Author Archives: adguru101

About adguru101

Formerly a creative director and writer in NY and NJ ad agencies, I'm now a freelance writer living in Austin, TX. With this blog, I hope to reach "mid-century moderns" -- women born in the '50's -- with content and observations about the issues we deal with every day.

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!

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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”?

 

Good News Monday: Software for Tough Times

13-year old techie Amanda Southworth had suffered from anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts for most of her young life.  When she couldn’t find an easy, affordable alternative to traditional modes of therapy, this brilliant coder invented it.

Three years later, her app AnxietyHelper has helped more than 68,000 people. The app provides information on mental health conditions, links to hotlines, and tools such as a stress relieving game to help its users cope with daily challenges.

Southworth hasn’t stopped there.  She’s created a safety app for the LGBTQ+ community, an app to help psychosis patients manage their hallucinations, and a social media platform for protest groups so they can mobilize more safely and efficiently.

Who knew downloading could be so uplifting!

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Independence Day

Happy 4th of July to all in the US! This really, though, should be an international holiday.

Let’s declare July 4th to be Independence Day Worldwide. With independence from:

  • Bullying
  • Bigotry
  • Pettiness
  • Negativity
  • Intolerance
  • Humorlessness
  • Bad pizza
  • Bad hair days
  • Bad skin
  • Our exes
  • Know-It-Alls
  • Money worries
  • Indifference
  • Climate change denial
  • Holocaust denial
  • Bad grammar
  • Lack of imagination
  • Fear
  • Garden pests
  • Overpriced anything
  • Lousy service

I could go on and on…. what would you add?

Happy #IDW!

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Good News Monday: There’s Always Something

Strictly speaking, this may not qualify as “good news” but it’s too entertaining to pass up. Found on a random site that specializes in sensational stories.

Huh? Was the Snickers bar IN the bar? Keep laughing this week… it’s good news for your health!

Lost and Found

I’ve always had a terrible habit of hiding things in “safe” places, only to forget where I’ve put them. Keys wind up on a hook under a hat, jewelry can turn up in coat pockets, a dressy wallet might be in a bag I’ve stopped carrying. I had a near-panic attack when I first got engaged to DH and couldn’t find my engagement ring… forgetting that I’d taken it off to put in my purse because we hadn’t gone public yet.

This sort of thing happens especially when guests are expected, and I’m straightening up in a rush. On days like these, every drawer in my desk becomes a “junk drawer” and stray shoes live under the bed until I have time to put them back where they belong.

For months, I’ve been baffled by the location of some books I bought last year in anticipation of our month- long journey to the UK. I’m a huge fan of Alexander McCall Smith‘s writing, and have been slowly working my way through his delightful 44 Scotland Street series, savoring each one.

I’d read the first four novels and purchased the rest, planning to read the next three on the trip.  But in the chaos of moving house last year (which necessitated having to pack four months in advance) the books never made it into my suitcase.  I assumed I’d left them in storage. After we returned from the UK, moved to the new house and unpacked all our boxes, books #8-onward turned up, but #s 5, 6 and 7 were still MIA. I concluded that I’d left them at our summer house but when I looked for them last month I couldn’t find them here either.

Giving up, I recently ordered book #5 (which I’m currently reading) and figured I’d just have to buy the others.

Today, I moved a file box that was sitting on top of another box in my little home office area and — surprise — books 5, 6 and 7 were grinning up at me! I have no idea why I put them there instead of in the bookcase. Overall, this is a good thing, except that it costs nearly as much to return my duplicate Amazon purchase, so I guess I’m stuck with two copies.

Random question: Why do we say we “lose” our tempers? Isn’t our bad temper kept nicely under wraps most of the time until we get angry and it comes out; i.e. we find— and unleash — it? Maybe the origin of the phrase was to “let loose” our temper? Or if not, it should be.

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