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Archive for August, 2013|Monthly archive page

ORDER IN THE QUART!!

In Frayed Connections on August 20, 2013 at 6:19 pm

 

Spelling

Spelling

 With the advent of Facebook, Twitter, texting and e-mail comes a terrible plague that exposes a dark underbelly of our society. It’s not adultery, money scams, id theft or even foodie instagrams.

It’s about spelling. It’s about how few people can actually spell the basics, words used everyday.  I’m sure it connects somehow to the demise of books and bookstores, and the general dumbing down of our culture, but I’m no anthropologist.  I’m also no librarian, English major or former spelling bee champion.

In fact I’m an aspiring, unpublished writer who writes about teenagers smoking pot in the woods and the trouble they get into  (Lofty I’m not.)

I’m not a person who would ever publicly correct a person’s misspellings either. Not even (or maybe: especially) people I am close to. For years I misspelled the word ‘course’ with an ‘a’….and I use that word a LOT!

 Maybe that’s part of the problem- no one wants to call anyone out and humiliate them.  I am (for all intents and purposes) only marginally educated (public high school, some community college) so if I’m noticing theses errors, it’s bad.

    I don’t want to embarrass anyone, or start a fight. I’m simply stating that before we get on the front lines to argue about women’s rights or gay marriage -so as not to have to discuss the economy and politician’s salaries, we should take a good, hard look at the way we are exposing our ignorance every single day.

  Again,  I am talking the basics. Stuff you should know  fifth, sixth grade, tops. I can’t tell you how many times I see college educated people (good schools!) misspell the simplest things! It’s jarring. Correspondence from large companies, billboards, hand-written signs in public places- spelling has gone into the ditch.

   The incredibly obvious ‘Your’ and ‘You’re’ lead the pack. I have not experienced a single day (since the advent of the internet) where I don’t see this mistake. “Your coming over today, right?”-wrong! ‘You’re coming over- as in ‘You Are!’ Next in line: Their, they’re and there. ‘They’re sure that their students know how to spell, and so they now attend the middle school over there.’ And guess what? “We’re, where and were’ are not interchangeable! 

   Rather than bore you to tears with a lecture I’m going to write a few sentences, using actual spelling from Facebook posts in composite sentences.  I am avoiding any that may have been typos: 

   Last night, we grilled stake out on the deck. The whether was nice, and a gental breeze blue. I new it wood be good. I was afraid I’d loose the spatular, so I kept an eye on it. ( me: Vampires hate stakes!)

   I don’t know weather you know that I bread dogs? (me: Panko bread-crumbs are best on dogs!)

   Kids have no manors these days! (me: It’s the economy!)

   My friend, the genious that she is, left the door unlocked and someone stold the cell-phone! It cost more then mine! (me: Alrighty, than!)

   We have three cat’s. (Are they kitten’s?)

   Did you loose your mind, man? (I’m trying to tighten it, actually!)

   Are we aloud to go to the beach after sundown? (Only if we whisper)

   Now- we’re not even going to go into your post-worthy life, and ask why you think we care about the fact that you’re grilling and bragging about it like the cave-man  who first discovered fire,  but shouldn’t you’ NO’ how basic words are spelled?

Awww! Don't we all?

Awww! Don’t we all?

 

   On the other hand,who am I to talk?  I have no smarts when it comes to punctuation regardless of how many instructionals I read.  No one is perfect, but I think if we all read more books, it might help!

Reading doesn’t  always help me spell words correctly, but I often recognize when something’s not right, bringing attention where it’s needed. I’m not a spelling Nazi, but I do wince when I see intelligent people making horrendous spelling mistakes. Unless they’re bragging, or being bullies. Then I just laugh. Because I love my whore family, too!

  

They Might Be Hanging Out Without You

In Books, Television on August 15, 2013 at 2:32 pm

 

Right off the bat, I’ll make it clear that I am not a huge Mindy Kaling fan, though I  thought ‘The Office’ was well written. Mindy was co-executive producer of the show, and wrote many of the episodes (including ‘Niagra, a personal favorite) She was also a cast member, playing the insufferable Kelly Kapoor, a girl who just doesn’t get it! Therefore, I do respect for her career achievements, and I’ve fulfilled the ‘say something nice’ part of my opinion piece. haha.

