Small things I kvetch about
"King Louis XIV (1638-1715) was terrified of bathing; he's said to have taken only three baths in his life. That fear was shared by the noblility in the 17th Century -- it was thought that water spread disease (so the less you bathed, the less vulnerable you were). Yet Versailles was seriously fragrant. Throughout the Palace, bowls were filled with flower petals, to sweeten the air. Furniture was sprayed with perfume...." ("The perfume society" website) Persons today do generally bathe more often.
One experiment I would like to see undertaken: (1) All the able-bodied employees of a big deodorant/anti-perspirant company completely saturate all their flesh, from pate to toenails, with their product. Then they all run a marathon in 95° plus, 100% humidity, mid-day Florida in August sun (or lower humidity 120°+ Death Valley sun, let each employee choose for themself). How do they all smell now? (2) Repeat the experiment, this time giving all the runners the option of deodorizing or not. How is the health of the survivors of experiment #1, now? I am aware that humans, unlike cats, are not self-cleaning animals; when healthy, cats really do naturally smell sweet, or have no by humans detectable odor at all. The hypocrisy of this really gets to me ("How dare you think people have body odor! Wash your mouth with soap! And use deodorant, stinko!"). Oh yes, shaving body hair, too, unless maybe one has hypertrichosis.
Part of my solution to this problem is, except for exercise sessions after which one of course wants to take a shower, don't perspire! For many white-collar persons, this is not impossible, if they take things easy and keep their cool. "Yes, people, I know you lust to sunbathe -- where I guess it's hard to keep from sweating (I lack first-hand experience on which to base my opinion, here) --, and thus to increase your chances for developing skin cancer." "What did you say we do?"
I'd be willing to bet US$5 (US$50?) that even a lot of folks who protest against Cancel Culture would find my thought here
politically olfactorily or diaphoretically incorrect. Check out: this place, and:
Lack of visible facial hair on a male is a sign of masculinity; Males with long hair are effeminate. Right?
Ladle 3/4 quart (or liter) of your personal social customs into your semiotic Cuisinart (or Ninja). Add 1/4 quart (or liter) of any social customs not your own which conflict with yours. Puree (on High, if you have an option) for one (1) minute. The resulting concoction should be safe to drink. (BMcC)
What would people say about a post-pubescent male(?) who was so hormonally challenged that they had no facial hair? Do persons with two functional legs generally prefer to camouflage their condition by perambulating in wheelchairs?
How about a little high school math: Assume length to which the hair on a person's scalp naturally grows varies inversely with masculinity (that seems reasonable, since most women have long hair, and the two genders are antipodal, correct?). Inescapable conclusion: Only 100% bald males are 100% real men. Q.E.D.
If you're trying to hide your embarrassment by faking it, get a head shave! Even better: full-scalp electrolysis (Electrolysis solves the problem permanently)! Do not get a haircut to help keep America beautiful, because that's only a half measure (anyway, men are supposed to be manly, not beautiful, aren't they? Oh I see: it's not the men but Miss America that's going to be beautified by men getting haircuts? Non-Newtonian action at a distance? I got it.)! [But there's a problem with head-shaving: That's what French partisans did with women who slept with the enemy in WWII, so if you are not authentically bald maybe you wouldn't want to go there? Now I see why middle-aging males wear toupées.]
Why do we see advertisements for men's hair restoration treatments on TV? These guys go to a lot of trouble and then discard much of the product of their labor in a barber's floor sweepings. You'd think after all their effort, they'd treasure what they paid so dearly for, and let it grow waist-long, if they could, wouldn't you?
Come on, guys: Just because your granddad was a man in a gray-flannel suit, you don't have to be one, too. "We are not! We don't wear suits to work; we wear jeans" "I know. I was talking about your Aqua Velva face. [let me pause here for a few seconds, and reassuringly reconsider:] But don't think twice, it's all right."
Locker room same gender pub[l]ic nudity promotes monogamous heterosexuality
How I wish Unce Siggy [Freud] was around to look into this one! Well, we do have psychoanalysts today, and I never saw this in the course curriculum of the [albeit third rate] psychoanalytic institute I was a student at, ca. 1990.
