Saturday, March 14, 2009

ACC Semis

I love the ACC tournament -- the action there rivals the action to come nationwide.

So... we couldn't help ourselves. I mean, Carolina will obviously go on, so what harm could come from pulling, just this once, for Florida State?

Just to set the scene: La Bonne et Belle Bianca Castafiore is decked out in a bold, strapless, beaded animal print (specifically, leopard), her considerable self poured into the sweetheart neckline whose décolletage is set off by rhinestones, the fitted silhouette amply accenting her curves, the mid-thigh slit in the front allowing the bright orange lining to flash like a stroboscopic lamp. She is plopped next to me on the bed, rounding out her come hither look with a pair of orthopedic alpaca fuzzy slippers.

During the first semi-final, she kept up a steady effff-ah you! effff-ah you! -- despite my efforts to turn that into the more accurate chant of FSU! FSU! Eventually, The Castafiore burst out of the lace-up corset that constituted the back of that safari prom dress. She's been pretty quiet since.

At 7:06 in the first half, Duke leads Maryland by a mere two. Sloppy turnovers by the Devils.

As much as anything, what I appreciated in those FSU players was their free throw shooting under pressure. That's the measure of a great team -- taking advantage of the freebies. That, and making the big plays.

The Bonne et Belle and I were getting into the final minutes of the FSU v. UNC-CH game. Fred was in the bathroom. So... I get a little over-excited and my cheering becomes somewhat shrill. The bathroom door bangs open and The Fredster comes flying into the bedroom, wide-eyed and yelling "What's wrong, what's wrong? Do you need me?"

What a good and gracious man he is. And yes, I will always need you, Fred. But right now, the Terrapins are sinking all their threes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

f'blasticball! f'blasticball! allez, dooook-uh! allez, dooook-uh!

Calling all Cameron Crazies! Tonight, 9 pm, watch Boston College go down in flames as the inexorable march toward the Final Four continues...

Unbelievable. The College of Charleston evicted Davidson, then was routed by Chattanooga -- and so neither is likely to see NCAA tourney play. I was hoping to see more of Stephen Curry and the rest of the giant-topplers.

But that is what March Madness is all about.

There's always Tyler Hansbrough.

Yes, I am a rabid fan of the teams of Tobacco Road. Hmm. Do people still say "Tobacco Road" to reference the ACC's Duke, UNC-CH, Wake Forest, and NCSU b'ball teams (using the strictest of north-carolinian definitions/if not, people can be so lax as to include GA Tech or FSU and then that would lead to the inevitable conversation about Massachusetts and the North Atlantic coast and how the HELL BC got into the ACC... You wouldn't want that, now wouldya? Huh? Wouldya? I thought not.)?

It's improbable, but not impossible, that folks are speaking of Erskine Caldwell.

How rabid? Are there degrees of rabid? Do you believe that Dean Smith's car, unwisely parked in front of Duke Chapel, was dismantled and rebuilt inside that Holy Place? Do you remember the energy that Jim Valvano brought to the game? Defensive players fairly stomping their feet in frustration at the Four Corners offense? The East Regional Final in 1992, Christian Laettner's jump shot? That hustler Danny Hurley? Oh... and what's his name? Jordan, Michael Jordan.

And I guess the tale must be retold, the story of the 1998 Michael Jordan Jersey Caper, as explained in The Chronicle, the Duke student newspaper:

Balancing atop the rafters at nearly
140 feet above the Dean Dome’s center
court in the early morning hours
of Feb. 2, 1998, four Duke students
had one thing in mind—stealing Michael
Jordan’s jersey.
One student used belaying equipment,
which he borrowed from members
of Project WILD, to pull himself
up to the scoreboard and open the
door to the arena’s rafters. Another
student walked across the rafters with
just the support of a climbing rope.
Armed with a wrench, he unscrewed
Jordan’s jersey from its honorary loft.
“There were several close calls.
The cops were looking for people out
there, but they never had any sightings,”
said one of the students, who referred
to himself as “The Sixth Man”
in a 1998 letter to The Chronicle. “A
security guard came in to show his
girlfriend the Dean Dome while we
were ducking behind seats.”
The Blue Devil fans finally left the
Dean E. Smith Center at 4 a.m. and
hid the jersey in a gap between the
rafters and the wall. They returned
to the stadium the following night to
pick up the jersey, which they then hid
in a Central Campus apartment for almost
three weeks.
“Everyone had assumed the jersey
had disappeared at a Yanni concert
that had happened that weekend,”
The Sixth Man said.

