Tag Archives: Bonus Grammar

Regular Poem: Forgotten Modal Auxiliaries

27 Apr

it sometimes doesn’t even make the list
anymore
tragically omitted
leaving a silent but profound hole 

Modal auxiliaries include
may, might, must, can, could, would, should, will, shall,
and blah blah blah grammar;
blah, blah, blah lexical–

i’ve stopped reading the article by now
screaming to the heavens
BUT WHAT ABOUT OUGHT

it’s a perfectly good
modal auxiliary

and we ought to bring it
back
from whatever ’30s grammar text
it’s been hiding out in
whatever dialogue
in black-and-white westerns
it’s been wearing a fake mustache in

i use it as much as possible
in my own speaking and writing

ought shall make a comeback!
(and so shall
the distinction between shall and will)

i’ll let others
handle
adjectives used in place of
adverbs
(i like the sound of it too much
real quick
rolls off the tongue
so well
and fits my dialect
i can’t help myself
forgive me
if you can)

i do my best
for our old pal
whom
mostly just avoid situations
in which i’d have to say it aloud
because
it sounds so silly
people look at you funny
whom are you taking to the dance
ugh so pretentious
i opt for
what person are you taking to the dance
that way i don’t want to take a red pen
to my own naughty mouth
but i also don’t have to sound like a snob

but i ought not worry about that
i mean
i’m already saying ought on the reg
and shall sometimes too
but now that i’m thinking about it
i usually replace shall with am gonna
and use will traditionally

when i taught this stuff
for a living
it was a lot easier
getting away with
sounding different
(that adjective was correct because
the gerund sounding was intransitive
see i still know
stuff)

but now i’m in gen pop
and don’t want to have to explain myself
all damn day
i don’t get paid for that
anymore

i ought to do it for free
i will start with ought
(that’s the determinate will
bee tee dubs)
and see what happens

but it ain’t that big of a deal
rules change
language evolves
and people talk and understand each other

and i will use ought
(determinate will again)
because i like it
and i ought
to be able to do
what i want

If I Were a Vampire, and You Were a Lady, Would You Marry Me Anyway? Would You Have My Baby?

26 Dec

A rather disjointed review of Twilight: Breaking Dawn, Part II.

And why, pray tell, would I be reviewing this movie?

Well, the other night Grace and I had nothin’ better to do, so we decided we would go see a movie.  But we didn’t feel like any Oscar bait, and she’d already seen the new James Bond, so she said to me, “Why don’t we go see that new Twilight movie?”  And I said, “Why on Earth would we do that?”  And she said, “Why not?  Could be fun.  In a bad movie sort of way.”  So I acquiesced.

But here’s the thing:  Neither Grace nor I have read the books, nor have we seen any of the previous movies.  But here’s the other thing:  I’m still in contact with a former student, *who I knew would provide all the relevant details.  The following text exchange occurred between me and my 15-year-old BFF:

Twilight

So with this marvelously funny and insightful synopsis (note that I am being entirely genuine when I say this; I don’t know why this funny, smart girl loves Twilight so), we started the movie.

The movie begins with some artsy Bergman-esque credits that I actually kind of liked/was impressed by.  Then we see Bella recovering from being turned into a vampire.

Then there are a bunch of scenes with her trying out her powers and being morally conflicted about how she wants to straight up murder a mountain climber, but she doesn’t.  Luckily, her vampire super power is outrageous self-control, the likes of which none of the other vampires have ever seen.

We also get a lot of scenes of Edward and Bella making out.  I’ve definitely seen better love scenes, but there was something earnest about them that made a little bit of sense.  This is the fifth movie these two have been in together, after all, and on screen they have an intimacy and chemistry.  But I couldn’t help thinking their intimacy felt more like a brother and sister…

Anyway, the plot–I guess there’s sort of one about Edward and Bella’s half-breed baby being mistaken for an Immortal Child and subsequently pursued by Vampire Congress–moves along, and some gruesome, grotesque, grizzly fight scenes occur that end up being prophetic visions instead of real.

