The Wonderful World of Online Reviews and Other Assorted Subjectivity

black flag
I never realized just how entertaining Amazon reviews can be.  I went trolling online for reviews on a perfume I’ve been thinking about buying.  I like fragrances, even though I have to take a French bath in most colognes just to smell them at all. The only ones I can enjoy in slight doses are the really, really strong ones such as Liz Taylor’s Passion, Esteè Lauder’s Youth Dew or Opium.  I really like all three of those fragrances, although I don’t dare wear any of them, because Jerry says they all smell like a combination of “nursing home” and bug spray.
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So in my quest for more subtle scents, I check out the reviews, and stay away from the Dollar Store knock off shelf.  I have been assured by more than one person that the dollar store shit that is supposed to smell like Chanel No.5 (and it does- to me) really smells like a combo of Black Flag and drain cleaner.
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I did find an eau de toilette I found intriguing called Dahlia Noir by Givenchy, which I am going to try in spite of this review-
All I can say to this one is that I’m glad that I’m not “Dave’s” old lady:
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
 on November 18, 2014
I got this for my lady friend. It covered up her stink real nice.
“Dave’s” review notwithstanding, his comment reminded me of something Jerry would say, which sort of swayed my decision toward buying it.  I am a believer in stringent personal hygiene, and I’m pretty uptight as far as observing stringent personal hygiene practices at all times.  I shouldn’t have a “stink.”  Even so, hygiene practices aside, one can’t be too careful about one’s olfactory impact upon others when one’s sense of smell is pretty much transitory and unreliable at best.  So I do like to indulge in wearing a sensible and pleasing fragrance- just in case.
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vagisil
I’ve never been the outdoors type, and I hate to be dirty or to sweat.  So I’ve never really had a need for Vagisil, but if I did, this is the most glowing review I encountered:

18 of 20 people found the following review helpful

By Geekier than thou TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 28, 2004

Style Name: Original Size: 1 Ounce (Pack of 1)

It smells like burning fur, but who cares? If you’re out in the middle of the woods camping, or on a forever road trip and you haven’t had a chance to change your drawers in a day or two, chances are, your unmentionable areas are gonna get itchy. Some areas are more sensitive than others when it comes to persistent itching and scratching. Vagisil allows you to temporarily relieve the itch so you can concentrate on driving or sleeping instead of scratching your parts off.

Remind me to never put myself in a position where I don’t get to “change my drawers” and hose off at least from the waist down, Every Freaking Day. Some areas were never meant to be scratched.  If my nether area were to itch so bad I can’t drive, I think it’s time to see a doctor, not time to run out and buy some over the counter cream that smells like burning fur.
morality
Too bad a gauge like this doesn’t really exist.
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I have been accused at many points in my life of being highly subjective in my assessments, which is a bit ironic considering that I tend to be logical and pragmatic rather than emotional and flighty.
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Perhaps those assertions are based on the fact that I can have rather narrow parameters for passing a judgment or making a decision.  I make up my mind very quickly, and usually based upon the information I have on hand that I deem relevant at the moment.  I’m not one to hunt and peck or hem-haw around. The only disadvantage to that is that unless I make a conscious effort to do otherwise, I can be very closed minded and unwilling to try new things.  I know that a love of the familiar and a desire for order and routine go hand and hand with the way I’m wired, (oh, the joy of navigating the autistic landscape!) and sometimes I have to purposefully override familiarity, order and routine in order to learn anything, or to do anything fun.
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I think rigid would be a better word to describe my decision making process than subjective. 
mutter museum2
I realize that my tendency toward rigidity makes spontaneity almost impossible. The older I get, the more difficult spontaneity gets.  I’ve been meaning to take that day trip to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia. It’s not necessary for me to take Steve-o with me, which is good because his schedule is nearly impossible (although he would thoroughly enjoy it.)  I’m not afraid to travel alone, and have done it before, so what’s the big deal about a 500 mile (one way) road trip?
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Yes, I would need to book a motel room as well as make my admission arrangements in advance. I would have to see that Jerry takes care of the dogs for a couple of days.  They have survived being alone with him before.  I’m really good at trip planning, and this one wouldn’t be terribly expensive… so why haven’t I done it yet?
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True, I have never been to Philadelphia.  I am concerned about crime, such as carjacking, rape, robbery etc. because those things happen in densely populated urban areas, but crime is just as statistically likely to happen right here in central Ohio.  Granted, I know the times and areas to avoid here, but would the additional risk of being in an unfamiliar urban area be statistically significant?  Probably not.  I have traveled alone in the rural South which is statistically safer- but if you were to be a crime victim somewhere down in the hollers, let’s just say your body and/or your car may never be seen again.
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I need to shut up and just go. The medical oddities await.

