Friday, April 29, 2011

Tide Together: Adrift On A Water Planet

Five oceans... Seven seas... One continuous body of water covering over 70% of the surface of our planet.

Whales don't recognize international oceanic borders, often to their detriment.

Somewhere between 1/3 – 1/2 of the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere originates in the ocean, making water pollution an entirely un-erotic form of planet-wide auto-asphyxiation.

To give your “message in a bottle” it's best chance, toss it overboard from a boat rather than trying to hurl it over the surf from the shore. Even then, there's no guarantee. Still, we support your romantic spirit.

I've been one of only two people on an island in the Gulf of Mexico. Neither of us had a boat. It gives you perspective.

I was born to be a lighthouse keeper. Or a pirate. Possibly a mermaid.

When snorkeling in the densely salinated waters of the Caribbean, spit, don't swallow.

Mermaid. Definitely a mermaid.

When fishing, what bothers me most about baiting my own hook is how little it bothers me to bait my own hook. Predator!

Debate: Which were the more bad-ass ancient seafaring people, the Vikings or the Polynesians? Discuss.

I can't be alone on this one...
I've long thought Poseidon was sexy.

Free Flipper!

Sea breeze and salt water can make anyone's hair look fabulous. On a related note, everyone is sexy on the beach at sunset.

Today's exercise: Remember your mother ocean.

Next: Look to the Future: The Auspicious Advent of Science Fiction

Every time you click the "Like" button, an angel gets its wings...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Fun For All: The Fierce, Fearless Female

Remington Steele as James Bond
Once upon a time, not all that long ago, the accepted stock characters for an action film were: The Bad Guy, The Good Guy and The Woman In Peril. Throw in a few henchmen, maybe a sidekick or two on either side and a whole lot of stuff to blow up, and you could pretty much consider yourself done for the day.

It wasn't a bad formula. There was an impossibly fabulous hero to idolize, a thoroughly crappy antagonist to stand in for your irritating boss/spouse/children/cats, and a pretty girl to look at – ostensibly something for everyone.

Somewhere along the line, some nameless visionary, probably in search of increased market share, changed all of that – and the Fierce, Fearless Female was born.

Paging Dr. Freud...
The Fierce, Fearless Female is the conflation of the impossibly fabulous hero and the feminine eye candy. Gifted with over-the-top, action-hero strength and sex appeal, she's an archetype women want to be like and men want to be with – for the same reasons.

Simply put:

Gratuitous shots of a hot girl in a bikini = Exploitative

Gratuitous shots of a hot girl in a bikini shooting zombies = Brilliant

My love of the Fierce, Fearless Female began in the late 70's with the black-haired, blue-eyed goddess Wonder Woman. For a period of time, the only way to get me to give up my Wonder Woman Underoos was to trade them for the Super Girl set.

Could Lori Petty be in everything?
If asked in polite society, I will declare “Wings of Desire” to be my favorite film of all time. Give me a couple of drinks, though, and I will wax poetic for hours about the post-modern genius of “Tank Girl.”

Every night I pray for the health and well-being of Milla Jovovich, as I simply couldn't live in a world without the Resident Evil franchise. (Note: I will own thigh-high boots sometime before I die.)

Michelle Rodriguez, Michelle Yeoh, ...You see where I'm going with this... 

Lisbeth!!!!!!  (Also, proto-Lisbeth Cayce Pollard!!!!!)

For safety I will wear my thigh-high boots.
Before the Matrix movies, I wanted to own a black Ducati Monster. Now I want to jump one off of a roof.

Zoe is reason enough to watch/purchase the Firefly series. Ditto Aeryn Sun and Farscape.

There is a place in the world for both the TV Buffy and the film Buffy.

I am no man.

Today's exercise: Spend some time with your favorite Fierce, Fearless Female

Next: Still considering something hockey-related... Maybe something about how Johan Franzen is the single toughest man to ever breath air...

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Friday, April 22, 2011

The Easter Post: A Holiday Basket of Randomness

There is much good to be said about a holiday that celebrates springtime fecundity and the cycle of life with baskets of candy.

As a young child attending Catholic school, I was witness to a truly awe-inspiring message of resurrection and eternal salvation: The Laws of Conservation of Mass and Energy. Amen, Halleluiah!

