Archive for September, 2005

Feminization of Modern Man

September 28, 2005

Virginia Postrel points to an interesting critique of an article in the Washington Post about the “growing trend” of macho Japanese men supposedly getting in touch with their feminine sides. Here are some representative excerpts from the original article:

Gender roles have been undergoing a redefinition in recent years as women enter the workforce as never before and men embrace less confining views of masculinity….
The market for male aesthetics has grown fourfold in the past seven years to $400 million annually, including day spas for slimming treatments, facials, manicures and painful sessions of eyebrow plucking. The largest such chain — Dandy House — has doubled in size since 2000, with 60 locations across the country.
Skin treatments have become particularly popular for bridegrooms, while many men are opting for costly electrolysis procedures for permanent removal of unsightly facial hair….
On busy Tokyo subways these days, it is not unusual to see men fishing for packs of Virginia Slims cigarettes in European-style male purses. They have many models to choose from at Isetan Men’s — the successful 10-story department store in chic west Tokyo that opened two years ago and is now the cathedral of masculine vanity….
Perhaps most inexplicably, male thugs in the yakuza — or Japanese mafia — are now known to wear pink women’s sandals and floral-patterned shirts while prowling the streets late at night….

In an email to Ms. Postrel, I noted that the same article could have been written about American men a couple of years ago (remember “metrosexual”?) In any case, the trend of “feminization” – to the extent it exists – is not unique to Japan.
I think it is a reflection of our post-industrial culture. There are not many jobs left that require men to be stereotypically male all day. Most of us sit at a desk all day reading and typing. As a result, many of us have smooth hands and skin, and carry an extra bit of weight around.
Throw us back 100 years and most of us would be lost. How many of today’s typical men could do the heavy manual labor performed by farm and factory workers of the early 20th century? Even a manufacturing worker today is more of a computer operator, pushing buttons to operate the robotic assembly line.
Just some random thoughts. And, on a humorous note, I have found definitive evidence of the feminization of a well-known “man” in Japan (click on the extended entry link):

Read the rest of this entry »

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RIP, Marta Bohn-Meyer

September 27, 2005

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Test pilot Marta Bohn-Meyer died last week in a crash of an aerobatic plane in Oklahoma.
Sadly ironic that she would die in a little single-engine prop plane after a career that included flying one of NASA’s SR-71s at three times the speed of sound in high altitude tests at Dryden Flight Research Center in California.
RIP.

Hitching a Lift

September 27, 2005

Ted points us to some good news on the successful test of some space elevator precursor technology.
More SF coming true.

Carnival of Music #16

September 26, 2005

Where does the time go? Has it really been four months since we started the Carnival of Music?
Please check out Professor Spiegelberg’s poetic entry this week.
I have updated the main carnival page, addressing the questions of just what is a blog carnival and what does one have to do to host. Check it out, and submit your links to musical posts and your offers to host here.
Thanks for your support!

Firefly

September 21, 2005

I just finished watching the original pilot episode of Firefly (entitled “Serenity”) on the first DVD (via Netflix).
How gratifying to see a Science Fiction series about which all the superlatives are true.
Much more later…

Texas Kraut Recipes

September 20, 2005

A significant number of the “Anglos” that settled in Texas in the early 19th century were, in fact, Teutons and Slavs. And until the current generation, one could readily encounter German dialects being spoken in small towns in the Texas hill country. (In my sophomore year of college, my German class took a field trip to Fredericksburg, where we struggled to understand the dialect of a 70-something museum guide whose German was anything but Hochdeutsch).
In honor of Oktoberfest (excellent Oktoberfest picture here, btw), here’s a site with numerous recipes incorporating sauerkraut, including a couple that might work here in Texas: Surprise Chili and Salsa Ole.

There Once Was A Man From Nantucket…

September 20, 2005

Professor Chris Hall has a funny collection of limericks over at his blog, Spacecraft.
(Think Lewinsky and Kaczynski).

Political Test

September 20, 2005

Absolutely no surprise here:

You are a
Social Liberal
(73% permissive)

and an…
Economic Conservative
(88% permissive)

You are best described as a:

Libertarian

Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid

(Via Eric, with whose answers I’m sure I differed only in my reluctance to use “strongly” too much).

Froehliches Oktoberfest

September 20, 2005

Oktoberfest2005.jpg

Gratuitous Domestic Blogging

September 18, 2005

WARNING! Rampant narcissistic self-blogging ahead! Proceed with caution or skip altogether.
The work week can’t start soon enough.
I can’t even remember what we did yesterday we’ve been so busy. And that was with one kid out of town with the Boy Scouts.
Today started at 8:00AM with getting the other two kiddoes ready for church. Sunday school at 9:45 and church at 11:00. Second son received his third grade bible from the church. Made it to the neighborhood pool at noon to learn how to clean the pool and operate the pumps. Straight from there to a two-hour soccer practice in the 100 degree heat. Home to mow the lawn, change the air conditioning filter in the attic, and adjust the sprinkler heads. Dinner, then bed for the kids. And now, at 9:38, my first break of the day. But I have to take the dog for a quick walk before the rerun of Friday’s Battlestar Galactica comes on at 10:00.
I am beat.
Update: Oops. BSG isn’t on until tomorrow. Tonight was South Park.