Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Oooh, This Will Be An Interesting Post

I stole this from Amy. It's what I do. I plagiarize things. But I thought it would be fun, so here we go.

What time did you get up this morning?
The unholy hour of 8:00. I am not a morning person.

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
Taken! I remember it because it was full of awesomeness. And Liam Neeson. 

What is your favourite TV show? 
Ahh, my favorite TV show! It's 24, of course. How do I love thee, 24? Let me count the ways... I could wax lyrical about how awesome Jack Bauer is... and I already have, I suppose.... innumerable times... I guess I'll spare you today.

What is your nickname?
I used to be known as Nerd. Now I am occasionally called E. T., for reasons that I do not fully understand. I am, however, relieved to report that it has nothing to do with my looks. 

What food do you dislike? 
Tomatoes. They are nasty. And horrible. Once I even wrote a story where the villain was a giant tomato. He came to a very gruesome end, as he so richly deserved.

What is your favourite CD at the moment?
Forest, by George Winston. The man is a genius, I tell you. 

What kind of car do you drive?
I don't really drive, actually. I'm learning, though.

Favourite sandwich?
Amy invented a delicious one that had barbecue sauce and Swiss cheese. Yum yum.

What characteristic do you despise?
I have an intense, burning loathing for stupidity.

Favorite item of clothing? 
Do shoes count? Because I have a really awesome pair that's bright green with yellow sunbursts. I'm very attached to those shoes.

What was one of your most memorable birthdays?
Ohh, I don't know. Probably the year I turned 14. My mom and dad had to go to Durango to be trained to own a chocolate store, and I went along to take care of Bobo, who was six months old at the time. It was then that I discovered the joys and wonders of Animal Planet.

What are you going to do when you finish this?
Clean up the kitchen.

Any new and exciting news you'd like to share?
I'm going to be a nanny! Just like Mary Poppins, I am.

What did you want to be when you were little?
I kind of wanted to be a veterinarian.

Who have people said you look like?
Sigh. I don't look like famous people.

Do you wish on stars?
No. I do, however, wish on birthday candles. I never know if my wishes come true, though, because I forget them with astonishing rapidity.

How many traffic tickets have you had?
None! Because I am perfect. Also I don't drive.
If you were a crayon, what colour would you be?
I would be one of those great big ones with
all the colors!

How is the weather right now?
Dark and cool. Lovely summah nights!

What is your biggest “what if”?
I don't really have "what ifs." I don't plan for the future, really. Except sometimes, when I make plans for escaping from undesirable situations, like animal attacks and kidnapping. Yeah, you can laugh. But the joke will be on you when an alligator tries to drag us under the water and I'm the only one who knows how to make him let go.

What is your biggest regret?
I have a lot of regrets. But, thanks to my terrible memory, I can't recall any of them right now!

Last person you spoke to on the phone? 
Allison. I was telling her to make lunch because I wouldn't be getting home in time.

Favourite restaurant? 
It's either Panera Bread or Red Lobster. I love food so much. Too much. 

Favorite toy as a child?
I had a Beanie Baby that i loved more than life itself. She was a white cat with brown paws, and her name was Snip. I still have her. Now she is skinny and flat, owing to all the beans having fallen out. Also very dirty. But she is still pretty.                                                       

Coffee or tea?
Tea! I love tea! Not coffee. Coffee is evil evil evil. And naaaasty.

Who was your first prom date?
You know, I never went to prom. Being homeschooled, it didn't really come up. But I probably wouldn't have wanted to go anyway. I don't dance, I don't like fruit punch, and I am far, far too cheap to spend any amount of money on a dress.

Who was your first room mate?
Amy was. 

What was your first job? 
Babysitting, I guess. I've never really had a real job. Tooooo lazy.

Where did you go on your first ride on an airplane?
To the Bahamas! My fahdah's family be deah, chile!

Who is your first best friend?
My first best friend was named Kaitlyn Smith. I met her in first grade. Man, we were like peanut butter and jelly, David and Jonathan, Damon and Pythias. The stories I could tell you about Kaitlyn Smith and me! I wonder where she is now? 

