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22 posts from May 2006

Lark Voorhies is No Jodie Sweetin

OK, so I almost crashed my car this morning when they mentioned Lark Voorhies on the radio.  Apparently she's suing the National Enquirer:

Lark Voorhies, the actress who played Lisa Turtle in TV's 'Saved by the Bell,' has sued the National Enquirer for allegedly libeling her with accusations she had a cocaine addiction.

In a filing Tuesday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Voorhies is asking for unspecified punitive damages as a result of the June 2005 article, which quoted a "friend" of Voorhies' as saying she has a "terrible drug problem" and was "bipolar."

The actress says the allegations are false.

Uh, clearly the National Enquirer made that shit up, because I'm pretty sure Lisa learned her lesson about risky behaviors after the kids all drank beer at the toga party and they crashed her mom's car.  Everyone knows that if any of those kids are doing drugs, it's Addiction Queen Jessie:

At least they weren't dumb enough to accuse Kelly of anything.  Thanks to YouTube, her stance on drug use has been archived for posterity:

One thing I learned in journalism school is that libel is really hard to prove.  But one thing I learned from Saved by the Bell is that nobody messes with Lisa Turtle.  In conclusion, the Enquirer is goin' down.

The Ankle Bone's Connected to the . . . Fast-Acting Karmic Receptor Bone

Over the past several years, the karmic powers that be have been diligent, swift, and severe in their treatment of my tendency to be a jackass.  One time in high school, for example, I was making fun of the weird way one of my track teammates ran.  In my attempt to imitate his running style, I twisted my ankle and was on crutches for the better part of the next two weeks.  Karma 1, Lauren 0.

Another time, I was being a bitch and hit someone for no reason.  The weird angle I was hitting from caused me to wrench my shoulder to the point where for the next week I had to endure 10 minutes of strain and pain whenever I wanted to do something like, say, put a shirt on.

The point here is that due to my track record of immediate, swift, Karma-induced payback injuries, whenever I hurt myself I always immediately scan my brain to try and gauge what asshole thing I must have been doing to bring cosmic wrath upon myself.  (And yes, I most certainly do believe that this goes beyond my simply being a klutz.  This involves an intricate and otherworldly system of justice that is intent on trying to convince me to be a better person.  I refuse to entertain any other explanation, particularly any that implies that I am not important enough to have the universe try to govern my behavior.)  And that's why I was wondering what it was I did recently that led to my tripping and spraining my ankle in a hole in the ground on Sunday.

The best explanation I can come up with is that the karmic forces are big Barbaro fans and have taken issue with my continued anti-horse rants.  Indeed, they have seen fit to punish my irreverence by making me go through the same pain and humiliation that Barbaro endured just last week.  Consider the similarities:

1. Barbaro was injured during a race that was critical to his career.  I was injured in a game of SPUD that had promised to be the most athletic venture of my week.
2. Barbaro was injured in front of thousands of spectators.  I was injured in front of almost everyone I know, which is just as bad.
3. Barbaro hurt his right leg.  I hurt my right leg as well.

I could go on (no I couldn't), but you get the point.  Basically, the message is this: AN EYE FOR AN EYE, BITCH!



Fat, bruised proof that "Karma Police" ain't just a Radiohead song. 


Style-Style for Your Memorial Day Weekend

Previously in this series, we defined the Style-Style Continuum and discussed it in relation to subject/verb agreement and wearing brown with black.

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people mix and match clothing with prominent logos and branding.  A classic example of this is wearing a T-shirt with a huge Puma logo and mixing it with Adidas track pants and a Nike hat.  I do not buy the defense that people can wear anything they want when they are working out, because a.) I have often seen this combo on people who are nowhere near a gym, and b.) God, even seeing it at the gym gives me hives because it is SO CLASHY.


In the English language, this phenomenon is very comparable to a little thing called parallel structure.  Parallel structure errors are generally not as blatantly wrong as some mistakes, just like I guess clashing your brands is not as grievous a sin as wearing plaids, stripes, and polka dots. But it is immensely irritating to a trained eye.  Take, for example, the following sentence:


This sentence is incorrect for the same reason Bill's fashion choice is: its items lack consistency in form.  In the English language, we indicate that items in a series ( e.g., Nike, Puma, and Adidas) share the same level of importance by putting them into the same form.  For example, it is preferable to say, "I enjoy walking, running, and jumping," because it keeps the listed items in their gerund form (ending in '-ing.')  Unfortunately, Bill's sentence lacks this parallel structure--but it can be corrected easily:


In much the same way, he can make his outfit work by wearing all pieces of one brand, or by choosing just one prominently branded item--say, the Puma shirt--and keeping all the other elements of his outfit more subtle so as not to clash.