March, March! I love March!

As soon as my brother-unit, Grader Boob, checks in with his predictions, I'll regale you with mine. I know, you're all aflutter at the thought.

With five seconds left in the second half, UNC is up by a point over Virginia Tech, and has drawn a foul. (Do you remember the days when the seconds weren't micromanaged?) Okay, now we're at 4.6 seconds, UNC made both foul shots and is up by three. Now 3.5... and, merciful God, the buzzer. Carolina takes Va Tech 79-76.

Yes, we have a channel completely dedicated to American college basketball here at Marlinspike Hall, deep deep in the Tête de Hergé. La Belle et Bonne Bianca Castafiore has a huge Carolina blue foam finger that she keeps waving around as she yodels something about "f'blasticball! f'blasticball! allez, dooook-uh! allez, dooook-uh!" I got tired of trying to explain that Duke was not one of the teams on the court but she keeps giving me that look of condescending pity so dear to gallic schnobs. Fred? As hard as it is to believe, he doesn't care much for basketball -- he's more of a track and field fanatic. Still, he's gracious when March rolls around and has learned to expect the screaming and inevitable tears. So it's me and The Castafiore, courtside.

Despite the fact that oceans and ponds separate us, the Brother-Unit Grader Boob still maintains a firm hold on my psyche during a good many sporting events, from the Tour de France to the Australian Open, as explained in Blather. May Malted Milk Balls melt all over his students' ungraded final drafts! (je plaisante, mon frère, mon cher!)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Banes of My Existence

I think this will be more of a "hodge-podge" than a "potpourri."

hodge-podge: Victorian; stew made from left‐over cooked meat with vegetables. -- A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition

hotch-pot mixture, medley XIV (spec. in cookery XV); (leg.) collation of properties to secure equality of division XVI. — AN., (O)F. hochepot, f. hocher shake + pot POT. Altered by rhyming assim. to hotchpotch XV, hodge-podge XVII. -- The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology

In yet another strange admission on my part, I have always loved the french verb hocher. There are certain words that have lovely mouth feel, not unlike the rich, smooth, luxuriant qualities of the fats and flavors in a homemade vanilla bean ice cream.

Or maybe it has something to do with the whole "ashhh"-aspiré issue. The French Aspirate H. Now, that is much too much ado about liaisons and elisions. The issue divides families along political lines, separates young from old, Taoists from Jews. Heartbreaking.

Wonderful news! With the help of my stellar kidney function, my CK level dropped from over 3,000 to 51. Snoopy-esque Happy Dance.

I singlehandedly managed to mess up our television reception, even the remote control, last evening. All I did, I swear, was to accidentally switch off the power strip to which every piece of electronic equipment in a 100 mile radius was attached. I was vacuuming (Bronze medalist, Wheelchair Vacuuming, Gimp Olympics 2007) I figure that it was excellent physical therapy; Also, when the cat hair completely covers the 16th century stone paving and the fancy-schmancy linoleum (Welsh deo gratias tiles), well it's time to stop waiting on the Merry Maids Housecleaning Service to show up. Do you remember the only eighteenth century Karabagh rug in the whole of Our Manor, Marlinspike Hall? I just managed to get the hot yellow mustard out of it and now it looks like a fuzzy cashmere sweater, as Marmy the Longhaired *Ack*-*Ack*-er has been rolling her little fluffy butt all over it, "one of The Captain's most prized antique rugs of the Caucasus."

It took me the better part of 3 hours to get the television on speaking terms with the DVR, and then we discovered that the remote control -- the bane of my existence* -- wasn't in the mood to control much of anything. We had to, gasp, rediscover that difficult old life of pushing the actual buttons on the equipment. My index finger is sore. I made my typical announcement for when it is late and I am stymied: "Let's deal will it in the morning." It's not a bad idea, you know -- fresh eyes. I fairly leapt out of bed this morning and managed to have everything electronic back to normal before my first cup of coffee.

