Saturday, January 31, 2009

the good kind of envy

From Jean Painleve, titled Bust of a Seahorse 1930.


Ok so I am way over the fact that Gera and I might not be able to conceive naturally. I am resigned with this fact. I am fine, really. Yet, my sense and attraction to pregnant women has heightened like never before and I reminisce about my first pregnancy all the time, but not nonstop. I did so enjoy it then. And when I wrote that short story I posted way back, that female character who so desperately wanted a child was taken from someone else in my life at the time, not me. But when I re-read that story, I think mmm...I wonder if I was predicting my future and writing the character based on a future me. Okay, Artspark's Hamlet comes to mind right now....

But really, in all honesty, I've been fine.

Then...

I'm flipping through a book of French art we will discard because a library patron has slit out a page probably because it was either offensive, provocative, or they wanted perhaps to frame and put it on a wall, steal it and claim it as their own.

I'm flipping...

I come across this beautiful, stately seahorse which my camera does no justice, especially because I'm supposed to be working and I think, "Darn it, even a male seahorse can get knocked up faster than I!"

But really I'm okay. ArtSpark's post today was a beautiful reminder that being 'heady' is just part of being human. My envy of the seahorse is the good kind.

Friday, January 30, 2009

sex and tennis shoes



Every now and then it's good to chew on something from the past. While researching an obituary at the library, I found this interesting newspaper archive, a spin on California women (really the writer includes Californians). Keep in mind this is a 'real' article from the late 60s--so no, I didn't make it up. I'm not sure what to make of it, and this could be because I had a 13 year love affair with the Golden State and am somewhat protective of it, its 'contrasting nature.'

California Is a Study In Contrast
by Russell Baker, November 26, 1968. New York Times News Service

SAN FRANCISCO -- California has given American culture two original women. One is the sex goddess. The other is the little old lady in tennis shoes. It is typical of California that the two should be opposing ideas of womanhood and that both should be caricature rather than flesh.

Of all the states, California comes closest to being a state of schizophrenia. It is a mass of opposed ideas which the state has never been able to hold in balance in its mind. Here, opposed ideas tend instead to pull the mind in two and keep California living on the edge of a caricature abounding in Jekylls and Hydes.

For every idea in California, there is an equal and opposed idea. Northern California is one idea, Southern California another. Culturally (as well as geographically) they are as far apart as Massachusetts and Georgia, and just as insistent upon their separate identities.

Politically, California's tendency to yield to the tension of opposed ideas instead of synthesizing them accounts for the unpredictable aberrations which so amuse the rest of the country.

Here the kooks of both right and left are just a little kookier than anywhere else. The John Birch Society flourishes side by side with the anarchists. Max Rafferty springs from the same soil as Earl Warren. The little old lady in the tennis shoes coexists with the Black Panthers.

The split personality is manifest everywhere. What other state would reject a man for its governor, as California rejected Richard Nixon in 1962, then give him its vote for President of the United States, as California did for him in 1968?

Los Angeles has the most affluent Negro community in the United States, yet it was the first to riot. Southern California is basking in wealth produced by federal subsidies for the futuristic-warfare industry, yet it consistently votes for the candidate who scares it most persuasively about the evils of socialism.

At the moment, however, the most violently opposed forces in California are youth and age. In other parts of the country the generation gap may bother the population, but there is little evidence that it enrages and terrifies people as it does here in California.

A week of traveling between Los Angeles and San Francisco leaves the strong impression that out here, in the golden world which has always prided itself upon its youthfulness, zest and appetite for adventure, the young and the middle-aged are glaring at each other across barricades of hostility.

The provocation to the middle-aged, of course, has been the incessant and increasingly violent student demonstrations that have become a commonplace of California life since the 'free speech' movement began at Berkeley several years ago.

Now, in every congregation of the middle-aged, the visitor is almost immediately cross-examined to as certain which side he is on.

One is treated to earnest expositions on the dangers of long hair and advised confidentially that there would be no trouble with the children if it were not for 'outside agitators.'

A lot of the students in California are undoubtedly, as Eric Hoffer argued, just 'having a ball.' Even so, in a community accustomed to synthesizing opposed ideas, it should not be impossible to bring the aging and the young a little closer together.

