About 4blogssake

New Yorker that transplanted to Rome then to Brighton. Think I might've found home. I do funny stuff. Serious stuff, too. Bikram yoga. Break ribs. Ride my bike to get around.

i went to the library today

i’ve always loved books. my folks would find me the next morning with a book on my face. i actually couldn’t put the book down. (i am not-so-silently protesting the over- and incorrect use of the word  “literally” although it really would be better in that sentence than “actually”.)

it didn’t even have to be books. just words.back of the milk carton at breakfast, dad’s paper (pops often went elsewhere to read, think it was his excuse to get some alone time) after he was done. watergate and all that. and ads for cars. not a lotta words that but something to keep my brain busy.

i won a 14 karat gold jade pendant awarded to me by my third grade teacher, Mrs. Uzzo, for reading over 50 books. (not sure why she gets capitals.) (and an underline.)

one time while getting ready for a family vacation, my mom asked me what i was going to do with all the books i was bringing. i said read them. reading ain’t big in my family except dad and the paper. and me.

i knew every aisle in my hometown library. the biographies were just a bit further down from history.there were some books that worked like landmarks when i was looking for something. there was one with a yellow jacket that signaled the end of the 817’s  – “american humor & satire in english”. i loved pulling out those long drawers from the card catalogue. some cards were typed and often had some cross outs; some were hand-written, usually swirly cursive script.some cards even in pencil. there was a whole system of organization on that 5×7 card – i mean lots besides last name  of the author then their first name and middle initial. the second line was year of publication. ok, well actually, the book’s title would be in there, too. i don’t remember the set up so just understand there was a set up.

it was really exciting when i graduated from the children’s library to adults’. my pink kids library card was coming apart. it was a special kind of cardboard-ish paper. happy to trade it in for the adult green library card. i had bad memories of the kids library. like when one of the  fat tough italian girls surrounded by her gumbah gum-chewing girlfriends made fun of me for picking my nose. (guess i got very into whatever book i was reading and forgot i was in public. i was 9.)

i went to the library today to forget about life for a while.i did.

but now i’m back.

i don’t mean to be elitist by reading so much. writing, too. always got lost doing that as well.i just like it. it doesn’t mean i think i’m better than you. then again, maybe it does. unconsciously.

now i gotta sleep.don’t wanna wake up with a laptop on my head.library-dewey-system-drawers

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Word of the Year – Trumpery

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Showy But Useless

A couple of weeks ago, the word of the day from wordsmith.org was “trumpery.” It’s an actual word. Trumpery is an old-fashioned term that refers to something showy but useless. Huh. I suppose we could think of an example… Something showy… hmmm. Showy but useless. Gosh, I’m coming up empty – let’s see if the dictionary has an example. Oh, here’s one from vocabulary.com:  Your huge collection of salt and pepper shakers is nothing but trumpery. Oh, okay, I got one: Your huuuuuuuge collection of denials of groping is nothing but trumpery.

It is “possible” that The Donald even knows this word because he has made the bold claim: “I know words.” The full quote:

I’m telling you, I used to use the word “incompetent”. Now I just call them stupid. I went to an Ivy League school. I’m very highly educated. I know words, I have the best words…but there is no better word than stupid. Right?

Wrong. There are better words. Trumpery, for example.That’s a better word than stupid, hands down. Because in addition to showy and useless things, it can refer to showy and useless speech.  In fact, to really get the showiness and uselessness of this quote, i.e. to really get the trumpery of it all, let’s watch the video:

Of course, it’s true. This is an actual case of Trump NOT lying. He does know words.Every Trump sentence has words. Sometimes three words. Or two. And they’re great sentences. Terrific sentences. With repeated words. Terrific repeated words. Not very big words. But every Trump sentence has not very big repeated words. And let’s fact it, they are terrific words.

This orange man is pretty good at trumpery speech.He has said so many outlandish lies, ridiculous comments that it seems we’ve become insensitized to it.  I mean how much more nauseous than nauseous can you get? If you want to be reminded, here’s  one of many articles on the topic of outrageous things that Trump has said.

And…. the most remarkable thing, of course is that this creature might become President of the United States this coming Tuesday the 8th of November.

