Monday, February 28, 2011

Help the Log Jam at the Prude's Distal Interphalangeal Joints! (please?)

The Prude’s post this morning is tingling on the tips of her fingers.
She as an idea of what to write. Oh glory!
Full blown sentences sprang into her head this weekend. (others may poetically allude to sentences being birthed in her head but The Prude just can’t go there.)
The sentences, propelled by the idea and fueled by her love of the topic, traveled
from her brain down her arms, into her 10 digits,  and await the magical moment when they transition from fingers to keyboard to lines on ‘Document 17’ which waits patiently to receive them.
(Document 17 has its work cut out for it.  It must be vigilant to autocorrect mis-spellings and typos, gently reprove sentence fragments and haughtily demand that the wayward Prude ‘consider revising’.)

So what is the hold up?  you may ask.
Why are those wonderful ideas log jammed somewhere around her distal interphalangeal joints?
Drawing not to scale

Because she can’t think of an introductory sentence.

She has been trying and trying to come up with something that will grab your attention so you will want to keep reading on a topic that, though unloved by many, is close to The Prude’s heart.

She of course realizes the irony here.
You probably quit reading after the 4th convoluted sentence because this post seems headed to oblivion and beyond.

But Your Prude is helpless. After years of teaching the need for a ‘grabber sentence’ she can’t jump into a topic with only the bare (see how distressed I am? I used the word ‘bare’) facts.

No! Not helpless!  She will employ you, the kind and polite who have taken time to read to this point, possibly in hopes that there will actually be a point.

No. Not today. But you can let The Prude know which of the following opening sentences will release that clogged throng of ideas.
Which of these would make you want to come back tomorrow and read more on The Prude’s Guilty Pleasure?

Do you like:
1) The Prude struggled through the stormy Math and Science week, but  her pot at the end of the rainbow overflows with Grammar Days.
2) The time has come to bring cowering Grammar out of the closet and defend it against those who misuse and malign it. (think that is too risqué?)
3) It’s Grammar Week! Please hold your applause until the last t has been crossed and the final i dotted!

Reader. The envelope please.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Don’t look a 5-minute gift horse in the mouth

Picture the Sistine Chapel ceiling. While you are doing so, hum something from Handel’s Messiah, and imagine you are consuming a French pastry, say pain au chocolat, which requires 16 steps and an entire day to create. And it would really help make The Prude’s point if you were snuggled deep inside an afghan someone knit or crocheted for you, preferably someone who has competed in some sort of marathon and read War and Peace.

Of course you see the common denominator here  (I chose denominator over bond because it is still Math and Science Week).
All of the above accomplishments require talent and commitment.
Most of all they require that those gifted with creative or physical prowess also muster up enough stick-to-it-iveness to get the job done.

Alternately, The Prude can do almost anything in 5 minutes.
She can diet for 5 minutes.
Exercise for that span of time.
Knit anything for 300 seconds before it becomes hopelessly tangled.
She can throw together casseroles in the blink of an eye.
She can usually come up with 300 words or less for this blog which can be read in less than 5 minutes.

 But she can’t seem to master much of anything that requires intensive effort and skill.

This had her a little blue earlier this week.
Is a 5 Minute Gift a gift worth having? Can it make a difference?
Why keep writing a blog that not only has nothing significant to say, but says insignificance in such a confusing and mis-typed manner?

Then Thursday happened.  The Prude had fun writing her blog.
She enjoyed each comment. 
She took heart.

So God decided to give her a 5-minute gift? So be it.
He also blessed her with people willing to take five minutes from packed-full days and read her fluffiness.

Thank you, friends, for the encouragement.
The Prude will give her Gift Horse with a short hug, and go take her 5 minute shower.

Embrace your own Gift Horse this weekend, and if you have 5 minutes to spare on Monday, please come back for a visit!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Planned Parental Obsolescence

We continue Math and Science Week (you of course noticed the reference to brain function yesterday) with Technology Day.

Come into The Prude’s living room.
Witness the unfolding drama that occurs when those born in the Rotary Phone Generation trip over something created in the ‘Think You Have the Latest Gadget? Wait a Minute’ era.

The Prude and her husband are settled in front of the fireplace, ready to watch a DVD on their $19.99 DVD player.

