Archive | June 2015

If there is a heaven, they have bubble baths there.

'When in doubt, take a bath' May West

‘When in doubt, take a bath’ Mae West

The buxom Mae West (1893-1980) was thought to be outrageous in her time, but would be considered pretty mild today. She was, however, a smart cookie who once said: ‘When in doubt take a bath.’ West was not the only one who understood the many benefits of bathing, some ancient cultures honored the practice — for instance in the Ganges or the Nile. In Japan, bathing was such an art, participants showered beforehand. The Christians have the baptism and the Jews their mikvah, both forms of ceremonial bathing as well.

An ancient mikvah

An ancient mikvah

However, Genghis Khan (1162-1227), the Mongolian warrior and ruler of the largest empire in the world at the time, definitely didn’t agree with all this washing. As a man not inclined to half-measures, he passed a law making bathing punishable by death. He and his subjects never washed their clothes or bodies — the belief being it would pollute the water and anger the scary dragons who controlled the water cycle. Genghis didn’t want to anger the dragons? Could he have been afraid of them?? In any case, you wouldn’t have wanted to anger old Genghis. He would carry out excruciatingly painful killings with merciless brutality, even before breakfast. He and his gang slaughtered over 40 million people.

Genghis Khan did not allow any bathing

Genghis Khan: He did not allow any bathing

Isabella of Spain: She had two baths during her whole lifetime.

Queen Isabella of Spain: She had two baths during her whole lifetime.

Europeans didn’t used to go in much for bathing either. Consider the very devout Queen Isabella of Spain (1451-1504), she of the Inquisition — who reputedly had only two baths in her lifetime — one at birth and another on her wedding day. Obviously she didn’t consider cleanliness close to Godliness. Surely Columbus deserves our reverence just for the fortitude it must have taken to closely approach her royal personage when he requested she back his expedition. My oh-so-French husband insisted that Napoleon (1769-1821) sent a letter home from the front saying: ‘Don’t bathe Josephine, I’m coming home.’

Napoleon Bonaparte: 'Don't bathe Josephine, I'm coming home.'

Napoleon Bonaparte: ‘Don’t bathe Josephine, I’m coming home.’

Hubby told me he actually saw the letter in a museum. This was my spouse’s way of gently teasing me about my oh-so-over-the-top bathing habits. He had reason to tease, bathing for me has always been much more than a five-minute shower. My favorite baths were special, complete with soft music, scented candles, a dimly-lit bathroom, a cup of hot espresso and luxurious bubbles dancing around me as a I soaked.  During those busy years of home, husband, children, pets and work, those fifteen sumptuous minutes spent in the tub probably saved my sanity.

The first thing I did when I moved into my current apartment was to replace the tub. It had an ordinary bathtub, okay for folks who don’t comprehend what bathing is all about. Shopping for it found me fully-clothed, sitting in a dry whirlpool bathtub displayed at the store — surely a sight to see. But, you can’t just buy any old tub, it has to fit just right. Too long and you slide down, too short and you can’t lean back comfortably, plus the slant has to suit your spine just so, right? Ordinary shoppers were somewhat surprised and amused. One even offered to buy the tub with me in it! He had no idea what he would have been in for.

I still use it every morning, the warm water gently massages my sore knee. My baths remain a luxury and friends in the know are aware a little gift of bath bubbles will bring a dreamy smile to my face. I may no longer need to steal quiet time before a hectic schedule, but arthritis makes me stiff and sore at the beginning of the day. What a pleasure! Surely if there is a heaven, they have bubble baths there.

Surely, if there is a heaven, they have bubble baths there.

Surely, if there is a heaven, they have bubble baths there.

She only looks as though she knows

I found it. I found it! I was looking for something else amongst my papers and found the poem my late friend Hans wrote for me some years ago.

Here it is:

SHE ONLY LOOKS AS THOUGH SHE KNOWS

By Hans Muller

Hans Muller, Award-winning playwright. Most used comment: 'Muriel, the things you do!'

Hans Muller, Award-winning playwright. He loved words… Most used comment: ‘Muriel, the things you do!’

What are all those ahs and ohs?

She only looks as though she knows,

She assumes a knowing pose

And everybody thinks she knows.

Though all she does is sit and doze

Everyone’s convinced she knows.

