Share A Square

1964 Sul Ross State College
1964 Sul Ross State College

Whatever outrages you the most in this shot determines your character.

  • For me, it’s clearly Ottoman Head in the middle bottom row. I could plant my rump on that hair and sit a spell.
  • For others, it may be the fact that these members of the Sachem Literary Society (and there were two pages of them) were all dressed in minks. Maybe you don’t like the top of the food chain to wear coats made of the animals at the bottom. I will say I wouldn’t mind wrapping myself in one right now during this frosty season, especially since those minks died around 1964. I’m just saying Nature provides for a bi-polar vortex, that’s all.
  • If you were my cousin, your jaw would be dropping in a WTH response at poor Mary and Martha Russell being shoved into one frame to share it. And it’s not as though there wasn’t space on the page. There is an entire 3″x7″ blank spot right next to this–plenty of room for any sets of twins to have their own unshared portrait and own unique identity. What was the thinking on the part of the editorial staff here? Well, they look the same, so why bother taking two pictures? Who needs to see that face twice?

Perhaps I’m being presumptive; perhaps it was their own idea. Maybe they feel a connection as twins and wanted a “group” shot. Or perhaps they are really Siamese conjoined twins, unable to separate, much less turn around and face each other. Like the two women below. But even if that were the case, I don’t understand why they couldn’t take a picture of each woman and crop the other out. They shouldn’t have to share a square. Or a rectangle, as it were.

I should end the post right here. But dangit, I can’t. Conjoined twins are fascinating. So I’m going to go off on a tangent. Close this out if you are in a hurry.

Don’t you have questions about their hygiene, marriage, clothing, sleeping conditions–things all the unconjoined of us take for granted? I do. Imagine sitting right where you are, typing on your laptop with a person attached to you. And he has to use the restroom. Or he’s hungry. Or he has a fever, which you may well soon get.

Quick history lesson on the Carolina Twins above: Millie McCoy and Christine McCoy (July 11, 1851 – October 8, 1912) were born to slaves, and sold by their owner, Jabez McKay, at TEN MONTHS of age to a South Carolina man, who agreed to pay McKay a percentage of the earnings he made, exhibiting them at state fairs. The “two-headed nightingale” was sold twice more until 1863, when it/they earned their freedom. But don’t be sad; a wealthy merchant named Joseph Smith reunited the girls with their mother, Monemia. Mr. Smith and his wife then provided the twins with an education and taught them to speak five languages, dance, play music, and sing (thanks,wikipedia).

Eventually, they bought the plantation where their parents had originally worked as slaves. They still exhibited themselves, but on their own terms.

What still bothers me on this license is the fact that they are referred to as a “two-headed woman” named Millie Christine, instead of two separate people.  They are actually two women, not one woman. Two brains, two hearts, two souls with separate thoughts and emotions. Now you see where Full House got the idea to bill “Mary Kate Ashley Olson” as one person, instead of giving credit to both actresses.


Perhaps that billing contributed to the mystique of the commodity they were selling. Perhaps they were only counted as one person on the census. Whatever the reason, I’m certain that Hayley Mills would not have approved.

P.S. I found the Russell twins on another page in the yearbook. Not conjoined.

I Don’t Eat Tail

My son’s elementary school calendar this month includes a president’s favorite food for each day of the month. Today the president named is Dwight D. Eisenhower, who enjoyed oxtail soup. Though I have heard of it, I have never seen hide nor hair of such a soup, not in a person’s home or in a restaurant. Have you ever tried it?

I visited the Food Network’s site to investigate. Apparently, “the oxtail was once really from an ox but nowadays the term generally refers to beef or veal tail. Though it’s quite bony, this cut of meat is very flavorful. Because it can be extremely tough (depending on the age of the animal), oxtail requires long, slow braising.”

Based on this information, I’m going to have to pass. I don’t eat tail, however flavorful. It’s hard enough for me to stomach dark meat chicken or the fatty part of a brisket; I doubt I would have the patience to gnaw away at a tough tail. I do admit the vegetables look delicious.

In any event, it is a common dish in the U.K., and there is even a fellow WordPresser who has provided a recipe for oxtail stew. He goes so far as to say, “All those odd bits, wobbly bits and squidgy bits have such an amazing range of textures and flavours.” A shiver just ran down my spine. I think he would do quite well to travel with the adventurous Andrew Zimmern, who forced poor Adam Richman into eating lutefisk on yesterday’s episode of Man vs. Food. Andrew loves squidgy bits.

Tomorrow’s president is Ulysses S. Grant, who liked to eat turkey. Now that one I get. And apparently, Ike liked it, too.

