Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.



So yeah, I watched the premier of Who Wants to be a Superhero? And my first reaction was, “eh.”

I don’t know if the excitement of seeing real people in silly superhero costumes has already waned since season one, but I wasn’t that impressed. I mean, even the best of reality TV is pretty formulaic, and this was no exception: all the heroes meet for the first time, Stan Lee appears on the big screen TV, they have to immediately jump into a mission, once resolved they hang out at the lair, they get another mission, then that night someone is arbitrarily cast out. End of show.

Things that stick out in my memory:

Feedback. Oh, poor sweet Feedback. The uber-geek winner from season one. This guy was promised fame, fortune and his own SciFi Network-produced TV movie… and I’m pretty sure he hasn’t received any of those yet. Well, maybe a little fame, in the insular geek universe, at least. I know he was at Mid-Ohio Con (Columbus, OH comic book convention) and I bet he was in San Diego for Comic-Con this past week. As far as comic book geeks go, he’s a lot more famous than me, I guess.

And he seems more than happy to don his costume again and gather up the contestants for the show; sneaking into their homes and workplaces to announce, “Stan wants you!”

The first challenge. I thought this challenge was actually pretty… challenging. Rather physical right out of the box. I thought they played up the “you’ve got to use teamwork!” angle a bit much… all you really needed was one big guy to handle the heavy lifting.

And it’s with challenges like this that I have a problem with the show. They are all supposed to be superheroes, with super powers, right? At least two of these heroes list flight as a power, and Mindset claims to have telekinesis… so why not use your powers? I know, I know, it’s not real, and I’m willing to suspend my disbelieve to a certain degree… but the premises of the show is that this is real, that Stan is shaping real superheroes. Why not create some excuse for them to not use their powers? All Stan has to say is something like, “Heroes, in this challenge I want to see how you would handle it if a supervillian managed to steal your powers!” or “There will be many civilians nearby in this challenge, so please don’t use your powers!”

Defuser. This guy quickly established himself as a leader, if not THE Leader (well, not The Leader, of course. BTW--best villain ever, and rumored to be in the new Hulk movie). Anyway, this guy’s a cop in real life, so no surprise that he’s large and in charge. I’m torn if this is a good thing or not… every team needs a leader, but Stan seems to favor the geeky underdog (witness Feedback). Stan may be looking for any excuse to eliminate the guy. Such as…

The second challenge. Hey, looks like the contestants were paying attention to season one! I’m glad to see none of them were lured into revealing their secret identities, and obvious superhero faux-pas that many of the heroes fell into last season. But then, most of them dropped the ball once they left the warehouse, especially Defuser, who was so focused on getting tires back on the trucks that he missed the real challenges.

Now, it can’t be easy to be on this show. I mean, set aside the fact that you’re wearing a ridiculous costume, but you’re under scrutiny at every moment and you’re just waiting for the next test. So when you come out of the warehouse to find your cars wheel-less, I’m sure it’s easy to think, “Holy shit, we need to get those tires back on the trucks, and like now!” Because it’s not a far stretch to imagine Stan berating them if they didn’t do it toot-sweet: “Heroes, what if there was another emergency?! A true superhero must be ready to react at a moment’s notice!” So they jump into action and most of them don’t notice the little old lady and guy carrying boxes and the dog--even thought the “lost dog” seemed like a real stretch. (Which, by the way, the SciFi website describes as an “obviously lost and frightened dog” to which I say buuuuull-shit! That dog laid on the sideway and calmly looked around. If it was howling or crying, it would have been one thing. But anyway.

So yeah, it’s got to be a tough call between jumping in and solving the obvious challenge and stopping to look around to see if there’s a more subtle challenge involved. Which, frankly, there always is. If these guys are smart they’ll figure that out and start to assign a person or two as lookouts for every challenge.

Mr. Mitzvah. Holy shit! Did I say in my last post that he was too ethnic? I had no idea. I mean, there’s no way that the guy really talks like that. He’s doing a dead-on impersonation of Jackie Mason! Oy vey! I’m kibitzing with the meshuggner when the shiksa drops the latke and she gets verklempt and oy gevalt the crying!

