Tuesday, December 06, 2016

I Have To Stop Driving...Or Seeing...Or Reading...Or Something (Why Is This So Hard?)

In addition to the Saddening And Terrible bar sign announcing "$1.00 Taco's Every Tuesday!", which I must drive by at least weekly, I must also see this Disappointing, Mystifying, and Horrid thing at least that often (though on a different route):

Goodness.  Where to begin?

Apart from being dismayed by the Zombie Pioneer/Amish Woman cheerfully decaying along the street side of the sign itself, (and how nice that the lights are discreetly pointed away from her), I'm frankly astonished that the store's wares are all conventionally spelled and punctuated on the placards. There are Crafts, not Krafts, perhaps in fear of a visit from the mega-corporation, summons in hand for a patent infringement.

Travelling westward, as I usually am when I see this sign, I get a slightly different view than what you see here.  On that side, I see 'YE OLDE' VILLAGE KOUNTRY STORE with both single quotation marks.  They are still superfluous and bewildering, but at least they are a pointlessly matched set.  Travelling eastward, as this photo is taken, the second quotation mark is, for some reason, omitted.  Now the lone mark is rendered an apostrophe, as if 'YE is actually a longer word somehow shortened...or something. Either way, I don't get it/them. I mean, we all can see that the building is not Olde, the village it's in is not Olde, and none of its customers will be speaking Olde Englishe. (And I wonder if the owner even knows what Ye means/meant in Olde Englishe anywaye.)

Finally, the most Egregious Sin Of All--KOUNTRY.  Why?  Why?  WHY?!  Wasn't Ye Olde enough already?  On top of Village?  Do you mean to tell me that Old Village Country Store doesn't have enough cache or authenticity or convey enough homey charm?  It just isn't necessary.  And it looks dumb.  I'm certainly not buying a mattress from anyone who can't spell Country.  Or use quotation marks correctly.

Ye Ende.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

In Which The Dept. Cleans House And Debates Fear And Love In The Martial Arts

Act I, scene i. Rick and Nance are in the living room. Nance is on the couch, center, knitting; Rick is in his easy chair, left, folding his laundry. The TV is on. The local news is riffing on the pop news story about Earworms, the songs that get stuck in your head.

Rick: That happened to me yesterday at work. It drove Chad crazy. I kept singing "Kung Fu Fighting."
Nance: (not looking up) That would drive me crazy.
Rick: (making karate chops with a pair of tube socks) But Nance! Come on! It's like the song says--Everybody loves kung fu fighting!
Nance: (raises her eyes only, looks over at Rick) Rick. The lyric is "Everybody WAS kung fu fighting."
Rick: Well...why would everybody do it if they didn't love it?

Act II, scene i. Kitchen. A few days later. Rick and Nance are doing weekend cleaning, mostly Cat Hair Removal, and mostly in preparation for guests. Nance has already dusted four rooms and is gathering cleaning supplies for the bathroom. Rick is on his back on the floor, puzzling over a piece of packing material left under the (years-old) refrigerator.  (Reminiscent of this episode.) His phone is clipped to his belt, and it is playing his extensive and...eclectic music library.

Rick: (singing loudly) You don't own me/I'm not just one of--
Nance: I figured you'd download that.
Rick: Hey, at least I didn't download "Kung Fu Fighting." Did you know everybody loves kung fu fighting?
Nance: (using lyrics) Yeah, and those kicks were fast as lightning.
Rick: (starts singing) Everybody was--
Nance: (more lyrics) In fact, it was a little bit frightening. And there is the flaw in your theory, by the way. How can everybody love kung fu fighting if they are afraid of it?
Rick: Nance. Come on. For the same reason some people love horror movies, haunted houses, surprise packages, gambling, all that stuff. Lots of people love to be scared. They go for the thrill.
Nance: That's true. And valid. I hate all that stuff and I hate that song.


original image

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Thursday, November 03, 2016

It's A Crabfest, But No Bibs Or Melted Butter Needed (Although Who Says No To Melted Butter, Ever?)

Well, it's been another ten days or so and no post here at the Dept. Heavy sigh. I have absolutely No Legitimate Excuse other than Generalized Malaise and Slothfulness Overmuch. And Intermittent Crabbiness.

This Crabbiness thing is both perplexing and annoying. (Is that redundant? Is it sort of dumb to say that being Crabby is making me...Crabby?) I find that I'm irritated by being so irritated. It's a Vicious Circle. (And for those of you who are nitpickily wondering if that last term should be "Vicious Cycle", I was too, so I checked--of course--and I'm correct.)


While other writers are using November to be Grateful or write a Novel In Thirty Days, here I sit, bitching and grumping. Maybe I need to get it all Out Of My System, once and for all, so I can Move On. You know, the whole Catharsis thing. So, here's a (partial, I'm sure) list of

What's Making Me Crabby

1. Seeing 'S Used For Plurals
2. Cervical Myofasciitis
3. Ohio Being Exactly Like Texas Anymore
4. My Grocery Store Remodel
5. Closer by The Chainsmokers
6. the republican nominee, ugh
7. Nothing Sounds Good To Eat
8. Cat Hair
9. My Left Contact
10. Not Sleeping

Let's chat about a few of these, shall we?

