Category Archives: Culture Too

Spammers Must Die!

I just had a brilliant idea for an episode of Criminal Minds. A serial killer is tracking down spammers and murdering them in really bizarre and horrible ways. The team do their job as usual but some of them express regret that they actually have to stop the guy. When they finally catch him (or her; it could be a woman) he says something like, “You can stop me but you can’t stop us all. Spammers have to die. Everyone knows that. They have to suffer for what they’re doing.” And the show ends with Garcia announcing that there’s just been another spammer killing.

Again and Again

The problem with remakes. While I get his “too-soon-ness” reasoning, remakes of older classics bother me even more. I just roll my eyes at the Spider Man reboot. “Didn’t they do that just a few years ago?” But in the case of well known older movies (60′s, 50′s, 40′s…) remakes sort of horrify me. I think people should see and appreciate the originals. They were classics for a reason. Would anyone dare to remake Casablanca, for example? Oh good heavens, I hope not!

If Hollywood is out of ideas why not dig up forgotten movies – whether 20 years old or 60 years old – that were poorly done in the first place and make a quality modern version? But I seriously doubt that they are truly out of new ideas. The problem is that the money counters want guaranteed success (understandable) and the way to get it seems to be with names that are familiar to people. (less understandable, to me at least)

In Other Words

I have noticed something a bit curious and this is one of those times when I really wish I had more readers from the sewing blogger community because I would like to do a little poll to see if others have noticed the same thing. It’s that women say “fabric” and men say “cloth”. Or maybe it’s, people who sew say “fabric” and people who don’t say “cloth”. I suppose you can file this under Easily Amused but it does amuse me. One is just as correct as the other. My mother used to use the word “material” for fabric but later she started using the word “fabric” more. That may be a regional thing.

Still, I’m curious. Why do we use the words we use when others around us use different words for the same thing? Somehow it gets established in our minds that this is the right word to use and it just feels right, while other equally right words feel wrong. Like, soda, pop, and Coke. If you have it fixed in your mind that sweet, bubbly drinks are called “soda” and then you move into an area where they are called “pop” you will probably still say “soda” and have a hard time changing even if you decide you want to in order to fit in.

Still (mostly) Gray on St. Patrick’s Day

I was tempted to tell (again) about the time when I was six years old and my mother forgot it was St. Patrick’s Day and sent me to school wearing a red and white plaid dress and that I sometimes suspect that might be why it’s always important to me to wear green on St. Patrick’s Day. But I actually do like St. Patrick’s Day specifically for the “wearin’ o’ the green” and it makes me a little sad that most people don’t participate or participate in a half-hearted way, wearing only a tiny bit of green or a dull gray-green or brownish green that just barely qualifies as green. It’s a few days before the official first day of spring, and we can still have winter weather for at least another month, but it seems to me a perfect day to be saying goodby to winter and looking forward to spring and summer, which I know is not the real point of St. Patrick’s Day but that’s what it means to me.

It was very winter-like yesterday. This morning the sun is shining and it’s supposed to warm up some. There are a few traces of green here and there in nature but the world outside is still mostly gray and brown. Why wouldn’t you want to wear green at this time of year? Personally, I’ve been craving bright, pretty spring colors since the beginning of February.

Unfashionable Thoughts

Kelly is answering questions and gets a weird one, or at least to me it seems really weird.

Don’t you feel weird wearing overalls when they’re out of fashion?

And he responds:

Well, obviously I don’t! Fashion is a pretty dumb concept, really…

[...]

I’ve never bought into the idea that something can “look good” one year and then “look bad” the next. I get that tastes change and we get tired of stuff, but the idea of clothes becoming laughable is downright silly to me. I have zero interest in adhering to what the “fashion” people tell me is OK to wear.

I have never understood how some people get so worked up about always being “in fashion”. The whole concept of updating your wardrobe every six months is an invention of the fashion industry to sell us more clothes. And really, I can’t blame them for that; they are trying to make money, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but we don’t have to buy into it as completely as some people do. It’s okay to buy new, fashionable things but it’s also okay to do your own thing and dress completely different from the way the “fashion police” tell us we should be dressing.

