Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Grub Up!"

My late buddy Karl Walters used the expression "grub up" reverently. He consideed food to be the ultimate goal of each and every day. Whether it was the "Hungry Man" lunch at Algoma High School or that restaurant in Chippewa Falls with the all-you-can-shove-in steak lunch buffet, if one could pass it off as a meal, Karl was in. That meant frozen, cheap burritos and White Castle burgers at the radio station as well as gourmet fare...that would be nachos and footlong dogs at a Twins' game.
Anyway, as the cycles in society come and go, McDonald's is promoting its healthy food (as if anyone would eat it...I mean, what's the point of going to McDonald's, anyway?), it's good to see someone other than Hardee's standing up for the real eaters.
It was reported in this very blog many months ago that the Los Angeles Dodgers were opening a section of the right field bleachers at Chavez Ravine for those who wanted a one-price ticket and food gorging spree. And while it's taken a while for it to catch on at any other major sports, NASCAR has finally gotten on the lunchwagon. On May 10th at the Darlington Dodge Challenger 500, fans will be allowed to buy a race ticket which comes with gut-busting privileges. Eats include hamburgers, hot dogs and "snacks" (as yet unidentified, but do we really care?). Soft drinks are included, but beer is not. While I've never had the urge to attend a NASCAR event, the price seems reasonable to me.
Adults will pay $60 for the right to belly up to the trough while at the race. Under-12 patrons will fork out $55 which seems a bit steep to me, but then, these are Southern kids under 12 named Bubba and Wanda Sue. Race fans who already have seats in another part of the venue can buy into the buffett for either $15 or $10, depending on age. If regular prices at races are even close to ballpark prices, I would consider that deal a blue-plate (Chinet, of course) special.
"Race? What race? Don't bother me...I'm eating $60 worth of food here"
"Get your purse, ma, and we'll fill 'er up!"
"I need to loosen my belt a notch, Momma."
"I'm fuller than a starving tick at the bloodmobile!"
My only issue is why it took NASCAR this long to figure out this opportunity. The Golden Corral in Darlington will be empty that day, I'm sure. But, being racing fans, I would have thought beer might be included. I can imagine drunken baseball fans throwing junk onto the field, but how much damage could a race fan cause? I suppose one might use the Stars and Bars for a hanky, and all heck would break loose.
Me? I'll go to Vegas to the Mandalay Bay for their buffet instead.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Tiger...and the Rest of the Field

My idea of a golfer!

"It's a lot easier if you own the golf course to make up your own rules. Like no more than 12 in a foursome. No breaking wind in the tee box. If you have a bad lie, you never have to tell a bad lie. I like that one. And par is whatever you want it to be -- depending on what the bet is."

Now that Tiger Woods has won his fourth consecutive Buick Open and 62nd major golf tournament to tie Arnold Palmer on the all-time list for fourth, I thought it might be time for a revision of the game. I see it like this: Tiger plays by the "regular" rules, and everybody else plays by Willie Nelson's rules. See: Willie owns his own golf course, and in a recent interview with the Washington Post, he offered the quoted passage above as the reason he bought his own course. As I read the interview, I became increasingly convinced that the rest of the PGA could benefit from some changes. While Willie's rules might not affect the outcome so much, these might:

1. Two separate holes on each green: regulation for Tiger...volleyball-sized holes for everyone else.

2. Windmills and anthills on several holes for Tiger.

3. Inclusion of a fifteenth club for everyone else: the "foot wedge" would now be included to be used in case of an unfortunate lie.

4. Lengths of gutter or PVC pipe to be used by "regular" players for putting on the green, a la "Happy Gilmore"...for that matter, make Tiger putt with a hockey stick!

5. Tiger plays 18 holes a day. Everone else plays fifteen then goes straight to the 19th to join me.

6. Every fan must wear a cut-out mask of Sam Snead while following Tiger's group. (Snead holds the record for MOST PGA victories at 80-something).

7. Tiger carries his own stand up bag allowed, either.

8. Mixed in at random with the regular Nike balls in Tiger's bag are a number of exploding balls which turn to powder on the tee.

