Posts Tagged ‘news’
Here’s a piece I wrote for my sports column in today’s The North West Star about the vast gap between prize purses in men’s and women’s sport.
Why is there such disparity between the prize money offered to male and female athletes?
Last year’s Australian PGA Championship offered $1,500,000 in prize money to the men who donned their funky golf outfits and battled the Hyatt Regency Coolum Course.
The winner, Greg Chalmers, pocketed $270,000 for his 12 under par victory.
In February, only $500,000 was offered in total for the Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters.
Holland’s Christel Boeljon scored a one-stroke victory at the event but only received $75,000 as recompense for doing so.
Both the Hyatt Regency Coolum and Royal Pines courses are par 72.
Chalmers completed his four rounds in 276 strokes, while Boeljon went around the Gold Coast course four times in 267 strokes.
The Australian PGA Championship and Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters are this country’s ultimate golfing events for men and women respectively, yet the boys get to play for about three times the prize money.
By offering so much more for competing, are event organisers suggesting Chalmers, Robert Allenby and Adam Scott are three times better than Boeljon and other female players like Nikki Campbell and Sarah Kemp?
Of course not.
But if that’s the case, why is there such a ridiculous difference in prize money being offered for exactly the same amount of golf, based purely on whether the player sits down to pee?
The answer is advertising.
Professional sportswomen don’t get the media coverage that male athletes do. As such, they don’t have the public profile advertising executives look for when throwing money around.
Money that ends up in prize pools.
Essentially, less public recognition undoubtedly means a smaller prize purse.
Advertisers want a brand, and without increased media exposure, female athletes will never be able to become a brand.
Unless they are, to put it boorishly, hot.
Everyone knows who Tiger Woods is.
Can you name the world’s current top female golfer?
No, me either.
We have been conditioned by advertising and the media to recognise male athletes by their strength and ability with a club, a bat or a ball.
With male sporting stars, it’s all about the actual sport.
As far as our best sportswomen go, society as a whole only recognises them as exceptional athletes if they have great legs or look sensational in a beach volleyball outfit.
In a nutshell, we are told men are apparently tough and should receive maximum reward for their athletic performance, while women should, it seems, get paid peanuts for their sporting skill and rely on sex appeal to supplement their income via endorsements.
Am I the only one who finds this very 19th century?
If you are in the upper echelon of players in the country in your chosen sport, why should your ability to earn money by competing in said sport be influenced by whether you are male or female?
Tennis is beginning to come around as officials start to offer equal prize money for the guys and girls, but a lot of sports have a long way to go.
Without getting into the economics of male versus female sport and advertising, there’s an incredibly simple answer to the prize money gap: pay the girls more to play.
If they are playing the same sport as their male counterparts, why shouldn’t they be getting paid equally?
Shouldn’t it be about skill and not gender?
Today in The Dissemination (of Thought) Files, I interview Chrystalyn Hope, author of The Future of Hope. We’re going to discuss Scorsese, her Lasso of Truth, and why she thinks her favourite mummy blog will convince me to have children.
Lyndon Keane (TDoT): Before we get stuck into the juicy questions, can you clarify something for me? What the hell’s a “Scor-Sagian”? I can’t figure out if it means you’re some freaky hybrid with the head of a scorpion and a horse-like body, or whether you just really like Scorsese films.
Chrystalyn Hope (TFoH): Man, that would be awesome. I would shove Napoleon Dynamite’s liger on a blacklist if it were true. Unfortunately, it is not. I was actually born on the cusp between horoscope signs. Most people don’t realise there is a transition period where both signs are present. I only mention it because those people who are really into that stuff will be like, “Oh, damn, this blog has got to be interesting because she is straight fucked up!”
Maybe that is why I do love Scorsese. Plus, he has awesome glasses. So classy!
TDoT: On the subject of Scorsese, what’s your favourite of all his films and why? Have you ever stood in front of a mirror and asked who someone was talking to, a la Travis in Taxi Driver?
TFoH: You must like his glasses, too. Choosing a favourite is hard. I actually had to look him up on IMDb to make sure I had my shit straight. Obviously I don’t, seeing as you asked me about the one Scorsese movie I haven’t seen. I had to research the shit out of it, and you know I don’t have time to watch it now and give it a fair review.
The mirror scene reminds me of when I was little. I used to sit in front of the mirror and play out scenes from movies, books, fantasies, or whatever was in my pretty little head. Don’t be jealous! I can’t just go around sharing my awesomeness with anyone.