The Prude inserts the disc. (disk?)
This is The Prude’s job. Her husband had almost learned to put a VHS tape in a VCR when an Evil Genius somewhere declared VHS’s unconstitutional.

The Prude pushes seven buttons on 3 remotes in a prescribed order. It has taken her over a year to master the order.

The TV indicates the DVD is loading. and loading. and loading.
Then it displays that dreaded phrase ‘No Disc’ (Disk?)

The Prude’s husband peers at the TV and says, “Honey. You didn’t put the thingy in.”
Prude: “Yes I did! It lies!”

Prude and her husband look at each other and, in panicked unison, shout the technology SOS to their youngest child: “Help! This SOandSo won’t work!”

Youngest son leaves his own den of technological wizardry and mounts the steps, mumbling about selfish brothers who marry and leave him to care for decrepit parents.
He grabs remote #1 and pushes buttons.
He grabs remote #2 and synchronizes it with remotes #1 and #3.
He readjusts cables and power strips.
He pronounces the $19.99 DVD player Dead in the Water.
He sees tears well up in his parent’s eyes.
He takes the HD DVD player from the den. He attempts to make it work.
His parents hold hands and make wishes on stars.
He announces that an HD player won’t work on the ancient non-HD TV.
More tears. He hands his father a tissue and gets his laptop.
He attaches this cable to the HD machine and that cable to the TV and hundreds of cords and connections litter the floor.
His parents stand helplessly by, trying to comprehend each step as he warns them,
“Someday I won’t be living at home, and then who’s going to help you do this stuff?”
Think it’s too late to give him a little brother?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to avoid nurturing a Prude (unless you really want one)

Little Prude, in the carefree pre-Freckles song days

How, you may wonder, does a Prude become a Prude?
Is it nature? Or nurture?
Or panicked brain cells gone awry?

In Your Prude’s case it is a combination or all of the above.
The Prude’s parents raised her on a regular diet of Euphemisms (see ‘The Beauty of Euphemisms’ from sometime last fall) and utter disregard of the more indelicate aspects of physiological functions.

For example, when someone, say, partook of too many beans and felt a build-up of internal combustion that couldn’t be contained before one made a rush to the restroom, the Prude has no memory of anyone saying ‘excuse me’
Why? Because the family ignored the event as though it hadn’t happen.
We would just hold our corporate breaths till we turned delicately blue and hoped any lingering aroma would have dissipated.

The above indicates that The Prude was nurtured into her current condition.
HOWEVER, the nature side manifested itself early.
The Prude’s young brain, with its delicate sensibilities, was at the crucial stage of development where any misguided word or image or phrase could send  fledging Prude cells into full-grown flight.

At this pivotal moment of brain blossoming, the Prude sprouted Freckles.
They erupted across her cheeks and nose and for some reason inspired the Prude’s Mother to sing the following chorus:
 ‘She has freckles on her But! she is nice, she is nice’

The Prude was horrified.
What was her mother doing? And why?
And would she sing the song in public?
When other people saw The Prude’s freckles, would they belt out the chorus?
Also in public?

The Prudish brain cells experienced unprecedented expansion. They leapt from the Nest of Toleration and have spent the decades since flitting frantically in The Prude’s brain to avoid sight or sound of the above–mentioned indelicacies of life.

Parents of Potential Prudes, or even potential parents of PP’s, let this be a warning.
Choose your songs carefully.
Guard your freckled children.
Unless of course you want to raise a Prude.
In that case This Prude will send you the rest of the words to The Song.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Could someone tilt that starboard axis to port?

Yesterday The Prude tackled the mathematical concept of ratios.
She hopes the technical language didn’t confuse anyone.
Because today we delve into the nitty gritty world of physical science.

The Prude has an issue with the earth’s axis.

She did extensive research this morning and learned that the earth has a wobbly axis (and at this point one wonders if the ancient soap opera should not have been more aptly named ‘As The World Wobbles’).

And (don’t be afraid, but it this is a scientific fact as evidenced by the following image from the axis, possibly bored with it’s present course, is plotting a new wobble.

Do you see that sometime in the next 12,000 or so years (since this isn’t Math Monday we don’t have to figure it out to the decimal place) the axis that skewers the earth will wobble to an entirely different direction?