9. Tiger plays left-handed.

10. Tiger has to drive a Buick at every tournament.

These are not a guarantee, I assure you. Tiger Woods is playing at such a high level that everyone else seems a mere mortal. Maybe you love him...maybe you hate him...maybe you don't even like golf. He is, however, an icon who has changed the way we look at the sport.
As for me, I'll stick to playing with Willie.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

From the Me Generation to the YouTube Generation

Purists decry modern technology which has us communicating at light speed every fifteen seconds by text messaging and email (for older people). It's not enough that we don't capitalize proper nouns, they say, now we don't even spell out words! LOL! Our language, which used to be divided into formal (writing) and informal (speaking) has become one, long string of vowels and consonants resembling rebus puzzles. That's not what worries me, though; I just don't want to end up on YouTube or FaceBook like so many have recently.
As such, I refuse to send a text message to anybody...not because I'm old, but because it becomes something of a personal record. Don't believe me? Ask the mayor of Detroit who may be facing perjury charges for lying to the courts. The evidence of his prevarication? Hundreds, if not thousands, of text messages he sent. Not for me...I even worry about how what I write in an email might be perceived, emoticons notwithstanding.
And how about the woman in Virginia who, in response to a kid calling her husband to ask why he had not cancelled school because of snow, sent a phone message that included things like "snotty-nosed little brats" and "Get over it kid, and go to school." That ended up as one of the most visited posts on FaceBook, much to her chagrin. Whether or not the young person was within his rights to call a public servant at home or whether or not said servant's wife was right to be exasperated by a lack of privacy is not the point...the point is that anything can be accessed these days.
Just ask the 30 or so high school students in LaCrosse whose pictures showed up engaged in underage drinking, or the running back at Wake Forest University who allegedly placed an anonymous threat to blow up campus on a FaceBook page.
What are these people thinking? (to quote Dr. Phil again)
As for me, you'll never get a text message...EVER... and I may not even leave a phone message the next time you're not home when I call.
The main reason that I will continue to write, however, is that I get to use cool words like "prevarication," "notwithstanding," and "chagrin" at every whim. Try THAT with your txt msg! CUL*R ;)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Real Simple or Real Bored?

Forgive the grammatical goof in the title. I'm somewhat appalled that it even slipped by the grammar guru who censors my writing. I usually do not modify an adjective with another adjective even under duress. I refuse to drink Mello Yello because it's not spelled correctly...and Lite beer? no way...ketchup? I don't think so.
However, I do occasionally peer through Real Simple magazine searching for new recipes. I admit that it should be Really Simple according to the strict rules of grammar, but in a world in which a college professor told me yesterday that soon using "they" as a pronoun in place of a singular noun like "a person" will be acceptable to major style manuals...well, there's anarchy just around the corner.
Anyway, the aforementioned magazine listed 31 things a person could do if "they" wanted to be productive and kill 15 minutes at the same time. I mention this because my recent four-week hiatus known as "semester break" left me in desperate need of something to do besides read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair. (That book makes The Grapes of Wrath look like a Disney/Pixar film)

Some of the ideas were actually practical:
1. Try one new food. I actually tried several new beers.
2. Schedule a day off. That one was easy...choosing which of the 20 days was tough.
3. Get together with family members and "speed clean" a drawer. I chose my computer desk and did not include any family members since it was their junk I was tossing!
4. Clean out expired food. I did...called 'em "leftovers." Nobody knew the difference
5. Put sturdy glasses in freezer so frosted mugs are available for the new "foods."
I mean, don't people do this already?
6. Pare down the number of cooking utensils. I used my paring knife for this one.
7. Compile a list of fun parties to throw. What the hell good is that when I don't have any friends to invite?

Truth be told, these were some of the more doable ones. Remember the list involves 31 activities. Some of them will NEVER get done even though I may have 15 minutes and a desire to be productive.

1. Compile a "Best of 2007" list. I've already forgotten the year existed, but that might just be age showing.
2. Buy lint rollers for every entrance and hang them up. (I am NOT making any of these up!) Right! Like I would wear anything where lint might be a problem...and need one at EVERY door?
3. Send a year's worth of flowers to someone (even yourself). Why? In a year, you'd have all these dead flowers lying about...and be expected to provide more the NEXT year. No way am I falling into that trap.
4. Make trail mix by combining all the small amounts of cereal, dried (decayed) fruit, etc. in the cupboard. And having done that, I'm going to eat it? not so much. However, it might fit nicely into the "leftovers" category mentioned earlier.
5. Tighten every loose screw in the house. Getting the screwdriver out of my ear would be the tough part of this one.
6. Memorize a short poem. Sorry, I already know all of Ogden Nash's poetry.
7. Restack nesting bowls and Tupperware. Seriously...get a grip.

