Freudian Mother-in-Law

I’m talking to a woman who just met her son’s girlfriend.

“She is so old!” she hisses. “She is ancient. What is somebody so elderly doing with my son who is only thirty?”

“She is my age,” I observe.

“Yes, but that’s not the same thing. She is also huge. And he looks really tiny by her side.”

My angelic patience wears thin and I say, “Well, I surely don’t know who would be small enough for your son.”

“Me!” the loving mother exclaims.

I depart, once again thanking God in heaven that my mother-in-law lives on a different continent.

What Attracts TSA Agents To Me

I have finally discovered why I always get pawed by the TSA officers at security checkpoints. I fly often, and it can’t be a coincidence that I get signaled for a pat-down every time when I go through security. Being singled out for a groping session 16 times in a row (I counted) seems like too big of a coincidence.

Now the mystery has been solved, and it feels kind of good to know what was causing the TSA agents to pay so much attention to me. On my trip to Montreal, a male agent who was observing me step through the metal frame motioned me to step aside and requested over the radio that a female officer approach.

“What?” the female officer asked when she came by.

“The skirt,” said the male agent.

It turns out that skirts are likely to cause discomfort to TSA agents because you can hide quite a few objects underneath them. I tend to wear a lot of billowing, 1950s-style skirts that look like you could have an arsenal under them.

And if you collect horror stories about TSA scanners, here is a particularly disturbing one.

Classics Club #9: Ellen Wood’s East Lynne

This 700-page novel published in 1861 is enormously enjoyable. East Lynne has everything to grab a reader’s attention and never let it go: a murder investigation, a love triangle, adultery, mystery, creepy but irresistible seducers and seductresses, and the kind of plot where something exciting happens on every single page. Of course, I can’t address every aspect of this great novel in a short review, so I will concentrate on the theme that interested me the most and that, I believe, is central to the novel: emotional stupidity.

Archibald Carlyle, the novel’s protagonist, is a good man. He is hard-working, sincere, loyal, honest, and kind. However, he possesses one tragic flaw that makes all of these admirable qualities completely useless. Mr. Carlyle has the emotional intelligence of a door knob. He is completely incapable of noticing that other human beings have feelings. His indifference to the emotional experiences of others rises to the level of sociopathy. As a result, Mr. Carlyle, who never willingly commits a bad or unkind act, ends up destroying people who are the closest to him. He loves his wife Isabel but it never crosses his mind to take her feelings seriously. Her husband’s utter emotional stupidity eventually drives Isabel to abandon her family. She is willing to do anything but continue living by the side of an emotionally dead man.

Whenever Mr. Carlyle is forced to confront the unexpected reality that human beings have feelings of their own and don’t move through life as smiling machines, he becomes very perplexed and dismisses this unwelcome realization. He walks through life leaving pain, suffering, and death in his wake. I think we have all met a few people who have the same flaw as Mr. Carlyle. Such folks might be very well-meaning and nice, yet their emotional stupidity makes them fatal. I don;t fear a nasty evil-doer half as much as I do somebody who is emotionally stupid.

2012 in Review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 610,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 11 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!



You see what made me famous? Putin’s botox, of course! Or maybe it was this comparison of Putin before and after botox.



191 countries! This is a lot of countries, folks.

And the most commented post this year? This post on evolution.