Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Seven Brief Thoughts: Male Edition

Every week Jen of Conversion Diary and a sea of Catholic blogresses go through the seven quick takes ritual. I haven't done a rigorous empirical study to determine that only women do it, but they certainly form the majority. So while doffing my cap in Jen's direction, here's my masculine contribution to the genre.

1) Should you ever find yourself in the need of a manly girly drink, you might try making a Cherry Bounce Cocktail. (Sounds rather indecent, somehow, eh?) The original Cherry Bounce was a favorite of George Washington's, and Martha made up and put down large batches each year made with the Mt. Vernon cherries. (Evidently ones that had not been the victims of George's ax.) Wall Street Journal drinks columnist Eric Felten provides Martha's original recipe along with a more easily made modern cocktail version -- one of which I'm sipping as I write. Results are positive, made with fresh Texas cherries, but I would make his 2-3 tbsp of cherry confit into 1-2. The 2-3 (I split the difference and did 2.5) tbsp recipe is a little too syrupy for my taste.

2) While we're on the topic of drinks, if there's one of the more unusual cocktail ingredients that you simply must have in your fridge, it's orange bitters. Put a dash into a classic gin Martini and two dashes into a Manhattan. Make sure, however, that you buy real orange bitters, not one of the non-alcoholic substitutes that some liquor stores are unscrupulous enough to attempt to sell you.

3) It's hot here in central Texas. Word is that it hit 108 yesterday, and it was at least 103 today. That means it's time for another of Darwin's thoughts on female summer fashion. Now, no sort of clothing is going to make you feel comfortable on a day like this, so it really doesn't matter if you wear a lot or a little, but fashion has its cycle and right now it is the time of, among other things, midriffs. What, exactly, is it about this zone between the two unshowables that fascinates men and thus fashion?

This being DarwinCatholic I'm going to provide my very own evolutionary biology explanation:

The fact of the matter is that with the exception of those blessed with incredible genetics or even more incredible personal trainers, the midriff look can only be carried off by young women who have not born children. Exposing the midriff basically screams out to the male's subconscious: I haven't borne children yet, I could bear yours!

Which probably means that those of us who already have several children should pack our biological urges off to bed like good little children and stop looking. Those of us who have subjected one of these works of God's and nature's art to the rigors of carrying several children are not in the market for more.

Still, a free show gains an audience, so if you're displaying your natural sculpting for the world on a summer's day and you notice one of us married fellows casting an eye, be assured that our interest is strictly aesthetic in nature.

4) A friend badgered me into going to the rifle range the other evening. Everything is indeed bigger in Texas, so there's a local indoor range that's 100 yards long and allows rifles up to .50 caliber. I hauled the old (literally) 8mm Mauser down there and put 50 rounds through it at 50-100yds. A load of fun, but I ended up with a fairly impressive bruise on my shoulder. The WW2 era bolt-actions were not designed to be shot all day.

5) I've been reading a few books which are, essentially, about "slow food" due to my interest in gardening. It strikes me that we actually eat fairly "slow" already and I'm glad of it, but the ideological approach to lifestyle and eating leaves me cold. I'm also frequently annoyed by the simplistic economics involved. One complaint that I've read repeatedly is that in products like breakfast cereal, most of the money goes to the food manufacturer, not the farmer.

Um... Surprise! With almost any cooked/prepared food, most of the money goes to the cook, not the grower of the raw ingredients. If you buy artisanal bread at a bakery in person, very little money goes to the farmer either. It's not something specific to manufactured cereals and other "processed foods". The only real difference is that people feel good about their local bakery making a living in a way that they don't necessarily feel about General Mills doing so.

6) Living where we do, I drive by cows nearly every day. One of the basic ways to keep the agricultural exemption on the property taxes for an empty lot you own around here is to let grass grow on it and put a few cattle on it. For some reason it was striking me the other day: When you eat a steak the "meat" is muscle. We tend to cut off the extra fat when we prepare a cut of meat.

Now, cattle basically just stand around in a field eating. They're not doing bench presses and squats all day to build up. Yet these boys have an awful lot of muscle on there. I don't know if you'd call them ripped, but they certainly don't seem to be all paunch. Why is it that we have to start slinging iron around if we want any kind of muscle structure? Standing around and eating doesn't seem to do it for us.

7) They say that sex sells, but it's important for marketers to recall that sex mainly sells sex -- it doesn't necessarily sell other things. This is an advertisement for a laptop:

And this is an advertisement for a desktop:

They've both very good, very well made computers, but these advertisements frankly do a very poor job of advertising them. You may think that your product is "sexy" but if you put in the same frame as a model and that's all you do, people will admire the model and move on without ever being sure what that blocky thing in the picture with her was.

It's true that you need to make a product look attractive in order to get someone to drop 1-2k on it, but it's the product that needs to look sexy at that point. Putting a woman next to it does not solve your problem.


Anonymous said...

David did it once in a while. He has facial hair, a low voice, and sometimes serves at EF masses, so I assume he's male :)

Rick L said...

Wow! Check out the Dell XPS One with an Intel® Core™2 Duo E4500 processor and 4 GB of Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz! I think I'm going to go to and buy one right now! Thanks for posting this!

Anonymous said...

The Blackadder Says:

Here in Indiana the midriff isn't terribly popular. Instead, the fashion seems to be towards really short shorts (basically just long enough hide one's undergarments). Make of that what you will.

Rick L said...

The problem with Michigan is that midriff revealing shirts are predominately worn by the same type of girls that wear spandex here - you know, the type that has no business wearing either...

Big Tex said...

Indeed, a free show DOES gain an audience, even if it is a freak show.

Pro Ecclesia said...

There must've been a break in the weather when I came down to San Antonio last weekend. Breezy and in the upper 80s and lower 90s.

CMinor said...

My guess regarding the cows is that beef breeds were selected for muscularity--just like bully breed dogs. And then there are the 'roids and other concoctions that are put into them to make them bulk up. I recall once being told by a farm girl that they drop weight quickly if they're too active.

Regarding the ads, I believe it's a recognized problem in the business that a too interesting ad may be remembered, bu the product will not. The folks who designed these should have had the brand name prominently displayed somewhere on the ad.