A Poem About My First Car

Poetry

SDC10575

There won’t be much poem
I had to tow the thing home

It was a dark British green
An ugly shade to be seen

It was never much fun
The damned thing wouldn’t run

It was a ’52 Morris
It wouldn’t start for us

I got it for free
The owner overcharged me

It came home from a farm
The chickens did it some harm

We towed it home with a rope
I never had any hope

I didn’t take time to love it
I just quickly said ‘Shove it’

Mr. Snake-Oil did offer
An older trade he did proffer

vauxhall

I can’t think of a rhyme for ‘learning experience.’  If you haven’t already, but would like to read about my early automotive adventures, click to go back to read about My First Cars.

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Complete And Correct

Calipers

Used properly, the English language is one of nuance and precision.  Used as many of the great unwashed do….it’s a wonder that even the pizza order is correct.

I have quoted Mark Twain’s admonition that “There’s a mighty difference between lightning, and a lightning bug.”

I recently stumbled across a blog post about euphemisms;

Euphemisms are generally used to change something icky into something more palatable. As George Carlin said, “Sometime in my life—no one asked me about this—toilet paper became bathroom tissue. The dump became the landfill. And partly cloudy became partly sunny.”

I heard Carlin’s debut album, shortly after it came out.  It was funny.  His later work – not so much.  It’s difficult to be funny for 40 years.  He began to make fun of the English language.  I didn’t find it terribly funny, because it was neither complete nor correct.

None of the above are euphemisms.  Early toilet paper was paper….like pages from a Sears catalog.  It beat using a corn cob. Soon, it was transformed into soft, absorbent tissue, used all through the bathroom, for applying skin cream, removing makeup, blotting lipstick, (a single square is faster and cheaper than an entire Kleenex) blowing your nose, or as emergency feminine hygiene material.  It is no longer paper, used only on the toilet.

We used to just dump and abandon garbage – hence, DUMP.  Nowadays, waste is shredded, some is incinerated, compost starter and soil is added and mixed, and the lot is bulldozed and landscaped into a re-usable landfill.

Media weather language is precise.  There are seven words to describe skies – from overcast, to cloudy, to partly sunny, to scattered (clouds), to partly cloudy, to sunny, to clear.  Partly sunny is 10% open sky.  Partly cloudy is 10% cloud.  They are not even vaguely the same.  One did not turn into the other, no matter what George falsely claims.

George lost me as a customer when he claimed that there were 3 words – flammable, inflammable, and non-flammable.  “Why 3??  Either it flams, or it doesn’t flam.”  Just a minute George, flammable means that something will burn.  Inflammable means that it will immediately, vigorously burst into flame.  A block of wood is flammable.  An open pail of gasoline is inflammable, so, there are 4 words, flammable – non-flammable, inflammable – non-inflammable.  If you’re going to bitch about something, even for comedy, it really helps your credibility if you know what you’re talking about.

I was in a medical center the other day, where an information station was set up under an umbrella. Emblazoned on the umbrella were the words SERVICE AMBASSADOR. I find nothing distasteful about the word INFORMATION, but I am entertained by the thought of a group meeting to find a supposedly better (and definitely more pompous) description of the services offered under that umbrella. SERVICE AMBASSADOR: Do you suppose the, ahem, ambassadors who staff that desk need congressional confirmation?

Like ‘toilet paper’, above, ‘Information desks’ have developed to provide far more services than mere information.  Every English-speaking country in the world has Ambassadors.  I can only hope that it was a vain attempt at humor, and not narrow-minded American provincialism that she felt any of them require U S Congressional confirmation.

Loblaw’s food chain came forward, and admitted to price-fixing on bread.  A letter to a newspaper complained that their fraud conviction was ironic.  1 – By voluntarily admitting wrong-doing, they received immunity from prosecution – so, no conviction.  2 – The bread was exactly as advertised, just too expensive.  What they did, was price-fixing, not fraud.  3 – What is ironic, is that the guy who complained, hasn’t got a clue what he’s talking about.

Come on people, Stop, Think, Understand!  English is a beautiful, accurate, expressive language.  Please learn to use it correctly.  That’s what I ask for.  What I’ll probably get….is that guy’s Hawaiian pizza.  😯

Smitty’s Loose Change #7

Smitty's Loose Change

I bought some Salvador Dali bagels today. I got them from the Chernobyl Unicorn bakery.

Bagel 1

Bagel 2

They’re created from multi-colored dough with food dye in it. The son tells me that he heard that rainbow bagels will be an upcoming fad among Millennials, but I’ve not seen them, or any mention of them, since.  These were made of a bread dough, rather than a bagel dough, and didn’t toast worth a shit.

