June 29, 2004

High on Love

Today's Musical Selection: "Lady" by Styx

Hello again, all! My spirits are revived today, which is too bad for all of you, since I'm not writing anything today. Instead, as per fortnightly custom, Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice ride again, spreading romantic advice across the countryside. Today our fun-loving couple is in Bozeman, Montana, for reasons I can't imagine. I'm sure they'll enlighten us, though. I'll be back on the other side with a couple links of note. Until then, I turn it over to Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice.

- - - - -

Fools Rush In Where Angels Fear to Tread - That's Why Fools Have More Fun, by Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice

UM: Hello, lads! And Happy Fourth of July!

AB: Hi, everybody. We know it's not the Fourth of July. Yet. However, that hasn't stopped Uncle Millie from coming out here to drink whiskey and shoot off fireworks. And he's brought me with him, presumably so that someone can call the ambulance.

UM: Well, my dear, surely you know that my fireworks show is one-of-a-kind. Neighbors come from blocks around to experience it!

AB: I thought those were the neighbors who told you to knock it off before they called the police.

UM: Perhaps. But nonetheless, it is a show much talked about in our town! And in order to please my fans, I have to do some testing beforehand, to make sure I have the show planned out properly. And what better place than Montana for the wide-open spaces that permit me to do my testing in peace?

AB: Also, Montana allows the sale of a bunch of fireworks that are illegal back home.

UM: Those nervous nellies in the legislature would have ruined my show years ago if I'd let them! They're just tired of me upstaging the show they put on in the park. But here in Montana, I can purchase my M-80s in peace, without a hassle.

AB: M-80s? Aren't those really dangerous?

UM: A fireworks showman always lives on the edge, my dear. Bombs away!

AB: I wish you'd stop that.

UM: I've done this for years, love. I know what I'm doing.

AB: I'd feel better about that if you put that whiskey bottle away.

UM: This is snakebite medication, my dear.

AB: You haven't been bitten by any snakes.

UM: An ounce of prevention...

AB: There aren't even any snakes around. The fireworks scared them away.

UM: You and your technical cavilling.

AB: Let's go ahead with our first letter. While I still have my hearing.

Dear Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice,

My girlfriend and I have been seeing each other for about two years. Recently, I was posted to another country in connection with my job, and my girlfriend and I have agreed to let each other see other people while I'm away. (I'll be here for a year.) My question is, if I meet other women while I'm there, how much should I tell them about the relationship I'm in? I don't want to mislead them, but I don't want to scare them off either.

Tim, the Temporary Canadian

AB: Hi, Tim. Clearly, some sort of disclosure is called for. After all, you're already spoke for in some sense, even if she's given you the liberty to date. But you don't need to make an excessively big deal of it. Just mention that you were seeing someone at home (I'm assuming here that you've already mentioned that you're not local) and that you'd agreed to see other people while you're away, and ask if that's a problem for her. Simple, and morally acceptable. That's all that necessary.

UM: That's all? Oh, lad, lad, lad... My sweet, soft-headed beloved has once again proven that good intentions will get you eaten alive in the real world. Yes, in theory, it's proper to mention your stateside love to your prospective Canuck belles. In theory. In practice, the minute you mention another woman, these ladies will flee faster than Nero fiddling while carrying coals to Newcastle.

AB: What?

UM: Perhaps I mixed my metaphors.

AB: I'm taking your whiskey away.

UM: Nonsense, my dear, it is a necessity. At any rate, let's consider, lad... if you mention having a girl waiting at home, these ladies will assuume, naturally, that you brought her up because you're hung up on her. It's only a short step from there for them to visualize the two of you in the boudoir and you crying into her hair about how much you miss your old Hometown Henrietta. Suddenly they'll remember the iron they left burning at home, or the cat that needs to be fed, and you'll be alone.

When you and your sweetheart agreed to see other people during your absence, you were given free reign. And you must seize that opportunity, lad! Imagine yourself as a stranger in a strange land, with no memory of who you are or where you came from. Girlfriend? What girlfriend? You don't recall a thing.

AB: Uncle Millie has been known to practice this sort of "periodic amnesia" from time to time, although he usually employs staggering quantities of alcohol to help him "forget."

UM: Treat this opporrtunity as if you were a prospector dropped into the middle of an untapped diamond mine. I can assure you that your beloved isn't going to countenance this sort of wandering when you return home. So roam far and wide! Sample the fruits of as many trees as you can! Let's be honest, lad: hasn't two years of enforced monogamy been enough for you? Embrace this opportunity!

AB: That's it. Give me the whiskey.

UM: No.

Dear Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice,

I'm a junior in college. I live in an apartment with three other guys, and locker-room-type humor is the norm. I'm not really into that kind of kidding, but I accept it. The problem is that recently I began seeing a young woman, and now every time I come home late I have to hear a bunch of jokes about our sex life. Ordinarily I'd just roll my eyes and ignore it, but my girlfriend and I are both very strong Christians, and we've promised to save ourselves for marriage, so I find it offensive. Also, I'm afraid that I'll bring my girlfriend over to the apartment sometimme and one of my "friends" will start making those jokes, and she'll assume I started it, and she'll dump me. How do I convince these guys to knock it off?

Elmer at State U.

UM: Lad, you ought not be offended at the joking of your friends. This is a badge of honor in male circles. The kidding is their way of telling you that you're "one of the guys," part of the group. Rather than fight it, you should revel in it.

