Category archives: the old gasbag

Wool gym shorts and the jihad.

At Tile Hill Woods School and Language College, in Coventry, the school uniforms are a seriously unsexy green.  When I attended, there was a little brown hat that went with it, dialing the humiliation right off the freaking charts. There was a lot of Muslim students, too, but no-one wore a headscarf/hat every day. Maybe they were sent to school with a headscarf, but stashed it away on the bus. I had a pair of shoes that I hated because they made me look like something out of a creepy swedish folk tale. I would take them off on the bus and put my old pinchy shoes on instead.

So the school uniform policy has had to evolve to embrace the salwar kameez . Can you imagine the misery of yards of dark green polyester draped all over your body and your head?

Salwar Kameez:  Bottle green uniform fabric (silky fabrics are not uniform), school design encouraged.

Headscarf:  Plain black (optional). White headscarves may be worn in summer.

In this simple policy, the language school shows a balance of concession and tradition. Making sure everyone feels bloody hideous no matter what creed you are.

BTW: Back when I went to  THW, we also wore thick wooly underpant/shorts and a polo shirt for gym class. A carnival of pasty gooseflesh. No wonder the British are so kinky.

The battle-axe decision.

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.
Midway on our life’s journey, I found myself
In dark woods, the right road lost.

 

In the up-slope direction the forest thins, revealing a ground almost denuded of foliage; the path is lined with faux-marble statuary and tinkling wind chimes.

The way leading down into the forest valley seems treacherously uneven, overgrown with moss and littered with ice-cream sandwich wrappers and empty killians bottles.

The news is full of cougars, milfs, gilfs, as our new modern standard for proper middle age. There’s simply no excuse for not being in flared lounge pants and a supportive top. But the pantheon of elder females from my childhood was rather different.  These women were sturdy and slow moving. I recall their bodies as huge monoliths of compressed flesh. They could take one of today’s cougars  down with a hairgrip shiv and make it look like a tanning bed accident all while stretching the roast for one more supper.  I would very much  like to see our culture re-aquaint itself with that rarely-tapped minority, the battle-axe.

How did women earn that epithet?

Imagine such a tool, heavy and sharp, nicked along its blade by the occasional resistant femur, its handle stained by all the ways a person can leak. It’s aesthetic value is entirely based on it’s ability to illustrate a narrative, one of survival, loss, utility and despair.

Army Manuals Online

 

Stay calm.

When one finds oneself  in peril deep, there is nothing quite so reassuring as the matter-of-fact, patrician tone of an army manual. Where else can you get the answer to the question of intestines – to tuck back in, or not? answered calmly, clearly. No. Do not tuck them back in. Bandage them where they are, against the body.

When the plague hits, when the sky rains ruin,  when you are inside out, here you will find the most important survival skill of all: chin up.

army manuals

America has a website.

Why does America’s website look like a community college student portal?

http://www.usa.gov

It’s an appropriately earnest and joyless effort, yet riddled with rabbit holes. Parts of it have been translated into all the languages of the world. The part that has the most translations is a diagram of the water cycle.  it’s in Sotho, Kyrgyz, Wolof.  I guess if you are an Wolof speaker, and you want to know about America, all we are prepared to say to you is “Look! Rain!”.  When the Wolof person looks up, America will dash away…

Dress 10lbs lighter…

As someone who gets two kids up and out at an ungodly hour every day, I’m thinking this is a good look. I can see the benefits.  There are many mornings when i don’t want to let go of the bedspread, either.

Has anyone who wears a full-on burka got internet access? I would love to know the tricks of living with this garment.
Can muslim women mod their burkas? Sew headphones into them? A girdle of ninja throwing stars?  A gps readout visor with a wicked uv filter and photovoltawhatnots sewn into the fabric and a scrambled-egg-burrito warmer?

I’d like one with an iron-on decal of a much thinner, younger woman.

Wearing a burka is probably deeply comforting, in a here-i-am-safe-in-my-ladytent kind of way. Except for the parts when they are throwing rocks at your head.  Are there camoflage burkas?  Kevlar?  If they weren’t so deeply associated with oppression and lady-smacking, I think they could find a sweet market in the exhausted carpool mother demographic.

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