Thursday, December 30, 2010

teaparty Prodigy Of The Week: History 101 (D-) Design 101 (F)

Can we deal with the smaller sign on the left first? It contains an oft-repeated misquote attributed to Founding Father Thomas Jefferson that has been co-opted by foam-at-the-mouth teapartiers everywhere, and I'm pretty sick of it. Jefferson's actual quote is, "if we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy." You can find the quote, in its proper context, here. The original document, even, is here. Interestingly, the aforementioned letter is a peek into Jefferson's brain and ranges into his opinions regarding a strong free press and his distinctly anti-Federalist views. You know those Federalists--the ones who opposed a little document near and dear to the teapartiers--The Constitution.
Also, that sign breaks my Big Rule: Not Succinct.

Now to The Main Event: What a disappointment that sign is, even to the teaparty. It is So Bad on So Many Levels that I might wear out my caps lock key. But humiliate it I must. Onward.

Firstly, from a solely Construction Standpoint, this "sign" is a travesty. Do you see that it is a sign ON a sign? Was this a Take-Home Project, and it still looks this terribly shlocky? I think it's even four sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper gluestik'd onto the posterboard. What's more, I think it is taped onto a snow shovel or some other implement. Look at the size of that handle and the two strips of broad, strapping Scotch tape that are straining to hold it all together. Yikes.

Now let's consider the Graphics on this sign. They are just hurtful to look at. There is a haphazard mix of upper and lower case letters. The positioning of the words is chaotic and thoughtless. The interrogative punctuation mark is, astonishingly, pleasantly wrought, but sags below the word line. And there is the egregiously unnecessary use of three exclamation points. Perhaps this may be acceptable if the teapartier in question is, possibly a seventh-grader discussing Justin Bieber on Instant Messenger, but if not, and if the teapartier is attempting to be Taken Seriously In His Outrage, then he has failed. And I digress. More befuddling is the overall color/design--or lack thereof. The observer is led to believe that the theme is blue & green, yet suddenly a bloody swath is cut by the S in "STOP." But not entirely! Either the red marker (and the blue and green ones, apparently) ran out and the signmaker did not have sufficient saliva to keep it going, or, like so many teapartiers, it had the perseverance of Governor Palin and quit halfway.

Finally, what teaparty sign would be complete without Inept Spelling? Homonyms are such a challenge for this group, ourn't they? There just sew dumb. And they don't have a handle on plurals either. At least they didn't spell it tax's. Then we'd all have to grab our axs and go over their and teach them a thing or too.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

One More Gift--But This One Is Already Wrapped

Somewhere amid the noise and cacophany of conversations, under the cookies and wrapping, away from the clutter and tangle of responsibilities, I hope you find One Special Moment For You.
My best wishes for a Happiest Of Holidays--whatever you may celebrate--from all of us at the Dept. of Nance.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Perhaps If You Are Out There Still, You'd Like To Read This, In Which I Simply Chat A Bit About Things In General, And There Are Secondary Characters

This time of year, when most people add to the General Clutter of their lives, I now take the opportunity to get rid of some of my Cranial Clutter by dumping it out here at the Dept. So, ready your Virtual Dustpans and Dustbins and press on.

Today I finally put up all the Festivity on my fireplace mantel. I had to replenish my supply of Overpriced And Classy Candles, courtesy Pier 1. The nice thing about getting my candles there is that they last about eleventeen years since I only use them at Christmastime, the scents are long-lasting and comforting without being cloying, and they come in designery colors other than Rudolph Red and Pine Green. As I was unwrapping them, I happened to read the label on the bottom: Burn within sight, it says direly. Keep away from things that catch fire. Keep away from children. Hm. Seems to me that last part is redundant. I feel like "things that catch fire" sort of says it all. Most children I know do burn.

Continuing with candles, one of the ones I bought was a sort of seaweed color scented with patchouli. I bought it for the color and the size, mainly. I gave it to Rick to smell and said, "This one is patchouli, that typical hippie incense scent. Here, smell and tell me what you think." He said, "It smells like marijuana and protest rallies and--" At that point I just grabbed the candle.

