abused substances.

As a person matures, they will often go through what psychologists term an "experimental phase", where they ingest an array of dubious foreign substances and see if anything interesting happens.

Do psychologists really even think about this stuff anymore? Probably not, and if they do, they surely don't call it an "experimental phase", that's hardly technical-sounding enough. Who knows. Regardless, we here at Vegetarian Duck have been through several of these phases ourselves, and trust me: they can go either way, depending on the substances involved. This time, we're hitting the hard stuff. That's right, processed vegetarian entrees.

Tonight's dose? Cutting edge lab shit, baby...street name: Q.

You thought I kicked that shit? I thought so too. Mostly we had ourselves a scarcity problem...availability dried up, no one was holding, not Albert H., not nobody. Tonight, though, I got my hands on some Quorn Cordon Bleu, but it was weak. It was like the time when you were 13 and you bought that "weed" from a friend's older brother. When you smoked it? Not much happened. You know why? It wasn't weed. It was oregano or catnip or carpet fibers or whatever that bastard of a friend's older brother (correctly) thought he could get away with selling you.

This was kind of like that. Not much happened. It wasn't much like food: no juiciness, not much taste other than salt, not much notable texture other than a dry crumby exterior and a tasteless gooey cheese simulation inside.


Speaking of weed, my month in Arizona reminded me that perhaps marijuana is best enjoyed as a more occasional recreation. Compared to, say, using it to meet the FDA's recommended daily consumption of "leafy greens".

This previous sentence, by the way, illustrates a grammatical point that has been bothering me for some time now without my getting to the bottom of it.

Until now, that is! Basically, I was wondering exactly when and how I became confused about what to do with periods and quotation marks. I'm sure it's not obvious from my writing, but at some point I did know quite a bit about the English language and how to write it properly.

The problem boils down to the logical placement of punctuation marks within or outside of quotation marks. After some research, I'm happy to report that there's a good reason I've been unsure: Americans and Brits do it differently (one helpful explanation here).

Apparently it works like this: everyone agrees that if you're not using a period at the end of a sentence, then the placement of the punctuation mark should reflect the intent of the sentence.


He said to me, "Did you call me a knob shiner?"
I thought to myself: only because MF Doom showed me how to rhyme it with "Rob Reiner"!


If you are using a period at the end of a sentence, then according to the Americans, the period goes inside the quotation marks, regardless of the meaning of the sentence.


Sweating nervously, I decided that my only course of action was to press the little red button labeled "Destroy."


See? The little red button doesn't actually have a period on it, but that's what this sentence implies. The Brits, on the other hand, would put the period outside the quotes, because, well, that's what is actually on the the little red button: "Destroy".

And since this makes more sense to my tiny tiny mind, I started doing it without realizing it. That is, until I found myself stymied at the ends of sentences wondering why I wasn't sure where the period went. I assumed it was just my daily intake of leafy greens that was fucking me up, but no, it's just the Brits again.

Lastly, in annotating the excerpted lyrics below, I came across a term that I hadn't heard for describing a phenomenon that I find simultaneously depressing and fascinating: pseudo-anglicism (though the example I was annotating was actually an example of pseudo-Spanish).


V. Vaughn, the traveling Vaudeville Villain
Who don't give a flying fuck who ain't not feeling him
Watch what ya' dealing him: ace, king, death card
Strong-arm the wrong man, pardon the left guard

Get money and earn it, then everything you touch turns shit
Got much to learn kid, light it up, burn shit
Light it up like a Dutch when the hash melt
Only time they see him is when they need him with the cash belt

Ay carumba, now that's my number
One dry summer, as far as I remember
Burnt out, but gaining every edgy penny
Then he hit him straight to the head like Reggie Denny
Call him back when you need some more 'gnac, Horshack
Doing 80 down the Van Wyck on horseback
Yr man's sick but he wreck tracks, puto
Get back too bro', exactamundo

Viktor the director flip a script like Rob Reiner
The way a lotta dudes rhyme their name should be "knob shiner"
For a buck, they'd likely dance a jig or do the Hucklebuck
To Vik it's no big deal, they're just a buncha knuckle-fucks.

-MF Doom as Viktor Vaughn, "Vaudeville Villain"


No comments: