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Break out the sack cloth and ashes girls I am officially off the market.

I was married yesterday in the basement office of a Virginia lawyer who had no redecorated since the Carter administration and had not changed out his jokes since roughly the Hoover one.
It was in a word. Perfect, just how I imagined it (I'm being serious for once).
Then we went to a sushi joint for our nuptial luncheon and my fortune cookie said

"Your problem just got bigger. Think, what have you done."

No, really. We've put it on the fridge. I'm considering getting one of those "wedding memories" scrapbooks just to preserve it.

I'll see everyone who wants to come at our place on the 17th for the "reception."

Oh yeah, there was also a random bagpiper as we exited the offices of Mr. Fitzhugh Lee Godwin Jr. playing Scotland the Brave across the street. Magical.

Life as Farce

So I've been downsized. I've known for about three weeks that I'm fired. My company is being woefully mismanaged by the British owners and will, in all likelihood, tank completely within the next six to twelve months. I realize this. I've made peace and, truth be told, now that I'm done being sad, I'm at peace with it.

My original plan was to give the old fuck you to everyone, take my month's pay severance and stalk off into the Arlington smog. Then my bosses asked me to stick around for an extra six weeks and keep my benefits until September and everyone promised to give me bitching letters of reference, which should be glowing given the amount of crap I've handled for (and from) them.

Okay, six weeks work, I'm down. I get more money and then I get to enact my revenge by doing everything I usually do, only better, so that when I do finally go the entire research apparatus collapses and there is much in flames and I laugh. (Yes, I'm a bad person but everyone already knew that.)

There's a hitch thought, an unanticipated issue has arisen. I think my plan is working too well. I've started training my replacement, who also happens to be the office manager/executive assistant. As per the plan she's totally overwhelmed. In fact she's overwhelmed to the point that she's not doing her original job. Seriously, she hasn't been in since Thursday. First she's "sick" at the end of last week (but I saw her at the mall not a block from the office getting her hair done on Friday); then she has vacation scheduled (which I think she did actually plan in advance but I'm being bitchy) until THIS Thursday so I'm doing her job as well as mine. She's also totally botched the small bits of work I've given her to such an extent that the CEO has now asked me NOT TO GIVE HER ANYMORE WORK. So I'm handing over all of my responsibilities to an untrained incompetent in less than three weeks and everyone is totally FINE with this.

It gets weirder. The engineers whom I've been doing leg work for have all been informed that I'm out. They've only just started to realize this means they actually have to write their own proposals and grants. I think I can here them whining from here (they're in Baltimore, I'm just outside DC). Oh my god are they upset. I really, really wonder how the hell they got through grad school, let alone life, being this lazy.

And then today I stumble into the MOST bizarre piece of drama yet.

I'm walking by my bosses office and notice him and the CEO sitting in there talking. I'm going to leave but they wave me in and ask me to sit and talk also. They're discussing the monthly progress reports we've been responsible for writing. We've just turned in what is going to be our last installment on Monday. You'd think that would mean there's nothing left to talk about, I sure did, but we'd be wrong you and I.

They were sitting there; had been sitting there for thirty minutes before I showed up in fact, discussing how to format FUTURE REPORTS. The ones that my boss and I aren't going to be around to write. They sit me there and outline how, in the next report, we're going to do this, that and the next thing. They talk about what we, the business from which I am fired, define future lines of business as and then outline new intraoffice process they've come up with to rank this business.

Keep in mind exactly one person in the room is going to be in the office come July, one, the CEO. The office manager who's going to be helping with these reports now; not here, not even in the building. My boss is heading back to Texas in a day. He won't be here TOMORROW, let alone when that report comes back around. He's got all his stuff in boxes sitting by his office door. He is literally packed and ready to go and we're all sitting around chatting about this new process like everything is fine. I half expected them to ask me about what I was going to bring to the Christmas party/potluck.

The level of denial in this place is getting creepy.

Come July 5th everyone that's left (which is a grand total of six, fyi) is going to come in and wonder where the rest of us went. One of the engineers is going to send forlorn e-mails to an account that no longer exists. He'll try to call my office phone and leave messages for someone who'll never open her voice mail again. Our mad French Canadian scientist will walk through the halls trying to fit-bump people who are long gone. And then Rod Serling will step out of the break room and welcome everyone to the Twilight Zone while the CEO cries softly in the background and the office manager asks what an ONR is.

I'm relieved that I'll get to miss that.

WTF Beyonce's production design

Okay, this has been bugging the HELL out of me recently. (Also I don't want to think very hard about the shitty turn my life has again taken so I'm fixating.)

Here is Beyonce's Run the World (Girls) video.