Be it market highs and lows,

Be it poetry or prose,

Current economic woes,

The benefits of pantyhose,

She always looks as though she knows.

Any subject that they chose

Makes the public think she knows.

It’s not really that she blows

Her own horn — somehow she glows

With an aura she bestows

Both in turmoil and repose.

Is there a reason to suppose

That she knows what gives — what goes?

Does she laugh at life’s cruel blows?

Does she sweat where others froze?

Can she paint — can she compose?

She only looks as though she knows.

Yet, she never brags or crows

Or looks down her pretty nose

At folk like you and me who chose

Their ignorance not to disclose.

The fact remains, from head to toes

She always looks as though she knows.

Can she tell her friends from foes?

The difference between tos and fros?

Above and belows?

Fingers and toes?

Cons and pros?

Yeses and nos?

I don’t think she knows any of those

She only LOOKS as though she knows.

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And brilliant, loving daughter Susan figured out how to copy the original post, so here it is:

May, 2013

Recently, there was a retropective on PBS TV about Wonder Woman. It covered the years since her introduction as a comic book character up until the present.

Wonder Woman in the comics

Wonder Woman in the comics

A weaker Wonder Woman

A weaker Wonder Woman

She had changed many times through the years — for instance, after WW2, when women were supposed to go back to their kitchens after doing “men’s” work in wartime factories, she was not depicted as all-powerful for a time.

The program also showed the lovely Lynda Carter in her role as Wonder Woman on television. Seeing her playing that part took me back…..

I was living in Los Angeles and working as a writer for a public relations firm. My boss was tall, blonde, and beautiful. With my black hair and short round body, I was very aware of my lack of glamour in comparison. Lovely Lynda Carter was one of our clients.

What can I tell you about Lynda? She was one of the most beautiful women I had ever seen, and certainly, her unusual eyes were so beyond beautiful, I can still picture them in my mind.

Lynda Carter's Gorgeous Eyes

Lynda Carter’s Gorgeous Eyes

What I liked most about Lynda, however, was that she was extremely polite, friendly and really nice. Even when she ran into me years later (after she had become more successful) she remembered and greeted me warmly. I liked her for that especially.

Lynda Carter as television's Wonder Woman

Lynda Carter as television’s Wonder Woman

Lynda Carter was just starting out. My boss was trying to get her a movie contract. Boss Linda surprised me when she asked me to go with her to an appointment she had set up with the president of a movie company.

“What in the world for?” I asked, “I don’t know anything about movies or movie contracts.”

“You don’t have to know, ” she responded, “You look like you know.”

I didn’t understand what she was talking about and with much trepidation, accompanied her to the meeting a few days later.

Now, my friends know me to be outgoing and talkative, so it may be difficult for them to believe I actually remained silent during the whole meeting. But I did. I felt out of place, uncomfortable, and certainly had nothing to add to the discussion. I was introduced by name, sat down, and let my boss do all the talking.

When the meeting ended, we rose to leave. The president of the movie company stood, shook my hand and said “You don’t say much, Mrs. Kauffmann, but I can tell you’re the brains of this operation.”

The brains of the operation?????

The brains of the operation????? photo by Susan Kauffmann

I hope he didn’t see the confusion on my face. It took all the control I could muster to behave like a normal person as we left his office. In the elevator, my boss laughed.

“You have to learn to use what you have Muriel.” she told me, “And you look smart.” I was fascinated by how that woman’s brain worked. One doesn’t forget an experience like that.

Since then, I have learned she was right. Perhaps I was never glamourous, or tall, or gorgeous, but there is something about me that makes people think I “know”. Whenever people ask my opinion about things I know nothing about I remember the day I attended that meeting with my boss to try to get Lynda Carter work in film.

Years later, I told my friend Hans about it. He laughed and wrote a very funny poem for me. Unfortunately, that was long ago and I seem to have lost it. I only remember the first two lines….

“From her head down to her toes

She only looks as though she knows…”

I remember these two lines because Hans would recite them when we were together and someone approached me for information I didn’t possess — yes, it still happens.

So, don’t be fooled by whatever it is in my appearance that lies. It is a sham!  And, let me assure you, appearances ARE deceiving.The truth is, I know very little!