Ms. Limelight. Is she really only 18? Jesus, she’s certainly annoying enough for it. She was on the chopping block last time, here’s hoping she gets canned next go-round. I don’t think I can take much more of that voice.

Next week! New costumes! Mazal tov!


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#214 In which our hero considers boobs and the future of his daughters.

Meet the Satterfield triplets:

Rachel, Sarah and Vicki (in any order). The Plain Dealer ran an article about these potential super-stars last week. Like any small town girls, these future Rhodes Scholars have big dreams. As one of the brain-trust so skillfully articulated, “In our world, we’re celebrities. But we want to be famous.”

And they’re well on their way. The first step of their master plan was to drop out of high school. Then, when they were old enough, they started stripping at a local “Gentlemen’s Club” -- to earn enough money for breast implants.

And their mother couldn’t be more proud. She’s quoted as saying, “I told them when they were kids that they could be and do anything they wanted to.” You can almost hear her sigh deeply and add, “And what they wanted to do was take off their clothes for money.”

But, things are working out for these dyed-blond dim bulbs… they’re going to appear in Playboy next month!

“It was a dream come true,” said spokes-dummy Vicki. “We’re not shy, and it was something each of us have wanted to do since I can remember.”

“When they were putting us into position… I almost started crying,” added second blonde from the left. "I just couldn’t believe we were getting our photos taken by Playboy!”

Now, who am I to fault these women desiring fame and fortune, huh? Plenty of women have started out as models and gone on to have big careers in film. Not that these geniuses want to do that. Their dream is become Playmates and live in the Playboy mansion in California. If that doesn’t pan out, they might become “women of the World Wrestling Federation.” And if that falls through, they’ll just strip at an “upscale club in Las Vegas.”

Ah, to be young and full of limitless ambitions!

When I first read their story I thought good call Playboy; who doesn’t want to see naked triplets? I mean, it’s six boobs for the price of one, right?

But then, once again, I was reminded of just how much my attitude about such things has changed since becoming a father.

Now I can’t read about these dim-bulb sisters without thinking of my own daughters--not that my kids are dumb; quite the opposite. The Scientist and I have talked about the girls’ futures… we hope for the best, of course. We want them to go to college (or rather, we want them to want to go), get a degree and then a decent-paying job in their field. And we also want them to be happy. This is especially important to my wife, being that she spent about eight years working in labs just for a paycheck, with little to no job satisfaction (I, on the other hand, have always wanted to be a copywriter and have been mostly happily employed as such since I finished school). And if they don’t want to go to college, but want to be, I dunno, landscapers, and it makes them happy… can I really be that bothered by it? Well, I can, of course, but if they’re happy in their jobs The Scientist will be correct in telling me to just shut my pie hole and smile.

But man, do I worry about the future. What will happen to my girls? I’m sure no father ever looked at his adorable three-year-old and thought, “yeah, she’s going to be a crack whore when she grows up.” But there’s plenty of crack whores in the world, y’know? I often say that I want them to start a musical or acting career so they can be super rich and The Scientist and I can be their managers a skim a healthy amount off the top. But then, I read about the scary craziness of Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan and I suddenly, that’s not so funny any more. Yeah, those girls are rich… but they’re also way out of control. One car ride away from a trip to the morgue. So I think I’m done with that joke.

Now, if they could discover a cure for cancer and patent it and make billions that way… I’d be okay with that.

Or, if they just did a really good job mowing my grass.





Mark your calendars for July 26, 2007. That’s when Who Wants to be a Superhero, season 2 premiers.

I am, of course, psyched!

Last season never let me down with the unfailing onslaught of cheesy nonsense, created and ring-led by Stan "The Man" Lee. I expect season 2 to do the same, and then some. Oh, Stan Lee, you bat-shit crazy old man, how I love you!

I seriously considered trying out for season two, but I never really got past the origin story stage. And it really seems like you have to go to a cattle-call to grab the producer’s attention. So who knows… maybe next time.

Let’s take a look at this season’s heroes!

NAME: The Defuser
SUPER POWERS: Gadgeteer; enhanced physical abilities, night vision.
COSTUME COOLNESS FACTOR (1-5): 4 (He looks like a cop, and who’s going to argue with that?)
COMMENTS: Nice package of powers that make sense together. Refuses to use firearms and fights drug dealers… Stan’s gotta love that!
CHANCE OF WINNING: 25% (he looks serious… a little too series. Unless he turns out to be a huge geek, Stan is going to pass him over for a more established resident of geektown.)

NAME: Ms. Limelight
SUPER POWERS: Can emulate powers of action movie stars.
COSTUME COOLNESS FACTOR (1-5): 2 (fringe? No thank you)
COMMENTS: “Vulnerability: She has very sensitive legs: if someone tells her to ‘break a leg,’ it really breaks!” WTF? I’d call her origin story really stupid, but it’s very similar to Feedback’s from last season, and we know how it turned out for him!
CHANCE OF WINNING: 5% (Her power sounds dumb and, again, fringe?)

NAME: Hyper-Strike
SUPER POWERS: Martial artist; “can turn his own sweat into a weapon” (WTF?); can manipulate his own chi and that of others.
COSTUME COOLNESS FACTOR (1-5): 3 (nicely put together; but with those tights, I’m a little afraid that I’m going to see more than I want.
COMMENTS: Love his nemesis (Komodo, a lizardman bent on becoming the world’s greatest fighter), but his vulnerability is profuse sweating? Yuck.
CHANCE OF WINNING: 35% (tough call on this guy… he’ll either go pretty far, or get on everyone’s nerves and burn out in the first couple episodes.)

NAME: Whip-Snap
SUPER POWERS: Master of the whip, can turn her foes to dust.
COSTUME COOLNESS FACTOR (1-5): 4 (I dig the cowboy influence and, again, nice bod doesn’t hurt)
COMMENTS: I’ll give this lady huge points is she can really do tricks with her whip. Her vulnerability is asthma? Come on…
CHANCE OF WINNING: 10% (A little too series, and Stan has long held a dislike for heroes who use weapons.)

NAME: Mindset
SUPER POWERS: Telekinesis; danger sense.
COSTUME COOLNESS FACTOR (1-5): 3 (4 if that light on his chest actually works)
COMMENTS: “Nemesis: Sigmus, a Galactic Starlord from Mindset’s future.” Awesome! “Catch phrase: For the future!” Double awesome!!
CHANCE OF WINNING: 75% (he has the geek-cred in spades and really went for it, costume-wise. I think this guy is smart money.)

NAME: Basura
SUPER POWERS: Communicates with insects and small animals, can tell how any object was created; turns trash into robots.
COSTUME COOLNESS FACTOR (0-5): 4 (lots of skin, and the body to pull it off)
COMMENTS: Flakey artist-type, Odd hodge-podge of powers. On the plus side: nice bode and not afraid to show it off!
CHANCE OF WINNING: Zero (I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that she’s going to be so consumed with telling the other heroes about how you can turn trash into treasure, “Like I do with my art work” that she’ll break character and be out in the first four shows.)

NAME: Mr. Mitzvah
SUPER POWERS: Flight, night vision, super-strength, enhanced senses AND a magic Star of David ping-pong paddle!
COSTUME COOLNESS FACTOR (1-5): 4 (it’s working for me, and the white hair pulls it all together)
COMMENTS: Unlikely that someone so ethnic will win, but Stan is a Jew himself, so who knows?
CHANCE OF WINNING: Zero (The ethnic thing. Do you know what religion Superman is? How about Captain America? No? Exactly.)

