Friday, September 30, 2011

Firewater Friday - What the dickens?

A Gimlet . . . or other such cocktail . . .  if you drink too many your head hurts like the dickens.

What the devil is a Dickens?? 

I thought it had something to do with the famous author.  I just didn’t know what the relation was.  You might be surprised that the phrase has nothing to do with Charles Dickens, as I assumed it did.  And, since there isn’t any correlation that explains that!

But that doesn’t clarify what the dickens the dickens is.  Way back in the day when knights were bold and maidens were fair and all that rot, dickens was a euphemism for the devil.  It started out as devilkins and was eventually shortened to dickens. 

Along the same vein, dickens is very much like deuce . . . as in What the deuce?!   . . . deuce is another old English name for the Devil.

So, there you have it . . .

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I love the smell of napalm in the morning.

The other day the building I work in was evacuated . . . not a fire drill but for a real emergency.  You could tell by the alarm and the guy on the intercom telling everybody to get out of the building . . . NOW.

While we were standing around out designated rally point we got word that there was a leaking propane tank on one of our loading docks.  We began chatting amongst ourselves while waiting for the all clear to return to the building.

We could actually smell the gas.  One of my co-workers commented that she liked the smell of gasoline . . . actually most petroleum products.  Another woman commented that she kind of liked the smell of acetone.  I didn’t think they were weird because I happen to like the smell of a campfire, gunpowder and Hoppes #9 (a cleaning solvent). 

I thought the answer would be something fairly simplistic . . . that the smells were associations with something good . . . a good memory; but, alas, no. Keep in mind that actually enjoying the smell of something is not the same as having a good memory of something.

It IS a psychological reaction but not for the reasons I suspected.  Certain smells elicit a reaction in our brains that we experience as pleasure.  Surely, the smells of glue, gasoline and tar shouldn’t make us happy.  But, for a lot of us, they do.    

Make a note that all of the things I’ve mentioned have something in common . . . I’ll get back to that.
Taking pleasure in a smell is actually hard coded into us.  Something in your brain knows when something is beneficial to our survival.  It’s kind of like having an appetite for food or sex.   If you eat you survive.  If you reproduce a part of you survives . . . through your offspring. Or a phobia of heights or poisonous snakes.    If you fall off a cliff you die and if you get bitten by a poisonous snake you will most likely die.  It’s kind of like that . . .

Look back at all the things I’ve mentioned . . . gasoline, acetone, gun powder, tar, glue  . . . yes, even my favorite Hoppes #9 . . .  all of these things have one thing in common . . . they are all highly flammable and that’s probably not  entirely coincidental.

What do you need to survive?  Food, water, shelter and warmth.  What keeps you warm?  Fire.  To ensure that your food is not contaminated, you cook it . . . the same with boiling water. 

Your brain knows that these things are can potentially create fire . . . and coincidentally, they can create fire quite easily.   

By directing the chemical make-ups of these substances through smell to the olfactory centers in our brain. Thus creating a sensation of pleasure through the stimulation and release of neurotransmitters (such as dopamine, norepinephren, and seratonin) in the same way that it would occur during sexual intercourse, eating a good steak, or exercise.

Experiencing pleasure in a smell  . . . even a weird one . . . is our brain’s way of telling us that something about the source is good.  It’s telling us something to help us to survive.

How cool is that??

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

There's a fine line between being sweet and innocent and being a tough broad

There are scads of slang, sometimes demeaning, terms used to refer to women.  It is usually easy to figure out where most of these metaphorical connotations originate . . .  chick, fox, bird, kitten, and yes, even, bitch.  Note the references to animals. 

There are others with non-animal metaphorical connotations of course . . . dame, darling, babe, baby-doll, sugar, honey, and broad.

Most of those have easily recognizable origins . . . all except ‘broad’.  It’s not particularly self-evident . . . most women aren't particularly broad.   I thought it might have something to do with that women are broader in the hips than their male counterparts.  But in that sense it wouldn’t necessarily be a derogatory reference.  Many men are attracted to hippier women . . .  evolutionarily speaking, hip width has very high correlation to female fertility, thereby unknowingly guiding men's evolutionary choices.

But the term generally is not used as a complimentary term.  In fact, the word ‘broad’ usually refers to a large, loud, crude woman.

So where in the heck does the word come from?  You may be surprised to learn that ‘broad’, as it refers to women, is indeed an allusion to an animal. A ‘broad’ is what a pregnant cow is called. 


Nice huh?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

I wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot pole

Okay, by now you should know that I’m an idiot for idioms.  I like finding out what phrases mean and where they came from.

I wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot pole  . . . an expression I’ve been saying all my life.  Well, I said it the other day and so I says to myself . . . “I wonder where that came from”.   So here it is.

I wouldn't touch that with a ten-foot pole is an expression that means you don’t want to have anything whatsoever to do with whatever it is you don’t want to touch with said pole.    This is actually adapted from the British saying . . .  I would not touch it with a bargepole. 

