Saturday, August 29, 2009

Ode To The News

We carry each other. We help. We pick each other up when the other just cannot bring himself or herself to do it.

Am I talking about family? Absolutely. But I am also talking about things here at Stuff. When my summer took a nasty little turn for the worse (due mostly to me steering it into The Tree of Life), Nance picked up my slack and posted the bulk of the entries for the summer months. And now, I return the favor. Readers, I regret to inform you that there is a chance that there will be a slew of JPD posts.

Why? You deal with 140+ kids, 90+ degree heat, 90% humidity, and construction five days a week after a summer without them. See if you have the gusto left to post a thoughtful salvo on the world as you see it. Promise you, you won't. That's where I come in.
And thanks to CNN and MSNBC, I've been looking at the world plenty from my spot on the couch when I'm not within the confines of my retail prison.

So, here are my
Top Five Favorite News Stories Right Now

3. NFL football.
4. Town hall madness--no link needed. Duh.

Each of these has its own merits. Let's examine, shall we?

1. Wow. They skipped steroids, hormone supplements, and any other form of cheating and just flat out insulted this person. I think that my favorite part is where it says that they are not treating it as cheating, but as a "gender issue." Um...excuse me? Isn't participating as a woman when you are really a man sort of the ultimate cheating? The worst part is that no matter what, this gender-nonspecific athlete cannot sleep even if she is a woman. If she hadn't done anything wrong, she could basically say "Fuck you, I know I'm right. I'll sleep easy". But now she has to think, "Oh. My. God. I train for years and years for this one moment, and all anyone thinks is that I am uber mannish." I hope she (?) is cleared. Or do I?

2. BILL! How much do you love this man? Seriously? I never really realized how amazing he was until my mother began to adore him so adamantly. But she is right. He just said, "OK, to hell with this. I'm going in. And I'm coming back with these two women." (Insert joke here). For months this thing was not solved. Billy does it in a day. If there was no term limit, is there any doubt that he would still be Prez? My biggest regret politically (aside from voting for Bob Dole in a 6th grade mock election "to be different") is that I never got to vote for him.

3. Oh my god, football. It seems like forever since I was able to watch a game. To smell the way the air smells during football season. To wake up slightly hung over, roll out of bed, get a coffee, and settle in for 10 hours of pigskin purity. It is glorious. And I refuse to let Brett Favre (the anti-christ?) ruin it for me. And for the record, GO CHIEFS! (Eagles over Chargers for the Super Bowl crown.).

4. It has become... hilarious. Watching these "adults" show up and act a fool in the name of their "rights" and their views on things is one of the most unintentionally hilarious things of all time. Do they really think that they matter? Because uh...they don't. Can you imagine that conversation?

Child: What are you gonna do today, dad?
Dad: I'm going to head over to that town hall meeting and act like a jackass. Maybe I will get on CNN.
Child: Why?
Dad: Uh...

5. THIS IS PERFECT. Flawless, really. This guy's life was so mundane, so awful, that he pretended he was dead. The hitch? When everyone realized he was NOT dead, HIS LIFE ACTUALLY GOT WORSE! On one hand it is sad that he felt he had to do this to better his standing in life. He, on some level, really thought that he and the world would be better off without him. Now, he is without the world, and the world without him, but now he has to deal with something that there is no way that he foresaw...HE IS ALIVE AND HAS TO WATCH IT ALL PLAY OUT! Am I the only one that thought "this is fantastically hilarious" instead of "how tragic" or "what an idiot!"? Doubtful.

So what is going on in today's wild world that makes you giggle? Makes you want to make a difference like Bill? What catches your eye when you go to the paper or turn on CNN with your morning beverage? Do share!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Annoying Annoyances

Stop saying that. Do you know how you sound?

As my friend would say, "You sound uneducated, homey. You're better than that. Be real."

I am sick of hearing people say some things. Not because they are cliche or tired or whatever, but because they are redundant or just plain careless. They make no sense. Here is my list of things that people say without realizing they are sounding like idiots. If you say any of these things, I apologize if I offend you, but see my friend's quote for guidance.

Stuff I Am Sick Of Hearing

1. PIN number.
2. Young kids.
3. I could care less.
4. Small little.
5. Little baby.

Why does it infuriate me? Oh, you KNOW I have my reasons.

1. PIN = Personal Identification Number. Get with it. When someone says PIN Number, he is really saying personal identification number number. See? Now, doesn't that seem ridiculous? How do you get one? Do you have to go to the Department Of Redundancy Department to fill out an application for an application? I am confused. Let's just say PIN and end it. Good? Deal? Excellent.

2. All. Kids. Are. Young. That is the definition of kid. Young person. Young young person is just verbal tomfoolery. It's adjective overkill, really. Nobody says Old Senior Citizen. I don't ask for much, really. I just don't need you to spell it out for me that the young person is, indeed, young. Just assume that I am smart enough to detect his or age on my own. Thanks.

