why we became fat

Okay…I’ve been watching the show Mad Men. I’m loving how carefully they recreate the attitude of the early 60s.

And the clothes! Oh my gosh.

I love those clothes the ladies used to wear. They were so fitted and constructed.

There was a lot of architecture that went into a simple wool suit. And the underclothing they used to wear!

it was not comfortable, though. I mean, there was a reason that women burned their bras a few years later.

But it wasn’t just bras. We still wear bras now.

But we don’t wear the slips and camisoles and garters that were the uniform then.

and don’t forget:


I have never worn a girdle. I don’t think I’ve even ever SEEN a girdle. But I have heard stories.

These massively tight full-bum tourniquets that melded two cheeks into one derriere unit–those were worn every single day by women young and old.

thank god we are free from these.

But then I started thinking…America has recently been complaining about the obesity epidemic.

We were not so fat in the 60s.

I bet when we lost the girdle, we lost a bit of internal restraint.

When you’re wearing very tight elastic panties..WITH LEGS..you probably notice a lot sooner if you’ve gained a pound.

Who needs a scale if all day, every day, you are feeling the red welts of a too-tight girdle reminding you not to have a second bon-bon?

there is a connection…

2 years

today is the two year anniversary of my current job.


If I make it one more year…and right now I feel like I will…that will be the longest I’ve ever worked at one job.

but that’s a year away.

right now, I feel pretty good.

what a wonderful world

well, I’ve had lots of great thoughts that I wanted to put up on this blog over this last week and weekend.

But I’ve been working REALLY REALLY hard. And not getting much sleep.

“what has murphy been working on?”

well you might ask. You might ask. You didn’t, but I will tell you anyway.

There is a mighty website going to launch today. My nerd quotient had increased exponentially–LITERALLY EXPONENTIALLY–as i learned what i needed to learn to make it work.


it will be up by the end of the day, if I have to pull the last few to-do items out of the mud on my own back.

but it will be up.


you can check it here

yes, okay. So that is what I’ve been doing instead of posting. Or sleeping. Or even bathing as frequently as is my custom.


But today, since I’m pretty much done with the herculean site raising, and since I’ve not quite gotten enough sleep, and also since my big curly brain is throbbing, I kinda feel like I’m in a stream of subconcious.

you know that feeling inbetween snooze button clicks? when you are likely to board any train of thought that passes by?

it’s all fine and good until I open my mouth. The censor is not at the gate, and inhibitions are down.

woo hoo! I ‘m happy!

…but still…perhaps i should stay in my cube and work on solitary projects today…


watching someone to watch

So, I’m watching CNN today as I am eating my banana and morning coffee. CNN is always on around here, because we have to have a source of video and audio to test with at any moment.

I think we watch CNN because we can’t seem like we’re having fun. CNN is boring, and when it’s not boring it’s horrifying. I half-seriously suggested we chip in our own money and get Animal Planet, because at least that is cheerful. Or maybe Home and Garden TV! We could decoupage the desks.

the suggestion was not recieved well.

Anyway, this morning, I was watching the recap of the sex scandal and then some blonde woman got up and was doing a press conference. I made a snarky comment “I guess Miss New Hampshire has to do something afterwards…”

I looked again and decided she was too skinny. “No, she’s the runner up.”

My co-worker said, “I thought they all became trophy wives.”

“NO! They all get together and form a coalition to start world peace.”

He gave me a look.

But the woman on the screen had started to interest me. She was not taking any garbage from the reporters.

I had to google her: Fran Townsend.

It turns out she rocks. She is in charge of the council on homeland security. And she deserves it! She had to work her way through school, and became a lawyer and then an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn and the got into Intelligence work for the Coast Gaurd. I added things up and figured out that she’s only 46!

How impressive.
“Fragos? That’s a horrible middle name to live down.”

Then I went to wikipedia.

“Wait no…That’s her maiden name. Her dad was Greek.”

So you know what else? She Orthodox like me! I love this lady.

So I looked up at the screen again and watched her in action. I couldn’t really hear what she was saying, but I could see she was in control of the room.

And then I saw it. She had not one, not two, but THREE earrings dangling from her ear! Oh yes, she did live through the 80s.

I’m a fan now. I hope she goes far.

while we are on the subject

In a recent post, i was whining about how hard it is to write about inspiration….about how hard it is to be believable with good news.

i said you had to die or no one would believe you.

But that brought to mind something else.

The greeks, those old drama queens, had strict definitions of tragedy and comedy.

Tragedy pretty much HAD to end in someone dying. Because…well, come on! it has to be SAD.

