Thursday, May 27, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: When Wall Street And Whitney Houston Collide And No One Thought To Run Spell-Check

Not only are a spelling error and a punctuation error here, I am also mystified by the addition of the two red stars bracketing the imperative DON'T. Are they a design element or some sort of teabag punctuation mark? And doesn't the bow seem a bit like it's muddling the Message? It's like tacking on a little Tweety Bird-voiced "please?" or "okay?" at the end of the sign's directive.

Come on, tea party sign carrier! Go Hard Or Go Home!

found here:

Monday, May 24, 2010

In Which I Confess, Digress, And Then Mess With A Victorian Novelist Because I Really Hate The Whole Irony Thing Anymore

In a cruel twist of Irony, I found a paperback copy of The Mill on the Floss as I was cleaning out my storage cabinet at school. I first read it approximately one hundred years ago--in my junior year of college--while taking a class called The Victorian Novel. It was taught by a professor named Dr. Robb, who I promptly fell deeply and madly in love with for no apparent reason other than the fact that he was profoundly intelligent and I loved the Victorian novel. (I didn't find him physically attractive; he looked exactly like Mike Farrell, who played BJ Hunnicutt in the TV series M*A*S*H.) Here is a perfect likeness.

But I digress.

As you can see by my sidebar, I started rereading the book. Big mistake. In the intervening hundred years, I had forgotten what a downer those Victorian novels were. And this one, written by George Eliot (a pseudonym for Mary Ann Evans) is really, really laborious and unrelenting.

So, I feel as if I have to vent a little bit in this, a sort of open letter/rant to George Eliot/Mary Ann Evans:

Oh, George Eliot. Were you and Thomas Hardy and maybe a Bronte or two sitting around one night in a damp, draughty house with nothing to do but deprive yourselves of creature comforts? And once that got old, did one of you say, (a la Percy and Mary Shelley and Lord Byron), "Let's each of us write a really sad, sorrowful, unrelentingly grim tale, the heroine of which will be a dark-haired girl whose life is nothing but tragic irony"? And all of you did?

And you know me: I had to read that whole damn book until the very end, even now, when I am feeling just a little bit like a dark-haired Victorian heroine myself.

Luckily, I found this. It puts everything into a little bit better perspective. Enjoy it!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Feature: teaparty Prodigy Of The Week

While I attempt to locate my sanity amid the boxes, I've decided to take it easy on myself and start a New Feature here at the Dept. Each week, I will find an illustrative photo of a teaparty (remember, I refuse to capitalize, and thus legitimize, this organization) member and post it here for your perusal and judgment. I consider it a Public Service.

Here, then, for your consideration, I present Exhibit #1:

Wow. Where do I begin? I'm going to not be too terribly nitpicky and just count 6 basic errors in what my students and I term "MUGS"--Mechanics, Usage, Grammar, Spelling. I'll allow the rest of you to take Points Off for lack of coherence and no central theme.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Feeling A Little Boxed In At The Moment

It's so near the End Of The School Year that I'm feeling stressed out and relieved at the same time. In addition to Teen Wrangling and attempting to cram a little more academics into unwilling minds, we have to pack every single bit of the content of our rooms--including all of our textbooks--because about two days after we leave on 27 May, the demolition crews arrive and knock our building down. The Collateral Damage is that I'm fragmented and distracted at home. I find that I want to just sit down--alone--in silence; I don't want to make decisions, talk, or even listen. I get massive headaches at night that are still there when I wake up as my body tries to deal with the tension.

As I look at the piles of boxes in my classroom, I wonder aloud how hoarders live the way they do, habitually surrounded by clutter. I can barely stand the orderly wall of boxes that mark a pathway to my door, or the stack of boxes-yet-to-be-made leaning neatly against the wall. Every spare minute I can, I devote to packing. It makes for a hectic day. Luckily, I have wonderful students who offer to help--and they are a big help. But I still have to direct, inventory, label, and double-check. In the back of my mind looms the reverse--the unpacking when school starts.

You know, it's almost enough to make me start wearing flats to work. Almost. If I had any.

