Category Archives: thoughts

Worst Sky Rat: Seagull, Pigeon, Grackle??

Okay. So, I went walking out by the water today. It was a rather surfy morning with lots of wind and birds (royal tern, snowy egret, cormorants, pelicans, willets, first ring-beaked gull of the season, as well as herds and flocks of laughing gulls), and I saw these ladies feeding the gulls.

As I walked nearer, more gulls arrived. They were flying over from–from miles away, or it seemed like it. The gulls already present didn’t seem to be making much noise. No cries other than the usual, from what I could tell, and not many of those. And I decided that seagulls must have telepathy.

There must be some extrasensory sense they use to tell each other when somebody’s throwing food. Because there might be One seagull when the first breadcrumb gets pitched, and dozens mass out of nowhere to fight over it.

I’m pretty sure these ladies aren’t local. Most of the locals are not fond of seagulls. They’re too much of a nuisance to want to feed them. There are a few locals who will feed seagulls. The matriarch of a local restaurant kingdom used to feed the seagulls from the balcony of the hotel next to their flagship restaurant. There’s a statue in the restaurant of her, or someone, feeding gulls. There’s a story going round (I don’t know how true it is) that she died falling from the balcony while feeding the gulls. But let’s leave that depressing digression and return to my next thought.

Which was: Which is the worst nuisance? Pigeons, grackles or seagulls?

They are all known for gathering in great swarms. They are all known for pooping on everything in range. Frequently, with great disgustingness and stench. But which one is the worst of the sky rats?

My vote goes to grackles.

Seagulls? They’re stuck by large bodies of water. They have webbed feet , so they can’t sit in trees and poop on the cars parked under them. (Take note, director of 300 where a seagull sits on a spear–not possible. Webbed feet can’t grasp a spear!) Their cries aren’t that annoying. Laughing gulls have a lower pitched cry than other gulls, so it’s less annoying than those others. They’re also smaller birds, as gulls go, so they don’t poop as much as the big herring gulls. Also, I haven’t seen them sitting on the beach in groups larger than, oh, maybe 30 or so. Mostly less.

Pigeons have a wide range. We have pigeons on the beaches. Sometimes. They do sit in trees and on statues and stuff, and I think there may be a pigeon ESP as well, because they seem to gather instantly when somebody starts throwing bread crumbs. But they don’t seem to gather in flocks as large as the grackles. Also, they’re edible. And they coo. Nice, soft, cuddly-sounding coos.

Grackles? They’re as big as pigeons, beak to tail, but they’re skinny. No meat on their bones. And they collect in flocks that can take over whole city parks. Thousands of birds. We took this picture in February/March (around Mardi Gras). The power lines are not that thick. There are birds along every line, and they’re all over the lines across the street, and along the rooflines, and in the trees (there aren’t many) and Everywhere. Massive, Alfred-Hitchcock-worthy flocks.

Besides all the pooping and gathering and flocking, grackles do not coo. They do not tweet or chirp or cheep. They Screech. Like nails on a blackboard. Literally. And they clack. Sort of like a 3 Stooges “Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk,” but louder. And more clacky. And then they screech again. Endlessly. Back and forth at each other in their ginormous flocks.

If I have to have grackles, or pigeons, or seagulls, I will take seagulls. If I can’t have seagulls, I’ll take pigeons. If only I do not have to deal with grackles. Unfortunately, on the island, we have all three. Sigh.

Oh. I took a picture of a little sand crab too. It was very cool. I almost didn’t see it, it’s so tiny, and so close to the same color as the sand. Can you see it in the middle of the picture? It’s casting a pretty big shadow. The whole thing, from one end of its little legs to the other, is about the size of my thumb, to give you a size comparison. I only spotted it (and the other, smaller one I saw) because they were running across the sand. Back to their holes, maybe.

I did write today. I got all the way to the end of the action in the synopsis. I now need to write the emotional denouement. I am not sure what it will be. I also pretty much left all the romance plot out of the synopsis. I’m trying to lean harder to one way or the other in SF or romance. I do pretty much half and half, most of the time. I can write the romance in the story, but I’m having trouble writing it into the synopsis. It’s like–the romance happens while they’re doing this other stuff. We’ll see how it works. Maybe this story is the other way round. Ah well.

So–what’s your vote? Grackles? Pigeons? Seagulls? Which is the worst nuisance???

On Writing, Blogging, and Editorializing

Now that I’ve written the title to this blog post, I’m not sure what I wanted to say about those topics. Let’s begin with this one: editorializing.

