Monday, May 31, 2010

The DVF Experiment

Like the Ladies of LUPEC, another 30-something Bostonian professional has caught my eye with her experimentations.  Rather than being united in the preservation of endangered cocktails, this young woman set out to showcase the versatility of one classic dress: the Diane von Furstenberg classic wrap dress.

DVF wrap dress currently selling at Saks

As recorded in her blog, The DVF Experiment, Caitlyn wore her “wisest gift I have ever given anyone,” black viscose dress for 30 days.  The results are predictable: with the help of a same-day dry cleaner, a roommate photographer, and some Febreze, the DVF was appropriate for 29 out of 30 occasions (failing only in the "marathon spectator who jumps up and down" category). 

The DVF Experiment author at DVF in NYC!

I have mentioned the fabulousness of my “go-to” black wrap dress in the past.  Because it is a Sears brand dress, and because I paid less than 10% of the DVF price, it does not have the real styling of the DVF as Caitlyn would be first to point out.  But still, it can go from food shopping to showstopping to barhopping all in one day.  (While the dress could do those things in any order, the wearer would probably have to stick to that sequence of events.)

The blogect, reminiscent of The Julie/Julia Project, is devoted to experiencing one wonderful thing in a limited time period. Her brief and amusing posts coupled with the pictures from her daily dress wearing are worth a peek if you have ever fallen under the spell of the classic wrap dress.

The wrap dress is famously forgiving to faults and gives every wearer a fantastically feminine form.  

The blog is a clever little project.  

Update: "peek" not "peak." Dur (not "duh" if you're from the Northeast).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

What This Country Is In Need Of

is a lot of Hi-De-Ho.  So says Betty Boop in 1932.

Friday, May 28, 2010

329 in 332

Dear Reader,
Since July of 2009, I have posted 329 times out of 332 days.  While not every post represents a different day, those numbers mean that I’ve made an entry to this blog nearly every day for the better part of a year.  It really wasn’t until November that I actually made the daily posting challenge to myself – taking off time near Christmas – but still, that’s a pretty consistent record.
As far as quality goes, I’ll admit that the content often dropped sharply when frequency, rather than inspiration, became the motivation for me to post.  Even with the occasional dogs (and I mean insipid posts, not posts regarding actual dogs about which I am generally and genuinely excited), I’m pleased that I could find something I was at least interested in writing something about every day.  Better, as a result, I have several meaty draft posts that I started and abandoned for time’s sake that I can work on when my daily personal challenge is over.
I’m going to try to make it a full year with nearly daily posts, and then I’ll be taking a little break beginning July 1, to revisit, revise, rewrite, maybe even rework a few things. Currently, I'm toying with the idea of a subject posting schedule. I thought I’d let you know so that you won’t have to go cold turkey without me and run the risk of 3 Ring Binder withdrawal, which, I understand, isn’t pretty. 
You may be happy to know that I’m going to work on my comma use (I’m a, comma, freak – love ‘em!) and my em-dash use (love—those—too!)
If you really miss me, you can always read some of my older stuff that perhaps you haven’t seen, or may comment on a past post and I’ll be sure to respond . . . I’m likely to respond . . . I just might respond.  (I’ll work on my ellipses use as well – but not parenthesis!)  (I love them far too much to consider losing them to pedantic rules of English usage!)  (And that’s final.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Things I May Have Missed

Like linking to the last three Objectivist Round Ups in May!

Here they are in chronological order:

May 20th, # Eleventyhundred and Three at Trey Givens: a blog about a hero.
And today’s, # 150 at Secular Foxhole.

Go. Read. Think.

And check out this incredibly cool Drumbrella design by Dong Min Park (Design Fetish via StumbleUpon from Tuvie).  Stretched waxed skins mimic different drum head sounds. Why hasn't someone thought of this before?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Amazing Grace

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream."