NAME: Braid
SUPER POWERS: Shape shifter (so far so good); braids act as tentacles to snare foes (okaaay); rainbow eyelids take digital photos (huh?); superior sense of small (um, sure); transforms into Braid with Prism Stone (what now?).
COSTUME COOLNESS FACTOR (1-5): 2 (I get the concept, but still think it looks dumb)
COMMENTS: Her power is lost if you cut her braids… that’s a cool Stan Lee-esque vulnerability.
CHANCE OF WINNING: Zero (She’s probably get further than she should, but there’s no getting around the fact that she has Rainbow Brite hair).

NAME: Parthenon
SUPER POWERS: Gains super strength, limited invulnerability, flight and more from his “Armaguard,” an ancient Atlantian gauntlet.
COSTUME COOLNESS FACTOR (1-5): 2 (dude, lift some weights)
COMMENTS: Love the origin story and nemesis. And the catch phrase, “Rock on!” Because he uses magical rocks for power, get it? Stan will.
CHANCE OF WINNING: 40% (My dark horse to win. He looks like a geek, and I bet he talks and acts like a geek, too.)

NAME: Hygena
SUPER POWERS: Uses weapons created from cleaning tools.
COSTUME COOLNESS FACTOR (1-5): 1 (as if I needed another reason not to like this hero, her costume is stupid)
COMMENTS: Ugh, a gimmicky hero, ala “Cell Phone Girl” from last season.
CHANCE OF WINNING: Zero. (Stan likes cheesy, but this is too stupid even for him. That said… Fat Momma got into the finals last time, so we’ll see.)

General comments: I’ve based my who will win opinions strictly on costume and publicity shots; we’ll see how much that changes after the first episode.

Also, again based on appearances, these contestants have learned something from season one. Namely, if you are a woman and you have a decent body, show it off. And, street hockey gear makes good armor.

Here’s hoping they took note of the fact that they need to be superheroes ALL THE TIME. Stan Lee is watching your every movement, and it’s not going to fly if you break character, even for a moment.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this season won’t be as obviously orchestrated as last season. And, of course, I pray that it will be just as chock-full of dumbass stunts as season one. Excelsior!


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Check out the first three messages in my spam folder this morning:

Is someone trying to tell me something?


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Monday morning.

I should be working (I have several job jackets on my desk giving me the hairy eyeball) but nothing is due immediately, and sometimes on Monday I have a hard time getting back into the groove. This is especially true this morning. I blame The Scientist.

See, Macey started to fuss at 5am, so The Scientist got up and brought her into bed with us. Which is fine, she settled down immediately and went back to sleep, as did I. But there was something about having one of our children in bed with us that made it feel like a lazy Sunday morning to me, and my wife finally poked me and said, “It’s six-thirty. Get up!” my brain was all, “What the fuck? You tellin’ me it isn’t Sunday? Shiiiit!

So here’s a bunch of unorganized things of note that have happened lately:

We had a garage sale.

Actually, our entire street did. Or rather, the non-stick in the mud families did. This was organized by our garage sale veteran neighbor, who had the 4-1-1 on everything you needed for a successful garage sale in our town. Like, a permit.

I was a little horrified that our city requires you to pay five bucks to get a neon green piece of paper with your address on it to confirm that your garage sale is “legal.” Along with the permit came four sheets outlining what you can and cannot do at your garage sale, heavily weighted to the “can’t” side of the equation.

I humped a bunch of crap out of the basement and lined it up neatly in our driveway and let the invisible hand do its magic. And it was very successful! We got rid of all the big crap we no longer wanted (and only moderately wanted in the first place) and made a few bucks in the process.

It helped a great deal that everything was Priced! To! Move! The gigantic bulky end tables? $8 for the set! The dirty snow blower that desperately needs serviced? $10 (but I actually took $5)! The 1980s-era stereo with speakers? $5! The tiny black-and-white TV? Fifty cents!

The basement has never looked better.

We took a vacation.

A little one. We just ran up to the cabin (I’ve mentioned my family’s cabin before, right? Ah, yes I have) for Saturday and Sunday morning. We brought up some friends, and Mom met us up there and it was a good time. The girls are getting old enough to appreciate it, and I always enjoy my time up there. The Scientist’s severe allergies to mold and mildew make it… challenging… at times, but we’ve figured it out, for the most part. There was hiking and drinking and over-eating and poker and it was all-in-all a very fun weekend.