Discipline Your Kids, A Fresh Outlook, and I Need a Road Trip- Bad

toddler-tantrum

Do your kids a favor- teach them to behave like civilized people- at least in public!

When I was growing up in the dark ages of the 1970s-early 1980s, acting out in public was a sure fire way to get yourself beaten into the next county by the next nearest adult.  If you were unfortunate enough to be beaten out in public by a non-parental adult, when one’s parents did find out, (and they always did)  you were beaten again- to make sure you were beaten good enough.  Now people are afraid to even say anything to someone else’s miscreant child, fearing the wrath and possible litigation by the parents.  That sucks.  There are a good number of kids I see out in public that could use a good old fashioned hiney-warming.  I’d do it… if I thought the parents would have the good sense to back me up.  I guess they would rather announce to the world that their children are being raised by wolves than to administer a bit of well placed correction.

There was no sparing the rod (or spoiling this child) in my family.  Believe that.

Mom (being the good Catholic mother she aspired to be) would beat the daylights out of you for messing up the Catholic Calisthenics during Mass.  Even if you were a toddler (sorry, NO nursery) you did not sit when the rest of the congregation kneeled, nor did you stand when the rest of the congregation sat.  You did not have a coloring book, crayons or Cheerios.  You sang every word to every hymn, and you did not fail to respond with the correct responses as printed in the Missal.

 

Missal

The word “Missal”- for those who were fortunate enough to have been raised in a Protestant tradition-isn’t a typo.  I am a bit of a spelling Nazi after all. “Missal” is sort of the Catholic how-to guide to Mass, and is never to be used as  a “missile,” as in a projectile to throw at an annoying sibling.  Even though my sisters did.

kid fight

Siblings fight.  So why do people have multiple children?  Especially if one of them just ends up being a punching bag?

As an adult I can appreciate liturgical worship- and I do- but it was baffling to me as a kid.

Sunday morning Mass sort of went like this:

Dad drops us off at church.  Dad did not do Mass.  Ever.  He would be back in about an hour or two.  Church wasn’t Dad’s cup of tea, especially in a church where, as he would say, “the preacher wears a dress.”

priest robes

Follow Mom up the steps and (unless you wanted dragged out by the hair and back handed within an inch of your life) don’t forget to bless yourself with holy water and genuflect (another foreign word for Protestants- kneel before you walk down the aisle to find a seat because you’re approaching the altar) before sitting in whatever seat she thinks you should sit in.  Mom liked to park us in the second or third pew from the very front- where the priest can be sure to give you the stink eye any time the word “hell” is mentioned.  Hope and pray that (as usual) I didn’t get sandwiched between both sisters and therefore was open to assault from both sides.

Find the Missal.  Follow the instructions to the letter even while being poked, prodded, pinched and wet willie’d from both sides.

Spend a few minutes wondering why Jesus chooses to live in the funky gold box where the communion wafers were stored-  when He’s not out and about looking for sins and finding reasons why you should go to hell, that is.

Sing the closing hymn and hope Mom didn’t decide to chit-chat with every single one of her old bitty friends on the way out, although it was inevitable that she would.

It’s a wonder – or should I say a gift of the Spirit- that I can set foot in church at all.  But that is a very long story.

cathedral-in-Milan-752811

I do appreciate the aesthetic of Gothic architecture, especially if we don’t try to jack it up by doing a “70s update” on a 19th century (or earlier) building.  The church I went to as a kid was one of those beautiful Gothic style churches- until someone decided the interior needed a cheesy 70s update that included green astroturf carpet, everything painted white and green (acck!) and just plain hokey furniture.  Either you want to go modern or have the Gothic aesthetic, but the two styles don’t mix.  It’s church, not steampunk (which is half ways tolerable, ’cause steampunk is cool) and definitely not the set of “The Price is Right,” which is what that hideous “renovation” reminded me of.

price is right

Just substitute green for red, and that was pretty much how tacky it looked.