But that made me remember the definition of comedy…It ends in a marriage:

final scene, in which the predominant note is rejoicing, generally leading up to a feast or wedding. The play may conclude with a cordax or riotous dance.

so…if you look at it THAT way…there are a TON TON TON of happy movies that involve love.

Just because I don’t find them believable doesn’t mean that others are drawn in. Romantic movies–comedies and tragedies–are ALL OVER.

so, I guess we believe in the transcendance of love.

…i just wish that it were broader than mere romantic or sexual love…

the borders of language and the universe

So I’ve been listening to this awesome podcast of “Proof” on The Play’s the Thing

It’s a play about, among other things, MATH.

I don’t have a firm grasp on math. It was my worst subject in school. Now that I am older, I think that they way math is expected to be learned in school was part of my problem.

I always wanted to know WHY. I didn’t understand the logic behind the math and felt very uncomfortable relying on assumptions that I knew where hidden to me. It felt like a deception, and I didn’t want to be taken in.

“Why do I have to show my work? And why do I have to keep both sides of the equation equal? Who says?”

What I didn’t understand is that math is a language. Math is an incredibly precisely defined set of symbols (like an alphabet..and often borrowed from alphabets!) to express ideas.

And the gatekeepers of math are super rigorous in enforcing that specific definition. The community of people fluent in the language of math expect precision in communication. It simply doesn’t go if it is not correct.

I remember the movie “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”…They said that the aliens would OF COURSE try to use math to initiate the first communication.

And that would make sense, because of the precise nature of math-speak. We would know for sure what we were communicating.

Math is a wonderful tool.

The thing is, though, that a lot of stuff has excluded from math. Math shrunk the universe…or at least lopped off the parts that are not as precise as math needs them to be.

I’ve talked about this before.

It’s a beautiful, elegant tool to help us understand our universe.

I’ve always thought that the definition of luxury was to have the perfect tool at hand for anything you needed to do. Such as, the perfect chair to accomplish the task of sitting.

The perfect beautiful plate and fork so I could eat.

A good hammer, or screwdriver are wonderful things too.

I have an electric sander that is great…but I’m not so sure that it does exaclty what I want it to do. It may be that I don’t know how to use it right, though.

Tools do take that. You have to know how to use them, or they are not useful. I wish that I undestood more math, but I am impatient with math. It does not address the problems that bother me.

I WANT precise definitions…no, I actually want to explore the imprecise. To grab that barely understood idea or experience and nail it down. But they flip past really fast, and it’s hard to capture.

I am finding out too, that math is not as precise either. They are making guesses a lot too. Euclydian geometry is great! but it can’t tell you how big the earth is.

And the learning shape of the universe (which we don’t know for sure) can change everything.

It’s easy to think, “The shape of the universe? How could that possibly be important to little me?”

But it is. Knowing that answer would be a huge building block in our ability to…do so many things we haven’t even thought of yet.

Math can’t tell me the shape of the universe. It is guessing right now.

which means it is not a precise as I want.

Wasn’t I just talking about this? I was just saying that I was having trouble expressing the nature of experienced transcendence…or enlightenment..?

[both these terms irritate me with their imprecision. I can’t find the correct, elegant word to express what I mean…and then again, even if I did find the word that felt right to me, I would be completely uncertain about whether that same shape and flavor of meaning had been transmitted to the persons I am talkign to]

it’s imprecise, and we don’t know. The shape of the universe or how to express enlightenment, both these things are being reached for and guessed at.

The beauty of math is in the precision…and yet the imprecision hangs on the edges. And FRUSTRATES those of us who love precision.

And I don’t even know any math. I am attracted to learning some. But I think that the learning curve for math is a bit steeper than for my electric sander.

You have to die

I’ve been very busy lately.

Super busy. I have three projects going on that would each on their own justify saying I”m super busy. And I am doing all three.

But those three things are actually chugging along pretty well. I’m past the panic point and have moved on to the part where I am criticising myself for not getting OTHER stuff done.

Yes. I know. I should not be so hard on myself. But it’s like clockwork. I could even predict it coming while I was still panicking about the first three things.

Okay. So the part of my life that I am frustrated about neglecting is my writing.

I have this book, you know? Not the one I’ve already written, I feel bad enough about neglecting that one’s publicity program.

But there is that other book that I was writing long before I started and finished the Miriam story.

Okay. So, I’ve been stuck on the story. I’ve written the first half, the part where I am in Alaska at home, despairing and losing faith.

despair, losing faith–check.

Now I am trying to write about my trip to Russian and about transcending despair and rekindling my faith.

I am really happy with the first part that I wrote. I did a very good job of tracing the path from innocence to jaded cynic. Metaphor and description all over the place. Very nice.

So in the story, I’m trudging along pissed and angry, but coping because I am playing it smart and close to the chest.

