Monday, November 18, 2013

Is it normal to have a crush on a fictional character?

This search, of course, turned up in the stats from my blog about Richard Grieco. The very first post on that blog was called "It's Perfectly Normal to Have a Crush on a Fictional Character from the 80s." It was about how late one night, when I was sick and up alone watching old television shows, I tripped over this:

The thing is, I was being facetious.

But, when this question showed up in my stats, I started thinking a little more seriously about what "normal" meant in this context. If we apply the technical definition of "normal" and look to see whether it's "the norm," or typical, the answer would appear to be yes.

Prince Zuko
I asked around a little, though my sample may have been skewed. I started with my daughter, who I know to have harbored a long time crush on Prince Zuko. In case you're not familiar with Prince Zuko, he's not only fictional but also a cartoon character.

Initially, she tried to discourage me from mentioning her cartoon character crush, but then she turned to a different approach: diverting me with tales of her friend's crush on this guy, who is apparently sort of a claymation character or something.

Whatever that guy's name is from
How to Train Your Dragon 2
So...maybe not so unusual after all. And my own personal guilty secret is that while the whole Booker thing was just a crush, I am straight up in love with Francisco D'Anconia--it's unlikely that any real man will ever quite measure up to the ideal he created when I was 16 years old.

Does this mean it's normal? Not necessarily. But it surely means that if you're asking this question, you're not alone.

And, if you're thinking about your crush in terms of a fictional character, then I'd guess that you're a good bit closer to the normal end of the spectrum than those (seemingly many) folks who mix the character with the actor, attribute characteristics from the role to the actual person and then deem themselves "in love" with celebrities. I mean, you know the character, right? You may not have met him (because...well...he may not exist), but you know who he is.

So, you know...enjoy. Just don't lose sight of the lines.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Does persistence pay off in love?

Often, the questions I answer on this blog are pretty straightforward, but this isn't one of those times. Right off the bat, it's complicated by definitions: I'm assuming we're talking about romantic love, but is it really love, or something more like obsession or infatuation? The suggestion that persistence might be required in order to sustain a loving relationship has obvious merit. No couple stays "in love" every minute of every day of a long marriage, and often it's only a conscious decision to stick it out, to try to see the other person in the best possible light, to make an effort to adjust and compromise that keeps a relationship alive through those tough times.

And, that's true of non-romantic love, too. Any parent will tell you that there are times when he or she has to bite his tongue to remain loving and positive in the face of a child's temper tantrum or a teen's proclamation that you're ruined her life and she'll hate you for the rest of her life.

But, I suspect that none of this is what that search visitor was looking for. I suspect, instead, that "Does persistence pay off in love?" meant, "If I stick it out long enough, will he/she eventually realize that I am the love of his/her life and live happily ever after with me?"


Every post on this blog is a response to a direct question found in the search statistics for one of my other blogs. This one came from a post about men who won't take no for an answer on Life, Love and Online Dating.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Why did Macy's kill Marshall Fields?

I'm not sure how to interpret this question: it could mean "Why did Macy's rebrand all of the Marshall Field stores when it bought out the company?" or it could mean, "Why did Macy's turn previously elegant stores with great merchandise, a very old reputation and excellent service into crap?"

Either one is a fair question. The first is a bit hard to answer, given that the response was pretty much universally negative. Chicagoans in particular reacted badly to the rebranding of the flagship State Street store, but either they weren't alone or the impact spread beyond local borders--the issue has arisen again and again at stockholder meetings.

Obviously, rebranding the stores took time and money from the parent company, and there doesn't seem to have been any upside in terms of public response--and that was clear before the actual change got underway. So, turning Marshall Field into Macy's doesn't make a whole lot of sense from an economic or public relations standpoint.

Turning the stores into crap, however, probably makes a lot of financial sense. By filling the shelves with the same merchandise that's being offered all over the country, the chain undoubtedly gets larger discounts on its purchasing. And, since merchandise quality appears to have diminished without any accompanying drop in prices, I'd hazard a guess that profit margins on individual sales are up.