See, my dayjob is at a newspaper. I’ve always been a newspaper reader, even before I got to college and majored in journalism. I tend to read stuff in them, and then–many times–want to argue with the things I read. Which is kind of a lot what bloggers do. But see, being on staff at the paper, I can’t write letters to the editor. However, I CAN write columns. (They’re not actually editorials, since I’m not an editor, but merely a lowly editorial assistant.) So, I wrote one this week. About reading books–recommending that if people want to escape from reality a little while, movies are fine, but books last longer and have a lower cost-per-escape-time ratio. They’re trying to muscle me into writing a column more often–but I don’t know if I can stand once a week. I’ve done that, and sometimes I wrote some really drivel-y drivel. It may be “occasional.” Like whenever I think of something I want to write about.

Blogs are sort of like editorials for everyman. Letters to the universe, instead of the editor. Sometimes they’re read by millions–or thousands. Sometimes, they’re read by friends and family only. Hopefully the readership of this blog runs into the dozens. :)

Blogs are like editorials that people can write instant rebuttals to in the comments. The technology makes it easy for flame wars to get going, because people can just pop off. And there are no editors to clean up their grammar and turn their gibberish into logical sentences. (I’ve cleaned up a LOT of letters. What people mail/e-mail in looks a lot like some of the blog comments. Only less coherent, some of them.)

Let’s see–so I’ve blogged about editorializing. And blogging. So. Writing. Peh. (It’s like Meh, except more puffy, with a P.)

I’ve been making fair progress on the writing, since my realization of what the opening scene should be. Even though I have been smacked in the head with another story that has insisted on being written. I write the contracted book during regular writing-work hours, and have been writing the other one during the hours I would ordinarily be reading or watching television. (My current Netflix movies have been waiting for 2 weeks for me to watch them.) So I’m not taking away from the Official Book. It’s actually been working pretty well. This other one–I’m not even sure it IS a book. It might be. So I’ll see where it goes for a while. Even though I feel guilty, I’m doing okay on The Book.

Well, except for today. Today was a bust. First, I took the granddog to the beach for a walk, and even let her off the leash. She ran and chased the birds into the surf, and ran and ran, and did Not run off across the jetty, or bother the 2 people on the beach, and when she got tired, she came back and let me put the leash back on her. And because she chased the birds (seagulls and willets) into the surf, she got all salty and sandy. So I gave her a bath when we got home. (Mostly because she was stinky to start with.)

Except Dolly didn’t want a bath. She so didn’t want a bath, that she pulled out of her collar (which she didn’t do on the walk). I had to pick up wet, salty, sandy, stinky dog and Carry her to the hose/shampoo. She is not a particularly large dog. But she ain’t no toy poodle either…

She got her bath, though. Then I went inside and took one. Between the walk, the dog bath, my bath, the laundry, and all the other sundry things I had to do, it was getting late, I was feeling cranky, so I didn’t write today. There. I confessed. Sometimes I skip a day writing, even when I’m on deadline. I am hoping this will help … clear my palate. Or something. I think I’m about to run down with this side-writing thing. Right now, it’s feeling very Mary Sue-ish, so if I can’t fix that, it may not turn into a book. And I have A Book to write.

One I am liking, actually. I like how it’s going. I need to go back and tweak some of the early stuff so it doesn’t erase the conflict, but I think I know now how to do that now. Harry needs to shut up. He’s a talky kind of guy, (Some guys are–my oldest grandson is getting in trouble at school for the exact reason his dad used to–talking too much… ) and he believes in laying his cards on the table–but he doesn’t need to lay out quite so many of them. And he needs to be just a tad more aggressive.

Speaking of grandsons–they didn’t get to come last weekend. Just their dad. So all my boys–the fella and the two sons–had a boys’ day out and went Gulf fishing for the day on Friday. They caught two meals worth of vermilion snapper, which is not the same as red snapper, which is not in season. I’ll post a picture of the fella’s ginormous red snapper he caught. The youngest caught a 28-inch amberjack he had to throw back, because amberjacks have to be 32 inches to keep them. But the snapper was excellent. They invited me, but…

So. There you have it. Opinion, and news. What more do you need?

Readers, Writers and how they (should) relate

Haven’t posted a blog here in a week, so it’s time. Because, you know, I try to post at least once a week. I can’t manage to post every day, but once a week–you can check by and see what’s new, but I don’t overburden anybody. (Especially me!) (I’ll get round to the topic in the title, eventually. Bear with me.)

