Inconceivable

We’ve been playing along with an overwhelmed Absence of Alternatives, who bid us post Prince Humperdink’s quote on having too much to do.

The film version is:
“I’ve got my country’s five hundredth anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder, and Guilder to frame for it. I’m swamped.”

The book version is:
“I can’t keep my head above water one minute to the next: it’s not just the parties and the goo-gooing with what’s-her-name, I’ve got to decide how long the Five Hundredth Anniversary Parade is going to be and where does it start and when does it start and which nobleman gets to march in front of which other nobleman so that everyone’s still speaking to me at the end of it, plus I’ve got a wife to murder and a country to frame for it, plus I’ve got to get the war going once that’s all happened, and all this is stuff I’ve got to do myself. Here’s what it all comes down to: I’m just swamped, Ty.”

Some of you have added lovely quotes to the list of favorites. Somewhat like Top Gun, The Princess Bride‘s a film rich with quotable moments (that is watched often enough that people can quote and recognize it easily.)

So now I’ll ignore obligations to write another Princess Bride post. Because I suck at priorities. Because I like not thinking much. And because I’m a whore for movie and book quotes. Why think my own thoughts when someone else’s are so clever?

In my previous post I listed as a favorite, “It’s possible, Pig, I might be bluffing. It’s conceivable, you miserable, vomitous mass, that I’m only lying here because I lack the strength to stand. But, then again… perhaps I have the strength after all. Drop. Your. Sword.”

Here are the rest in my top ten:

“Let me ‘splain. No there is too much. Let me sum up.”

“Wrong!” Westley’s voice rang across the room. “Your ears you keep, so that every shriek of every child shall be yours to cherish—every babe that weeps in fear at your approach, every woman that cries ‘Dear God, what is that thing?’ will reverberate forever with your perfect ears. That is what ‘to the pain’ means. It means that I leave you in anguish, in humiliation, in freakish misery until you can stand it no more”

“No more rhymes now, I mean it. Anybody want a peanut?”

“When I was your age, television was called books.”

“Murdered by pirates is good.”

“And that’s when she put her book down. And looked at me. And said it: “Life isn’t fair, Bill. We tell our children that it is, but it’s a terrible thing to do. It’s not only a lie, it’s a cruel lie. Life is not fair, and it never has been, and it’s never going to be.”

“The beef-witted featherbrained rattledskulled clodpated dim-domed noodle-noggined sapheaded lunk-knobbed BOYS.”

“It was only when the giant got halfway down the incline that he suddenly, happily, burst into flame and continued his trip saying, ‘NO SURVIVORS, NO SURVIVORS!’ in a manner that could only indicate deadly sincerity.

It was seeing him happily burning and advancing that startled the Brute Squad to screaming. And once that happened, why, everybody panicked and ran…”

“He had written to her just before he sailed for America. The Queen’s Pride was his ship, and he loved her. (That was the way his sentences always went: It is raining today and I love you. My cold is better and I love you. Say hello to Horse and I love you. Like that.)”

and my favorite of all…

“Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound.”

I know. It’s not funny or cute or Princess Bride-ish at all. But I goddamned love writing quotes.

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Word geekage

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the ad campaign to move people back to the paper OED from the, in my opinion, indefensible online OED.

The logophile in me rejoices. The linguist in me joins the fight. The inveteratist in me sighs with relief. The keleusmatic in me appreciates the opportunity. And the marketing professional in me applauds.

Choose a word falling into disuse. Adopt it. Use it with impunity. Save the words while you can.

Passive aggressive notes

A huge thanks to FYM for pointing me to passiveaggressivenotes.com even though they have expanded their repertoire to include blatantly aggressive notes that are not even a little passive.

Exactly the procrastination I was looking for today. Yay!

Some faves include
the shoeless child
the effective note
grandma’s horror
and proper urinal etiquette.

perspective time

It’s human beings like my friends who work hard to find families to children who deserve so much better, and stories like theycallmejane‘s that make me realize how important is every moment we spend with our children, with other people’s children, and with other adults. The more human we can be, to affect and be affected, the better the world is.

What I really want to do is direct

It’s overcast and cold today and I’m feeling melancholy. This, in addition to reminding me why I shudder each time Spouse recommends Portland, Oregon as a solution to his job woes and our financial woes, makes this MLA panel piece by Brian Croxall on the dismal prospects for academics in my field lately even more poignant.

(The punchline, if you don’t feel like reading it? Full time professors these days qualify for food stamps, and jobs for both Tweedy Tenure Track and its neglected stepchild Oliver Adjunct are beyond pathetic, hurting students, graduates, and Universities in a rather horrifying spiral. A rather nasty, brutish, and short career view paper read at an MLA panel that complements today’s intensely depressing Fresh Air interview of Woody Allen. Come on, people. The decade was bad enough without this layer of realism and honesty. It’s like living in a William Dean Howells novel today.)

