Wednesday, September 28, 2005

I'm rich and popular and I owe it to the ukulele

  • You need to listen to Afe's ukulele song. I am convinced that it belongs in a movie soundtrack.

  • You may have noticed that I tend to hear lyrics quite a bit after a song is released. Often I won't actually listen to the words in a song for years. This is strange behavior, probably, for someone who claims to be a writer-type*. Anyhoo, today I happened to be listening to the lyrics of David Gray's "One I Love," which contains the line: "Runnin' through this life, darlin', like a field of snow."
    What does that mean? Does it mean that he started out life thinking it would be loads of fun, but almost instantly it became surprisingly exhausting and wet and painfully cold and all that he has managed to achieve is the spoiling of something that was pristine before he arrived?
    What a cheery fellow you are, David Gray.

  • I am starting to develop a cold. I apologize in advance to the people sitting on a London-bound flight exactly one week from now if I get them sick. I would suggest that those people bring air-filtering masks, because, quite frankly, there is no disease that would prevent me from getting on that flight.

  • My wife occasionally reads this blog but refuses to comment. Nonetheless, here's a story that I thought would interest her.

  • What's the dealio with NBC quietly putting out shows that don't suck? "Scrubs" has been around for a few years, of course, and the other two shows I like are similar in the sense that the humor is a bit more obscure (as obscure as humor aimed at a broad audience can be) and there is no laugh track.
    "The Office" had a handful of episodes last season that only a handful of people saw, but it has somehow survived into a second season -- I suspect based on the success of Steve Carell. The thing I like about "The Office" is that at the end of each episode I am agitated that the episode wasn't longer.
    Last night, by accident, I watched "My Name Is Earl," which was surprisingly good. It's a bit like "Scrubs" with more purpose. How can you not enjoy a show that involves a man secretively looking down his shirt at his Jesus tattoo and whispering, "What would You do?"
    My friend informed me that "My Name Is Earl" is on opposite "House," which to me is yet another reason to watch it -- because it means you're not watching "House."

  • William Shatner is the master of compliment: "She's a big stew bone in the bouillabaisse."

    *I don't know what I am. I am not happy with calling myself a writer because I think this sounds pompous. Anyone can call them self a writer and approximately 80 percent of the U.S. population does (Φ). Usually when someone tells me that they are a writer, my internal response is immediately cynical -- something along the lines of, "Really? Place your book in my hands."
    Because I cannot yet live up to my own standard I am uncomfortable calling myself a writer. I am a writer-type. But even that is probably a bit too braggadocio. Maybe I should describe myself as "person with elaborate imagination and no marketable skills."

    ΦI have gone back and forth on whether I should be using "do" or "does" in this case. My fellow proofreader was also unsure. Anyone want to weigh in on that one? Diego?

    TotallyHappened said...

    You know, no one around here has heard of The Office. It makes me sad. I was at work yesterday watching season one on my computer and no one knew what it was. They also didn't think it was anywhere near as funny as I! Losers.

    Anonymous said...

    Although I am not a specialist in English, I like this question. If you had written, "People can call themselves writers, 80% of the population X", it could be argued that X should = "do" because of the plural terms, "people, themselves, and writers." However, it could also be argued that X should="does" because "population" is treated as a singularity. But, wouldn't the fact that, "people, themselves, and writers" had already received one verb (can call), cause fairness to lead one to give "population" the appropriately singular verb "does"? In the case where you have all singular terms such as, "anyone, them self, a writer, and population" I will vote for "does" to be the most appropriate.

    Dave Morris said...

    I can tell you right now, anonymous (above) is gonna just hate me.

    David Gray is one of my favorite artists, but he's a little difficult to watch live. Have you seen him? Sort of a cross between Ray Charles (because he sits at a piano) and the drummer from 10,000 maniacs.

    I like Scrubs, but haven't seen Earl. I set the Tivo to record it upon reading your blog just now.

    Boston Legal is absolutely one of the best shows on television, IMHO. Shattner is perfect for the part, and James Spader is the best I've seen him.

    As for being a writer, I think it's a little like calling yourself a swimmer. Just knowing how doesn't make you a swimmer, you have to get PAID to do it and you need to be good at it.

    You qualify for both. So call yourself a writer.

    Esther Wilberforce-Packard said...

    'Population' is singular and takes a singular verb. The head has spoken.

    p.s. Whenever I don't know what form of what does what where whathow, I usually disguise my shame hillbilly-meets-Ned Flanders-style: "Anyone can calldiddleyall hissdamself a writer (tho this iz sissafied) and approximititly 80 purcent of the U.S. pop-you-littiayshun doggone does dang do it." That's how I'da saidit, billy.

    Curly said...

    I'm going to go with 'does' too. ONly for the reason that that's what I'd use in that situation.

    But Esthers opinion is far more entertaining and I think that you should adopt that.

    Also, I don't watch NBC, which is a shame as it sounds like it has some nuggets on there.

    OldHorsetailSnake said...

    The correct phrasing is:

    "The Shadow do."

    Anonymous said...

    We don't have NBC anymore seeing as they want us to PAY for a local affiliate station.
    I came through Hoss, or is it from? Or could it be by way of? Hell if I know, I have a TX education. Luckily for me, I had a year abroad. Oklahoma, that is.
    Come by and visit when you are debating a colonoscopy or reading me. I am not as painful, I think.

    James said...

    Was this "Diego?" reference directed at me? I appear to be a bit behind. Sorry. But I don't know why everyone is going on about "population," as if "population" were in the nominative. "Of the U.S. population" is a prepositional phrase. "80" is the subject: "80 do..." Put another way, "80 out of 100 do..."

    Esther Wilberforce-Packard's postscripted solution is also acceptable from a structural linguist's vantage, but grammarians would likely flail their arms about and have nervous palpitations. They're always a bit fey.

    --Oh, and I think I would prefer, "Anyone can call himself a writer..."

    Congratulations on your Welsh immersion/expatriate status/etc. I meant to offer them earlier, but, well, time confuses me.