Tuesday, May 30, 2006


I was poised to give up my attempt to write about language on Tuesdays, when NPR came with a full-frontal assault:

Verity Jennings, a recent graduate of Leeds Metropolitan University in Britain [wrote a thesis that] analyzed the popularity of the term "chavs" in hundreds of newspaper stories. While the origins of the word are murky, Jennings says "chavs" has come to refer to British young people characterized by gold jewelry and sportswear, often in a negative light. But she says references to "chavs" may also create a new sense of belonging.

From what I can gather, the closest approximation on this side of the pond is the prevailing use of "ghetto" as an adjective. And not only because Jennings mentioned Christina Aguilera as an iteration of "chav" here in the U.S.

To be fair, I'm not advocating the use of "ghetto." It's a trouble-ridden term that I generally try to avoid. But "chavs" seems like a great word. Use it liberally.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Ryan's Conversation With The Hot Girl Who Is Training To Be A Chef, Wherein He Attempts To Trick Her Into Leaving Her Bread Samples Unwatched

Ryan: Hi. Can I try some of your bread?
Girl: Sure. This one is Challah and this one is Rye. Which one do you want?
Ryan: Both. I'd like both if that's acceptable.
Girl: Here.
[Ryan eats]
Ryan: I notice you don't have any dipping sauce.
Girl: Nope. Just bread.
Ryan: Those ladies over there have bread and dipping sauce.
Girl: Have you had their bread?
Ryan: No. But I notice it comes with sauce. Four kinds.
Girl: I haven't had their bread either.
Ryan: You probably should. It's good to know the competition.
Girl: That's a good point.
Ryan: I know.
Girl: You're the wine guy, right?
Ryan: I am.
Girl: That's a cool job.
Ryan: Isn't yours?
Girl: Yeah. It is.
Ryan: You're not going to go try their bread, are you?
Girl: I have to be here to serve my bread.
Ryan: I'll watch your table. You really should. It's research.
Girl: I don't think I'm allowed.
Ryan: I'm very trustworthy, as you'll come to learn. I'm sure I can handle passing out bread samples for two minutes.
Girl: I don't know.
Ryan: What if I told you that their bread was better than yours? Wouldn't you want to go check it out to see if I was lying?
Girl: I can't leave.
Ryan: That's not very adventurous. I thought you told me you were adventurous.
Girl: Did I?
Ryan: No.
Girl: I didn't think so.
Ryan: Can I try the Rye again?
Girl: You liked the Rye?
Ryan: Not as much as those ladies' over there.
et cetera

Saturday, May 27, 2006

It's Not A Bad Idea To Learn One Or Two New Things Every Day - Thomas Frasisco Jefferson

I've always liked ordering pizza to pick up, because then you get to sit in the car with the pizza box on your lap and smell it the entire drive home. Sometimes you get to take a piece out, then and there, and eat it. On the drive home you will talk about how good the pizza smells, and how much you love smelling pizza while driving home, and how many great memories you have of sitting with a box of pizza in your lap, smelling it, driving home. You will open the box a little and stare and the pizza and be satisfied.

What I learned today is that it's not the pizza that smells so good, it's the warm cardboard.

Warm cardboard smells wonderful. Almost like pizza.

Try it for yourself.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Le Pew

Scene I

[A Belmont bungalow; late afternoon on a weekday; a virile and attractive young Stanley sits reading the paper at the dining room table. Offstage but audible, Beth fumbles with varying objects, clearly in a bathroom.]

Beth: Whew! That one stunk!
Stanley: [coughs]



Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Eek! The Messicans Talk Funny!

It's Tuesday, and Matt Yglesias has done a bang-up job summing up E.J. Dionne Jr.'s column about the recent attempts to make English the national and/or official language of the U.S.

Bottom line: this whole discussion is pure pandering. English is not under any threat. Learning more than one language is, in fact, good for people and a good idea in an increasingly globalized marketplace. (Eddie Izzard quips that they speak five languages in Amsterdam, and they're high all the time.)

Jingoism. Xenophobia. Ignorance. Fear-mongering. These are the only real problems here.

