Tag Archives: culture

Grammar Grossiosities

These are a few handy reminders of how to avoid appearing as though you are from Loma Linda or spend all day watching re-runs of the Khardasians.  These are the words and phrases that should be shunned at all costs and is an easy way to elevate your communication skills and certainly make you seem more erudite.

Totally–What are you a Valley Girl?  Even if you are drop it, totally.  You can always try completely, entirely or how about dropping any adjective altogether.  Next thing you’ll be describing someone as totally dead.

Just–You are almost always better off not using that word.   Simply eliminate it.  It should   only be used when you definitely need to make a point of emphasis.

Really–Really, you are best advised to drop this one also under nearly ever circumstance.  Again, this should be used when making an exclamatory remark and that should be a relatively rare event.  I mean most events and circumstances don’t call for that  “shouting” type lingo.  You can always try truly or even verily if you are of the more formal bent.

So–So what?  Gee whiz where in the world did this usage spring from?  It is completely, totally unnecessary word.   Silence before you begin your sentence if so much more elegant.  So are we totally clear on that?

Hey–the TV reporters seem particularly determined to use this every time they are introduced but it has spread like an unwanted linguistic virus.  It you feel compelled to make a greeting how about hello, how are you or if you wish to raise you level you could even use ahoy.   After all that was the preferred greeting of Bell for the phone but surprise, surprise it never totally caught on with the public.  The best advice is to start speaking without any lead in.

Like–Like, totally this is so juvenile and a waste of verbiage.  Drop it.  It will raise your IQ in the opinion of your listener 10 points automatically.

Lean in–What the devil is this supposed to mean?   Try harder, fight harder?  Don’t give up.  Assert yourself?  Exactly what is it you are leaning over or into?  You can do better than that.

Good or Great question–I am worn out hearing that remark.  Go straight to the response.  If it is actually a great question if will be self-evident without note.  If the questioner is bright enough to ask a good question they will be bright enough to not need needless and pointless praise.  Hopefully they don’t need the “good job” all those helicopter moms give their 7 year olds for merely walking onto the soccer field.

Awesome–How many events or occurrences in life are awesome?   My wedding, my children’s births and a hand full of athletic or business accomplishments fill out the resume for me and probably you.  The word should only be used like a fine family heirloom and worn for special occasions only.   Today suggesting a Big Mac is met with the “awesome” response, how demeaning to fine old word.

Here’s the thing–Oh, is it right there beside you?  I was looking everywhere.  Don’t use this expression.  You’ll like totally appear smarter.  It has the same linguistic value as clearing one’s throat before speaking.

Now for a few goodies for the knuckle -draggers out there that equate the sports pages with Samuel Johnson’s essays.

Physicality–What?  Those sportscasters that use this are falling into the verbal pits.  Are they talking about agility? Speed, Stamina, strength, sense of balance.  We all know they sure are not referencing the IQ of those NFL players they are describing.  I never met a physicality I liked.  But I admire physical attributes.  Oh,,,,,maybe that is what they are talking about.

Mentality–Well, first I need to observe that it is reassuring to know that there is anything mental whatsoever about those defensive ends pounding bodies into dust and start and end every sentence with “you know”.  One can only assume, generously, that it is a reference to mental attitude, one’s mental mien or an attitude of determination and emotional resilience if face of some adversity.  Can we take as a given that they are not referring to those folks as mental cases?  Both of these last two are tragic examples of language being sucked into an abyss of the lowest common denominator of cultural linguistic abuse.

Body of work–How in the world did these sports guys every latch onto this tidbit.  It has historically been used to discuss the career and works of artists.  A cornerback for the Atlanta Falcons now has a body of work.  Really, like I totally thought he was a grown man playing a game that would have no lasting impact on mankind.  But I guess now I should think anew and realize that his play is the equivalent of da Vinci.

So, you can like close your books we have leaned in on proper grammar enough for now and I know, you know, that this was a totally awesome experience for you.

