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f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

October 3, 2007

what makes you blush?

Filed under: Haiku or Senryu,q.s. quickies — David Giacalone @ 10:59 pm

[scroll down the page for the Wendy Cook story]

A number of items in the news got me thinking about blushing today. What does it take to put that rosy colored self-consciousness in your cheeks? A social faux pas (or worse) by yourself, your child, or your mate? a compliment received or slur suffered? the sudden spotlight of attention? Below are examples of situations that I bet caused some blushing the past couple of days.

[For some background on the physiological phenomenon of blushing, check out the “why do we blush? (where we got the little inset image above). It says, for instance, that ”it looks as though blushing first appears in children of kindergarten age, when interaction with others produces a social awareness for the first time.”]

hearing people’s voices
they blush…
evening cherry blossoms

………………………………… by Kobayashi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

Did “The Spanking Judge” Blush? In a follow-up from SpankMeister David Lat at Above the Law (see our Sept. 26th “kinky discipline” post), comes news that suspended and “Beleaguered Mobile County Circuit Judge Herman Y. Thomas [the Spanking Judge ] made his removal permanent Monday afternoon by resigning from office.” See “Judge Thomas resigns” (Alabama Live/, October 2, 2007), and Lat’s “Don’t Let the Paddle Hit You on the Way Out” (Unless You’re Into That Sort of Thing).” According to, Thomas was charged with 30 violations of judicial ethics.

In the first round, the charges included “allegations that Thomas unduly helped his friends or family members with their legal troubles to literally changing the legal status or reducing sentences of convicted criminals after other judges on the 13th Judicial Circuit had already sentenced them.” In the second round of charges, it was alleged that Thomas “routinely checked young male inmates out of the Mobile County Metro Jail, taken them to an office at the courthouse at Government Plaza and spanked some of them with a paddle.”

“It was not clear what effect Thomas’ resignation will have on the ethics trial scheduled for Oct. 29 before Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary.” We also do not know the status of a criminal investigation relating to the second round of spanking-related charges. We do know that the Alabama bench and bar — along with Judge Thomas and his family — should surely be blushing in shame over this sad ending to a judicial career.

the personals–
blushing as she reads
her own

…………………………… w.f. owen – from A New Resonance 2 & Modern Haiku XXXI:3

[mug shot] Not-So-Funny-Side of Saratoga: The more-prudish members of the public in the New York Capital Region were surely blushing this week, when an unknown prostitute “was busted Monday after a 12-hour drug and sex binge in Schenectady,” in an undercover sex sting operation. The woman, Wendy Cook, allegedly was scoring drugs and “turning tricks in a car while her 8-week-old son and 5-year-old daughter were in the back.” Even more bizarre (at least for most of us), she “snorted lines of cocaine off her newborn’s stomach while breast-feeding him.” Normal amazement and titillation over such lurid details turned to shock, yesterday, when we learned that the arrested prostitute was the 37-year-old daughter of Jack Knowlton, who is a hero here in New York’s Capital Region, with its Saratoga racehorse traditions. Knowlton is the Managing Partner of Sackatoga Stables, which owns the beloved 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Funny Cide. See “DERBY-DAD GIRL’S SEX-DRUG SHOCKER” (New York Post, Oct. 3, 2007, which called “The pretty but disheveled, red-headed mom – a former Montessori teacher”– “A Bad Mudder”); “Woman Accused of Prostitution Is Daughter of Funny Cide Owner” (Fox23News); and the Dave Lucas weblog, “But my daddy owns Funny Cide” (October 2, 2007).

According to Thoroughbred Times, Ms. Cook was the former operator of The Funny Cide Store in Saratoga Springs, which closed due to excessive overhead expenses. (“Funny Cide store closes but merchandise still available,” June 9, 2004) She also owned, but sold, the Saratoga Springs business Beyond Balloonatics, where “On an average day, Wendy Cook blows up about 100 balloons and tells the Funny Cide story at least once.” See “”Funny Cide gives balloon business a lift” (The Funny Cide Archives, from The Saratogian, July 20, 2003). The business, which was purchased by Patrice Mastrianni, is described as “A fun and unique place to shop for cards, gifts, beautiful stationery, and collectibles including Mary Engelbreit, Classic Pooh, and Beanie Babies.”

