#2 daughter will be singing the alto aria for Bach Cantata 12 with the KC Symphony on February 11, so if you find yourself in the audience, you will know whose amazing voice that is. Well, I guess you would know anyway because of the program and all, but still…

Now, we may have high taste in music around our place, but my husband has very low taste in television. He watches Fear Factor, Nashville Star, Fox News, CNN. So I knew, when he asked me last night, “What do they mean, ‘wild girls’?”, it was some news story.

I went over to help him puzzle it out.

We were a little hampered by the fact that the expert (and how do you become an expert on wild girls, anyway?) kept insisting that there was no need to give more detail, because “everyone has seen it!” She kept repeating this with asperity whenever the desiccated old man interviewing her tried to slip in a little information. She was, I think, sick of the whole thing.

Now, I had been at the internet anyway. I am trying to help #2 son with an assignment. I am having a little bit of difficulty with this because he has either misunderstood his teacher or she has lost her mind.

His subject is agriculture in the 1920s. This is a great subject. There were huge technological and economic changes going on. Lucky devil, I thought. But no. Apparently he is supposed to explain whether agriculture in the ’20s was liberal or conservative. That, he assures me, has to be his thesis. And he is not allowed to use any internet sources. Nor can he use any of the books we have on hand, because they are too popular. The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Food and Faith, An Age of Extremes? Practically novels.

So I was trying to help him come up with a reference or two. It was the work of a googly moment to find out what these wild girls were.

Apparently, Britney Spears was photographed getting out of a car in an unladylike manner, with no panties on. Maybe Paris Hilton, too. Whether both of them forgot their undies on the same evening, and some nearby photographer took advantage of the opportunity, or whether they have been making such a habit of this that it counts as exhibitionism, I don’t know.

You may be one of the “everyone” who already knows this story. If so, I am sure that you immediately thought, as I did, of Carmen Miranda.

She had the misfortune to be photographed while being swung about by Cesare Romero, with no panties. Her skirt billowed up and a slimy photographer got a shot right up her dress.

She had to leave the country.

Now, I don’t know much about either of these stories. I don’t know why, in either case, these girls had decided to leave off their knickers.  From the way the expert on the news show was talking, it didn’t seem likely that Spears was entirely blameless, but don’t you have to wonder about the photographers?

Fortunately, they then moved on to the presidential hopefuls, and we began trying to disentangle them. My husband is toying with the idea of becoming a U.S. citizen, in which case he could vote in the 2008 election, so he is trying to keep the players straight.

Another case where it might be good to have a program.