Which is SO easy to do. Meaning, it is easy to write about being pissed off and having unfair shit happen to you.

It’s easy because every every every one keeps that feeling of injustice and pissedness right close by. I’d say almost every day everyone has the chance to feel wronged and angry about it.

Every day we have a chance to scoop up a serving of decaying disillusionment and carry it around with us. And which of us can resist doing it? It’s a passtime to think about , and talk about all the absurd things that others do to inconvenience or hurt you.

and that’s just the everyday petty stuff. What about the really nasty stuff?

Literature is full of those kind of stories. REALLY good stories of wrongs done. Hamlet? Oedipus Rex?

There are so many many tragedies. And they are great. I’ve written before about how great movies and books are often really depressing

We are ready to believe bad stuff. We are ready to be depressed.

Okay. So how the hell am I supposed to write about transcendance? No one would believe me.

We are sure that the world sucks and that the universe is against us and is most likely totally unfair.

We are not sure that there is a reason and a overarching merciful justice. We…Well, I know _I_ …don’t buy flimsy trite enlightenment.

We don’t buy it and feel further betrayed if someone tries to sell it to us.

“Yeah right…blah blah and now the world is full of smiling sunflowers. I don’t buy it.”

Which is to say, the second half of my book is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy harder to write. The touchpoints of empathy for joy and peace are not worn on anyone’s shirtsleeves.

And you know what else? It’s not even that easy for me to reach. Yes, I can remember how it felt. But I have to feel it again I think, fully feel and recognize the mountain moving that I know then AGAIN NOW.

So I have to reach deep to find it. And if I can find it, then I have to write better than I’ve ever written before to make it convincing to someone else.

I was talking with a friend about it.
“Honestly, can you think of a single movie where a person achieved transcendence and it was believable?”

“…maybe Life is Beautiful?”

“Yeah, but he died.”

That’s the only way to make it believable. You have to kill someone.

Pay it forward? He died.

Mom was talking to me this morning about Tuesdays with Morrie…a book I find utterly unconvincing, but which I recognize as touching many many people.

Not to give it away, but Morrie died.

Martin Luther King jr. Ghandi…dead.

And EVEN JESUS DIED!!!! would NOT have worked if he didn’t die. NO one would have believed it.

You have to die or no one believes you have anything worth remembering.

And no one died.

…mom says a cat died in Russia…but that was after I left and it was just a strange cat, not one we knew.

I’m stuck. I can’t find someone to die.

the power to annoy

So today, I had to work in a different station.

Two of us four were out. So i had to go up front and interact with the customers and my one co-worker.

Customers, I don’t mind. My co-worker I don’ t mind either, but he may not feel the same way.

See, I know this. I know this about myself. It is kind of a dangerous thing to leave me alone with someone for a long period of time. I know this, and yet it is very very hard to change the course of events.

Because eventually something is going to come out of my mouth. I don’t know what I’m going to say. I start out in perfect peace and quiet, but eventually something is going to fall out of my mouth.

I’ve heard the maxim ‘Never discuss politics or religion.’ I don’t think that is true anymore, but even so, I’m not likely to bring those two up.

I don’t know what I will bring up. My head has a stream of thoughts running through it constantly.

And it seems unfriendly to just not talk for hours at a time. isn’t a little light conversation a happy thing?

Of course, one person’s ‘light’ is another person’s collapsing black hole.

I know this. I know this. But I can’t help it. And there is a part of me that feels like talking about what’s running through my mind is a sort of conversational largesse.

Is it fair that I have a thousand interesting topics that spring to mind when a bit of conversation would be nice, while others have such a poverty?

How often must we discuss the same worn-out topics? Lunch? The weather? Traffic? please. I can do better than that.

So today, we talked about:

* Reforming Mexico
* the realism or lack thereof of the hollywood standards for beauty
* How the public’s taste in female buttocks moved from flat to big over the span of the 80’s to the 2000’s
* whether people would accept an ugly movie star
* Plastic surgery
* the pain of adolescense and the cause of anoroxia
=who has is worse? boys or girls?
* how women are percieved in society
* Prices of houses in Hawaii

Now frankly, I knew I’d been holding forth for a while. I wanted to try to lighten it up.

so I said, “OK if you were an orphan, would you be more interested in finding your mother or your father?”

“I don’t know. Both.”

“Okay, because I was watching a show about Star Wars, and I realized Luke didn’t give a crap about his mom. He was all about his father.”

So we talk about this for a while, me thinking that this is about as shallow a topic as any I could encounter. Which is higher, a Jedi or royalty, etc. Until he says:

“STOP! You are NOT going to spoil this movie for me! I LOVE STAR WARS! JUST STOP IT.”

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