Tag Archives: Science

A Rose By Any Other Name

1 Jun

What’s in a name? you may very well ask. In fact, I will pause and wait while you do.

. . .

Now that you’ve asked, apparently “scientists” claim there’s quite a bit in a name. According to some clever clogs in Pennsylvania, boys with common names are less likely to commit crimes than those with less common names. (First let me clarify that as we’re talking about America, common means “more frequently found.” Therefore, a common American name is John Smith, a less common American name is Chucklenuts McGee. In England, I appreciate, common denotes something which would imply a distinction between the names, say, Wayne Rooney and Perciville Wilberforce DeMontford.)

So “science” tells us names can lead one to criminality. What I found quite interesting about this particular research is the selection of bad, uncommon names, particularly Ernest and Ivan. For, in my vast experience of male-female relationships, I have known (biblically) both an Ernest and an Ivan. And, I can assure you, they were far from bad. They were good, quite good, if you can catch the meaning of my drift.

Ernest was a boy from Louisiana whom I met one day in New York City as I was meandering through Central Park Zoo. We were both watching the mini Nubian goat kid being tended to so lovingly by its mother.  Although the zoo was bustling with children (as it so often unfortunately is), it felt like he and I were alone in this scene of nature’s beauty. I turned my delicate face towards his and noticed a single tear making its thoughtful way down the contours of his rugged but not unlickable face. His eyes met mine and, for a moment, we stood in silence, before quickly making our way to the nearest hotel. After, he said his name was Ernest and I felt that there could not have been a more perfect moniker for such a sincere and thoughtful lover. During the week that we spent in each other’s company, I was able to discern, with the help of a UN translator, that he had moved north from the bayou to learn how the big city folk lived and ended up the head of a charity devoted to protecting city pigeons from verbal abuse. My Ernest was not a criminal: he was a generous and compassionate do-gooder, who definitely could do it good.

I didn’t meet my Ivan until much later when I was touring the rugged landscapes of Montana. My expedition was hoping to reach Sacagewea Peak but got stranded without enough provisions. Ivan, as I’m sure you can imagine, was originally from Russia and had come to Bridger Range to do some skiing. He intercepted our calls for help and immediately rushed to our aid. After my group came back down the mountain, I felt I wanted to thank him personally before leaving town. He was staying in a little place near Devil’s Backbone and was delighted to entertain for me for the weekend. A lady, of course, does not like to kiss and tell, but, suffice it to say, the only crimes Ivan committed were against nature but they were so, so forgivable.

This quick, wet trip down memory lane has provided ample evidence to prove that said “scientific” theory about names is tommyrot (unless, I suppose, your name is actually Tommy Rot). In my own life, I have had some run-ins with a few Victorias, but they are definitely the exception which validates the rule that one’s name is of very little consequence as to whether one is likely to be unlawful or legit. No child should be condemned at birth simply because of thebaby-criminal name his parents chose for him. What one makes of oneself is what matters. After all what woman hasn’t met her fair share of bad Johns? And while “scientists” David and Daniel may be sitting pretty in their ivory research laboratories, I personally can testify to knowing at least two Davids currently serving rather long prison terms. I will admit to knowing a Daniel who was completely above board, but he suffered from premature ejaculation so I think I’ve proved my point sufficiently.

The Call of Nature

22 Jul

While I have had harsh words in the past for science and the brain boxes who dedicate their lives to needlessly showing me photos of the insides of frogs, I would hate for anyone to think that I was anti-nature. I am not. The natural world is great in my book. In fact, I choose nature over non-nature every time.

Today, for example, it’s been all nature, all morning over here at the Whitt-Wellington homestead. Christopher and I woke early in the hopes of getting to work before the mercury got too high. There’s a tree in the garden which has been growing dangerously close to the back wall. While I acknowledge and admire the balls it takes for a tree to do that, I wanted it nipped in the bud (quite literally) before it caused any trouble.  I was happy to hold the ladder as Christopher climbed up; it was such a beautiful sight seeing a strong, young man amidst the green branches with the morning sun’s rays catching the blonde highlights in his hair. I wish I had had my camera at hand to take a photo, but I felt satisfied that the image was burned into my memory (and besides I don’t like to leave Christopher on his own with the shears).  The job took a little longer than we had anticipated, but that’s another wonderful characteristic of nature: it’s a worthy foe.

