Thursday, June 20, 2013

Language bullshyte walls

Unnecessary euphemisms are asinine.

Necessary ones can be quite practical when you have young ears around or folks who you don't really want to know what you're talking about, but unnecessary euphemisms are slowly starting to annoy me.

I mean, why?  Why use it?  Are you using it because you believe the listener will be offended by what you're saying or because you are too skittish to say what you really mean?  Are using euphemisms a tactful way to avoid offending others or do we increasingly lack the courage of our convictions and so we choose alternative, sad, watered down versions of what we're really trying to say?

The longer I teach, the more annoyed I get with euphemisms.  The handbook we use reminds students (and teachers) to be direct and succinct in word choice and expression, so this has become a part of my life.  Don't fill your language with fluffy, indirect terms that don't add any real meaning to the text but instead are just circumlocutory ways to get to the point.  Be direct!  Say what you mean with courage and conviction.  If it offends, oh well--at least your point was clear.

The more I become a lover of language, the less tolerant I become for language bullshyte.  (I suppose in some ways using "shyte" could be seen as a euphemism for "shit," but I don't use "shyte" because I need a euphemism; I use it because I like it.  Anyone who knows me knows I have NO qualms about cursing.)  Language bullshyte is a waste of time--mine and yours.  Yours because you had to find a roundabout way to say what you didn't want to say directly.  Mine because if I don't understand what the heck you're saying, I have to waste time figuring out what the fuck you meant.  Be direct; don't waste time.

Becoming a parent changes your life in so many ways.  Since becoming a parent, euphemistic words that annoy me most relate to the genital parts of the body.  I'm starting to see that it's a preference for some people, but I also surmise that it's a generational thing for some people to choose to use words like "peterwhacker," "vajayjay," "pecker," "vaj," and the like.  (And this is to say nothing of the slang terms that we all know so well--"cock," "dick," "pussy," "cooch," etc.  The slang terms are another topic for another day.)

When I first became a parent, I decided that my child(ren) would know and use the correct terms for the body parts: penis, vagina, breast, etc.  I mean, we don't say "peepers" (eyes) or "walkers"(feet) or some other asinine words for other body parts, so why do we feel the need to teach children euphemistic terms for penis and vagina.  Giving these parts cutesy terms delays understanding.  It distracts, and it gives people a language wall to hide behind.  It makes it as if the real words and by extension, the parts themselves, are an embarrassment.  This cannot be healthy.

From my own experience, growing up using the euphemistic terms delayed my ability to openly and freely discuss my body when it was necessary.  Discussing, looking at educational images of, thinking about these parts became taboo and somehow wrong.  That certainly isn't healthy.
Could it be that simply not using the correct terms makes people embarrassed about discussing the body parts?  And what happens when people are embarrassed to discuss genital parts?  Disinformation?  Delayed understanding of sexuality?  Hiding things unnecessarily? 

And if no one ever comes back to the child later and has a real life discussion with the real words about how everything works and why you shouldn't be ashamed of the words OR the body parts, what happens when that person becomes an adult and still has the embarrassment factor associated with their genitalia?  What happens when they encounter the opposite sex or the same sex in a sexual encounter?  What happens when they first learn of people being asexual or transgendered or a hermaphrodite or anywhere else in between?  Do they seek an understanding of these new ideas and thoughts or do they remain just as embarrassed because they were never exposed to the correct terms from an early age?

Now, I'm not saying that simply using "penis" or "vagina" will stop people from being confused or repressed or secretive.  I'm also not saying that people need to go out and practice free love and overshare, but I am saying that having honest conversations with honest language does a world of good.

In recent months, what's annoyed me most about the words "penis" and "vagina" is the pregnancy and parenting message boards I frequent.  I read these posts that use the euphemistic terms and think, "Ok, you're actually pregnant right now, and you can't (or won't) use the actual words for the body parts that made you pregnant?  Is this a personal preference or can you not say the words?  Are you seeking not to offend or are you skittish?  And if you're seeking not to offend, isn't it a bit damn ridiculous that people frequenting message boards for pregnant people cannot use the words 'penis' and 'vagina'?  What the hell?"

