nude, but the truth is that nakedness is smothered by even bikini-sized scraps.

And naked itself is something many of us rarely see but for in the shower.

Not even then if we neglect to remove body ornaments.

Go forth and be naked.

(Rock Your Body; Justin Timberlake)

08 February, 2005

Judge Not...

...Are you gonna take me home tonight/ Ah down beside that red firelight/ Are you gonna let it all hang out....

The snow on the ground kisses her toes as she minces along in strappy high heeled sandals. Her Capri-length jeans are flared mid-calf, and strategically bleached to ...highlight? ...emphasize? ...accentuate? I’m not sure what. Black spandex covers the roll bulging above her waistband, and the leotard/bodysuit/tee-shirt/sausage casing is topped by a hot pink breast-hugging shrug wrap.

I expect an overly made up face, overly processed hair to top this 250 pound testament to poor taste. I am surprised. The hair is flat, and frankly mousey. The face is unexpertly retouched with blue eyeshadow and pink lip gloss. It’s not more than fourteen years old, this face.

As she walks away, strong guitar thrums in my mind’s ear. "...you make the rockin’ world go round..." According to Morgan Spurlock, roughly half the budget for SuperSize Me went to securing rights to that song for the opening credits.

"My mother would have killed me for leaving the house dressed like that," an excessively verbal acquaintance of mine exclaims, describing her horror of MallRatz, the kids who hang out in what she obviously considers 'her' territory. She disapproves of tattooes and piercings and hairdos, of naval-exposing halters and thong-exposing hiphuggers. "She would have just killed me, I tell you!"

Well...we were looking at Olivia Newton-John, not Brittany Spears.

"That is so true. You make a good point."

I lie. I never looked at Olivia Newton-John.

It was Joan Jett all the way.

(Fat Bottomed Girls; Queen)

01 February, 2005

Flimsy Excuses

"...hook up a well-formed bottom to a whip-smart woman and apply a dash of the awkward and what you've got yourself is...well, trouble." --Christopher Moore; Fluke

My real life crowds out my virtual life to such an extent that my virtual life is virtually non-existent. Which leads to this:

Sixty Nine Reasons A Blogger Isn't Blogging

1. Writer's block.
2. The computer blew up.
3. Someone we don't like has been reading our blog
4. Too many people have been reading our blog.
5. No one at all is reading our blog.
6. The computer blew up.
7. The kitchen is being remodeled.
8. The cat had kittens....again.
9. Somebody is sick.
10. Somebody is in from out of town.
11. Somebody died.
12. The computer blew up.
13. Really excellent reading, that is to say, books.
14. The weather.
15. Broken arm.
16. Broken leg.
17. Broken arm AND broken leg.
18. Someone else is using the #@%&*! computer.
19. 'Days Of Our Lives' is on.
20. 'Oprah' is on.
21. 'Rocky MXLVI' is on.
22. Depression.
23. Hypersomnia.
24. The computer blew up.
25. The kids need something.
26. The dog needs something.
27. Shoe shopping.
28. Nails are too long.
29. Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.
30. The computer blew up.
31. We want to be really witty on our blog, but are short on wit.
32. Learning to knit.
33. Telephone lines are down.
34. The ISP got absorbed by another company.
35. Car trouble.
36. Secret spy missions.
37. Good sex, often.
38. Bad sex, too often.
39. No sex at all, suspect dysfunction.
40. The computer blew up.
41. A virus.
42. An anti-virus.
43. The Anti-Christ.
44. The Second Coming.
45. Chocolate binge.
46. Re-acquaintance with old school chums.
47. Vegetative state, temporary.
48. Vegetative state, permanent.
49. Cat scratch fever.
50. Lyme's disease.
51. Lou Gherig's disease.
52. Industrial disease.
53. Dysmorphia.
54. Tax season.
55. The computer blew up.
56. Incontinence.
57. Can't find a chair.
58. Forgot how to type.
59. Dog ate our homework.
60. Publisher's Clearinghouse arrived with a check.
61. The cops came to shut the party down.
62. Temporary insanity.
63. Permanent insanity.
64. Amnesia.
65. Overactive bladder.
66. Overactive imagination.
67. Kidnapped by aliens.
68. Dead in a ditch.
69. The computer blew up.

I leave my personal reason/s to your imagination.


At her request, I step behind her to fasten her bra. From experience, I know that this is a difficult undertaking, one-handed. But what is this? THONG underwear? On THIS woman? THIS woman is someone's grandmother. Oh, shock, and ah, dismay: soon, it will be only our daughters wearing granny panties.