Friday, February 20, 2009


Here's an example of a headline I think is hilarious, courtesy of today's Tennessean (most of these will come from the Tennessean):

Former TSU great Joe Gilliam Jr. battled NFL barriers, own demons

What does "own demons" even mean?  As opposed to someone else's demons?  Former TSU great Joe Gilliam Jr. battled NFL barriers, his sister's demons.  Or how 'bout we take the "own" out of there, since it's redundant.  Now we have: Former TSU great Joe Gilliam Jr. battled NFL barriers, demons.  

He battled demons!?!?!  Now that would be a sports article I would read.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Why are you such a dick?

It's no secret that I despise Dick Cheney.  He is number three on my circa-Nixon All Time Enemies List.  I didn't think it would be possible for him to climb higher, but it just may be.  Here is a segment from The Daily Show last night on why he's such a dick.

I would like to add that we hear nothing of this in the MSM.  The Daily Show  and The Colbert Report really are bringing us the news sometimes.  And thank God for them, or I may have never made it through the second Bush term.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

It's the world that we share, when we're finally aware...

Originally, I was just going to post one or two sentences about this AP article (via MSNBC) that a computer wrote by searching amusement park message boards and cobbling them together for a slow news day, but instead, I've decided I need to break this down part by part.

First of all, pretty much everyone knows, I am an enormous Disney fan.  Actually, many of my friends and family would probably say I am the "biggest" Disney fan, but those people have not seen what the internet is capable of.  In the grand scheme of Disney fans, I am in the middle at most.  So, I'm writing this out of love and neverending fandom for Disney and its subsidiaries and ancillaries and incorporated entities.  

And not just that, but I love It's A Small World.  It was my favorite ride the first time I rode it at age five.  I own a jewelry/music box (from the same trip) with the logo on it.  The theme of the ride shaped and informed my worldview at the time.  My lifelong dream is to be the cast member that waves at the boats as they pass underneath the control booth.  So, keep all this crazy in mind.

Because, ladies and gentlemen, It's A Small World is not sacred.  (For the purposes of brevity and being an asshole, I will refer to it herein as ISAW).

From the article:

Move over, children of the globe — it's a Disney world after all.

More than 40 years after the "It's A Small World" ride opened to promote world peace and showcase the cultures of the world, Disney is populating one of its most beloved attractions with its own trademark vision of the planet: Aladdin, Nemo, Ariel and more than two dozen cartoon characters plucked from its movies.

Okay, let's start here.  This ride update has been a long time coming, and took over a year for them to complete (including oft-reported and eroneous rumors that they had to update the boats because patrons were fatter--not true!  The boats were bottoming out due to decades of patching holes in the canal with layers of fiberglass).  The decision to add characters came after the enormous popularity of the Tokyo ride, which has always included characters.  So this isn't the first time, AP.

Disney says it supplemented the human dolls with make-believe figures to keep the aging ride appealing to younger generations and give it a new twist. Yet some angry fans see an unabashed marketing ploy that trashes the pacifist message at the heart of the "Happiest Cruise That Ever Sailed the World" and ruins one of the few rides that remained unchanged since the days of Walt Disney.

"What message are they actually saying about the world?," said Jerry Beck, an animation historian who runs the blog Cartoon Brew. "That you can go anywhere and there will be a Disney theme park?"

All right, Jerry Beck, let's think about this.  What message has Disney ever had about the world?  Let's not pretend that back in 1964, when this ride originated, or in 1955, when Disneyland opened, that it was some bastion of peace, love, and communal harmony.  Disney has always been about money, marketing, and relentless self-promotion.  If a conservation or pacifist message squeaked by, well then all the better, as long the money train keeps pulling into the station.  I mean, I'm a Disney apologist, for crissakes, but c'mon!

Others are miffed that Disney would inject fantasy worlds into a ride dedicated to cross-cultural understanding. The added figures from a dozen movies include the blue alien Stitch, the mermaid Ariel and characters from the 1992 movie "Aladdin," which angered many Arab-Americans with its portrayal of Middle Eastern culture.

Right... because the original portrayal of the Middle East (circa 1964) was so sensitive and accurate to the culture.

"Disney wants to brand the diversity of the entire world and somehow say that it's Disney derived," said Leo Braudy, a cultural historian at the University of Southern California. "It seems a bit crass to put this brand on something that was meant to be a sort of United Nations for children."

Yes, you're right Mr. I-Have-An-Advanced-Degree-In-Being-A-Jackass, the original intent of the ride was "United Nations for Children."  That's why Disney opened his doors to the children of America and allowed them all to ride it for free.  Oh wait, it never happened, because he was Walt-freakin'-Disney.  