Here's my model: Think of the human person as an electric automobile, with a generator, a motor to drive the wheels, and a battery. If you crank the generator, you will produce electric energy. If that energy drives the wheels, it won't charge the battery. If power to the wheels is blocked, the energy will charge the battery. Locker room same gender pub[l]ic nudity without expression is using instinctual energy to charge the battery instead of driving the wheels. What use is stored energy that doesn't drive the wheels? What if the car has a power outlet (electric plug)? Now you can use that battery energy to power anything with an electric input. For instance, in human males, to drive Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori, or company sales campaigns. The feeding gorilla comes in peace; if you have an itch scratch it. Are persons whose instinctual needs are lavishly satisfied thereby made more eager to "go over the top" (ref.: trench warfare on the Western Front in World War I)?
Back to civilian life: Is seeing other persons' genitals really a "turn off"? Persons who find the sight of food nauseating are generally considered to have an eating disorder. If locker room same gender pub[l]ic nudity really is salubrious, why cannot humans be like our closest simian relatives, the pygmy chimpanzees (bonobos), who promiscuously and polymorphously make love not war? Sailors know: "any port in a storm." "If you disagree with me, Sir, what's your better model? I'd like to raise my ideals."
More thoughts about sex-hypocrites
I've been thinking some more about the sex perverts whose specific form of deviancy is sexual hypocrisy (aka: prudes, "right to lifers" who do not go all the way and fund lifelong benefits for the involuntary mothers and the babies they bring into the world by denying women abortions, etc.). Something fishy is going on with them. They do not castrate themselves, as would seem to me logical, or since they hate the living, why don't they just get on with killing themselves? They reproduce. Female virtue was in past, and may even today in some places, be an internationally negotiable financial instrument. Women are not mandated by Nationalist political regimes and self-appointed NGO ethnocrats to be nuns: Women are supposed to be soldier/worker/baby-factory factories, and to do that they need to be inseminated and copulation is probably cheaper than artificial insemination. Furthermore, hypocrite males seem to get off on screwing females, in both the anatomical and the socio-economical senses (maybe egged on by aim-inhibited single gender locker room public nudity?). What gives?
Here's what I'm thinking. Banality needs to feel itself to be something more than it is, so as not to feel like it is what it is. If we prohibit all sexual activity except for the missionary position in holy matrimony, we really make that one banal thing be "hot stuff", like maybe opening a corkscrew hole in an airbag of the Hindenburg (and flipping a Bic?)? Any even marginally physiologically functional male can do it! (No need to be a Homer Simpson to qualify!) So he sees himself as a Messiah, come to transport his Ophelia to Heaven. Wow! I'm great, he thinks! And, after [Friedrich Nietzsc]he['s The Last Man] gets the female pregnant and blinks, post his great achievement, then, even better, if he has a day gig maybe as a day trader that pay$ a lot of money, then they can even have a: Gender reveal party! and fanta$ize going to Disneyland in their tract MacMansion for a couple hour$! So I think that's what's up: Make what is banal be rare and therefore valuable (no making waxy yellow build-ups on Mary Hartmann's kitchen floor, boys!), and then it will be highly valued by the people who made it rare, and by everybody else who gets intimidated and or conned, and therefore universally valuable!
Did anyone say something about restriction of trade being incompatible with free and open markets? NIMBY (i.e.: not at my barbecue!)
The thirteenth amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery
Indeed it did. But did it abolish asymmetrical social relationships through which value is coercively extracted from some persons for the enrichment of other persons? I think there are big differences between slavery and "wage slavery". In slavery, the master has a property investment to protect. In a gig economy, the contractor has no responsibility. "Well, ☭communist, what are you proposing instead to take away our freedom?"
How about worker cooperative ownership of the enterprise? There are some such, even in the deregulated States of America. There could be more if management made transforming themselves into co-workers a corporate goal. Suppose MBA $chools taught their students to be "clerks" (clerics/intellectuals), and had them study "The Treason of [the same]"? Is ethics to be implemented only insofar as it furthers profit maximization? If what's good for the goose is good for the gander, then, if managers do not feel their commitment to other managers is to extract value from them but to be pals with them, shouldn't they feel the same way about employees? Is turnaround fair play? Why should not what goes around come around?