I did an essay for Dear Author on Why I Read and Write… Y’all can go read it. And tomorrow, I’m posting a blog at To Be Read: So Many Authors, so little time… about how I’m so forgetful. (I was supposed to blog on Monday over there.) So it’s not as if I haven’t been blogging at all.

I have been thinking, off and on, about readers and authors and the relationship between them. It started with all the sound and fury over the fourth Twilight book, when so many readers got all up in arms about the way Meyers finished her series. Then I wandered across the post at John Scalzi’s Whatever blog about “Pissy fans,” which got me to thinking again (though it’s really about other factors). Plus, there is the perennial Hate for Laurell K. Hamilton for the direction she’s taken Anita Blake–which doesn’t bother me at all. I still glom onto the books… Suzanne Brockmann even had problems with readers getting upset because certain characters got together with characters other than those that were expected–or hoped for. And now, I think all of that thinking has gelled to the point where I know what I think, and I think maybe I know why I think it. (Profound, I know.)

This may relate to a long-ago post of mine (I’m not going to go look it up right now because I’m supposed to be doing Bulletin Board) about Protecting the Work. Because I firmly, truly and deeply believe The Story Belongs To The Writer.

That’s why I started writing stories in the first place. So I could tell the story I wanted to tell. My story, not somebody else’s.

I read Hamilton’s books to see where she’s taking the characters. I’m along for HER ride, not mine. If I didn’t like where they were going, I wouldn’t ride along–I’ve stopped reading a number of authors for just that reason (George R.R. Martin’s series among them–well written books, but not for me)–but I sure as heck wouldn’t get mad at them for not writing the story I wanted. Because it ain’t my story. It’s theirs.

I think this is why I stopped writing fan fiction long before I really got to writing my own stories. I understand loving the characters and wanting certain things to happen. I can even understand feelings of ownership, because of that huge love, but guess what? Readers don’t own the characters. And if the author sufficiently motivates the event–the love affair with the new/different character than the one the reader wants/expects, say–I’m perfectly willing to go with it.

In the case of Brockmann’s Dark of Night, in which characters who have been pining for each other through five or six books wind up with someone completely different, the book worked perfectly for me. I think in part it’s because “real life” doesn’t always work out like we want it to–but if we’re open, we can see that the change of plans is even better than what we originally thought we wanted. Maybe the folks who got all upset are that way in real life too–wanting what they want without being open to the possibility of something else. Or maybe not.

My point is–and I hope it’s clear that I have one–the relationship between readers and authors must include the recognition and acceptance of the fact that The Story BELONGS to The Author.

By publishing a book, we are inviting the reader to come along on the journey with us, whether for one book, or fourteen–but the author is still the one in the driver’s seat. That’s just the way it is, my dears.

If you want to tell a different story, Go for it! Write the story the way YOU want it to go. But please, use your own characters and your own universe. And that story will belong to you. Until then, enjoy the ride!

Pelicans, and other thoughts

The thing about living at the beach is that you have to LIVE at the beach. All that regular, everyday stuff still has to be done, even though the beach is only two blocks away. Cooking, laundry, scrubbing bathrooms, going to work–all that stuff takes up going-to-the-beach time. So you just have to go anyway, and still, somehow get everything done.

I was thinking about this as I walked on the beach today. Tide was in-ish. (Didn’t look for the times in the paper this a.m.) I could walk around the boulders, but the waves still came up–just not too high. I was thinking about how I still had to go home and do stuff, but wasn’t it great that I could spend this little amount of time out communing with nature.

The sargasso seaweed is starting to come in. In places it looks like a crinkly, crocheted blanket, it’s so thick. I’m not sure if the birds eat something on the seaweed, or if they eat the stuff that’s tangled up in/hiding in the seaweed, but the birds–seagulls and sanderlings and plovers and willets–seem to hang out near it and hung through it.

Today, I found the biggest shell yet. Most shells that wash up on our Gulf coast are small. Mostly they’re scallop-type shells in white or black or yellow-stripes, an inch, or maybe two across. The vast majority are much smaller, some smaller than my tiniest toenail. But this one is at least 4 inches across. Maybe 5. Bigger than the palm of my hand, and deep, and almost black. Part of the rim was broken off, but it’s pretty much whole. I also found what I think is a piece of coral. I think it might be brain coral, from my minimal research. No picture of it yet…

I only saw one pelican flying today. Monday, row after row flapped by overhead. Usually I see at least one line of pelicans heading east–maybe it was a wind thing. Yesterday and Monday were very windy, today was less so. Anyway, Monday, I decided to count the numbers of pelicans flying in their lines.

