Monthly Archives: July 2019

Is Every Day Cosplay?

One of my favorite aspects of blogging is how many new things I learn from my fellow bloggers: history, book recommendations, recipes, philosophy, etc.

This week, I was introduced to the term, “cosplay”, which has been in use for over a decade but had not blipped across my radar. For anyone else unfamiliar with this word, it’s an amalgam of costume + play, and is defined as the practice of dressing up as a fictional character from a comic book, movie, book, TV show or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime. For some, their alter egos may emerge only at conventions; others dress up whenever the mood strikes, which may include sometimes dressing as men and sometimes as women.

Reading about this, I wondered: Don’t all of us, to some degree or another, “dress up” for our forays into the wider world?  We sheathe ourselves in the armor of a well-fitting suit, feel braver, and do daily battle in the role of “successful businessman” or “boss”.  We wear designer clothes and appear richer than we might really be.  Some of us are drawn to clothes from our youth, such as bohemian styles that telegraph: Yes, I may work in a corporate job but I’m basically funky.

My own natural inclination is a “uniform” of jeans and a silk shirt or cashmere sweater.  I gravitate towards scarves and accessories that make me feel pulled together at even the most casual gathering. Put me in a dress or skirt and I’ll never feel 100% like “me”.  And at heart I’ll always be a New Yorker, so black is my favorite color. The occasional bright or pastel I wear probably has some element of role-play attached to it.

I’ve now lived in Texas nearly ten years — who’d-a-thunk-it?!– but I would definitely be cosplaying if I pulled on cowboy boots, even if I looked like everyone around me.

How about you? Does your outside match your authentic self? Does it vary? Please share!

shallow focus photography of person wearing multicolored costume

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Good News Monday: Testing the Waters

Think cruise ships are only for luxury travelers? A man in Portland, Maine is embarking on a feasibility study to convert an unused ship into temporary housing for low-income, immigrant and homeless people who need shelter.

The cruise ship could house up to 800, along with a crew of 300 to provide social services, support, job training and counseling.

If more cities do this, it could steer a lot of lives in the right direction.

wnite ferry ship

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Good News Monday: More Buzz About Endangered Bees

Have you ever heard of National Pollinators Week? Neither had I.  Apparently, it’s in June, and after this year’s meeting, the California Fish and Game Commission voted to begin the process of classifying four species of native bumble bees as endangered.

Why does this matter? Wild bees pollinate 80% of crops on our planet, and one out of every three bites of food we eat results from pollination. With California leading the way, it’s hoped that more states will join to protect these fuzzy little creatures.

Two of the four species are named Crotch’s and Suckley.  Sounds like a degenerate law firm. Or a strip club.

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Realistic Fantasies

It’s a subtle change.

One minute, our dream partner is rich/brilliant/gorgeous/could make a porn star blush. A few decades later, and our idea of what’s hot has undergone a seismic shift.

Must be nature’s way of ensuring we don’t all throw ourselves under a bus after age 40.

SEXY THEN                                      SEXY NOW

A full head of hair                           Any hair

All night sex                                     All night sleep

Hot car                                              Hot chauffeur

Six-pack abs                                     Puts six pack in recycling bin

Good listener                                   Selective hearing

Valuable possessions                     Values

Nice smile                                        Has most of his original teeth

Great in bed                                    Makes the bed

Smart                                                Wise

Erotic talk                                        Knows when to shut up

Heavy breathing                            Still breathing

 

Here’s to the imperfectly perfect people we love! xx, Alisa

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Good News Monday: Praise for Pinot Noir

Here in Oregon, we drink a lot of pinot noir, since there are so many wineries (more than 700 now) making delicious wine.

I was happy to discover that pinot noir is one of the healthiest wine options to choose, the caveat being, of course, “if you drink in moderation”.  (Spoilsports!)

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun, the much-touted healthfulness of red wine is largely due to its antioxidants. Resveratrol, part of a group of compounds called polyphenols, lowers the risk of cancer, stroke, and heart disease, among other benefits.

For you non-drinkers, resveratrol is also found in peanuts and berries.

Among red wines, pinot noir has the highest concentration of resveratrol. And, as a top sommelier explains in the article, “Although virtually all red wines have almost no residual sugar, pinot noir typically has a lower initial sugar level before fermentation, resulting in a wine with less alcohol and fewer calories than, say, your average cabernet. [With] its thin skin, pinot noir has fewer tannins, which, while they may have some health benefits of their own, can cause trouble for those susceptible to heartburn.”