When you first snuck out of your house, who was it with? 
I've never snuck out of the house. 

Who was the first person to send you flowers? 
I've never been sent flowers, but I did get a dozen roses from a family friend. 'Cause I was the star of our church's Christmas play! My character was a bratty little girl named Lindsay. It's okay, though. She turned nice in the end.

Who is the first person you call when you have a bad day? 
My mom. 'Cause she's awesome, that's why.

What do you do when you are bored at work?
I don't get bored. Ever. Boredom is for the weak!

What do you do when you are bored at home?
I fill my time with reading and crafts and work and other things that I forget. Sometimes I watch funny videos on YouTube.

When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought? 
"And I hate..... chances."

How much cash do you have on you?
Right now I have five dollars to my name. That is my fortune in all its entirety. 

Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your cell phone?
Oh, I don't know who that number is! Hmm. An oddity.

What does the 5th text message you received on your cell say?
It was Amy asking me for the name of The Inner Circle. She had forgotten it, you see.

Favorite age you have been so far
I remember being really psyched about being 10.

What was the last thing you said to someone? I was telling Abigail that if we left the hose on overnight it would flood the entire earth. It's my sisterly responsibility to shamefully exaggerate the facts.

If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly what would it be? 
Uhh, duh! Flight, of course. Because then I could make a million bucks. 

What reality show do you wish you could be part of?
I don't really know. 

When was the last time you cried? 
Crying is for the weak!! I jest, I jest. I don't remember the last time I cried.

What is under your bed?
Boxes that contain old purses, old issues of Cricket magazine, stuff I don't want to throw away because it has sentimental value, some socks, and other things that I don't remember.

What are you afraid of?
You know, I'm afraid of insanity. I'm afraid of crazy people. I'm afraid of going
 crazy. That would be awful. But I'm not afraid of alligators. Except sometimes.

How many keys on your key ring?
Very few, but they are very pretty keys.

All done! Yaay! Very entertaining and deep and profound, I'm sure. But what about you? Leave a comment with your answers to some of these questions. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"Ain't" Ain't A Word

A panda walks into a cafĂ©. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and proceeds to fire it into the air. 
"Why?" asks the confused waiter amidst the carnage, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."
The waiter turns to the relevant entry in the manual and, sure enough, finds an explanation. "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."
Eats, Shoots, and Leaves; Lynne Truss

     The recent and widely spread tendency towards illiteracy has me immensely concerned. People everywhere are increasingly coming to accept “then” where “than” should be and spelling “awe” in the place of the affectionate exclamation “aww.” Most worrisome, most worrisome. And it has become even more sinister in that it is spreading to my own house. I had a verbal showdown with my younger sister today on the subject.

     “No, no, no, no, no!” I thundered. “How many times do I have to tell you this? It’s a policeman. A POLICEMAN. NEVER a police!!”

     “Why are you so crazy?” she demanded in her turn. “It doesn’t even matter!”

     “Doesn’t matter?” I cried in a strangled voice and looking, I am sure, slightly mad. “Doesn’t matter? Of course it matters! How could it not matter? Language is the foundation of intelligent existence! It is important that you know these things!”

     “They’re just words,” she shot back. “You’re the only one who cares.”

     And at this point I lost the power of speech entirely and stood there as she left me in my shattered state. And I do not blame her for it. I will admit that I can become extremely fanatical on the subject of correct English, and had she stayed I am sure that I would eventually have become offensive. 

     But it is important! It is. I refuse to let go of my fanaticism. Language is not just words. Language is everything. Words are the only tool we have to understand reality and, indeed, each other! If we cannot use them with even the most basic level of competence, what will ensue? Anarchy. Life will fall apart, and we will become beasts. You no doubt think I am exaggerating. You are perhaps amused that the sight of a sign in a library (a library, mind) reading “Teen’s Computer” is almost enough to move me to genuine tears of anguish. Let me assure you that this is no laughing matter. When someone consistently misspells “lose” as “loose,” it is not simply a trivial mistake. It is an attack upon the very foundation of human understanding. And it's not because we're stupid, either. It's because we simply do not care enough to learn.

