Men Who Don’t Use Deodorant

Ok, short one today because it’s late and I’m tired.  I saw Pompeii this evening…..we’ll get to that in another post (a little foreshadowing there)!  I have come to understand that the word “Singapore” is ancient Malay for “land of many malls.”  There are literally malls on every corner, with the same shops, that continuously get revenue otherwise they would close.  So, when you go to a movie in Singapore, 99% of the time you’re in a mall.  Why am I talking about the mall movie theater in a post about stinky men, you may ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.

When my friend and I came out of the movie on the 4th floor of the mall and had to travel the “roundabout” escalator bank down to B2 to get into the metro station, a familiar scent arose around us.  We noticed that, since it was 10:30PM in the mall, there was some repair and construction work going on.  Nothing special, just fixing a few tiles and cleaning the glass on the railings.  All the work was being done by older laborers who, apparently, have never heard of deodorant.  The odor hit us like ape-scent gloriola as we boarded the first escalator down, and stayed with us all the way to the metro station.  I fear it may stay with me forever like that episode of Seinfeld where the valet with BO totally funkifies Jerry’s car.  These men (who also apparently hadn’t showered since the last Winter Olympics), were just doing their job, but they were infesting everyone with their funk.

I can understand people not wanting to use antiperspirant because they say it can clog sweat glands and actually make you sweat more when you stop using it (I use it every day…..no plan to stop using it).  I can even understand not wearing deodorant if you’re spending a leisurely day at home and will not come in contact with any other member of the human race.  But to leave the house smelling of rotten onions and mildew (the combination of scents that I “get” from underarm odor) is offensive and disrespectful to everyone.  It is especially important to cover that malicious odor if you’re going to be doing work that might make the odor worse.  Why is it that these men don’t understand that?  I have to say that it’s usually older, more “ethnic” men who don’t use deodorant.  Why?  What do they have against smelling nice?

Incidentally, when we entered the metro I ended up standing next to yet another person without deodorant…..in a crowded metro!!!!  What the hell!?!?!?

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Dog “Breeds” That Aren’t Real Breeds

Yesterday I was watching a television program called Bondi Vet, about a veterinarian who works in the Sydney area of Australia.  There was nothing else to do, so I was mindlessly watching programs on the National Geographic channel.  One of the animals he worked on during the show was a dog that he called a “labradoodle.”  Excuse me, a labradoodle?  I watch the Westminster Kennel Club dog show every year, and I have NEVER seen a labradoodle in that show.  I have seen Labrador Retrievers and I have seen Poodles, but never a labradoodle!  But he’s a vet, doesn’t he know his dog breeds?  Wait….is labradoodle Australian for MUTT?!?!?!  No, it’s only one of the many new dog “breeds” that have taken the place of “mutt” to describe a dog that is not a purebred dog.  People have invented these names for “designer dog breeds” so they can actually sell the puppies and make some money.  Because, as we all know, you can go to the local animal shelter and adopt a mutt for free!

labradoodle

A “labradoodle”

The phenomenon of the designer dog breeds began in the 1980s with the invention of the “cockapoo.”  This is a cross of a Cocker Spaniel and a Poodle.  Most of the original designer breeds were mixes with Poodles.  With names like “cockapoo,” “pekipoo,””pomapoo,” “goldendoodle” and “schnoodle” it’s not difficult to determine the breeds that were crossed with Poodles.

cockapoo schnoodle pomapoo

A “cockapoo,” “schnoodle” and “pomapoo”

While the dogs are adorable, and probably have great temperaments (Poodles are notoriously well-tempered dogs), they are not purebreds!  These dogs should be called what they are….mutts!  If you feel strange calling your dog a mutt, then call it a “mix-breed,” or “cross-breed.”  There is no reason to devise some made-up portmanteau word to describe your mutt like it’s some kind of purebred dog.  If you want your dog to sound like it’s a purebred, then buy a purebred dog!

