Archive for the 'Drivel' Category

Everything is awesome

A strange thing has happened to American English over the past decade: The adjectives seem to have swelled way out of proportion displacing everything else in our sentences, including substance. You know, words like awesome, intense, epic, insane, amazing, etc… While we’re at it why not mention the declaratives like “absolutely” and “totally”? It’s not surprising if you consider the context. America today is a country where moderation in any form is equated with weakness. Why would our descriptors be exempt?

In this era of hyper-enthusiastic expression, anyone who fails to over-inflate their adjectives and declaratives runs the risk of sounding reasonable. That’s enough to raise suspicion in a linguistic ecosystem where its possible to circumvent original thought, considered opinion and sincere reaction altogether and still function socially (not to mention politically). Why bother thinking when you can just blurt out “awesome” in response to, well, pretty much everything that happens to you? It’s like cruise control for your brain.

Everything is Awesome meme

I’ve noticed the most prolific users of these words tend to utter them purposefully. They know these super-sized declaratives are overused. They also understand that to some people, albeit a minority, uttering these phrases is the verbal equivalent of squirting milk out of your nose at a dinner party. But that doesn’t deter them. In fact it seems to embolden them. Like a secret handshake of the trite, they use these words to signal their membership in the club and gain easy acceptance.

To help amp up our language further, the  F-word has been brought in out of the cold. The earliest use of the word has been traced back to an English Court case in the year 1310. However, the word remained under the radar for almost 700 years, used liberally in private but rarely in public and never in media. Today, this relic has been hauled into the mainstream by gabby hoards of late adopters who appropriated it to craft their online prattle and personas. Since I can’t even bring myself to put the word on paper, I’m beginning to feel decidedly pre-millennial.

FCUK Perfume

Man, you smell like Fcuk.

I fondly remember when the F-word was a swear-of-last-resort (topped only by the C-word). The word had real stopping power back then. But writers began over-using it, mostly for shock value. When that was worn out, they began using it to be edgy. We’ve passed that now as well. Today, casual use of the F-word seems to be the only way to self identify as being unaffected, particularly among people who fret about how affected they appear.  But I miss the raw power of the word formerly known as the F-word. I think recent generations have squandered this precious national resource by recklessly tossing it onto the dysphemism treadmill. Today the F-word is some sort of watered down, worn out, wine bar version of its former self. And don’t get me started on friggen, fricken or frack.

None of this is news to anyone who is subjected to American English on a regular basis. But a quote I read today from C.S. Lewis made me reflect. He cautioned: “Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say infinitely when you mean very; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.”

I get it. Language is in a constant state of flux. Linguistic trends ebb and flow like the tides. And like the tides, it serves a purpose and is foolish to resist. Words get overused, worn out then are retired or change their meanings entirely. As Mental Floss points out, “terrific” used to mean “terror-inducing” but was so often used ironically it now means “very good”. Who knows, a few years from now “insane” may no longer refer to a mental condition. It will probably be synonymous with “brilliant”.  The F-word will feature prominently in nursery rhymes and mother’s day cards. But I hope we have some good words left in the slim chance that something truly awe-inspiring does happen.

A bedtime book

Sweet dreams

In the meantime, if the mind-numbing din of these hollow sentiments is eroding your faith in humanity (or at least vocabulary) you may take some solace in recent data from Google Trends. According to the search engine, after seven solid years of growth the word “awesome” finally peaked in February of 2014 and has since been in decline. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of those who abuse it. They are, no doubt, feverishly scanning thesauruses and rap lyrics to find new words to ruin as part of their secret handshake.  Awesome.


Sorry Charlie: Winning isn’t everything

I am convinced that Charlie Sheen is the greatest actor of our generation. Not because of the gritty realism of his character in Platoon or his comic timing in Two and a Half Men so much as his ability to conceal how absolutely bat-shit-crazy he is when the cameras are rolling.

The Sheen stream after he was fired.

I used to be a Charlie Sheen fan. I actually met him once at a 7-11 by Hermosa Beach with his brother Emilio. I think it was 1990. He seemed OK then. It was a warm Saturday night and we were all partying. Evidently he never stopped. Nowadays he just strikes me as a typical Hollywood douchebag: self-absorbed, spoiled rotten, addicted to excess, unrelatable because he is so out of touch with anything I recognize as reality, and oh so self-destructive.