As far as my favourite movie of his goes, it would definitely be Gangs of New York. As a friend of mine once said, “History is written by the winners.” I love the nitty gritty and shitty of history. It is absolutely fascinating what people forget to teach you, don’t want to teach you and don’t want you to know. I love that Gangs of New York takes the history into those deep, dark corners. You are involved, not so much with the characters, but with the period and setting. Most people aren’t as enamoured with history as I am. Yes, I’m nerdy. Very nerdy in fact, if you are just catching on.
TDoT: In ” Glitter, Anuses, TMI, Versatile, Ninjas, Phenomenas, And Angelia Jolie’s Leg! AKA The Epic Awards”, you tell a story about trying to impress a guy by jumping onto a bed, only to ricochet off it and then off the wall; at what point did you realise there’s nothing sexy about someone wedged between a bed and the wall like a stranded, upturned turtle?
TFoH: Damn you, Lyndon! I am a hard-headed and stubborn woman. I was sure I could salvage the miss. That is until, I went splat against the wall like a bug on the windscreen. Unfortunately, an absence of inertia meant I slid down between the wall and the bed, thus becoming stuck. And you are wrong. The fact I was pulled out without any aches or major injuries was sexy enough. Why, you ask? Because that guy realised he was sleeping with the human version of Gumby. Yes, that’s right. Sexy little Gumby girl.
TDoT: You are a mother to four boys, which basically makes you Wonder Woman, sans the Lasso of Truth and the kick-ass red boots. What’s your take on the explosion in so-called “mummy blogs”? Am I correct in assuming that, as long as I’m a single guy with no children, I’ll never understand them?
TFoH: Hey now, don’t sell me short! I still have the Lasso of Truth, and it’s used constantly on the boys. I had it upgraded from gold to invisible, however. It helps me maintain the advantage since, at 5’4”, my children are rapidly outgrowing me.
Why would I get rid of the boots? They keep hubsy very satisfied. No, do not ask to see them; that’s what Google is for, you dirty perv.
Honestly, I do follow a few of the “mummy blogs”. Many of them are weekly disappointments that make me feel just as superhero as I did sans kids. They are the ones you’d never choose to read, let alone understand. With that said, in my book of great taste, there is only one shining star; I actually think you’d love it for being a mummy blog and somewhat understand it in all its glory. Rants from Mommyland is truly the epitome of greatness in the aforementioned genre. What other mummy blog could have a Christmas program called “Helping Hookers”? Between their language, sarcasm, child art fails and plain awesomeness, anyone would fall in love with them. Seriously, they’d almost make you want to have kids, Lyndon.
TDoT: You don’t know me at all, do you? Did you say something about hookers? As a tribute to the commercialised absurdity that is now Valentine’s Day, you dared me to write a piece about the worst dates I’ve ever been on. Now, it’s your turn. If you were to list your top ten, who would take the coveted number one spot?
TFoH: I’ll try to keep this answer from becoming its own post. There was a guy who thought women’s suffrage was just a fantasy in my mind. Now, I’m not a Feminazi, but I do believe it equality. Plus, I’m very opinionated, strong-willed woman—
TDoT: You don’t say.
TFoH: Shut the hell up, Lyndon. I have had numerous guys tell me I belonged “pregnant, barefoot and in the kitchen”. I have also had guys think it was a great idea for me to be pregnant for the next umpteen years so they could have a “clan”, “basketball team” or “militia”. Some thought I should wear dresses that covered me up and that I shouldn’t speak unless spoken to. I felt kind of sorry for them when they met “Women’s Suffrage” face-to-face. Well, face-to-fist. Yes, my right hook has a name.
Luckily, I don’t have to worry about that shit anymore. I’m glad I did wait it out and didn’t settle for less. My right hook has been retired for a good minute, as have the backhanded slaps. Now if I want to get a point across I just have to speak. Or throw a loaf of bread. But that’s only if he sings Tim McGraw, and it’s done playfully.
Author’s note: Chrystalyn didn’t read my question properly and actually gave me the full top 10, but to save you from reading until 2019, I’ve only included the biggest dumbass she’s dated in this post. If you want to read about the other nine, ask her.
TDoT: If you could be a character from any piece of literature, who would you be?
TFoH: Oh, Jesus! Fuck! I didn’t actually mean I’d want to be Jesus. I’d fuck that one up. Badly. I’d be all, “Fuck you. Fuck you. Oh, and Judas, fuck you!”
Another author’s note: I dared her to use “fuck” four times in a sentence. In hindsight, it wasn’t my best work.
I apologise now, but I’m only human. Do you know how much I read? We have a mini library for us and the children, for heaven’s sake! We buy more books than we do clothes or toys. Some people have cats. Some people have trash. We hoard books—
TDoT: What’s the answer to the question?