P.S. Dionne's column is especially noteworthy, since it's the first time in recent memory that I haven't rolled my eyes at an E.J. Dionne column.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

An Open Letter To Stanley

Lovely Stanley,

I never see you anymore. Why is this? I wander around Charlottesville, poking around here and there, and you are nowhere to be found. You are not at my house, and you are not at Arby's last night, and you are not anywhere on the sidewalk during my walk to the Downtown Mall and back. Where are you? I spend my evenings drinking wine, talking, sometimes driving, sometimes writing, sometimes sleeping, and you are never there to remind me of all of my horrible shortcomings, and to make fun of my friends, and to say inappropriate things at inappropriate times, which I like. Where are you to keep me in check? Where are you to remind us that it's all pointless, it's all a farce, a coop, a dirty chicken coop? Where are you?

I guess I could call. But I never do that. I won't.

And why would you be moving to Philly? I think it would be a great thing if you did, because Philly is wonderful and I always have a great time there and then I would have more of a reason to visit, if you were there. Because I have other friends there, too, and we could be a big gang of white kids, wandering, buying beer in those interesting beer stores that they have, for like $34 per six pack. And we could go to sports games, because they actually have professional teams. But why would you move there? Is it a job? Is it the trombone sextet? Is it me?

This is my open letter. And I don't know, precisely, what "open" means in that specific context, but it sounds right. So this is my open letter. It is open. It is letter.


Friday, May 19, 2006


Stanley is considering a move to Philadelphia. FYI.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

"I want to be a housewife!!"

Holy Fucking Shit! I'm in love.

Why did no one tell me about Hannidate sooner?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Lonely Only

When Al Dubin and Harry Warren wrote "I Only Have Eyes for You," they were out to write a good pop song. Any attention to grammar was, at best, secondary. It had to sound good, period (and it does, methinks).

But, at the risk of alienating all of our Dubin- and Warren-loving readers, I'd like to use the song's chorus to illustrate a very common trouble spot in the usage of the word "only."

As written, the "only" in the chorus modifies the word "have." As in, the singular verb that can be used to describe the relation of my eyes to you is "have," and that doesn't even make sense. Let us consider some other possibilities for the placement of "only:"
  1. Only I Have Eyes For You -- this example is clealy not the intended meaning; quite the opposite in fact. "You're so goddamn ugly that no one but I could ever find you attractive."
  2. I Have Only Eyes For You -- this example is also funny, but almost as non-sensical as the real song. "No hands; no feet; no nose; no ears---just eyes, baby. That's all I gots for you." (Weird-o.)
  3. I Have Eyes Only For You -- Okay, now we're getting closer to the intended meaning. The "only" here modifies "for," with the resultant meaning: "I like you and nobody else." On review, this usage clearly indicates something different from the example below. "I have eyes only for you suggests no other purpose for having eyes (e.g., to see things). The true intending meaning lies only below.[blushes]
  4. I Have Eyes For Only You -- Here, the meaning is basically the same as above. "You are the sole object of my adoration. Nothing else is in that category." But it doesn't sound as poetic. So the singer probably wouldn't get laid (unless it were Sinatra; Sinatra always gets laid).

The moral: be mindful of the word "only." Its meaning can shift wildly, leading to results that are confusing, if sometimes droll.

P.S. Don't use the word "droll," either. You sound like a dick.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Oh, Mother

Phone conversation with the Mom:

Stanley's Mom: And then I'm going to do Wal-Mart.
Stanley: The whole store?!
Stanley's Mom: Yep. While your Father does Ukrop's.
Stanley: Well that sounds much more conservative.
Stanley's Mom: I've always been the wild one...

{ed. note: I'm trying a new format for conversation posting. Unlike the post below, I'm attempting Ryan's method. I think I prefer it.}

Whoa-Oh-Oh It's Magic

Stanley: [points at small bag with shiny objects] What are those?

Co-worker: They're glass beads.

Stanley: [stares blankly]

Co-worker: They're used for counting.

Stanley: [stares blankly]

Co-worker: In my magic game.

Stanley: [stares blankly]

Co-worker: Go away.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Oral & Facial

I sat in the waiting room fiddling with the newspaper. I wasn't reading. I couldn't read. Waiting rooms make me nervous. I looked around at the other waiting people, all nerves.

Then I'm in the special chair and a nurse is putting a bib on and asking me what I do, etc.

Then Doctor is shooting my mouth full of Lidocaine or Novacaine or Something-caine that makes my mouth feel like a rock hanging off the end of my face. And he taps. Tap-tap-tap. More tapping. Stops tapping. Starts again.

