Tuesday
Oct272009

A "TeenChick" Bell Curve

All teenage boys, save a few really dorky ones, classify teenage girls into three catagories based exclusively on appearance.  The percentage numbers follow a bell curve distribution such that only about 15% are considered "hot", only about 15% are judged "untouchables", and of course the 70% majority populate the "normal" group.  At some point before age 30 these same boys will succeed in subcatagorizing each "teenchick"group such that everything will not come up roses for all "hot chicks" nor will life be but a sad little affair for all "untouchables".  A few in both catagories will migrate up or down based on unforseen physical changes and many will shift up/down the gradient based on personality which is to say, a combination of intelligence and values.  Throughout history, it's interesting to note that for every "teenchick" generation, as time passes, the shift from both "hot" and "untouchable" to "normal" is many times greater than the shift to "hot" and "untouchable".  The explanation is that very many "hot" teenchicks, from there high ego state, fail to develop mature personality traits, while very many "untouchables", utilize their more isolated teen status to build mature personalities.  Indeed, it is but a rare few of the "hot" teenchicks that are able to stay the course through their season of adoration and build attractive personalities.  Those forever "hot" few that do stay focused on intelligence/values become the model for the next generation.  Those who do not are destined to know the lifelong trials of "normal" or the anguish of "untouchable"               

Sunday
Oct252009

Cosette, I Am Not!

When I was in grammar school, I took French for two years.  Yes, I can count to ten, know the word for water and know that Les Miserables is a famous French novel.  This is about all I knew until recently when I tried to read this very thick book by Victor Hugo.  I did read some and quite honestly supplemented my grasp by reading reviews, notes and wiki.  This did allowed me to remember that I did know one of the characters, Cosette.  I remembered that whenever the stage play by the same name is being advertised, they always show this little girl dressed in rags sweeping with a broom bigger than she.  Beyond this, I now know that the story is not about the French Revolution.  It was about the early 1800's in Paris, where an ex-convict, who was really I good guy, helped a young girl whose parents had died to escape slavery and grow up to be a caring person with strong moral values.

 It is very hard for me to relate to either of the two women in the story.  Cosette's mother, Fatime, was a very strong person who lived hard and died young and was always focused on her daughters well being.  I don't know if I would be so strong, never having been a mother.  I suspect that many young mothers in today's world would just forget about the child and try to find a little happiness.  Fatime was lucky.  She happen to find a strong man who cared more about doing the right thing than he did about his own fulfillment.  This man, Jean Valjan virtually gave his life so that this girl who wasn't even his daughter could be exposed to a life where she was cared for, appreciated and loved.  This personal story was, of course, taking place, during a time of war when Cosettes protector was being hunted down by a rigid government who cared only about the letter of the law.  While Jean Valjan was helping Cosette to become a responsible and compassionate adult, there we're other young people in Paris who were trying to transform France into a nation with higher values.  One, of these, Marius, fell in love with Cosette, and in the end, both France and Cosette turned out to be far better off than seemed likely in the beginning.

 I was more able to relate to Cosette, but only in part.  As Cosette grew up she had the advantage of Jean Valjan's wisdom, strength and resources.  I have had in my life this same advantage; even more so.  I have had great parents who have always made sure the I was cared for, loved and privileged.  What I did't have was Cosette's early life experience of being deprived, mistreated, humiliated and literally beaten.  I suspect that she may have in the end turned out to be such a good women because she really knew what it was like to not have anyone on her side.  I do not, and believe that I am addicted to being cared for.  It's going to be hard to digest the idea that I am not the very most important person that I know.  Maybe, if I have a baby that will change.          

Saturday
Oct102009

At Risk On The River In Branson


 

 

After the torrential rains of this week, Table Rock Lake  is gorged and the Corp is releasing water full throttle. As such, Lake Taneycomo is today, Saturday October 9, not a lake but a surging river torrent pressuring everything in or near the channel.  Although the local media sources have hyped the floating debris, vehicles, docks, etc., it certainly hasn't stopped the mommies and daddies and children from renting small unfamiliar boats to navigate the treacherous water in search of the joy in catching a trout.  Unfortunately, I can imagine a dozen occurrences that might turn tackling into tragedy and am therefore closing my picture window view of this "naivety on parade".  I am sure that the Branson Tourist Interests don't want that little old couple and their grandchildren for Illinois going home without a "trout picture", but  for Christ's Sake, who is it that's in charge of making sure that they at least "get home".

Saturday
Sep052009

The Branson Christian News On All Sides

I rarely pick up the local "throw away papers' at the grocery store, but this week I picked up the current edition of the Branson Christian News.  The name was declarative  and I presumed that it would be full of anti-ObamaCare pieces.  I am always curious to read a new twist on why our impoverished community which relies principally on Medicaid/Medicare Health Services is, in spite thereof, fighting mad about "the government" daring to "force socialized medicine on us".  Actually there was very little coverage.  Indeed the owner/editor, or "steward" as he prefers, half apologized for offering that he didn't think the government was very accomplished at running businesses.

What I did find perplexing was that there were several news/editorial pieces about the relationship of the Christian Church to Government.  The expressed persuasions were all over the board.  Some were adamant that only a Christ Based Government could solve our cultures woes, while others were resolute in maintaining a rigid "separation of church and state".  Quite frankly, I hadn't thought much about the far right's "consistence problem" in, on one hand, being committed to evangelizing every little corner of the culture, including government, and, on the other hand, insisting that "the government" stay out of all private affairs.  I guess their strategy is to have half their ranks vehemently support one position and the other half vehemently support the opposite.  Now, if the far right will but divide themselves on the no less problematic Health Care dilemma, most likely the O'Reilly, Beck, Limbaugh instigators will move on and we can get to reforming our screwed up Health Care system, and MOVE ON!  

Sunday
Aug302009

The Cliff House

For weeks expensive flyers have been showing up around Branson beckoning the public to show up at a "no reserve auction" at which a multi-million dollar trophy house will be sold in early September.  Today was an "open house" at which those of us planning on attending the auction might get a careful look at the muti-level posh digs of someone who indeed had built an extraordinary residence out off of Fall Creek Road on a bluff overlooking the upper end of Taneycomo.  Personally, I would have liked to report that I built the house.  I did not.  It was one of those precipice dwellings where expensive windows are can til eve red  from walls rising hundreds of feet above sheer cliffs and the interior is all about spacious marble trimmed in teak.  I would not like to report that I had commissioned such a residence to be constructed, even at what would have been a lesser cost during the 70's or 80's when, I guess, the project took place.  It was just so poorly scaled for any lifestyle that might actually reside at the house.  Coughing up the presumed $1,000,000 plus price will be nothing in comparison to the  new owners anguish in keeping this place in reasonable condition.  He/She will have to hire a full time person to hire and fire a procession of "opportunistic residential services professionals" necessary for the place to just stay habitable; not to mention that it will then still be on a marginal subdivision street lined with modest ranch houses, many of which are vacant, in of course, Branson.

 I can imagine two story lines  behind The Cliff House.  The first is that I hope that it was not the life long dream of someone who loved what they had imagined and made a reality, only to be forced to leave it behind when they could no longer sustain the economic "tug-of-war" necessary to "finish at home".  Second, I hope that it was but a thing conceived by a distant architect in response to some rich dude's whim commission, and that indeed, it was never really anyones home.  Either way,  The Cliff House was a rather sad expression on a beautiful early fall day.