As I noted earlier in “Suspension of Belief” one depiction in film/TV that always nauseates me is an absolutely incompetent portrayal of musical performance or direction. The most recent such “gagamaggot” butchery of a depiction of musical direction I’ve seen was given by Academy Award-winning director Peter Dougan Capaldi in an acting role in the 2006 Midsomer Murders episode, Death in Chorus, where he played a “perfectionist” choral director. Badly. Very, very badly. I’d walk out of the first rehearsal run by someone as incompetent as the director as portrayed by this yutz.


And the actors and the director of the episode apparently didn’t know any better, either.


Continue reading “*ACK-GAG-SPIT*”

Questions I’d Rather Not Ask

You can kiss my grits and call me a stinker–I really DGARA–but there are some questions I tire of hearing “answers” to.

“How are you?” and its slightly better, less common, companion, “How are you doing?” are two of them. The now archaic-sounding “How do you do?” (still remotely and occasionally present in the greeting, “Howdy”) is another one.

“Why?”, you may ask. Go ahead, I said you may ask. *heh*

Nowadays, the most common answer I hear to either “How are you?” or even “How are you doing?” is the nonsense answer, “I’m good.” Persons answering either of those questions would be better to simply grunt a nonsense monosyllabic, “Uh.” Are they truly good? Just bragging disingenuously? Outright liars or simply ill-informed, ignorant of their own corrupt natures? No, such respondents are not “good” although they may feel well and be experiencing little or no distress. Besides, the question is not “What are you?” but “How are you?” and I doubt anyone can really answer that one without resorting to a religious exposition. It’s a matter of epistemology that certainly none of the philosophers I have read have answered satisfactorily. Indeed, how are any of us? How do we come to be and continue to exist, if exist we truly do, in a state of consciousness–if conscious we truly are?

If the question responded to happened to be “How are you doing?” then such an answer is still nonsense. “I’m good” as a response still avoids the “How” and has no information whatsoever about what good the person is doing, if any at all (most persons seem to live a quotidian existence without doing anything good at all–and rarely do anything really well, either). And again with the epistemology thingy. Indeed, if Descartes was onto something, then most people simply aren’t, you know?

All either party–asker and answerer–in these greeting formulas accomplishes with such exchanges is just the expulsions of exhaled gases through their respective vocal apparatuses resulting in nonsense sounds, empty of any exchange of meaning. Wasted breath, IMO.

Rare indeed is the person who will answer either of those questions, “I’m well” or “I’m doing well.”

I’ll leave the deconstruction and analysis of answers to “How do you do?” as an exercise for the reader.

BTW, when asked “How are you?” I usually respond, “I don’t know. That’s one of the deepest quandaries of metaphysics, and although many have asked the question and searched for answers, no one has been able to answer the question satisfactorily. What do you think? How am I?” I similarly riff off “How are you doing?”

But I’m not usually asked those questions. Often, I beat folks to the “greet” with, “How am I doing?” The completely clueless will respond with the pedestrian nonsense grunt of “I’m good” since they’ll not have heard the question. The slightly more aware might say, “You’re good” and smile at the sharpness they think they’ve displayed. Of course, when I respond, “Well, I’m flattered, but I’m hardly good. Even Jesus said, ‘There is none good but God’ and I’m not easily mistaken for God, you know?” it causes a wee cognitive dissonance. *heh* The brighter respondents will come back with something along the lines of either, “Well, you look all right [or even ‘good’ or ‘well’] to me” (“Need a trip to the optometrist, eh?” :-)) or even, “I don’t know” (Better). Best, “Oh, dear! [peering at me with “concerned look” written plainly on mug] You should be home in bed I’ll bring some chicken soup by later.” (An actual response from someone I enjoy “speaking in [nonsense] tongues” with around other, befuddled-by-our-nonsense, folks.)

But I don’t always use the “How am I doing?” line. More often, I’ll simply use a form of the neutral, also meaningless, “Good morning [afternoon, evening]” greeting, although most often in the more laconic, “Mornin’ [afternoon, evenin’]. Such a non-committal, inoffensive nonsense greeting serves the function of social lubricant better, IMO.

Of course, with friends or family, instead of casual acquaintances and chance-met strangers, I know I can engage in a genuine greeting/response, but those two classes of persons really aren’t all that common, you know?

Enlightened Curmudgeonry

I like to think of myself as an enlightened tightwad curmudgeon. I know, I know, I fail to achieve standard as either curmudgeon or tightwad from time to time, but I strive to meet–and even, if possible, exceed–standards. As for the “enlightened” label, well, I do try to distinguish between “cheap” and “inexpensive” and to act accordingly when discerning different classes of people.

