Archive for June, 2010

i’ve been intrigued by the “25 random things about me” some of my facebook friends have posted. thought i would give it a try.

sorry, if this takes too long; i tend to ramble when i write. so let’s start there.

1. i tend to ramble when i write. i find the spoken word much more difficult to grasp. in fact, i am not very good at conversation at all. it’s a genetic thing. growing up, there wasn’t an over-abundance of conversation in the house. over the years when i have visited my mother and sister, there have been times when no conversation has taken place at all. in fact, i used to bring a crossword puzzle book when i’d visit because i knew there would be stretches of dead silence. this is the exact opposite of how karen grew up. she of the greek mother and italian father was raised in a household in which five simultaneous conversations were often waged in an ever-increasing volume. amazing part was, everyone knew what everyone else was saying. mind-boggling. i don’t ramble until i get in front of a keyboard. but once there, i have been known to go on and on and on.

2. and on.

3. i make my own pasta. (i prefer the well method.) pretty good at it, too.

4. i’m a bit of a salad snob. i much prefer dipping each forkful of lettuce, et al., lightly into a small side container of dressing than to pour the dressing over the whole salad. i always misjudge and wind up at the bottom of the bowl with a vinegary mush of inedible leaf spooge. salad is a much more enjoyable experience when it doesn’t remind me that i have yet to clean out the rain gutters.

5. i got a st. bernard for my 12th birthday. a couple years later, mom got a chihuahua. the photos are pretty cool.

6. i love europe. been to athens, rome twice, and paris. came thisclose to going back this year (2010) – britain or eastern europe are next on the list. never got around to booking the trip. then the iceland volcano erupted and messed up all the travel plans. sometimes when things don’t happen, it’s for a reason.

7. favorite world city: rome. second favorite world city: san diego. third favorite world city: the last one i visited, whichever that is.

8. the way i figure, i have lost around 1,000 pounds in my lifetime. and the bastards keep finding me.

9. i much prefer savory over sweet. i would rather have a steak than a bowl of ice cream.

10. i haven’t met a vegetable i don’t like. there are a small few i prefer less than others, but they are all invited to dinner.

11. i would rather spend time with the tv than with people. which is probably why …

12. … i’ve never been good at or particularly interested in close friendships. i’ve had a few (one died and most of the others kinda petered out). i’m very close to my wife (should be closer) and pretty close to my kids (whom i love more than our closeness would indicate; i would like to be closer). i’ve been working hard to correct this one. facebook, of all things, has actually helped.

13. my worst trait is my selfishness. i believe it’s why i don’t have friends. can’t do what i want to do if i have to do what they want to do. bit of a shit in this regard.

14. i also have a problem with moderation. it has led to a lifelong battle with food and booze. what i lack in moderation, i make up for in selfishness. i wish this was the other way around.

15. i lost my best friend to pancreatic cancer in september 2008. did a lot of growing up while watching him die. gave up a serious drinking habit that occupied all too much of my time. started eating more sensibly and joined the gym. on a totally different path now. his death didn’t scare me, it saddened me. it also slapped me across the face. and that hurt.

16. i have an inflection in my speaking voice that often makes me sound like i’m pissed or mean or grumpy. or a prick. i hate it. i can’t hear it; everyone else can. it’s incredibly disheartening to hear that i am coming off as a prick when i’m in an anti-prick mood. happens all too often.

17. a pretty good rule i have followed when traveling is: make friends with the bartender. you get stuff this way. a wealth of local information, in charge of free food and beverages.

18. if you sneak up and scare me, i will scream at the top of my lungs – one giant, long, loud monosyllabic blast – for a seemingly cartoonish length of time. you will laugh. you will also think my heart is about to explode. very effective. and memorable.

19. i have a fear of choking. i am not afraid of dying. i am, however, afraid of choking to death.

20. something inside tells me i’m going to live to be 90. don’t know why. i like peculiar round numbers; 90 is peculiar to me in its roundness.

21. i am a huge fan of music. elton john, especially. go ahead, ask me a question about him.

22. i am hopelessly, passionately in love with my wife. that’s a line from the tv show ‘m-a-s-h’. i have it tattooed on my heart.