Oh, and before I go, I should mention that this principle is not strictly for athletic wear--it also applies to other areas of brand mixing, like with all the tacky women who wear (fake) Louis Vuitton bags with (fake) Coach shoes, or the annoying preteens who mix their American Eagle Track and Field shirts with their Abercrombie Saucy Coed Something or Other pants.  So just keep that in mind.

This Post Contains No Actual Pictures of Horses

This will undoubtedly surprise those of you who know I hate horses, but I have been following the Barbaro saga very closely for the past couple of days.  Something about this story is so intriguing to me.

Actually, there are five somethings about this story that have got me following it, and I know this because I felt compelled to list them this morning as I clicked through a slideshow containing images of the George D. Widener Hospital for Large Animals and realized that I could no longer suppress the guilt and confusion I felt about my sudden need to know everything Barbaro. Why was I so into reading about this horse?!

Before I go any further, I should reassure you that this story does not involve me re-evaluating my opinion of horses and concluding that I love them or like them or even don't hate them.  No, I still dislike horses for the same reasons I have always disliked them.  But my attraction to this story is undeniable, and I believe it is because it involves the following elements/themes/phenomena that are common to myriad other topics I have been gripped by in the past:

_41072602_panda_2_203 1. The pregnant panda effect.  Every so often I tend to hear something about animals that shocks me.  For example, when the National Zoo was obsessed with impregnating Mei Xiang the giant panda last year, I was incredulous at the difficulties presented by panda insemination.  Trying to get Mei Xiang to successfully mate was an unbelievably struggle.  On top of that, somehow--and I still do not fully understand this--scientists still have no reliable way of detecting panda pregnancy.  What?  This is unacceptable to me.  2006, people.  We've been to the moon.  Like, 40 years ago.
I am (or was, until I read about a jillion articles on it) likewise mystified by why a horse's breaking its leg can be a death sentence.  I mean, I understand that it might never be able to race again, but how would it be unqualified to live a life as a slightly gimpy but otherwise happy stud horse in a barn somewhere?  More on this later on in the list, as it is tied to another important topic.

2. The Olympic effect. I have discussed before how I love the fact that the Olympics gives us a platform for hearing, in depth, about the rules of snowboardcross and skeleton and other sports.  I never cease to be amused by the fact that whole complicated and elaborate worlds exist behind things that I could care less about.  Likewise, Barbaro's injury has given me cause to learn about horse racing, horse breeding, horse medicine, and other complex and curious things.

3. The super-sized world of horse medicine. From the moment I glimpsed the equine ambulance that Barbaro was to be loaded onto, I was in awe of the logistical bitch that is horse medicine.  Caring for these animals when they are injured involves gigantic ambulances, huge quantities of sedatives, special pools of water with big pulley systems located in warehouse-sized treatment facilities, Herculean efforts not to startle or distract the horse, and, of course, ginormous sums of money to foot the resulting medical bills.  That's a lot of a lot.

4. I love infographics.  As such, I have immensely enjoyed looking at the ones that have cropped up online to help me understand, for example, how a broken ankle can endanger a horse's entire life and livelihood.   One I liked in particular can be found accompanying this article.

5. People love Barbaro.  This is incomprehensible to me, as my Arthur_the_cuteass_kitten783685litmus test for whether or not an animal is loveable is whether or not you can snuggle it.  Dogs and cats are perfect for snuggling, and that's why humans love them the most.  Fish are not snuggle-able, and that is why they are emotionally ungratifying pets.  Horses are pettable and brushable and a lot of other things, but you simply cannot snuggle them.  That is why I don't understand why people have been crying and sending Barbaro presents and being broken up about this in general.  How can people be so emotionally involved in this story?

But hey, if you only take one thing from this article, please take the fact that I still do hate horses.  I wish for that to be my legacy.


23-Year Checkup

In order to be properly introspective and self-analytical on this, my 23rd birthday, I decided to put my finger on the pulse of 23-ness worldwide and see how I stack up with other people my age.  I decided the most scientific way to do this was to perform a Google search for "23-year-old" and compare myself to the first 10 results.  I ended up using something like the first eight results and two from the next page, because some of the results weren't about people, but you get the point.

Here are the data I collected:

23 years old is the age of:
Billy Joel's bride when he married her in 2004
In comparison, I am doing:
. Who wants to marry Billy Joel?   Also, how is this the number one search result here?

