Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday Wa Pic - ah, the eternal question


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© George Waters, The Wa Blog

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Newspaper corrections faux your approval

From time to time every newspaper prints corrections for mistakes which have appeared in the paper. Today I am catching up on some of my own:

In my column about the Olympics, I erroneously referred to the mayor of London as a "nit." A nit, it turns out, is a type of head lice. What I had meant to write was "git" ("a completely ignorant, childlike person with no manners.") I apologize to head lice for the mistake.

In my column about frolicking at a water park, I suggested that a churro vendor should deposit his product in a bodily region not in keeping with good Christian anatomy. I regret the outburst and my description of churros as "the devil's hornpipe." Let me just say here for the record that in a civilized society there is room for all types of confectionery.

In my column about the tourist town of Big Bear, I wrote that there were so many carved wooden bear statues, the ratio of humans to bear statues was 1:1. This was inaccurate. There are actually five times as many bear statues as there are people in Big Bear. I want to apologize to Bear Carvers Local 114, the fine folks at Bears R Us, as well as Smitty's Chain Saw Masterpieces. Carve on, my brothers.

In my column about the new "Transformers" ride at Universal Studios, my suggestion that a 90 minute wait was "totally not worth it" was incorrect, according to a knowledgeable source I like to call the "Universal Legal Department." The ULD reminds me that a "wait" of any duration, however lengthy, is a prime opportunity to "get to know your family better" and to "shut the heck up about wait times." Point taken, ULD. Point taken.

In my recent column about "the Cloud," I used the phrase "agile, scalable infrastructure." I do not know what those words mean, nor does anybody at the paper. I copied them from an Internet article. In fact, I have my suspicions that they are not even real words. Going forward, I promise to fact-check my computery columns with a teenager before publication.

Finally, in writing about Venus' recent "transit" of the sun, the auto-complete function of my word processor unfortunately replaced it with the word "transvestite." As far as I know, astronomers have not found any transvestites in space, and not for lack of trying. I sincerely regret the error, and, frankly, for getting your hopes up.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Wednesday Wa Pic - Where the cool kids go

 OMG, you don't even want to be seen going into those other libraries.

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© George Waters, The Wa Blog

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Facing fears on an epic slide

There comes a time in every man's life when the opportunity arises to complete an act of reckless stupidity he somehow missed in his youth.

I missed a lot of those, because I was a sober teen; something Shakespeare advised against, by the way.

The opportunity came for me this week when I plunged down a water slide with a seven-story vertical drop.

I had visited this local legendary water park, which I will call here Rampaging Wetness, several times over the decades, and walked past that flume thinking "You'd have to be crazy to do that."

Not because of the free-fall, but because of the epic wedgie awaiting you at the bottom; a wedgie so intense, rumor had it your swimsuit sometimes passed through your entire digestive tract, and you ended up wearing it as a hat.

But I have lived a happy life and I figured if I died at least they could use my body for wedgie research, which is woefully under-funded.

There is great value in facing your fears. At least that is the sentence I kept repeating to myself as the line crept slowly up the tower toward the top.

Rampaging Wetness, in its wisdom, soothes aspiring flume-plungers by blasting hip-hop music as you wait in line. For someone of my generation (a generation which prided itself on appreciating music involving guitars), this was akin to waiting in line to walk the plank while all the while being heckled by foul-mouthed parrots.

The line was made up almost entirely of young men, there to prove something to each other or themselves. During the time it took to reach the top, two people bailed out of the line from fear. "No shame," I wanted to reassure them as they passed, but my mouth was too dry from fear.

The time came. I lay down at the top of the slide, crossed my ankles and arms, and the lifeguard shoved me off. I closed my eyes and thought of England. I had never realized England was so terrifying.

At the bottom, flushed with manliness and the applause of my family, I basked in glory as I put back on my sandals. Then I saw her—the little girl who came down the flume after me. She was tiny.

"How old are you?" I asked.

"Eight," she said.

The rest of my day went pretty well, though.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday Wa Pic - Romance and a "twist"

From the cinema collection at the Los Angeles Public Library. 

Relive a time when romance was just one salty snack away.

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© George Waters, The Wa Blog

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Wednesday Wa Pic - Nope

 Look, it doesn't matter what it is. Just don't, O.K.?

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© George Waters, The Wa Blog

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The dark and funky side of Christmas Carols

George Waters column for Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013:

Now that Christmas has passed I can say it: a lot of those carols are messed up.

"Angels We Have Heard On High"? Angels we have heard WHILE high, more like it. "And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains"? Only at the holidays can you anthropomorphize alps.

I have also never understood the part that goes "In Excel sheets day-o!" Maybe the tally man uses them for figuring.

In the second verse of "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" they rhyme "come" and "womb." That is loopy, unless you are in Liverpool. But then in the fourth verse they rhyme "come" with "home." I guess if you have just had a visitation from angels, consistency is not high on your list of priorities.

At least in "Jingle Bells" they keep the rhyme, but only by making up words: "The horse was lean and lank, misfortune seemed his lot. We got into a drifted bank and then we got upsot."

"Up on the House Top" details the contents of the stocking of Little Will, to whom Santa delivers a hammer, lots of tacks and a whip that cracks. God help his sister.

"God rest ye merry, gentlemen, let nothing you dismay" sounds like a word order Yoda would come up with.

"Away In A Manger" proclaims "The stars in the sky looked down where he lay." I guess it's not just the hills that have eyes.

"It Came Upon A Midnight Clear" offers up this gem: "the world has suffered long" under "life's crushing load." Luckily, that flutter of wings you hear? It's not another hawk, come to carry off another of your young. It's just angels. Angels are a good sign! Um, right?

We think of Christmas carols as jaunty and uplifting, but if you manage to reach the fourth verse of "We Three Kings," you get "Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume breathes a life of gathering gloom. Sorrowing, sighing, breathing, dying, sealed in a stone-cold tomb."


Pop Christmas tunes can be just as strange. "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" promises there will be "marshmallows for toasting" and "scary ghost stories." You can kinda tell the writers had just lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Well, that's all behind us now. New Year's is coming up, and "Auld Lang Syne" will rule. Just don't look up the lyrics. Trust me.

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