Church would have been a bit more interesting with Bob Barker.  At least when I was a little kid.  Grandma loved “The Price is Right.” That was back when Bob Barker still dyed his hair.

I need a road trip but don’t really have anywhere I want to go or, should I say, can afford to go and have time to go.   I still want to go to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia and I’m going to have to figure out the logistics.  I have to go to my nephew’s graduation in NC next month, but that’s more of a “have to” than a recreational pursuit.  Not to mention Dad scares the living hell out of me with his need for speed while driving in the mountains.  I’ve never been comfortable with mountain driving- especially considering we will probably be in their Dodge minivan.   It will probably be my luck it will be rainy and windy too while he’s going 90MPH down a 6% grade.

The last time I let Dad drive on a road trip,  I closed my eyes and put the Ramones’ “I Wanna Be Sedated” on repeat.  That helped.

I really, really need some quality ivory tower time, as in several days of being completely away from dealing with other humans.  The bad thing is that’s not going to happen.

Getting Away- Let’s Try This Again, and Why Not Take the Train?

 

 

vacationfamily truckster

I embark on “vacations” with a sense of trepidation.  Last year I was supposed to have two entire days of peace and quiet at the campground with just Clara as company.   Instead I got five days of Jerry barking orders at me- and to make it even more miserable, I had a wicked sinus infection throughout the whole “vacation” which lingered on for about 10 days after.

It was not fun.

How do I explain to him that part of the point of taking a “vacation” is not having to run and fetch for him?  When I think of a vacation I’m thinking of margaritas and pool boys and beaches and sleeping and reading.

tahiti

 

A vacation for him is never a “vacation” for me.   It is more reminiscent of boot camp.

boot-camp-55842982115_xlarge

Every time Jerry has ever imposed himself on one of my “vacations,” I’ve been happy as hell to get back to work.

I still want a couple of days’ peace and quiet with nothing but canine company.  It probably won’t happen.  I will be stuck running after beer (which I don’t drink) and lottery tickets (that I don’t play.)  I’ll likely be recruited to perform home improvement projects and maintenance for him that I am not very good at doing.  Then I will get nine kinds of shit about how bad I suck at hanging blinds or cleaning gutters.

The nearest establishment to the campground that sells beer and lottery is about six miles away.  Then *while I’m out- ha-ha* I will get demands to procure obscure items at hardware stores (even further out), to fix food and to run divers errands, until my head spins.   He will want me to take the dogs out at midnight, just because. There will be no quiet.  There will be no resting.  He will make a concerted effort to drive me completely apeshit.

I’ve taken vacations with my parents and/or Steve-o which do afford more relaxation time, but Mom and Dad can prove grating as well.  Mom’s insanely pokey and doesn’t get motivated easily.  Dad is constantly wanting to stop and go munch somewhere, which means it’s pretty much impossible to adhere to any kind of schedule.

solo traveler

Perhaps it is just my wiring that makes the fun vacation (for me) the solo vacation, where I can operate on my own itinerary and do what I want when (and if) I feel like doing it.

33 states honor my Ohio CCW, which is a comforting thought, as I don’t generally travel unarmed.  Most of the places where I would routinely travel are quite fine with concealed carry. The bad thing is I really, really want to see the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.  But my CCW is not valid in Pennsylvania, which really sucks.  I have to ponder this one.  Is it worth it to travel unarmed and run the risk of being carjacked, robbed, raped and/or pillaged?  I will have to find out if open carry is legal there, but it’s probably not.  Once the gun control weenies ban concealed carry, they usually aren’t cool about open carry either.

It’s about 500 miles one way, which is a day trip to get there, overnight in a motel, all day at the museum, then another night at the motel and the trip back.  It looks like this trip is three days- if I drive and take it leisurely.

mutter museum

I’ll have to find out if it’s in a safer part of town.  I won’t go alone if I can’t carry and it’s in da hood.  Having a good time at a strange destination is all about the research.  I’ve traveled alone many times with little more than some scribbled directions and a general sense of where I need to go.  I remember going to one series of meetings (two days) with about 15 minutes notice and I ended up having to buy toiletries and a change of clothes at a freaking Odd Lots store. It was sort of fun but also quite harrowing to try to get by with a weird sized curling iron, soaps and makeup I’d never heard of, and clothing that was less than flattering.

