Cereal Comma

People are passionate about the serial comma one way or another. I’ve witnessed the most hyperbolic exchanges around that particular usage of the comma. I will use whatever convention the recipient has requested (APA 7th Ed, sure. AP Style, okay, let’s not). However, I refuse to call that piece of punctuation an “Oxford comma” because that’s some snobby, ethnocentric bull malarkey. I also refuse to accept the use or abstinence from the serial comma as “correct.” Like, why follow some tweed-wearing grammar dweeb? Do your own thing.

misty oblong bowl of corn flakes set on a ledge overlooking a fantasy kingdom,

This image doesn’t make any sense to me either. The artwork was created with the help of Artificial Intelligence using the phrase “cereal comma.” Create your own AI-generated artworks using NightCafe Creator.

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Yearbook Ruined Senior Year

I was thrilled to be the yearbook editor my senior year of high school, class of ’89, but it turned to total crap. Fortunately, watching my dad have my back rocked my senior year. Since then, I’ve lost sleep remembering regrettable yearbook signings. Thinking back, I understand where the snark came from and how to differentiate the hateful from the … nah, it’s all hateful.

Girl with long hair in profile in front of a school building with a man ominously perched on the roof

This photo was sent to me over Twitter as my 30th high school reunion approached. If you took it, let me know so I can credit you for my multitude of readers.

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RebL Books

Freedom to Read ‘Em, 2022 Edition

On crisp autumn Friday nights in my collegiate hometown, visiting teams in the late 1980s who made strong plays against the Norman High School Tiger football team might hear “We have more National Merit Scholars than you do!” Maybe our team didn’t win every football game, but we were sure proud of our academic success. Of the six teachers I had my junior year, four held doctorate degrees. The two who didn’t were the yearbook advisor and the history teacher. Feeding straight into stereotypes, the history teacher was among the football coaches.

These days, Norman has two high schools. I presume football is still important to both the Tigers and whoever prances around in green on a campus haunted by spirits of Longfellow Middle School past. I am sure that residents of Norman will say academics are still important, but it’s hard to believe that they have the same level of support as back in the day when the town had never voted down a bond for education.

My English teachers had us read the classics, which consisted of nearly all the banned and challenged books of last century. With a few exceptions, these were books about white people written by white men. These offensive texts typically exposed us to profanity or religion or socialism/communism. My teachers didn’t seek banned and challenged books, but we students sure did! Thank goodness I wasn’t a teen mom. I would have named my kid Holden, and lord knows this planet has enough phonies in it.

A poorly drawn portrait of the main character from The Catcher In The Rye with the text Book Hate: I'm holden' Caulfield responsible for every phony I dated.

A RebL classic post from a platform lost to social media history.

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RebL Books

Book Review: The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera

Girl with eyes closed, half in light and half in dark, with iconography all around her including cactus flowers, a spaceship, moons, and fauna.Había una vez there was a hard-working Student Library Aide who was tasked with processing books. She did not identify as a reader, and so she could handle large numbers of books without temptation–until The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera caught her eye. Did her supervisor look the other way as this book trailed the student worker through her assigned duties at the front desk, while training new co-workers and as she prepped for her eventual departure upon graduation? Yes, I did. I did because I also read The Last Cuentista and know how transportive the story is. Continue reading

RebL Books

Book Review: Lost Soul, Be at Peace

Lost Soul Be at Peace by Maggie ThrashMy inner black-clad, post-punk RebL soul is totally delighted that Maggie Thrash juxtaposes her memoir with one of Shakespeare’s ghost stories in Lost Soul, Be at Peace. And like angsty Hamlet, Thrash confronts her family’s past where many of us dare not tread. This graphic novel depicts all my teenage angst, though my angst had different origins than Maggie’s. The dark, moody tone reflects what many young people feel—including Hamlet. Continue reading

RebL Books

Book Review: Jabari Jumps

Book Review: Jabari JumpsJabari is every child who has made a frighteningly ambitious goal. Jabari will leap off the high dive, definitely, at some point. He prepared for this moment by taking swim lessons and passing his swim test. While it looks easy from afar, it takes guts to face the big moment and Jabari casually puts the task off until he is ready. He stretches, he observes successful jumpers, and he even makes a test run up (and back down) the ladder. Dad recognizes Jabari’s need to do things in his own time and gently provides the support required for Jabari to summon the courage to make a big leap.
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RebL Books

Book Review: The Antiques

The Antiques by Kris D'AgostinoI don’t know much about hurricanes but as an Oklahoman I know all about tornadoes. Hurricanes and tornadoes are swirly, destructive storms caused by unstable atmospheric conditions, and so I can extrapolate how a hurricane might be like family. I have one of those, too! And thus, I understand the Westfall family’s dysfunction in Kris D’Agostino’s The Antiques.
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Dad Beat Reporter

The edge of his stiff, leather-soled wingtips puts just enough pressure on the coagulating puddle that the skin bursts and a tablespoon or so of blood spills past the membrane levy and under his shoe. This is enough so that when he shifts his weight, his shoe slips in the moisture. For that millisecond, he loses his center. Once the friction from the dry floor boards catches him, he checks to see if anyone noticed. Whether the assembled group of cops, detectives, coroners or whomever saw, they don’t say a word to the reporter barely out of his teens.

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