Friday, October 29, 2010

Scary Week: The Culmination

The Prude this morning is hoping Scary Week has proved that the world is, indeed, frightening. A few weeks ago she demonstrated the terror that floats several thousand feet above us in Shapes of Clouds.
Some people, however, remained unconvinced, and determined to see happy things in clouds. These same people no doubt see happy images among the mundane of their backyards.

The Prude cannot let the above assumption go unchallenged. She is determined to show that, if your backyard and surrounding environs are anything like Your Prude's, you shouldn't step out the door
without a knowledge of Fear That Lurks in Flowers (etc) . Fore-warned is fore-nervous.

In the first photo you will see (thanks to The Prude's new-found discovery of 'pencil' in 'Photoshop')
a former live hydrangea that can, to even the most non-imaginative among us,  resemble a cross between a turkey and a hedgehog. Add aerodynamics via the 'tail' feathers and you have a bad-tempered creature with an ugly wattle and prickles who can roll along the yard after you in speeds up to faster-than-you-can-run.

Mad Monk
The above photo shows something The Prude encountered on her walk around the neighborhood. At first, and even subsequent, examination these stumps resembled a mad monk, about the size of Yoda,  pointing accusingly at The Prude. In the interests of making the photo more ominous The Prude transformed it to black and white. She realized too late that the sunny yellow outline may detract from the Yoda-the-Monk's threatening demeanor.

Next we have a photo of the Prude's Family Firepit. It hearkened to mind scenes from Mordor and Mount Doom. To erase all doubt the Prude has drawn the furry foot of an innocent Frodo.
The Pit of Mordor

Remember the box elder bugs of the previous post? They are in some kind of collusion with the menacing sea captain who lives on the front porch.
The Mutiny

Help Me! Hey! I'm talkin' to you!
Did anyone see the movie 'The Fly'? Remember when the Fly was trapped in s spider web, the only humanish thing about him his furry little face? Remember the pitiful voice he used to cry plaintively (and in abject futility) "Help me! Heeeelp meeeee!" The Prude attempted to portray that same despair on the leaves caught in the soccer net. In case you question The Prude's sanity, be aware that she made no attempt to rescue the leaves. They ended up in the Pit of Mordor (above)

This frenzied flower needs no explanation or introduction. Next time you meet a gerbera daisy look deep into its face. And tremble.
Daisy with Destructive Tendencies

The Prude sees the woodpile on the side of the house in an entirely new light. And dark light. She has graphically demonstrated that almost every log contains a light side and a dark side (D.S.). Except for the ones that have sold out completely to the Dark Side.
The Dark Side in the Woodpile

We finish with an unretouched photo from right outside The Prude's backdoor. She didn't have the heart to draw on it because she felt that the artistic integrity and blurry background would be compromised.
But really, can anything named a 'POD' be menace-free? The Prude doubts it.

We bring Scary Week to a screeching halt here. The Prude needs to meet with her accountant-Scary week isn't over for her yet.
Please enjoy your weekend, stay safe in your own yard, and come back Monday when we kick off Thankful Month with Odes in Prose to the Voting Booth.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Scary Week Day 4: Fear of Four-Footed 'Friends'

Immediately The Prude needs to make a clarification. In today’s post will be avian ‘friends’ with 2 legs, insect ‘friends’ with 6 legs and fishy ‘friends’ with no legs. But The Prude loves alliteration and has no qualms about fudging her facts. We call it poetic license and we make no apologies.

The Prude has spent Scary Week trying to convince you that there is always, somewhere, something to fear.  Today we are on a photojournalistic jaunt - more of a safari, really - into the animal kingdom that surrounds us. On all sides. All the time. Even when you can’t see it.  If you aren’t afraid yet, just keep reading. You will be.

Frightening animal #1

This bald eagle sits in front of this house. Day after day, year after year. It doesn’t move. It just glares at passing cars and dares anyone, ANYONE to come close enough to see if it is real. I double dog dare you.

Frightening animal(s) #2

Speaking of winged menaces, if you are not afraid of a flock of birds, you have not been paying attention. The Prude recommends you watch a movie titled, pithily, ‘The Birds’
Birds, however,  are equally lethal at their north and their south poles. Just ask any woman sporting a beehive hairdo in the 1960’s. They were known to walk around unawares for hours, with a blob of whatever-the-bird-ate-yesterday perched high in their coiffure. Many of these same women immediately screeched their way to their hairdressers. Few people know we have leaky birds to thank for the other 60’s hair craze- The Pixie Cut.

Frightening animal #3

It doesn’t matter one whit that this hair-raising fish is dead and mounted on the wall. The only reason no one has made a horror movie starring this ravenous walleye is because (a) they haven’t seen this ravenous walleye yet, or (b) the movie would be so terrifying it would be banned in movie theaters across the globe.

Frightening animal #4a

This only looks like an adorable, furry little best friend. Look at the vegetation where Little Miss Adorable’s eye and chin should be. Obviously her body is being slowly possessed by, and turned into, a birch tree.

Frightening animal # 4b

Man’s best friend gone mad. And she walks among us. And her name is Lucy.

Frightening animal(s) #5

It is alarming enough that black angus calves can leap over barbed wire fences.
It becomes harrowing when they begin to frolic, willy-nilly, by the cornfields. But it is downright bone-chilling when they get mount a 4-wheeler and cavort about the countryside terrorizing innocent farmyards.

Frightening animal #6

What is so alarming about a single little box elder bug, you ask? Besides the fact that at any moment he/she will become the father/mother of 10,000 little offspring, and 20 minutes later will become grandpa/grandma to 10,000 to the 10,000th power? (The Prude was a little fuzzy on exponents) What should really have you quaking is that this tenacious bug is keeping its grip in 58 mph winds. There is no escape. They are going to take over the world. Wait till tomorrow’s post and you’ll see.

The Prude could show you so much more, but since she doesn’t want you so traumatized that you won’t return tomorrow. So she will leave you with one final disturbing creature:

Frightening animal #7

The human-haired bison.  The Prude apologizes for any ensuing nightmares this may cause and directs you and your therapy bills to her firstborn. Buffalo Boy.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Scary Week Continues- The Scariest Movie of All Time

Poor kids today. They have never had a chance to Shake a Pudding, they never stood with their parents in a parking lot waiting for Cabbage Patch dolls to fall from the sky, and they were never privileged to see the greatest horror movie of all time on the big screen.

The Ghost and Mr. Chicken
To be honest, neither did The Prude. The Family Prude did not go to movie theaters when she was young. But, when it came out on television several years later, Mama Prude allowed her to watch. If The Prude's mother had realized that this lenience would be the means by which the fledgling yellow streak embedded in Young Prude's back would widen to a 4-lane highway, she may have reconsidered.

'The Ghost and Mr. Chicken' stars Barney Fife, no longer in Mayberry,  and with neither Andy, Opie nor Aunt Bee anywhere in sight. 
And therein lies one of the terrors of the movie.  The town Mr. Chicken- I think his name is Luther in the movie- lives in sort of LOOKS Mayberry-ish. There are warm-hearted women who are cut from the same cozy cloth as Aunt Bee, and there is a sensible, attractive, Thelma-Lou type woman who is unaccountably attracted to Mr. Chicken. And Luther's (if that is his name) character bears an astounding resemblance to Deputy Barney.

Can you see the genius here? The filmmakers took what was familiar and safe, used it to lull us into a false sense of security and then gave it a macabre twist. This twist became so frighteningly, um, twisted, that at one point in the movie (involving a creepy staircase, creepy music and a creepy, blood-spattered organ) the young Prude literally, in one giant leap for cowards everywhere,  sprang behind the sofa in a paroxysm of terror.