And then there’s a happy ending that is unfathomably cheesy involving Edward and Bella staring into each other’s vampire eyes and recalling a bunch of scenes–presumably–from the previous movies in a love montage and then some superimposed images of the last pages of the last book with words like “forever” highlighted–so that we all may know this love is extraordinarily eternal.

And then the end credits show us a bunch of characters that were–presumably–in Breaking Dawn Part I whom I didn’t recognize.

Final Thoughts:

  • First let’s talk about Kristen Stewart.  I have long taken it upon myself to be her defender.  I don’t know why.  I just like her face.  And I usually think she does a good job moving her face and acting with it.  And by usually, I mean in the other approximately 2 movies I’ve seen her in.  However, liking her face did not get me very far in this movie.  I started worrying that maybe she has a deviated septum.  Why doesn’t this girl ever breathe out of her nose?  Why is her mouth perpetually open in that strange, half-enticing-half-developmentally-delayed pose?  I couldn’t like her in this movie, and I went in trying because I knew nobody liked her in this movie, and I always try to like underdogs.
  • I feel as though a lot of the scenes that are supposed to be super significant have absolutely no effect on me because I don’t know any of these characters.  Perhaps as a sequel it works and has a satisfying pay-off, but as a stand-alone movie, it makes almost no sense at all.
  • And the dialogue is terrible.
  • I couldn’t help thinking about why people like this sort of thing.  I suppose it’s that eternal love thing people (read: teen girls) are drawn to?  Surely there are better love stories that don’t involve (as admitted by a fan) stalking and attempted suicide and unnatural creatures that make very little sense within their own mythos?

*Bonus Grammar:  Knee-jerk reaction here is that “who I knew would provide all the relevant details” should be led in with a whom instead because it’s the direct object of I knew.  Usually this would be true, but while the who does introduce the direct object, the direct object of I knew is actually the entire noun clause “who would provide all the relevant details.”  We must have a who because it’s the subject of that noun clause and not just a pronoun standing in for the person I knew.  Because what I know isn’t just Kristen, it’s that Kristen will give me information.

The Worst Episodes of Star Trek: Voyager (That I Happen to Like)

19 Dec

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:  Star Trek: Voyager is the red-headed stepchild of the Star Trek franchise, but, the thing is, I’ve always had a soft spot for gingers.  This soft spot is very large for anything totally ’90s and cheesy with plenty of action, so-so acting on occasion, copious CGI, and an interminably, bountifully sassy HBIC.  All of this adds up to, even though Voyager sometimes deals us some *bad hands, I still see some aces among the worst of them.

I present to you now the seven worst episodes **that I still very much enjoy.

Season 1: “Parallax”

Torres and Janeway talk science in Parallax

Pictured L-R: Torres; Reconciliation through Technobabble/Palpable Science Girl Excitement; Janeway; Season 1 Bun

The Episode:  They haven’t chosen a chief engineer yet.  Chakotay’s Maquis candidate is belligerent Starfleet drop-out B’elanna Torres while Janeway’s gunning for broken-nosed (by B’elanna Torres, no less) Lieutenant Carey.  Meanwhile, Voyager is stuck in the event horizon of a quantum singularity and trying very desperately to get out.

Why It’s Bad:  It’s really one of the only Maquis vs. Federation episodes and doesn’t make much of the premise.  Also, I guess the science is nonsense?

Why I Still Like It:  I am a sucker for B’elanna Torres episodes.  Oh, you want to split her into a Klingon half and a human half and have them talk to each other?  Sure, sounds awesome.  Oh, she’s upset about some Maquis deaths and feels the need to hurt herself a lot?  Absolutely.  Oh, she’s crash-landed on an ancient Greece planet and serves as a muse for a playwright?  Quelle fun!  Oh, she needs to go to Klingon Hades and save her mom and be Xena, the Klingon Warrior Princess?  Now we’re talking!

Oh, you want her to be all belligerent and get all up in Janeway’s grill spouting technobabble and then become BFFs with Janeway because of their mutual love of technobabble?  I will be there with SO MANY bells on!  And that’s why I like this episode:  technobabble and girl bonding.