AB: A "badge of honor," huh? I'll never quite understand the way men act around each other. I think it's stupid and juvenile. I'd tell you they'll grow out of it, Elmer, but based on my experience, they never do.

UM: You're still mad because I greeted your uncle at Christmas dinner by saying "How's it hanging?" You really need to let that anger go.

AB: At any rate, you should let your friends know that you don't appreciate the dirty innuendo. Particularly if you plan to bring your girlfriend around. How about that, Mr. Badge of Honor? What if this talk gets him in hot water with the young woman?

UM: Obviously, my dear, you're a woman.

AB: Well, I certainly hope it's obvious.

UM: Very droll. I meant that only a woman would worry about that. Gentlemen have a sense of time and place, and while they might toss about a bit of randy humor amongst themselves, they would restrain themselves when ladies are present. So you need not fear, lad.

AB: Oh, so a gentleman doesn't make inappropriate remarks in front of women, huh? I suppose a gentleman also doesn't greet dinner guests with the phrase "How's it hanging?"

UM: Are you implying something?

AB: I'm implying that if Elmer is looking for advice on what gentlemen do, he might consult a more authoritative source than you.

UM: I resent that.

AB: I was just pointing out that Elmer shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security just because you-

UM: Fire in the hole!

AB: Will you stop that?

UM: No.

AB: Give me that whiskey bottle.

UM: I'm afraid that's impossible, my love.

Dear Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice,

I'm not sure what I should do about an unfortunate incident that happened last week. My boyfriend and I have been in a relationship decline for a while now. I've tried to keep a good public face on things, but it all boiled over. We were in public, and he told me he was tired of me nagging him about his business (I don't approve of some of the things he does), and I replied that I was tired of his comments about my religion (he's called me a "bad Catholic"). So then he suggested I perform an anatomical impossibility. In front of all our friends! I was so embarrassed. Now everyone's talking about it. He won't apologize; he said it felt good and it was about time he said something. And now I have to deal with it. Is it over?

Just Pat in Vermont

AB: Hi, Pat. It sounds to me like your boyfriend has some anger-management issues. You should never use language like that in public, as far as I'm concerned.

UM: Ah, what's one little incident? Perhaps you should consider not nagging him about his business. Let him take care of that, and unless he asks your opinion, you should keep it to yourself?

AB: Little? What would he have to do to make it a big incident, take a swing at Pat? It's wrong, and the fact that he won't apologize tells me that he's got an attitude problem. I think you should dump him.

UM: Oh, now, let's not get carried away. He may be a fine fellow in other respects. Everyone can have a bad moment or two. I think you should let it go, unless he does it again.

AB: Typical. Why do you defend abusive men? I figured that someone who really loves women would hate to see them mistreated.

UM: I do! I just think that some women are a bit oversensitive sometimes. They have a hair trigger- Kind of like that Roman candle there. Oops.

AB: What was that?

UM: Oh, it must have crash-landed over there- What do you suppose that fire is? Must have hit some scrub brush.

AB: That's not scrub brush. That's our rental car.

UM: Oops.

AB: Give me the whiskey. Right now.

UM: All right.

AB: This bottle is empty!

UM: I know. Why do you think I handed it over? Now be a love and find a trash can, would you?

AB: First I think I'd better call the fire department.

UM: Might be a wise idea. Happy hunting, lads!

- - - - -

Um, thank you, Uncle Millie and Aunt Beatrice. They will return in two weeks, presuming they're not in jail then.

I did promise a couple links, and here they are.

First, Tainted Bill has launched the Rebel Alliance of Yankee Haters. (That's Yankees as in the baseball team, not Northerners or Americans.) I've proudly cast my lot in with this bunch. My dad is a Yankee fan, and I've long since grown tired of listening to him complain that the Yankees are doomed because they're only 6 games up, and they can only afford 8 Grade-A starters this year. There isn't a violin small enough. The Yankees must die.

Second, and finally, my man Frinklin wrote an excellent post about Bill Clinton, and specifically those Republicans been on ensuring that he's remembered only for his mistakes (just as they want Reagan remembered as a saint). Though Frinklin is no Clinton fan, he credits the man for his successes, particularly in making the Democratic Party vigorous again. He points out (correctly) that a functioning democracy needs two strong, competitive parties, not one majority party and a spineless, crazy opposition. And he calls on his fellow Republicans to stop demonizing Clinton and canonizing Reagan, and allow both to be remembered as human, in all their successes and failures.

I agree, and call on my fellow Democrats to do the same. Yes, I know, Clinton was hounded excessively by Ken Starr and the Republican inquisitors, but let's not make him into Jean Valjean. No matter what Clinton says, most of his problems were of his own making. It was not Ken Starr who fooled around with Monica Lewinsky. The Republicans may have hunted overzealously, but Clinton's behavior did offer a pretty big target.

And can we lay to rest the idea that Reagan was the Antichrist incarnate? He did a number of things that I, personally, did not agree with, but that doesn't make him evil. And like Clinton, Reagan deserves credit for breathing life back into a flailing party. The Republicans were in rough shape after the '60s and '70s, on the verge of becoming a permanent minority, and Reagan made them appealing to the masses again, gave the party optimism, made trickle-down economics seem credible, gave Americans reason to be proud of their country again. For that, he deserves credit. He also deserves credit for leaving his stamp on the nation's political scene. Like it or not, the post-Reagan political landscape was a lot different than the scene before Reagan.

Go read Frinklin's piece. Trust me. You'll thank me later.

And with that, I must away. See you tomorrow!

Posted by Fred at June 29, 2004 05:12 PM
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