     Language is one of the most powerful tools that any of us can possess. Americans (I know little of other peoples) vastly underestimate the power of a good speaker. History does not remember the brilliant or the beautiful or the brawny. History is full of men who had an exceptional ability to use words to their advantage. Indeed, history is written by these people. One cannot be taken seriously if one speaks and writes like a particularly dense foreigner. It alarms me that such an important— nay, an essential!— art is being so thoroughly neglected. Everywhere I look, I am confronted with new and hideous perversions of our beautiful language. “Its not a big Deal,” one person will write, while another proclaims that, “im wandering,” totally ignoring punctuation, capitalization, and, more seriously, the fact that the word he wants is “wondering.” Wal-mart smilingly assures us all that they “believe that good, works;” meanwhile, Golden Corral sinisterly posts signs all over kingdom come telling us what is on their “Senior’s Menu;” also, one mustn’t ignore the arresting command from Safeway: ‘“Attention Customers,”’ encased in gruesomely superfluous quotation marks. 

     People. This is not a joke. This is very, very serious. Leaders are never illiterate. People who speak more like drunken foreigners (not, of course, to imply that foreigners have a higher rate of alcoholism) than learned natives are not easy to take seriously. Even if you do not realize it, you will have a higher level of respect for and belief in the words of a man who can speak fluently. I myself have been told numerous times that I am smart, despite the fact that I did not stop believing in Santa Claus until the age of twelve, and then only when forced. This is because I can speak! I know how to use words well and elegantly. People are impressed by this, and they overlook my unfortunate inability to add fractions. But you understand, don’t you? You see why it is imperative that we Americans, especially, are fluent in our own language? People! If we cannot speak, we cannot lead! If we cannot write, we cannot be taken seriously! Good gracious, the United States of America is one of the last free places in the entire world! If our generation is peopled entirely by appalling dunces that cannot identify this symbol as an apostrophe, we are in for a very grim time indeed. Our country’s freedoms will be lost in an abyss of ignorance because we were too lazy to learn how to share them with the world. 

     One last, impassioned plea, then. You may be tempted to dismiss this article as the fanatical ravings of an obsessive lunatic. Don’t. Just because an article is the fanatical raving of an obsessive lunatic doesn’t mean it’s untrue. I am therefore entreating you to take action. Please. If we lose the language, we lose everything. English is not “just words.” It is communication. It is understanding. We cannot allow ourselves to remain ignorant in this matter. This is serious. There’s a reason, you know, that Jesus was called the Word. Correct spelling and punctuation and grammar aren’t simply a preference of the snobby bourgeoisie. They are power. The world’s leaders are not brilliant or talented or beautiful. At least, they may very well be all of these things, and more besides, but the reason they can steer the world is that they can communicate. That is what makes them exceptional. Words are not just words. They are so much more.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tin Soldiers

Tin soldiers stand up ramrod straight
And march in perfect rows
Across the patterned
Quilted squares
Toward their wooden foes

The little general, five years old,
Shouts out their strategy
The soldiers in
His pudgy hands
Defeat their enemy

Tin soldiers with their bayonets
Won’t march at all today
Except the one
The general took
To school, so he could play.

Tin soldiers march through six more years
Across the nursery floor
The general doesn’t
Play with them
As often as before

But still sometimes, he takes them down
(How militant they look!)
And sets them up
Like armies in
His favorite history book

Tin soldiers watch their general tie
The laces on his shoes
Sixteen today
He frowns a bit
And reads the morning news

Tin soldiers stand upon the shelf
And stare across the room
Where once they marched
And victories won
Now empty as a tomb

The general’s face they see again
A photo on the wall
So many medals
On his chest!
A handsome man, and tall

Tin soldiers live for thirty years
Inside a chest of pine
Their bayonets
Are duller now
Their faces lost their shine

Until the day the general comes
And gives a happy shout
As he kneels down
Beside the chest
And lifts his soldiers out

And one more time, he’s five years old
The soldiers march once more
The general gives
A fine salute
And sits down on the floor

~ © Andrea Grace