However, not all of our morning experiences in nature were adversarial. I plucked the ready vegetables our greenhouse garden had to offer us, while Christopher tidied the flowerbeds. After rinsing our harvest, I popped on the kettle, just as Christopher washed the last bit of dirt from his sturdy hands. We went back out to the garden to enjoy our tea, and I saw that Christopher had topped the table with a bouquet of lovely blooms.

A wonderful morning, for sure, all courtesy of nature.

One area where I can come together with the scientists (note: get your mind out of the gutter) is the realisation that humans have a responsibility to look after nature. Actually, since many religions see the Earth as God’s creation and believe the big guy expects us to be its stewards, we’re all really in agreement. Our world would be greatly improved if we gave nature a little more props, doing all we can to treat it right and show it respect — in all its forms, whether it’s hot or cold, dry or wet, creepy or crawly, gorgeous as a gardenia or gross as a frog’s gizzards.

Except for cicadas. They can go to hell.

And Venus Was Her Name

5 Jun

If you’re a “science type,” you’re probably quite excited by the upcoming rare planetary alignment: the transit of Venus.

My response: Big whoop.

But if you’re into this kind of thing, I say, go for it.  A small black circle moving across a large orange circle is certainly more exciting than most of what comes out of people’s mouths these days (yes, I’m not afraid to say I’m referring to the vicar’s tediously detailed description of a trout fishing trip he managed to wedge into Sunday’s sermon). If you think this is going to be one of the most important events in scientific history, by all means, knock yourself out.

Experts are claiming that you need to purchase special filters to be able to properly see Venus do its thang, but I personally think that’s just a clever way to get you to drop more dosh. A quirky old friend of mine spent most of his youth looking directly into the sun, and it never did him any harm (the doctor said his vision loss was more likely due to his stabbing his eyes with a pencil, another one of his idiosyncratic habits). However, as my ophthalmology license was revoked a few years back, my advice may not be as wise as you assume it is.

Whether you’re staring up into the sky today or doing something worthwhile, I wish you the best of luck. As any writer knows, it’s readers who give our lives meaning. I cherish you all, especially the young man who recently pushed a note through my slot—I do hope you’ll consider stopping by again soon as you neglected to leave your phone number and I think I might be able to find a use for your services.

Have a good one!

I’m (Not) A Believer

10 Mar

I’m still coming to grips with the loss of my dear friend, Davy Jones. I remember fondly our first meeting; I was just a young girl in high school, busy working on our Prom’s planning committee. As president of the local Davy Jones Fan Club, I was sure I could get him to play the gig. After a series of hilarious hijinks, Davy came through for me and actually accompanied me to the dance. Wait, that wasn’t me, that was Marcia Brady. Nonetheless, his death was a real blow.

So imagine how I felt when I saw this headline this morning:

As you know, I am a fair weather fan of science. Yes, things like electricity are great and all, and I respect most in the medical field, especially whoever it was who invented the pills I can slip into Christopher’s tea whenever he really starts trying my nerves.

But you don’t have to be a supersymmetric quantum mechanics physicist to be able to see that a lot of science is bunk. The world does not need to know at which part of a woman’s menstrual cycle she can most easily identify members of the reptile community—or at least certainly not before science shows us how to beat cancer, create environmentally-safe energy or handle documents with no threat of a paper cut. Perhaps there’s a hierarchy in the science research world of which I am unaware of: maybe the dumbos who somehow manage to get degrees are secreted into labs where they’re given little experiments to conduct to keep them busy while the big boy scientists are out doing important stuff. I don’t know. And confess I also don’t really care.

All I know is that in the last 48 hours, there have been incredibly important things happening in the world—including natural disasters, civil unrest, economic updates and the funeral of a lovely Manc who had beautiful lips—yet the “scientific headline” above was deemed newsworthy?

