Category Archives: Words

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My sister thinks it’s strange that I watch TV with the volume turned low and with the closed captioning on. She thinks it’s funny (not “Ha, ha” funny more, “That’s…hiLARious). I’ve never really thought all that much about it, but it occurs to me that I’ve been watching TV like this for some time now. A few years at least.

Reasons why are plenty, come to think of it:

1) We have the technology, better than it’s ever been (for the moment).

2) I live in a small place and having the TV turned up loud dominates the whole house. Really, it just takes over everything.

3) I have trouble hearing/understanding fast dialogue (i.e. Gilmore Girls), unfamiliar accents (i.e. Harry Potter movies) or languages (i.e. German as well as High Valyrian).

4) Descriptions as well as dialogue: [ominous whooshing] [boisterous chatter] [SCREAMS] [muttering] [whistle shrieks] [romantic music] [LOUD PROTEST] [softly]

5) Comparing the dialogue with the captioning, following along and seeing where they diverge or witnessing how faithful they are to one another is strangely fascinating. Closed captioning can be wildly uneven (i.e. done by people, a service, bots, in-house or outsourced; done for real-time broadcasts, live shows or streaming services) – at times it can be quite daunting to follow, let alone rely upon for transcription, interpretation, translation.

6) There are also styles of closed captions, pop-on/block (words appear in rows/complete sentences with add-on rows as you go), and roll-up/scrolling (words appearing left to right, one line at a time) being the two main ones. Depending on the method and quality, words on screen can move along with the action or ahead of it or lag woefully behind (if they appear at all).

7) Weird questions of censorship: “swear words” (however so defined by those involved, yet their intent is obvious from the proverbial get-go) left out in some places and some shows, but not others. Whose responsible for that? Why do they care? Why would they? Fucking prudes. 

All those reasons, and also, because of them, this: a vast and growing dissatisfaction with the way some shows, movies and broadcasts are, for lack of a better word, paraphrased by the closed captioning, and often badly. So badly done, actually, that it’s just wrong. Hacked-up. I can tell the difference, but then I am an abled person whose hearing is not impaired.

All those absent words, all that incomplete action, all those pieces of the story missing, gone and/or rendered completely nonsensical. Where’s the context? What’s the rhyme or reason? Where’s the nuance?

Why set out to do something if only so that you can do it wrong? Don’t be cheap. Don’t make it cheap.

Word-for-word, it matters.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Entertainment, Family, Language, Movies, Pop Culture, Television, Words

And Now (And in No Particular Order) A List of Good Words*

  • Splendid
  • Redolent
  • Peccadillo
  • Ornery
  • Flotsam
  • Crux
  • Dire
  • Rot
  • Nasty
  • Jazz
  • Pluck
  • Gumption
  • Crotch
  • Sultry
  • Cracked
  • Unrepentant
  • Pit
  • Moist
  • Bum
  • Despondent
  • Junk
  • Thingy
  • Bold
  • Sallow
  • Exuberant
  • Rancid
  • Dick
  • Grotesque

 

                                                    – Etc.

 

 

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*Please use at will and with or without restraint.^

^Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Language, Words

Gros Michel & The Anaconda

Did you know? All bananas are clones.

Not all. But the ones we (you & me) buy at the supermarket are overwhelmingly clones, produced via cuttings of the most desirable progenitors; therefore (re)produced clonally.

Gros Micheal. That is the variety that dominates, that we consume, that we eat for breakfast. Which we have as snacks during our busy, hectic days.

But this is hardly new knowledge. These are just facts.

It’s just…the fact that the bananas we consume are genetically identical seems absurd, doesn’t it? Absolutely preposterous. That’s why a banana tastes like a banana tastes like a banana. It’s why a banana never not fits in a Banana GuardTM. Haven’t you noticed that?

It never not fits.

***

But not all copies are not always created equal. Lacking males (or perhaps it’s better to say “bereft of suitable males”) some reptiles, for example, have been known to spontaneously self-replicate, a process known as parthenogenesis (derived from the Greek meaning “virgin birth”).

However, genetic material can get shifted during parthenogenesis, shuffled like a deck of cards, thereby producing imperfect copies of the progenitor.