And while we're on the words "penis" and "vagina" and generations.  I crack up a little inside each time my son uses the word "penis" and an older person cringes.  It makes me smile that my son is using the correct terms and in some way is chipping away the way of language bullshyte that my loving family create for themselves.  It also makes me smile because in some ways, I'm raising a budding rebel. ;-)

Admittedly, it took me awhile courageously stand on with my convictions to use clear, direct, real language--especially as it relates to "penis" and "vagina."  But I'm there now, and I encourage others to go forth and conquer your language bullshyte wall.  Perhaps if we stop using language bullshyte, we'll come to demand it of others and we might all be a bit better off.

For now, I'll encourage you to check out this spoken word poem "Totally like whatever, you know?" by Taylor Mali.

Go forth and speak with conviction.

Tear down your language bullshyte wall!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Draper was ALWAYS a monster!

I just read "Don Draper's A Monster, and Here's Why We're Finally Noticing" from the Huffington Post, and I have a few issues with this title and the article.

Don has ALWAYS been a monster, and I don't know whether to shrug off the suggestion that people seem to just now be noticing or to rant about what the hell have people being paying attention to if they didn't see that well before now.

I also take issue with what he was finally called a monster for doing.  Yeah, it was jacked up that he stole the credit for the idea out from under Peggy, and she was definitely right to confront him--it's one of the main things I love about her lately.  But this isn't new Don.  It's the same Don we've always seen.  Why was this recent lying and recreating a false backstory any different than all the other times before?

Again, Don has always been a monster.  A perpetual philanderer, an absent dad (yeah, it was the era, but still), an alcoholic who typically could hold his liquor, but sometimes not, an extreme alpha male who always had to win, a sexist (again, the era), a liar, an identify thief, and did I mention an alcoholic and philanderer?  I'm sure I could list more, but it's been a lot of episodes.

Perhaps it's only because he is spiraling slowly out of control is why people seem to just now be noticing or are just now caring.  Perhaps it's because I joined the Mad Men fandom late and watched three full seasons of the show back to back on Netflix in a few months time.  Perhaps we were just so enthralled with the show and Don to notice.
As the article points out, his failings were always there, but he was cool so it was somehow brushed off, but now "his cool is starting to lose its luster."  

Is that why people are just now noticing or is that why people are just now starting to care?

I don't think that it's that people are just now noticing (if you've missed that he's a monster and complete asshole to the extreme, then you haven't really been paying attention), people are just now starting to care because his sexiness and coolness have started to wear off, so our patience is running thin with the monstrous aspects of his character.  It's almost like when a young teen has a crush on the sexy jock, hot cheerleader, studiously sexy class president, whatever.  That person is the guy or girl of your dreams until you get to know them and realize he/she is cool and sexy but goodness is he/she also a complete ass.  You ignore the rumors of them being an ass or the evidence you see from a distance of them being an ass, but when you see the ass-ness up close and personal, you forget the cool factor and your crush dissipates.

I've seen and strongly disliked Don's monstrous qualities from season one, but that's part of the attraction of the show.  I'm sure I'm not the only person to feel this way.  It's always been there.  We chose to ignore it or not care.  Always there.

From the first season when we meet (and ultimately, watch die) Don's/Dick's brother, Adam Whitman, and Don treats him like shit... 
From the first season when Don was whoring and cheating his way through the season while Betty sort of attempted to be the perfect housewife... 
From the first season when he (and his wife's doctor) made Betty seem like she was the one with the problems (well, she is, but still) and suggesting that Don's shit didn't stink...
From the first season when we see Don do whatever the fuck he needs to in order to achieve what he wants with minimal regard for others...
From all of these things and more, we see that he is a monster.  But I suppose because the monster was dressed in nice suits and an awesome coolness, we ignored the monster. Again, like the h.s. crush.

What happened on the most recent episode, "The Quality of Mercy," that made Peggy say that he was a monster wasn't actually all that bad, compared to ALLLLLLL the other shit he's done over these 6 seasons.  In reality, what he did needed to be done to save the ad and to help Ted (and Peggy) save face.  Sure, he blindsided them with his statement, and I'm sure he could've come up with some other b.s. excuse, but that's what Don has always done: come in with some b.s. lie or story to sell the client on what the agency wants the client to agree to.  How is this incident any different?
What annoyed me most is that he screwed Peggy out of credit for something once again, but geez, how many times must we see that before we're desensitized to even that.

