Monthly Archives: November 2017

so

nabobs

Once again , a short complaint of “so” used , what ? , as a verbal smokescreen ? I’ve heard it used by the talking-heads class of people . So  I’ll take a deep breath , count to ten , and  just barge into my little mild fulmination on the subject of the silly “so”.following the fashion

So , what these people do is use the word ‘so’ as an introductory word , instead of a small forced cough , or an ostentatious  puff of smoke from a pipe , or some other outmoded method of buying a little bit of time before offering a profound-sounding tidbit of deep erudition .

Q.  So , what is your take on this phenomenon ?

A.  So , what we have is a condition brought about by ………………

So , I know that language is a constantly changing bag of worms . So , I realize that my comments may sound somewhat petty to many people , and I accept that observation . However , if you have not noticed this particular idiomatic occurrence , I would say , ” Good for you ! ”   So , in that case I might guess that you don’t listen to the so-called talking heads  . I don’t much either , to be honest , but I can’t totally avoid them.

So , on the other hand , perhaps you have not yet noticed this dubious linguistic quirk .no nothing

Q.    So , is it just me who sees this trend ? 

A.    So , sometimes people make mistakes , imagine things that aren’t there . You know .

Well , to paraphrase the old Irish woman : You may not believe in leprechauns , but they’re out there just the same . 

Women with a pipe (8)

So , is this the end of civilization as we know it ? Perhaps not , not because of this , but it irritates me to no end when I hear it . So , I suppose what irritates me the most is that I don’t know when or how or why this creeping trend started . I hope to heaven that it doesn’t seep out and spread more widely into common language. So , if any of my friends start  “so”- ing , I will tell them to stop , at least quit the practice when I’m around . So , I expect that some of them will honor my request and some won’t . So ,  friendships have ended for less , I guess .

So , I’ll end this little diatribe here and now . So , if you consider this all irrelevant to your life and reading about it a waste of your time , then so be it . So , sorry . So , no one’s holding a gun to your head .fishing and guns

girl scout shooters 1920

 

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small thought

loggers 1915

I have a neighbor on the mountain with a dead tree on the edge of his property . It’s a huge pine tree that if it fell could easily crush his house . We were inspecting the bark beetle residue and taking another look at the scratches made by bears who peel away the bark  to get at the beetles . Bears love to eat the beetles , according to my neighbor .

The county or the state have the responsibility of removing the tree , evidently . Another neighbor up the hill a bit who , among other things  sells firewood , sees a coming opportunity to get the wood of the tree . It’s , I suppose , his particular bark beetle feast fantasy , if you know what I mean . Maybe the bear’s eyes lit up when he was hunting for bark beetles as brightly as this guy’s did when he stood gazing  up into this towering pine tree .

We were joking about chopping the tree down ourselves . The fire wood guy told me that he’d lend me his tools to cut the tree down . It occurred to me that in the old days there were no power tools to do such work .  Axes and long saws was how it was done .

The house owner mentioned Amazon.com . The three of us neighbors stood out there in the morning sunshine  and  shared stories about buying stuff on-line . I recently ordered a power cable for Ada’s laptop . It was half the price of the one’s in the stores . The fire wood guy said he’d bought several doorknobs . Same deal ; half the price as the one’s at Home Depot .

That old tree was there listening to our chatter , I suppose , sighing or laughing or shaking it’s head . That tree was around for a long long time . Everything constantly changes in the forest on that mountain each and every day , but in a more basic way nothing ever changes much .

The kooks and the criminals and the wise ones and the workers and the slackers and the others  come and go and come and go and most of them probably think that they are something special , unique even , and that they have outsmarted the universe . Yeah , I can see the tree shaking it’s old grey head .

jesse young age

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enough decisions already

I think that a menu at a restaurant should be simple . Choose this or choose that . There it is , written out in simple language . Maybe a mere number will do , eg . I want the number eight . The server gets to ask , perhaps , What kind of meat with your number eight . Okay , fair enough . Chicken .