-- Mark Twain

This bit of advice from Liberty Quotes this morning reminded me of my favorite maritime quotation, so I sought out its source:

"A ship in port is safe, but that's
not what ships are built for."

I found not only its source, but also the story of an indefatigable pioneer in the nascent computer science field, Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) who said it.   

Ms. Hopper was a Rear Admiral in the US Navy and an early computer scientist. Her list of accomplishments is impressive.

And while I’m certain you’ve heard this amusing anecdote, perhaps you didn’t realize the significance of Grace Murray Hopper’s reported role in it:

While she was working on a Mark II Computer at Harvard University in 1947, her associates discovered a moth stuck in a relay and thereby impeding operation, whereupon she remarked that they were "debugging" the system. Though the term computer bug cannot be definitively attributed to Admiral Hopper, she did bring the term into popularity. The remains of the moth can be found in the group's log book at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. [Wikipedia]

Over 43 years, she retired from the Navy three times, she made original advances in compiling and COBOL, established computer testing standards, and trained hundreds of computer science students. In a manner, we have all benefitted from Ms. Hopper's legacy in computer science. 

As I now sit, temporarily docked at my own port, I often consider how I have benefitted in taking her advice as well.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hooky Handicapped by Hypothermia

Or, Beach Day in May in the Northeast has its Risks.
Today, it reached 93°F.  We simply had to go to the beach. (I make it a point to jump into the ocean at least once a year and to get it done before the beaches get mobbed is a great opportunity!) Sadly, this extreme air condition did not instantly charge the ocean water to a warm 80°, or even an acceptable 70°.  Today, according to, the surface temperature of the ocean where we were was about 53°F.  

[From Wikipedia] Heat is lost more quickly in water. Water temperatures that would be quite reasonable as outdoor air temperatures can lead to hypothermia. Water temperature of 10 °C (50 °F) often lead to death in one hour, and water temperatures hovering at freezing can lead to death in as little as 15 minutes. Water at a temperature of 26 °C (79 °F) may after prolonged exposure lead to hypothermia.
The enormous thermal capacitance of the ocean made quick work of the impossibly slight thermal mass of my youngest.  Thus, after quick dips and some valiant attempts at riding the waves back into shore, my kids surveyed the ocean from the warmth of the beach, while I captured their odd fascination. It was as if the ocean betrayed them. 

Frankly, the ocean water was much warmer than I thought it would be; I could still feel my feet when I slogged myself out of it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Price of Pragmatism

We are repeatedly told that money causes corruption: money used to campaign for or against a candidate will not only unduly influence election results (leaving aside the clear implication of a certain level of obtuseness among the electorate), but also corrupts the votes of the politician.  The idea that the politician can be bought is passed over for the idea that money can buy the politician!
Money, not principles, is often recognized as the source of power in the political system.
What must be examined is not the motivation of those trying to influence politics with money, but the ideas held by each politician, and the price at which he is willing to part with his principles.  What needs to be examined is his price for this political pragmatism.

For an eye-opening view on the evils of pragmatism, a philosophy in which the end justifies the means, read Saul Alinsky’s, Rules for Radicals.  I think it should be subtitled: How to Make Extortion, Fraud and Flatulence Work for You, but your take-away message may seem less ridiculous. You may rightly ask why you should pay any attention to such a book written in 1971. For one, our Secretary of State did her 92 page Wellesley thesis on the Alinsky model for community organizing,  and for another, while Saul Alinsky literally wrote the book on professional community organizing in Chicago, our President follows in his flexible ideological footprints.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Corton: It's What's for Breakfast