When I was growing up not far from my beach, and would come down to swim and ride the ferry and such–I never saw a single brown pelican, much less a white one. They were quite endangered. One reason I decided to count how many I saw on Monday. I think I’ve also mentioned here that pelicans like to fly single file. I assume this cuts down on the headwind issue, like the wild goose V, but I’ve never seen pelicans fly in an actual V, just single file.

Anyway, I counted two lines of eleven pelicans each. Then one of thirteen. Then one of seventeen pelicans. That’s a lot of pelicans. I was beginning to think that pelicans had a thing for odd numbers–but then I saw two separate lines, flying somewhat close together, of eight pelicans each. One had seven at first, but there was a singleton flying really hard to catch up and fall in at the end of the line. Now I shall do math.

I had to get out a pen and write on the bottom of a cutline page. I saw in one thirty-minute walk sixty-eight (68) brown pelicans. (If I added wrong, please correct my arithmetic in the comments. thank you.) That’s a LOT of pelicans. They were all flying the same direction, so I’m reasonably certain it was 68 different pelicans, not the same ones flying in circles. Which to me is absolutely totally cool, since it was my own childhood when pelicans were so endangered you just did not see them on the island. At all. Oh, and I didn’t count the single pelican I saw flying in to land beside one of the jetties. So that makes 69.

The beach belongs to the birds from dawn to about 10 or 11 a.m. I may go out walking at 8-ish, but the beach is still theirs. They tolerate me grudgingly.

I got started writing a little late. The plumber guy came and fixed the toilet from its intermittent running (which can be shocking while in the shower, since it would run every five minutes and alternately scald/freeze you while it ran) and I took my sweet time cleaning up after the walk. But I still got 3.5 pages written. Did 6 yesterday. I’m not sure I’ll keep what I wrote today–or that I’ll keep it in this location, but it’s written.

Oh. I just remembered. I entered my very first juried art show Saturday. The very first one where I took paintings in and let other people (who are neither relatives or friends) Look at them and decide whether they were worthy of hanging in a show. They were judged in the non-professional category, of course, which probably helped, but there are some very good non-pros. Anyway, one of the two paintings I entered made the cut. (I suck at painting/drawing hands and feet. And arms. Some arms, anyway.) I didn’t win a prize, but I made the cut.

So my painting of Robert is going to be hung in this art show. (It’s in the blog archive if the other link doesn’t work. I can’t figure out how to post it on the blog with this work Mac. Just scroll down till you see the painting of the person near the bottom…)(If you want to see it.)

I’ll take a picture at the show, so you can see it hanging with other people looking at it. 😉

2008 Looms!

So. It’s New Year’s Eve, 2007.

I remember when I was a little girl, looking ahead to the Year 2000, I thought–“Oh, I’ll probably be dead by then.”

Then I did the math. Turned out, I wouldn’t even be 50 years old by then, so I probably wouldn’t be dead. And boy am I glad I was right. Or wrong, whichever statement you choose to go by. I’m exceedingly glad to be here for the ringing in of 2008.

The Texas grandboys have gone home. The Pennsylvania grandboy will be leaving tomorrow. (With their respective parents.) The house will be (mostly) quiet again. I say “mostly” because our youngest child (and the granddog) are still here–but he sleeps so late, it’s Mostly quiet.

The holiday was wonderful, however. Lots of cool presents. Lots of great food. Lots and lots and lots of fun. For instance, the big boys had some puppet fun with their Christmas stockings. We laughed a lot–especially when the fingers came through the holes in the crocheted stocking to make teeth.

The littlest guy fell out of the tree. The middle grandboy poured all his candy out on the floor and went swimming in it. I don’t remember what the oldest one did, but I know he was cute. He read some of his books for me. He found the pictures I’ve been trying to paint of him and his brother–and actually recognized who they were. So, even unfinished, I guess I’m doing okay.

We went to the candlelight Christmas eve service with the whole horde, and the little boys did really good. The middle boy (the autistic one) saw all the candles and made the connection with Jesus’ birthday, and started singing “Happy birthday, Jesus” (to his own tune) right at the end of the candlelighting–when it was very quiet–and so the pastor just went with it and had the congregation sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus, while the boy’s parents quietly blushed with embarrassment. Nobody else had a problem with his song, but they were embarrassed. I thought it was cute.