I first really noticed Ms. Kaling   when I became aware of her book “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’ which was heavily promoted even before it’s release, and had an avalanche of great press afterwards. I remember thinking: ‘This must be some book! Either that, or she knows a lot of heavy-hitters in the publishing industry!’ Although I found the character she played on ‘The Office’ extremely annoying (as she was written)- it wouldn’t be the first time someone ratcheted up my opinion of them based on their writing skills, and sense of humor.

i heart it

really?

In any event, I got my hands on the book, and settled in for an enjoyable, funny memoir, as I had no reason to suspect otherwise.  The book was high on all the non-fiction best-seller lists, and was selling up a storm. However,  from the get go, I got my back up, when Ms. Kaling casually compared her book to Chelsea Handler’s ‘Where Are You Vodka, It’s Me Chelsea’-a book I thoroughly enjoyed, and which stayed on the top of the best-seller lists for over a year. (Chelsea, though not a ‘writer’s’ writer, has several very readable books written in her deadpan delivery style and has been at the top of the New York Times bestseller list several times.. no mean feat!)

This being the case, I found it a little presumptuous of Mindy to just throw herself in the mix, like it’s something she thinks secretly, but probably shouldn’t say.  She also tries way too hard to assume a familiarity with the reader that she hasn’t earned. Similar to  when someone says ‘I know what you’re thinking’ and it’s not even close. But about half-way through the book,  I stopped reading, looked at the cover- just to be sure I had the right book, and thought ‘This is what all the hoopla is about?!’ Not only was it lacking in the ‘here are my interesting stories’ department, it also presented Mindy as a classic, high- school mean girl, very  clique-y and judgmental, and not all that nice. (Women don’t have to be ‘nice’- but there’s a certain self-effacing quality that I appreciate.

In her book, Mindy trashes her friends in high-school- going as far as to say she hoped an equestrian loving ex-friend found a great horse to marry. I mean: Rrrearrr! She talks about how unpopular she was in high school (she wasn’t) and how high school doesn’t even matter- but she’s still really angry about not being the center of attention there. Which of course, happens to everyone on the planet, but famous people, I notice, are often very bitter about the first decade-and-three-quarters when they were treated like-God forbid!- everyone else!   When the world failed  to clamor around them, recognize how special they were, and shower them with adoration..  The bottom line is that I felt Mindy Kaling’s book was over-rated, and was disappointed because of it.  And it didn’t help that she seemed oblivious to the cattiness of her stories, completely unaware.

 

People love this girl! I am clearly in the minority with my opinion. It’s to such a degree that I wonder if my initial impression is ‘off’. There are just too many good books rolling off the presses, for me to try hers again (and she has a new thing: a card game full of topics to talk about with your girlfriends. I can’t imagine needing to fish for topics, but I guess it beats another round of Monopoly) I will say,  that my initial review of ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me’ -wherein I point out how underwhelming this book is- has gotten way more ‘likes’ on a certain book reading site than the rest of my reviews combined- with a few ‘finally someone said it’ comments as well.

The above Flavorwire article about Ms. Kaling’s recent tv show (“The Mindy Project’ which I haven’t seen)  defends her personality based on the fact that she’s a woman- and says, in effect, that a man (who’s an asshole) would be applauded for the same things Kaling is criticized for. Alec Baldwin notwithstanding (they keep insisting he’s a pretentious bore and a jerk to boot- but I can’t stop loving him) I don’t think difficult men are revered- I think they are tolerated if they have creative powers. I believe people much prefer a John Ritter type (who I understood was a kind man) over a Charlie Sheen any day of the week. I don’t know the fate of Kaling’s show, but I do wonder if it is as overrated as her book.