Gas-Propelled Bull Pins The Dark Lord

A fellow blogger at Funny Sweet Chocolate: Essays by Mark Coakley proved it: Canadians do have a sense of humor. HUMOR, not humour. Just teasing. He posted this glorious work of art today, and I almost feel compelled to compose an ode to it. How have I never seen this before?


Hurdles, Not Girdles


Ever since I saw Danny Zuko in sweatpants, I knew track guys were hot. He didn’t need his T-Birds leather jacket to be cool.

Can’t you sense the confidence exuding off these fit and flexible track and field guys?

55Jackrabbit072Before the Information Age, young folks enjoyed testing the limits of their bodies, pushing their muscles, striving for fitness goals, and enjoying the sun and wind on their skin. Even if they were sore afterward.


Nowadays, not so much. There are screens to be stared at, video games to be played, and processed, enriched grub void of nutrients to be consumed. Plus, sometimes outside is uncomfortable. Forget that. Inside is always 72 degrees.

Come on, morbidly obese kids, you can do it! Get up off of that couch. If this 74-year-old New Zealand man can do it, so can you! He did this AFTER he kicked cancer’s butt. So kick your own fat butt and get moving.

Otherwise, you’ll have a lifetime of physical and emotional hurdles ahead of you. I know you lack the energy to seize the day, but for the love of all that is holy, put the Hot Cheetos and Takis down. Toss them in the trash! Say hello to fitness and good-bye to Husky jeans!


I Can Feel St. Elmo’s Fire Burning In Me

88SaxPlayersNo, this isn’t a post about urinary tract infections; it’s about lyrics, because that’s 99% what’s swirling about in my big bullom head. Song lyrics, including cheesey, inspirational soundtrack lyrics.

I’m not saying St. Elmo’s Fire can in any way rival Eye of the Tiger for most motivational song of the 80s (and you KNOW the 80s was full of motivational ditties), but one cannot deny the Tony Robbins-esque “can-do” attitude of the lyrics. So as we near the end of February, casting our New Year’s resolutions to the wind (which is where the dust is, which is what we are), keep John Parr’s words in mind:

Play the game — you know you can’t quit until it’s won.
Soldier on– only you can do what must be done.

Ladies, I know what you’re thinking: No, someone else can do what must be done: dishes, laundry, dinner. But think about it. Could anyone really do it the right way? Or will they just screw it up, forcing you to redo it, reprimanding them with clear-cut words that dissipate upon their ears because they refuse to be teachable?

While we’re at it, did you think you’d be ten pounds lighter by now? I did. I cut my portions, drank more water, drank less soda and wine, and exercised more, even going to an RPM class at the devil’s own Gold’s Gym. But guess what? I didn’t lose a pound. Not a filthy pound. But I can’t give up. You know why?

I can see a new horizon underneath the blazing sky.
I’ll be where the eagles flying higher and higher.

I guess that’s a metaphor because I’m actually still down here on rough terrain. I can’t even afford a plane ticket to see the eagles flying. So maybe it’s a metaphor for rising higher. You can do it!

I can climb the highest mountain, cross the wildest sea.

Who am I kidding? I can barely trudge up that hill near the soccer fields. I can barely cross the YMCA swimming pool.

You broke the boy in me but you won’t break the man.

Oh, okay, this is just for dudes. Now it makes way more sense.

Just once in his life a man has his time.
And my time is now. I’m coming alive.

Yeah, totally for dudes. It’s not a woman in motion.

Gonna be your man in motion, all I need is a pair of wheels.
Take me where my future’s lyin’, St. Elmo’s Fire.

What in tarnation does this mean? A man in motion? A pair of wheels? Do you need a bike, sweetie? Did you get caught up in the whole Lance Armstrong thing? Why is your future lying in St. Elmo’s Fire? St. Elmo’s Fire was a bar–is your future in bartending? How’s your Tom Cruise flair?

Sometimes I actually get sick of “not getting it,” so I researched this one because I am sleuthy like that. Per, David Foster wrote the song for a Canadian athlete named Rick Hansen, who was paralyzed from the waist down after a car crash. On March 21, 1985 Hansen began his “Man In Motion” tour, putting over 40,000 Kilometers (24,856 miles) on his wheelchair in 34 countries on 4 continents, while raising $26 million for spinal cord research.

If you’re Canadian, you have no excuse not to know that. Being American, I’d never heard of him. But it does make me wonder what the heck it has to do with a Brat Pack coming-of-age film. Oh, and P.S. this movie poster declares “the heat this summer is at Saint Elmo’s Fire.” I’ll tell you why: because it’s SUMMER and they’re wearing coats and scarves and close-toed shoes. I’d be hot, dressed like that in summer, too. Come to think of it, passion can’t even burn deep. Deeply, perhaps. But not deep.


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