By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Thu, April 01 2010 - 1:34 pm
April 30, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Are we done being fools yet? Can we be cool, or will we be drooling losers for longer?
Chiluly blows jewels and Google tools.
Blue newels rue wooden stools.
Spoons sample woolf stews while piggies croon bedtime tunes.
True cruisers bruise wooly ewes.
Shoo, April, shoo!
We are so done with cruel you, blooming too soon!
April 29, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Las night I had the dream that got away. It was about a small community of people and a lot of really interesting stuff was going on, but even in the dream I couldn't really make out what everyone was saying.
One young man in particular had fascinating expressions and was making obviously funny and pointed social commentary, but I couldn't quite hear him.
Oh, if I could have only heard, I think I could have written a great screenplay! Why do some dreams invade and terrify and make their meanings very clear (at least in the dream world), while others just tantalize and escape you.
Well. Real life is being a little more rewarding. The little chipping sparrow is sitting on its nest as I write, I guess because it is a cool and windy day.
Day before yesterday the nest contained one egg. According to Cornell Ornithology Laboratory ( www.birds.cornell.edu ) chipping sparrows lay four to seven eggs in one clutch. Maybe she's laying right now!
I logged onto www.sialis.com to see pictures of cowbird eggs to make sure our little wild pet was not going to nurse an interloper. My goodness, competition among birds for nesting places can be much fiercer than I ever knew! Sometimes a bird will build a nest right on top of another species eggs and young! How much of this is oblivious behavior? Not all of it.
My partner is right. Birds are bad - I just didn't know how bad!
What a disillusionment - but still fascinating!
April 28, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
We watched Nova on PBS last night, which featured Mind Over Money - a special about the psychology of investing and spending.
We were amazed to hear that economists have been using heavy-duty equations for years - to describe the way people behave with relation to their own finances and to the stock market. In fact, economists who didn't use formulas couldn't get any respect.
Now the "rationalists" as they are called on the show, are amazed that people, even in statistical probabilities en masse do not always behave would be expected, using the cost of everything and their own financial interests as a strict guide.
Well, duh. We are always hearing about people voting against their own financial interests. It happens all the time.
Even when their very lives depend on it, people are not rational about what they eat, whether or not they smoke, and a myriad of other factors.
The amazing thing to me is not that the formulas of the economists don't always work.
What's amazing to me is that they ever did. At all!
Now, my partner suggests, what we need are formulas to explain and predict the behaviors of bankers and CEOs!
Maybe in the future we can help prevent them from trading in their pinstripes for prison stripes!
April 27, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Today I finally got on camera. Or should I say, the camera got in me!
I didn't get to see the show, though - my very own colonoscopy, Whee! - because I slept through it.
Well, actually I already had one of these a dozen years ago, and dreaded the prep for this one.
I was going to be smart this time, though, and consume more stock and juice and jello. That way I would keep my blood sugar up so I wouldn't throw up after drinking all that awful stuff they have you drink.
Well, maybe it worked and maybe it didn't, 'cause I threw up anyway. This time, I figure, maybe it was because I drank water too soon after I drank all that awful stuff, etc. You have to have hope, after all. Next time I won't drink for at least an hour after guzzling down the awful stuff.
I had to drink it again this a.m. and I didn't upchuck, so go figure. Maybe it was because I didn't imbibe water for at least half an hour. Or maybe it was because I cheated and didn't drink quite all of it.
The doc did catch a polyp, so now I have to undergo this ordeal again in three or five years, depending on the nature of the polyptious (don't reach for the dictionary, my word) invader.
Dang! I was already wondering how I could have the courage to undergo this prep in a decade. Now it will be five years.
They say you forget how hard childbirth is and that is why you have more children. Well, I didn't forget. I had accidents.
And I won't forget this.
The only thing is, the prospect of cancer is so much worse! I saw my mom go through surgery for an ultimately inoperable cancer last winter and this was cake by comparison. Gatorade cake, but still...