My Creative Writing I students are writing their one act plays. One of them came up to conference with me about a possible idea. He has a propensity for writing horror and always wants a twist ending. Also, everyone has to die at the end. Everyone. The plot is really not important, the machinations are endless, the characters incidental: everything is invested in the twist at the end. The conferences are exhausting, but I find this student delightful in every way. On Friday we had a Typical Nick Conference and, in the middle of it, when I was feeling like a limp dishrag and desperate for a double vodka martini, I stopped him. "Nick," I said. "A conference with you is like eating crablegs. At first it's like a fun adventure, and you love the delicious little chunks you get as you work away. But after a while, you start wondering if it's all worth it for the payoff at the end. You start feeling like you've invested a lot more effort than what you're getting out of it. I adore you, but you are absolutely wearing me out right now. Don't make your play do the same thing to your audience. Know what I mean?" And he absolutely did.

On Friday Rick and I decided to go and bang out the bulk of our Christmas Shopping and then get some dinner. Part of that plan was a Good Idea. The other part was A Nightmare. Shopping went well, but we decided to eat at A Certain Restaurant , and it was rather late for NEO diners, 8:45. Let's just say that the service was...nonexistent, my Cosmopolitan never saw a drop of real cranberry juice, our meals were definitely the tail-end of the cook's pantry, and we left hungry and with everything still on our plates and the meal comped--at well past 10. But one of the most horrifying parts was the buxom blond girl who, left over from a huge party, stood for almost an hour with her two friends directly in the aisleway and in front of another table of diners, talking and laughing loudly and, at one point, dragging a hairbrush through her long hair. It was at that point that I wished I were carrying a licensed firearm and had no moral upbringing. Seriously.

It is snowing profusely right now, and we are under A! WINTER! WEATHER! ADVISORY! Can you possibly imagine that getting a snowstorm in Northeast Ohio is incredibly newsworthy and amazing? It is the lead story on all the Cleveland newschannels. What really kills me is that lots of snow and bitterly cold temperatures in Minnesota led the national news this morning. Really? My sister lived a year in Minnesota, and believe me, we heard all about how much snow they got (lots) and how cold it was there (bitterly). Geeze. Bring me some real news or shut the hell up already, NBC.

You sound like a blog.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Send Me Your Pictures Of A Sane, Warm Hanukkah

Welcome to the Dept., where The Holidays are in full swing. How will you know this? The recycle bin is full of empty wine bottles, I am suffering from alternating bouts of Intense Malaise and Ninjalike Snarkiness, Rick is stopping at Home Depot today to get me a space heater, and I have to keep reminding myself that ringing sound is just Salvation Army volunteers.


After a mild and sinisterly pleasant November, we turned the page to December and Winter immediately slammed into NEO. I'm constantly freezing, it's snowing, I hate it, and naturally, my freshman homeroom has never seen snow before and oh my god oh my god oh my god oh my god! "It's only X-number days until Christmas, Mrs. D!" a couple of students chirp out to me daily. Hey, you students. I don't take kindly to threats, and I don't appreciate your tone. Shut up.

How many Loyal Readers remember this post just last year in which I swore, yet again, to downsize Christmas, starting with the tree? So, this year Rick and I go to the tree place and again, I charge him with the responsibility of helping me to choose a smaller tree, since I have no perception of size. He is on board with this. Soon, he is standing trees up and steering me around the tree farm (in, yet again, temperatures of, oh, about eleventy below zero--every year!), and we find a nice tree. We take it home, he puts it in the stand, is another bigass tree! I ask him, "How on earth did you let this happen? AGAIN?" He says, "But it was so light! I could carry it with one arm! I carried it on my shoulder!" WHAT THE HELL DOES THAT EVEN MEAN?! Then he tries to blame me! I can sum this whole argument up by listing jobs we have had: Me, bank teller and teacher; Rick, carpenter and estimator. Case closed.

(actual tree, with Kittens!)

Jared and Sam came over to help decorate the tree. Also under their purview is the nativity scene. As with many family nativity scenes, it has grown over the years to include several, er, characters that were likely not present at the Original Event but have now taken their Places Of Distinction, for one reason or another, in its re-creation at the Dept.

Sigh. I know. I can't even begin to tell you the Origins or the Symbolism behind each and every Individual In Attendance here. All I can tell you is: Baby Jesus is being held by Larry Hughes (left), Zydrunas Ilgauskas is riding the camel, LeBron James is face down in shame under the camel's derriere, yes, that is Pluto (front left), and Satchmo Armstrong is playing the part of the angel Gabriel (right). Oh, and there are, indeed, two Zydrunases (Zydruni?). Think of it as a sort of Cirque du Soleil nativity scene...thingy.

Or maybe it's best not to Think Too Much Of It At All. Any of it.

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