Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Mansplaining ~ Wednesday Words

"I think we should change the word mansplaining to correctile dysfunction."
"But then we would have to replace menopause with ovary-acting."
"Many paws.  Isn't that when older women start collecting cats?"
* Mansplaining = (noun) the explanation of something by a man, typically to a woman, in a manner regarded as condescending or patronizing.

In a 2008 article "Men Explain Things to Me: Facts Didn't Get in Their Way" (scroll down at that link to read the whole article), Rebecca Solnit tells about a man who interrupted her and said:
"And have you heard about the very important Muybridge book that came out this year?"... So, Mr. Very Important was going on smugly about this book I should have known when Sallie interrupted him to say, "That's her book."  Or tried to interrupt him anyway.   But he just continued on his way.  She had to say, "That's her book" three or four times before he finally took it in.  And then, as if in a nineteenth-century novel, he went ashen.  That I was indeed the author of the very important book it turned out he hadn't read, just read about in the New York Times Book Review a few months earlier, so confused the neat categories into which his world was sorted that he was stunned speechless — for a moment, before he began holding forth again.
In other parts of the article, she says:
"Men explain things to me, and other women, whether or not they know what they're talking about.  Some men."

"Men explain things to me, still.  And no man has ever apologized for explaining, wrongly, things that I know and they don't."
That story provides the opening of Rebecca Solnit's 2014 book, Men Explain Things to Me.
In her scathing essay “Men Explain Things to Me,” Rebecca Solnit took on what often goes wrong in conversations between men and women.  She wrote about men who wrongly assume they know things and wrongly assume women don’t, about why this arises, and how this aspect of the gender wars works, airing some of her own hilariously awful encounters.  She ends on a serious note — because the ultimate problem is the silencing of women who have something to say, including those saying things like, “He’s trying to kill me!”  This book features that now-classic essay with six perfect complements, including an examination of the great feminist writer Virginia Woolf’s embrace of mystery, of not knowing, of doubt and ambiguity, a highly original inquiry into marriage equality, and a terrifying survey of the scope of contemporary violence against women.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Ravioli and gooey butter cake

Today is a painful day for those of us connected with the about-to-be-disconnected United Methodist Church.  The next few hours may prove me wrong, but it looks inevitable that the church will split.  Delegates from all over the world are meeting here in St. Louis (Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday), and the whole world is watching our break-up.  Though my heart is heavy today, I did enjoy having lunch with my friend Mike Feely, who helped my mother and me pack up to move from Morristown, Tennessee back to my hometown of Chattanooga.  That was in June of 1992, when I was appointed to serve at Signal Mountain United Methodist Church.  I'm now retired, and Mike is Director of Development at Camp Lookout in the Holston Conference.  He and his wife are in town for the 2019 General Conference, so he was able to attend University United Methodist Church with me on Sunday morning and go to lunch afterwards.

The photo above shows Mike eating gooey butter cake, a St. Louis tradition.  My friend Donna, who ate with us, made sure he also had toasted ravioli, an appetizer created in St. Louis, her hometown.  We ate at Blueberry Hill, a restaurant in the Delmar Loop across the street from this statue of Chuck Berry, so I snapped a photo of Mike with Chuck.  Did you notice how deftly I managed to find something cheerful for this blog post?  Oh, yeah, St. Louis cuisine is much more fun to think about than what one blogger called the United Methodist Church's "schizophrenic theological practices."  Click on that link to read what the Rev. Buzz Trexler has to say about our church's impasse.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

School daze

This cartoon reminds me of one of our family stories.  Apparently, I was disappointed when I came home from my first day of school, the first day of first grade.  Mom and Dad had told me I would learn to read when I went to school.  Well, I went, but they did NOT teach me to read!  Very disappointing, to say the least.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Instant karma

True story found on Facebook:
When I was about nine years old, my friends and I were building a whole bunch of mini-snowmen, just to see how many we could make.  Some jerk drove over the curb and destroyed them, laughing like the big jerk he was.  We built more.   He returned a few minutes later and destroyed them, too.  When he left, we quickly built a snowman OVER a fire hydrant and surrounded it with a bunch more mini-snowmen.  He returned and — gloriously — crashed his car into the fire hydrant.
Here's another true story that happened more recently, in January:
Vandals try to plow down giant snowman — hit tree stump.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Wednesday Words ~ lagniappe

lagniappe / LAN-yap / lan-YAP / something given as a bonus or extra gift; a little something special; something obtained gratuitously.