I guess the point I’m making is that, according to the ‘Let Mindy Kaling Be An Asshole’ commentary, there is nothing obnoxious or arrogant  she can do or say that can’t be explained away by sexism. She’s got a license to do whatever she wants- like a foreign dignitary! That just because some successful men are pricks, women should be, too. Lean In and annihilate! Strap on your armor! Swing your big stick! Etcetera! But  I don’t buy it. As my mother used to say, in cliche-but-true mom-speak: Two wrongs, don’t make a right!….. And emulating the stereo-typical, brazen, self-serving jack-ass (think Donald Trump) does not seem the path to fulfillment! And it’s definitely not something to strive for.

Ladies-we’re better than that!

Bad Boys: *SIGH*

In Should I Even Be Talking About This?, Television on August 8, 2013 at 7:09 pm
'No thanks- i don't need a ride' said NO GIRL EVER!

‘No thanks- i don’t need a ride’ said NO GIRL EVER!

The subject of Bad Boys (and why some women like them) has been discussed ad nauseam, and yet I will throw my two cents in anyhow. I got to thinking about this after seeing a spot for ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ on FX ( a bad boy channel, if you will…along with SPIKE)  Jax Teller, the head of the SAMCRO affiliated biker gang, is my current ‘Bad Boy’ crush. This is a guy who’s killed over a case (at least) of people (and that was just last season)-and is a bonafide gangster, yet I swoon inside as I watch him. Even his walk is hot! But he’s a murderer! I know, it’s weird…..I usually frown on murdering. So what gives? 

*sigh*

*sigh*

Part of it began when the show first started, four seasons ago. Jax presented himself as ‘deep’…sitting atop a roof, reading his dead Dad’s letters, reflecting on his life. The way that he read those letters aloud- the fact that he could read- these were all pluses in a hot guy! He even kept a journal, which might mean he can even spell! Combine brains and brawn and I don’t know about you, but I’m over the moon! As the show progressed it became clear that he was truly in love with his girlfriend, Tara, and he has since married and stayed faithful to her (despite what I imagine are offers left and right to ‘get busy’-including an adult-entertainment side business and joint ownership of a brothel) A man who is true to his woman is a big turn-on to me. (A lot of us are self-serving like that.)

*swoon*

*swoon*

Amongst women, there is much discussion about men, and how they tend to be shallow- how the way a woman looks is so important to them, even though it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But ladies- please! Are we not the exact same way? When we are attracted to a guy, aren’t his looks a big part of it? The way his hair falls softly over his forehead, the Alaskan Husky blue eyes, that deep, scratchy voice even-maybe even- dat ass? Especially as young women, weren’t most of us attracted to the ‘babes?’ And so, as much as I like Jax’s monogamous ways, and soulful journaling- isn’t the fact that he’s scorching hot the reason I’m really attracted to him? After all, his buddies- who do exactly what Jax does- well, let’s just say they aren’t in my day dreams.

So what if I wrote this whole essay just so I could post these pics of Jax?

So what if I wrote this whole essay just so I could post these pics of Jax?

The first time I can remember being attracted to bad boys, was when I was a very young girl. My grandfather was watching the news and started railing at the television. I put down my Barbies and walked over to the tv to see what had made him so mad. There, on channel two, was Walter Cronkite reporting on Vietnam and the numerous protests going on around the country. One of the clips, from San Francisco- showed a bunch of teenagers and young adults in really cool clothes holding up signs. Then a sound bite from the cutest guy…with long hair, talking about ‘the war’. My heart did a few somersaults. My grandfather growled, the vein on his forehead throbbing: “Jesus, Mary and Joseph! Men with long hair! Like a bunch of girls! This country is going to hell in a handbasket!” His face was red.  Meanwhile,  CBS cut to another clip,but  I was hoping they’d go back to that first guy. I waited through the commercials (‘Chock Full Of Nuts is a heavenly coffee…) and even stuck it out through the weather and sports, but alas, the heartthrob never returned.( And that’s the way it was…)