From that day forward The Prude has had a secret and, to some, irrational fear of curving staircases, ghostly music, and blood-spattered organs. Call her a coward. But she dares you to watch 'The Ghost and Mr. Chicken' at some point during Scary Week.  Just make sure the sofa is pulled away from the wall.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Where are the Facilities? A Horror Movie with a New Heroine

(Today we continue Scary Week here at The Prude Disapproves. She hopes no one has bad dreams tonight.)

The Prude watched (usually from behind her fingers) her share of horror movies. There were always a few Apocalyptic, post-nuclear war types that focused on the devastation and the dreadful, barbaric conditions survivors have to face.

But can you guess what was the most terrifying aspect of those movies? Probably not, because the scenes were deleted due to their extreme awfulness. But The Prude knew the true reason for the fear lurking in those survivors’ eyes. She KNEW, and it sent her cowering into a corner.

(there is a modest pun in the above line, can you find it?)

Yes, one of The Prude’s looming post-apocalypse fears is living in a world with no
flushing toilets.

But Your Prude wants to make her own movie, with a new kind of heroine for that frightening new world. A sort of Mad Prude at the Porcelain Dome.

The heroine- lets call her Restroom Woman, would roll around the barren countryside, wiping out despair and assuring that everyone has access to plenty of this:
Even if she had to grow it herself.

Pumped for victory, Restroom Woman would waste no time. She would answer the call of commode conservation rounds in her tank of choice.

The movie would draw to a conclusion as Restroom Woman, flushed with earnest goodwill and desirous of  a new and sparkling clean world that would rise out of the cesspool of destruction, plunges the depths of Potty Deprivation and assures those left to carry on that they CAN build a clean, disinfected and sensitive new world where everyone can have their choice of one of these:

(The Prude realizes these potties are somewhat blood-curdling. Please remember that this IS the Prude version of a horror movie.)

Post Script:  Although we are still in Scary Week, not Thankful Month, please note that in 1935, Northern Tissue advertised its toilet paper as "splinter-free". Which makes us so very thankful we are not in the scary pre-1935 world.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Prude is Afraid

To many in the world, this week begins the most truly frightening time of the year. Worse than tax season. Worse than shopping with a toddler. Worse than the weeping and gnashing of teeth heard in the frozen turkey aisle of the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving.

This is the week that leads up to October 31.

You may know it as All-Saints Eve, which is followed by All Saints Day ( if you are in the Western as opposed to the Byzantine branch of the Roman Catholic Church- The Prude has done her homework) which in TURN is followed by All Souls Day which means you get 3 holidays in a row. As far as The Prude can tell these days are not celebrated with candy, although in Portugal children go door to door to receive cakes, nuts and pomegranates, all of which have been thoroughly checked for razor blades, straight pins and illegal substances. The real celebration is in the Philippines, where you spend these days at the cemetery tidying up graves.

The good Reformation Day-ists among us can dress up like Martin Luther and have family fun reciting each of the 95 theses. In Latin. We plan to do it while eating bratwurst.

If you like to dress in Druid robes and chant around Stonehenge, you have most likely have wandered into the wrong blog.

Some of you may be full-fledged Halloween revelers who spend more on orange and black decorations, fake blood and rubber skeletons than the entire GNP of many small nations.

You may choose to ignore the day totally and just refer to it as ‘November First Eve’.

Your Prude used the day to indulge her creative compulsions to dress her boys up, to indulge her thrifty Dutch nature by getting free snack food via her children’s trick-or-treat bags, and to indulge her chocolate cravings by ‘examining’ the bags first for dangerous substances but actually for her favorite candy bars.

But The Prude has found that, no matter what one’s attitude toward October 31, we can all be spine-tingling scared at one time or another. This week we will-usually via photo-journalism, examine some of the truly frightening stuff of the universe.

First she needs to take care of the task that almost always sends her screaming into a corner in terror. Quarterly reports.
What scary thing do YOU have on your plate today?

Friday, October 22, 2010

What's YOUR Name?

The Infant Prude

The Prude had planned a short, straightforward question for today but is discovering that all those years of lectures render unable to be brief and pithy. So, introducing Something Else New today, we will have a Question Followed by a photojournalistic jaunt FOLLOWED by a recap of the question.

The Prude briefly mentioned a couple of days ago that, in the interest of Family Alphabet Equilibrium, you may need to change your name. And the gears started churning in Prude’s head. If she could change her name, what would it be?
She asks the same of you.

If you could change your name, what would it be? Or are you happy with your name?
All right, begin thinking, and come with the Prude on a Walk Down her Photographic History.

The Prude’s parents named their blobby baby ‘Anita’. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Possibly they hoped she would grow into the graceful, willowy, sophisticated creature associated with a name like ‘Anita’. Hope springs eternal, but as is so often the case, hope trips over a shoelace and lands on its face.

At first little Anita had no problem with her name, although at various times she preferred ‘Dale Evans’ or possibly ‘Boss’.

Eventually, however, Anita began to think that her parents should have named her the lively, cheerful name ‘Debbie’ instead of Anita. She has proof.
Early Debbie-ish stage
Look at the toddler photo. Does not that child just shout ‘I’m a perky Debbie’? And while Debbieness is not so apparent in the grade school photo,
A little Debbie
(possibly due to the dozen bobby pins in her scalp) we can still see some bubbly Debbie qualities around the eyes.
Almost no Debbie

In high school any resemblance to a Debbie almost disappeared in the side part and round cheeks, but came galloping back in college wearing spiffy tube socks and a perky haircut. If you saw that young lady zip by you on a carousel, wouldn’t you immediately think, ‘She looks just like a Debbie’? Would it occur to you that someone with a pixie hairstyle would be named Anita?
The Merry Debbie Quality comes Round

You see my point.

A pink and vivacious Debbie type of couple
In early wedded and childbearing years Debbie still would have been an appropriate name for that pinkish, vivaciousish young lady who kept the pixie haircut. The handsome lumberjack-type at her side looks the kind of guy who would marry a Debbie too, doesn’t he? Or possibly a ‘Debby’.

Late in the Favorite Name Stage
For the next many years Anita and her alter ego Debbie had a new name. An absolute, all time favorite name.

And now The Prude mulls. Does she still feel like a bubbly, jaunty Debbie? Is she finally at peace with her inner Anita? Can she wear the name her beloved parents gave her with klutzy pride? Or should she expand on her Prude persona and be ‘Prudence’?

Yes, these are the things that dance around in my brain on days I am trying to publish a non-murky post. And The Prude will continue to mull about what name suits her best right now until that day, as yet unknown, when one of her children announces that her new name will be ‘Granny’.

You  haven’t forgotten the question in all these ramblings, have you?
What is your name, are you happy with it, and, if you could rename yourself, what would that resulting name be? If my blog is rude and doesn’t allow a response feel free to spend what could have been a productive weekend mulling over the query, and please come back Monday!

With Love, Your Prude

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lunatic Fringe Prudes

Example of Out-of-Kilter Universe
Yesterday’s post on the Weighted Alphabet left some people scratching their heads.
“What on earth is she TALKING about?” they ask in bewilderment.

The best way to answer is to tell you a bit about The Prude. Maybe that knowledge will help you understand future and equally baffling posts. Because, if The Prude continues to
write, she can guarantee that there will be more bafflement to come.

So today we will have a short, straightforward essay followed by a short, straightforward question. The Prude will fight the urge to wander down murky, obscure byways.

Everyone probably has an idea of what a Prude is. Today a prude is misunderstood as someone easily shocked by matters of-um- procreation and -er- lack of garments.  BUT, a further search reveals that  “if we dig into the history of the word prude (emphasis mine), we find that it has a noble past.(emphasis mine) The change for the worse took place in French (emphasis mine). French prude first had a good sense, "wise woman," (emphasis mine) but apparently a woman could be too wise or, in the eyes of some, too observant of decorum and propriety. (

So, until the French went and muddied things up, Prudes were recognized as noble, wise and good, not to mention vitally important, members of society.