I see millions of people praising his Sheenius, egging him on, and redefining as “entertaining idiosyncrasies” behavior that would land anyone outside of Hollywood in a psycho ward.  I wish I could join them. I like zaney, I like off-the-wall and deep down I like Charlie Sheen. I  would enjoy the whole Sheen spectacle were it not for a scene that keeps repeating in my mind: I keep fast-forwarding to the piece on CNN in a year or two, long after we’ve all moved on, where they show his body being wheeled out of his mansion and slid into the medical examiners van with somber comments about what a tragedy this is (just like other people whose idiosyncrasies entertained us like Kurt Cobain, John Belushi, and Michael Jackson).

But I digress. I may not be a Charlie Sheen fan right now. But I am a fan of clips that have been auto-tuned. Just wanted to make a quick post to pass this one on and ask what your favorite songified video clip is.


As seen on Newswer April 3, 2010.

As seen on Newser today

Ed, Michael, Farrah: Ode to a fallen star

“I fill the night
with twinkling stars
to distract me from
the certainty
that lies beyond.

When one falls
to earth
I miss its light
for in the void
I see my life.”

– AnonymousRest in Peace

Rest in Peace

Teen sues over star-studded face. Who’s to blame?

The antics of foolish 18-year olds are usually best forgotten. But foolish 18-year olds who blame others for their own short-sighted stupidity should be made an example of. Case in point: Kimberley Vlaminck of Courtrai, Belgium.

From the Daily News © 2009 Associated Newspapers Ltd

Starlet Kimberley Vlaminck. Photo: The Daily News © 2009 Associated Newspapers Ltd

Kim is more foolish than most and more responsible for decent peace-loving people like me pining for the days when foolish 18-year olds who tried to ruin the lives and reputations of others were not coddled by a mother-like legal system but given a swift boot in the ass by their real parents to induce some truth-telling.

According to The Mail, it all started when Kim walked into Rouslan Toumaniantz tattoo parlor. She asked for 56 stars to be tattooed on her face. There was a witness present who heard her. Rouslan obliged. Kim paid for the 56 stars and left. Then Kim got home. Her dad blew his top. Her boyfriend dumped her. After that, it dawned on Kim that perhaps she was wrong: Perhaps 56 stars etched in black on your face don’t make up for your lack of personality and self-confidence. Perhaps, just maybe, 56 stars etched in black on your face makes you look odd in a Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Baily kind of way.

Photo: The Daily Mail, © 2009 Associated Newspapers Ltd

Kim's too sexy for her face. Photo: The Daily Mail, © 2009 Associated Newspapers Ltd

At this point the foolish 18-year old had a choice to make. Take responsibility for her actions like an adult or blame someone else like a child. Kim opted for the latter. And the courts will indulge her at the taxpayers expense.

Kim claims that she asked for three stars then fell asleep and awoke to 56 stars. Evidently in Flemish, the words 3 and 56 are practically indistinguishable. What a crock. I have a tattoo. There is no way you fall asleep while someone is repeatedly jabbing an inked needed into your face. This isn’t a day at the spa, its a tattoo parlor. Having three stars etched into the flesh on your face would smart enough to keep a drunk sailor awake. Fifty-six? There is no way she “dozed off”. And, if she did, she must be one hell of a sound sleeper. Are we to assume that when Rouslan realized Kim was asleep he decided to spend 17 times the labor and materials and risk a law suit just for the heck of it? What would motivate him to do that? Nothing would. And that’s the point.

Rouslan Toumaniantz, Kim's tattoo artist. Photo: The Daily Mail. © Associated Newspapers Ltd.

Rouslan Toumaniantz, Kim's tattoo artist. Photo: The Daily Mail. © Associated Newspapers Ltd.

The reason this is important is that every 18-year old screws up. That’s part of being 18. But if everyone one of them did like Kim and found an adult to blame for their stupidity, well, then none of us are safe and life as we know it will come to an end because we will all be in court defending ourselves against the fabrications of 18-year old fools.

Kimberley Vlaminck you made a mistake that you regret. I can see it written all over your face (pun intended). But pursuing this lawsuit is a worse mistake. You are about to make a choice with consequences far uglier and just as indelible as the 56 stars on your face. You are about to demonstrate to the world that you are irresponsible, have no scruples and can not be trusted. That’s a mark that surgery cannot remove. It’s not too late to change your mind, tell the truth, get on with your life and let Rouslan Toumaniantz get on with his. Do that and your tattoo will become a beauty mark.

If, on the other hand, you do pursue this then you will most likely lose your case. After that the two best outcomes I can see is that first Rouslan Toumaniantz becomes rich off the publicity you have created for his tattoo parlor as well as the lawsuit he files against you for defaming his character. And that second, after the dust settles in court, the ridiculous stars strewn across your face serve as fair waring to all other foolish 18-year olds who would follow in your regrettable footsteps.

