Idiom America

May 10, 2010 at 9:17 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Heard tonight on “Castle”:

This was the last draw.

Uh, fact checkers: making sure the details of your murders and police investigations are good and all, but you might want to add an idiom-ologist (me! me!) to your staff, because I think the phrase you’re looking for is “last straw.”

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Taking some liberties with language

March 6, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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One of my pet peeves is when people misstate or mix-and-match their proverbs and idioms. Although I usually think of myself as inclined towards description rather than prescription, I don’t mess around when it comes to sayings: they are fixed for a reason! For example, David Brooks’s repeated misuse of “throw him under the bus” as “throw him under the truck” evoked some serious anger. Last week I heard the host of “Shear Genius” (Bravo’s Project-Runway-for-hair-stylists show) utter this butchered idiom:

“Slow down your horses!”

Clearly, she meant to say “hold your horses,” and while normally this would piss me off, I’m pretty sure Camila Alves speaks English as a second language, rendering her misuse kind of adorable.

The same ESL cuteness cannot be applied to Tyra Banks, however, and while what I’m about to tell you is by no means an idiomatic mistake, it is so ridiculous and contrived that it warrants mention. Tyra has decided that “plus-size model” is an inaccurate way to describe models larger than a size 2—aside from the negative connotation of the word, her main objection (if I understand correctly) is that it is incongruous with the fact that the average American woman wears a size 14. Tyra’s rebranding for “plus-size”?

Fiercely Real,” or “FR-size.”

I’m serious.

The Most Awkward “What Not To Wear” Moment

February 8, 2010 at 11:30 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Ever since I became a semi-employed college graduate last summer, I have been watching “What Not To Wear” with a near-religious fervor. It started in August when my mom was recovering from back surgery, and I was spending entire days at home taking care of her. I cooked and read and did laundry and dishes, yes, but what I really did was perfect my TV watching schedule, which included a Monday through Friday rerun of “WNTW” at 12 pm each day. This pattern continued into the fall and through the spring, and though it will be put on hold for the foreseeable future (thanks to my new job!), there’s always the 5 pm reruns to keep the addiction alive.

If you have watched this show more than a handful of times, you’re probably familiar with the flow of each episode, which begins with: introduction of fashion victim plus some sample secret footage; Stacey and Clinton critiquing said footage; and then an ambush on the victim, complete with a smiling, clapping, laughing group of friends, family, and nominator(s). I didn’t realize how crucial that last part—the enthusiastic accomplices—was to the feel of the ambush scene until I watched an episode from way back in 2003 (Season 2 of the show), when Stacey actually wore an animal-print cowboy hat: the makeover of Niya Battles.

I wish I could find a clip of Niya’s ambush on YouTube, because her family’s reaction, or lack thereof, is so incredibly awkward that it actually made me uncomfortable. Stacey and Clinton found Niya at a family barbeque, and through the entire “Surprise! We’re from TLC’s What Not To Wear!” process, the rest of Niya’s family just sat silently in lawn chairs. Not even her nominator was enthusiastic enough to get out of her chair. The whole scene just felt like two mean people picking on a poor defenseless girl, not the “we’re doing this because we love you and want to change your life” feel that the scene typically has. Once the show moved on past the barbeque the episode ran smoothly and normally—and Niya did receive an enthusiastic welcome-home from her family at the end of the episode—but that first scene almost spoiled the whole episode for me.

Note to TLC: I’m glad you’ve learned something since Season 2. This show needs its accomplices!

[ image from TLC ]

Metaphors In Real Life!

September 22, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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One of the dorkiest consequences of taking Linguistics 106: Metaphor in my junior year of college is that I get really excited when I see examples in the real world of the metaphors(*) we discussed in class.

(*) A point of clarification: metaphor in the linguistic sense is not the poetic “Your eyes are the deep blue ocean,” but rather the ways in which we understand and use the language of one domain to talk and think about another. For example: if I say, “I’m still digesting the lecture I just heard,” I am using the metaphor IDEAS ARE FOOD, specifically its sub-metaphor UNDERSTANDING IS DIGESTING, because I am utilizing the language we typically use to talk about food in order to describe my process of understanding new ideas. See what I mean? Also, apologies for the capitalization. That’s just a convention of metaphor studies!

Yesterday I watched the premiere of a new CBS show called “Accidentally On Purpose” that aired after “How I Met Your Mother.” The basic premise is that Jenna Elfman‘s character Billie gets knocked up by a mid-twenties dude, which leads to, of course, your standard barrage of lame-ass cougar jokes. There was one, however, that caught my eye (ear?):

20’s Dude: “In your day…”
Billie: “In my day? This is still my day! It’s not even lunch in my day!”

