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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Christmas: the illness

No, I don't mean Covid. I mean Christmas itself AS an illness, a mental illness. 

For years between the 70's and 80's, my parents would take the whole family to Lincoln Center in NYC to see The Nutcracker. Now I love classical music but tend to prefer opera to ballet. Still, as saccharin as Tchiakovsky's holiday romp is, it is as forgivable as opting for slightly sweeter cocktails around the tree. But there's still a difference between being an adult and enjoying a seasonal cookie with some extra sugar sprinkled on top and opting instead for a cupful of sugar with a couple of cookie crumbs on top. One is an indulgence, the other is a sign of a problem.

The Christmas Party scene at the beginning of The Nutcracker.

The ballet begins with a magnificent Christmas party, which also reeked for me a bit too much of disproportionate wealth....(but let's not get distracted with class wars for now, LOL).....but whose decor, while lush, was decidedly adult. When the children enter, they are still awed by the magnificence of it all. The children are AT the party, but it is still an ADULT party. And while the adults indulge in some seasonal fun, they remain adults. I see this as normal. 

What I have seen for a long time now is another symptom of our society's juvenilization (something I have written about before). It seems to me that too many adults see Christmas not merely as an opportunity to celebrate, but to age regress. Just look at the popularity of inflatable lawn decorations. 

I tend to doubt that a kid lifted his dad's credit card to order this......but that at least would explain it. 

I love to decorate. I love celebrating. And while I may not be the biggest fan of Christmas due to too many years in retail, I can still muster enough spirit to enjoy it.....or at least make the best of it. But, while I may overindulge in food or drink to a degree....I do so AS AN ADULT. I don't need Christmas to be a holiday scripted by Hallmark and produced by Disney. 

Even religious advocates are a bit guilty, despite their seemingly anti-commercial stance. The modern interpretation of the proposed birth of a god on earth is equally juvenile. It's not theology as much as a comforting fairytale. Religion in general has been accused of the same juvenilization that I see in other areas of society ( See link on the juvenilization of religion) And if you want to take a misinterpretation of a supposedly significant event in Christianity and juvenilize it even further, how about this?

Juvenilization is not the only illness that Christmas illustrates. There's also the excess of adults behaving like greedy children with their Christmas wish lists. Men behaving like underage brats wanting more and more and more. Women acting like spoiled little princesses. How are their kids ever going to learn moderation? Christmas is famous for prompting high hopes and then even if achieved, resulting in a depression when the "gift high" doesn't last.

Piles of excess gifts are not the only symptoms of illness though. Excess decorations have always triggered a dual reaction in me. One is the initial shock, disbelief, and amusement of overdone decorations. But before the smile fades from my face, I am also hit with a feeling that perhaps what I'm snickering at is not merely bad taste......but a problem. (And then I feel a little when a mishap initially triggers a laugh and then makes you think: oh shit, I think that person just got injured.)

Christmas spirit, or a cry for help?

And to conclude, here's a combination of both juvenilization AND excess. 
"Dude, spend less on another inflatable, and use the money for a good therapist."

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A new month

Today is the first of December and it's significant for a couple of reasons. For me, as someone who does not like to decorate for Christmas until Thanksgiving is good and done, knowing it's now December gives me the impetus to change decor and start thinking Christmassy thoughts. Christmas is not my favorite holiday though, so it can be a little challenging to go from my two favorite holidays to one that is hugely popular with others but not so appealing to me or Rosa.

The Christmas that never quite was.

One really positive thing Rosa did recently was challenge me with another new twist in our holiday presentation, by saying she would like to change our table setting from the one we've used for a couple of years to something different. This is very good for me, because it gives me something I enjoy to focus on without the worry over cost.......since we love to take what we already have and add just a few inexpensive things to it, to come up with a fresh look.

Say "farewell" to our old's time for something different.

The other thing about December 1st, is that ........well...... it's my birthday. BUT, I am not giddy with excitement. Rather, I feel...........old.