Of course, things take time, and one step at a time. But does not a journey of a thousand miles begin with a single step, upper and other management? Some day today will be fifty years ago. If we'd started walking fifty years ago, that some day would be today.
Hypocrisy of the "lefties"
28 August 2020. March on Washington (DC) for social justice. CNN reporter points out to a participant that there is risk of Covid-19 due to persons not wearing masks or not maintaining social distance, etc. Participant replies that: the message of social justice outweighs the risk of corona virus. I (BMcC) wonder: What justice for whom? Will said person walk the walk and not just talk the talk → even if comes to themselves being intubated in ICU, and also committing their nearest and dearest to ICU, too, due to their choice? Will their nearest and dearest celebrate being thus volunteered for said message? Will they sacrifice you, my reader, and me, too? (Just checking.)
Come on, lefties! How can you possibly argue against (POTUS №45) Donald J. Trump's in-your-face bulldog Congressman James Jordon when he points out that persons congregating in Church is not permitted but Las Vegas casinos are open? Or when another rightwinger (name forgotten) points out that leftwingers are mass protesting in the streets but people are not allowed to pray (congregate) in Church? The (POTUS №45) Trumpies are probably using leftwing hypocrisy for mean-spirited ends. I personally doubt James Jordon cares about Churchgoers, but only wants to win points with his Don. But the lefties are being hypocrites. If the pot is calling the kettle carbonaceously challenged ("black"), the kettle is not for that reason untainted by carbonaceous deposits.
Why cannot the persons on the left reply to these (POTUS №45) Trumpie indictments something like:
"Thank you, Sir, for pointing out our hypocrisy to us. We have cleaned up our act and will henceforth only act in conformity with the best epidemiological guidance. No more will we congregate, neither in street protests for good causes nor supporting people playing slot machines in casinos. Now, how about you joining in and stopping your people from congregating in churches, because that is against best epidemiologial guidance, also? Health and safety -- the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for each and every person, equally --, is that to which we are henceforth unstintingly committed. Please continue to monitor our behavior in case we fail to see ourselves clearly and fall short! Will you do the same, Sir? How about this: Let's start a race to the top! Let's see who can better foster the highest values for every individual person and for the whole earth! Are you in?"
If "progressives" are really being progressive and not just trying to advance their parochial agenda, can they expect anything less of themselves? If rightwingers ("conservatives", et al.) are not just being mean-spiritedly cynical, how could they fail to rise to this challenge, which is not partisan but striving for universal betterment of all humanity? If the (POTUS №45) Trumpies don't join in, then the lefties would certainly be justified in calling out their hypocrisy and/or mean-spirited cynicism.
You are the [in]difference
Which are you? Are you "[in]"? To agglomerators (congregators) of any and all ideological persuasions (persons who lust for either secular or religious purposes promiscuously to "socialize"), especially those who propagandize such massing serves any salubrious purpose for individual persons other than themselves, I respectfully ask: Where's Waldo?
The Nadir of American politics
In the 1999 U.S. Presidential election, (POTUS №43) George W. Bush arguably won election and Al Gore lost due to Ralph Nader -- whom I call: Ralph Nadir -- siphoning off about 80,000 votes in Florida, most likely mostly from Al Gore, to give (POTUS №43) Bush a majority in that state and win the election. Nadir said it didn't much matter if his third party candidacy, which had no prospect of winning anything, took the election away from Al Gore, because there was not much difference between (POTUS №43) Bush and Gore. Not much difference between a tool of the neo-conservatives and a world leader in fighting global warming? Etc.
I said shame on Ralph Nadir and all those who voted for him; some lefties called me out for not understanding that the important thing had not been (POTUS №43) Bush or Gore, but establishing a viable third party political party. I think Ralph Nadir was thus a nadir, i.e., a nihilistic force, in American politics. As it turned out, not only was (POTUS №43) Bush not a champion of saving the earth from global warming, but also he gave us an unnecessary and hopeless Iraq war, and an aneurysm economy that burst. Thank you, Mr. Nadir. Thank you, Nadir supporters!
Barbara Tuchman, in "A distant mirror" writes of a 14th Century Italian family: the Viscontis, who had much money and negative ethical character. I do not know the man's genealogy, but I currently reside in a house the previous inhabitants of which were an architect's family (he sold it to us) with the same surname, probably less money, but matching character. I think of architecture as an ethical profession, the practitioners of which should design places where persons can live in an honorific, not just metabolic, sense (I once worked in an office building: The IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, New York USA, Eero Saarinen architect, that did well by my metric).
I have been told that the person across the street wanted to buy Visconti's house, because her house was very small. Visconti did not sell to her. Why? Because he knew her. If this story is apocryphal, and, for all I know, it may be, what would motivate anybody to invent such an improbable story? And why would I seem to recall it after 13+ years? Because Visconti had been a good neighbor? Because Visconti had been an ethical seller?
On claiming asylum and not collecting postage stamps
As a kid (ca, age 5 years), my parents gave me "stamps" and a book ("album") to paste them in. I guess I was supposed to match the stamps to pictures of stamps in the book. From the preceding sentence, my reader, it may be fairly obvious that I was not much interested in this occupation.
Why was I not interested in the stamps? Because they were USED. Why should I have any interest in used postage stamps? I think I would have had some interest in full sheets of unused stamps. Maybe I would have wanted to frame the sheets of stamps as if they were paintings or art prints?
Here's what I think is the sad part: I probably would have little more interest in those stamps today at age 73+3/4 years than I had at age 5 years. More interest (but not so much more), because today I can find some interest in almost anything from a sociology of everyday life perspective (Item: I am my own research object). Why would I not have interest in those stamps today? For a radically different reason than at age 5 years: My problem with the stamps today would be that THEY ARE NO LONGER ATTACHED TO THEIR ENVELOPES → the stamps have been decontextualized, much of their meaning has been taken away from them!
As a child, I was deprived of understanding of the idea of CONTEXT. Maybe schizoid is the right word for this condition. "People" will probably tell me to "get another 'brilliant' idea" or some other such self-righteous dismissal, if I claim to be a victim of child abuse. I do claim that status. I also argue that being deprived of the very concept of sexuality is a form of childhood sexual abuse. I claim that, too. My reader: If you were a Customs and Immigration agent/judge in a land where I would like to emigrate to, to escape my oppressors, would you deny me asylum? firstname.lastname@example.org
Anent stamp-collecting: I find it ironically amusing that, entirely apart from my childhood socialization, in later life, I invented a form of mail art, for which my childhood [tor]mentors have no right to claim any credit. My parents were probably victims of their social surrounds of origin, but, for whatever reason, their imaginative horizon was bounded by the banality of "stamp collecting" (and even there they had no idea of connoisseurship in that object domain) and its reproduction (a new idea does not re-produce anything; a new idea pro-duces something that was previously not part of the world; only a new idea can expand the domain of valuation and not merely move existing valuateds around or duplicate them).
Now let us ignore famous man (and women)
I interpret Robbie's observation radically:
I think this is Ex-Lax for the spirit (soul). I am practicing acting on it: wherever I have a thought I feel is worth conveying and I can find somebody's email address (or whatever access path), I try to convey it. At age 74 years, I'm in recovery.
I have "had it" with being nothing. The limit of 1 / n as n approaches infinity is zero. I intend to vote against demagogue (POTUS №45) Donald J. Trump in the November 1999 election, if I am able to get an absentee ballot; I have mailed in an application for one. I know it will be meaningless, but, who knows? Maybe the election will be decided by one vote? I'm angry, so voting is the same kind of fun as "giving my television set the finger" when (POTUS №45) Trump or one of his toadies materializes on CNN. It's certainly more well advised than smashing the HDTV set. I do believe that, generally even if not always: depression is aim-inhibited rage. But I would not risk a long vacation in an ICU (Intensive Care Unit of a hospital) to cast a vote in person, short of the alternative being lining up to go to a "camp" or getting shot.