This little gem of dialogue just evoked—intentionally or not—a metaphor that is so classic it is the one thing you need to understand the Riddle of the Sphinx: A LIFETIME IS A DAY. The sub-metaphors include CHILDHOOD IS MORNING, ADULTHOOD IS MIDDAY, and DEATH IS NIGHTTIME. Billie’s “day” is a metaphor for her entire life, hence the reference to lunch (the middle of her life) as a way to argue how young she is.

See what we just did there? BOOM! Academics! I guess TV really can teach you something.

[ image from Substantive Academics ]

Emmys 2009: Four Thoughts

September 21, 2009 at 12:51 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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There was nary a duo more awesome all night.

Dream Team!

1. Kate Walsh said “Natch!” on the E! Emmy’s pre-show broadcast. Sweeping the nation, people. SWEEPING THE NATION.

2. I had no idea that Jon Hamm has been with Jennifer Westfeldt—the lead actress in the awesome and too-quickly-canceled TV show Notes from the Underbelly—since 1997. What an adorable couple!

3. I love NPH‘s joke in the opening song about how Joan Holloway is so beautiful “She could turn a gay man straight… Oh wait… There’s Jon Hamm!”

4. It really seems like the Miniseries/Movies category is Where Old Actors Go To Die. Nearly every single nominee is over the age of 65! (With the exception of Drew Barrymore, that is.)

[ image from E! Online ]

Food Porn!

September 17, 2009 at 9:58 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Above is what I made for dinner the other night, and I was so pleased with how pretty it looked that I decided to take a picture. This is Fatima’s Salad, from the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant cookbook: beets, potatoes, green and red bell peppers, carrots, and hard boiled eggs, on a bed of lettuce and topped with black olives and an oil-vinegar-parsley dressing. I love the Moosewood cookbooks (between the bf and I we have three!) because they have such creative and interesting vegetarian recipes. If you’ve never used these cookbooks, even if you’re not a vegetarian—I’m not either!—I would really encourage you to check them out.

VMAs Fashion: Reflections

September 14, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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So, do you think Amber Rose was just jealous of this guy?

Because that’s the best I could come up with.

[ Amber Rose image from Jezebel, Leopard Man from Ananova ]

“What Claudia Wore”

September 13, 2009 at 8:59 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoy reading fashion blogs, but the one I’m currently hooked on is so much different than the others that it deserves its own post. Enter What Claudia Wore, one giant love letter to the most fashion-forward girl in the Babysitter’s Club. Each Claudia-related post focuses on one of the titles from the series—books that, incidentally, I was not permitted to read as a kid because my mom thought the writing quality was “beneath me”—and quotes the oh-so-superfluous and yet completely awesome outfit descriptions. (I mean seriously, do the accessories really implicate themselves in babysitting hi-jinks? Not usually, unless we’re talking about Super Special #4.)  Claudia’s outfits are, natch, always the best, whether she’s coordinating an outfit of different black and white patterns, or sporting homemade papier-mache earrings shaped like tiny palm trees, or even (egads!) wearing the dreaded bungee cord belt. What makes this blog so fun is not just the voyeuristic glee of anticipating what ridiculous getup Claudia will sport next, but the sassy and hilarious running commentary by Kim, the brains behind the operation. Though I lack the same childhood nostalgia for the series, I can’t say I didn’t sneakily read a couple titles before my mom found out. And who doesn’t love papier-mache??

[ image from What Claudia Wore ]

Someone’s been watching ANTM!

September 13, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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…and taking Tyra’s adoration for bleached-out eyebrows a bit too far.

(Nice work catching her, Satorialist!)

ANTM Cycle 13 Premiere: “She has FACE!”

September 13, 2009 at 1:26 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Wednesday night was the premiere of the latest installment of one of my favorite shows: America’s Next Top Model. I can hardly believe that, in my freshman year at college, I actually made fun of my then-roommate for loving ANTM. What a difference four years can make! Below are my (unsolicited) thoughts, live-blogging style, as I watched the two-hour premiere:

– Ughhh, Tyra and her damn accents!!

– Brittany from Santa Clara said she’s a math major (!). I’ve said it so many times: every single time someone tells me they’re a math major, my reaction is: “No shit??”

