Monthly Archives: April 2009

Fiction Friday >> Las Vegas

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for April 24, 2009:
During her first trip to Las Vegas, a woman experiences the luckiest night of her life. (It’s not from gambling).

“Shhhh.” Sandra rocked the baby as she looked around her, at all the blinking lights, the people frantically putting coins into the slot machines, chewing gum or drinking. The noise was deafening, but it would provide cover for the baby’s cries.
She’d seen her and knew it was hers. She’d been waiting for a moment like this, to find her baby, the one, the only. She was dressed in a pink pinafore with pink booties, just the way she would have dressed her if… Well. She looked down at the girl as she rushed out of the casino.
“We’ll just have to pretend you’re a boy for a while, sweetie, but don’t worry. Once we’re far from here, I’ll buy you all the pink dresses you want.”
She hadn’t wanted to come to Las Vegas, but her sister had insisted she needed a change of pace after she’d lost Frannie. But she’d found her again, with these other people. They might miss her for a while, but they’d get over it. The baby was hers.
Coming to Vegas had been a good thing. This was the luckiest night of her life. She rushed away from the casino as she heard a woman screaming for her child.

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This isn’t about Susan Boyle

Well, it is, in a way, but not. Anybody else sick about hearing about her? I am.

Sure, her “discovery” is inspirational to all would-be artists out there. It confirms that, for them too, their chance may come. Do not despair. Keep the flame burning.

But there are a few things about the whole affair that have bugged me since the beginning. First of all, the scene has a staged feel about it. Surely, it wasn’t the first time they had heard her? Don’t they go through a screening process? (Otherwise, the show would never end. They’d have millions wanting their thirty seconds in the limelight).

Second, was her voice all that great? I mean, if you close you eyes and forget she’s a 47 year old frumpy single woman who, apparently has never been kissed (what’s that got to do with her singing?), her voice is, well, okay. It’s the package that sold, not the voice.

And third, frankly, I was thoroughly disgusted by the judges’ and the public’s attitude towards the woman. As if, if you’re not a young, perfect looking thing then all you can do is screech. Beauty does not equal a great voice, and history has proven it time and time again.

In short, what we watched was show business at its… sleaziest. Staged reality TV. This whole episode is not about Susan Boyle. It’s about creating expectations and dreams for all the other schmucks who want their piece of grass in the sun and without whom there wouldn’t be a show. It’s about insulting jerks like Simon what’s his name who enjoy humiliating people in public and pass it off as pearls of wisdom.

In the end, it’s about money, and the Susan Boyles of the world are used as straw men (or women) for just that purpose.

Now, can you name the postal employee who sang opera at that very show last year?

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Fiction Friday >> Doing what?

[Fiction] Friday Challenge for April 17th, 2009:
Include this line somewhere in your story: “I’m never doing that again.”

“Well. I’m never doing that again.”

“What?”

“You know. That.”

“Oh.”

“It’s kinda gross. Sticky and salty and smooth all at the same time. And once you got the taste in your mouth, it won’t go away.”

“Really? I never tried it.”

“I should never let Peter convince me to try it. But, you know, I’m always game for anything.”

“He’s adventurous, that one.”

“At least, I didn’t try it in public. Can you imagine what it would look like?”

“Embarrassing, to say the least.”

“Duh.”

“I would have paid to see your face when you swallowed.”

“I nearly puked. Peter was laughing his head off.”

“Such a gentleman.”

“I know. I’m sort of thinking maybe we shouldn’t go out together anymore. He’s weirding me out.”

“Anyone who would convince me to eat a peanut butter and sardines sandwich is a kook in my books.”

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The difficulty of English language

I’ve said before that I learned to speak English when I was twenty-one. Learning the language is not only about grammar, vocabulary, or spelling, but also about pronunciation. Dessert and desert: why are they pronounced the same, yet spelled differently? Walk and salmon. Both have a useless “l” in the middle and you’d think that they’d be pronounced in the same way. Noooo. Dough and cough have only one letter difference. Excuse me?

I found this poem, The Chaos, by Gerard Nolst Trenité that exemplifies exactly what I mean. Continue reading

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