So now, it’s the New Year. Back to real life on Wednesday. Sending the last of them home tomorrow. I’ll try to get back here before then to update all the other fun stuff we’ve done, but for now–I have to go get ready for the black-tie party we’re fixing to head off to. (Yes, FIXING–I’m a Texan. Deal with it.)

I’ll show off the fancy duds and the necklace the daughter made for me as soon as I can get around to it.

Children’s Books

Do you know how hard it is to find children’s picture books that have pictures of Actual People doing things? People, not animals dressed up like people.

We decided to have a book birthday for our autistic grandboy, and I went looking for books with people in them. He’s working on verbs and on gender, so books with pictures of boys and girls doing things like running, swimming, whatever, would really help. But they have to be Real People, because he’s very concrete and literal in his thinking and can’t relate dressed-up animals to people. And it was Really Hard to find anything.

I found a book of Fischer-Price Little People at the various toy-places you can buy for them–at a farm, the fire station, a gas station, etc. They’re cartoon-y, but they look like people. And I found a “going on a picnic” book I thought would work. There were a few other books but the illustrations I thought leaned a little too far to the abstract, and some had just girls or just boys. All the rest were animals.

I couldn’t resist the book about how George Gershwin wrote Rhapsody in Blue–yes, there really is a picture book about that, and it comes with a CD of the music. The boy loves that music, from Disney’s Fantasia 2000–hums and sings it, makes pianos out of blocks to pretend to play it. And the other day, he asked his mom for Rhapsody in Purple. So of course, I had to get him the book.

They also have a pet guinea pig (more Mom & Dad’s pet than the boy’s), so I had to get the book about “I love guinea pigs.” (I got one of those books for the other two grandboys, too, since they also have a guinea pig.)

But I may write a children’s picture book next, with REAL children doing things. Maybe with photos. Surely autistic kids aren’t the only ones who’d benefit from that kind of book…

Wonderful Words

So, I was in the kitchen this morning, putting together a pot of carne guisada to have for Sunday dinner, and the jalapeno I was cutting up for it seemed to be particularly seedy. This is an important observation when it comes to jalapenos, because the vast majority of their heat happens to be in their seeds.

Then it occurred to me to wonder where, when and why the word seedy came to mean disreputable, disheveled and possibly dishonest. A pepper having many seeds–or any other fruit with lots of seeds–didn’t seem to be the proper source.

Then I remembered when I had a vegetable garden years ago, and how if I wasn’t careful, (especially in the heat of a Central Texas spring) the lettuce and carrots would “go to seed.”

They would send out these lanky, weedy-looking seed shoots, the rest of the plant would take on a bedraggled, shop-worn (or maybe sun-and-heat-worn) appearance, and the leaves (for lettuce) or roots (for carrots) would become bitter. I never did get a decent carrot out of that garden. And I had to step lively–and plant the lettuce practically in January–to get some nice salad greens.

Seedy, meaning bedraggled and disreputable, has been around long enough that it likely came from original English-from-England, but lettuce goes to seed there too. (Just not as fast.) That has to be the original source of the meaning. Aren’t words interesting?

Well, they are to me, anyway.

Haven’t been walking at the beach lately. The fella went fishing with a friend on one of the jetties yesterday, though, and they each caught a fish. The fish swam up into the rocks, and they had to climb down a little to pull them out, but they caught them. We went over to Mike’s house to eat them, because he volunteered to cook them up, and they were really, really good. (One of the fishes was big enough for two.) I do like fresh fish.

On Moving to the Beach, and Souls

The contract is signed, the commitment is made and I can officially talk about it now. The fella and I are moving to the beach–from the rolling plains of the Texas Panhandle 600 miles or so to the Texas Gulf Coast.

I’m really excited about it, even though it means leaving my wonderful office with its two big windows, and having to go through all my books–including way too many that I haven’t read yet. (Ugh.)

But we have always loved the coast–everything about it, from the salt water, and the sand and the seafood and boats–all of it. Okay, maybe not the hurricanes, but we’ve been living in Tornado Alley for 30 years. At least with a hurricane, you get more warning than you do with a tornado. I don’t think there’s any place that is 100% safe. It just depends on what kind of weather/nature hazard you’re willing to put up with. I’ll be happy living on my barrier island, and writing is one of those jobs that can be done anywhere.

A while back, I sent the daughter a book I thought she’d enjoy, because it was about math, and the mind and other strange things. I didn’t read it, because I didn’t think I’d be able to follow it. Instead, she was outraged when, not far into the book, the author stated that “‘mentally retarded, brain-damaged, and senile humans’ have less consciousness and therefore less of a soul than other human beings. But don’t worry, they still rate higher than dogs and bunnies.” (I’m quoting the daughter, mostly.) The idea that someone would actually think that her son had less of a soul than they did rightfully pushed all her buttons.

