Book Review: “Crap Taxidermy: cringe-worthy and morbid…but in a good way.”

I wasn’t particularly looking for a holiday themed book this month when I chose “Crap Taxidermy” by Kat Su from the Blogging For Books Website. Yet, once I recieved “Crap Taxidermy,” I soon realized I could not have picked a better book to go along with the creepy, scary, disturbing, and horror inducing feelings that October’s crowning event seeks to produce.

I am, of course, referencing Halloween, and believe me, if any trick-or-treater showed up at my door in anything inspired by the images in “Crap Taxidermy,” I’d be afraid…very afriad.

“Crap Taxidermy” is a book that was originally a Tumblr, a phenomenon that I have yet to have qualms with. After all, this transition of media from the cyberspace to the physical space in book form gave us the hilarious and brilliant “Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh. But it is important to note that this book is based on Web site crappytaxidermy.com and NOT the site craptaxidermy.com, whose author also wrote a book about the best of @CrapTaxidermy…persumably to ride on the coat tails of Kat Su’s blog (originally began in 2009). Either way, I had no idea that bad taxidermy had such a following.

Kat Su seems to be a reluctant author with no particular strength in taxidermy science (currently an activewear designer in New York).But Su covers the basics to orient someone who knows absolutely nothing about it (me). Su’s book itself if full of three of the four types of taxidermy which Su highlights in the prologue: bad taxidermy, weird-as-hell good taxidermy, and weird-as-hell bad taxidermy. The only taxidermy category missing is “good taxidermy,” and rightly so for the book title and premise. Su also explains how they got into the search for taxidermy examples to begin with. At the end of the book is even a how-to guide on stuffing your own dead mouse. If you have ever wanted to give taxidermy a try, buy the book on this merit alone!

The meat of the book is the approximately 70 or so pictures of the taxidermy examples compiled in her blog over the years, and some images never before posted. Each one is more strange and disturbing from the last. It’s not so much the fact that these are pictures of dead animals, but that the animals are in such unnatural positions, displaying grotesque expressions and erratic eye patterns, and (in the final chapter of the book) wearing things or parts of other animals that don’t have any business in their natural life. Taxidermy is a strange place and I’m not sure if I really knew what I was getting myself into when I opened this hardcover to look at dead stuffed animals.

The book presents the subject as best it can be though, and if morbid humor is your thing, you’ll enjoy flipping through the book…if only to tell your friends to visit crappytaxidermy.com to see some atrocities in anti-RIP protocal. Surprisingly, I can see this book as a good gift item…something that will make the recipient laugh and cringe.

The interest in bad taxidermy is strange, but none too shocking. Humans are into weird stuff like stuffing dead animals, and so they’d naturally be into looking at pictures of fails at this art. It’s the same fascination we get from Pinterest fails. In this regard, Kat Su definitely nailed it, capitalizing on the quirks of the human condition.

“Your Starbucks Cup is Not a Name Tag” and other findings among my penance served in the world of serving

Mostly I write a lot of junk poetry. It’s sort of my daily thing to clear head space. For the past three days though, and really since I poured it all out in the last blog, I’ve felt none too poetical, instead turning the introspective gaze to more solid wondering having to do with what it is to be a young woman in this time in history and all the other trailing ribbons of whatever that means. To help me along in these thoughts has been my spirit guide, Lena Dunham.

Lena Dunham, star and writer of HBO hit Girls, wrote a book called, “Not that Kind of Girl.” Asked to describe this book to a co-worker in 5-words, I gave the smart ass reply, “Not that Kind of Girl,” but in a way it also fits what Lena’s work is all about. I started reading it (and I stopped my daily writing…coincidence?) on the 17th and finished it on the 21st. The book feels like a pleasant coffee date with your BFF: the caffeine consumption allowing you both to open up more than usual, making casual confessions of things you never thought another person would (or would want to) hear. But as you talk, you find catharsis and an understanding of your history in relation to your whole self that’s thrilling, but also a little sad. After your friend goes home, you feel a little depressed and prone to cry at stupid inspirational videos on Facebook that you had no intention on clicking on, but find yourself committing to. It’s like that.

