Archive | September, 2012

Winning at Elitist Cocktail Parties

28 Sep


Man in sweatervest with fancy whisky cocktail: When it comes to writing about war, I think no work is more successful than Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est at portraying unrelenting brutality and anxiety.

You: Totally.

Never again! With this 5 minute course from the Huffington Post, you will be able to skillfully discuss those greatbooks you never got around to in undergrad. Just a quick scroll through a brief slide show and you’ll be deftly critiquing the works of Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck, and others with confidence and ease! And best of all, it’s ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Man in sweatervest with fancy whisky cocktail: When it comes to writing about war, I think no work is more successful than Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est at portraying unrelenting brutality and anxiety.

You: On the contrary, I found that Vonnegut’s imaginative use of science fiction in Slaughterhouse Five bolstered his depiction of the absurdity of war and inevitability of death.


Language Wars

28 Sep

We are nerds.

Ergo, we think this fascinating debate from the NYTimes is worth a read. (N.B. We do not approve their message re: Strunk & White because Elements of Style (the illustrated edition, of course) will always be definitive ioho.)

Which language and grammar rules are worth defending, and which should bow quietly as they exit stage left? Well, as a president once said: “We don’t negotiate with terrorists.”

(Penny absolutely refuses to give up on the subjunctive past. And also adverbs – she hurt you realLY badLY, people. LY.) ((Polly actually has been known to correct men in intimate situations. Protip: If you want her bad you aren’t going to get anywhere.))

Why Polly didn’t watch Elementary last night.

28 Sep

Pithy fast-paced banter.
Unrelenting dedication to Justice.
Inductive reasoning.
Modernization of the literary cannon that gave rise to an entire genre of detective fiction.

WHY did I not plan my week around watching this pilot?

Because unless you look like this, I care nothing for your detectivey sexual tension.

More nonsense from the Patriarchy

28 Sep


Nonsensical as an adjective may have gone out of style with the empire-waisted gowns of Austen heroines, but I vote we bring it back and apply its offensively missish connotations to the Illinois appeals court.

Because nonsensical is precisely the correct descriptive adjective for a ruling that gives pharmacists the right to decide – on a whim – whether or not it is morally acceptable for a specific customer to purchase emergency contraceptive.

That’s right, folks. In Illinois your pharmacist has the final say. (Or, double ugh, your pharmacist’s corporate head which, as we all know, is now a person.)

Translation: You look like you’re doing the walk of shame; I judge you; I will teach you a lesson in consequences for your actions.

Patriarchy, why you gotta be a dick?

How to Be a Woman: Mixed Feelings add up to “Meh”

27 Sep

Feeling 1: Hooray for funny women and feminism and actually talking about instead of around things.

Feeling 2: HTBAW took me a month to read… and another month to review. While I admit to being a bit promiscuous when it comes to books and reading, a funny and engaging book about a subject near and dear to my heart (smart, witty women overcoming the Patriarchy) should have taken me a week, maybe two – not four. (And as a definite sharer when it comes to books, I should have been ALL OVER this review weeks ago.)

Still, HTBAW is refreshingly straightforward and unabashedly rooted in personal experience – Moran doesn’t try to be her adolescent hero Germaine Greer. She is herself. Candid, occasionally crude, always writing with an eye to the humor. (She is a comedienne, after all.)

But I feel I must stress: sometimes (a lot of the time) the funny got in the way of Moran’s larger point. (See: chapter headings like “I start bleeding!” or “I become furry!”, etc.) I laughed, I winced, I didn’t cry (but then, I don’t) and I nodded my head a lot. If you enjoyed The Ugly Truth or Knocked Up and you are generally given to disparaging the Patriarchy in terms as sarcastic as possible, you will not hate this book. Neither will you love it.

Self-actualizing, brb.

27 Sep

“I just need to get a feel for your voice, so bring whatever you use for auditions.”

Oh, auditions? I’m flattered you think I have the discipline and motivation to throw myself into a life of that kind of overwhelming uncertainty, but no. I just really love to sing and my car arias to and from my 9-6 (plus overtime) job ((with benefits)) isn’t cutting it any more.

I do not possess that discipline. In the year and a half since Penny and I shared our undergraduate final recital, I haven’t taken any measures to improve my musical abilities. In fact I’ve only observed my range and talent slowly shrink. Which is why, starting yesterday, I will be paying way more than my budget allows for classical vocal training on every-other-Wednesday evening. Get ready, Verdi. I’m back!

Though my mother might not understand why I’d blow $170 a month for something that has no bearing whatsoever on my chosen career, I know I’d be unhappy if Singing and I continued to grow apart. Maybe it’s fiscally irresponsible, and maybe I won’t have any outlets to publicly showcase my work, and maybe I’m desperately clinging to those years where I could study one thing and be intensely involved in eighteen other extracurricular pursuits and hope that one day I will find that rare niche where all my talents coincide (if only traveling bards were more in-demand!) but I don’t care. I’m not getting back into voice lessons because I think I have a future in performing. I’m doing this for my soul and no one can tell me not to.

Blow that whistle, baby

27 Sep


We don’t care about the NFL.



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