Department Of The Summer Olympics Are Over…
….and moiself be going through withdrawal.
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Department Of Stop Doing This
Dateline Monday 6:50 am Morning walk. Heard the term “aviatrix” used to refer to Amelia Earhart, and it got my lady-parts in a knot.
Aviatrix, my tail feathers. No…no no no – stop this right now. 
Unless you are living in a Masterpiece Theater production of Downton Abbey, this *is* the twenty-first century.
Thou shalt refrain thy ass from using any the above, and any other suffix used to form “feminine” nouns or adjectives – the application of which reinforces the mistaken and sexist notion of male default.
There are male and female lions and tigers. Just say so; none of this “lioness” and “tigress” shit.  Female pilots are pilots, not pilot-esses. My doctor is not my doctress.
Female-gender-denoting suffixes convey the implicit message that occupations – or mere states of being – are inherently male; thus, females are something special that need to be noted. If you (for some inexplicable reason) name me as the executor of your estate, then I will be the grown-ass woman doing the job of executor. I will not be your execu-trix.
Why is this important?, some clueless buffoons curious persons may ask? As moiself has harangued remarked in a previous post:
It’s important because girls often grow up into women who lack the confidence to move through the world as easily and powerfully as men do, because they don’t think that the world belongs to them. Unintentionally and sometimes deliberately, girls get presented with skewed perceptions of their “place” – even of simply how many of them there are  – in the world. In the images and examples girls *and* boys are shown, the default for everything is male, especially if the thing in question is perceived as being big and powerful.
It’s important because a person will want to care for the world and that which is in the world, to seek education and take action – from studying to be a geologist to learning to do their own basic auto maintenance and repairs – if they think these things are truly and equally theirs. If it belongs to you, then you feel a sense of responsibility for it. Despite the progress made in the past few decades, girls (and boys) still look at the world, at the images and descriptions presented to them, and see it as primarily belonging to, and inhabited and ruled by, boys and men.
“I often quote myself. It adds spice to my conversation.”
(George Bernard Shaw)
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Department of Trigger Warnings
TW: Grief-and-death anecdote ahead.
Dateline: sometime last week, listening to the podcast, People I Mostly Admire. Host Steven Levitt and guest Aicha Evans were discussing …” the big promises the A.V. industry hasn’t yet delivered — and the radical bet Zoox (the driverless vehicle company of which Evans is CEO) is making on a driverless future. ” 
The subject of driverless vehicles is one on which I have (surprise!) more than a few thoughts (some of which I might deal with next week). But moiself never made it through the episode. I got sidetracked during the halfway point of the podcast, at the Q & A section, where host Levitt and his guest read letters from listeners who’ve sent in questions relating to previous episodes.
Several weeks ago, Levitt conjectured an inverse relationship between the need for feeling control in somebody’s life and how happy that somebody is. Levitt then said that he had changed in his own life (regarding the feeling of the need for control); that he was happier now than he used to be. Several listeners asked questions about Levitt’s comment. The question Evans chose to read to Levitt came from one such listener, who wrote “… that she would love to hear you elaborate on how you were able to let go of the need to feel in control all the time.” Levitt responded that he did have an answer to her question, although he warned listeners that it was a bit “heavier” than they might be expecting.
I was glad to hear the careful phrasing about the need for *feeling* you are in control, rather than, the need to be in control. Recognizing the difference is the key to managing that feeling, because if you think control under all circumstances is possible…there is at least one self-help book out there that you need to read. 
Oncd again, moiself digresses. In answer to the question, Levitt said two events in his life have profoundly affected the way he thinks about control. He briefly mentioned the first one,  then said, “it’s going to get heavy.”
“The other experience in my life that deeply affected the way I think about control was by far the most tragic thing that’s ever happened to me. I had a son named Andrew; he died suddenly, nine days after his first birthday, from meningitis – completely out of the blue.
And I had always feared something like that – losing my child was probably the deepest fear that I had. And I wish that I could say that the reason I could let go of control was that ‘my worst fear came true and it turned out not to be that bad…’ But actually, it was the opposite.
My worst fear came true, and losing a child was *so* much worse than I ever imagined it would be, and really, the only escape from that for me was surrender – surrender to the universe.
And it was just…the pain and the loss was so great…I just kind of gave up. And I don’t even know if that will make sense to people listening, but to move on in life, I just gave in to it, I just gave in to the idea that I had no control, that I was nothing, that the world was going to do what it was going to do to me, and I had no choice but to accept that.
And there was virtually nothing good that came out of his dying, but I have since then been more or less free of the need for control…and I wish it could have happened in any other way than the way it happened.”
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* * *
Department Of Music Appreciation 101
Bassist Dusty Hill of the rock band ZZ Top died last week. When asked to describe the sound of his particular playing style, Hill once said,
“It’s like farting in a trashcan. Raw, big, heavy, and a bit distorted.”
(The Week, 8-13-21)
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Punz For The Day
Music Bands Edition
If Iron, Arsenic, Lead, Mercury, and Cadmium formed a musical group,
would they be a heavy metal band?
Four magicians formed a band which plays Swedish pop music from the 1970s.
They call themselves Abba-Cadabra.
Have you heard the Creedence Clearwater Revival tribute band,
composed wholly of sheep and cow musicians?
They do a great version of “Baa Moo Rising.”
* * *
May you excise enne/ess/ette/trix from your vocabulary;
May your musicianship never be described with flatulence analogies;
May you, in all circumstances, be comforted by pictures of baby sloths;
…and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 Or perhaps it’s always been more of a lecture than a conversation.
 Do you say Puma-ess, or bobcat-ette?
 The world human population male/female ratio consistently hovers around 50-50, but you wouldn’t know that if your only statistic in this matter came from your consumption of popular media, where the male characters consistently and overwhelmingly outnumber the female.
 Evans is the first female African-American CEO of such a company company.
 Or write.
 A trip Levitt took to India, which he said he had spoken of at length in a previous episode with Sam Harris (and he’d let listeners, if they were interested, look up the episode).