Saturday, January 23, 2010

A short Thank You

Mrs. L. and I would like to thank whomever it was that sent a gift to Heartcry Missionary Society.  At least, it was someone who read my post All I Want for Christmas.  And it has to be someone who knows us personally and our address, as the receipt we received in the mail today has Mrs. L's first name.

Anyway, you need not tell us who you are, just receive our Thank You!

More things I wish people would not say

So, you think I am being OCD about too many adverbs?  (See Seven sayings...)  You don't know the half.  The other day over at Worldmag Blog, some guy was complaining about the use of the noun “Democrat” being used as an adjective when mentioning the political party, as in “Democrat party”.  Several others went back and forth with the guy about how it is not a recent usage, and the Republicans have used it for decades. No, I am not going to defend that usage, as I agree with the guy.  But how many of us misuse adjectives and nouns and never even think about it?  And other misuses of cliches and parts of speech? 

Forthwith are a few more things I wish people would stop saying.  Mostly these are grammatical miscues.
  • “I’m good” as a response “How are you?”  “Good” is an adjective that describes your character.  The question asks how you are feeling at the moment, not what kind of person you are.  The grammatical answer is “I’m well” or “Fine.”
  • “Wall Street to Main Street”  This, along with a few variations, seem to be the latest political mantra.  I guess it is supposed to show the common people that the politician is one of them, and not some Washington bureaucrat or Wall Street fat cat.  Sorry, politicians, but when I hear that line, I want to jump into the TV and scream at you: “Enough with the clich├ęs!”  I personally want Wall Street to do well, as my pension and IRA depend on a strong stock market.  And aren’t we a capitalistic economy?  If Wall Street fails, don’t the rest of us suffer?  Now I realize that the hatred is directed at the company managers who get huge bonuses whether the company does well or not.  Okay, go after the individual offenders, not the whole system! Besides, around here it is the big box stores hurting Main Street, not the stock market.
  • “I could care less.”  So, care less if you are able.  The saying is “I couldn’t (notice the negative) care less,” indicating that the speaker has zero interest in the subject at hand.  To say one could care less, means that person has at least some interest.
  • Using the past tense verb form instead of the past participle and vice-versa.  Here in the Midwest, people are prone to confuse verb forms.  They say, “I seen you at the store.”  Or else “I’ve went to St. Louis often.”  I used to correct it whenever I heard it (as Mrs. L. can testify), but now I repeat it to them correctly in a question: “You saw me at the store? Why didn’t you say ‘Hello’?”  “How often have you gone to St. Louis? Once a month or more?”  Like directly correct them, this approach doesn’t get them speaking the Queens English, but it makes me feel better. One of the worst offenders is someone I work with, i.e. another teacher!  He used to mock President Bush for his mispronunciation, yet he constantly mispronounces common words, like “supposably” in place of supposedly.
I guess that is enough conversational peeves I have.  Any others you care to share with the few, the proud, the brave readers of this blog?

Friday, January 8, 2010

Seven sayings...

Okay, I admit.  When I was young and immature I was a fan of George Carlin.  He was funny, but now I wonder why young people (and even older ones) find gutter humor funny.  (Don't get me wrong, Carlin was a genius, and had a few great skits, just too much crudeness for my older, wiser, Christian self.)  One his most famous skits was called “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On TV”, in which he proceeds to use the foulest language imaginable.  Sadly, many of those things are now used in conversation as if they were never thought of as bad words!  But I digress...

I thought I would herewith propose seven things I wish we would stop using in writing and speaking.  These are not bad, just overused.
  1. Adding Adverbs to Adverbs-- Admittedly, adverbs are necessary, but repeating them or using more than one is aggravating.  I cringe when watching the news and a reporter says “very, very”.  I realize this happens during “off the cuff” moments, and not in scripted reporting.  But why not use that brain that got them through journalism school and come up with another adverb like “extremely”? Why don’t these paragons of intelligence (written tongue in cheek) open a thesaurus in their free time?
  2. Arguably-- Speaking of adverbs, this one has got to go.  It’s become the buzzword of bloggers.  Whatever happened to the good old stand by words like “definitely” or “in fact”?
  3. Simply-- I know, I am picking on adverbs here. But this word is so overused in advertising.  “Simply call 1-800...” is a line that makes me laugh.  Calling toll free numbers now-a-days is not a simple task, unless you know how to get around the voice prompts.  (I have found that pressing 0 three times usually gets you directly to the customer service line, and you get to talk to a real person!)  How many times have I had to enter a ten-digit account number , only to have to repeat it to the representative who finally gets my call?   Sometimes this word “simply” is added to instructions that are so convoluted that it takes an engineer to figure it out.
  4. “Deja vu all over again.” Yes, Yogi Berra was a funny guy, and had many of these cute sayings. But it is getting tiresome to have every sports announcer on the planet saying this at least once in every broadcast.
  5. God’s name in swearing-- This was not one of Carlin’s seven, but I remember when I worked in radio, we had to bleep it out if we heard it.  Live call in shows have to have a six-second delay in order to give the deejay time to push the bleep button.  I wish I could do so for written work before I have to read it.  It is terrible that in print “g--d---” is allowed, but the Anglo-Saxon versions of excrement or sexual intercourse are not.  No, I do not advocate allowing them, just blanking out God’s name when used in a profane manner.
  6. Profanity-- Not only God’s name, but the f-bomb and other “vulgarities” have entered into the mainstream conversation.  I remember when “those words” were not said around women and children, but now it is the women and children using them!  Granted, such words are not evil in and of themselves, but in the 1000 or so years since the Normans conquered the Angles and Saxons, the words used by the latter have been frowned upon.  Yes, even children used those words in the dark ages before William the Conqueror and his hordes invaded and won the Battle of Hastings.   And since the Frenchification of the nobility in England, we do not use them in polite conversation.  I guess America is rebelling still against the British nobility by using language the nobles would not use.
  7. Obama-- I had to find a seventh word to keep up with Carlin, so here it is.  I await 20 January 2013, the day when he is no  longer president.
O, friends, let us simply procure to be very, very careful in our speach, which is arguably one of the hardest things to do.