Department Of Reflections On The Meaning Of Life
Dateline: last Saturday; 8 AM-ish; walking north along a section of the Oregon coast, from Hug Point to Arch Cape and back, during a minus tide. While looking at tide pools and observing the creatures in and around them, moiself had a flashback to childhood:
Flashback dateline: a Saturday, a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (So Cal; late 1960s), at my usual hangout, a minimum of four days a week, in the summer: 
at The Beach ®. 
This beach day is a family outing, to Corona del Mar. After a morning of finding less-than-rad barrels to body surf (I prefer the waves at Newport Beach), I scarf my tuna sandwich and Seven-Up,  and look for something to do during (what I’ve been told is) the mandatory post-prandial 30 minute wait before going back into the water.
Debunking the Myth
“No, you don’t have to wait 30 minutes or more to swim after you’ve eaten. Swimming right after you’ve had something to eat isn’t dangerous at all. The concern was that because digestion diverts some of your blood flow from your muscles to your stomach, swimming might somehow inhibit that necessary blood flow to the stomach, causing cramps so severe that you could drown. Alternately, another version of the myth claims the opposite: your limbs won’t get enough blood flow because your stomach is diverting it, causing you to drown. These concerns are unwarranted because your blood just isn’t diverted enough to cause any real problems. There are no documented deaths attributed to anyone swimming on a full stomach….
Where Did the Myth Come From?
…It turns out that this “rule” has been around since at least 1908, when it was included in a Boy Scout handbook. The handbook warned that if boys didn’t wait at least 90 minutes before swimming, they might drown — “it will be your own fault,” the manual admonished. Where the Boy Scout handbook got the idea isn’t known, but it certainly wasn’t accurate. Still, the fallacy has doggedly persisted for over 100 years….”
(Is Swimming After Eating Really Dangerous? Dignityhealth.org )
I get my parents to follow me south along the beach to the base of some cliffs, to one of my favorite tide pool areas. Many is the afternoon wherein I pass more than the minimum 30-minutes-after-eatingdictum by exploring the rocks and tide pools, playing with harassing the anemones,  or just settling down on a rock and watching the ocean’s flora and fauna. My parents dutifully follow me, but after a few minutes of tide pool observance, they want to move on. One of them (I can’t recall who said it first but the other chimed in with agreement) says something along the lines of, “Yes, it’s nice, but there’s not much to see. Not really anything here.”
Looking back, moiself realizes that they didn’t mean to sound dismissive, they were just ignorant. To them, and probably to most non-scientist-folk of the time (or, sadly/likely, even most folks today), what counts as Life ® – as in, as in, something “to see” – is something that’s big, and furry. As in, mammals…followed by birds and fish and “bugs.”
My folks looked in the tide pools and saw seaweed-covered rocks and saltwater. The fact that the ocean in general and tide pools in particular teem with life – the kind of life which actually dominates the planet, in terms of sheer biomass and diversity of species.… That kind of life-stuff didn’t count.
* * *
Department Of Sh** Yeah I Bought That Book
I refer to Holy Sh*t: A Brief History of Swearing, just one of the references cited in a fucking delightful episode of a recent Freakonomics podcast. Episode 504, Swearing is More Important Than You Think, deals with “swearing”/cursing in particular, and changes in language usage in general.
Excerpt from the episode’s conversation with Freakonomics host Stephen Dubner and guest, Holy Shit author Melissa Mohr:
“What do you think is more common over time: for words that are taboo to become less taboo, or vice-versa?”
“Hmm, that’s an interesting question. You’ve got this kind of euphemism treadmill  that Steven Pinker talks about, where it starts off as a bad word but then people use it more and more and you get used to it and then it falls away, and then you need to come up with another bad word…and you’ve seen that with religious words; we’re seeing that with f*** and c*** and sh**…”
“But on the other hand, ‘homeless person’ becomes taboo.”
“Yes. Right now we are in a New-new Victorianism in that way. And of course that’s very culturally specific in the United States. Among my relatives in Wisconsin who didn’t go to college, they’re not going to say, ‘the unhoused,’ …but in academia, and Cambridge it’s, yep —.”