TFoH: Well, what do you mean? I’m always a character while reading a book. I have been Alya from The Clan of the Cave Bear. I’ve been Ethan Frome. I have been both Narcissus and Goldmund in the book by Herman Hesse. I often reread books just so I can experience it from a new perspective. It’s a lot of fun to do every other chapter in character-rich tales. I suppose it could make me crazy, but loveable, right? I have also been you, Lyndon. Standing in your Underoos with the fridge door wide open, trying my hardest to figure out where that damned empty Coke can came from. How scary is that?
TDoT: What the fuck is an Underoo? You openly admit to being, in your words, “a conspiracy theory nut”. Does that mean you wouldn’t be willing to remove the coat hanger-adorned tin foil hat for the rest of the interview? What’s your favourite conspiracy theory?
TFoH: I think you’ve been staring into the mirror and talking to yourself for too long, Lyndon. I haven’t been wearing my tin foil hat. It interferes with my Wi-Fi signal.
I’m not good with all these very general “favourite” questions; you do love torturing me. Conspiracy theory is like a science to me. There is an art to finding the facts within the fiction, which is very much like how I find fiction in the stories the media assert as fact. The difference between fact and fiction is perception. One of my favourite conspiracy theory learning moments was when hubsy and I were talking about 9/11 and he asked me if I would rather blow up my own country’s buildings and people, causing thousands of casualties, or take no initiative and let the damage fall or blow naturally, causing the majority of a city to take a hit and potentially putting millions of lives at risk.
This is how we attempt to keep ourselves from being biased while researching all angles of a theory.
I’m not going to tell you what we think about the 9/11 theories, because it is a sensitive subject for everyone, even us. As for a conspiracy theory I constantly find myself coming back to, it would be in regard to the Catholic Church and their libraries and archives. What is in them? What are they hiding? If I ever had a chance to go and take a gander at what’s on those shelves, I’m sure I’d have a knowledgegasm*. It would likely be my last day on Earth. Not because of the Catholics themselves, but because I’d probably die from the intensity of the knowledgegasm. Actually, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps and a schoolgirl grin.
* Author’s note: I’m pretty sure this isn’t a word.
If you’d like to take part in the experiment that is The Dissemination (of Thought) Files, send me an email regaling me with obscure – and amusing – facts about yourself. If you don’t, there’s a fair chance next week’s installment will see me interviewing either another voice in my head or a toaster.
Wow, the fourth installment of The Dissemination (of Thought) Files is already upon us. Today I’ll be speaking to Thalia, my Muse, about a missing sock, a sex tape that doesn’t exist and why she refuses to protect me from the questionable women I date.
Lyndon Keane (TDoT): Thanks for joining me on The Dissemination (of Thought) Files couch. I thought it would be great to get you out from behind the scenes and into the spotlight. You know, give my readers the opportunity to put a face to the Muse.
Thalia (funnily enough, she’ll just be referred to as Thalia): You forgot to interview someone, didn’t you.
TDoT: Forgot it probably the wrong word. I’d like to think I procrastinated past the point of no return.
Thalia: Yeah, you certainly procrastinated your way around that pool yesterday.
TDoT: Long time readers of The Dissemination of Thought will remember that you disappeared for an extended period last year without any explanation. You also took a bottle of 30-year-old single malt and a solitary sock. Now that you’ve decided to grace me with your presence once again, can you please tell me what the hell you wanted one sock for, and where is it now?
Thalia: Firstly, I didn’t steal your precious fucking Scotch. Don’t you remember that magical Saturday when you convinced yourself that you could scribe lyrics for Grammy-winning songs? I’m sure your neighbours vividly recall you standing in the shower with a glass of whisky, singing along to Oasis and The Smiths. You were having a drink every time you got stuck on a line, and you got stuck a lot.
As for the sock, I needed it for my trip. I had to hide something inside it.
TDoT: You had to what?
Thalia: What part didn’t you understand? I was carrying something I didn’t want airport security to find, so hiding it seemed like the best solution. As I was packing, I saw your sock on the floor. I decided to use it.
TDoT: Oh, great. My Muse is a mule.
Thalia: I’m not a mule, you feeble-minded twit. I was travelling alone, so I wanted to take something to ensure my creativity remained stimulated for the duration.
Thalia: A dildo, you imbecile. I hid my travel dildo in your sock.
TDoT: That’s just classy. You’d better keep the sock.
Thalia: As if you can take the fucking moral high road.
TDoT: One of the phrases someone plugged into a search engine to find The Dissemination of Thought was “thalia sextaped”. Do you want to make any comment about that?
