Yes, I'm a Romantic

In the sense of an idealist, not a love-sick puppy, in case you were unclear. I like this post on what makes a man.

Personal Responsibility, Version 2

I typed this post. . .or something like it. . .once already, but then the power went off and I lost everything. It was unfair.
I don't remember the reason for my title, so it may now be obsolete. We'll see.
K and I watched the new series "Black. White." last night (the series in which a black family and a white family are made up to appear like the other in order to experience life in different skin). It was interesting. For someone eternally intrigued by race relations, I found the experiences and discussions worthy of some thought. Perhaps it would be good if all of us could experience life in someone else's shoes for a while.
Oh, I remember what prompted my blog title. I was browsing through my previous posts (our of boredom while waiting for parents to arrive for parent-teacher conferences and procrastination while avoiding grading papers). I realized that I am a strange being. Then I wondered if I should take some personal responsibility for that. Then I decided not. Actually, what I thought was, "Nah."
Do you appreciate knowing the contents of my brain. Be glad that I can't share all of them in such a confined space as the Internet.


Affectionate Guinea Pigs

These housewives, said Gilman, comprise an "endless array of 'horse-leech's daughters, crying, Give! Give!'" This "parasite mate devouring even when she should most feed" possesses "the aspirations of an affectionate guinea pig."
taken from Domestic Tranquility

Are quotes like this supposed to make me angry? They make me laugh. Let's dissect the invective. . .
First, the idea of ANY housewife, tranquil or un, crying "Give! Give!" is contradictory. You cannot simultaneously argue that the housewife is an unfulfilled drudge enslaved by the patriarchs in society and that she is a selfish beast intent upon her own pleasure. The two are mutually exclusive.
Second, if we grant the housewife's status as a "parasite mate" (being one that relies on or feeds off of another) I feel compelled to point out that a vast number of parasites in our world participate in a symbiotic relationship in which their hosts either placidly comply or gratefully revel. (There. See how easily an insult is turned into a beautiful metaphor?) As for the bit about voracious appetite, I refer you to the first point.
Third, what's wrong with guinea pigs? They like clean, comfy places to live. They like good food to eat and refreshing water to drink. They show affection (presuming, as the quote says, that they are affectionate ones); they snuggle and nuzzle and hug. They fear rats. They need vitamin C and don't like milk (an important similarity, if you ask me). They are easy to care for, cute, and develop attachments to their "herd"--be it human or rodent. Most importantly, they do not have hair on the soles of their feet. So, as long as we're talking about affectionate types. . .I'm not seeing the problem here. Honestly.

Perhaps I'm over-romanticizing a bit. But it made you laugh, didn't it? And it made me laugh. So those vituperative vixens of feminist fame can keep cracking their whips, as far as I'm concerned.


Domestic Tranquility: A Snappy Allusion

Enjoying the quiet of a Spring Break morning, I've been reading a bit further in Domestic Tranquility while eating breakfast. Here's a great quote:
Choosing not to go gently into that good night of the marketplace, feminists went in rage and viciously warred against the housewife who declined to join them.
This makes me laugh. If you're not familiar with the poem Do not go gentle into that good night, by Dylan Thomas, it is a poem written to his dying father. "That good night" is a euphemism for death, and in the poem he repeatedly urges his father to "rage, rage against the dying of the light." I am amused that what might be taken as a veiled compliment ("gently" and "good") or at least as tolerance ("night" IS on the negative side of connotation) is actually a vicious little insult. Read it this way. . .
Choosing not to go gently into that death of the marketplace, feminists went in rage and viciously warred against the housewife who declined to join them.
That makes me laugh.


(Sugar and) Spice

I love to play with spices in the kitchen. My first experiment took place when I was rather young. I was making scrambled eggs, but I wanted them to be "interesting." So I added some ingredients of my own. . .namely cinnamon, vanilla, nutmeg, and some other things I don't remember. Needless to say, they didn't turn out so well.
Thankfully, I learned a few things and I generally have better luck now (not that "better luck" means much when the comparison is Cinnamon Scrambled Eggs). Last week, I was making chili for dinner. I had everything in the pan except the chili powder when I suddenly realized I was out of chili powder. Oops. So, I made my own.
Cookbooks don't have recipes for chili powder. At least, mine don't. Fortunately, I remembered running out half-way through the measuring process last time I made chili, and I had added a few individual spices that were listed on the bottle's ingredient list. Here's my recipe:
Alicia's Chili Powder

1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder (plus a smidge)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

This goes with 1/2 pound of ground beef (cooked with onion and bell pepper), 1 can of diced tomatoes, and 1 can drained kidney beans. . .obviously, a two-person dinner. I may have thrown in some salt, too. . .but I never measure that. It seems that I may remember throwing in a spoonful of brown sugar. . .but that might very well be my imagination.
In hindsight, I recommend cutting the cumin in half. It was a little strong. Also, if you don't want spicy chili, cut the cayenne pepper. . .at least in half.
Tip: Serve hot.
Another tip: top chili with slices of fresh avocado, sour cream, and grated cheddar. This only works if those eating like avocado and sour cream, unfortunately.


Mellifluous is one of the vocabulary words my students are supposed to be learning. Here are my favorite sentences created using this word:
1. After his wax, his back was very mellifluous.
2. When I talk to girls, my voice is very mellifluous.
3. I say my muscles are very mellifluous.

I can't help it. They make me laugh.



1. On Sesame Street, Grover is (of course!) the furry little blue guy who sticks in my memory as the sympathetic one. Not that any of Sesame Street's characters are un-sympathetic--except Oscar, obviously--but Grover and Grover's songs stand out as being about feelings.
Right now, I am feeling sad. I am saddened by the sheer enormity of crassness in the world. Perfectly lovely people are marred by unlovely language. Profanity is unlovely. It belies those who would otherwise be beautiful ladies or mannerly gentlemen. The insertion of obscenity changes a neutral image to a tough, unkind one, a genteel image into that of a mushroom. (Mushroom? Did I say Mushroom? I think I mean. . .well, Mushroom. Or ragtag. Yes, Rags. The ragged remains of genteel. Don't ask how that correlates to Mushroom.)
The short version? Profanity makes me cringe. Cringing makes me sad. Enormously sad. Grover would sing a sad song right about now.

2. In American history, Grover (Cleveland) was the President of the United States during a devastating drought in Texas. (I learned this in a National Review Online article this week. . .keep reading.) He was savvy enough to cast down a bill that would have appropriated federal dollars for farmers' relief, providing them with seed for the next year's crop. He held firm that the role of government must be a limited one, that the "people support the government," and the government should not "support the people." In the wake of Katrina, Rita, and every other natural (or not) disaster, where is Grover now?

Three cheers for Grover.