I’d rather research the area, know where I’m going, and have my reservations ahead of time.

One thing I have planned for my brief upcoming hiatus is a train ride- the Hocking Valley Railroad offers a short day trip through southeast Ohio on a passenger train.  I’m planning to go next Thursday and I hope the weather cooperates.  Better yet, I hope Jerry shuts up long enough for me to actually enjoy the scenery.

 

Pennsylvania_Railroad_Passenger_Car

 

 

 

More Fun With Obscure Old Things, Virtual Road Trip, and Winter Funk Comes Early

plates compareAt least I can keep my sunburst plate (the top one) and save $8 as opposed to getting the new plate which I think is rather busy for a license plate.

Usually I don’t get to the really despondent depths of the Winter Funk until the butt-end of February, when my birthday rolls around, bringing with it the ominous and expensive task of going to the BMV to pay for yet another registration sticker for yet another year..  This year that task is doubly odious because I have to renew my driver’s license as well as my car registration, so I can’t just do it online.  Joy and rapture.  A new pic of me- four years older, that is guaranteed to be bad enough that it should either appear in “Busted” magazine, or have “Correctional Institute Inmate” underneath it.   As far as “Busted” magazine, it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to gawk at the mug shots, laugh at the bizarre names (there is actually a guy in one of them whose name is “Sequin”)  and examine them to see if anyone I know is in there.   At least as far as I know I’m not going to get stuck with the fugly new license plate.  I don’t care for that design, and it really doesn’t go very well with my Hello Kitty license plate frames.

hellokitty2_600This goes better with the old sunburst plate anyway.

Anyway, I am trying to head off the despair and gloom at the pass.  I am making it a point to go to at least one Bible study class (at church, among other live humans) a week, which I’ve not been doing since last October and it shows.  I am not the best Christian example in the world by a long shot, but I have an even harder go of things when I neglect Bible study with other people.  Yes, I read and study on my own, but the only observations I see are my own and too much navel-gazing is not a good thing.  Even though I crave solitude like a junkie craves a fix, I still need to hear the opinions and observations of others- particularly from those with different viewpoints than mine- from time to time.

More importantly, I have to remember that there is life beyond the mundane, and I have been very neglectful of the spiritual as of late.

jesuswatchingI couldn’t be terribly interesting to watch.

Anyway, I have found some more fascinating ephemera from the early-to-mid 20th century that piqued my interest:

toilet baldToilet water cures baldness.  Who’d have thought?

Men generally are less vain than women.  Though comfortable, I can’t bring myself to wear Velcro tennis shoes in public.  However, some men have a rather twisted sense of vanity and of utility:

redneck-boatWhat they’re not telling you is the recliner on the boat is nicer than the one in the house.

I have also discovered that the redneck love of bacon is not a recent discovery.  Even in the late 19th century a national love affair with pork products was obvious.

porcineographThe United States of Pork!

To quote the French: Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose!

At least back in the day – before Oklahoma was a state, obviously,  you got the cool little diagram with all the piggies on it to take home.

While I’m in the road tripping mood, it’s interesting to see how people other than Midwesterners look at the US.  I know foreigners probably view the great vast flatness of the Midwest with trepidation (we’re not dangerous, usually, just boring.)  There are flush toilets in the South now- even in West Virginia, although West Virginia is technically not part of the South.  The reason why West Virginia is West Virginia is that they decided to stay in the Union instead of becoming part of the Confederacy along with the rest of Virginia.   Southern Ohio isn’t part of the South either, but try telling them that.  Especially that guy in Greene County who has the barn with the huge rebel flag on the roof that’s glaringly visible from I-71 northbound.  Never mind that he’s 35 miles north of the Ohio River (and therefore the Mason-Dixon Line.)  I guess if the South rises again it might have to redefine its geographical boundaries.

redneckmap

A West Virginia view on what’s what and who’s who in the US. Or maybe a Nebraskan’s?