Famous people want to be famous? I like the old cartoon where two infantry squads face each other. You, my reader, know the drill: Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori. On each side, the Officer commands: "Fire!" The soldiers do indeed fire: But, first, each soldier pivots 180°. All together, now! Each soldier discharges his bullet squarely into his side's Officer. End of Officers. End of war for all the, now safe and sound, soldiers. Mirabile visu: No work for medics.
I am not here proposing that all enlisted men help their officers to die for unexplained causes. Some officers are good shepherds of their sheep. Their "men" (and women) would never think of shooting them because they know they [the officers] are looking out for them [the soldiers]. I believe General William Tecumseh Sherman, "Uncle Billy", to his men, was an example. When a destitute soldier would come to the great General's door after the war, the General would send him on his way with a gold coin. In World War II, Louis Forsdale, the most junior officer in (I think it was) the Army War College, had a Commanding Officer who introduced "Lieutenant Forsdale" to everybody with the instruction that they should treat what the lieutenant said as if he himself [the Commanding Officer] was speaking it. You want sacrifice, famous person? Earn it!
I am suggesting that little persons turn their backs to big shots, preferably just walking away, and, if they have an itch, scratching it. It is important to understand here, however, that turning the back should not be interpreted as Japanese soldiers in World War II, after the surrender, turned their backs to the road when American soldiers drove by. The Japanese were not thereby disdaining the Americans, although that's what the ignorant Americans thought. The Japanese soldiers were turning away because they, having lost the war, did not consider themselves worthy to look at the face of those who had beat them. We are Americans, but we an understand better. Let bosses who want fame follow the example of those Japanese soldiers and we will honor them for it.
I have, in recent months, come up with an image: Sublunary stars and non-HVAC fans. There is a not politically correct nursery rhyme which describes what happens to fans who follow too enthusiastically: a little boy gets a number of tigers into a circle, each chasing the tail of the tiger in front of it. Faster and faster.... All the tigers melt into a big yellow donut shaped blob of butter. Feed the hungry? Which side was their bread buttered on? One reason I still subscribe to The New York Times newspaper is to write User Comments to their OpEd essays.
So what about Shakespeare? I find some of his plays not worth my time (maybe I would feel differently about them if I was part of a small peer reading group in Rabelais' Abbey of Theleme? Ditto some of Plato's dialogues, in which, otherwise, I am not a interlocutor except in fantasy). Others of Shakespeare's plays, e.g., King Lear, I have found worth my time to read. Also, apparently, "Timon of Athens", which I purchased in Maruzen book store, Ginza, Tokyo, 8 June 1984, and I have a note in it that I finished it 11 June 1984 ≅ 15:55 on the Shinknsen near Nagoya.
If I met Mr. Shakespeare on the road, I would greet him respectfully (would I also ask for an autograph for my daughter or for my archives? I do have a couple rather pedigreed persons' autographs, on letters they wrote to me in response to letters I wrote to them. Back to Shakespeare: He would, of course, be welcome reciprocally to ask for my autograph). I would await his response to my respectful greeting. If he greeted me respectfully in return, I might have found a new friend. Who knows? Shakespeare was presumably a busy man. On the other hand, if he tried to do a Laius [Œdipus's father] on me, I'd dive for the ditch on the side of the road, because I would not wish to become a "cat pancake" (what happens to a cat when an automobile's or, a fortiori, big truck's tire runs over it). If, on the other hand, I had more strength (maybe if I was Sun Tzu or USAF Col. John R. Boyd), and I could help my adversary to disorient himself, I'd calmly observe him run himself off the road, and then I'd have the decency to check if he still had a pulse, and, if so, call 911 for him, not for the sake of his body but for the sake of my soul). I'd even do it for (POTUS №45) Donald J. Trump or Martin Luther King, whatever-ordinal [if the ordinal was 2, I'd be checking to see if he was wearing one of the silk shirts I have read he liked, and also thinking about his philandering]. If he was Bob Dylan and he'd be willing to sing one of his songs I like, I would love to listen to that, not becaue he's famous but because I like the song and the way he sings it. [Yes, my reader, I cannot deny I would use the encounter for story telling later, but I tell stories about a number of people nobody has heard of, too. Ever hear of Harold Jones?] Etc.