I have to admit that the changes that have taken place in the store itself make me glad (though I was very unhappy when the change was announced) that Macy's decided to rebrand the stores. It was a shame to see Marshall Field die, but it would have been worse to watch it deteriorate. At least this way, it's Macy's that's turned into a seven-story Wal-Mart rather than our beloved Marshall Field.

Each post on the Search Engine Question Pool answers a direct question found in the search statistics for one of my other blogs. This one came from Tiffany Talks

Friday, July 26, 2013

Richard Grieco How He Keeps in Shape?

As you probably guessed, this inquiry came from a non-American, but I think her (or his) meaning is clear. I'm assuming it means something like, "Holy crap.  I just saw Richard Grieco with his shirt off and...dude...the guy is almost 50, you know. Why does he still have the same abs he had on 21 Jump Street?"

Fair question.

If you need some context, click here to see Richard Grieco's abs across two decades.  And, based on this picture that Adrian Paul shared during the filming of AE: Apocalypse Earth earlier this year, the muscles in Grieco's upper legs put his amazing abs to shame.

How does he do it?

I don't know exactly, but here are a few things Richard has mentioned in interviews recently:

  • He "has eleven years of Tae Boxing"
  • He has, at least at some point, regularly "run the hill"
In addition, Grieco is a serious motorcycle enthusiast, and there's some evidence that riding a motorcycle improves physical health and muscle tone.

In addition to all that, Grieco's artwork isn't of the "sit on a stool and paint on a canvas" variety. He paints on large canvasses on the ground, using a variety of materials and often seems to end up with paint all over his body; all in all, it appears to be a very physical process.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

What is This Blog All About?

Sometimes, my search traffic makes me crazy. It's sort of like someone popped his or her head into my office, asked a question, and then was called away before I could answer...and I never saw him again. Sometimes, the questions are inane: I often get variations on "What's wrong with SpongeBob?" I don't actually have the answer to that, though I have been known to identify the odd Bikini Bottom logical dilemma now and then. I also get a fair amount of traffic on questions like, "Where are the bees?" and "What's wrong with the bees?" I can't answer those questions, though sometimes they're entertaining.

I also get search traffic, though, on questions I CAN answer...if only those search stats would leave me a phone number or email address! I know the answer to "how bad is it to get married outside the Catholic church?" and "what is the easiest state to get married in?" I even have a viable theory on "what's wrong with Cinderella?" But I didn't answer those questions on my blogs, and I don't know where to send the response card.

This blog will consist ENTIRELY of posts responsive to the search traffic on my other blogs. I can't promise to answer all the questions, though I will endeavor to answer those that seem to require serious answers. I'll also share some of the crazy ones and open some up to the floor for debate or suggestions. I think it's going to be fun. Educational sometimes, but always fun.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Should a Teen Girl Wear a Push-Up Bra?

As I often do when a question relates to teens or tweens, I asked my 8th grade daughter whether she wanted to weigh in on this one.

Her first reaction was a face that I wish desperately that I could duplicate here. It really did say it all.

But then, as if she sensed that the readers at home wouldn't be able to see her very telling facial expression, she gave voice to her response: "Why would you even have to search that?"

I'm inclined to agree with her, but if you DO think you need to search that, you might want to check out When Tweens Dress Like Tramps.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Do You Have Free Speech on Message Boards?

In a word, no.

For a full explanation of what the Constitutional amendment regarding freedom of speech does and does not protect, read: Freedom of Speech - Let Me Tell You What It's Not

In a nutshell, the 1st Amendment (like the rest of the Bill of Rights) places limitations on governmental action...and governmental action only.

There is a lot of confusion over this issue, and people on message boards often complain that moderators who remove their comments (or even other participants on the message board who simply complain about others' comments) are somehow interfering with their free speech rights. Unless the moderator or other member is acting under color of law, as a representative of some branch of government, that's simply not possible.

With very few limited exceptions, the private owner of a website, blog, forum, etc. can set any limits he or she likes, and delete any comment he or she likes.


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