Into this proud tradition stumbles Your Prude. (who understands that you may already be in possession of many prudes of your own. So feel free to mentally translate ‘YOUR Prude into THIS PARTICULAR Prude).

And This Particular Prude wants to encourage decorum and propriety in the world, not only in matters of procreation and garment coverage, but in an almost unlimited (The Prude devoutly hopes) number of areas.

The Prude sees the Larger Picture. She sees the delicate balance of the universe and how it can thrown out of whack by poorly distributed Family Alphabet Equilibrium, pink power ties (or poodles- a subject for another day) or the entire 1960’s. And this puts her in a very tiny group of Prudes through the Ages.
The Lunatic Fringe Prudes.


Lunatic Fringe Prudes see SUCH a large picture, they gaze in such horror at the many dimensions in the universe that are topsy-turvy, and they work so busily at the complex and often inscrutable solutions to topsy-turviness, that they can sometimes be labeled as
slightly off-kilter themselves.

The Prude hopes this helps you understand, if not her more perplexing posts, at least the reasons behind them. Be kind to her. She has to encourage an entire slouching universe to stand up straight and hold its shoulders back.

Well, actually it took so long for The Prude to explain her lunacy that there is no time for the question.
BUT! Please come back tomorrow! Because Your Prude really wants to hear the answer to her
Question of the Week.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Weighted Alphabet

The Prude was reflecting on Monday’s post. (The one where we paid tribute to June Cleaver and her attempt to achieve family balance with the first initials of each family member’s name). Although Family Alphabet Equilibrium may seem like a trifle, and complex in the extreme, please believe me when I tell you that it is important. I can’t explain why, you will just have to take my word for it.

I counted, and recounted, the members of my family beginning with my parents and going to the 5th generation. I listed out the first initial of each of their first names (Yes, your Prude has too much time on her hands. But this is a weighty matter!) Suddenly I recoiled in horror. And do you know what brought about this horror-filled recoiling?
The Prude discovered that the initial initials of her family are weighted heavily toward the FIRST HALF OF THE ALPHABET!
Again, this may not seem important. But you have to realize that for the universe to remain in balance, even small things such as Family Alphabet Equilibrium need to be in balance.

And the Family Prude teeter-totter is listing dangerously A-through-M-ward.

Let me illustrate:
Names beginning with A: 4 (including The Prude’s)
Names beginning with B: 3
Names beginning with C: 2
Names beginning with D: 1
Names beginning with J:- app. 10- The Prude lost count
Names beginning with K: 3
Names beginning with L: 1
Names beginning with M: 2
Total for first half of alphabet: 16 plus a plethora of J’s.

Names beginning with S: 3
 Total for second half of alphabet: 3

The weighted alphabet was in danger of falling on its nose. (be prepared- The Prude will continue to mix metaphors like mad in this post. THAT is what comes from an unbalanced universe)
But onto this tipsy family tree comes The Prude’s great-grand niece and great-grand nephew. (Being a great, great aunt does not mean The Prude is doubly wonderful, although she does have occasional spurts of amazingness. It means her niece’s son has children. This also does not mean Your Prude is elderly. Banish that thought from your mind. It only means her aunting career began at an early age.)

And what would these tiny little balance restorers be named? Nixie and Zander.
(Please note that, while Nixie does not actually begin with ‘X’, ‘X’ is precisely in the middle of her name and therefore carries a huge amount of Alphabet Weight)

Yes, little Nixie and little Zander are a wonderful first step toward Alphabet Equilibrium in the Prude’s family. But we have a long way to go. The Prude has a list of baby names she will be suggesting for her grandchildren:
Wilhelmina (Waldemar for a boy)
Xavier ( Xandy for a girl)
Yancy (Yolanda for a girl)
ZsaZsa (Zaccheus for a boy)

I urge you all to check your own Family Alphabet Equilibrium. Please feel free to share your results with Your Prude. And, if it is as out of kilter as The Prude’s, please, for the sake of Universal Balance, do something to rectify it. You may need to begin with changing your own name.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's This Fork For? A Prude Guide to the Formal Table

Prudes, who are busy, terribly and earnestly busy, keeping the world at large in order, sometimes realize they have neglected their own households.  While, say, faithfully encouraging France to wash its hands after burning all those upended vehicles, a Prude may one day waken to discover her beloved children have no idea what a serviette is.

Generally, however, she will not discover this oversight until AFTER she has thrown a lavish banquet, gone into the highways and byways to invite guests, and polished up Grandma’s 900 piece silver service, her thinner-than-an-onionskin crystal glasses and set her table according to the above specifications.

Our Prude makes a fatal error in judgment. She allows her husband and children to eat at this formal table without remembering the Developmental Stages of Table Paraphernalia Usage. If she had taken a moment to peruse the following chart she could have avoided humiliation and heartburn.

So before you sit your loved ones down to an elaborate table (with witnesses) read through the following and learn where your loved ones fall in the

Age 5:  Used to cover all food on plate
Age 10: Used to snap at brother’s leg in attempt to raise welts
Age 15: Used to frantically clean soup he spilled on neighbor’s trousers. Want to die of humiliation.
Age 45: Embarrass wife by flapping it and asking,”What’s this honey? A diaper?”

Salad/dinner/dessert fork
Age 5: Grasp one firmly in each hand. Mash food before covering with napkin
Age 10: Choose most lethal. Aim at brother’s forehead and hope it sticks.
Age 15: Eat entire meal and dessert with salad fork. Wants to die of humiliation.
Age 45: Embarrass wife by proclaiming in public ‘Hey honey! I didn’t even know we owned this many forks!”

Butter plate/speader
Age 5: Butter all food including meat, cheese and beverage before mashing and covering with napkin.
Age 10: Challenge brother to duel with spreader, use plate as shield
Age 15: Place roll on dinner plate ,spread butter with dinner knife, tell Mother she must have given you little kid’s plate by accident. Want to die of humiliation
Age 45: Embarrass wife by layering four rolls atop each other and proclaiming, “Look honey! Dagwood sandwich!”

Dinner knife
Age 5: Try to hide under napkin before mother sees it and takes it away
Age 10: Ask brother if he thinks it is sharp enough to draw blood. Attempt to draw brother’s blood.
Age 15:  Eat chicken leg with fingers. See everyone else cutting it off bone with knife. Want to die of humiliation.
Age 45: Embarrass wife by proclaiming in public, “Gee honey, this meat is a little tough. Got anything sharper?”

Teaspoon/soup spoon
Age 5: Take any food not covered by napkin and transport to water goblet
Age 10: Use as catapult to direct peas into brother’s ear
Age 15: Vigorously stir soup. Resulting tidal wave splashes over rim. Want to die of humiliation..
Age 45: Embarrass wife by telling guests, “Usually we just drink the soup straight from the bowl.

Water goblet
Age 5:  Forget water goblet was receptacle for unwanted food. Gulp water. Choke. Up erp into napkin on plate. Immense relief when mother proclaims your meal uneatable and gives you cereal. In the kitchen
Age 10: Run finger around rim at speed of sound, hoping resulting sound waves will render  your brother temporarily deaf. Get sent to room.
Age 15: Reach gingerly for goblet. Due to unfamiliar and top heavy shape, upend it. It spills onto the roast plate. Go to room to die of humiliation
Age 45: Embarrass wife by rubbing vigorously at a water spot with napkin. Sleep on sofa that night.

