Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Wa Pic - Video gamez for impressionable mindz

 Video game for the Nintendo 3DS. Research shows that too much screen time for children under two can have harmful effects. So can teaching kids that ending words with a z is totally cool with everybody.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

New words added to dictionary are totally cray, bae

The Oxford Dictionaries chose their new "word of the year" this week, a word which refers to sucking the vapor out of an electronic cigarette: "vape." This suggests that there are enough people doing it we need a word for it, which is a shame.  We have too many words already. If we can come up with this level of cigarette technology, surely companies could just hire somebody to hose nicotine on us from a zeppelin.

If you are not raising teenagers, you have probably not heard the words which were Oxford's runners-up either:

"Bae." This is your girlfriend/boyfriend. Your babe, without the extra b. The b has been removed because this generation has been raised that anything below an A is bad.

"Budtender." Like a bartender, except in a marijuana shop. Sample conversation:

Dude #1: So what do you do?

Dude #2: I'm a budtender.

Dude #1: Ewwwww.

Dude #2: No, BUD. B-U-D. BUDtender. I serve pot to people.

Dude #1: Ohhh, I thought you meant...

Dude #2: I know. I get that a lot.

"Normcore." The act of wearing ordinary, un-trendy clothes as a wry fashion statement. In the 1970s, we called this trend "getting dressed in the morning."

"Slacktivism." This is being an activist helping a cause, but only if it requires the click of a mouse and no real effort. This is a great, clever word, but did not win best new word, and, unless a beer gets named after it, will slip entirely from use by 2015.

Slacktivisim brings to mind a new word catalogued by Oxford's rival, Cambridge Dictionaries: "fracktivist," a vocal advocate in the anti-fracking movement.

Words from fracking supporters, regrettably not in consideration this year: fracktastic, benefracktor and frackateer.

Other new words, or Internet slang, in vogue this year:

"CPT," celebrity party tongue. Miley Cyrus made this pose famous. "Certainly poor taste" is an alternate definition.

"Nomophobia," the fear of being without one's mobile phone. In my day, this was the fear of having no mo money. Times change.

"Cray." This is another instance where young people have taken a word, crazy, and removed a pesky syllable. Sample sentence, expressing spousal frustration: "My bae CRAY."

"TL;DR" Too long, didn't read. Internet abbreviation used for things like this column.

Then there is "SMH"—shaking my head. Well, finally, there is one that's kind of useful.

. . .

Sunday, November 16, 2014

If you like piña coladas...

Note: If you are under the age of 30, you may not 'get' this column. That's O.K. Hand this newspaper to your parents, then go tweet a Tumblr or something.

Dateline: The dunes of the cape

Time: Midnight.

The Players:

Rupert, middle-aged, a dissatisfied husband, tired of his lady
His own lovely lady, a dissatisfied wife and fan of piña coladas

Rupert (disrobing): I still can't believe I answered my own wife's personal ad.

Lady (laying the last stitch of her own clothing on a beach towel): Well, you said it yourself. We were like a worn-out recording of a favorite song. Wow, who knew the dunes would be this cold?

Rupert (taking her in his arms): Well, it IS November, sweetie.

Lady (shivering): This was dumb. We should have stayed at O'Malley's. I mean yeah, it sounds romantic in theory, midnight in the dunes, but in practice...

Rupert: I never realized how abrasive sand is.

Lady: Right?

Rupert: Dang it, I left the champagne in the car.

Lady: The car is sounding pretty good right now.

(It begins to rain.)

Rupert: Oh, crap!

Lady: Wait, I thought you liked getting caught in the rain.

Rupert: I do. I like getting caught in the rain, when I'm half a block from a diner with coffee and soup.

Lady (struggling into her clothes): Wait, what about piña coladas? Tell me the truth.

Rupert (getting one foot caught in his jeans, falling to the sand): I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain, I just like them on my terms! Yuck! Stupid beach.

Lady: I beg your pardon?!

Rupert: Beach! I said beach. The sand. I'm...uchh, my jeans are full of sand. You couldn't have put in the ad, "If you like making love at midnight, in my car at the cape?"

Lady: Don't start your Mr. Copy Editor act. I got enough of that years ago. I just wanted to attract someone carefree, someone exciting, spontaneous. You used to be like that.

Rupert: I used to drive a '68 Mustang. Do you know what the insurance on that baby would be today?

Lady: I guess fantasy is best left for love songs.

Rupert: Well, look on the bright side. I'm still not much into health food. You want to go to In-N-Out?

Lady: You have always known me better than anyone.

. . .

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Stint as poll worker brings new insight on democracy

They say if you like sausage, or democracy, don't go watch how it's made, but I signed up to be a poll worker last week anyway.

I have government work experience, so it did not surprise me at the training that "Voting never stops!" was the motto of the day, right alongside the news that the polls close at 8 p.m.

"Voting never stops" just means, of course, that once the polls open, at no time are you, the poll worker, allowed to stop access to the ballots and the booths. Come 7 a.m., democracy is a steam roller and you are just the road until 8 p.m.

My fellow volunteers (there is a stipend, but as my supervisor said, "Nobody would do this just for the money") included a middle-aged Chinese-American neighbor of mine and two young African-American women, one only 16 years old, and the other 8 1/2 months pregnant.

"America the Beautiful" is playing in your mind right now, isn't it? Mine too.

We were the green table crew. Our polling place also hosted another precinct, which was at the orange table. I am not going to say there was a rivalry, but we won. In several categories, too, including most votes cast and most likely for our water to break.

Some voters whose names were not on our roster had to cast a "provisional" ballot, subject to later verification by authorities. The ballot went in an envelope, and our supervisor always asked the voter to seal it himself. This came off as a gesture against voter fraud, but really it was just that none of us wanted to lick government envelope glue. I joked to one man, "Does it taste like democracy?" From the face he made, I think so.

The Founders never said it would be easy.

Our supervisor put all the leftover Halloween candy she wanted to get rid of right next to the ballot reader. "Would you like to celebrate democracy by increasing your blood sugar level?" I would ask. It was all gone by the end of the night.

Voters kept coming, all day. They came on foot, in wheelchairs, pushing walkers. It put a lump in my throat, to be honest, because voting means you still believe there is hope the world can be made better. I was proud to be a witness.

I am going to give sausage another chance too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wednesday Wa Pic - Sink Saddle

The closest I will ever get to dressage.