Thursday, June 28, 2012

Who is Karl Rogue? Dropping Eaves in the Café of the Damned

Via The Blaze
Not one for mincing her words, unless she's mincing someone with them, Daphne has an exquisite conversation with her brother....who doesn't mince words, either. Better go there now and read her blog while it is still open. Like Borders Books, it's closing soon!

The only place to hear such conversations  - other than in offices and doctors' waiting rooms is the bookstore café.

My daughter used to work in Border's  coffee shop.  I'd often go there for a free cuppa and to people watch, and I can say with certainty, that the bizarre conversation Daphne's brother heard actually happened, because the coffee shop is a twit magnet. Seriously, it is.

There are maybe only two bookstore chains left, Amazon doing away with the need for them. The bookstore is a kind of secular temple, so the most interesting conversations are all about atheism, enviromentalism, leftwing politics, all topics riddled with unquestioning clichés and bumper sticker sound bytes... and all the other boring topics that impress the girls that Daphne's brother described.

I thought I would share a few of the more memorable ones that my daughter either related to me, or that we both heard, since they are indicative of the state of the educated minds swirling around  in the bookstores, nowadays.

Conversation that Emily and I had about an interesting event at work:

"Carl Rogue was signing books at the store, today."

"Carl Rogue? You mean Karl Rove. Wow. Were there a lot of protesters?"

"Not really. I got to meet him. He's nice. What did he do that made everyone so mad at him?"

"He was George Bush's advisor. A lot of the really hardcore Bush haters think he is Satan. That he should be in jail."

"Well, he's really nice. We had a catered lunch for him from Isaac's, and he offered me a 'sammich'.. That's how he said it, too. Sammich. I had a roast beef sammich with Carl Rogue, and it was a really nice time. Then he went out and signed a lot of books. There were exactly 3 protesters. They kept trying to interrupt him and they were saying that "1 Bush = 10, 000 dead babies. I don't know if they were protesting the war or abortion. They got kicked out for annoying everyone."

Emily is easily bored with politics. She'd rather tell you about anything else but politics. I did well with this one.

Conversation between a man and sales clerk helping him in his search for something really, really important, and had to be led out of the bookstore in order to find it in the parking lot before the police arrived:

The disheveled young man with the badly uncombed long, unwashed hair came by me as I was sitting in the café drinking my mango-peach kreme kula.  My big feet almost tripped him, and he swerved in time to avoid falling with the tower of hardbacks he was carrying.

He was both rushed and angry, and I apologized to him for having my feet in his way. He only looked at me with rage and disgust and began to slap his books into separate piles on one of the tables.

Each book was slapped loudly, causing all the patrons to look at him. After his books were arranged, he left, and came back not many minutes later, with another tower of hardbacks and began again to loudly slap his books down into the piles on the table.

A clerk came by as we all watched him, and asked if she could help him find something.

"You aren't qualified to help me find what I need."

"Well, I am a bookstore clerk. I'm sure there's something I can help you with."

"I am (long dramatic pause) waiting for the dharma."

"I'm sorry. What was that again?"


"There's no reason to shout.  I suggest you wait for your dharma outside, before I call the police."

He promptly left to go outside to wait for his dharma.  The curious patrons gathered round the table with the towers of books upon them. He had cleared out the religious book section and made three piles upon the table. Korans, Bibles, Torahs, Buddhist books, books on Hinduism. The clerk looked at the books and sighed. "At least they all go back to the same section."

These were just two of the many interesting things that went on in the Borders where Emily worked. Please don't read anything culturally  important into them. This isn't exactly a serious rant....just an observation.

I would love to have been the fly on this wall.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Pretty Pwnies! Pretty Ugly Pwnies

From 2010:

Via Sippican Cottage:  The horses are ugly.  But the scenery is gorgeous!

You don't have to tell me twice, brother. I used to have this teenaged girl's notion about horsies, you know - romantic scenes from perfume commercials, with beautiful people and white-capped waves crashing on the beach. I wanted that. I wanted to be on the beach with beautiful horses and the ocean and beautiful people....who wouldn't?

Finally, the dream was realized in my thirties, when my husband and children decided to camp at Assateague Island.  With the wild horses. Running on the beach.

Smell the brine! Feel the mist of the ocean on your face! Avoid the pile of horse crap. Oh CRAP! It's Everywhere! Geez. Go wash your feet off....DON'T put that in your mouth! It isn't food.....crap...

What the Hell? Horse gangs have trampled the neighbor's campsite, pulling down their canopy and ransacked their food supply.

                               Criminal horse thugs out looking for victims. Bastards.

After looting their camp, they turned to mine. I was there waiting for them. Ponies, my ass! These are teenagers. Hooligans. Horse thugs, thieves and delinquents all. I ran them off, but they swore at me in their filthy horse slang and promised they'd be back.

The neighbors came back and surveyed the damage done to their camp and decided to pack it in and go home. Another good family run out of the campground by horse crime.

Little Irksome Middle Child was at that time known as the Squealing Ball of Fat, and the youngest. She was needy, always needy. Her feet and hands were covered in horse droppings, and between trying to wash her at the bath house, and swatting away the giant flesh eating flies,  the horses were gathering, scheming.

We sought refuge from the heat, the flies and the horse gangs in the van, where I tried to nurse the Squealing Ball of Fat. And the horses gathered outside the van. I should have not left the windows open

Trying to shoo a big horse head out of your car window while breastfeeding a baby is nigh on impossible. The pwnies knew that and took full advantage of my situation. One pwny took my hairbrush from my swatting hand with its teeth, while another pulled out my sandal and ran off with it. Then, seeing the bag of apples under the towel, they went for that.