It’s like, on my dates with Lena, I found she was giving the kind of advice I’d only come to give myself after a shattering amount of heartbreak. She went through the crisis for me, and came out the other side with self-deprecating quips I recognize all too well. My favorite and uncomfortably familiar chapter was her “Girls and Jerks.” Lena and I have a painful insanity to throw our lot in with men who fall into this spectrum. So much so that it’s a wonder her (and my) chapter on “girl crushes” is so short.

Women of our age range owe it to themselves to read her confessions in NTKOG, but I want to include a sample of the work as well that hit me hard with self-identification of where I have been for the past couple of years. Here’s to hoping this falls under the fair use of copyright.

She writes: “It wasn’t just that these crushes made the days pass quicker or satisfied some raging summer lust. On some deeper level, they made it all feel less adult. I’d been thrust into a world of obligations and responsibilities, budgets and scrutiny. My creative process had gone from being largely solitary to being witnessed by dozens of “adults” who I was sure were waiting to shout This, this is the reason we don’t hire 25 yr old girls! Romance was the best way I knew to forget my obligations, to obliterate the self and pretend to be someone else”

There’s not a lot else I know to say about the book. It wasn’t the best writing I’ve ever read, but it spoke to me. Sometimes that’s enough.

I’m trying to transition more gently in my blogs, but my topics are most times unrelated and so you may have to just accept the hard breaks in consciousness until I learn to think and write in better ways. Like just now…I had a yellow jacket land on my notebook. I patiently waited on him to leave and then I took a drink from my coffee, startled myself on a large piece of ice unexpectedly coming up the straw, and spit it all over my pants front in compensation. Only a couple of students saw it, so all is well.

Another hard break….and it’s a real hard break. Luther Masingill. If you live in Chattanooga, you are probably well acquainted with his name and legacy. Our whole town is mourning the passing of the 92-year old radio legend, who worked 72 years on-air in Chattanooga for the same station, on-air during both Pearl Harbor and 9/11.

I have an opinion and (surprise) it may not be the most popular. I respect Luther for his work and dedication to the field of communications and to the town of Chattanooga. I enjoyed hearing him describe the latest lost pet. I am touched by all the wonderful stories of his kindness to others from his role as a mentor and even stories of him paying for college tuition of several.

Personally, Luther wasn’t very kind to me. Granted, I encountered him briefly each week and always after a day of work at the radio station as he came into the grocery store where I worked. I say this not to besmirch a legacy, and I’m sure many will find my words petty, but I say them just with a reminders than being kind to those in the service industry is also a measure of character. It’s easy to be a personality on air and kind to those in so-called respectable positions, but taking time and effort to be caring to someone at society’s ground level is something more. I don’t really fault Luther for not being who I expected or respecting some chunky teen behind a cash register. I just wish that I didn’t have these memories of someone who is essentially beloved by all. I’m posting this on the date before Luther’s memorial service at Engel Stadium. By all means, I encourage all to go and hear the wonderful things that will be said about Luther. Many people I respect in turn respect Luther and his legacy, and my words are in no way designed to change the tide of opinion on him or his work. It’s a blanket generalization on our fumblings at human interaction, and we all know how well generalizations work.

Now that my name is on every Luther-lover’s head hunting list, I want to continue to talk about what the serving/food service industry means to me. As before mentioned, I’m leaving this industry, hopefully permanently or at least long-term, for the second time in my life.
I first left retail and barista work in 2009. Straight out of college, I got an assistant editor position at a weekly newspaper and worked there, had weekends off, the whole deal, for two years. I returned to server life when I was laid off and have been there since. Friday is my last shift as a server, and my feelings are mixed to say the least.

Mispy has graciously weathered the storm with me as I passively lament my freedom this week. His innocent comment that maybe I could return to barista work in January or later if ends weren’t meeting between teaching jobs, set off a firestorm in my brain that culminated in me curled on his bed, crying about missing my barista co-horts and stressing irrationally about how I would fill my weekends away from the cafe, while simultaneously wondering aloud how much I enjoy helping a student get proper synonym usage. Bless him for knowing that it’s sometimes best to just pat a girl on the back in the midst of conflicted brain clashes

Here I am reveling in my wingspan as I get positively beside myself explaining the Industrial Revolution to a student. All the while, I’m looking longingly at the automatic espresso machines and wondering if I can justify $8/hr for my time dedication in lieu of a weekend or off days of any kind. And why?

Well, it all comes back to the debate raised earlier by me (mainly as a sort of punch line): “Can Nihilists ever really experience job satisfaction?” Sure, there are varying levels of Nihilism, but it all seems to come around the belief that nothing we do has much, to any, effect on our surroundings, future course of events, or people’s fates. I subscribe, wearily (is there any other way?) that things are going to be what they are. People are going to do what they do, and my effect is minimal. I teach a student a concept, and maybe they take it further than the classroom. They use it to get to college, they get a job, the world turns, and nothing much shifts. We all still end up at the Cemetery Gates. It’s not so bleak unless you make it a central precept of existence, and even then there are concessions around it so you don’t end up offing yourself. So where’s the satisfaction in any of it? Why work if there’s no reason other than to keep the machine on and churning out the same copy of its inner cogs design?

Well, I think, for my part, the job satisfaction has always come not from the paycheck that usually just allows enough funds for you to continue working and living. Neither does it come from the job itself of delivering caffeine or education or whatever to your customers, patrons, etc. The satisfaction is what I got from my barista work that makes it hard to leave. It’s the beautiful, casually loving, camaraderie and shared experience of melodrama and human condition that interactions with co-workers (and less frequently) with customers/patrons/students. It applies to every job. For me, my angst at leaving the absolute tripe I have experience in serving, comes from a similar leaving of the laughter and connections and experience of living among the real and flawed and beautiful people I’ve had privilege to work with in my three years there.

I’ve introduced a co-worker to feminism from the basic definition and worked on building a foundation of knowledge there. I’ve shared relationship woe with every sympathetic ear in the building. I’ve had romantic relationships with these people. I’ve formed best friendships with some. I’ve ribbed an employee until they have become an inside joke that even they are fond of. And yes, I’ve learned that many customers consider their cup to be a nametag of some kind whose alternate spelling thereupon will shake the ego in such a way that they can’t help spelling aloud to the poised Sharpie, “B-A-I-L-E-Y.” They’ve all produced a strange shared life within our team. And I’ll miss this. I guess that’s enough of a reason to do any job, even write a blog…just hoping for a shared experience, a social interaction that delivers an imagined impression of meaning. That’s the satisfaction of a job well done. Even if it’s all a beautiful meaningless mess of paint on some abstract unknowable canvas.

In parting I want to toss out the ideas for what you will be seeing here in the next month as I prepare to participate in National Novel Writing Month (National Blog Writing Month as well).I am debating between posting a thread on Facebook to ask for 30 topics for the thirty days in November and write on one of these thirty each day. Or I thought I could ask for a topic each day via Facebook and the first person to comment or message would be the one whose topic I would write about. Both are designed to be more interactive with my audience, thus continuing this shared experience I desire from my blog space. The third option is I just shower you all with the junk poetry and novel writing scraps…1,666 words of that each day. How’s about ya’ll leave me some feedback on this so that we don’t all suffer with some rhyme about caffeine consumption or lack thereof.

-Anna R Kotopple

This blog is dedicated lovingly to my fellow baristas of past, present, and perhaps future. Once a barista, forever a barista.