And at some point in its journey, will it be pointing a little more up and down?
Because The Prude is convinced that the earth’s axis may be to blame for cakes that come out of the oven looking like this:

Or the Seasonal Photo Wall in the kitchen that, no matter how many times is is adjusted, lists to starboard:

(For those sailors among us- no offense but please don’t correct me on port and starboard.
It is all relative at the Prude’s house.)

Or the Family Wall of Fame, which, as family walls are wont to do, shift towards or away from each other, possibly due to a particularly indecisive axial wobble.

Every week The Prude needs to adjust these pictures so they are on an even plane.
Every birthday she needs to slather more icing on the downward slope of the cake.

Can anyone tell her how soon the axis will attain the even keel?
Because she has another birthday cake to bake in March.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Hold your ratio! June is Coming!

This week The Prude, in the interests of appealing to readers across the educational spectrum, will expand beyond her usual shores of historical fact and fiction, the fine arts and the dictates of grammar.
This week we will move into areas in which she seldom carouses.
Math and Science.

Today we’ll jump into the Spectrum of Mathematical Ratios.

The Prude dwells in one of the American States in an area vaguely designated as the Upper Midwest. It is not so northerly to suggest all Paul Bunyan all the time, nor is it so mid-westernly to bring to mind exclusively cornfields, wheat and the occasional soybean.

There is much to commend this state.  Rolling hills. Picturesque farms. Colby Jack cheese. And many bodies of water.

The problem is that there are only 2 months of the year during which one can fully,  with no accoutrements or encumbrances, enjoy and participate in the Outdoors.

Let’s begin with October.

Isn’t it pretty?
Many people spend the entire month of October outdoors.
Because they know that November through May often bring this:

We are either anticipating it, living through it, or cleaning up after it in those 7 months.

But we endure. Because after May, when the final threat of snow is over, comes June. 

And once again many folks remain outdoors for the 30 days June hath.
With good reason.
Remember those bodies of water that make this Upper Midwest state so appealing?
One of their primary functions is as mosquito hatcheries.
They perform this function admirably, and from July through September The Prude and
her fellow statesmen don their Deet, erect their screen houses, engage in the state dance (The Mosquito Swat, Slap and Sidestep) and cower indoors after dusk like the residents of Transylvania evading notice of Count Dracula. Mosquitoes that don't depart till October.
Even these brave, Deet-wearing souls abandoned the outdoors after dusk

You may be asking- I see the geography in this post. I see the analogies and the foreshadowing. Where is the promised mathematical ratio?
Read on.
2 months out of 12 (2:12) are months of bliss, aka 1/6th of a year.
Leaving 5/6ths (10:12) of battling the elements and the winged creatures.
Is it worth the struggle?  Mathematically the odds are against us.
But aesthetically it can’t be beat.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Are you Pro? Or Con Flict?

When you happen upon disputes, contentions or strife, do you feel your adrenaline bubble? Does the altercation mobilization portion of your brain hit an all cylinders? Do you want to jump right into the fray?

Or, Dear Friend, do you excuse yourself to the restroom when people around you start to argue?
Do you fly for the remote when guests on news or talk shows raise their voices, point their fingers and shout over each other during a ‘debate’?
Does your stomach start to bob and weave in anticipation of the coming storm of tension, accusations and anger that occur so often in group meetings?

Can you see validity of both sides of a hotly contested debate as you stand wobbling in the middle with jelly-like feet that can’t take a stand in either direction?
Or, if you feel strongly about an issue, do all the well-thought-out arguments and stances formulated in your brain somehow, on the way to verbalization, become, ‘uh…uh…’

Right now, at the capital of the Prude’s state, a lot of conflict is occurring with no resolution in sight.
People come day after day to protest.
People are angry.
People are demanding their rights.
People are being interviewed by foreign journalists.
The Prude is very concerned that people are using trees as outdoor restrooms.

And, while she has opinions, she is hesitant to express them.
Cowardice, you may say?
But her fear isn’t of what others think of her.
It is horror of Conflict.
She is against it.

Outside of religious convictions, it is one of the few things The Prude will take a firm stand on.
Down with conflict.
If 25,000 Prudes were at the state capital right now, you would see protest signs stating things like ‘That's just My Opinion' or  'What do YOU think?’
And everyone would leave before noon because they wouldn’t want to use the public restrooms.

