There’s A Word For That

Aglet – the little plastic or metal thing that keeps the ends of shoelaces from unravelling.  English has a word for every object or action or thought.  Well, almost every.  Other languages and cultures have concepts that English doesn’t cover.  The Finns (the country, not the drunken Irish) are obsessed with familial relations.  English has aunts and uncles.  Finnish breaks them down to mother’s side or father’s, if they are mother’s, or father’s, sisters and brothers, or just married to them.  It runs to about 26 different words.  Who cares?  Other than Finns, obviously?

Males tend to excel at math and spatial relationships, while females do better with language and communication.  There will be no smart comments allowed when I admit that I have always been a linguiphile. (That’s a lover of language.)  I was able to read magazines before I turned 5, and my voracious print consumption gained me my greatest and best ability, one from which I have not garnered a nickel in my entire life.  I understand words, and know their exact meanings, and often how that occurred.

My daughter bought me a Words To Impress People, word-a-day calendar for Christmas.  It contained words like, dalliance, iconoclast, raconteur, ideologue, sacrilegious and abatement.  While interesting, it was no big deal.  I don’t need to impress people.  These words are in my normal vocabulary.  I’ve used them in my posts.  I hope some of you have looked up one or two you might not have known.

It wasn’t till I got to January 25th, that I hit one I didn’t know, or at least hadn’t run into – labanotation. (Oh dear, Spellcheck doesn’t like that one.)  I might have been able to pull it apart and figure it out on my own, but – there’s the definition.  It’s the nomenclature used to choreograph ballets, modern dance and other performances, so that dancers can follow the steps.  I can’t think why a classy, upscale guy like me didn’t know that one.

Words can be used for precision, gravitas or historical value.  As the late, great Benny Hill often said, “He was bent on seeing her, does not mean that the sight of her doubled him up.”  Some words are used instead of others for effect, to produce certain opinions and feelings.  I personally like the word *sonorous*, meaning to have a full, rich, impressive sound, for two interconnected reasons.  It resembles the word *snore*, and when I think of it, I get the mental image of any political assembly, half of them droning on, self-importantly, the other half snoozing.  😛

I try not to use text-speak or tweet-write.  I’ve posted WTF a couple of times, but I feel that anything more important than whether or not you had raisins in your oatmeal this morning, is worth more than 140 characters.  I’ve previously pointed out the difference between those who can read, and those who do read.  Sadly, I fear that many of those who don’t read, feel that they do, because of all the smart-phone thumbnastics they go through to feel connected.

LMFAO or YOLO is not going to get or keep a job for them.  I feel sorry for them because, with all their cute little abbreviations, their vocabulary will soon be down to 200 words.  They think they’re communicating, but actually they’re missing the broad complexities that the language is capable of.  😕

Now that I’m retarded retired, most of the sad, miscommunication I’m exposed to, comes from print, whether paper and ink, or digital.  I’ll continue to rant about crossword puzzle makers’ casual ignorance of precise meanings.  Bring – and fetch.  Bring means that you have it, and carry it to me.  Fetch means you don’t have it, but must go to get it before bringing it to me.  Tiny details that prevent you from being wrong, and looking the fool.

I ranted to myself about, should = must, yesterday.  I should study for a test tomorrow, rather than going to see the movie, A Good Day To Die Hard.  I must answer to several people for the poor mark I will get on the exam.

A misuse of names affects the son and his employer.  I have never been approached by someone who did not possess American, State licence plates, or regional accents, for the location of a particular, much-mispronounced city street.  The famous composer, Andrew Lloyd Webber, has an English name, with two B’s, and six letters, pronounced “Webb-Brr.”  On his Wikipedia page, there is even a note, “Do not confuse with Andrew Weber.”  Our Weber Street is named for a German with only one B and five letters in his name, pronounced “Wee-Brr.”  See the difference?  Many don’t!  😦

The son’s plastic molding company makes parts for the American-owned Weber barbecue company, and to agree with their customer, are forced to pronounce it Webb-Brr.

I worked for four years at a precision machine shop, where tolerances went down to Millionths of an inch, yet the chief engineer wondered why his young male assistant and I bothered to set our digital watches to within a second of radio Standard time.  With my obsession with the language, I often wonder why writers (and speakers) devote so much time and energy to other things, yet fail so badly in their word choices and spelling.