I screamed for help, and miraculously, half a dozen saviours appeared.....with video cameras.....

Fortunately, the incident I just described was well before the advent of Youtube....but there are plenty of videos that show you what criminals horses are.  Jonathan Swift can bite me.

Gulliver's final voyage takes him to a near utopia. He finds himself in a land of talking horses, called the Houyhnhnms, who rule over a world of brutish humans, called Yahoos. The society is beautiful--without violence, pettiness or greed. All the horses live together in a cohesive social unit. Gulliver feels that he is a stupid outsider. The Houyhnhnms cannot accept him because of his human form; and he escapes in a canoe. When he returns home, he is upset by the sordid nature of the human world, and wishes he were back with the more enlightened horses that he left.
Yeah, right.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Arabic, as it should be taught in the Middle Eastern Hystrionics Department. (Arab Hubris Studies)

(First published 2002)
My One and Only Goal This Year: Learn to speak Arabic, in order to better eavesdrop on the enemy without him knowing or suspecting, write down anything he says that may incriminate him, and then turn him in to the Justice Department in order to collect the 25 million bucks the DoJ is offering anyone with knowledge that will prevent another enemy attack. To accomplish this goal, I have purchased the following book :

Arabic For Beginners by Syed Ali
ISBN 0-7818-0841-3 Copyright 2001 (I bought this book after 9/11, by the way, and before the invasion of Iraq)

After I give you a sampling of what I will be learning in this book, you will say with confidence, "I can actually see you getting 25 mil from the gubmint!" All the samples I cite are in this book, absolutely no joking! 

The first indication of what I will be studying is listed in the author's thanks to the following people and institutions: 2nd page of the Introduction:

"I am thankful to King Faisal Center for Research in Islamic Studies, Riyadh, Baghdad University and Islamic African Center, Khartoum for suggesting certain changes in the book and these have been incorporated in this edition." Syed Ali. 

In one line, Syed thanks Our Friends in the Everlasting Kingdom of Hatred, The Republic of Saddam, Uday and Qusay, and the wasteland of Genocidal Janjaweed for suggesting some "changes"...Hmmmm, I wonder what those "changes" might be: 

Let's see, shall we? In lesson nine, model sentences are given:
19: The soldier is brave.
20: God is powerful.
22: The sermon is eloquent.
29: The tank is full.
36: The sky is high.
38: The city is crowded...and my personal favorite...
39: The duck is fat.

In lesson eleven, a few model sentences:
3: The mother stays at home. She cooks food, brings up the children and looks after the domestic chores. Say with me, now girls: "I am but a woman. I am but a woman".
5: The Director of the establishment told the workers: "Every one of you has made an effort and played his role for achieving the industrial and trade targets of the company, hence you deserve extra allowance." I am hoping to drop this line in small talk.

In lesson 12, Syed gives us lots of descriptions of New York City, including a line about tall buildings, and friendly people.

In lesson 14, Syed talks about the happy peasants.

On page 108 and 109, in lesson 17, Syed quotes from the Koran...I think.
3: Do not call those who are slain in the way of God as dead. But they are living.
16: O my brother! Do not leave the water tap open.Do not write on the wall of the house nor throw the waste paper and peel of the fruits except in the waste-paper basket.

Lesson 18 offers this line:
5: The rocket has been fired.

In one lesson, (I can't find it now that I want to quote it)
Syed parses the verb to beat as follows: He was beaten, he is beating, he beat, he will beat, etc...

There are 25 lessons in this book, (which translates into 1 million dollars per chapter) and by lesson 20 a picture is beginning to take serious shape here:

pp 134-135:
11: He has enjoined upon me prayer and almsgiving, so long as I remain alive.
12: The wind continues to be strong.
13: The market continues to be crowded.
14: The airplane was about to explode.
20: The playground is not crowded with people.
28: We don't have much time.
29: People had imagined that aviation was an impossible skill... at least for Zacarias Moussaoui it appears to have been, right?

In lesson 21 I will learn how to say the following lines:
1: Certainly God is with the steadfast.
2: As if the news was correct! Not if you are reading the New Duranty Times, shahid.
3: The plane crashed, but the loss is little.
4: If only the accused was free! See sentence 17.
10: Perhaps the train is reaching the station according to schedule. Oh Syed, did you mean the ones arriving in Madrid or London? Or, howdja like a nice New Year's Eve razzia on the train in Nice?
16: If only the medicine was useful! How does one say Cipro in Arabic, I wonder?
17: Perhaps the culprit is free! In Yemen he is, and thanks to Germany, a couple of others are, too! Way to go, Krauts!
18: It pains me that the war is continuing. It seems to have pained Uday and Qusay and several thousands of their buddies, too.
20: Perhaps the goal is near! Oh, yeah. Nearer than you think, punk.

Hmm. Maybe I should just get some Pimsleur CDs and learn Arabic the good old-fashioned, American my car.
 Update: Pimsleur is only so good. It begins to suck after about the 10th lesson, because you end up dying from boredom. I have learned some Arabic, but not with this little book nor with Pimsleur. I have a method of language learning that isn't anything like these methods. I would write about it, but you would be bored to tears reading about it.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Test Driving Windows 8

Windows 8 has an application that will allow me to blog even if I am offline. That being the case, I will blog about the awfulness of Papa John’s Pizza and Buffalo Chicken tenders.
In a word: Inedible.
Since I care about you all very much, I haven’t included actual photographs of my disastrous ordeal, but I am now convinced that I need to fast for at least ten days to start, in order to detoxify myself and get this swill out of my arteries and veins.
I have only myself to blame.
End of post.