Why shouldn't the young want to have a ball? It is only natural for the young. Those who are now middle-aged and scared of them had their great adventure with World War II and the survivors built a world where the be all and end all was security and settled into it and became old heroes.

No great wisdom about the young is required to see that to youth an old hero ends by being a bore, or that the security so valued by the tired middle-aged is a poor substitute for youth's need to challenge the world. The old heroes probably made a mistake in believing that their children would be different from them, in expecting them to settle for middle age before they had grown up. They were not and now here, and everywhere else, they are struggling to create artificially some challenges to free them from the boredom of middle-aged security.

It is not likely that this rationalization is going to persuade anyone in California right now. Right now, children and parents in the Golden State are as far apart as the sex goddess and the little old lady in tennis shoes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

the sky is alive

I've been away for awhile, never by choice. The college is buzzing right now and posting time is skim. Students are already signing up for tutoring sessions; I am reminded of promises to myself, the new approaches to teaching this semester--don't be boiler plate. Not only that but Texas weather has been rather moody--the usual. From rain to warm to sleet to iced roads. The college was closed for two days, the library filled with homeless people, then it too decided to close. I spent the ice days finishing minor house projects and a little crocheting. Pretty much--nothing great to post, just another crazy weather week in Texas.



Some days a Texas sky will prance right before your eyes.



Other days a Texas sky will hover like a monster with wading arms ready to swallow.



More often than not, a Texas sky will mesmerize you with its electric blue twisting down into barren trees.



...and then it will open and freeze you stiff, cause havoc and shut down.


This can all happen within two days.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

consume the short moments



...today is sunday. coffee fried eggs a spoonful of chorizo salsa verde refried beans a little mayonnaise on warmed tortillas blueberry juice...i am writing a little before heading into work at the library. gera is lost in his workshop early before heading to sell at the flea market. the morning is sunlessly warm. i am thinking about the pine trees in crockett, texas and the way old people used to catch hummingbirds: douse the suckles with liquor. it must have felt like catching god in their hands.

Friday, January 23, 2009

cooking + desire = happy couple

X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X



When Gera and I argue, it's almost always over cooking. The irony is I come from a family of cookers--my mother, my grandmothers and my great auntie all cooked, were always in the kitchen when I was growing up. I do remember that whenever I tried to tip toe up and around to my Big's arms, hands, and elbows, she'd shush me out of the kitchen and back to my books. I never understood, until later, why she didn't want me in the kitchen. She wanted me to get my education. A lot of that had to do with them (my grandmothers) being domestic workers. As a result, I cook, but I don't always know what I'm doing. I don't necessarily like it at a time I should and to make matters worse, I don't always feel up to it---the kitchen.


However...

This past week amidst a busy time for both Gera and myself, I decided to make one of his favorites: chili rellenos filled with queso fresco, served in tomato caldito. I've made them before, but this time I prepared them with utmost patience and I actually wanted to cook (always makes food taste better, and dishes turn out near perfect--when you feel like cooking).



I went to Whole Foods and carefully selected their best organic poblanos, organic red eggs, and some other good stuff. I couldn't help but take a bunch of beautiful chards. Made those the next day. I am learning that in order to continue to shop at Whole Foods, we need to budget for it. Prices are jacked way the hell up. But when it comes to putting healthier foods into our bodies, this becomes unimportant.



I am also learning that my other half is correct--it is better for us, health wise and economically so, to eat in eat in eat in. I'm still on the wagon for now, but I do protest from time to time. The most important part of all this is a lesson that a good home cooked meal makes a happy couple.


mom&daddy - 1966

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

cowtown crunch

When Gera and I want to get away from the rural (our curbless, horse infested neighborhood), we venture out to downtown. Yes, Fort Worth actually has a downtown---with thriving night life and even some rodeo-ing. We mainly walk the museums then frequent a bar.

The climate has finally decided to act like winter instead of pretending it's Springtime. The nights are cool but pleasant. The days are at times windy and biting. Sometimes, we grab a coffee and bundle up on a bench. Peoplewatch.