23. i love to cook on my giant gas grill. i believe i’m better at it than i actually am. and i’m better at cooking vegetables on it than i am meat.

24. the food network and hgtv are homeowner porn to me. doesn’t matter what show is on, i’ll stop dead in my tracks and stare. i especially love before and after photos of home makeovers. it also helps to explain why so many of the items on this list deal with food.

25. i have several lists of top fives. i have a top five favorite guitar players, drummers, songs, tv shows, movies, foods, words. the list goes on. i should make a top five list of my top five top fives.

26. i can’t count.


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we need to have a word.

i’m up to here – HERE – with the verbing of our nouns.

in general, i hate new words. i hate what we’re doing to new words. i hate the fact that we think we need new words. and worst of all, i hate the fact that we’re not actually inventing new letter combinations for these new words. we’re taking our old words and repurposing them.

new word: repurposing. hate it.

if my voice suddenly goes up an octave, i apologize, but you were warned.

this topic has me seeing sideways.

the words we had in the categories in which they were residing were doing just fine. we had come this far. why did we have to start screwing with our words?

when we started out, around the time our knuckles stopped dragging on the ground, we had “ug.” and that pretty much stood for everything. it was the verb, the noun, the pronoun, the adjective, the adverb, the preposition, the conjunction, and the interjection. it was the complete sentence, the run-on sentence, the paragraph, the headline, the whole story. as time moved on, humans made modifications to “ug,” giving it additional syllables, intonations, emphases – and from there, language was born. i figure.

it still amazes me that when we split off into different countries, we decided it would be a good idea to create unique symbols that would represent unique pronunciations for the same shit we all have. why we need 195 ways to say and spell “tree” is ridiculous. but that may be because i wasn’t around when these big decisions were going down.

i’d’ve thrown my two cents in on that one.

it’s a tree. next? boat. next? radish. next?

i’d’ve had this all figured out in a day or two.

i blame the computer on more than one level. if it wasn’t for the computer, i would be sitting at a typewriter right now, typing words about something else.

but i’m not. i’m at a keyboard. and even though i still believe what i am doing should still be called “typing,” there is a growing herd – many of you reading this are as guilty as the next – out there who decided this activity should be called “keying.” you type at a typewriter; you “key” at a keyboard. i vomit at the notion.

this, to me, is like fingernails on a blackboard. or rubbing two balloons together. or chewing on cotton.

when we newspaper folk take an obituary over the phone, we no longer “type it up.” we “key it in.”

shoot me.

i refuse to key. i am still typing. i don’t care if it’s unacceptable. keying, to me, is unacceptable.

my biggest modern language complaint is the fact that we are abusing our nouns. we, as a planet of smart creatures, are on a mission to repurpose (ug; that word again) all of our nouns into verbs.

and i totally understand that there are a bunch of nouns that have always played on both sides of the fence.

attack blame, cause doubt, escape fight, guide hope, influence judge, kiss love, match need, order paint, question report, show trust, use value, wipe x-ray.

a fun little sentence you will read a second time – but not yet – when you learn that not only are the words alphabetical in presentation, they are also, each one of them, both a noun and a verb. you may now go back and read it again. i’ll wait right here.

computers are to blame on another level. as society slides farther down the long, rusted razor blade of technological hell into the alcohol vat of vocabularistic apathy, it drags with it our words.

we google. we tivo. we text.

i shudder.

our language is being hijacked by teens and tweens (new word) who don’t talk, they text, and they use their thumbs to do it. i’d like to see one of these 15-year-olds with a blackberry (can you imagine, people of my age, having something like a blackberry when you were 15? i was lucky to have an etch a sketch; and damn happy with it) – i would like to see one of these vowel-snorting, gum-popping hair-twirlers bang out “omg lol, bff” with their thumbs while holding a manual 20-pound underwood champion typewriter.

that’s how we rolled in my day.

but i digress.

today, i wouldn’t think of tasking (ug) a youngster with trying to put thought into thought.

with the exception of having to hire someone to deal with my bodily functions, i would love to be around in 100 years to see how many nouns have been verbed (and verbs have been nouned, for that matter).

my feeling is we’re moving backward, linguistically,┬áto square one faster than we are headed in any other direction.

’tis our repurpose in life.


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