Read more:

I’ll pay for half those star tattoos to be removed, says the man who engraved 56 on 18-year-old girl’s face

Teen falls asleep during face tattoo

Support sanity. Go here for your next tat.

Scene of the crime. Support sanity. Go here for your next tatt. Photo: The Daily Mail. © Associated Newspapers Ltd.

Total Eclipse of the Heart – Literal

A.K.A. Mullet with headlights.

iDle musings with an iPod

Too much time on my hands today. I was trying to find something random to listen to on my iPod. I only have about 10% of my CDs in my iPod and nothing new so I tend to hear the same old mixes over and over. Today I wanted something different but couldn’t be bothered to load in any new music. So I searched for songs that begin with the word “she”. A dozen tunes came up.

She songs worship women

SHE songs worship women

She’s the One – Robbie Williams

She’s My Herione – Skunk Anasie

She’s Got Her Ticket – Tracy Chapman

She’s Gone – The English Beat

She’s Come Undone – The Guess Who

She’s A Lady – Tom Jones

She’s a Carioca – Antonio Carlos Jobim

She Will Never Learn – Deew

She Nuh Ready Yet – Spragga Benz

She Drives Me Crazy – Fine Young Cannibals

She Believes in Me – Aaron Lordson

She – The Monkees

Most of them are sung in blind amorous worship of a woman. A couple are about women in crisis. I liked all of them – just what I was looking for. Mission accomplished. So I did the same thing for “he”. Eight songs came up.

He songs worship the Lord

HE songs worship the Lord

He Will Carry Me – Mark Schultz

He Went to Paris (new recording) – Jimmy Buffett

He Went to Paris – Jimmy Buffett

He Walks with Me – The Statler Brothers

He Touched Me – Tennessee Ernie Ford

He Carves the Roast Beast – James Horner

He Ain’t Done Me Nothin But Good – The Isaacs

He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother – – The Hollies

Not the same outcome. In fact if it weren’t for Jimmy Buffet I’d have called it a complete wash-out. Half the songs are Christian music. That’s because in Christian music nomenclature it seems the English masculine indefinite pronoun is
synonymous with God. Interesting concept. I didn’t even know I had any Christian music. While the lyrics are rather predictable, I have to admit “He Ain’t Done Me Nothin But Good” is rather catchy in a down-home kinda way.

So what does all this mean? Absolutely nothing. Like I said I have too much time on my hands today. But I can definitely recommend the “She” play list.

BTW – Not understanding the lyrics hasn’t stopped me from signing She Nuh Ready Yet for the past 8 years. Today I finally looked up the lyrics and thought I’d share.

These lyrics may not help much, actually

These lyrics may not help much, actually

She Nuh Ready Yet

Written by: C. Grant, H. Brown

Sung by: Spragga Benz

Well number 1
Yuh nuh have time fi waste
So nuh care bout how a
gal a push up inna yuh face

Hey Hey hey hey hey hey
From ah from ah gal ah gal ah come ah come ah

Hype up pon yuh an she nuh ready yet
Tell a gal hop off a yuh because yuh delicate
Yuh a nuh di type mek nobadi duh whey Shelly get
Reach fi di sky yaah yuh single but yuh celibate

Dat mean no man naah guh tek yuh fi no ten-o-let
An yuh a nuh passenger plane a gal a Value-jet
Whey she come a try bout she a guh nullify yuh rep
Popular than ever caah yuh have whey nobadi nuh get
Bout inna yuh face she a guh out out a cigarette
Yea yea whatever caah yuh nuh frighten fi silly threat
Higher inna life yuh a profile a duh yuh best
How dem fi pull yuh dung when a yuh a Jah Jah bless


Well good looks dat a di lest
Caah yuh batty an yuh breast
An nuh dat yuh a guh use fi mek yuh rich
No yuh naah guh profit offa sex
No dat a nuh yuh flex
Nobadi naah guh tek yuh fi nuh bitch
Criss like Crissy D weh inna Main Street a Moet yuh a sip
An yuh know a gal history so yuh have har ticket
Only time yuh memba dem a when yuh inna toilet
All yuh duh press di button an she sink like the sh..


Well is a comedy to yuh fi listen when a gal a talk
Everbody see di light suh hoh a gal still so dark
It obvious to yuh say dem a live inna di past
Bout if a man a beat har dat mean him love har off
Whey day mi see one a dem buss up har head
Ah love har up wid piece a iron pipe she nearly dead
Yuh nuh have no time fi dat caah yuh fragile like egg
Next month yuh a guh pon yuh scholarship a Winnipeg

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