Drink your medicine! Get your procedure done!
If I can get up the nerve, anyone can.
April 26, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Invisibly, the chipping sparrow has been working on his nest in the Blue Ensign rhododendron. It looks finished to me! I couldn't see inside, though, so maybe it still needs carpeting.
We're afraid to give the nest too much attention, for fear one of the local cats will find it.
There are a lot of cats around here. In the past week we have seen a cat sitting on a motorcycle in a garage (presumably waiting for a ride) a cat with green eyes reclining on a matching SUV. We have seen gray cats, black cats, white cats and spotted cats. Today I saw a cat who was pretending to be a raccoon, with rings around his tail.
Cats in windows, cats on fences, cats on furniture, cats running the streets!
Makes me fear for one little chipping sparrow.
April 25, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
It's just one tree. Half a tree, really - the last of a long line of silver maples that used to line the strip of lawn between the sidewalks and the streets of our corner house.
But even this hanger-on is the support of much life: the little red squirrel lives there, and I'm pretty sure at least one mourning dove has a nest there. Lots of birds at least pass by, using it as a pied-a-terre or a fast-food restaurant.
We mostly laugh at Joyce Kilmer's poem celebrating trees. That's okay, but in doing so we tend to denigrate his message and lose the celebration.
"The tree of life" is not just a symbol!
April 24, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Why does the press say a celebrity wife whose husband cheated on her is "humiliated" by his behavior? Such a wife might have reason for embarrassment, maybe, but the husband has only humiliated himself. In my book there is no humiliation involved for the party who doesn't suspect such behavior. Since when is being trusting and innocent of someone else's wrongdoing a fault? Spare me.
And why do Christians in a "Christian nation" feel the need to give each other money when one of them of considerable financial means can't make it in his real world? (Let's put it this way - I'll trade income with Stephen Baldwin sight unseen - money flow the other way? Not so much!)
Why do people think he has let himself in for considerable flak for expressing his faith?
Here in this small very Christian Midwestern city where I live, I have the courage to say I'm ignorant of the truth about whether a supreme Being exists or not. No one is giving me overt flak - or offering to help me with my bills, either.
That's okay, Stephen. You have gotten yourself famous, with all fame's attendant goodies and curses.
I guess, all in all, I wouldn't trade you in fame, either. (Ditto infamy.)
It wouldn't be worth it, whether it pay off in money, attention, or humiliation.
April 23, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Where does the moral outrage families feel towards their unwed daughters' pregnancies come from?
I used to assume it was from outraged sexual mores. It was an issue of purity and chastity.
Now I'm beginning to wonder. Now I'm wondering how much of the anger is due to considerations of financial burden and responsibility. (Well, actually, I remember telling my daughters that it might not be too smart of them to get pregnant because I wasn't going to rear any more children! That was due to time and financial considerations, not moral outrage. And who knows what I would have done had one of my children (son included) conceived a child as a teen?)
April 22, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Saw on Rachel Maddow last night an interview with Richard Clarke about his book Cyberwars. Evidently we are very vulnerable to cyber attacks that could hit our electrical grids and communications in a big way. (Okay, we've heard about this stuff before, but here is a whole book about it by a guy who tried to warn the government before 9/ll (supposedly, I don't know that whole story either.))
I haven't read the book yet so I don't know what Clarke's ideas are, but I just had an idea of my own:
Maybe we need a subnet or an "underground" internet that is capable of taking over when our known systems are under attack.
According to Thomas Friedman, an excess of fiber optics made the internet spread quickly and become cheaply available to all. How about if we use some of that (hopefully still) easy availability to set up some alternate systems?
(Like having generators that go to work when the electricity is cut off.)
If, as Clarke says, the government is not setting up systems to protect corporations and independents from cyber paralysis, it sounds like they will have to set up systems for their own survival.
Or how about some of the vastly unemployed out there studying up on this stuff and becoming tomorrow's heroes?
