’Net Junkie

Shawn "Speedy" Lopes

Like, valspeak lives,
fer shure

How time flies, fer shure. Hard to believe, but it's been 20 years since the "valley girl" phenomenon took the world by storm. It was 1982 when art-rocker Frank Zappa and his 14-year-old daughter Moon Unit (her birthname) immortalized a particularly vacuous order of young women inhabiting Southern California's San Fernando Valley.

In "Valley Girl," one of the unlikeliest top 40 hits ever, the Zappas introduced us to the carefree lifestyle and inventive idiom of the val. It wasn't long before a major motion picture of the same name starring Nicolas Cage grossed $17 million at the box office and words like "grody" and "tubular" became part of the American vernacular.

Two decades later, die-hard vals are trying to keep their language alive. Log onto and see for yourself. Simply type in a Web address in the little window and it translates the text of your chosen site into valley girl talk.

Entering "," unfortunately, will only get you a feeble apology which states -- and I quote: "Like, I'm totally sorry, but like, something is totally bogus. Maybe the geek-page you're trying to look at is totally spazzed."

Try the Los Angeles Daily News Web site ("") instead, the local news source for most computer-literate valley girls still living in the region. The hot topic in the San Fernando Valley area these days seems to be its bid for secession from the city of Los Angeles. League of Women Voters president Cindy O'Connor is quoted in valspeak: "We went through the study with a fine-tooth comb, making like, fer sure it was like, you know, not going to totally have a biased approach," she said.

Richard Close, chairman of Valley Voters Organized Toward Empowerment disagrees.

"This group totally has consistently, even before the research was like, you know, done, been opposed to the Valley becoming a separate city. Like, they're part of the status-quo group."

Here are headlines from publications around the country:

Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Lightning Hits Teen: 'Whoa! Like, Oh My Gawd! Weird!'"

Miami Herald: "Why Children Totally Can't Read."

The Chicago Sun-Times on troubled R&B star R. Kelly: "Inspirational Singer or Perverted Swinger? Like, I am So Sure!"

OK, so like, how majorly tripendicular is this stuff, y'know?

Net Junkie drops every Monday. Contact Shawn "Speedy" Lopes at

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