Friday, November 22, 2013


 Hey, when I write, I don't use smileys,  emotions, text words or symbols, or [emotions]
like :-(.
I say YOU, not U, and "thank you," not TY. If something is funny I say "that's funny," not LOL.

I like words and enjoy creating sentences. I don't think in 140 character sentences -- mine have rhythm -- the rhythm conveys feeling. Shakespeare does it with iambic pentameter -- (sample). But, soft! what light through yonder window breaks? ("Romeo and Juliet," or this, which suits my mood today, from "Richard III," -- Now is the winter of our discontent.

Hey, I avoid four letter words even if I'm angry. I don't think they help to emphasize passion, conviction, or anguish, and I seriously dislike abbreviations. When I read the latest news, I need to retain the title -- like will the NRA do something about guns? The National Rifle Association is killing us, according to what I learn on C|NET (while I'm wondering what does the "C:" stands for?)

I recently read an article by Katy Steinmetz in my Time Magazine. It's about tweet talk messing up language today. Since I get tons of email with emoticons, smileys, and net lingo, I Googled the subject and read opinions from accredited guys -- John Whorter, associate professor of English and comparative literature at Columbia University, author of "What Language Is (and What It Isn't and What It Could Be," -- Carnegie Mellon Professor of Language Technologies, Noah Smith, who designs algorithms for automated analysis of human language, -- also, Jacob Epstein, computation linguist at George tech.

These educated chaps say text language is affecting, changing language today.

I think it's a viral infection. Text lingo like LOL -- I see laughing out loud every day, like IMA that serves as a subject, verb, and preposition to convey I am going to, like IKR means I really know. It bugs me, that my way of communicating is getting obsolescent.

And OMG, I read about a fascinating new language, N'KO -- it's a language app that is already helping various languages to use texting language. N'KO is gathering the terms, translating them for non English countries, so they can utilize and understand tweet/text language.

It reminds me of the days when I spoke Pig Latin. I figure kids nowadays, like me back then, want a special way of talking that befuddles the older folks and keeps the kids from being understood by adults. 

Anyhow, Googling, I learned there are 500 million messages and  more than 200 million daily twitter-users using hashtags, emoticons, links, even geotags that reveal their location.

I learned that older tweeters tend to use emoticons with noses -- :-) instead of :) -- youthful "no nose" tweeters (the nose is the dash before the parenthesis), tend to use more swear words -- young tweeters are more apt to type everything in capitals, and use expressive lengthening, like writing niiiiiiice instead of "nice."

"Language is really a window into people's sense of personal identity," Jacob Eisenstein, the Georgia Tech guy said.
       "I see that things you think you understand, you don't really understand, like LOL. It doesn’t actually mean laughing out loud in a literal sense. It's subtler-sophisticated -- it's used even when nothing is remotely amusing -- a friend texts 'Where have you been?' and her pal texts back 'LOL at the library studying for two hours.' LOL implies empathy between the texters, sort of creating a sense of equality -- Instead of having a literal meaning, it's conveying an attitude." .

OMG, IRK -- YOU probably want to know all the latest, newest text terms! Okay, okay, here's the link to a guide to tweet language.

I am not L o L-ing--this stuff really irks me.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013


Nancy Gibbs is the new managing editor of Time Magazine.

She doesn't look very special, but I skim-read Time, use it as a what's going on the world barometer -- Gibbs replaced Richard Stengel who seemed to have a penchant for focusing the magazine on money-making opportunities and male versus female issues.

Gibbs, since 1988, has written more than 150 articles for the magazine. I've read --not all of them --  but a lot of them.

Her biography doesn't say much about her.  No matter where I search, it is almost identical, and brief.

She was born January 25, 1960, in Westchester NY; (nothing about her childhood); her education --Yale University, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1982; Oxford University, M.A.,1984. She joined Time in 1985 as a part-time fact checker in the international section. She became a writer in 1988. In 1992, at age 32, she married 34-year old Wait May, a fellow editor on the magazine. (I had to dig to learn his name and confirm he's still an editor). Gibbs retained her maiden name. They have two daughters, and live in Westchester, NY.  She is a former elder and deacon of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in New York City.

Interestingly -- Nancy Gibbs' awards and recognition are detailed.