There are all sorts of former burglars (according to the movies and novels, ha ha!) who are helping the other side now to protect society from what used to be their own kind. How about changing from hacker to hero?
Well, I'm sure this is already being done to improve firewalls and defensive systems.
But as an old lover of underground newspapers, I sure think it would be fun the change "The Internet" to "some internets."
As if life weren't complicated enough already. Ha!
April 21,2010 Valparaiso, IN
I would like to give a light-bulb-over the head idea every day. Wouldn't that be wonderful?
Right now the sun is so bright I feel no need for artificial illumination (mental or otherwise.)
Except, of course, for the illumination of my computer screen.
Ruminations I can offer aplenty; the illumination part is maybe just the light of your computer screen!
Anyway, though we have seen nothing more of our chipping sparrow (notice I use the word "our" just because he is using our shrub!) he/she has some of my hair in the bare beginnings of her nest. This building project is proceeding so slowly I must believe that this bird is out catting around, if that is possible. Maybe it isn't really ready to settle down yet.
Just in case it is waiting for more building materials, I am putting hair out every day.
I have mentioned our new parakeets, but I guess I didn't tell you how we got them.
We were walking to the library and saw a woman getting into a car saying, "I have to find a home for these birds."
So she did. On the spot.
My partner has observed that they perch looking out the window, while the finches turn their back on it. I wonder why?
April 20, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
What is it about Jay Leno? I have written in my blahg (yes, that spelling is intentional) about hibiscus watching him.
Last night one of our newly adopted parakeets (budgies? my ornithologist friend asked. I dunno. I call them parakeets) started tentatively singing for the first time here during Jay Leno's monologue!
What is it about this guy? People obviously love him, but why does this lover of automobiles arouse so much affection in the plant and animal kingdoms?
Hey, what about Conan O'Brien's bumping of George Lopez from his time slot? How is he justifying that, I wonder? What's sauce for the gander is sauce for the gander?
I guess O'Brien will now be in a ratings war with Leno and Letterman. Whoopee! Who's going to get goosed? From the frying pan into the fire!
For my own sake I wish Leno still had his 9:00 (CST) time slot. We have trouble staying up late enough for the monologue at 10:35 now.
Does it count if the hibiscus and the birds watch his show? I can't guarantee they'll laugh!
April 19, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Yesterday was quite a bird day. At the Coffee Creek preserve off Indiana 49 we saw woodpeckers mating. Not nearly as shy as usual, we didn't even need binoculars to observe their fluttering manuevers. I think they were downies, but they could have been hairy woodpeckers.
We also saw a chipping sparrow who seemed to have decided that the rhododendron that my partner put outside would make an ideal location for a nest. I just hope these weird moving objects on the other side of the window from his site don't scare him off! If he decides to remain where he is he will have a gorgeous bower for a home when the blue-violet blossoms emerge.
I read in a bird book that chipping sparrows use horsehair in their nests. There are no horses nearby, so this morning I put hairs from my brush in several shrubs around the house. Just now I looked and only saw a couple of hairs left.
Unfortunately I am like the squirrels, and have no exact map for the locations of my offerings, so who knows.
Ironic that later in the season I will take hairs from my brush, snip them into quarter inch lengths (en masse) and use them to keep snails away from produce!
That is, if I plant any produce.
I will, or I'm an April Fool!
April 18, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Oh, my goodness, here April is two-thirds over and I am beset by the grave concern that I have not been foolish enough.
A new name for a dysfunctional situation: crap trap.
A paranoid fantasy that a robin looking this way as I started this article was sizing my head up as a possible nesting site.
Fueling cool schooling in doodling, canoodling fools spool through pools of drool.
Mooning food tools shoot streudel onto noodles soon looted by loosed poodles.
Oodles of goody-two-shoes swoon over Clooney, rules booted to choose Googling over snoozing.
Oozing crudity, loons croon tunes ruminating ruined youth.
Toothed smoochers, festooned and boothed, strew dewy loser floozies on cruisers.
