Akie, Jillian and I discussed Astrology in this week’s Perpetual Post. It’s astrologicalicious!
MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I want to cast astrology aside scornfully, but it seems like every time the subject comes up, someone else I love and respect confesses that they are interested in it, and I feel a renewed justification in being curious.
It’s not that I spend that much time thinking about astrology; I don’t even know off the top of my head what the dates are for every sign. (In fact I am always simultaneously impressed and alarmed at those people who CAN say things like, “Your birthday is August 27th? So you’re a Virgo then, hmm…”) Nor do I really pay attention to people’s birthdays being on the cusp or whether their moons are in the house of something or other.
Really, the only time I pay much attention to astrology is to match up my sign with the sign of the boy I’m interested in and/or dating. Now that I have settled down and become engaged to a Scorpio I don’t do much astrologizing, having spent a slow afternoon at work a few years ago reading every account I could find about what Scorpios are like and whether they are a good match with a Taurus. Most sources claim that they are, because they’re kind of opposites but both really intense or something like that. As About.com states, “Scorpio has intuitive powers and Taurus is master of the 3-D physical world — as a team they can experiment in bringing visions into form.” Exactly! That pretty much describes an average Sunday morning in our house.
There are those who claim that the problem with astrology is that you can read any horoscope, whether or not it’s your own, and find ways to relate to it, and pick things out of it that you think can be applied to your own life. This is probably true for me. I can relate to the 10pm weatherman; I can find something that applies to my own life in an online recipe for chutney. I guess you could say I have boundary issues. So in that way I am a perfect candidate to find astrology both extremely compelling and extremely full of lies.
Still, I love people who are openly excited about astrology and enjoy discussing it, even if they do so with a dose of deprecation. Talking to someone like that about astrology is like finding a kindred spirit who isn’t afraid to get raunchy while telling you why she broke up with her ex. It lets you settle into a certain comfort zone and it increases your expectations for the depth of the conversation. You know you are in for a good time when you find someone who you love and respect but who is also not afraid to look you in the eye and say something like “The way you just stirred your coffee is SO like a Taurus! Your moon must be in the house of Saturn this week.”
One of my best friends will confess an intense interest in astrology when pressed, but she knows how admitting that sounds to some, and she’s not afraid to use that fact to her advantage. One night she got out of a bad date early by discussing her love of astrology. “I’m a Pisces,” she told the guy. “We tend to be needy and emotional—and we’re also very demanding.” Needless to say, she never heard from him again. Their love must not have been in the stars! Score one for astrology.
Akie and I discussed weddings over at the Perpetual Post. Find his side Here!
MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I know it’s just the polite, making-conversation thing that people say to you when they learn that you got engaged, but I’m a little tired of having people ask if I’ve set a date for my wedding or not.
Have I set a date? No. Am I excited to lawfully wed my sweetie so that he can be on my insurance plan and we can visit each other in the hospital and get tax breaks and we will both have cool wedding bands and can continue to plan our lives together?
Hell yes. Am I excited about my wedding? Hell no.
I’m just not a ‘wedding’ kind of girl. I don’t watch any of the eight thousand television shows about weddings and bridezillas. I don’t read bridal magazines. I have never imagined what my perfect wedding day might be like. I just really don’t give a flying boutonniere.
I like going to other people’s weddings because I like parties and open bars and cake and dressing up, and it’s nice to see my friends pledge their eternal love to each other and then to drink a lot and do the Macarena. But I also tend to find weddings boring and formulaic and overblown and I hate wearing pantyhose and making idle chitchat with people I barely know.
But now I have reached the point in my life where I am ready to get married and move on to the next stage of life as a married person, which is great! The only thing stopping me is the damn wedding. It’s like marriage is on the other side of an iron gate covered in taffeta and frills and icing and guarded by a photographer and a caterer and an overpriced dress and flanked by 300 of my closest friends and loved ones, and it costs ten grand to pass through.
A few weeks into our engagement I got the brilliant idea that if I dropped enough hints, maybe my closest friends would band together and throw me a Surprise Wedding. How great would that be? One day I’d come home and – Surprise! There’s Brian, in a tux! And all our family & friends! And a minister! And flowers, and snacks, and booze, and music, and everyone looks nice. Surprise! It’s your wedding! And you didn’t have to plan anything! My friends, who are wonderful at planning surprise parties, are somehow not enthused at this idea. I’m pretty sure that I’ve dropped the heaviest hints possible, (“Man, I hate the idea of wedding planning. I wish SOMEONE would just throw me a surprise wedding. Oh well.”) but to no avail.