I have never been fashionable and I’ve always taken pride in refusing to follow the crowd. That’s still true now but at the same time I realize that, at my age, people don’t see a rebel doing her own thing, willfully ignoring the fashion world; they just see an older woman who can’t keep up. And I have to admit that today’s fashions confuse me a little bit. What is in? There doesn’t seem to be one overall kind of look like there was in earlier decades. You can look at picture of a woman from the 60′s and immediately recognize it as 60′s or a woman from the 70′s and immediately recognize it as 70′s but current fashion? Well, maybe I am just an older woman who can’t keep up because I just can’t get a handle on the modern look. I wouldn’t know how to be fashionable in this decade even if I wanted to.

This is one of the best things about sewing. I wear what I want and look the way I want to look. I have more choices than the person who does not sew. And maybe that’s why I “can’t keep up”. I stopped paying attention three decades ago. Also, I don’t live in the most fashionable part of the world. Around here being fashionable means wearing jeans, worn out t-shirts and cowboy boots. (And then there’s Walmart fashion. We get some of that too.) But I’m not into that sort of thing (the cowboy or western look) either. If I had to pick a decade with the best looking fashions it would be the 1940′s even though that’s way before my time.

So my look? My style? I don’t know what it is, really. It’s just “Oooo! Pretty fabric” and “This is a nice pattern,” and “Oh, I think I’ll do this instead of what the pattern shows,” and whatever comes out of that, that’s my style.

Shoes

For no particular reason, except I had nothing better to post, I decided to search for “shoes” on Flickr. Here are some of my favorites from the hundreds of pics that came up. (and by “favorites” I don’t necessarily mean that I would wear them, just that they caught my eye)

I kinda want these. And the tights too. (maybe)

Happy shoes. Until you see how much they cost. They’re Louboutins.

Oooo! Fancy!

A bit strange but wearable (not embeddable)

More happy shoes. Wonder if these come in my size. They don’t look all that comfortable though. No arch support.
(UPDATE: Yes, they do. When I first saw these I thought they were kid’s shoes but I went to the Choose Your Shoes website. They are hand painted Vans. Considering that they are hand-painted works of art the price is very reasonable but too much for me. I always wear holes in the big toe area of canvas shoes so it would be a terrible waste in more ways than one for me to buy a pair.)

These are cute (another not embeddable pic)

And for the finale, something really weird. Why am I not seeing more weirdness? Come on weirdness…

Okay, not really weird weird but definitely different.

Throwing Rocks

The first time I ever watched curling was two Olympics ago. At first there was a sort of “what-the-hell-are-they-doing” quality to the experience. It was on late in the afternoons and my younger son would come home and find me watching this weird sport. We laughed and joked about it quite a lot and gradually figured out how the game works, basically, though I still don’t understand all the rules.

It’s funny… at first curling looked incredibly silly to me but it’s actually a very interesting game. It requires skill, of course, and there is a lot of strategy involved. There are some situations in which it is actually to one’s advantage to not score or even to let the opposing team score. I don’t totally understand the sweeping. I mean, I understand the purpose of it but it still seems strange to me that it actually works – that sweeping in front of the stone can make it go where you want it to go. I am also intrigued by the shoes. One is slippery and one is grippy. And the players also have a grippy sole that they can put over the slippery sole when they need to. I wonder if that feels weird and hard to get used to – having two different kinds of shoes.

This is another sport that the U.S. is not good at. Our team has already been eliminated but I’m still watching, rooting for U.S. allies or whichever country I perceive as being “nicer” or whatever petty reason I can come up with just to have someone to root for. The bad thing about curling is that I only get to watch it every four years. It has gained some popularity and curling clubs are starting up in lots of places. There’s even one in Tulsa. But I really wish there was a professional curling league so I could watch it for a few months every year like we do football.

Just Because… Underdog

Perhaps I should call this a “confession”. For a while when I was a little kid (7? 8?) my favorite cartoon was Underdog. I know that at that age I didn’t get it at all. It was not the least bit funny. This was serious drama and a little bit scary and I LOVED it! And the theme song too. It was just perfect.