Oof! I have proved I can still play the fool, hoo hoo hoo hoo!
April 16, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
As I was reposing in bed this morning, I thought about the amazing human body. It is often celebrated for athletic prowress and for the wonderful work it can do.
But it is also pretty amazing just lying around.
You can put your arm under your pillow to support your head in the most comfortable position. Conversely, you can use your head to support your arms while you use your arms to block light from your eyes!
Your legs can be bent, straightened, and used as levers to give the rest of your body the position you want, and still relax enough to allow you to sleep.
It was right about then, shifting around in bed that I realized: I was re-posing myself!
Is that what repose really is? Shifting poses until you are comfortable?
What a funny word! Repose isn't really repose at all!
It is more appropriate, when you retire, to hope you don't get much repose.
And what the hell does "retire" mean??? Does it relate to tires on vehicles or what you feel like at the end of the day (tired as in exhausted)? And why is it retire? Aren't you going to bed to untire?
Oh, it's all just too confusing. I think I'll just crawl back into bed and go back to sleep. Hopefully, without too much repose!
Not to mention riposte!
April 15, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
It is tax day, and for five years or so I have had no wages, so I have paid no taxes.
Now that I have started receiving social security, I will have to pay taxes next year. Today I am celebrating my last anniversary of freedom from taxes for possibly a long, long time.
I don't particularly resent taxes, although I resent people richer than me not having to pay them. I resent paying taxes for wars and wasteful stupid spending.
I don't consider helping the poor as a bad way to spend my money. I figure that the fewer young people who grow up poor, the fewer angry young men and women I will have to rub shoulders with.
As for people in this country who don't want to pay taxes to help those less fortunate than they, the only conclusion I can come to is that they are spoiled. My neighbor says he can only come to the conclusion that they lack compassion.
What do these people who come to demonstrations with flags bearing images of coiled serpents and the words, "Don't tread on me" complaining about? Are they starving? Do they not have homes to live in, that they are in danger of getting stomped on?
It seems to me that their attitude is more like, "C'mon, tread on me, so I can strike! Make my day! Hsssss!"
Well, hiss right back at you! Go pay your taxes!
April 14, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
In light of all the continuing news about priests and ministers abusing young people in their care, I'm wondering more and more about the people who are/were reporting the abuse.
Why did they turn to the institutions that the abuser belonged to rather than going straight to the civil authorities?
If a policeman abused someone's child, I can understand the difficulty with going to the police. Who can the accuser trust in the hierarchy? The victim might be better off going to a district attorney or consulting a private counselor for advice on how to proceed.
But if the abuser of the child is a religious authority, why go to the abuser's institution instead of straight to the police? Are the people making this choice trying to protect the abuser or the church, or trying to protect their child from possible social retaliation?
The thing that most amazes me is that after hearing about these abuses for decades I am only wondering about it now. Why don't these parents go straight to the police? Why are they going to these priests' superiors as if they were school principals needing to be informed about boyish pranks?
I can understand that a parent might be uncertain as to what actually went on with her own child. But if someone with constant access to children is committing multiple abuses and almost everyone victimized reported it to the police, it is more likely that something could be done about it.
April 13, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
I just heard Sarah Palin say, not for the first time, "nucular."
I had an idea for Sarah (and others) who have trouble pronouncing "nuclear."
Folks, it's not that hard. If you can say "new" and "clear" you can say "nuclear."
All you have to do is slow down the "clear" part a little bit. "clee-yer."
If that is too hard, just say "newclear." In a sentence, that combo of two common words will pass for "nuclear" way better than "nucular" does.
While we're at it, let's tackle "library."
If you can say "Br'er Rabbit" you can say "library." It's easy!
What wasn't easy was deciding where to put the apostrophe in Br'er. I assume the word is a contraction of "brother," so I put the apostrophe where I did. Or is it a dialect form of briar?
It's back to the on-line dictionary for me!