Who amongst you knows what a bargepole is . . .  

A bargepole is simply a long wooden pole that is used to push barges along.  A barge pole just so happens to be an average of 10 – 12 feet in length.  A ten-foot pole is just barge-pole by another name.

I'd assumed that the ten-foot pole version appeared because most people wouldn't know a barge-pole from a hole in the road.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Always be yourself... unless you suck.

One thing I hate to see is kids . . . big ones not toddlers . . . with a pacifier corked into their mouth. There comes a time when a kid is just to old to be sucking on a rubber teat.

I’m not against binkies, per se.  I think that they are an acceptable means for a child to comfort themselves. 

In fact, I think it’s better than allowing a child to suck their thumb.  Why?  Because thumbsucking is a harder habit to break . . . a pacifier you can take away . . . a thumb you can’t.

Anyhoo, my son was an avid nook sucker.  He had scads of the things.   I have to admit it was awfully cute when he would spin it around in his mouth.

When he would fall asleep at night, his pacifier would inevitably flip out of his mouth and end up falling into the space between the bed and the wall.  Where, eventually, there would be a whole big pile of them.    I would periodically retrieve and wash them.

So the day came when I thought it was appropriate to wean him off his pacifiers.  This was his second birthday. 

I sat him down and told him that he was a big boy now and that he was getting to old to be needing a pacifier.  I told him that when he lost the last pacifier that there wouldn’t be any more. 

One by one the nooks would make their way to the space between the wall and his bed from where I would retrieve them and discard them. 

The day finally came when the last pacifier met it’s demise.

My boy asked for one and I reminded him that we had made an agreement and he resigned himself to being binky free.  And he managed just fine.  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

He has tied a knot with his tongue, that he cannot untie with his teeth

Six years ago today me and my hubby tied the knot . . . figuratively speaking because there were no actual knots involve . . . but it was a wonderful ceremony.

The origin of Tie the Knot is highly debatable . . . there are many plausible explanations.  Here are just a few.

The one that comes up the most is the physical act of tying the knot of the ropes in the marriage bed.  Another is comes from a time when peasants couldn't afford jewelry, so a string was tied around the finger to remind the newlyweds that they are taken.  And yet another is that sailors and soldiers of yesteryear would send a piece of rope to their sweethearts when they wanted to get married. If the rope came back with a knot in it, that meant she said "yes" to the marriage proposal.

One explanation is right out of a raunchy romance novel . . .  Among the Germanic Goths of northern Europe in 200 A.D., a man usually married a woman from within his own community. However, when there were fewer women, the prospective bridegroom would capture his bride from a neighboring village. After the bridegroom captured his bride, he placed her on his left to protect her, thus freeing his right hand or sword hand against sudden attack. “To tie the knot” finds it origins here. To protect the virtue of this very young bride from the other lustful men, often times soldiers, the best man and future groom, would strip the poor girl and put upon her body layers and layers of clothing, types of corsets, tied with knots and only upon the day of consummation, would the groom then “free” his new wife and legally make her his property. 
It was a part of the ceremony, that as soon as the priest or lawyer, pronounced them married, it was not fully legal, until they consummated the marriage, which would be done immediately after the ceremony, sometimes in front of the guests. It is from this, horrible documentary, that the garter originates. You see, in order to untie all those knots, the groom would then have to rip off her clothing, and sometimes, those guests would join in. To take some of her clothes, was considered good luck for those other young lads, who so wanted a wife. Less they even become a servant to the groom. So, to fight off this rambunctious crowd, the groom would throw pieces of her clothing at them.

I think the most reasonable explanation is that in many, many different cultures a knotted rope is used to symbolize the union of a man in and a woman.  Wherein a rope or sash is draped over the hands or tied to the wrists of the bride and groom during the ceremony to show that they are bound together for life from that point forward.

Whatever the case may be . . . I am bound forever to my man and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  He is and always will be the love of my life and I'm happily tied to him.

Happy Anniversary, sweetie!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Firewater Friday - I love you, man!!

Bromosexuality . . . the topic of bromance is sort of awkward.  Most of the men I know . . . have ever known . . . have this irrational attitude towards homosexuality.  But now there is the social shift towards the acceptance of men and their bromances . . . 

they spend excessive amounts of time with each other spurning their babes in the process . . . they do all the same things, like all the same things and share feelings for each other that would make them gay . . . you know, if they weren't straight.

A bromance , according to Mirriam-Webster Dictionary . . . yes it’s actually in the dictionary . . . is defined as a close nonsexual friendship between men.

Bromances aren’t entirely new phenomena . . . although the term is.  Historically 18th century English men were known for being demonstrative and expressive. And currently in Middle Eastern countries it’s very common for male friends to hold hands in public.

