Cocking A Snook Too!

Independent, Irreverent Unschoolers – or at least one – Take On the Universe

Ruminations on Olive Oil March 25, 2007

Standing in line at a fancy grocery store, I spotted a display (among many).


Excuse me? I thought. Extra extra? Isn’t that a little unnecessary?

That is to say, I never really understood the concept of Extra Virgin Olive Oil to begin with. Is it made from olives that aren’t allowed to touch other olives? Are they modestly shielded from life’s elements by tarps?

And Extra Extra Virgin Olives – what on earth does that entail?

Or does the “virgin” refer to the oil itself? Has it never been mixed with another oil, commingling and developing new, brassy flavors? I certainly hope not, one takes for granted when one buys olive oil that it is, in fact, olive oil, and not some other hybrid. But then it seems that they shouldn’t have to bellow about its virginity so explicitly.

Having all these thoughts in the line at the store, I suddenly reached a breaking point. I wanted to tap the older woman in front of me on the shoulder and ask her my question, maybe she’d know the answer. But no, that wasn’t enough. I wanted to stand up in a shopping cart, I wanted to address the store at large, I wanted to shout it to the heavens: “Isn’t just being a virgin enough for you people anymore?”

It’s not just olive oil – women, too, now, are expected to come with a label that reads Extra Extra Virgin.

Much of society appears to have decided – rather abruptly, if you ask me – that it is not enough to wait for a person, time, and place that connote “right” and “safe” before you have sex for the first time. To make the whole process more efficient and less painful, the decision-making process has been streamlined – good news! You’re no longer required to make those pesky decisions; we’ve done it for you.

Person: Husband/Wife.

Place: Hotel Room.

Time: Honeymoon.

I could say a lot of things about the abstinence program. I could say that repression, sexual or otherwise, isn’t healthy. (See this movie to learn how it leads to broken families, insanity, and arguably the Great Depression.)

I could say that it makes people ashamed of what’s perfectly natural, and thus leads to self-loathing.

But I think I’m going to focus mainly on how creepy it is. (more…)


Obama, Superman, the F-Words, and Bigotry March 9, 2007

Filed under: Connections,Criticism of the Stupid,Movies + Life,Politics — Meredith @ 10:46 pm

It was like a movie, really. Four people seated around a dinner table, discussing politics. One of them is me.

One of them, Jules, is a self-proclaimed liberal who enjoys championing the causes of the impoverished third world peoples, but who favors swift and certain retribution for the stupid, of whom apparently our entire country is made.

One of them, Kikki, is a liberal with European sensibilities, as a first or second-generation American (her family is Belgian and French Canadian) probably she is one of the American-hating Frenchie liberals (frog eating surrender monkeys) we seemed so concerned about a few years ago.

About herself, she likes to quote David Sedaris: “You have to be a patriot to be an ex-patriot.” Except, as near as I can tell, she seems to love America as much as anybody, and is more verbose and thoughtful about where she thinks we are headed than most.

Funny story about Kikki: we were in a hotel, and she said to me, “Hey, check out those hot football players.” I, ever the American, looked immediately at the TV in the bar, which was playing a football game; before I realized that she was discussing the hot soccer players in the flesh in front of us.

The final piece of the puzzle is a blind-faith conservative christian, presently attending a private high school with textbooks written from “a christian perspective”. The high school also has a large drug problem, but I suspect the brains of the person in question have been addled by natural means, so it really isn’t relevant.

The conversation turned, as these conversations always seem to these days, to the preposterously far-off presidential race, and, almost inevitably, to the honorable Mr. Obama.

“Both he and Hillary have peaked too early, ” Jules proclaims, and, although she neither smokes nor drinks, in my imagination this statement was punctuated by a long drag of a cigarette or a dainty sip of a margarita. “Thing will come out about him, God knows……” “He wasn’t really vetted in the past,” I agree, “And you can’t be a politician from Chicago without getting your hands dirty somehow. Oh, they’ll rip him to pieces later.”

“I’m looking for someone who isn’t on the radar yet.” Jules went on. “Like Patrick Kennedy. I’m interested to see what he’ll do. He’s got potential.” “God, it’s 2007,” I pointed out, “I’m the only one here who’ll be able to vote, and I haven’t picked a pony yet. Too early.” “Oh, I know,” Kikki says. And then someone mentioned it. I don’t know who, but somebody said it.

Somebody said that Barack Obama is a Muslim.

Thing is, Barak Obama isn’t a Muslim. And I said as much. (more…)


How Robert Mitchum Paid For School – Not By Working, That’s For Sure! March 6, 2007

Filed under: College Stuff,Connections,Movies + Life — Meredith @ 6:22 am

It has been said, and eloquently, (by Nick Naylor) that almost everything done in the world – good or bad – was done to pay a mortgage. (also known, in the novel Nick lives in, as “The Yuppie Nuremberg Defense” – “I vas only paying ze mortgage!”)

But I think the real question is: how many of the world’s actions originate trying just to pay for school?

As I sat here this afternoon, beginning what promises to be an exciting college spring break of vegging out and reading teenage chick-lit which happens to be beneath me, I stumbled across an often overlooked all-star cast movie entitled “Not as a Stranger”.

I was initially excited – My God, I thought, this movie stars Robert Mitchum, Olivia de Havilland, and Frank Sinatra, not to mention the random walk-ons given to Lee Marvin, Harry Morgan, and Lon Chaney, Jr. Why on earth have I not SEEN this before? I wondered. I was soon to find out.

Olivia de Havilland, one of the most beautiful women of all time – who wouldn’t I kill to have skin like that – hair dyed to an almost noxious peroxide blond, starkly contrasting her big brown eyes. And it gets worse: she appallingly butchers a Swedish accent, she seems to be trying her best to pull off an Ingrid Bergman impression, but just winds up sounding like this guy. The first time she speaks in the movie, I thought the accent was some sort of plot device, that maybe she was faking it to get Robert Mitchum to leave her alone, or something. But no.

Anyway, the basic plot of the movie is Robert Mitchum becoming a doctor, developing a God complex, debating about having scruples, etc. He marries Olivia in all her Swedish-ness, much to my surprise, but here comes the interesting part:

He’s about to get kicked out of med school because he can’t pay for classes. He is quite destitute. I worried about him, how was he going to manage? Wait tables? Become a grease monkey? Sell his body? (I mean, of course, his organs. ) (more…)