It’s no fun to be depressed without some data to back you up. So here you go, courtesy of a Tweet by my recent conference panelmate Matt Bucher. Thanks, man. Contagious academic depression is almost enjoyable as an academic dissection of a funeral. Cheers!

You’re right. 2000s were worthless.

Op-ed piece crossed my ‘pooter just as I was thinking this, too…what a crappy decade.

[My semi-unrelated two cents? Please, in this week’s retrospectives, let’s all try to behave responsibly toward apostrophes in decade references. They were the 2000s. Or the ’00s. This is 2009’s final hour. For advanced punctuators, the ’00s’ last hurrah. No apostrophe for plurals, yes apostrophes for possessive. Please.]

Quick 2009 primer

Fascinating.

Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2009 this year, as rated by Foreign Policy. Seriously, read it.  It’s relatively short and absolutely worth your time.

A rare even-handed look at the conundrum in Afghanistan.

And, finally, a look at how pink ribbons have completely dumbed down our knowledge of women’s health issues in an article by Barbara Ehrenreich.  Politicians and corporations are still railroading science in this country, alas.

Play rather than memorize

Thanks to Elizabeth over at bleakonomy for linking to this article in the Washington Post about the importance of playtime over scheduled, formal instruction.

The quote Elizabeth pulled for her blog post is jaw-dropping:

Research has shown that by 23, people who attended play-based preschools were eight times less likely to need treatment for emotional disturbances than those who went to preschools where direct instruction prevailed. Graduates of the play-based preschools were three times less likely to be arrested for committing a felony.

Of course academic preschool doesn’t make people felons. That isn’t the argument in the article or in my ramblings. The argument is that formal, didactic learning for young children is counter productive. They need imaginative play with other children, supervised to make sure play is a safe and rewarding experience, but not scheduled and formalized to the point that the play becomes work. Or quote-educational-unquote. (Especially major corporation educational-for-profit type play. That means you, LeapPressure, Baby Neurotic, and Fisher for Dollars.)

Because seriously? Eight times less likely to need therapy is pretty significant. Especially given the other things we’re doing to screw our kids up.

Awful truth—Uighur uprising uninteresting to Christian right

So depressing that our media covers entertainment and Alaskan stories without putting proper perspective on the violent uprising in China.

Where now are the Republicans who wanted us to shout our disapproval of Iran from the highest, most offensive, and least appropriate mountains?

Check out this post by Glenn Greenwald on the double standard.

Don’t make me use the H word.  But when you pick and choose using your far-right-colored glasses (that color, I believe, is the really distorting maroon of upholstered hotel lobbies),  hyprocrisy is the only word to use.

Found around the Web today

I think Wednesday might become “shamelessly linking” day because it’s also Movie Day, during which my kid gets an hour of crap from a DVD and I rearrange furniture or finally put away winter clothes or whatever (whatever meaning both of those things, at least today).

Here’s a lame attempt at mocking the literati, offering a list of how to pretend to read like a hipster. (It’s funny if you aren’t above conflating “nerdy” and “ironic.” Or if you’ve never read any of the titles on the list.) I say, find the egregious error and win a prize, in which you can say you may be pretentious, but at least you’re not a poseur.

Here’s an article on the legal decision that nobody other than J.D. Salinger can write a sequel to Catcher. Swedish author calls it book banning. His lawyers said the derivative text was parody. Judge says no. And hopefully, is being misquoted with “naivety.”

Here’s a bit about Mayor Bloomberg’s literary reference to Roth’s newest novel and how, as always, it’s all about context.

Finally, here’s a small item to file in my gigantic folder of why Florida should be annexed to anyone who will take them. Place in subfolders “parents should be licensed” and “do not go to Florida.”

Moral scourges

At the risk of once again linking to another writer’s work rather than create my own…

Mark Morford humorously wonders which group poses the greatest pretend threat to the American way in this article, “Beware the Vegans!”. Pretty damned funny (and scary, since one of these otherwise useful groups will soon become the target in Rove’s sights).

Using your outside voice in the middle ages

Over at outside voice, where they are barely juggling academia and parenting, we have been challenged with finding our inner Renaissance Humanist.

So? What is the medieval you up to?

If you’re feeling like me today, you are a cartographer. See? Says so right here.

You Are a Cartographer
You have a wide range of knowledge and you’re very detail oriented.
You have a photographic memory, and you remember places very well.

Like a middle ages cartographer, you’re also very adventurous and curious about the world.
In modern times, you would *hypothetically* make a good non-fiction writer or scientist. If you didn’t have so many issues.

Working outside the home versus working inside the home smackdown

You wanna know who wins the ultimate championship of working mom versus stay-at-home mom? Bad Mommy Moments has tabulated and calculated and articulated her experiences as both and came up with this post.

You wanna know why the part-time work option only looks good until you’re knee deep in both hellish worlds? Read The Mask of Motherhood by Susan Maushart. A good choice for realizing that nobody in the motherhood game has it easy and we should all be a lot more honest with each other and the childfree about it.