Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mattel Releases New NICK AND LEYA Engagement-Portrait Dolls This Spring!

 I just spent an hour and a half tossing Abby's Barbie Trunk ... to find the perfect Surrogate Engagement-Portraiture Dolls to remind me of Nick and Leya.   I am certain I’ve found the perfect false idols.

And outfits.   

Check out the happy couple!
Nick and Leah doin The Twist
With Nick and Leya's Bachelor and Bachelorette Parties taking place simultaneously at opposite ends of the world, I for one need a formal iconic replica to commemorate this alcohol-infused weekend.

I even found Bang Camaro, Vershok and Taxpayer Hair Adornments! One of the pins is Taxpayer’s original pinstripe-design that I’m sure is a collector’s item.

*I agonized over just the right outfits for Nick and Leya and discovered Nostalgia hurts. I haven't dressed naked Barbies in years. And so…Leya is sporting low-rider gold leather pants with some lovely pink platform shoes, shiny halter top in gold, pink and blue stripes, nestled smartly under a jeans jacket edged in gold.  Note that her left shoulder has a magical gold shell broach.  And check her sleeves and collar?  Elvis got nothin on her.

Nick is wearing an amazing brown suede jacket and jeans, band-pins, and nothing else.  

Human Form, doing the Snow Shoe
Their hair is close to the coifs sported on the evening they met in Toronto.  I’m hoping next week they can send me a photo of the night they first met so I can compare it to my plastic icons.

Check Leya's pearls.  Nice touch, huh?  They're permanent. :( (Also, if you depress a plastic button in her lower back somewhere between L-5 and S-1, a HARP plays angel music. This used to be Fantasy Princess-Bride Barbie.  Hence the pearl earrings and necklace fused by heat to her neck and ears.
Nick and Leya in Lilliput

Meanwhile I am seriously traumatized from the Barbie Trunk. Really, Abby?  You left your trunk in this condition? I felt like Forrest Gump in Viet Nam before they Nape’d the battlefield. I had to leave behind a mayhem of body parts in the guest room. I shut the door.

Human Form, for comparison
 I knew this exercise was destined to go awry when I opened the trunk and a sea of hair-knots and plastic asses of every ilk greeted me. Almost all 50+ dolls had some form of shirt on, but no one was wearing pants.

Some had underpants tatoo’d on.  My colleague art teacher and tatt-artist Jeffrey Jones would be appalled.  Or maybe pleased.  I must ask.

 Several had what looked like relief art etched onto their personal parts.  Or cattle-brands.  All in the shape of flowers.

Countless sets of feet had shoes permanently welded to their pointed toes along with lace stockings painted on their legs. They’re wearing nothing else, of course.  

Many, like the Leya Bride, have permanent jewelry, but one Horror Aberration has lace growing out of her neckline.  

A few have white plastic butts I assume are supposed to be underpants, but they look more like adult diapers. 

I had NO idea the trunk harbored Mary-Kate and Ashley twins before and during puberty and the number of infants wearing nothing but a pacifier was alarming.  Who IS my DAUGHTER?

And what was Mattel thinking when they packaged an entire tribe of infants and toddlers? Were Barbie, Ken and their Crew opening a ghetto day care?  If the state saw the condition these children are in, they'd toss K and B in a prison reserved for tweaking, unlicensed crack-whore siding contractors.

There's an amputee Mulan in there. My God, Abby, how can an expert Samurai Warrior get both arms severed?  Did you time-jump her to the Industrial Revolution?

There's I THINK a Spice Girl with one tooth blackened out.  Not cool.

Someone or some thing I can't identify is wearing a bling-diamond crucifix around her neck.  Vampire slayer?  I am paralyzed here.
Ken with hampster-nibbled nose

And a Barbie NBA hoop star, Abigail?  I guess Mulan lost her shot when she lost BOTH ARMS.

I am attaching additional pix.  A blonde Ken with melted nose. Why the Sphynx-style defiling, Abby?  And the Barbie Day Care Collection -- complete with teenage Hitler devotee -- is appalling and I hope you place that photo in the trash after you view it and pray over it.

Meanwhile, the Nick and Leya dolls are fully clothed and betrothed in time for the Bachelor and Bachelorette parties.  This brings me joy.
Hitler Day Care Collection

Love, Mom

Spice Girl w/toothy mis-hap from the big house
From Abby to ALL:

 'Privacy-blurring' (a la NCIS, during autopsies)
MOM…  I could have sworn most of those Barbies were clothed last time I looked at them. 

