WOW #30

Bagpipes

My Scottish heritage has dragged out another wee term for us to look at.  Today, we consider the word

KEN

Definitions for ken

knowledge, understanding, or cognizance; mental perception: an idea beyond one’s ken.

range of sight or vision.

Chiefly Scot. a. to know, have knowledge of or about, or be acquainted with (a person or thing). b. to understand or perceive (an idea or situation).

It came into the English language before the year 900 AD, and it didn’t come alone.  Its widely dispersed ancestors also gave us;

English ken comes from the very widespread Proto-Indo-European root gnō- (and its variants gnē-, gen-, and gṇ-) “to know.” The variant gnō- appears in Greek gignṓskein (and dialect gnṓskein), Latin gnōscere, nōscere, and Slavic (Polish) znać “to know.” The variant gnē- forms cnāwan in Old English (and know in English); the variant gṇǝ- (with suffixed schwa) yields cunnan “to know, know how to, be able” in Old English (and can “be able” in English).

These also gave us Gnostic, and Agnostic, as well as the Scottish term, canny, which means skilled, expert, astute, shrewd or cautious, and the English word cunning, a noun which means just about the same thing.

Now that we know all about Ken, let’s have a look at BarbieBarbie is a predecessor to Kardashians, only with less plastic, and more intelligence, personality, and believable figure.  If Barbie is so popular, why do we have to buy her friends??   😕

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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.  😯

‘18 A To Z Challenge – C

Challenge '18 Letter C

Druid

My Scottish ancestors were doing just fine, until the Christians came along with fire and sword.

Caim – (n.) Sanctuary. An invisible circle of protection drawn around the body with the hand, to remind one of being safe and loved even in the darkest times.  The index finger of the right hand was to be extended and pointed at the ground to do this.  It was to be drawn clockwise, as God has made the sun and moon rise and set.

The Irish and my Scottish Celtic ancestors lived a naturalistic existence, close to the earth, the plants and the wildlife.  Then along came the Christians.  They would have none of this mystical hand-waving.  They wanted their own brand of mystical hand-waving.

First, the spelling and pronunciation was slurred to ‘Cain.’  In their mythology, Cain was the first murderer, and an evil person, a servant of Satan.  No-one was allowed to be saved or protected by such an evil spirit.  Union rules said that all such work went to Jesus.  The word ‘Caim’ still exists in the Scottish language, but it now describes a Christian prayer for protection.

The Celts were already well aware of the motions of the sun and the moon, but the Christian ‘God’ even creeps into the historical definition, by making them do so.  I noted that the definition is Northern-centric.  In the Northern hemisphere, the apparent movements of the sun and moon are clockwise, from left to right.

When this word was born, the Christians had not yet invaded the Southern Hemisphere, where the counter-clockwise, widdershins, motion of the Heavenly bodies was obvious, and correct.  I wonder what the Christians would think of that??  (Oops, I used the words ‘think’ and ‘Christian’ in the same sentence.)  😯

Click here http://branawen.blogspot.ca/2011/09/celtic-symbolism-casting-ring-of.html caim, if you’d like to have a look at the research for this.

I’ll have a little bit of lighter humor in a week.  Hope to see you there.

 

WOW # 28

monitor

For all you either/or, bits and bytes, take it or leave it, coming or going, ones and zeros lovers, the Word Of the Week is

UNARY

Adjective – consisting of, or affecting, a single element or component; monadic

Word origin for unary – 1923, from Latin unus “one” (see one ) on model of binary, etc.

You just knew that, if there’s the word ‘binary’, for ‘two,’ guys like me mean that there’ll be a “My way or the highway” word for ONE.

Actually, it’s not even a Hobson’s Choice word between a poor option and nothing. It shows a mandatory, single course of action.  ‘Free Will’ is an illusion when unary is in town.