This stress, this fatigue, this...whatever (look! the writing teacher can't even come up with A Good Word!) is making my perspective skewed. I have a dim view of everything, and I busy myself with making up Horrid Lists, like "People Who Need To Be Publicly Slapped" (1. Palin 2. Limbaugh 3. Mike Brown 4. Glenn Beck 5. Octowomb{she's no mom}, oh I could go on and on); "Things I Must Accept Will Never Happen" (1. Crocs will be outlawed 2. the tea party will be declared a domestic terrorist organization 3. saying "irregardless" will be punishable by death 4. sweatpant wearing in public will be a misdemeanor 5. the republicans will finally be called out on their shit). Those are the very mild ones. Believe me, there are some that are far more dire.

So, while I'm in this Dark Place, I'd better take a little break. I'll be back when things clear up a bit...when I've "packed up my troubles," so to speak. I hope it's not too long; I'm sick of boxes.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Being A Mom Is Not All FTD And Brunches, You Know: The Dept. Takes A Walk on The Romero/Hitchcock Side Of Motherhood (Again)

*this is previously posted material from long, long ago when my blog was just a newborn; it contains minor edits*
If the producers and directors of horror films were smart, they'd have their test audiences comprised solely of moms. Because we know scary. We confront it every day; moreover, we stare it down and kick its ass. It is part of our on-the-job training, and even playing with dollies does little to ready us for when it rears its ugly head.

Consider the labor and delivery room: Not only do we propel, through sheer brute force, a human being averaging 8 pounds and 20 inches out of our bodies, but while we are attempting to do so, someone is sticking his/her fingers inside us, strapping machinery to us, and, in my case, leading in a pack of student nurses to interview us and observe us, taking notes during the entire event and then admonishing us when we are a teensy weensy bit less than polite.

Then, at various times throughout Momhood, we are vomited on, snotted on, peed on, diarrhea-ed on, and forced to deal with "boo-boos," some of which require a trip to the Emergency Room--also known as "The Department of Motor Vehicles Medical Center"--where we see people who look like extras from Central Casting for The Night of the Living Dead. After we get home, we get to clean all these bodily fluids up, while retching upon our own.

And, because of our supernatural diagnostic powers, we are subjected to a barrage of horrific encounters almost continually if we have teenagers, a species well-known for its low grossness threshhold.

Teen: Mom, taste this.
Mom: Why?
Teen: Just taste it.
Mom: But I don't want any.
Teen: You don't have to eat it, just taste it.
Mom: Good God! Okay, fine! (tastes it) There. It's good. Why?
Teen: It smelled funny. I thought it might be rotten and I wasn't sure.

And it's not just our palates that are assailed. Our vision is assaulted as well:

Teen: (in bathroom, calling): Mom! (pauses imperceptibly) MOM!!!!!
Mom: (rushes in) What?! What's the matter?
Teen: Is there something on my back?
Mom: What? Is that all? You sounded like you were bleeding to death.
Teen: I can feel something gross on my back but I can't get it.
Mom: Let me see....Eeew! It's a huge zit. Just leave it alone.
Teen: Mom! I know it's back there. It's gross. You have to get it.
Mom: I don't want to touch it. Yuck.
Teen: Mom! Please. You have to. I don't want my new American Eagle shirt to even touch it.
Mom: I'll put a band-aid on it, then.
Teen: Mom, come on! You have to. Just squeeze it real quick.
Mom: (Sighs) Okay. Brace yourself. (Squeezes) Ugh!
Teen: Ouch! Oh my God! Mom! Geeze! What the Heck!!!!

And this is the same child who, upon entering and seeing that I am watching "Dr 90210", the plastic surgery show on the Style Network, says, "Oh my God, Mom, how can you watch all that blood and guts and crap?".

If Moms wrote the script for a horror movie, can you imagine what it would be? Mine, now that my kids are 22 and 25, would be one in which the boys never left home but got some low-life trashy Tea Party wenches from the Fundamentalist Right "in trouble" and tried to live here with their babies, played country music at top volume, spoke with bad grammar, and brought yappy dogs into my house. Seriously scary stuff, that.