Not so for Anna the Anaconda, current denizen of Boston’s New England Aquarium and mother of 18 identical babies – identical to each other and to herself and born without Anna ever having contact with a male of her species.

Anna, in essence, gave birth to herself: 18 babies worth. Only two survived. Still, that seems so much better (i.e. simpler, easier) and frankly more impressive than, for instance, being your own grandfather; no paradoxes there. No needless complications. Just the question of creation itself. Only the mystery of it, going forward, as we hurtle through time.

The same cannot be said for our Gros Micheal.

But then, it’s hard to complicate a banana.

***

Anna is also a palindrome, derived from the Greek meaning “again” and “way or direction.”

“Running back again.”

Never odd or even.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Animals, Food, Nature, THE FUTURE, THE PAST, Time, Words

Titles of Biographies Written by People Who Never Actually Talked To Me (Likely, I Forgot to Call Them Back)*

  1. That Bitch
  2. Hopeful Disappointments
  3. Of Course Not
  4. Like, The Right Amount
  5. Cockamamie Outcomes & Contradictions
  6. Wayward Consequences
  7. You Heard Dirty
  8. Shut It Down, Bring It Up
  9. Enviable Indignities
  10. The Pits
  11. Knee High
  12. Where Applicable?
  13. About Thirteen
  14. And Such That It Wasn’t
  15. HELLO STALLION!
  16. Normal Weird
  17. Once or Twice
  18. Light Here
  19. Every. Damn. Day.
  20. Good Psychology, Bad Math
  21. Pffffffffftttt!!!
  22. The Skinny On The Shit
  23. No, Actually
  24. Stupid Good Times
  25. Origami Logic
  26. Oh, You Bet
  27. That Bitch

 

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* Please follow any of these with “The Cindy Phan Story,” where you feel it best fits.

 

 

 

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Filed under Animals, Books, Mind and Body, Relationships, THE FUTURE, Words

Favourite

I have an aunt who would ask me all the time, “Am I your favourite?”

I have a lot of aunts. She wanted, it seems, to stand out distinguished among them.

(Though there are a lot of aunts, they are not interchangeable, but the issue seems to be hers exclusively.)

As time passed, the questioned changed:

“Who’s your favourite?”

And changed again:

“I’m your favourite, right?”

Until, finally:

“Tell them who your favourite is.”

“No,” “Why,” “I don’t know” did not deter her from asking her question, and neither did “Yes.”

“Yes,” as you can see, was what led to further questions until the inevitable “tell them.”

(NOTE: “I don’t have a favourite,” was met with disbelief and scorn, and also the equally predictable demands for a “real” answer. Demands for “the truth.”)

The truth is this: I no longer speak to that aunt. Not anymore than I have to, anyway. Which is to say not a lot. Which is to say not much.

Funny now, looking back on things. Funny the lengths we go through, the trouble and expense, to define something for others on behalf of ourselves.

Among other things, “favourite” means “chosen”, “preferred”, and “cherished.”

No longer speaking to my aunt is my choice, it is my preference and something I have come to cherish.

My favourite.

 

 

 

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Filed under Change, Family, Relationships, THE PAST, Words

Elementary Logic

One of the first people to influence my love of books was my elementary school librarian, Mrs. Oliver.

(I’m not sure if that’s her real name, it was certainly something that sounded like “Oliver.”)

Tall, straw-haired, soft-spoken Mrs. Oliver. Quick to help you find the books you’re looking for and to suggest other books you might enjoy, sometimes very much and often for different reasons. Knowledgable and stalwart, friendly yet adamant, Mrs. Oliver.

She was very good at her job. She was, in every way that counted, perfection.

Our library was small but serviceable, the books arranged according to grade level as well as alphabetically. Lower grades (kindergarten to grade 3) on the lower shelves. Higher grades (4 to 6) on the higher shelves. Easy peasy. A very workable, easy-to-understand system.

I read widely and largely ignored this system. The “fact books” (i.e. “Facts on Dogs,” “Facts on Trucks,” “Facts on Trees,” “Facts on The Breeze”… your basic all-purpose non-fiction for beginners) located on the fourth shelf from the bottom – the shelf meant for the older students and not second-graders like me – were a particular favourite. I read them often, even checked a few out using our self-check-out system (back then, a sign-out sheet with matching card placed in an envelope glued to the inside jacket of the books).