But I knew he was out there somewhere, growing his hair, wearing beads and waving a sign. And from then on, anytime I heard the words ‘Vietnam'”War’ or ‘Protest’ on my grandparent’s tv, I would strategically loiter behind my grandfather’s chair,maybe rolling a matchbox car across the headrest of his chair as a decoy and watch for the ‘no-good hippies!’ (By the way, I also thought the ‘hippies’ were the nice ones- because they wanted to stop the war, and from the footage I saw of actual Vietnam, war seemed like something we should all be against. But I digress)

Mick Jagger invented cool

Mick Jagger invented cool

From there, it was easy to see my route veering towards Bad-Boy Ville. I preferred Mick Jagger by far over Paul McCartney (McCartney was okay, but I could sense those Wings songs blending inside him, like vanilla milkshakes). Mick Jagger was the kind of guy who did things at night. Stayed up and smoked cigarettes and called up his girlfriends who were wearing fur coats and nothing else.  I was a born night owl, and could rarely sleep before eleven at night even as a child. And Bad Boys roam the night.

I  often stood up for the under-dog,and went against the grain. I wanted to paint my room black (or deep purple) with a big rainbow on the wall when I was nine. This was immediately vetoed. My father bellowed: ‘It’s a bedroom, not a god damn art project!” I ended up with red roses decoupaged on my all- white furniture, with matching shams and spread on my canopy bed. I’m surprised little dwarves didn’t gather around me while I slept, while cartoon blue-birds swirled around my head. But my room decor didn’t stop ‘Honky-Tonk Woman or “She’s A Rainbow” from blasting out of my Realistic stereo.  

My mother jokingly gave me an orange 8-track by Alice Cooper (“It’s a guy!” she marveled “What a goonie bird!”) Little did she know, ‘Killer’ was right up my (dark) alley- and I couldn’t get enough of it. In fact, the whole glam scene- with its long hair, platforms, turquoise bracelets, silky bell-bottoms and guy-liner spoke to me. Add guitars and turn it up, and I discovered the meaning of being in my element. 

I also liked guys who rode harleys  (especially choppers) guys who worked on cars, and wore leather jackets. At thirteen, my uniform became hip-huggers and halter tops, and platform shoes in suede. I loved headbands and anything with fringe. I was sending out Bad-Boy smoke-signals whether I knew it or not. You really don’t find a lot of guys macho enough to wear bracelets and earrings on the high school football team. At least not during the day and in public.

So while a lot of girls were trying out for cheerleading, I was wandering the halls between classes looking at the back of boy’s heads, searching out guys whose hair grew past their collars, making sure that my notebook was positioned with my New York Dolls and Deep Purple stickers facing out. I fell in love with bad-boys in movies,  in books…(.most notably Ritchie, in The Wanderers) and  though I was rooting for the ‘good’ guys, Randall Flagg in ‘The Stand’ was far more interesting than any of the good-boy heroes.

Snake Plisken is another fine example of the North American Bad-Boy

Snake Plissken is another fine example of the North American Bad-Boy

There is however, a big difference between a bad boy and a jerk. A bad boy might be a man of few words, but he doesn’t lie. A jerk lies even when he doesn’t have to. A bad-boy might not coddle you 24/7, but he’ll never lay a finger on you- or any other woman. A jerk is on familiar terms with his inner Chris Brown. A bad-boy has a work ethic- and knows how to fix stuff. He does things the right way, even when it’s tedious. A jerk works sporadically (if at all) and can’t be bothered with pride or standing behind what he does or says. Shortcuts are his thing. His whole life is a game of Chutes and Ladders, always searching out the easy way. A bad-boy is loyal, to his girl and his family and friends while a jerk hurts, uses and deserts his girl, family and friends. A bad-boy is someone you hold hands with in public (subtly) and a jerk is the guy you lie about even dating (out of embarrassment) But, most importantly, a Bad-Boy can grow up to be a good man, but a jerk will never grow up, period. And trust me, someday you’ll want him to.

