Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Friday, December 09, 2005

The GPS navigation device, The Three Stooges, Ketchup and other assorted questions of the war between the sexes

By Aussiegirl

In a few previous threads of comments, readers have explored the profound questions of why men don't ask directions, why they find the Three Stooges funny, and now we explore the fundamental question of whether or not ketchup is a vegetable. Michael Morrison, who writes the wonderful blog Take Back Your Rights!, is quick to point out that technically tomatoes are a fruit. Still, fruit or vegetable, ketchup comes in a form that is palatable and acceptable to the average man who, perhaps, finds eating fruits and vegetables in their unadulterated form to be rather -- well -- unmanly, if not uninteresting.

Now, on the subject of men's seeming reluctance to ask directions, we received many fascinating responses, and mentioned among them was the theory that asking another man for directions placed the male in the inferior position, thus yielding to the gas station attandant permission to pillage and burn his village and abduct his women. Now, we know that no self-respecting man is going to leave himself open to pillaging or burning, therefore it is incumbent upon him to find his own way to his ultimate destination, thus discovering (as Columbus did), New Worlds along the way, and many interesting "short cuts" and scary neighborhoods which might otherwise go unexplored.

It occurred to me that the introduction of the GPS navigational system for cars might present an insoluble conundrum for men -- to wit:

When it comes to a male's reluctance to ask directions, does it count if a machine gives the instructions? Since a machine cannot pillage and burn your villages and kidnap your women, and technically qualifies as a "toy", is it therefore allowable in the male universe?

Here's an excerpt of one pithy response from the inimitable TJ Willms of Twisted Steel:

Now that I have a free moment to ponder the GPS conundrum, it is quite simple really. GPS is the electronic replacement for the detailed mental maps we men store in our highly reliable memories. Many are further augmented with an on board compass. The newer user-friendly versions give additional navigation cues in a helpful (usually female) voice that guides you to your destination.

The perfection of GSP navigation is one of the final pieces of a diabolical plan by the feminists of the world to rid the planet of testosterone for good!

Personally, I don't think we will ever be able to dispense with the male sex (NOT gender, PLEASE!)

If men weren't around who would kill those huge black arachnids that terrorize us in our showers? There are simply some jobs that only a man can do.


At 6:38 PM, Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Fruit are seed-bearing, and tomatoes are seed-bearing; ergo, they are fruit. Ketchup is a fruit sauce, not a vegetable sauce.

A man is not afraid of using a map, and a GPS is a map system; you cannot call playing with a gadget ``asking directions``! Gadgetry scores extra manly points.

The Stooges are still #1!

I`m glad you don`t agree with Maureen Dowd that Men are expendable, Aussiegirl!

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Jo macDougal said...

I agree in part with Tim. Also my father taught me that men are self reliant. I can read a map - but my wife? I do not ask directions because it indicates I can not fend for myself. Women are taught by our culture to be dependent so they have no problem asking directions. I think it is not in our genes but in our upbringing; or culture.

At 7:19 PM, Anonymous Pindar said...

Thanks, Aussiegirl, for bringing together three very interesting and topically related posts, along with the comments that show that you have an intelligent and witty audience. I appreciate learning that the tomato is actually a fruit, so that in the future I shall be requesting a "fruit sauce" for my hamburger. And I agree that "gadgetry scores extra manly points"--and that this fact explains a lot of male behavior. Finally, I agree with Aussiegirl about calling us the "male sex", NOT the "male gender". The word "gender" has been wrongly used. In Latin, for example, there are three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter--we don't talk about the three Latin sexes. However, when it comes to ancient Roman society, there probably were, judging from modern society, at least three sexes...and maybe more.

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Amen to Pindar!

The misuse of the word ``gender`` aggravates me to no end. I`m with you, Aussiegirl!

(I wonder what Michael Morrison thinks about that?)