Wine glasses
Prude Age: Sit alone at table surrounded by shambles of dinner party. Realize you unintentionally gave your children 2 glasses of wine each, which, through a series of providential events, they did not imbibe.
Reach for nearest glass of white wine. Grasp firmly at stem. Raise to 110 degree angle. Resist temptation to gulp. Sip slowly and rehearse tomorrow’s lecture on Correct Use of Table Paraphernalia.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Tribute to June

Today was to be the day of new beginnings. It was to be the day The Prude brought structure and order to her blog. She was going comb through older posts and actually write about the topics she said she would write about. She was going to be a Prude true to her word. She would create a Format.
And then June Cleaver died.

So the format, the structure, the order and even the integrity will have to wait. Today we honor June.

Proper tribute cannot take place unless one knows who June Cleaver was. And is. ‘Is’ because June will live on in the Prude Role Model Hall of Fame.

June Cleaver (Barbara Billingsley) was the mother in a television show which first aired in the 1950’s- a decade beloved by Prudes. The show was called ‘Leave it to Beaver’ and immediately Prudes sat up and took note because of the melodious, rhyming nature of the title. And then Prudes met June. The patron saint of Prudes. So we dedicated a wing in our Hall of Fame. Come with your Prude to the June Cleaver Room in the PRMHofF and find out why she deserves this respect.

First we see the two Cleaver homes from the series. They lived on Mapleton Drive and Pine Street respectively. Prudes enjoy themes and appreciate the repeated tree motif which avoided excessive cuteness ( if they had lived on, say,  Mapleton Drive and OAK Street, or EVERGREEN Drive and Pine Street) by mixing a hardwood deciduous tree drive and a softer wood conifer street. Perfect.

Take a moment to browse through the Cleaver Men Display. Ward, Wally, and The Beaver. (THE Prude has a certain affinity for any mother who would refer to her child as ‘THE Beaver’.) Note that all of the men’s first names begin with letters from the last half of the alphabet (Beaver is actually Theodore). This balance with the first-half-of-the-alphabet ‘C’ in Cleaver is very important in the Prude world. June’s name needs to begin with a letter from the first half of the alphabet to achieve FAMILY balance. (Oh readers! There is so much to the Prude world that I haven’t shown you yet! So much variety! It is a world almost as complex as Middle Earth! But cleaner.)

Next we arrive at June’s Cleaning Supplies Exhibit. Gaze on the vacuum cleaner and note that the handle is adjusted 2.5 inches taller than June’s actual height to compensate for the high heels she wore to do housework.
Over the decades those heels have been a source of constant scrutiny and scorn by feminists, tennis shoe manufacturers and podiatrists. But let Your Prude set the record straight.  In the 50’s mothers were encouraged to wear pumps because the added height gave them added leverage when delivering lectures- especially to sons who showed a propensity to growth spurts. June could deliver any lecture Ward could, but she did it walking backwards with a vacuum cleaner and wearing high heels.
(Today many Prude mothers try to sneak in this added lecture leverage by wearing those new shape up sneakers, thereby killing 2 birds with one stone because Prudes adore multi-tasking)

Over at the June Cleaver Clothing Corner you will see another heart-cockle warming reason Prudes love June. She not only dressed modestly (even covering her throat with a ladylike string of pearls) but she dressed in LAYERS. The PRMHofF breaks Prude tradition in this corner and displays Underclothing. There you see June’s slip, with more fabric than most of today’s wedding gowns and designed to ensure the total opacity of June’s full dresses. We also have stuck Creepy Eddie Haskell in this corner because he was forever complimenting June’s wardrobe. But notice we have him turned AWAY from the slip.

There is much more to see and say about June Cleaver/Barbara Billingsly.  The wildlife (including the alligator) that should have been kept outdoors display. The book of June Cleaver quotes, including the one upbraiding Wally for wanting to punch Eddie on a Sunday.

June Cleaver/Barbara Billingsley may not have been a Prude but she exhibited so many qualities Prudes hold dear and want to emulate. Jerry Mathers, who played The Beaver, gave her a tribute which will be the latest entry in the June Cleaver Wing of the Prude Role Model Hall of Fame. He said, among other gracious comments, that she showed him the ‘importance of manners’. High honor indeed.

Thank you Barbara and June. You will be missed.

Tomorrow: The Prude on the Importance of Manners.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Peruse the News with the Prude

Today The Prude introduces another type of post. On Fridays, or any other day when Your Prude is desperately casting about in the flotsam and jetsam (introduced yesterday) of her being for Things on Which to Write, we will ‘Peruse the News with the Prude’. Together we will dissect some of the top news stories from around the globe and discover all that is wrong with the world.

First we join the Georgians of Georgia-the-country not Georgia-the-state in wishing a Happy 1700th Anniversary of the Svetiskoveli Cathedral in Miskhala near Tbilisi. While it may seem there is nothing more of which to disapprove than the extreme fire hazard caused by 1700 candles, The Prude actually approaches this story with mixed emotions. She looks at ‘Svetiskoveli’  ‘Miskhala’ and  ‘Tbilisi’ and can only dream of what she could do if proper nouns were allowed in Scrabble.

Let’s dash to the other side of the Ural Mountains and visit Germany, where a leftover WWII bomb was detonated.  While the detonation was no doubt noisy and potentially dangerous, that is not what earns our disapproval. We disapprove of the 9 tons (18,000 pounds /oodles of kilograms) of straw used to smother the blast. Where did all that straw go? The Prude is guessing it will be showing up in lederhosen and wiener schnitzel for weeks to come. Messy, messy, messy.

Our next news flash comes from high in the stratosphere. Researchers have spent countless hours and all kinds of money and experimented on innocent food groups to learn that airplane food tastes bland because the noise of the plane engines dulls the tastebuds. Can you see what is wrong here? That’s right! Where did they find an airline that still serves food? (The Prude will consult her own panel of experts, ( Captain Mark) to verify this rumor)

In an  unrelated food report, the Radio Academy Hall of Fame in England will be inducting a DJ whose name is ‘Hairy Cornflake’.  If you cannot figure out what is wrong with this story The Prude is  not doing her job.

Over here in the States, a young woman running for a Senate seat admitted to dabbling in witchcraft. The Prude, while naturally disapproving of the black arts (although she did watch ‘Bewitched’ as a child), wonders pragmatically if, given the current fascination with vampires, the candidate could have gained more approval by claiming ancestry with Count Dracula.

Back to Great Britain with our very own Governor Schwarzenegger. He met with the Prime Minister, shook his hand, and encouraged him not to be an ‘economic girlyman’. The Prime Minister, nursing his squashed hand, expressed a sincere desire that Arnold ‘terminate the deficit’ in England.  Now, my friends, what needs disapproval in this story? If you guessed ‘The Governor’s pink polka dotted power tie’ you are exactly correct. It is hard to menace a deficit wearing a tie designed by Strawberry Shortcake.

For our final analysis we will save travel time and stay in England, where we learn that, in the interests of public safety, London (The City of No Pain) restaurants have banned toothpicks, hairdresser trainees are banned from using scissors, and at a recent pancake race held in the rain, contestants were urged to walk, not run, to avoid injury.
We will have multiple choice here for what is wrong: (hint- they are all right)
A. personal injury lawyers must be going bankrupt in the UK
B. Since ‘seven and a half million Britons have failed to gain access to an NHS dentist in the past two years’ can we let the poor blighters (The Prude is not up on English slang, and sincerely hopes ‘blighters’ has no bad connotations) have a lousy toothpick, for pity’s sake?
C. Pancake races in the rain? What do they do with the pancakes when the race-walk is over? Feed them to the 7.5 million Brits with underprivileged teeth?
D. Hairdresser trainees, take heart. The law says you can’t use scissors, but that leaves the razor option wide open.
E. All of the above.