Also, can we slow the eff down for a freakin' minute here?  "Disney wants to brand the diversity of the entire world and somehow say that it's Disney derived"????  Seriously?  This is on, like, the 9/11 conspiracy theory level of Disney paranoia.  No, Disney doesn't want to brand diversity.  They want to charge people to see it and sell them stuffed animal versions of it!

The article continues to describe Disney die-hards (calling them "dis-nerds" -- a term I don't think has ever been used anywhere by anyone), some of whom are members of the most annoying groupe of people on the internet: the Nostalgia Defenders (that's my term; you can use it).  Though it's a rant for another day, I'll give you a taste.  Nostalgia Defenders are those delusional people who think that their childhoods were so precious and special that how dare you critique or remake their beloved movies, commercials, TV shows and whatever else that somehow defines their childhood experience.  Most of these things are crassly consumerist, anyway.  

("Oh no, how dare they reissue the Care Bears for a new generation!  They were so perfect in 1983 and nothing has changed since then!  Blah blah fart, my generation is the best!")*


Anyway, the "Dis-nerds" fit here.  I can understand being disappointed that your favorite ride was torn down, because legitimately, you'll never be able to ride it again, but these people are like "Oh. Em. Gee.  Disney used to offer kids' breakfasts in a mouse-shaped plastic container and now it's paper, Double-U Tee Eff?  The quality has gone way down."  Okay, calm the freak down!

Here's how the article ends:

But some longtime Disney watchers disagree — although they acknowledge they have yet to see the carefully guarded changes themselves.

"Parents ... could take the kids on this ride and it wasn't so much about sales, it was about the images, the graphics, the dolls," said Al Lutz, a veteran Disney watcher who runs "It was a respite from the overwhelming commercial message that Disney can be sometimes."

Okay, you know where you should take your kids when you want "a respite from the overwhelming commercial message that Disney can be sometimes"?  How about, not Disney?  How about the park?

The End.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

How do you like your eggs?

So, the oft-fought debate among my siblings is the pronunciation of the the word "egg".  Here are common rhymes, according to wiktionary:
  • beg
  • Greg
  • keg
  • leg
  • Meg
  • peg
Now, I pronounce "egg" and "leg" as "aig" and "laig," but for the other words I use the sound "ehgg" which is how my siblings and husband say it.  My husband says, "lehgg."  

I did a little research, and found that the "aig" pronunciation what considered universal in the south in the early twentieth century, when it was ridiculed by writers and journalists, who often spelled it phonectically.  Later, it was used among all social classes in the Upper Midwest, and is now considered regionally specific to the Ozark region (where many of my family members are from).  In addition, New Englanders will often say "eeg".  

So, how do you say it?  Just for the record, Stephen Colbert says "aig".  See embedded video from last night's show below.  You really should watch the whole thing, but the word in question is at 1:51.  Also, bonus video of "The Word," in which Colbert takes down Limbaugh.

Okay, okay...

I'll get back to it...

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sorting Hat!

One of my favorite pastimes is the sorting of famous people, friends, (ex-)students, family, etc. into the Harry Potter houses I think they best fit.  Here's today's sorting.  

The theme is: favorite bands and their leaders

Thom Yorke; all of Radiohead: Total Ravenclaws... no explanation required

Jack White: I'm thinking Gryffindor.  Maybe Ravenclaw...thoughts?

Meg White: Hufflepuff is my theory

Jeff Mangum: Hufflepuff
That's the lead singer of Neutral Milk Hotel.  His songs are soooo Huffle-tastic and you might think, being a performer would give him that extra push to Gryffindor territory, BUT, he clearly hated performing and does it no longer, and the spectre of In the Aeroplane Over the Sea's success pushed him to live on a commune in Georgia.

Cat Power: Gryffindor, totally

Arcade Fire (don't know their names): Ravenclaws, all of 'em

Johnny Cash: Gryffindor, FTW

Beth Gibbons (of Portishead): Hmmm... tough one.  Ravenclaw with Hufflepuff tendencies

Muse: Ravenclaws with Slytherin tendencies

Poe: Gryffindor

Coldplay (I know...):  I want to say Hufflepuffs because they're so "feely" but their calculated pop arrangements belie a Ravenclaw sensibility

PJ Harvey and Bjork: Straight Ravenclaws up in herre.

Thee Silver Mt. Zion...: Gryffindors with Hufflepuff tendencies.

Modest Mouse: Gryffindors, but Isaac Brock might be a Slytherin

What do you think?  Share your favorites and agree or disagree with mine in the comments.

Some Words I Like...

viscous: kinda sounds sexual
animosity: words the define "hate" should have three or more syllables to enable pointed enunciation
serpentine: love the imagery
malice: sounds so benign, but is so backbiting in that soft "sss" sound

That Overdue Rant

So, if you've read this aforementioned NY Times article and it's hideous comments, then you can see what's coming.  I don't think my detest for the disgusting, racist, and short-sighted English-Only legislation has been understated, so I'll bypass those comments and discuss what really "grinds my gears": people that are prejudiced against the south.  

