A Focus on Faces

Today’s post comes from Bubby Spamden, a perennial sophomore at Wendell Willkie High School.

Hey Mr. C.,

Now that it’s spring and all, people at Willkie have really started to talk seriously about what jobs they want to have when they’re all graduated from school.

This is the thing that our parents keep telling us we should think about all the time, but they must not remember being fifteen at all because there is so much more to worry about – really important stuff like “was Ashley looking at me this morning over the top of her book?” and “do I have something gross stuck to my face?”

Anyway, there are lots of people who want to be movie stars and rock stars and sports stars, like that’s really a thing you can be. And then there are the more practical ones, who say they want to be accountants and engineers and software coders.

But I saw something the other day that I thought would be a really cool job and I totally didn’t know anybody could do this – I want to be a face researcher so I can spend my time thinking about really important questions like why do we have chins?

I didn’t carefully read the article where I saw this because it was so long! (I want to spend my time looking at faces, not fighting my way through all those words, words, words!) But I think I get the basics.

Humans have chins because evolution is making our faces shrink!

Wow!  Yes! It turns out our chins are slower to change than the rest of our heads when it comes to right-sizing, evolution-style. That’s weird!

So I want to find a University somewhere that has a major in Body Part Studies.

I think that would be incredibly cool because that’s sort of what everybody does in college anyway, but I’d be getting credit for it! And we’ll need more trained body part experts, because everything is changing.

I figure evolution is going to keep doing its thing. So the human face of the future will probably have even less chin, and this will mean huge changes in everything, especially in professional sports like horse racing and the NFL where they have to use chin straps to keep their hats on.

Enter me, the Highly Esteemed Face Researcher!

As America’s top face scholar, I’ll have plenty of work to do, giving my opinion about faces of all kinds!  I’d love to do the American version of a contest they had in Britain a few years ago to find the Most Beautiful Face.  Florence Colgate, call me!

And if my focus on the face doesn’t pan out, I’ll just shift my research to another body part that’s getting more attention.

I hear booties are big, but not big enough!

Your pal,

Even though I’m extremely reluctant to discourage the dreams of the young, I told Bubby I’m skeptical that he’ll be able to assemble the right credentials to ascend to the post of America’s Leading Face Researcher. After all, it’s hard to become recognized as an expert in anything when every other person already thinks they’re an expert in the same field.

Kind of like being a writer in Hollywood.

But at least he’s showing a hunger for knowledge, as long as it doesn’t require too much reading.

In what area would you like to gain some expertise?

90 thoughts on “A Focus on Faces”

  1. I wish i had more expertise in home repair, carpentry, and plumbing.. I am pretty good at fixing things but i wish I could have more confidence (and power tools) in taking on bigger projects.


    1. my kids always ask how i learned to do that. i fix plumbing electric and miscelaneous stuff that pops up . my buddy through high school was a plaster drywall stucco expert who bought and fixed up houses and i was there to learn how to move walls build bathrooms into the corner of the basement cut a hole in the wall build a backyard bar b q out of old bricks and bags of quickrete. i did roofing and windows punched holes in brick walls to put in a sliding glass door and make my ranch into a walkout. heck i think i have goten myself backed into a corner to the point there is not a job my family assues i cant do. watch out what you wish for.


  2. US Foreign policy. Many people are critical of how things are currently going but rarely have any solutions to offer. I would like to remove myself as far as possible from the “nattering nabobs of negativism.” I would like the expertise of knowing ALL the geographical, historical, religious, social, political, ethnic, economic and linguistic differences between the hundreds of countries and billions of people. Gaining such, I think I can effect world peace in short order. It shouldn’t be too hard.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I think I’ll need a little bit more than that. Isn’t there a correspondence course that US Senators and Representatives take that’s available to regular folks? Sorta like the “You Can Draw In Thirty Days” thingy.


  3. i want to learn mushrooms. i am started with the twin city chapter and found i have an aquantiance in the group. morel season is coming.
    ben… any words of wisdom. is it time?


    1. Last week in Denver we saw a veritable trove of fresh morels at the Whole Foods store for $31 a pound. There isn’t a single such store in ND. At that price I can see why you would hunt for them. I was talking to a woman in the grocery check out today who was lamenting the high price of sweet potatoes (1.39 per pound). She said she was from the South and that price was highway robbery to her.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow, $31 a pound is a deal. I see them much higher at the MS Mkt here (when we have them).

        I just have such a hard time paying for anything (even something that wonderful) that I have, in my lifetime, just stumble across when out for a hike.

        Don’t get me started on rhubarb for $4/pound.

        The Mushroom Festival at the Dante Cultural Center sounds like something we MUST do (big Dante fans here).