The cross breeding of the Poodle led people to experiment with other crossbreeds and other weird combinations of dog names.  There are “puggle” (Pug/Beagle), “pomchi” (Pomeranian/Chihuahua), “doxiwawa” (Dachshund/Chihuahua), “huskamute” (Husky/Malamute), “dobernauzer” (Doberman Pinscher/Schnauzer), and “Morkie” (Maltese/Yorkshire Terrier).  These are only a small amount of designer breeds that I found from one simple Google search.  STOP THE INSANITY!  THESE DOGS ARE MUTTS!!!  They are bred from purebreds, but they are not purebreds!  Call your dog what it is!

pomchi puggle morkie

A “pomchi,” “puggle” and “morkie”

Manscaping

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Manscaping is the act of shaving, plucking, cutting or removal of hair from a man’s body.  As an enormously “hirsute” man, I have been known to pluck a little, but not to the point of obsession.  I get the weird, mutant long hairs in my eyebrows that have to go, and the “black forest” that has begun to appear in and around my ears gets culled every so often.  These are needed removals that occur as I get older.  My biggest issue is when manscaping gets taken too far.  There are too many men out there that go overboard and make sure that their body hair is perfectly aligned and perfectly designed.

There are even men who shave designs into their chests and arms so they’re more “interesting.”  Then there are the men who shave their legs and armpits.  Excuse me…..isn’t that reserved for women?  There is no reason for a man to shave his armpits unless he’s a professional swimmer!  I have had it with seeing guys at the beach or the pool with perfectly clipped and designed chest hair, or smooth legs and arms.  No man has smooth legs and arms!  They may have fine, blond hair, but no man has smooth legs and arms, not to mention armpits!!

The insanity has to stop.  It’s time to go natural!  This has just become ridiculous!

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The Copenhagen Zoo

zoo logo

My posts are not usually timely.  I try to discuss timeless things so that they are just as relevant in 5 years as they are today.  I have purposely chosen subjects that (unfortunately) will probably stand the test of time.  Today I choose the Copenhagen Zoo because of the atrocity that was committed there a couple of weeks ago.  I don’t care if this doesn’t hold up for 5 years, I’m really upset and totally disenchanted with the Danish people right now!  Please watch the following:

On February 9th, the Copenhagen Zoo killed Marius, the giraffe.  The only reason he was killed is because his genetics matched the other giraffes in the herd and zoo officials were afraid of inbreeding with the other giraffes.  I have to admit, this is a valid concern, but not a valid solution.  There were so many other things that could have been done to ensure Marius a long life.  First, there’s sterilization; castrate Marius so he can’t make any giraffe babies and you don’t have to worry about inbreeding.  Second, there’s transfer to another zoo.  There were several offers from several zoos to take the giraffe from Copenhagen, but they were ignored (one zoo in the UK even volunteered to pay all costs of shipping).  Then, there’s the option of sale.  A man offered the zoo $700,000 for Marius, so he could live out his life on the man’s estate.  If none of those work, place him in a separate pen, or separate the females.  There are so many other options to the killing of Marius.  He was so majestic and beautiful.

giraffeMarius the giraffe

As if killing the perfectly healthy creature wasn’t enough…..the zoo decided to invite people (with children, no less) to view the autopsy and dismemberment of Marius.  These people got a special “insider’s” tour and were able to watch as a zookeeper explained what they did to kill Marius and then proceeded to cut him open and apart with a large knife.  It was like a show…..similar to one of those with the dancing dolphins and ball-balancing sea lions.  The zookeeper had a microphone on and was inviting questions from the crowd!  I heard a rumor that tickets were actually sold for the  event, but that has not been verified.

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Video of the dismemberment (don’t watch if you have a queasy stomach)

In the interview with CNN, Bengt Holst, the director of the Copenhagen Zoo, said it was a rare chance for children to understand that animals are not only born, but they die as well.  He defended the opening of the dismemberment to the public by calling it “educational” and “a part of life.”  Excuse me….humans killing a poor defenseless creature because it no longer was genetically valuable is not educational.  It seems to me a few years back the Danish were fighting against just that same thing from a Mr. Hitler!  Only this time he was killing the people he perceived as genetically undesirable!  I wonder what he would have thought about the giraffes!

hitler

As if to add insult to injury, the people who watched the dismemberment were then treated to the feeding of Marius to the zoo’s lions, leopards and polar bears.  I do not believe that this zoo did everything in their power to ensure the long life of Marius the giraffe.  They took the easy way out and culled him because of his genetic undesirability.  It was horrible, disgusting, unprofessional and expressive of the worst trait of humans: their feeling of superiority over other creatures.  This not only ruined the Copenhagen Zoo for me, but Copenhagen itself….and possibly all of Denmark!

giraffe lions

Marius as dinner.