I've checked the pulse on our cowtown and everyone seems to be less tense, jovial even, but braced. The sad part about our adventure around the outskirts of town is seeing all the businesses closing---the CLOSING or OUT OF BUSINESS or GOING OUT OF BUSINESS or FORECLOSED signs, little shops and stores that were probably started by someone's great great grandparents, but must succumb to the reality of our economy. Despite, FWTX is still going strong, but like every where else...strong with deep caution.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20, 2009 -- a humble lion



Today is surreal. What do I like about our new President...his intelligence and that extreme ability not to get his undies in a bunch over others' remarks that have nothing whatsoever to do with his ability to lead the country. I like the calm nature about him, but I also sense a great deal of confidence and innate ability to protect. My favorite characteristic about President Barack Obama is his diversity. In him, I see a miracle that we, Americans, made happen together. I see every culture, creed and color. I like that his mother is white and he was raised by white grandparents and I like that his wife is the color my daughter was. I like that he is opened to dialogue about his father, the departure. I like that his face will restore Americans' ability to travel internationally and be welcomed (again). I don't think Americans will ever be revered or idolized internationally. Those days are over. I like that he has a squeaky clean track and is scandal free. I like the way he will handle the fabric of America (sin arrogance, sin greed, sin cockiness, sin 'i am god'). I like that he chose cabinet people who make up and represent a variety of us, which is all of us, which is America. To me, President Barack Obama represents health. I know for some it seems scary to have a President with his creed and background, a President with his name, but I am so proud of us all for becoming tired, for becoming open-minded, for trusting, for choosing and voicing the need to be different, the need to put on a new suit. I think he will maintain many of the traditions of past presidents, but he will do so under our say, our eyes, in our presence, not behind doors, not behind fabrication, not behind lies, not behind manipulation. He won't keep us out of the know. I like that he is honest and has been from the get. He will be a lion. Humbly so.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

and sometimes the mundane calls

Within the last few months I have seen some artwork that awes and mesmerizes. Everyday I blog, I feel like it's for the first time. I love that adrenaline of 'what's next' for me and for my fellow bloggers. A few days ago, I began, again, to shoot areas around the house that appealed to me, that say it all best in their mundane state.I love looking around at the life Gera and I have made in our house--we are neat in some areas, careless in others, and extreme (i.e., the Marilyn Monroe he painted on our living room wall posted last year). I couldn't find not a single area in our house that suggested conservatism--maybe our hair products, but nothing else.

When I look back five years ago, at pics (like the Louie Armstrong feature at the beginning of my blog) of mundane areas in my apartment: me, Davis, California, grieving, studying, working, thinking, grieving, everyday alone (by choice), there was a great deal of re-learning going on. I had to teach myself how to live alone. It wasn't easy but it was a journey that has help build on me. Many pics taken then of the mundane spaces express re-learning...and nothing was dusty. Today, five years into a great relationship, I love the chaos nature of our home. Nothing is organized, nothing is taken for granted, nothing suggests loneliness or re-learning. And dust exists.

The pics were taken just as the space is; nothing is arranged or prop'd for effect.

Gera and I no longer argue over the overwhelming sensation of all my books. He's learned just to leave them be. They hover over our bed--the biggest headboard bookshelf one can imagine--and that's what they do. From time to time, I'll want to read a classic or something again, like Michael Chabon's The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay or anything by Gabriel Garcia Marquez or Anton Chekhov and I will pluck it out, dust it off and dive.

Gera's mother in the background always surprises me. I look at her picture often and wonder how in the world did she raise seven children (stair steps) with so very very little. Poor, really (in a financial sense). She was a ship and continues to be, to me.

I'm curious to see what the mundane spaces in our house will look like five more years from now. It evolves as we do. There will be dust though I'm sure. I heard a woman say once "Dull women have immaculate houses." I don't really think that's fair, but for me, it's a nice dicho.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

a 1958 princess



In this fabulous family archive I had to post is my great grandma (QT), my mother in the middle, my grandma (Big) is to the right. Little girls love princess dresses--my Ruby, when she was just barely 1, loved toddling around in a little fairy dress. And when Gera and I sell items at a local, gigantic flea market, there is not one single time that we don't see little girls dressed as fairies or princesses. And almost all of them love to have the princess theme in their rooms.

I love this picture because my mother is an example that princesses were around during the 50s, although this is supposed to be her birthday dress for turning 12 years old.