Our PRUDE APPROVED story of the day goes to the mother who bore her 3 children on 8/8/08, 9/9/09, and 10/10/10, respectively. This organized woman has brought her own twist to family planning. She has The Prude’s approval. And hopefully a nanny.

Have a wonderful weekend- Hasta la Vista Baby!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

A Prude Impasse

Dear Reader,

Your Prude is in big BIG trouble this morning. She’s got nothing to write about. Things are so bad, she momentarily considered analyzing songs of the 1800’s.

What happens is this: The disapproval part of her nature- (the part that wants to tell musical troupes that ‘Linkin Park’ ‘def Leppard’ or ‘The Monkees’ are horribly misspelled) is brim full of frowns, while the approval side of The Prude (the part that cheers geese flying in perfect V-formations) is equally jam-packed with goodwill.

This is something we call ‘Prude Persona Impasse’.  The number of persons, places, things or events that need correcting/lecturing/disapproval is PERFECTLY balanced with things in the noun or verb kingdom of which Prudes approve. The resulting stalemate renders Prudes useless. We are at a standstill, unable to move in any direction. It is a frightening place for a Prude. The world swirls around her, in desperate need of a good lecture or a pat on the shoulder blades, and she is unable to perform her sworn duties.

However, the deadlock need not be permanent. Prudes have learned to handle standoffs by going back to their roots in tiny baby steps. And of course those roots are born in DISAPPROVAL.

So come with Your Prude as she casts her mind over the flotsam and jetsam of disconnected Disapprovals. None of them weighty enough to warrant their own post, but lumped together they will help her gain the strength to break out of the Approval/Disapproval Catch-22 in which she finds herself this morning.

-SHIFTING KEYS: When The Prude’s fingers are galloping along the keyboard at their customary 32 WPM (with gusts up to 33 or even 35) she will notice that, instead of Prude, she is now the PRude or worse yet Rpude.

EXPLODING JUICE POUCHES: These were offered as snacks to the Prude’s children after soccer/baseball/basketball games. The Prude, knowing what would happen to the back seat of the family vehicle if her children were to poke straws into those bloated shiny bags, would do it herself. In a dozen years she never got the straw into the pouch without a stream of juice in her eye or on her shirt.

WILDLIFE IN THE HOUSE: Whilst baking a tasty treat for her loved ones yesterday The Prude discovered a flour beetle in her batter. It was already dead. This constitutes Double Disapproval- first for lurking in the flour and not being discovered till the expensive butter had been added, and second for dying before a lecture could be delivered.

RANDOM PATHS: Mosquitoes and flies, fleeing toddlers, and a vitally important piece of paper blowing in the wind all have one thing in common- as soon as they are about to be swatted or grasped they flit, flee or fly in a random direction leaving one swatting or grasping at air with a foolish look on one’s face.

There- that should do it. Four disapprovals will hopefully open up Your Prude’s brain so that Friday she can finish the week off with a rip-roaring disapproval post.

With love and hope,
Your Rpude

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A bit Chile

Today The Prude asks you to join her in giving Chile a big, brotherly/sisterly hug. Along with the rest of the world, The Prude is feeling extremely affectionate towards the Chilean people, its President, its dedicated rescue workers, and especially for a particular group of 33 amazing men.

Since sending roses and chocolates to everyone in Chile isn’t feasible, let’s celebrate all things Chilean today. The sorts of things that meet with Prude Approval. Feel free to add  or correct. Your Prude has no first hand knowledge of any of the following facts and is counting on Google (which hates her. That will be a post for another day).

Chile is the slenderest country in the world. Chubby nations look on in envy. It is also tall and wealthy, which leads those plump kingdoms to moan that some countries have all the luck.

Chile calls their soccer team the o’Higgions. This could explain why their only Olympic gold medals are in tennis.

Chileans eat 4 meals a day. FOUR. And while they grow all kinds of healthy fruits and salmon, they like to feast on Lomo a la pobre (poor man’s steak), a combination of steak topped with two fried eggs and smothered with french fries. (One wonders- if the people of Chile continue to eat in this manner, will their country need to expand its borders?)

Appearances (in dress and manner) are very important in Chile so as to present one’s self in the best way possible. The Prude can personally attest to seeing photos of lovely young Chilean women going rock climbing in high heels. With better balance and agility than The Prude in her Frankenstein hiking boots.

Chileans drink a lot of coffee. This in itself is enough to dispose The Prude kindly towards them.

Chileans love their families and show them great affection, but they can be more reserved with strangers. Watch the family members of the miners. Don’t they seem much more affectionate with their rescued men than with the countless media people interviewing them?

Apropos of nothing, but of great interest to The Prude: David Selkirk, immortalized as Robinson Crusoe, survived a shipwreck and lived for several years on a desert island off the coast of Chile, no doubt thriving on the nutritional benefits of fresh fruit. (Note to Prudish self- eat more fruit. Apple pie does not count)

And finally, a direct quote from an actual Chilean:
‘Punctuality is not our virtue.
When you Chilean appointment at a given time, (sic) will tell you for example 'como a las 8' (as early as 8) meaning that he will arrive after the 8, ....may take even more than an hour!.
It's the same for a party, you should never get to the will be alone with the homeowner. You must arrive 1 or 2 hours late.'

Yes, The Prude loves all things Chilean. And in honor of them she is posting this 1-2 hours late.

(We must close here. Miner hero # 15 is about to be pulled out and Your Prude has some crying to do)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Terror in the Sky

Around the world, and since the beginning of time, humans have dealt with seemingly irrational fears.

We live in constant state of vague nervous apprehension. Fear that some un-named Something, somewhere, is going to pounce. That Something is out to get you. We call this 'paranoia' and it stems from clouds.

Well meaning parents so often encourage their innocent, impressionable young children to look for shapes in the clouds. The Prude is of the firm belief that this practice accounts for 80% of all psychiatrist visits. For many of you, the damage is done. But The Prude feels so strongly that action must be taken for the unsullied, happy-go-lucky amongst us, that she sat down last night and learned to do Something New on her computer.

She has proof that those shapes in clouds are always ALWAYS monsters. And if we grow up not only believing that monsters are floating only a few thousand feet above our heads, but are encouraged to SEE THEM OUT, how can we live with anything but fear and forboding.  Come look at the cloud monsters below (all shot on 'beautiful' days with Your Prude's own camera) Together we can protect the next generation from years in therapy.

To aid you in your awareness The Prude has drawn the obvious monster shapes visible in the following masses of potential precipitation:
Angry Aquatic Creature

Large Blobby Creeping Thing

Angry Crustacean

Enormous Angry Amphibian

Crazed Carnivorous Butterfly

Poodle-Type Creature with Two Mouths

Angry Disembodied Cartoon Creature

Jellyfish Devouring Someone Wearing Leggings

 Cloud Nine. Not a place of blissful repose. It is a ravenous beast with a flickery tongue. You DON'T want to be on Cloud Nine.
Next time someone  says 'I see a shape in the clouds!' cover their eyes and change the subject to something that is more conducive to mental health than Shapes in Clouds. World wide annihilation or the bubonic plague come to mind.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Finger Bowl (or, Proper Use of Digits)

Today Your Prude, in a burst of Monday goodwill, introduces a new phase to her blog. In addition to the Lectures, the Disapprovals, the Rantings and the Posts of Confusion, we now have Proactive Posts of Prevention.
These posts will demonstrate that occasionally Prudes desire to teach the world proper behavior BEFORE naughtiness occurs. This saves the world from some unnecessary lectures, and gives Prudes the illusion that our sole task is not only to nip at the world’s heels in disapproval of where they have BEEN, but to take the world by the hand and point out the way in which it should go.
Today let us examine, hand-in-sanitized-hand, the proper use for each and every finger that lingers on the end of your arm.
First dispense with any nonsense that we have 4 fingers and a thumb. Unless something or someone has removed one of your digits, you have 5 fingers on each hand. Each has a name and a task and below we discuss them at finger-length.
Start with your opposable thumbs. They are wonderful creations that enable us to do many things that can’t be achieved by, say, armadillos. Proper use of the thumbs include the popular ‘thumbs up’ sign, firm handshakes, the grasping of any cleaning supplies and their use, and Thumb Wars (though generally a pacifist, The Prude would let her boys engage in Thumb Wars. They resulted in less overturned furniture than conventional wrestling). A word to the wise: no matter how marvelous a word ‘twiddle’ is, Prudes tend to become cantankerous when thumbs engage in twiddling during a lecture. Keep those thumbs quietly reposing atop folded hands when being lectured and the duration of the lecture may be lessened.