Also, the Ken with the missing nose ...was because of my friend's hamster a long time ago...

Spice Girl Doll isn't even mine, but a doll Angeleine left at our house after an all day Barbie play date.

May I remind you YOU WERE THE ONE THAT BOUGHT ME BASKETBALL BARBIE. ... you were in a feminist mood.

<Why is Brandy naked? I had a shirt and pants on her... 

Nick and Leya dolls look perfect. <3

XO – Abby

From Abby to ALL:

And that Hitler Devotee is a bowling doll and her arm won't go down because you're supposed to pull her arm back, it clicks in place, you put the magnetic bowling ball in her hand and you press the lever and she shoots the ball down the alley... 
Gosh. Mom. Gosh.

From Aunt Marcia to ALL:
ha ha ha ha..   i should forward this all to wendy and jen.  neither of them played with barbie. this coversation has made my day..  thanks ladies!!  ha ha ha 

 From Me to Marcia:

No need to forward.  I’m putting this whole thing on my blog. 
xo me

Is 'Zeitgeist' an Oxymoron? Or Onomatopoeia? Plus other things I HATE about Grammar

Did any of you read the Opinionator column in the NY Times last week?  No?  Well, here’s the link:

In this piece, Henry Hitchings denounces those new-fangled, irritating verbs used as nouns and it’s no wonder. His nom de plume reminds me of the Beverly Cleary character, Henry Huggins. You remember him. Poor Henry believes nothing interesting will ever happen to him in his life.

Well, Henry of the Times has certainly spiced up his life by sensationalizing language that is nothing more than an upscaled gerund.  And those have been harmlessly kicking about Germany for centuries.

Specifically, Hitchings takes offense at “nominalizations.” These are words that people typically embrace as verbs or adjectives, but they have morphed into nouns. Things such as “What’s the take-away from today’s meeting?”

Henry does not like the take-away.  Or ‘the reveal’ or ‘the solve.’  I bet he hates the Great Pumpkin.

What Henry, perhaps, does not reconcile is that the reveal is pretty critical to magician success, and God help Sherlock or House without the solve. 

But the take-away. I need that.  I could never understand specialist-jargon at my husband’s myeloma meetings without the take-away.

“We’ve analyzed the lamda kappa ratio assays with declination of the gamma trope. This underscores the in-situ Prius with staccato nominalization, and we couldn’t be more pleased.”

“Doctor, what’s the take-away?”

“Well.  His disorder is lots better!”

My other favorite take-away was the afternoon I absconded with five -- maybe nine -- designer bridal shower cookies when everyone was supposed to take just one.  

Those take-aways meant the bride-to-be never got to taste or view a single leftover cookie once the event was over.  

(Sorry Sara.)

So I guilt-promised to dip them in polyurethane, hot-glue golden loops onto them and give them back as Christmas tree ornaments. I think that was three years ago?  Their daughter will be ready for pre-school by the time I get around to dipping her cookies. (Hi, Stella!)

Meanwhile, I was struck by Hitchings’ advice to English teachers on how to best respond to this phenomenon. He thinks teachers should encourage students to convert the voo doo back into mainstream.  Hitchings offers the following example: The violence was Ted’s retaliation for years of abuse” is better rendered as, “Ted retaliated violently after years of abuse.”


I agree that a more active voice in the second sentence makes Ted a strong central character. He virtually dominates the sentence. But in the original sentence, violence held the starring role.

If we change subjects this haphazardly to simply restore the grammatical mainstream, shouldn’t the author be informed? 

Otherwise, context is besmirched.

And by the way, there are many real, live English teachers, of which I am one, who tirelessly slave away like pyramidion cappers in Cairo who would donate their organs if they could get students to avoid adverbs like Brussels sprouts and similes.

To wit:  there was no adverb in the first sentence about violence and Ted. But the second sentence -- which Hitchings prefers -- demonstrates that Ted is afflicted with a handicapped verb. It sits in that sentence leaning on the adjacent adverb as a crutch, like vodka and bridal shower cookies. Once you see this kind of thing inside a sentence, it is hard to un-see it.

You know, if I could, I would tell Henry that if his verb were precise, it would need no crutch.  Perhaps Ted eviscerated something.  Or he decapitated it. Placing the adverb “violently” next to these hero-verbs renders them not just redundant, but impotent. 

Redundantly impotent.