Let’s Be Clear: Leggings Are Not Pants

This is going to be interpreted as a rant and a fuss-fest, whether I want it to or not. The topics on the table are: student willfulness, education uselessness, societal rule-mongering triteness, and the phenomena of Ex Re-flux. They’ve all reached a critical mass kind of status, and that translates to a call to the public forum to see what everyone else might be thinking or if I’m alone in my malice. If you were wondering; still ill. Always.

1st order of business is just a common educator complaint. My students resist learning like cats fight against a bath. These students are paying for the privilege to actively resist the learning atmosphere. These students are laying down 1,000 of dollars to text through class, talk about weekend plans instead of complete their work, answer questions wrong purposefully in hopes of a quick answer to fill out their worksheet instead of putting effort into learning information, and then curse at their teacher for “refusing to help them.”

I suppose I could sympathize with these special students if the subject was one only necessary for college bureaucracy palm grease, but this is remedial reading I’m teaching here. Take a minute to digest the fact that your reading level is on a 9th grade (or below) level. Is that something you’re prepared to go through life as your claim and arsenal extent? It’s partly a problem of youth, I believe. Thinking you can achieve your aims with less than amazing skills is an arrogance we all get into. Then you turn 26, and realize your “skills” and even your education doesn’t entitle you to a job or any special treatment. And you realize…you’ve got to be the best, better than hundreds of others, and on a daily basis or you will not have a job (not even touching on meaningful or enjoyable work) because someone more hungry will replace you. Another result of an overpopulated planet. Global competitiveness. Smart is not smart enough.

And that’s the segway to education uselessness in current society. Maybe I’ve doubted it once or twice in some dating scenarios I have found myself in (and there was that one phase in junior high), but overall I’ve never had a doubt that I possess the ability to be intelligent. Indeed, I enjoy the sensation of being smart(ass), therefore seeking out apples both low hanging and further upon the tree of available knowledge.

I’ve been a student/scholar for my life’s entirety. I was fortunate enough to have my undergraduate degree in Journalism/Communications paid for by a history of adequacy and good behavior in high school. I was again fortunate to have had a “career” in my field for two short years before the changing face of media continued its progression to render print media obsolete, and I found myself laid off at 22, bills to pay and not a single opportunity forthcoming save the fall back of my high school part-time safety net of barista work. Even now, I thank myself for learning a technical skill that would pay the bills when my education wasn’t profitable (still waiting, by the way). So I returned to school, playing the straight and narrow again and clearing the hoops of necessity to earn my Master’s degree in education. Still young, I was optimistic. At 24, with a degree and a Master’s, and every semester on this shadowy mysterious entity called “The Dean’s List,” I though surely, finding a job, making a place for myself in society, and clicking that manacle of the American Dream around my ankle would finally be possible.

I was, and still am, the fool.

At 26 (almost 27), I am working in a temporary position as a tutor: all terms designed to deny that I have earned what it takes to be called a teacher, and to emphasize my replaceable status to those I give my time to. My current three jobs do not provide me any kind of healthcare or benefits, and paying rent has become an anxiety inducing event even with making the switch to buying groceries at the dollar store and a charming mart called United Grocery Outlet that specializes in unwanted products from name brand grocers, much of which is expired yet still edible. (What can I say? Anna’s got to eat.) Others certainly have it worse than me, of course. But I never thought I was going to have to live this way after spending so many years sweating and sacrificing to be educated.

So for all intents and purposes, it would seem that my education (although I greatly treasure the knowledge earned) is useless in helping me to be an indepdent, productive member of the so-called society. Does that mean I can finally turn in my resignation? I’ve changed my clothes, my hair, my habits, and beyond all for the sake of being the kind of person they want to hire to teach others and earn a living the process. Playing by the rules has got me no more standing, respect or gain than a upper middle class high school graduate. So can I finally resign and play by a differetn set of rules? Will I get any further on a socital anarchist blend? Within and without a society and a country. All I know is that it’s come to a point where something new must be tried. I’ve quit my stable technical work as a barista, perhaps mainly on an illusion of higher self-worth than realisitc, and freed up that time to strategically freefall into opportunities that arise to make use of my brain, and hopefully put up with less shit than I have done simply to have the illusion of security.