National Magazine Award in 2002. The Chicago Tribune named her one of the 10 best magazine writers in the country in 2003; her articles are included in the Princeton Anthology of Writing, Best American Crime Writing 2004, and Best American Political Writing 2005. she's listed in Time Magazine's "85 years of Great Writing." Gibbs has been a frequent guest on radio and television talk shows, including the "Today Show," Good Morning America, Charlie Rose, and a guest essayist on the "NewsHour with Jim Lehrer."

What knocks me out, amazes me about this writer, are the subjects she's tackled:

"A Pilgrim’s Progress,” (Time, April 11, 2005 -- the Pope’s passing.)
“D-Day 60th Anniversary: The Greatest Day,” (May 31, 2004.)
“Seven Astronauts, One Fate,” (Feb. 10, 2003 -- Columbia space shuttle disaster.)
“What a Difference a Year Makes,” (Sept. 9, 2002:-- the 9/11 terrorist attacks.)
“Life Along the Mississippi,” (July 10, 2000.)

She's written “Best Investment” to Fight Poverty" -- what females are doing now, "The Art of Letting Go," about one's children growing up, written about Romney, Carl Rove, Harry Potter, the Columbine School Murders, Billy Graham, depression, SAT exams, kids going to summer camp -- many other  prosaic ordinary things as well as major events of each year since she started working for Time.

It's fascinating -- that she doesn't reveal personal details about herself, but we certainly get a sense of who she really is, as we read her articles.

I love her titles, topics, her easy going style -- am enriched by her unpretentious, down-to- earth observations -- what Gibbs likes or dislikes coincides with my own feelings.

What she does as a writer is telling me to keep talk-writing about what makes sense to me, what I see and feel -- giving me confidence that if it makes sense to me, if it's important to me, it will make sense and be important to a goodly number of others.

A kindred spirit she is. Wow, thank you Nancy Gibbs.

  I am including this Katy Couric interview because it reveals more about the more of the stories Nancy has written.

Monday, November 18, 2013



Miley Cyrus said those words after her latest video, "We Can't Stop," was released in June, and panned by most of the critics.

In case you don't know who Miley Cyrus is -- she was on the Disney Channel, an enormous hit as a 15-year-old pretending to be Hannah Montana, a pop singer celebrity.

When I wrote about Miley in 2011, after she won a huge award, I included a film clip of her with a couple of fans. The way she said "duh" and "awesome" -- her tone of voice -- it rings in my mind. unpleasantly.

... Fame, fame  -- like rain, rain go away, come back again another day ...

Time marches on, but it doesn't march these days in 4/4 time. In the digital, super-tech world of now, it ticks away too fast to count.

After wining more than 79 awards, ranked number 13 on Forbes "Celebrity 100," listed in "Guinness World Records," Miley Cyrus has nine top 10 hits, and offers from the top major agencies who are anxious to handle her, so quite logically, Miley is focused on being a number oner, in the club with Lady Gaga, Britney, and Madonna.

The press agent who helped Britney, after her breakdown, recover her fame and glory, is now working for Miley.

What we've got right now is Miley making a sensation at the recent MTV 2013 awards -- we've got Miley's tongue -- Miley twerking -- Miley wearing a phallic glove with an huge finger at her crotch, on her crotch on someone else's crotch. (Twerking is bending over, wiggling, jiggling your butt.)

Hey, I remember shocking, embarrassing doings by Gaga, Britney, and Madonna. Britney had the paparazzi following her into the bathroom; Gaga, with her not great dancing and not great voice, has worn stupendously outrageous outfits; Madonna obscenely sucked coke bottles, and continues to make sure we know with whom she's sleeping.

If you haven't seen "We Can't Stop," take a look. I don't think it does much for Miley's talent quotient, but Parade Magazine predicts she'll be a billionaire by next year.

I saw Miley perform just the other day on the "Ellen Show." Watching it, though her hair is cut and she's wearing an edgy outfit, I still see the same pretty girl who said "duh" and "awesome" to her fans.

Hey, maybe, when she's heading over the hill to the advanced age of 25, she'll mellow and be ready to join the Gaga-Britney-Madonna club. Right now, I think she too busy trying to be famous

... fame, fame, like a flame, feed it, fan it -- your name ignites....

Here is Miley with Ellen.
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