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Shrine of the Holy Whapping
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Corner, The
Fiat Lux!
I Am the Lizard Queen!
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Wasted Words
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24 May 2002
Off to Kansas for the weekend. Back on Monday!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:55 PM
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Well, access to the wonderfully addictive world of the internet was finally returned to me yesterday. And wouldn't you know it, I had too much work to do to post anything. Isn't it always the way?

Time permitting, a review of the Buffy finale shall be forthcoming (which will entail lots of me praising the hell out of it). Also I intend to review the preview for that charming-looking sports movie, "Like Mike", staring Lil Bow Wow. The anticipation of reviewing the preview of this obvious gem of a movie is near to killing me. I mean, just look at the originality of that title! How can it not be a good movie? Do I smell Oscar? Well, I smell something, at least. And it ain't pretty.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:14 PM
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22 May 2002
I've got them disconnected blues!

Yessireebob. If this problem is not solved soon, I shall have to declare war upon the help desk. A rain of ire shall be brought to bear. My wrath shall know no bounds.

I have not yet begun to rant.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:42 PM
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Weren't we once a literate people? Or at least not stultifyingly ignorant of the way the language works? Perhaps I'm just being wishful. But one should not have to hire Marlowe or Spade to locate other individuals with whom one can have a decent conversation. I'm not talking about a learned, philosophical discourse, even. Just a simple, intelligent conversation, where I can use words that contain more than one syllable. Of course, I can do without such things, if I had not other choice. I'm no great speaker myself, and have never been very good at channelling the thoughts through my mouth. But what I absolutely cannot abide by is the massacring of our language that I see everyday. Worse than someone staring blankly as you, gods forbid, try to be witty, or comment on something beyond the realm of sports, beer, and reality shows-far worse than this is trying to scrape your way through an attempt by ye olde average American trying desperately to communicate through the written language.

It's funny, you can send a person to college, but apparently you cannot make the rules of grammar stick. People at all levels of employment in the business world suffer the same problem. They can read. They can write. Many can probably even think for themselves. But can they do it well? Alas, it's seems not so.

My father, who dropped out of high school in the tenth grade, makes occasional slips of grammar when writing a note, or a card, or whatever. And yet, he, a mechanic most of his life, writes far better than most people in the white collar, supposedly educated world can manage to do. Is the education of our people just not sticking, or is it the education itself that's doing the harm? In the past twenty years, education has become geared toward the practical-MBAs, Associate's degrees, and the like are far more useful in the business world than the BA in English I received. There are times I wish I myself had one, that I had the skills to hold a far better job until the bloody novel is finished (and inevitably published, if I may be so bold). But how much does one of these degrees really mean if the recipient cannot communicate, through both spoken and written language? How effective is the manager if his email reads like a third grader's attempt to write an op-ed piece? And really, why should only the managers need to be literate? Shouldn't anyone working in an office be able to form a simple sentence? Not to mention properly punctuating said sentence? Granted, if I had it my way, we would all function at a far higher level of literacy than we do. But nonetheless, even some of the lowest levels of corporate office work requires (or should require, anyway) the ability to not mangle the life out of our language.

So, what brings such thoughts to the fore of my mind this day? Comments on a fax that I received today. Comments which I will share with you even now:

"I just received a copy of your fax that you sent to one of mine Vip account's trucking."

Ok, let's start here. It could be worse. "received" was spelled right, and that's certainly something. "Vip" isn't really an issue, though it looks darn silly. "One of mine"-now this is just bad. Were this person not a native speaker of English, I might be lenient, but this is not the case. "My" and "mine"-just should not be that difficult. I could also quibble with "account's trucking" with is just very poorly phrased, even if *technically* correct, but I'll instead move on.

"This account want me to pre dispatch there container and I went off what the BNSF eta to Chaicgo."

There's just a whole lot of bad going on in this one. I mean, this is the sort sentence that makes me weep. "This account want me"-I didn't realise Tarzan could use a fax. Conjugation, people! It's one of the first things we learned after the alphabet! Or pretty close, anyway. It's the sort of thing that's supposed to stick with any native speaker of a language. "There"-angrifying to the extreme. The inability of most people to differentiate between "there", "their", and "they're" will never cease to amaze me. The grammar of the second half of the sentence is just wretched. Yes, I can glean the gist of the meaning, but I should not have to do any gleaning. Sentences ought to tell you their meaning-it's their whole bloody purpose! If word constructs were intentionally confusing, we'd never know anything. And boy howdy, do we seem to be heading that way. Yes, there is much to be said for complex, beautifully confounding sentences that take several readings to comprehend the gem of meaning buried within. But ungrammatical wrecks of sentences that do nothing but confuse are a different matter. They are not beautiful, but putrid. They confound in only the worst possible way, making the blood boil, the head pound, and the heart constrict in fear for all our kind. Last note on this sentence, and they are, I suppose, minor quibbles. "eta"-same as "Vip". These abbreviations really ought to have periods. I wondered briefly upon first reading this why he was mentioning a Greek letter. And finally, the mess that is "Chaicgo." We all make typos. Some of us do so relentlessly. I am a horrid typist. It happens. But for crying out loud, when will people learn to proofread?!?! Email programs have spell checkers. Apparently they do not get used. Hell, this fax was created in Word-one simple click would've caught that error. But spell checkers are not invincible. Does it really take that long to glance over your own note so you might discover you've completely invented a new city? Blarg!