I say this not to whine so much as inform of life beyond Facebook “everything is awesome” facade. I’m not trying to say, poor pitiful me here. I’m just saying, for someone who’s supposedly done everything right, the way they asked me to, how worrisome it must be fore those making supposed “wrong decisions.” Then again, maybe they are better off. I guess, I’ll soon see.

I hope the new title of my overall blog is coming more into focus for you.

While I’m harping on society’s attempted usefulness, let’s address some of its trite acts to fumble at control. These days there are rules for our rules, which leads to contradictory and maddening “thought” processes. Cafeteria at school offers $0.99 refills when you buy one of their cups for $3.00. Savvy. But bring in your own cup and not only are you charged full price, but you are told you have to use their Styrofoam Earth-hatred cups because of “health reasons.”****Logic fail. And it’s rules like these that I have to pass on to my students as well. Further educating and perpetuating an acceptance of madness and adherence to policy and procedure rather than free, rational thought. Granted, some people need the guidance that rules bring: see Darwin Award Winners. But some of it is just power play, and reinforcement of authority or monetary ties.

The other more mundane news, whose only real worth in mentioning is life irony, is that there’s been another bout of Ex Re-Flux. The universe has determined I’m going to have to interact with every Ex in some form of fashion this month. Two have contacted me on their own volition via Facebook to subtly (not really) indicate interest. (By the way, an ambiguous Facebook relationship status is not license to move in on a gal.) Another Ex came seeking help in my classroom today. And who knows what others will resurface in the small town shuffle, rising like corpses you’d though were good and buried. Well…not that dramatic, but in the spirit of Halloween…there it is. It’s also of interest to recall how many people I actually have dated. I wonder if its the same way a serial killer feels about their body count…counting up Ex’s that is…um…yeah, we should probably move on to another line of thinking.

To complete this blog of self-righteous sword waving anger, I address the teaser title…Leggings are Not Pants (clearly). I feel like I must bring this up every time the weather cools. As fellow friend and blogger said, “Leggings are nice because there’s a chance that a girl with a nice ass can wear these and everyone wins.” But mostly, because some are bound to make us suffer, leggings are a sadist’s creative thought incarnate. Stretching a cat face or hypno-pattern across your backside is bold. And with no skirt or dress to cover your junk that is wearing all that unforgiving spandex, well, be prepared for stares. All shapes and sizes are beautiful, but spandex is a monster who takes away the mystery of “what lies beneath.” Think it out. Act accordingly. That’s all the educational insight I have on tap for now. ++++

-Anna RK

*****Saying this, I know that one of my subscribers has ties to this cafeteria and its management. I mean no disrespect by illuminating a policy I find less than intelligent. Please don’t unsubscribe. ;)

++++Like and/or subscribe to help me investigate the next topic for blogging: can nihilists ever really find job satisfaction?

Go Home, You’re Drunk: Book Review on “The Wet and the Dry: A Drinker’s Journey.”

I’m an avid reader. But I think a lot of people say that. What I mean by saying I’m an avid reader is that I read about one 200-500 page book every two weeks. This, like anything else, can cause a brain burn out of sorts, creating times where I just don’t feel like reading anything at all for awhile and/or feel like I need a real page turner to break up the moderately interesting fiction I may be working through. I try to alleviate this tendency by alternating my reads between fiction and non-fiction work.

All this is to say that the last two books I have read, left me flat on drawing enjoyment or intelligence out of their pages.

I got pretty much what I expected to get out of reading Dean Koontz’s latest publication, “Innocence” (2013). I soldiered through about 100 pages of the work to find each chapter irritating me more and more with the “…this character looked around a corner and you won’t believe what happens next” kind of writing style that I thought was only painfully apparent in the Internet journalism world. When it was reveled that the co-protagonist’s father was killed by poisoned honey from his hobby in beekeeping, I knew it was time to move on.

