He Said – She….Mumbled

Grammar Text

PENDARVIS’ THEOREM OF WHY THINGS WENT WRONG
It’s only a little bit off

As an OCD Word Nazi, I appreciate precision in all things, but especially in written and spoken English usage. I used to delight in watching the British comic, Benny Hill, not merely because he was a king of slapstick comedy, but because of his consummate control of language while doing it.

He also showed his dedication to linguistic precision with lines like, “When he said he was bent on seeing her, he meant he was bent on seeing her, not that the sight of her doubled him up.”  He complained that he had a bent wood chair in his dressing room; not a Bentwood chair, but a bent, wood chair, because of the damp in the basement.

A character with a funny accent could refer to the crime of man’s laughter, instead of manslaughter.  A skit might show an incorrectly hung sign for

Doctor Johnson, The
rapist

when it was really Doctor Johnson, Therapist.

I once had an aunt who was the epitome of imprecision. She often started conversations in the middle and worked toward each end, usually not reaching either.  It was common for her to toss out the likes of, “We went over to see him, but, of course, they weren’t home.  He wanted to go down there, but I said it was too late.  We walked to it, but I was right; it was Tuesday.”

(I hope)There was a lot going on inside her head that didn’t leak out through her mouth. I know there was a lot of alcohol involved, on both sides.  She was a ‘Lady’, and Ladies didn’t ‘drink’, although she wouldn’t refuse 6 or 8 medicinal toddies in an afternoon – or evening.  I often wondered if my Mother’s brother understood what she was talking about, or even cared.

Baby grammar seals

I recently read an article on the usages of ‘different from’ vs. ‘different than.’ It stated that ‘different from’ was accepted in all cases.  ‘Different than’ was considered proper usage only about 10% of the time – “so, one is more correct than the other.”

In the comments thread beneath, Polly Pedantic immediately struck like a stooping hawk. “Don’t you mean more nearly correct?”  No dear, they don’t!  If she’d paid a little more attention to both the article, and her own comment, she’d have seen that.

‘Nearly correct’ means incorrect, and the article plainly said that each was correct, only one more often accepted than the other.  It even gave rare examples of ‘different as’, and ‘different to.’

One single recent newspaper almost had me in tears. The headline read, ’Two youths killed when car sideswipes power pole.”  And there was the photo.  The car was wrapped around the pole in a C-shape, or a U, so, the writer doesn’t understand ‘sideswipe.’

The pole holds up a streetlight, and a traffic light, but there are no electrical wires attached to it. It’s a light standard, so the writer also doesn’t understand ‘power pole.’  The lone survivor was ejected through a rear window, which means he wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, in contravention of the clearly-written Highway Traffic Act.  Stupidity, and lack of comprehension, carries the death penalty.

The next article spoke of ten intersections that would be closed for work on the new street railroad. They included King Street at Breithaupt, and King Street at Moore Ave.  This is where I worked for almost 20 years.  It’s only one location, another of Kitchener’s fabled K-intersections.  Two side streets each approach the main drag from opposing 45° angles.  Actually, Breithaupt runs into Moore, behind the McDonald’s, and only Moore reaches King.  Ten intersections closed??  I can’t count on precision.

A brief read, “Accident sends man to hospital south of Port Elgin.” There is no hospital ‘south of Port Elgin,’ but an “Accident, south of Port Elgin, sends a man to hospital.”

Then, on to the crossword, where the clue was ‘clammering up.’ Hmm??  Do they mean ‘clamoring,’ or ‘clambering?’  Apparently it was clambering, because the solution was ‘shinning,’ but clambering doesn’t mean shinning, in the same way that trotting does not mean galloping.

It’s only a little bit off??  I am bent on seeing this drivel – by which, I precisely mean that the sight of it doubles me up. Gaakk   😳

A Very Merry Un-Birthday

That’s what I wish I was having.  I wish that I would have no more real birthdays.  It’s a good thing that I have never mentioned in my blog, the fact that I’m old, and that I’ve never posted “Remember When” stories, never commented on the slow, gradual reduction in abilities, never admitted that I’ve got Alzheimer’s, because I forgot that I’ve done all of the above.

