Department Of There’s Always A Silver Lining
(But Sometimes It Smells Like Rotten Eggs)
For long-married couples, the hardships of this year have given us an opportunity to reframe some…uh, activities. For example, a certain husband has been known to try to “sneak one” past his wife, and when she catches him  he tells her that in his ever-vigilant concern for her well-being he is merely giving her a daily hearing test, since it is a well-known fact that high frequency hearing loss accelerates with age.
Thanks to the viral vagaries of the past nine months. loving spouses can now also “test” one another for a more important concern. When your sweet baboo wrinkles his or her nose and grumblingly wonders aloud why you didn’t at least have the decency to leave the room to let one rip after your two-can Trader Joe’s limburger chili lunch, you can reply,
“My darling, I was merely administering to you, within the privacy and comfort of our home, a vital health test: the experts tell us that, in a person without any other symptoms, a sudden appearance of asomnia – loss of the sense of smell – is one of the earliest signs of COVID-19.”
* * *
Department Of Yet Another Thing I Was Told I Would Like…
And Looked Forward To Liking…
But Then I Didn’t
That would be the much-acclaimed HBO series, Big Little Lies. MH and I made it to episode four of the first season, and… Sorry. Moiself simply doesn’t wanna spend any more time around those characters.
If you are a fan of the BLL series, kindly restrain your knee-jerk reaction to channel your Literature Appreciation 101 professor in my direction. Yep, I totally get that unpleasant characters – in protagonist, antagonist, and supporting roles alike – can be vital components of compelling storylines. Duh, *fiction writer* here! For example: who is a sympathetic and/or likeable character in Macbeth?
But, sorry – BLL is no Macbeth.
And, the sex scenes…
BLL uses what I call the “movie sex” presentation, which I find ridiculous/boring:
* candle- or otherwise gauzily-lit locales
*nothing resembling safe sex being practiced
* unrealistic body presentation (read: the men can be flabsters but the women always look like models )
* smoldering looks passing for foreplay, yet both the men and women reach wall-pounding orgasms within two minutes
* and what’s with all the up-against-the-wall-pounding?
But my main objection to BLL’s sex scenes is the violence. Having worked in my past life  with victims of sexual violence, I don’t find violent, aggressive, “rough” and/or “merely coercive” sex to be entertaining, even when it’s excused justified as “necessary to portray the dysfunctional dynamic of the relationship.”
Sure, there’s great acting from all cast members, but so far, BLL is not moiself’s cup of strychnine tea. In time I may return to finish the series, but at this point not even the curiosity of finding out which character gets murdered  can compel me to stay with it.
* * *
Department Of Will There Ever Be A Vaccine For Flagrant Asininity?
“Coronavirus could be ‘under control’ in weeks if everyone wore masks,
CDC director says.”
(Washington Post, 7-14-20 )
“…the near-universal scientific consensus that, more than any of single action short of everyone entering solitary confinement, face coverings can prevent the transmission of the coronavirus that causes Covid-19….
The benefits of masking in reducing viral transmission are clear…. In an analysis of 194 countries, those that did not recommend face masks saw Covid-19 mortality increase 54% every week after the first case appeared; in countries with masking policies, the weekly increase was only 8%.”
(“If everyone wore a mask, Covid-19 could be brought under control,
CDC director urges,” statnews.com 7-14-20 )
Dateline: earlier this week. MH directed my attention to a Facebook post: a kinfolk of ours posted a “group selfie” picture with three other people, all smiling into the cellphone camera, their unmasked faces close together. As reported in the post, these folks were in a bar, celebrating a friend’s birthday with, among other activities, “karaoke singing.”
Yep. All that, plus karaoke singing.
“…singers…generate respiratory aerosols at high rates. In other words, they spew a lot of droplets into the air when they warble or blow.….
A professor explains the physics: ‘You have the air that’s coming out on your respiratory tube, your mouth, and your nose, and there’s liquid lining all of your respiratory system. …And when the air is going very quickly, (the force with which singers expel air) it can basically grab a little bit of that material and put it in a particle, and then you expel it out into the air….
anything that makes the air go faster or more strongly or produce more air is putting out more respiratory particles.
If you’re singing, you’re breathing in a lot of air, you’re breathing out very forcefully, and you’re also moving your vocal cords. The vocal cords are wet, they’re covered in this fluid, they’re vibrating, and that can also produce more particles.”
As a result…group singing remains “extremely dangerous and irresponsible,” (the professor stated), pointing out numerous other super-spreading incidents among choruses worldwide.”
( ” Singers Can Be Coronavirus Superspreaders, Say Experts …” npr.org, 8-16-20 )
“…the more responsibly you’d choose to behave…ya think?
Yeah, right. Welcome to the USA.
“For months, public health officials have been warning about the dangers of going to bars: They’re indoor spaces, they frequently have poor air circulation, and after a few drinks, people tend to lean in close during conversations or put their arms around their besties, all while forgetting to wear their masks….
But if bars are dangerous during a pandemic, karaoke is even worse, regardless of what form it takes…. A fun way to spend a night on the town has become a raging cocktail of everything epidemiologists tell us to avoid: Gathering in groups, passing around a microphone that’s potentially covered in virus-covered respiratory droplets, and most of all, singing.
The dangers of singing in public were laid bare in March at a church choir practice in Skagit, Wash. Only one of the 61 attendees at the two-hour rehearsal was known to be symptomatic, but 53 would end up testing positive for the coronavirus, and two members died. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the act of singing “might have contributed to transmission through emission of aerosols, which is affected by loudness of vocalization.”
( “Karaoke is a health risk during a pandemic.” Washington Post, 8-17-20
* * *
Department Of Damn Damn Damn Damn Damn!