Of our six maternal generations, the one missing is my great great grandma who was not fond of photos at this time or any time. Of course, Jenn (my daughter) and I weren't even in the stars----yet. I am so grateful that I knew all my grandmas very very very well. I was fortunate to live all of my young life and a great deal of my adult life with them---as written in one of my on-going book chapters, I could be found, most of the time, around their knees or in the depths of their armpits.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

the ever ugly backwoods mentality

Can you believe that one school district in Texas tried to prevent school children from watching the inauguration of President Barack Obama under the guise of-it interferes with curriculum? Bullshit! Nothing like this about my south surprises me, but when children are stunted in their education and robbed of a ground-breaking historical time, my heart stops.

Read it for yourself:

Keller ISD one of few Dallas-Fort Worth area school districts not to show Obama inauguration

By Pegasus News wire

While many Dallas-Fort Worth area school districts are offering their students the opportunity to watch Barack Obama's inauguration on January 20, that opportunity will not be available in Keller ISD. District officials say that they "shouldn't sacrifice the instructional time" to watch the event live since students will be able to watch it later at home on the internet or in rebroadcasts.


Posted by Alex B.

My Aunt told me that after many people 'raised hell' the denial was reversed

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

postsecret [dot] com

If you still haven't ever visited postsecret.com you are missing out.

Samples of what Frank Warren started and what post secret is all about:





I learned about this site via nosing around in my public library while working. I believe there are currently four volumes. I enjoy reading the things people have experienced in life: the young and the old. Losing my 14 year old daughter proved to be and still proves to be the most difficult experience in my life--when I read some of the secrets, the not-so funny ones like the first and last posts above, I understand even more--that life is a tricky ordeal and I'm not alone in the must-do of involuntary bravery.

Thanks to Frank Warren turning a little idea into a forum that saves lives.

Long Beach in the 70s

Looking back through family archives is one of my favorite ways to pass time. My great auntie of 80 years old gave me some old black and whites and even a few post cards. I read this one and was floored at her use of the term "got stone[d]". This was her first of two trips ever to California. She an my Uncle in the 70s. The post is addressed to my grand mother, her sister, and my grandfather, Jesse James who was a gem.


I was so surprised because if you've ever read any of my earlier posts, you know then that my Auntie is not the type to use such phrases. And then I think maybe my impression of her is solely based on my years as a young girl and as a woman, with her. Either this or she had a touch of Cali-spell. She's the epitome of black southern, foul mouthed, but loves people--all people--and speaks most of the time in broken dialect. African American vernacular. To imagine though that she wrote "got stone[d]" is, to me, out of this world. But shows that even when you think you have your closest relatives pegged, something blows a hole right through your tag.

our board




Usually our dry erase board contains words for Gera like scissors v. seizures, pans v. pants, the ever trying conditional verbs like would should and could, on tap v. on top (okay, this came up when I ordered a beer at a bar), or other more indepth grammar stuff. Or it will have words that his eldest brother uses that I might never find in a book or on babel fish and if I did, the meaning and their use are completely different, (words that come up in our conversation and Gera has to stop Alex and say "you need to explain 'mechas'" she doesn't know that word. Or 'pambosas' because I always forget this word or rayar - not the same as in a dictionary. Usually we have a collage of Spanish and English phrases and sentences--but never Spanglish! I try my best not to do Spanglish---it's just wrong. Or Gera's handsome nephew and his partner will come by and Isra (nephew) just has to draw or write something on our board--always. Pic shown above. Or I will practice what I want to write in my nieces' books: Cierra, Ruby, Trinity. Before you go to bed everything night, read.