Per Fox23News, Saratoga County District Attorney Jim Murphy said Cook was undergoing an 18-month drug treatment program and tested clean as recently as the Wednesday before her arrest in Schenectady. Sadly, according to her brother Aaron Knowlton, Wendy Cook is “wonderful, kind, the nicest person on the face of the Earth” when not on drugs. “She’s done a lot of good and helped others cope with their own personal addictions. But this is what happens when drugs take over.” Aaron Knowlton told The NY Post that Wendy had been clean for more than a year and taught school off and on:

She may have relapsed because of postpartum depression and her grief over an old friend who recently died,” he said.

diwali festival
one bite of vindaloo
reddens her cheeks

……………………………………. by ed markowski

The gelding Funny Cide is retired now, but is even more beloved here than in the rest of this Nation. [Stewart’s, the predominant convenience store chain in this region, even has an ice cream flavor Funny Cide Pride, which is my favorite — it combines Butter Pecan ice cream with roasted pecans, a butter pecan fudge swirl and butter pecan fudge pieces.] Jack and Dororthy Knowlton, Wendy Cook’s parents, are well-respected. They are caring for their two grandchildren now, and I hope they — despite the embarrassment of their daughter’s sad downfall — will be able to find a way to minimize the impact on the kids and help Wendy get her life back together.

update (Oct. 5, 2007): Wendy Cook’s parents, Jack and Dorothy Knowlton, issued a statement yesterday about their daughter’s situation, saying “Like far too many families, we have personally experienced the ravages of Wendy’s drug addiction for over two decades,” and praying that “she will be able to successfully overcome the demons of drug addiction for the rest of her life.” See, Oct. 4, 2007, which also reported this evening that Wendy Cook will be allowed to speak with her 5-year-old daughter by phone, but won’t be allowed to discuss the arrest with the girl, who might be a witness in the case.

updates (Dec. 5, 2007): See our post “Wendy Cook’s plea deal gives her another chance at rehabilitation.” And, read about Wendy getting her kids back and receiving probation, by scrolling down to the second topic at this post, dated Nov. 8, 2008.

[“A Horse Names [sic] Funny Cide“, children’s book and bobblehead]

drifting seed fluff . . .
the rented horse
knows an hour’s worth

…………………………. by paul m. – The Heron’s Nest (June 2005)

tired of feeding
on the horse
the horsefly naps

……………………….. by Kobayahi Issa, translated by David G. Lanoue

Funny Cide Retirement poster ($100): a cigar & a martini for the retired gelding

prof yabut small The Blushing Judge: I don’t know if the Knowltons are blushing over their daughter’s escapades, but I’m a bit red-in-the-face over the drama-queen antics of Hon. Vincent Versaci, Schenectady City Court Judge, who presided over her arraignment. Judge Versaci has only been out of law school a decade, but has been on the City Court bench in Schenectady since 2003 (he is the son of Eileen Versaci, City Clerk of Schenectady, and of Romolo Versaci, the infamous so-called lawyer” plaintiff; see also this prior post).  According to several news accounts, including “Judge calls mom’s case ‘an atrocity‘” (WNYT/News13, Oct. 2, 2007, with court video), Judge Versaci told Wendy Cook:

I have never come across such an atrocity in my life and that’s saying a lot. Congratulations.

Young Judge Versaci could not have been having a Senior Moment, so I can only attribute his poor memory, or overactive imagination and sense of outrage, to his upcoming judicial election. Surely, with a little concentration, the good jurist could come up with more atrocious crimes. As Channel 13 reported:

Psychologist Dr. Randy Cale says we shouldn’t assume the worst about what [the 5-year-old girl] may have seen.

“We don’t know how much she saw. We don’t know how often or whether there was fear or anxiety attached to it,” Cale said.

update (Oct. 8, 2007): Retired tv news anchorman Ed Dague made a very good point at his In Medias Res weblog, in “Don’t See Me” (Oct. 3, 2007): “Isn’t Cook supposed to be treated by the Courts as innocent until proven guilty? It seems proper for Police or Prosecutors or even bloggers to denounce her before trial but isn’t the Judge supposed to reserve judgment?”

balcony view
the blonde’s
black roots

it’s good
to be a horse
the sweet meadow

…………………….. by David G. Lanoue

[larger] From “Breck Girl” to Trust-Buster: It’s good to see that John Edwards has joined Barak Obama in accepting the American Antitrust Institute’s invitation (to all presidential candidates) to state their position on Antitrust Law. (see our prior post on Obama’s Statement, Sept. 27). But, his populistic rendition of antitrust law scarcely passes the Blush Test for serious legal analysis. See Submission to AAI by Sen. John Edwards. Here’s what David Fischer at the Antitrust Review weblog had to say about the Edwards Statement:

“It is a lot more, uh, interesting than Sen. Obama’s statement. Also, he writes that ‘We should modernize our antitrust laws to make oil and gas companies liable for unilateral anticompetitive acts – such as withholding supply in order to raise prices – even without an agreement.’ Perhaps I am misreading this, but I am pretty sure the United States does have laws that address unilateral anticompetitive acts. Also, by definition, doesn’t a unilateral act preclude an agreement between two or more parties?

