Apparently March 4th is National Grammar Day. The Chicago Tribune advises everyone not to get too carried away. I’m dressing up as a gerund.
Last night, Jeff and I saw a preview of Chicago 10, a movie that examines the riots of the ’68 Democratic convention through real footage spliced with an animated version of the subsequent trial involving the organizers of several anti-war groups.
The film: Stellar, beautifully animated, a soundtrack that rocks and makes you want to punch things. The absurdly comic mixed with the hopelessly tragic. Viscerally moving and affecting.
The panel discussion afterwards: Mired in nonsense college student intellectual-ese, whereby anyone asking a question had to clarify their affiliation for four sentences and pose one or two questions, in a pointed tone, that were not questions so much as convoluted semi-accusatory statements.
See the movie. Avoid talking with self-righteous trustafarians afterwards.
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I multi-task all day long. People come in and out of the office all day long, each bringing a new conversation. Phone call. Phone call. Phone call. If you tell me something, and I don’t write it down, I just might forget. There’s a lot of background noise. So I use a lot of Post-Its.
–Has anybody smelled Claire lately?
–She’s younger than us. She’s like a sophomore in college.
–Yeah, but has anybody smelled her lately?
Becca and I once wrote a two-woman play that consisted almost entirely of letters to our younger selves. Therefore I have soft spot in my heart for this discussion thread on Gapers Block…. people’s advice to their fifteen year-old selves includes:
–Go to more raves, they wont be around for long
–Not every guy will leave you for your best friend. Just most of them.
–Forget about being a police officer. You sing better than you realize, and if you start now you might make something of it.
–u can get a fake id over on 26th & kedzie buddy. don’t let your redheaded friend use it tho, he looks nothing like you and he’ll get it taken.
–Getting enough sleep for the PSAT the next morning is NOT more important than taking the hottest chick in the school to your junior prom.
–Stop reading the Wheel of Time: Robert Jordan will die before he finishes it.
–Wax those eyebrows.
I’m adding my list of links back to the right-hand side of this page. My method was simple. First, I thought about people with blogs. Then I added the name to the page. I didn’t check to see if the name was officially the title of the person’s blog. Some people have first and last names. Some people just have first names. Some people have nicknames. It’s all very arbitrary. If you are particular about the way you are listed, feel free to tell me. If you are not listed, well, hopefully I’ll remember you soon. No offense. I’m 27. The brain cells, these days they drop like mosquitos against a lamp.
Also, Word Press appears to have alphabetized them automatically. Either that, or I remember things in alphabetical order.
A NYTimes article explains how the semicolon rose to prominence in the New York subway system. Also, this article includes a grammar correction at the bottom; a nice bonus for the grammar nerds.
I’m a big fan of the semicolon because it can be used for pretty much anything. Semicolons join two clauses in place of a conjunction, saving space and sounding more streamlined to the ear. They’re also handy when using non-traditional punctuation in fiction or poetry or less-than-uptight blog posts; they indicate a pause that’s larger than a comma but shorter than a period.
Look how many semicolons I just used. It’s sick. I’m not sure if I use them exactly correctly all the time; I don’t really care. I was once leaving my friend Emily’s apartment at 4am to go make out with a nice boy, but I wanted to let her know where I was headed. I wrote on a napkin in black Sharpie, and I remember the nice boy going, “You used a semicolon in a napkin note?”
Side note: I edited this post for punctuation about ten times. Future posts will be less uptight or else I won’t have time for things like eating and going to my job.
I’ve pretty much always hated math. It seemed impersonal, irrelevant and way too hell-bent on precision over beauty. I spent hours in third grade poring over the same long-division problem, erasing and re-erasing holes in my lined paper, with Mrs. Schopf glowering at me from the front of the room.
This web comic has made me reconsider my hatred.
Jimmy Breslin tells us that the demise of newspapers is because of YouFace. Plus his wife weighs in from the other room.
Eliina used to keep a puzzle laid out, unfinished on our dining room table. The image springs to mind now, when I’ve got a dozen little half-hatched ideas related to The Neos (where potential runs rampant but time runs short): a stronger education program, a constant internet presence, an integrated fundraising plan, a mighty volunteer program. Plus a handful of life things that I want to learn: how to cook vegan desserts, how to develop the stamina to hike through the woods for days, how to play more than seven chords on the guitar, how to support myself financially with writing the kind of work I want to write. I feel like I’m sitting in a room full of dozens of half-finished puzzles. I picture the room like a library, paneled in wood, accented with brass lamps and busts of famous people, but there are no books — only puzzles. The puzzles sit like little drifting continents on deep shelves and long tables, nearly carpeting the floor, all the pieces mixed up. I sit in the center in a worn leather swivel chair, spinning to the right and to the left, putting a piece in here or there, mostly wondering what to do next.
