Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No question prompting for a y/n ends well

You know what question bothers me a lot more than it should? It's not one of those cliches like paper or plastic, boxers or brief, or do you want fries with that. (Plastic, boxers and yes.) I know one of you clever jokesters is probably thinking something like, "Are you sure you're in the right restroom, ma'am? Oh, I'm sorry." Nor is it anything as scandalous as "Why on earth would you think she was over 18?" Sadly, both of those questions make better stories, but you will be enthralled by mine; a testament to my highly developed writing powers.

Using my clues, surely you have deduced that it is when automatic card readers say: "Credit or debit?" or "Debit? y/n." This offends my sensibilities for two reasons:
  1. As you can see from my blogger name, I am an engineer. I work in a technological field, so that reflects on me personally, rightly or wrongly, in the same way that when my basketball team gets bounced in the first round by a team from *gasp* Michigan that's not Michigan State, it reflects poorly on the whole Clemson community. It's that personal.
  2. I'm lazy.
I also noticed that you saw more colons in the previous paragraph than your average proctologist. I was going to apologize for that, but then I realized, colons (the punctuation) are great, while colons (the organ), that would demand an apology. I apologize for nothing.

The D or C question bothers me a lot. This card can hold a magnetic strip that contains my entire personal information and credit history* but they didn't think to add "Oh, by the way, this is a credit card"? How ludicrous is that? How different is the billing process anyway? What happens if I choose debit for my credit card? Will the pump take my gas back? Truthfully, that would almost be worth it.

I know there are probably other things I should worry more about. Like about AIDS in Africa and economic collapse and if we all be speaking Chinese in 20 years and what made Mike Myers stop being funny. You know what they say: I don't, I just wanted to throw in another colon.

*I have no idea what is on that magnetic strip, honestly.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Southernfolk talk different

Growing up, my dad used to use funny idioms that I'd never heard anywhere else, and since his mom is Southern and my mom is not, I just assumed that's where they came from. One I remember is "You better be over here in two shakes of the lammy's tail." This meant very quickly. Evidently, lammies shake their tails so quickly that they can shake them twice before whatever instant you need to deal with is at hand. I'm pretty sure there is another one, but I can't think of what it is. I have lived in the Real South (as my loyal readers know, I grew up in Florida, which is like the bicurious state) since 2004 now, and have yet to hear any of them come out of any other Southern mouths. So I can only conclude that my dad is an amazing idiomologist and made them up.

There are, however, a number of colloquialisms that I have come across that are worthy of sharing. You will, of course, find them listed and discussed below in my favorite and noblest of all lists: the numbered list.
  1. Show [one's] tail - The first time I heard this one, I actually had to ask for an explanation. I have not heard this one outside of rural South Carolina yet, so it might be unique to there and not Southern at large. It has nothing to do with nudity or discovery of morphological changes in humans, to my disappointment. How great would it be if they discovered lizard people in the Upstate of South Carolina? Clemson's swim team would win all kinds of national championships. It actually means to misbehave, as in, "After eating several pixie sticks, the State Senators really showed their tails."
  2. Cut on - This is the phrase that made me want to write this entry. This one bothers me for aesthetic purposes. It doesn't sound right. This is the opposite of (obviously) cut off, as in "Cut off the woodchipper, he's already dead." Cut off should be obnoxious too, since it doesn't really make sense either, but it gets a pass because cutting off and termination kind of make sense, even though cutting off a light switch is not really that permanent or serious of a change. I do feel strongly though that you should not be able to cut on anything.
  3. Might could - These are two linking verbs. I know that because in seventh grade Mrs. Adair made us memorize all of the linking verbs in the English language via a cute little song that I will never forget ever. The thing about verbs like that, though, is that two of them can't follow each other in a sentence, with the exceptions of am/is/are/was/were and being. No other combinations are possible, including might could. This means might be able to, and I grit my teeth every time I hear someone say this. An example of this being used in a sentence is "I might could help you with your math homework, but you have to take off your shirt first." (In this example, the speaker is talking to a girl [who is over 18]. The speaker can be whichever gender you prefer.)
  4. Stay - This one isn't so much a phrase as it is a word. That's ok, though. It means live. As in, "No, I don't stay in this refrigerator box. Thanks for asking." This one, though, isn't really quite as aggravating or funny as the others, but it's still unusual. Like a cat who barks or a complete sentence coming from Rep. Corrine Brown. I am also told that this is restricted to a subset of Southerners who are also black, which is consistent with my very scientific observations.
I really wish I could remember the other prolific one that my dad would say because it would really make the intro stronger and it's really weird. Feel free to share any regionalisms you have encountered, and point out the region. The stranger the better!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I like the Irish. Not Notre Dame.

It was in high school when I first started to think about what islands of white people my family came from way back when. Of course, like everyone else in the southeast, Britain and Ireland were the primary culprits. I was prompted to look into it because there were a lot of people in my high school whose parents were born in India but they had never seen the place and still managed to feel and act more Indian than American. Don't get me a wrong, there were a lot of awesome Indian people too, but there were some who would only hang with other Indian folks, which strikes me as, well, I don't want to say racist, but a little bit racist.

This coming week is, of course, the holiday for people who like to pretend they're Irish. I have never been to Ireland and my last name is English, but there are Irish people in my family tree and begorrah, I love it. The Irish are a jolly people, and I like being a part of that. There are primarily three things that Irish people are known for, and they're all fantastic. Indian people might have better food, but they sure don't have better booze.

  1. Booze (Biotálle). Distillation came to Ireland from the Mediterranean by way of missionaries, according to wikipedia. How great is that? Missionaries! There's a saying that the Irish discovered whiskey and the Scottish perfected it. You know what I have to say about that? Ireland is independent and Scotland is still run from London. Eat that. Also, everyone loves Guinness. Americans learned to make their liquors when the Irish and Scottish came over and settled the South in the early colonial days. Good for them.
  2. Blessings (Beannachtaí). Everyone knows the "May the road always rise to meet you..." blessing. You may not have known is that there are like a thousand just like it, poetic and fun and cheery. For a people so historically miserable (not quite Polish or Jewish miserable, but certainly more so than the Canadians), most of what you see is very positive, like charming brogues, pots of gold and leprechauns, and excellent smelling soap. I suspect #1 has a hand in this attitude. My favorite is: May you be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.
  3. Blarney (An Bhlárna). It is a town, castle, rock and gift originating in County Cork. You might think it's just mumbo jumbo, but this community has been able to convince Americans to come to their town and spend good money in order bend over backwards to kiss a rock. If that isn't evidence of the gift of Blarney, I don't know what is. There is also a disproportionate presence of Irish writers in the English language, and I'd like to think that there's something in the blood, and I just have to activate that component of it by drinking Bushmills.
Sure, there are terrorists and domestic violence too, but all that has largely been drowned out by the Muslims blowing people up in more dramatic fashion. And their accents aren't nearly as fun. Can you imagine a Saudi breakfast cereal? Magically delicious, insha'allah. Anyway, everyone have a happy SPD on the 17th, eat some corned beef and cabbage and say sláinte as you think about your favorite blogger. The Wonkette.