I kind of liked it at first. Like all of Beyonce's stuff it's mindlessly catchy, has a good beat and the video has some fairly good dance bits. It's all set up (as you may have noticed) in a desert-y post apocalyptic somewhere complete with armed gangs of men, hulks of cars, acacia trees and...um...hyenas.

Then 1:50 happens. Go look. Did you catch it? Watch 1:55. What's that sign behind her and her hyenas?

It's a road sign directing us to either Tbilisi or Tschinvali. Where are those places you ask (if you don't know already)? They're in Georgia...the Republic of...Tbilisi, yeah it's the god-damned capital and Tschinvali's fairly famous (for those of you who follow post soviet republicanism goings on) as the regional capital of South Ossetia, that part of the county that you known, was invaded by Russia back in 2008. Tschinvali was heavily shelled by the Georgian military and great swathes of it were destroyed.

I am so confused as to what the hell that is doing in there because, clearly, the woman is NOT in Georgia. She's in the Mojave (I think). The more I think about this, however, the more it starts to smell distinctly like that awful, mindless type of exoticism/orientalism with which Eastern Europe and Central Asia are treated. I really think someone in the production team picked out a sign that looked "cool" read they have never heard of these places and assume no one else can either. Gross.

But then I brought this up with some pals of mine at Overthinkingit. com One of them (who is a very intelligent person whom I usually like quite a bit) said he thought the sign was in Swahili since this video clearly has an African-ish vibe. I literally have no idea where to start with that statement. Is it racist for assuming that a video with majority Black performers is channelling "mother Africa" (whatever the shit that means)? What to do about the fact that, again, Eastern Europe/Central Asia is treated as this invisible place onto which everyone in the West gets to graft their fantasies/assumptions? Why does nobody else care?

I don't know. I really don't any more.

Britain, still the same

So... a while ago one of my friends gave me a copy of the BBC show The Last Enemy.

After forgetting it in my car for some months I finally got around to watching it.

And after about a week of sputtering, flailing and incredulous re-watching of pertinent scenes I can confidently say that the British idea that everyone east of the Rhine or south of Italy is exactly the same is alive and well. We're all still wogs.

How did I reach this conclusion? Well let me fill you in on the plot of The Last Enemy (There are going to be spoilers but don't worry I'm sparing you if you've missed this thing).

Basic premise, in a near-future1984-esque dystopia of universal ID a group of British scientists have created a virus that targets Arabs. They test out their racially based virus by impregnating a batch of hep-b vaccine with it and injecting a group of refugees on the the Afghan/Pakistan border.

Read that again. A virus that targets ARABS (the ridiculous impossibility of engineering anything specific to a phenotypical group aside for now) is tested on a group of AFGHAN and/or PAKISTANI refugees.

Go and look up the definition of "Arab" (hint Wikipedia is right on this one). Now look up Afghanistan and/or Pakistan. What are the ethnicities listed? I'll give you a hint (b/c there are MANY); ARAB is not among them.

Yeah, yeah. Think about that; oh yes, and just to make it better the female lead/love interest of both male protagonists who is supposed to be Afghan is played by Anamaria Marinca, a Romanian. Her country of origin is never overtly stated but we get the woman wailing in Arabic basically whenever she's on screen, yes, subtle I know. (I also know there is a Hollywood habit of casting anyone "beige" as any non-white ethnicity as well before you jump on me.THE POINT IS IT'S SHITTY AND RACIST)

Arabs ladies and gentlemen are a distinct ethnic group with a unique culture and language as are the myriad NON-Arab ethnic groups of Afghanistan and Pakistan. What "The Last Enemy" tells everyone is that it's producers can't tell the difference. To them all Muslims are Arab and visa-versa.

But seriously, fuck you Britain, and fuck you Masterpiece Theatre for buying this without so much as a second thought or look.

I've reached the end of my coherence.

Oh NY Times

or more specifically New York TV reporter Ginia Bellafante, do you know any women? Well, to be fair not that I want to be I'm sure you know some women they just obviously aren't the right kind of women. (Please note my lack of snarky commentary about certain breeds of NYC based females)

I read her review of Game of Thrones and nearly spat. Here's some of the best quotes:

Game of Thrones,” is a costume-drama sexual hopscotch, even if it is more sophisticated than its predecessors. It says something about current American attitudes toward sex that with the exception of the lurid and awful “Californication,” nearly all eroticism on television is past tense. The imagined historical universe of “Game of Thrones” gives license for unhindered bed-jumping — here sibling intimacy is hardly confined to emotional exchange.

The true perversion, though, is the sense you get that all of this illicitness has been tossed in as a little something for the ladies, out of a justifiable fear, perhaps, that no woman alive would watch otherwise.