Also, this episode takes place in the good old days when they still had Federation vs. Maquis conflict and Lt. Carey was around once in a while and Seska was hamming it up everywhere (I miss Seska so!) and we all thought B’elanna would get together with Harry.  Which actually makes a lot more sense to me than her with Tom.  They really would have been the cutest together.  Then she could’ve still been kind of a Maquis badass instead of having to play straight man to Tom’s shenanigans.

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Monday Night Special #11: Delving in with Diagrams (to Coca Cola Cowboy)

30 Oct

Send me down to Tuscon, and I’ll get the diagramming job done.  However, don’t ask me who Julie is because there ain’t no California, and it’s lying time again anyway.

Arbitrarily Picked Work of Fiction:

Coca Cola Cowboy” by Mel Tillis
This week’s DPChallenge is about subjunctive mood, so I chose this song, whose subjunctive mood is not only constructed improperly but also linked improperly to its condition clause with a preposition instead of a subordinating conjunction.  This will count as our bonus grammar because I’m not going to talk about either in my analysis, but I would just like to say that when I sing this song in the shower, I always correct both of those and make the narrator gender neutral.  Therefore, the chorus then goes, “You’re just a Coca Cola cowpoke . . . But you walked across my heart as if it were Texas.”  I may or may not also sing it in the style of Julie Andrews.  Take all of that for what you will.

Quick Synopsis:

Our narrator calls his erstwhile lady collect on the phone, and she claims to be alone, which we learn is false in the second verse when she admits she doesn’t want her current companion to hear her cry and consequently think she still loves the narrator.  She dismisses our narrator, calling him a Coca Cola Cowboy and communicates in no uncertain terms that they are never, ever, ever getting back together.

Important Quotation:

And she said, “You’re just a Coca Cola cowboy;
You got an Eastwood smile and Robert Redford hair,
But you walked across my heart like it was Texas,
And you taught me how to say, ‘I just don’t care.'”

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OUaT 2.3 Recap: When Lancelot Shows Up for Approximately 16 Lame Seconds

23 Oct

Episode 3: Lady of the Lake

Do we need to talk about how much I love Snow White’s outfit and sass, or do they speak for themselves?

Fairy Tale Land Flashback:  Red runs to a tent meeting over which Charming presides, the subject of which being taking back the kingdom from his (kinda) dad.  Red announces that King George’s new general is like a leviathan.  All the king’s men arrive, and the good guys all go their separate ways to do stuff, vowing to meet at Mama Charming’s house, and Black Lancelot catches Snow White.  He’s the new general, and Snow White is flabbergasted that a member of the Round Table would stoop to working as a hired gun.

Present day Fairy Tale Land: Snow White’s still unconscious in the pit, and Cora’s taking care of her while she chats with Emma about this corner of the land being a haven.  She laments being trapped here because of what Regina did and claims the “apple fell far from the tree.”  Emma buys it and talks about going back to Henry.

Snow White wakes up and immediately begins protecting Emma from Cora and trying to tell her not to trust her.  Emma balks at this.  She obviously don’t know nothin’ ’bout Fairy Tale Land.  A rope descends, and Emma and Snow White are called to an audience with the leader.

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Monday Night Special #4: Delving in with Diagrams (to Somebody Told Me)

10 Sep

It’s not confidential:  Tonight’s the night I’ve got potential to bore you clean to death with my diagramming and analysis of a pop song from 2004.

Arbitrarily Picked Work of Fiction:

“Somebody Told Me” by The Killers

Quick Synopsis:

Up for debate, I suppose.  A dude’s in a club, chatting up a girl–“breakin’ my back just to know your name” suggests he does not have a previous attachment to her, and the dance beat suggests a club situation–and he realizes he’s heard a rumor about her previous romantic partner, who had been a gentleman who looked like a lady the original dude had previously dated.  This dude wants to take the girl home with him–“Ready? Let’s roll onto something new / Takin’ its toll, and I’m leavin’ without you” expresses his desire to move past the “seventeen tracks” played so far at the club as well as his regret that he’ll probably go home alone.

The rumor has effectively “ruin[ed] my moonlight,” and he knows that “heaven ain’t close in a place like this.”  Thus, his romantic goals for the night have been thwarted.

Important Quotation:

Somebody told me
You had a boyfriend
Who looked like a girlfriend
That I had in February of last year.

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