Monday, May 1, 2000

That Noun Won't Verb

What is the meaning of life? I ask myself that question all the time. And self answers, “Well, you can figure it out, can’t you? There are what, five dictionaries and three thesauri within easy reach, aren’t there? Why don’t you try one?”

Do you see why I’m in therapy? Stupid superego.

But the dictionary doesn’t give the right answer. It says: meaning, n.,
of, prep., life, n. Noun preposition noun. That can’t be.

It has to be noun verb noun. Or noun verbs noun. Or nouns verb nouns.

“See noun verb noun! Verb, noun, verb!” Or “these nouns will verb anything that verbs!”

Yes, that’s getting there.

Meanwhile, while all those nouns are verbing for the sake of perpetuating the meaning of life, I’ve taken up a new way of biding time. In the past when I have had time to waste I always just sat in the corner and cringed. Now I read Schell Mail.

What is Schell Mail? It would be better to ask what are Schell Mail. They are e-mail messages that are sent to more than 4400 subscribers to Mayor Schell’s one-way e-mail distribution list, 61 of them so far.

I’ve been subscribed for several months, ever since an anonymous “friend” told me about it. I think it is wonderful that our elected officials are warming up to the new communications technology, using it to keep lines of communication open to um, our information-hungry citizens who uh, want to know stuff. About local politics and all that.

OK, so I don’t care. But that’s just me. I’m sure there are tons of information-hungry civic-minded citizens out there who just eat up the mayor’s little notes on how we are going to fund this noun verbing that noun, or how we’re going to keep paying for the verbing we are already doing. So check it out:

Do it now! Check out Schell’s picture on the site! Woo-woo! Then read the archives of all previous Schell Mails. It’s better than cringing in the corner!

“Why is Wes promoting Mayor Schell’s web site?” you ask. Good question. The answer lies in the legal tax status of Real Change.

Real Change is about to become a federal nonprofit organization, after having been only a state nonprofit for all these years. “What does that have to do with Schell’s nouns verbing, Wes?” you ask. Right you should. Well! It all hinges on fine legalistic details of IRS regulations that I could learn about in any good prison library, I’m sure. But I can’t make heads or tails of them out here in the sunlight.

All I know is that some of us (“staff”) are going to have to refrain from certain activities that might be considered too “partisan”.

And what could be more partisan than telling you all to get a load of a shot of Mayor Schell grinning at you out of your computer screen like he just cut loose a fluffy?

Seriously, we are all pretty sure around here that I’m not “staff”. For one thing, I’m not paid. For another thing, I’m not ever going to get paid. Not now. Look up “nonprofit” in your favorite dictionary. That noun don’t verb.

In fact the beautiful thing about all this is that it could very well be that round about none of us is staff. Almost none of us get paid around here!

Still, it never hurts to err on the circumspect side, as they say. So if I’m going to ever say something disparaging about a politician, such as to say that G.W.Bush is not smart enough to handle his handlers, for example, I should say it now.

If I am going to distort facts, such as to say that Al Gore is secretly a member of the Flat Earth Society and uses leaded gasoline in his vice-prez-mobile, I should distort those facts now while I still have a clear shot.

If I am going to say something inflammatory, such as “Pat Buchanan, you are no Jesse Ventura…” this is the moment. Our lawyers may hold me back the next time, and it’ll be too late.

Getting back to Schell Mail, I really want to urge everyone to read the archives. Allow me to quote some high points, you’ll see why it’s so great.

From Schell Mail #10 – Pushing for an EZ Grant: “I was reminded, however, that not ALL of DC thinks Seattle is the greatest thing since push-button dialing. My hotel rejected my local credit card. I tried to tell them about our triple A bond rating, but they didn’t go for it.”

A Washington DC, hotel turned down our mayor’s credit card! Wow!

From Schell Mail #15 – The War on Drugs #2 and the Millennium Project: “Wow!”

Our mayor started an e-mail with “Wow!” Ejaculation!