50 Shades of Things On My Mind


Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey

 

The last romance  man in my life used to accuse me of seeing everything black and white Another reason we aren’t together, he didn’t understand my mind at all.   In his defense though, I DO see things black and white when it comes to my worldview.  My principals are black and white.  My love is black and white. Only to me though, many people don’t understand why I allow people in my life that they consider “lesser”…see?  That’s their black and white.  Understanding is the key!   I always see the grey in things I don’t understand.  Why?  Because the blacks and whites are what makes the grey….both literally and figuratively.  I sort things problems into blacks and whites to better understand…to make my world more orderly. OMG that sounds so OCD!  Anyway, here are the greys I’m trying to sort out right now.

  • The big Abortion brouhaha that is currently taking our collective minds off of rising inflation, the madness of the IRS and double talk from our current administration.  Why are we arguing about this?  I’m a feminist.  I believe in both Pro-Life and Pro-Choice.  As a Mother who was told for 12 years of marriage I could never have kids and went through the  $$$ testing, in vitro , foster child, adoptive child processes I just don’t understand.   Why would any woman get an abortion after the second trimester?  Why?  Do you pro-life feminists not realize you are setting feminism back by hundreds of years by exploiting our “right to change our minds” scenario?  During the second trimester you can feel the baby moving inside you.  You may even get an ultra-sound that shows your baby sucking his/her thumb in utero.  By 20 weeks most Mothers have bonded with the baby they are carrying. One of my friends couldn’t carry her baby full term and the baby was born at 23 weeks.  This child is a beautiful blessing for my friend and is part of society.   If you were raped, then by all means you shouldn’t have to feel shame for getting an abortion, but that’s usually done right away.  If your religion says “no” then “so”?  Your relationship with God is one on one and He knows what’s in your heart.  Now, on the Pro-Choice side,  if a woman truly wants to have an abortion due to health, finances, ignorance, genetic counseling, then she’s going to have one.  That’s that!  Why put women through the horror most women in third world countries and some 1st world countries must endure due to sloppy “doing it for the money” Doctors, or self-inflicted coat hanger abortions?  Legal abortions protect women.  Why would our government see this as bad?  Our government is not our moral compass, we the people are. We haven’t illegalized guns, why should we illegalize abortion?  And another thing, if the fetus isn’t a “living being” then why when someone kills a pregnant woman they are charged with TWO deaths?  Why so much hypocrisy in our government?  Why?  If we do this to women are we going to tell men they can only be a “baby Daddy” a limited amount of times and then he must be snipped?    Here’s an idea….why don’t we just expect people to take responsibility for their actions and not let the government tell us how to run our lives?  What a novel idea!
  • Okay, now for some fun pop-culture greys.  Sharknado.  A social media phenomenon and one of the worst movies ever made.  What does this say about us as a society?  I truly can’t find the black and white in this one.
  • And to end these ramblings, the book that spawned see what I did there? this blog post:  Fifty Shades of Grey.  After reading snippets of it in 2011, I swore I wouldn’t read it.  But a newlywed friend from my high school days begged me to read it.  BEGGED ME!  She says she values my opinion. So for you Claudia?  The book did not turn me on.  The characters were two-dimensional.  And after reading it, I didn’t want to lay Christian Grey, I wanted to psycho-analyze him.  It was at once repelling and degrading.  It was like bullet points 1 and 2 above.   In my summary, here’s an intelligent, newly graduated from college protagonist who is still a virgin falling for a handsome man with money, power and HUGE issues.  Why is this story such a sensation?  You remember the love of my life John?  Remember how handsome, sexy, electric we were together?  Remember how his family owned hotels on the Greek Islands?  Remember how I couldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him?  Why do we celebrate dysfunction?  Why?  The best thing about the book is that the protagonist, Anastasia, listened to her inner voice and did what was right for her as well as for him.   She left him.  Still my friend Claudia?  smile
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The Borgias and Rhetoric and Catholicism: Truth or Drama?


The Borgias:  A Showtime Series

The Borgias: A Showtime Series

 

Let’s face it.  Drama is interesting.  It is!  Think of what our lives would be like without it?  With whom would we compare our lives?  How would the more insecure of us find substance in our little lives without having a lessor one with which to compare?  Drama makes us feel better about ourselves.  Drama adds excitement to the mundane.  Drama makes us feel alive.