Gapers Block features a column by longtime Sun-Times reporter Howard Wolinsky who accepted a buyout and is now freelancing. The column discusses the ups and downs of the newsroom at the Sun-Times, mostly describing how the paper did (and did not) react to the advent of the interhyperglobalnet.
A Northwestern journalism student interviewed me today for a story she’s writing about The Neo-Futurists. She’s got Prof. McClory, who I had six years ago, a time when I was regularly trucking out to the West Side to interview people at a community center… and I somehow thought it was ok for Amanda and I to show up at his office in our pajamas, collapse on the floor and plead for another extension.
I’ve got mixed feelings about my Medill education: I became a more ruthless editor, a bolder interviewer, a sharper observer, a more precise writer. I also lost some of my lust for language and the art of writing, until I shook off the comma police and started drinking in the sound of words again.
I’m not sure what the future brings for today’s journalists-in-training. Howard Wolinsky says, rather optimistically:Those of you who dream journalism dreams, I would urge you to follow them. It will be a challenging, changing environment, but you’ll be able to get the word out in new ways. I don’t know what will happen. We may save the trees. Publishing may go all digital. Maybe we’ll carry hand-held devices to scoop up “content” from the ether. New business models will have to emerge to pay the bills.
Update: Ok, I thought about it. And… I still really care about commas.
So, I mentioned that I’ve become engrossed by 101 Cookbooks, plus Amanda cooks constantly — which is always inspirational, plus, well, the denizens of the Slanty Shanty need to eat. Actually the Slanty Shanty has been more like a Germ Dome lately, therefore I made soup. It’s the first soup I’ve ever made by doing something other than opening a can. It’s also a soup for the lazy, and so I present it to you, dear readers, who may or may not also be sick and lazy and unaccustomed to making your own soup.
Here goes: Saute two cloves of garlic and half a chopped onion with some olive oil, wait for it all to get a little brown and cooked-looking. While that’s frying, slice up some Tofurkey sausage, if you’re into that sort of thing, and fry that with the other stuff. Then add some swiss chard. This is basically just a leafy green. Kale or whatever will work too. But Trader Joe has tons of chard in his store right now. Then toss in three cans of broth (chicken or vegetable). Wait for that all to cook up nicely. Then pour in a quarter of a jar of spaghetti sauce (whatever you’ve got in the fridge). Next add some kind of frozen vegetable. I added frozen corn. Toss in a little salt and pepper, wait for everything to come to a boil, and serve it up.
When Kevin came home yesterday, he proclaimed that it looked like a massacre but tasted like heaven. So there you go.
I used to work for Turning the Page, a small nonprofit that connects D.C. public schools with community resources like art museums, evening parent literacy workshops and free books. About those books: They’ve always been provided by another nonprofit, Reading is Fundamental (RIF). Apparently the prez is about to slice RIF’s bit of funding from the budget. So please take a moment and fill out this form to ask your Congresspeople to re-instate this funding. It was always a joy for me to watch a horde of 30 six-to-nine year-olds attack a table full of free picture books and exclaim that they wanted to read about Arthur and Clifford and… well, it’s a sight to be seen, and they deserve it. The form took about three minutes to fill out, and I figured it was the least I could do.
UPDATE: The form link has been fixed.
By day I’m the mistress of both big-picture glory and useless administrivia (aka, the managing director) at The Neo-Futurists theater. One of our ensemble members has just created our first-ever Neo-Podcast. Listen to it here. It includes some boobs, some rapping, but mostly a lot of plays recorded live. Potential side effect: It may make you wonder if you’ve accidentally ingested a hallucinogenic chemical compound. In a good way.
I’ve been reading 101 Cookbooks. And I’ve become a sucker for the photos with deep, rich colors, the idea that I really can spend every night cooking something fresh, healthy and organic. I am standing barefoot on a terracotta-tiled kitchen floor overlooking the coast of California with a scarf in my hair and a glass of white wine in my hand, waiting for friends to drop in around 7 for drinks and a dinner that will also clear their pores and enrich their souls.
I realize this is all fantasy. But tonight I made carmelized tofu with brussel sprouts anyways, listening to Bob Marley and drinking a glass of white wine. And it was delicious.