There’s a word for that, but it’s not commonly used in polite company, so, I’m done.  😀

 

An Analog Curmudgeon In A Digital World

The new world of communications is owned by the young.  The younger the person, the more and better they are connected to the rest of the world.  I value my peace and solitude.  To a large degree I do not wish the rest of the world to be connected to me.

I suppose, like many other things, I’m communicatively in the middle.  Unlike people like my brother, I own and use a computer, and have for years.  Unlike some of you young whipper-snappers out there, I don’t Face Book, I twit people, but I don’t Tweet, I don’t Pinterest, I don’t pingback.  I don’t include photos with my posts, although I’m on the slow train to learning how.  The wife is trying to learn how to embed videos, and when she figures it out, she might get the whip and chair, and train me.

The younger the more likely but, what many of you have learned about computers and other electronics, almost by osmosis, continues to elude me.  I’m a light-switch kind of guy in a serial-thinking world.  I can do 1/0 easily, but 1011010011100101100 makes me work for it.

Continuing with the light-switch analogy, (see, I told you I was analog.) I remember twist light-switches, before the up/down, on/off version became standard.  If I want a light on, I flip the switch up.  If I want the light off, I go flip the switch down.  Simple, easy!  Even light-switches are becoming “computerised”.

I had a new garage door installed recently.  If I push the button to raise or lower the door, the light on the motor comes on….and stays on for a minute, after the door is up or down.  I could (maybe) reprogram it down to 30 seconds, if I just climb up on a ladder and remove the housing.  I probably won’t go broke paying for a minute’s electricity, but my cheap Scottish OCD wants that damned light off when I’m done.

To turn the light off, I have to push the light button.  Not an ON button, or an OFF button, just a light button.  The light’s already on, but I have to *turn it on.*  I push the button, and wait two seconds for it to recognize.  Now the light knows it’s on, so I push the same button that I just pushed to turn it on, to turn it off, and wait two seconds.  If all goes well, the garage goes dark.  If all does not go well, the neighbor kid learns some new words.

Speaking of lights, these new twisty fluorescents that they’re pushing us to replace our incandescents with, are not an unmixed blessing.  Oh, they do save money by using less power, and they will give the equivalent amount of light….if you wait for them to warm up.  All you have to do is go into a dark room five minutes before you need light, and turn them on.  The ones outside the front door and garage take forever in the winter.

In our garage, we have our garbage pail, a blue recycling bin, and a heavy-duty paper bag for kitchen waste.  I open the door/step out a half-dozen times a day.  All four cats are fascinated.  Two have learned to squirt out for a look, as I drop stuff in the pail.  One has been squeezed by the rapidly closing door a few times, but still makes the run whenever he can get away with it.  Oh well, the light’s out, let him stay out there in the dark for five minutes.   As the weather gets colder, he’ll stay warm inside more.

I stepped out a couple of weeks ago and pushed the up-door button….and it didn’t.  Great!  A brand-new closer, and it won’t work.  It took me a week to figure out why.  The old door went up and down!  If there was something under it on the way down, too bad, guillotine!  The new door has an infra-red sender/receiver combo mounted 6 inches off the floor.  If they don’t talk to each other, the door don’t work.

One time, when the cat was prowling around in the dark, he must have stepped on the receiver unit, and popped it off the rail.  I snapped it back into place and, Viola, the door works fine, finally.  I only learned a couple of years ago about drag-up and drag-down menus on computer screens.  Actually, they’re not on the screen.  If I can’t see them, how in Hell do I even know they’re there?!

We bought a new stereo receiver a couple of years ago.  The demo model in the store worked fine.  I took mine home and connected the Gordian Knot to the back of it and turned it on to AM.  Nothing!  Switched to FM.  Nothing!  Switched to CD.  Nothing!  Back to AM.  Nothing, nothing, nothing!  I took it back to the store and said it was defective.  The little sales clerk, who was younger than my socks, soon had it working perfectly.  Apparently, this unit has a five-second recognition span, and I didn’t have a five-second patience span before I changed functions.  Duh, never mind.