"Okay, there's gonna be a lot of pressure," he says. He pushes---hard---upward into my jaw. My head jerks. Samantha the nurse braces my head by placing her hand along my left cheek bone, as Doctor pushes from the right. It's like she's cradling my head. Samantha's very kind like that.

Nothing happens.

"Okay, there's gonna be lots of pressure again," and there is, and again, and again, and I cringe and sweat, but nothing.

Doctor looks at the X-Ray then walks out of the room. He's off somewhere, and I can hear tools clanging together, like when my Dad looks for the right size wrench in his massive red toolbox.

Then he's back. "There's gonna be a lot of noise and a lot of water."

Whirrr!!! and there's little droplets shooting out from my mouth, and I'm cringing and sweating and Samantha asks if I'm okay and of course I say "Mm-hmm."

More pushing. More noise. More water. Suction. My mouth is salty, and I can feel pools collecting under my tongue. Suction. Pressure. Noise.

I can hear the sound of bone cracking against its will, and I'm cringing more than ever. My hands are numb. Samatha checks again. "Mm-hmm."

Then Doctor smirks a bit and says, "There, that's the first root. Only two to go." The root looks like bloodied porcelain and clangs against the metal tray.

Then the tooth is out completely, and Doctor goes to get more supplies.

Samantha tells me about her young son and her former marriage(s). Periodically she gets up and replaces the bloody gauze in my mouth with a fresh white one. She wipes my mouth (blood? spittle?). Samantha is the nicest person I've ever met.

Doctor's back and he's pinching my nose. "I want you to try to blow air through your nose," so I blow and nothing.

"Hmph. Looks like we didn't get any sinus perforation" (which I take to be a good thing, and I later learn that it is). He leaves again.

Samantha has a prescription in her hand, and she looks at me sweetly. "Doctor gave you a really, really strong narcotic."


Dearest Ryan,
I am such a sad, lonely bastard. How can I find some excitement in my life?
Love to the Missus,
Friedrich Nietzsche xoxoxo

First and foremost, stop living in the fucking woods. I understand that you don't particularly like people, but I really think you'd be surprised at how many neat, time-consuming gadgets you can purchase that will make your life seem much less lonely, and you're going to have to climb down from your mountain of doom and take a cab to some at least medium-sized towns with shopping malls to get all these cool toys. Lots of toys are cheap, and while they don't actually make you any happier, they make you think you're happier, and I dare you, Niet-Niet, to point out any underlying difference between the two. I mean, have you ever played SIMON? I think you'd like it, Fred. I really think you would. And maybe you should watch an episode or two of DUCK TALES. Or SAVED BY THE BELL.

Secondly, I've read (parts of some of) your books, and while you definitely seem like you're still the life of the party and I can't wait until you're in town again so we can do butterscotch nipples and Jaeger-bombs (remember how you lost your shoes in the bathroom and couldn't remember your middle name?!?!? that was fucking sweeeet!!!!), I want to point out one line in particular that I don't think is helping you get laid:

"Woman is not yet capable of friendship: women are still cats and birds. Or at best, cows."

Now it's okay if you think that, Nietzsche-bo-Peachy, but it's not something that most chicks are going to want you to say, let alone publish in something that's going to be translated in like 72 languages and read by all the philosophy babes that I think you'd have a chance with in the first place. So try to stray from that topic next time I take you out. Just don't call girls cows, Fredster.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


Two of my co-workers are experienced in the art of making up funny-sounding, hip-hoppish words. Over the weekend, I learned that many of friends share in this proclivity.

Verbs seem to be the best starting point, and the basic formulation seems to be: take an existing verb and merge it with an alternate verb ending (or endings); add additional syllables to taste; enjoy. It also seems to help if you say them in the passive voice and in a Jonny-Blaze-style thug voice.

Some prime examples from over the weekend (not credited to their authors, because I don't remember who said what):

  • Moistrify - a variation of moisturize that implies a more-thorough drenching, especially with alcohol; consumption of alcohol is also implied.

    Example: "Yo, G., I got straight-up moistrified out in Esmont. "

  • Demonstricate - meaning slightly unclear, but it seems to be destructive and possible pain-inducing.

    Example: "Dammit, Stanley, if you don't quit pushing me, you 'bouts to get demonstricated."

  • Penetromonate - meaning unknown, but clearly it's dirty.

