Thursday, December 29, 2011

Prejudices I enjoy too much to give up

Prejudices are by no means rational, or merit-based, or well thought out. Yet everyone has them. The psyche embraces and coddles thoughts that repel the rational mind.
The way to deal with prejudices is to acknowledge them, so here’s a list of mine. Why seek professional help when you can psychoanalyze yourself?
Pop music – Lady Gaga should be Lady Googoo to emphasize the infantilism of pop music. And yet when I think about it rationally I have to concede that pop music brings joy to millions. So I don’t think about it rationally. ‘Gaga’ is hardly a rational concept.
Clothing as advertising – I do not wish to wear shirts that are emblazoned with corporate slogans or logos. Must I not only carry Nike’s logo but also pay for the privilege? Let them pay me! I’ve been told that this is a stupid point on which to take a stand. Impractical maybe, but it isn’t stupid to prejudge those who would manipulate you for profit.
Soccer – I keep wishing that someone would just grab the ball and run with it. This viewpoint defies the sensibilities of virtually the entire world, and yet I can’t dispel it.
Fruitcake – It’s festive and one appreciates the spirit of it. But it tastes funny. The logical response is simply not to eat fruitcake, however I can’t stand to hear others extol it. I veer close to lunacy on this point.

 I believe people read Paradise Lost because they are forced to do so.
Milton’s Paradise Lost – I believe people read Paradise Lost because they are forced to do so. On the other hand, what is education except forcing students to do things they don’t want to, albeit for constructive reasons? Okay, but I still don’t like Paradise Lost.
Hippies – I know they’re supposed to be refreshingly free-spirited. But they call one another ‘man’ and ‘dude.’
Odd names – The chairman of the Republican National Committee is named Reince Priebus. I mean come on; if your name is Priebus, resist the temptation to name your son Reince. And if you have a difficult name, please forbear if others misspell it. I was filling out a form for a kid named Sean, who indignantly informed me that it was spelled Shawn. Like I care.
Madonna – The right to profitable sluttery does not include mocking religious icons. “Madonna” indeed. Friends suggest that I stop worrying about pop musicians and concentrate on my own behavior. This is a logical suggestion; prejudices defy logic.
The French – Sarkozy seems like a regular guy and I’m slowly warming toward the French. In fact, I hereby offer to remove them from this list if they’ll discontinue service charges in Montmartre nightclubs. Prejudices aren’t admirable but they also aren’t permanent.
[For more of the same, visit Alan’s blog,]

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Are romance novels silly?

Are romance novels silly?
Not at all. What the genre needs are some fresh ideas. Herewith excerpts from a few of my own storylines:
Bradley was all man except for his walk – a sort of waddle not unlike a penguin’s. Brittany was a pert young therapist specializing in peculiar walks. “You don’t look at all like a penguin,” she counseled. “But just in case, I’d avoid wearing a tuxedo.”
“It’s no use,” he lamented. “No woman could love a man who waddles.” Her heart went out to him. But how far?
Jeff’s idea of a weekend in Atlantic City frankly tempted Teresa. But could she leave the convent while her garden wasn’t fully bloomed?
Raellen was the belle of the Redneck Riviera, betrothed to rich, respectable Hatton Fiske. But when rakehell race driver Monk Varney rear-ended her truck, she saw it for what it was – his pathetic attempt to meet cute.
Gorilla-Louise Maxwell hated her name, and welcomed the chance to change it by marriage to handsome Dave Sinclair. “Soon I’ll be Gorilla-Louise Sinclair,” she beamed.
The stranger barged into Gwynneth’s Orient Express compartment and thrust a package into her hands. “Take this to Istanbul. Ask the first man you meet ‘Are you the Turk?’ If he says yes, give him the package.”
She looked into the stranger’s dark features. “Proper English ladies don’t go around saying ‘Are you the Turk?’ to strange men. Especially in Istanbul.”
He flashed his credentials. American CIA. Said she, “You’re certainly cheeky enough to be a spy.”
“Americans don’t have time for subtlety,” he whispered. “We’ll meet again.”
So saying, he leapt from the train. And the Orient Express thundered through the night.
After a week as private secretary to the mysterious Dillard of Yorkshire, Ann was contemplative as she walked the moors. Certainly the Dillard was felicitous of feature but his rumored eccentricity was yet to show itself.
Now here he came, bounding across the heath, after her with a butterfly net.
With Lance and Polly it was a battle of wits and wills. “What country is Calgary?” posited Lance.
“Canada,” she answered.
“Wrong. It’s not Cana-dah, it’s Cana-duh! You mispronounced it.”
“And I say it’s Cana-dah!”
“Duh! Come here, you vixen!” Stimulated beyond endurance, they melded into a full embrace, no longer caring about the dominion to the north.
[For more of the same, visit Alan’s blog,]