Language and Television Shows

April 30, 2010

Language fascinates me. Vernacular too. But what really fascinates me is the way “acceptable” language on television has changed over the last 25-30 years. Sitting down one night a week or so ago to watch an episode of the 1970’s TV hit “All in the Family”, it suddenly dawned on me: the censors have lost their grip on reality and sensibility.

The main character in “All in the Family”, Archie Bunker, was portrayed as a racist, bigoted, hate mongering, stereotypical buffoon. He was an EOO – Equal Opportunity Offender — spewing bigoted comments towards all minorities with equal aplomb. No minority, race or religion was granted immunity from his misguided and often misdirected hate: Jews, Blacks, Hispanics, Catholics, Polish, the list goes on forever.

The following are some (but not all) of the terms Archie would often use to “describe” various minorities:

Kikes (Blacks)

Pollacks (Polish)

Mics (Irish Catholics)

Heebs (Jews)

Spades (Blacks)

3As and 3Bs (Hispanic Mexicans and Puerto Ricans)

Jungle Bunnies (Blacks)

(you get the hint, right?)

But, therein lies the problem with today’s censors. I’m not condoning the use of any of the above terms, but don’t they seem a little less “offensive” than, perhaps, some of the language that is allowed to pass through the censors today? Isn’t it entirely possible to picture a “Jungle Bunny” as a furry, cuddly rabbit hopping around a tropical forest somewhere, searching for fresh fern leaves to nibble? And isn’t the word “spade” just another word for a garden tool? “3As and 3Bs” is as innocuous a scientific classification as possible, so what’s wrong with using those to describe someone?

Nowadays, it seems like everyone on TV can swear all they want. I find it ironic that censors will let “ass” slide through, but bleep out “hole”, so it comes across as “ASS(bleep!)”  And for reasons no one has seemed to be able to explain to me, it is now perfectly acceptable to say G-ddamn. I know every time I say that, I look for lightning bolts to suddenly appear.

The ironic beauty of the language used in  “All in the Family” cannot be overlooked. Despite the racist overtones, offensive stereotyping and political incorrectness, Archie never did utter a single “curse” word. Yet, if today’s scripts ever used any of the same terms he used, there would be organized marches going on across America within ten minutes of hearing those words spoken over the airwaves. But, “reality TV” censors don’t want to run the risk of “offending” anyone.

And G-ddamn it, ass(bleep!)s like that really piss me off.


Conversations with My Muse: The Editing Process

August 21, 2009

Arrrrrrgh! I can’t do this!!!!

Whoa, whoa, whoa, girl. what is going on here?

Oh. Hey muse, didn’t notice you sitting there.

I was flying over on my way to California and heard you muttering to yourself.

California? What’s going on there?

Eh, got something brewing in Hollywood.

Going all “Hollyweird” on me now?

Not sure. They want me to help with a new reality TV show idea.

That would be?

I dunno, something about “dads” and “divorce”? No clue.

Oh my god, please say you’re not getting involved in THAT freak fest.

What’s a “freak fest”?

A place where all sorts of freaks gather. In this case, if the name “John Gosselin” comes up, I suggest you run far, far away from that scene.

Gosselin…Gosselin…where have I heard that name before?

Ed Hardy Shirts?

Oh yea. EWWWWWWWWW! Glad I stopped. Let me just twitter them and let them know I’m “previously engaged”.

Sure that won’t affect your job situation?

Naw, I’m in pretty good with lots of folks. I’m a big hit on Facebook and WordPress, and have more than 5 million followers on Twitter. I can afford to dump the Hollywood set.

Please do. They’re useless. They’ve gone to this stupid “reality” show format that is as far from “reality” as it can possibly be.

Gotcha — and it’s done. I’m all yours for the moment.

Great! I can use all the help you can give me.

What’s up? Why the angry face?

My face looks angry?

Smoldering. How come?

Well, I’m struggling with this piece I wrote.

How so?

The woman who wants to publish it had some questions she needed me to answer.

You’re getting published? Wow! How exciting is that!

I told you this two weeks ago. Way to stay on top of things, chickie.

You did? When?

Right after you met the “love of your life”. Hey, how’s that going anyways?

Well, about that…

Uh oh. Do I really want to know?

I’m not really ready to discuss it yet. Let’s just say things have been “temporarily put on hold.

