Posts tagged ‘english’

Non sequiturs: vol. 1

– posted by russellmania3000

The problem with reading on public transportation, other than that it can put you to sleep and cause you to miss your stop, is that you can’t look up and check out whether other people are impressed with what you’re reading. Because if you’re looking for around for potential people to chat up, you’re not really reading, are you? Don’t give me this I-read-for-enjoyment/self-betterment crap. Books are fashion accessories, same as everything else on your person.

Is it just me or are keffiyehs the new buffalo plaid button-downs? In fact, in the last couple days I’m pretty sure I’ve seen some oversized purple or aqua buffalo plaid neckerchiefs with tassels, which pretty much qualifies as keffiyeh in the same way Chipotle qualifies as Mexican food. And we wonder why they hate us.

Christoph Niemann - I LEGO NY

The thing about walking downhill on ice is that it’s really easy to start moving diagonally but once moving diagonally it’s really hard to straighten out again. Walking uphill on ice won’t put you in the same quandary.

A woman getting cat called and a man getting stared down by a gay guy are not the same kind of uncomfortable. They’re just not.

The thing about getting idea for a project is that most of the time you just accumulate the idea but never really follow through on it. Maybe you return to it a few months later and realize it’s a terrible idea. If you’re lucky. If you’re unlucky, you start thinking you’re some kind of great idea man when you’re not and maybe you turn it into a start-up and lose some VC firm’s coin and ruin the show for everyone else.

I know that deep down I’m an awful person because I’m not that upset about all the lives drunk driving has claimed, but I am upset that Charles Barkley is off the air. Police are such cockblockers. This segment in which Bob Costas talks 2008 with John McEnroe and Sir Charles on HBO is amazing. No disrespect to Chris Webber, but for the last several years Charles has been the best basketball pundit in business, and outside of Bill Simmons and Nathaniel Friedman a.k.a. Bethlehem Shoals perhaps the best pundit in sports.

equine ass

A while ago Sam was talking about viral marketing and mentioned Ray-Ban’s cow-birthing-a-dude spot. So the guys from Never Hide Films actually contacted us to mention they had 2 new spots out, which is, I mean, hey thanks I guess but we don’t care. Even though Disco Ballers is marginally amusing, once you have a guy coming out a cow vagina all covered in amniotic fluid and chunks of gross, you’ve pretty much maxed yourself out in advertising and you might as well pack up and hit the beach. I think Sam’s tongue-in-cheek/backhanded compliment might have been lost on them had they read her piece at all, but I don’t think they did, which makes me wonder how many times it occurs that a blog pokes fun at – or outright tears new rectums in – a particular ad or product or institution or whatever and said entity’s marketing/web team gets wind of the fact that they’re mentioned in the post but doesn’t pay attention to the context and tries to cozy up to said blog without even realizing they are poor bedfellows.

For some stupid reason I decided not to watch the AC Milan game on Sunday and instead go to the Punk Rock Flea Market, which was so crowded that even if I had wanted to buy something, I doubt I’d have been able to reach for my wallet without groping three asses that were way too young for me to be groping. Every third person smelled of reefer or of just plain body stank. I spotted a mug shaped like a tree trunk with an owl peeking out of a knot in the side, which was actually kind of cool and surely one of a kind, but no, the girl working that table told me she was only selling that in a set of six. So what she meant by that was she wasn’t going to be selling them at all.

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February 3, 2009 at 9:20 PM Leave a comment

Start as you mean to go on

Sweet crackers it is cold out. My thermometer was reading 10 degrees in the shade when I left this morning, and by the time I got to the office, my face felt like it was a rubber mask stretched over some other face underneath. If you have ever wondered how horrifying it might feel to be so cold you can’t feel your penis, don’t. My nipples are permanently erect from the bars of surgical titanium penetrating the first few dermal layers. But if they weren’t made so by that, they would have been by my ride this morning. By that and this guy right here:

Q: What do you smell? A: Manflesh. So sayeth Lurtz.

So the big news in the world of sport, for me at least, is that this creamy specimen up top, that being not a model or some crazy naked weirdo but David Beckham, is headed back to Europe, at least temporarily, and is taking his kinda hot but fake-boobied Spice Wife with him. Which is great news, because his talent is totally wasted on American soccer and AC Milan seems like a splendid move. Not that the Rossoneri midfield is soft, but they are a bit defense-oriented and Beckham gives them a nice forward push. And after seeing him face Ronaldinho in several La Liga clasicos during their time with Real Madrid and Barcelona, I for one am excited to see what they might do on the same squad. There’s a lot of nationalistic pride in Serie A football, but is it really any surprise that the team that casts the widest talent net is sitting atop the table? Here’s hoping the LA Galaxy have the grace to let Beckham go for good.

What is going on? Sports on an art fag blog? Hear me out. I have a point, I think. I’m a man, I’m not above caring about sports, and I try to be a man of the people; Rome, after all, has always been a republic.

So, start as you mean to go on.

This is a phrase that doesn’t see much daylight in American English, which is unfortunate since its simplicity and elegance belie the scope of its implications. It sees a fair share of usage across the pond, as it were, but is relegated mostly to the lexicon of sport. A team that wins their season opener is said to have started as they mean to go on. Often this is said as a sarcastic inversion to imply that a poor beginning sets the stage for continued disappointment. English sportscasters routinely employ this phrase in their manifold exhibitions of linguistic superiority.

