“Iphone, You Phone, We All Phone”
For those of you whose birthdays fall after that of Texas Instruments,
a slide rule is a calculating device that looks like a thick ruler.
A narrow strip covered with numbers slides in a precisely fitted
groove within a larger strip, also festooned with digits. It’s
one evolutionary step above an abacus, but with a lot of training
and practice, it can be used for such tasks as propping up the short
leg of your kitchen table.
“Curmudgeon’s Resolution: Lighten Up”
There are oddities in local TV news that one simply can not ignore,
such as the story about broken sewer lines that affected renters
in a particular building. The news reader told us about the repair
crews fixing "the ruptured tenants’ lines." Apparently
the tenants were trying to remove their belongings, which, apparently,
were very heavy.
“I’m Just Sayin’: Don’t overtax your expressions”
Catchphrases float around like dandelion seeds on the wind, and
every once in a while one gets lodged in your brain where it takes
root and spreads until you can’t ignore it any more and you
finally surrender and say, "Okay, but what do you mean?"
Such is the case with our seedling of the moment, "I’m
“Shug, Dub, and Dabs. What’s in a company name?”
The Internet is rife with ill-named entities... An online search
will turn up such improbable names as the Amigone Funeral Home,
Bearable Dentistry, Bender Chiropractic, the May Pop Tire Shop,
and the Fractured Prune Donut Shoppe. (Their web site is a lovely
shade of purple.
“Sounds of the Season”
Animals: I’m not referring to lowing cattle. This
could be your standard dog, cat, parakeet, gerbil, or even a horse,
should you have one. The sound of a current pet could lead you to
stories of its latest antics (Kitty Kat’s encounter with the
Roomba) or to memories of pets no longer with us (Tweety-Bird’s
encounter with the Roomba).
“Speakers and the Mother Tongue”
Here’s the problem with a laissez faire attitude
toward the mother tongue: Any error that people recognize, whether
written or spoken, makes them stop. We don’t want that. I
once saw someone’s status on LinkedIn that said I should use
his services so I could insight my clients’ needs. You can’t
"insight" anything because it’s not a verb. And
he should have known that. Did that gaffe make me stop? You bet.
Did it make me question everything else he said? Double you bet.
“Brain Rot – It’s Back”
The Greek philosopher Socrates is actually on record as coming out
against the idea of the written word, saying that it would cause
a lapse in critical thinking because a student would not have to
exercise his memory, thus causing it to atrophy. Another reason
he had for disliking books — scrolls, actually — was
because you couldn’t have a dialogue with one. No matter how
many times you read it, the damn thing just kept saying the same
things over and over. Said "record" comes from later philosophers,
such as Plato, because no writings by Socrates exist for the simple
fact that he didn’t like to— well, you know.
“Phoenix: It was a trip”
Over the years, I’ve noticed that speakers from cities like
Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia, and Boston often make an effort
to tone down their accents. But our Southern friends, knowing a
good thing when they hear it, crank theirs up to 11. At the end
of one brief presentation by a lady who lives so far south of the
Mason-Dixon Line that she can see the Equator from her house, we
were all figuratively ankle-deep in corn pone and sour mash. Note:
If a Southerner takes an accent reduction class, do they go through
your copy here