I was watching The Borgias last night yes, I’m admitting to it and reveled at how truly enticing this series is to me.  It’s not just that The Borgias were the first Mafia family.  It’s not just that the characters are so beautiful well most of them.  It’s not just the time in which it is set.  (one of my favorite historical times)  But what TRULY makes it worth watching is how the writers blur the lines between true history and “drama”.  In grad school I had an advisor that loved to debate the merits of what makes a perfect story (i.e. book or movie or play) I loved hanging out with him when I was writing a paper (Big props to you Dr. Litton)  He and I would debate every Rhetorician/Philosopher’s idea from Aristotle to Freud from  E.M. Forster to Nietzsche as to what made the perfect story.  We both had big dreams of being writers. What we both agreed upon, and what I have always kept is that Rhetoric is not just style over substance.  It is not just drama over reality.  Rhetoric is not just, as Plato so ridiculously stated, “mere flattery”.  No, Rhetoric is the blending of the black and white.  Rhetoric has a substantive as well as stylistic genome….and a good story, like good bone structure is a gift.

For the sake of today’s argument, and to keep you reading, I won’t dissect or re-educate you on the five canons of Rhetoric.  What I will do is explain why I think drama is necessary in our lives using rhetoric as my argument and the Showtime Series The Borgias as my subject.  Using some of the rhetorical and philosophical thoughts of greater thinkers than me, I will try to convince you of my argument:  Drama is a necessary evil.   Yeah okay, I may just be showing off my grad degree in Rhetoric, but shouldn’t I? Sheesh, I’m still paying for it!  Since literary devices are so akin to rhetorical devices, those of you who are purists may want to argue later….to that I say, “Bring it” with a smile.

 

Let’s start with Kenneth Burke who stated:

The most characteristic concern of rhetoric [is] the manipulation of men’s beliefs for political ends….the basic function of rhetoric [is] the use of words by human agents to form attitudes or to induce actions in other human agents.

I don’t know much about the writers of The Borgias.  Are they Catholic?  Are they Jewish?  Are they Atheistic?  Or are they just hacks getting paid to write an almost semi-porn series with historical overtones?  In other words, what is their will for writing this series?  In watching it, and because I tend to be optimistic, I think they are truly attempting to appeal to the more educated viewer while also appealing to the “voyeur” viewer who really is just watching it for entertainment.  For instance, the Pope Rodrigo (Alexander VI) quotes Socrates while his son Cesare lustfully beds his daughter Lucrezia.  In skillfully blending the two appeals, the writers attract a larger audience through drama.  Personally, the show has made me want to know more about The House of Borgia in order to delineate between dramatic truth and manufactured drama.  Which leads me to the next definition of Rhetoric by Francis Bacon who wrote in (1561-1626): Advancement of Learning:

  The duty and office of rhetoric is to apply reason to imagination for the better moving of the will.

Using Bacon’s definition, this would mean the writers of The Borgias are forcing us, the viewers, to use our imagination to make willfull observations, right?  But are they for the better?  I am not Catholic, but I empathize with those who are in regards to this series.  Has the Catholic Church become the media darling of all things wrong with religion?  Is this series just another testament to the abuses of the Catholic Church?  As a Protestant, I have suffered and witnessed  the hypocrisy of those who feel their religious worldview is better than others. It just seems that the Catholic Church has a history of drama; from the Borgias to medieval relics to modern day pedophilic priests.   Has the Catholic Church publically asked for an apology from the writers for making their religion look like a God-ordained form of organized crime?  And would other religions react the same?  Or do the writers have a more noble, daresay, religious agenda by athey showing that though religious, we are all still sinners….and there is no sin greater than another? nota bene:  the Catholic Church DOES believe that some sins are greater than others and they are divided into mortal and venial sins. Just knowing that makes a difference in applying reason to imagination. So what indeed are the writers’ trying to persuade their audience to see or believe?  Which leads me to….Sappho who was far from being religious:

Persuasion is Aphrodite’s daughter: it is she who beguiles our mortal hearts (frg 90).

Good rhetoric, communication, poetry,  writing, film, and speech are designed to persuade someone to see the artist’s point of view.  I’m not always the most fun person to watch a movie with, and definitely not commercials.  I immediately try to pinpoint the persuasive element behind the words, images, sounds and actions of others.  This could also be a reason I have difficult times in relationships!  ssshh!!  What I do know, is that if you can beguile my mortal heart, you have my attention.  The writers of The Borgias have done that for me.  Though I don’t condone nudity and violence for the sake of shocking the viewer into watching more, I do appreciate the artful mixing of history and fantasy to tell a good story. And I also appreciate drama that has intellect.  And maybe that’s where I should end this, because in the end, The Borgias is just a dramatic television series meant to entertain.  Don’t you think?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sublimity of Techno-Communication


beach

Someone told me the other day that I’m more myself when I blog or write letters than I am when I tweet.  I suppose its the 140 character limit or maybe I’m just so verbose, I can get my point across better here sometimes!  Anyway, I just wanted to share a letter that I found very creative, very sweet and very thoughtful and edited for personal reasons!   I must admit, it was a bit of a corroboration as we had been discussing it for months.  But he beat me to it!  You have to click on the links to get the full effect, but I think it’s so sweet!   See what you think!  This is what I get for teasing someone about how little they say!  The links are underlined.

