Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's inadequate, and I like it!

If you've hung around me any significant length of time, I've probably either corrected you on an incorrect use of words, or I've asked you to clarify an ambiguous statement. For instance, the statement, "That was a cheap shirt!" can mean A) the shirt was inexpensive, B) the shirt was poorly made, or C) both. If I'm thinking about buying the shirt, I want to know if it's A, B, or C.

However, despite my best efforts to ensure people make clear, correct statements, the English language is fundamentally flawed. It is inadequate as a vehicle for perfectly explicit communication. The crazy thing is: I love it. Here's a stupid joke:

A carrot walks into a bar. The bartender says, "We don't serve food here."

This joke is only possible because English, like any language, has words that are allowed multiple meanings. Or how about this terrible joke:

A string walks into a bar. The bartender says "We don't serve strings here." So the string leaves the bar, and goes crazy: convulsing, twisting, and rubbing himself all over the ground. He then walks back into the bar and asks for a drink. The bartender says "Hey, aren't you that string I just told to get lost?" And the string says, "No, I'm a frayed knot."

This joke works because of those annoying little things we learned about in grade school called "homophones."

Our world would be a dull place without our language's pitfalls of ambiguity, even if it means I still don't know if I should buy that cheap shirt or not.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Missing greatest hits

I have a pet peeve. There's little to nothing I can do about it, but it's there. I hate when an artist has multiple "Greatest Hits" albums, but none of them have all of the hits I want. The latest culprit: Alice Cooper.

The three songs I want together are: "School's Out", "Love's A Loaded Gun", and "Poison." After a long time searching, I found 1 double-disc set that had studio versions of all 3 songs. But guess what? It's from an bootleg Russian label! Doesn't exactly feel right buying it, and as it is, there's only one pricey copy available that I can find.

Sure, one might think "maybe he's got so many hits, you can't fit them all on one CD!" And you'd have a good point, if it weren't for the fact that there's a 4-disc set that has lots of his songs I've never heard of, but completely omits "Love's A Loaded Gun," which was even released as a single.

And then you might counter with, "but perhaps that collection was on a different label than the original album, and they couldn't get the rights." Usually a very valid (but annoying) point, but then why are other songs from the same album (specifically, "Hey Stoopid") on the compilation?

If feels stupid to buy two different "best of" albums to get all 3 songs (hello redundancy!), so if I enjoy the rest of his music enough, I'll likely buy the 3 original albums they came on, or I'll sit this one out (la, la, la, I can't hear you, Mr. Digital Downloads).

To note: For the record, I had a similar issue with Salt N Pepa, and I bought all the albums, and it turns out I really liked all of their stuff. Here's hoping I luck out again.

A life update

A lot has happened in my life that I probably could have blogged about in a more timely manner, but I didn't. Therefore, I'm going to do a terrible job of summarizing the last few months in hopes that it will at least let me feel like I can post about new things. Right now, I feel like I can't update until I post about Thanksgiving.

So let's start there. I got to co-host my very first Thanksgiving! D and I decided to start our own traditions. We love themes, and this year's theme was: "Taste Test." We had two of nearly everything. Two main dishes (traditional turkey VS tofu), two cranberry sauces, two pies, etc. It was great. Next year? Who knows! Maybe my sister will host it in NYC?

Next up, I went on my first cruise. 8 days in the Caribbean! Seriously amazing. I had a great time getting to see a part of the world I've never been near. Just me and my girlfriend's entire family.

That reminds me, I also got myself engaged. The girlfriend in the previous paragraph? Now she's my fiancee! Honestly, I never realized just how crazy our courting rituals are until I had to propose. The whole ordeal was fun, scary, and completely nuts. But in the end, every bit of nerves, and every penny spent, was all completely worth it. I love you, D.

Now I get to plan for a wedding.

I know I've left out a lot, and I'm a little sorry I did, but less sorry than trying to write 6 post-dated blog posts, or never starting this blog back up. Thanks for playing catch-up with me. See you next post.