Back from the virtual library: Not only did I learn that Br'er does mean brother, I learned that the Br'er rabbit tales come from tales told by the Cherokees.
Well, what do you know. Who would have thought that a piece that started with the word "nuclear" would end up with learning the sources of our beloved Br'er rabbit stories?
Mispronounce me, set your avatar on me, pop ads up in my face, but whatever you do, don't throw me in that thar virtual briar patch!
April 12, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Driving to Pittsburgh and back, we were astounded at how many people can afford to speed. After all, the faster you go after about 50 mph, the more gas you use and the lower your mileage.
It seems to me that if the states trained and hired more state troopers, they could pay for themselves by the fines drivers would produce. If all those speeders had to pay, the states that are in financial trouble might be flush!
If so many people were fined that people stopped speeding, think how much safer our roads would be! Think of how much our carbon emissions would be lowered! The environmentalists should love this.
If so many people stopped speeding that there were too many law enforcement officers, how wonderful that would be! They could be switched over to patrolling neighborhoods and reducing drug traffic, making the streets safer for everyone.
(Do state troopers and city policement train at the same facilities? Could there be a flow back and forth between governmental agencies so that people are used where they are needed?)
My partner is laughing at my column. "Think how popular you will be for writing this!"
Sorry. It is hard to believe that we are hurting so much economically when people won't even slow down to save money. If they are so rich, let them pay!
Especially those huge trucks that observe the speed limit of automobiles instead of their own, forcing us to speed to get around them!
April 11, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
For a while I have wanted to write about that thing I put over my teeth at night so they don't grind themselves down to nubbins. (I do not take responsibility over their activity, though perhaps I should. I remember thinking this guy I knew in college was really attractive when he clenched his teeth in irritation, and I started imitating this bad behavior.)
At any rate, I grind my teeth and the dentist's assistant said definitively, "You need a guard for your teeth." Since dentists have been telling me this for the last decade, I believed her.
But what to call it? "Teeth guard" sounds odd and "Tooth guard" is inaccurate.
So what does any citizen of the flat world do? Google the subject, of course.
So now I can say that my teeth guard is a pain in the ass. Yes, I sleep better than I did five months ago when I started using it, but it is still an obstacle to falling and staying asleep. Sleep is, according to medical scientists, very important in maintaining health.
I read many testimonials and comments and only read one that expressed my major concern: what about the effects on the body of the chemicals in the hard plastic thing? Is it, for instance, carcinogenic?
I might rather be toothless at 75 years of age than dead.
One testimonial stated the user had been using a teeth guard for twenty years. That's encouraging.
In general, though, my tooth (er teeth) guard seems to be just one more thing to gnash my guarded valuables over.
April 10, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Why are short winter days so long, and long summer days so short?
Why doesn't the Easter Bunny give out money instead of funny colored eggs and chocolate that goes runny? Half the time Easter isn't even sunny, honey!
Why doesn't Spring avert the word that is curt? Put on your shirt! I'd rather flirt than roll in the dirt! Rather squirt flowers than hurt grass with mowers. I'd rather be pert lounging in a yurt.
April 9, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Close your eyes and guess how much salary U.S. Congressmen and Senators get a year. (Notice I said "get," not "make.")
It occurred to me that if I expect our legislators to know how much the "common man" spends for a quart of milk, I really ought to know how much our representatives in Washington D.C. "earn."
Why am I thinking about this? Some commentator made the remark that some of these "guys" have trouble coming up with $1500 a month for a place in Washington. (Was he being ironic?) That is why they live in such places as the house on C Street subsidized by a Christian organization with, for some unexplainable reason, substantial political influence. Here, for a pittance, The Family provides our representatives with bedrooms in very fine surroundings with big beautiful common areas, maid and room service included. If I understand correctly, last year the charge for these rooms went up to $900 a month from $600.
A rented room with kitchen privileges in an ordinary house anywhere else in the country would probably cost on the order of $350 a month, or $3500 per year.