Michael Beck played my favorite Bad-Boy in "The Warriors"

Michael Beck played my favorite Bad-Boy in “The Warriors”

Of course, when you live by the sword, you die by the sword. Over the years I’ve had my fill of bad boys and jerks and I’ve had some tumultuous, crazy relationships because of it. I’ve had my heart smashed to smithereens, and I once cried from sundown straight through to the next morning, positive I would die without him. (I’m talking non-stop full-throttle balling! Turns out you can’t run out of tears)  I’ve written bad poetry the likes of which make me blush just by remembering. Though I must admit: I do have lots of stories.  

But when you choose a hot guy with a bad-boy streak who’s mysterious and as cool as dry ice, you can’t expect to be the only one who’s noticed. And if you’re looking for real passion, you can’t go in half-assed. Sure, it might not work out- but then- what if it does?  And the few times I tried to go against my type, and date someone a little more, um- suburban? I felt lost and lonely. Like I was in another country and didn’t speak the language. The truth was- I just couldn’t date the Richie Cunningham type, as nice as he might be. Because I can’t spend my life hovering behind chairs, waiting for the news to come on. The best I could do was sort the bad-boys from the jerks, and hope to get lucky for the long haul.

Sonny Crockett was a Bad-Boy. Plus, he had a pet alligator!

Sonny Crockett was a Bad-Boy. Plus, he had a pet alligator!

 

BOOKS AND HOW TO GET THEM

In Books on August 7, 2013 at 3:12 pm

 

Books have always been my best friends. Even before I could read, I loved to look at the bright, colorful pictures and strange configuration of typeset (when you are three, and not yet a reader, English looks exactly like SPAM from Thailand) I would beg anyone taller than me to read me the stories, and when that didn’t work I’d make up my own story, basing it on the illustrations.

‘Girl plays with kitten Aww!! Now she run! ( Turn page.. gasp! Look! She came back!) Heady stuff. I’m told I had an imaginary friend, Annie, until I was about four. I used her to blame stuff on, and as an audience to my stories. So it wouldn’t be unusual to walk into a room and see me with a book in my lap, animatedly talking to no one, my arm draped over the non-existent shoulder of my invisible best friend, discussing the latest release in the Golden Press line. (I adored their hologram covers and puppet photographs! Or should I say “we” adored them…)

This just might be my favorite book ever...

This just might be my favorite book ever…

Learning to read was like mastering time travel: with the turn of a page, off I would go to other lands, and other lives, other generations, other universes! Backwards, forwards, upside down- books could go anywhere and do anything! I could live a million different lives if I could read as many books! To this day I don’t understand how anyone gets through life without reading all of the books they can get their hands on (and then some!) but I’m so grateful to be one of the lucky ones who’s hooked on books. Yeah- I could swoon about books for hours, but I’d like to talk about the best places to get them, and how I manage to get the most mileage-and bang for my buck- out of reading.

Books2

BOOK STORES

Books11

This is obvious- keep the book stores alive! This is how I do bookstores on a budget: When an author I really like is coming out with a new one, I make an effort to buy it from a bricks and mortar bookstore. It’s sporadic, but I purchase what I can, and I happily add these books to my permanent collection, on route to filling yet another bookshelf. Not only do I get a nice hardcover, but I also support my the wonderful existence of bookstores.

THE LIBRARY

The library is essentially a FREE BOOK STORE! Think about it: if Barnes & Noble announced they were having a 100% off sale this weekend (‘We’re Giving It All Away!”) would you be there? Would you maybe sleep in the parking lot overnight to be among the first in the store when it opened in the morning? Of course you would! And this is why I can’t believe there are people out there who DO NOT use the library! You can get free DVD’s as well- and the selection is surprisingly good. You can use their computers, you can buy hardcover books for $2.00 or less! you can read the latest magazines for free-and even check out and bring home the back issues. The Library is Utopia.

The path to great places...

