Unless you’ve been living in a cave (Howdy Osama!) for the last while, you’ll know that St Patrick’s Day came and, thanks be to goodness, went this week. I have complicated reactions to the tsunami of shamrockery that greets Ireland’s patron saint on this side of the pond. On the one hand, I can’t help applauding and envying the wholehearted and innocent way people throw themselves into it, not giving a rat’s ass if they look like putzes all decked out in green. On the other hand, I hate the whole thing with a deep and abiding hate. Bock had a lovely Paddy’s Day rant over on his site, which says it all, and in language I dare not use on this occasionally family-friendly site. Interesting sidebar on the New York Patrick’s Day parade. I’ve never been able to trace the quote, but I remember hearing St Patrick’s Day described as the day on which the nabobs of New York stood on Fifth Avenue to watch their servants march by. (Thank you, Conortje for reminding me of that lovely song for Ireland.) The Corrs also have a version of it, but I prefer Luke Kelly’s.
Compare and Contrast
Mid-week, I was researching attitudes to disability in the Chinese culture for a speech I was drafting, when I came across this blog post, about a young Chinese woman who has refused a government disability pension, despite having been born with her feet facing backwards.
“I can run faster than most of my friends and have a regular job as a waitress in the family restaurant,â€ she says. â€œThere is no reason to class me as disabled. Iâ€™m like everyone else – except of course that I put my shoes on backwards.”
It’s an interesting find, in itself, but even more so in a week when I also had this emailed to me by Google Alerts. (I get Google Alerts on all the topics likely to be of use to me in speeches.)
Emma, said: “I’m a student and don’t have time to exercise” she said “We all want to lose weight to stop the abuse we get in the street, but we don’t know how.”
When the following quote, from Andre Maurois, popped up in my emailâ€”yes, I get a quotation by email every day, too! Tools of the trade, okay?â€”it seemed fortuitous, especially in light of my preceding post:
Often we allow ourselves to be upset by small things we should despise and forget. We lose many irreplaceable hours brooding over grievances that, in a year’s time, will be forgotten by us and by everybody. No, let us devote our life to worthwhile actions and feelings, to great thoughts, real affections and enduring undertakings.
Also this week …
My desk became famous on two continents. I don’t actually do all that much blogging there, as that is primarily my work desk. I prefer to blog in the sunroom, aka the Foredeck, and I am helped in doing so by a wonderful little app called Dropbox. Although I can sync my Macbook Air (on which I blog) with my PowerBook (on which I work), I find it so much easier to just drop any items that catch my fancy into Dropbox and then open them up when I am blogging. Btw, the gasometer in the picture on my wall, has become this:
The First Husband snapped it, while he was exploring Dublin on his own last year (I was hanging out with My Skinny Cow Sister and having a grand old time!) We have a shared history with Dublin Gas, so he knew I would be pleased to see that the gasometer lives on, if in very different guise. Ain’t progress grand.
We have two national newspapers here in Canada, Globe & Mail and the National Post. (Of itself, I find that a bit gigglesome, coming from a tiny country that has nine national dailies and the same number of Sunday papers.) The Globe is fairly middle of the road, veering rightwards on all things fiscal, while the Post is unabashedly right-wing, having been launched by that bastion of Canadian conservatism, Conrad Blackâ€”now serving time in a US slammer for enriching himself at the expense of his shareholders.
The First Husband and I get both papers delivered every morning and, if I had to choose just one, I would probably pick the Post, despite its conservatism. It’s not as smug as the Globe, has better writing overall, and, last but not least, it has my favourite cryptic crossword, which I think is lifted from the Daily Telegraph in Britain. I did give up my subscription for a whole year, once, while the paper carried the syndicated column of the skinny bitch who will not be mentioned by name on this blog but, as soon as they turfed her, all was forgiven and I went back into the fold.
Part of the Post’s charm is its letters page. Unlike the Globe, which seems to favour a select group of grousers, the Post’s letter writers are a great bunch of splenetic flat-earthers, and their morning bitching is a highlight of my day, always good for a laugh. Yesterday, however, I didn’t know whether to shriek with laughter or horror, as I read the following missives, which had been posted on the website of the Post’s comment pages, and were being given star-billing in the middle of the letters page:
The lives women enjoy today are the direct result of the advances made by men.
Women can join the military today because a soldier no longer needs to be a blood-thirsty testosterone-charged brute able to wield a 40-pound broad sword to hack the limbs from his opponent face to face. She can sit in the comfort of a room on a ship and push a button that launches awesome fire power and think herself a warrior.
Women can “bring home the bacon” because you no longer have to have the sheer machismo to stare down a wild boar with a sharpened stick. You sit at a desk rearranging numbers and think yourself a master of the corporate jungle.
They can travel the world because crossing the ocean is no longer a three month life-threatening ordeal of searching for land no one really believes is even there, and most of the murderous indigenous peoples have been pacified. Now they’re too eager to see you arrive with your tourist dollars and make you feel like an adventurer.
They can snowboard down mountain sides for fun, because getting to the top is no longer a two-day trek in wool coats.