Moiself highly recommends the episode, which deals with one of my favorite subjects: language, and the evolution  of usage and vocabulary. Speaking of which, if you’ve the mind to do so, read some of George Carlin’s books, or just google some of his standup routines. The late great comedian and author was noted for his keen, observational wit and analytical social critique, and had an almost academic interest in the quirks of the English language. Plus, he was fuckin’ hilarious.
* * *
Freethinkers’ Thought Of The Week 
“I noticed that of all the prayers I used to offer to God, and all the prayers that I now offer to Joe Pesci, are being answer at about the same 50 percent rate. Half the time I get what I want. Half the time I don’t. Same as god; 50/50.
Same as the four-leaf clover, the horse shoe, the rabbit’s foot, and the wishing well. Same as the mojo man. Same as the voodoo lady who tells your fortune by squeezing the goat’s testicles.
It’s all the same; 50/50. So just pick your superstitions, sit back, make a wish and enjoy yourself.
(George Carlin, from his live standup album, You Are All Diseased)
* * *
Department Of, Seriously?
Dateline: Wednesday, circa 10:45am, in a movie theater, watching previews before the main attraction (Chevalier, which moiself recommends). Among the trailers was one for the upcoming (and likely, final) Indiana Jones movie.
After the fast-paced series of exotic locales, death-defying stunts, and other hallmarks of the IJ franchise, the screen cuts to the movie’s title…and I was…what?
The coda to one of the most successful action/adventure series in movie history gets this lame name?
* * *
May you stand in awe of the diversity of this planet’s non-furry life;
May you debunk a myth (and get to blame the Boy Scouts handbook for the myth’s origin);
May you avoid strenuous workouts on the euphemism treadmill;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 This is not an exaggeration (and I have the sun damaged skin to prove it). Until we were older and could either drive or bicycle to the coast on our own, my friends’ and my parents (and then our older siblings, when they got their drivers’ licenses) took turns taking us to the beach.
 The Beach was our generic term for the Orange County coast, from Huntington Beach to Laguna Beach. Most often it referred to our favorite hangout, Newport Beach, followed by Corona del Mar.
 The Parnells were not a soda-drinking family (for which my parents received high praise from our dentists). Soft drinks were for special occasion only, but this rule was suspended during summers, when my siblings and I could have one soda each to take with us to be pat of our beach lunch.
 Moiself love the feeling of sticking my fingers between their tentacles, and having the tentacles close around them. It freaked out some of my friends, which therfore made it even more fun to do.
 “Psychologist and linguist Stephen Pinker coined the term euphemism treadmill in a 1994 article in the New York Times. It refers to a process by which words that are used as a euphemism for a concept that’s somehow tainted then end up becoming tainted themselves by association. At that point, society generates a new “correct” euphemism. Then that chugs along for a while until it picks up the taint as well, and people seek a new term. A matter of racism: Pinker pointed out that a good indication that there’s an underlying issue is that the euphemism treadmill keeps coming up with terms that are essentially synonymous with one another, e.g. coloured people, people of colour, Negro (literally, Spanish for black), and black. That underlying issue is, in the case of skin colour, racism. Even the most derogatory N-word derives from the Latin for black, but countless layers of complexity and history have piled up on top of it. All that complexity and history passes right on along to the next popular term people choose.” (excerpt from “What is the Euphemism Treadmill,” Mental health at home, )
 or devolution, depending on your POV.
 “free-think-er n. A person who forms opinions about religion on the basis of reason, independently of tradition, authority, or established belief. Freethinkers include atheists, agnostics and rationalists. No one can be a freethinker who demands conformity to a bible, creed, or messiah. To the freethinker, revelation and faith are invalid, and orthodoxy is no guarantee of truth.” Defipix: indiananition courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, ffrf.org
The Vocals I’m Not Frying | The Blog I'm Not Writing
May 05, 2023 @ 01:33:02