“Get your facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please”  Mark Twain.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

 

 

 

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Watchman, How Goes The Night?

There is something especially admirable about one of those turn of phrases that carries both a secular and a deeper philosophical  or religious meaning.  The title is one example of this wisdom and intelligence or luck of the unknown author, and they are always unknown it seems.

On a purely secular level we’ve only had police or cops as we now know them for less than 200 years.  The modern idea of cops comes from the movement of Robert Peel the British Prime Minister in the mid-19th century. Thus the term “Bobby” for the English cop on the beat. For most of Mankind’s journey personal security was provided by a handful of constables, sheriff’s or yes watchmen employed by the local King, Baron or other prominent person of the area.  Mostly you were on your own when it came to security after the Sun set.  Going back for centuries if you read the history you will see that those who could afford it had private guards (footmen for example) when out at night or they went about armed.  Gentlemen carried swords not for decoration but to actually defend themselves and more often to discourage the potential robber or criminal from even attempting an assault.

The term Watchman was used for centuries in the cities.  Ben Franklin referred to the Watchman when he was trying to organize a more formal police presence in Philadelphia in the 1730’s.   That was as generic term that covered Constables or others hired by the local governor or mayor to light the street lamps and make a circuit along the major streets.   So the title phrase today is more or less the equivalent of tuning into the 10 o’clock news to see if there is any danger out there.  Two centuries ago you would have asked the Watchman on his rounds if there was anything nefarious afoot.

Of more profound and emotional content is the personal introspection and depth of the inquiry.  Just as the phrase “whither thou goest”?  That is very penetrating.  Many of us much  of the time might not really want to answer that question because an honest response would be adverse to our self-esteem.  That query can apply to the immediacy of today or the panorama of our life path.   It is indeed a good and happy man that can answer that poser with equanimity.   Remember how Adam in the Garden of Eden didn’t want to answer God’s question about his original sin of the fruit and blamed everything on Eve or even God himself since He gave Adam the woman?  Our strivings in life should be such that we can actually answer that question each day of our lives.  Every day that you refuse to answer that query or are reluctant is a day you should try to correct on the morrow.  Thankfully the good Lord allows us to redeem ourselves and that is available for a day or a lifetime.   A good life is not about perfection but about perfection in effort to be noble, honest and decent.

Lead your life so that when you here that voice from within or from real but ethereal origin, calling to you–“Watchman, how goes the night”?  You can reply–all is well.

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful”  Proverbs 27/6.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Election Reflections

We are all sitting around anxiously awaiting the election results.  It is another big one and losers will be disconsolate.  Even as we wait on the knife’s edge and before we know the outcome it ain’t all bad to ponder some thoughts about life that moves on regardless of election day or the outcome.  These are for your consideration to keep some perspective on the political wars we wage with a do or die attitude.

For untold thousands in the wake of Sandy the election is probably not much on their mind.  More to hand is concern about their belongings and whether the can rebuild their home or find a better place to stay for months than a temporary shelter.

Some people had loved ones die today.

Countless thousands learned today that they have cancer.    Some spent hours taking chemotherapy treatment.  Many others had surgery today to remove a tumor and are awaiting the biopsy report.

Sadly untold hundreds were badly injured or killed in car crashes this day.

Some fellows asked their sweethearts today to become their wives.

How many babies were born today?  The election is a footnote to those happy people.

Some of our troops face real danger today on foreign soil.  Some probably will be badly injured or killed.  Within hours most likely their families will be notified during election returns.

Some young people received their college acceptance letters in the mail on this day.

Someone got a notice from the IRS for an audit.  Believe me that ruined their day regardless of any election.

There are people today who lost a hard-fought law suit or filed for divorce.  There are those who filed bankruptcy today.

Thousands of 6 year- old’s came to mom or day today with that tooth that was just hanging by the proverbial thread and the tooth fairy will be visiting tonight with a quarter.

Thousands of families had to begin today whether they were prepared or not to start making funeral arrangements.  Thousands held the hand of a loved one who died today.   Some had to attend funerals today while you were at the polls.

