31 May 2011


It's hard to write a new blog post right after your mother dies. You have to say something about it, but it hardly seems the venue. Rather than get into the sentimental details (though I will admit that I am really, really, really, really, really, really sad), I'll note a few of my observations about funerals:

Many very old women, one after another after another, come up and stand in front of you, smile sadly and hug you, and then say, "you don't remember me, do you?" At this point, a name would help. Perhaps a hint of the shared connection: did I date your son (or perhaps your daughter)? A shared decade, even: did you teach at Byesville Elementary?

You see some other people and you think, "Oh, wow, there's Mr. Shafer!" Then with mild shock you realize that it's really Mr. Shafer's son. Who is your age now.

Whoever came up with the idea of an open casket is hands-down the freakiest creep I'd ever want to meet. I didn't "go up," but I think everyone else did. My tiny son went up and slipped a drawing he had long ago made Grandma, and that she had saved along with his every other drawing, into the casket. We tied it up in a scroll for him before we went to the funeral home and--whoa here--it's making me cry just to think about it now. Let us move on.

So they make the bereaved sit really, really close to the casket during the service. Then they make them sit really, really close to the hole in the ground with the casket in the vault raised up on shiny extender thingies that lower it into the ground after everyone leaves. But nothing happens there by the grave. Not that I remember. You just sit really, really close and maybe the Pastor Person says something, I don't know, and then you all get up and leave. There's no burial anymore. Not in front of anyone. What happened to that? I've heard that if you're Catholic, you even get to throw dirt down on the casket. I felt gypped.

27 May 2011

Did she just call me a clown?

I need to start reading more mass market paperbacks if I don't want to miss such literary references.

22 May 2011

An Idea Man

"Maybe everyone is gay but they don't come out because they don't know that everyone else is gay, too."

~Asa, age 10

"We need a thug to kill everyone we want him to, and to carry groceries and stuff."

~ Asa, age 9

21 May 2011

There are birds in the microwave here.

I couldn't make that up. A (seemingly straight) couple of birds has built a nest and is raising bird children behind the microwave in my cousin's kitchen.

I set out to remedy this. The first thing I had to do, said Google, was figure out what kind of birds they were. The possibilities were endless. But I narrowed it down to sparrows, swallows, or minnows.

("Swallows"?? Who names a bird that?? But I figured out why "sparrows": Some hunters were out to kill big birds (no caps) and saw this little meatless thing flying about but then went, "Hell, we haven't shot no big birds. Ya gotta a spare-arrow?")

Why I bothered narrowing the birds' identity down so completely, I don't know. I could've just said, "It is not a flamingo; it is smaller." Because in the end, whatever little sucker it was, we were supposed to wait until it left and then make sure it couldn't get back in.

But of course! The laws never favor the landlord.


20 May 2011


Couple years ago, I called my mother to see what was up and she said, "Oh, I've been vacuuming.com, and cooking dinner.com, and taking the dog out.com. That's about it."

After a pause on my part, "Mom, why are you saying dot-com after everything?"

"Oh, I hear people saying that on the TV and the radio and that and I decided I'd just start saying it, too."

Mary Belle is in the hospital now. She has cancer of the brain and lungs, stage 5. She worked up until 2 weeks before she decided she was sick enough to go to a doctor. It's tough on all of us. She's even more bossy than she was before.
I'm at my cousin Janny's. One of my 25-30 cousins here in the Columbus area. That's a story in itself.

Hey, respectfully requesting that no one send their "thoughts and prayers" mymom.com's way. She doesn't really go for that, and neither do I. Also, we don't like plants or cut flowers. Thanks.

15 May 2011


"You can buy zip ties at Walmart. Anywhere, basically."

14 May 2011

Calamity Janes vs. Killah Bees! Shoulda been my first clue.

Son and I went to see Roller Derby at the Expo tonight. We heard about it through a lesbian social group, my having been a member for a few years without once attending an activity. (In what sense "member"?)