Out of all the fingers, Prudes favor the pointer. This is the ‘I am talking to YOU’ finger. The finger that, in the 3-dimensional world, points out all that needs correcting. The finger that rules the world. (Using the knuckle to point, in This Prude’s eyes, can only result in half correction and hence half-rule.) The pointer finger has often been used, especially by (but not limited to) young children, to ‘point’ at something somewhere up the nasal cavity, and occasionally adhere to said something.

Next we delicately approach the center finger. The one that is 3rd in line from the left. And the right. Often called ‘tall man’ in some child’s’ song or other, this finger has one use and one use only in the singular. It anchors the other fingers in place while giving an attractive upside down ‘V’ shape to the hand. This finger should never be used by itself, but only in conjunction with its mates to the left and right. In olden times this finger would ‘walk’ with pointer through the yellow pages but that use is all but obsolete. However, it still partners with pointer to express victory. Or peace. It depends on whether it is the right hand or the left hand. This center finger is not intended to impart editorial comments on the political views, base running ability or driving skills of the rest of the world.

Ring finger is the finger of romance, friendship and fashion. It can bear engagement rings, wedding bands, cocktail rings, and friendship rings with ease and elegance. It is the ‘just right’ finger- not so stubby as the thumb, powerful as pointer, controversial as tall man or wussy as the pinkie.

Alas, poor pinkie. It sometimes will be adorned with rings. It will sometimes stick out at a chic angle from a teacup. Sometimes it will link with the pinkie of another in ‘jinx’ to make a wish. It is often broken during games such as volleyball and tetherball because the other fingers leave it sort of flapping out at the end of the hand with no protection. It is the finger with little self-confidence, which is probably why the deaf community gave it its very own letter. J. At which point pinkie said “Big whoopty-doo. How many words have a ‘J’?”

Fingers. Used properly they produce peace and prosperity. But if you use your fingers for naughty purposes, don’t be surprised to find a Prude Pointer finger in your face, a Prude Thumb in the downward position, and a Prude Pinkie, glad to finally be of use, signaling to you a word that rhymes with ‘perk’. And begins with a ‘J’.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Sit Up and Take Note

The Prude woke up in fine fettle this morning. She cast her mind over the past 24 hours, searching for the incident that had set her heart a’singing, and came to an abrupt halt at yesterday morning’s post. Ah, there it was. After a week of psychoanalyzing a hundred years of song, she had finally delivered A LECTURE. As has been stated here early and often, Prudes thrive on LECTURES and DISAPPROVAL. The Prude has returned to her roots. Today she will again voice disapproval, and all will be right with her world.

She had planned to do a Supermarket Rant. Her Leetle Gray Cells (eventually, if The Prude keeps writing and you keep reading you will discover her love and admiration for Agatha Christie books. The Prude’s husband had to put his foot down (narrowly missing The Prude’s instep) when she broached the idea of naming their firstborn ‘Hercule’) tossed and turned as she toyed with ranting in Free Verse.
As she struggled to find her free verse flow, she saw an advertisement for the Ab Rocker on the morning news.

And immediately a new Disapproval of the Day was born.

The Prude disapproves, in a weak and jellyfish sort of way, against the current campaign to destroy the reputation and very existence of the Lowly Sit Up.

Your Prude does not mean to intimate that she adores sit-ups. By no means. They were the bane of high school gym class, along with the forward roll on the balance beam.  But sit-ups were cheap, easy to master (in the singular) and they were no respecters of race, creed, color or gender. Every hated them, but everyone did them.

Sit-ups rolled along merrily for years with the full endorsement of phy ed teachers, coaches, and post-partum moms everywhere. Certainly there were variations. Bent knee, or not bent knee? Arms straight or arms behind head? A twist at the waist to touch opposite elbow/fingers to opposite knee/toes?  Go all the way back to the floor or just partway?

This final variation was the ‘ding’ that led to the death knell for sit-ups. People began to refer to them as ‘crunches’. I believe the change took a firm hold in the ‘80’s, which, as you know if you read yesterday’s post, was a naughty decade with no respect for What Had Come Before.

And by the exponentially naughty ‘90’s, sit-ups were relegated to the corner of a dusty museum along with euphemisms for body parts and reproductive activities, and Shake-a Pudding.

The Prude has proof. There was an explosion those final years of the 20th century. An explosion of violence. Movies, TV, video games, and AB EXERCISES!.

Yes, AB. No longer were they stomach muscles. They were referred to be the short, iron fisted term ‘ABS’. The gentle sit-up for stomach muscles was no more. We now had videos for ‘Killer Abs’, ‘Abs of Steel’ (which, The Prude believes, would severely hinder the digestive process) ‘Six Pack Abs’ and ‘Blast Off Belly Fat’ (which inspires a gruesome mental visual). Less barbarous, but extremely embarrassing, are ‘Hip Hop Abs’
and a series that encourages that we belly dance our way to beastly abs.

The Prude refuses to turn this into a 2 post rant on a single disapproval. There is so much more out in the world that needs disapproval! So she will draw to a close with some of the instruments of torture (below) that are supposed to be kinder and gentler than the mild-mannered, good-natured sit-up. Look them over at your leisure (if you dare), think about the torture chamber machines from the Inquisition,  and then compare them to that innocent exercise of yesteryear.

The much maligned sit up. Does it deserve the scorn and contempt heaped upon it?
Only your tailbone knows for sure.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

An Open Lecture to the 80's and 90's

Your Prude is indignant this morning. Indignant with the entire final fifth of the 20th century.  The 80’s and the 90’s were naughty, naughty decades and if The Prude had them in front of her this morning she would give them a lecture that would set their ears ablaze. YES! A lecture. That is just what they need. What follows is a scathing lecture to the twenty most incorrigible years EVER. (Prudes enjoy making blanket statements)

                                                        Open Lecture to the 80’s and 90’s.

You two should be ashamed of yourselves. You have the place of honor in a great century. You were to be the crescendo, the closing chapters of the great songbook of the 20th century!  But no! You would only give us a saucy cacophony of indecent songs that make any decent person blush. 

Look at those decades that preceded you and  their Trifling Tunes. They may seem inconsequential and trivial, but their importance has been demonstrated at length in this very blog. We have the folks of the first several decades innocently singing the praises of food- bananas (or lack thereof), shortenin’ bread, ice cream, oats and ivy, and meatballs atop or rolling away from spaghetti. But these songs also represented something much larger than the banal words and perky tunes. They MEANT something. (As has been demonstrated at length in this blog.)

And what do YOU come up with, ‘80’s?
‘Eat It’ by Weird Al. Where is the subtlety? The originality? The underlying message? DON’T bother telling me I used to smile when I heard the lyrics. That is beside the point. ‘Eat It’ will not change lives. The angst represented in ‘I Scream for Ice Cream’ and the plea to Save our Animals so movingly demonstrated in ‘Mairzey Doats’ are utterly lacking in ‘Eat It’. Parodies never saved the planet the way ‘Dead Skunk’ did.