 

 

 

 

Trump Wins, Hell Freezes Over, Kills Both Trump and Pence, Clinton Declared Winner by Supreme Court: A Report from the Future. (and the news is good!) (well, not the stuff about the moose) (granny stuff is cool, though)

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CODE ORANGE!!!! UNLESS WE MOP ‘NUF!!

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The tens of thousands of fans who come to his rallies, the blind loyalty, the infamous oath-taking: they are fed up, feel held down and are over the moon with this man with bizarre hair and even more disturbing pigment. And they will all vote. Nothing is going to stop the Trump supporters – hell, high water, sleet, hurricane, tornado, twister, or an audience with Pope Francis. They will be at the election booths on Tuesday, November 8. Every last one of them will exercise their right to vote. The polls don’t matter: the only thing that counts is who votes on Tuesday the 8th of November.

Michael Moore has said, “… there is no doubt in my mind that if people could vote from their couch at home on their X-box or PlayStation, Hillary would win in a landslide.” But it takes something to get off one’s butt and to the polling station. It takes excitement — and Hillary doesn’t provide that the way Bernie did. Maybe, you’d think it takes fear. As entertaining as he is, the thought of Trump as President scares the absolute bejesus out of me. But not as many people seem to feel that as I had thought.So THAT doesn’t seem to be getting people to vote for Hillary either.

And once again, it is going to be those darn battleground states that are going to determine if our country goes ORANGE. Dear God, Help us. (no, seriously, if Someone Up There is listening, I am asking for help.)

Here are the most important swing states (there are others but right now these are the top ones — and this could change!):

Michigan

Ohio

Pennsylvania

North Carolina

… and the state that gave us George Bush with a mere 537 votes: Florida.

Michigan = 1; Ohio =2; Pennsylvania =3, North Carolina = 4 and Florida = 5.

Michigan = 1; Ohio =2; Pennsylvania =3, North Carolina = 4 and Florida = 5.

I’m going to remember it with the expression, MOP NuF.

M – MICHIGAN

O – OHIO

P – PENNSYLVANIA

N – NORTH CAROLINA

F – FLORIDA

If we “mop enough”, we can defeat Trump. If we MOP NuF of that orange off his face, he will go back under the rock from he came from. If we MOP NuF of the bullshit off this insane narrative about “Crooked Hillary”, maybe we got a chance of avoiding the culture of hate that would be our future under a Trump presidency. (“Trump” and “presidency” in the same sentence freaks me out.) If we MOP NuF of the disillusionment off the undecided voters or people who are not planning to vote in these FIVE states…. we can have a lady president!

IS SHE THRILLING AND WONDERFUL AND PERFECT? NOOOOOOOOOO!! Has she made mistakes? You bet. She shot herself in the foot with that email State Department stuff.  BUT: Will she continue the work that Barack Obama has been doing? Yes, Yes, a thousand times yes. WILL SHE CREATE A CLIMATE OF HATE LIKE HE-WHO-CANNOT-BE-CALLED BY NAME? (He IS the closest thing to Voldemort that I can think of.) No, no, a thousand times no: she will not.

So who do you know in the MOP NuF states? Got buddies there, family, contacts? Get on the horn, on Facebook and start sharing your EXCITEMENT about breaking the barrier about a female president and/or put the FEAR of God in them because…

if there is a potentially violent person with mental issues in the hospital and a show of force is needed, it’s called a Code Orange.

WE ARE IN CODE ORANGE. 

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Trump Trumps Logic

He is entertaining. He is. God, I love that hair. And that apricot face. I love it so much that I’ve taken to swirling my hair around my head, throwing orange paint on my face, putting on a suit, repeating and exaggerating  what he says, performing him at comedy shows and making people laugh.

See, look:

As regards Trump’s acceptance speech last night, Gary Kasparov, former World Chess Champion turned dissident Russian politician, said, “It’s Demagoguery 101: When you don’t have actual answers, exaggerate the problems with fear & hatred in order to blind people with emotion.” He further tweeted: “I’ve heard this sort of speech a lot in the last 15 years and trust me, it doesn’t sound any better in Russian.”