The path to great places…

The library website is a treasure trove as well. You can put books on hold (My hold list is never empty. I also currently have seven books checked out. At my local library, you have SIX whole days to pick up your holds. (Again, this would be like calling the book store, ordering a book, and picking it up for free! Amazing!) On the library’s website you can also access many resources, like Consumer Reports (free!) a plethora of Art and various niche magazines-even  Chilton’s Auto Repair manuals. You can even order free downloads of books, movies and music, which they will zap right over to your Smart- phone, Kindle or laptop. (Though why anyone wouldn’t actually prefer to walk into a giant building filled with books is beyond me! Every time I pull into a parking space at my library I think: ‘This  spot shouldn’t even be available. This place should be so full of people, I should have to park around the block!’) I adore my Library!

Books6

LIBRARYTHING

Libthing

LibraryThing is a book website that I would recommend to any avid reader. Here, you can list all of the books you’ve read, are reading, or want to read- and you can even create a virtual library using the covers of said books. You can read and write reviews, and if you want you can interact with other readers. But the really great thing about LibraryThing is that they have an ‘Early Reviewers’ Program, which allows you to select soon to be published books, and win them in exchange for a review (you only need write a sentence or two, not the on-and-on I usually do) In five years, I have won 60 Early Reviewer books (!) with one on the way as we speak! The Early Reviewer program runs once a month, and you choose which books appeal to you. You then have a chance to be picked to receive a free copy.  I’ve gotten autographed books, as well as book bags and other ‘book swag’ from Early Reviewer books! In addition, there are also author giveaways (more freebies), book recommendations based on your likes, and a whole host of other book-related information and activities. LibraryThing is free for you to list up to 200 books, and after that they have a sliding scale of prices per year- from $3.00 and up- you can literally pick your own price. It’s beyond worth it if you are a serious reader. I LOVE LibrayThing! To see my book list, read my Early Reviews or just say hi- I’m listed as ‘Litgirl7′ (that stands for literature, not keg stands…although…I’ve been in the vicinity of a few keg stands…just sayin’)

THRIFT STORES

Thrifty

Thrift Stores are an excellent place to find cheap and interesting books. If you have young kids, you can buy used copies of their favorite books (sometimes 4 for $1.00!) and let them go to town with their messy hands, drooling, crinkling and tearing.  It’s a great way to not have to hover over a $15.00 kids book that you’d like to keep in their collection sans teeth marks. Many of these books are in great shape- if not new!

Also, If you have a fondness for vintage books from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, the thrift store is the place for you. Not only can you find some childhood favorites, but in many cases you’ll be amazed at the absurd book titles, advice, and trends from the past- and all for a song! How else would I have found ‘The Drinker’s Cookbook’ from 1961, chock full of boozy recipes and comics about the hilarity of driving drunk? Or Cookbooks for Dads who Barbecue, with advice such as ‘pick the steak with the most fat’ and ‘keep the wife away from the grill?’ Or ‘Naughty Cakes’ with the step-by-step directions for ‘booty cake?’

Fabulous Bloody Mary recipe....

Fabulous Bloody Mary recipe….

If you’re crafty, you can buy cheap books and use the pictures or text for all kinds of projects (though it pains me to destroy a book, and I’ll always try and scan it first, then print out what I want to use, but sometimes a book is too busted for repair) You can make personalized cards for friends, wrapping paper, use pictures on your blog- the list is endless. You can also buy ‘gag’ gift-books for the the holidays. Say, a 1965 ‘I am a Beautician’ for a hairdresser friend’s birthday, or “Jerry Springer’s Wildest Shows Ever!” for your T.V. snob friend, or “Your Youth: Getting The Best Out Of It” circa 1971 for a 40th birthday. You might even stumble upon first editions of old favorites, like ‘Blacky The Crow’ or ‘The Lonely Doll’ series. Sometimes, you’ll even find notes or old  photographs tucked away inside! (This, to me, is nirvana!) Though it’s hit or miss, it’s a rare trip to a thrift where I don’t find something! 

In conclusion, books are everywhere, and they can take you everywhere as well. When I hear people say they are bored I think to myself: That will never happen to me. As long as the world has books!

I hear deer urine works...

I hear deer urine works…

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