They say, "you're as young as you feel".......well if that's true, I feel like I have a few decades on this guy!

I've mentioned before that between Covid & Trump I am flat-out weary! It's ironic that these two modern plagues have so much in common: both are looked at by half the population either as something to be dreaded and eliminated or as something not taken to be as dangerous as the other folks make them out to be. Both infect a significant number of people, and both have serious negative impact even on those who themselves are not personally infected. Both are draining. Neither seem to want to go away on their own. Unfortunately one area where they do differ is that we do have hope that a vaccine can get Covid under control. There sadly is no vaccine for Trump.....or apparently for "Trumpism".

As bad as Covid is, at least it's quiet. This bastard won't shut up! I am so fucking tired of this shitbag's yapping mouth and the diarrhetic crap that flies out of it in a limitless, stinking stream.

It's enough to drive one to drink.............

"Please just make it stop!"

.............which brings us to a more pleasant conclusion to today's post: The Virtual Holiday Cocktail Party: 2020 Edition- (subheading) 'We need it more than ever'

A good cocktail is more than just the right combination of ingredients. It's about presentation as well.

The guidelines are simple: just send me your recommendation(s) for a nice holiday libation along with the recipe and I will post it here along with a link to your blog...if you have one. 

Cocktails can be: alcoholic, non-alcoholic, classic, new, original, or whatever! And while a cocktail is technically a mixed drink, this year......due to things I discovered about my readers last year, and due to the desire to share discoveries more broadly, you are also welcome to recommend a straight-up booze you feel is perfect for the occasion, or even an ideal wine or beer. (So instead of being limited to something like a White Negroni, you can offer up a gem of a top shelf tequila or a lush single malt scotch, a malty stout or decadent Cabernet). 

I do suggest that offerings be flavor-consistent with the upcoming season rather than just a favorite drink that might be more appropriate on a sunny backyard deck in July though....but I'm not going to exclude any recommendations anyone is kind enough to send in. It's just a suggestion for the overall theme. (Personally I have some new ones I am eager to share!)

If you recall from last year, we even had some daring selfies of the cocktails being provocatively served. While not necessary for the party, enticing exhibitionism will not be discouraged. ;-)

I will also repost about this so readers are aware. So stay tuned.

Thursday, November 26, 2020

Happy Thanksgiving!

Due to scheduling issues among our immediate family, we are sitting down to eat a little later than usual this year. So, now that everything is done and waiting for the festivities to begin, I actually had the welcome chance to sit and bang out a quick post. 

Here is the table setting we will soon be sitting at:

Not too much different from years past, but there are some new plate additions, and the sunflowers are a switch from our usual mini-pumpkins.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

Busy few days ahead

Thanksgiving is just around the bend. I have the happy situation that I do two small Thanksgivings every this year is no big change for me. Everyone in our limited and cautious small circle who comes here anyway, are the only people who will be here for either of these two days, making the events safe-ER if not 100% safe. We may also open a couple of windows for extra caution.

I have a lot to do though. I slimmed down the menu this year based not on Covid, but on past leftover data. We are also slightly tweaking our traditional table set-up, substituting silk sunflowers for the little pumpkins we used in the past.  I will post pictures. 

As for the menu? The usual from years past. I am not trying any new recipes this year. But the historic favorites will all be center stage. ( the two biggest hits are a corn and clam chowder and another Colonial recipe: mussels in a spiced cream sauce ) There are other specialties all gleaned from a Colonial cookbook, an old Frugal Gourmet book on American cooking, and another book on Thanksgiving recipes through the years. But a menu can be much less time-consuming than everything I put myself through. Just look at the serendipitous simplicity of this presentation:

Yummy. And so low on calories.

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Hero worship

Compared with most normal people, I could probably be considered a bit obsessed with superheroes. But put me alongside some avid "fanboys" and I seem very low-spectrum. At least nowadays. I am going to be 61 very soon and I suppose a certain waning of interest is to be expected. 

