A Lemay Accent at the Wrong Time

St. Louis denizens will tell you about the peculiar South St. Louis (County) accent that adds terminal Rs to non-terminal syllables, which turn wash into warsh and toilet into torlet.

So as I was in Lemay this morning, speaking with an aunt, she mentioned coming out of retirement to earn a few extra dollars. “But I don’t want another orffice job,” she said.

We in your family salute your decision, dear. Be forewarned we shall remind you of this decision into the unforeseeable future to make sure your commitment remains.

Thank you, that is all.

Thanks, But I Have a Psychological Disorder Hobby Already

Here’s a new bit on Snopes:

Claim:   Fecal matter sprayed by flushing toilets can collect on toothbrushes.

Geez, Mikkelson, thanks for the graphic details and the extreme tips, such as:

People tend to leave frequently-used articles where they are normally put to use, which means most of us unthinkingly deposit our toothbrushes on the sink or counter in the bathroom. A better strategy would be to place them in the medicine cabinet between brushings. It pays to keep in mind that while you may remember to close the lid before flushing, not everyone else in the household will always be as diligent.

Actually, there are numerous other tips, but I’m not going to implement them. I spend so much time being a paranoid neurotic that I don’t have any time to add another set of obsessive-compulsive tasks. Sorry.

Check Your Premises

In his Star-Tribune column, Lileks invokes some statistics, or rather alludes to an article which referred to a study that includes statistics about tall people earning more money:

Tall People are more likely to be paid more money. Each additional inch adds $789 annually to your paycheck. The natural conclusion: If you want a new car, figure out the payments, then head off to Tijuana for an illegal shin augmentation.

Pardon me while I add a hearty “You don’t say” to the conversation. Once you get beyond 6′ 4″, brother, you’re looking at actors, basketball players, and Michael Crichton. Undoubtedly, these fellows alone skew the averages quite upward. I am only 6′ 0″ and I can think of plenty of runts who make more than I do. Of course, I am in the IT industry, and everyone in IT makes more than the cheap QA help.

What was my point? Oh, yeah, read this guy Lileks. He’s an obscure Minnesotan columnist, but just because someone is from the upper Midwest and not Wisconsin is no reason to let him toil in his obscurity.

Enough Already

I’d call it a pet peeve, but both pet and peeve sound kinda cute, and what I’m about to explain represents more of a junkyard abhorrence; it’s got a spike collar and a low growl in the throat whenever the subject walks by.

I hate “so-called.”

Any time a writer, particularly a professional paid writer or journalist throws this amalgamation into a serious news article or essay, I question the credibility or maturity of the writer. No, I want to punch the johnker right in his or her stunted vocabulary.

So-called is alleged with a sneer, with a sense of condescension that intimates that we, meaning the liberally-educated author and his or her intelligent readership, understand the facade of the following noun for what it is, a cheap manipulation of truth built by the Orwellian right-wing/administration/conservative/techno/military/industrial/business/ (breath) /capitalist/Christian/Zionist/Machiavellian/fascist complex/conspiracy.

Get a thesaurus, pinheads, and leave the so-calling to the adolescents.

(This rant spurred by Roger L. Simon, who made the mistake of linking to Noam Chompsky’s op-ed piece in the New York Times.)

Attention, Bachelors!

I saw a teaser for this woman on Effed Company, wherein it said:

    Last great book I read: “I read all of the Ayn Rand books in a month.”

Dudes, I married a hot chick because she had a cat named John Galt.

And she’s not even read, to the best of my knowledge, the The Early Ayn Rand.

Wait a minute. This woman is indicating that she read, in 31 days max:

Never mind, Objectivist bachelor straight friends and readers. She’s either prone to exaggeration, an outright liar, or a layabout who does nothing but read all day. You don’t need that.

Cyber Keystone Koppers

I realize it’s probably the journalist adding drama to (that is, creating whole) an anecdote, but the lead from this SFGate story doesn’t portray the bastions of public safety in too good of a light:

Washington — Sitting at his home in Virginia Beach, Va., Joe Yuhasz almost reached for his wallet when an e-mail message popped into his inbox and told him America Online needed to verify his credit card information.

The site linked to the e-mail looked identical to AOL’s billing center, until Yuhasz noticed the domain name was a fake — a scam commonly known as phishing.

Almost reached for his wallet? Cheese, Louise, even my dear aunt knows better than that.

Maybe it’s part of a far-ranging ploy to lull the cyberbadguys into a false sense of superiority.