Fast forward to the present. Lately I’ve been seeing a running shoe commercial (Reebok, I think) that uses the Underdog theme song. It makes me giggle with childish delight every time I see it. So, just because, here’s the original. I love the Internet.

This ‘n’ That

Last night we watched the movie, Up. It was on CBS or ABC; I forget which. Sad, sad, sad, sad movie. I know it’s supposed to be cute and uplifting but all I could think was, “What good is it to have your dream finally come true if the person you first dreamed it with isn’t there to share it with you?”

We are finally out of the deep freeze. Well, at least for this week. It’s supposed to be cold again on Sunday. But today it may get up to 70°F! That is spring, my friends! Sure, the calendar says it’s still a few weeks away but spring is more than just a date. We have had winter near the end of April and spring in February, as we’re having now.

I have been watching some of the Olympics. I’m glad they’re on NBC again. CBS spoils the Olympics when they’re on that network. It seems like it’s always 30 minutes of OMG! Drama! Drama! Drama! for every 10 minutes of sports. NBC actually focuses on the sports. I used to love the Winter Olympics and would watch every minute of it but it’s more fun when you have someone who loves it as much as you do. Now I just defer to the rest of the family. I do want to see some more curling. Strange sport. I got hooked on it two Olympics ago.

Sewing – I finished another thing I want to show off but my first attempt at self-photography didn’t turn out good at all. The flash, auto-focus and the self timer don’t seem to work well together so I will try it outside one day this week. I started another pair of slacks and then decided that I want to put a zipper in them instead of doing the pocket trick. That doesn’t work as well if you have to use a different, lighter weight, fabric for the pockets. So I ordered a zipper because Walmart only has them in two colors so now I’m thinking I might start something else today so I’ll have something to work on while I’m waiting on the zipper. By the way, Wawak.com has all kinds of zippers in lots of colors.

I first saw this on Facebook. I absolutely love it!

New On TV

I’m still watching and loving Castle, Person of Interest, Elementary, Big Bang Theory, Grimm and several other shows but I don’t have anything really new to say about those so I’m going limit this to a few new, new-to-me and new-ish shows.

Helix (SyFy) is a classic, “group of scientists trapped in a remote arctic research station with a deadly disease and a murderer OMGWAGD!” story. The disease is an engineered virus and, apparently, the murderer or murderers are killing for the usual reason – to protect a secret. Not a great show but interesting enough so far.

In Intelligence (CBS) a government agent has a chip implanted in his brain that enables him to instantly access top secret government computers. He has a pretty female agent assigned to protect the “valuable asset”. I’ve only seen two (or is it three?) episodes and I’m liking it so far. I’m not familiar with the main stars, Josh Holloway and Meghan Ory but there are a number of familiar faces in the supporting cast. Marg Helgenberger, formerly of CSI – I think I’m going to like her character in this quite a bit better than her CSI character. John Billingsly, who played the alien doctor on Star Trek: Enterprise is a doctor in this show also. (human this time) P.J. Byrne, playing the resident geek, looks very familiar but I’m not sure what else I’ve seen him in and IMDb doesn’t really help. Lance Reddick, who played Phillip Broyles in Fringe, has a similar role in this show. Rosalind Chao (ST:TNG) was on one episode in what seemed like it could be a recurring role. (but not necessarily, that’s just my speculation, or perhaps my wishful thinking) So anyway, this one’s a keeper.

The Tomorrow People (CW) is about a group of people with special abilities – what they call the three T’s: telepathy, telekinesis and teleportation. They are being hunted by an evil organization that wants to control or kill all of their kind. Not great but fairly interesting and fun.

And I have saved the best for last. Almost Human (Fox) is a “near future” cop show. Every human cop must have an android partner. In the first episode Detective John Kennex, brilliantly portrayed by Karl Urban, pushes his android partner out of their vehicle – “because it wouldn’t stop talking” – into traffic where it is destroyed by a truck. As a replacement he is given, Dorian, “one of the crazy ones” – a more human-like android that had been deactivated along with all the others of the same model. In some ways this is a typical cop show, with an experienced, cynical cop partnered with an innocent, open-hearted rookie, but the setting and stories are very futuristic and high tech. Mostly, the crimes these cops fight could not happen in the present, or at least not in quite the same way. This is a very fun show with action, humor and occasional sappy, heart-warming moments. My only problem with it is that it’s on Fox. Whenever I watch something good on this network I always worry that it won’t last long.