1. NO WORDS USE AN APOSTROPHE TO MAKE A PLURAL. Just let that be your rule, period. There is a sign on a bar near my house that says TACO TUESDAY--TACO'S $1. Every time I see it, which is every single day I drive, I have a small fit of rage/frustration. The same sign says GO BROWNS! Why no apostrophe there? Apostrophes on nouns show ownership. If something is not being owned, DO NOT USE AN APOSTROPHE. Are there odd exceptions? Yes, but for average daily writing, just remember APOSTROPHES DO NOT MAKE PLURALS. Just stop it, everyone. (Look at all those words that ended in S. Not a single apostrophe needed. PLEASE HELP ME.)

2. Now I know why my headaches have increased in frequency and my neck and shoulders are killing me. And why my sleep is almost nonexistent (see #10). **Breakthrough! This could explain my Crabbiness.** This also means Physical Therapy, which I find embarrassing and goofy. But I know its value. (See that "its"? NO APOSTROPHE.)

3. Ohio is pretty much a red state, except for NEO and Columbus. Ugh.

4. It now takes me twice as long to get shopping done. Why can they not remodel and reconfigure and restock at night and in ONE DAY? ONE WEEKEND?

5.  I cannot escape this song and don't like it. It has made the radio almost an impossibility.

8. I really feel like some knitter person who is looking to spin his/her own yarn would want the surplus hair that my cats belligerently produce on an hourly basis. Really, it is lovely. And abundant. And, judging by the price of this scarf, could be quite valuable, since it is a Natural Fibre.

9. I cannot see out of my left contact about an hour after I put it in. Is there anything more soul-crushing than sitting in a doctor's waiting room? This is why I cannot even contemplate making the appointment, though I know I must. (BONUS--SEE THE APOSTROPHE + S AFTER 'DOCTOR'? THAT IS BECAUSE IT SHOWS OWNERSHIP. NOT MORE THAN ONE DOCTOR.)

Sometimes, after I give vent to a particular bout of Crabbiness, Rick will say, "But you still look good."  Even though this is terribly shallow and petty and even smacks of being sexist and sounds like he is trivializing my frustrations, I was the one who sanctioned this remark.  Let me tell you why.

Firstly, I am incredibly vain, as most of you know.  Secondly, when I go off on a Major Round Of Crabbing, it's usually about something trivial and timely, not Deep and Profoundly Personal.  Finally, if I am not Effectively Derailed by something Pleasant or Light, my Crabbiness will take root and ruin the rest of my day/evening.  The line has now become sort of a punchline to my bitching and gives me a chance to breathe and smile.

And I'm smiling now.  That must mean it's your turn! (IT + IS = APOSTROPHE!)  How about letting some of your Crabbies loose, and we'll have our own little Crabfest in Comments?


Sunday, October 23, 2016

Z Is For Zoo

For years and years, our family had a membership to our zoo, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. It's a wonderful zoo, and one which has terrific natural habitats like an African Savanna, Wolf Wilderness, RainForest, and Australian Outback. I rode the camels twice and always feed the lorikeets, loving how they land right on my shoulder or my hand as I walk carefully through the enclosure. I've been whistled at admiringly by the African grey parrots, and I've sweet-talked the red pandas out of their little wooden treehouse more than once. I love our zoo, and our family has gone there many, many times. The boys and I made good use of our membership in the summertime, taking guests, rejoicing at the birth of baby animals newly on display (especially awkward young giraffes), and learning not only about different species and biomes, but also about respecting the animals in their homes at the zoo.

After so many years, we started to feel like Zoo Insiders. We started skipping parts of the zoo that weren't that interesting to us. We scoffed at people who wondered aloud if our zoo had panda bears. Duh! We hated the people who read each and every exhibit sign aloud, unless they were reading it to very small children. It drove us crazy when parents let their kids bang on the glass of the animal enclosures when there were enormous signs everywhere that clearly said not to. But we reserved our deepest scorn for two types of people in particular.

The first type wears Inappropriate Zoo Footwear. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is a very walkable zoo, but it has lots of hills and winding paths. Despite this terrain, we would still find hundreds of people wearing flipflops, high wedge sandals, kitten heel pumps, and on one memorable visit, stiletto heels. And those Dr. Scholl's sandal thingies with only the strap across the toe and that terrible bump for your toes to cling to. We would see person after person sitting alongside paths or stopped on the hillside terrace, taking off footwear in order to rub his/her feet or remove grit. No sympathy.