Dear Friend, don't believe for one moment that The Prude wouldn't defend your person or your rights, even to the (hopefully non-gory) death. Just don't expect her to shout and point while doing so.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Nineteen, Schmineteen

Today is The Prude’s baby’s 19th birthday.

He is mildly excited because he will get some favorite food, a few Facebook greetings, a cake of his choosing, and probably a few gift cards out of it.
But to him, 19 is not a milestone year.

6 was a milestone because it meant he needed both hands to count his age.
11 was also– two hands were not enough to contain finger/year correspondance.

13 of course entered teenhood.

16 meant driver’s license and dangling a sleepless mom on the end of a string as he caroused at Culver’s till 10 pm and  drove home ON HIS OWN.

18 of course means adulthood. Weird things with taxes.

21 means further recognition of adulthood, a possibility of someone legally offering him some beers in spite of his mother’s scowling facial contortions.

And card manufacturers ensure that 30, 40 50 and 60 are greeted with their very own cards, people who throw you nerve-wracking surprise parties, and confetti that is available in each of the above nice round numbers to remind one that there are no longer enough fingers, toes or teeth to keep track of one's years.

65 is an arbitrary government introduced landmark and 75 is three-quarters of a century, and every single year after that is an astounding gift.

But 19?
Nothing special.

Except for his mother.
She has cherished every year and every milestone.
She has prayed countless prayers and given countless thanks.
She loves all 76 and ¾ inches of him.

Happy birthday, baby.
Nineteen is a wonderful number.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Does the Dog Die?

In this one old Jack the faithful brindle bulldog dies

Today The Prude shares her final criteria for movie-choosing.
Did you catch it from the title?

Scarred by the deaths of Old Yeller, Old Dan and Little Ann, Flag the Yearling, Midge the otter and some horse The Prude can’t remember now, she became very cautious about the books she choose.
She would read the end first to see if whatever critter she would grow to love survived past the last chapter.

Movies, especially in the Prude’s day, weren’t so easy to cheat on.
She couldn’t fast forward or skip ahead to the end.
She just had to sit, trying to keep from falling in love with whatever mammal was featured, in case it had to be killed off in the end.
(Please don’t take offense, but she could never get too worked up about the demise of amphibians. Or even Charlotte the Arachnid)

So she took to investigation–demanding that her friends and colleagues give away movie endings in the pre-VHS and DVD days, and, of course, cheating and skipping to the end once the days of movie rentals came along.

As she aged, she expanded the categories:
Does one/both of the loving parents die? (Almost any Disney movie)
Does the loving boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife die? (A Walk to Remember)
Does anything happen to one of the sweet and loving children? (My Girl)

You’ve probably noticed that as the categories expanded, her choice of movies contracted.

These days, because she doesn’t think she can watch ‘The Sound of Music’ one more time, she is trying to add in movies that violate some criteria:
She watched Enchanted even though the mother died.
She watched the Bourne movies even though the girlfriend drowned.
She watched Jane Eyre even though sweet Helen died.

She watched ‘Rascal’ even though- wait, Rascal Raccoon just got set free in the end.
She watched ‘That D*** Cat’ in spite of the cat… who lived through the violence.
She watched ‘The Incredible Journey’ and made it through–say–the dogs and cat all made it through too!

Whaddya know! The Prude’s record of watching only movies with no beloved mammal passings is unsullied!
So… anyone want to give away the ending to ‘Secretariat’?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How to Choose a Prude-Approved Movie

People who aren’t prudes, or aren’t personally acquainted with one, may regard us as an exotic species (using exotic in the broadest possible sense to include the blandly bizarre).

If non-prudes (let’s call them Prawns– for no other reason than that Prawns sound non-prudish) ever consider Prudes and their Ways, they may wonder what criteria Prudes use to choose movies.

Your Prude can’t speak for all Prudes.
But below are several Extremely Important Considerations she takes into account:

1) The amount and expanse of epidermis on display, including:

a) actual outer epidermis.
The Prude prefers to see no more of it than Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon displayed in their beach movies
Prude Criteria for Minimal Epidermis Coverage

b) dermis and hypodermis.
These are the layers you see peeled back
b-1) during the autopsy in any crime scene investigation shows, or
b-2) horror movies. 
The Prude earnestly investigates her ceiling for spider webs during  b-1, and avoids b-2 like a flesh-eating plague.