We got there about 4:30 because it started at 5 and I am always, always early. Very strange how we could just walk in without tickets.... The roller derby babes from both teams were there warming up. Gosh, there sure weren't many spectators, even at 5:00. More warming up. A few more spectators wandered in.

Finally I turned to one of the 8 other people in the bleachers. (Okay, not really 8, but honestly the total was closer to 8 than 80.) And I asked, "What time is this thing supposed to start?" "6:00," she said, dully. Oof.

As an aside, I observed that nearly all the people there looked like they would be valuable additions to any Roller Derby team. My 12-year-old cowered against me. Like I could save him!

So we made it until 6:00, and to their credit things started up right on time. Things, not games. We left after 20 minutes of a butterfly and a cowboy telling us about the raffle prizes. One was a $50 gift certificate at a tattoo parlor. Do people even get tattoos anymore? I mean, you know, people other than Roller Derby babes?

09 May 2011

People Say I Argue Too Much

"[One is] taught that it is a virtue to agree with others. But the creator is the [one] who disagrees. [One is] taught that it is a virtue to swim with the current. But the creator is the [one] who goes against the current. [One is] taught that it is a virtue to stand together. But the creator is the [one] who stands alone."
– Ayn Rand

06 May 2011

Wait... We Don't Even HAVE a TV.

Tiny Son spotted the cover of the Enquirer in the pharmacy last night and said, "Oh my god, Bob Barker died!"

I'm like, "What do you know from Bob Barker?"

It seems that he's watched The Price is Right in reruns as well as new tapings. I find out he's also of the opinion that Drew Carey could never replace Bob.

I think we need to stretch out the intervals between visits to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Ohio.

05 May 2011

"We wuz in town an' we seen 'im. "

I've been reading up on dialects. Dialects of American English. Those that are given more than just a cursory treatment are spoken in the eastern half of the country. Once you start heading west, phonology and lexicon and grammatical structure from all kinds of dialects get jumbled together and dialect groups become difficult to circumscribe. Other influences also come into play--Mexican and Central American Spanish, Pacific Rim languages--linguistically it's the "melting pot" metaphor.

Some may say that my opinion about why dialects are more solidified in the East than in the West betrays my well-established partiality for the West. (See bio.) The West Coast has a wonderfully fluid population. It's like this: Everyone has just moved there from somewhere else. They didn't bring friends with them either so everybody "mixes." Often, social activities and venues are not racially segregated. Sure, these are generalizations. That's because they're generally true.

In the East, the vast majority of the populace was born here and stayed here. They're 40 years old and still driving to their parents' every weekend. Their best friend now, is their best friend from high school. Everyone in their social group is their same color and from their same socio-economic background. Often they vacation in their same state. In the same place. Every summer. So although there are a few very separate and distinct dialects here ("separate and distinct" can't even capture it), there is limited other variation. Most variation comes from first-gen transplants. There is assimilation more than incorporation. I don't like it.

So I got this book on U.S. dialects. For books like this, prices run from $40-$195. (I just checked Amazon so no one would think I made that up. Prices like this are the result of very small print runs. Print runs of, like, 23 because roughly 23 people in the world read these books. You can, on Amazon, almost always "Be the first to review!"

So I stayed close to the $40 end and got American English by Wolfram and Schilling-Estes, which you see here. Or there. Or there. I still don't know how to place art in this blog thing. This has turned out to be a really good book. I have only one complaint: Reading it in Starbucks or wherever makes me look like I'm in remedial language arts.

Oh, my. Look how long this is. Since my own attention span favors short posts, I'll stop here. In a later post, I'll go into some interesting facts about dialects. No, I'm serious--guaranteed fascinating facts about dialects. Aren't you riveted so far?

03 May 2011


I guess I'll give up on this blog. I can't even get the tapu-tapu to not go over the photo of the tapu object. It's okay, though. I was never really into doing a blog. It was everyone else I know, suggesting it. They'd say, "You should write a blog." And I'd say, "I have no desire." And they'd say, "Yes, but that's the only thing you lack." Clearly they're wrong about that.