It doesn’t rhyme with Morton (sigh, Morton), or Gordon.  The nearest way I can describe how to pronounce it is cau’-tauhn.  It’s French Canadian for the pure delight that is yummy pork fat spread.
I was recently reminded of its delicious goodness on Friday when talking to my mother-in-law.  For a portion of her young life, she grew up in the exact same 12-house neighborhood that I did prior to the age of nine! Now that’s a little weird if you think about it too hard – so don’t– but this connection allows us to enjoy reminiscing about the oddities particular to these early influences.
We discussed the houses: she lived in the one with the biggest yard at the far end of the street and I lived in the one with the barroom parking lot for a backyard on the main street.  We discussed the neighborhood: generations of family from her youth who were still there in mine.  And we discussed the area: the market on the corner of our neighborhood and the main street that moved twelve lots down the main street, but it might have well as been to another time zone.
We talked about how no one had any money; how when coming home from a trip visiting family with her mother, her father had moved them into the house in this neighborhood.  How they never owned anything, and yet, once in a while, her mother would manage to give each of the kids 5¢ to buy ice cream cones at the corner store. 
We talked about how exciting it was when the bar next to our house paved their parking lot and put down some asphalt behind our house so it covered the dust/dirt that was previously our backyard.  How, happily, this didn’t kill the one huge maple tree that lived there surrounded by pavement. We talked about how the old market was the last place that sold the good recipe of French Canadian corton made by the Italian woman who grew up between our houses, but married the nice French man a half-mile down the main street.
I wish I had some pictures of the disgusting-looking, grey, globular, thick meat spread that is corton to share with you, but I can only offer you this recipe. 

Since I found it on the internet, I can only guess this recipe couldn’t hold a candle to Mrs. Fontaine’s corton (because it would melt). And I’m also pretty sure, her recipe used pork butt because it was cheaper and fatter.  
I have to find some of that tasty meat spread made locally, or learn to make it myself.  Despite its hideous description, corton is good food.

Update: I found this picture of our neighborhood market, Fontaine's for Fine Foods, grand opening in 1954. Wow. The internet is a fabulous place.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

March No. 1 for Son No. 1

Listen to the following piece by Sir Edward Elgar (1857-1934), and between 1:50 and 3:30, you will be able to hear the somewhat wistful, somewhat triumphant theme to our day. 

(You can hear a recording of the ubiquitous Trio section of the march as directed by Elgar in 1931 here.)

Despite its amazing popularity, did you know that "Pomp and Circumstance" is actually the title of a series of six Elgar marches, and not just the Trio portion of March No. 1 that we're all familiar with?

Did you know that the title of marches is taken from Act III of Shakespeare's Othello?

"Farewell the neighing steed, and the shrill trump,
The spirit-stirring drum, the ear-piercing fife,
The royal banner, and all quality,
Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!".

Or that, written in 1901, March No. 1 was first played as a graduation processional at the 1905 Yale ceremony during which Sir Edward Elgar received an honorary Doctorate of Music?

OR, that it has lyrics?

Dear Land of Hope, thy hope is crowned.
God make thee mightier yet!
On Sov'reign brows, beloved, renowned,
Once more thy crown is set.
Thine equal laws, by Freedom gained,
Have ruled thee well and long;
By Freedom gained, by Truth maintained,
Thine Empire shall be strong.

Land of Hope and Glory,
Mother of the Free,
How shall we extol thee,
Who are born of thee?
Wider still and wider
Shall thy bounds be set;
God, who made thee mighty,
Make thee mightier yet
God, who made thee mighty,
Make thee mightier yet.

Thy fame is ancient as the days,
As Ocean large and wide
A pride that dares, and heeds not praise,
A stern and silent pride
Not that false joy that dreams content
With what our sires have won;
The blood a hero sire hath spent
Still nerves a hero son.


No, I didn’t think so. Neither did I. But happily, now we both do.

Congratulations, Andrew. You did it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Isabella; or the Pot of Basil

This was always among my husband’s favorite paintings at the Museum of Fine Arts, and one that I’d always found terribly ghoulish. While he told me the story behind the painting, it did little to change my feelings about it until I recently stumbled upon the artistic inspiration for the piece, Keats poem, “Isabella; or the Pot of Basil.” Now that painting is my favorite among the many that illustrate the dramatic sorrow of Isabella.