Then again, perhaps I've seen his monstrous ways for so long and accepted them for so long as a part of who he is that I'm blinded by the monstrosity. 

It's still genius writing, and I continue to tune in.  I LOVE a show that creates a flawed character and endears that character to the audience; nowadays, I prefer shows with flawed characters.  I'll continue to tune in, but don't try to sell me and others on this "we're just now noticing his monstrous ways" shtick because I ain't buying that.

Yes, he's a monster, but this isn't news.  This is "meh!"

Amazing homemade bacon cheeseburger

Along with making tons of soaps and whatnot, we also try to make a lot of food at home to cut down on costs.

Recently, I was craving a bacon cheeseburger.  I drove over to Hardee's and was only moderately pleased with the burger I bought for $5.  

So, the craving rolled around again and the hubs suggested I make one instead of buying.
"Fine!  Get me the bacon, buns, and beef." I replied.
So, off I set to make my bacon cheeseburger.  The results were ahmazing!!!

I took 1 lb of beef and seasoned with season salt, pepper, and worchestershire sauce.  To the mixture, I added diced onion and peppers (we always keep a supply of a frozen "seasoning blend") and italian bread crumbs.  (I couldn't tell you any measurements because I rarely measure anything.  Eyeball it and season to your tastes.)

I shaped the meat mixture into four patties and baked for 16 minutes at 375 degrees.

While the burgers cooked, I fry the bacon in the pan, sliced the tomatoes, and toasted the buns.

Once the burgers were done, I put slices of American deluxe cheese on top, and bacon on top of that.  The heat of the burgers and bacon sufficiently melted the cheese.

I dressed the burger with the tomatoes and spinach leaves (instead of lettuce), and VOILA! My awesome homemade bacon burger!
I always feel all the more accomplished when what I try to make turns out as or better than expected!

Go forth and conquer your cravings and homemade foods! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Decisions & indecisions...

Indecisive people annoy the shit out of me!

We make decisions based on the best information we have at the moment, or at least, we should.  That means, gather your information, be as informed as possible about your options, then choose!  If you need advice from others to help you make a decision, seek it, then re-evaluate your options based on the information you've gathered, those people's opinions, your own assessments, then make a decision.  If making the decision takes time, that's fine, but 
don't keep asking people their opinions over and over again on the same stuff.

Why do people feel the need to constantly reconsider or constantly confirm a decision or constantly seek advice before ever attempting a choice? Are they unsure about their choice?  Insecure about their choice? 

Huge life decisions require time, consideration, consultation, and serious thought about the best decision and consequences of that decision.  By huge, I mean buying a house, having a kid, attending school some place, moving, changing or starting careers, purchasing an animal, changing your food habits, etc.

Minor life decisions do not require as much thought though some forethought it still required.  Weigh your choices, pick, and leap.  If shit gets fucked up from that choice, try a new choice.

Being informed seems to be the theme I keep coming back to.  Because I value information, planning, and being decisive about choices, indecision annoys me more than it should.  It's also possible that my pregnancy hormones and brain have heightened this annoyance, but I don't think that's it.  I've always been annoyed by indecision.  People hemming and hawing and bouncing back and forth between decisions annoys me.  

By no means am I saying that I have the answers, but I do suppose that people bring themselves unnecessary stress and grief when they bounce back and forth between decisions rather than researching thoroughly, then making an informed decision to begin with.  

Be informed.
Be wise.
Leap into your decisions with all your being.  If they fail, try another choice, but you'll never know if you keep being indecisive and never choose anything.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day

Started this post on Father's Day 2013...

Giving me the first example of what a real, hardworking, honest, loving, caring, disciplining man was, my father set the example for my life and more lives than I could ever count. Not only is he an awesome dad, he is the best granddaddy in the world, and has never hesitated to take in and help other folks kids when necessary.

I took these life lessons and was blessed to find a husband with those same qualities and many more of his own unique, admirable qualities--qualities he's able to pass on to our own children.

I feel so blessed to know so many amazing fathers.  I feel even more blessed that my dad and husband both continue to amaze me.