Decorated hard boiled eggs are wonderful. Unless you're a chicken, in which case the whole business must seem horrifically gruesome.

Though I understand intellectually that it is not possible to get botulism from a Cadbury Creme Egg, I cannot convince my stomach of this.

I always behead my chocolate rabbits before consuming them, believing it to be more humane that way. Ditto with Peeps.

There are those who feel it is inappropriate to make zombie jokes on Easter Sunday. I am not among them.

FYI: Rabbits don't lay eggs.
Easter egg hunt: a ritualized annual competition among siblings for food.

Always reconcile the number of eggs hidden with the number of eggs found.

As a child, I questioned the wisdom of turning leftover Easter eggs into deviled eggs. No longer.

You're never too old for an Easter bonnet.

The Jelly Belly factory tour in Fairfield, CA... Who's with me?

Today's exercise: As today is actually Earth Day, you should probably do/not do something in honor of that.

Next: It's playoff season, so there's a good chance it will somehow involve hockey. (Go Wings!)

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Comic Books Will Save Us All: Announcing the Sixth Yummish Saint

Nestled between the pap of Archie* and Casper The Friendly Ghost comics and the squeaky clean icon of “truth, justice and the American Way,” are tales every bit as epic as Beowulf** and far, far more entertaining to read. Inside that cheap, slick cover, every ink-smeared page fairly drips with high adventure. Tortured heroes battle mighty foes and inner demons simultaneously and not always successfully.  

Love that rakish smile...
Welcome, to the marvelous universe of Stan Lee, writer, actor, producer, and, now, Yummish Saint.

Even if you have never opened a comic book, you are probably familiar with characters created by Stan Lee: Spiderman, Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The Silver Surfer, Thor,*** and The X-Men.

What makes Stan Lee's work so compelling and enduring are his heroes. Powerful, certainly, but also vulnerable. Intelligent and misunderstood, Mr. Lee's heroes often lead tortured lives on the fringes of society. The villains they face are generally their equals in strength and/or intelligence, but, like some Ayn Rand superman, are motivated only by greed and self-interest. Still, when the very people who have shunned them are threatened, Mr. Lee's heroes are compelled, even against their own self-interest, to act for the common good.
Hello, Wolfie!

Action, adventure, sex, science, depravity and, surprisingly deep, morality: all of this and more can be found in the marvelous universe of Yummish Saint, Stan Lee.

Today's exercise: Enjoy a vicarious adventure, whatever your preferred medium. 

Next: Probably a “cease and desist letter” from Marvel Comics' lawyers.

*If I had invested the money I spent on Archie comics between the years 1977 – 1987, I'd be a millionaire... and have a much less screwed up view of male/female relationships.

**Dear high school English teachers: Please stop making your students read “Beowulf” in Middle English. There is no point to this exercise. Ditto with “The Canterbury Tales.”

***Not, technically, created by Stan Lee so much as buy some dead Viking. (Possibly the same guy responsible for Beowulf.) Also, if the “Thor” movie could suck less than the “Fantastic Four” franchise, it would be sincerely appreciated, particularly by the Senior Council Member, who currently fears the worst.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

It's April 15 and you know what that means...

Precisely. It's the day in 1632 that Gustavus Adolphus* of Sweden defeated the German Catholic peoples of the Holy Roman Empire. (Frigid blond bastards... I would have made such an excellent Empress... My head is the perfect shape for a tiara...)

Anyway... Today's post actually has nothing to do with the date or Tax Day in the US, which is actually Monday, April 18 this year. I just figured the title would scare off those fearing another ode to the glory of democratic socialism. With those uptight buzz-kills gone I thought we could get down to the really fun stuff.

Pimp My Hide: the Yum of Body Art

Gauntlet, The Castro, San Francisco, CA
As we've discussed in a previous post, the grand majority of people will not end their fleshly days unscarred. Life has it's way of taking a bite out of us time and again along the way and we know that the external marks left behind are signs of our internal strength.

For many of us, though, body modifications – tattooing, piercing, etc. – serve a similar purpose. They are outward signs of our inner self. Rather than intended to be off-putting to others, wearing body art is an act of self-revelation, an invitation to be looked at and truly seen. Having body art is like wearing your heart (indelibly) on your sleeve. The symbols, images or words, the placement on the body, the colors of the ink, the materials of the jewelry: each of these choices has significance to the bearer. They were chosen for a reason, even if that reason was that it tickled their fancy.
Electric Expressions, Kenner, LA
Body art is an externalization of a person's inner aesthetic or Yum.