– This whole premise is so bizarre to me, especially at a time when the role of plus sizes in fashion and clothing lines is a pretty major topic of conversation. The whole conceit of this show acts as if height is the largest barrier to “real women” in fashion, especially when Sundai says that real people can watch Cycle 13 and think: “She’s my size! I can wear that, I can BE that!” Any bets on the chances of Tyra ever doing an all-plus-sized version of ANTM?

– Amber: “That burning sensation for Jesus instead of another man.” Um, I think that’s herpes you’re talking about.

– Tyra: “A fight? Like, throw down? Like, take-your-earrings-off?” “I didn’t have any earrings on, but…” LOLZ.

– Sundai: “It wasn’t exactly the easiest life I ever lived.” Sad sentiment, excellent word choice.

– Amber: “Loving-er.”

– Amber: “I fall more in love with him [Jesus].Want to get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus!

– Nicole: you are SO GORGEOUS, but, uh, what’s up with the rusty wheelbarrow? You can’t play the “nobody wants to hang out with me” victim and brag about the weird-ass shit you did in the same breath!

– Are all the girls wearing flats for their non-swimsuit interview? Is this normal?

– Tyra: What exactly constitutes “a hot second”?

– Laura, the farm girl who castrates cows: “Nobody cheats on me!

– Oh man, what an awful transition! Tyra went from asking about one girl’s baby to: “Let’s change the energy a little bit. I heard you’ve been assaulted. Tell me about that.” (The best part was how the music totally slacked off in transitioning from upbeat to melancholy.)

Rachel (Cycle 13) vs. Allison (Cycle 12): eyes wider apart, upturned nose, same sized lips. This season’s Bambi.

– Is there a California bias in casting? So far I’ve noticed Oceanside, Riverside, Livermore, Woodland, Bakersfield, and Santa Rosa.

– Jay: “Actually, why do you want to be a model again?” Amber: “For Jesus!” Ugghhh she reminds me of Heidi Montag!

– I love that Tyra compliments Sundai’s photo by saying, “She has FACE!” Isn’t that a drag thing? If so, WIN.

– Tyra keeps repeating The Big Asterisk: “America’s Next Top Petite Model

– Hm, there don’t seem to be any plus-sized girls in the Top 20. Is it too much to be short AND fat?! I guess even Tyra’s not that delusional.

– Best idea ever: makeovers in EPISODE 2! They certainly do know how to please the audience.

Of course Biana is the first to say, “I’m not here to make friends.

– Oh THANK GOD Amber is gone. Beautiful Threaded Eyebrows is in! UPGRADE.

– Unintentional hilarity: Tyra’s Perez Hilton-esque scribblings on the girl’s makeover photos.

– OH GOD BLONDE EYEBROWS.

– I do not like Lulu’s makeover hair at all.

– Oh no, Nicole’s red afro extensions! Didn’t they learn their lesson from Brit’s lumpy tangled mess?? On second look, though, it’s actually pretty beautiful… for now.

– I like the Miss Jay makeovers on each of the recent cycles’ makeover episodes. It’s basically the only instance in which the show makes fun of itself, a la “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.

– Their house is a creepy funhouse, but I can’t help but kind of love it (as well as be reminded of this episode of “My Super Sweet 16“).

– Wow, the way they styled Lulu’s hair for the photo shoot made me actually start to like it!

– The best compliments reference drag: “The poses are all strong, and draggy, and fabulous.

– The girls are all wearing flats at judging—that is definitely a change from previous cycles.

– Oh god, Tyra’s outfit. Do you really need a superfluous cutout if your entire midsection is visible??

– Tyra-sexy (with its “The Entertainer” soundtrack) is terrifying. Miss Jay’s reaction: “No.” AWESOME.

– Calling someone’s hand a koala foot: ouch.

– Wtf is up with Miss Jay’s fashion hair net??

– Laura’s photo was AWESOME. I love how, in the photoshoot, Mr. Jay said that, since this was fashion, the baby should be used as an accessory. “Like a purse!

– I didn’t realize that Tyra was all about the bleached-out eyebrow. Shoulda picked up on it when she gave it to THREE GIRLS in makeovers.

– All the girls have to wear flats but Tyra gets to wear heels. By this point, I shouldn’t be surprised at her Empress of Everything tendencies.

OH I GET IT, ITS A FUNHOUSE THEMED HOUSE. BECAUSE TYRA MUST BE FUCKING NUTS TO THINK THAT THESE GIRLS CAN MAKE IT IN THE MODELING WORLD.

[ image from Homorazzi ]

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