The last point is particularly important to me. There are different classes of people who engage in thoughtless, careless and stupid behaviors that negatively impact people around them. Those who are, through no fault of their own, truly mentally incapable of being reasonably careful, thoughtful and intelligent in their behaviors which have an impact on others I do give a bye, although, even there, if I have told such a person pointedly to go somewhere else and bother someone else and they do not desist in their annoying behavior, I may become a wee tad more blunt.

But those whose only excuses for thoughtless, careless and stupid behaviors that negatively impact people around them are that behaving thoughtfully, carefully and intelligently are that it would be minimally inconvenient for them, that they are simply lazy or too self-important or even nearly (or actually) sociopathic (e.g., politicians *gag-spit-spew* and Mass MEdia Podpeople), then f___ ’em with a rusty hammer. A rusty claw hammer. Sideways. Repeatedly*. I have no time for such people and view them as simply wastes of oxygen. While I have never considered any such person to be worth the powder it would take to blow their brains through their noses (an extremely small amount of powder, since most of ’em seem to have spent years giving large chunks away to politicians *gag-spit-spew* and Mass MEdia Podpeople to play their own little dirty games with), I do sometimes tell such persons what a public good they could do by performing the exercise themselves, often vividly and vulgarly.

Of course, since such persons have usually spent decades in self-enstupiation and couldn’t even find their own asses with a mirror on a stick, I doubt their ability to perform such explosive microsurgery.

Do note that since those who are able to pass the extremely dumbed-down, easy-peasy, “only-a-moron-could-fail-it” drivers license exams have demonstrated a societally-acceptable level of intellectual prowess *sigh*, there’s not a single, solitary driver anywhere on America’s streets, roads or highways I give a bye under rule #1 above. Drive like a dangerous asshat around me and your license plate WILL be phoned ahead to the appropriate authorities**. It’s usually easy revenue for whatever law enfarcement agency catches the call, so there’s a good chance I’ll be able to later drive by the asshat, stopped ahead of some flashing lights. (I love driving by one of “my” stops… and waving. Just doing my part to use the anarcho-tyrannical tendency of law enfarcement to “get” the easy ones in favor of doing at least something good for society.)

I think you get the drift. No “vigilantism” need be involved. I do like to use the system to persecute asshats though. I do NOT use the system to persecute asshats just for my personal benefit, though. No, that’s not some higher ethic; it’s tightwaddery. Those are my tax dollars at “work” there, too, and I’d like to see them used in the most parsimonious way to achieve the greatest good for the greatest number. Encouraging official persecution of asshats for dangerous–or even sometimes just rude–behavior that also usually needlessly inconveniences others (out of sheer arrogance, laziness, self-centeredness) is a public good, IMO.

And I’m just being “public spirited” right?


Continue reading “Enlightened Curmudgeonry”

It’s a Problem…

How do “bottomless cups of coffee” work, anyway? I mean, if they’re bottomless, how could they be cups, and how could they hold coffee?

Somebody wasn’t thinking when they made that one up.

Yet Another Cavil, Gripe, Grumble, Complaint

Full Curmudgeon Mode, I suppose… *sigh*

Something I’ve noticed more and more recently–and even worse, found myself unconsciously influenced by!–is a growing occurrence of sentence fragments used in the place of complete sentences. It doesn’t seem to matter what the genre is, either. I’ve seen it (of course *arrgghh!*) in the simperings, whinings and blatherings of the Mass MEdia Podpeople Hivemind, in academic writing and in fiction. The use of sentence fragments that are nothing more than prepositional phrases in place of complete sentences is especially pernicious.

I suppose some may be excusable in casual writing as some sort of contemporary method of adding emphasis to a preceding sentence. Maybe. But it’s seeming to become pervasive, invasive and influential as it corrupts clear, concise writing.

It’s irritating, especially when coming from the pens of otherwise capable, competent, effective writers. Are they simply trying to write for the ADD/ADHD crowd, those whose attention spans can’t grasp the use of commas, conjunctions, semi-colons and other means of joining independent clauses, and who even stumble over the simple addition of a prepositional phrase modifying or expanding upon an independent clause?

Thankfully, my writing style does drive off those whose grasp of English falls within the parameters of “Me, Tarzan. You, Jane” or “See Dick. See Jane. See Dick run. See Jane run.” I really don’t want or need anyone reading my screeds who’s too lazy, inattentive or stupid to understand sentences longer than three or four words…

Oh, well. It’s not as though I gave a rat’s patootie; it just chaps my gizzard a wee tad.

/rant off

Wisdom of the Ages

From Forward the Mage by by Eric Flint, Richard Roach and Jim Baen: How to deal with enemies:

Whenever you can, stab ’em in the back.
Better yet, stab ’em in the back in the dead of night.
Best of all, stab ’em in the back in the dead of night while they’re asleep.
If you’ve got to stab ’em in the front, try a low blow.
If none of that works, then use all your skills as best you can, you stupid dummy.

Git ‘er done.