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Thursday, November 26, 2009

Language Fairy



A few years ago, I was writing a newspaper story about obnoxious catchphrases, most of which seem to be concocted like some venomous brew by the corporate world. I mentioned the then-ubiquitous "going forward," as in "Going forward, we'll be drilling down to our core mission and using best practices."

The article inspired a letter from a pleasantly surly gentleman who said -- and I couldn't believe this -- "...and why have so many people abandoned a perfectly good word like 'forward' and started saying 'foeward' instead?"

I was practically delirious. Until that moment, I thought I was the only one who had noticed this. What WAS it, I wondered -- and now I had company -- that had so many Midwestern people, particularly those appearing as guests on the radio, giving this strange New Yawk pronunciation to the word "forward"?

My theory is that some smart East Coast people with broadcast platforms grew up mispronouncing the word "forward" (it has TWO 'Rs' -- really!); started saying "going foeward" a lot on TV and radio; and it spread like the swine flu of language viruses. Otherwise sensible people living here in flyover country caught on and thought they might sound smarter if they dropped that nasty first R.

By now, you might be thinking, "Who peed in her eggnog? What is wrong with this woman?"
To which I reply: Go ahead, listen. Listen, say, to NPR on and off for a day. Perk up your ears the next time you're stuck at some kind of corporate luncheon, and someone decides to talk about the future -- that is, "going forward." They won't say "forward." I promise you, they will say "foeward." I was reminded of this just two days ago, when I heard the head of a Cleveland cultural institution on the local NPR affiliate talking about going foeward. It seemed to me that she was trying harder than she needed to to sound really smart. I immediately knew she wakes up at 3 every morning with an attack of impostor syndrome and has to pop an Ambien, which she regrets at her 9 o'clock meeting.

(Aside: I have seen this same woman go bare-legged in backless shoes when the temperature read 10 degrees; she has very nice legs, though.)

A fairy unicyclist would find such all such affectations absurd.

Coming up: The fairies consider "at the end of the day," how to screw up a phrase like "sort of," and perhaps, as a gift to my daughter, the purposeful mispronunciation of "often."

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

He went for an urgent walk ...



He had to take the girl (look closer) (click on the pic to make it bigger if you need to) to the doctor.
Don't worry, they got there safely.
He is her hero.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Remember me?



I used to be the one who faithfully posted sketchbook entries.
Yes, well, I've been sketchbooking all right, but for a project, not to create nice sketchbook pages. I got a temporary breather today, so I decided to return to my Pen in Hand roots.
What to draw, what to draw, I asked myself. What to draw just for fun?
Then I went in to move some clothes into the dryer, and I saw it: the mother lode of orphaned objects grabbed rattling from the inside of the spinning tin can, after dancing with sheets of Bounce.

I am here to tell you (in case you haven't discovered it yourself) that Cherry Chapstick just isn't the same after it's been washed and dried. Cowrie shells hold up. Surprisingly, Sharpie highlighters still highlight. I don't know about that nasty, weird bullet of lip gloss, which came from god-knows-where. Ain't mine.

Anyway, I had fun. Hope you're having fun, too.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Banned Book Week project



Class project: Do some ad materials for a campaign or business. I picked national Banned Book Week (already over for this year, folks), presented by the American Library Association.

I did slightly different designs for a poster, a bookmark and this totebag. I liked this one so much I'm having it actually made into a totebag at Zazzle.

So you don't have to squint: Alice is holding "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and saying, "When I'm not falling down rabbit holes, I'm curling up with a banned book."

Of course, the term "banned book" is a bit loaded. Some have pointed out that we live in the land of the free press. But plenty of people have tried to yank particular books off the shelves of public and school libraries in an effort to decide what's best for everyone.

(Should you want a closer look, you can click on the picture here.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Goodbye, Old Friend



He was a good boy, that Oscar. Suffered many an indignity in his day, at the hands of small children and large dogs and the occasional inconsiderate adult. He bore most of it stoically and kindly. Not your usual aloof cat. He preferred to sort of melt in your arms, or on your lap. And if he was less adventurous than most (his twin brother met an early end playing "chicken" with the cars in our old neighborhood), that was OK. He enjoyed sunning himself on the pavement. He liked the shade of our little Japanese maple on a hot day.

Just last week, he even deigned to share the couch with the giant woof. It took him a moment to decide, when Pearl leaped up on the couch next to him. You could see the old man sitting there, thinking, "Well, shitttt. I'm arthritic and half-deaf and my kidneys don't really work anymore. Is it too much to ask to have a little couch time by myself?"

He thought about leaving. But I think his old bones were weary enough that after a good long moment or two of considering his options, he decided he could stand to have her back pressed up against his shoulder. They stayed that way for a long time.
I'd post the picture I took that day, but it doesn't seem right to make him share the spotlight today.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Would your kid read this book?






Yes, so for one of my illustration classes, we put our childhood selves in an imaginary picture book based on things we liked to do or wanted to be when we were little. I remembered how a neighborhood friend (who, I'll admit, looked nothing like the curly-haired kid in the background here) and I used to teach ourselves walkovers and handsprings and whatnot. We thought we were pretty good.

In my imaginary story, though, we are not equally good -- my friend is better than me. At gymnastics, anyway.