Thursday, December 13, 2007

Parvum Opus 256 ~ Tunavision


Number 256

December 13, 2007



I just came home from the office Christmas party, and after consuming wine and cookies with my raw vegetables, I think it’s appropriate to apprise you of the annual Nanny Awards. The Center for Consumer Freedom invites you to vote for the worst food cop of 2007. My choice is based on the worst metaphor:

MeMe Roth, “Real Cops Need to Arrest Food Cop” Award ~ This self-appointed obesity activist crammed a whole lot of crazy into the past year. She called out the Keebler Elves, Girl Scouts, and even Santa Claus as obesity culprits. Roth had to be physically restrained from vandalizing a YMCA snack table. And when asked on The Daily Show if “eating a cupcake is the same as putting a gun in your mouth,” she agreed.

Metaphor test: Someone needs to offer Meme Roth a cupcake with in hand and a gun in the other and see which one she wants to put in her mouth.

A friend once told me that a cousin of hers who’d gone in for nutrition in a big way went to visit an aunt in the hospital with cancer. The newly converted health foodist saw that her aunt’s hospital meal had Jello or some kind of sweet desert and said, “Don’t you know that sugar will kill you!”


Kathy Taylor of Hur Herald liked the iPod/nickelodeon bit, and wrote a song about the newfangled technology. “Remember I am a professional redneck,” she said:

Load another iTune in

in that iPod with an awesome skin

'tis much better

than the way

of the old MP3

of a yesterday.

I told her with a little work and some more verses, she could be on her way to fame and fortune via Nashville.


Dennis Miller still drives me crazy with his frequent misuse of words, for instance:

If it takes 30 years to denigrate an intelligence agency, it will take a long time to build it up again.

Denigrate means belittle, which could be expressed as “run down” which could also mean to deteriorate, but that doesn’t make deteriorate equivalent to denigrate. I wonder if Miller has the same problem of one of my students who said he took a speed-reading course, primarily for reading technical and business material, and learned to skim a page by reading only about 1/3 of the words, just the longer ones. Now when I have him read aloud, he omits or misreads the small connector words, prepositions and articles and so on. Dennis Miller likes to read history, and I’m wondering if he learned speed-reading at some point, since reading history or technical material isn’t like reading poetry or fiction or even philosophy; you don’t need to linger or ponder. Miller certainly didn’t read with a dictionary on the table. And yet he said his comedy shtick relies in part on his big vocabulary. A schoolteacher even called the radio program once to tell him she admired his vocabulary. I can excuse him, because he’s a comedian, but not her. I think he should hire me to poke him every time he misuses a word.


And now for another lesson on word order, which means so much in English: Dilbert creator Scott Adams owns a restaurant called Stacey’s in California, where he “generously tipped the entire staff after his 50th birthday party at the restaurant.” It should be “tipped the staff generously.” As written, it sounds as if it was generously of him to tip anything at all. The revised version sounds like his tip was generous. Furthermore, it sounds like he’s had 50 birthday parties at the restaurant. This is why we have the rule for hyphenating adjectival modifiers: “50th-birthday party”.


Remember Gillian Gibbons, the schoolteacher who barely escaped with her life for letting her young students name a teddy bear Mohammed? It seems that moderate Muslims, and Whoopi Goldberg, say they agree with her release but that people have to learn the customs of a country and respect them. But if you travel to Sudan, for instance, how would you find out about that particular custom? Do travel agencies have info about teddy bears, the naming of, or the name Mohammed, which is what every other Sudanese is called? I suspect things can crop up that you could never anticipate.


From Overheard in New York:

Long Island girl: Tiffany, we need new expressions!

Tiffany: What?

Long Island girl: Like, new phrases to say in response to stuff.

Tiffany: Oh. Okay, we'll make some up.

Then you don’t have to get bogged down in thinking in response to stuff.


Anne DaBee feels akin to Mike Sykes’s friend who “hit the nail on the thumb:”

For many years "hit the nail on the thumb" has been, in THIS family, a term for any project that went awry, carpentry-related or no. If it's REALLY bad, you've hit the nail squarely on the thumb... and that would surely call for frozen peas. Mike and I think alike, it seems.

I just remembered the time my son Foy flipped a skateboard up in the air and it landed squarely on his thumb and broke it.


Bill R. wrote about tunavision (I lost the original thread and don’t know why; probably something from Dave DaBee):

Tunavision is a state of intense visual distortion brought on by chemistry. It is an example of cyclic time ~ thinking about tunavision while chemically augmented takes one back to thinking about tunavision while chemically augmented.

We originally thought of this as circular ~ coming back to the same point. In hindsight, I would assert that it is in fact helical ~ the long axis of the helix being time.

It reminded me of Road Tuna, which is what lives on the middle line of roads and gets deluded cats killed when they go for it. Do not go for the Road Tuna.

Dave, by the way, wrote further about “lactard”:

I expect Mr. (not Dr.) Levy thinks lactard might be un-PC because one part is from retard, and indeed the confabulogism connotes being derisably incompetent, like "You lactose retard, you."


Looking for a light read the other night, I dug out a book I’d bought for a dollar just because it had an amusing cover typical of its time, 1958, but the copies of The Trouble with Lazyy Ethel available through Amazon don’t show this particular paperback cover: a humorous cartoon of the American and South Pacific characters faced with a hurricane, with the islanders depicted as stout bare-breasted women, which is what you wouldn’t find on a book cover today. The 1970 hardback book jacket has a non-humorous illustration of a svelte island woman in a sarong. This was one of many post-World War II semi-comic novels published in the ‘50s, but author Ernest K. Gann also wrote a number of better known books (The High and the Mighty, Twilight for the Gods). The cover blurbs had little to do with the actual story of the hurricane named Lazy Ethel: “A racy, comic tale of what happened on a South Sea island during a whimsical, violent hurricane.” The not-very-racy story was a bit whimsical but the hurricane wasn’t. The New York Times called the book “full of power and drive,” but that wasn’t quite right either. Not a bad story, though, written in a straight-forward style. I don’t know if the light novel is still being written these days. Any suggestions?


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1 comment:

Muslims Against Sharia said...

Most of the Western Muslim establishment is comprised of Islamist groups claiming to be moderates. True moderate Muslims reject Islamic supremacy and Sharia; embrace religious equality and democracy.

What is a moderate Muslim? According to a dictionary, a moderate is a person who is opposed to radical or extreme views or measures, especially in politics or religion. Yet, majority of the public seem to be struggling with the definition of a moderate Muslim. Perhaps we can make this task easier by defining a radical Muslim and then defining the moderate as an opposite of the radical.

Muslims Against Sharia compiled a list of issues that differentiate moderate Muslims from Islamic radicals. Hopefully you can help us grow this list. 2008/01/what-is-moderate-muslim.html

Poll: Who is a moderate Muslim? 2008/01/poll-who-is-moderate-muslim.html