After a few hours of talking, thinking, teaching and learning with Gera on Sunday night, I finally erased everything, went to the frig and pulled out one of my favorite treats: a chilled bottle of Toasted Head.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

first vein

under a gray-purple tarp
you fix on your Daddy's lawnmower
throw rice to the cocks
and curse around the damp heat
at mosquitoes

we touch again
in the north east this time
your sand and
tender smell of turquoise water
still hides in my dreads
your voice and
warm saliva
still tucks in my navel

through the rough callous of your hands
you give me a smuggled breadfruit

from my yard

you tell me my body
shapes like my hair
the tight coil delights you and
there are no seconds before
we are stripped
to an ache

then you tell me about cayman trees
ironwood
candlewood
pepper cinnamon
silver thatch
fiddlewood
broadleaf
smokewood
and how fried barracuda tastes in July

i can tell you nothing American
because it is everywhere--so
i tell you about the flawless beauty
of my daughter and the holy jinx
in my great-great grandmother's laughter

innocent your trees

before the moon strikes
our lips and backs and necks
you are already loving me again like
wind caught in sweet dusky soil

my voice lingers
it hangs right there
in front of your breath
dissonant and cacophonous
and yes
I hear you

our vein full of old rich African souls

Saturday, January 10, 2009

an any given evening

Gera is watching an archive, Lennox Lewis and Ray Mercer.

Dinner: spinach mushrooms chicken a little cheese

For dessert we ate my great grandmother's dinner version of sweet potatoes: wash, rub with oil, wrap in foil, bake...until a fork slides through with ease. Remove foil, split, add a little olive oil butter (there is such a thing). Add cinnamon and oh yes baby, we add a little condensed sweet milk--just a little, mix in skin, then devour. Heaven! The aroma smells like...Fall.

Earlier, we passed time in a local aquarium shop.

He is researching aquariums: designs, shapes, sizes, wood type, types of glass, etc., for an upcoming project. Yes, he will build an aquarium from scratch for some clients.

These little guys were beautiful and looked to me like colorful saucers. The warning reads: Please Don't Touch Discus Breeding Pairs. After a while, I felt sad staring at the beautiful fish, their colors, movement, their differences and similarities. Many tropical. And even though their environment appears surreal, authentic looking, most of the fish were quite tepid. It's funny how we, humans, enjoy capture.

what else can you do with bacon?

Now, for sure, I've heard and seen it all. If you thought bacon was only for consumption (poor pigs), think again and then again.

A recent article from the New York Times Papercuts reports on the so-called bacon bookmark myth. I asked one of the more mature librarians his take and 'Urban Myth' is precisely what he called the claim and said he heard of this back in the 70s. Myth or not, it makes for good fodder. I cringe at the thought of the grease from bacon, the addictive smell, soiling crisp book pages.


January 8, 2009, 10:35 am
Librarian, There’s Some Bacon in My Book
By Jennifer Schuessler



A few weeks ago in the Book Review, Henry Alford wrote about strange things found stashed (and smashed) inside books, from money and photographs to baby’s teeth, insect corpses and pieces of superannuated bacon.

Bacon. Really?

Out in the blogosphere, there seems to be a lot of skepticism about the bacon bookmark meme — or “urban legend,” if you prefer. The most detailed discussion I could find, a 2006 essay on the aptly named site Bibliobuffet, mentions numerous sightings of errant breakfast meat in libraries from Florida to Nebraska (the earliest known bacon-in-books sighting was in an Omaha library) to Washington State and beyond, but no first-hand accounts from librarians, let alone testable lab samples of “book jerky.”

“I have never heard directly from a librarian who has found bacon” in a book, Farley — who claims to have a collection of more than 5,000 bookmarks — said in an email message. The closest she came, apparently, was an interview with the creators of the library comic strip Unshelved, in which they talked about hearing first-hand from librarians who had found bacon. (Alas, the interview no longer seems to be available online.)

So, readers, where’s the pork? Have you ever found (or put) any meat products in your books?

(P.S. If you lust for a bacon bookmark but don’t want to leave a grease stain, or kill a pig, you can always knit your own.

I will say that one time Gera and I found $4 pressed into an old, hardback copy of Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet. It's still there. We actually purchased the book with a dollar profit from a secondhand store. I hope in my future tenure as a library assistant I don't ever discover bacon in a book.

But hold on to your hair:

Just when you think the idea of bacon in a book reached an all new high--- there is such a thing as crocheted bacon! I love this lady's crochet website because she crochets just about any darn thing you can imagine! Anything! Even severed fingers.

No need to try to adjust your screen or look closer, the first pic is the actual crocheted bacon. This takes the cake like nothing else and is just brilliant. I crochet, but I certainly don't have these creative crochet-fabulous genius genes.