As I said, there are 31 gems. It took me about fifteen minutes of reading to digest the whole thing, so maybe there should have been 32 items. It was was really can do it, too, but you'd have to be really bored.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Father/Daughter Celebrity Tango

By now, you've no doubt gotten the word about Hannah Montana, a.k.a. Miley Cyrus, daughter of "famed" musician Billy Ray Cyrus ("Achy, Breaky Heart" 1992). You know that concert tickets for the teen's gigs have been going for hundreds of dollars as mothers fight at Ticketmaster over the "gotta-have-them" pastes which allow their pre-teen daughters to scream their lungs out for a couple of hours as if they were seeing The Beatles come to America or getting their hands on the latest Harry Potter book (and DON'T EVEN tell me about Dumbledore again!). This in spite of using body doubles during the concert so Miley can change costumes and in addition to things like a mother in Texas lying that her daughter's father was killed in Iraq just to win tickets to a concert. You know all of this unless you've been living in, say, Montana... or Iraq. I really thought that once "Wierd" Al Yankovic made a parody of Billy Ray's song that we'd heard the last of that crap...not so. He and his daughter sometimes perform together, and appear on TV together as well. This might seem to be too much, but, really, they're just the next in a long line of father/daughter duos who have hit the big time in show biz. To wit:

Francis Ford Copola used his daughter Sofia as a baby in "The Godfather" as well as in "Godfather, pt. III." While she never really made it as an actress (babies can be SO temperamental), she did receive an Oscar for her screenplay "Lost In Translation."

Nat "King" Cole and his daughter Natalie recorded "Unforgettable" as a duo in 1991...of course, Nat had been dead since 1965, but garnered three Grammies.

Elvis and Lisa Marie figured to cash in on that idea and remastered "In the Ghetto" a song I absolutely hated the first time I heard Elvis sing it. The new version proved to be even less stellar which is why YOU'VE never heard it. Still in all, he WAS the KING.

Frank and Nancy Sinatra recorded a song called "Something Stupid" in 1967 when they were both alive, and it was number one with a bullet, probably due to Frank's "connections" if you get my drift.

Of course, we all remember Ryan and Tatum O'Neal in "Paper Moon," but since they aren't speaking anymore because of his hijinks (according to Tatum), we'll just give it a mention and drop it.

So, you see, the Cyrus duo is merely the next in a line of family entertainers. I'd be just as happy not knowing about them myself, but that would involve living in Montana or Iraq, and I'll pass on that.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Taking No Chances

I get that football fever has Green Bay in its grip...tighter than couples at the junior prom. It's just that things get a little crazy. People all over town are lining up two hours beforehand to shovel snow at Lambeau Field (leaving their own driveways covered, I imagine). Others with too much time on their hands create snow and ice sculptures depicting, mostly, Brett Favre. The mayor recently replaced the sign for "New York Ave." with one that reads "McCarthy's Way" probably in reference to the new $20 million contract that the coach just got. All of that I can fathom, but having God on our side pushes the envelope like Golfweek and their now-infamous "noose" cover.
A woman in Milwaukee has been making custom-made rosaries since the mid-90s, and she's in the forefront again with the Green Bay Packers' rosary. Originally, it was a hobby to make them for first communion celebrants with name inscriptions for the Hail Mary portions of the prayer beads. Somewhere along the line, Karla Sponder made one for a nun who was an ardent Packers fan, and the rest was history. There was a big demand during the 1997 Packers season, and it has sprung up again. The "Our Father" beads are football-shaped green and gold items while the others are inscribed "go Packers" and "Green Bay." Ms Sponder takes great pains to indicate that these are serious religious artifacts, and that feeling is corroborated by Sister Isaac Jogues Rousseau (2003 inductee to the Packers FAN Hall of Fame)who uses the beads daily but gives them extra work on Packers Sunday. In fact, each purchase comes with specific directions concerning the proper way to pray the rosary...for those of you who have forgotten (or never knew) the difference between the sorrowful and glorious mysteries. I suspect this is a clever way to avoid a Catholic version of a jihad being visited upon her person.
You, too, can have a personalized set of rosary beads, and they don't have to be Packers-themed. In fact, there have also been versions for the Nebraska Cornhuskers (probably no longer in use...see St. Jude) and the Milwaukee Brewers. is the spot for info, and you'll need $30.
I've already finished my Christmas list for next year!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Gunston a Goner?

