Monthly Archives: September 2009

Schmenglish X

Sometimes I have to repeat stuff. Nobody listens to me (cep you guys).

I wish I could remember what I was reading yesterday morning. It was an interview with a military officer or university official or something…blah, I can’t recall. Anyway, I was reading through his comments, and stopped dead when I read, “And all the sudden…”

After that, I lost interest. Does that make me a bad person? I honestly don’t think I suffer from elitism here. I just mourn the death of our national grammatical conscience is all. Doesn’t anyone care anymore? Does no one care that horrible grammar makes one sound stupid? *sNiFfLE*

Then I had a thought (sometimes I do that). There are movements and causes everywhere. We are a nation of causes. Save the Whales. Save the Donkeys. Save the Butterflies. Save Route 66 (yay!).  Save the Old Jail downtown. Save the Outer Mongolian Tree Spider. TWITTER, fuh cripesake (aka Save the Random, Inconsequential Thoughts).

Well then, how about:

I mean, really. What defines a nation *first*? Its language; its primary form of communication. I know of no other language that is so routinely and indiscriminately mangled. Yes, yes, we’re a melting pot — a tossed salad — e pluribus unum, blah, blah. No excuse, sorry. Especially for native speakers. And I’m not talking about slang, or accents and regional idiosyncrasies (for instance, in Milwaukee, where I went to elementary and middle school, a water fountain was called a “bubbler”). Those are fine, and in many cases, interesting and fun.

RtB fiends know what I mean. I won’t go into it at 5:58 a.m. But listen. If we’re going to champion this cause (notice I’ve dragged you all into this), we need a way better slogan. I love the “Bad Grammar Destroys Nations” thing — but I can’t steal someone else’s gray matter.

So come on. What can fit on the front of a t-shirt? Certainly not the above logo, which I slapped together in 45 seconds. I promise to come up with something better. I’m willing to throw money at this, swear.

Sixth grade choir had better be fabulous first thing this morning…

Fink, in a mood

Various & Sundry XIX

  1. I am going to buy this. The man lived an amazing life; I’m interested in what his take on it will be. I’m also partial to bios. Right now, I’m reading Don’t Mind if I Do, by George Hamilton. Great stuff — entertaining and light, very much unlike Lennon: The Life, which took me all summer to get through.
  2. Don’t hassle the Hoff. I’m glad he’s all right.
  3. You could waste an awful lot of time playing with Google’s Easter eggs. Not that I’d know.
  4. I’ve gotten some feedback: Beatles Rockband is fantastic. I simply must have it.
  5. I watched the premiere of Heroes last night. Man, I gotta catch up on stuff. I’m completely lost.
  6. I have asked this question many times.

I wonder about many more things this day, but alas, I’m out of time. Feel free to add to my list from your own brain.


Spill it.

Don’t be shy. We all have confessions to make. I don’t mean the kind that might get you into trouble, or cause undue embarrassment — feel free to keep those secret — but rather, the silly type, whereby people might question your judgment and taste, but not your mental stability. Heh.

I’ll start. You continue, k? One or two will be fine; y’all don’t have to appear as messed up as myself…

  1. I just don’t think Jerry Seinfeld is funny. (Sorry Stoney & Wendell.) The whiny, semi-loser, smirking Jewish guy with the expressionless eyes just doesn’t do it for me, as it apparently did for millions of others.
  2. I love the song “Stacy’s Mom” by Fountains of Wayne. I play it in the truck all the time, volume on 28.
  3. When I was little, I had a nightmare in which Abraham Lincoln was under my bed, and he grabbed my ankles. The horror has never left me. As a result (every night since 1968), I yank my feet up into my bed as fast as I can.
  4. I refuse to open a public door without grabbing my shirt or sweater sleeve and covering my hand with it so I don’t have to touch the handle or knob. When I am in short sleeves, I have been known to stand there, trying to figure out an alternate plan, or trying to jimmy it open without the use of any fingers. I look ridiculous.
  5. There are certain words I cannot bear to hear or say. I’m like the Knights who say “Ni.”