Thalia: Are you insinuating that I made a tawdry, D-grade porno? What would it be called, Mr I-Fucking-Think-I-Know-Everything? Thalia Taps Toronto?
TDoT: I’m not insinuating anything, but you were missing in action for a long time. By the way, that title of the movie you assure me doesn’t exist has an alliteratively salacious ring to it.
While we are on the subject of all things intimate, let’s discuss dating. I’ve been subjected to some appalling romantic dalliances, so many in fact, I was inspired to write a Valentine’s Day tribute to the 10 most intriguing psychopaths I’ve ever dated. Shouldn’t you have had a quiet word in my ear about these women before I agreed to go out with them? You could have at least warned me about The Super Cougar. As my Muse, don’t you have a duty of care to ensure my delicate, creative psyche isn’t exposed to anyone who wants to mount me within the first few hours of meeting?
Thalia: You do understand what a Muse is, don’t you? I’m here to inspire you and make sure your lazy ass puts pen to paper. I’m not some sort of mythical matchmaker sent to you to tap you on the shoulder every time you contemplate dating someone who’s emotionally unbalanced. That’s a freakin’ full-time job, and I’ve got commitments outside of musing hours.
TDoT: You are being incredibly difficult. I’m not sure where you think you need to be, but your attitude towards this interview sucks. How do you think the readers will feel when they realise you have no interest in providing witty, thought-provoking answers?
Thalia: How do you think your readers feel about you doing an interview with an entity that no one can see?
TDoT: Do you think they’ll notice?
Thalia: I imagine so. That family over there with the combined intellect of a box of crayons has been watching you for fifteen minutes, and they sure as hell know you’re talking to yourself. Your readers are way smarter than that, so I’d say the jig is up.
TDoT: We might leave it there then. Thalia, thanks for being here.
For week 5 of The Dissemination (of Thought) Files, I promise to interview someone interesting. And real.
If you aren’t already doing so, check out the TDoT Facebook page. I want to sincerely thank the 91 people who already like it, but let’s aim to hit 100 by the weekend.
While I’m thanking people, I’d like to express my gratitude to the lovely Erin and wonderful Korinda for putting up with my incessant nagging this afternoon. An edited version of “Espresso Etiquette 101: 6 Lessons in Coffee Shop Culture” featured as the “For what it’s worth” column in today’s Brisbane edition of mX, and the girls patiently sent me photographs of the paper without once telling me to go to hell. When I actually have a copy of the newspaper in my hands, I’ll scan the column and post it on the Facebook page.
Welcome to the third week of The Dissemination (of Thought) Files. In this week’s instalment, we probe – in a journalistic, non-alien and lubricant way – OzSpinCycle*, the apparently lopsidedly-minded author of Impassioned Rantings of an Unbalanced Mind.
* Author’s note: this probably isn’t his real name.
Admit it. You’re asking yourself why the blog’s called what it is. As OzSpinCycle puts it:
The name of the blog comes from the fact that from time to time it feels like my head becomes a little unbalanced. Not the go out and set fire to a small fury animal type of unbalanced but more the all the clothes have moved to one side of the washing machine causing it to stop during the spin cycle kind of unbalance. I see the blog as a way to rebalance things by shuffling the clothes around, removing those extra couple of pairs of jeans you thought you try and fit in…
During the interview, we toss around a few account and lawyer jokes, discuss time travel, and try to understand his wife’s disturbing
fascination obsession with New Kids on the Block.
Lyndon Keane (TDoT): Do you mind if I tape this interview? I’m drunk and reasonably confident that I won’t pay much attention, so if I don’t record it, I’ll have to make your answers up.
OzSpinCycle (OSC): Go ahead. I’m not sure that I know how to have a conversation with you sober anyway. Somehow, there always seems to be some form of alcoholic beverage involved when we’re chatting. Not that I’m complaining, mind you.
TDoT: In describing yourself as “quick-witted” in ”Alpha Bravo Charlie”, you make reference to your propensity for “short, stupid jokes”. What’s the most pitifully amusing one in your repertoire? Has anyone ever regaled you with a particularly clever accountant joke?
OSC: I really have a penchant for multipart, short stupid jokes, which is probably even worse. I think my favourite is this:
Q: Why did the koala fall out of the tree?
A: He was hit by a refrigerator.
Q: Why did the second koala fall out of the tree?
A: He was hit by the first koala.
Q: Why did the kangaroo die?
A: Two koalas and a refrigerator fell on him.
Q: What is the moral of this story?
A: Kangaroos shouldn’t throw refrigerators at koalas.
TDoT: So, are you saying male koalas can’t dodge airborne refrigerators? Are whitegood-tossing marsupials common in the bush?