I'll be back soon with Something New. In the meantime, Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms, Moms-to-Be, and Those With Moms.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Dept. Of Nance: Your One-Stop News Source. We Follow The News So That You Don't Have To

As you know, there is no better place to keep up with All Animal News than here at the Dept. Also, I feel confident that I keep you abreast of All Things Important Politically as they occur. Allow me to assure you that, should anything else of Major Importance occur in the World Of News In General, I will bring it to you here. Really, there is no need to look anywhere else for your news needs.

Could I be any more Wonderful and Informative? (Not to mention well-dressed and with an impeccable footwear wardrobe?) But I digress.

Item! Citizens of the Boston Metro Area are under a boil alert after a water main break occurred in their area. Here is Valuable News Commentary from the Dept. News Desk:

Nance: Ha! That's what they get for sending their bullshit basketball team to Cleveland.
Rick: Is that what it is?
Nance: Of course. You see what one of their thugs did to Shaquille O'Neal. And they tried to hurt LeBron last night.
Rick: True.
Nance: And! They elected a republican to the US Senate to replace Ted Kennedy! KARMA.
Rick: And wasn't Mitt Romney just here?
Nance: That's right! He spoke at Ashland University's commencement this weekend. Holy crap. So, oh well, Boston. You can suck it.

Item! I grew up as the daughter of a union steelworker and I belong to our local teachers' association. I am constantly fighting for the rights of the worker. That's why this item caught my eye immediately, even though its dateline is Copenhagen, Denmark. I don't care where it is, when The Worker is being oppressed, I am on it, that is my vow to you. Workers at the Carlsberg brewery were forced to walk off the job in protest last month when Man den (translation from the Danish: "The Man") suddenly changed policy on them and changed a rule that had been in practice since 1847. (Hey! What would you do?) Here's the deal: Brewery management removed all the beer coolers and demanded that employees limit their beer consumption to their 30-minute lunch period only. What is up with THAT? I mean, how is a hardworking brewery employee supposed to make it through the day? Just to show you how sympathetic others are to the plight of these workers, Carlsberg's truck drivers joined the strike in sympathy — even though they are exempt from the new rules, a spokesman from the brewery said. "The truck drivers are permitted to bring three beers from the canteen because they often don't have time to have lunch there." I'm going to let you think about the Irony of that while I ponder the value (for both me and my students) of having a Martini Bar in the second-floor lounge at The Rock. PS--There is a coffeepot in there as well, so no worries.

Item! File this under "Duh." Stephen Hawking, major Smartypants on all things in the Universe--literally--is advising caution to all those other science eggheads who are all fired up about making contact with alien beings. Hawking, who appears in a new documentary for Discovery, reminds us that the vastness of the universe makes it highly likely that life exists outside our galaxy although most of it is probably microbial or in the form of single-celled or very simple animals. On the chance that other civilizations do exist, however, Dr. Hawking thinks we might not want to extend an open invitation to just anyone. "Reaching out to the stars with our messages of curiosity and peace may only make it easier for an advanced alien mining operation to stake a claim on Earth," Hawking warns. He also makes the analogy to the Native Americans being visited by white European settlers, claiming it "didn't turn out brilliantly for them." To summarize, Discovery comments, "it might be better if we kept our location a secret rather than being so anxious to make contact." I'm with you, Stephen (if I may call you Stephen; you, of course, may call me Nance). I saw "V" the first time around. And "Geronimo."

Item! Allow me just one Cow News Story, and you will be well rewarded. In a deal brokered last year but which just became finalized recently, three-year old Holstein milker Missy Gold was sold for the staggering sum of $1,238,508. This was For A Cow. Missy, described as "long and leggy with perfectly shaped teats for efficient milking...has a big chest that indicates a healthy heart" and can calve as many as 75 offspring and produce 50% more milk than the average cow in her lifetime. If any of those calves are males, each one could sell for upwards of $550,448 US. Now, this article was found in a Kenyan press, so consider the source, but its tone is so admiring and its style is so endearing that you just know they love their cows. Especially wonderful and...informative is this excerpt: "Maybe at one time Kenyan farmers will enjoy a piece of Missy, described by a farm spokesman as having an ego and big personality, since the country is a major consumer of semen from the US." Really, now, after that, what more is there to say?

This has been A Dept. of Nance News Update. Remember to check back here often for Late-Breaking Developments as they occur. Or when I feel like it.
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