Recently I posted an Iron Man diorama which prompted a private exchange between me and recent Spooner recipient, Tomy. During our conversation I mentioned that my favorite superhero was Marvel's Daredevil and said I should really take a picture of what my son calls my "Daredevil Shrine". For those utterly unfamiliar, here is what Daredevil looks like:

An issue from the 70's that I have particularly enjoyed....and have still.

Daredevil "The Man Without Fear" first appeared in April of 1964......a bit too early for me to have appreciated at the time.....since I was only 4. Since then he has been featured in a rather tepid movie with Ben Affleck & Jennifer Garner, and more recently in a good quality series on Netflix starring Charlie Cox......who does a much better Matt Murdock (Daredevil's daytime lawyer alter ego.) than Affleck.

Daredevil appeals to me for several reasons. He is a dark character. In fact, the writer, Frank Miller, 'darkened up' the character a few years before he did the same for Batman. So if you think of what Batman was like in the 60's and how he suddenly became "the Dark Knight"......that was Miller's retooling......and he did it to Daredevil first. 

I also liked that in terms of powers he is not unlike most of us. He has no super-strength, no healing factor, no claws that pop out of his hands, he doesn't even own a high-tech iron suit. The only strange powers he does possess are heightened senses and a kind of 'radar sense', which enables him to envision things all around him in a kind of 360 degree vision......which is the ONLY vision he has since Daredevil is technically blind. 

For decades, artists have struggled with rendering how Daredevils 'sees' his world. But two-dimensional drawings in a comic book, or even a scene in a movie are too limited to get it exactly right. The images are more than just shapes to him. They are a combination of sonar-like impressions, sounds, smells, tastes........all in a spherical display with him in its center. There is no sneaking up on him. He doesn't need to turn around to punch you or throw something at you. It's like a sightless but otherwise sense-rich immersion which requires him to struggle more to edit things out, than pull information in. It's hard for him to relax. It's hard for him to sleep. His world does not diminish by closing his eyes.

When we admire a hero we often look for a blend of things we can relate to set against traits we don't have that we admire. For me, the thought of being blind is beyond terrifying. So I admire his ability to transcend something I dread. He also is a morally-conflicted, "lapsed Catholic"........something I was when the character first appealed to me.
(Now I am more of an atheist as many of you know.) His stories.....especially his later ones.....were never bright, happy, battles for good. They were battles that challenged the notions of good. They encompassed perspectives rather than black-and-white dichotomies. Good stuff.

As a spanko, I always loved this scene....even though it was a singular aberration whose theme was never repeated. I also found it ironic years later that one of Daredevil's nicknames was "DD".....the other being "hornhead".

Anyway, once I set him up in my mind as a favorite, I began collecting a lot of "Daredevil memorabilia", and to be honest, that was initially a very economical pursuit since Daredevil never had a huge following. Everyone knows Spiderman, Captain America, and the Hulk, but whenever I would say my favorite character was Daredevil, I would get a blank stare. Nowadays that has changed and he is way more popular than he used to be, but he is still an acquired taste for a limited base.

But now that you all have an idea of who Daredevil is, let's get to that shrine:

Here are figures, glasses, cars, buttons, gaming pieces, key-chains, and a collectible statue. (There are other statues not in my possession that are amazing but whose price tags were sadly prohibitive.)  The scary part is that this shrine doesn't even contain everything I own, and there are several more figures,  and movie posters that are on display with other sets, or packed away. Several boxes are also sadly positioned in front of others and so in many places there are figures behind the ones you can see. And then there are the comic books! I have nearly all of the first volume, including the first ten issues. 

You can see that the classic all red outfit was his primary look, but he started out as a combination of yellow, red, and black. He also donned a few other outfits over the years including one that incorporated some armor......since he had no bulletproof skin or unbreakable bones. It's scary to think that this one shot represent several thousands of dollars of comic book value.