Check Out This Crochet Site Even if You Don't Crochet. I see why she calls it Monster Crochet. She Bad

Friday, January 9, 2009

got behind




I worked last night at the library, and almost forgot my holds had finally come. I'm behind a tad on my previously listed reading. I think I will start first with my little sister's recommendation: The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. She promises a ride with this one. The other two books: Friendly Fire by A. B. Yehoshua and The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel, I will hopefully jump into the last week in January. I will keep all posted on the worthy.

I'm open to recommendations!

a poet i teach

Lam Thi My Da

Washing Rice (2001)

My mother is washing rice in late morning
A gentle wind ruffles the shade of the palms
The yellow rice glistens in rippled water
The ripe grains and the unripe look the same
They are both the color of silk, the same color
But why does she keeping washing, washing so long?

How many unripe grains drift away from you, Mother?
How many ripe grains stay with you and talk?
When I go out tomorrow, full of life,
Will my lesson be your hand, washing rice?

Another work I plan to add to my list of short works to teach this Spring semester is the unforgetable Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane. If you've never read this little gem, you might want to check your pulse.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

east of eden

This month I found a very cute video clip that I just had to share.

boys are to die for

This video cracks me up--to the max. I love the little Charlie's laugh at his own mischief--biting his brother. Hopefully, the eldest learned a lesson. Too cute!

necessity



Time: 1988
Photographer: Me
Subject: My Mom
Location: Our backyard in Texas
Why: Because I think she's beautiful most when she's being domestic

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

words that tag&teach





I've been called several things in my lifetime, some good and some not so good. During the holidays year before last, at the college, I sort of snuck in a party while coworkers from other admin departments were playing some kind of guess word game. I think you get a label and then you have to guess what you are. A group acts it out. Well, just as I was hurrying out with a napkin of cookies and a glass of punch, my then female supervisor with whom I had a so-so relationship slapped a sticker on the back of my back.

Vixen: A quarrelsome woman, a shrew, perhaps from the fierceness of the she-fox with cubs. This word has been applied to female foxes (from the Anglo-Saxon fyxe, the feminine of 'fox') since the 15th c. and to the female humans since the 16th c.

Of course I didn't stick around to let others help me guess what I was.

A funny thing--we got along perfectly until she tried to force me to get out and socialize with other coworkers from other departments and attend holidays gatherings. I told her I was full of work-parties from my law firm days and any free time I had, I would spend either with my students or at home with my family. The fight was on, but then died down quickly. I'm not a social butterfly and I don't do schmoozing. Furthermore, I have never gotten along well with female supervisors. She's since retired on a bitter note.

Other names I've been called:

Twit: A stupid person, an insignificant one.

A legal secretary once called me this because again, I wouldn't do something she wanted me to do, was not required of me and I challenged her. I was defiant. It took everything nice about me not to immediately respond "Twat." We got over it later on though. She was, at the time, I think going through menopause. But in her use of this term, you can probably believe I really pissed her off.

As a literature guru, I tend to relate life back to literature and literature back to life, no brilliance to this, right? But these two name-calling, name-labeling instances remind me so of the narrator in Chopin's Story of An Hour, a story I teach way too often just to get a reaction out of students:

"...she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending her in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature."

Other names I've been called:

Yellow: Chiefly the color representing cowardice, but with many other noxious associations, e.g., diseases, treachery (Judas' clothes), heresy. Yellow was also used to single out Jews, who were required to wear the yellow badge. A Mongolian or, in the United States, a black (often as yeller, a light-skinned black, from 1834). The term's connotations in the racial context extend beyond the mere perception of color, however. Yellowfish, a Chinese who has entered the United States illegally; comparable to the Wetback from Mexico.

Redbone, and some other names, not necessarily related to my light olive tone or defiant personality.

I think back on these terms and wonder about words my great grandmother used to use to describe or name something. Not only that, but funny sounding words have been created for just about any and everything.