Mark Twain wrote in Life on the Mississippi, a memoir, that lagniappe was "a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get."  The photo above and the Mark Twain quote came from a 2013 article:  Lagniappe: A Little Something Special.  Read that article for the New Orleans connection.

Example of the word's use:  "I have three loving children left to me and also get a lagniappe family to support me in my old age."

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Free hugs ~ on Valentine's Day

What's the one thing you can get on
Valentine's Day
that's okay to give back?

A hug!  So I've been going around the Crown Center this afternoon giving this to people I know.  Since I'm wearing a sign around my neck like the one below, I'm also giving (and getting) lots of hugs.

I expect to greatly increase the number of hugs around the dinner tables this evening, when I'll be able to give out all the valentines I've been able to print.  I'm sending a virtual hug to all of you who read this blog post, wherever you may be.  Consider yourself hugged.

Friday, February 8, 2019

The lie detector

Father buys a lie detector that makes a loud beep whenever somebody tells a lie.
The son comes home in the afternoon.  Father asks him, “So, you were at school today, right?”
Son:  “Yeah.”
Detector:   “Beep.“
Son:  “Okay, okay, I was at the movies.”
Detector:   “Beep.”
Son:   “Alright, I went for a beer with my friends.”
Father:   “What?!  At your age, I wouldn’t touch alcohol!“
Detector:   “Beep.”
Mother laughs:   “Ha!  He really is your son!”
Detector:   “Beep.”
This joke from Reader's Digest (the last joke at that link) makes me wonder about truth.  How much are we hiding from each other?  What sorts of things would change if we really knew what other people were thinking?  How would that lie detector work if the son really WAS at school (part of the day), then really DID go to the movies, and DID go for a beer with his friends later in the afternoon?  Maybe all three were true, but not necessarily the whole truth.  I'm just glad we aren't surrounded by lie detectors beeping at us.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Wednesday Words ~ a day late

This makes me smile.  What fun words!  I totally get it, but in case you don't, here are the definitions I found online for you.
  • Hoedown = a social gathering at which lively folk dancing takes place.
  • Shindig = a large, lively party, especially one celebrating something.
  • Hootenanny = an informal gathering with folk music and sometimes dancing.
  • Cattywampus = not lined up, or not arranged correctly.
Are any of these words new to you?

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Friendly February calendar

Click on calendar to enlarge it.
I found this month's calendar by searching for "calendar" on the Action for Happiness (AfH) web site.  Here are February's first seven days.

February 1
~ Send someone a message to say how much they mean to you.
February 2
~ Ask a friend what good things have happened to them recently.
February 3
~ Get in touch with an old friend you have not seen for a while.
February 4
~ Do something supportive and friendly for your colleagues.
February 5
~ Notice the good qualities of everyone you meet today.
February 6
~ Thank someone and tell them how they made a difference for you.
February 7
~ Show an active interest by asking questions when talking to others.

"The best way to cheer yourself up is to
cheer somebody else up." ~ Mark Twain

Friday, February 1, 2019

Beginning ~ with mortality

I learned about a lot of things in medical school, but mortality wasn't one of them. ... Our textbooks had almost nothing on aging or frailty or dying.  How the process unfolds, how people experience the end of their lives, and how it affects those around them seemed beside the point.  The way we saw it, and the way our professors saw it, the purpose of medical schooling was to teach how to save lives, not how to tend to their demise.

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End ~ by Atul Gawande, 2014
Medicine has triumphed in modern times, transforming the dangers of childbirth, injury, and disease from harrowing to manageable.  But when it comes to the inescapable realities of aging and death, what medicine can do often runs counter to what it should.  Gawande reveals the suffering this dynamic has produced.  Nursing homes, devoted above all to safety, battle with residents over the food they are allowed to eat and the choices they are allowed to make.  Doctors, uncomfortable discussing patients' anxieties about death, fall back on false hopes and treatments that are actually shortening lives instead of improving them.  He shows how the ultimate goal is not a good death, but a good life ― all the way to the very end.
As the author says in the quote shown above, I think well-being is what really matters.  I don't want to spend my dying days in a nursing home in a bed with rails that hold me in or tied into a wheelchair.  All that does is prolong my dying, not help me really live as I want to live.  Quality of life is (or should be) the desired goal.  I borrowed this book from the library three years ago, but I never got it read.  Now it's on my Kindle, and I'm ready to read it.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click this link for other book beginnings.