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Friday, May 29, 2009

What Do The Lagoon Nebula, Subordinating Conjunctions, Scantron, And I All Have In Common? Ask George Bailey!

Man.
This "job" thing is really cutting into my free time.
And you know me...I hate to bitch.

But it's kept us apart, really. My brain has developed more than a passing resemblance to that illustration above, which is an actual photograph of chaos. Celestial chaos, but chaos nonetheless.

You'd think that, after 28 years of this gig, the end of the year would be like folding laundry: something I can do without thinking about it, something that's a familiar and easy routine. But teenagers aren't as compliant as terrycloth and teeshirts, and administrators aren't warm and fluffy like clothes from the dryer. Sigh.

There have been a couple bright spots, however; my junior regulars--dangerously close to wallowing in ennui and D's and F's--decided to "get their grammar on" and became experts in subordinate clauses and sentence structure. It was incredible to hear them admonish each other using insults such as, "Are you crazy? That sentence has an elliptical adverbial clause, fool!" Or, "Can't you see that subordinating conjunction right there? It's "after!" I know it's also a preposition, dummy, but look at the subject and verb after it! DUUUUH!" These kids begged me to grade the test over compound, complex, compound-complex, and simple sentences today immediately after they took it. Not one student scored below a C.

The other ray of light was a little more selfish. I dreaded giving a final essay test today over The Catcher in the Rye for my sophomore honors students. There is only one more class day left--Monday--and then we have exam days. I didn't want to be stuck with almost 70 essays to grade, along with final exams and everything else that constitutes the Last Days work. I pulled my folders and found--oh joy oh rapture--a gorgeous, AP-level analysis based, totally objective test that I had created a few years previous. It is designed to be answered on sheets for and graded by The Scantron Machine. How did I forget about this Wonderful Test? I almost wept. I wanted to fall at my own feet and worship myself. Not only is this a really great test, I won't have to touch a single red pen and it will take a total of 5 minutes to "grade."

I cannot begin to impress upon you HOW WONDERFUL THIS FACT TRULY IS.

SO. VERY. EFFING. WONDERFUL. THAT MY FACE IS SLIDING OFF OF THE FRONT OF MY HEAD. RIGHT NOW.

Maybe you get me.
Anyway. Things are about to get even better really soon.

See you in June.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Of David Gregory, Blah Blahs, Irksome Things, And Wait... What Was I Talking About Now?

At one point my friend Sue was all wrapped up in her perimenopause and then saw something on Oprah or Dr. Phil or read something about adult ADD, which she was also convinced she had. I was immediately envious of her on two fronts. She had legitimate reasons for being completely batshit. Two of them, as a matter of fact. I had basically...none. At least none that anyone could do a show on, unless that show was Women Who Just Don't Frikking Care Anymore And Can't Seem To Keep Anything In Their Heads For More Than, Say, A Minute And A Half.

Would you watch that episode of Dr. Phil or Oprah?

Okay, maybe I would. Maybe you would, too. After all, you're still reading this post.

Anyway.

I'm feeling kinda like that again right now. But I am bravely soldiering on. It's past time for a post, and you shall have one. It will be a meandering snarkfest perhaps, but oh well. Here goes.

It pains me to announce this, but announce it I must: I am breaking up with David Gregory. I know. But I've had it. He's just beyond irritating as the new host of Meet the Press. Yes, he had enormous shoes to fill, coming in after the esteemed and beloved Tim Russert. Yes, anyone would take some getting used to. But he is just terrible. He's combative, mean, shows his bias, and interrupts everyone. And, unlike Tim Russert, employs the "gotcha." You know, I used to love David Gregory. He's tall, kinda cute in a boyish charm sort of way, and he is an Unabashed Pink Tie Wearer. But forget you, David Gregory. It's over.

Speaking of the news (sort of, anyway), have you become sort of inured to it all, as I have? I mean, lately, here's what the national news sounds like to me: "stocks took a tumble blah blah blah the economy blah blah blah the nation's automakers blah blah blah in Washington today blah blah blah the Dow Jones Industrial blah blah blah the Federal Reserve blah blah blah life sucks." I used to be a huge news junkie, especially during the Election Rotation, but now I'm sort of watching the news purely out of habit. Don't tell anyone, but if it wasn't for Brian Williams' tie, I probably wouldn't watch the national news at all anymore. I just don't care. Not a whit. (I just reread that last part and actually felt a little guilty. Wait....I re-reread it, and now I don't.)