Lately Ada and I have wound up in a couple of places where you almost have to pass a literacy test to finish an order of food . The last place was a Mexican joint near the beach . I still don’t understand their menu .

Hello , I’m LeAnn . I’ll be your server today . Can I start you out with drinks ?  Okay ; sure . A Pacifico draft . And we’re ready to order . I’ll have the chicken burrito .

Which two sides do you want with your burrito ?  What are the choices ?

You can choose the cabbage salad , guacamole , rice or beans , sour cream , or papaya slice .  Papaya slice ?

So , the papaya slice with what other side ?  No , I don’t want the papaya slice . Maybe the beans and the guacamole .

Baked beans or refried ?  Refried .

So , do you want red sauce or green sauce on the burrito ?  Red sauce .

So , onions and chili sauce is okay on the burrito ?  Sure .

And Mexican cheese will be okay ?  Sure .

Sliced or shredded chicken in the burrito ? Doesn’t matter . You have to choose one .

So , did you want me to come by every five minutes or so and ask how is everything ?  Yes , please do .

And did you want me to take the order from the other party in your group now ?  Sure . The combination taco and enchilada .

So , did you want the combination with a pickle on the plate or bell pepper ? Bell pepper .

So , did you want red , yellow , or green bell pepper ? And would you like that sliced or whole ?  Would you happen to have zucchini slices instead ? Of course we do . Do you want red pepper or black pepper on the zucchini slices ? Or no pepper ? Could I get black and red pepper ?  Of course ! So , did you want salt also ? We have sea salt or locally produced salt mine salt ? Okay . Iodized salt or non-iodized salt ? Could you explain the difference ? And did you want that salt rubbed into the zucchini or sprinkled on ? So , did you want that beer in a glass or in a stein ? Stein.  So , did you want an imported stein or domestically made ? Domestic . And what material did you want in that stein ………….?weird man

I usually just order a # 8 over at our local place , Rigo’s .  I’ll look the entire menu over for a couple of minutes  first , though , just in case I want something else that didn’t jump right out at me or occur to me yet  . Some of the items are pictured . The descriptions are short and simple . It’s not an endurance  test . I never really liked tests . Ah , thank you Rigo !

So , would you like that burrito served on an oval plate or a round plate ?  On second thought , Leann , I think we’re leaving .  What do we owe you for the test prep ?

 

 

 

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punctuation and all that

My friend Anthony , a teacher/writer friend of mine from way back  , pointed out to me yesterday that my posts show certain patterns of punctuation that might not pass muster were an English teacher to happen by . Anthony mentioned this not as a criticism , I think , but simply as an observation . Maybe I do it on purpose , after all , to attract attention , an eccentric quirky literary device , perhaps .

I immediately spilled the beans , however , and admitted the accidental nature of the phenomenon , my , in the end , hopelessly lackadaisical attitude toward such precision in writing . Anthony assured me that that was okay . I’m pretty sure , nevertheless , that he was biting his teacher/writer tongue and wishing that my instructors in school had done a better job with their task of influencing and guiding young minds .

I had a girlfriend in college , an English major , who focused on the minutia of grammar . She was forever writing  “papers” for her English classes . When she let me read some of  them once in awhile , I’d  try to follow her ideas , attempts that lumbered clumsily along paragraph by hopeless paragraph ,  while she focused during our discussion of her efforts almost exclusively on the punctuation points . ” How many spaces do I leave after a question mark ? ”  (Don’t ask me ! )art deco poster.jpg

Well , Anthony and I both agreed , I think , that I was potentially giving work to editors . That’s something . I’m not a card-carrying member of the editor union , after all  . I shouldn’t really be usurping their work , anyhow , now that I’m thinking of it .  I’m not a card-carrying member of any writers’ union , either ; but , that’s beside the point , so let’s move along  .

We were eating at a Thai restaurant during this conversation , Anthony and I .  Ada was there , too , suggesting that all of us  consider ordering Cuban food , or maybe have a Thai entree with some Cuban appetizers . The specials for the day at this Thai food place, oddly enough ,  were all Cuban . I guess that makes as much sense as anything else . Why not ? I guess there was a Cuban in the kitchen that day . The Cuban offerings were tempting , but none of us ordered any of them . We stuck with Thai .