That is, until the trip back home.

We always dope up the girls with Dramamine, just to be safe, since the roads are a little twisty-turny. Well, we didn’t on the way home. About an hour into the trip, Macey let out a big burp that sounded more than a little on the wet side. The Scientist and I exchanged terrified glances and looked back. Macey was still just watching the portable DVD player, seemingly happy. Whew, we both thought. Glad she didn’t--

And that’s when the puke flood gates opened up.

The Scientist was driving, and I was still looking back at Macey when the dam burst. It’s always funny to watch little kids puke… unlike adults who look around in desperation for something to yak into, little kids just let it come. All down the front of her, all over her car seat.

We pulled off into the nearest gas station. She had started to cry, and The Scientist took her into the bathroom to comfort her and clean her up, leaving me to deal with the puke-splattered car seat. Which actually cleaned-up fairly easily. Lily took the opportunity to remind me several times that she didn’t get car sick, for which we were happier than she could ever know.

We dosed both kids, waited about a half hour, then got back on the road. Fortunately, there were no further incidents. But the car did smell like puke for the rest of the trip.

I parked cars and took a leap of faith.

Right across the street from our church is a catholic church. Every year in July this church has a little festival on their property with rides, games of chance, fried dough, that sort of thing--I’m guessing here, I’ve actually never been to it.

Anyway, this church pays our church some amount of money to allow fair-goers to park in our parking lot. And here’s the thing: there’s nothing tricky about the parking lot, you don’t need a pass-card to get in or anything like that. It’s asphalt, flat, marked by lines. So you might think that the church would say, “Fantastic! Give us that check, and have at!”

But it doesn’t go down like that. Rather, the parking is this amazingly over-orchestrated affair with signs, roadblocks, 2-way radios, flashlights, parking cones and a bunch of volunteers.

All of this is run by one little old lady at the church, whom we will call Sue. The parking lot deal is Sue’s baby. It’s her territory, and you are wise to tread softly when entering her territory.

I got a frantic call from Sue on Tuesday night. One of the guys scheduled to work the parking lot had been hit by a tram (apparently he was time-traveling in the 18th century) and had sprained his ankle. Could I fill in? Sure, I figured… I hadn’t been the best parishioner of late, so I figured I’d better jump on any opportunity to get good with God. My shift was the final one of Thursday night, 8-11pm. “I’ll mail you the instructions,” Sue informed me. I reminded her that I had actually volunteered for this parking lot duty before a couple years ago, and wasn’t sure if she needed to waste a stamp. She assured me she did, and that was that.

Two days later my instructions arrived (the morning of the duty--Sue must have been sweating bullets worrying that I’d get them in time) and, honestly, I never opened them. It wasn’t until after my shift that I opened the envelope to review the five pages of instructions. To say that these instructions were thorough is to bad-mouth the gods of thoroughness. Everything was covered… how to hang the signs, where to place the signs, where to block off certain parking spots, and with what, and for how long… and so on. When to close the lot. How to operate the radios--because you needed a “front lot” person and “back lot” person, and it was critical that they be in constant communication. I mean, what if you didn’t block off the lot when it was full and someone had to--I shutter to even imagine it--drive through and not find a spot and have to drive out again?

But in all fairness, I suppose all the rigmarole isn't completely superfluous. I mean, if there’s actually people from the church there, I suppose any troublemakers would be less likely to, I dunno, key cars or try to break in to the church or whatnot. But is this event of such a scale that it requires five pages to properly explain? I guess Sue wasn’t willing to leave anything to chance.

And just to reinforce this, Sue was there herself to review the policies with me again when I got there. In the course of discuss the night’s clean-up, she noticed that whoever had put the FREE PARKING sign over the usual Church Parking sign had neglected to first cover it with the protective plastic sheeting--which is clearly outlined in the SET UP section of the instructions. “Oh boy,” I thought. “Somebody fucked up. Sue isn’t going to like this.” Sue seemed to take it in stride, although the look on her face was clearly a long-suffering “Why do I even bother?” I suggested I could go put up the protective sheet now, but Sue told me that “it’s too late, now.”