***

In reading what others had to write about the blog-tag, ‘Truth,’ I was not surprised to find that 2 out of every 3 blog-posts was about God, or Jesus, or Christianity, or Church.  Those ‘Good Christians’ are sure full of something.  They call it faith.  I have a different name for it.

***

When they discover the center of the Universe….A lot of people are going to be surprised that it’s not them.

***

I wrote a post where I mentioned ‘double’ names like Todd Craig, Bradley Joe and Mark Terry, where either could be a given name or a family name, This happened because some male first names became family names.  I’ve thought that it only applied to male names, but recently I’ve been introduced to Stephanie Virginia ELLEN, Edna RHODA, Susan MARGARET, Barbara HILARY and Ann BEVERLY.

In my home-town, in the 1940s and ‘50s, boys were commonly given names like Beverly, Shirley, and Lynn. I knew that ‘Lynne’ was a girls’ name, but didn’t know that ‘Lynn’ was also considered only a girls’ name until the wife commented about it.

***

Photo0048

Photo0049

Photo0047

The son went to our Osteopath recently, and got some shots of the ride of another customer who had not made it to the ‘Cruise Night’, downtown. It’s a rebuilt, 1934 Buick, according to the custom licence plate.  Love that vibrant color!

***

I knew that I was really stressed, when I started getting on my own nerves.

***

I recently hit a blog-site where the English Nazi nit-picker must have been a Colonel, not a mere private like me. He ranted about those who use ‘lie’ when it should be ‘lay’, and vice-versa.  Okay so far.  Then he attacked a nursery rhyme, and insisted that, “Now I lay me down to sleep.” was incorrect.  It should be ‘lie’.  Better men (or women) than him wrote that verse.  I ‘lay’ my book down, and ‘lay’ my child down to sleep.  I ‘lay’ my pillow down, and then, correctly using a reflexive verb, I ‘lay’ ME down to sleep.

I was reading a post about ‘Eggcorns’. Like Mondegreens, they’re those things that you don’t hear right, and then don’t repeat right, like “curl up in a feeble position,” “fire excape,” and “hone in on.”  The name Eggcorns itself comes from someone who didn’t even know about ‘acorns.’  The writer was doing fine until he started ranting about ‘conversating.’  “There’s no such word!  You’re not ‘conversating’, you’re conversing.”  It’s been an accepted, idiomatic word since 1965; even WordPress’s SpellCheck accepts it.

I recently used the Latin phrase, Caveat Emptor, and noted that it translates into English as Buyer beware.  GrammarCheck insists that it should be ‘Buyer bewares’.  (There, see?  It just did it again.)

***

In my You Don’t Say post, I wrote of timid linguists who won’t say or write things they regard as “swear words.” Like Amsterdam, ‘I don’t give a tinker’s dam’ was a perfect replacement for the word damn, it being a small rivet-like stopper to repair a hole in old, non-stainless steel pots, without the damning N that could keep you out of Heaven.  Twice in a week I ran into, “I don’t give a tinker’s curse.” as a euphemism for a euphemism.  I need to (re)find the word which describes errors like this caused by advancing technology.

***

 

HUBRIS

Pride

Most people, at least at one time or another, want to feel good about themselves, to feel special, perhaps to feel that they are a bit better at something than another person or group.  So it is with me.  I often want to feel that I am a bit more than merely ordinary.

Since my only strong points are a limited knowledge of language, and a head full of useless trivia, my chances are not frequent, but I’ll take my ‘Attaboys’ whenever I can get them.

It’s not hard to feel superior to someone who composes something like this;

Well then. Here’s the first blog! I ain’t no english culinary quesenart so bare with this innufrensious. How do you spell quesenart? HUH. No idea. I forgot what it’s like to be part of something new and have new people be fascinated with you. Haven’t felt that in a very long time. Starting this blog thang reminded me of this feeling. And, well, it’s an amazing feeling! Something I long for. Or something i’m long for? Hmmm. Well, nonethelessless. I feel I have no outlet anymore to speak my mind. And IT AIN’T FACEBOOK. That’s from a civilian though. 

To really feel good about myself, I need to outpoint a professional – a newspaper or magazine writer, or a television or movie professional, someone who is paid to be smart.  This does not include the closed-captioner who recently wrote, “Fists of steal.”

I was upstairs, working on the computer, while the wife was watching a documentary about, “The Secrets Of Ancient Rome.” The hosts are a ‘professor’ (Yeah, right!  As if!), and his well-endowed female air-head eye-candy assistant.

