30 June 2011

How does this... happen?

FBI: Nigerian stowaway slips onto U.S. flight without boarding pass

Meanwhile, I'm back behind security, throwing out my hair gel.

[not the real tapu]

26 June 2011


"Do you have a lighter?"

No, sorry, I don't smoke.

"I didn't ask if you fucking smoked."

25 June 2011

Ah too can haz LOLz.

Cosmo, do you like that pillow?

Yah.  S'pritty.

23 June 2011

We are a hill people...

Hey, I promised you some dialect and I don't want to disappoint. These are examples of the dialect spoken where I grew up. Geographically, the region is known as "Upper Appalachia." Its denizens affectionately call it "coal minin' country." The dialect is a variant of the Midland or North Midland dialect region.

Jesco White "Outlaw Dancer"
phonological (sound) variants:  
  • warsh     "wash"
  • crik         "creek"
  •  simular   "similar"
  • 'at           "that"
  • 'ere          "there"
  • 'At 'ere... "That there..."

lexical (word/vocabulary) variants:
    • press      "closet"
    • redd out "clean out" (note: redd up is "to clear the table")
    • dinner    "lunch" (Really; it's so confusing.)
    • mango    "green pepper" (Talk about confusing! Even says it at the grocery store.)
    • commode "toilet"
    • poke        "brown paper bag" 

                                           syntactic (grammar/usage) variants:
    Mamie White
    • We wuz at BINGO when we seen 'im.  
    • Conjugation of "to be" and wider use of the past participle differ greatly from standard English.
    • We's been rentin' lots a' movies anymore.  
      This is referred to as "positive anymore" and is not regularly found in any other dialect.
    • We had pork chops and applesauce, an'at. 
      Sociolinguists refer to this catch-all phrase, suffixed to any list in a sentence, as "the an'at."
    • The baby needs fed; that cat wants put out; the dog likes his haid petted.
      Honest to god, we talk like this.
    • You'ins is comin', ain't yinz?
      These second person plural pronouns correspond to the better-known y'all of the South. There's also we'z but I don't think it's as noticeable in connected speech.

    "The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia!" Go ahaid! Click on 'im!

        21 June 2011

        Filial obligation isn't a bad thing.

        I am spending 10 days in Ohio, taking care of my elderly father and aunt while the rest of the family goes to the other aunt's funeral.

        We went out this afternoon. I walked out with my father, and he got in the car in the front passenger seat. Then I collapsed his scooter and put it into the trunk. Then I walked my aunt out, and she got in the back seat. I collapsed her rolling walker and put it in the back seat, too. Then I drove us to Applebee's.

        In the parking lot, I got the scooter out of the trunk, set it up, and got my father from the front seat and onto it. Then I extracted the walker, set it up, and got my aunt out of the back seat and set up with the walker on the sidewalk.

        After we'd had dinner, I installed the oldsters and their accoutrements in the car again as detailed before, drove us all
        home, and reversed the earlier process
        to get them situated in the house.

        All told it took about an hour and a half. Not counting the time spent eating.

        20 June 2011

        Doll Series, #3

        My cousin Janny and I received matching dolls one year. They had shiny, brittle faces with red cheeks and lips painted on, and eyes painted on, too. They became our favorite dolls. Both of us carried them around at home, and to each other's for visits and sleep-overs.

        One evening, my father was reading the paper. He showed me a big newspaper photo--seems like half the page, thinking back--of rows and rows of dolls like the ones Janny and I had. Something terrible had happened to them. Their faces were blackened and burned! Where their shiny eyes and nose and mouth had been, there was nothing but a chalky black hole.

        I looked at those dolls; I looked at my doll; I looked at those dolls again.... I know my hair stood on end. My father and Janny's father were on the phone for a while. Then my father delivered the news:  He had to take my doll and set it on fire and get rid of it forever.

        I stood at the screen door and watched as it lit up. Pretty spectacular. Then, the melting stage, pretty gruesome. It was all so freaky, in the way Wizard of Oz is freaky when that witch's toes curl up. I make it sound here like I was resigned to the whole affair, but I wasn't. I cried and screamed to beat the band. I asked Janny later and she said she cried and screamed, too. Then we got over it and it didn't matter.

        I googled the dolls in this memory and found out that the problem was that they had celluloid faces. Celluloid was a FAIL of a plastic that spontaneously burst into flame at high--but well within climate range--temperatures.

        Apparently they can be repaired....
        Sometimes you see celluloid dolls like these at flea markets and antique stores. Often their shiny heads are cracked or their noses punched in. I don't know why they're not worried about these dolls spontaneously blowing up. Maybe it was a hoax. An urban legend before there was urban anything.

        I wouldn't want to take the chance though. I'd burn those dolls down.

        19 June 2011

        Doll Series, #2

        Hands down, the strangest, scariest doll I ever got--make that, the strangest, scariest doll ever sold--was Little Miss Noname. I've read that Hasbro discontinued this doll after a few months. No one asks why.

        Do you see Little Miss Noname's tear under her left eye?  It was removable, but it left a deep pit in her cheek as though she might have a problem with large pores later in life. Not that it would matter--large pores look to be the least of her burdens. Little Miss Noname was sold as you see her here: unfinished burlap dress with patches, no shoes, lank hair. In case you're hoping those brown saucer eyes with their deep well of sadness would close, nope. She always looked just like that.

        Imagine that you are 7 years old,
        it's the 1960s, you unwrap a present
        under the Christmas tree, and pull
        Little Miss Noname out of the box. 

        A hush falls over the room. What would you say?

        17 June 2011

        Doll Series, #1

        I had a Barbie doll and a Tammy doll when I was little.

        Tammy was a knock-off Barbie, I realize now. I always felt sorry for Tammy because she had only about half the wardrobe Barbie had. Tammy was a little bigger than Barbie, so Barbie could wear Tammy's clothes and look really great, but Tammy couldn't borrow Barbie's.

        I made it up to Tammy by always letting her drive Barbie's car. She and Barbie would go on lots of adventures--like camping--and they had a great time!

        I don't know where Ken was at that point. Maybe his hairdresser's?

        16 June 2011

        Me and mymom.com loved this Elvis song.

        It was a B-side and not all that well known, I don't think. Yeah, it's hokey, even laughable in places, but I love Elvis and I love this song.

        14 June 2011

        Next morning, 8 am . . .

        my dad called to say he has broken his ankle.

        I say, "Straight to hospice from here, Tice."

        13 June 2011


        Feeling kind of sorry for Tice, back there all alone, missing my mother. I texted him while I was in the grocery store. (Thought he'd like that. He was a grocer and a butcher all his life.) He texted me back pretty quick:

        Just watching tv ready for yard sale. cousin Joanne died

        Now this did not greatly shock me. I mean, her death did, but not the way it was delivered. Quite a few years ago, I found out that my Aunt Emmy died as I was paging through the local paper and her name caught my eye. It was her obit.

        12 June 2011

        Just In: Positive review of my blog!!

        "It's attractive and clean-looking, with nice use of pictures."


        Guilt and Shame

        I remember the first time I ever felt deep guilt and shame for doing something morally wrong. I don't mean like lying--I'd done plenty of that--but I only ever felt bad about it because I knew I wasn't supposed to do it. Oh, yeah, and there was one other condition to be met: I had to get caught.

        When I was maybe 5, my parents built a cross fence in our front yard. When they dug up the earth, there were so many Earth worms! I adored the Earth worms, separate and severally. I collected them. I caressed them but I was very careful with their squishy little bodies. I didn't want to harm them.

        Come lunchtime, my parents encouraged me to leave my beautiful little worm babies outside. The new fence had these nifty V shapes in it so I gathered my worm-pups up and nestled them together in the crook of a V. Then I went and had lunch.

        I wandered out into the front yard maybe an hour or two later. As I came up to the fence, I saw that my wormies were standing tall. Could they be looking for me?

        They weren't looking for me, they were looking for... anything. Water, dirt, rescue, water.... Did I already mention water? They had strained to get anywhere they could, other than where they were. And they had dried up in that position.

        Okay, so maybe that's more your manslaughter-level moral culpability than it is your murder-level. Still, decades later and I flash on those worms and feel the guilt and shame wash over me every time I exceed a clear moral boundary. That's generally how I know when I am just wrong. Those moments have nothing to do with getting caught.

        My eyes!!!

        "It didn't really help, that morning, to know that
        the new red curtains would be there when I got up."