Often misunderstood as a desire for self-destruction, (when done right) body art is a positive, enriching experience. For some people it is a way of very deeply and personally memorializing important events, both good and bad, in their lives. For others, it is a way of making their body look or feel more pleasant to inhabit.  

Sacred Rose Tattoo, Berkeley, CA
We've each been given a vehicle of carnal sensuality through which to experience this grand game of life. Why that may be is best left to philosophers more gifted/less drunkardly than yours truly. (Though I can, at least, promise not to recant on my deathbed.) What is certain is that we are here (merci, M. Descartes), a corporeal collection of senses, bouncing about for an undetermined length of time and unclear purpose. You might as well get comfortable.

Today's exercise: Make the outside match the inside, follow your Yum, and pimp your hide.

Next: Something not involving embarrassing pictures of middle-aged-lady belly.

*Bless you, good nerds of Wikipedia.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

We The Burrito*: Rice, a Little Cheese, and the Pursuit of Wrappiness

A Message From The Cocktail Party

It's the way the cheese melts all into the tangy rice, the way the meat gets all wrapped up in and coated with the saucy, spicy beans.  It's the contrasting cold crunch of lettuce against the soft, warm tortilla, the light acidity of tomato against the heavy sweet backdrop of crema. It's the bright, hot salsa that dances throughout. There's just something about a burrito.

A steak is nice. Done right**, steak can be quite delicious. But steak is always steak. It is a tasty, well-cut, well-prepared slice of cow. Which is fortunate, since each bite will taste essentially the same as the last.

It's hard to turn down a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, with it's whimsical play of nuttiness and fruitiness, but, then, it is also easy to get sick of them pretty quickly, too.

A burrito, however, with it's complex combinations of texture, temperature and tastes, is an engaging journey from one neatly folded end to the other. Each ingredient contained within is nice to eat, in it's own right. Together, though, they complement and enhance each other exponentially.

As you've, no doubt, deduced by this point, the burrito is also a clever analogy for multiculturalism. As I began this post, I was thinking mostly of my own country and it's past and continuing challenges on that score. A quick glance at today's New York Times, however, reminded me that, as with most human issues, it is not bound by man's arbitrary borders.

Each culture, each person, on our shared planet is a necessary ingredient, with unique properties to contribute, without which the whole would be poorer. It is proper to take pride in those contributions. They enrich the experience for everyone. At the same time, however, other contributors, with gifts necessarily different from your own, have their part to play as well. They, too, are aspects of the whole.

Whether you are white as rice, black as beans, red as tomatoes, or green as lettuce (huh?), we're all just one big burrito.

Today's exercise: Get wrapped up!

Next: Hopefully something less preachy. I shouldn't write these things when I'm hungry...

*NOTE: If you do not enjoy burritos, this metaphor works equally well as a casserole, submarine sandwich, bibimbap, spring roll, pizza, etc. as your imagination and Yum best dictate.

**Medium rare.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Words, Words, Words: National Poetry/Poetry Writing Month

Poets: mad, bad and dangerous to know.
As regular readers of this blog know, my writing style is nothing if not prosaic, often employing half a dozen words where others might use fewer than half that number. My tendency toward long-windedness and fondness for run-on sentences aside, I would like to hereby declare my deep, enduring appreciation of the art of poetry.

You may not immediately appreciate the the extraordinary power of poetry, especially if you've been preconditioned by long exposure to dusty selections from “The Norton Anthology of Literature” or other such abominations.

To fully appreciate the pervasiveness of poetry in your every day life, consider how much poorer life would be without the following:

Song lyrics
Oh, that Savage Love...
Shakespeare's plays, sonnets, et. al
That birthday/anniversary/etc. card you still cherish
The King James Bible
Gravestone epitaphs
Dirty limericks
“The Odyssey” (and it's attendant film treatments)
“Where the Sidewalk Ends” and Shel Silverstein's other books
Dr. Seuss's books (as well as any animated holiday versions thereof)
The musical “Cats” (Well... you can't win them all...)
Sam Shepard (Win!)
All of the really clever bar bathroom graffiti
The inscription mounted inside the pedestal of The Statue of Liberty