You need to read the entire two-page populist Statement, to get the feel for the Trust-Bustin’ Hero John Edwards plans to be.

Gloat by Association: Because of their voluminous and consistently interesting content, I would be proud to be the proprietor/editor of any of the following law-related weblogs:

Above the Law
Adam Smith, Esq.
Concurring Opinions

* * *

May It Please the Court
Sentencing Law and Policy
The Volokh Conspiracy

What they have in common today is inclusion in the posting “Simply the Best” (Oct. 3, 2007), at Blawg Review, in which the ever-vigilant, genial Editor says:

“There are a lot of blawgs out there, and we try to read ’em all. But if this editor had to pick, right now, the top ten law blogs he thinks are simply the best…the winners are. . . “

Despite the disclaimer by “Ed” that they are “admittedly, the personal favorites of one anonymous blogger,” Ed’s post definitely got the f/k/a Gang blushing this morning. You see, the missing weblawg represented by the ellipsis in the above Simply the Best List is f/k/a. As we gratefully lamented in “thanks a lot (for all this pressure” (Dec. 27, 2005), and now emphasize further, after being included among such weblawgging excellence, being selected by “Ed” puts a lot of pressure on all the f/k/a Alter Egos to live up to his praise. For a guy whose CFS has been acting up quite a bit lately, and who would usually rather be napping than web-surfing, this is a humbling challenge. Watch this space to see if I can pull a few posting miracles out of my hat every week. Many thanks, again, to Ed.

water spider
on spring’s last day

a present, a present
a New Year’s present!
her pink cheeks

………………………….. by Kobayshi Issa, translated by David G.

a red flush
on the amarylis bud
New Year’s Eve

………………….. by Pamela Miller Ness – The Heron’s Nest

almost sunset –
mottled clouds
blush at my stare

………………………….. by dagosan


  1. When we blush, we tend to think that we are doing so for a reason. Well, there is a reason – in fact there are many reasons.

    Some of us blush because we naturally feel embarrassed, some of us blush because of the reactions to the foods we eat, some of us blush because we can’t help it.

    So if you feel that blushing is a problem but is caused by something you eat or drink then you’re in a good position to control it. All you need to do is monitor what you eat or drink.

    On the other hand, if you blush from embarrassment, you can feel safe that you are among the millions of other people that blush from embarrassment too.

    So what happens when you fall into the last category – when you blush because you can’t help it?

    This type of blushing is associated with a psychological trigger and it means that your physical self is expressing a mental or psychological issue.

    Blushing is commonly associated with exercise, embarrassment or other physical triggers but when we blush because of a little voice inside our heads, we must take a serious decision to do something positive to reduce blushing caused by these emotional triggers.

    The first step is to identify the emotional triggers. The most common emotional triggers are low self confidence, low self esteem and high self awareness.

    Ask yourself if these are things which you feel might be affecting you personally. If they are, and you can notice the link between feelings and the actual times the blushing occurs, you are in good position to start developing a new outlook towards the way you view yourself and the world around you.

    Blushing can be appropriately contributed to a personal view have of ourselves. If we are asked a question, looked at, made fun of, shown up in public or we underachieve, get stressed or make a mistake we tend to blush.


    Because in our subliminal mind we are telling ourselves that we are wrong, we are not as good as we would like to be, we are stupid, we deserve to be made fun of, we can’t handle the situation. But these thoughts are all quite simply signs of low self esteem of rock bottom self confidence.

    If you are really concerned about blushing and what it means, make sure you link the blushing incidents to the situation you are in. Where are you? What are you doing? What are you eating or drinking? What are you feeling leading up to the blushing incident?

    Once you can relate the situation to the blushing, you can better understand what blushing means to you personally. After all, blushing means very different things to many different people.

    From the web’s brand new blushing resource

    Comment by Nick — November 19, 2007 @ 2:54 pm

  2. I’ve met quite a few people who suffer from blushing and let me tell you it’s not as small as it may sound.

    Often it affects their whole lives, causing them to avoid all social contact, it really is pretty sad to see.

    Thanks for the useful article, it was pretty informative. I used to be a terrible blusher myself and now have set up a support group of to help out blushing sufferers like myself. It’s located at:

    Check it out if you have problems blushing as it will help.

    Comment by Ted Jones — December 1, 2008 @ 3:16 pm

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