There are kids out there who finally learned to stay upright on their bikes today for the first time.

The Sun and the Moon will both make their appointed rounds tomorrow.

Even if the bad guy, BO, wins and the country does begin a slow or rapid decline as a society and body politic, all these other events will continue to take place.   Better faith in God and family than any politician or governmental body.   They aren’t there always but God and family will be.

God Bless and good luck to us all.  http://www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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Reflections On Glory

We humans love to emulate the better traits of our nature as demonstrated by the heroes of history and family legend.   Charity, compassion and bravery are only a few of those natures we hail in our dreams.   I have always wanted to do something truly grand or be a part of something heroic even if I was only a small part of the endeavor.   Most of us have had our Walter Mitty dreams of adulation from our friends and family and even neighbors for a job well done.   The truth is most of us never achieve such a feat.  We want to climb Everest,  be part of a conquering army, sit on the Supreme Court, be the leader of a great movement that affects lives.

We want glory.  Sometimes that glory is the type sought by Col. Custer at the Big Horn river or the battle fields of Virginia before that when he was a brevet General.  Of course that glory was about self-aggrandizement as much as doing something grand for others.   It was more self promotion than a heroic deed.   He wanted it to be seen as a heroic deed for sure by others.  He loved that adulation. There is nothing necessarily wrong with wanting the praise of others, to bask in the glory of their remarks. 

I have wanted to do something brave, bold and influential in my life.  Perhaps that is a reason I always had thoughts of the military as a young man but then circumstances and life never opened that door.  I would have been like Patton when he remarked how he had spent his entire life wanting  to lead an army of men into a desperate battle of  good and evil.  I wanted to be part of something good, doing good where there were no gray lines about the right course of action.  My dad served during the War and he certainly would never have thought of himself as doing anything heroic or filled with glory but he was and it was filled with glory.   It was indeed a grand crusade of the forces for good in the world against evil empires in the West and East.   He was a tiny player of no significance but he was there, he did participate in that grand crusade.   He never talked about it but he must have felt good about having a role in the adventure. 

I think it is good to desire glory because that means you have done something that is universally recognized as noble, worthy and beneficial for mankind otherwise there would be no glory attached to the feat.   That is not to be my fate and perhaps I would have stumbled even if presented the  opportunity for glory. I might have come up short.   I have reached that age where I know I will never be an admiral, sit on the Supreme Court or save the family from the burning house.   Just once in our lifetimes we should do something completely outside our norm and that brings hope, relief or pure joy to others.    There is no question that the lasting glory for the individual is the doing of something that is completely unselfish, it is for others.  Alexander the Great achieved great glory but it was more fame than glory because he was feared as much as he was ever loved.   He wanted the power and recognition for himself.   He did bring improvements for many but he also dominated many to have them bend to his will.

Since at my age I realize I won’t ever achieve that glory associated with public affairs and the roar of the crowd  during a Roman triumph I must look for the glory in other places and perhaps better places.   It is the glory that comes from within.  As wonderful as it is to receive the praise of others we always know whether we have done well or not.  The praise of others is really just an echo, a nice one to hear but an echo.   There is a true glory in sitting at the Thanksgiving table and looking around at your children and grandchildren.   You may not be a Master of the Universe or General but having done your duty  well and having the love of one’s family is a glory in itself.    You get to bask in it secretly if you choose because that glory will never be a headline story or it might not even make the obituary notice.   But that glory in a job well done as a parent is palpable and real.  Even if you had achieved the glory of the crowd when the doors close at home it dissipates quickly and it is you and your intimates that matter more than anything.  Praise of an unknown stranger is nice, but the love and respect of a son or daughter or wife or grandchild is beyond measure.

Don’t you feel better now that the Washington gang has sent lawyers to La. to deal with the oil spill.  Those lawsuits will stop the leak and even get us more oil as an  energy source no doubt.  That’s all they need down there–more sharks swimming in the water.  www.olcranky.wordpress.com

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