The power, machismo, innate engineering ability and sometimes sheer stupidity of men were the absolutely necessary elements that conquered the Earth and developed technologies that rendered what were once life-threatening undertakings mere hobbies by comparison for women today. Women enjoy the freedom of having had all the heavy lifting done for them.
But even as women revel in that freedom, men, or perhaps more accurately “manhood,” are suffering from their own success. The programming that led men to strike out across an ocean, or to say “yes, I believe I can take down that buffalo with a sharpened stick,” makes them at their core less well adapted to this soft, easy, collectivist, feminized world. Worse, they’ll get little but grief from the women they raised out of the drudgery any time they dare to rock the boat with reminders of the manhood that got us all here.
This little piece was signed by Fred_001. Three guesses as to what I think his surname is …
The cherry on the cake was the response to Fred from a little remora fish named MikeMurphy:
Fred: well said. Feminists, particularly the gender-branded variety want more and more and constantly whine about their gender as an underclass of victims. For them it is not about equality but domination.
I’m assuming these whingers used pseudonyms, because their wives would kill them if they saw what they wrote.
The First Husband and I have returned from a blissful week in Florida, a break from the tedious, unrelenting slog that has been this year’s winter in Ontario. High points of the trip were meeting up with SMB of Words of Wisdom from a Smart Mouth Broad and a side trip to Key Westâ€”in that order.
I was nervous as hell about meeting “your blogging friend,” as TFH kept sayingâ€”shades of my mother and “your little friend,” generally accompanied by a snooty look. After all, what could a Smart Mouth Broad find in common with a rapidly aging relic of the 1970s? But I needn’t have worried. Not only did SMB and I get on like the proverbial house on fire, but our respective spouses (dragged along like security blankets in case it all went horribly awry!) bonded over their mutual disdain for all things blog- and Twitter-relatedâ€”not to mention their inability to get a word in edgeways once we started yakking. SMB is exactly like her blogâ€”quick-witted, impulsive, opinionated, and very, very funnyâ€”and her Harley Stud is the sweetest man alive. They were a great couple to spend an evening with, and I’m hoping they will take us up sometime soon on our invitation to visit us in Ontario. It may not be as sunny as Florida, but we do have Niagara Falls within a short driving distance!
After all that, Key West was a bit of a letdown. Okay, I exaggerate … a little. Key West was fine, but the trip there was a bit of a chore, as I did all the driving from Boca Ratonâ€”best part of 200 miles, while TFH sat huddled in the passenger seat, a cold-sodden lump of misery, hacking and sneezing in between dozes. A wee bug he’d picked up on the plane had turned into a full-blown cold and fever, and he was definitely not his usual sunny self. Sidebar hereâ€”for a man, TFH is not that bad when it comes to being sick. He doesn’t think the world is coming to an end just because he’s off his feed, unlike many of his gender, but he will insist on filling me in on the details of every symptom, which drives me nuts. On the rare occasion that I get sick, I like to crawl off to a quiet hole somewhere and just die quietly. Which means I’m not the most sympathetic of nurses, as both TFH and #1 Son will hasten to confirm. But I digress.
As fate would have it, it was biker week in Daytona and, apparently, the bikers like to make the loop down to Key West as part of their pilgrimage. So the town was packed with them and their bikes, which they tooled up and down Duvall Street, revving like crazy. Which was pretty damn’ noisy. And unlike SMB, none of the biker chicks I saw was wearing Keds and pearls. Sloppy Joe’s, the bar Hemingway frequented, was packed with bikers, so we gave that a miss.
But we did join the crowd that gathers in Mallory Square every evening to see the sun setâ€”as SMB says, as though it was something that only happens on rare occasions rather than every day! Actually, it was pretty special … sun setting over the Keys and all that … but the crowd actually applauded when the sun disappeared under the horizon. How crazy is that? I can imagine applauding when it comes back again the next day, and from another quarterâ€”phew, it’s backâ€”but setting?? Fortunately, TFH kept his mind on the camera and managed to get some pretty spectacular pictures of the whole thingâ€”including an actual “red sails in the sunset” shot.
We also managed to hunt down a Panama hat for me, which I’d been chasing all over Florida with no success. I couldn’t believe itâ€”in a state dedicated to easing the retirement of old geezers, nobody seemed to know where I could find a Panama hat. But we finally got one, in a store called, appropriately enough, The Mad Hatter.
As you can see from the palm tree over my left shoulder, it was pretty windy on Mallory Square before the sun set, so I was hanging on to my precious Panama for dear life, bingo flap waving in the breeze.
We flew back to Canada on Saturday, leaving sunshine behind us, to be greeted by cold, rain, thunder and lightning. The airline also left behind our luggage, which did not make it here until Sunday afternoon, when a nice man delivered it to our door. But we brought home with us memories of a great week, incomparable hosts, and a terrific rendezvous with a fellow-blogger. Thanks a million, Smart Mouth Broad. You’re a peach.
Oh yesâ€”TFH also brought that damn’ bug back with him, which he’s still not managed to shake. *Sigh*