Dear Gayle,

I am so looking forward to our  vacation.  I’m so glad we are both enamored of the ocean and its music.   I know it will probably rain, but waves and rain are one of those communions you find romantic right? Wouldn’t it be nice  if we had thought of this years ago?  I just want you to know that I’m looking forward to that week more than a 40 day dream.  And since I know now what it really means to see, there are no more lies.  I want it that way.   And don’t worry, I still  find your BIG FIVE enticing but not as enticing as your green eyes!   Call me! xxooxx

I know, I’m a lucky person to have such creative people in my life aren’t I?  What do you think?

6 Sure Signs You’re a Sapiosexual


words

 

 

Urban Dictionary defines “sapiosexual” as ” (adj) A form of sexual orientation characterized by a strong attraction to intelligence in others, often regardless of gender and/or conventional attractiveness.”  Well, Urban Dictionary notwithstanding, a sapiosexual is someone who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature of another.   Since the brain is the largest sexual organ of both sexes yeah, I hear some of you snickering how size doesn’t matter a sapiosexual person isn’t as taken by visual stimuli as they are with intellect and wit.   This isn’t to say that sapiosexuals aren’t attracted to attractive people, but the attractive person MUST have a keen mind.   Still confused?  Here are 6 sure signs you’re a sapiosexual.

1. When playing Scrabble or Words with Friends, you know Sapiosexual isn’t a valid word but you’re impressed that they tried to use it any way. Words can be so damned sexy!

Here are some of my favorite words: hedonistic, cacophony, tempestuous, fervent, cognoscente, voluminous, indelible, enigmatic, serendipity, retronym, flourish, luminous, assiduous, poignant, impassioned, and contentious.  Funny, some of these words could describe my ideal man!

 

2.  You can spot a pseudo-sapiosexual which means if you can spot a fake one, you’re a real one,  by how they text, write letters or tweet.  They may want to impress with their vocabulary, but if they misspell, dangle participles unless its a measure of enticement or use words out of context, their intellectual virility may parallel their performance.  Well okay, with phone usage, you must build in a buffer for auto-correct mistakes.  For example, the following two sentences use uncommon words.  One is correct, the other isn’t.  Can you spot the sapiosexual sentence?

His braggadocio was acerbic in a pleasurable way.  His biting wit was at once tempting and revolting.  Her rationale knew better than to get involved with such a boorish character, but her hubris caused her to lucubrate during nights they weren’t together as to how to channel his discourse into intercourse.

or

Though he ruminated as to why he consistently chose women who were nymphatic, disingenuine and inane, he was happy he had a woman who could turn heads with her physique.

3.    Sapiosexuals actually LISTEN to lyrics of songs and will happily choose Leonard Cohen over Lil Wayne.  The brain must be stimulated and teased with feathery words, not shanked by “in your face” sexual terminology.

4.   A Sapiosexual understands that the best foreplay is a philosophical discussion.  Or a debate without anger but filled with respect for the other’s thoughts.  Or a union of words, emotions and thoughts made flesh.  Mind and flesh orgasms are the best!

5.   A Sapiosexual  will analyze before they finalize.  They are informed not just opinionated. They know what constitutes an impractical Utopian.

6.  A Sapiosexual is more impressed by the flexing of the intellect than the flexing of the biceps.

So….do any of these describe you?

 

Loving a Mama’s Boy and Making the World a Better Place


I am a Momma’s Boy, I pity the fool who ain’t one!

—-Mr. T

This isn’t exactly the type of blog I should be writing the day before Mother’s Day but I have made quite a few observations about Men and their Mothers for years.  I suppose Hollywood has too, thus the Bates Motel series ( With a nod to Hitchcock and Freud’s Oedipus Complex.)