Lileks on Modern Art

James Lileks, in his column in the Star Tribune, muses on a modern art exhibit:

Headline in last week’s paper: “Walker’s attendance falls by 30%; Official blames 9/11 for decline in tourism.”

I have a theory, and I’ll admit it might be controversial: It’s possible that no one wanted to see the exhibits.”

and offers his grand unified theory:

Well, you say, you just don’t like modern art. Not true. I hate modern art. No, that’s not right, either. I may be a philistine, but I am a learned one. I have a complex and nuanced response to modern art, be it the rigors of De Stijl, the furious assertions of Abstract Expressionism, the romantic angularity of Lionel Feininger, the anguished gashes of Clifford Still, the whimsical recontextualizations of Lichtenstein and other Pop Art painters; I understand the challenges that Action Painting made to the outmoded bourgeoise notions nurtured in the dusty attics of the beaux-arts mind-set, and I appreciate the connection between surrealism and post World War I disenchantment with rationality, why Dali was a bit of a poser, why Klee makes us nervous, why Bacon horrifies, and Beckmann can best be understood in the climate of Weimar. All this I know. And my opinion is simple: Eh. If it’s not ugly, it’s banal. If it’s not banal, it’s pretentious. If it’s not either, it’s pointless. Sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s great. (Like Feininger.) But in general:


If you’re not cyber-stalking Lileks’ writings and reading the Back Fence (his column in the Star Tribune and his weekly Newhouse News syndicated column, you’re pathetic. I mean, you’re missing out on quality writing. I didn’t say pathetic.

Worthy Cause

Here’s an organization worth investigating: The Dollywood (yes, Dolly Parton) Foundation’s Imagination Library.

From the “About Us” page:

This program is one of the most important ways I know to improve the educational opportunities for children in your community.

When I was growing up in the hills of East Tennessee, I knew my dreams would come true. I know there are children in your community with their own dreams. They dream of becoming a doctor or an inventor or a minister. Who knows, maybe there is a little girl whose dream is to be a writer and singer.

The seeds of these dreams are often found in books and the seeds you help plant in your community can grow across the world.

I hope you’ll agree to become a champion of the Imagination Library in your community. You will be amazed at the impact this simple gift can have on the lives of children and their families. We have seen it work in our own backyard and I’m certain it can do the same in your community, too.

Here’s what the organization does:

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is all about inspiration and imagination. It was developed in 1995 by Dolly for her hometown of Sevier County, Tennessee. Dolly wanted every preschool child to have their own library of books. The effort received numerous awards and extraordinary media attention which generated interest from across the country. After much thought, Dolly decided to offer her Imagination Library for replication in any community that would support it.

Each month, from the day the child is born until his/her 5th birthday, a carefully selected book arrives at the mailbox. Kids across the country have shared the excitement of running to the mailbox to retrieve their book. More often than not, the child wants the book read to them now – not later, not tonight and not tomorrow. Right now!

As an attempted author, I can think of no better goal than to increase future readers. For the children!


My sophomore year in high school, I took a class in Creative Writing with Ms. Williams. It was Mrs. Williams, actually, much to the dismay of fantastic fifteen year-old boys. But I remember the class vividly. For an early exercise in creative writing, the delightful blonde nymph respected shaper of young minds, divided the class into groups. The assignment: to write a page of a short story. When the groups finished their segments, we passed the story to the group on our right, who would add a segment to the story, and so on, until each group had a turn with the story. Here, Tyrone Jackson was born.

Ah, Tyrone Jackson. The middle-aged rabbi from Thailand. Dan, Troy, Jim, and I concocted this character from the fevered imaginations of our adolescence, somewhere amid the giggling (which we would have called chuckling, but our voices were still changing, so it was probably giggling). We injected Jackson into every story passed to us. He suffered a number of untimely deaths and dismemberments once the group to our right determined what we were doing. At the end of the exercise, the groups had to rewrite their original stories using elements from the other groups’ contributions. So our group, ignoring the ignoble assaults on our hero, rewrote the story. Or Dan, Troy, and Jim did; I abstained, as they were not doing our hero justice. Although we got a passing grade turned on whatever they turned in, I was not satisfied. I had greater dreams for Jackson. Thus begat The Further Adventures of Tyrone Jackson.

My first book, hem, was a collection of short stories that chronicled how Tyrone Jackson would have infected all other stories and myths before him. However, each hero must have his arch-enemy, and Jackson discovered his when he met the leader of the Venusian invasion in the undersea base wherein the Venusians were keeping Jackson’s pet bunny Manerd.

“Lyndon LaRouche? You’re the dude from those dippy TV specials!”

Lyndon LaRouche became Tyrone Jackson’s archenemy. When Jackson consulted with his guru on Mount Everest, it was LaRouche sending the Soviet Spetsnaz after him….or James Bond….or maybe MacGyver, who happened to be mountain climbing at the time. When Tyrone Jackson stole Doctor Who’s Tardis, he uncovered Lin Don La Ru was the mortal enemy of Tai Ron Ja Sing in feudal Japan. LaRouche was the all-powerful Denfather in the alternate earth where the Cub Scouts had taken over. Like some archetype or eternal conflict, wherever Jackson encountered his match, it was LaRouche. Jackson always won, though, but LaRouche got away to fight another day… or in another time….

So when I went into the local polling place tonight, the collection of aged election judges asked me whether I what ballot I wanted. “Democrat,” I said. When I was alone in my voting stall and confronted with my allotment of possible choices, I voted for Lyndon LaRouche.

I admit, I have heard his commercials on KMOX radio comparing Ashcroft to Hitler. I have not seen any of his television specials, either, whether sixteen years ago or last week. But I voted for him anyway. Not because he’s got a chance of winning, and not because I think Joe has a chance of beating el Johnissimo. But for old times’ sake.

LaRouche has been a punchline of mine for almost twenty years. Who knows if I’d ever get a chance to vote for him again?

Somewhere, amid the hundreds of lost loose-leaf pages of Tyrone Jackson’s further adventures, undoubtedly Jackson is cursing the the villian’s luck once again. And tomorrow, when I review the election results, I shall recognize my vote among LaRouche’s handful.

All Right

Although I went into the polling place with every intention to vote for LaRouche, it rankled. I was throwing away the right I had to determine the fate of the nation, or perhaps the direction of the nation, to a joke, a private joke that only me or Jim or Mike (the only possible owner for an extant remaining copy of The Further Adventures of Tyrone Jackson) would get, and I don’t even talk to them any more.

Around the world, people don’t have the opportunity to select their own leaders. Selected not elected, RIH you gamers. Here, when presented with my duty to myself and my countrymen, I made a selection almost arbitrarily.

Yet, were I to vote my conscience in this Democrat primary, it wouldn’t have mattered. Joe Liberalman might have been the best of a bad lot, although I have to admit I have no idea who Fern Penna is or what Fern Penna might do for our country. I only had the ballot because Missouri’s an open primary. I’m voting Bush in the November election regardless. ‘Nuff said.

But I Voted

I also voted a hearty, hi-ho, heck no, to the Metropolitan Sewer District’s bid to float a bond issue or raise taxes, or whatever MSD might have meant with this glurge:

To comply with federal and state clean water requirements, shall The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District (MSD) issue its sewer system revenue bonds in the amount of Five Hundred Million Dollars ($500,000,000) for the purpose of constructing, improving, renovating, repairing, replacing and equipping new and existing MSD sewer facilities and system, including acquisition of easements and real property related thereto, the cost of operation and maintenance of said sewer system and the principal of and interest on said revenue bonds to be payable solely from the revenues derived by MSD from the operation of its sewer system, including all future extensions and improvements thereto?

Hell, no. Because when the costs are overrun and the revenue projections fall short, or if you’re too busy lining the pockets (and maybe a couple of purses and handy bags to carry the ph4t l00t), guess what? Time for another big IOU or rate increase.

If you cannot deal with it from the revenues already derived hereto from the operation of the sewer system, don’t do it. Sewer system! Pah! We drink bottled water, wine, and beer here at Honormoor and we wash our dishes in Listerine. A pox on ye all!

On the other hand, congratulations to MSD for being corruption free for 128 days now. Nothing that half a billion dollars wouldn’t cure.

(Funny how tax/rate increases/bond issues end up on the ballot for elections with light turnout, ainna?)

Don’t Give My Opponents Ideas

Fark links to a story which I find personally very frightening: Tempers Flare During ‘Taboo’ Board Game.

The party game wasn’t the only thing taboo. Three men were arrested on felony charges after a game of Taboo went awry at a Conway home.

Officers were called to the home Sunday after two men threatened others with guns because they were losing the game, in which one teammate gives clues about certain subject matter, but using certain words is taboo.

Sorry, guys, I know I can be unsufferable when I play this game because I am Olympian and you’re all Little League, but there’s no need to draw down on me.

True story:

Clue: “She was a historical figure….”
Brian J. Answer: “Joan of Arc. Next, please. Come on, we’re on a deadline here.”

Putting a couple of slugs in me is the only way to stop me at Taboo. Better make them high caliber, because a .22 or .38’s not going to shut me up.