Tag: 2019 April Group Writing

Man and Woman at the Dawn of the Electric


Much of the sound of both “popular” and “country” music today comes from the partnership of a man and woman in the early 1950s. While Les Paul was the technical innovator, he wisely partnered with Mary Ford to record and broadcast the culmination of his innovations as beautiful music. Their performances and the public’s enthusiastic reaction, were the greatest sales pitch in the world for a new generation of musicians to adopt the guitar technology and recording and voice microphone techniques. The couple’s recording and touring career was eventually a victim of their success, as other performers took their innovations and carried them further, but their records and television show performances, preserved on video recordings, still please modern ears.

A statement about Les Paul and Mary Ford on the Les Paul website, seems boastful, but is demonstrably true:

Today’s leading recording artists know that their sound is built on the genius inventions of the Wizard of Waukesha and his stellar performances with wife Mary Ford.

Caught in a Woke Romance


“May I hold your hand?”

He’d been going with her for a couple of months now, but familiarity doesn’t imply consent, and so he was as usual careful to ask her permission before initiating any sort of intimate contact. For a brief moment, he felt the old relief that she chose to go with the conventional pronouns, but he manfully shoved aside such a transphobic thought.

Marie and Pierre Curie: A Love Story


When I think of the name Curie, I automatically think of Marie Curie, the incredibly bright and industrious woman who discovered the nature and uses of uranium. She is especially recognized for being the first woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize. (The Nobel Committee first wanted to give the prizes only to her husband, Pierre, and Henri Becquerel, but Pierre insisted the Marie also be recognized.) Her husband’s insistence that she be included was typical of the kind of love, partnership and respect this couple shared:

By the summer of 1898, Marie’s husband Pierre had become as excited about her discoveries as Marie herself. He asked Marie if he could cooperate with her scientifically, and she welcomed him. By this time, they had a one-year old daughter Irene. Amazingly, 37 years later, Irene Curie herself would win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

‘My husband and I were so closely united by our affection and our common work that we passed nearly all of our time together.’

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Yes, indeed, folks we have spotted two opportunities to get out and splash in the puddles without a raincoat in April’s monthly theme. Our radar shows the 27th remaining clear, for now. And look over here: the 16th just unexpectedly cleared. Men and women, boys and girls, Wilkomme, bienvenue, welcome! For April, our theme is “Men and Women.” Just write a short […]

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For Ricochet’s Group Writers series, I offer a light diversion for those less exalted moments when depth takes a holiday. I’m writing it in the last few hours of Lent; and I’ve suddenly decided to give up political correctness for Lent. Men and Women and Social Events is no great philosophical piece, I’ll tell you […]

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Proverbs 31, the last chapter of the Old Testament Book of Proverbs, has two parts. The first is a recounting, by King Lemuel, of the wisdom imparted to him by his mother. There’s a subtext here, and it’s that men, even future kings, should always listen to Mom and heed her advice, because Mother almost […]

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While it is improbable that an infinite number of monkeys with typewriters would ever produce all the Great Books, we have good evidence that Ricochet members can produce minor masterpieces when challenged. We have 8 days open this month, so fire up those computers, tablets, brilliant phones, or go retro, typing and then OCR scanning […]

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Well, what do you call a rather odd mix of some gentle gender humor capped by the personal story of a young accountant? Yes, it’s April 15, and I’m telling an accounting story. Hopefully not too taxing, to borrow words from our illustrious thread leader@cliffordbrown.  Double G’s: Guys and Gals and the Gender Gap Preview […]

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Group Writing Friday Food and Drink Post: Bon Appetit aux Hommes et Femmes!


History claims that the first “modern” restaurant was opened by one Monsieur A. Boulanger, sometime in the middle of the eighteenth century, and somewhere in Paris, where his small establishment served, mainly, soup to the middle classes. Although the tradition is robust, extensive research has never actually turned up any proof of his, or of his restaurant’s, existence, and La Grande Taverne de Londres, a much more upscale affair which opened in 1782 under the direction of Antoine Beauvilliers, is generally credited with being the first “real” modern restaurant. According to his Wikipedia entry, it catered to an aristocratic clientele, with

 tables made of mahogany, crystal chandeliers, and tablecloths of fine linen, an extensive wine cellar, and elegantly-dressed waiters. Dishes on the restaurant menu included partridge with cabbage, veal chops grilled in buttered paper, and duck with turnips. The restaurant Beauvilliers became a rendezvous of conservative political factions, in which Beauvilliers was implicated; in 1795 he was forced to close his establishment and to live away from the trade that was his life.

Poor guy. Then, as people do still, he appears to have paid the price for his political persuasions.

Men and Women—Champions All


President Trump should promptly and publicly invite the Virginia Cavalier men and the Baylor Lady Bears together to celebrate their NCAA basketball championships. In doing so, he would set the women on the same level as the men. The Baylor Lady Bears are hardly likely to run the “resistance” game, but there will be real pressure on players in Virginia, now dominated by the Swamp, to delegitimize the president. Making it about men treating women as peers in college would confound the left’s messaging.

Two True Champions:

If you missed either the Sunday or Monday evening NCAA College Basketball Championship game, you missed a great game. Too busy? Watch at last the last 10 minutes of the Baylor Lady Bears versus the Notre Dame women. Then watch at least the last 5 minutes of the Virginia Cavaliers versus the Red Raiders men in regulation time, plus the 5 minutes of overtime.