 

 

When Someone Waves at You…..But They’re Not

Let me set the stage.  I’m walking down a crowded New York City street, minding my own business.  I look up to see where I am, and a very nice looking older woman waves at me.  I think, “hey, I must know this woman.”  So, I wrack my brain for the slightest memory of who this may be as I return the wave (who am I to be mean just because I can’t remember who she is?).  She continues waving, so I continue.  At the moment I begin the second wave, a man scoots around from behind me and walks up to the woman and hugs her…..the wave wasn’t meant for me!

Another scene…..I’m in a crowded mall this time.  A younger, teenage, girl gives me a wave.  As a teacher for 18 years, I think she must be one of my former students, and I return the wave back.  As I prepare to get an excited greeting from a former student, I’m treated to a shocked and scowling face.  She had not been waving to me, but to her friend behind me and was now confused and overwhelmed with disgust at the fact that I had waved at her.  I was now the lecherous old man who waves at teenage girls.  How embarrassing!

This happens to me a lot.  I know a lot of people.  You don’t teach high school for 18 years and not know a lot of people.  I have 18 years of former students and colleagues that might remember me, even if I can’t remember them.  Sometimes (very rarely) the waves ARE for me and I’m treated to stories about their lives and their families.  Sometimes I’m introduced to their children or their spouse.  It’s nice.  But, more often than not, the wave is NOT meant for me and I look like some lunatic with a smile on waving at people I don’t know.  How creepy is that?!?!  What’s worse is that most of the people I know (being former students) are still fairly young….so the creepiness factor increases exponentially when I randomly wave at young people!

Another thing that always gets me is Bluetooth, or hands-free mobile phones.  I always think they’re talking to me!!  Someone could walk past me talking, and I turn and ask them to repeat because I didn’t get it.  ALWAYS, it turns out, they are talking on a hands-free mobile device.  Now I look like the idiot, instead of the person walking down the street talking to himself!  Or, when they are laughing, and it looks like they are laughing alone, and to themselves.  That’s creepy for all other reasons.  So I stare for a few seconds just to make sure they’re not a serial killer and I haven’t seen them on the TV or the wall of the post office.  When they catch me staring, and I finally see the earpiece or the white wire dangling in front of their mouth, they give me a dirty look like I interrupted their conversation.  Excuse me, YOU were the freak laughing to yourself in a crowd of people!

Am I just too friendly?  Do I just want everyone to know me and talk to me?  I’m trying to analyze why I constantly fall for the random wave or the Bluetooth conversation…..I don’t get it.  It’s like when someone constantly puts a “kick me” sign on your back…..you eventually learn to check your back…..I never learn.  The next time a random stranger waves in my direction, I know I’m still going to wave back.  I should look around first to make sure I’m the target of their wave, but I won’t.  This is just a product of my moronic thinking.  Will I say “pardon me” to the next person on a hands-free call that walks past me?  You bet I will!  I should stop and think first, but I know I won’t.  I’ll just talk to them as if I know them.  I didn’t believe my father fully when he said your memory starts to go as you get older.  My memory is not fading fast, but it’s having trouble keeping track of the thousands of ex-students I know and the hundreds of former colleagues.  Who knows….maybe the next one will actually be waving at me!

Capri Pants for Men

Today I was in Uniqlo.  It’s a Japanese store that sells very bright, very colorful clothing for trendy 20-somethings.  I don’t know what I was doing there….I must have had a moment of temporary insanity.  I saw, in Uniqlo, several racks of 3/4 pants (capri pants) for men.  Unfortunately, a few minutes later, my waiter at Paulaner was wearing denim man-capris (rolled up, no less)!  This was a huge phenomenon in Europe, and I had hoped that it died away.  Apparently, these “man-capris” are as popular as ever and encircling the globe.

man capri 2 man capri 1

I’m sure you know the style.  They’re usually worn in the summer (unfortunately, for me, it’s always summer in Singapore).  Sometimes they are the “cargo” type, with pockets and straps hanging all around.  Other times they’re straight-legged, and actually look like cut off skinny jeans.  The tighter they are…..the worse they look!  Whatever the style, they are still man-capris!  They are too long to be called shorts and too short to be called pants.  They serve no purpose to keep you cool, and they serve no purpose to keep you warm.  In short….they serve no purpose.