Now let famous men enjoy themselves, just like persons whose two feet gravity pulls to earth hopefully have the good fortune to be able to do (cf.: When pigs fly).
Coins and bank notes
Silver-plating can shine brighter than real silver. (BMcC)
When I was young (1970's), I always carried one or two hundred dollars in my wallet. I was not rich but I was not impoverished, and the bills were at the ready in case I wanted something. At around age 30 years, I finally got the status symbol I diligently pursued: an American Express (AmEx) card.
During the past 20 or so years, I hardly carry any cash; if there are no bank notes in my wallet, I do not care. When I was still employed, I specifically kept rejecting American Express Platinum card solicitations, and only keep the Gold card because I've had it for many years (I'd be just as happy to go back to basic Green, which seems to me a symbol of being a citizen and not only Falstaffean "food for powder").
I am a connoisseur of all things. One day I happened to look at a fairly new United States Quarter dollar coin. I was puzzled. If I did not know it was supposed to be real money, I'd have mistaken it for a token from a board game box. It was dreck. The ridge around the edge of the coin did not seem able to keep itself straight (or round). The whole design was strikingly flat. (Examples at right are not the worst, but they do photograph well; also they do not show the devolution of the coins' obverse.) I looked at an older Quarter -- not a real silver one, but at least from the Lyndon Johnson era (actually, it could have been newer, just not one of these nouveau-collectibles, but still standard Lyndon Johnson era design). It looked more like a piece of money with cleaner, more robust overall design and execution. (Maybe I should be thankful that at least Thomas Jefferson has not yet kept America beautiful by getting a haircut and becoming a Franklin Graham Christian?)
U.S.A., which has long since been running on empty and running around (ref.: Jackson Browne song), is now on a gig race to the bottom. Will gravity leverage us down to the final buyout? Cost effectiveness Über alles! Who cares? Why bother? "Is that all there is?" (Peggy Lee, per Maureen Dowd: a (POTUS №45) Donald J. Trump favorite "morbid" ballad)
I think what's going on with the coins is that "they", with their anti-Midas touch which can turn any and every thing into excrescence, have transmuted the coin of the realm into: collectable tchotchkes with cutsie 50 states pictures on the reverse side and a down-sized Tommy J. on the obverse, to titillate "the public", who want to think they have something special in their mass market lives so they get fashion changes each year. The gold-plated (or is it: the fool's gold?) standard. An auxiliary benefice here is to take these esthetically nugatory tokens out of circulation if the people do collect them, thus giving the government a tad of free money. Maybe it's a clever trick to discourage people from using coins in the age of credit cards and virtual bitcoins? (But not free money for the poor and the middle class!) The United States Mint has here become another: Franklin Mint, concerning which latter institution I many years ago thought that its advertising slogan should be:
Culture criminals since 1964.
What about United States paper money (bank notes)? I looked at some US$5, 10 and 20 bills lately, and they are still not bad. Andrew Jackson is in-your-face, but then he apparently also was such in real life. I can accept that they need to do things that are not straightforwardly esthetically elevating, for security purposes. I have not looked at any recently, but when I did look at them, I thought European € bank notes looked much better. They have a colorful sense of being alive (even though Europeans apparently say they are bland; but bland in comparison to what?), like somebody with some modernist artistic design competence contributed to their design, and I believe the European Union does employ real artists to help design their currency, not only otherwise honorable "GS" (Government Service classified) career engravers.
I've decided a US$5 bill will do as a bookmark which does not offend the book in which I am deploying it. Addendum: I've
ordered a couple zero €uro notes with Karl Marx on them, to replace honest Abe. Because Communism/socialism is the root of all evil, one
would never find such a thing in U.S.A., even if a Quarter dollar
coin (4 of them would be $1) looks to be worthless. New Yorker cartoonist Jack Ziegler once had a cartoon of a person looking at their toaster. The toaster reassures the person that their life has meaning: "You're special: You have a talking toaster."