Saturday, May 23, 2009

That's me in the corner...with a thesaurus.

During a meeting the other day I had an almost physical reaction to a word choice.

The discussion was whether "faith" or "religion" was more accurate and the unanimous decision was "religion."

Except for me.

I tend to use the word "religion" pretty prudently opting instead for "faith" or "faith and religion." My personal reasoning is that "faith," as a term, includes individuals engaged in more personal spiritual journeys. The implication of "religion" is something far more organized and formal.

It seems that I'm not the only one with word issues. Someone created an ugly word chart. "Moist" and "vomit" took top honors (1).

Independently I'll say that I find neither word particularly ugly...but put them together and...well...good Lord.

I thought of this yesterday on my way to the subway when I passed the yoga/meditation place a few blocks from my office. A large sign in the front window said: BRAIN RESPIRATION.

"Brain." A word that I'm totally on board with.

"Respiration." A good solid word that is actually kind of lyrical.

"Brain respiration."

Ew.

1. I heard about this in one of those drive-by news moments so I've got no details. Instead I'll just pass unverified information along shouting, "Information for everyone! Verified or no! Viva information!"

The Racist Historian, Part II

Or, to be more accurate, "The Individual Who Claimed Online to be an Historian & Then Made What I Considered to be a Racist Comment Which He Justified by Saying he was an Historian (1)."

As he was warming into his comment he made the assertion that race plays a role in every divide in our city (2) and said that the only people to not recognize this fact are liberals living in the "Land of OZ."

Which kind of means that our historian isn't really much of a reader because OZ doesn't really have a history of being all that great. I mean, sure, the movie ended up okay but OZ hasn't ever been all that bang up. The story of OZ was all about racial and ethnic differences, social upheaval and class.

To say nothing of the fact that a good portion of it is pretty dark.

All this leading up to a new comic I found hanging out in a rack of the books-and-mortar bookstore near my office.

It seems Dark Horse has been publishing their own interpretation of The Wizard of Oz and let me tell you. It's gorgeous.

Downside is that they're already on issue #5 so I have some catching up to do. Luckily, most comic shops resemble the attic of a crazy aunt with a pack rat complex, so my scavenger hunt should be manageable.

And if I find extras...I'll know who to send them to (3).

1. Because, while I'm not entirely sure, I'm going to guess that TIWCOTBAH&TMWICTBARCWHJBSHWAH might be kind of litigious should he catch wind of my fascination with his case.
2. Not the most original assertion ever and, to my mind, kind of overly simplistic. If you're wondering I would say that the greatest divide in my city is not race but difference...but that idea wasn't going to do the work he wanted.
3. Maybe he meant to say Never Never Land. That would have been okay...except for the Pirates.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

I did not see that coming.

Wow.

Tonight I witnessed an online exchange where someone justified the most thinly veiled racist comment I've heard in a long time by saying that what they were saying was solid because they were an "historian."

Seriously. That's what he said. "I'm an historian. I deal with facts." And then, you know, really racist commentary.

In other words, any response you make to that very racist thing I just said is doomed to utter failure because I am an historian.

I'm just thinking out loud here but I'm pretty sure this is not what they meant on Schoolhouse Rock when they told us that knowledge is power.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A man walks into a Starbucks.

Our Cast: Me, Woman Behind Me, Wolf Blitzer
Our Scene: The crappy Starbucks around the corner that is usually empty at this time of day (1)
Time: About 10 minutes ago (2)

[Me and Woman Behind Me are in line. Enter Wolf Blitzer.]

Me: (In my own head.) Huh. Wolf Blitzer.

Woman Behind Me: I KNOW who you are!

Wolf: *

Woman Behind Me: I bet you get that a lot. I bet lots of people say to you, 'I know who you are.'"

Wolf: Yes.

Woman Behind Me: I saw you during the elections. You were GOOD. You had the things and the screens and that thing (makes an up and down motion with her hands that is undoubtedly meant to indicate the hologram "thing"). YOU were good.

