Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricamnesia

For some reason, I cannot remember the name of this stupid hurricane. I keep misremembering it as "Hurricane Shirley." Hurricane McSorley. Anything but what it is. I think it's because the Shirleys I can remember are brassy and bold: Shirley Bassey. Shirley Jackson, the Partridge Mom. Fiery Shirley Chisholm. Shirley Manson in hawt pleather. Even Shirley Temple had ambassador-sized balls. Oh, and Shirley Hemphill (1944-99), R.I.P.!, of seventies sitcom What's Happenin!! Those are Shirleys. When I think of Sandys, I think of mousy Sandy from Grease (was there a Hurricane Danny earlier in the season?) or meek Sandy Duncan. Even Sandy Koufax seems shy and retiring for a famous athlete. A sandy is usually such a bland cookie--to me, anyway. A sandy is not a cookie that lives its cookie life "on the edge" like that totally depraved "Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookie." But I'm living with a hurricanephile, who is totally hyped-up and watching every foot Sandy moves on CNN, The Weather Channel and the rest with about the same degree of excitement he usually reserves for Lady Gaga or the cast of Glee. Just now, he yelled excitedly up the stairs, "The house just shook! It shook! Did you feel that?" Someone had just slammed a car door in front of our house. When I pointed this out, he insisted it was a hurricane jolt. Even though the wind is at about three miles per hour right now.

13 comments:

  1. Funny, I keep imagining John Travolta as Danny Zuko forgetting to be cool as he shouts "Sandy!!" when he sees her at Rydell High for the first time (having thought he would never see her again, yadda yadda). The awful thing is, I've been compelled to do my impression of that line several times a day for the last few days. It's a good impression, but still, obnoxious.

    We won't be getting the worst of it here. Used to see much more "action" when I lived in a coastal town. Vividly remember walking outside when the eye of Gloria passed over us. Lost the white pine tree to Gloria, the dogwood to Bob, the top of the red pine to Andrew.

    Is your hurricanephile all hyped up about the low pressure record too? Lowest recorded barometric pressure north of the Carolinas!

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  2. I applaud your impression. I was trying to remember how the song "Sandy" went and felt sooo old because I could not get the memory in my head. I could remember almost every other song but not that one. So I went to YouTube and heard it as though Yma Sumac was singing it and then it all came flooding back and all was well again. I read the comment chain and sure enough everybody was visiting that song because of the hurricane. Lee thought it was so funny when the one news anchor pronounced Norfolk "Norfuck" today, but maybe she's sort of local to that region because I seem to recall them almost pronouncing it that way. But I bet she got her paycheck docked. I remember you're not a coastal town and for some reason when I first starting chatting with you I did. Think that I mean. I remember thinking your town (coastal) was featured in Cider House Rules. Some MA coastal town Von Trier found that was so beautiful. Gorgeously shot for the movie. Charlize Theron stretching out on the beach probably added some lovely sinuous Weston-esque lines. Gloria was wild. I remember sitting on my apartment balcony and watching shit fly all over the place. And then parts of our apartment house roof started joining in. Ugh. I hate losing trees to anything. You're articulating a new sort of dendrochronology, measuring time by loss of trees instead of counting rings. ;-) I didn't know about the barometric record but heard them talking milli-somethings and saw it was getting all the meteorologists' dicks all hard and stuff. So figured it had to be something big lol.

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  3. Oh, I think GLEE is doing or did GREASE too, so that's probably upping the count on GREASE YouTube vids.

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  4. Norfolk is pronounced somewhat like "Norfuck," except with a schwa sound, that unstressed vowel sound with a symbol that looks like an upside-down lower-case e. If you hit that second syllable too hard you fuck it up (har de har har).

    Believe it or not I never noticed. You'd think my Beavis and Butthead detectors would light right up, but no. And I grew up right next to Norfolk County. In Suffolk County, which is pronounced the same way.

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  5. My mom was born there. So I sort of remembered that. My mom never pronounced it that way in her adulthood. She chafed at being made fun of as a young child--because of her southern accent when she came north. So she extinguished all trace of it and I never heard her speak with that lilt. Not even when she was (infrequently) angry. But we revisited her hometown once when I was like nine or ten and then I guess I heard it that way. Or who knows...anywhere else. And I remember when we visited we went on to Virginia Beach and the ocean was wild because of a.....hurricane lol. I loved the waves though.

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    1. I forgot about Virginia. I was thinking of Massachusetts. I believe it's nearly the same in both places, though. "NAW-fk" with either local accent, or "NOR-fk" in Standard American English.