In the grand scheme, must English teachers take arms against a sea of nominalizations and by excising, end them?


Hitchings gets pretty Pot-Calling-The-Kettle when he blames these new-wave gerunds on zeitgeist. Henry, stop using ‘zeitgeist.’ It’s an oxymoron the way you use it.  Isn’t zeitgeist just pop jargon gone horribly, pseudo-intellectually wrong?

Anyway, it was an interesting read, but conventions are what they are. Language SHOULD evolve and we must evolve with it.  Otherwise, we’d all be misspelling things the way Geoffrey Chaucer did when he used Middle English. Take, for instance, his original term, “qiente” which Geoffrey coined to describe buxom, sensual women.  Thankfully, after years of growth and culture, we can now employ the evolved word “cunt” to refer to bitches we despise.

 Having a “solve” for something, waiting for “the reveal” or asking a physician for the “takeaway” is just good policy.

 But you know what zeits my geist?  The mis-use of the word “robust.”  In today’s tech-world, everything seems to be “robust” if it just performs according to design.  How bizarre if this were applied to other things that merely did their jobs.  My tea kettle boiled water.  Is it robust?

Don’t get me wrong: robust is an effective adjective!  I just find it zeitgeisty. I hear the word, and it harkens back to Chaucer and his buxom ladies, or it evokes images of Rubenesque ample bosoms and ampler bottoms.

In fact, at Radio Shack the other day, the Smartphone sales rep used the term ‘robust’ when referring to a new app, and I had to pause to banish a buxom bottom from my brain, unsuccessfully. “Yes, I agree the bill paying app IS robust.  And buxom. Large-bottomed and bountiful… Chaucerian. A true qiente of an app.”

"Reaching out" is even more zeitgeist. "I'll reach out to that prospective buyer.”

Just call.

Must we ‘reach out’ in an era that still harbors 'outreach'? 

Each time a business professional tells me they'll reach out to me in a month regarding product-satisfaction, I feel homeless. “Will meals-on-wheels come with that reach out?  Or methadone?"  Don't even get me started on the confusing 'reach-around.'  

In Massachusetts where I live, the town of Worcester employs zeitgeistian words such as “what-not” and “id-eer” -- neither of which I like, and I was born in Massachusetts. It wasn’t until I moved back from a five year sojourn in Kentucky that my ear became sensitive to a “what-not.”

Back in Kentucky, they had many cool zeitgeistian words, like aluminum fohl. I liked living there for this reason. Also because it’s a state that comes with fast horses I won large amounts of money on in the trifecta. Spelled t-r-i-f-e-c-t-a, with an R. Unlike that ‘i-dee-er’ which is a local thought people have that pizz-er is food.  It IS, technically, when consumed with be-ah, which, if swallowed in proper proportions can be pronounced any way you wish.

Which brings us to the what-not, as in, “May I please order pizz-er with pepperoni and what-not.”

Henry and I have to ask: If it’s something that is ‘not’, why mention it?  Surely this confuses servers.  A what-not could be confused with any old bauble, thing-a-ma-jig or gimcrack which my dentist says chips teeth.

In fact, the what-not might imply, “What-ever” which, if pronounced, ‘what-eva’, might cause the server to strike you.

A what-eva is the Cliff-Note version of an entire sentence-fragment that otherwise means, “Suck it, scumbag loozah,” as in the case when a loozah says, “I can’t pay my tab because of all those court fines,” to which the burly bouncer says, “What-eva. Theeah’s the dooah.  I’ll just take this heah pizz-er with pepperoni and what-have-you.”

Hats off to the bouncer!  Finally, someone is referencing pizz-er with what-have-you instead of what-not, which gives the server more options. Now he or she can rummage out back for all the what’s they’ve actually GOT that go with pepperoni.  It may even cause the chef to cheerily respond, “So they’re having the pepperoni pizza and what-have-you? Will there be any thin else?”

You know, they neva had ‘thins’ in Kentucky.  But I bet they do at the Times.  I think they even gut pretzels and anorexics and what-have-you. But those are thin things.  Not any thins.

It’s just this kind of lexicon -- not zeitgeist -- that makes people like me never bother ordering food with my be-ah.

I believe that Henry Huggins and Hitchings – perhaps the entire cast of My Fair Lady – finally have something interesting to add to their lingual, anomic angst. And if I can be of further service to you or Beverly Cleary, just leave a comment on this blog or what-have-you.