I caught a brief very sober give-and-take between the CNN anchor and some Pretty-Young-Thing-Posing-As-An-Economic-Pundit. In that moment, the fall-back position of the more extreme-right citizens of the Republican Party was made clear. The gist? "Hey, it looks like a fair number of the world's more respectable nations are pursuing their own very expensive stimulus plans... So maybe it isn't as dumb an idea as we have been saying, eh?"

Ahhh, the Law of Association, maybe the first thing one learns in algebra, looms large on CNN and in the minds of the aforementioned citizens. Remember? Sit back, relax, and take yourself back to the days of...

The associative laws of addition and multiplication refer to the grouping (association) of terms and factors in a mathematical expression.
The algebraic form of the associative law for addition is as follows:
In words, this law states that the sum of three or more addends is the same regardless of the manner in which the addends are grouped.
The algebraic form of the associative law for multiplication is as follows:
a · b · c = (a · b) · c = a · (b · c)
In words, this law states that the product of three or more factors is the same regardless of the manner in which the factors are grouped.

I dunno. Maybe my little algebraic detour has no bearing on economic principles. It is maybe way more Obama-esque than Reagan-esque. Tant pis.
At least I got to laugh a little bit in my mouth. (I had to work in a way to reference this: A Deeper Look At Bad Lingo: When Did We Start Throwing Up In Our Mouths A Little Bit, And Why?)

In a sad way, I have arrived as a bloggeuse. Anonymous visited me this morning at 7:40, wishing to gently josh about a post on Laura Beckett. My first non-sensical rant. I am moved, so moved. I do hope Anonymous comes back -- as soon as she pulls her head out of her pink oversized panties...

Rush Limbaugh continues to amaze me -- I guess that is mostly because I have never really paid any attention to his craziness -- or his pink oversized panties. It is easy to trash Ted Kennedy; It is also representative of the lowest common denominator of thought(lessness), and, well, it is also crass, and rude. I won't argue about what kind of éloge Kennedy will deserve, but I tend toward kindness. He has done many good things. Limbaugh, on the other hand? Surely his incessant anger (not to mention the cigars) will one day be his demise. He will not be remembered for good things...

I realized only recently that all of those people and things at which I scoffed (or that I actively ignored) because I thought they were not to be taken seriously -- must be taken seriously. Extremely seriously, if only out of respect. If only out of fear.

*From the Word Detective

Lassie Shut Up.

Dear Word Detective: I know what "bane" means and I can understand the term "the bane of my existence," but I was just wondering how the phrase came about. -- Lena, via the internet.

Well, you may know what "bane of my existence" means in the abstract sense, but you cannot possibly understand the true gravity of the phrase, because you do not live within earshot of my neighbor's dog. Said dog barks all night every night year round and, although it lives a half mile away, this dog possesses a nuclear larynx that can slice through double-pane windows, pillows and earplugs as piercingly as if it were chained under my bed. Woof woof woof. Woof woof. Woof woof woof. I am an animal lover who has even been known to put out food for field mice and possums, but there is no night as dark as the feelings I harbor for that idiot dog (and, of course, his idiot owner) at 4 a.m.

To say that something or someone is "the bane of my existence" means that the person or thing is a constant irritant or source of misery. As a cliché, "bane of my existence" has lost its edge to a large degree over the years, and today is most often applied to something that may profoundly annoy us but is certainly bearable. Telemarketers, for instance, have become the "bane" of many folks' existence, but few of us are sufficiently distressed to turn off our telephones, and while "spam" is a daily "bane," not many of us would dream of giving up the Internet. "Bane of my existence" is now almost always used in a semi-jocular, "what are you gonna do?" sense.

But "bane" was once a very serious word. The Old English "bana" meant literally "slayer" in the sense we now use "killer" or "murderer." Early on, the English "bane" was also used in the more general sense of "cause of death," and by the 14th century "bane" was used in the specialized sense of "poison," a sense which lives on in the names of various poisonous plants such as "henbane" and "wolfbane."

From this very literal "something that kills you" usage, "bane" by the 16th century had broadened into its modern meaning of "something that makes life unpleasant, a curse."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Rush, Shut the Hell Up

Margaret and Helen, each, never cease to amaze me and ease the tension in my jaw, at the same time.