Bingo. Screw logic and instead, hammer on the emotional. It doesn’t matter what he says; his supporters love him anyway. Melania’s plagiarism? Big deal. They don’t care. Lies during the primaries , lies since then… Because they have a faith in him that trumps the facts. Trump … trumps.

Trump = “feelings” and feelings trump logic.

The feeling of feeling good. The feeling of feeling strong. The feeling of punching somebody in the face because you feel like it. The feeling of being the American bully so that YOU don’t get bullied around. Of no more Mr. Nice Guy.

Trump trumps logic.

Hmmm. Then as fun it is to perform Trump, is it effective? Maybe I am just being an elitist. I am, after all, making fun. Putting him down. Like I think I am better. I am using the logic (in this case, “illogic”) of his thinking  to create punch lines. (“Who the hell does the Pope think he is? The Pope?”)

Does pointing out his illogic — whether through satire or political analysis — makes sense if the goal is to get his supporters to re-consider? Aren’t we then being — from his, and his supporters’, standards — snobs? If our goal is to prevent this man from sitting in the chair in the Oval Office, does the most effective approach rely on logic?

I am guessing not. But I don’t know.

Michael Moore warned recently of the real possibility of a Trump presidency. He was doing a press conferences in London recently and he  discusses Brexit (this was before the outcome) and then talks about the possibility of a Trump presidency (that part starts at 3:37).

He notes that none of the 17 other Republican candidates were able bring him down. Towards the end he says: “And now Hillary Clinton is trying to do the same thing, using logic… brains… things like that. It’s going to require something else. My personal …hope is that satire is what brings Trump down.”

Me, too. If anyone reading this has any suggestions, I am dying to hear them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes It’s Weird Being an American Expat

 

yankee doodle

I’m on my second experience as an expat. The first time in Italy and now in England. In both countries the United States is put on some other level. Like way up there, in the clouds, floating up up up, above everything and everyone else.

Italians are more than willing to crank up their necks to look up to it. They become obsequious at the thought of an American in the vicinity. There’s not that much crime in Rome but I’d always figured that I could wiggle my way out of a tight spot if I told my would-be assailant that I was from New York. Handing back my wallet, he’d say, “Veramente? Really? The Big Apple, New York?? I grattacieli! The skyscrapers. I hear you can make a killing by pickpocketing Times Square for just an hour!” For the Italians, we are an alien superior race and there is nothing the Americans can do wrong. Except cook. Even the most self-loathing Italian will say they have the best food on the plane. (I concur; you haven’t had a tomato until you’ve had an Italian tomato.)

With the Brits, it’s a bit different. They are scornful. Years ago, when I first started teaching English in Italy, I was the only American at my school. The rest were Brits and the odd Australian or two. They teased me mercilessly: about how loud I spoke, my cursing, my unabashed proclivity to discuss sex in the classroom. Not that I necessarily did any of these things but given I was American, it was assumed I did. Well, ok, so I did do pretty much all those things. But what killed me was when they said: “How can an American teach English?” Ha ha ha. Friggin’ hilarious. Dat shit ain’t funny.

me and marsha, the only other American teacher at the English school. yea, ok, we were the loudest, brashest, most ridiculous and FUNNEST.

me and marsha, the only other American teacher at the English school. yea, ok, we were the loudest, brashest, most ridiculous and FUNNEST.

And yet.

Since I’ve lived in the UK, I am constantly complimented on my accent, even when making a complaint to my Vodaphone’s customer service. “Yes, of course we’ll take care of your problem but… are you American? Lovely! Surely I can upgrade your package at no extra cost!”

Also, Brits steal American marketing ideas. In mid-November, stores all over England advertise big sales on Black Friday – signs in the stores, in the papers, on the radio. In the United States, Black Friday is a big retail sales day because, as it’s the day after Thanksgiving – which is always a Thursday – most people are off on Friday as well. But what’s odd is that there is no Thanksgiving here in Britain. (I mean, of course, not. We escape England, go hang out with the “Indians” and have a very big meal.) So there is nothing particular about that Friday. It’s Black Friday just because they say so.