That said, if those wacky Japanese researchers had got a certain other lovely Manc with beautiful lips to inform me about the ovulation-snake connection this morning, I would have felt less let down by science. Especially if he did so after snuggling up next to me in bed. Then I’d have been willing to throw all my faith (and a surprising amount of early morning stamina) behind modern science.

How To Beat Blue Monday

16 Jan

Today is Blue Monday, which is supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Of course, there is some logic to back up this claim. The formula is:

So, according to the science boffins (at Sky Travel, mind you), 16 January 2012 will be the most depressing day of this year. I was surprised that this year didn’t lead to a slightly different conclusion, what with the world predicted to end and all (which I would’ve assumed might lead to a slight dip in happiness levels), but whatever.

You know me, I never argue with science—especially when it’s used to advertise a Murdoch media organ—so I guess, facts is facts, and today we’re all depressed.  Therefore, I’d like to offer a couple helpful suggestions to get you through.

You see what I’ve done here? It’s called satire.

1. This year, Blue Monday is also Martin Luther King Jr Day in America. Perhaps it would cheer you up to remember how far we’ve come with eliminating racism and making it safe to peacefully protest.

2. Get some rest, eat right, take some exercise and remember that whatever is wrong in your life is no worse today than it will be tomorrow.

I suppose if you’re struggling today, you could always try to distract yourself until midnight. Snuggle up with a copy of The Sun or The Wall Street Journal, maybe watch a show on Fox or a film you’ve saved on Sky+.  Rupert Murdoch’s going to get your money one way or another, so give in to Blue Monday and do as you’re told.

A Kiss That Speaks Volumes Is Seldom A First Edition—Clare Whiting

5 Jan

Kiss2003A scientist from the University of Texas today published a book called The Science of Kissing.

I must confess to being somewhat surprised by this, as scientists do not generally come to mind when considering “experts” in the romantic arts.  However, the author is of the female persuasion so perhaps there may be some valuable insights within the book’s pages.

I do have some objections, though, to one claim the book makes: that most people remember their first kiss “more vividly” than the loss of their virginity. (This is based on research done by a male psychologist, I feel compelled to point out.)

This is problematic for a number of reasons.

Firstly, I myself cannot remember “up to 90 percent of the details” of my “first romantic kiss.” To find myself outside of the majority is no new task for me (the cream always rises to the top, as they say); however, it is somewhat hurtful that I am so clearly deliberately being excluded, once again, from the scientific community.

Additionally, I feel the terminology is too vague. What exactly is a “romantic kiss“? I may have kissed Corey Frye in second grade, but it wasn’t until many years later that I first experienced any sense of romance (read: tongues). So does Corey count?  And what exactly are “vivid details”? I’m afraid I don’t remember 90% of the letters in the boy’s name, let alone the majority of the “details” of the very first time my lips touched another’s (I know it was Joey something). Was it just that our kiss wasn’t “romantic” enough to register in my memory? Finally, I need more specifics when it comes to the “loss of virginity” (note: if you’d like to send specifics, please put “Cherry Popping” in your email’s subject line). Defining virginity is a bit of a sticky wicket. Some teens have oral and anal sex but still see themselves as virgins (though I doubt that’s how the boys at their schools see them). I once spent a rather significant hour with a charming young man (come to think of it, I do believe it was Corey Frye’s uncle) and while the experience was extremely memorable (and illegal in Connorsville, Wisconsin), it did not feature the “marital embrace” so was I still a virgin when I stumbled out of that shed? I thought scientists were all about precision. For me to be convinced by this claim, the terms need to be much more explicit.

Over the course of my lifetime, I have had more kisses than I have had hot dinners.  No kiss is necessarily more memorable than any other.  Various factors (such as intensity of love, alcohol intake, length of infection, financial repercussions, etc) affect which kisses stay with us. If any of you reading this have gotten to first base with me, rest assured I recall all the relevant details. Which may explain why we haven’t spoken in years.

Pucker up, suckers!