I’m quite serious. Tune into any English Premiership match and your ears will thank you. Soccer isn’t called “the beautiful game” simply for the action on the pitch. Never mind that the crowd sings rather than cheers. But the language used to give play-by-play to UK laymen is more eloquent than that of most American intellectuals and academics, the word choice and syntax whimsically inventive yet instantly understood. Consider: Martin Tyler, John Motson, Ray Hudson. These aren’t the most darling of examples, but just imagine them whispering sweet nothings in your ear and see if your legs don’t go soft.

Joe Buck can barely describe a passing route without speaking about the receiver in some sort of collective consciousness first/second/third person perspective and issuing forth a bevy of run-on sentences dripping in grammatical errors from the unfortunate, toothy hole in his face. I can’t for the life of me figure out why this amateur hour habit of assuming the first-person perspective of players is so universally embraced by American sportscasters, other than that they are mongoloid amateurs. Though he is perhaps the progenitor of practice, there will always be a place in my heart for John Madden, but his appeal is similar to that of Droopy or Rodney Dangerfield or that chubby girl you’d still fuck – there’s definitely a huge cute/pity factor. Perhaps once a fortnight, Madden will drop a gem of analysis so finely crystalized one might think he was huffing fumes from Big John Runyan‘s jock like some modern day Oracle of Delphi. But most of the time, he’s only marginally huggable because his blue collar celebration of the unsung heroes of run blocking and pass protection only partially masks his bumbling buffoonery. I mean, here’s a guy whose favorite phrase is “I mean, here’s a guy.” That and “boom.”

Speaking of boom, here’s a present for everyone but Pats fans.

Side note: ever wondered why sporting events are usually broadcast with two-man commentary teams instead of solo? Listening to one guy call the play is an awkward, lonely experience. Just as a color commentator can feed companionship through osmosis, a lone announcer exudes isolation that echoes your own as you spend another Sunday afternoon alone, growing older and fatter, watching sweaty men exchange ass pats. FOX Soccer Channel has this Italian guy who calls Serie A matches alone. He sounds like he learned to speak English from a Scotsman, so he has two accents, which is more annoying than you can imagine.

American sportscasters function splendidly as examples of successful mediocrity. These announcers are on TV to remind the young children watching that all is not lost if they fail to develop into professional athletes. They are salesmen pitching the virtues of living vicariously through sport. Perhaps this explains the continued use of altered perspective, but Ockham’s Razor would have me believe that they are simply mongoloid amateurs. To further sell this fantasy, networks hire washed up athletes to do the color commentary. When kids see Joe Buck and Troy Aikman in the FOX booth, they are invited to inquire who this shitgoose working with Troy is and ask “why not me because certainly I could be less of a sniveling shit,” and imagine that one day they might sit in a similar booth and don a headset with perhaps Michael Vick or Plaxico Burress and make pithy banter about prison.

The most glaring contrast between European and American sportscasters, even more so than their ability to use their mother tongue, is their temperament towards failure. Americans will, under most circumstances, fawn over players and teams as they try in earnest to find something good to say about their performance no matter how abysmal it may be. Europeans by comparison are notoriously hard to please and are stunningly critical of even winning teams and good players. What can account for this? Simply that there is no system for instituting collective responsibility in American leagues whereas in Europe there is.

In America, losing teams are rewarded with higher draft picks and thus the chance to radically improve their squad. In Europe, losing teams are kicked out of the league. Imagine, if you will, what blasphemy it would have been if after last year’s football season, the Philadelphia Soul entered the NFL and the Miami Dolphins were forced to play in the Arena league. A European system of promotion and relegation would do exactly that. On top of that, the better teams play in two or three leagues/cups at the same time, and many of their players also have to split time with national teams that are playing on several circuits at the same time. With this environment of heightened personal and collective responsibility for a team’s performance and reputation, it’s understandable why European fans and pundits have less tolerance for failure and mediocrity.

Hence the phrase “start as you mean to go on,” or in Americanese, “do it right the first time, bitch, don’t fuck it up.” It speaks to a certain work ethic that favors precision and deliberation over trial and error, a sentiment that, like preservative-free hippie food, doesn’t travel well over long distances, distances like Atlantic Oceans.

Americans, as both children and adults, are not taught to start as they mean to go on, but rather to start and then go on. Growing up American encourages us to make mistakes, reinvent ourselves and remain flexible in charting our path through life, and this is certainly admirable at a certain level. This cultural legacy has given us our resilience and agility, our aptitude for exploring life and finding what fits. But what we might gain in spirit we lose in ethic. We are conditioned to see success as an end rather than a means. We are encouraged to see mistakes as unlucky but forgettable events that build character, as no fault of our own, as opportunities for growth rather than the breeders of complacency they actually are.

So in examining the condition of our economy and our planet, we’re now seeing the accumulated fallout for our collective unwillingness to view current performance as a forecaster for future results. Our national will to take real action in addressing the challenges of today – climate change, energy, poverty and the declining middle class, healthcare, education – is pretty much the same as it’s always been: virtually non-existent. The American attitude toward problem solving is to hope things self-correct and put off taking immediate, decisive action until it’s far too late and such action takes more the form of haphazard damage control than prevention.

We can learn a thing or two from European sports. Like how to fix our broken country. Or how to cook a proper white center.

– posted by RussellMania3000

December 22, 2008 at 4:35 PM 1 comment


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