28 September 2011

+JMJ+

Poems Both Greasy and Graceful


Those who have been checking this blog faithfully (because you're awesome like that) know that this post wasn't here last Wednesday.

What happened was that I actually looked at the calendar and realised that I wouldn't have a 35 September to fall back on if I didn't start posting the poems I promised this week. =P

Besides, it just came to my attention that I now owe three four poems!

Keep checking back as I post them one by one . . . UPDATE: Bat's poem is done! Two more to go . . . UPDATE: So is Stilwell's! (Sort of!) One more to go . . . UPDATE: And it only took over a year, but now I'm done with Antiaphrodite's too! =)

25 September 2011

+JMJ+

Not the N-word

My grandmother is a mestiza, or the Philippines' version of a Creole, and all her childhood, she was accustomed to being the most light-skinned girl in the room. It all changed when she took a trip to Spain in the late 1940s. She was exotically dark even to the olive-skinned Sevillians, and young men would come on to her by addressing her as "Negra."

I remember sharing that anecdote with some of my students, whose horrified reactions showed they had missed the context entirely. It wasn't really their fault, the young things. These days, the nice description for a dark-skinned girl as morena . . . which isn't much of a compliment, as the modern beauty craze is the perfect skin lightening moisturiser. =P

Then there are the odd generational factors . . . Young men are just not as forward with girls as their fathers used to be (I blame the feminists who never got hit on and don't want the rest of us to get hit on either) . . . and it's worth wondering whether exposure to US pop culture has given Filipinos an acquired aversion to the "n-word."

Now, I'm not a big fan of shaming language. I know how powerful words can be, how effective they are in both building up and knocking down, and think that we'd be better communicators (both speakers and listeners) if we understood this. I also think that the best communicators combine this fine sensitivity with skin thick enough to repel bullets.

3 WordsThat Sound Racist but Really Aren't

18 September 2011

+JMJ+

Blogging by the Numbers

According to everyone who has read a source I'll never be able to cite, it takes 21 days to form a habit. Applications of this include not giving up on your diet or your fast before the twenty-first day--because after you get over that hump, you won't just last 40 days (if you take my meaning), but be able to keep going for as long as you like.

I'm sure this applies to blogging, too. I told myself that as long as I didn't abandon Shredded Cheddar for longer than twenty-one days at a time, I'd always come back to it.

This totally slipped my mind when I decided to take a 31 day break from Locus Focus.

14 September 2011

+JMJ+

Grace is the Word


See what I did there, Frankie Valli?

Regular readers of Shredded Cheddar know that updates have been a bit slow lately. I'm sorry about that and will try to resume regular posting soon. I'm especially sorry to those who were looking forward to a September round of Word & Question.

Let me try to make some lemonade out of this with a Grace/Grease Month . . .

11 September 2011

+JMJ+

Reading Diary: A Planet Full of Doofuses by Bob Wallace

This book is a mish mash. But then, the inside of my head is sometimes a mish mash (I occasionally say, "Now where was I going with this . . . ?")

There is some humor here, specifically satire; some little plays, some fiction, some serious stuff. There's even a cartoon. If you like all of it, or some of it, that's good. If you don't and instead froth and get outraged (and I've seen a lot of that) . . . well, I can’t please everyone. Not that I want to.

A word . . . about where the ideas for these articles came from. I don't know. They just popped in my head, sometimes whole. Sometimes they seem to write themselves. It’s mystifying.

I hope you enjoy reading them. I enjoyed writing them. Well, mostly.


I "met" Bob Wallace almost eleven years ago, when I e-mailed him about something he had written that I didn't agree with. Today, there are few things he has written in which I can't find something to agree with. Take one of his articles (not included in this anthology, unfortunately) with his thoughts on education, in which he says . . .