Also, there are lots of American programs on the television. Like a lot. They talk about those shows like they’re their shows. Not like it’s an “American” show. It’s just a show. Which is fine. But in the US, you’ll get the occasional British program on public television on a Sunday afternoon. That’s it. So it seems that despite the scorn, the states net imports “culture” and customs to England.

It’s a love-hate thing, I guess. The colony that made good. Maybe too good and now we’re kinda show-offy. And boy, do they hate Trump. On that though, we can agree.

Which “Trumps”? Racism or Classism: Brexit

This video made the social media rounds following Brexit outcome. It actually occurred prior but that’s not important. The Leave vote played on this kind of thinking and encouraged — subliminally or otherwise — this kind of behavior.

The comments made by Remainers were mostly along the line that the “Seaford lady” is the one who should be deported, or she should be shot, or that she’s stupid and ignorant or some variety. In addition, the Brits who intervened received harsh criticism for their gentle approach.

I thought they handled it beautifully. Getting in her face would have put her on the defensive and make her dig in her heels. She was an embarrassment to the other Brits on the train and in their “polite” way, they let her know exactly that. I was touched by how kind they were to her. She is the one to pity. Read between the lines and you can hear her resentment, her sadness — yes, her sadness. She’s had a miserable life and wants to blame someone. We are so quick to judge her and brand her as “racist” (and yes, of course she is) that we lose any and all compassion for whatever might be her circumstances.And I’m guessing they are not pretty.

Yeah, she’s racist and we’re judgmental. Great. We are more educated than she is – clearly. She even refers to that. So are we being “classist”? Is that less ugly than racist? This is a significant reason for why Leave won. Many people similar to her resent the elite — which, is us, by the way. THAT is what got us here. Our exalted notion that we know more than people like her.

This is all terribly similar to the Trump dynamic. (And I doubt that it’s coincidental – Zeitgeist is at work methinks!) The Donald riles up the monstrous in people and then we call them racist and stupid which just further hardens them and supports the likes of Trump even more.

But as Jim Jeffries an Australian comic says in the video posted below, fighting hate with hate never works. It just doesn’t work. Isn’t it more important to solve the problem? And isn’t the way to do it by bridging these divides. Calling the Seaford Lady  “racist” does nothing to forward the conversation. Only compassion will.

But if being “right” is more important to you, well, then, there you go — you got your referendum outcome. And before you react to these words, before you get defensive, I ask you to please consider them. True listening, after all, is the willingness to change.

Jefferies is as brilliant as he is entertaining:

 

At the end he says: “Ok, this might be the most hippy thing that ever comes out of my mouth, but …the only thing that can beat hate is love… Now it doesn’t always beat hate but … everyone will see them as the asshole. Don’t be the asshole…”

Is Democracy Over-rated? Brexit.

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Tell people they gotta vote on something and if they don’t know a lot about it, and if don’t have time to find out about it, and if they don’t think how they vote will change much about it, then they will come up with some odd, some selfish, and some — let’s say “less than thought out” –justifications about it.

Take the mini-quiz below. One of these is not a real reason given for voting Leave. Can you figure out which one?

If you get it right, you’ll get a 33% discount on my next Miss Divine T event July 9th at Salvage Cafe, featuring the amazing soon-to-be-famous-if-I-have-anything-to-do-with-it Richard Todd. (You will be quoting his joke about Henry the Hoover for months. Promise.) I will announce winners right here on 8th July!

Add other bizarre reasons you’ve heard people use for voting Leave in the comments.

Misshapen Fruit Belong but Maybe I Don’t

 

jamie-oliver-campaigns-for-ugly-vegetables

I saw a skinny elderly woman bobbing from house to house leaving “Leave” leaflets. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind speaking to me.

“Of course, not, dear.” The typical kindness I’ve come to expect from the British populace.

I asked her for her reasons for wanting the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

“Sovereignty!”

That that was the first word out of her mouth didn’t surprise me. It’s become a battle cry for  the Leavers. The first time I heard it was a few months ago before the referendum campaigns had gone into fever pitch. A close friend and colleague shocked everyone by announcing his intention to vote to leave. To him it was obvious. I was stunned. I asked him why:

“Sovereignty!”

In a word.