In my teens, one day my Mother told me to perform some chore. Trying to show some I’m growing into an adult spunk, I asked, “or else what?”  She calmly replied, “There’s no ‘or else’.  It needs doing.  It’s your job. Do it!”

Much as many of us value our independence, freedom, and options, there are times that life just throws one of these, It’s gotta be done, and there’s only one way to do it curve-balls at us.  Now there’s a word for it that you can throw back.   🙄

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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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!

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

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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.)

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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.

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Keeping My Hand In

Extra Extra

Keeping my hand in – one middle finger at a time.

Anti-Christian slant illogical, prejudiced

Re; Politicians should leave religious beliefs at home

Letter writer Larry Lootsteen’s arguments are somewhat illogical and prejudiced by his own beliefs about religion. To suggest that politicians should leave any of their beliefs, principals (sic), values, and education or life experiences at home is equivalent to arguing they should leave their gender at home, or part of their brain at home.

And why center out only people who believe in the God of the Bible? Why be intolerant and non-inclusive of only one particular religious view?  Everyone has some religious belief; an agnostic claims not to know if there is a God, and atheist denies that there is a God.  Would Mr. Lootsteen be as keen to force those individuals to deny or suspend their particular religious beliefs on being elected?

Would he impose the same restrictions on other faiths; Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and devil worshippers, etc., as well as screen all new immigrants to Canada and insist that they promise to deny their faith and convert to his particular religious beliefs before they become Canadian citizens or run for elected office? Of course not.  Mr Lootsteen appears to have a narrowly focused resentment and prejudice of Christian believers who run for office because he does not think they will vote the way he wants them to vote.

Finally, to label everyone of faith as “right-wing” and not sensitive to the democratic and civil rights of Canadians is to ignore the Judeo-Christian foundations of all Western civilization.  It was our Jewish and Christian values and principals (sic) that precipitated our democratic institutions, hospitals and schools, freed the slaves and were the first to recognize the rights of women.  Has Mr. Lootsteen forgotten that?

Ed Jacob – from the Mennonite stronghold village of Wellesley

Pro-Christian Paranoia

He who takes offense when none is offered, is a fool.

In his letter, Anti-Christian slant illogical, prejudiced, Ed Jacob not only takes offense, but he takes considerable licence to do so.

It would, indeed, be foolish to expect a politician to leave all their principles, values, education or life experience at home.  All Ed Lootsteen suggested was that a local politician leave some of his specific, unproven moral opinions at home or church, while he is serving his constituents, which a majority of whom, including many good Christians, do not agree with.  His government job is administration, not Evangelization.

It would be arrogant to expect anyone, including immigrants, to be forced to accept anyone else’s religious practices, though many of them are forced to convert to Christianity if they want to be sponsored and supported by various Christian Churches. But neither should newcomers be allowed to demand that the rest of us wear yarmulkes, turbans or hijabs, bow to Mecca or mutilate our females’ genitals.  Not all religious morals and practices are acceptable.

(No wonder I’m) Grumpy Old Archon

Forgive me (insert name of your higher power here), for I have ranted. My tolerance cup has runneth over and I must empty it in order to move on. It has been too long since my last ranting (if that’s even a word).

Gad (not God), this guy is so verbose that he makes Archon look concise, and what he passes off as logic, and his straw-man arguments, could do a seven minute set at Yuk Yuk’s.  Once one of these Bible-thumpers gets up a good head of steam, you never know where the train’s going to end up.

The reason that the original letter attacked ‘The God of The Bible’, is that the local Federal politician is a ‘good Catholic’; at least his NINE kids think so.  There’s no sense complaining about the Sikh 75 miles away, because he intentionally, politely, leaves his religion at home.  BTW; Mr Lootsteen IS a ‘Christian believer.’

His Good News/Bad News list of “Christian” accomplishments is more a ‘Laugh?/Cry?’ list. Most of them were not ‘because of’ Christianity, but ‘in spite of’ it.  Democracy was given to us by the heathen Greeks, and Christian Europe refused to institute it for over two millennia, until we held a party at Madame Guillotine’s place in Paris.