    Example: [ed. note: I can't think of an example that doesn't make me feel excessively libidinous. But feel free to try for yourself.]

If the comment drought is over, feel free to make up your own and share 'em with the group.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Middle school

Two years ago::::
Ryan: Hey, Coworker.
Ryan's Coworker: Hey, Ryan. Hey, do you have a girlfriend?
Ryan: Yes.
Ryan's Coworker: For how long?
Ryan: A while.
Ryan's Coworker: Do you guys just have like an open relationship?
Ryan: I'm not sure what you mean, but probably not.
Ryan's Coworker: Like do you date other people?
Ryan: No.
Ryan's Coworker: Well, if I were a little younger, I would definitly date you.
Ryan: No.
Ryan's Coworker: But, you know, I'm married. We can't. We just can't.
Ryan: Right.

Ryan: Hey, Coworker.
Ryan's Coworker: Hey, Ryan. Hey, will you sleep with me?
Ryan: No.
Ryan's Coworker: Do you have a girlfriend?
Ryan: Does it matter?
Ryan's Coworker: Well, then sleep with me.
Ryan: No.
Ryan's Coworker: Is it because I'm married?
Ryan: Yes.
Ryan's Coworker: Is it because we work together and it would complicate things?
Ryan: Yes.
Ryan's Coworker: Well, do you think Ted would sleep with me?
Ryan: No.
Ryan's Coworker: Is it because I'm married and he's married?
Ryan: Yes.
Ryan's Coworker: Is it because we work together and it would complicate things?
Ryan: Yes.
Ryan's Coworker: Will you ask him anyway?
Ryan: No.
Ryan's Coworker: Please?
Ryan: No.
Ryan's Coworker: Will you pass him this note I wrote?
Ryan: No.
Ryan's Coworker: Will you just ask him what he thinks about me?
Ryan: No.
Ryan's Coworker: Are you sure you won't sleep with me?

Thursday, May 04, 2006


Today marks a day when the Mexicans beat up the Frenchies.

That's why you're supposed to get drunk on Corona (rather than some other beer that you would normally drink) and margaritas, and eat chips 'n' salsa.



UPDATE: I just spent the first hour of work cutting up tomatoes and lettuce. Why? Because it's Cinco de Mayo, and we must have a burrito bar.

Mmm... Burrito bar...


Co-worker: I brought pineapple to eat.

Stanley: I used to have a girlfriend that insisted I eat pineapple.

Co-worker: Pineapple? Why?!

Stanley: Um...

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

There have been quite a few Stanley posts in a row now, and yet no comments. What gives, readers? Do you not like the politics? Do you not like the links? Do you not have opinions?

Obviously, it's been a hard week for everyone, seeing as how I haven't posted anything in a while and therefore many people have been forced to read their second favorite blogs, and anything concerning a "second favorite" is always disheartening, especially with blogs, because you'll always be thinking about that first favorite blog, and how good and wonderful and warm it is, and how in that sense the second favorite blog is made even worse because you're not thinking about it while you're enjoying it, you're thinking about the first favorite blog. Change "blog" to "lover" and that's what I'm really talking about, motherfucker.

This is all a horrible shame, obviously, but to make everything infinitesimally better, here are some things I have done recently:
- I made plans to go fishing with my Mexican friends.
- I watched a baseball game.
- I rehearsed.
- I drove to Richmond at midnight to set off fireworks in the middle of the Fan, and then drank until when I would normally be waking up, and then slept, and then drank coffee.
- I dry heaved.
- I watched a klezmer band play for 3 minutes.
- I sat in a park and ate the sun.
- I dry humped.
- I wrote.
- I sat and stared at the James River.
- I practiced my Italian.
- I placed Scrabble.
- I got my sister drunk.
- I worked.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Electile Dysfunction

Today's language-related post is postponed in observance of Election Day. If you're registered, get over to your polling place. There was literally no wait at Clark School this morning at 8am.

Regularly scheduled opinion slinging to resume tomorrow (or whenever Ryan returns from, uh, wherever Ryan's been).

Monday, May 01, 2006

Rush to Judgment

This is objectively crap. And it's a stunning confirmation that:
  • Privilege is alive and well in Amuricka (duh)
  • The War on Drugs remains a laughable farce and a bewildering waste of taxpayer money
  • Rush Limbaugh probably eats babies for breakfast

If you need me, I'll be in the basement, banging my head on the hardest surface I can find.