We all know sports is big business. Heck, I just spent two hours carving a figure of Brett Favre throwing a football in a snow pile I made yesterday. There's big money to be had on all fronts (with the exception of snow sculptures), and team mascots are not an exception. Remember when Indian nicknames and mascots were on everyone's radar? Boosters at Marquette even offered a million dollars to the trustees to drop the "Golden Eagles" moniker and return to "Warriors." Well, now it appears a mascot has come under fire for being TOO CUTE AND NOT FEARSOME ENOUGH. You've probably seen him...two years a go when George Mason University played deep into March Madness, its mascot Gunston was obvious. If you haven't, I guess I'd have to say sort of a Cookie Monster look...popular with the kids and with students, but not so much with the boosters who, according to my friend Karl, "BOO the coach and STIR up trouble."
There is precendent for mascot changes, certainly. Georgia Tech went to "Yellowjackets" from "Rambling Wreck" (which I liked). Wichita State has dropped its Shocker mascot because large strands of wheat tied together (in a "shock") had very little mobility. Scottsdale Community College preferred Arti the Artichoke over a rutabaga. Many schools have been coerced into dropping mascots associated with the antebellum South in addition to native American mascots. LSU catches heat all the time for keeping a live tiger in captivity, but as far as I know, there's no controversy over UC-Santa Clara's mascot: the banana slug. In fact, it's quite popular on the Tshirt circuit. I'm still waiting for Ralphie at the University of Colorado to get into some loco weed and gore somebody...or how about that longhorn at Texas? I wouldn't want to lead him around.
There are some I'd think might need changing, though.
The Goucher Gophers. Ostensibly, there was a football cheer in which the students shouted, "Go for it, Goucher" which led to the adoption of the animal mascot.
The Wofford Terriers, so named because during one contest, a dog actually ran onto the court. Now a name like the Jack Russell Terriers would inspire frenetic activity in ANY booster or player.
George Washington University's mascot is, well, George Washington. I can see rivals clacking wooden teeth during free throws or throwing fake silver dollars onto the field of play.
The Loyola University Ramblers. This one is odd on many fronts because Loyola is THE academic school in Chicago, I'm told. Does the name represent the now-defunct car brand? Do their students or professors (OK trick question here)talk on and on without making any real point? My buddy Jeff pointed out that their athletic logo featured a dog. huh?
My least favorite, though, is Brutus Buckeye from The Ohio State University. I mean, who's going to tremble at the sight of a seed from a tree? It'll take 30 years for it to grow into anything sizable, and that mascot is just ASKING for people to throw things at its noggin. It's sort of a reverse Weeble.
I hope the students get to keep Gunston...they should have SOMETHING to show for their tuition.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Don't Scrap With Scrapbookers