Out of the corner of my ear, I heard him talking about a Roman senator who was famous for his banquets, and he described these Lucullian feasts.  A couple of keystrokes assured me that they were Lucullan, as I remembered.

I went downstairs just in time to hear him talking about the baniality of something, rather than banality.  Then he claimed that the word ‘tribulations’ came from a defensive battleground weapon called a “tribulum,”  and showed a six-inch cube of timber, with six-inch nails protruding from each face.  These were strewn on a battlefield to prevent a charge by horses or infantry.

These things existed, but the Latin prefix ‘tri’ means ‘three,’ not six-sided. A ‘tribulum’ was a threshing sledge.  Then he spoke of a Roman Senator who had his throat slit, and lay on the ground, ‘chortling’ his life out.  ‘Chortling’ means to chuckle or laugh gleefully.  I can’t remember the last time someone chortled about getting his throat cut.  Maybe it was….NEVER!

The show was almost over.  There was only enough time to talk about the Coliseum.  Apparently the name had nothing to do with the “Colossal” Greek statue out front.  It fell into disrepair and was taken over by a band of witches who locked it up (all 23 doors, and nobody objected?), and wouldn’t let anyone in unless they said “colle seum,” which meant “Do you know Him?”, ‘Him’ referring to the Devil.

This is a European, Christian concept that even didn’t come into existence until almost a thousand years after “Ancient” Rome. Colle means hill, and the suffix seum means ‘referring to.’  Perhaps Google was having a company picnic the day the writers did their research.

Recently, I read an MSN quiz. If you can answer this question, you may be a psychopath.  I was hoping.

A woman who has moved away from her home town, returns for her mother’s funeral. She meets and talks to a nice man.  He is intelligent, charming and kind.  In the crush and confusion she doesn’t get his name or phone number.  She doesn’t know who he came with, or how he knows her mother.

She feels that he is the man for her, the one that she wants to spend the rest of her life with.  Three days later, she murders her sister. WHY? Apparently, only a psychopath would casually sacrifice a sister, in the hope that this man would attend another funeral.

My mind grinds fine, but exceeding slow. The next day, I said, “Wait a minute?!” Psychopaths don’t care about ‘charming,’ or ‘kind.’  They are the center and the sum total of their own existence.  They don’t need or want anyone else to ‘complete them.’  No wonder I didn’t figure this one out right away.

In previous searches of song-lyric sites, one site showed Jefferson Starship’s line, “Who rides the wrecking ball into our guitar?” as ‘in two hard guitars,’ and another gave it as ‘in two fast guitars.’  I recently searched for the lyrics to Gene Autrey’s ‘I’m Back In The Saddle Again,’ and found a reference to ‘the lowly gypsum weed.’

Apparently, out West, they’ve got plants made out of wall-board. City-slicker Wiki-providers have never heard of Jimson Weed.  I feel so superior.  I’ll feel even better if you pat my widdle head, and tell me how astute I am.  No references to OCD or nit-picking, please.

WOW #23

Dictionary

I have a

DILEMMA

The other day, I merely had a lemma. I’m pleased, because almost no-one else knows when they’ve got one.  A lemma is a spikelet of grass or other plant.

Linguaphiles speak of words which are positive, which have no negatives, or negative, but have no positives. Poor ‘dilemma’ is a bit of an orphan – one parent, and no-one knows what it is.

The phrase ‘caught in a cleft stick’ means that someone is jammed between two options, unable to make a choice for either one. The prefix ‘di’ also means two.  The word ‘dilemma’ is a situation where you are already impaled on two sharp, contradictory choices, and getting off is going to be intellectually or emotionally painful, and adopting and sticking yourself with either single option will hurt even more.  See lose/lose, or zero-sum-gain situation.

Reprogramming the Star Fleet computer so that you can win the Kobyashi Maru mission test is not a dilemma. If only we were able to reprogram more of life’s double-edged predicaments.  Things would go so much more smoothly.

Finding your way back here for more exciting, informative blog-posts should not be a dilemma.  If you haven’t already, lose your mind and just click on ‘Follow’ above, and leave some nice, but not pointed, comments.

WOW #22

Dictionary

This week’s Word Of the Week is….

CERVINE

As with so many other things, I found it when I was looking for something else. I have no smart comments to make about it.  I can’t even think of a way to relate it to my life, to give you some kind of cute little story about it.

