Monday, May 31, 2010

While I'm on the Subject...

Here are three websites I enjoy. They all have bad words in the title.

The ***ing Librarian

S*** My Kids Broke

Where the H*** is Matt?

I will warn you right now, these sites contain language. But I enjoy hearing the (blank) librarian's rants, and seeing all the stuff I don't have to deal with since I have no kids, and the video of outtakes on Matt's website is pretty funny.

So there you have it.

And my next post will not be about bad words, just so you know.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bad Words

Yesterday I received the June issue of The Friend magazine. Yes, I still subscribe to this children’s magazine. I like it. Plus, I want to see if they’ll ever print the story I sold to them. Anyway, the monthly “Trying to be like Jesus” section of the magazine includes short anecdotes from children who have done something good. The stories usually include stuff like being nice to a sibling, helping someone with chores, saying hi to a loner, etc., and they’re pretty cute. This month (June) I read the following:

“One day at school I was reading a book from the school library. I had a bad feeling because there were some bad words in the book. During recess I went to the library and told the librarian. She reported it to the headmaster. They took all the copies of the book out of the library. I felt good because I chose the right.”

Isn’t that just fantastic? I wonder what the book was. Was it Harry Potter? That has some bad words in it. Or Huckleberry Finn? That does too, though it’s probably too advanced for her age group. Or maybe Bridge to Terabithia? James and the Giant Peach? The Great Gilly Hopkins? How to Eat Fried Worms? The Catcher in the Rye? Ok, if it were my elementary school and they had Catcher in the Rye, I would probably pull that from the shelf too. :o)

I’m not saying I like bad words. I don’t. In fact, if you look through any of the books I own, you will find that most of them have black lines and written-in revisions where the swear words used to be (though sometimes I just revise books because the writing is terrible). But removing books from the library? There are certain books I have not started or finished because I didn’t want to deal with the language or subject matter. But in that case I just put the book back on the shelf and moved on. I could understand maybe marking a book cover with a warning label, if the community or area requires such a precaution, but removing a book entirely?

I think it’s not so much the story but the underlying philosophy that upsets me. Carried to other areas of one’s life, what does this mean? If someone says a bad word, should we rat on them and have them reprimanded? What if it’s our teacher or boss that is swearing, then what? If a person does not live according to the standards we uphold, does that mean we shun them and banish them, remove them from our lives? What if that person is your brother? If your friend orders coffee to go with her donut, do you turn your head every time she takes a sip?

I know we’re told to avoid the very appearance of evil, but we’re also told to seek after anything virtuous, lovely, of good report, or praiseworthy. Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring instigated riots when it was first performed, but I would say that it is worthy of praise. Does the fact that it has to do with a human sacrifice mean we should never listen to or perform it? And what about the Bible? That’s not exactly without violence, sex, scandal, or swear words.

Don’t get me wrong: we need to teach our children to judge good and evil, and we need to provide them with age-appropriate reading materials. But if something comes up, like a bad word, wouldn’t it be better to teach them how to deal with it, rather than just make it disappear? Eventually, they’re going to have to face problems they can’t just ignore, things they can’t just make go away. Then what will they do?

Actually, now that I think about it, I would want my daughter to do the same thing she did. I would want my daughter to come tell me about the bad words in the book she's reading. But my solution wouldn't be to take the book away and get rid of it (most likely). I would just give her a black gel pen and tell her to have fun.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Great News!

I received an email recently, and I will include parts of it here (edited for grammar and punctuation):

HELLO!! My name is Ronni, and together with my fiance Mike we are the new owners of Elizabeth's English Bakery and Tea Shop!

We are so blessed to be able to keep Tara, Elizabeth's own baker from the very beginning! You know what that means... Yes! All of our delicious pastries, both savoury and sweet, will still be there exactly as you remembered and we are adding a few of my favourites.

The most important thing for us is that you feel at home, and when you leave you feel a little bit happier than when you came in. I will be there almost all of the time and I look forward to meeting each and every one of you, our loyal customers and our newbies on the block!

We are planning on opening Saturday, May 22, from 10 am til 6 pm. See you there! Oh, one more important note: you will know when we are open from the road because if the Union Jack is flying, we are OPEN! Our regular hours will be 9 am til 6 :30 pm Monday thru Saturday. We are also available for private parties after hours.

Isn't that fantastic news? I sure think so, and I'm definitely going to be there on Saturday. Hooray for Elizabeth's!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lost Without You

Ever since moving here in 2008, I have relied upon the Trolley Square Tower to help guide me home at night (when coming from the south). I know when to turn by watching the tower as it grows from a speck on the horizon into a recognizable entity.

Recently, there has been a lot of construction at Trolley Square. It doesn't affect me much, as I never go there, but one night last week as I was driving home, I realized I couldn't see the tower. I knew which intersection I'd just passed, so I knew roughly where I was, but I was so used to gauging my location by that tower that I got confused. The next intersection was fast approaching, and my mind was thinking, "Wait, is this it? Is this what this intersection looks like? Is this where I normally turn? How come I don't even know what it looks like without that tower lit up?" The scene was completely unrecognizable to me, but it was, in fact, the correct intersection, and I did turn, and I was right.

I guess I just never realized how much I rely upon that lit up tower.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Fiber Aisle

"Excuse me, where is your fiber aisle?"

"Our what?"

"Your fiber aisle."


"It says right here, 'Located in the fiber aisle'."

"Oh. You might want to try with the vitamins and nutritional supplements. Those are in the natural foods aisle."

"Ok. Thanks."