The Less-Than-Super Bowl

If you’re an NFL fan of course you want your favorite team to go to the Superbowl. Failing that, you at least hope for one last great game before the long seven months without football. But we didn’t even get a good game. I’m not terribly disappointed that Seattle won. I like Peyton Manning and wanted him to win but I do not like John Elway and I wanted him to lose but I figured that on every team there is probably at least one executive that I wouldn’t like if I knew about him so I decided that I would root for the Broncos anyway. On the other hand, I have no feelings about the Seahawks at all, except that the “12th Man” thing kind of annoys me. Russell Wilson seems like a nice kid and I’m happy for him and the rest of the team.

Superbowl commercials are supposed to be a big deal. There’s a huge audience so companies go all out to have the greatest commercials but it seems to me that it’s been many years – a couple of decades maybe – since we’ve seen really great Superbowl commercials. This year I saw a couple of good Coke commercials and I liked the Mountain Dew commercial with the duck hunters. There were several Go Daddy commercials that weren’t bad. And Budweiser came up with another cute dog and horse commercial. (Although, my all time favorite was the zebra commercial that they had several years ago) It seems like there were others that I sort of liked but I can’t remember them now.

The problem with the commercials this year was that everyone tried too hard to be dramatic! inspiring! and heartwarming! And it seemed to me that the whole all-day pre-game show had the same problem. It was all drama! Inspiration! Emotion! Emotion! Emotion! Come on folks, it’s the Superbowl! Be emotional! Be inspired! Shed a tear or two! Gimme a break, people. It’s football. Why can’t we just have fun with it? The commercials used to be fun. There was a lot of humor. Sure there were always a few that aimed to be inspiring or heartwarming but it doesn’t work when everyone does it at the same time. After the second or third “inspiring” commercial the inspiration circuits overload and shut down or burn out. I like the humorous and clever commercials and the ones that are little stories with surprise endings. There were a few of those but that kind of commercial almost seems to have gone out of fashion.

I enjoy watching football sometimes but I’m not really what you would call a devoted fan. To be honest, I’m glad the season is over and we have a seven month break. Oh, there will be moments of “It’s Sunday and there’s no football what will we do?” For a week or two we might feel that something is missing from our lives but then we will learn, again, to appreciate all the extra time we have. So, for now, good-by football and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Oooo! A List! – Silly Fashion Trends

Just when I desperately needed blog fodder Charles links to 12 Fashion Trends MeredithAncret Hates. Let’s go through these one at a time.

1. Over-the-thigh boots. I’m kinda neutral on these. If they came in flats I could see myself possibly wearing them under a skirt on a cold winter day just to keep my knees warm. But probably not.

2. Huge fake eyelashes. Why? Just… why? They look like big, scary alien insects of some kind. Why would you want that on your face? Just please don’t. Unless you’re this lady. She can get away with it. No one else.

3. Uggs. Eh. I don’t really hate them, don’t really like them. Neutral again I guess.

4. Huge hoop earrings. I used to have a pair that were about two inches in diameter, very thin and lightweight, and even those seemed a little dangerous.

5. Rompers. They look comfortable but please don’t wear them out of the house.

6. Metallic accessories. They’re okay but remember, less is more.

7. Leggings (as pants) OMG! Yes! Leggings are not pants! They are footless tights. You might as well go out wearing just panties and a top as to wear leggings without something long enough to cover your ass. If you do this stop, just stop! Go cover yourself, you shameless hussy!

8. Harem pants. They look weird but at least they cover your ass so I won’t complain.

9. Ripped up jeans When did this trend first start? Late 70′s? The 80′s? I can’t remember but I know I’ve been seeing them for a long, long time. When they first came out I had hope that the trend would die a natural death in a few years like other silly fads but several decades later they’re still with us.

10. Pointy toed shoes. These are ugly and they will make your feet ugly. The ones in the picture are so extreme they look like cartoon shoes.