The second type is the Pompous Sign Reader/Fake Pontificator. Every single zoo exhibit has an informational sign, sometimes two. And unfailingly, some mom or dad will read information from it as if he or she simply knows this information cold about this exotic animal, like it is so important to impress this kid. The boys and I saw this time and time again, and it was always hilarious and pathetic. But never more than the time in front of the sloth's cage. Because this mom, as she read the sign word for word, kept pronouncing it "slooth." As in "rhymes with tooth." On and on she pontificated, in a very fakey, hyper-engaging, "oh boy, is this ever fun and interesting" breathless voice, just about every line of the plaque's summary about the sloth. "Wow!" she said. "So that's the slooth! Whaddya think, kids? The two-toed slooth!" I thought I would die. (Actually, I probably did die, right there in Cleveland, for a little while, and then Jared and Sam scraped me up off the asphalt and pulled me over to look at koalas, or maybe even flamingos, which always revive me.)

**For the record, that word again is SLOTH. Only one O. I am still Not Over It.**

(Really, now. Does she pronounce the word BOTH as booth? Is an APRICOT an APRICOOT? I mean, how far does this disability extend? When she shops for chicken broth, does she think it's chicken BROOTH?)


And speaking of done, that ends the alphabet for me. Chat me up about your Zoo Thoughts, your own Z Words, or topics you'd like me to take up next.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Y Is For...Yikes! Random Y Things I'm Tossing At You In An Impromptu Post

You know, this whole Alphabet Construct was supposed to help me post more often, but it really turned out to be Not So Very Helpful After All. I'm glad I'm almost done; the Alphabet was starting to feel like The Boss Of Me, and you all know how I feel about that.

Let's jump into this Y Post and I have to tell you, like Certain Persons In The Politics, I have nothing prepared. I'm winging it, composing at the keyboard, hoping The Muse shows up as I go. The difference between us is, Oh hell. There are a ton of differences. Let's not, as they say, Go There.

Y1: Yvonne de Carlo, aka Lily Munster. Here is a photo, for your reference:

Now, for those of you who know/remember/imagine what I look like, just superimpose my face on there because that is exactly what my hair is starting to look like, much to my dismay. My grey is now appearing in huge swathes against my almost-black hair, which I am growing out because I have A) no regular stylist, and B) chronic indifference/sloth. Thank heavens that I do not wear pancake makeup, eye shadow, or lipstick, or it would be Halloween year 'round at the Dept., and you all know how I feel about that "holiday." Ugh.

Y2: Yarn. As in the stuff one knits with. I'm not going to bore all of you non-knitters, I promise. Just let me say that not one single Knitting Person warned me that, once I began knitting, a chemical receptor in my brain would be switched to the On position, and I would become almost pathological in my urge to amass yarn. I'm not even a Good knitter, mostly a Therapeutic one (for my hand arthritis), but I keep looking at and feeling the need to buy/acquire yarn. I have declared a Personal Yarn Moratorium until...Forever. Which is how long it will take me to use up what I now have.

Y3: Yardwork. I was at a party over the summer, and as part of an icebreaker game, we were asked to write one sentence about ourselves on a slip of paper. Each sentence would then be read aloud, and the guests would all guess at who wrote it. One person wrote I love yardwork. My first reaction was Holy Crap. What is wrong with that person? My second reaction was I have got to get the name of that person and see if he/she wants to come work in my yard! Because, honestly, the second part of the word yardwork is WORK. And, remember, I am retired. Yardwork, to me, sounds like something on a prison duty roster. "Okay, Detweiler, this week you've got yardwork. Make sure the inmates don't huddle up in groups larger than three, and watch out for contraband. And stay on top of the litter situation."

Y4: Yams VS. Sweet Potatoes. I still don't care about which is which, and I never ever will. I call them all sweet potatoes because I hate the word Yams. I hate to say it; I sound terrible saying it. Maybe it's what my late friend Ann from Orlando, Florida, called my flat NEO "accent", but when I say it, it sounds like I can't stop the vowel sound soon enough; like I'm trying to draw it out: Yaaaaaams. Let me assure you; I'm not. Besides, sweet potatoes sounds nicer.

Okay! I made it through. I'm back. And I can't wait to hear about your Y Words or your comments on mine.

lily image
y tiles

Saturday, October 01, 2016

In Which I Am Daisy Buchanan And Seeking Your Indulgence And Patience

I've been away on a Solo Jaunt, and Things have gotten Away From Me. Suddenly it's October, and thank goodness the oppressive Summer Heat might be really and truly Gone. The entire Summer reminded me of a brief exchange from a chapter of one of my Favourite Novels, The Great Gatsby. In it, five gorgeous and privileged friends are sitting down to a light meal, and there is already tension in the air. It is only made worse by the incredibly heavy summer heat. They are sitting in a (symbolically!) darkened room, and the conversation goes thusly among the women:

"What'll we do with ourselves this afternoon," cried Daisy, "and the
day after that, and the next thirty years?"
"Don't be morbid," Jordan said. "Life starts all over again when it gets
crisp in the fall."
"But it's so hot," insisted Daisy, on the verge of tears, "And
everything's so confused. Let's all go to town!"
Her voice struggled on through the heat, beating against it, moulding its
senselessness into forms.

And that, my friends, is why I had to zip off on a solo jaunt. I'm back now, and Gathering Myself, and I'll be back with my Y Post soon. And off to visit your places as well.

It's good to be back.
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