Okay, I’m fine with that.

Thanks, now back to the issue that brought us here today. What’s so hard about answering these questions?

That’s the problem. The answers she wants aren’t so simple after all.

Now I’m getting annoyed.

That’s kinda funny.

Why so funny?

I probably should tell you the title of the piece that she wants to publish.

That might work. Maybe we can work from there.

“Conversations with My Muse: Inspiration and Origins”

WOW! You mean she’s publishing that conversation?

Yes, can you believe that?

Holy crap. Where is it going?

Into a national writing gallery. It will be read by adults and children.

Oh nooooo…

Yea, exactly.

We do have some rewrites to do. That is so not appropriate for the “younger” crowd.”

Well, that’s not really the problem. I was able to edit out the bad language and all that..

Well then, what’s the problem? It seems to me that all’s fine and dandy then.

It’s not that cut and dry. I am struggling with trying to explain our relationship.

Whose relationship?

Ours! Yours and mine. How we work together. How we can’t do our jobs without the other’s contribution.


See! that is exactly what I mean. I’m just as confused about her questions as you are about my explanation.

I’m still not getting what you’re saying here. Maybe we need to start over.

That’s probably a good idea. Let me get more coffee first.

You and your coffee. Okay. Java-up. We need 100% focus here. Fortunately, I’m still on my meds.

That’s good to hear. I can’t have “inattention” added to the list of issues today. My head might explode.

Um, no.

Okay, let’s try talking through this one issue at a time. Maybe that will help.

Sure, where to start?

Let’s first start with the question she posed: “Do you think readers will make the connection with the phrase “Yank it like a monkey in a mango tree”?

YIKES, that’s a touchy issue. Especially since that is the part that talks about…well, you know.

Yes. I had to edit that whole section out. Can’t have that in a place where kids can read it.

I totally understand. Were you able to fix that?

Yes, and it seems to make sense to me, but the publisher is still confused by it. She’s concerned readers will not understand the reference.

How can we fix this?

Well, fortunately, I add another reference a little later on. In fact, I’ve even offered to include a bit of the poem I wrote based on that line you gave to me.

Hey, that’s a great idea. Just throw in two or three lines from your “Soundin’ Off Again” poem and it will make much more sense to the reader. I think it’s important that you include that.

Okay, done deal. Two to three lines from that poem, and that should clarify things.


Next comes the need to explain your job.

My job? Why must I explain my job to your readers? Isn’t it a bit obvious?

Well, not everyone knows what a “muse” is or actually does. And remember, this bit was all about the writing “process”. So, the publisher wants a better clarification of the actual writing process.


YES! That is exactly why I am stuck at this point.

I totally get that. You are being asked to explain something you can’t explain away that easily.

BINGO! These conversations aren’t about the mechanics of writing. They aren’t even structured, logical, sequential writing pieces.

I hear ya on that one, sister. Especially on those days where I’m off my meds. Whoo! We’ve gone off on some interesting tangents, eh? And that conversation with the sandman…Wow

Okay, okay, stay focused here. I’m almost done.

Sorry, just reminiscing about the good old days.

Good old days? Jeez, that was last month, if I remember correctly.

Well, when you’re a muse, time travels at an entirely different pace.

I guess so. But, let’s get back to this. Dr. Phil is almost on.

Sure. Our relationship. My job, your job. What about all these things?

Well, I’m trying to point out to the publisher that the “dialogue” we have between us is the actual “lesson” to be learned. In that conversation we had, the inspiration was given by you, and the origins was the line from the TV show.

Ahhh, I get it.

I know. You get me, I get you. But, how can I get readers to “get” the both of us?

Wow. That’s a really good question.

Got an answer?

Not really.

Gee, I guess I need to keep struggling with this, then, huh?

No. I’d recommend you keep everything “as is” and only focus on the mechanics: grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc.


Because our conversations are “ours”. They belong to us and so what if others don’t “get” them right away. As long as you and I continue to understand each other and talk these issues through, I say let the words stand as they are.

Wow, that’s pretty profound.

Yes, I guess it is.

One final comment…

What’s that?

Don’t go to Hollywood. Your talents are much better needed elsewhere. You’re too good for them.

Aw, you’re so sweet. Hugs?

Always. Later, chickie.

