Thursday, May 28, 2015

naked nurse 5


Dear naked nurse,
A friend and i are always arguing over who has the harder life. I'm married, and he's single. We need this issue resolved once and for all. Who has it worse???
-henpecked in hattiesburg
p.s. There's a $20 in it for you if you know which side your bread is buttered on.

Dear henpecked,
Fortunately, vegans are immune to butter. But there's a $20 in it for you, if you know on which side your modifier is dangled.
Sorry for being acerbic...but you've committed a classic bifurcation. One of you must be right? Piffle! Let's look at this objectively. Being single is a condition marked by loneliness and long stretches of sexlessness. The institution of marriage is fraught with frayed nerves, ever-diminishing testosterone, passion turned to apathy (or far worse)...and long stretches of sexlessness.
Which is worse, you ask? Really?
From what we know of your friend, he's not in that tiny minority of singles who have found some small measure of sanity (i.e. well-supported emotionally, with as much intimacy and sex as needed). And you're clearly not in the microscopic minority of married folk who are the better for it (i.e. haven't overdosed on each other, while maintaining a union that's jealousy-free).
Some people can dismiss the fact that over half of all marriages though all the remaining, "successful" marriages are some kind of romp in the daisies! But if half are outright failing, what percentage of the rest are barely making it?
Most intentionally single folk however, are only replacing marriage with serial monogamy (or "marriage-lite") - with the same pitfalls of possessiveness, and having one's life precariously defined by a single relationship.
Marriage only ever "worked" when it was based on double standards that favored the male, and socio-economic pressures that made it nigh-impossible for a woman to leave. Yet even then, it's a love-sucking house of lies and denial for the male too.
Until marriage fundamentally changes, it's a sucker's game.
Being single? A sucker's game too!
As things stand, is one reality even a little better than the other? Yes. But it's such a pathetic difference that it's not worth mentioning.
And i don't say that just because i don't want you to take your poor friend's money.
selfless snuggles,
the naked nurse

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Friday, May 15, 2015

"Little Red Riding Hood Uncloaked"

(Sex, Morality, and the Evolution of a Fairy Tale)
-by catherine orenstein
A brilliant, wonderfully-written gem. Catherine studies the history of fairy tales in general (offering tidbits like how the moralizing brothers grimm lied about their work's authenticity), then focuses on red and granny and the wolf (and sometimes the huntsman). She deconstructs the moral underpinnings of the tale: its early sexual tones meant for an older audience, its transformation into a children's tale teaching girls the dangers of disobedience (and boys the allure of dominance), then finally multiple modern incarnations which have reclaimed the story's sexual roots in order to explore female empowerment, gender roles, and transvestism. Each chapter is led in by a different adaptation (anne sexton, tex avery, james thurber, angela carter...). The radical feminist backlash against all fairy tales is diffused (or de-fused), as catherine convincingly demonstrates that those protestations are only part of the picture, in that fairy tales are a fluid construct, ever-changing to reflect and anticipate changes in society. Peppered with delightful quotes, references, and photos, this book is an invigorating breath of literary air.

Monday, May 4, 2015

rutles & fatso

Neil Innes & Fatso
The Rutles
A bi-bomb of barry wom! With songwriter and frontperson neil innes out front (as good frontpersons should be) the canon of the irredeemable Rutles gets a double dose of clap-worthy concert release.
Although strictly speaking, the 2-disc FAREWELL POSTERITY TOUR is not Rutles proper. No, that doesn't mean there's no o'hara or mcquickly (though there isn't) means that while the smorgasbord is well-seasoned with Rutle spice, the main course is the solo offerings of innes. Cheeky Bonzo-style fare, mostly. Not as resonant as the Rutle bits, but charming, plus some Python pieces ("Bold Sir Robin", "Philosophers Song") swirled into the mix. Plus some fats domino, and george harrison's "Beware of Darkness". Fatso are the "original" Rutles, from Rutland Television days, pre-dating eric idle, ricky fataar, andy brown, or ollie halsall. Neil, billy bremner, brian hodgson, roger rettig, and john (barry) halsey are a tight, relaxed unit, obviously having a dandy ol' time (i can say it like that, because they do a country song). The liner notes have commentary by neil for each song (yay!), but are quite vague on where/when the tour/concert actually took place (awww). The photos imply that they played at Liverpool's Cavern Club. Neil tips his hat to the infantile nature of the litigious troubles that have run rampant in Rutland, as he's legally prohibited from claiming writing credit for the songs. But never mind all that, the album is thoroughly charming, including two Rutle tunes not found on...
LIVE & RAW, a more streamlined, 1-disc rutlefest! This one's even more vague on where/when the whole affair took place. The thirteen tracks charmingly cover both studio albums. Any particular fan might be miffed by the absence of a personal favorite (no "Major Happy", no "Ouch?" "Rendezvous"??), but it's a nicely-representative meshing of eras, that you perhaps thought you'd never hear. Neil and john's backing lineup (mickey simmonds, mark griffiths, and ken thornton) are firecracker-sharp. While the arrangements lack any especial inventiveness, the patter is precious, and there are some delightful touches, such as a semi-obscure hat-tip to Spinal Tap. What makes this disc an absolute must-have is track 14 - "Imitation Song", an original studio offering. It's brilliant in a way that only one or two other Rutle songs have achieved ("Eine Kleine Middle Klasse Musik" comes to mind...which should be covered acoustically by marilyn manson). The lyrics are more socially-biting than Rutle music (or neil's solo work, for that matter) generally is - leavened with just enough comedy to make them non-preachy, they're indelible for anyone who cares about such things. "Imitation Song" should be covered too, and not ironically - by eddie vedder ("Poppy-cockeyed world" is one of the funniest, most unforgettable lyrics ever penned - i upchuckled for days).
All in all, you'll listen and listen again and again.