At 4:17 PM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

Michael Morrison thinks this about the alleged misuse of "gender": Because our society has become so generally and widespreadedly (and if that ain't a word, it oughta be) dirty minded, I have, even if reluctantly, become a user of the word instead of "sex."
"Sex" is so immediately understood or misunderstood to refer to carnal relations that anyone using the term risks having a hearer or reader conclude wrongly the user is referring to congress (which differs sometimes only slightly from Congress).
Many years ago, I swore a blood oath I would never stoop to using the word "gay" when meaning homosexual.
In more recent years, though, I have acquired very good friends who are homosexual -- most of them also Christians -- and have acquiesced to the trend. "Gay" it is, simply because it is the preferred term of the people to whom it applies.
Just as I would never say "Negro" to or about black people, although it was indeed the preferred and polite term about 1970, I will say "gay" as the preferred and polite term.
So, despite my contraryism regarding language, I have -- disagreers might say -- caved on "gender" and "gay" for the sake of courtesy and clarity.
I still don't, though, accept periods and commas outside quotation marks, I don't accept "awhile" or "anymore" as single words, nor do I accept the ugly two-letter USPS abbreviations for states.
The punctuation mentioned violates the rules of American English; it is a Limey usage, and -- though it pains me severely to say it -- might be more logical and rational, but it is not accepted by arbiters of American usage.
The words, the neologisms mentioned violate logic and traditional use.
Just analyze the words to understand what I mean.
The two-letter abbreviations also violate tradition and they are interruptions in a sentence, the proverbial pennies on the track of a thought.
So, see? Usually I am very traditionalist, but "gender" has a practical use in today's communications and needn't necessarily be seen as surrender to the forces of coercion and nihilism.
By the way, how many people here know the correct pronunciation of that word?
Up the Rebels!

At 4:29 PM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

Regarding directions: I used to ask.
I also eat quiche, cry at sad movies, and don't mind holding, even in public, the purse of my love.
I have no doubts about my masculinity, such as it is.
But I no longer ask directions for one simple reason: No one ever knows the answer.
Example: I was driving from South Georgia to one of the Carolinas and wanted to avoid the battle zone of Atlanta, a fearsome place, with traffic populated by some of the most aggressive lunatics on American highways.
So, I was seeking a certain state highway which began about Macon and veered to the east of the dangerous metropolis.
According to my map, it should have split from the road I was on and so I stopped at a convenience store/gasoline station to ask.
The attendant, a stereotypical South Georgia redneck (also black and female), couldn't do much more than shrug her massive shoulders and mutter, somewhat politely, "I 'on't know."
Well, it turned out the highway being sought was the very road on which the establishment fronted.
As Jimmy Durante used to say, "I got a million of 'em," stories of people who didn't know the road they were on, the route to an otherwise well-known destination, perhaps even their own names.
Sorry, folks, but it has nothing to do with being male.
It was a vicious canard that Sally Ride was made an astronaut just because NASA wanted someone aboard who wouldn't be afraid to ask directions.
I don't ask directions simply because no one ever knows the right answer.
Up the Rebels.

At 4:39 PM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

Oh, one more thing: I also eat fruits and vegetables, just as they were born in Eden -- raw.
I love cauliflower, raw.
I love turnips, raw. But peeled.
I love tomatoes, raw. Not cooked, although I understand many a Southerner will fry the green ones and consider it a delicacy.
Well, some of them, maybe many of them, also boil peanuts.
I don't drink beer, I don't watch NASCAR, I laugh at wrestling, but I will defend to ... well, if not death, at least to the point of a threat the right of others to do so.
But I do hope they'll let me knife into a cauliflower and carve out the stem which I can munch while watching "The Simpsons."
And I do hope they'll let me slather mayonnaise onto two slices of bread and add slices of raw tomatoes -- and maybe nothing else. Bonnie will know what I'm talking about. She's Southern.
By the way, cauliflower is fine cooked, slightly cooked. Steamed is best.
It's great covered with a cheese sauce or mixed with steamed broccoli.
But it is sublime raw mixed into a salad.
Anyone wanna arm wrestle?
Up the Rebels.

At 4:48 AM, Blogger TJ Willms said...