So yeah. Spill it. What makes you certifiable? I covet your responses. #6: I love to say that I “covet” this or that. I love the word; it has a nice mouth feel.

Fink out (of her mind, I know).

The 411 on 419s

Yesterday, in my school email, I found this letter:

Each time I get one (which is quite frequently), I find myself wondering, Who actually falls for this stuff? The answer: many folks. It’s unbelievable.

Called “Nigerian 419” scams because of Nigeria’s law enforcement code for fraud (419), these schemes promise huge windfalls of cash if you’ll only do this, and send this, and pay this fee, and keep this “confidential.” People have gone so far as to physically meet these crooks in Europe somewhere to seal the deal, resulting in losing their life savings, their families, and even their lives. And it doesn’t help that the bad guys will go to incredible lengths to propagate the ruse. Amazing.

Again…to me, and seemingly to anyone with the slightest bit of cautious savvy (and that should define anyone who has an email address, but sadly…), there is no possible way to take seriously an email from a stranger that begins with “Hello Dear” (a badly mangled translation of our standard “Dear _______” greeting), or purports to be royalty or a government official using a Hotmail account.  Also, in an age when our culture is steeped in general suspicion of outsiders or strangers, it is doubly puzzling how people can get sucked in. But they do, and you might be surprised at exactly who they are.

According to my research, it is a sad situation. Oftentimes, people who are duped are a) older, lacking the requisite suspicious nature that keeps us out of trouble like this; b) in a “bad place” in their lives emotionally, seeking a way out through a new beginning with new people; c) desperate — in a horrible financial state and needing a quick fix; or d) just plain greedy, which puts them in the precarious position of being vilified right along with the criminals when the jig is up and they realize they’ve been smoked.

Do you know of anyone who’s fallen for this? I don’t, personally. (And if I fell for it myself, truthfully, I wouldn’t tell anyone.) There are people who deliberately pose as victims, just to lure the snakes out of the underbrush and give them a taste of their own venom. I find that funny, and just a little satisfying, I must admit.

Careful out there, fiends.

PSA Fink

I stand corrected.

And how.

A little over a year ago, I commented how I thought it was unwise to compare LeBron James to Michael Jordan. Of Jordan, I said:

I don’t think he would have flaunted his awesomeness in such a classless way, regardless of  his personal preferences.”

He certainly didn’t when I was watching him on TV. At least not in public where people would comment about it. But after reading part of the transcript and then a review of his Hall of Fame acceptance speech by the reporter who has likely covered him the longest, I realized I may have been wrong. Reeeally wrong.  This all happened last week…where have I been? I didn’t even hear about it.

Anyway, I read another story, and then this one with an opposing viewpoint (there were several others in support of the speech as well).

Of this I am certain: he is arguably the best player to ever hit the NBA. Maybe even the best player ever, anywhere, at any sport. But I also agree with a comment on one of the stories: “Great men do not need to stomp on those around them to make themselves [appear] taller.”

And stomp he did. From his high school and UNC coaches, fellow players and other acquaintances, to his own family — no one was spared. It was as if he finally got his turn to purge all the pent-up grudges and bitterness, saved and documented since the 1980s. It was just sad that he had to do it at a ceremony designed to honor his amazing career.

Maybe he could have written a tell-all book instead. Spill all the poison there.

Then again, he doesn’t have to be nice; he’s a great athlete. That’s the conventional acquiescence nowadays, anyhow. Same for entertainers and CEOs. If you are at the top of your game, humanity is optional.

Somehow, though, I think the likes of Jerry West, Hank Aaron, Joe Montana and Jackie Robinson might disagree.


PS – Happy Birthday to Rousseau! He’s a big 9-year-old this day, Talk Like a Pirate Day. Yarrrrr!

Photo credit: Nike