I did this for weeks. I did it for months and months.

***

This is a true story:

One day, as I reached for the fourth level self, Mrs. Oliver appeared and, gently but firmly, stopped me.

“You can’t take those books out, I’m afraid. They’re for the older students only.” She pulled the book from my hands and put it back in its place on its shelf. From then on, she watched me whenever I was in the library, making sure I would not access books above my grade. Making sure the system, the whole system, in its entirely, worked, and was therefore perfect.

She was always still and in every other respect, the one and only Mrs. Oliver.

By the time I reached the fifth grade, and was therefore able to take out almost any book I wished, Mrs. Oliver was gone, replaced by someone whose name and face I definitely do not remember.

But I do remember thinking, the day she took the book away from my small hands: “Oh, Mrs. Oliver. You just did it, didn’t you?

You made an enemy for life.”

Let me repeat.

For life, Mrs. Oliver.

 

 

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Filed under Books, Childhood, Education, People, School, THE PAST, Words

Open Secrets, Vol. 15

  • Descent into: chaos, madness, despair.
  • Everything eventually possible.
  • Skin deep is still deep.
  • Normal vs. New Normal.
  • Quietly: plotting, dreaming, lusting.
  • Go. Ahead.
  • Take out/Eat in.
  • Lovely vs. Delightful
  • Enough is already enough.
  • Augmented: reality, fourths, butts.
  • Profanity is life.
  • Over the moon/Under the sun.
  • Please Me vs. Excuse YOU.
  • That was the deal?

 

 

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Filed under Communications, THE FUTURE, Words

Titles for the Upcoming Novel I Will Never Actually Write

  1. The Endgame Affair
  2. CRASH TEST
  3. Fool Me Once
  4. Blue Cryptic
  5. The Ensembles
  6. Just Swell
  7. Missy Disembarks: A Dame’s Night Out Mystery
  8. BLAMO!
  9. Only Ugly
  10. Flapjack’s Cafe for Lost Dogs
  11. Fluid Motions
  12. Turgid Boulevards of the Defeated Heart
  13. Turn Away
  14. DELAWARE
  15. Best Not Lived
  16. Silver & Gold
  17. Chafe
  18. Forgone Conclusion
  19. I Eat You Face
  20. EVERYTHING ACES
  21. Crab Logistics
  22. Pie In The Sky
  23. On, Wayward
  24. Half-Life Falling
  25. Clubfoot Jones: The Reckoning (Part II)
  26. THE JUNCTURE
  27. Aghast
  28. 100 Reasons, 10,000 Excuses
  29. Poke The Bear
  30. Not For Dummies

 

 

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Filed under Books, Characters, Words

Things I Never Said

1. That you were annoying (not in that capacity).
2. That I didn’t like X (rather, that I’m allergic to it).
3. That that, now that, was a cute kid.
4. That I’d love to (I would not).
5. That it was a good idea (it wasn’t, but we only knew that in retrospect, didn’t we?).
6. That it couldn’t be there (only that it was unlikely that it could have been there).
7. That it was more, or less, than that.
8. That I got this (I do not…or god, do I do not).
9. That didn’t know (I mean, not exactly).
10. That is was the correct thing to do (what is correct that it can’t be amended?).

BONUS ROUND:

That that was that (that being what it’s always been, or always will be, or always has been).

Curious, that.

 

 

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Filed under Communications, Language, Words

Seasonings

Season’s Greetings!

Happy Holidays!

Etc.

Lots of thoughts and sentiments this time of year. Most of it well-meaning, if prescriptive and stale.

(Or maybe not. But I don’t think so.)

Be thankful.

Best wishes.

Warm regards.

Do onto others.

Lots of people going to see family this time of year or, one way or another, family’s coming to see them. Which is better, or worse? For whatever it’s worth, who’s to say?

Lots of people staying put where they are, people coming to them or no, it’s time to relax, slow down a bit and recharge. Why. The. Hell. Not?

Lots places are open until midnight or beyond up until the big day. It may seem fun, or at least exciting, or at most necessary, to wander a Walmart at 2:00AM.

It probably isn’t. But ‘tis the season.

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Holiday, Ritual, Words