I have to admit to being a bit more than a little mystified by the dustup involving Kristina Contes. She seems like a pleasant, witty, creative person with a passion for the avant garde. For her to be placed in the same stocks with Marion Jones seems a bit harsh, and to villify her as "not having a moral bone in her body" goes far beyond rationality. But then, again, I'm not an avid scrapbooker. I mean, I have scrapbooks of my high school and college athletic careers and scrapbooks covering my kids in high school and college, but they're just places to keep information (prior to the internet and blogs): they were never meant to be art or extensions of creativity. Things have changed.
They began changing in 1987 when Rhonda Anderson founded a company called Creative Memories which launched the current scrapbooking craze. Lest you think I jest about the "craze" part, the company has over 90,000 consultants and made around $300 million in 2005. Apparently, this thing is more popular than drive-through liquor stores in Texas. There's at least one website:, and the industry itself generates about 2.6 billion dollars. There are national contests, global conventions and instructional videos. Who knew? Well, Kristina, for one. She won a contest sponsored by Creating Keepsakes magazine. Her entry featured pictures of her feet and her hairless terrier (?). Her entry caused such a stir that she not only won the contest but was inducted into the Scrapbooker Hall of Fame...again, who knew?
However, when she contacted the contest folks to ask that her friend be included in the documentation for her photos, things went awry in a hurry. It seems that having a friend take pictures as part of ones scrapbooking entry was a no-no of major proportion. I find this odd...after all, I can write a research effort which cites hundreds of sources and be perfectly legitimate. In fact, if I DON'T cite all the sources, I am a plagiarist. So, it seems to me that this was merely an example of someone doing the right thing. Apparently, that's just my opinion. The public outcry was intense, and Ms Contes replied to her critics: "Apparently, many lives have been destroyed by the catastrophe" which led to public castigation by the masses. Comments such as "I guess her response is dignified if you live in the same trailer park that she does" and the aforementioned item about having moral bones filled the internet. She was subsequently dropped from the roll of Hall of Famers as well. Wow! Let's get these people after the Iranians or send them to Pakistan to settle those folks down...or to Kenya. Taking something that's supposed to be fun and turning into a dog-eat-dog competition where only the strong survive just seems a bit much...oh yeah, we still have Little League baseball, I guess.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

4 Million Reasons

Today's online issue of the local paper featured four different stories about the Green Bay Packers among the top seven headlines. The nightly news has extended playoff coverage every night, and even the offensive linemen are having their own weekly show on the tube here in Titletown. To many people,especially those without game tickets, all of this may seem excessive. Admittedly, with little snow on the ground there's not much else to do outside, and the Packers have always been a big draw in this small city. But why should we be subjected to this constant onslaught of media coverage, some of it entirely useless: like the pictorial last weekend about a man's house and it Packers' theme, complete with a urinal in the bathroom. Please! How about some common sense here? Well, there are at least four million reasons to throw common sense out the window.
The economic impact of this ONE playoff game is estimated to be between four and five million dollars! This according to estimates based on an impact study done by Price WaterhouseCoopers and CFL International...and this does not count ticket sales or sales inside the stadium on game day.
One apparel store near the stadium figures that 70% of its income is taken in on the 10 game days and Family Night during the season. A nearby bar raises the number so employees on game day from 25 to between 75 and 90. Now THAT's economic impact for you!
Not surprisingly (this IS Wisconsin after all) sales at liquor stores triple on weekends of Packers' home games. Add that to regular sales, and you can see why Wisconsin ranks right up there when states are ranked by alcohol consumption!
The Packers are so much a part of the community fabric that #4 was even nominated as the person of the year for elevating the spirit of the community to such high levels, and Bosse's Magazine and Tobacco Shop sold more than 2,000 copies of the Sports Illustrated issue featuring Brett Favre as the Man of the Year. (For the record, Green Bay's Most Significant Person this year was a minister who defied City Hall to open his church to the homeless at night)
Me? I'll watch the game on TV and, maybe, have a beer as well. Go, Pack, Go.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


Every now and then, I have the urge to slap myself on the forehead and wonder, as Dr. Phil would say, "What were you thinking?" Not claiming to be a Rhodes Scholar, but not admitting to be the dumbest, either, sometimes I just do things without thinking them through. Buying perfume that has NEVER been featured on my wife's dressing table is just such an occurrence. Agreeing to paint a tray ceiling three different shades while suffering from a Wii injury also comes to mind. But these are nothing compared to the folks you are about to discover.
A man in Praetoria, South Africa, went to the police station to report that he'd been held up and relieved of his cellular phone. The officer at the station took the phone number and proceeded to call the man's phone. When it rang IN HIS POCKET, the man attempted to suggest he'd given the wrong number. Needless to say, he was cited for filing a false report. I found myself thinking, what was he going to gain?
Virgilio Clintron died yesterday in New York. While not a stunning development, what followed certainly qualifies: his roommate James O'Hare and another man placed Clintron on an office chair and wheeled him a couple of blocks to the Pay-O-Matic and tried to cash his Social Security check. According to witnesses, the men continually had to prop Clintron up on the chair. They left him outside and attempted to cash the check...the clerk, smelling something fishy, asked to see Mr. Clintron, and the cops showed up just as the pair was about to wheel the deceased into the office. Instead of $355, the pair got arrested for check fraud. Just goes to show you that you can't just leave dead bodies on the street even in New York!
My favorite, though, was the story about Diego Palacios, a 10-year-old from Monterrey, Mexico, who glued his hand to his bed so he wouldn't have to go back to school after the Christmas break. While the fire department freed him eventually, he DID get a couple of extra hours of cartoon watching in. I wonder if he considered the possibility of bathroom necessities.
Anyway, the next time you think you've done something goofy enough to whack yourself on the forehead, remember these folks...THEN whack yourself on the forehead. What WERE you thinking?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Quality TV...Or Not