3. The expression is that you "COULDN'T care less." If you COULD care less, then just do everyone a favor and care a little less. There is a good chance that if you are even talking about it, you do care about it a little bit. So either you literally COULD care less, or you COULD NOT care less and are not communicating effectively. This one really fires me up. "I could care less if he wants to go out with her." Awesome. Then go on. You care less! Just make up your mind and communicate it to me like an adult.

4. Someone told me the other day that she had a "small little charm" that goes on her necklace. Well, now I can certainly rest a little easier. I mean, I was worried that the charm might have been small big. Or worse yet, the dreaded large little. I hate that. Am I making sense to you right now? I hope that I am preaching to the small little choir that we have here at Stuff.

5. BREAKING NEWS: Relatively speaking, all babies are little. My friend West doesn't have huge hulking beasts for children. He has babies. They are, like most babies, little. When people say "little baby" I like to think about the opposite of that. Big baby. The delivery room would be a hilarious place on that one wouldn't it? "I see the head. OK, one more big push. WOW! Congratulations folks, it's a beautiful six-foot, 200-pound baby!" All babies are little. Get with it. Please?

Am I being picky? Maybe. Am I being unreasonable? God, I hope not. Because if it is unreasonable to expect people to speak effectively and like adults, I am not long for this world. Blame it on my mother. Despite our sometimes vulgar speech patterns, we do our best not to sound like morons and to hold people to a certain standard. For as long as I can remember, I have been correcting--sometimes, only in my head--people's speech habits in the hope that one day, it will matter. Heretofore (what a fantastic word that is!) it has been largely ineffective.

So what gets you going? What makes your brow furrow and your skin crawl when your friends, family, or co-workers make an attempt at the English language? Do share. You can do that by entering your username name and typing in your password word. From there, leave a small little comment. But please, if you are going to comment like young kids, or whine like little babies, don't bother. Because frankly, I could care less.

And no, surprisingly I did NOT burst into flames when I typed that last paragraph.


Monday, August 10, 2009

We're Such Party Animals: Another Little Event, And This One Is So Smart!

It's still Dinner Party Time, and you're the host or hostess. You're feeling like some especially stimulating conversation about Big Ideas--you know, inventions, concepts, the kinds of things that require labs, a whole talk show to themselves, or a whole book to explain. So, for this round, you tell us which 3-5 Big Thinkers (still alive and kicking) you'd invite for dinner. This one is a toughie, I know.

Top 3 Big Thinker Dinner Party Guests

1. Stephen Hawking
2. Dalai Lama
3. Richard Branson

Okay. Tell me this dinner party isn't going to be a hoot. You've got Stephen Hawking, who will be using his synthetic voice device, explaining the entire universe in scientific terms. Then, you've got the Dalai Lama, who will be metaphysical and serene and wise and ethereal. Then, for a whole lot of very mercenary fun, you've got Sir Richard Branson of the megabusiness Virgin Freaking Everything, who basically has formed ventures ranging from selling records out of the trunk of his car to opening a chain of healthcare clinics. (No, I am not kidding.)

Plus, I know I'd get plenty out of the conversation. Now, your turn. Which bigheaded smartypants people are on your list?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's Your Party, And You Can Have Whom You Want To: Top 5 Cultural Commentators

I don't know about you, but I dread going to parties. I especially dread going to gigs like wedding receptions, moreso if I know that I'm going to be the only person there whom I know. Why can't I be sure that I'll sit with some really kickass people who will be fantastic to talk to? I chatted about this idea a bit at my other blog and thought it might be fun to talk about here.

Let's do a few rounds. I'll set some guidelines each time. This round is Cultural Commentators. The deal is this: You're giving a dinner party and you can invite 3-5 people. (For this round, they must be alive. We'll get to the Dead Dinner Party in later rounds.) Who would they be? Here are my:

Top 5 Cultural Commentator Dinner Party Guests
1. Ken Burns
2. Rachel Maddow
3. Tom Brokaw
4. Garrison Keillor
5. Garry Trudeau

Let's talk about my Guest List, but just a little bit. First of all, I know--only one woman (but what a woman!) and my girl Hil is not on it. Basically, I'd rather wait to talk to her when she's not holding public office and isn't all constrained by politics. There's some humor there with Trudeau and Keillor, but they are both also incredibly smart and insightful. Brokaw has seen a lot of news all over the world but strikes me as very human. Ken Burns, the documentary filmmaker, (credits include The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz) would be incredible to talk to...about anything. He has one of the most haunting quotes--to me, anyway,--of all time: "There are no ordinary lives." I think my list is pretty nicely balanced. I also know that there is no big honking republican on it, but that is so that I am able to eat as well as talk. Ahem. And listen.

Okay, so which Cultural Commentators are on your Guest List? And, it's okay to invite any of mine as well. I'm sure they'd be happy to be so popular.


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