Ponder on that for a moment ladies (and gentlemen). What I got out of that is that the only reason Ms. Bellafante thinks we women watch TV is for the graphic jigglage. Now I like boobs as much as the next girl and I guess you could argue that the gay female audience may be the target re:the naked ladies but...no, never mind there's no saving that piece of inanity; moving on.

While I do not doubt that there are women in the world who read books like Mr. Martin’s, I can honestly say that I have never met a single woman who has stood up in indignation at her book club and refused to read the latest from Lorrie Moore unless everyone agreed to “The Hobbit” first. “Game of Thrones” is boy fiction patronizingly turned out to reach the population’s other half.

I will preface by saying I'm not in a book club but um...ninety percent of my female friends read both chick lit (yeah yeah Lorrie Moore isn't exactly chick lit) as well as fantasy. We skipped class back in high school to see The Two Towers opening day for chrissakes and we were NOT the only girls in the audience BY FAR (and the several present to squeal over Orlando Bloom were rapidly hushed up).

All, I'll repeat that, ALL OF MY COLLEGE FRIENDS (male and female) were D&D, WhiteWolf etc., Fantasy nuts. I was the weirdo because I didn't know how to role-play. Furthermore I don't know many people (even non-fantasy folks, both male and female) who didn't enjoy Song of Ice & Fire once they got into it. Because its NUANCED and COMPLEX and filled with compellingly drawn characters not for the A.) swords or B.) fucking.

The point here is this is not a gendered argument, fantasy as a genre is not gendered you can argue about female representation in authorship but I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the readership (based on my observations as a book store clerk, shopper and volunteer librarian over the years) is pretty evenly split.

But obviously Ms. Bellafante can't read (or at least not in a long form)

“Game of Thrones” serves up a lot of confusion in the name of no larger or really relevant idea beyond sketchily fleshed-out notions that war is ugly, families are insidious and power is hot. If you are not averse to the Dungeons & Dragons aesthetic, the series might be worth the effort. If you are nearly anyone else, you will hunger for HBO to get back to the business of languages for which we already have a dictionary.

Yeah, 'cause we all relate perfectly to mobsters or privileged thirty-forty something women-children. The things that made The Sopranos or Sex and the City* good were the recognizable human interactions and growth exhibited by fantasy people who acted in ways most of us can't (or really shouldn't) Song of Ice & Fire totally has none of that, none at all.

Wow, hundreds of good writers out of work and the New York Times employs a twit stuck in 1998.
Here's the article in full.

Also please note I despise Sex and the City because I find it ridiculous, shallow and dull, this is my opinion.

Blah, blah, blah

So, whilst avoiding my problem-child boss's problems this morning I have come across a lovely Salon write up of Sarah Palin's "press conference" or whatever the hell it was in New York.

Now I have been trying not to bitch about politics (online anyway) but something about this summary was just irresistible to me.

It's her grammar. (Hah, bait and switch, see still no politics, just grammar. Yes I'm this nerdy.)

Now every English grammar nazi lover/responsible user has or could take a swipe at Palin; Jacob Weisberg seems to have made something of a hobby of it for example, but I've got a slightly different ax to grind.

Here, have a look at one of the sentences that fell out of her mouth yesterday.

"There are already on the books many gun control measures and I do support those that are on the books"

That's verbatim. I bet you had to read that gem more than once in order to unpack what the fuck the meaning was. Here's the thing; when I was very little, like one to five years old, I spoke a very weird Romanian/Hungarian/German/English sort of pidgin. Most of my immediate family spoke some variation of Romanian/Hungarian or German and had limited command of English vocabulary and almost no English grammar or syntax. From five on I was permanently placed with English speakers and sent to school, thus I lost my pidgin and switched, gradually, to standard American English. My vocab was great as was my comprehension but my grammar (especially my sentence structure) was and often continues to be weird (read basically Slavic/Finno-Ugric*).

Seriously, my dad found a bunch of tapes of my talking and singing (I think from my speech therapy classes but I could also have just been being a ham). Here's a sentence from the one about the zoo (this is relevant I swear)

"I am fond of the elephants, in their house there are the best pictures but I am liking the most of gorillas; the smallest in specially."

I've added the punctuation as best I can figure it but, again, this is verbatim from my tape. Now let's put my five year old pidgin English thing next to Sarah Palin's version.

"There are already on the books many gun control measures and I do support those that are on the books"

It's un-freaking-canny isn't it? Look at how she flubs up the verb-phrase placement "There are already on the books many..." This is a as close to a classical Slavic word order as you get in English. Verbs and their phrases usually come before the main noun-phrase ('gun control measures' in this example).

But then she goes even farther into the land of bizarre phrasing by holding forth with this "and I do support those that are on the books."

She's hopped language groups here. I would say that this sentence structure is more Finno-Ugric. See, in Hungarian there are about five million and seven ways to construct a subordinate clause and prizes for using as many as possible in a sentence.