Conversations with My Muse: Choices We Make

August 10, 2009

Ow, ow, ow…

What’s wrong?

I’m old, that’s what’s wrong.

You, old? You’re only 47!

What the hell, I’m only 44 — 45 this October.

Ohhhh, you mean you didn’t just turn 47 this year?

No. That was my spouse.

Ah, well I knew there was a 47 year old living somewhere in your house.

Yea, he’s the older dude, going gray.

That happens. Well, it happens to others.

What do you mean by that?

Well, look at me, for instance. How “old” do you think I look?

Yea, yea, I get it — you don’t look a day older than 24.

And HOW old am I really?

Well, I’m not sure. We’ve never really established that, have we?

Older than Jesus, if you believe that kind of stuff.

Oh, I’m definitely a Christian. Just not “that” kind of Christian.

What do you mean by “not that kind of Christian”?

Creationists. I am not a big believer in that theory.

Oooh, are we here to discuss theology? This could be quite the debate.

Eh, not so much. It’s so hard to get good, solid debates going with people nowadays.

How come?

Someone always gets pissed off. It seems that I can’t say a damn thing anymore without risking getting someone’s knickers in a knot.

Knickers? What are those?


Again, what are those?

Aw come on, you know what pants are, don’t you?

Um, do you see what I’m wearing here?

You mean your toga?

Yes. I’ve had this on for several thousand years now. Of course I change it from time to time, add a couple of extra fig leaves and olive branches where and when necessary, but it’s pretty much all I have in my wardrobe.

How boring.

Well, yes and no. It makes it a lot simpler to choose what to wear in the morning. I don’t have to stand in my closet and think too hard about my outfit.

True. I like the simplicity behind that.

But, there are times when I wish I had a little more “something something”. Know what I’m saying?

Not really, but I sense you’re going to tell me anyways, aren’t you?

Come on, how long have we known each other now?

True. Go on, share your latest “thoughts on fashion” with me. I’ll just sit here and enjoy this hot cup of coherence.

Ha! “Cup of coherence” — I like that!

Thanks, I created that one on my own. You were “off duty” that day, wink wink.

Sheesh! You won’t let me live that incident in Italy down, will you?

Well, it was a pretty serious thing you did.

Let’s move on, shall we?

Agreed. Now, explain your fashion sense.

Okay. I’ll start with the toga. This is my “required” work uniform, so I have to wear this when I am working with others on their composing.

Uniform? Your toga is a uniform?

Of course, if I didn’t wear this people wouldn’t take me seriously as an Ancient Greek Muse. So, it goes without saying that I am required to remain professionally dressed at all times. Hence, the toga.

Wow, some uniform. I assume it is insulated from the cold weather climates, too?

Of course! I added an extra layer or two of lanolin and gortex for those chilly biomes I go to on occasion.

Like the Inuits up north?

Exactly. If it hadn’t been for those added layers, I’d have turned into a frozen musicle. Ha, get it? MUSE icle, MUSICAL?


I swear, I kill me some times.

Back to our topic…

Hang on a sec…I’ve got to change songs on my IPod…

Whoa. You’ve been listening to your Ipod while you’re sitting here talking to me?

Yea, why not? I’m a great multi tasker.

That’s kinda rude. I have to tell my kids all the time to take their ear buds out of their ears and listen to me. The only relief I have is, they don’t have cell phones too — so I am not competing with their text messaging skills.

Your kids don’t have cell phones?

No, and they won’t be getting them any time soon. I figure if I am driving my kid somewhere, I damn well know where he or she is, and if I call that place and they aren’t there — well, that’s a problem they won’t like having.


Yea, I know — I’m a real old-fashioned, fuddy duddy of a mom. My kids tell me that almost every day. My choice, though. I survived my early years without one just fine, thank you very much.

I think that’s a good thing, though.

You do? I thought you’d be a little disappointed in me. Think I was being too strict as a mom.

Can I let you in on a little secret?


There’s been a lot of talk back on Mt Olympus about your kids.

My kids? Huh???

Oh yea! Zeus and Hera have been very complimentary towards you, your husband and your kids. They feel you and your husband have your parenting shit together.

And where are they getting this information from?

Me, silly. Do you think I just sit around here, listen to you blather on about your life, etc, and not do anything with that information?

Well, there was this whole “confidentiality agreement” you agreed to sign.

That only covers issues of privacy that might jeopardize your career or personal safety — first and/or last names, kids names, city locations, etc.


The rest is “free domain” knowledge. And by Gods, your children are good kids. Worthy of a paragraph or two in the parenting section of the Mt. Olympus Monthly.

Wow, the Gods like me, they really, really like me!

Okay Sally Fields, let’s get back to the main point of today’s topic: choices.

Yes, I LOVE this topic.


Because there have been times lately when I’ve just wanted to pull my hair out over some of the things I’ve heard in the press.

And you think this is a good thing? To get so stressed out about what others are doing?

It makes me feel better about the choices I make.

Give me a story that really chapped your hide.

I see you’re borrowing a phrase I used the other day: “chaps my hide”

I didn’t borrow it, I gave it to you.

Okay, whateverrrr!

No, no, no! Remember — we both agreed to strike that word from our collective vocabulary! tsk tsk!

Sorry, you’re right. Let’s move on..A story…well, without having to rehash what I wrote about that cop who was caught going 149 mph on his motorcyle, I’d just like to finish that story up by saying the arresting officer made a foolish choice of his own.

How so?

He turned off the microphone on his radio after he realized the officer who was speeding was a “friendly.”

What’s a “friendly”?

A fellow cop, you know — one of his own.

So the conversation wasn’t recorded? No evidence? Oooh, that sounds bad.

Yea, sounds a little like a cover up, huh?

Could be. What’s going to happen to the cop, do you think?

I dunno, but I’m assuming that there will be an investigation. At least I hope so.

Okay, I get it. It goes back to “choices” we make.

Exactly — the choices we make are the stepping stones to the consequences we must endure.

Nice quote, who said that?

I did! I just made it up.

Well, I like it — heyyyyyyyy…

Ah ha, is that what I think it is?


I see the light bulb going off over your head.

You want me to reconsider turning myself in, don’t you?

Wow, I’m impressed. You stayed on task and focused today AND caught the message I have been trying to give you the entire time.

You’re very clever.

Naw, just getting older and wiser.

Satan’s Sandwich

August 8, 2009

The first clue that something might be “amiss” should have been the pink colored liability waiver form the person needed to sign.

The next clue — even stronger than the first — was the pair of latex gloves handed out to the diner with the tag line: “Here–you need to wear these to keep your hands from touching any of the juices.” Whoa.

The third clue that should have scared the customer off was watching another person try to eat it. I imagine it would be like attending a state mandated electrocution.

This is what I saw on TV last night.

The show “Man versus Food” is a glutton fest for foodies. Every week, the host of the show travels to some place (always in the United States — which explains why we’re such an obese nation over all) and challenges the establishment to make him physically ill by force feeding him portions of “something” big enough to support 20 Ethiopian families for two years (I’ve heard stories of some Ethiopian families surviving for one month on two chickens and some hardened dirt).

Tonight’s episode, however, took a scary, sadistic turn away from gluttony and into the not-often-explored world of “dangerous food to eat.” The host went to a restaurant that serves a burger called “The Four Horseman Burger”.

Ooh — the fourth clue! For those of us familiar with the term “The Four Horsemen,” you can surmise that its chosen name portends something very, very, bad. And you won’t be disappointed by said assumption, either. This was a very, very, evil burger. I think it would make an excellent torture device — force feed this to terrorists and they’ll be spilling their secrets faster than Angelina Jolie collects orphans.

The secret weapon in this burger is the “ghost chili”. I’ve never heard of this particular chili, but I believe it’s the chili Satan grows in his personal garden and uses as a topping for his nachos. I cannot support the notion that God would create anything this evil. It truly must be the “work of the devil.”

Let’s put some scientific insight into this…

A Jalepeno pepper tops out at approximately 8,000 Scoville units of “hotness”

A Serrano tops out at 23,000 units

A Habanero at 350,000 units

The “ghost chili” — the most potent in the world, exceeds 1,000,000 Scoville units. I’ve included a picture of the little rascal here:

Hottest Chili Pepper in the World

Hottest Chili Pepper in the World

Back to the burger…

The burger has ALL of those chilis on them. Yes, all FOUR types (The name makes perfect sense now, huh, huh?) The only thing hotter than the ghost chili is a can of law-enforcement grade “pepper spray”.  I don’t think they spray that on the burger, but that would make a logical “finishing” touch before presentation.

