Friday, April 21, 2006

Misc. Ramblings

We got about two hours worth of heavy rain last night, courtesy of a thunderstorm that moved through the area beginning around 4:30 yesterday afternoon. The rain was welcome and needed. There was one little side-effect of that storm that ruined my whole evening, however. I lost my internet connection about ten minutes into the storm and didn’t get it back for nearly 14 hours. I suppose it’s a sad, sad statement about my so-called “life,” but I was absolutely, positively lost without my ‘net connection last evening. I did get somewhat caught up on my other reading, though. That stack of unread NatGeos went down considerably last night.

Miscellaneous Moans, Groans, Bitches, and Complaints Dept: It’s time to resurrect the Grumpy Old Man persona after two days of sweetness and light aimed at the eight-year-old demographic. Here, in no particular order of precedence, are three carbuncles on the surface of my world:

  1. I don’t know how to express my irritation about this without coming off like a complete bigot, but I’ll give it a shot. We all know radio and TV announcers have a sort of “universal” voice. Even here in the Southwest, where nearly everyone has either (a) a regional twang and slower pace of diction or (b) a Hispanic accent, all the TV personalities seem to have had their regional accents bred out of them. There seems to be one teeny-tiny exception, and that exception irritates the Hades out of me. Carla Aragón (note the accented “ó”) is the evening news anchor at KOB-TV in Albuquerque and as such is a qualified and competent individual. However, whenever her name is mentioned, say on a promo for the evening news, the announcers use a highly exaggerated Hispanic pronunciation that comes off as affected, if not outright freakin’ stupid. Ms. Aragón uses this affected pronunciation herself when she introduces herself every evening. No announcer uses an affected pronunciation for other ethnic groups, such as a false brogue for someone named O'Callaghan or a Yakov Smirnov caricature of Russian diction whenever Vladimir Putin is mentioned. And to make matters worse, Ms. Aragón’s delivery and elocution when reading the news is straight middle-American bland (which is to say: no accent at all), except where Hispanic surnames are concerned, and then it’s that same exaggerated accent…every freakin’ time. I have no issue at all with accents in general (regional or otherwise) and wish we didn’t have “voice and diction” classes that breed accents out of our TV personalities. I do have issues with affectation. Stop it, Carla.

  2. Information Technology (IT) guys (and gals) aren’t all irritating, know-it-all idiots but that seems to be the stereotype. And these disagreeable commercials for IT supplier CDW reinforce the stereotype, in spades. The ads aren’t cute and they ain’t funny. They’re obnoxious. I’ll be glad when CDW changes their ad campaign, but it looks like it may be a while. I mean, they seem to be proud enough of the ads that they have a separate web page devoted to them. Perhaps the stereotype rings a bell with people (“Yes! Our IT guy is just like that!!”), but not with me. But then again, I was an IT guy…

  3. The Geico gecko, in his new incarnation. I liked him a lot better when he was mute, that is, before he began speaking in that ersatz Aussie accent. That “free pie and chips” bit makes me climb the walls. Geico’s other ads, like the “Caveman” and “Spelling Bee” ads, are generally creative and funny (examples here), but the (talking) gecko? Irritating. Scream-at-the-TV kind of irritating.

Sorry for the bitchy tone, but it happens... yanno?


  1. Well Buck, got a spur in your saddle tonite, huh? BTW, how'd you get that apostrophe above that O? When I write in french or whatever, I cannot figure that out. Also, I'm glad you came back with a club at the anon comment. WTF? I have no idea who ti is but they can keep there yahoo's to themselves. Have a great weekend Buck!

  2. While teaching down on the border, I was expected to call kids by their names - not anglo-ize them. There were some names I just refused to say because the kids would correct me over and over or just belly laugh (fear of getting it wrong when I knew I could do it right). In NM, I had a better accent and understanding of Spanish than my students did. The use it or lose it holds true.

    I was in a club of ladies that were mostly anglos, but a few Spanish (Northern NM). One Hispanic lady said, "our next meeting would be in Arryo Hondo". She said it with such a strong Spanish accent and so fast, that none of the gringas could understand her. I "translated" in my best West Texas Twang with my slowest possible pronunciation. Everyone understood and got a big kick out of my version of the Spanish words.

  3. Barb...that would be "burr under my saddle," right? :-)

    Lou: Most times I don't even try to use the correct Spanish pronunciation. I cannot, for the life of me, roll my Rs or otherwise twist my tongue into positions it normally doesn't go. So I Anglicize the Spanish stuff, most times. I used to get serious kicks and giggles listening to Spanish-language radio out of LA back in the day, simply for the way the announcers would say "Los Angeles." I wish I could figure out a way to type that pronunciation!

  4. I loved making fun of my NM Hispanic friends and their accents. Most of the time they were as twangy as me, but then they would get some bee in their bonnet and revert to their Spanish - sometimes in mid-sentence. I still say things backwards sometimes or in that sing-songy, only-in-Taos accent.

    There was a radio advertisement in McAllen for a flee market. The guy would holler "la grande pulga' - the big flee. It made me laugh.

  5. Buck, why do you insist on showing off? Your leg coulda been stuck and you were wearing spurs, right? OK, so it's been a long time since I rode, MR. Cowboy Buckaroo! Kisses!

  6. I go away and the Grumpy Old Man comes back on the scene... well, I kinda missed it actually. I don't have any comments on the accents thing... except to say I've never heard so many different foreign languages as I did in DC, between people working service jobs and the tourists.


Just be polite... that's all I ask.