Saturday, November 28, 2009

Grammar Rant No. MCXXVI

Oh, Facebook, I hate you so.

Before you, I never knew how many of my friends and relatives were grammatically retarded. No, that's not fair. Let's call them Grammatically Apathetic.

A story:

There are some really annoying people who seem to have come from the womb knowing grammar, who could diagram sentences under heavy fire, and who may or may not have been kicked out of classes for correcting their teacher too many times. I am one of those people. It's like being able to hear at a frequency that only dogs and English majors can hear. Bad grammar can be absolutely earsplitting when others are unaware of any sound whatsoever. You can imagine that Facebook can cause such insufferable prigs (such as myself) some degree of discomfort.

So just for fun, let's review one of my pet peeves quickly, shall we?

TO is a preposition, identifying the object or expressing motion. For instance: Erma is married to Percy, or He left his bike chained to a post.

TOO is an adverb (modifier) or an adjective. For instance: I ate too much. Too can also be used as "also." For instance: Eunice is coming too.

Sorry about that. You may go now.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Thanks, everybody, for reading this lame blog.

I appreciate you sticking through the right-brain periods, where I can't think in words, and the times where I'm obviously just dumping stuff I find on other websites because I have been too busy consuming to produce (which is a bit of an American epidemic). I think my New Year Resolution will include fewer hours plugged into podcasts, and more hours stirring up my own brain matter and moulding it into interesting shapes.

Hope you stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Meet Dave Hill

Do you know this renaissance dude? Because you will. This much talent can't stay a secret for long. Does he do stand-up? Yes. Does he have a one-man show? Yes. Does he host comedy nights with guests the likes of Dick Cavett? Yes. Does he play in a rock band? Duh. How does he do it all? I'm not sure. I'm guessing bipolar disorder with lengthy manic phase.

Valley Lodge "All of My Loving" from Valley Lodge on Vimeo.

You can find out more above Dave Hill at his website. You can also follow him on Twitter, if you don't mind copious joke makings, some of which are LOL funny.

Just thought I'd pass on my pretty gestaltic knowledge of what makes me laugh.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

My Past Lives

Now that I'm slipping into the regrets age I'm starting to understand certain mystical obsessions such as the Shirley MacLaine-style fascination with past life regression, where someone with more money than they need finds someone with an enterprising way to help relieve them of some of that money by helping them "remember" a past life - always a romantic one involving royalty or beauty - in which she relives the time when she was a prince, a knight of the round table, or a sultan's favorite concubine.

I'm guessing that "remembering" past lives is a way to enjoy more life than you have been allotted. More and different. Once you feel the slightest tingle of the body's long downhill slide, once you realize you are too old, with too many obligations, to move to Scotland to learn to play the drum and develop a passable brogue, once you are past the age of admittance into the Peace Corps, once you realize the window of opportunity to become an Olympic ski jumper or a travel writer has closed, and you hear this idea that you may have lived lives much more exciting and glamorous, it must be very tempting to believe.

The trouble with past lives is that most have been lived before indoor plumbing, central heating, modern feminine hygiene products, and the perfection of chocolate.

However, if I had lived past lives these are the ones I would have liked to live:

European royalty before that ugly head-lopping-off period. Aside from the funk created by the twice-yearly bath (which seems to dog most romantically historical times), this seems to be good living. Nice clothes, decent meals, sitting for portraits, dancing courtly dances, wearing silly wigs...not bad. Maybe the Austrian court during the Mozart period, but only if he really giggled like Tom Hulce.

Scottish castle dweller some time between one horde or the other showing up to claim it for themselves. Everybody wanted Scotland because everybody talked so adorably. I would just want to make sure I was rich enough to afford plenty of warm clothes and firewood. And I would want my own sheep.

Yes, royalty. I'm afraid royalty was where it was at, pre-industrial revolution. Everybody else had it pretty crap. Everybody else was lucky to be less hungry, filthy and disease-ridden than their dead neighbor.

Maybe Lincoln's secretary. He doesn't get killed or stabbed or anything does he? I've never thought of what it would be like to be a dude, but to sit in on Lincoln's administration, I would consider it. Mary Todd Lincoln is definitely out. I'm not keen on either shopping or mourning.

I would kind of (kind of) like to be a pioneer, if only to have acres and acres of primeval Oregon wilderness to myself. It must have been awesome. And really, really difficult. But imagine, after crossing the mountains and deserts, finally getting to stick your flag (okay, your walking stick with your last remaining scrap of calico drooping from it) into an enormous piece of gorgeous land overlooking the Pacific, and saying "MINE!" Sorry, Chinook Indians. Dammit, I just ruined my past life.

Oh, wait. I've got it. A pre-Captain Cook Hawaiian Wahini. Tropical breezes. Dancing the hula (I can still do a passable hula from lessons I took as a kid in Vernonia - don't ask, long story), eating tropical food, swimming in tropical seas and trying to get fat, cause that's what all the fellas were into. Oh, bingo.

Those are the memories I'd like to have. What about you?

Saturday, November 07, 2009

I Raise A Finger In Your General Direction

After hearing a joke about a joke, I had to look it up myself: who did flip the first bird? And did he then have to explain what it meant (which would certainly have cut the sting somewhat)?

Here is some of an article by Glenn Church, that I found at Associated Content:

The Romans referred to the middle finger as digitus infamis or digitus impudicus (dirty finger). It had much the same meaning as today. The Emperor Caligula insulted people by making them kiss his middle finger instead of his hand. Another Emperor, Augustus Caesar, expelled an entertainer from his presence by an obscene wave of his middle finger.

The Romans did not invent this gesture, however. The earliest recorded mention is a play "The Clouds", written by the Greek Aristophanes in 423 B.C. Even then, the middle finger has a clear, obscene and sexual use. It is unlikely that the ancient Greeks were the founders for flipping the birdie. More likely, flipping someone off goes back into prehistory.

The middle finger, extended outward from the rest of the fingers, is an unmistakable phallic symbol. Some have even suggested that the middle finger's use as a sexual instrument, in place of the male organ, is its true origin as a phallic symbol.
Fascinating. They can't find an origin, it's such an old habit. Think of it: even the Latin language has died out, yet we still make daily use of this even more ancient relic. I guess when something so perfectly serves its purpose, there's no reason to put it aside.

I like the word digitus impudicus. I think I'll keep it.