    2. When we lived in Winnipeg our Calabrian land lady took us to a mushroom festival at the Dante Alighieri Society Cultural Center. I guess Italians are crazy about fresh mushrooms and many of the mushrooms we ate were native to Manitoba and had been picked under the supervision of an Italian botanist who worked at the University of Manitoba and who was a member of the Society.

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Remember free advice is worth what you pay for it. What makes you think I’m an expert??
      But no, it’s not time. reference MIG’s map…
      I’ve heard ‘oak leaves as big as squirrels ears’, I’ve heard ‘wait for the lilacs’. I had one good spot that hasn’t had morels the last few years. And I haven’t found any other good spots.
      The last two years I have taken some time while planting to go walk around in the woods and I have not managed to find any. Phooey.
      Maybe this year??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. thanks. ill check the oak leaves and the lilacs
        good luck this year. ive heard the trick is finding elm tree roots form recently dead elm trees and that after 5 or 6 years the site is done


  4. a couple years ago i proclaimed hats to be my area of focus. i am now a hat guy who knows amazingly trivial things about hats and their history details minescule little inertia. its kinda fun

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Husband decided he wanted to become an expert on American hymnody, so we have a closet full of hymnals from various denominations as well as sacred sheet music.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We could be here all day.
    Like other baboons, I want to grow my building and repair skills.

    I also want to be come a better baker, tailor, quilter, knitter, weaver.

    My piano and my harp are both sadly dusty.

    On the academic side, I want to be a Tudor expert.

    Then there is the blog I want to get going…….the one with the Depression era housewife workout on it.

    I really need to whip my Calculus and physics into shape too, otherwise I shall be relegated to just clearing up and doing the dishes at home.

    I need to come into some sudden money. This working by the hour to pay the bills is really cutting into my expertise- building time.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Paris, a little village St. Pere en Retz, and a Viking River Cruise in Provence . We’re going now because the village is commemorating the Americans who helped defend their town from German fire in May of 1943, and my uncle piloted the bomber. They have sought out families of the crew to come to the ceremony May 1.

        Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m an expert on three subjects. More or less. Interesting things happen when you become expert on some topic. You begin to realize how much of what you think you know on other topics is just crap. And you see how much of the conventional wisdom on just about any topic is bs. Which is kind of scary.

    For example, I know enough about wolves that whenever I hear somebody spouting off about wolves I cringe, for they are really likely to have it wrong. Putting it another way, I know enough about wolves to feel humble about other things I think I know.


  8. Skimming over today’s story, I somehow thought that faces were the theme? There’s a neurological condition called “Prosopagnosia” in which people genuinely cannot recognize other people’s faces! For years, Brad Pitt’s been viewed as aloof and conceited when, in fact, he has this medical condition.


      1. I once had a women approach me at the Narrows (dance venue). We chatted for a bit, then she said, “Don’t you remember me???” Turns out that she was a former client of mine! I felt awful, but even knowing this, I couldn’t remember anything about her. I guess some clients leave a lasting impression and others don’t.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. It is even harder to remember them when you see them as children, and they grow up and mature and then 10 years later you run into them in the grocery store and they remember you because you look about the same but they look much different.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. I know that problem, Renee. Other people also find it easy to remember someone who has a beard. That means people I know casually can often remember my name, whereas I don’t remember them. Although women with beards . . . I rarely forget them.


  9. I don’t claim expertise in anything, and realistically, at this stage of my life I’d probably be better off to settle for “Jack of many trades, master of none.”

    I certainly have absolutely no desire to become an expert on anything that I’d rather not spend my time doing. Home repair and housecleaning fall under that category.

    Now cooking, that’s different. But I consider cooking more like an art. A good cook isn’t someone who slavishly adheres to recipes and can produce a satisfactory meal when he/she has all the required ingredients on hand. On the contrary, a good cook is someone who can produce an inspired meal with whatever ingredients happen to be on hand. (I’m making the assumptions that ingredients such as garlic, olive oil, and butter always are.) My friend, Anne, is such a cook. (OK, so she was trained by her mother, who in turn was Simone Beck’s assistant for many years.) Watching her in action is amazing. (As an interesting aside, she has a commercial 30,000 BTU stove but otherwise the sorriest assortment of pots and pans of any kitchen that I know.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The nice thing about cooking is there are so many good cuisines, that even if you master one, there is so much more you can learn.

      Having the vegetarian runner to feed, I find I really should work on my Mexican, Indian and Asian techniques.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. yes, but I will have serious words for the Baboon who tips him off about bull calves and dairy production.

          he’s a decent athlete and doesn’t get sick, so he must be doing something right. Somewhat at a track meet asked if he lifted weights. Nope, but don’t try to pick up his backpack.

