Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Parvum Opus 253 ~ Thanks


Number 253

November 21, 2007



This Monday and Tuesday, the Baby Blues cartoon by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott featured a little girl who uses colorful expressions that I’ve never heard before but that sure do sound country: “That makes me happier’n a gopher in soft dirt.” “If this place was any nicer, it’d be a chocolate Sunday school.” Why do I identify these as Appalachian (or mountain or country) expressions and not something else? The gopher reference is easy, of course; few urban people speak of gophers. The phonetic spelling of “happier than” is not exclusively rural but it fits. We tend to think rural or southern people are more likely to send their kids to Sunday school. Anyway I can hear a southern or mountain accent in Thelma’s words and I hope she keeps coming back to Baby Blues.

Speaking of Appalachia, I remembered an old Twilight Zone show and identified it as “Jess-Belle” (thanks to the Web, of course) on It was set in Appalachia or maybe the Ozarks, and resembled an old folk tale though it was written for the show in the ‘60s. Someone had left a review on the site that basically said it was “dumb”. IMBD requires a minimum ten-line review so the writer padded his review by repeating “dumb” four times (with one “stupid”). I added a review myself but in the interest of full disclosure, note that mine has typo. The other reviewer reminded me of what Theodore Dalrymple wrote about the inability of so many people to articulate their ideas, if ideas is even the right word. I’d like to question the reviewer (Daddykingpig ~ do you think he meant Daddykingpin?) in person to try to figure out why he disliked the show.

Some years ago a friend of mine (who was actually named Drusilla) told me she didn’t like an essay she had to read for a college class, and I did question her. I unearthed two reasons. She didn’t like the use of the word “twee” because she didn’t know what it meant (British for way too cute and quaint), and also didn’t like the writer’s view on vegetarianism (the opposite of whatever my friend’s preference was). It wasn’t easy for her to analyze her own reactions. Education in the form of logic and verbal skills are important for people to understand themselves, let alone anyone else.

But someone like Thelma, or at least the culture she comes from, uses language molded by observation, imagination, and native wit. It’s sharp, it’s concrete, it’s clear.


Dave DaBee put this YouTube link on his Caringbridge blog, a funny dueling rap between the PC and the Mac ad guys. Maybe you’ve seen the TV ads for Mac, where the Mac guy always looks cooler and cuter, but there’s an implicit advertorial contradiction because in the computer universe, nerds and geeks are always the coolest.


Amazon has introduced a wireless ebook device called Kindle. Ebooks haven’t been very successful but according to Amazon, this one is better. Maybe.


I wish you all a good Thanksgiving. I’ll get back to the usual carefully phrased griping next week, but this week I am thankful for many things, among them all of you who read Parvum Opus. In 1863 during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln gave us this beautiful Proclamation of Thanksgiving

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theater of military conflict; while that theater has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battlefield; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed,

Done at the city of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.


||| Theo van Gogh was the grandson of Vincent.

||| You probably see inconsistent fonts when you get Parvum Opus via e-mail. For some reason the codes are unstable when I paste the text into my e-mail. Can’t seem to control it the way I want.


Link here to look for books on!

Or click on underlined book links.

NEW SHOP: Scot Tartans. NEW STUFF AT Parvum Opus CafePress shop:

"Flash in the Pants";

"If you're so smart why aren't you me?";

"If you build it they won't come";

Rage Boy/Bat Boy: Can you spot the difference?;

Akron U. Alma Mater: The Lost Verse;

PWE (Protestant Work Ethic) tote bag;

"I am here" T-shirt;

"Someone went to Heaven and all I got was this lousy T-shirt";

"I eat dead things" doggy shirt and BBQ apron;

new kids’ things, mouse pad, teddy bear, stein, and more!


Parvum Opus now appears It is also carried by the Hur Herald, a web newspaper from Calhoun County, West Virginia. See Editor Bob Weaver's interview with me (February 10, 2007 entry), and the PO every week in Columns.

WHEN SONNY GETS BLUE! Check out the video clips of Sonny Robertson and the Howard Street Blues Band at and, with his new original song, "A Different Shade of Blue".

SEARCH IT OUT ON AMAZON : "It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2; "Get wisdom! Even if it costs you everything, get understanding!" Proverbs 4:7:

The poet Muriel Rukeyser said the universe is not composed of atoms, but stories. The physicist Werner Heisenberg said the universe is not made of matter, but music.


Go to Babelfish to translate this page into Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, or Spanish!

Parvum Opus is a publication of KeithOps / Opus Publishing Services. Back issues may be found at Feel free to e-mail me with comments or queries. The PO mailing list is private, never given or sold to anyone else. If you don't want to receive Parvum Opus, please reply with "unsubscribe," "quit," "enough," or something like that in the subject line, and I'll take you off the mailing list. Copyright Rhonda Keith 2007. Parvum Opus or part of it may be reproduced only with permission, but you may forward the entire newsletter as long as the copyright remains.

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