The challenge was for the host to eat one of these burgers in half an hour. So of course I had to watch him try on this challenge.

He took one bite….and that’s when Satan could be heard laughing in the background. The host squirmed, pounded the table, blanched, grimaced, broke out into a river of sweat, cried, screamed, moaned, and did everything imaginable except spontaneously combust. I was waiting for that “en fuego” moment to happen — I really was!

Soon, that one bite became another, then another, then finally — ALL GONE! The host had managed to eat the entire burger within the half hour. Personally, the time challenge was a sidebar — I was more disappointed by the fact that I wasn’t going to get to see a man burst into flames before my very eyes.

Of course the challenge didn’t end there. Naw, that’d be “too easy”. Upon finishing the last morsel, the host had to sit there squirming for another five minutes — before he could take a sip of milk to neutralize the effects. I imagine he also was waiting for the layers of esphogeal tissue that he burned off eating this monstrosity to make their way down into the bubbling, churning, volcanic lava pit, aka “his stomach”.

The good news is, he survived the challenge. The bad news is, he probably blew out his rectum when flames shot out of his ass the next day.

Here We Go Again: The Sense of Entitlement

August 4, 2009

Okay, another rant just presented itself.  The following link is an article about…well, you just have to read it.

Suffice it to say, THIS is the result of a woman who has been told her whole life (mostly by her parents, I bet) that the world OWES her everything she ever wanted. In this situation, the COLLEGE she attended owes her a job, or it should be forced to give back the $72,000 she spent in tuition.

Unfreapin’ real. Again, I blame her parents. If they  had done their job, then this girl wouldn’t be having such a temper tantrum.

Conversations with My Muse: Dreams

July 31, 2009

Excuse me, but….Erik Estrada?

Erik Estrada? Who’s that?

The guy who was totally “crushing” on me last night.

Were you hurt?

No, silly. That’s a term

What’s a “term”?


What’s it mean?

It means that someone *likes* another person.

Well, I must be crushing on you then.

No…lol, not likes as in Hey-I-enjoy-being-your-friend kind of *like*, but *like like*

Still not getting it.

Let me give you an analogy you can understand, ok?

That might work.

How do you feel about me?

I think you’re cool.

How do you feel about….chocolate?

It’s good..

Vodka and cranberry juice?


Well there ya go, Erik liked me last night to the same degree you like Vodka and cranberry juice.

Oh, I see. Is he cute?

Well, last night he was. This morning, probably not as much.

Did you sleep with him?

No!!!! Good Lord, I’m married!

Then why were you with him last night?

Hey, he came to me. I didn’t go out gallavanting.

I’m getting confused again.

I probably should fill in some minor details.

That would certainly help.

I was sleeping and –

He came into your room while you were sleeping????

No! This is the point in our conversation where you don’t talk, okay?

Uh humm..

So, I was sleeping and Erik came to me in a dream.

Ah!!!! I get it. So you dreamt about being in love with Erik Estrada?

Yes, now you understand.

I get it….question?

Who’s that?

Oh my God…you don’t know who Erik Estrada is? How long have you been floating around this world?

Thousands of years, and no I haven’t. I can’t meet every one ya know..

I’ll give you that.

So, tell me more. Who is he and why was he in your dreams last night?

He used to star on a popular television show called “CHIPS”. He was a cop. They called him “Ponch”.

Ponch — that sounds like a fat man in a rain suit.

Trust me, he wasn’t anything like that. He was a very handsome guy — his face was plastered all over the gossip magazines.

You keep saying “was” — is he dead?

No, he’s still alive. But, he’s thirty years older now. I don’t really know what he looks like.

Well, you can google him ya know.

I should! Hang on…



There he is as “Ponch” from CHIPS

Wow, he is pretty hot.

Yes, I had such a crush on him….in 7th grade!

7th Grade? Gosh, that was….if I do my math correctly….1977?


Holy crap that was a long time ago!

I know!

What does he look like now?

Hang on, let me try to find another picture..

Erik Now

Erik Now

That’s what he looks like now? Hmmm.

Yes. I’m afraid he’s a bit too over-botoxed and polished now.

What’s botox?