11. High heeled sneakers. They make me laugh.

12. Peplum (the removable kind especially) I like peplums. I’m not sure if they’re still a good idea for me or not. I had a dress with a peplum about 15 -20 years ago. Actually it’s still in my closet because I can’t bear to get rid of it. Anyway, I loved that dress and actually thought I looked kinda hot in it. (I’ve never really looked hot.) I’ve never seen the removable kind. I can see how that might work or not work, depending on the outfit.

Modern Bustle

This is kinda cute. I’d like to see what the front of it looks like.

Found at Advanced Style. Please do go visit. It’s a wonderful site.

Generally though, I don’t know about the designer’s ambition to “bring back the bustle.” I always thought those were among the sillier fashions in history. This one isn’t bad though. Like I said, cute. Maybe even something I would wear.

One more thing… I can never wrap my head around riding a bike in a skirt. I know women used to all the time and I’m pretty sure I did when I was kid but now? I don’t know. There’s really nothing wrong with it but to me it seems wrong somehow.

Shoe Rant Follow Up

Have you ever started writing a rant and have it not go the way you originally intended? I do not regret anything I said in my shoe rant yesterday but the main point I wanted to make got lost in there somehow. That point is that “sensible shoes” should not be looked down upon as a less desirable choice.

I actually have no problem with what anyone else chooses to wear. As long as you’re not showing your underwear or parts of your body that should be covered you can dress as crazy as you want to and I won’t care. Sure, I’ll have an opinion about it, which in some cases might be quite negative, but that opinion does not include wanting to make you dress exactly like me. What I have a problem with is plain, comfortable, flat or low-heeled shoes and classic, modest clothing being considered “dowdy”. I know sometimes “sexy” is appropriate, such as, perhaps, when you’re trying to sell expensive cars, but a short, tight dress and ridiculously high, thin heels should not be the Standard Attractive Female Uniform. There are many ways to be attractive and all should be considered equal.

Regarding shoes, I have worn high heels, though never the very thin ones and mostly under three inches, and I’ve never worn shoes with pointy, cramped toes. The natural result of my choice of footwear is that, for my age, my feet still look pretty darn good, if I do say so myself – much more attractive that many younger celebrities’ feet. If you want to wear high heels at least make sure they fit properly. (I no longer own those flip flops, by the way. The strap between the toes bothered me so I gave them away.)

A Brief (and late) Observation

I kept thinking about posting this all during December but never got around to it but even though the season is over I still really want to say this.

Of all Christmas season TV commercials the ones that bug me the most are car commercials. (One exception: the Chevy commercials with the salesman who looks like Santa Claus and apparently doesn’t realize it.) The worst of the car commercials are those for Lexus. This year they had one in which they showed a woman using a treadle sewing machine. They showed a quick close-up of her feet and she was wearing stiletto heels! I cheer the use of a treadle sewing machine but in those heels? Not happening sweetie.

Besides the implausibility of that little scene, it greatly annoys me that that style of ridiculous, uncomfortable and possibly even dangerous footwear is considered an essential part of the standard Attractive-Female Uniform. While it’s certainly not as extreme as the old Chinese custom of foot binding it comes from the same mindset. Don’t think this was entirely a practice of a male dominated society. Mothers willing had this done to their own infant daughters.

Back to the present, I know you’re going to say it’s not the same. Of course it’s not the same. I never said it’s the same. But it’s the same mindset: fashion before comfort and health. Girls, you can’t call yourselves modern, liberated women as long as you are slaves to fashion. It is hard to find shoes that are both comfortable and attractive but they do exist and if you buy them shoe designers will respond by making more. Do us all a favor and stop stuffing your feet into overpriced torture devices.

(Okay… wow. I started off the year with a rant/lecture. A sign of things to come? Time will tell.)

Where Time Goes

Has anything like this ever happened to you? You’re watching Sleepy Hollow. It’s early in the show and someone strikes a match. Your kid (who, in my case, is no longer a kid) wonders when matches were invented. Curious, you pull your smartphone out of your pocket and look up matches on Wikipedia and start reading. After what seems like maybe 5 minutes you get done reading, look up, and realize that you’ve missed half the show. (Which actually doesn’t disappoint me all that much because I’m not really into Sleepy Hollow)

OMG They’ve Fired Phil!