I don’t want to hear anything about style!  This apparel is not stylish, it’s unneeded.  It’s a ridiculous look when your “shorts” hang down almost to your ankles, or your pants are mid-calf.  Why do men feel the need to wear these ridiculous things?  It’s worse when they’re worn with shoes or sneakers because then you’re covering even more of the leg with socks and the shoes.  There is no cooling comfort with these things!  People just look stupid in them.

I taught for 5 years in Madrid.  I thought it was the center of the man-capri epidemic.  Every man had at least one pair of these things, and they wore them all the time.  Even my students wore these ridiculous things to school during the hotter summer months.  It was all I could do not to laugh at them when they walked in my classroom with their tiny ankles showing and nothing else.  What is the point?!?!  Is it possibly so some clothing manufacturer can make more money with a little bit more fabric and some extra buttons?  The purpose is not there.

I like capri pants for women.  They are stylish and they’ve been around a long time (they used to call them “pedal pushers” in the 50s).  Women can be cool in capri pants.  They wear low cut shoes or sneakers and they look very casual.  It’s the right things for women, not men.  Men look silly and uncomfortable.  They need to stop wearing them.  This is not style!

man capri 4

Mosquitoes

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Summer in New York was always the time of the mosquitoes.  When I was living there, I constantly ended up with tiny red welts on my skin that itched immensely.  I learned little tricks to stop the itching, like making an “X” on the bite with your nails, rubbing alcohol, cider vinegar, cold tea or even ice cubes.  This was a fact of life in New York.

When I moved to Madrid, there were fewer mosquitoes.  Madrid is a high plateau, and dry like a desert.  While there were some mosquitoes, they were much fewer than in New York.  My summers were no longer pock-marked with itchy welts.  Of course, when I traveled to Mallorca for my summer master’s program, the mosquitoes increased.  They still were not to the level of New York.  You will see that mosquitoes live in all places on earth except the extreme polar areas.

In Suzhou, the mosquitoes swarmed around your head every day.  The city is built on swampland, the mosquito’s home turf.  We are the interlopers, and it’s definitely their world.  It sometimes got so bad that I couldn’t sleep because I could hear their tiny wings beating at night as they dive-bombed my head.  It was a mosquito hell.

Singapore is very similar to Suzhou, except the city realizes the danger that mosquitoes bring (diseases), and they regularly spray the city to kill them.  Standing water is not allowed unless it’s cleaned regularly.  Also, I live on the 20th floor, high above the maximum height for mosquitoes.  I have only gotten 1 bite since I have been in Singapore.  This is quite the contrast to the thousands that I had in Suzhou.

This post isn’t to compare the living conditions of my homes, it’s to complain about mosquitoes.  First off, mosquitoes serve no purpose in the world, as I can see it.  Many people will argue that they are a valuable food source for spiders, reptiles and birds.  There are many other insects that can easily provide food for these animals.  Also, the mosquitoes do not give much nourishment to these creatures unless they are engorged with blood.  If the only reason for these tiny rapiers to be around is for food for something else, then I don’t see a reason for them at all.  All creatures occupy a niche in their environment, that’s what nature sets up.  Mosquitoes don’t have a true niche.

Mosquitoes also carry diseases and viruses that can kill people.  We all know about Malaria, but mosquitoes can also be vectors for encephalitis, yellow fever, dengue fever and West Nile virus.  They are disease-spreading vermin!  They have spread more disease than any other vector in the world.  They carry blood from other people, and, when they bite someone else, transmit the germs from one person to another.  They are disgusting!  In addition to carrying diseases that can kill people, they also inject an anticoagulant into your skin to keep the wound open while they suck your blood out.  This leaves an open wound, with a chemical that causes it to itch.  And itch it does….for days!

These creatures do not need to exist.  They have evolved out of their niche.  Evolution has developed a tiny needle that can kill that which it feasts upon.  The world should take a cue from Singapore……kill them all!  Spray and spray and spray until they are all gone.  If there is one creature that needs to be eradicated and made extinct…..it’s the mosquito!

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A mosquito engorged with blood (note the rosy hue)