Today I turned 69.  What an ugly number!  If only I could re-enact the Benny Hill skit where he floats through the pub, crooning 21 today, 21 today.  It was the number of beers he had scammed people out of.  I don’t think I ever drank 21 beers in one day, but I’d like to be young enough again, to try.

Ven ve get older, ve get schmarter.  Vell, zome of us does.  If I was all that smart, I wouldn’t have got this old.  Where in Hell did the time go?  I’ve got memories for all the intervening years, but it seems like only yesterday I was 21.

I knew that I had officially passed into old fartitude back in February, when I found that I couldn’t sleep without my socks on.  Even in June, when we threw the blanket off the bed, I still needed my socks.  My normally low blood pressure and slow heartbeat just doesn’t pump enough blood to the extremities any more.  How embarrassing.  What’s next?  Will I have to have BrainRants make up another woobie, for me?

I’m actually happy to have a day that’s all about me; I just don’t need a birthday cake with so many candles, that it can be seen from orbit!  At least I live in green, moist Southern Ontario.  If I lived where Rants is from, they’d be blaming me for the wildfires.

I’ve collected things during my life, car medallions, airplane medallions, book series, coins.  I’ve always been thrilled to get a complete set, but I’m not thrilled to have collected a set of reminders of how long ago some of those things occurred.

As usual, I’ve started this draft long enough ahead of the actual day to give me plenty of time to really work up a good case of “Sorry For Me.”  I’m sure the family will fête me into happiness.  I’ll get to choose a treasured meal menu, and even if the inevitable presents are inexpensive, as I insist, I will have the family fawning over me.

Back in the spring, H. E. Ellis obtained some sensitive, biographical data about me by using the devious ploy of asking nicely.  Like the typical gullible, egotistic male, I gave it to the first pretty female who asked, hoping for a little attention.  She threatened to use it to expose me to the world on this day, unless I sent her a fifty-gallon drum of Canadian Maple Syrup.  Since I’m so poor I can’t even afford to pay attention, that didn’t happen.

She did mention me a while ago, when she told about me adopting Eddy the dog.  Since then, she’s been so busy and important, that she hasn’t even had enough time to push her mother in front of an oncoming bus on the information blog-highway.  I’ll have to check early.  If she’s actually thrown me a birthday party, I need to bring along the big bowl of homemade cinnamon applesauce we just completed, Yum, Yum!!

White Lady In The Hood is another lovely lady who has promised to massage my birthday ego, showing off her literary prowess by composing a satirical poem about my aged-ness and antique-itude.  My poetic ability stops right after, “The Moon is Lune.  I’ll see you soon.”  We should all go over there to see what she’s created.  I’ll bring along the applesauce.  Of all the things that have been done to me over the years, some of them legal, I’ve been satyrised, but never satirized.  I hope it feels good.  Do I need to bring along the K-Y too?

I’d be proud to occupy the position of Senior Statesman or Wise, Intelligent Elder Advisor, but I just checked my résumé, and don’t seem to find those abilities listed.  To identify my age with the Arabic numerals 69 is bad enough.  At least I don’t have to use the Roman-numeral letters.  I’m sure that combination spells out some horrible word.

People tell me, “You’re not getting older.  You’re getting better.”  I believe I reached the acme of my abilities some time back.  Now, all I’m getting better at, is getting older.  If you see a big cloud of blue funk hovering around, don’t worry, it’s just me.  It’ll dissipate in a couple of days, and I’ll be back, posting some juvenile collection of humor which proves my real mental age.

The sun officially went over my personal yardarm at about 2:00 AM this morning.  Lying in bed, crying about the inevitable, only gets tears in my ears.  Thanks for coming to my pity party, but it’s time to end all this morbid, morose moping.  Let’s get a Birthday Par-Tay underway.  Envelopes with worshipful cash, gratefully accepted.  Vive L’old grump!

At least next year’s 70 seems like a neater, rounder number.  Bah!  I’m still not looking forward to it.