In the not to distant past it would have been considered unmanly to display physical affection like hugging and play wrestling.  I’m used to men whose range of emotion ranges from happy, drunk or cranky . . . psst, I just describe my hubby.  Now you see these public displays of affection.  I don’t know . . . I guess its okay but it’s just weird.

As far as I can tell, my hubby doesn’t have any particular BFF or bromantic tendencies.  Although, I suspect at least one of his buddies may have a man-crush on him.  It’s creepy but as long as it doesn’t start to get too weird I’ll just continue to be secretly amused.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Everyone has a photographic memory. Some don't have film.

Looking back through old school photos it's fun to see what I looked like and how I changed as the years passed.  Funny thing is that those school photos didn't necessarily accurately depict what I actually looked like.  Really . . . 

Up through elementary school until I entered junior high school I always wore my hair pretty much the same way.  Which is to say that I didn't do much of anything to it at all.   I had chin length straight hair with straight bangs that were trimmed to my eyebrows.  Nothing fancy . . . purely wash and go with no fuss or muss.

Except when it was school photo day.  My mother insisted on putting my hair up in rollers the night before photo day . . . not the soft, spongy kind but the hard, dent-your-skull-when-your-sleeping kind . . . 

So, not only would I look completely exhausted from lack of sleep because of all the pain of sleeping on rock-hard rollers clamped to my head but I'd have a goofy, poofy hair-do that was completely unlike my everyday plain jane look . . . it wasn't much of a look but it was me.

If I could get away with it, I would wet my hair down before I ran out to catch the school bus.  Otherwise, I'd be stuck with a mop of floppy curls looking like some sort of dorky Shirley Temple.

It wasn't until I reached junior high school that I made a change in my appearance.  No more stringy undone locks for me.  Of course, that was also about the same time that I discovered that boys were cute . . . some of them, at least.  That's when my hair style got some style . . . and that was the early 80's when hair got BIG and POOFY and . . . well BIG.  

By the way . . . for whatever the reason, my mother never subjected my sister to this particular form of hair trauma.  Another example of favoritism.  Just sayin'.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A towel has immense psychological value

Can someone please tell me why paper towel dispensers in public bathroom are placed so high up on the wall?  Really . . . you go into a restroom and do whatever it is you have to do, you wash your hands and when you reach for a paper towel the water drips down your arm and into your sleeves because the thing is hanging so high on the wall.  Admittedly, I'm not the tallest Amazon in the tribe but still  . . . 
You would think some brainiac engineer would determine the recommended position of a dispenser based on the median height of the person using the device.  You'd think, wouldn't ya?  The average woman in the United States is a little over 5'3" . . . I'm not that much shorter than that.  So why do I have to reach up over my head to grab a flimsy piece of paper to dry my hands?  
Just askin' cuz it doesn't make any sense to me.

Furthermore, public bathrooms are supposed to be handicap accessible.  It's safe to assume that means that someone in a wheelchair should be able to roll into the bathroom, into a stall and have the facilities to use the toilet available to them . . . but this apparently doesn't mean that they get to dry their hands because most of those paper towel holders would be out of reach.  
Well, guess what?  There's a federal ADA regulation dictating the height of a paper towel dispenser in public bathroom.   A forward-reaching, unobstructed towel dispenser and those with obstructions must be placed between 15 and 48 inches off the ground. 

Okay, that's reasonable but it's been my personal observation there are a lot places breaking federal laws.  Just sayin'.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dreams are illustrations... from the book your soul is writing about you

Hold onto your cheese and crackers . . . this could be considered kind of gross and it’s certainly really strange  . . .

I remember a lot of my dreams.  Sometimes they’re vivid and sometimes they’re vague.  Sometimes I’ll wake up with just an emotional recall and sometimes I remember details. 

Last night I had a fairly involved and complicated dream but the part that is most vivid to me came to me suddenly when I performed the simple and ordinary act of cracking my knuckles.  I dreamt that I cracked my pinky and it snapped off at the knuckle.  It wasn’t a bloody mess or anything.  In fact, the skin had already mostly grown over what should have been bare bone and flesh.  So, I’m running around trying waiving around the nub of my pinky to get someone to help me to get the tip of my little finger reattached.  And they said I couldn’t because it had already healed over. 

I don’t take much stock in dream interpretation but I looked up the meaning for sh!ts and giggles.  According to a number of different sources seeing fingers in a dream symbolizes physical and mental dexterity. They indicate manipulation, action and non-verbal communication

I dreamt that a finger fell off . . . supposedly that means that I am letting a situation dominate me or dictate how I behave.  Further more, dreaming of my little finger represents mental power, intellect, memory, and the power of communication.  Dreaming of knuckles indicates hard work and thoroughness.

Okay . . . so  . . . it means . . . hmmm . . .

Something I’m doing is influencing the way how hard I work or how well I'm doing stuff?

Whatever . . . you finger it out . . . I mean figure it out.