Showing posts from April, 2006

English Language Abuses

Oh, forget the normal, day-to-day English abuses. I'm more after the idiomatic/euphemistic way that we as a whole refer to sex, killing, and body parts. While I understand to a [very small] degree the need to denigrate sex and things sexual, I don't see why it is so prevalent.
I witnessed a phone conversation that was at partially staged for my benefit (not the call itself - that would fall under serendipity for the individual who received it), but the word choices involved. The receiver actually referred to the caller and some unknown third party as a "slit" - it did not take me too long to figure out just what the insult was. (I was later told that the receiver thought using the rather strong word "cunt" was too offensive. An interesting thought since any term of that nature seems quite highly offensive.) This is not unlike the time that Luis came home and casually asked me how I would feel about being called a "gash". EMT that I am the first tho…

The Weather Blahs...

It's a rainy grey day outside. It is dark and dreary inside. I started cleaning up around the house, and have made the bed and straightened up most of the bedroom... but that is as far as I've gotten. I'm just not feeling very inspired to much of anything, really.

I'm much too susceptible to the weather... I find it is really hard to do things and move and be interested in much on dark, dreary days like this. Good thing I went into the City yesterday. I had a perfectly lovely day there. I met up with Harry almost the moment I stepped out of the PATH train station onto Christopher Street. The sun was bright and shining and there was a coolish breeze - gorgeous. We walked all over the Village area and then took the L and then 4th train to Central Park. We met up with Nick and walked through the Shakespeare's Garden portion of the park. We hung out on some benches there chatting and then finally headed out and then decided we were hungry and went to a delicious pizza …

Penn & Teller's Bullshit!

I love this show! Out of two full seasons and the two new episodes I have seen, I have only disagreed 0n their opinion on one show! That is pretty amazing. It's a difficult show in that there's an overabundance of foul language (something that I don't mind in general but find excessive here) but the content and the research into different topics and the arguing sides of that topic are well worth the consistent overuse of the word "fuck".

However, in re-watching the pilot, where they discuss people who communicate with the dead, Penn Gilette explains all the foul language - apparently that is a little too much even for them - but has to do with avioding litigation over slander or libel or both. Well... OK, then. I like the fact that even Penn finds all that colourful language to be too much, but that it is not there for shock value or anything of that nature.

Topics that they cover:

First Season:
Talking to the DeadAlien AbductionsEnd of the WorldSecond Hand Smoke/Bab…

Unanswered Questions: Things to Ponder

The questions where in a humourous e-mail that was sent to me (or printed out for me) by my parents. I took it one step farther and decided to answer them, as some, while funny, need that answer. Or I just felt like cogitating out loud about it... take your pick! Q: How important does a person have to be before s/he is considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

A: Good question, although I believe that the English language (if used properly) answers this question. Murder can be anything from “oops, look what happened” (manslaughter, by legal definition) to “I planned this for 20 years” (pre-meditated murder), where as assassination is someone else either killing one for a specific purpose (usually political gain) or hiring one to kill someone else for a specific purpose. I didn’t look in a dictionary for this… it’s just proper understanding of words. This is why people get into arguments for no really good reason – gross misunderstanding or misuse of words.

Q: If money doesn’t gro…

This Week's Theme: Death & Taxes

Monday, 10 April 2006

Ben Franklin once said, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." And the same goes for this week's words: nothing is certain but death and taxes, or at least a discussion of them. Don't worry, nobody dies and no one has to pay a tax to learn these words. Each of the words this week has something to do with either death or taxes.
Over the ages, the world's rulers have imposed all imaginable kinds of taxes on the populace. Taxes were once based on the number of hearths in a house (fumage), and there have been taxes to pay off raiding Danes (Danegeld). In late seventeenth century, William III of UK imposed a window tax, levied on each window in a house. Three hundred years later, William III of US imposed a Windows tax, levied on each personal computer manufactured, whether it had Windows or not, but I digress.
Death too comes in unexpected places. When we buy a house and sign a mortgage, let's keep in mind that the word derives…

I'd Make a Great Grim Reaper

It's true. I've watched every episode of Dead Like Me and I know that this is a job I'd be cut out to do.

Very few people love what they do. I happen to be very lucky in that I love my job - and not just for the place I work for currently (which has way more positives than negatives), but in general. From the start when I fell into the HR department at PNY Technologies, I knew that this was what I was meant to do. Sure, there was a lot of learning and trial and error but it was all worth it. I hold a great position now. And the thing of it is that I earned it. I worked very hard to get to where I am. For someone with zero college, this is a huge accomplishment.

But let's look at the job of the Grim Reaper. Or in this case, reapers. In Dead Like Me, the main character, George, is someone I identify with a lot. I'm not 18 and wasn't killed at that age, but her general manner and a lot of the different things like being a joiner and hiding to really hide and all tha…

This Week's Theme: Terms Imported from Other Languages.

Monday, 3 April 2006

Guest Wordsmith Philip Gooden writes:

Language gives a snub to borders in a way that is denied to any other human invention. There are no controls or checks to prevent words from crossing boundaries, there are no duties to be paid when phrases migrate from one culture to another. In the basic and simplest sense of the phrase, language is a free market. Among world languages, English has some claim to providing the freest market of them all, not only because it is compounded from a variety of sources but also because it has made itself open to linguistic influences from around the globe. It is interesting to see how the different languages have come to be deployed in different fields.

French is traditionally the language of diplomacy, of détente and démarche, but it is just as traditionally the language of sex and romance (billet doux; cinque à sept, describing the time late in the day when lovers traditionally meet). Latin, functional and precise, provides us with ma…

Not Again!

What?! Is it that time again?! Oh, no...

Oh, yes... the clocks will move forward once again. Everyone at work is griping about this because they will lose one hour of sleep. I suppose so, but honestly, I have loved riding on the night the clocks changed (it was an eleven hour shift instead of a twelve hour shift); and then there is the fact that this is a Saturday night that this happens on... not a work night. So I won't lose anything. I will still sleep eight hours (roughly).
Time is time and you cannot lose it. More importantly, you cannot regain lost time. Going to bed at 2000 on Friday night and sleeping until noon on Saturday morning after managing only four hours a night Tuesday through Thursday will not actually make you "catch up" on sleep. You cannot regain what you have lost. Time and sleep do not work that way. Well, when Daylight Saving Time begins, there is no loss (especially if you go to bed a little earlier), but there is that crucial shift in daylight. I …