          Liked by 2 people

      1. i am the master of the stuff that is around. my sister was married to a chef for a while and he came up to the lake place in the summer to hang out. i got up and made sunday mornig eggs like always seeing what was around and throwing it in the pan. my sister must have slept in and come down as the food was being served and made some comment and craig paid me the nice compliment of saying did it just the way you are supposed to. no cook book no recipe just look around and make a meal out of whats there. sometimes i do try to arrange whats ther but often i just hunt around for inspiration. i do eat eggs but thats only a sunday morning thing for me. it rarely comes up in other cooking. i suppose it would if i were true to it and tryng to make egg free pasta and the like but i have never looked into that. i am making a really poor attempt at the gluten free lactose intollerant vegetarian diet with eggs and it is no damn fun at all.

        Liked by 2 people

  10. O/T: What just happened here is way too funny to save. My 15-year old grandson’s here to fix my Mac (which mysteriously stopped letting me type in any fields). He set me up to dictate and have my words turn into text on the screen. Amazingly, whatever I said transformed into written words. I forgot about it and got into a conversation with him. Suddenly, there the whole thing was on the screen! It had also written some of its own words like: damn/l love you/I miss you/ and PUSSY. We laughed so hard we couldn’t stop and the thing then wrote “ha ha ha ha”, LOL, and ar ar ar. The more we laughed, the more it turned into laughing back and forth, Mac to us, us to Mac.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. I’d like to be able to identify birds by their songs. I can pick out a few, but only the most easily identifiable ones. There are so many lovely songs coming in the windows in the morning. It would be nice to know who’s doing the singing.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. At some point in my life I took great pleasure in being able to identify birds by their song and music by its composer. These days I’m pleased to still have enough hearing to be able to enjoy both.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. You probably already know, Linda, that this is often called “birding by ear.” It is the way skilled birders make many of their finds. There are learning aids for this, some inexpensive but some surprisingly costly. One problem: many guides include only the most common sounds made by birds, but some birds have many different vocalizations. I tried for years to identify the bird that made a really odd sound in my beloved Minnehaha dog park. I finally figured out the odd vocalization was made by crows. It sounded nothing like the noises crows make, but corvids are clever and quite complex with their vocalizations.


    1. Clyde, is the diabetic thing a new complication to your already complicated life? If so, I’m sorry, but you can do it.

      Breathe, breathe, breathe! Both before and during the conversation. Chances are the person from tech support is doing his or her best to help you.


    2. Husband is diabetic and he says the key to diabetic management is hydration. Drink lots of fluids. Lots and lots of fluids.


    3. welcome back clyde.
      the customer support people are a challange. if you get a bad one hand up and start over. ask for a supervisor and try to remember they have gotten training form someone just like them but thwy are instructed to get it resolved and move on so they do care about getting you off the line. if you can get a worker to the house they are the fix. they cant believe the stories they walk into


    4. Not me.
      Sandy has been a diabetic since she was pregnant with our 42-year-old daughter. No oral meds or shots so far. She has eaten fairly well most of the time with lots of cheating, always staying fully hydrated, perched on the edge of top of the normal range or a little over.
      Now her numbers jumped. She cannot take any of the oral diabetes meds because she has colitis. So is now on a strict diet, which she cannot manage, so I do. (She gets confused, I think from her 23 meds more than age.) I just went shopping to find things that will give her some new tastes, but, of course, she cannot eat spicy. She is sleeping now. Woke in extreme pain and confusion. Took her one-hour pill (see below) pill. Could not eat; sick with colitis. I will wake her soon. I am making a cheese plate with fresh-cut veggies, apple and kiwi slices with a slice of my artisan bread (Light whole wheat-wonderful bread).
      We have a coach for the next few weeks through a program at our pharmacy. Real problem is that her lupus demands sleep. So she usually sleeps until 11. Then she takes a pill. then she can eat an hour later. Eating breakfast at 1 p.m. does not fit the plan for distributing meals. So I have been waking her at 9:30 so she can eat breakfast at 10:30 and then doing lunch at 2 and supper at 7. But she has extreme lupus and arthritis pain when I wake her.The plan was that she would nap from 3 to 5 to make up for the sleep. But she fights me on napping.
      She has had a few startling moments. We went to Caribou and I told her she could only have coffee, none of the fancy drinks. (She can only have decaf because of her colitis.) She ordered a mocha drink thing and told me she was going to have it period. I ask the server for the nutrition facts on the drink. She said she did not have them. I told her that she did have them and to get them. The person-in-charge came over and told me I could not expect them to have all the drinks memorized. When I explained the clerk said they were not available, she got red in the face and looked a the server in disgust. Anyway, this simple little drink that Sandy was sure had few carbs in it had 89 grams. She is allowed 135 a day.
      Reality is tough.


  12. im going out for my first mushroom walk this morning afte rthe rain. wish me luck. cbs sunday morning, bob schieffer (im gonna miss him) and then the mushrooms. i think ill have them in a white whine sauce with a littel pepper and butter, some light salad and a little egg with onion thing on the side.
    im ready.