I’m learning new things and getting more proficient with the computer all the time.  With my attention-span and crappy memory it’s a struggle.  Just when I get barely competent, version 7 of some program comes out, and I start learning all over again.  Click on this icon.  Open option box, choose and enter option.  Pull up currently invisible menu, activate function initialize.  Choose desired function, place cursor on box and right-click twice, while holding a piece of Edam cheese between your upper lip and nose.  Perform all these actions with a hand with Parkinson-like tics, and three cats crawling all over the computer desk.

I don’t want to have to train the computer.  I want one that’s already smarter and has a better memory than me.  That’s the whole point.  Shouldn’t be that hard; the light-switch and his friend the doorknob can already outwit me.  I’d go back to the Freddy Flintstone sheet of slate, with hammer and chisel version, but it’s no longer compatible!  Aaggh!  Insanity, version 3.0.  Failure is not an option.  It comes pre-installed.

Happy 100

This is my one-hundredth post.  To some of the bloggers I follow, that would be ho-hum.  The way they pump posts out, that could have been accomplished in a couple of months.  It has taken me ten months to get this far.  I started slow, then tapered off.

I knew I wasn’t ever going to set the world on fire literately.  In fact, when I started, I wondered if I would attract any readers other than the few bloggers I had been bedevilling with comments on their posts.  Like other aspects of my life, I later found that I was doing the right things by instinct, to attract readers and followers.  Seldom able to keep my mouth shut, or my fingers still, I went further and further afield and made comments on a variety of blogs.  I later read from WordPress, that this is a good way to attract followers.  I’ve never actually been told to mind my own business, although there have been a couple of curt and dismissive responses.

I try not to antagonise anyone on their home turf, even when I disagree with them.  That’s not a problem with my core group.  For as much as we are all different, it is intriguing, how much we are the same.

I sit safely in the *average* slot, as far as bloggers go.  I visit other sites which have only a couple of followers and often several consecutive posts, before anyone makes a comment.  I’m not a Byronic Man, a BrainRants or a Madame Weebles, with hundreds, or thousands of followers, and a comment thread like a papyrus scroll.  I have managed to acquire almost 60 followers, a small cloud of *likes* on each post, and intelligent, insightful and supportive comments from a nice bunch of folks.  More ho-hum, but I’m closing in on 4000 hits.

I only post every two to four days, so my normal daily readership runs from ten to forty.  My best day was 71 hits, and that was for a little throw-away acceptance speech for a blog award.  I’m not worried by it, but I am perplexed that, after ten months on the WordPress scene, I recently had two days, just over a week apart, when no-one came to visit.  I’ve had onesies and twosies, but I really got lonely a couple of times.  I had to go bug some other bloggers.

Bloggers disappear from the scene all the time.  I’m sure some of them are like me; they have a limited number of things they wish to post about and just run out of ideas.  My wife recently commented that the number of letters-to-the-editor I submit has dropped.  Of course, six to eight op/ed pieces a year don’t add much when the blog count hits a hundred.  I still write down potential post themes when one penetrates my thick skull.  I know I’ll get to my anniversary blog, but may have to space my posts out a bit more.

I’m not a rabid numerologist.  I get a kick out of catching my digital watch at 3:33:33, or 11:11:11, or 12:34:56, but I’m enough of a realist to know that blog number 100 really is no more special than number 99 or 101.  It is a small milestone that I am happy to have reached, with the support of my select little cadre of readers and followers.

I’m typing one-handed right now.  No!  Not because I’ve been viewing porn.  I think I pulled a muscle in my shoulder, patting myself on the back for getting this far.  I’ve had four blog awards thrust upon me, but that’s like contracting mono.  There are so many awards drifting around at any one time, you’d have to be a blog-virgin not to get at least one, but it is nice to know that I am noticed and appreciated.

I just visited aFrankangle’s blog, and was treated to a large dose of reality.  It was tempered with a small platter of pleasure.  I got to Frank’s site just in time to see his 1000th post.  I have got soooo far to go.  Frank also revealed that my grumpy American curmudgeon counterpart, the much respected, and until now, blogless, John Erickson, slipped and has finally fallen into the blog pool.  It’s thyme to visit the sage of Ohio at www.windycitywonderer.wordpress.com.

To all who have tolerated me, taught me, led me, and even encouraged me, I give again, a huge thank-you.  Since I have to live so much inside my head, it is pleasant to have such nice neighbors.