Scalawag: A reprobate, a rascal; historically, a white Republican in the South who supported the congressional plan of reconstruction after the Civil War

Wetblanket: Someone or something that spoils an occasion or ruins the fun for others; a person so gloomy that he depresses others

Rube: A resident of a rural area, a rustic, especially a dim-witted one

Ribbon clerk: An amateur; an ineffectual person

Schvartze: A black person

Skinflint: A contemptible person

Windbag: A person who talks a lot, especially one who doesn't know what he is talking about

Wisenheimer: One who pretends to know more than others

Nookie: Sexual intercourse or a woman considered as a sexual partner

Biddy: A variant of Bridget, generic from the 18th c. to the early 20th century for an Irish serving girl; gradually extended to include maids of any ethnic extraction and then to women of any occupation, usually as old biddies, elderly gossips or fussbudgets

Lummox: A big, clumsy person; often a stupid one as well

Lily-livered: Cowardly

Piffle: Nonsense foolish talk

Pettifogger A quibbling lawyer, especially an unscrupulous one

Pogey bait: Candy, sweets, specifically a treat that is used to lure a young male-the pogue-into a homosexual encounter

Poontang: Sexual intercourse or a woman regarded as a sex object

Mollycoddle: A pampered, overprotected weakling; an effeminate man or boy

Okay, now I understand the title of the book Wicked Words by Hugh Rawson. Most of the words are negative in connotation--rarely decent. I do like that some of these are old like "biddy"--my great grandmother used to use this term to refer to my daughter when she was a little crawling baby. Unfortunately, I heard my uncle use the very negative term, peckerwoord, a white person originally and especially a poor, white, Southern farmer; black use. This is just as bad as the word nigger or wetback or spade. I'm glad times have changed, for the most and our younger generation will laugh at another who might attempt to use such degrading words. I say 'laugh' because the minute you hear these latter, derogatory terms, the sayer is dated and makes him look puny, old and insignificant.

I think it's pretty amazing how some of the other terms come to be what they are.

Sorehead: A constant (loud) complainer; a malcontent

Swellhead: A vain person; one with delusions of grandeur. Mugwump is synonymous.

Stepin Fetchit: A gofer, an errand boy; specifically, a black male in a menial position.

Remember the Human Stain by Philip Roth...an entire novel built around one term: spook. Incredible.

And last for now, a shoat: an idler, a worthless person; an Americanism

Shirker: One who evades work or other responsibilities.

I haven't had much time to think about it, but I wonder what funny sounding words, derogatory or not, our recent past and current century has invented...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

librarians are the 2009 it




I feel special--even though technically--I am a library assistant. But go figure anyhoo:

Librarianship Named "Best Career" in 2009

Some welcome news in today's tough economy, U.S. News and & World Report last week named librarianship as a "Best Career 2009."

The overview dispels the image of librarians as "mousy bookworms," reporting that librarians have become "high-tech information sleuths, helping patrons plumb the oceans of information available in books and digital records, often starting with a clever Google search but frequently going well beyond." Special librarianship in particular is named the field's fastest-growing job market.

YES I'M A SLEUTH

booksbooksbooksbooksbooksbooksbooksbooksbooksbooksbooks

Oh, but in the end though, my sister (the new mom) still kicks ass as a high paid emergency room registered nurse!

i didn't know Texans cared


The Dallas Zoo is seen these days as "mean" and a "killer" institution. The elephant, Jenny, shown in pictures Gera took in November 2008 show her as sad and unhealthy in appearance. For a long time, activists have been fighting with the Dallas Zoo to release Jenny, especially after her mate, Keke, died.

I was not aware of the problem until one librarian informed me---in whispers. Apparently city employees are not supposed to get in the middle of big, highly publicized issues like this one. I know if this elephant was in California, swift steps would have been taken to ensure her health and ultimate care. As of this month, it sounds like they old girl will remain at the zoo caged with the hopes that a new partner will revive her and jump start her spirit. The zoo is seen as a commodity, small money making tourist attraction, but others see it as abusive, especially where this elephant is concerned. I am amazed and so proud of all the people who are fighting to have her put in a better habitat. I'm happy to see Texans care. Of course I know they do on many levels, but this issue has stirred some high official pots.

I was told that because Jenny is in such a tiny space, she has calluses and abscesses on her feet. She's slowly fading because she is lonely and apparently is unable to interact with....well nothing but zookeepers and people watchers. I asked Gera how did she look to him and he said "miserable"--not triumphant like elephants usually carry on. I read a little about her situation and thought statements like "The zoo thought better and decided the 10,000-pound pachyderm would remain at her home of 22 years and would also get a new companion, which might help end her depression" quoted in the press are so ridiculous and undermining.