Here are a few brief excerpts from the comments to the article above: 

Quite frankly I surprised there are people in Nashville who speak English :-).
Why stop at just English. I think the law should specify "perfect English". This way it will force everyone in Nashville to learn perfect English.

— madstan, Madison,WI

How can they standardize on English when they don't speak it themselves?

— MW, Dallas, TX

I had occasion to visit Nashville often when my daugther did her residency at Vanderbilt, and my impression is that if that city is the Athens of the South, Athens should ask for a recount.

— Nutty Joe, Massachusetts

I'd like to know how many citizens of Nashville can speak the English language correctly.

— lawrence Coleman, NYC NY 10003

Well, if it isn't the xenophobic kettle calling the... you get the idea.  

Also, the last poster included his address but I've deleted it because I'm a caring, rational person.  

If these posters were to have actually read the comments, they would have seen that a lot of the English-Only proponents were writing from northern states, and most of those against this disgusting proposal were from Nashville itself.  Xenophobia is not limited to the South.  Neither is racism, sexism, homophobia (ahem...California...ahem), anti-intellectualism (sorry, Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber are from where?), or any other host of negative, pernicious qualities.  The only difference, really, between the South and other regions of the country, is that we are aware of our loathsome place in history and the systemic prejudices that still exist.

I'm not saying that everyone in the South is aware of its history, but I've yet to meet a northerner who will admit to his or her region's inherent racism.  When I moved to Tennessee from Maryland (my nomadic childhood is fodder for a different post) as a teenager, I literally had people say to me, "Oh, I hate the south, because people there are racist."  I'm sorry, are you blind?  People are racist everywhere.  At least in the south, people are aware of whether they are racist or not.

That's not to excuse racism.  Oh no!  I hate racism and any other kind of prejudice.  It's an intellectual cancer, that unfortunately seems to be hereditary.  I can't deny that I have known and befriended racists (and have not run screaming away if a friend came out of the racist closet).  I used to think that was a deal-breaker.  But I've learned that refusing to tolerate others for their viewpoints can be just as bad as having negative viewpoints.  I certainly can't say that I don't have negative qualities that others forgive me for.  Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.  Hate the sin, not the sinner, so to speak.  

But, this attitude that only those in the South are racist does no less than PERPETUATE racism in those northern enclaves of intellectual superiority.  Oh, well if racism can only exist in the south, it cannot exist in the north!  So, if one has a complaint of discrimination, they must be mistaken.  We've eradicated racism here in the north.  By virtue of being born in the north, I cannot be a racist.  

Self-awareness of your own subconscious attitudes and prejudices is how you overcome them.  As a region, the South is self-aware.  We are striving towards perfection, and though we will never reach it, we are striving.  The north sits on its rock of certainty and lets injustice paddle by. 

Side note: most of the people who in my life have dismissed the south for racism, were themselves racist, and especially classist.  I think a lot of people who grow up in blue states think they are liberal, but they really just vote liberal (by the way, don't stop voting liberal!).  If you think you're superior to others went to private school, or took a lot of vacations as a kid, or have parents who are professionals, or live in the Northeast or Southern California, or taught in the inner city for one year before quitting to pursue an MFA in creative writing from an elite, east-coast university, then you're not really a liberal.  You just vote liberal.

The key word there was "superior to others".  Not to knock just anyone...just those that feel superior.

Anyway, now that I've alienated half of my friends and family, I will end this rant.


This is the cutest baby ever.  My nephew, Luca Antonio Bogni.  Better known as Luca-Bear.  He needs kisses...


Well, I'm experimenting now with uploading photos.  That blog headline took forever to do!  I failed at the internet.  Not really.  I'm the internet's C-student.  C +, though.

That's me last winter, on one of those odd evenings in this post-Inconvenient Truth world that Nashville saw measurable snow.  Of course it was all melted the next morning.  I hope we have more of these evenings soon!


So this is the first post on my blog, which will probably have a readership of a grand total of me, my husband, and my family if they're bored.  

Reasons for starting the blog:
1) I am unemployed (technically "working on my novel," but you know how that goes...)
2) There are not near enough blogs on the internet all ready
3) The world needs to hear my perspective on grammar errors in national publications, terrible movie reviews, surprising facts discovered on wikipedia, and logical fallacies in commercials.
4) For realz, I hate reading negative, ignorant, "reverse" xenophobic articles, comments, etc. about Nashville (Tennessee, not Illinois).  The real motivation for this came from an inability to rant on the New York Times because they had already closed the comments section for this article.  
5) I am unemployed.

So, we're (I often refer to myself in the collective sense) not going "live" with this quite yet, but when we do, I'll be able to look back at this post and laugh, laugh, cry.