The elderly woman began to give me examples. “I used to run a B&B and there were all kinds of laws that effected us. We had to throw out misshapen fruit! The EU had laws about misshapen fruit!! It’s too much it’s just too much! ”

Sovereignty gives misshapen fruit more pride of place next to more prettily formed crop. Sovereignty also gave the UK crappy workplace and  environmental laws. Workplace fatalities in the UK have reduced by half since European safety directives were introduced in 1996. Being part of the European Union has given Britain cleaner beaches and drinking water, less air pollution, safer products and more protected wildlife

I’ve lived in a number of different places and have never have felt as much at home as I do here. But as an American with an Italian passport in a country that is no longer part of the European Union, misshapen fruit belongs whereas soon I may not.

X Marks the Brits

google images x“You know, you Americans say we Brits are so cold, but YOU’RE the cold ones.”

This was coming out of the mouth of Jon, the live-in landlord who despite dust and dirt everywhere, would freak out and scream if there were drops of water on the counter near the sink.

He continued. “You never put an x at the end of your texts.”

I wasn’t following.

“Well an x is a kiss, right?”

Yea and xoxo means kisses and hugs, so?

“You never write it at the end of your text.”

In time, I came to see that Brits do indeed put an x at the end of their texts. No matter what the person is writing about, there’s the little x. “I’m gonna stay home tonight, but thanks for the invite. x.” “Please pick up some milk. x.” “You’re a flipping cunt. x.”

When I lived in Italy, Italians wrote “baci”, which like the chocolate, means kisses.And I don’t write “baci” or “kisses “or  an “x” and I don’t write flipping “dry hump”, either.

This meant there was a flaw in The American Character?  I really hate representing the reputation of an entire nation. Besides, it’s just a letter: x.

And why, anyway, does an x represent a kiss? An “o” for a hug I can understand, I mean visually, you can get that – my arms around you, yours around me – an “o” more or less. But what kind of person makes their lips into an x – even if I am kissing you and you’re kissing me, where’s the flipping “x”? I’m sitting here in front of my computer, looking at a mirror and trying to make my lips looks like an x. The closet thing I can do is a bit of a fish mouth.

Ok. Time to google. Here’s what Wikipedia says: “The common custom of placing “X” on envelopes, notes and at the bottom of letters to mean kisses dates back to the Middle Ages, when a Christian cross was drawn on documents or letters to mean sincerity, faith, and honesty. A kiss was then placed upon the cross, by the signer as a display of their sworn oath.”

Texting “Meet you outside of Jubilee Library 4pm” isn’t something I feel the need to swear an oath by. If I’m gonna swear an oath at the end of the text, it would probably be more like, “Meet you outside of Jubilee Library 4pm, asshole.”

And yet, one does adapt so that if I look thru my texts, increasingly, I have come to, in fact, include an x at the end of texts.

I went back to google to see if others had my questions. On quora.com, a website that is like the university-educated version of Yahoo Answers, someone responded to the question, “What does it mean when British people put an X at the end of text messages or emails?” with:

“No X = for a person you know you will not get an X back from / if you are annoyed with someone / a guy you don’t really know
X = standard for any friend / a girl you don’t really know
XX = a girl you like
XXX+ = flirting / playing a game with someone / going overboard

Two funny caveats of this are;
1. Some people really do take notice of the amount of Xs they are getting. If you send XX to a girl, you may get XXX back, but if you drop back down to an X after, you almost certainly will not get XXX back again
2. People can get offended if you provide no Xs, unless you are renowned for being a no-Xer”

Best be careful or one might become “renowned.” Who knew.

And really, it’s supposed to be a little x, however for me and my iPhone, that’s extra work. If I end my sentence with a grammatically correct period, that damn auto corrector will make that x capital. So do you go back and delete the capital x and put in a small case x? I’m not saying I have answers… all I have are questions.

Cuz I don’t know.

I’m inquiring.

Go ahead, look at your texts. Isn’t there an x at the end? And when there isn’t doesn’t it feel a bit … off?  And if the other person usually ends with 2 x’s but this time wrote only one, should you read into that? I kinda doubt it but what do I know, Dumbass American that I am. x

google x