 John White Alexander, 1897

The poem tells the story of a young woman who falls in love with a young man who works for her two brothers.  Since her brothers are determined to marry her off in order to increase the family fortune, they kill her unsuitable suitor. She discovers their treachery, exhumes her lover’s head, and plants it in a pot of basil which she waters with her tears.  You can read the entire 63 stanza poem, published in 1820, here and below, see some of the many paintings the tragic story inspired, particularly among the Pre-Raphaelite painters.

Sir John Everett Millais, 1849

These brethren having found by many signs
What love Lorenzo for their sister had,
And how she lov’d him too, each unconfines
His bitter thoughts to other, well nigh mad
That he, the servant of their trade designs,
Should in their sister’s love be blithe and glad,
When ’twas their plan to coax her by degrees
To some high noble and his olive-trees.

William Holman Hunt, 1867
Then in a silken scarf, - sweet with the dews
Of precious flowers pluck’d in Araby,
And divine liquids come with odorous ooze
Through the cold serpent pipe refreshfully, -
She wrapp’d it up; and for its tomb did choose
A garden-pot, wherein she laid it by,
And cover’d it with mould, and o’er it set
Sweet Basil, which her tears kept ever wet.

 John William Waterhouse, 1907
And she forgot the stars, the moon, and sun,
And she forgot the blue above the trees,
And she forgot the dells where waters run,
And she forgot the chilly autumn breeze;
She had no knowledge when the day was done,
And the new morn she saw not: but in peace
Hung over her sweet Basil evermore,
And moisten’d it with tears unto the core.

John Melhuish Strudwick, 1879

Yet they contriv’d to steal the Basil-pot,
And to examine it in secret place:
The thing was vile with green and livid spot,
And yet they knew it was Lorenzo’s face:
The guerdon of their murder they had got,
And so left Florence in a moment’s space,
Never to turn again. - Away they went,
With blood upon their heads, to banishment.

And so she pined, and so she died forlorn,
Imploring for her Basil to the last.
No heart was there in Florence but did mourn
In pity of her love, so overcast.
And a sad ditty of this story born
From mouth to mouth through all the country pass’d:
Still is the burthen sung - «O cruelty,
«To steal my Basil-pot away from me!»

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Observing Sharia

Today’s purpose: to illustrate, not offend,
How far backwards we’re willing to bend.
When cowed into silence,
By threats of violence,
We establish laws we can never amend.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fashion Sense

I suggest something from the new spring line, Laissez-Faire Capitalism.

Torsia, our headless model, is sporting the new woman's t-shirt in verdant, capitalist green (other colors are available).  For more t-shirt styles boldly announcing your commitment to individual rights, including private property and the separation of the economy and state in one neat package check out the Capitalism section.

Feeling more activist-minded? Consider passing out buttons or bumper stickers.

I never thought that I would need to become a defender of capitalism. The proliferation of statists spewing collectivist slogans are actually referring to failings of an over-regulated, mixed economy, yet, they are in not burdened by that truth in their attempts to malign capitalism. I wanted to make a small effort to directly contrast their false notions by showing my support for the one social system in which individual participation is voluntary and justice is an inherent quality. 

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Vegas Nerve

As summer approaches and schedules of edifying classes are posted, we’re beginning to feel the pinch that comes from being unable to attend OCON this year.  Even with the incredible value dense experience we had last year, we just can’t afford to go to Las Vegas for this year’s conference.  

But all is not lost. Thanks to the organizational efforts of some other NOCON 2010 folks, we’re able to make the trip to AOSMCON (go ahead - pronounce it “Awesome Con” – you know you want to), the Atlanta Objectivist Society mini-conference!

Based on what I’ve read, I’d recommend that anyone who wants to, but is unable to attend OCON for lack of finances or time, consider attending AOSMCON. It takes place over a long weekend, and perhaps because the classes are given by Objectivists who are not professional philosophers or speakers, as well as the fact that this is a first time labor of love (I’m sure), the price of the conference is hardly worth mentioning!