Luckily there were no parking shenanigans on my watch, and I spent most of the time texting stupid things to my wife.

But one thing did happen at the end of the night that’s worth noting.

Around 11:45pm we started to tear down all the parking materials (because if they stayed up all night--well, that just would NOT do) and I had to remove some signs from the rear lot. As the lot is designed, it does downhill a bit before it exits to the street. And it winds around a corner. So it happened that I ended up on the top of an eight foot tall wall, in the dark, looking over the edge. I would have taken about a minute and half to walk around. Or! my brain suggested for some unknown reason, You could just jump down! I shined by flashlight (Please make sure flashlights are OFF!!! and return to the box labeled “Flashlights And Batteries” at the end of your shift”) on the ground, didn’t see any rocks or glass and jumped.

Now, I’m a 200lb. guy, and don’t make a habit of leaping off walls or, well, anything. I think my brain had the imgine of me lightly springing to the ground like a cat (or a ninja!), but the reality was somewhat different. I landed hard on my feet, which immediately slid out in front and deposited me rudely on my ass.

Of course, it was at that moment that my brain spoke up and said, “Jesus, dude, that was stupid.” Damn you, brain!

Anyway, my ankles hurt for the rest of the evening, but I didn’t manage to do any lasting damage. Which is nothing short of miraculous.

And on that note, I must now return to work before someone notices I'm blogging and not working and I again land hard on my ass.


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#213 In which our hero pines for an adventure, of sorts.

I’ve found myself being rather envious of other people lately.

And not in the typical ways, either (i.e., why am I not rich like [insert name of sports figure/rock star/actor/musician here]?) People around me have been having adventures, and I want in.

First, about a month ago, a co-worker suddenly announced that she was quitting her job and moving to South Korea to teach English. She had no teaching experience (or qualifications, as far as I can tell; however, she was rather articulate) and speaks no Korean. This drastic change in scenery appears to come out of the blue. However, one assumes that this had been planned for months, if not years. To make the entire experience tilt farther to the surreal side of things, she has stark white hair and is crazy tall (she may be as tall as I am, which is 6’2”) Anyway, I’ve been following her progress on her myspace page (which makes my skin crawl a little, but that’s where the updates are) and I was amused to read that she’s teaching children. I assumed she was teaching adults. She would tower over most adults in South Korea, I imagine; but she must seem absolutely Everest-esque to children.

But what an adventure, huh? To chuck it all and just dive into a foreign culture; one in which you don’t even speak the language! She’s in her early twenties, and apparently has nothing (besides friends and family, I guess) to keep her in the states--so why not? I’ve briefly traveled outside of the country, but never lived abroad. It must be fascinating, terrifying and exhilarating all at once.

Then, last week, another co-worker quit to realize her dream of opening her own portrait studio. She works in oils, and rented a gallery/work space in which she will, presumably, spend her days painting and showing her artwork. This co-worker is not so young, and had been saving for years to make this happen. While I’m no artist, I really admire her for leaving the certainty of a regular paycheck to do what she loves to do. It’s perhaps not as radical as flying to the opposite side of the globe, but leaving corporate America to live the Bohemian lifestyle has to be at least as frightening and exciting.

Finally, I find myself envious of my buddy’s two teenage boys. See, they’re in a band. I’ve never seen them play, so I can’t really say if they’re good or not… but it kinda doesn’t matter. They’re getting gigs, they’re out there rockin’ it! It’s got to be a thrill to be up on stage and have everyone looking at you, everyone boppin’ their heads along to your beat. I’ve never going to be a rock star (the fact that I don’t play an instrument is probably the first hurdle) and I’ll never know what it’s like to have people clapping and screaming along to music I wrote. It’s got to be such a rush.

So, yeah, these people are having adventures, both big and small, and I wish I could go along.