This guy appears to equate intellectual capacity with soul, which in my not-so-humble opinion is utterly false. How much soul would the merely stupid possess? How can you account for the apparent soullessness of many intellectually-gifted persons? Frankly, I believe that all humans are issued souls of equal value–and then we mess them up as we go through life. Innocence, which is found in the young, and in those whose mental functions differ from the norm, provides a purity of soul not often found in “normal” people.

Soul is not a property of the intellect. It is a property of existence. Of the human condition–whatever condition it might take.

I could probably go on, but I think I’ve been metaphysical enough for today. And I have stuff to go through before I start packing. Wish me luck.

Three-Day Weekends

Here’s my other painting–it’s one of the pilings for the Bolivar Point ferry on Galveston Island. I liked how all the seagulls (and one pelican) made themselves at home. I want to paint pelicans all flying in a row like they do sometime…they are so cool. Now back to your regularly scheduled blog rambling.

We’re not going anywhere for Memorial Day. Obligations here in town, and all that. But it got me to thinking about three-day weekends.

Three-day weekends aren’t an exceptionally big deal at my house. Well, not for me, because I work at home and can set up my own schedule how I want it. But we have three-day weekends all summer long, because the fella works at a community college.

A whole bunch of community colleges across the state–and maybe nationwide, for all I know–go to a four-day week in the summer time. They still offer a full slate of summer school classes, but years ago–we’re talking fifteen to twenty years ago–they realized that an awful lot of their students skipped class on Friday. And Texas summers require some serious air conditioning, which requires some serious electricity, which costs some serious bucks. So they started shutting the campus down on Fridays and getting the 40-hour week into four 10-hour days.

The local college has gone to summer hours. Which means that we can have a 3-day weekend to go visit the grandboys Saturday week and not have to deal with Memorial Day traffic.

When we used to live on Lake Whitney (north of Waco), if we took the boat out on the lake on a holiday weekend, we didn’t go out until at least five o’clock. Partly because the sun is lower then and less likely to turn me and our pale children into lobsters. Partly because the central Texas wind tends to die down beginning at about 5:00. But mostly because all the nuts who came down from the big city (Dallas/Fort Worth, mostly) to party on the water had burnt themselves to a crisp by 5:00 p.m. and were coming off the water.

Of course, some summer holidays we went out on the lake at 8:00 a.m.–the wind usually hadn’t picked up yet that early, and the idiots weren’t out of bed yet. This is Texas, remember. When it’s 99 F (37.2 C) in the afternoon, it doesn’t get much cooler than 80 F (26.6 C) by 6 a.m., and the lakes are all quite, quite warm. I got spoiled. I still don’t like to go in the water if it’s less than 90 F (32 C) outside, and the water had better be warm!

Anyway, while we’re going nowhere and doing nothing–except maybe going to see Pirates of the Caribbean III, but not at the drive-in theater in town because of all the bugs I can’t get off the windshield, and I hate looking through bugs–I hope that y’all have a great holiday weekend–those of you who are having a holiday. What are you doing for the weekend? I need to clean all the books off the floor…

Things that Amuse

I got a precious comment on my MySpace space, a relayed message from the littlest grandguy. He wanted his mom to tell his Grandaddy that he “pooped in da potty free times.” He had no news for me, unfortunately. (sigh) But then, I’m the one who makes him take naps when he comes to visit. Oh well. They’re cute, whatever they do.

I am also amused by a sentence out of this story which has apparently been around for 30 or 40 years, touted as “The Worst Story Ever Written.” I don’t know whether it actually lives up to its billing–I’ve read a lot of really bad stories–but it is pretty bad. It was apparently written by a 16-year-old fan boy who swore never to write another–and didn’t–because this one was so thoroughly vilified. Poor kid. Anyway, this is the sentence in question:

The barbarian seated himself upon a stool at the wenches side,
exposing his body, naked save for a loin cloth brandishing a
long steel broad sword, an iron spiraled battle helmet, and a
thick leather sandals, to her unobstructed view.

That loin cloth brandishing the “long steel broad sword” made me chortle, because so much early, purple-prosed romance fiction used identical imagery and euphemisms. I’m not sure how the loincloth also brandished a helmet and sandals at the same time, but I’m willing to suspend my disbelief. :)

What are your favorite (or least favorite) euphemisms?