Wolf: Thank you. Have you watched since (3)?

Woman Behind Me: Oh...ALL the time. ALL the time. Like the other day, this morning, there are those people that might blow up the thing or they want to blow up the...oh...the thing. I'm trying to think now. You know.

Wolf: [mutters something I can't hear but it is apparently about the people wanting to blow up or do something to the thing at that place]

Woman Behind Me: But MY HUSBAND...he loves you. [Pause.] So are you working downtown?

[And. Scene.]

1. Apparently no one told Blitzer.
2. From when I'm writing this...not when you're reading this. Unless you're reading over my shoulder. Then, okay. You're in real time.
3. This seemed a little needy to me but I think he meant the network and not him specifically.

Metaphorically Speaking

Recently I've found myself having conversations with friends about what's next for me (1).

Leopold has said he's ready to support whatever decision I make (2) but I'm not much of a leaper. I'm a planner. A long, painfully slow planner.

This would be why the room I use as an office is still the color we painted it when we moved into our house almost a decade ago. I can't decide what it should be so I plan and replan and recalculate in my head. And the room stays yellow.

This morning though, something clicked in my head. A joke. An old and very tired joke.

And it goes like this:

A man goes into a doctor's office and says, "Doc, it hurts when I do this."

The doctor replies, "Stop doing that."

1. A question that would be so different if I was involved in making movies or had a string of popular bestselling novels under my belt and these friends were Barbara Walters. Instead, we're just talking about my job.
2. Yeah. He's that guy. Cool, right?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Oompa Loompa: Another in our occasional series...

[Cue music] It's time for another in our occasional series of "Life Lessons from Classic Literature."

This time though, we're not thinking about the contents as much as the wrappings.

We're going to judge a book by its cover. Or, its previous cover.

When Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory first hit the shelves it sported this cover with an illustration by Joseph Schindelman. But as I was digging through the world of Google last night (1) I kept coming up with images of Johnny Depp and every now and then some much brighter and sunnier cartoon version of Wonka.

There were a lot of stills and movie posters of the children from the new movie (2), a few Gene Wilder shots...but mostly Depp in his purple dandy garb.

It's not that this original image was impossible to find. But it was harder than I would have thought...which led me to today's life lesson.

The easiest way to look visionary and groundbreaking is to pretend that nothing came before you. And the reality may be that only a few will choose to hang on to that history, paying attention to it not to avoid change or for the sake of playing the naysayer...but to point out what true change might actually be.

1. Intending to use this image for an entirely different post.
2. Who kind of reminded my of the Children of the Corn...but in technicolor.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Who made my cake?

I have a sweet tooth and tonight is one of those nights when I sit and think about what I wish we had in the house.

Like cake.

Or a housekeeper like Mrs. Livingston who would make cake.

Although, now that I think about it, I don't know that I ever saw Mrs. Livingston make a cake. Alice made cakes. Florence didn't make cakes. Mrs. Garrett totally made cakes.

And then there was Marianne, who was not a housekeeper at all, but managed to crank out coconut cream pies like nobody's business.

While stranded on an island.

With no oven.

And one would think...no pie pans.

Which makes the lack of cake in this house all the more pathetic.

Yeah, that's right...I'm looking at you Livingston.

Ghost in the machine...

For whatever reason, when I was in school the whole "half-life" concept escaped me. It was actually one of the moments that caused me to think that I was simply not a science person (1).

As I enter another week of my continuing saga (2) I find myself thinking about the idea of the half-life. Or, more precisely, things disappearing at unpredictable rates.

Today I was confronted by the reality of the short life of memory. How hard work and dedication becomes a mere ghost, acknowledged only by a few clairvoyants.

1. Ironically, to get away from science and math I went to art school where I ended up a crafts major. Which meant that virtually everything I did involved measuring, math and chemistry.
2. If only it involved an evil twin or mysterious case of amnesia.