OSC: I haven’t heard many accountant jokes. There’s always the reliable “What did the constipated accountant do? Worked it out with a pencil.”
Lawyer jokes – the other half of my degree – were always better. My favourite is “Why did the scientist start using lawyers instead of lab rats? No one cares about lawyers. There are plenty of lawyers, and there are some things even a lab rat won’t do.
TDoT: Your wife’s a New Kids on the Block fan? Are you sure she didn’t just mean she was fond of the new munchkins living down the street? Is there a chance she was living in the garden shed for the two weeks she was purportedly stalking them around the USA?
OSC: Not unless she fiendishly gave her credit card to someone else and told them to go nuts in the USA. If I find out someone other than her was spending that money, there’s going to be trouble.
TDoT: New Kids on the Block? Really? You do realise they’re touring Australia this year, don’t you? What are the odds of us seeing an Impassioned Rantings of an Unbalanced Mind remix of “Hangin’ Tough” on YouTube?
OSC: Yes, really! I don’t understand the fascination either, but as I understand it, that is primarily because I am male and straight. I think the odds of us both appearing together completely sober for more than five minutes are better than the odds of me belting out “Hangin’ Tough”. Although at 2:00am, with a skinful of alcohol and pancakes, many things seem like a better idea than they actually are.
TDoT: In your most recent piece, you walked us through the first ten songs that played when you shuffled the music on your iPod. What do you think of the music industry in 2012?
OSC: I think some good music gets made, but there is a lot of shit as well. I have resigned myself to the fact that I am no longer part of the biggest music buying demographic. Therefore, most of the stuff released is not targeted at me. Fortunately, there are still enough quality artists sneaking through to keep me going.
TDoT: I’m going to put you on the spot. If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
OSC: Tough question. I really do have a hard time with this sort of thing, because I always forget so many albums, movies and the like, and then think later “Shit, that’s right, I really like XYZ.” Out of the albums I have on my iPod, I would have to go with either Missy Higgins’ On a Clear Night or Something to Be from Rob Thomas. I’d probably flip a coin between the two. My reasoning is that both albums have a good mix of song types, and that would help keep it interesting.
TDoT: What’s the most ridiculous thing you have ever seen someone do on a dare or under the deviously guiding hand of sweet alcohol?
OSC: We were always pretty boring on that front. I’ve seen a nudie run and people drink some awful looking mixes of drinks. Did you know that Baileys, Scotch and Coke curdles?
TDoT: Your post ”The Darkness Within” has you pondering some pretty obscure subject matter. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk around with a rusty chainsaw à la Leatherface? Sans hillbilly-esque inbreeding, of course. Is it possible Jason Voorhees and Michael Myers were simply misunderstood?
OSC: Well, I did grow up in the Australian equivalent of hillbilly country. As I said in the post, it has always just been curiosity that never extended to any thought of actual harm. So, no, that sort of thought has never really crossed my mind. The thought of doing harm to others directly or, more likely, indirectly – like stepping in front of a bus they drive – is a huge reason why I would never actually do any of those things. Plus, that shit will kill you.
TDoT: While we’re hypothesising and getting all deep and philosophical, exactly how much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
OSC: A woodchuck would chuck how much wood a woodchuck could chuck, if only he could be fucked chucking wood.
TDoT: Your love of all things scientific and “geeky” is blatantly obvious. Is it just me, or is a DeLorean a poor vehicular choice for a time machine? If you could have ridden shotgun with Doc Brown to one place in either the future or past, where would it be? And no, you can’t choose the moment before you agreed to do this interview.
OSC: Yes, the DeLorean is probably a poor choice; it draws a bit too much attention to itself. Perhaps Doc Brown picked it for its fibreglass and stainless steel construction. Perhaps he just liked the gullwing doors. Interesting legal fact: John DeLorean was arrested on drug trafficking charges, allegedly trying to make money to keep his motor company afloat, but was acquitted due to it being a case of entrapment.
TDoT: Maybe he couldn’t get to eighty-eight miles per hour during his getaway.
OSC: As for a moment in time, it would have to be the past, because according to relativity, it isn’t possible to travel forward in time. That said, by the time we’ve worked out how to travel in time, we will have probably found a way to tell relativity to bugger off and mind its own business.
I think the geek in me would love to head back to the late fifties so I could be part of the space race that led up to man walking on the moon in 1969. For someone with a love of all things space, this would be a dream come true. Either that, or jumping forward to be part of the team that puts the first people on a planet other than Earth.