For me, the biggest thrill will be meeting – in real life – a few of my favorite bloggy friends!!! (I’m bringing the 80s music – nuff said.)

And shooting. Yes-siree, Bob! Someone is going to help me learn how to shoot a gun.  

I haven’t been to Georgia since I was sixteen and visited a friend and his family in Stone Mountain (before it was a theme park). I just hope all that excitement and assumed evenings of intense laughter won’t trigger any episodes of syncope!

Finally, lest you suspect that we are wandering away from the serious soul food that is OCON, we’re already planning for Fort Lauderdale 2011. AOSMCON is simply an excellent opportunity to meet and socialize with other folks who share a philosophy for living on earth, and just can’t make it to the big show this time around.  I sincerely thank the organizers, Jenn and Kelly (and I can hardly wait to meet them), and the rest of the presenters for their efforts.

Sadly, dreams of Vegas are over.
sara bareilles - vegas.mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Now, Georgia is on my mind.
Ray Charles - Georgia On My Mind .mp3
Found at bee mp3 search engine

Well, Georgia, and which car to take, and how many overnights we'll need, and making it back in time for the musical, and who'll take care of the chickens, not to mention the dog, and . . . Oy.  Gotta dash.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Monday Night Chez Bourque

Arugula salad with toasted pecans, ripe D'Anjou pears, and a white truffle oil vinaigrette (my favorite).

Flank steak with basil and Parmesan (Bobby Flay). 

This was Stephen's first foray into flank steak. Flank is a typically tough cut of beef, but he seared and grilled the rolled "roast" so it stayed juicy. I would have never thought to put basil in with steak, but it added an unusually bright note and enhanced the taste. (I snapped the shot before the garnish police got ahold of it.)

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Let Them Eat Cake

As cake season approaches (graduations, birthdays, cookouts, father’s day, etc.), I have to remember to balance the nutritional desert that is the white flour and refined sugar dessert against the tasty treat that is cake.  Happily, I’m not a huge fan of cake, but when it’s in the house it’s hard for me to resist.
Now that the youngest of the remaining occupants in my house has gotten into the cake baking habit, I’m requesting that no cake be allowed in the house unless it looks like this.
My daughter suggested that her father has quite a lot of work to do in the next month in order to reproduce this beauty for her birthday. Now that I finally started reading Good Calories, Bad Calories, I seconded her thoughts adding that it will be extra challenging to reproduce in meat!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Saturday Sass: It's Back!

Although I could do with a lot less Blake Ritson (Richard Grant and a few others I don’t even know), a lot more Colin Firth, Alan Rickman, and at least some Ioan Gruffudd as Horatio Hornblower, I do appreciate the addition of JJ Field, Ciaran Hinds, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Mark Strong (what is that Clive Owen movie?), and Gabrielle Byrne.

More importantly, this little compilation of actors portraying (mostly) heroic men in period costume set against Justin Timberlake’s 2006 big promise works for me. 

Which is good news. 

I was beginning to get concerned that I had lost my appreciation for, and ability to celebrate such things.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Putting the Cart(ing) Before the Horse(power)