First of all, I must say that I have never watched Duck Dynasty. The commercials for it and the comments of the fans are enough to lead me to conclude, with about 99.9999% certainty, that I would hate it. So I do not care that Phil Robertson has been suspended. I am neither happy nor unhappy about it. I simply Do. Not. Care.

However, I would like to say to the decision makers at A&E: Have you people lost your minds?!! This action supports my long held suspicion that whenever they make someone a manager of anything they remove a sizable chunk of their brain. Haven’t you ever heard of martyrdom? Persecuting someone who is already an icon will only get their fans stirred up and start them to flag waving for their beliefs. People who formerly didn’t care all that much and were willing to live and let live are now your sworn enemies.

So you want to make a reality show about a redneck family and somehow you found the Robertson clan. You knew what they were like when you hired them. You’ve been filming them and editing and putting them on TV for… oh, I don’t know how long the show has been on… for a while. Phil Robertson’s comments about homosexuality could not have come as a surprise to you. You had to know something like this would happen sooner or later. If you want to make a show about people like this you should be prepared to accept the whole package. Maybe you should just get out of the reality TV business. Use scripts, hire professional actors. You have more control that way. But if you want reality TV then accept the reality and when you decide it’s time to get rid of the show you should do it in a less dramatic fashion.

The Other Side

Yesterday we had Ten American Habits Brits Will Never Understand, so today I thought I should do Ten British Habits Americans Will Never Understand. This, even more than the first list, makes me think the author just needs to get out and see more of America because at least some of us do most of these things.

1. Apologizing Unnecessarily – Most Americans do this. We say “sorry” for every little thing but when it comes to apologizing for the big things, the things for which we really need to apologize, we have a hard time with that. When someone does apologize it is, of course, a social requirement to say that no apology is necessary so maybe that’s where a Brit would get the idea that we don’t do this.

2. Drinking Too Much – Yeah, I don’t understand that one at all but I’m pretty sure there are many Americans who do.

3. Forgetting to Eat – I sort of understand that one. Haven’t done it very often myself but I know a lot of people get so busy they just don’t think about stopping to eat.

4. Enjoying the Misfortune of Others – Are you kidding me? That’s one of our favorite pastimes. We just don’t like to admit it.

5. Doing Ourselves Down – This is practically a social requirement. Almost everyone does it.

6. Thinking Tea Will Fix Everything – I really wish we would adopt this habit. It would be much better than all the fumbling for the right thing to say or do in a crisis. And a good cup of tea does kinda make everything a little bit better.

7. Our Reluctance to Fix Our Teeth – I don’t understand this one and it sort of creeps me out to know that this is a British habit but there are a lot of Americans, especially in my part of America, who don’t get their teeth fixed, mainly because they don’t have dental insurance.

8. Poor Communication Skills – This is a very individual thing. Many of us do have poor communication skills and some others are a little bit too good at “looking you in the face and saying what they mean.”

9. Driving a Stick-shift on the Wrong Side of the Road – We get the thing about driving on “the wrong side of the road,” we just like to give you a bad time about it. And driving a stick? Well, I don’t understand that but at least half of American drivers are fanatical about it. Guys on both sides of the pond love to play with sticks. But if you live in an urban area you will probably meet more people who prefer an automatic.

10. Our Desire to Laugh at Ourselves – Well, some of us do and some of us don’t but I think we generally think of this as a good thing, so, yes, we do understand it.

“Mind the Gap”

I recently discovered, via Facebook, Mind the Gap. It’s supposed to be sort of a “Brits’ guide to living in America”. I find it rather interesting but some of the “Americanisms” mentioned are not as universal as they seem to think. I would suggest that the writers of this site get out of New York City for a while and see the rest of America.

Let’s go through the 10 American Habits Brits Will Never Understand.

1. Flossing. – Brits don’t floss? Wish I didn’t know that. Kidding. Honestly, a lot of Americans don’t floss. According to a 2008 survey, Only 49% of Americans floss daily.

2. Compulsive Baking – I’m not sure I get what they don’t get about this or why they would call it “compulsive”. Actually, not everyone bakes but in any group there’s always at least one person who likes to bake and to show off their baking.