The men dwelling in relative luxury on C Street now pay about $10,000 a year for their housing in Washington D.C., one of the most expensive cities in the country.
Poor guys! That only leaves them $164,000 a year to maintain a house in their home district and get back and forth to work!
If you don't know how much a quart of milk costs, you aren't poor. When these guys moan about their expenses, I tend to get irritated.
It turns out I wasn't getting nearly irritated enough.
How much salary did you guess they get? $60 grand? I guessed $120 grand at least.
By now I'm sure you've done the math and know, if you didn't know before, that our legislators get a salary of $174,000 a year.
Our families are giving them $174,000 a year, but The Family is giving them the equivalent of $5,000 plus maid service. Who and what should have influence over them? Their constituency and consideration for the common good of the whole country, or the people who house them at C Street?
Don't try to make a "poor me" argument for accepting subsidized housing, representatives. It won't fly with the masses, who are paying for you to have two homes.
I shouldn't be irritated, I should be steamed!
The only reason I'm not is because I'm too spiritually evolved to let such worldly considerations disturb me (joke).
I'm only bringing this up to educate you, our representatives in Congress, in right thinking and right behavior.
Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!
What an April Fool!
April 8, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Went to work out at the gym today. It is a fitness center, really. Does the terminology mean something different? How about torture chamber?
Well, yes, I exaggerate. I really would rather lift thirty pounds forty-five times than have one of my fingernails pulled.
It makes me think, though. Can't we divert people who enjoy making other people suffer into relatively benign occupations, like writing novels with tortuous plots or thinking up exercise machines?
I guess my mind has turned to such subjects because on the way home yesterday in LaGrange, Indiana we saw an old-fashioned stocks in the hall outside the bathrooms downstairs. It didn't look terribly uncomfortable. I'm sure sitting in it wouldn't be too bad - for about two minutes.
Makes me uneasy, though, seeing it hanging around there so handy.
Why is it there, instead of locked up in a museum (or, my partner says, at the gym? Ha, ha!) There are so many people in this country lately that seem to want to return to the bad old days I can't help feeling a little threatened by the sight of it.
Should I stop jaywalking for fear of being put in the stocks so people can throw rotten eggs at me?
Do I dare exercise my right to freedom of speech if it might inspire someone to force me to talk to the ground?
I think I'll check out the Porter County Courthouse to make sure they don't have any outmoded instruments of torture handy!
April 7, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
What's a jerk like?
This word is slang, but I think a person who is a jerk is one who just has an unthinking, automatic response to things and people.
Oh, I know, a jerk is probably inconsiderate. But isn't that unthinking? Being inconsiderate is certainly careless behavior if you want friends in your future.
I just read a definition in Merriam Webster online that includes the words "cruel" and "small-minded."
A new, secret slang word for such characters might be "reflex arc." Or for short, "He's a reflex."
Reflex arcs don't travel through the brain. They are completely thoughtless and uncontrollable by the higher functions like mind.
Hmmm.... sounds like "jerk" to me.
April 6, 2010 Pittsburgh, PA
Surprise! Here I am in Pittsburgh and didn't tell you I was coming.
Last night we had a great time with my partner's niece, acting out the Three Little Piggies and their own personal story about how they got their Calico kitty, Mimi.
It has been years since I had much exposure to a three-year-old, and I highly recommend it to those caring for elderly parents.
It's as good for your psyche as the onset of Spring!
Today we have another potential rejuvenator planned. A wedding.
If I'm not careful with all these draughts from the fountain of youth, soon I'll be three years old myself!
April 5, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
I eat a mixture of oatmeal, steel cut oats, nuts, dried fruit, and ground flaxseed almost every morning. The oatmeal is supposed to scour out your arteries, keeping your cholesterol low (as every watcher of Cheerios ads knows.)