Do I see you laughing, ‘90’s? Do you think you are getting away with something just because I’ve been focusing on ‘80’s? I saved you for last! Your Trifling Tunes are so racy and improper that I am speechless. (what? Why am I still talking if I am speechless?
Don’t you know Prudes always express outraged speechlessness in a plethora of words?)
I could not reproduce one single ‘90’s silly song on my blog because every one violates the Code of Prude Ethics (COPE). Your crowning achievement of 2000 (which, as anyone knows, is technically the end of the 200th decade) is a song called ‘Who Let the Dogs Out’
The only acceptable part is:
Who let the dogs out
(woof, woof, woof, woof)
(woof, woof, woof, woof)
(woof, woof, woof, woof)
(woof, woof, woof, woof)
Who let the dogs out (woof, woof, woof, woof)
Who let the dogs out (woof, woof, woof, woof)
(woof, woof, woof, woof)
Compare this with that wonderfully liberating tune from your wiser, more mature sibling, ‘50’s. ‘How Much is That Doggie in the Window (arf arf)’
‘Arf’ is more dignified, civilized and melodious than ‘woof’. The 50’s song and that entire 10 years are more dignified, civilized and melodious than yours. You should be ashamed. You can go now ‘90’s. The way you are rolling your eyes I can tell you are beyond the power of a respectable lecture. I only hope we NEVER have another decade with despicable trifling tunes like yours.

‘80’s. You have one redeeming song and I want to commend you for it. It is a song that links both halves of your great century together. A song that has not one offensive line or note. A song that encourages us all, throughout the ages, regardless of race, creed, or food preferences, to raise our hand up to our fellow humans, and poke them right in the eyes.
Thank you, ‘80’s, for ‘The Curly Shuffle’. It covers a multitude of naughty songs. You can go to your room now and think about our little talk. But first, let’s sing together:

When me & my friends go out on the town.
We can't sit still we can't sit down.
We don't like to fight and we don't like to scuffle.
But we dance all night doing the Curly Shuffle.

Hey Moe, Hey Moe (Hey Moe, Hey Moe) nyah nyah....
But we never miss a chance, we get up and dance
doing the Curly Shuffle.

Well me & my friends love Larry & Moe.
We love Curly's brother Shemp & his fat clone Joe.
It's such a delight to boogie and hustle.
Dancin' all night doing the Curly Shuffle.

Me & my friends we all love to see.
Comedy classics on late night TV.
Those knuckle heads, oh they get in a scuffle.
They push & they shove doing the Curly Shuffle.

TOMORROW: We will discuss something-anything- that does not involve music.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Offensive, Disgusting and Nauseating. Oh My!

Today will be a difficult post. I know it will offend/horrify some of you. I beg you to forgive me but ask you to understand. It is not The Prude’s fault. Blame it on the ‘70’s.

(That is all there is to my prologue this morning. I believe it is my shortest ever. Today may mark a turning point in this blog. Time will only tell.)

The Prude remembers the music of the 70’s well. Until disco came along and she spent the rest of the decade with cotton in her ears.  There were many Trifling Tunes in that era, and I am sure you have your favorites.  But right now, let’s just choose 2.  You may want to have a plastic-lined trash bag next to you. And possibly some 7-Up and crackers.

‘I Don’t Like Spiders and Snakes’

I don't like spiders and snakes
And that ain't what it takes to love me
You fool, you fool
I don't like spiders and snakes
And that ain't what it takes to love me
Like I wanna be loved by you

(The Prude feels the rest of the song is too risqué and refuses to reprint the lyrics.)
Those of you who do not like spiders and snakes are either saying a hearty ‘AMEN’ right now or you are cowering in the bathroom with the lights on (after inspecting the corners.)
But some things have to be said. The Prude believes this song single-handedly ushered in the ‘Goth’ phase AND inspired the present Tattoo Mania that has taken over the epidermis of the nation.

The next song, inexplicably, was a favorite of Young Prude and she would belt it out at peak lung capacity while listening to WCFL on the car radio. The Prude’s Parents were not happy but could find nothing objectionable (apart form the obvious) in the lyrics, so they cringed and let her sing:

Crossin' the highway late last night
He shoulda looked left and he shoulda looked right
He didn't see the station wagon car
The skunk got squashed and there you are!

You got yer
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
You got yer dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin' to high Heaven!

Take a whiff on me, that ain't no rose!
Roll up yer window and hold yer nose
You don't have to look and you don't have to see
'Cause you can feel it in your olfactory

You got yer
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
You got yer dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin' to high Heaven!

Yeah you got yer dead cat and you got yer dead dog
On a moonlight night you got yer dead toad frog
Got yer dead rabbit and yer dead raccoon
The blood and the guts they're gonna make you swoon!
You got yer
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
You got yer dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin' to high Heaven!

C'mon stink!

You got it!
It's dead, it's in the middle
Dead skunk in the middle!
Dead skunk in the middle of the road
Stinkin' to high heaven!
All over the road, technicolor man!
Oh, you got pollution
It's dead, it's in the middle
And it's stinkin' to high, high Heaven

This is one of those songs that needs to be printed in its entirety. Miss a verse and you lose the effectiveness.

The Prude, who can’t pat a dog without immediately scrubbing her hands with Dial soap, is not sure what appeal this song held. It could be that it represented her rebellious phase.

The Prude’s parents should have listened more carefully. This song would pave the way (notice The Prude’s use of a road analogy) for topics that are, to this day, hotly debated in government houses, coffee shops and by unbiased new channels. Let The Prude help you unravel the lyrics and what they represent.

The station wagon car: The cause of the problem. A gas-guzzler. Used by families with more children than their carbon footprint can bear.
The dead skunk IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD: Obvious. Those on the left and the right are ready to squash those in the middle, where (it is implied) they stink up the whole political arena.

The other dead animals: They represent evils that need to be squashed. Dead cats and dogs are obviously those who fight like the above quadrupeds, so they represent WAR.
Dead toad frogs represent pharmaceutical companies. Or drug cartels. It is hard to be sure. Dead rabbits and raccoons? The fur industry!

The encouragement to roll up the window to protect one’s olfactory a clever use of irony, in fact telling us NOT to ignore the problem(s). The grammatical structure (or lack thereof) has been interpreted as:
a) begging for more traditional curriculum in the schools
b) nose-thumbing at more traditional curriculum in the school.

The final verse has a not-so-subtle diatribe against pollution, (oh, you got pollution) the phrase ‘C’mon, stink!’ shows the militant nature of the songwriter, and the final line, ‘stinkin’ to high high Heaven’ has long been debated. It is either the defiant bellow of an atheist, or a devout prayer for Divine Guidance.

We will draw a merciful curtain on the 70’s. Your Prude had no idea she would wax so eloquent. Or travel so far down this road. Blame it on the dead skunk.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Prude Drags Herself (and you) Through the '60's

The Prude, while visiting some dear friends last evening, had a revelation. She is Wordy. Very very wordy. So very wordy that she is fighting the temptation to check her online Thesaurus to find synonyms for ‘wordy’. ‘VERBOSE’ jumps off the screen and slaps Your Prude around a bit. (she didn’t fight the temptation with much gusto)

Proof of her wordiness: the evaluation of Trifling Tunes was to be a one-day post. It is on it’s 3rd day. Those of you not enamored with musical retrospectives, stick with me. We should be done by tomorrow.  Or sooner, given The Prude’s miniscule attention span.