And so I took a chance on a non-fiction selection of travel essays by Lawrence Osborne called “The Wet and the Dry: A Drinker’s Journey.” I selected this work from the BloggingforBooks Web site (and received the book free of charge for anyone who is wondering) because I enjoy learning about the history of items I encounter in my every day, and I am fascinated with drug culture and its history. Alcohol isn’t exactly what people would bring to mind when they consider “Drugs,” but it is of the same mind-altering family, although more socially acceptable than relatives like marijuana or absinthe.

I was expecting a history of alcohol and drinking in the US as well as worldwide. The description that led me to believe this was thus: “Drinking alcohol: a beloved tradition, a dangerous addiction, even a “sickness of the soul”…IN his wide-ranging travels, Lawrence Osborne–a veritable connoisseur himself—has witnessed opposing views on alcohol across cultures worldwide, compelling him to wonder: is drinking alcohol a sign of civilization and sanity, or the very reverse? Where do societies fall on the spectrum between indulgence and restraint?”

What I got instead from this work was a rambling sort of narrative from someone who enjoys drinking and telling stories about how, when, and where he drinks. It was like meeting a businessman in a bar who wanted to chat you up with all the impressive places he’s had drinks. I was drinking my soda water and mouthing to myself, “…and I care…why?”

Perhaps someone who is more into drink and more of a interest in Middle Eastern culture will enjoy this read more. For me, the work felt waterlogged. The author inserts himself in such an indirect way that I can’t even be bothered to wonder about his personality and if it’s an interesting one or not. There’s no character to follow here. I did enjoy the facts about certain alcohol production methods, drink concoctions, and little factoids. Yet, these were so few and far between that my interest wasn’t held enough to stick with the work.

Bottom line: If you are looking to hear an account of what it’s like to go from wet (drinking like a fish) to dry (stone cold sober), best do your own research, make some memories, and skip this read.

Wanna win something?

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Disarm by Erica Tuggle

Disarm

by Erica Tuggle

Giveaway ends November 01, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

In honor of my favorite month, I’d like you to enter my GoodReads giveaway to recieve a copy of my first book, Disarm. Happy Reading!

Dearest Peter: A Letter from Wendy Darling to her darling Pan

I love love love metaphors, and metaphors that incorporate fables, mythos or already beloved characters is a bonus. And so I originally wrote this as a writing exercise/what-if situation. It grew wings and flew away from me a little bit, but I wanted to share.

Dearest Peter,

Your Wendy Darling here, waiting patiently at the windowsill again on another sleepless night. Still bewitched by your shadow, although even he hasn’t been around to amuse me lately as summer moons shine bright and then give way to the autumn chill that creeps in a little bit more each day. I tick them off on a calendar on the nursery wall, and cannot believe I’ve still got another month before the real chill settles in.

Tell me Pan, do you really mean it when you say you’ll never grow up? Do you believe it like you believe in pixie dust? I guess that works because it has given you wings of a sort after all. But why, Peter, why don’t you want to grow old with me? Is being a lost boy ringleader such a nom de plume that it bests disillusionment?

Do you remember when we sat by the lake? We shared reality for that instance at least. You took my hand and made such promises. I want to believe in your dreams, Pete, but you’ve never asked me mine. Wendy Darling had so many dreams other than a boy in tights at her bedside, and these dreams didn’t fly away when my feet left the ground to follow you. We make great friends but now you’re asking me to be a mother to your brood. I don’t know that skill. I never learned it somehow.

I see dark clouds on the horizon, the blackest, heaviest clouds I’ve ever seen. Can any ship, even a flying one, get through clouds such as these? What lies ahead troubles me and scares me, because I cannot predict where you will be, nor even my own whereabouts. Especially when you disappear to Neverland for days on end, and I’m left to wonder if perhaps you were only a product of wild imaginings.

