Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Something stupid this way comes

Loyal readers of this blog (both of them) are likely familiar with my hatred for stupid neologisms. In these "pages," I have previously excoriated The New York Times Magazine's use, in an otherwise fine profile of the band The Arcade Fire, of the word "ginormous." It has come to my attention that another terrible word is upon us: vajayjay. Apparently this word is being pushed/popularized by Oprah, after being used on Grey's Anatomy (though of course the word predates the show). I learned of the plague-like spreading of this awful word via The Onion A.V. Club's blog The Hater, which is written by Amelie Gillette. (Also, isn't that a great name? Nothing like a nom that conjures both a cute Frenchwoman and shaving.) In the entry in question, Ms. Gillette introduces us to the word vajayjay, "aka the world's most annoying word popularized by the world's most annoying popularizer of annoying things, Oprah." Well said.

I'd just like to go on record here and say that I am sick and tired of the infantilizing of everything. Ginormous is a word a teenager says. Vajayjay is a word a toddler says, or a toddler's mommy says to her (or, I suppose, him, though I can't imagine why). Similarly, men are not to wear shorts unless at the beach or engaged in some vigorous outdoor activity; enough with the T-shirts sporting clever sayings or kitschy nostalgia, like Mr. Bubble—in fact, enough with T-shirts, unless they are of the plain white variety, altogether. All these words the people who write Gawker use: douchebag, asshat, and the like are what junior-high students call one another. So fucking knock it off already. Wear your pants like a man, your skirt (or pants or dress or whatever, I don't care, I'm not trying to start a thing here) like a woman, say "fuck" when you want to, and lay off the childish euphemisms for your naughty bits. Let's start to elevate the discourse by—oh, I dunno—elevating the fucking discourse.

Monday, October 29, 2007

It has been my experience

that people are split more or less evenly between two differing camps when it comes to Halloween: there are those who love it and there are those who think it's stupid. And, much like Republicans and Democrats, you don't find too many switching sides. Also, it's often disastrous when a member of one group tries to date a member of the other: much like the Montagues and Capulets, only with one person (girl or guy) dressed up like Romeo or Juliet, and the other in street clothes, or "civvies," because they think that dressing up is stupid.

I fall in the latter camp. I dunno, I just don't care.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Done with my chores, Pa.

Here at work, one of my bosses calls our work "chores." As in this week, after getting back from Japan, his asking me amiably, "So, are you catching up on your chores?"

I kind of like that. It makes me feel like the magazine is a family that is obligated to care for you; you just have to earn your keep by writing stories, chopping firewood, and toting water.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

This one goes out to Dad

I read this recently in The New Yorker. I was surprised by the use of my own personal dad's favorite hymn, as well as by the—not onomatopoeia, but something close (does anyone know the word for this?)—that ends it. An excellent poem.

Aubade in Autumn

by Peter Everwine October 15, 2007

This morning, from under the floorboards
of the room in which I write,
Lawrence the handyman is singing the blues
in a soft falsetto as he works, the words
unclear, though surely one of them is love,
lugging its shadow of sadness into song.
I don’t want to think about sadness;
there’s never a lack of it.
I want to sit quietly for a while
and listen to my father making
a joyful sound unto his mirror
as he shaves—slap of razor
against the strop, the familiar rasp of his voice
singing his favorite hymn, but faint now,
coming from so far back in time:
Oh, come to the church in the wildwood . . .
my father, who had no faith, but loved
how the long, ascending syllable of wild
echoed from the walls in celebration
as the morning opened around him . . .
as now it opens around me, the light shifting
in the leaf-fall of the pear tree and across
the bedraggled back-yard roses
that I have been careless of
but brighten the air, nevertheless.
Who am I, if not one who listens
for words to stir from the silences they keep?
Love is the ground note; we cannot do
without it or the sorrow of its changes.
Come to the wildwood, love,
Oh, to the wiiildwood
as the morning deepens,
and from a branch in the cedar tree a small bird
quickens his song into the blue reaches of heaven—
hey sweetie sweetie hey.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Back from Japan

Back from Japan. A crazy, bizarre, wonderful trip. Among other
things, I:
  1. Sat at the bar where Bill Murray first saw Scarlett in Lost in Translation.
  2. Got attacked by deer outside of a temple in Nara.
  3. Fell in love.
  4. Saw Mt. Fuji from the window of the Shinkansen, or "bullet train."
  5. Ate many, many things which I had no idea what they were.
  6. Bowed about one million times.
  7. Got offered a naughty massage.
  8. Shook the hands of about 50 Japanese schoolchildren, who wanted to try out their English on me.
  9. Saw all these tiny, nearly three-person bars down back alleys in Osaka.
  10. Stayed in five-star hotels nightly.
... and much, much more.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Prison Break

I see ads for this show, and I don't get it: do they just keep breaking out of prison every episode? Do they keep getting put back in? You'd think that such an inept crew of prisonbreakers would eventually just settle in at the ol' hoosegow.

Which brings to mind:

Hoosegow: NOUN: Slang. A place for the confinement of persons in lawful detention: brig, house of correction, jail, keep, penitentiary, prison. Informal: lockup, pen. Slang: big house, can, clink, cooler, coop, joint, jug, pokey, slammer, stir. Chiefly regional: calaboose. See FREE.

Thanks, Roget's II!