It’s the latest craze out here. Ever hear of botulism?

No, what’s that?

It’s a form of bacteria allowed to breed in food. The bacteria is a toxin–

Toxin? That’s poison, right?


And people use this on their FACES?


Holy Hercules, that’s gross!

Well, they don’t use a deadly supply on their face…


No, they just use a smaller dose…It just temporarily paralyzes the facial muscles, leaving the skin looking taut. And, unfortunately, a little like a mannaquin’s face too.

I noticed that with Marcia Cross and Nicole Kidman — beautiful ladies, frozen faces.

Exactly. So…back to my dream with Erik. What was that all about?

What do you mean?

Why did I have a dream about Erik Estrada? I haven’t thought of him in years…

I dunno.

Aren’t you my muse? My visionary? The woman who brings me inspiration, creativity, poetry, etc? The one who, without those skills I’d be forced to study calculus equations? *hee hee*

Well, yes and no…


I don’t do the night shift. I only work the 8 am to 10 pm shift with you.

You don’t?

Of course not! Did you honestly think I worked around the clock for no pay?

Well….my dreams are just as vivid as my day thoughts..I just figured —

Well, sorry to disappoint ya chickie, but I don’t do nights. I save that for my co-worker. And, let me give you a little insight about him —


My co-worker, “The Sandman”…

Ahhhhhh. What is it?

He tips the bottle a little too often. You know — glug, glug, glug

What makes you say that?

Think about it carefully. Do your dreams ever make perfect sense?

No, but they seem to make sense at the time I’m having them.

That’s because The Sandman is still at the bar, knocking back a few pints. Every thing seems okay, while he’s still sober. But by the time you wake up and begin to think about your dream — well, he’s passed out on the floor of a bathroom somewhere, waiting for the effects to wear off.

The Sandman’s a raging alcoholic?

Absolutely! But, he’s hilarious at times. Ever dream about being somewhere totally naked?

All the time..

That’s him playing a practical joke on you.

I don’t see how my being naked in public is in any way, shape or form *funny*.

I guess you had to be there….We get big giggles out of it when we all gather back at Mt Olympus to play the game tapes back. I swear Zeus is going to fall off his gilded throne every time he sees another naked person sitting in a classroom, to be honest.

Well, thanks for having a laugh at my expense.

Oh, lighten up. It’s only a dream. Like you wouldn’t actually be naked anywhere in public, right?

Maybe a nude beach somewhere..

You have those now?????

Yes, not exactly sure where though.

Wowwww, I am so there…Let me google it. I’m about ready to leave anyways, got some spare time on my hands.

You’re a wild one, aren’t you?


Okay, gotta get some more coffee in me anyways. Hugs?

As usual.

Later, chickie!

Shoot-Me-Now Moments

July 30, 2009

“Potty Patch” – the inside patch of artificial, turf-like carpeting you can put down for your dog to relieve itself indoors while you’re gone. It comes with its own “catch tray” you can empty at the end of the day.

Advantage: You won’t need to Twitter things like “My G-dam* dog pissed on my G-dam* carpeting AGAIN!” to all your Twittermates.

Disadvantage: You might have to Twitter: “My G-Dam* dog pissed inside my house AGAIN” to all your Twittermates.

Grade: D

Comments: Teach your G-dam* dog to relieve itself outside, like they’ve been doing for centuries. They aren’t cats — they are trainable*.

(*Bischon Frises, shitzus, poodles, chihuahuas and all other designer dogs that are pampered by their neurotic owners are the exception to this rule)



“Freedom Wand Self Wiping Toilet Aid”: An extending, toilet-paper brush for those hard-to-reach personal areas. (Translation: ass crevasses too large to scale down in a single swipe)

Advantage: Believe it or not, this makes great sense for those who are handicapped and do not have 100% use of their hands or arms. (A demographic that seems to be completely overlooked in the general media population by the way — Hi, Aunt Bevvie!–be over real soon! Stay tight until then, okay?)

Disadvantage: It probably would not be a good idea to mention you use one over a dinner of frijoles and/or oatmeal.

Grade: B- (only because of the handicapped issue, otherwise a D)

Comments: There are very few people who’d be kind enough to help me with my personal hygiene issues. I imagine we’d have to be “really, really” close friends, or they’d be working in a nursing home.