It's sort of like the worst parts of Latin mixed with Greek on crack. The only way you can tell which clause goes with which part of the sentence (and Hungarians love some looong sentences) is to take apart the declined nouns and the verb/adverb conjugations (which also change according to what type of noun or verb is being used with which other type of noun or verb/gender/tense/mood (yes mood) etc. etc. etc.)

This is (thankfully) not the case in English but it does make sentence construction a bit challenging if you're used to tacking on subordinate clauses willy-nilly and tossing pronouns around recklessly. If you try to bolt on ever more sub-clauses in English you end up with unwieldy run-on that sound like, well, this:

"There are already on the books many gun control measures and I do support those that are on the books."

(Read: an illiterate moron.)

But lest you think I'm just picking on one little example of one flub here's another one. (Warning: I eased you into these 'sentences.')

"My question was, who are these faceless bureaucrats on a panel who will decide? Will it be my baby with Down syndrome, who maybe somebody may judge him as not having that level of productivity somebody else may have. So maybe if rationed care is part of this, maybe he wouldn't receive the care."

Dear god, what is that? Sadly, it's a thought from Sarah Palin. Let's continue!

Again, in the first sentence we've got Palin's bizarre clause abuse. But then we get to this:

"Will it be my baby with Down syndrome, who maybe somebody may judge him as not having that level of productivity somebody else may have."

I have no idea what the hell she meant to say here but the lady clearly has no English. This is about the most perfect example of weirdo-East European-pidgin I've ever come across. Let's compare it to my version of Twinkle-Twinkle Little Star circa 1989.

"Twinkle, twinkle little star I wonder how you are doing what you are high above the world at large."

(I would like to take a moment to thank my dad for being charmed rather than annoyed by my weirdness.)

Where I heard the phrase "world at large" at that age or why the hell I decided to use it there is a bit of a mystery but I digress.

Seriously, the former governor of the great state of Alaska, an adult with a college education, who is a native speaker of English sounds like an up-vocab'd, version of me at four. She's just mashing phrases together with no regard for conjunctions, modifiers, pronouns or the sanity of her audience.

If you translate this sentence into Hungarian it actually works better. It makes sense without even being rearranged. It would come back into English basically as:

"It will someday be that my baby with Down syndrome is a person who some other person may pass a judgment that he is not productive."

Okay, it's still awkward as hell but it make some damn sense.

How is this possible? How is it that I (and countless other children with either low English comprehension or some speech or hearing impairment) went through all of this language therapy and this woman is allowed to sound like a non-native speaker and have people think she fucking wonderful for it? How does somebody get this dumb?

I understand having weird syntax or poor grammar because you grew up speaking something else and are now trying to learn a new language but everyone in that boat has an excuse. Think about it; poor English grammar from a non-native speaker is probably correct for their native language.

Sarah Palin does not have this excuse. She's just a howling moron who's too staggeringly stupid to know ONE language (don't even get me started on how bilingualism should be embraced as a mark of intelligence but isn't because stupid people also tend to be racists.)

Why is this woman still relevant? How is she able to book speaking engagements? Is this really a contender for our President in 2012? Although on a brighter note if she runs it might just lead to the a massive Democratic landslide. Still, dear god!

* I know Romanian is actually classed as a Romance language but most of it's grammar has become Slavic over the centuries.
Dear Hollywood,

Thanks for Season of the Witch that shit was hilarious. Thanks also for Black Death 'cause I need me some more Sean Bean and faux TKirch (if I can't get the real thing.)

But another Pirates of the Caribbean really? Well I guess it'll make money but...um...REALLY?

Can't we just remaster and re-release Muppet Treasure Island?

That is all.

I heart you Romania

Aww, they are so CUTE.


My aunties totally used to drape their parlors in red hankies and read tarot cards for extra cash/food stuffs. They would have been PISSED if the government tried to screw them out of their rightfully swindled monies.

I miss those crazy bitches; I want to be old and awesomely crafty like that someday.

Screw you economy

My better half is FINALLY fully employed. After MONTHS of trying everything and hunting high and low for jobs and generally working himself to the boneceresfinetits has a fantastic job.

Seriously it was like tailor made for him. Anyway, that means we're moving into a decent place AT LAST.

Move in by MLK day baby.

God I want to laugh, cry, scream and hug strangers. I think we'll go get soused instead.

Is this a sign of the coming end of days?

I kind of think yes. Either that or one that points to the fact that soon Japan will be ruled by AI which will use its giant mecha to crush us.

Thanks a lot E-unit.

This is totally 100% real...and there's more.

One more, and apparently this one will have her "voice bank" (totally computer generated voice) translated into English.

I await my robotic overlords.