To be honest, I have not kept up with my hero for a long time now. My son has informed me of some of the more dramatic plot twists and developments, but I just don't have the inclination to collect comics and read them like I used to. Still, heroes tend to be what we want them to be. Their glory days are etched in our minds and recent developments seem insignificant when measured against our own relationship with the character. Regardless of what has transpired since, or what happens in the future, for me, Daredevil will always be the red-clad "Man Without Fear" acrobatically prowling the streets of NYC's 'Hell's Kitchen' looking without sight for wrongs to right......and wrestle with.

Friday, November 20, 2020

The 2020 Spooners


And the Spooner goes to:

Well, despite saying I would go by memory alone, I did actually use the Blogger search feature to help with this year's Wooden Spoon Award list, but I only went back a few months and I scanned the comments fairly briskly. Naturally, I had no problem listing our 'regulars', but I will say that if you are reader who has left even a single comment in 2020......even a comment to voice dissent.......YOU STILL HAVE EARNED A SPOONER. So sorry if I missed anyone who qualifies, but the following list is pretty fair in my opinion.

Heading the Wooden Spoon Award list are three people I know I can rely on even in the leanest of times. So congratulations to Merry, Dan, & Tomy who have been around for way more than just 2020, and who comment generously. 

More Wooden Spoon winners whose participation I appreciate include: Mr. Bill, Joe, Archedone, Sissysnow, Fondles, Hermione, Jack, Jhakov, Glenmore, QBuzz, Julie, Erica Scott, & Crimson Kid.  We can also add some newcomers to the list. I believe these folks began commenting in 2020 and are  welcome additions to our special circle: Alan, ZM, Baxter, Hortic, Max, ron, Redtail, & Steve S.

Lastly, I must award special Spooners to my dear reader/disciplinarians who not only comment on posts but often are the inspiration for them. (Besides, if I somehow leave them out, I'll probably earn a slip or get a direct spanking!) So congratulations to Ana (my Little Monster) whose Dental School schedule has kept her very busy, and Nickki who lately has been the star of many interesting posts and pictures. Love you both!

So congratulations to all winners.....even those who qualified but I somehow missed. A lot of effort goes into this blog, and while praise is always nice, it's not what I look for. It's all about interaction. Discussion. A sharing of opinions. I do this so kinky people can talk with each other, intelligently, cleverly, passionately. We don't need to agree, but life is a process of participation. As kinky people we may often feel left out on the fringes. "Collected Submissions" is meant to be a parlor for people to feel safe and among friends.....even friends who vehemently disagree. And not only an informal parlor where a guest can not only slip off their shoes, but a kinky one where they maybe even drop their pants to show off a spanked butt and still feel accepted. And so besides congratulations I want to THANK everyone ......heartily......who has left even a single comment. Your participation is what keeps me going.

And on this "Love our Lurkers" Day, if you are a lurker looking for love, please seek it on one of the other participating blogs. There are several. Because here on this day, I wish to recognize participation rather than solicit it. If you can come here and take the time to read and yet never in a year find the time to offer even a single comment, all I can say is.................


Thursday, November 19, 2020

Lovin' Spoonful


No, no, no! Not these guys. THIS "Lovin' Spoonful":

The Wooden Spoon Award. ( the 'Spooner' )

Tomorrow is "Love Our Lurkers" Day for many worthy blogs who participate. I used to add this blog to the list early on, but more recently, I have adopted the same timeframe as "LOL-Day" to deal with the silent lurker situation a bit differently. Rather than try to coax reluctant readers to participate.....which is something I feel I do all year very little success.........I take this time to reward those loyal folks who do. 

Tomorrow I will make the presentations, but I will be handling the awards a bit differently this year. In the past I spent a long time researching participants through the year so as to not leave anyone out....even if they only made a single comment at the beginning of the year. It is a tedious process. This year I am just going to rely on my memory to name those folks who stand out as regular participants and will extend honorary "Spooners" to anyone who knows that they did leave a comment or two, but who escape my memory.

So, if " believe in magic...." tune in tomorrow and see who makes the list!