Tuesday, April 01, 2014

How I responded (or didn't) to the finale of 'How I Met Your Mother'

Although over the years I've spent more time on this than can possibly be justified it was impossible I wouldn't spend at least a little bit today on the finale to How I Met Your Mother that aired last night. It was a popular topic on social media, and every TV critic out there chimed in (not that I've read them all yet… but I probably will later); I don't pretend to have a different take on it, but I figured I owed the show one last post.


Friday, March 21, 2014

Noah... right

When I see trailers for the upcoming Russell Crowe film telling the story of Noah, looking like a big-budget action flick, I am not interested.

 It's not that I have anything against the Biblical subject matter; it's that it doesn't appear to be based on the best source material out there: Bill Cosby's stand-up on his 1963 album Bill Cosby Is a Very Funny Fellow – Right!

In that Noah is a bit... incredulous... upon hearing from the Lord about being told to build the Ark. Somehow I don't get the impression that's how Crowe will play it.

Here's Bill performing it thanks to the wonder of YouTube:

You and me, Lord…


Let me know when they've made that movie. (Oh, like Hollywood wouldn't take that and screw it up.)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The future for rebellion through music

On a Slate Culture Gabfest episode a while back they discussed how for the first time in 55 years of the Hot 100 no black artists topped that chart in 2014. Whether this was merely an aberration in pop culture or a larger trend signaling the end of hip hop's dominance was difficult to say.

Something that was suggested (although this post is not an attempt at defining music history): Hip hop became mainstream by appealing to a middle class white audience of teens who were looking for a type of music they could use to rebel against their parents who came of age in the rock era.

However, now that generation has come of age and now the next one must rebel by turning to something else (as quipped by one of the panelists: "When your parents listened to Public Enemy you rebel by listening to the Lumineers").

I've pondered in the past what our son, in about 15 years or so, To what could our son listen in order to try to rebel, or make us tell him to turn that crap off?

Monday, March 10, 2014

So Long and Thanks For All The Books: Missing Douglas Adams

I saw on my Simpsons' calendar tomorrow is Douglas Adams' birthday. It would have been his 62nd.

I don't recall exactly how I was introduced to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy back in my middle school days but I easily recall being hooked when I read it, enjoying the clever and funny lampooning of science fiction. I sought out the next books in the series. In fact, when So Long and Thanks for All the Fish (the fourth book in the series) came out and I got it for a Christmas gift, I spent all day on that New Year's Day in my bedroom reading it from cover to cover (something I never did before and still have never done since). I was that much of a fan.

(I didn't care as much for Adams' Dirk Gently books, but the essays he wrote about his travels were quite good.)

Anyway, when I was in college (sometime in the mid-'90s) he came to campus for an event (not a book signing but a speaking engagement, as I recall). I have the feeling it was even free to attend.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

When different vowels rhyme

Discussing the quirks and difficulties of learning English is a played-out trope. I know. Nonetheless, something that occurred to me recently (when my brain probably should have been better occupied) is someday I'll be explaining to my son how words can rhyme despite having different vowels. In fact, sets of rhyming words with four different vowels came to mind.

Herd, bird, word, turd.
Jerk, smirk, work, Turk.

The pattern in both is that any vowel followed by r and another consonant gets pronounced "er"; the r sound is too strong, it seems.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Happy People-(Mostly-Advertisers)-Call-It-Presidents/Presidents'/President's Day

Although as I wrote two years ago today is a federal holiday officially known as Washington's Birthday (and as others mention every February)*, it is more commonly known by the position he held. Efforts to include Abraham Lincoln (or even others who have occupied that office) have come to make the colloquial name reference "President" in some way.

However, because it's not an official name there is no standard for whether it should be called Presidents (no apostrophe) or Presidents' (apostrophe after the s) or President's (apostrophe before the s), and that results in a variety of ways it appears.

For this post I wanted to offer a bit of an update of this post from four years ago by showing shots from commercials that mention it, to see how advertisers appear to think of it.

Most automobile companies are having an "event" for the long weekend:
Honda - apostrophe after the s (of course, given how they're clearly featuring Honest Abe they really need to play up the plurality and possession)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Music (not) on the brain

Something dispiriting that having a newborn has revealed about me: Although I have many songs in my head with which to serenade my child (particularly when trying to soothe him, or during diaper changes) I discover when I start to actually sing them I don't know all the words without the song playing along. Sure, I can concoct alternative lyrics on the fly or fall back on wordlessly humming the melody, and my son has no grasp of any of this yet anyway, but when I started singing I at least fancied the notion I had the words more or less down.