Don’t you hate it when someone whom you otherwise admire –
say, a writer known for her empathetic take on complicated cultural and political topics (e.g., sexual violence, family relationships, race, privilege) using both a broad and personal lens, who is capable of recognizing the opinions of others while persuasively articulating her own –
says something which makes you realize that there is at least one  part of her brain wherein her subconscious spends way too much time staring at a frozen orange juice container because it says, “concentrate”?
Dateline: Wednesday am, beginning to listen to Tig Notaro’s “Don’t Ask Tig” podcast. Notaro’s guest is writer Roxanne Gay, and I’m excited to hear that…until I hear the following exchange, and have to press the what the fuck – seriously? stop button on my podcast app.
Host TN was asking RG how RG feels about being someone whose opinions people value and respect. RG responded that it feels great, if challenging, considering the kind of stressful  topics she is asked to speak about, but most of the time it’s fine….
And where did you – where did that come from, in you?
I don’t know. I’m very quiet and very shy…I think it’s because, I tend to – I’m a Libra, and so I’m able to acknowledge multiple points of view.….
Well, I’m an Aries, I don’t know what that means.
I don’t know either; I only know my own sign….I don’t fully understand astrology, but I have seen enough to believe in it, and take it seriously….
Damn damn damn damn damn.
I will, most likely, continue to read Ms. Gay’s essays and op-eds. Still, grrrrrrrr. I know that all idols have feet of clay, and that it’s good to be reminded of this, but do the idol’s clay feet have to be seemingly, blissfully, unaware that she’s stomping in horseshit?
Santa, please put Ms. Gay on your Christmas list, and sent her a special present this year: Carl Sagan’s baloney detection kit.
Moiself gets some of the reasons why people “believe in” astrology, or just like to read their horoscopes. For some folk it’s like a game, and astrology allows you to do the humble brag (or humble rag) thing: you can list your strengths or weaknesses without taking personal responsibility for either boasting or knocking yourself, because the credit (or blame) is in your stars.
I’ve met people who admit to “checking” their horoscope but say that they do so only for amusement purposes and don’t really think the predictions are valid. However, many scientists argue that even the “entertainment only” aspects of things like astrology are misleading and even harmful, in that they promote the idea that it is possible to interpret or explain reality of the natural world via the supernatural.
“Astrology can be tested by the lives of twins. There are many real cases like this: one twin is killed in childhood in, say, a riding accident or struck by lightning, while the other one lives to a prosperous old age. Supposed that had happened to me. My twin and I would have been born in exactly the same place and within minutes of each other, exactly the same planets would be rising at our births. If astrology were valid, how would we have such profoundly different fates?”
( Carl Sagan, as quoted in culturacolectiva.com )
The late great astronomer Carl Sagan was proficient in taking down astronomy and other pseudosciences. His life’s work involved encouraging people to
* learn critical and skeptical thinking skills
* understand that science is not just a body of knowledge, but a way of thinking.
If you haven’t read Sagan’s book, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, what are you waiting for? Even if you already know why, say, astronomy (or divination, fortune-telling, witchcraft, ad nauseum) is hokum, the book is an excellent explication of the scientific method to laypeople. Also, Sagan was a highly entertaining writer who was “incapable of composing a dull sentence,” as one admirer put it.
* * *
2020: a year which started with murder hornets and descended into COVID-19, civil unrest (e.g., the BLM movement and police brutality protests), wildfires, hurricanes, and the myriad of unnatural disasters emanating from the White House….
When it comes to using bowling metaphors to describe the events of this year,  it was like our society just kept throwing a series of gutter balls.
So, the regular/festive tree will wait until next year. For 2020, this is all I can muster.
Lest you think moiself has totally Scrooged-out on the festivities this year, I found another “tree” at an antique store. This one has room for a mere nine hanging ornaments. It wasn’t as difficult a task as you might think – whittling down the 100+ ornaments we have to only nine. Most of our ornaments are way too big for this kind of display, so, an assortment of my favorite smaller ones will do, for now.
* * *
Department Of Get A Load Of This Pair
Moiself was compelled to adopt these from the grocery store. But, what to do with them?
I thought, maybe something Thai-flavored. Thailand is The Country Formerly Known as Siam, ® and the first thing that came to my mind when I saw these orange beauties was, “Cool – Siamese squash.”
That thought was almost immediately followed by Well-Meaning Liberal’s Unnecessary Self-Flagellation ® : “Ooh, that might be taken as insulting, or culturally-appropriating. I should probably say, “Conjoined Squash.”
Call ’em whatever, but what to do with them? I asked for suggestions from my family, who were as helpful as always. Son K declined to comment. Daughter Belle’s response: “Boobies!” Thank you, daughter dearest, but I was thinking more along culinary lines. 
MH suggested that I could hang them from my car’s trailer hitch. Yeah, but then I’d have to paint them blue…. 
* * *
Pun For The Day
I left my husband because he kept making astrology puns –
it finally Taurus apart.
* * *
Department Of Partridge Of The Week
This week’s Partridge in our pear tree:
* * *
May you be judicious in choosing which home health tests you give to your loved ones;
May you remember that the best way to treat your “besties”
is to wear a mask in their presence;
May you realize that if you seriously want to know what the moon is in Aries,
then you need to know that your head is seriously up your ass;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 As in, “I heard that!”
 Private OB/GYN practice; Planned Parenthood; domestic violence and child abuse training.
 Unless I am promised that the answer is, “They all do.”
 Hopefully, teeny.
 I believe the term she used was, “fucked up.”
 And you know you want to.
 I ended up making a Thai coconut curry with them.
 If you do not get this cultural reference, be thankful, and refrain from googling the image.