I take seriously what my friend Anthony says , so I briefly considered being more careful with my punctuation . He’s too much of an experienced teacher to have directly told me to do that . He , instead , merely floated the notion with a pretending-to-be unconcerned smile on his face and a quick fixed gaze .   No overt suggestion that I do anything about my continual dereliction of punctuation duty and corruption of the language ; just a subtle unspoken hint and nudge to clean up my act . Unless I want to be some kind of lingo rebel , flaunting rules to show how surprisingly unique I am , like some obnoxious teenager . No , we’re all too old for that , Anthony’s dark eyes said . Grow up , Dan , grow up !anatomist.jpg

Maybe I’m reading  writing too much into this whole thing . I think it was the Cuban food at the Thai restaurant that threw me off . Maybe the Cuban angle is a brilliant  innovation that keeps customers off guard and piques interest in the place . It didn’t make sense to me to offer Cuban food as the specialty of the day at a Thai place . But , as for me , I can’t even space my periods correctly , so who am I to judge !

I’d like to say that I do my particular punctuation intentionally to pique readers’ interest . I’ll tell Anthony that —– compare it to the Cuban food thing .  I doubt that he’ll go for that explanation , though .

 

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soft soap

I’m as cheap as the next guy . Well , to be honest , usually   I’m  cheaper . Ada thinks it’s peculiar , for example , when I cut the little lip balm tube open with scissors in order to be able to squeeze the last little bit out . Well , hey , there are little kids in China who don’t even have lip balm , you know !

She tosses out the toothpaste tube way before it’s all used up , too . I like to get my money’s worth out of a product . We just disagree about how far to carry this notion .

There is one area , though , where Ada and I have somehow reversed our virtuous positions : soap .  I continually find piles of old leftover too-small -to -use soap pieces clumped together as if they are pretending to be one bar of soap . They’re not one bar of soap . Evidently Ada holds on to the strange belief that old contiguous pieces of soap will stick together and can , therefore , be used as if they were a cohesive collection , as if they were one usable bar of soap .thanksgiving-and-snow-2016-013

It just doesn’t work .

Well , maybe it works for Ada . She claims that it does . I don’t know how that could be . For me the small little hardened shards of old soap immediately go their own ways when I pick the collection up . One might think that the individual members of this old -soaps collection would soften when wet and would join together in one harmonious  conglomeration full of a glorious pursuit of happiness  ;    but , in my experience , that don’t happen . In my case , at least , that don’t never  ever happen . Again , Ada claims a different experience .

Maybe I’m just not doing something right . Maybe I’m too rough on the poor little soap slivers  . Maybe those surviving fragments want only to act in genuine unity to do us all the kind favor of washing our grubby skins , and here I come roughing them up and unnecessarily knocking them into separate pieces again . Could it be ? I’m not willing or able to accept that idea , however , no matter what Ada says .

I say : buy a new bar of soap !  It doesn’t cost much . Why be such a penny pincher !  It’s too much damn trouble to go through trying to keep that many different  jiggery-pokery  diversified  pieces together .  Besides , we have to keep the American economy cranking along  , after all !

[ Don’t tell Ada about this post , please . She might give me hell about taking the toothpaste tube out of the trash today . ( There’s still at least a couple more day’s use in it )  .]

 

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genes

I’m surrounded by people who have paid their fee to Ancestry.com to find out who they really are . Oh , they’re so excited about it !

Ada and I went to dinner last night at a friend’s home . The master of the premises ( so to speak ) , who has a Swedish surname , discovered to his great surprise that he is only 1% Swedish . I kind of felt sorry for the poor guy . He’s done extensive research over the last few years on the family’s Swedish ancestors . He put together a very captivating book that traces his grandfather’s and great grandfather’s travels from Sweden to America. He’s more English and Irish than Swedish , it seems . His Anglophile wife is more Swedish than he is , and she’s not shy about pointing out  that awkward bit of information  to him. She’s had her DNA done , of course , too.