3. Sending personalized holiday cards – Most of us don’t do the family photo greeting cards. I think more people write annual Christmas letters but still probably a minority of us.

4. Talking to strangers – I think I’m a throwback to my British ancestors on this one. There are certain places where striking up a conversation with a complete stranger is more than acceptable, such as in a fabric store. You know that everyone there has at least one thing in common. It’s like you’re members of a club. You have to talk to each other. But I’m not fond of having random people in line at the grocery store trying to chat me up.

5. Whooping – We expect that at football games and some other sports events but otherwise I do often wish some of my fellow Americans were less noisy.

6. Compulsive sentimentality – Again, not universal. Some of us are huggers; some of us are not. If you see that someone is about to put the squeeze on you, you can usually just take a step back and extend your hand for a handshake and most people will get it. If necessary you can say, “Sorry, I’m just not a hugger.”

7. Drinking milk – Okay but we think you guys are weird for putting milk in your tea.

8. Ordering supersize portions – Yeah, we really need to stop that.

9. Taking home leftovers – Not much to say about this one. Why wouldn’t you if you think you might eat it later? Actually though, we usually don’t unless it’s pizza.

10. Eating breakfast together – Sadly, most of us don’t do this. A traditional family breakfast doesn’t fit into our lifestyles. Some people may do this on Saturday and/or Sunday mornings but even that isn’t that common and to do it every day is almost unheard of.

British vs. American TV Ads

Like everything else about our two countries, British and American TV commercials are different.

At the risk of turning this into a “Which is better?” debate, it’s fair to say that there’s quite a difference between British and American TV ads. What one viewing audience finds acceptable is often highly inappropriate to the other and I find myself saying “I can’t believe they just showed that” on both sides of the Pond.

While what the censors allow might be different I think our reactions to inappropriate commercials is very similar. Frankly, being a woman I’m not overly fond of exposed boobs but I’d much rather see more of those than all the pharmaceutical ads that befoul prime time American TV. But our American censors, bless their hearts, have decided that it’s okay to talk about bedroom and bathroom topics during the evening news and the family hour. We don’t get a say in the matter.

Once in a while people will get all stirred up enough about a commercial to write letters and make phone calls, causing nervous advertisers to pull an ad, usually one that the majority of TV viewers found hilarious and can’t understand how anyone could have a problem with it. But, strangely, the commercials that offend almost everybody go on an on and on.

I think this is at least partly due to the modern American mindset that it is okay to offend the majority but certain minorities and women are sacred and it is necessary to go to sometimes ridiculous lengths to avoid even the most minor offense. (Obviously I’m not as easily offended as some of my “sisters”.) Thus we get commercials that offend everybody.

It is also a matter of what works for the advertisers. That old saying, which I think originally referred to politics, “It matters not whether you like me or loathe me as long as you remember my name,” is even more true in advertising. When shopping for a product most people won’t remember that they saw an offensive TV commercial for that brand and decide not to buy it in order to punish the advertiser for their offensive ad; they will simply recognize the brand and buy it because it is familiar. People will shy away from an unknown brand because they “don’t know anything about it” even though they don’t know one bit more about the famous brand because the commercial they saw a thousand times didn’t tell them anything useful.

Cats For Introverts, Dogs For Extroverts?

Do you think introverts are more likely to be cat people and extroverts are more likely to be dog people?

Dogs are very friendly and want to be with you all the time. Cats are friendly and affectionate also and sometimes demanding but they don’t mind being alone and they will leave you alone if you’re busy or just not in the mood to pay attention to them. So it seems to me that a cat is a better pet for an introvert and dogs are more compatible with extroverts. This might also be the reason why cat people and dog people just don’t understand each other when it comes to pet preference.

It’s Pumpkin Season

It’s October (What? Already?) and just as sure as death and taxes there will be lists of Outside the Box Pumpkin Ideas. Once you get past the obligatory puking jack-o-lantern, which is actually one of the better ones I’ve seen, there really are some unique ideas – lots of painted pumpkins. I like #’s 4, 12, 17, 19, 23, 27, and 39.