You’ve been fighting Hook for so long. This man has left such scars on you. I’m amazed you can laugh at all, facing him so incessantly as you do. My heart is a pixie in a jar because I can see you flying away from me and I’ve forgotten how to rise against the air myself. Where did the magic go? There was a time you’d have reached for my hand and shown me how. I wanted to stay with you in Neverland, but the children back home need me. Besides, we both know Hook is not my pirate to fight; no enemy to me. Take care, Pan, he will kill you if he gets half a chance.

Oh Peter, I’m just not sure what to say when we meet again (And meet we shall, because the world has proven itself to be a small one after all). Will you even know me after I’ve aged and you’ve retained such nubile young grace? John and Michael and all the other boys are no comfort to me. I’m still holding on to the fantasy you promised.

Thirty seems awful far away and yet it’s no further than any of the other stars I see across this night sky. When I’m a tri-decade, will you roost awhile and entertain notions of sleeping a full night and waking with me in the same bed? What do married folk do anyway? Mother and father never could give me illustration on such matters. The term quality time seems cluttered and obtuse. I can’t seem to hold a clunky idea like it too long in these lily white hands. Will we fly like we used to or only have someone there to reminisce the sensation being aloft gave us each in our turn? Or would our union only produce little Pans that will quietly go into dark Neverland and not return again? Youth swallows some whole.

Dearest Peter, these are things Wendy Darling wants to know. But I’m used to your absence by now, and know I’ll perhaps never know that much of you. Just know, it does not decrease your mythos for me. But, I think too, perhaps it is time for one of us to grow up.

Love always,

Wendy

(Thoughts? Comments? Please do share.)

Just My Typo is one writers can laugh at while looking over their own manuscripts

Just My Typo: From “Sinning with the Choir” to “The Untied States” Compiled by Drummond Moir

I decided to read this little book as a break from a massive tomb on evolution that I’m slogging through. This delightful piece of brain candy was what I needed to break up the pain my mind was feeling from trying to process natural selection repercussions that are generally quite bleak.

Just My Typo: From “Sinning with the Choir” to “The Untied States” is a collection of English misses and gaffes compiled by long-time editor Drummond Moir. Since most of these mistakes printed in the book are headlines, titles, and other short instances, this book only took me about a day and a half to read.

This book contains errors that will delight English majors and really hit home with my fellow journalists. In every chapter, there are featured typos called “When Typesetters Lose it” that hit home with those of us in print that sometimes substitute a random non-sensical letter block for words we intend to fill in later. Forgetting to go back and actually replace logical speech for “asdfjkl;” causes laughable errors as showcased by this feature in every chapter.

The book highlights typos in every field, displaying them in such a way that makes for a fun exercise to spot the error in each block of text. The chapters include typos in literature, media, historical and political significance, abroad, food related, legal, and typos that have actually cost a pretty penny to rectify. One such example is a real doozy, that occurred in 1962 when a missed hyphen resulted in NASA’s Mariner 1 being sent into the ocean rather than its intended destination of Venus. Ouch.

One other particularly enjoyable chapter is “Autocorrect Dysphoria: The Future of the Typo.” We are all aware of how autocorrect can completely change what we mean to say with its supposedly well-meaning suggestions. This chapter provides some real laugh out loud instances of this relatively new phenomenon in English troubles. Fair warning, most of the errors here and in the rest of the book are amusing to those with only the most refined sense of potty humor. For example, the most common of all typos seems to be the missing ‘l” from “public” that instantly turns any sentence it contains into something of quite a different meaning. The Autocorrect chapter is followed by the charming chapter on typos from children. These two chapters alone make for a good excuse to pick this book up.

There may not be a lot of substance to this book, but it is amusing and provided a much appreciated laugh in every chapter as well as a reminder to all readers and writers to be conscientious in their proofing.

I received “Just My Typo” by Drummond Moir as a complimentary review copy from the Web site Blogging for Books. All opinions and statements in the review above are my own.