        11 June 2011

        If Nude Midget Wrestling is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Right

        Near my place there's a Platinum Plus. (No, it's not a place for BBWs. Well, sometimes it is.) It's that exotic dancing chain that stretches pretty much across the nation. You know.

        They have flyers around town now--I kid you not--advertising Nude Midget Wrestling on Tuesday nights. Hey, . . . wait, what day is this?

        "I am practically out of the large, lined Post-Its in that acid green color."

        My new response when people ask why I've decided to look for in-house work.

        "I steal small electronics from Target and resell them on eBay."

        My new response when people ask,"So what have you been doing since your last job?"

        10 June 2011

        "Eh, something to fall back on."

        My new response when people say they're "curious as to why Linguistics."

        08 June 2011

        Ich bin ein Vespuccian.

        I have always wondered why it's America and not Vespuccia. After all, you wouldn't name capitals Christopher, Ohio, or Abraham, Nebraska. It's not the George Monument or the Ronnie National Airport. Here, have some Paul's Own.

        Don't think about this too hard.

        There is nothing in the dark that isn't there when the lights are on.

        07 June 2011

        It's not like I watch a lot of it.

        I won't go into how this came up, but I found out today that among quite a mixed crowd of people, I am the only one who has a ready answer to "What's your favorite porn movie?" (Mine's "The World According to Ginger," but it's tough to choose just one from among the Ginger movies.)

        05 June 2011

        Help: Delete Post!

        This post intentionally left blank.

        04 June 2011

        Buddha on his deathbed said:

        Do not accept what you hear[...] because it is in accord with your belief.

        It is so very easy to do that--to hear something that supports the side or belief you have already adopted and think, "See? That's right." I try to maintain active mindfulness of this with everything I hear. It takes enormous effort.

        03 June 2011

        To Borrow a Phrase from "Glee"

        I adore that Adele song/video, "Rolling in the Deep." (If that's really the name of it, then not well-titled, IMO. But otherwise, seriously hot-shit piece of music.)

        Now I, tapu, am widely considered, by those who know me well--hell, even barely--for having the gift of appreciation for an extensive array of women's physical types, ranging from thinner to heavier, shorter to taller, younger to older,... on and on.

        But I just cannot get past Adele's butt-chin. (I think that's the right term. Isn't that how Sue Sylvester "C's" Shu's?)

        I don't know if being judgmental about this makes me a bad person or whatever. I defend myself with the astute but widely misused observation of the human condition that there is no accounting for taste. Still, I feel shallow.

        OK, it's still about death but it's no one we know.

        Exerpt from mid-article:

        Gopal said he was unable to determine whether Tim Schuster was alive at the time of death, but it was probable.

        Warning about the link above: Article contains an extremely graphic and potentially disturbing description of an unimaginably gruesome murder and its unimaginably gruesome aftermath. Quick, go see!

        Postscript: OMG OMG OMG! I went and read more and now I know what that Gopal person was trying to say! Schuster was alive at the time they.... Oh god. You don't want to know! Here's the link with new details: http://www.fresnobee.com/2007/10/20/170108/fagone-may-not-testify.html

        02 June 2011

        I have a theory about when your mom dies.

        This theory is based on my one-time experience and resultant feelings; nonetheless, I suggest that it makes some intuitive sense.

        It is very, very sad when your father dies, or your sibling, or your friend, or your dog. When your mother dies, there is this additional aspect. So hard to describe, but let me try: it must be like the anomie of uprooted peoples. One becomes unmoored. It brings a whole new and serious meaning to "Who You Gonna' Call?"

        Your mother's death turns the life experience from one of continuity into one of acute awareness of its finite nature. With your mother there was no beginning, none at least you were aware of. And then, more than any other in the entire world of your existence, your mother is Just There. Not even thought about as being there. "Where's your mother?" "I don't know [but I know she is there]." There is a tether, literal at conception. It's there still, if figurative, afterwards, felt at lesser or greater degrees at times and for individuals. You're at one end. She's at the other. Omigod, now she's not. You will never get back to the Mothership.

        To be practical, nothing much changes in day to day life when you're an adult and your mother dies. You can pretend she's back there at home and you haven't called in a while. But something else changes; something in the world is gone. Don't look around that void too much--it may be that that's all there is.