Without further ado, let’s examine Trifling Tunes of the 1960’s.
(Part of The Prude’s verbosity could stem from her penchant for long, long lead-ins to her posts)

No one song can portray the cataclysmic madcap era that was the 60’s. So we will peruse several and Your Prude will tell you where they lead.

FIRST, as promised yesterday, we’ll examine the multiculturalism that was beginning to flex its muscles. ‘On Top of Spaghetti’ (along with its minor theme extolling the benefits of sneezing into one’s sleeve) demonstrates the willingness of the USA to put that whole Mussolini thing behind us and embrace our Italian citizens and their contributions to our national cuisine.

More subtle, but still indicative, is ‘Snoopy and the Red Baron’. Our willingness to poke gentle fun at Germany proved that we really did believe that they had changed this time and were not planning to ignite WWIII.

And of course, ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah (A Letter From Camp)’ demonstrated unabashed pride in the Bronx dialect.

SECOND, the following poignant lyrics are from a song called, appropriately, ‘Let It All Hang Out’

It's rainin' inside a big brown moon
How does that mess you baby up, leg (take note of this ‘random’ word- we’ll come back to it)
Eatin' a Reuben sandwich with sauerkraut (which validates the German multiculturalism in 'FIRST' above)
Don't stop now, baby, let it all hang out

It does not take a huge leap of logic to get from Point A (letting it all hang out) to Point B ( the present gentlemen’s style of pants which requires a belt at mid-thigh instead of mid-waist, and an inseam that begins slightly below the knee) The random use of the word ‘leg’ in line 2 is the obvious connection between A and B.

Your Prude is running out of steam. There was going to be a THIRD but even with song titles such as ‘My Boomerang Won’t Come Back’ ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down, Sport’, ‘The Ballad of Irving’ and ‘A Boy Named Sue’ she has lost her vision.

We can only wait until tomorrow to see if she can work up enough wit and wisdom to evaluate the songs of the next few decades. In the meantime, come tiptoe through the tulips. With me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

The 50's. And only the 50's.

Good manners dictate Your Prude ask you if you had an enjoyable weekend. But forgive her if she seems distracted during your response. She is just so excited to get started on Trifling Tunes with the Prude: The Last Half of the Twentieth Century Which Technically Includes the Year 2000. (Oh, how Prudes love long, long titles which are fully self-explanatory)

Last Friday, we left the pop song culture asking the question that would eventually lead to the obsession with both fiber-rich diets containing oats, (commonly called ‘doats’ in the 40’s), and the vegan craze, influenced by ‘little lambs eating divey’.  We call it ivy now and charge $90 a plate for it at upscale Chicagoland restaurants.

Follow Your Prude to the fabulous 50’s. We hear much about the oppressed women of this era. They had manned the munitions plants and kept the home fires burning during the war in the 40’s, but, a mere 10 years later, could only be found in their kitchens and country clubs, wearing aprons and high heels (THE fashion accessories of the post-war decade).
But before you mourn the miserable existence of these ladies, please know that mid-century females were an empowered and powerful group.
The Prude has proof.

One of the hit songs of the 50’s is referred to as a ‘Nonsense Song’. Nonsense. ‘How Much is That Doggie in the Window’ created a liberated ripple which swelled to a conscious-raised wave which churned into a foundation-garment burning riptide which burgeoned into a Tidal Wave of Feminism.

Read the lyrics along with me. Hum if you want to.
How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)
The one with the waggley tail
How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf)
I do hope that doggie's for sale

I must take a trip to California
And leave my poor sweetheart alone
If he has a dog he won't be lonesome
And the doggie will have a good home

(Chorus. arf arf)

I read in the papers there are robbers (roof, roof)
With flashlights that shine in the dark
My love needs a doggie to protect him
And scare them away with one bark
(There is another verse but since it doesn’t support The Prude’s thesis she is eliminating it)
Well? Well?  Do you see what is happening here? A young woman (we’ll presume her youth because she delights in words like ‘doggie’ and ‘waggley’) has a boyfriend (sweetheart)  with whom she spends a lot of time (we will generously assume they are not co-habiting because she refers to him in that old-fashioned term ‘sweetheart’. And it was the 50’s) She is a girl of independent means because she can afford to buy the doggie with her own money.

This woman is going, by herself, to California. Why? She may have been headed to Hollywood, but The Prude prefers to believe she was going to work at the Lockheed aerospace research plant to defend her country from the Cold War threat. The Prude feels she can back this up with the young woman’s desire to DEFEND her sweetheart while she is gone.

Which leads to the final proof of a modern and liberated female. The young woman is buying a dog to protect her sweetheart from robbers. We can easily conclude that up to this point, the young woman was his chief defender. And she did it all in high heels and an apron.

Tomorrow, we head into a tune from the 60’s that encouraged multiculturalism. The Prude needs to wrap things up now and attend to her doggie. The one with the waggley tail.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Trifling Tunes with Prude

The Prude was asked this week if she ever has writer’s block.
Which leads us right into today’s post.

Since she has nothing original, today she is going to reflect on some trifling tunes from the past. Those of you with young child contact may recognize that The Prude even pilfered the title of today’s post from a certain cucumber who sings silly songs.

We’ll begin our retrospective with a song popular at the turn of the last century-
‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’

The 2 verses that surround the familiar chorus are about a girl demanding that her boyfriend take her to a ballgame on her date:
Katie Casey was base ball mad.
Had the fever and had it bad;
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev'ry sou Katie blew.
On a Saturday, her young beau
Called to see if she'd like to go,
To see a show but Miss Kate said,
"No, I'll tell you what you can do."
(here feel free to sing the chorus you should all know. and love)
Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names;
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:
(Chorus again- you can do it!)
We know where this song is headed, right? Directly to Women’s Right to Vote.
Her demand for peanuts and Cracker Jack into infinity led to tooth decay and peanut allergies.

Follow the bouncing ball with me to the 1920’s.
Two of the favorite songs were ‘I Scream, You Scream, We All Scream for Ice Cream’
and ‘Yes, We Have No Bananas’.
These songs were either written in anticipation of the hard time coming under the Great Depression (what is so great about a depression, The Prude asks?) or they were written under the influence of bathtub gin.

The 1930’s continued its obsession with food as the nation sang the praises of ‘Shortenin’ Bread’. This very sad song begins with 3 children sick in bed, and somehow degenerates into a young man stealing kitchen utensils and kidnapping his girlfriend.
Please read about these pitiful folks, and before you judge too harshly, remember that it was the Depression. The Great One.

Shortenin' Bread

Three little children, lying in bed
Two was sick an' the other 'most dead
Sent for the doctor, the doctor said
Give those children some short'nin' bread

Mama's little baby loves short'nin', short'nin'
Mama's little baby loves short'nin' bread,... (x2)

Put on the skillet, slip on the lid
Mama's gonna make a little short'nin' bread
That ain't all she's gonna do
Mammy's goin' to make a little coffee too

When those children, sick in bed
Heard that talk about short'nin' bread
Popped up well to dance and sing
Skipped around and cut the pigeon wing

Slipped to the kitchen, slipped up the lid
Filled my pocket full of short'nin' bread
Stole the skillet, stole the lid
Stole the gal makin' short'nin' bread

Caught me with the skillet, caught me with the lid
Caught me with the gal makin' short'nin' bread
Paid a dollar for the skillet, a dollar for the lid
Spent a year in jail eatin' short'nin' bread

The Prude will need to end this little musical interlude about mid-century. Please come back next Monday as we ruminate on classics from the late 1900’s.
And for your ruminating pleasure over the weekend, sing the words to this wonderfully moving hit  from the 1940’s:
Mairzy doats and dozy doats
And liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?
Yes! Mairzy doats and dozy doats
and liddle lamzy divey
A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?