I’m old and terminally responsible.
At least that’s how I’ve been feeling since last night when I was test-driving a beautiful Sterling Gray 2010 Mustang GT V-8 convertible.  I insisted that the roof be up because I didn’t want to be swayed by the wrong incentives to buy the car.  In fact, having the top down and taking an on-ramp at 50 mph might be the only two reasons one might possibly consider buying that kind of car.
But as I watched my impossibly slight slip of a child slide into the backseat with her book I thought to myself, Do I really want her to spend the rest of her ‘tween and early teen years as a second class citizen in the back of mommy’s second-seat-as-second-thought muscle car? Then it hit me.  No. No, I don’t. 
And this thought struck me: With only four seats (two of which only minimally meet that criterion) we can never go anywhere as a family again.  Well, that one didn’t hit me so hard because frankly, driving all together is not all it’s cracked-up to be unless you’re in a minivan.  That’s right!  I said it. M-i-n-i-v-a-n. I loved my minivan. It got us and some friends, everywhere we needed to go, not to mention accommodating the occasional 4x8 sheet of building material and pack of bicycles as well.  You just can’t beat that functionality.
Shake it off.  The minivan was gone years ago. Back to the anti-minivan.
Having owned a bad model year (’78) used Mustang coupe in my 20s, I have always wanted a Mustang convertible, the desire for which has increased dramatically since the pretty ones came back in 2005. After staring at even more beautiful body of the 2010 model, and listening to the lovely purr of the engine, I got in and drove.  I liked the pilot-like feeling the cockpit-like atmosphere of the 315 hp 6-speed car gave, but I didn’t love the drive. No matter how much I wanted to.  When I wound up the engine, I could not muster even a fraction of the scarcely suppressed enthusiasm my spouse sported as he was sitting in the passenger’s seat. His mouth said, “It’ll be your car. You should love it,” but his eyes said, “VROOM! How I’ve missed ye!” As an American muscle car, the Mustang may very well be the last of a dying breed he remembers fondly from his youth.
Even with all these extra reasons in mind, I just couldn’t get over the price to power-I’ll-never-use ratio.
So the Mustang purchase, which was slated for my 50th birthday anyway, is on hold for now.  Maybe we’ll revisit it in a few years when I’m actually approaching 50, at which point I may have a stronger desire for horsepower and no cares regarding the comfort of my backseat passenger – who should be able to drive the next family hand-me-down vehicle shortly thereafter.  
For now, I feel so practical, I’m surprised I didn’t go right out and buy another minivan.
Do they make convertible minivans?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The New Convenience Store Porn

Leave it to Massachusetts to propose the mandated display of lurid posters everywhere cigarettes are sold.  The posters, which will be modeled after the ones used in no less a nanny-state than New York City, show a rotten tooth, cancer filled lungs, the scan of a brain after a stroke as the effects from smoking. 

They are disgusting, sensationalized, graphic appeals to the smoker’s more thoughtful nature. They will also cost the convenience store owner between $100 and $300 if not displayed within two feet of tobacco products he sells, but nothing to display. According to today’s Boston Globe, they will be produced with federal stimulus funds.

The campaign is being underwritten by $316,000 in federal stimulus money from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will allow the state to provide the materials to retailers without charge.

Sweet! Free posters.

The real cost?  Another, seemingly inconsequential, nail placed on the coffin of business under the hammer of the greater good. Another violation of individual rights by the very institution set-up to protect them.

And if that perversion of the purpose of government is too abstract for you, how about this?

Because the posters will be produced by outside vendors, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Public Health said, it conforms to the intent of the stimulus law, providing jobs in a sour economy.

It is the very intention of these posters to cause loss of revenue to cigarettes sellers, not to mention the fact that the entire tobacco industry is targeted for destruction by our government.  But the threat to these existing jobs should be offset by the graphic designer employed in this campaign.


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I’m in Glove

Tonight I had my first burlesque class: glove and stocking removal. So I removed them.  But far better than my sadly clinical removal (hey –  I’m working on it) of these accessories was my learning about body movements a la Francois Delsarte and how gloves are measured in buttons (think horses in hands). 
Delsarte studied singing at the Paris Conservatory and became unsatisfied with the arbitrary and posed style of acting taught there. He began to study how humans actually moved, behaved and responded to various emotional and real life situations. He achieved this by observing people in real life and in public places of all kinds. Through his observations he discovered certain patterns of expression, eventually called the Science of Applied Aesthetics. This consisted of a thorough examination of voice, breath, movement dynamics, encompassing all of the expressive elements of the human body.
Burlesque is just a form of story-telling through the artful removal of your accessories.  How you do it makes all the difference regarding the story, though not much of a difference regarding the ending, I imagine.
Also, I learned about the Mousquetaire, a type of opera glove, which has three buttons on the wrist in order to provide a better fit for the wearer, or for her to sneak her fingers out of the very long-length gloves.  These are pretty cool looking, but not for burlesque.  For easy removal, one needs the satin stretch type.  Since the entire point of glove removal is the slow build up to finally revealing one’s hand, the longer the glove, the better.  