Next week, The Dissemination (of Thought) Files will undoubtedly ask someone some questions about something. Yes, I’m really that disorganised, I have no idea who I’ll be interrogating 7 days from now. As always, if you want to
subject yourself to my probing participate in the quirky Q&A that is The Dissemination (of Thought) Files, send me an email with random and amusing facts about yourself.
If you’re not a Twit/Twat, check out The Dissemination of Thought Facebook page.
For the first instalment of The Dissemination (of Thought) Files, we hit the Mediterranean coast to get down and dirty with Cakes McCain on all things Italian, including Fiats, foreplay and Mamma’s tomato sauce.
In today’s interview, I speak to Amy, author of 2012: 365 Days a Year and self-confessed crazy M&M’s sorter. Our chat has a bit of everything, from an intellectually stimulating volley about frog legs, to a pitiful request for a crisp Ben Franklin. Oh, and theses guys and their friends make a guest appearance.
Lyndon Keane (TDoT): I think I ran into your car when I was parking. How often do you use your right-hand side mirror while driving? It’s currently sitting on your letterbox.
M&M’s Amy (M&MA): Is it the whole “right side of the road” concept that gets you? No worries on the mirror though; I don’t often worry about what’s behind me because I tend to focus on what’s in front of me. You know, what I can see, touch and taste.
TDoT: What you can taste? While you drive? You don’t lick the little pine tree air freshener, do you?
In your post “Amy’s Top Ten Gross Foods”, you give frog legs the number nine spot with the justification that eating the legs off something that “croaks and pees in your hand” isn’t right. Have you ever been to a French restaurant – or Taco Bell for that matter – that let you play with Kermit’s relatives in order to select which ones you wanted to form your amphibian entrée?
M&MA: French? No, I’m Irish. And who hasn’t made a run for the border? Especially after a late night of drinking, since Taco Bell is the only place other than McDonald’s that’s open. Haven’t you seen all the eye-catching pink goo they use to make their McNuggets on Yahoo News, or the article about the teenager who hasn’t eaten anything but said nuggets since she was two, and was hospitalised because of a lack of nourishment?
Author’s note: no, I don’t have any idea how we got onto the topic of McNuggets, either.
But back to your question. I guess with enough hot taco sauce, even amphibian could taste good. That said, this coming from a girl who uses Bambi meat to make her tacos.
TDoT: Is it just me, or do the frog legs in the article photograph look like the bottom halves of severed anatomical models?
M&MA: Freaky, isn’t it? At first glance, it made me think of Barbie dolls that had been broken in half. You have to give the frog legs props though, look at those muscles.
TDoT: Let’s talk M&M’s. You mention on your blog that in order to eat them, you need to line them up two by two in colour-coded harmony; does that make you some sort of chocolate candy Noah?
M&MA: I ask you Lyndon, what would possess anyone to put an odd number of M&M’s in a packet, and why would you not ensure that there were the same number of each colour?
TDoT: Do you ever feel sorry for the leftover ones that you throw away? Those Mix Ups with 3 different types of M&M’s in the packet must really fuck with your head.
M&MA: Yes, especially when nuts are involved; they just roll all over the damn place instead of staying put, squirrely bastards that they are.
TDoT: Tell us about the CDO, your version of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Does having to alphabetise self-diagnosed conditions present any difficulties?
M&MA: Only when I’m at a barbeque and there’s no silverware. Actually, I think it’s more of a hindrance to those around me; I drive my assistant crazy because, for me, everything has to be in a specific order, whereas she prefers random clutter.
Probably the most difficult aspect for me is eating. I’m a section eater and am very texture oriented. For instance, if I’m eating steak and chew even the slightest bit of fat, it’s no more steak for me. Never mind that it’s only the second bite, the person who gets an almost whole steak to eat never complains.
TDoT: In one of your older pieces, you got very philosophical when you asked “When is new not new anymore?” What’s the answer? I promise if I knew when new was no longer new I’d tell you.
M&MA: The short answer is once you take the tag off, use it, wash it or wear it. Of course, this answer all depends on what one is referring to.
TDoT: You make reference in one post to a soldier who “decided to desert his dessert in the desert.” Are there any cakes, confections or puddings that you wouldn’t feel bad about leaving in the middle of the Sahara?
M&MA: As strange as this may seem, chocolate cake. Sure, it’s a staple among desserts and although I love both chocolate and cake, I do not love them together. Of course, even more horrid – I absolutely love that word – than chocolate cake is tapioca pudding. It looks as though someone sneezed in the pudding and stirred it in to hide the evidence. Again, it’s a texture thing.
TDoT: So you’re against interdessert relationships? Never mind. Can I borrow $100?