Today's exercise: Enjoy a poetic adventure

National Poetry Writing Month:
National Poetry Month:

Next: We The Burrito: A Message from the Cocktail Party 

Addendum from The Senior Council Member:

"As regular readers of this blog know, my writing style is nothing if not prosaic, often employing half a dozen words where others might use fewer than half that number. (30 words)

"I write using six words where merely two will do." (10 words)

Less than half of six is 2 at most (sticking to integers).
30/6 = 5
5*2 = 10

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

All I Really Need to Know, I Learned From ABBA: A truly stupid off-schedule post

ABBA visits Sears Portrait Studio?
The soaring harmonies, the feathered hair, the platforms shoes... the important life lessons? I submit to you the following pearls of polyester double-knit wisdom:

Money, Money, Money
It is, to be sure, a rich man's world, baby.

Knowing Me, Knowing You
We all suck in someone's eyes.

The Winner Takes All
Just ask Charlie Sheen. Sigh...

Take a Chance On Me
I'm awesome and well worth everyone's time. Just ask me.

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do
I did.

When I Kissed the Teacher
See “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”

Today's exercise: Play some Violent Femmes or Led Zeppelin or such to prevent your brain from being taken over by ABBA earworms. Damn catchy dreck, that...

Next: Something far better thought out...

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

What It's All About

You put your right foot in.
You put your right foot out.
You put your right foot in,
And you shake it all about.
You do the hokey pokey,
And you turn yourself around.
That's what it's all about!

You may not have realized it at the time, but the roller rink* DJ of your childhood was laying down some serious wisdom in between the couples' skate and the shoot-the-duck contest. You see, more than just a children's song, the Hokey Pokey truly is what it is all about.

Let's take a closer look at the seemingly nonsensical lyrics, for, as the true Seeker of the YUM knows, great truth will often sound like gibberish to the unenlightened.

You put your right foot (left foot, right arm, left arm, etc., progressing to whole self) in.

You have gifts, talents, strengths – an entire self to contribute to this grand experiment we call “living” - and you are called on by your fellows to contribute.

You put your right foot (etc.) out.

Sometimes it is necessary to retreat from the world, in order to identify how you can best contribute. It is not enough to act for action's sake. We must also act mindfully and with purpose.   

You put your right foot (etc.) in...

Once you have identified your goals/purpose, you must return to the world and to action in order to see them through.

...And you shake it all about.

It is not enough to simply give of yourself, but you must use your talents and skills to the utmost.

You do the Hokey Pokey and your turn yourself around.

The more your give of yourself, the more change you will see in the world, and more importantly, in yourself.

And that's what it's all about.
That, or it's a thinly-veiled reference to sex. Either way...

Today's exercise:
Do the Hokey Pokey!

Next: Life lessons gleaned from ABBA at the roller rink. (#1: Don't listen to ABBA... or at least not sober... Skål, y'all! )

*If you were born after 1985, you may need ask your parents what roller rinks were. Maybe there's a video on YouTube...

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools For Love

Never let it be said that The Yummish don't enjoy a good joke and appreciate a range of verbal and visual play from the clever to the filthy. We do tend, however, to be suspicious of those jokes labeled “practical,” as they often seem more correctly termed “mean spirited.” While we recognize that this is not always the case, we are inclined to approach April Fools Day, with it's emphasis on pranksterism, with caution.

That being said, we are huge fans of Acting the Fool.

Thus, we propose a different, more Yummish approach to marking this day: April Fools For Love.

Far from being a cretin or an idiot, The Fool is the archetypal innocent, the gamboling essence of youth. He is the tabula rasa. He is us, before the stories of our lives began to be written. He is inexperience and potential.

Today, rather than setting them up to be made to feel foolish, we suggest that you be The Fool for those you love.

Let go of those events of the past that you carry with you, burdening your relationships. Without that heavy load, you'll find more spring in your step. Releasing long-built stores of recrimination and regret makes room for hope to flourish. For one day, try seeing your loved ones through the eyes of The Fool – blind to the past, seeing only the brilliance of what is to come.

For as The Man once sang with burning blue-eyed intensity:

These are the days of the endless summer
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there's only future
There's only here, there's only now

Today's exercise: Let your inner Fool guide you

The Hokey Pokey and how it truly is what it's all about.