Here's a thing. I first saw this story on video under the headline Purple Garage Irks Neighbors. What a great headline. Seems that in Oregon, out in a country setting, absentee landowners built a massive garage--no house yet, just a bigass garage--and painted it lavender and purple in Victorian gingerbread style. The owners live in California and admire the San Francisco row houses done that way. Needless to say, the residents already in Sequim are...well, irked. Well, Sequim residents, I feel your pain. There could be a headline in my daily paper that says Stupid Window Clings Irk Neighbor. Or, perhaps, Inexplicably Placed Lawn Chair In Mulch Irks Neighbor. Or this: Awful Plywood Cutout Of Betty Boop Irks Neighbor. Sigh. Most of the time, however, I just sit in my backyard to avoid being irked.

That last part made me start caring a little bit. And not in a good way, either. Is that a symptom of perimenopause or Adult ADD? Feh. I don't know.

Who cares?

Monday, May 11, 2009

This One Goes Out To All My Amply-Endowed Sisterfriends Out There: You Fought, You Won, And I Got To Laugh (While I Was Envious)

In what galaxy do you ever think a woman would be correct when she says this about a boardroom--and I'm quoting here--"They didn't want a lot of big-breasted women storming their meeting"?

I know. I'll give you a minute or two.

(Certainly I would be a bit intimidated if this were to happen at a meeting and my company were, say, The Small-Breasted Women's Bitching Society, Inc. Of which I might just be an enthusiastic board member. But I digress.)

Anyway.

Just such a nightmare scenario, described by a co-founder of the group Busts 4 Justice, is what caused a re-evaluation of a brassiere pricing policy by British retailer Marks & Spencer. You can read all about it here. But, really, as you know from past experience, I will be bringing the best of it to you right here.

But first I want to laud Gregory Katz, the AP writer who I'm positive must also write for The Onion or National Lampoon or Mad Magazine or some other similar publication because, honestly, no phrase was left unturned; no chance for punning was left untaken.

It seems that Marks & Spencer (M&S) had begun adding a $3 surcharge on all bras that were size DD or larger, which resulted in a "spreading consumer revolt." (The grammarian in me absolutely revelled in that ambiguous modifier. I so want to believe that Gregory did it on purpose!)

Naturally, the company, confronted by Busts 4 Justice and its co-founder...wait for it, and I could not make this up if I wanted to...Becky MOUNT, soon saw the error of its ways. There was an entire Facebook campaign of 14000 women behind this effort! M&S took out a full page ad to apologize. But of course. They also offered a 25% reduction on all bras for two weeks. Oh, word choice!

May I just offer this next paragraph up without comment to you? "We are just overwhelmed," said Becky Mount, a co-founder of the Busts 4 Justice group that brought retailing icon M&S to its knees.... "We've won, and we never thought it would happen so quickly."

Oh dear lord. Where are my pills?

Finally, victory came...er...arrived when the group "which grew exponentially" made their threat to appear in force at the company's annual meeting. Ms. Mount also said of her group's triumph that it was likely M&S realized that "they were dealing with a much bigger force than they thought originally."


Indeed.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Of Fate, Fifty, Daniel Day-Lewis, And The Vagaries Of Faith

Every once in a while, the Fates conspire in a vast...conspiracy against me. "Ha ha," they chortle gleefully. "Let's remind Nance that Life is far beyond her silly, futile, grasping efforts at Control! Does she really think that at age fifty she can sail along with no gales of difficulty? That she can look forward to a sunny horizon with calm seas and starry nights, her course clearly charted ahead? If she does, she would be very sadly mistaken."

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Daniel Day-Lewis. Or what is left of him. I know. I'll give you a minute.

...

This is one of the most painful moments of my Life. I hardly know where to begin. It's not like I haven't been through this before, you know. I've discussed Daniel Day-Lewis's...appearance issues ad nauseum. He's so Hard To Love/Be Obsessed With, you know? Oh, sure, he's had his moments, and I've stuck by him. Yet...geeze. I mean, look at him. He's only 52. I have no problem with anyone embracing his grey hair; I applaud anyone for defying the movie star pressures of the Youth Movement, but can he not find a decent hairstylist? That haircut looks downright institutional. And as my Readers can undoubtedly surmise, what cuts deepest is that tie. What a horror it is. It looks like something made from a remnant of fabric from a transvestite parody of Spamalot. Aqua shirt, black sportcoat, purple chainmail tie...what a complete and total devastation compared to the sexy splendor that was this:

I'm just saying.

Oh, that's not fair, you say. That picture is of a character in a movie. And it's almost 20 years ago. Give the guy a break!

Shut up. I most certainly will not. This man has the wherewithal to look eleventy times better than he does. There is no reason for that tie. Or that haircut. And certainly no reason for continually disappointing me. I have had it with you, Daniel Day-Lewis. From now on, I am going to be shallow and vapid. I am going to chase pretty little dilettantes instead of you and your towering talent. You leave me no choice.

DoN readers, proffer me a new Candidate for Obsession in comments. I'm ready to chase after someone pretty who is worthy of my love. Besides, DD-L's newest film is a musical. Ugh.

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