      My mother eliminated her Southern accent, too--thought it sounded uneducated. I once heard a recording of her talking and singing as a little girl (if I remember correctly, there was a booth at the state fair where you could make a 78 rpm record)--boy howdy, did she have a thick drawl!

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  6. I didn't even realize we were talking different states. I think you transliterated the New England accent perfectly, but I hear the Southern (second syllable, obviously) as slightly different. Maybe I'm hallucinating it because I don't even know how to transliterate it. I wonder if Southerners used to think Northern accents sounded unsophisticated? I mean when the South saw itself as the true cradle of culture--the antebellum South. Although I remember reading two books that I think said everything about "that South"--The Plantation Mistress (sociological study not torrid romance) and Caste and Class in a Southern Town. The Plantation Mistress had to be a graceful lady and a slaughterer of hogs by turn. And still she could be ruined by a rumor of a few words and go down the caste chute overnight. All that antebellum pretense--in everything from the architecture to the awful poetry of the South throughout the 19th century (with a few notable exceptions like Poe--but then Poe was more French than he was Northern or Southern lol). I think Poe and Baudelaire were twin brothers born in wombs on the opposite side of the Atlantic. I've always been moved by the love Baudelaire bore for Poe and how he virtually created Poe's European reputation as one of a few American literary geniuses. Like the French are going to acknowledge that many lol. Well, maybe more in the 20th century. But not so much back then. I've been up too long and this is a long, divagating response to your response. But ah...78s...I'm a ghost standing in thrift stores in my mind right now staring at old heavy, rigid 78s...wondering how entire worlds just disappear overnight. I guess the cheapie "everything players" (I have one) you can get at KMART or Wally World still have that setting. Probably a minority. But some do. I love the romantic image of the 78 booth at the state fair. It's lovely to have one's parents' voices recorded whether they're here or gone. Not like they ever really leave our heads if we grew up with them. But still...I had this horrid sinking feeling when my Mom left a message the other day and I deleted it. I thought, "Why the fuck did you delete that, asshole?" Because you never know, ya know?

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    1. That "caste chute" is the reason my mother never knew about her multiracial background.

      Southerners still think Northern accents sound stupid and vice-versa. Yankee-bashing, redneck-bashing. Hm, I wonder what Westerners think of it? I've lived in the North, I've lived in the South, but never anyplace west of the Mississippi.

      Some Southern accents are derived from upper-class English accents. The idea of gentle-folk versus common-folk (even among whites) took far longer to fade out in the South.

      Southern accents are also influenced by African inflections, believe it or not. Visitors from England were slightly horrified by that, based on Colonial-era journals and letters.

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  7. All of what you write is interesting to me, but I found this particularly fascinating and new to me: "Southern accents are also influenced by African inflections, believe it or not. Visitors from England were slightly horrified by that, based on Colonial-era journals and letters."

    That degree of whiteness thing is discussed in the Caste and Class book. Maybe you read it but even if you didn't I'm sure you know the ridiculous distinctions they made with regard to "racial purity" (terms like "octoroon," etc, or the more "colloquial" "high yaller (sp?)). I say "colloquial" tongue-in-cheek because the debased racial "science" and "eugenics" (cough!) are also colloquial nonsense, bullshit--hate screed posing as science. What Gould exposes so beautifully in The Mismeasure of Man. And the places it leads...the Tuskegee "experiments," the concentration camps....

    But the idea of the unspoiled white rose of Souwthern womanhood. The so-called justification for lynchings and the rest.

    Vive Le Mandingo lol!

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    1. Never heard of either book, but it's all fascinating stuff.

      Nowadays racial information can be helpful in making medical diagnoses and prescribing medicine, which opens up another can of worms. Better and cheaper DNA testing may help by boiling all these tendencies down to individual genes and leaving race out of it altogether. Nowadays people are increasingly open about the racial backgrounds their ancestors took pains to hide--sometimes I wonder if the pendulum will swing the other way again and bite us. Except in the far future it could be white ancestry that must be hidden. Ha!

      There are at least three black man/white woman pairings in my family tree--Vive Le Mandingo indeed, LOL!

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  8. I estimate you read about 228 times what I read on a daily basis, btw. But I might be lowballing you lol.

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    1. Not nearly so much, no, but it's mostly non-fiction, so I end up with more factoids. Also I enjoy remembering factoids, so the neurological connections to my brain's Factoid Department are fairly dense--I've retained more of that information, but I've forgotten more useful things like three years of German, playing the piano, how to waltz, because I didn't practice.

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  9. I love factoids! I was thinking last night how you should be teaching at the university level. I mean seriously. You love knowledge in a way less than half of the people in that profession do.

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