So I could go the Vegas Route. I could go the City Hall Route. I could go the Backyard Barbecue Route. None of those routes really appeal to me either though. It’s a special occasion and a special day, and I’d like it to be special. Just not “hundreds of dollars on table place settings that will be thrown away at the end of the night” special. Not “you can’t invite Great-Uncle Phil or Great-Aunt Agatha will disown our side of the family and by the way did you invite the guy at Dunkin-Donuts who always gets your coffee right?” special.
There has to be a middle ground. Something that’s not chintzy OR over elaborate. Something that’s a nod to tradition and yet still feels representative of our relationship.
Or I guess we could always have a Zombie-Themed Wedding like Brian wants, and call it a day.
The Internet was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, so of course we discussed this at The Perpetual Post and on our weekly radio podcast. Check them out!
MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I was more than a little skeptical upon learning of the Internet’s nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize. Really? The Internet? Was it nominated by the kind of person who thinks that a little gnome turns off the light in the refrigerator when you close the door? Did its nominators realize that the internet lacks not only a publicist and the ability to rent a limousine to take to the ceremony, but also a tuxedo size?
I also have to wonder exactly what new realm we are entering by nominating an inanimate object for such a prize. Where do we go from here? Should we nominate the Kindle for a prize in Literature? It’s certainly promoted the availability of books and other printed material. Can Diet Dr. Pepper be nominated for the chemistry prize? After all, it does taste just like regular Dr. Pepper. Now that non-sentient beings (besides Susan Lucci) can be expected to compete for prestigious awards, will that detract from the meaningfulness of the award for human participants? Or should they consider themselves lucky to share a nomination with something as popular as The Internet?
One important aspect to consider is intent. An inanimate object, no matter how useful it is, does not commit those useful acts intentionally. It is a tool, a resource created by actual beings to serve a specific purpose. You can argue that so was Mother Theresa, but I wouldn’t buy it. The Internet, lacking any kind of self-awareness or personality, is different from a scientist or a human rights activist, in that it did not promote peace on purpose. And this lack of intent, I believe, means that it cannot be held responsible for any actions it has performed, nor should it be rewarded for them. You may as well nominate the Fork for its work in helping to end world hunger. Certainly it may have played a role. But it was as a tool, designed and implemented by many others, who should themselves be thanked if anyone is.
Howard and I discussed this hot topic in this week’s Perpetual Post.
I don’t think that babies should be banned from bars; I’m not sure it’s possible to enforce a law like that anyway. In fact, the occasional quiet tot spending an hour or two in a corner booth with his parents is not a crime, nor does it generally disturb other customers. But such an occurrence should be the exception, and not the rule.
I believe that people should be more or less discouraged from bringing their babies with them to the bar, because otherwise things will inevitably start to get out of hand. The moment parents begin to feel that it is appropriate for them to forget about a babysitter for the evening and bring junior out on the town is when things will start to go downhill, fast.
Parents are notoriously oblivious when it comes to the effect of their children on others and the enjoyment of their children by others. Their ability to understand that not everyone is enthralled with their offspring is limited at best—and will be further impaired by alcohol.
Not only that– if the general consensus becomes that it is acceptable for a young child to accompany adults to a drinking establishment, I fear the time will come when you won’t be able to play a game of dirty Photo Hunt without a scandalized mother clapping a hand over her toddler’s eyes behind you. After a rough night or afternoon you may find yourself vomiting in a filthy bar bathroom while a disapproving parent in the next stall is reminding her child to flush.
We are used to modifying our behavior when in the presence of children in most other public situations—bars should remain one of the few places where it is more or less acceptable to swear, shout, jostle around, make out and generally enjoy being drunk in public.
Which brings me to another point—children, even very young babies, tend to be extremely observant. Would you rather your baby scrutinize other children in playgroup, or bunch of jeering frat boys? Would you prefer to find him imitating the behavior of his teenage babysitter or a slurring barfly?
God willing, your baby will have plenty of time to spend sitting on a grimy bar stool, nursing a drink and alternately weeping and soiling himself. Why not let him put it off for a few decades?
In closing, unless your toddler has the wit and wisdom of F. Scott Fitzgerald or regularly entertains bartenders and pub clientele alike with bawdy stories and drinking songs (“I’m a Little Teapot” does not count), leave him at home.
Akie, Howard and I discussed baby names over at this week’s Perpetual Post.
MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I figured it might be useful during this discussion to have a look at some of the most popular Baby Names of 2009. It is fascinating to see the naming trends being created and followed by new parents.
Popular Baby Names of 2009:
A minimalist, utilitarian name for either a boy or a girl, this modern moniker calls to mind the sexy bad boy Tyler Durden from the seminal film masterpiece ‘Fight Club’. Spelling variations include Tiler, Tielr, Ytileur & Tielyr.
Edgier parents are beginning to embrace the idea of naming their children using emoticons. This kind of baby name is not for the faint of heart, but it is actually less of a burden than it might seem; since people tend to communicate more frequently by texting, emailing and otherwise typing to each other than by actually speaking to each other, introducing yourself by this name is fairly easy. It is also quite easy to spell. Variations on this name include : D and :> .
Why wait until your little girl is all grown up for her to realize that she is beautiful and hot? Children need to learn how to have self-esteem, with a name like Sexy, their confidence in themselves is built right in! Parents also enjoy the fact that their child’s name will already be embroidered in rhinestones on numerous items of clothing and track suits. Alternate spellings include Sexxy, Sexi, Sexxxy and Sessi.
This name brings to mind a very specific time and place, but mostly a place. It’s experienced a renaissance in the last few months, ever since the state unveiled a brand new motto: “Connecticut: Name Your Baby after it and Win a $50 Target Gift Card”. Nicknames include Connie and CT.
This name’s popularity can be traced back to a Facebook Group called “Wouldn’t it be Awesome to Name Your Baby Sassafrass?” which was begun in late 2008. A related Facebook group is expected to form in around 2020 entitled “Sassafrasses United in the Fight to be Legally Emancipated from Their Parents”.
The origins of this name are mysterious, but it is believed to be of Dutch ancestry from the root word ‘snoogi’ which means “to keep the hands free”.
Personal Trainers are the topic du jour for Wednesday’s issue of the Perpetual Post.
MOLLY SCHOEMANN: I have become increasingly suspicious of personal trainers in general, particularly since I took my new gym up on its offer of a free session with a personal trainer for new members.
The personal trainer who provided the free session seemed like a nice enough terrifyingly enormous muscle-bound man, but it was not long before I realized that we were at cross-purposes. You see, at the time I signed up for the free session, I was in fairly decent shape. Ok, I’ll level with you: I was in the best shape of my life. I had begun training to run a half-marathon. I was working out nearly every day, eating healthy meals and drinking lots of water. I had a confident spring in my step. All my pants fit. I was disgusting. I don’t know what I really expected the personal trainer to do when I swaggered into the gym for my free session. Perhaps I was hoping he would look me up and down and say, “There’s nothing for me to do here. Run along now, I don’t want to ruin a masterpiece.”
In any event, he did not do that. He suggested that I could stand to lose a few pounds. When I let him know that I did not in fact want to lose any weight, he changed tactics and told me that I could bring my BMI down by a few points in order to be healthier. When I shrugged, he took me out onto the weight room floor and had me do a few exercises. Possibly ‘a few’ is not the correct word; that man had me doing endless squats, repetitive arm exercises with heavy weights, and a multitude of sit-ups, all of which I accomplished with a certain amount of aplomb.
“I am doing pretty well!” I thought smugly in my head. “I don’t need a personal trainer!”
At the end of the session I received another Hard Sell. Personal training would help me achieve my fitness goals and enable me to attain the best possible physical shape. I should invest in at least one session a week for three months in order to see visible results, I owed it to myself to seek professional assistance in this area, etc. etc. I nodded and smiled and then skipped out of the gym, whistling.
The next morning, I ached ALL OVER. I felt like a punching bag. But I also felt duped.
“That guy WANTED me to wake up feeling like a ton of bricks,” I thought to myself. “Maybe he figured that if I woke up feeling like crap after just one personal training session, I would realize that I owed it to myself to seek professional assistance in this area.”
Well, his plan failed. In fact, it backfired, because I spent the day grumbling about how lousy I felt all because of that damned personal training session. “That guy thought he could show me I needed a personal trainer,” I thought. “Well, I’ll show him. I’m going to gradually lose focus and interest in working out, slack on my training and start eating badly. He’ll be sorry he ever tangled with me.”
And this is where I find myself today; bloated from excess salt intake, constantly forgetting my gym clothes at home on purpose, my pants once again too tight and my arms weak and noodly. Thanks for nothing, personal training.