Even though tomatoes are an over-grown berry (sort of) cucumbers, squash, and bell peppers also bear seeds but do not fall into the fruit classification. I think there is still some work left on that discussion. After all most tomatoes are grown in vegetable gardens aren’t they?

I’ll concede that GPS units are a form of map and are therefore acceptable, offering little for the male ego to be concerned with. One reason asking for directions is so unpalatable and fraught with pitfalls is it places a great deal of trust in the hands of someone you or (I) don’t know at all. They could be totally clueless as to where they are sending you not having to face the consequences of their errant directions. Worse yet, they may have a perverse sense of humor and direct you to someplace you really, really don’t want to be.

As for the stooges, I have learned through painful experience never to argue with dedicated fans of the stooges. Nothing good can come from it. Summarizing all of this earth shattering information from my perspective,

1.)Tomatoes: Vegetable
2.)Ketchup: Good
3.)GPS: OK if you need that sort of thing
4.)Asking for directions: only as a last resort
5.)Stooges: a matter of taste

I may have been a little hysterical with my ketchup-induced “women taking over the world via GPS theory”, earlier but it did make ME laugh.

At 4:24 PM, Blogger Aussiegirl said...

Well, as usual, thanks for all the excellent comments, guys. I'm going to have to see if I can't hold up the woman's end of this discussion.

To my dear friend Michael M. -- as much as I appreciate your comments, this member of the fair sex will never use the term "gender" to denote the sexes, regardless of the increasing ubiquitousness of its usage. I find gender simply unacceptable. And it strikes me as curious that in this "sex-saturated culture, where the leftist promulgators of the new amorality push us at every turn to abandon our natural modesties and reticence about discussing private matters in public, they should suddenly develop such a squeamishness and prudishness when it comes to the perfectly good term for the male and female sex.

After all, are we to have the "Battle of the Genders" from now on? How silly that sounds -- no, my dear - it shall always be the "Battle of the Sexes" and long may it reign, as it provides much of the spice of life, much like ketchup -- vive la difference!

How is it that it is the same radical lesbians who insist that we stage dramas called the "Vagina Monologues" who suddenly shrink from using the term "sex"? Is it because, as Pindar stated - there are more than two genders in grammatical constructions?

As for the GPS, I have no particular opinion, and it sounds like a fun, if expensive gadget. If men are happy using it then I suppose in the long run it will lead to happier marriages and fewer arguments between spouses over stopping for directions vs. driving around in circles.

As for maps -- I am the navigator in our family and am proud of my map reading skills, and indeed my sense of direction. I think a sense of direction is something you are either born with or not. Let's face it, like beauty, some of us have it and some of us don't -- I of course, make no pretensions in that department.

As for ketchup, tomatoes and the general problem of vegetable vs. fruit I say -- your mama always told you to eat your vegetables and as always, mama was always right. And mama was a woman, so there you have it in a nutshell.

Actually I love ketchup -- it is actually a beloved Indian condiment (as I'm sure Pindar will give us the derivation of the word from Hindi or Sanskrit or such), and I relish (no pun intended) a little story I remember witnessing on a TV cooking show.

And Indian woman was giving a demonstration of her native cooking to a very effete male American host (as I recall, he appeared to be of an uncertain gender -- perhaps one of those third or fourth kinds that Pindar mentioned). She cooked various dishes and then she said, "You know, I always put a bit of ketchup in everything I cook. It has the tomatoes and all the seasonings already in there and always imparts a lovely sweet taste."

Well -- the American host was horrified! Ketchup!! The dreadful stuff that peons eat slathered on their common hamburgers at McD's? -- "Yes, she replied -- ketchup is an Indian sauce, and we use it in many of our dishes.

So there -- ketchup is not only a vegetable, it is a gourmet Indian food!

At 2:28 PM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

However, the word itself is Malay.
It is, I believe, the only Malay word in the English language.
Aren't you glad I read here?

At 2:44 PM, Blogger Michael Morrison said...

Woops, sorry.
There is one more Malay word in English: Amok. Sometimes spelled amuck (though not by me).
I knew when I said the above there might be one more.
Perhaps half a mind is better than none.


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