2) The type, extent and presentation of physically contacted interpersonal relationships.

a) Kissing
Fine from the chin upward, with lips pursed, or, at most, held slightly ajar.
Many prudes would include hand to elbow in this category, but hand/arm kissing makes Your Prude up-erp a little in her mouth.

b) Family Planning via Procreation, with these categories:
b-1) inception of potential pregnancy
The Prude’s personal favorite action shots of this act include a mouth-slightly-ajar smooch between a married couple followed by a shot of the woman with a burgeoning tummy.
b-2) labor and delivery
Here, The Prude and her husband trade spaces. He is not a big fan of an in-action Miracle of Birth and takes over spider-web-on-the-ceiling inspection.

3) Violence
Prawns may be surprised to learn that, unless the violence includes copious amounts of dermis and hypodermis, The Prude is not too shook up about it in movies. Unlike Categories #1 and #2 above, movie violence is fake. Please don’t point out to her that the dermis and hypodermis are fake also. You may convince her head, but not her nausea meter.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of
How the Prude Chooses a Movie

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Prude Household Feels the Love

Come with Your Prude on a little jaunt through Prude Family thoughts as they arise on Valentine’s Day 2011.

Married Sons: I’m married to the most beautiful woman in the world… do married couples have to give each other gifts? Mom & Dad never did…

Unmarried college son: Good thing I’m single. I can’t afford to buy a girl anything.

Prude Husband: It’s February 14 today? Now why does that sound familiar?

Prude: Ahh, Valentine’s Day.
What a great routine we had when the boys were small!
Dress them in cute red shirts.
Change to less cute red shirts after spilled breakfast cereal incident.
Read a moving, tear-inducing Valentine’s poem.
Through misty eyes see them whacking each other.
Threaten to read poem 20 more times unless they stopped fighting.
Get out paper, scissors, glue, glitter and lace to make Valentine cards.
Spend 3 hours getting glue out of hair and the carpet and finding glitter in places glitter shouldn’t be found.
Change less-cute red shirts into shirts with a modicum of red somewhere- anywhere.
Cut lunchtime sandwiches into heart shapes.
Find them trying to squish little brother’s face into the heart cookie cutter.
Mix up dough for sugar cookies. Battle commences over attempts to eat raw dough and/or shape it into weapons of little-brother destruction
Cut out 8 dozen heart shaped cookies.
Bake. Burn half because of tragedies involving flour, eggs and bloody noses.
Make icing, add food coloring.
Notice a direct correlation between finger marks in icing and red lips, teeth and tongues of boys.
Frost 10 cookies before boys throw selves to ground in violent reaction against any more projects.
Spend 3 hours cleaning kitchen while boys figure out how to find and eat 3 dozen cookies.
Change dough and icing spattered sort of reddish shirts for whatever comes out of the drawer first.
Light candles for dinner. Light again after eldest blows out, Again after middle puffs at them. Use fire extinguisher after youngest jerks tablecloth to get at them.
Serve heart-shaped pizza for dinner with red jello-jiggler hearts and salvaged cookies.
3 interruptions by vomiting boys.
Tuck everyone in bed and start planning the shamrock themed St. Patrick’s Day party.

Ahh, Valentine’s Day 2011. A day to reminisce, count one’s blessings, and haul out the heart-shaped cookie cutter.
The sole use for the Prude's cookie cutter

Friday, February 11, 2011

Only You can Save the PAMs

What The Prude would like to see on PAMs

The Prude is aware that you can’t turn on your television or check your mail or answer phones calls from folks who snuck past your NoCall list without a request that you assist an underprivileged people or creature group.

But she is going to add one more.

A certain class of persons live and move and have their beings among us and they NEED OUR HELP.
 Dear Friend, watch television for any length of time. Read almost any magazine except ‘Highlights’ or ‘Taste of Home’ and you will see these unfortunates paraded about and exploited.

So The Prude is organizing a Clothing Drive for
Perfume Ad Models ( a PAM-CD)

Perfume ad models have a severely limited wardrobe.  Their primary apparel appears to be olive oil.
And while it no doubt keeps the pores nicely hydrated, olive oil has little to recommend it in the warmth and comfort line. Goose bumps, the resulting secondary covering for our insubstantially-clad models, have been Photo Shopped out.
Look at the poor wee bairn’s faces. Do you ever see a PAM smile? No. They are pouting. They need CLOTHING, for pity’s sake!