So this is how one measures glove length (from Wikipedia):
The length of ladies' evening gloves are referred to in terms of "buttons", whether they in fact have buttons or not. The word is derived from French, and the exact measure is actually a bit longer than one inch. Wrist length gloves are usually eight-button, those at the elbow are 16, mid-biceps are 22 and full shoulder length are 30. Opera gloves are between 16 and 22 inches long, though some gloves can be as long as 29 or 30 inches. To fit oneself for gloves, measure all around the hand at the widest part of the palm where the knuckles are, but excluding the thumb. The measurement in inches is the glove size, but if one's arms are large, it may be practical to go up a size. Generally, an evening glove is considered to be a true "opera-length" glove if it reaches to mid-biceps or higher on the wearer's arm, notwithstanding its actual length in inches or buttons; therefore, a petite woman might find a glove with a measurement of 16 or 17 inches adequate for the purpose, while a tall woman might need a glove longer than 22 inches. A glove shorter than elbow-length should not be referred to as an "opera-length glove" or "opera glove" under any circumstances.
I, for one, had no idea about this, and need to get some new, longer gloves. Preferably washable. One of the methods of removal involved one’s teeth while another involved stepping on the tips of the glove.  You can tell the teacher had done this before because she was certain to practice the first prior to the second. I appreciated her professionalism.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Fault, Dear Brutus…

Is not in our stars, but in ourselves; that we are short, fat, and ugly.

Here’s another study that attempts to correlate an individual’s physical attributes with his success in life.  This exercise in “anthropometic economics” examined height, weight, and attractiveness, as they affect not only potential money-making abilities, but also criminality.

They found that being unattractive in high school was correlated with a lower grade point average, more problems with teachers and suspensions.

Based on my evidence of two, not to mention my ability to reason, I have to disagree with the whole thing.

Shrimpy, frizzy hair, fading tint aviator glasses, braces - I’d objectively give this person a 1 on the 1-5 attractive scale. That probably corresponds to a 50% chance of ever becoming a contributing member of society, and, I’d guess, a 20% chance of becoming a serial killer.

And yet, she (yes, she - that add-a-pearl necklace dangling every so artfully from the top of the collar gives it away) had a decent GPA and never had any trouble in school. Perhaps she was lucky in her ability to rise above her unattractiveness and make good choices regardless of her hideous appearance. (For what it's worth, I thought I looked good that sophomore picture day – so you can imagine what I looked like the rest of the days.)

I don’t have a digitized picture of my husband in high school, but you’ll have to trust me (despite my unattractiveness which, I understand, makes that more difficult): According to this article, given our challenges in the stature and beauty departments, if we had only weighed more, we would likely have been destined, by the trifecta of anthropometric attributes, to be the modern day Bonnie & Clyde of our parochial parish.

First of all, with the exception of height, it could be successfully argued that the other attributes are chosen rather than given attributes, so any attempt to link our behaviors to factors beyond our control is poppycock. 

Secondly, the entire article would be simply hilarious if it weren’t dangerously close to a justification for government intervention and regulation.

“Public health policies successful at reducing obesity among individuals in the population will not only make society healthier, but also safer.”


“We conjecture,” they concluded, “that the United States health-care system, as well as the relatively weak welfare safety net, might be why human growth in the United States has not performed as well in relative terms as one would expect on the basis of income alone.”

Or a potential excuse for lack of personal responsibility.

The benefit of these “weird facts,” he [Mr. Mankiw, a Harvard economist] said, is that it “forces you to think about the world in ways you didn’t before.”