The television writer's strike has created a great deal of furor on the tube...and I don't just mean David Letterman's beard. I mistakenly thought I was watching less humorous reruns of "Grizzly Adams" the other night. And the horrors of Jay Leno writing his OWN material? You know that can't be all that funny. Nonetheless, I am concerned on two fronts: one which relates to something we might never see and one that promises an undending parade of inanity (as we hang on every word!).
Since November, we've been deprived of Duane "Dog" Chapman's adventures as a bounty hunter in Hawaii...not that I watched it every week, but it was interesting in a quirky way: at least until the Mexican thing got everyone all worried that he'd rot in a Mexican Jail (right up there with those in Turkey, they say); then Duane used an ethnic slur over and over in reference to his son's girlfriend and got himself pulled from A&E's programming (temporarily). Now, though, storm clouds gather again over Diamond Head as Tim Chapman (a sidekick but no relation) has been arrested for "performing a lewd act while naked" in his pickup. The explanation was simple: he'd spilled orange juice on himself and needed to take off ALL HIS CLOTHES in order to change his pants...thinking all the while the privacy of his truck sheltered him from view of everyone including the mall security guy who tried to arrest him and was almost run over by said pickup on the sidewalk. I mean, really, that happens all the time here in Green Bay. At least "Dog" won't have far to go if Tim decides to skip out on the bond. But more serious television fare (farce)is approaching...and I'm not talking about the New Hampshire primary (though I must say I watched a speech by Mrs. Barack Obama today and was quite impressed. Is she on the ticket?)
Of course, I refer to the transformation of Dr. Phil McGraw starring in the new Transformers movie as he morphs into the Revs. Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton (take your pick).
It seems Dr. Phil appeared unannounced at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles recently to offer counsel to Britney Spears...who wanted NOTHING to do with him. While psychological help might not be out of Brit's future picture...Dr. Phil? I mean, really! Next, he'll be showing up with K-Fed's attorneys asking for custody of the kids. Exactly why a hospital would allow someone of his stature to intrude on a possible locked-ward situation is 'WAY beyond me.
Dr. Phil's rendition of the episode had him counselling Ms. Spears for an hour though news reports indicate it was something less than 15 minutes, and the encounter was him talking and Brit NOT LISTENING, even going so far as to walk away from him (no, he didn't walk her to her car as he says...he followed her as she ran from him). Oh, by the way, the eminent "doctor" did hint that he'd be discussing the case on his show this week as rumor has it that Britney's family will be appearing. This is far worse than anything either of the aforementioned ministers have EVER done. I will grant both of them that they really want to do some good for others even though it seems they intrude far more than is necessary into the spotlight. But this bit of self-aggrandizement puts Phil McGraw right up(down) there with Geraldo Rivera in my mind.
This will definitely free some time this week for me since I will decidedly not be watching the Dr. Phil Extravaganza.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Kwanhanamas Is History

Recently, I reported that "woot" was chosen as the new word of 2007 by the Merriam-Webster folks. If you haven't read that post, go back and do it before continuing to read this one. Honestly, do you think I just do this for fun? In my continuing quest to educate the public, I attempt to pass along only the most useful information so that everyone can be conversant at their social gatherings. Nobody wants to be standing around the water cooler at work or the buffet table at a party and admit to being totally ignorant as to the current state of things. Only by being cognizant of the world around you can one manage to fool everyone into believing that he or she is far more erudite than originally thought. Anyway, enough of attention.
The American Dialect Society recently (as in last Friday) concluded their annual convention in Chicago. This group has been around since 1889 though some of the members have been replaced: the group now contains at least 80 members, and, sadly, I am not one of them. The group is comprised currently of linguists, grammarians, historians and other scholars (see why I'm not included?). Each year, the group decides on a "word of the year" which they feel embodies American culture in the most significant way. Last year, for example, the group selected "plutoed" which means "to be demoted or devalued." Uh...sure. Anyway, this year's list includes such things as
The Most Outrageous: "toe-tapper" in honor of Idaho senator Larrry Craig following his debacle in the airport restroom.

