Department Of Not That You Asked…
♫ Oh, let’s get rich
And buy our parents homes in the South of France
Let’s get rich
And give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance
Let’s get rich
And build a house on a mountain, making everybody look like ants
From way up there
You and I, you and I ♫
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Department Of Not That You Asked, The Sequel
It also didn’t occur to you to ask me for a what-to-watch-on-a-streaming-service recommendation. But since you were so pleased with my sing-along recommendation, now you’re on to, “And what’s your recommendation for a good stand up comedy performance to give me the summer giggles?” To which I enthusiastically reply:
Wanda Sykes‘ latest standup special, “I’m An Entertainer.”
Worth the price of admission  alone are Syke’s bits where she incorporates her gift for physical comedy/pantomime along with her sharp observational wit. There are too many such sketches to list here, but they include what really goes on in women’s restrooms, fantasizing about men’s men-o-pause afflictions, and where the frightened senators and representatives should have hidden on January 6 for maximum protection (suggestion: underneath Mitch McConnell‘s chin). Other Syke’s stories/observations range from the political to the personal and often a combination of the two, as in explaining white supremacy and privilege to her white family (her wife and two kids).
As for the latter, Sykes employs her ongoing, subtly hilarious (to moiself , at least) imitation of her French wife, which includes an ever-present “air cigarette.” And as for the voice she assumes when pretending to speak as her wife…well…as Sykes herself might put it, Sykes cannot do a French accent to save her black ass.
Sidenote: Sykes has admitted  that her wife has un petit problème with the way Sykes portrays her on stage. She knows it’s for comic effect and mining the stereotype, but she (Sykes’ wife), in fact, does *not* smoke cigarettes.
About the black ass comment: you’ll hear a lot of strong, “adult” language in Syke’s routines. If you’re not a fan of such…colloquialisms…moiself hopes you can listen to what she is saying, instead of how she is saying it. 
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Department Of Not That You Asked, The Sequel To The Sequel
Ah, summer, the season of sun and fun and light entertainment. And since you’ve been over the proverbial moon with my previous two recommendations, now you’re begging me for something a little more brain-stretching, such as: “How’s about one of those sciency-type podcasts you listen to?” Well, moiself aims to please.
” Aging isn’t just a biological process. Our outlooks and emotions also change as we age, often in ways that boost our well-being. Psychologist Laura Carstensen unpacks the science behind this surprising finding, and shares what all of us can learn from older people.”
Early in the episode Carstensen tells the story of what led to her spending time with older people in care facilities, which caused her to realize her commonality with them and which also provided her with an aha moment:
“…the insight I had about aging…is that aging is a *biological* process, but it is driven and shaped by the *social* world.”
Moiself has written, previously and more extensively, about the social prejudice against aging which is, as I see it, the most universal and illogical of prejudices. Gender; economic class; nationality; ethnic background; worldview and/or religion – we will all be Old People® someday (unless we die when we’re younger. or, RIGHT NOW). But this particular podcast episode isn’t so much about the prejudices re aging – although of course, they are mentioned, as, for example, in the episode’s intro:
“Movies, tv shows, and the fashion industry, still worship at the altar of youth. People around the word spend billions of dollars on potions, injections, and surgical interventions, to keep the signs of age at bay. Clickbait ads on many websites show you what the stars of yesteryears look like today. The message couldn’t be clearer: Aging is a terrible thing; growing old is a horror show. “
Like podcast guest Carstensen, the much-younger version of moiself rarely considered the ramifications of aging. Unlike the younger version of moiself , the younger Carstensen was in a horrific car crash at age 21. In the months following the accident, when she was in hospital and rehab wards with very elderly women, Carstensen started to realize what she and they had in common and began to think about her future, as in, thinking about getting older. Later on, when Carstensen completed her education and began to do research, what she learned surprised her – and others in her field – when comprehensive studies began to contradict the myths of aging.