If only as a roadie.


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Sometimes when I have some time to kill at work I play on Flickr. I’m probably as guilty as the next guy for doing searches on “boobs,” but even that becomes boring after a while. I started just typing in whatever crazy words I could think of… then, I had the brilliant idea of combining my desire to see boobs with odd search words. So, I’d type in something odd or mundane, and follow it with “naked.” More often than not, I’ve been surprised by the results. For example:

Seashell + Naked

I expected to find something like this:

Which I did. And this was also a nice surprise:

This, however, was not.

Circus + Naked



Sushi + Naked



Dog + Naked


Not expected:

Volcano + Naked


Not expected (but still very cool):

You try it!





Just finished reading this post from Defective Yeti concerning the “100 words every high school graduate should know” as compiled by the editors of the American Heritage dictionary.

It’s a fun read, and Mr. Yeti compiled a neat Q&A application that allows you to test yourself on if/how well you know the listed words. For the record, I got 12 out of 20, even though I was close on many of those that I missed.

Anyway, being that I’m a word guy, I’m of two minds on things like this. First, I enjoy unusual and interesting words (I have a sub-folder in my email labeled “interesting words” where I dump the emails from Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day which I find, well, interesting) and I really enjoy odd words… for example, the word of the day for June 8th was “Thimblerig” (thimble-rig) which means, of course, “to cheat by trickery.”

But, on the other hand, I work with words every day and I know that the first law of good communication is “write clearly.”

I am constantly assaulted in the daily newspaper and magazines (Entertainment Weekly is an especially egregious offender) by writers who are clearly trying to be creative in their writing and make the cardinal sin of sacrificing clarity for the sake of a clever word or turn of phrase. I envision these writers are snobby elitists with a Skyy vodka Cosmo in one hand, and a thesaurus in the other.

And I look at this 100 words list and see the same thing.

I mean, I’m all for a healthy vocabulary. I had a journalism professor in college who had such a wide-ranging vocabulary that he often had to stop mid-lecture to confirm that we students understood what he had just said. But there’s a time and place for this and rarely is it on the printed page.

I mean, if you want to write a book about Edwardian England, then have at. But if you’re writing a movie review for the new “Transformers” movie, the just say what you mean, huh?

Looking at the list, I have to wonder about:
  • Abstemious (ab-ste-mi-ous): 1 Eating and drinking in moderation. 2. Characterized by abstinence or moderation.
When would you use this word? More to the point, when would using this word make your point more clear, not more obscure?
  • Bowdlerize (bowd-ler-ize)To remove material that is considered offensive or objectionable from (a book, for example).
Again, when would you use this word? And if you did need to bowdlerize something, why wouldn’t you use “edit” or “expunge” or even “censor”? Or maybe, in a fit of clarity, you might even use “remove.”
  • Jejune (je-june) 1. Not interesting; dull. 2. Lacking maturity; childish. 3. Lacking in nutrition.
Wouldn’t "dull," "boring," "immature" or "uninteresting" all suffice?

Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that all of the words above have certain shades of meaning, and would be used in different situations; just like “dumb” and “moronic” are the same, big-picture-wise, but are subtly different.

And, as a writer, I’m also tempted to mix it up. For example, in the paragraph above where I wrote, “I mean, I’m all for a healthy vocabulary. I had a journalism professor in college who had such a wide-ranging vocabulary…” I thought about replacing the second use of the word “vocabulary” with something else, like “lexicon,” perhaps, so it didn’t sound redundant. But I’m guessing that most people reading this didn’t even pick up on my repetition and, most importantly, my meaning was clear.

Boy, I’m not sure what got me going on this rant.

I realize that it might be jejune to many, especially those who wish I was a tad more abstemious in my decisions to write about the art of writing. I can only assure you that my lugubrious attitude concerning writing is not indicative of precipitous ideals or supercilious dogma; rather, I simply hope to recapitulate my hope for a quotidian return to clear writing and to enervate pompous jackanapes.

Do I make myself clear?


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