The Most Unnecessary: Happy Kwanhanamas as a combination of Kwanza, Hanukkah, and Christmas (what about athiests and Wiccans?)

The Most Creative: Googleganger which defines the person who shares your name when you google yourslf and find that you're not the only one!

The Most Likely To Succeed: Green, which, of course, has environmental connotations.

While words like "facebook" (as a noun, verb or adjective) got big play from younger voters, words like "waterboarding" were deemed more important in earlier years and not given serious consideration.

Oh yeah, the word of the year: "SUBPRIME" I'll admit that this was a big year for that somewhat oxymoronic term. After all, "sub-" means "below standard" and "prime" means something like "the best." Together, they indicate something that is far below the best, and not just in mortgages. Students have begun to say things like, "I really subprimed that test."
There you have it. Rest assured that any SuperBowl party can be your time to shine. Armed with words like "subprime," you can now castigate a team's performance as you pluto their chances of making a comeback and gain unending cache as well.
And you owe it all to me.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Already Scratching My Head

And you thought last year had some strange happenenings? We've been bombarded with a myriad of noteworthy items thus far this year. I have no idea what to make of them except to postulate that this year will top any I've thus far experienced. To wit:

1. Amy Fisher is promoting a sex tape with her husband (not named Joey). It seems he began marketing the tape when they were going through a divorce...they reconciled...she got six figures not to fight the she's promoting the thing. I will not see it. Anybody who shoots a man's wife in the face as a teen does not get placed in my queue from Netflix.

2. Jay's Potato Chips of Chicago has gone bankrupt. No more Jalapeno Krunchers, and not just for me; that includes the rest of the approximately 88% of all American households who eat chips as the number one salty snack, most of whom probably go about their lives blissfully unaware of what they're missing. I may have to skip the Super Bowl now.

3. The average age of motorcyclists is now 41, and 10% of all cycles feature women at the controls instead of riding on the back. FORTY-ONE, FOR GOD'S SAKE! Marlon Brando must be spinning. Whatever happened to buying a sports car?

4. A window washer in New York fell 47 stories and LIVED! Alcides Moreno didn't get up and walk away, of course. In fact, doctors operated on him in the emergency room instead of taking him anywhere because his condition was so grave. Can you imagine? What would you be thinking during that incredible fall? "Ooh, I missed a spot on that one?" "Holy crap, this could ruin my day." Could you scream the entire time? Sadly, his brother working with him was killed. Time for him to buy a lottery ticket! Doctors indicate he should be back to normal in a year. Amazing...almost as amazing as

5. Britney loses her kids again (no wait, that's not unusual at all!).

6. Starbucks has begun selling "skinny" cappuccino featuring low-fat milk and other ingredients designed, I'm sure , to taste like crap but make one feel less guilty and increase Starbucks' profit. Of course, spending $5 for "coffee" would make me feel guilty automatically. Calling it a "tall" also aggravates me.

7. And the latest in in-home selling parties: not Tupperware, not lingerie, not even jewlery...TASERS! Yep, a woman in Arizona has begun hosting women in her apartment for "taser testing" parties. Pink in color, the little beauties are designed to rest under the pillow or on the night stand to protect from intruders. I see real danger here: " I SAID, NOT TONIGHT"...ZAP...EEEEOOOOWWW! "Honey, turn off the game and paint the porch."..ZAP...EEEEOOOOWWW! No, this is definitely an idea someone should have left alone. Small-caliber weapons used for burglars are generally not applied on husbands.

Since I also just finished Al Gore's movie "An Inconvenient Truth," I am convinced that none of us has long to live anyway so all this won't matter. Actually, what I thought was, "And we elected Bush instead of THIS guy who actually makes sense?". Just goes to show you...the world is getting crazier (and MUCH warmer) every day. Let's hope we all make it through the year.