Perfume manufacturers have stubbornly refused The Prude’s request that they stop exploiting these wretchedly under-clad PAMs and start covering them with fabric.
So The Prude is taking matters into her own hands.

Start saving up all your old clothing. Probably size 0 or -2 for the female PAMs (although larger/looser sizes are welcome) and size Chest Enormous, Hipbone 18” for the male PAMs.

We won’t stand idly by any more, clad demurely from collarbone to kneecap, while these underfed youngsters are forced to model perfume by wearing little more than the actual perfume.  We’ll gather up the clothing and send it to the greedy perfume makers with the message that if they won’t cover their models, we will.

We can do this, friends. WE can make a difference. The Prude has a dream that one day we will turn on our televisions and see smiling PAMs clad in loose, opaque garb. You may even recognize something from our PAM-CD.

Is it too much for The Prude to hope they name a perfume after her?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Satchel of Disapproval is Replaced by the Cache of Corny Photos

Picture Your Prude right now.
She is sitting in front of her (desktop) computer.
She is rested and refreshed from several days in the Northwoods with her husband, away from TV, internet access and major appliances.
She has a rosy glow of windburn in her cheeks and she should have an entire arsenal of Disapprovals in her Satchel of Disapprovals.
And she discovers she left the Satchel of Disapproval somewhere in the Northwoods- possibly at the McDonalds that gave out free coffee.

Never fear. She is having the satchel sent posthaste and it should be here in time for a hearty disapproval tomorrow.
But today she needs to resort to her old standby:
Photojournalistic Forays

The Prude titles this one ‘Evidence that the Upper Midwest is Getting Tired of Winter’

The snow is bored with falling vertically and attempts a horizontal movement. Next trick? A full 360.

 Folks trade in fur hats and facewarmers for swim caps and goggles.

An entire gambling industry has sprung up to see which icicle will reach the ground first.

Hardwood Chiropractic Clinics are the hot new industry, while

the ice business has gone cold.

Dressing in Caribbean colors lifts the spirits.


Roof rakes have lost their effectiveness
And even Vince Lombardi has trouble keeping his hands warm.

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Prude and the 21st Century

Small portion of the Lapsed Habit

The Prude was quite fond of the 20th century.  Almost all of her favorite people were born in that century. Most of her favorite books were written then, many of her favorite TV shows and movies were filmed then, and ranch dressing was invented.

The Prude made her own entrance into the 20th century about 3 weeks late, and she has been losing ground ever since.
Television remotes often confuse her, she still prefers a land line to a cell phone, and she thinks the Green Hornet from the 60’s is much cuter than the 2011 version. She has yet to figure out how to gracefully abbreviate years. Saying “WWII ended in ‘44”, or “Perry Mason first aired in ‘57” or “We finally broke down and bought a computer in ‘98” is easy and natural. But The Prude still is adjusting to shortening the years since 1999. Her nephew was born in oh-oh.  Her dog was born in oh-six and her blog was born in ten?
It just doesn’t have the same rhythm.

And now The Prude is facing a situation. She won’t have access to her desktop computer for a few days.
And- did you guess this one already?- she doesn’t own a laptop.

To do her justice, she has progressed to the stage where she is not only THINKING of buying a laptop, she even has a passing acquaintance with the laptops of her sons.
She has used them often enough to remember that there is no mouse, but not often enough to master the art of gently tapping that little touch pad.

So The Prude will not be able to blog for a few days. This worries her greatly- she was so determined to never miss a weekday post, no matter how trifling or confusing the topic may be.  She worries that missing a few days will relegate the blog to the same place every lapsed habit goes to- the ‘Lapsed Habit’ pile. It may join her unfinished volume of  ‘War and Peace’ her unfinished bags of 10 Veggies a Day, and her Shake Weight.

So, if you don’t see a post by the end of the week you can safely assume ‘The Prude Disapproves’ is in the Lapsed Habit pile, tangled up in yarn from ‘Everyday Knitting Projects’ and squashed between the balls from “Learn Juggling in 10 Minutes a Day’

But maybe- just maybe- eleven will be the year she doesn’t add anything to the Lapsed Habit Pile. And finishes reading ‘War and Peace’.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Once upon a time, people believed the world was flat, square and symmetrical.
City planners, to make best use of world space, planned and built cities on a grid system.
Some streets ran north and south. Others ran east and west. And they were all perpendicular to each other and anyone out for a stroll could easily make their way out of the city by heading straight in one direction.
They would eventually fall off the edge of earth, but they would have made record time.