Another guest at the dinner who’d had her DNA  done  now knows that she is 1% Jewish and she is suddenly very proud of that  . Now she’s contemplating the Holocaust a lot more intensely since she has more skin in the game .  I forget what else she says she is . She has always considered herself Hungarian , because that’s the part of the world that her grandparents sprang from . But she’s part English , she said . And , how in the world did she suddenly become part English ? What were those past generations up to , anyway ? The English bit  seemed to bother her . She highly recommends the DNA test , though .Ireland in 1949 (31)

My grandparents came from Ireland . All of  ’em .  If I would have my DNA investigated , I would expect to find that I’m mostly something else , maybe Portuguese or Panamanian or Greek . Hopefully I’d at least stay a couple of percent Irish . My mother’s father was born and raised in County Limerick , which I think is known as originally a Viking town . My father’s side of the family had the dark eyes of the ‘Black Irish’ ,  descendants of the disastrous Spanish Armada , sailors who were able to make it to shore and perhaps find a pub to dry off in over a few pints and , afterward , to discover Ireland .

If it turned out somehow that I’m a majority English I’d have some serious soul-searching  to do . When my  grandmother said that ” The devil lives in London ” , she meant that literally . I don’t think that she was ever in London , but if she had been she would have been on the lookout for the cloven-hoofed Prince of Darkness .

Maybe I’m partly Armenian or Russian . If I found out that I’m more Polish than my Polish  wife I’d be sorely tempted to rub that in , just as my Swedish friend’s wife seems to like to do . On second thought , though , that wouldn’t go over so well  , so maybe not . I’m sure that I’m more Swedish than the Swedish guy , too , by the way . I’d hate to have him find that out . We’ve been friends for so long , after all .

This ancestry thing is just a source of trouble . Why couldn’t those old ancestors just stay put and stick with their own kind !Women with a pipe (8)

” Hey , Dude , I’m more Swedish than you are ! ” . Or maybe :

” Hey , Ada , I’m more Polish than you are . Pass the kielbasa, proze  ! ”  That wouldn’t make for marital bliss , I suspect .

Who the hell are you , anyway ? What if that great great great grandad ………… ? or grandma ……?   There was a Jesuit at my high school who used to say something like : If you go back far enough , we’re all related to Adam and Eve . I think that old priest had the right attitude .

So , you find out your ancestry . Maybe , for example , you’re told that you’re only 1% Swedish when you’ve believed all of your life that you’re of Swedish ancestry through and through . So what ?  What  , now you have to affect an English accent ? Cancel the trip to Stockholm and a few of those offshore islands ?

I see a deal now for the DNA test for a mere $ 79.00 .  No offense to all of you participants , but I have a few questions to ask . Do you get a cerificate of authenticity of some kind along with your analysis ? Do they give a money-back guarantee ?  What if , when the package arrives , it’s not what you wanted . Can you just send it back ? What if I’m a dissatisfied customer ?  Would I get my money back ?

I’m going to leave things just what they are . Heaven forbid I should find out that I’m 20% French ! Then what would I do ? I’d immediately have to buy chic clothes , I suppose , and begin to develop a kind of throat throttle sound and drink espresso . Or is the espresso thing still more Italian ?   What if I find out , now that I’m thinking of it , that I’m part Sicilian ? I’d call up my buddy Anthony and ask him what I’d need to know  and what I will need to do now . He’d probably secretly deny my ancestry , however , despite my Certificate of Authenticity , and we’d probably end up in una faida familiare , and that would be a shame .

This whole gene thing could get messy . I think I’ll throw the 79 bucks away on a few barrels of beer instead . Or fill my gas tank up .woman with beer barrels

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veterans’ day

 

 

North Carolina Soldiers During WWI (1)

Americans in World War I (1)

Americans in World War I (8)

Cemetery

 

 

 

romance-wartime-photos-3

 

April 1969 Vietnam

April 1969 Vietnam

Shell casing pile KoreaWashington, D.C. July 4th Fireworks

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