M&MA: What will you give me if I do, Lyndon? I assume I can call you Lyndon at this point, seeing as you’re attempting to “borrow” more than few of my hard-earned bucks.
It’s not that I mind. If anything, I am appallingly giving, so much in fact that if someone asked for the shirt on my back, I’d probably hand it over, so long as I had another one on underneath. After all, you can always put more clothes on, but you can only take off so many before you start offending people. But why not go out of your way for someone else on occasion? Is being genuinely nice to someone else really that hard? I don’t necessarily believe the whole “do unto others as you would have done to you” credo, simply because for most people, it means nothing to them. For others, it may not be in a positive way.
Isn’t it fascinating how most people use the term “borrow” like they’re actually going to give whatever it is they took back? Why not just say, “Can I have?”
TDoT: Okay then, can I have $100? No? One of your nicknames growing up was Vera Bubbles. What was all that about? I’ve got an image in my head of an 83-year-old stripper.
M&MA: Are we talking male or female stripper here? And you think my CDO is strange. 83-year-old strippers do not form any part of the image that comes to my mind.
The nickname stems from seven fun-filled days of walking through the woods, avoiding banana spiders, swamps and other assorted creepy crawlies at summer camp in the 8th grade. One of the camp counsellors, who – judging by how short his shorts were – could have been mistaken for a much-younger-than-83-year-old male stripper, had a hard time remembering names. Apparently Amy is harder to remember than Vera, so I was dubbed with the nickname Vera.
The second part of the nickname was given to me by my bunkmates, as they seemed to think I was the bubbly one of the group. The most likely cause of my bubbly disposition was what makes the hearts of all 13-year-old girls go crazy and their hormones run rampant: the tall drink of handsome that was Tim, our hot, hot counsellor. At that moment, Vera Bubbles was born.
TDoT: Thank you for joining me today Amy, and for the $100 I took out of your purse when you were ranting about McNuggets.
Next week, The Dissemination (of Thought) Files puts the author of the always insightful, occasionally controversial Impassioned Rantings of an Unbalanced Mind under the microscope, in an attempt to ascertain who actually did steal the cookie from the cookie jar.
To keep tabs on all things The Dissemination of Thought, go to the Facebook page and like your ass off, or follow me on Twitter by clicking the pretty little button below.
We’re going to try something new on The Dissemination of Thought: interviews. In an attempt to keep things fresh and, as someone so eloquently put it, stop me “whinging about everything”, the post published each Thursday will be, at least for the foreseeable future, an interview with another blogger or random inanimate object of my choosing. Yes, seriously. Haven’t you ever wanted to know what a toaster has to say for itself?
victim guinea pig participant is Cakes McCain, Canadian expatriate in Italy and author of Pasta for One.
Without further ado, I welcome you to the first instalment of The Dissemination (of Thought) Files.
Lyndon Keane (TDoT): Welcome, Cakes, if that is your real name. Is there any reason you’re 34 minutes late?
Cakes McCain (CMcC): My real name? Who in their right mind would name their child “Cakes”?
Oh, and incidentally, I am 34 minutes early.
TDoT: In the “About Me” section of your blog, you talk about the differences between your expectations and the reality of Italy. What makes the tomato sauce more amazing and the men more juvenile in this part of the world? Is it the water?
CMcC: No, it’s not water. It’s Mamma.
If you wanna make amazing sauce, find a Mamma to show you. I did. I had to, for my own sake. After I learnt how, I couldn’t believe it was such a no-brainer. Once, a dude ceased to be interested in me after I confessed my lack of skill in the culinary art of tomato sauce making. Go figure.
Italian Mammas. I have a love-hate relationship with them. Keep in mind that I am generalizing here; on one hand, they are a particular kind of saint: running an entire household and, more often than not, working outside the home. They make it all happen and are the glue that holds the family together; they deserve a medal. On the other hand, many are delusional. Extramarital affairs are common here, so these women harbour a false sense of security and power. While they are playing domestic house slaves, many of their husbands are out canoodling with other women or surfing for porn right under their noses. In my opinion, the only control they really have is serving, coddling and manipulating their male children well into their forties.
It’s not uncommon to find an unmarried man beyond the age of 30, without any independence or life skills, living with his parents. If you look at the statistics from the past 6 years, 3 out of 10 marriages bomb because of the unusually close attachment these men have with their meddling Mammas*. I know 25-year-old men who can’t even make themselves a sandwich, and who won’t eat shrimp unless their mothers take care of the peeling for them. I mean, come on. These dudes get girlfriends and marry them with the expectation that Mamma’s job description is transferrable. Obviously, I want no part in this debauchery on any level.