There are far too many clichés to explain the weird hold Mothers sometimes have on their children…especially their sons.  Mama’s Boy is the first to come to mind. For many years, my naivete forced me to believe that these Moms were the kinds of Moms everyone wanted:  understanding, loving, chocolate chip cookies on the table after school awesome Mothers.  But in my relationships with men and studying their relationships with their Moms, that isn’t the case at all.

Men who have unhealthy relationships with their Mothers are often damaged, sometimes beyond repair. Of course, there can be several mitigating reasons for this.  Maybe the father is not around or his family puts the Mom down.  The Mom then becomes emotionally attached to her son as a “stand in” for the ghost father, sharing with him the things she should be sharing with a spouse.  Or maybe the boy is shy or unattractive to other girls.  His lack of esteem makes him feel badly whereas his Mother’s unconditional love makes him feel great.  Of course, all Moms strive to make their children feel healthy and good about themselves, but sometimes Moms forget to let go.  All Mother’s want their children to love them, but part of loving someone is being able to let them go; to let them be independent and learn from their own mistakes.  Letting go is one of the hardest jobs a Mom has.

Men and their relationships with their Moms can be complicated:  They hate their Moms but love them as well.  Sometimes sons become  prisoners to the relationship and don’t know how to break the chains.  Whatever the case may be, dealing with a damaged Mama’s Boy isn’t any fun.  Here are a few characteristics of a Mama’s Boy:

  • They complain about their Mom’s choice in men (if divorced from the mama’s boy’s dad) like they would a love they’ve never gotten over.
  •  They want to protect her but you don’t feel they want to protect you.
  •  They feel smothered, but they choose to not move away.
  • They ask their Mom for advice before they ask their girlfriend or wife.
  • They take their frustrations with their Mother out on their wives.
  • The affection they show their Mother hasn’t been shown to you since the 3rd date.
  • They call their Moms more than once a day.  They call you twice a week.
  • They make sure their Moms get Valentine, Birthday, Christmas and Mother’s Day gifts from the heart.  They don’t trust you to buy them.

Raising a Mama’s Boy should never be a goal for any Mother. As a mother raising a son who will be someone’s life mate and maybe even someone’s father, it’s important to try to instill a sense of security within them so they don’t become so attached to us. The husband plays a big role in this as the son can learn from the father how to treat women.  If your husband treats you with respect and loves you sincerely, your job in raising a son will be much easier.  This kind of Mama’s Boy will not be the derogatory type, but the kind of man who cares for his Mom AND his wife.  He and his wife will be thankful for you and not resentful of your presence in their lives.

I know some men and women too who would call that “unfounded optimism” as they believe these types of mindsets no longer exist.  They blame everything on society, the loss of God in their lives, politics and global warming for causing the decimation of the family.  That’s not true.  Like everything that is important, one on one is how to correct problems and to not buy in to the “victim” mentality that has pervaded our psyches the last few decades.

The point is this Moms:  You chose to be a Mom.  It was your choice!  So try and do the right thing for your son and for your daughters.  Teach them.  Respect them.  Appreciate them.  This is how you make the world a better place, and raise the right kind of Mama’s Boy.

Another Night with Glen…Livet


My GLEN

My GLEN

 

Those of you who read this blog know that I have sporadic dates with Glen:  Glenlivet.   I have teens at home, so I don’t indulge in other recreational calmers at home, but Glen, well, he usually has the same effect on me.  One of the fun things about dating Glen is that he likes to get into deep conversations with me (Okay, he really doesn’t, but it makes me feel like I’m not just a drunk dating a bottle of Scotch) I usually share my thoughts the next day.  Here’s today’s synopsis of our date night:

  • Viagra.  Male Enhancement.  Cialis.  Okay guys, I want you to be really, really truthful.  You don’t have to answer in a public forum, but be honest with yourselves.  Promise?  How many of you who have taken the magic purple pill have secretly wished YOU were the one who had to go the Dr. after 4 hours of a sustained erection?  Come on, admit it!  Wouldn’t it make you feel virile?  Think of all the people that would look at you…not your fault, it’s the purple pill’s fault.  Right?  I know not of any other drug that would make someone secretly wish they suffered from the side effects except this one.
  • Male characters in modern movies that appeal to the sapiosexual.  I’ve noticed that the movies I like the most have intellectually gifted leading characters with emotional issues.  Mel Gibson in Braveheart.  James Spader in Sex, Lies and Videotapes.  Daniel Craig in Skyfall (okay, not just for his intellect).  John Wayne in the Searchers.  Al Pacino in The Godfather. Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind.  Guy Pierce in Memento. Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting.  Leonardo DiCaprio in Inception.  I could go on and on.    All of these men are the kind I’m attracted to:  they’re intelligent, they have principles and they’re flawed.  They don’t wallow in self-absorption, they fight against their weaknesses.   They have skeletons in their closets that they embrace, but don’t use as crutches.   All of them are attracted to emotionally strong women who can help them.   My kind of men!
  • Baseball Spring Training in 4 more sleeps!  So what if the baseball pundits say the Rangers are not going to make the playoffs?  I so love a challenge!
  • “we accept the love we think we deserve.”
    ―    Stephen Chbosky,    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • “And in that moment, I swear we were infinite.”
    ―    Stephen Chbosky,    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • “So, I guess we are who we are for alot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”
    ―    Stephen Chbosky,    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • “It’s just that I don’t want to be somebody’s crush. If somebody likes me, I want them to like the real me, not what they think I am. And I don’t want them to carry it around inside. I want them to show me, so I can feel it too.”
    ―    Stephen Chbosky,    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • “And all the books you’ve read have been read by other people. And all the songs you’ve loved have been heard by other people. And that girl that’s pretty to you is pretty to other people. and that if you looked at these facts when you were happy, you would feel great because you are describing ‘unity.”
    ―    Stephen Chbosky,    The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • As you can see from above, I watched The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  I read the book a while ago.  I forgot how much I loved it.  I love the movie too.  So did Glen.

 

 

 

The Psychology of Attraction


Geraldo Rivera--Exposing Myself, 1991

Geraldo Rivera–Exposing Myself, 1991

I can’t help being a romantic. I just can’t. I’ve been through a torrid marriage. I’ve had 2 online relationships; one was “bleh” the other was “OMG!!!!” Neither worked. So I’ve had plenty of time to analyze and dissect and take stock of myself and what I deem important in a relationship. Since Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away, I thought you, my loyal reader, would be interested in having this conversation with me. Why are we attracted to certain people?

From Pyschology Today (my go to magazine/website for all things Psych)

The Charm Offensive

When two hearts beat as one.

Charisma is charm in neon lights, a social gift we can’t help but respond to when we see it. A person with charisma—think: Oprah—may bend the light waves in a room, oozing confidence and self-esteem, and we move closer because confidence makes others feel good. A person’s self-esteem guides our instant evaluations: “Hmm, if she likes herself, there must be something there for me to like, too.”

The deep secret of charismatic people, however, may be their ability to create synchrony, to induce you to adjust your bearing, speech rate, even heart rate—through locking eyes, through touch, or simply because you feel a strong rapport. Researchers believe our strongest perceptions of mutual attraction develop in those first encounters where two people have a measurable physiological reaction to one another. It’s not exactly chemistry—it’s more like electricity.

—Hara Estroff Marano

This is so very true!  I like to think I have a bit of charisma (Yeah, I could be delusional) but my experiences with charismatic people is extensive.  Back in the 90’s when Geraldo Rivera had his own show, I was invited to be a guest.  I happily flew to New York and felt all important that I was going to meet “THE GERALDO” (this was before his Capone debacle)  The hotel was nice, the limo driver sweet and then it was time to meet Geraldo.  While sitting in the green room enjoying coffee and the company of the other authors (I had met before)  I analyzed how so many people become so full of themselves for so little reason. (yeah Mark, that last remark was aimed at you, remember our discussion that day?) Anyway, Geraldo came in to introduce himself to us all before taping.  I promise….as soon as he walked into the room it felt like light angles changed.  It felt like there was a totally different atmosphere.  It felt….ELECTRIC!  Okay, okay, I know you’re reading this thinking I’m one of those “celebrity worshipers” but if you know me well, you know I’m not.  I was astounded!  He truly had charisma and it was a palpable feeling.  I had to catch my breath!  For a quick second, I hesitated as if I had nothing to say (see?  I told you I was astounded) then I regained my composure and talked to him about his book.  He graciously chatted and then offered to sign it.  Of course, he made a sexual innuendo in the signature, but I promise, this man is charismatic! I had never thought of Geraldo as attractive physically, though I always respected his penchant for investigative reporting.  (and his hair!!!)  But after meeting him, it was evident to me why he was so successful.

I had this same experience with a man I dated for several years before getting married.  I think I’ve talked about it before, but won’t bore you now.  I’ll save it for later.  The point is, he and I had a palpable attraction….one that other people could feel when they were with us.

Have you ever had this kind of experience?  And if so, did you marry them?  Did it last?  Did you just walk away?

I want synchrony in my next relationship, if I have one.  I never realized how exciting and important it is!