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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why Is My Life So Hard? How Corporations Have Ignored My Loyalty And Stolen From Me (Shamelessly, No Less!)

Boy oh boy, there is nothing that frosts my cupcakes like finding a product that works for me and staying loyal to it for years and years, only to have the Geniuses At Corporate decide--on a whim--to yank it out from under me with no warning whatsoever. Here is a brief sampling of specific items that have been capriciously and callously stolen from me:

1. Reynolds Plastic Wrap


2. Bath & Body Lavender Vanilla Body Spray


3. Flex Extra Body Shampoo


4. Fructis Body Boost Styling Gel


5. PurinaOne Healthy Weight Formula Cat Food


Allow me to bitch...er...elaborate:

1.Reynolds Plastic Wrap was the most brilliantly conceived product ever in the history of kitchen conveniences. This food wrap came in a box with a sliding cutter attachment, which completely rendered obsolete the treacherous and hazardous metal serrated cutting Edge Of Death. It also allowed you to avoid wrangling the plastic film, which automatically sticks to itself rather than the surface you are trying to cover. I actually emailed and called Reynolds, and begged them to find me a Secret Stash in a warehouse someplace in Area 51. They informed me that they had no more and had no plans to revive this product, for which there had been "insufficient sales overall." My heart is still broken.


2. Every single fragrance I have ever loved from this store has been discontinued. Every single one. Now, I know that they constantly add new ones and "retire" scents. But their Lavender Vanilla "Sleep" fragrance was an all-time fave that was almost immediately pulled as a body spray. It stuck around as a candle, lotion, and some idiotic thing called a "pillow spray," but within the space of several months was gonzo as a perfume. I wanted to smack someone. I don't like strong perfumes or ridiculously expensive colognes. What a racket. But so much for having a "signature scent." Mine is always discontinued.


3. Did you know that Flex is no longer? Me, either! Like many products, it simply disappeared. Rick used this shampoo for eleventy years, and it smelled wonderful and did great things for his hair. Tough shit. It's gone now, and forever.


4. Longtime Dept. readers know that My Hair is an epic battle/journey, and that I prefer to spend my money on shoes. I had finally found an inexpensive and reliable styling gel that was not sticky but gave my hair nice volume. About a month ago, I noticed that I was having trouble finding it. I began buying two or three tubes at a time. Now, it's nowhere, and I've discovered why. Fructis has gone all pseudo-natural and organic and is making hair gel with some tree sap. I'm screwed again. Can I go back to Pantene Volumizing Gel? No, I cannot because they no longer make THAT, either.


5. Piper's flabknot is an ongoing source of concern and mortification for me. Marlowe, less so, but I am having success with Purina's Healthy Weight formula. Both cattens are friskier and it has 15% fewer calories. The last time I went to buy some, I had to go to three stores to find it. This weekend, I went to SIX and none of them had it. Apparently, Purina is discontinuing it and I have to figure out something else. Those of you with pets know that you cannot just fill the bowl with a new food and move on. Especially with cats. And have any of you seen the price of pet food lately? It's all premium unless you just sling in an off-brand and call it a day. The cattens will, in effect, be eating prime rib and filet, so to speak. It's ridiculous.


Let me just say this: I am resentful and irked. Who the hell do these people think they are? Why did they not consult with Me first? Why can't stuff I like be left alone? Is that too much to ask? And I bet you've had things stolen out from under you as well. Go ahead; vent in Comments.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cars, Cattens, Contagion, and Critique--I Sacrifice My Health To Bring Them All To You (My Benevolence Knows No Bounds)


Hello? Is this thing on?

Sigh. I apologize for the Overlong Hiatus, I really do, but Things happen, and in the intervening time, I have also broken one of my own Sacrosanct Edicts and--insert dire sounding music here--gotten sick.

I know.

It is beyond horrid. I have a sinus infection, an ear infection, a...well, TMI already. It is hideous. I am snotful and coughing and miserable and I BLAME RICK. The people at his offices keep on passing around this Vile Contagion, and he has brought it home to me. Probably he should have stayed at a hotel or something until it finally died out or whatever. Suffice it to say that I am annoyed and feeling much put-upon, no--victimized at this point.

I have had to abandon my job for two days, abandon weekend plans, and abandon this blog. I am, however, fighting through the pain to be with all of you and bring you some of the cerebral scrap being edged out by all the mucus in my head.

{*}Rick and I bought a Prius last weekend. He finally got rid of his truck, which was traumatic. It made sense for us now, though, since he no longer needs a truck for his job and gas prices are what they are. The boys cannot believe their father does not have a truck; he's always been a Truck Guy their whole lives. Sam, who once sold cars, was quick to point out that we are the Cliche Prius Owners. "You're over fifty, empty nesters, Democrats, and already own a hybrid. You, Mom, are near retirement and fixed income status. It was your destiny."