When my dad was growing up in the Depression, his family had oatmeal every morning of his life, so he decided not to have oatmeal any more at all. I maintain this absence of oatmeal is the explanation for his dying at the age of 86 instead of making it well into his nineties. (Not entirely serious - my dad had a host of problems which could be only partially mitigated by the ingestion of oatmeal!)
My partner tends to eat oatmeal at night. That is highly appropriate, because oatmeal is also supposed to lower stress (is that also because the blood vessels are less clogged with cholesterol?) so a body sleeps more peacefully.
I guess I should have oatmeal twice a day: once in the morning to face the stressors of the day, and once in the evening to help reduce my chronic insomnia!
No way. I am too much my father's daughter for that. Here's to you, Dad! I will consider myself fortunate to attain my eighties! Good for you, achieving such a wonderful, above-average longevity in the decades-long absence of oatmeal!
April 4, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
When I close my eyes and follow the lines of a body (whether my own or somebody else's) I tend to think of landscape. I think my favorite landscape is comprised of gentle slopes and rolling hills, kind of like shoulder to hips.
It is no wonder that the French called the Grand Tetons what they did. Not only were they probably lonesome explorers, but the landscape/body connection goes both ways.
The buxom possess Grand Tetons. I, on the other hand, am reminiscent of cerrillos!
Do you think I am odd? Maybe - when I was home with children a lot, I got some of the same pleasure piecing fabric. Somehow it took on in my mind the dimensions of landscape - even if it was abstract geometrics.
April 3, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
Maybe this fool is culturally tone-deaf. We had a little discussion this morning about the language I used at the end of yesterday's Rumillumination (rumenobfuscation, in this case?)
I was trying for a Southern dialect, usable by any race. My partner thought it was dangerously interpretable as racist.
It opens up a whole discussion of what racist is, I suppose. I have heard white people say "y'all" many times, and my white father used to come out with all sorts of folkisms that I would say came from Jimmy Stewart rather than Uncle Tom.
If you are brought up in a literally all-white community, how much of what might appear as racism to others is just second-hand provincial speech pattern?
Maybe a writer who doesn't have her finger on the pulse of dialect in her own country should use strictly the Queen's English to stay safe.
The only trouble with that is that there is the risk of not being understood by the many. Nobody speaks standard English these days.
And I'm not joking! No fooling!
April 2, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
This morning I heard a bobwhite call twice before I got out of bed. I've never heard one from this house before. Is nature playing an April Fools' trick on me?
When I step outside to the back porch, I feel as if I am standing on a pier - confronted with a sea of blue. That's scylla, never more thick and dark.
I heard my partner ask my mother how she was today and she said, "Kind of ornery." That's her stock answer.
I resolved on the spot to answer, "Ornery" the next time she asks me how I am.
I wonder how she would respond to that?
If she responds negatively, I could pretend I was still wrapped up in April Fools' Day, and say, "April Fools!"
That's what the Congressman should have said when he was taped expressing the concern that if Guam gets too populated, the island might tip over. Yesterday would have been the perfect day to say, "Gosh, y'all, I was just funnin' you. Haven't you ever heard of April Fools?"
April 1, 2010 Valparaiso, IN
It's too late for this year, but a good way to set your family up for an April Fool's Day trick is to announce at the dinner table the night before, "I don't like April Fool's Day."
Then when you induce them to peer out the window to see the "biggest, bluest bird I've ever seen in my whole life," you can say, "but you can only see it on April Fool's Day!"
My partner didn't intentionally set me up that way, but he used it, and it worked! Not only did he insulate himself from tricks, but made me trust him not to pull any.
If you want protection from retaliation, though, better make your play late in the day. Now I have the whole day to think up a trick to play on him!
But I'm probably too lazy.
While I was writing the above, I started wondering why I was saying April Fool's Day as if there were only one of us (fools) in the whole wide world (me.) I'm sure the more accurate form would be the plural, April Fools' Day.
The 2010 Census should help determine how many of us there are.
Oh, have you heard - if you don't get it mailed by today, you will be charged a $100 fine?
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