But wait, there's more:

“We believe we have found a solution that benefits Jenny as well as the Dallas community,” the zoo’s executive director, Gregg Hudson, said Wednesday in a statement. “This plan serves Jenny’s best interests.”

Seems to me her best interest would be to move in unlimited space, her natural habitat! Anything less is animal cruelty.

Read on:

Mr. Hudson first decided to send the elephant, who suffered from depression panic attacks, to the African Safari Park in Puebla, Mexico, after her companion, Keke, died of heart disease in the month of May.

As African elephants are very sensitive when it comes to their companions’ death, it was feared that Jenny’s health was endangered.

But Mr.Hudson’s good intentions were not well received by many, including local residents, animal-rights advocates, lawmakers and elephant experts. The critics said that the noisy zoo in Puebla might actually worsen Jenny’s state and trigger her rages. They requested that the elephant is sent to a 2,700-acre sanctuary for traumatized circus and zoo elephants in Tennessee. But this plan was not welcomed by Dallas Zoo officials and a national umbrella organization that accredits zoos in North America. The zoo officials argued that the Tennessee elephant sanctuary was not accredited by the zoo association, which meant that Jenny might not be provided with proper care.

I ask, is she provided with proper care now?

But now Mr. Hudson came with a better plan, promising to speed up the construction of a new 15-acre habitat for large African mammals and also to find a new companion for Jenny.

I wonder how Mr. Hudson would feel...all caged up, in a small 5x5 foot space? What if he couldn't stand up completely and had to bend over slightly, and couldn't lie down...inchy little openings between each bar and every once in a while someone would come along and pat the top of his head and toss jelly drops at him? Well...maybe he's not the blame. I really don't know who is, but I do know that a few of my coworkers are in an uproar over Jenny's condition and they seem to have that vicious, California activist glow in their eyes.

I don't know what will come of the old girl, but I did want to dedicate a post to her for my coworker C. I also signed a petition for her and told her I would do all I could to help. This post is a start.

Feel free to read more:

save jenny

release jenny

Sunday, January 4, 2009

whaaa!



No lloras, no lloras!

So tomorrow, I am back at the college. I have mixed feelings. Looking forward to getting back to my work routine, but not the needy, clingy students. I usually wear out around September. It's been a great month off, however, despite my pregnancy issues. A month goes quickly when you're bumming around, crocheting, drinking tea or coffee, a hit of Patron for the holidays, reading great books, savouring homemade pumpkin pancakes, watching movies, cleaning from time to time, a little visiting, eating good food and going out to a nice restaurant occasionally, for no reason--specifically. I love it when I have a break from cooking. My other half lives up to the Mexican tradition of cooking and eating in--so when we do go out to a nice restaurant, it's a big deal--a few hours of get-away.

Tomorrow will begin with new students coming into the department. Some will look a little scared, lost and others will be ready to jump in. This Spring semester I have vowed (to myself) to teach with enthusiasm all the way to the end (next December) and avoid becoming repetitive or sounding boiler plate-ish. I'm redecorating my office, well...really just adding another piece of artwork and house some of my own books in my office. I will add a few other whatnots and such to keep myself engaged in my duty as a teacher. After Spring time, it's so easy to jump rail and have a burn out.

I also plan to teach my classes this new year with a tad more umpf! I may video myself just to watch it later and note areas that need improvement or not. And I will give out rate-your-essay-writing-workshop-instructor sheets after class is over to see what students really think.

In any event please stop by postsecret and see what new secrets are out. Some are just completely mindblowing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

only in Texas


Weather for Fort Worth, TX today, Saturday, January 3, 2009:
84°F

Current: Clear
Wind: S at 0 mph
Humidity: 25%Sat

40°F | 32°FSun

38°F | 36°FMon - rain - freeze

58°F | 36°FTue

63°F | 38°F


It's really January, but today it feels like summertime: 84 degrees, warm and bright out. People are literally in shorts. But so it goes, tomorrow we will be in warm jackets and knitted scarves, sipping on hot cocoa.