A Friendly Battle of Men and Women


In which your itinerate correspondent stubbles onto the stage, and writes about ballet! Dance aficionados, perhaps even former corps de ballet members, are invited to pas de deux in the comments or stage a solo in reply on one of the several open days this month. Through the opening days of this month’s theme, “Men and Women,” it has variously been asserted that the relationship between the sexes is one of supremacy, of (zero-sum?) competition, or of complementarity. What follows is an illustration, perhaps an argument, of complementarity in a positive-sum competition.

On point, en pointe:

The Royal Opera House’s “Ballet Evolved” video series, illustrates on stage the evolution of ballet over the past four centuries. In the 1830s, a ballerina created an innovation in female dancers’ footwork. While the en pointe technique innovation drove a change in ballerina’s footwear, enabling more extreme development of the technique, men did not see a similarly radical change in technique.

Good Heavens, Miss Sakamoto; You’re Beautiful!


There are three things that are too amazing for me,
four that I do not understand:
the way of an eagle in the sky,
the way of a snake on a rock,
the way of a ship on the high seas,
and the way of a man with a young woman.

That’s from Proverbs, the sayings of Agur the son of Jakeh. Now, between you and me, I don’t know Agur the son of Jakeh from Adam son of a Hole in the Ground, but seeing as ten-year-olds aren’t noted for writing many proverbs, we can assume that he’s an old man. He must have been young once; he must have done this. Still, he’s ranking it as too amazing for him. Maybe it’s something he forgot with age? Well, I’m a young (relatively speaking) man, and if anyone ought to understand the way of a man with a young woman, it ought to be me, right? I don’t understand it. I can, however, pass on my observations, for science.

Questions for Men and Women


Why do so many women and men treat woman’s fertility as a sickness? Why do so many (oh, so many) people ask a person who is pregnant if she or her husband are planning to get “fixed” after the birth of the expected child, as though her fertility is a sign something is broken?

Why are so many ob/gyn offices festooned with posters, pencils, pens, mugs, clipboards, paperweights, lights, boxes, calendars, and charts manufactured by companies that make contraceptive pharmaceuticals?

Reality TV, 1387 Edition


Imagine yourself, if you will, as an inhabitant of late 14th-century England. You sit somewhere at the lower end of the hierarchy with the king at the top and the villeins and serfs at the bottom. If you’re a man, you’re very likely a farmer, and you and your family live in a two-room (if you’re lucky) house, close by the small patch of land you’re allowed to pretend “belongs” to you. When you’re not tilling and plowing and sowing and reaping there, you’re working just as hard, or even harder, on your Lord’s estate. Or perhaps you work in support of agriculture–perhaps you’re a blacksmith, or a wheelwright, or a cooper.

If you’re a woman, you keep house, you raise your children, and you provide all domestic necessities for your family. If you’re lucky enough that your parents survive to old age, you bring them into your house and care for them, too. If you’re a child, and you live in a village where the Lord of the Manor supports a small school, you attend, and you learn to read and count, and perhaps even to write. If you’re a little higher-class than your neighbors, perhaps you’ll escape a life of quite such grinding labor, and enter the Church, eventually becoming a Brother or a Nun.

And, in the very great majority of cases, you’ll live your entire life within a three-to-five mile radius of the place where you were born. So your circle of acquaintance is pretty much set from the start. It’s very likely that your “lady-love” will be a girl you’ve known all your life. Your community is small, and your interdependence on each other is high; therefore, friendships are important and carefully tended, and enmities are avoided whenever possible, in the interests of community safety and peace.

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How about it, pardner? For April, our theme is “Men and Women.” All you need do is write a short essay to start the conversation. Perhaps you could ask a question or two to get the conversation flowing? Consider some of the ways this topic could go: Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em. Preview Open

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Men and Women: The Purgatory of Marriage


“Marriage is neither heaven nor hell, it is simply purgatory.” — Abraham Lincoln

I don’t think President Lincoln made this comment about marriage in jest; his own marriage was challenging, to say the least. His wife, Mary, had exorbitant spending habits, extreme moodiness, and went into deep depression on the loss of her children. In some ways, Lincoln was no prize husband, either. He was also moody, moving from playful moments with his children to periods where he was distant and withdrawn.

I think, though, there is a deep wisdom to his statement about marriage and purgatory. I was amused by this definition of purgatory:

Men and Women and “Real Combat Arms”


In 2017, the United States Army rolled out a new objective physical standard test to determine eligibility for different job classifications, what the Army calls “military occupational specialties (MOS).” The four-event Occupational Physical Assessment Test (OPAT) applies to recruits and to soldiers seeking to change MOS. The test standards are not scaled for age or sex—the raw performance metric determines your physical suitability for groups of specialties. Another six-event test is being rolled out as a periodic test of physical readiness for deployment, also neutral on scoring and possibly with minimum scores per specialty. All of this intersects with the policy disputes over male-only specialties and men and women working together.

This is in compliance with the 1994 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). No, that is not a typo. Back in the early 1990s, there was great contention over the presence of women in traditionally male military specialties. Young officers, commissioned into Air Defense Artillery (ADA) in 1986, and trained as Patriot officers, had fired some of the first shots in anger in the first Gulf War, answering Saddam’s Scud missiles with Patriot missiles, cued by software hastily modified to detect and respond to this threat inside a limited engagement envelope.

It should not have been news that women could operate missile firing controls as well as men. Nor should there have been any great shock that women can fly aircraft as well as men. Yet, it was disconcerting to many for various reasons.

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There are two major monthly Group Writing projects. One is the Quote of the Day project, managed by @vectorman. This is the other project, in which Ricochet members claim one day of the coming month to write on a proposed theme. This is an easy way to expose your writing to a general audience, with […]

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