"All these container's last free day is 5/24/02. And most of them have already have Been picked up."

Sigh. Apparently our friend wanted to utilise all the skills he showed us above at once. I'm not going to repeat. It's all just too painful.

This is not an isolated incident. It's everywhere, rampant, insidious. One friend would entertain (and pain) us with emails from a person he dubbed the "Random Sentence Generator." Have we no standards anymore? I say "good" when I ought to say "well" far more often than is good for me. My wife calls me on it every time. Can we not do the same for each other? Are we so worried about everyone's feelings that we cannot say, "Hey, you've got a dangling participle there." Or, "It's 'too,' not 'two.'" Or, "Hello! Moron! Pluralisations do *not* use apostrophes! Yeesh!" Or have things become so bad out there, that no one even recognises these problems anymore? I fear for us all.

So, do I have a solution? Alas, no. So few people seem to care about the language anymore. A few well-placed grunts are all one really needs to get by. There's no art left to our speech, or to our communication. Hell, it's not even that functional anymore. Dysfunctional, at best. Home schooling sounds like a plan, but I seriously doubt it would become a widespread phenomenon. Television could be traded for books, but really, does anyone see that happening? Perhaps, in the end, the best we can do is to go ahead and hurt others' feelings--make them see that they're killing one of the best, most beautiful forms of communication we have. And never waver in our own usage. For the word carries truth.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:25 PM
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21 May 2002
Two notes:

1) Server issues at work continue to plague me. Blarg.

2) Buffy season finale rocked! Nothing but praise for a thoroughly satisfying end to the season.
Perhaps a proper review will follow, if ever I can again get online at work. Harumph, I say. Harumph.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:11 PM
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Wow. May none of these labels ever be applied to my first novel. In fact, i'd far rather be subjected to scathing reviews than any of these descrips.

John Bloom on Book Reviews on National Review Online
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:28 AM
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Must retract a tad. Though company-wide server issues still exist, my particular problem was related to my machine alone (a hamster could run this thing better than the lame processor they've got installed), and the friendly (though perhaps uncaffeinated) IT guy resolved the issue fairly quickly, and so far all is good and happy in the world of emailing and internet connectivity. Oh, frabjous day!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:30 AM
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20 May 2002
IT people. What, pray tell, is the point? And yes, I do realise I could piss a lot of people off with this.

To fix one problem, IT took down the server today, which in turn killed the server for the remainder of the day. (Which has, alas, proven to me just how addicted to email I am-not necessarily the getting of email, just the need to check for it on a regular basis).


Once upon a time, in a land far away, there existed a company named Quaker State. This was a time before the Evil Merger came along to abduct Quaker State and cart it off to the Armpit of the World, the cesspool of pollution that is Houston. (Note to readers: I have since been made to realise that mergers are not in and of themselves evil, but when used badly, can be moronic and disadvantageous. Alas, this greatly reduces the effect in such a story, and so, Evil Merger it is.)

There were two competent IT guys at Quaker State. One would sooner give one's computer a bubble bath than let anyone else from that department touch the machine, or even worse, give you advice over the phone. Let's face it, the ability to give voice to one's thoughts via more than techno-babble and a few unseemly grunts really ought to be a requirement for such a job. For myself, I suck on the phone, and know this, which is why I have never applied for a CSR spot. So, out of an entire department, two people could be relied upon to mend the computer and server woes of an entire corporation. Does this not sound like a bad idea? And yet, it seems to be something of a pattern in our businesses these days.

Okay, so I'm generalising. I've not (obviously) worked everywhere. Clearly there must be good IT people out there. Somewhere. All I know is that that last time this box took ill, and I could not resolve the issue myself, I received the distinct honour of watching a guy repeatedly try the same thing over and over, getting the same error time and again. For bleedin' sakes, B.F. Skinner's rats learned quicker than this guy!

What's the point of this? Raise the bar. That's all I'm saying. When dotcoms bloomed, the IT market was flooded with would-be techies. But the skills, or at least the common sense, are lacking. I don't want mediocre techs working on the server, just as I would not want a substandard surgeon slicing me open to poke around my insides. We really need to instill in the people of this country the desire to excel at what they do, and do what they do best.