* Author’s note: random facts and figures have been provided by one Cakes McCain. Sue her.
TDoT: You say that Pasta for One is your life and your movie. Will it be released in 3D?
CMcC: It is in 3D…hey, are you making fun of my bra size? I’ll have you know I am only a Euro-size 3B.
TDoT: Moving on. In one of your most recent pieces, you purport that “crappy blue Fiats” are the vehicle of choice for “quintessential Italian” perverts. Does the car really maketh the man? Are the bonnets or passenger seats of bright yellow Lamborghinis more conducive to multiple orgasms?
CMcC: I have become a Pavlov’s dog of sorts for the blue Fiat: I see them and I dart away in repulsion. Sex in any car is overrated, but I’d say the latter is the automobile of choice for ‘Mr Mid-Life Crisis’. I don’t care how much it costs; the cheese factor is off the map. I stay away from men at the age of retirement and beyond who buy supermodels in bulk.
TDoT: For some people, life seems to be one giant cliché after another. Where do you stand on clichés, and what’s the worst one you’ve ever heard?
CMcC: I think Italy must be the world capital of clichés, that’s why so many expats move to Tuscany. Rivet those rose-coloured glasses to the sides of your heads folks: I live here, and my eyes are on sensory roll autopilot. “Italians are the best lovers”: definitely the Mecca of all clichés. “La Dolce Vita” is a close second. Bureaucracy rules; last spring, I killed over 500 ticks that were squatting in my small garden. My apartment has no heat. When I got home this evening, I discovered my olive oil had solidified. How sweet is that?
TDoT: The name “Cakes” centres on your love of everything sweet, but how different do you think your life would have been, had you not shown fondness for cakes and desserts? What would have happened if you were partial to fruit and vegetables instead? Cauliflower McCain just doesn’t exude the same panache.
CMcC: Let it be known, I am a quasi vegetarian now, and will eat any cake that is put in front of me.
The name really centres on a Canadian company called McCain that makes frozen cakes. I ate many of them back in the day until my friend Leanne ruined it all by telling me that frozen cakes are made with antifreeze. Bitch. Lies, I tell you. Come to think of it, Leanne has gone underground. Hell, she could even be in prison now because of her exaggerations.
I probably could have called myself “Steaks McCain” back in the 80s and early 90s: I ate a lot of meat and drank a lot of Diet Coke back then and not much else. That said, had I never left my home town in Northern Ontario, I could have become a lumberjack, collected red plaid bushjackets and snowmobiles, and developed “fat arm disease” like many of my relatives. But hey, this is supposed to be “La Dolce Vita” here in Italy, remember? Poor Fellini. Idiots beat it to a pulp and ruined a good movie title.
TDoT: I’m sorry, I just realised that my zipper has been down for the entire interview. Did you notice, and if so, why the hell didn’t you say anything?
CMcC: Really? I never noticed you were wearing pants, and I thought that maybe you were holding a hot dog left over from lunch. I have this theory that “it’s easier to stay in denial without your glasses”. Notice I am not wearing mine?
TDoT: Mick Jagger once sang “I’m so hot for her and she’s so cold”. Do you believe this to be an isolated incident, or is global warming to blame for the appalling quality of the dating world in 2012?
CMcC: Such a complex question. Personally, I have never met Mick. I only felt like I was waiting for him with the other cattle outside the Italian immigration office. I, myself, am aloof by nature. Goofy, love-muck romanticism embarrasses me; few know that I have a heart like a marshmallow and a tongue that can cut through glass.
TDoT: Love-muck? Care to clarify that?
CMcC: Shut up. Maybe we’re all just crazy from the heat, but I’d say narcissism is alive and well and growing like a cancer. These are scary times. There are a lot of agendas out there, good and bad.
Online dating is bigger than ever; it can be hard to tell a faker when you can’t look him in the eye. I have read so much dating advice, sometimes I think my head is going to implode, so now I stick exclusively to a couple** of really great blogs for insight: Couple-tastic! and Never Kiss a Frog.com.
** Author’s note: I have to assume this is a pun.
It’s a whole new game and, foremost, we – especially women – need to keep our wits about us and protect our privacy. If I meet a guy I fancy online, I am the first one to launch a full-scale Google inquiry. I’ve been burned, baby. Here’s hoping the next one isn’t driving a blue Fiat, or Naomi Campbell’s ex-boyfriend.
TDoT: Or Naomi Campbell’s blue Fiat-driving ex-boyfriend?
This concludes The Dissemination Files for this week. If you want to play along, and think your story can amuse people (or at least make them feel better about their own lives), send me an email with an obscure fact about yourself.