Eventually Carstensen became part of investigative teams involved in the largest study ever done on the psychopathology of aging. Subsequent studies reaffirmed the surprising results – surprising as in, given the prejudices we’ve all been sold on what happends to aging minds. The data overwhelmingly and repeatedly flew in the face of prejudice, intuition, and cultural beliefs, and showed that which came to be referred to as “the paradox of aging.” Which is that, absent debilitating illness:
The older years are the happiest and most stable and psychopathology free for most people. 
“Increasingly, older people had less negative emotions – less fear; less anger; less disgust, and just as much happiness and joy and calm…. older people were happier in their day to day lives than younger people were….
The paradox really was that aging entails a lot of bad things: cognitively, people often do change, or feel their memory isn’t as good…not to mention the physical changes with age – most of us experience more aches and pains. And then we’re in the societal context: people aren’t taking us as seriously as they used to; there’s an invisibility people talk about, when they get old, that people walk almost right through them, and they just aren’t noticed…and so with all of that happening with aging…how can it be that older people, emotionally, are doing well?….”
Podcast host Shankar Vidantam:
“Social status; physical health…if all those things (decline)…you would predict that the people would then have worse psychological health, and yet (the studies showed) that psychological well-being seemed to be improving.”
That’s enough of a preview – listen for y’alls selves, if the subject interests you. Really, it’s great news for everyone…well, almost everyone.
This fact – that as people age they become happier with their day to day lives than younger people – is not going to sell many anti-aging medications or procedures. Unless, of course, the fear of living mongers geniuses in advertising reverse their strategy. Instead of concentrating their efforts to convince ever-younger groups – people in their 30s and even 20s – that they need anti-aging procedures, they can start marketing *maturing* procedures:
“Everyone knows that the senior years are the best years of your life. Don’t let the visible limitations of your youth determine how you and others see yourself. Want to look years happier than you actually are? Let us add a few laugh and smile lines to your sullen, immature, angst-ridden visage…”
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Department of Employee Of The Month
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Freethinkers’ Thought Of The Week 
“…. (Ricky Gervais) explained how he became an atheist, recounting an afternoon at home when he was about 8. His mother was ironing and he was drawing Jesus on the cross as part of his bible studies homework. His brother, Bob, 11 years older than Ricky, asked him why he believed in God, a question which mortified their mother. Gervais remembered thinking,
‘Why was that a bad thing to ask? If there was a god and my faith was strong, it didn’t matter what people thought. Oh … hang on. There is no God. He knows it, and she knows it deep down. It was as simple as that. I started thinking about it and asking more questions, and within an hour I was an atheist.’ “
(from FFRF’s Freethinker of the Day, Richy Gervais )
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May your peers (or your own self) recognize you as Employee of the Month;
May you be entertained by the art of Wanda Sykes and Ingrid Michaelson;
May we all aspire to “give everybody nice sweaters and teach them how to dance;”
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
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 Which is free, if you’re a Netflix subscriber. Still…worth it.
 In previous standup specials or interviews, I can’t remember which.
 A practice we should all aspire to in our dealings with anyone, oui ?
 The surprising results only helped to affirm the results – as in, more scientists wanted to check the studies and do their own, because what the data showed refuted the “common wisdom.” Which was, the guest noted, “the best thing for a scientist,” because having others check your work and do their own work is the best way to confirm data.
 Several years ago, MH received a particularly glowing performance review from his workplace. As happy as I was for him when he shared the news, it left me with a certain melancholy I couldn’t quite peg. Until I did.
One of the many “things” about being a writer (or any occupation working freelance at/from home) is that although you avoid the petty bureaucratic policies, bungling bosses, mean girls’ and boys’ cliques, office politics and other irritations inherent in going to a workplace, you also lack the camaraderie and other social perks that come with being surrounded by your fellow homo sapiens. No one praises me for fixing the paper jam in the copy machine, or thanks me for staying late and helping the new guy with a special project, or otherwise says, Good on you, sister. Once I realized the source of the left-out feelings, I came up with a small way to lighten them.
 “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.” Definition courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, ffrf.org