Good Christians owned slaves for centuries. They only recently let women own property, sign legal documents, be ‘a person’ under law, allowed women to vote less than 100 years ago, and they still want to control and restrict their reproductive rights.  Mr. Lootsteen, and many of the rest of us, have not forgotten that.  😯

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BTW; sic, sic, sic.  For the non-linguistic nit-pickers – He’s talking about ‘principles’, not the head of his kids’ school.

 

 

Another Challenge – No Argument

Another Challenge

#16 – 3 things you are proud of about your personality
Only three??!  They all blend together.  I like to think that I have (almost) no ego, and yet I have a blog-site where I claim to be opinionated.  With the ego comes humility and tact.  I can claim that I’m right, without ever insisting that you are wrong.

A man I worked with suddenly, out of the blue one day, said, “If I don’t like someone, I tell them.” Without much thought, I said, “I do too.”  “No you don’t.” he replied.  “If someone asks you, you’ll admit it.  If someone else is badmouthing them, you’ll agree.  I’ll walk right up to them and tell them I don’t like them.”

And therein, ladies and gentlemen, lies the difference between truth and tact. Truth without tact – honesty without compassion – is just cruelty.  There is little to be gained by actively making enemies.  There are too many of them to go around as it is.

The humility helps me accept and deal with reality. Unlike Fundamentalists, I don’t insist that I’m ‘right’, when there is proof that I’m not, or at least reasonable doubt.  I have changed my thinking and opinions on a number of issues, as more evidence becomes available.

#20 – The last argument you had

Here’s another place where the list compiler’s mental problems/viewpoint become apparent. This question shows that he believes that Everybody argues to resolve differences, and they do it on such a regular, continued basis that we each have a mental list of arguments, with the ‘last’ one at the top.  Sadly, that happens all too often –Just Not With Me!

A soft answer turneth away wrath.
Mr. Myagi say, way to avoid punch argument, not be there.
Never argue with an idiot.  People might have trouble telling which one’s which.

I learned very early that arguing wasn’t a good idea, that it didn’t really solve anything, and just caused more problems.

When I was 8, and the neighborhood smart(ass) kid was 9, we got into a real argument about what Tarzan’s victory yell from the movies sounded like. I thought that it was like this – he thought it was like that.  Here were the two of us, nose to nose, noise polluting the neighborhood….when I suddenly realized that we were at odds over a fictitious movie sound, from a fictional character.  The noise level quickly abated.

In my early teens, during the “Beach Boys, Jan and Dean” period of surf and hot-rod music, I came home from high school one day. Since I usually had an hour to myself, I put on a recently purchased 45 RPM record about a ‘Bucket T’, a 1923 T-model Ford hot-rod.  I cranked the volume and played it 5 or 6 times, trying to get the lyrics and musical pacing.

Suddenly my Mother came scowling out of her bedroom. She had felt ill, and came home from work early.  How dare I keep blasting this song about ‘bucket seat, bucket seat, bucket seat?’  I opened my mouth to argue that it was a ‘Bucket-T,’ when I realized that it was not about what it was about.  What it was about, was that my Mother needed quiet and rest.  She got it – no argument.

Where profanity is the last resort of a person with no language skills, so too, arguments are the last resort of those with no tact, communication abilities, or anger management skills. If a discussion/disagreement has deteriorated to the point of arguments, both parties have already lost.  It is often no longer about who is right, or what is best, but rather, WHO WILL WIN.

Even if you prove the other person wrong, especially in public, you have not won the fight, or a follower, but rather, someone who will bear a grudge and backstab and bad-mouth you forever.  I will clearly state my case, but I stay out of arguments.  Too often, they involve third parties – (soon-to-be-ex)bosses, police, attorneys and ambulances.

There’s no argument that I would like to see you all here again in a couple of days, for some more of Archon’s nuggets of wisdom.