I still think it would be interesting to take an English speaking foreigner (and yes, I am thinking of Karl Pilkington and the Idiot Abroad series) into the depths of fly-over country.  Use Central Ohio as the epicenter, and the only rule for the itinerary being that the destination has to be within 500 miles of the I-70 I-71 split in the middle of Columbus.  I could have a lot of fun with that.  Visit the Midwest, New England and a good portion of the South that nobody ever bothers to see.  I mean, since when has anyone said much about tourism in Cincinnati (which actually is a very cool historical destination) or Detroit, which you can skip entirely, unless you’re into armed robbery and gang rape, with the exception of the Henry Ford Museum (which is technically in Dearborn) and even then, leave your valuables in Columbus.   The Ford Museum is worth the drive and even worth the risk to one’s person in getting there.  Otherwise I would pretty much give the entire state of Michigan a pass.

reagan limoThis is the Reagan Limo.  I took this pic the last time I was at the Ford Museum- back in 2007.

Of course I have not (yet) made it to what might well be the holy grail of museums- the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia.  I’ve never been to Philadelphia.  I can only hope it’s not as bad as Detroit.  I simply have to get a.) enough scratch to make the trip, and b.) I have to plan the logistics so that I can stay overnight somewhere because it’s a 12 hour drive each way.

Mutter_MuseumNothing says cool like old preserved medical anomalies.

I Will Not Pander to Sappy Sentimentalism, Truth in Advertising, and Thinking About a Vay-Cay

Dogs and cats on motorcycles?  I have seen people carry around ankle biter dogs on bikes, but I couldn’t imagine a cat putting up with that racket.

I really can’t stand those goofy-assed stick figure family stickers.  They’re too damned happy- in a really sappy way- for one thing.  The last time Jerry sported a shit eating grin like the cartoons on those decals it was because he had just won $200 on his Pick 3 tickets, and he was butt drunk.  As for my emotional state, I am doing good to stay on a nice, neutral even keel.  I get angry pretty easily, but as far as the shit eating grin, I would have to say that was some time back in the 80’s, if ever.

If I were to display those horrid stick figures on my car, I would have to design my own so I could at least have some truth in advertising.  Here’s “Beer Drinker” and “Woman, Fed Up.”

I wouldn’t go so far as to add all three dogs, all three cats and the two snakes.  They didn’t ask for stick figure humiliation, and I really don’t want the general public speculating as to whether or not I’m some kind of bizarro animal hoarder type.  It would look pretty weird to some people that there are four times as many critters in the house as there are humans.  The good news is the critters generally don’t sass, and all of them put together are cleaner and require less maintenance than Jerry does. 

It’s pretty sad, but I probably am scowling most of the time.  I should work on that.  The glass is also half-full. 

I actually scheduled a bit of vacation time.  Now let’s see if I can scrounge enough money to take a two or three day excursion to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia- by myself if need be.  I am just weird enough to consider a foray into the wonderful world of antique medical ephemera to be a fascinating vacation.   Jerry, on the other hand, would probably be grossed out and would fail to find anything involving a museum to be a vacation.  His idea of a vacation is keeping me busy pandering to his needs so I don’t get a vacation.  This is why I am considering taking this trip on my own.  Steve-o can’t go for obvious reasons- he’s got school, work and his family to tend to.  It’s kind of sad because of all the people I know Steve-o would enjoy it the most.  But he’s an adult now and is very close to the becoming independent of the parental units phase of his development, and I would not want to do anything to interfere with that.  I should have took him to the Mütter back when he was in high school and he had nothing but time. 

 Then again, if I had the whole parenting thing to do over, and the resources to do it better, I would have done a lot of things differently.  I wish I would have been able to afford to do home schooling or to send him to a Christian school, but I wasn’t able to do either.   I know a lot of people in the educational bureaucracy would be very afraid of me (or anyone else of my political and/or social outlook) doing any kind of home schooling, but at least my son (on my insistence) actually has read the Constitution and several other things high school kids should be required to read but aren’t, such as 1984, Animal Farm, Atlas Shrugged, and The Federalist PapersI did make sure my son could read and communicate using the English language beyond the level of  “Whassup, dawg?”

Even though he did have to go to public school and didn’t get total immersion in the World According to elysianhunter, I won’t blame the public schools that my son can’t spell.  Most techies can’t spell.  It has something to do with the way their brains are wired.  They can get the math and the spatial skills, but for him, correct spelling makes about as much sense as algebra does to me.  I will laugh at his auto-correct fails though. 

Here’s another Truth in Advertising (sort of stick figure) decal for the car: