Monday, February 23, 2009


If you are hunting for the perfect partner, maybe you have been hunting in the wrong place. Scientists, who study the various aspects of romance and its bewildering complexity, have added a new device to their toolboxes. They call it genetic compatibility. At this point, it is more of an art than a science. It may eventually provide a solution to those who are seeking a new partner. It might also provide some answers to the ones who are wondering what is wrong in their current relationship.

Dogs meeting for the first time sniff each other rather cautiously to make sure there is no mistake about the gender or availability of the other. The nose then goes to the area where the ear joins the neck. There is a small gland in that area that holds a minute amount of musk. This physical contact might result in an immediate loss of interest, or it might involve a closer examination— somewhat like a potential customer kicking the tires on a used car.

If everything has continued to go well, one of the dogs might lick the mouth of the other. Dog lovers will say they are kissing, while others might categorize this as nothing more than a primitive interest in the sexuality of the other animal. Regardless of the primitive nature of the behavior, is there something here that should interest us? Or to put it another way, do the dogs know something that the rest of us should know?

Studies of the nature and makeup of human pheromones have revealed that there are eight types, with each of these having a distinct and separate aroma. Somewhere along the evolutionary chain, nature attempted to pair those of us who are the most compatible with a few gentle hints involving the subtitle odors of the human body. Have you hugged a friend at the end of a softball game, and suddenly found yourself staring into his or her eyes and unable to look away? Maybe it is the pheromones. Romance is a lot more complicated than any of us are aware.

If you would like to read more on this interesting subject, there are many websites with information. Just remember that this study is in the infant stage and hasn’t quite reached the level of a science. Good luck to you and happy hunting. Maybe the person of your dreams is no further than away than the next softball game, or perhaps it is time for you take a DNA compatibility test.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I don’t know the identity of the person who conceived the idea of creating a blog, but he should go down in history along with the guy who created the first light bulb, the telephone, and all of the other life-altering inventions. There are hundreds of millions of blogs around the world and the number is growing daily. There is a little bit of ‘soap box orator’ in all of us. This sudden urge of self-expression can come out of nowhere when we visit a town hall meeting, or any other place where people come together and exchange ideas. Blogs range in content from sites where family members gather and exchange photos of grandchildren, to more serious ones where people advance political ideas, comment on sports, public figures, or the latest book they have read. The only limit to the things you can discuss is your imagination. There are blogs on the Internet that receive thousands of hits daily and others who never receive a visit. There is nothing quite as bad as speaking and having no one listen. I only post an article when I find something of interest. That is not to say that I wouldn’t like to improve my blog and make it more interesting. I was delighted when I ran across the Blog Improvement Project, which is an ongoing effort to help bloggers improve the look and content of their websites. If you have a blog and would like to sign up for this, click on the button at the top and it will carry you to the Project.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


Five years ago when Chic Lit first came on the scene, critics and booksellers had trouble defining the difference between this new genre of literature and the traditional kind of women’s romance. Then some cynical wit offered an explanation. Chic Lit was “. . . going to the mall and buying a new dress.”

While I like romance writers like Barbara Delinsky and the more recent books by Nora Roberts, most romance novels leave me cold. The writers seem to try too hard to put the woman in the driver’s seat, while men are delegated to playing the role of effeminate bystanders who kick couches and stamp their feet in helpless rage.

I am always searching for new writers and was pleased when a friend offered me a book she had recently purchased. “This is by Sophie Kinsella and it is called Remember Me,” she said, holding it up where I could see the large sunflower on the cover. I started backing away. “It’s Chic Lit,” she said trying to pass the book to me. At that moment, I realized how a drug pusher must feel when someone tries to pass a paper bag to them while they are standing in front of a security camera. I would have walked away, but she gave me that look that Cate used to give me when she dared me to jump out of the barn loft. The book passed quickly from her hand to the inside pocket of my coat.

When I got home, I sat down to read -- not in my favorite reading chair -- but on the couch where I could stuff the book behind one of the overstuffed cushions if it became necessary. I was soon to discover that the story started out well, and it only took a few minutes to find myself inside the head Lexi and her friends. The plot was sensible and the story had emotion and flow – all of those good things you find in mainstream fiction. Chic Lit has definitely come a long way from Sex and the City or Bridget Jones Diary. The main difference between Chic Lit and other types of fiction is the fact that the characters are young, stylish and hip, without having to play the role of victim. This genre of literature has definitely come of age. Authors like Sophie Kinsella have a distinct, universal voice that speaks to anyone who likes good literature. I have a feeling that we will hear from Kinsella again and again and again . . .