Cheers to a great week ahead!

person pouring wine into wine glass

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Who Was Mrs. Grundy?

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Have you ever heard a person described as a “Mrs. Grundy” (a humorless arbiter of strict conventionality) and wondered about its origins? I did.

Turning to Wikipedia, I discovered that Mrs. Grundy was a fictional English character whose unwavering adherence to rigid respectability came to represent other people’s judgement of everyday behavior. She’s first mentioned (though she never appears onstage) in Thomas Morton’s 1798 play Speed the Plough, in which one character, Dame Ashfield, continually worries about what her neighbour Mrs. Grundy will say of each development.

By the 19th century, this figure of speech was commonplace, and the tendency to be overly fearful of what others might think was sometimes referred to as Grundyism.

[Excerpted from Wikipedia]:

The Play

In the first scene of the play, Dame Ashfield’s mention of Mrs. Grundy provokes a scathing response from her husband.

Ashfield. Well, Dame, welcome whoam. What news does thee bring vrom market?
Dame. What news, husband? What I always told you; that Farmer Grundy’s wheat brought five shillings a quarter more than ours did.
Ash. All the better vor he.
Dame. Ah! the sun seems to shine on purpose for him.
Ash. Come, come, missus, as thee hast not the grace to thank God for prosperous times, dan’t thee grumble when they be unkindly a bit.
Dame. And I assure you, Dame Grundy’s butter was quite the crack of the market.
Ash. Be quiet, woolye? Aleways ding, dinging Dame Grundy into my ears — what will Mrs Grundy zay? What will Mrs Grundy think — Canst thee be quiet, let ur alone, and behave thyzel pratty?

A real Mrs. Grundy?

During the reign of William IV (1830–1837) a Mrs. Sarah Hannah Grundy was employed as Deputy Housekeeper at Hampton Court Palace one of Henry VIII of England‘s most famous residences, a position that would have required her to keep a sharp eye out for various infractions.

Ernest Law, chief historian of Hampton Court, noted that a “Mrs Grundy” did really exist.

“That lady was, as a fact, embodied in the housekeeper of that name at Hampton Court Palace in the late ‘forties and early ‘fifties of [the 19th] century. Her fame is perpetuated in a dark space — one of the mystery chambers of the palace — the door of which is rarely opened, and which is still known as ‘Mrs Grundy’s Gallery.’

Here she impounded any picture or sculpture which she considered unfit for exhibition in the State rooms; and here she kept them under lock and key in defiance of the authority and protests of the Queen’s surveyor of pictures. The story goes that on one occasion the First Commissioner of Works, on a visit of inspection, sent for Mrs Grundy. In answer to the First Commissioner’s request, she declined to open the door for him. It was not until the early 1900s that a leaden statue of Venus, which had been sent from Windsor, and was stored in Mrs Grundy’s Gallery, was brought forth to adorn Henry VIII’s pond garden. “What would Mrs Grundy say?” 

However, a book published in 1836 shows that the expression was already in common use before the arrival of the Hampton Court housekeeper. In The Backwoods of Canada Being Letters From The Wife Of An Emigrant Officer, Illustrative Of The Domestic Economy Of British America, by Catharine Parr Traill, the author writes: “Now, we bush-settlers are more independent: we do what we like; we dress as we find most suitable and most convenient; we are totally without the fear of any Mr. or Mrs. Grundy; and having shaken off the trammels of Grundyism, we laugh at the absurdity of those who voluntarily forge afresh and hug their chains.”

The Victorians

The Victorian era ushered in a new morality comprised of decency, serious-mindedness, propriety and community discipline, as well as hypocrisy and self-deception. In the 1841 novel Phineas Quiddy, author John Poole wrote, “Many people take the entire world to be one huge Mrs. Grundy, and, upon every act and circumstance of their lives, please, or torment themselves, according to the nature of it, by thinking of what that huge Mrs. Grundy, the World, will say about it”.  In 1869, John Stuart Mill referred to Mrs. Grundy in The Subjection of Women, noting that “Whoever has a wife and children has given hostages to Mrs. Grundy”.

Will future lexicographers describe behavior that is embarrassing, belligerent, ignorant and vulgar with the expression, “Trumpism”?