Monthly Archives: September 2011

3 Reasons Why I Hate Email Forwards*

Or, 3 Reasons Why I Often Wish for the Magical Power to Reach Through the Internet and Smack the Person on the Other End*

1. Forwards are offensive in appearance.

First of all, the grammar is usually awful. Misspellings, improperly placed apostrophes, incorrect use of “your” and “you’re,” excessive exclamation points–I’m developing a twitch just thinking about it. On top of this, forwards are invariably written in nightmarish fonts. All caps Comic Sans in bolded red? Really?

2. Forwards are logically and factually unsound.

Most forwards I receive are political in nature, and generally contain spurious “facts,” unsupported claims, and poorly structured arguments–all expressed in shitty writing. Even the ones that aren’t politically motivated (like the “don’t wear a ponytail or rapists will target you” variety) have no basis in actual fact or even common sense. And yet they are swallowed whole by unthinking masses and forwarded about as gospel truth. The absence of critical thinking in writing or unquestionably believing this toxic rubbish is most distressing. No one thinks to consult Snopes.com to determine whether these emails have any real validity–oh no, just go ahead and push that “SEND” button and never consider that you might be giving me an electronic poke in the eye.

3. Forwards are deliberately malicious.

Political forwards nearly always have disturbing undercurrents of bigotry and prejudice. The religious variations use guilt and superstition to exploit readers’ insecurities (If you forward this to 20 people, God will bless you! If you don’t, you are clearly ashamed of Jesus!). Others which purport to warn you against some danger (rapists, terrorists, bird flu) generate needless fear and paranoia. Really, this is the true reason I despise forwards–they are clearly intended to manipulate and agitate readers under the guise of helpful information or encouragement.

*This post does NOT apply to email forwards whose main content comprises cute pictures of animals, which are always welcome in my inbox.

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4 Reasons Why I Can’t Have Drapes or House Plants

Or, 4 Reasons Why I Feel Less Cranky and Depressed on Crappy Days Like Today Than I Might Otherwise

1. Cricket

 Cricket/

2. Turkey

3. Piglet

4. Monkey


 

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5 Reasons Why “How to Train Your Dragon” is a Near-Perfect Movie

Or, 5 Reasons Why I Will Obsessively and Repeatedly Watch How To Train Your Dragon Until My Husband Hates Me

1. The art is addictively gorgeous (thus the multiple viewings).

The filmmakers chose a story ripe with visual interest. A lonely island surrounded by sea and sky, scaly dragons, Vikings in long ships…what more could an artist wish for? The animation is superb in terms of quality, but more than that, it’s brimming with imagination, beauty, and power. The expressive face of Toothless, the dizzy flights, the pee-your-pants terrifying uber-dragon, and the final fiery battle in the clouds all give me thrills.

2. The music makes me want to a) do a jig, b) heft a battle-axe, or c) weep into my Slanket.

The score generally sticks to strings and drums–appropriate to the austere feel and historical roots of the movie. The Celtic-inspired melodies are perfect, whether the mood is poignant or stirring or scary.

3. Unlike some children’s movies, HTTYD doesn’t sugarcoat stuff. [*spoiler-ish alert*]

Sometimes, in the course of protecting your Viking clan from a monstrous prehistoric dragon king, you may lose a limb. This teaches us that life often brings hardship, injury, and misfortune. Not much you can do about it except carry on (see Item 4).

4. The film promotes good moral values for the kiddies.

These include compassionate treatment of animals, respect for differences among people, commitment to personal principles, and courage in the face of criticism, danger, and personal loss.

5. The story is just GOOD.

Making sure your movie has a good story isn’t simple–even if you’re adapting it from an existing story which is good in its own right. The process involves a lot of teamwork between screenwriters, editors, producers, designers, musicians, etc., as well as lot of intangible qualities like humor, perspective, character development, timing, and so forth. HTTYD hits the nail on the proverbial head on all counts.

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