Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours…

Mother-dear’s Christmas loot arrived today.

Stevie Wonder’s Definitive Collection, y’all. Oh, yeah. My first-ever Stevie Wonder CD. I’m so proud.

I can’t even pin down exactly why, but I love his music—the vocals, the melodies, all of it. It comes together to create a cohesive Wonder sound that I can rock to for days.

Hear some of the Stevie Wonder-fulness (just ten tracks I selected). Because I like to share.

Another of the (four new) CDs I can now proudly say is in my collection is The Spooks’ Faster Than You Know. The Spooks have grown up, and I happen to love their sound. They’ve come together so that no one rapper (or Ming) dominates unduly, but each still shows off his or her talent.

That’s saying nothing of the Spooks-esque lyrics, which are always golden, and frequently humorous (as in “Broke”). Their beats have also matured since their debut album, and here they have a distinct advantage over Jurassic 5, in my opinion.

I was thrown off when I heard that too-familiar non-Spooks voice on the first track, though. That dude is everywhere: in Jurassic 5, on Linkin’ Park CDs, and now rhyming with The Spooks. When his solo project comes out in a month or so, I’m all over that like white on rice, because his voice and his rhymes are simply awesome.

Besides, you just gotta love a guy named 2na, you know?

Listen.

So what’s in Paris, Kentucky?

Not much other than some of my extended family, although the view along the way is spectacular—beautiful ice sculptures along I-75, and horses gallore on the (too short) stretch from Lexington to Paris.

I went to visit my auntie Lisa today.

Theoretically, I went to fix her two computers—which are now home with me, as they were both infected with the LSASS Sasser Worm. (Ah, the good M. D. goes to work…) She must have been infected in the spring, because she hasn’t used her computers in several months, according to GoBack logs, and the threat of that worm tapered off in May, it seems. Both computers, though. We’re looking to blame cousin Jordy, because we know what boys do when given Internet connections, yes?

During my little five-hour stay—which was entirely too short—I attempted to coax my auntie into selling (or at least renting) me her second car, a cute little manual transmission Suzuki truck/car thing that they don’t seem to make anymore; I conversed with (read: giggled at) Nana, who just learned that she’s 30 to 40% deaf in both ears (something everyone but her knew), but refuses to get hearing aids out of stubborn pride; and, best of all, spent quality time with the auntie: we chatted about running and school and work and life and drinking (?!?) and computers and family and Deliverance and so many of our common interests but in so not enough depth.

I realized today that if I had a car, I’d be more likely to spend my stressed-out-must-get-away-from-school weekends at her place than with my parents. (In fact, if I had a car, I would begin to have these “stressed-out-must-get-away-from-school weekends”, which I currently do not have and do not plan to let myself have with my current options.) We have this rapport that is very comfortable and comforting, despite our differences in views on social and political matters. That’s not a slam on my parents, because my time home has been enjoyable, but Aunt Lisa and I can talk adult-to-adult—the way I talk with my friends and equals.

I also realized today just how damn country my father’s family is. They were drawing those vowels out like nothing else. I wanted a digital voice-recorder so that I could commit my auntie and my grandmother’s voices and intonations and accents and words to digital medium and be able to point and say, “Look, look! Listen to all the elements of the story she’s telling.”

But the women in my family are notoriously camera and recorder-shy, so all there is is my memory.

I learned that cousin Jordy is doing passably well. He still limps, and may yet lose his leg. Apparently, serious damage was done to the hip socket, and his leg was left out of the socket for some length of time (transit to the hospital plus check-in, maybe?), so there continues to be some fear that additional problems may develop. Unfortunately, auntie Lisa didn’t seem to remember all the good medical words in her overall mother’s concern for her son’s health, but I can hardly blame her. “Son.getCar() == wrappedAroundTree() && Son == hurt()” and later, “Son > dead()” (if that makes any kind of semantic sense) is probably all she cared about.

I didn’t see him, but I did see one of his older brothers, who was looking well-dressed, albeit platinum-mouthed. My response: a hug and a face that clearly expressed, “?!?!”. I don’t quite get the appeal of metal-in-mouth as anything other than a status symbol; when I had a mouth full of metal and couldn’t eat popcorn or lemons, I wanted that shit out, tout de suite.

Aunt Lisa had taken steps to ensure my complete and inevitable downfall, however. She made peanut butter rolls.

These things are basically powdered sugar, butter, and crunchy peanut butter in a roll—a heart-attack and love-handles in log form. But holy hell…

She made one for the immediate family. She made two for me to take back to Rose. They are currently freezing and waiting for their turn to be defrosted and eaten by however many college folks I can foist them on. Good stuff, but holy crap they’re sweet and rich and just too much.

So I shall share the peanut butter lovin’.

I’ve also taken steps to ensure her complete and utter downfall—I still have her computers, and if I am allowed to converse with her for five minutes, we shall converse for hours. Bru-ha-ha!

What I’m reading tonight.

I dipped into the pool of linguistics a bit this past summer, so when I ran across links to Oliver Willis displaying his willful linguistics ignorance (with regards to the acceptance of Ebonics [and American Southern, “hillbilly” etc.] as a genuine language), I had to click and read the entire discussion.

And then I found out he did it again. This time there’s three pages of good back-and-forth, with “Ed from Ohio” and Willis tightly holding onto their original opinions, and three or four other characters tag-teaming in attempts to be helpful.

It’s an interesting discussion (although repetitious in theme), and there are good linguistics-related links interspersed throughout.

The interesting debate (and to me, the only one worth reading for, since the rest is basic sociolinguistics chatter) is the idea that accepting AAVE (see above for the etcs) as a language is “enabling”—that it will induce laziness in learning “standard” American English. That those who speak it must be ignorant to the fact that it takes “standard” American English skills to succeed. That by giving their speech more weight than mere slang (several commenters called AAVE “crap English” or ignorant speech, for instance), we are making it impossible for AAVE-speakers to be successful. That there is one and only one way to speak English in America, and all else is ignorance. That treating the instruction of “standard” English as the instruction of a second language is giving too much weight to “ignorant speech”. That it shouldn’t be necessary to teach Americans (in particular blacks) a second language in a structured ESL setting, because, hell, they’re American and from the same country as the rest of us, right? That—

You know what? Fuck it. I’m not getting my blood pressure up over this tonight.

Starter links below. Follow chains to learn more.

Now take all of that and applyit to American Southern English, New England speech, etc.

And finally: the man who started it all (for me). Cheers.