City streets were organized on a grid and they made sense. A good and proper city could easily be designed on an Etch-a-Sketch.
Neighborhood designed on Etch-a-Sketch

Then someone suggested the world was round.
The idea caught on.

Soon city planners began to think outside the box.
“Why,” they pondered, “are we still building cities to fit in a square world? The world is rounded, in a tipsy-egg sort of way! Let’s get creative with our city planning!”
So they tossed their Etch-a-Sketches, dipped the tip of a top into ink and set it spinning.
The resulting whirls, squiggles and spirals became the prototype for city planning.
Example of Spin-the-Top design

And now The Prude can wander for days in an unfamiliar neighborhood wondering why her compass just spins around and around.

Please don’t think she is against creativity. The Prude can take a ball of yarn to knit a hat and wind up with something resembling a sea scallop convention.

But her formative years were spent in a grid-type city.
Walk straight west and there was the prairie.
Straight north? Several more cities and then the north woods.
Head south and eventually you would be sucked into the Black Hole of Chicago, straight east and you would fall into Lake Michigan (in record time).
It wasn’t a very inventive city, but a slug with a lobotomy could find its way out.

Now The Prude lives in a town built on the Spin-the-Top principle.
The Prude doesn’t live on a block, she lives on a kidney.
Streets are designed so that a person looking out his front door sees thousands upon thousands of yards of concrete curb and gutter and road doubling back on themselves. If that same person looks out the backdoor he will see his cauliflower-shaped yard converging with at least 7 other back yards.
The Prude and her husband, lost in one such neighborhood, saw a house so confused that its backdoor faced the street and its ornate front door looked over the neighbor’s compost heap.

And The Prude wonders- just how much proof do we have that the world is round, anyway?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Keep Karl Marx Away From Your Toaster!

The Prude hates to be an alarmist. But it is the duty of every good paranoiac to ring the Paranoia Alarm until everyone who hears it is ready to take up arms or sit cowering in a corner.  

Unless you take the Ostrich Approach to life (and The  Prude has nothing against this approach. She practices it regularly) you know that there have been uprisings and protests around the world. Men and women stop work and throng the streets demanding basic essentials- food, clean water, employment, fair government.
College students stop partying and swarm the streets of various European cities demanding the fundamental rights of free education and cheap alcohol.

But my friends, my dear friends, be warned. In our own nation, our own cities, nay, our own HOMES, a revolution is taking place. Right under our noses. And we are powerless to stop it.

Acts of civil unrest, civil disobedience or even, dare we say a total breakdown of civility of any sort is happening.

In the Prude’s own home, Appliances have run amok.

It started as a low whine in The Prude’s coffee maker. The copy machine in the office heard the whining and began uttering grumbles of discontent every time Capitalist Prude would push its ‘Start’ button of indentured servitude.
The microwave, sensing revolution in the wind, and desirous of riling up the masses, choose (possibly in a symbolic gesture of solidarity with the coffee maker) to explode mid-cycle while warming Prude’s husband’s coffee.

The desktop computer has begun a work slowdown that as of late is more slowdown than work.
Yesterday the coffee maker engaged in a total and tragic work stoppage.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking “Sure, this may happen at The Prude’s house. She probably exploits her appliances. I treat mine like family.”
It doesn’t matter. The winds of revolution are blowing. No appliance is immune.
They blew to The Prude’s daughter-in-law’s oven (which, incidentally, she treated with great respect). It began spitting bits of gas at her every time she turned it on.

Hints of a coup reared an ugly head to the north, in Reader Steph’s toaster.
Friends, these may seem like minor appliance woes. But when minor appliances revolt can major appliances be far behind? How about our means of transportation? Hasn’t your automobile been grumbling as of late?
Now do you believe me?

Yes, Appliance Insurrection has hit. The Prude warned you but she has no solutions.
What happens to coffee makers who engage in work stoppage.
She is, however, going to put earmuffs on her favorite appliancish and beg it not to revolt. She loves a flushing toilet even more than the microwave.
Oh, and feel free to use the photo above as a warning to your own appliances.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Prude-Hoisting Petard

Fisher-Price version of Petard. Note- The Prude does not have an orange beard.