  13. I find people endlessly fascinating. One of the three topics I know well is the life of Bix Beiderbecke, the gifted but tragic jazz genius from Davenport, Iowa. The big advantage of being a Bix scholar is that he had such a short life (28 years) you can learn what he was doing almost week by week. By contrast, someone like Franklin Roosevelt (or, for that matter, Teddy or Eleanor Roosevelt) is extremely complex and thus hard to know. And then there are those people who are just hard to get to know. Abraham Lincoln will always be worth studying because the real man has been lost in the mists of so many myths, on top of the fact he was an isolated and tormented guy who didn’t reveal himself, even to friends.


    1. i have a bix connection too. my old buddy art hicks was the leader of the chubb steinbuerg orchestra. (horsey let your tail hang down fame) was where bix got his start. art gave the dorsey and bix thier starts. he talked about how bix showed up for tryouts and pretended to play along until he heard the song once then he adlibbed a part instead of being able to read it. it was a little odd to begin with thnen they just realized he couldnt read music.
      he had a problem with the drink as they say and was gifted but missed a lot of work thus dead at 28 was a part of hard and fast living not pictured here but art hicks is my buddy 1925 was the era here. i used to get art to tell his big band stories for hours on end. i just loved em.


  14. I’ve never been very adept eating with chopsticks so yesterday I practiced with leftover Easter candy. After two hours I knew I’d made progress because not only was most of the candy gone but my hand really ached. Plus I felt very full. And jittery. Note – Peeps are a cinch to pick up with chopsticks compared to jelly beans.

    Another skill I’m working to perfect is Continental Dining – mainly because it looks cooler than the U.S. way. In Continental dining, the fork STAYS in the left hand, tines down, and the knife stays in the right hand, in cutting position, for the duration of the meal. You do not lay the knife down after cutting and switch the fork from your left hand to the right hand. Once you make the cut you bring the bite of food to your mouth while leaning forward a bit, making sure the fork tines remain down. ALWAYS with the tines down, until you need to take a break. At that point you lay the cutlery at opposite sides of the plate – fork with tines UP and knife with blade facing IN – slanting upward so they look like a triangle only without the straight line at the bottom. If that bothers you you’ll just have to live with it because under no circumstance are you to lay any other utensil across the bottom to form a complete triangle. It just isn’t done! This placement signals to the wait staff not to take your food because you’ll be returning from the bidet to finish it. Note – I should also want to learn the proper way to use a bidet. Hey! That rh… meh, you know.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. im a lefty who has alway eaten that way. i dated a gal in high school who was impressed that i ate continental and had so much coothe. i also instinctivly make my soup spoon go some continental way scooping soup front to back instead of the other way around. i got cooth coming out the ying yang

      Liked by 1 person

    2. i also azzle the crap out of those chinese folks. i am a left handed chopstick dude and that impresses the heck out of them. they realize in china that left handed people have a truely special brain. nothing illustrates that better than chopstick eating. i can do it right handed but i ma a natural lefty. as for the bidet… ride em donna.


      1. In some of the inexpensive restaurants where we sometimes eat, they don’t give you a knife. Husband and I always ask for one as we simply cannot eat without one, unless, of course, it’s soup. Unlike tim, I’m not a naturally “cooth” person, I guess. The reason for scooping the soup away from you makes sense, but it feels counter intuitive to me, so I scoop it the wrong way – toward me. I have yet to spill it all in my lap.

        As for chop sticks, I usually use them at Oriental restaurants – not necessarily with a lot of grace or expertise – but I usually do manage to consume my entire meal that way. Eating Easter candy with has never occurred to me. That’s very creative, Donna.


    3. And a sentence you won’t find anywhere else in the blogosphere but in Baboondom: “I’ve never been very adept eating with chopsticks so yesterday I practiced with leftover Easter candy.”

      Thanks for the Continental lesson, Donna! (see conversation with PJ above.)


  15. Madisland- the best way to work the jelly beans is to place them in front of something sturdy – like the wall – and slide the chopsticks under them & try to keep them balanced until you get them to your mouth. It’s pretty tricky as you can imagine. PJ – I knew you would already be proficient in the Continental style of dining. I welcome your expertise as I am just learning. BiR- there’s nothing like retirement to spark creativity but I don’t have to tell you that! And have fun in France! tim – RE bidet comment: You’re terrible!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. i thought you had accidentally discovered how to become good at chopsticks in a manner similar to the way the chinese do it. they find peanuts a delicacy. and practice using their chopsticks by picking up peanuts. stacking one on top of another and picking up one , two three peanuts stacked on top of one another is how you get good at it.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. my mistake i am trying to learn to use a mac and copy paste is not intuative as you damn macheads want the world to believe. im trying to show my easter specailty item for this year

    thats the one


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