The English adjective cervine comes directly from Latin cervτnus “pertaining to a deer” ( cervus). Latin cervus means “stag, deer” and derives from a complicated Proto-Indo-European root ker- (with many variants) “uppermost part (of the body), head, horn.” The same root yields Latin cornū “horn” (as in unicorn and in corn in the sense “thickening and hardening of the skin on a toe”), cervτx “neck,” and cornea (horny coating or tissue). In Germanic the root appears as her-, source of English horn, hart (the animal), and hornet. Cervine entered English in the 19th century.

Just about every animal has a similar word to describe it. Most are easy to identify if you know the Latin base.  Bovine = cow-like, ovine is sheep-like, equine is horses, canine and feline are cats and dogs, aquiline soars like an eagle, ursine refers to bears, lupine is wolves, leonine is lions, although saturnine means gloomy or taciturn, and refers to the dour astrological influence of the planet Saturn.  The dictionary does not mention Grumpy Old Dude – Archon.  Vulpine refers to foxes,  and is the basis for the European surname ‘Volpe’.  We have a “Don Volpe Interiors”, locally.

Porcine refers to pigs. I once watched a C-grade movie.  Essentially it was The A-Team Invades Cuba.  Soon after our heroic lads came ashore, they required local assistance.  It quickly came in the form of a Rubenesque young female with a low neckline, short skirt, and high heels in a dirt-road village.

The squad leader thanked her, and asked her name. When she said that it was ‘Porcina Perez,’ I fell off the couch.

I don’t imagine that I’ll use this word much. I have very little need to describe things (animals) which are deer-like.  The reason that I included it is because of all the English-language words and concepts that it engenders.  Heads and horns and hornets and corns and cornets and cervix and hart and cornea and unicorns, oh my.  It’s like this one word supports half the dictionary.

Please join me again, later this week, when I rant off at a completely different vector.  😀

It’s Just A Made-Up Word

Dictionary

(Some) people ask, “How can I get a word into the dictionary?”

A six-year-old Canadian boy from British Columbia is being credited with creating one. He was out with his mother in the car, when she stopped at a STOP sign. Not only did he read the word, but he did what I often do.  He read it backwards, and got the word ‘pots.’  Precocious little prick – reminds me very much of a young Archon.

He asked his mother what the word was for a word that formed another word when read backwards. She didn’t know, so she said they’d ask his Dad when he got home.  He didn’t know, so he asked a friend of his who was a teacher.  He didn’t know, so he asked the school’s English teacher. She didn’t know, so she contacted a friend who worked for an on-line dictionary.

At each level, the interest became more intense. After some research, it was realized that there wasn’t such a word.  It couldn’t be ‘anagram’, which describes words formed by scrambling the letters – getting ‘tars’, or ‘tsar’ from ‘star,’ instead of ‘rats.’  I can get six words from his four-letter sign – stop, spot, pots, post, tops, and opts.

It couldn’t be ‘palindrome’ which describes a word, phrase, or entire sentence which reads the same way, backwards or forwards, like – Able was I ere I saw Elba, or A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.

During the golden days of radio, I listened to a station which ran a contest. They wanted a word, and gave out audio clues.  The first was the gentle sound of a babbling brook, and a man’s voice saying, “I’m going to paddle down this.” After a couple of days, they added the sound of a tolling bell, and the man exclaiming, “Time for lunch!” A couple of days later with no winners, they added a male voice saying, “That’s your plane coming in, right there on the screen.”

Finally, someone guessed ‘palindrome’, the first time I’d heard it. The voice was going to paddle a ‘kayak’, have lunch at ‘noon’, and watch his plane on ‘radar.’

This little boy is credited with creating the word ‘levidrome.’ I don’t know how precocious he is, but even Young Sheldon, spun off from Big Bang Theory, would have trouble building a compound word from pieces of Latin, a foreign, and dead, language.  I suspect that he had a little bit of help.

‘Levi’ in Latin means left, and ‘drome’ is a course or path, so it indicates a word which is read towards the left. It doesn’t hurt that Levi is also the boy’s Jewish first name.

Canadian actor, William Shatner, (whose German surname means, “chewer of scenery,” in English) contacted Oxford Dictionary after the family had been in touch with Merriam Webster, which told them that a word has to be commonly used before it can be added to its dictionary.

Now, an editor at Oxford has responded with a video, saying many clever and useful words are created every year, but a word can only make it into its dictionary if lots of people use it over a long time. The editor says that plenty of people are uttering ‘levidrome’ early into Levi’s campaign, which is impressive, and staff will decide in about a year whether its use is widespread enough to get the word into the dictionary.  Their search engine might even sieve this post.  C’mon people, let’s all use it.

I’ve got a word for the precious little pr…ecocious, and it ain’t ‘Triviana!’ Stop by again soon, when I’ll have a bunch more words that are already in the dictionary.  😉