Yesterday the groundwork was laid to plant the story for today.
Remember the groundwork, composed of all the dirt and filth that pours from every crack and crevice of daily life?
How The Prude planted seeds of curiosity when she referred to her solution in the Past Tense?
Today she'll describe the short solution–growing season and how she had to yank it out by the roots.

(The Prude can’t continue the farming/harvest analogy. It’s exhausting.)

The Prude can do little about vulgar commercials during the Big Game, and nothing about the suggestive magazine covers at the check out.
But she was tired of the offensive assault from her own computer.
So a son installed a Web Protection Program to guard her from ribald words and racy images.
To avoid lawsuits, we’ll call the Wed Protector ‘Spike’.

Spike would be tireless in protecting her from bawdy images and lewd language.

The first day Spike took up residence The Prude, full of confidence and clean living, searched for an image of Popeye. Spike leapt from his kennel barking viciously and Popeye refused to make an appearance.

The next day The Prude attempted to find recipes for chicken chestal regions. All Spike had to do was growl and the chickens grabbed their chests and their recipes and flapped away in agitation.

Day Three, and Prude cautiously approached the computer. Spike growled amiably. Encouraged, Prude sidled into her seat and typed in ‘1950’s bathrooms’. Spike hit the ground running and any notion The Prude had to look at innocent bathroom pictures from the innocent ‘50’s was flushed away.

Your Prude, while frustrated, saw a bright side. Spike gave her an idea for a post! She felt a twinge of affection.  She would write about the trials of working with such a dedicated Prude Protector as Spike.
She would call it ‘Hoist with her Own Petard’
As you know, The Prude loves to add images to her posts. Anything to make them tempting. In the interests of adding educational value, she would show a petard.
And what, dear friends, do you think happened when The Prude searched for an image of a ‘petard’?
Did you guess that all Spike had to do was snarl slightly in his throat and the Petard, a weapon of widespread destruction in the Middle Ages, took its cowardly self and its namby-pamby cannonball and took off for parts unknown?
Leaving The Prude scrabbling in the toybox to find something that looked petard-ish?

And finally, is anyone in the market for a slightly used Spike?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

When Dinosaurs Don't Work Any More

The world is a dangerous and sneaky place for us prudish types, isn’t it?
We settle our family in front of the TV to watch the Big Game for some wholesome family entertainment (although we hope sincerely our children can’t read the coaches’ lips)
Until the commercials.
Then we frantically grab for the remote to switch the station, clap hands over our children’s eyes, or try to distract them by exclaiming we just saw a dinosaur passing outside the window.
Because commercials for sporting events are anything BUT wholesome.

My fellow prudes, do you also shudder when you bring your children grocery shopping?
Especially the Pass of Temptation known as the check out lane?
To the right of your impressionable youngsters: a sugary wall of Cavity-in-a-Wrapper.
To the left of you, and much more menacing:
the Magazine Rack.
(The Prude here asks- wasn’t The Rack an instrument of torture in the Inquisition?
She would research this herself  if she wasn't so behind this morning. But if she’s right she is liking the analogy)

The Magazine Rack, where your child can, in the space of time it takes you to unload your grocery cart and weep over your checkbook, acquire an entire education in:
the ways of the birds and the bees
how long it takes a teen idol to fall off the chastity wagon
and a great recipe for leftover ground beef

How can a mother compete? There are only so many times a savvy child will believe a brachiosaurus is poking its head through the double entry doors of Piggly Wiggly.

The Prude has passed custody of 2 of her boy’s eyes to their wives.
And her college freshman son is old enough to be left home while The Prude grocery shops.

But the naughty world is still a crafty place for a Prude whose sensibilities would be appreciated by Queen Victoria and John Calvin. The naughtiness enters her home via her trusted and beloved companion and pounces when she least expects naughtiness to appear.
On the ‘Image Search’ arena in her computer.
While performing innocent searches for innocent images (to use in express violation of copyright laws for this blog), she would inadvertently stumble on images that made her, Queen Victoria and John Calvin blush.
The Prude had had it. She was ready to fight back.
But you’ll have to wait till tomorrow to find out how she fought, and why she is using the ominous Past Tense.