23 years old is the age of:
A Florida teacher who allegedly had sex with a 14-year-old student
In comparison, I am doing:
Better. I currently have no crimes alleged against me whatsoever.

23 years old is the age of:
Someone who was killed by a gangster
In comparison, I am doing:
. I am alive.

23 years old is the age of:
The mayor of Torrington, Connecticut
In comparison, I am doing:
. I guess.  But I don't really want to be a mayor.

23 years old is the age of:
Some fantasy sports blogger
In comparison, I am doing:
. Fantasy sports are lame, but I have stupid hobbies too.  And obvi I blog.

23 years old is the age of:
A different mayor, this one in Missouri
In comparison, I am doing:
. God, what is with 23-year-old mayors?  They are bringing me down today.

23 years old is the age of:
Activist Rachel Corrie when she was killed
In comparison, I am doing:
. Again with the alive thing.

23 years old is the age of:
Someone writing to Dear Amy because he lives with his parents
In comparison, I am doing:
. But at least I didn't write to Dear Amy about it.

23 years old is the age of:
Someone going to Paris for the first time
In comparison, I am doing:
. Ha!  I have been to Paris!

23 years old is the age of:
A Canadian man charged with murder
In comparison, I am doing:
. Never been charged with shit.

My hypothesis going into this had been that my search would mostly yield pages about 23-year-olds doing remarkable things, and as a result I would write a hilarious, self-deprecating post lamenting the fact that I am not up to speed with my 23-year-old counterparts.  Well, that backfired--or really, I guess it frontfired--because now I see that I am doing just fine.  I have stayed alive and out of jail, and I have somehow managed to avoid marrying Billy Joel.  And while I am not a mayor and I do still live in my parents house, I hate overachievers anyway.  In short, I am 23 and I am AWESOME!

More on the Style-Style Continuum

Note: This will make more sense if you are familiar with the Style-Style Continuum.

I was shocked recently to learn that a close friend of mine, who shall remain nameless (but is obvi a guy), had never heard the rule about not wearing black and brown together.  I mean, really?  That's practically the 11th commandment.  Fortunately for him though, he is relatively strong with grammar.  That will give him a reference point for today's post, which will explain why you can't wear a black shirt with brown shoes (or vice versa) by relating it to the concept of why you can't have a plural verb with a singular subject (or vice versa).

If you happen to be one of those people who already knew the black/brown rule but could stand to brush up on subject/verb agreement (ahem, Cassie), you can also benefit from this post because your fashion knowledge will give you an in to the analogy.

If you have no knowledge of fashion or grammar, read this and see if you can pick up anything whatsoever.  (Baby steps, Paris.) 

If you are an all-star in both areas, you can go to recess early today.

Now for the lesson!  There is, believe it or not, a strong principle at work in the universe that makes it very easy to compare the fashion sin of mixing black and brown with the usage sin of clashing your subject and your verb.  This principle is:


Gapguy Let's look at this from a fashion angle first.  Look at the man in the picture. He probably thought he was putting together a pretty crisp outfit this morning.  Maybe he's never heard the black and brown rule before, or maybe he just thought that the khakis neutralized everything and made the combo OK.  I'm sorry, but no.  What he needs to know is that in order for an outfit to match, all of its components have to be in harmony.  You have to be able to take the sweater, put it right next to the shoes, and still have everything work together.  When we do that, the mismatch becomes extremely obvious:

Shortman_1 Interestingly, this same concept is at work in the English language.  We just have to regard the subject in the sentence as a sweater and the verb as the shoes.  In a sentence like, "My cats runs all over the couch," we can easily see that the shoes ain't matchin the shirt.  However, In a sentence like, "A variety of fruits and vegetables were available," it can be hard to tell if our subject (variety) agrees with our verb (was/were).  What's a woebegone grammarphobe to do?

Easy--just remember our rule: ignore the shit in the middle and the answer becomes clear! Just as we removed the khakis from the equation in the first example, we can remove the prepositional phrase that is cluttering our sentence here and easily see what we're up against:


Now, the answer is as clear as "the cats runs!"  With the subject and verb right next to each other, we realize that "A variety were" pairs a plural noun with a plural verb, which is incorrect.  The sentence should read, "A variety of fruits and vegetables was available."

Whether you are a fashion reject grammarphile or a grammar reject fashionphile, you have learned an important lesson today.  So tomorrow, when you are choosing your outfit or your next sentence, remember to ignore the shit in the middle, and you will be fine.  Now you can go to recess too!