{*}Piper and Marlowe had their First Birthday on March 10th. This means that they are officially Not Kittens any more. I have a hard time with this because I have referred to them collectively as The Kittens since they came to live with us in May. Just like Sam and Jared, who are soon to be 23 and 26 respectively, will always be The Boys, Piper and Marlowe will be kittens to me. I am trying out the transitional term "The Cattens" for now. They could not possibly care any less, believe me, as long as I fill their dish at 6:30 AM and 5:30 PM. Has Piper lost any weight? I like to think so, but everyone else will say No. They have gotten more active--yes they have, Sam and Jared; you are not here all the time!--but Piper still has a flabknot and eats so fast that he gets hiccups after every meal.

{*}Interesting critique session during Creative Writing II the other day. A student had a line in his poem about algae squishing around his feet. Several students took issue with the tone of the line in relation to the rest of his poem. He defended it vociferously. I offered a criticism as well. He responded with, "Well, Mrs. D., if you ever in your life had been in a lake..." Okay. Again I am confronted with student perception of my image. I immediately stopped and took a survey:

Mrs. D.: Okay. Show of hands. How many of you doubt that I have ever been in a lake?
(in a class of 14, more than half raise their hands--probably 10)
Mrs. D.: WHAT? You are serious. Why on earth would you think that?
Poet: Oh, come on. Look at you. There is no way you're getting into a lake. I mean...
Angela: You already told us you don't know how to swim. And, that you don't like to go in the water.
Dylan: Yeah, and lakes have mud on the bottom, and sand. And you hate the beach.
Poet: Don't even try it.
Mrs. D.: Give me a break. All of you. You forget one thing. I was not born at the age of 51. I had a childhood, remember? I have been in lakes, plenty of them. Geeze. You remember the craziest stuff.

That's all for now. I am overcome with sludginess. I am spraying stuff up my nose, cramming stuff down my throat, blowing junk out of my head, and in general, feeling like this:
And, why do things always get worse at night? By 5:30 or so, I end up feeling more like this:

It is such a Tragedy.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Defender of The Language Returns, For Evil Never Sleeps In The Minds Of Those Bent Upon The Destruction Of English


Once again, the Defender of The Language will use this space to take questions from vexed readers residing all across this Great Land of Ours. She will try her best to repair these breaches in that Sacred Trust. First to share a concern is Reverend Nigel Ellsworth, from Maine.


Oh, Defender, cheers! I had the most embarrassing conversation with one of my parishioners. She wanted my guidance with regard to her teenaged son. He had started hanging around with a bad lot of friends, and she was worried about him starting up with drugs. She wanted my advice as to how to, in her words, "nip it in the butt." I almost wept with embarrassment! Surely that is not an accepted alternative to the idiom, is it? Isn't the proper saying still to "nip it in the bud?"

That must have been embarrassing, indeed, Reverend, for both of you, although your congregant was oblivious to her mangling of this common idiom. You are correct. The saying is "nip it in the bud," and if you visualize it, you can imagine exactly what the metaphor is behind it. It means to deal with a problem when it first appears, before it has a chance to grow larger. Now you, and even your hapless parishioner, can see why "nipping it in the butt" is both awkwardly embarrassing and nonsensical. Certainly it is painful for the problem at hand, but it's illogical: how would nipping anything in the...er, butt solve the problem?


Next, Chrystal from Providence has a question. Chrystal? Chrystal! You're up! DO YOU HAVE A QUESTION OR NOT?

Huh? You don't have to shout at me. God! Whatever. My question is this. My boyfriend has this big paper due tomorrow and I'm helping him with it. His grammar and stuff is terrible. We just had a humongous fight over two stupid words, everyday and a lot. He keeps pushing both of them together, no matter what. I told him like twenty times that he's totally wrong. He won't believe me. Can you tell him he's a big freaking idiot so that I'm not the one he's mad at and I can still go to Prom?

Well, Chrystal, tear the tags off that dress, my dear. You are going to the prom. Let's deal with everyday first. When written as one word, everyday is an adjective, and it means "commonplace, ordinary, usual." It would be describing a noun. You could use it thusly: These are my everyday shoes. If written as two distinct words, it then describes a time--"each day." You could then use it in this way: I eat cereal every day. Your second issue, a lot, is somewhat easier. As a skilled and careful writer, you should simply avoid it, especially in a lengthy, scholarly paper. It is inexact and flabby. You are, however, correct. It is always, always, always written as two words, whether describing a great deal of something or, more correctly, a parcel of land upon which you might place a building. I would prefer that you only use it for the latter.

Finally, we will hear from Felicia, stationed in Guam.

Hey, Defender! Memorias, everyone! I realize that I'm in a whole different country over here, but I still speak English, and the majority of the people I deal with on a daily basis do, too. I've noticed a disturbing trend, and I wondered if I missed something since I've been stationed here. Did "have went" suddenly become proper? Am I the wrong one?



Felicia, thank you for your service. The short answer to your question is a resounding NO. The perfect tense of the verb "go" is and always has been "gone," whether it is with the helping verb "has," "had," or "have." It is, therefore, correct to say I had gone to the gym rather than the horrid I had went to the gym. As to the reason why you are suddenly hearing such dismaying speech in Guam, I have no idea, but I am as distressed as you are. What a terrible ordeal for you so far from home. Buena Suette.

As always, if you have a question or concern for the Defender of The Language, leave it in Comments or email Nance here at the Dept. of Nance by clicking the email link in the sidebar. Questions and issues will be addressed in the next column.
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