Helen Philpot wrote this today:

Margaret dear, I need your help sorting all this out. Rush Limbaugh has a daily audience of 14 million morons- give or take a few rednecks - Howard excluded of course. So are we to believe that they all want Obama to fail? Do I have that right? I am a little confused by this recent turn of events because weren’t these the same peckerwoods who got so upset a few years back when a famous country western singer told about 2,000 people at a concert in London that she was ashamed that George Bush was from her home state?

Actually I believe her exact quote was, “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas.” If I am not mistaken, conservatives everywhere were enraged - albums were burned, death threats ensued. It was treason.

But Margaret, let’s consider the following quotes attributed to Rush, another celebrity - albeit a celebrity who really gives renewed meaning to the saying a face made for radio:

“I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.”

“The only way to reduce the number of nuclear weapons is to use them.”

“If we are going to start rewarding no skills and stupid people - I’m serious, let the unskilled jobs, let the kinds of jobs that take absolutely no knowledge whatsoever to do - let stupid and unskilled Mexicans do that work.”

“Bipartisanship only happens after one side has been defeated. Ask the Japanese after World War II. Ask the Germans.”

The same jackass who made those statements also said, “I want Barack Obama to fail.” And more recently he expounded on that statement when he said, “The dirty little secret is that every Republican in this country wants Obama to fail, but none of them have the guts to say so.” For goodness sakes, I am surprised he finds time to be so loquasious between the mouthfuls of donuts.

Personally, I think Rush Limbaugh is a big, fat pig. I can say that without worry because I am a big, fat bitch. But what he looks like is really just so much fodder for people like me who don’t like his politics. What he says, however… well that is another story.

Hypocrisy. It’s a powerful word. Republicans should look it up sometime.

Barack Obama is a sitting President of a country still at war and on the brink of economic disaster. And Rush wants failure? He is hoping for failure and 14 million listeners who call themselves conservative Americans are okay with that. But a country singer wishing the President didn’t come from her home state caused moral outrage. Has anyone gone and looked up that word hypocrisy yet? While you’re at it, look up the word culpable. Scratch that, just look up the word gluttony.

Of course, Limbaugh can say whatever he wants. It’s a free country. And people can stop buying albums when they don’t like the singer anymore. That’s what ”it’s a free country” means. And I can say that Rush Limbaugh is nothing more than than a fat, greed-filled radio star praying on the insecurities and ignorance of people who graduated high school thinking that they knew everything. Like I said - it’s a free country. You’re free to love it or even hate it if you want. All I ask is that you be honest with yourself about which of those two positions you have chosen to subscribe. Because considering the current state of the world, we will all succeed or fail together - like it or not.

Margaret, I know that Howard listens to Rush. I hope he doesn’t read our little blog. And know that if only because he loves you, I love him. I just wish he would check out the local NPR station once in awhile. I mean it. Really.

The "Beware" List (Nascent)

Beware of blogs or "about me" blurbs that use the following words/phrasings/formats; Put on your sneakers when visiting bloggeurs who use them in clever combination:

bemused musings
He's a maverick!
random musings/observations
long lists of favorite Twitter threads (a you-had-to-be-there situation, if ever there was one...)
thinking outside the box
one has to wonder
(more than one exclamation point) !!!
(excess of ellipses........)
(dash happiness -- -- -- !!)
aka (when used lazily)
adventures of
just FYI
nary a (care, sound, thought)
I [just] want to say that...
I think that...
at the end of the day (or) revisionist history
and thus, although x, I y...
I just threw up a little bit in my mouth
notes from...
a day in the life
the life and times of...
innovative solutions for wound management
the caucasian "yo"
yada yada; yadda yadda
various citations of authority (such as Latin pomposities and French cartoonists)
wambam or wham bam or any variation thereof
to wit
Rush Limbaugh/puff pastry
It's a Wonderful Life/World (text or audio)
wait for it
pretentious use of foreign languages
one. word. sentences.
the liberal media
mainstream media
i'm just sayin'
truth to power
vox populi
over exagerrating
spot on
I, for one...
LOL (>2/para)
x and y notwithstanding
in comment threads: I LOVE what you said. (person promptly repeats "whatever was said that is soooo loved.")
"the fear shoots through me like an arrow piercing through to the other side and out again" (wounded similes)
back in the day
"i saw a coked up deejay get a blow job from bianca jagger." (just seeing if you're still there! it's a direct quote from jon stewart.)

*Yes, I am guilty of using a good number of the stuff listed above. Mea culpa, oy!