And more than anything, I just want my damned email back.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:56 PM
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(posting delayed 8 hours due to server issues)
Okay, XFiles finale--what the hell?

First, some caveats--due to a lack of any real thinking on my part, I somehow managed to assume the finale of one of the best series to ever grace the glass teat would only be its usual hour length and would start at the normal time. Hence, the missing of the first hour.

Second, I've seen almost none of the current season, which, from the accounts of others, has been pretty good.

So, i'm missing a good bit of information going in, and perhaps the first hour was far better than what I saw in the second. But until this season I gave this show a whole lot of my time, and the conspiracies and intrigue and Mulder's unending search for the Truth have not really changed all that much since the show's heyday, so darn it, I shall judge it. And my judgement: How lame!

Seriously, the acting was languid, as if everyone was either on some serious medication, or they just couldn't find the will to care anymore. Skinner managed some energy, as usual. And Robert Patrick continued to present an interesting, complex character as Doggett. But Anderson's eyes screamed "I'm so glad this is over" in every shot. And whither has gone Mulder's wit? Where be his wry comments? The days of the Mulder-Scully barb trading are gone, it seems. Yes, the end of their world is nigh. Sobering thoughts, no time for humour. Right. There's always time for humour! To look in the face of your death and crack wise is to shout, "I will not go gentle into that good night." There was no spark, no wit, no lunatic joy in Mulder in the finale. He's become just another conspiracy nut, and that's such a let down from his beginnings.

The point of the finale seems to be that Mulder still believes. No matter what will happen, he believes the Truth will out. Except there's no passion in his belief. He rants and shouts and waves his little fists, but it seems like he'd rather just lie down and take a big nap. Backtrack several seasons--the scene: Mulder flipping slides of exsanguinated cows for Scully. This is Mulder's belief, the spark that drives him, the giddyness at the possibilities of the universe. That spark is gone, and with it the real threat of the supernatural, and bye-bye fun.

Gone too are the villains, replaced by bureaucrats. Admittedly, bureaucrats are some scary people, who should strike fear into the hearts of all those who behold them. But that doesn't make them interesting. Bland, predictable, and as far from devious as a Kleenex, maybe, but not interesting. Even CSM has lost his verve. He babbles on as much as Mulder. "Blah, blah, invasion, blah, blah, conspiracy, blah," as my wife would translate the dialogue. (Ok, perhaps I should've warned in advance about spoilers, but let's face it, if you didn't see the Smoking Man's return coming, you deserve to be spoiled--I mean, come on, I haven't seen it all season, and I could see that one coming). Don't get me wrong, it was good to see the guy there. Davis helped create one of the best, most memorable villains ever. But again, how lame he has become! The throat hole was a nice touch, though.

And other old faces resurfaced. Again, nice to see. Especially Rat Boy and X (whom i had thought would've surfaced before now, and not as a corpse). But even this is rather cheesy. So, Mulder sees dead people now? Certainly not out of the scope of the show, but it's not interesting if it's not developed, and as this is the end (barring a second movie), they don't exactly have the time to develop it, do they? Or, if it's just a representation of Mulder remembering those he's lost, and finding strength in them, well, it's a pretty hokey way to do it. Why not just have their faces float across the night sky in tribute, with some soaring instrumentals? I love cheese, but come on!

Despite the above, I did not hate the XFiles finale. Disappointed, yes, but it was still better than most of the swill the networks try to pour down our throats. Even still, the disappointment runs deep. I watched only three shows last season, out of all televisionland's offerings. This year, time demanded the loss of XFiles. I cannot say I've missed it. Now, seeing the finale, I cannot say I regret missing it.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   7:49 PM
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Ah, much better template. I approve. Perhaps not perfect, but good enough.

Now back to Jonah's G-File from Friday.
Jonah Goldberg's Goldberg File on National Review Online

I do love his asperity toward this nutball.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:57 AM
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19 May 2002
The template looked far more appealing without my words. Funny that. Ah, well, so much for simplicity and ease. Thus begins the long, arduous, never-ceasing process of tweaking. But then, what else am I going to do at work?

And someday, I may actually get to the point of this blasted blog.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:33 PM
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Where to begin? The beginning, I guess. As good a place as any. People seem to get terribly confused when you start in the middle.

Right, then. We shall try to be witty. We shall strive to avoid pretense. And we shall attempt to use the first person plural as sparingly as possible, since "we" is me, and as already noted we're going to try really hard to avoid pretense. As for the wit, let it fall where it may; i make no guarantees.

Thus it begins. But beware, the slack is strong in this one....
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:23 AM
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