Friday, October 3, 2008

Parvum Opus 295 ~ Home to Home


Number 295


Two Tests

>>> From the New York Times, “When Spell-Check Can’t Help” by Philip B. Corbett, a quiz to test your editorial skills.

>>> Dave DaBee sent a daily spelling test, “Do You Mean?” So far I have 100% over two days, but I have to confess that I cheated and looked up Apennines; foreign names are not my strong point. By the way, I’ve been advised that the foreign students I teach are sensitive to being called “foreign”; they prefer “international”. Would the Apennines, then, be an international name for international mountains?

Naming Rights by the Minute

I wrote about Cleveland’s Gund Arena being changed to the Quicken Loans Arena. Now I read that for $6 million, a bank bought naming rights to a new stadium at Northern Kentucky University for 20 years. Does this mean in the future you can buy naming rights for a night or maybe for five minutes? Could be a meaningful birthday gift, like paying somebody to name a star for your GF or BF.

It’s Too Good, Which Is Too Bad

Rich Lederer, a pro on the job, sent this perfect palindrome:

If the strategy of the Democrats is to HARASS SARAH, they have come up with a tactical Palin-drome.

Speaking of which, Palin’s debate with Biden last night was moderated by a woman who’s publishing a book about Obama, and I feel pretty certain it’s a pro-O book. Who decided that? Probably someone who’s still PO’ed about the evangelist who monitored the McCain-Obama face-off that was so discomfiting to the unteleprompted BO.

Brain Candy

One of our PO team from England, David Rogerson, sent a long list of goodies, but today I’m just passing on the ones for typists.

Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.

And lollipop is the longest word typed with your right hand.

The sentence: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog uses every letter of the alphabet. (This used to be practice for beginning typists.)

Typewriter is the longest word that can be made using the letters on only one row of the keyboard.

When I learned to type in high school, I picked up a couple of obsessive-compulsive mental typing habits myself, but one that stuck was finding words typed on alternating hands, such as right (I don’t know what the longest word is).

Scribe for a Day

The Zondervan publishing company is sending a Bible Across America bus around the country to have people hand-copy Bible verses to appear in a special edition of the Bible, to be published by Christmas 2009. If you contribute you can have your script preserved in the Smithsonian.

From Home to Home

My son’s wedding was the most beautiful ever, and my presumed ancestral stronghold, Dunnottar Castle, was somehow profoundly moving. I’m back here now, and hope I can go back there someday.

My Heart’s in the Highlands

by Robert Burns

Farewell to the Highlands, farewell to the North
The birth place of Valour, the country of Worth;
Wherever I wander, wherever I rove,
The hills of the Highlands for ever I love.

I don’t have much to write this week, so here’s more poetry. We lucked into a Celtic music jam at a pub in the Marine Hotel in Stonehaven (which is somewhere in the webcam view of Shorehead). One man with a fine voice sang “Star o’ the Bar” to a woman in the pub. It was lovely but she ought to have slapped him. Anyway, this song is a contemporary pub favorite, not an old song. (You can hear a version, not quite as good as in the Marine Hotel, on YouTube.) Here’s part of it:

Star o’ the Bar

by Davie Robertson

Oh I’ll sing ye’s a stave if ye’ll gie yer attention

It’s nae sang o’ pity it’s nae tale o’ woe

And nae word o’ honour or love will I mention

But I’ll sing o’ a lassie I kent long ago.


Nae better than maist, and nae worse as mony

And what drew me tae her ’s no easy tae say

She was coorse, she was heartless and she was nae that bonnie

But she was the star o’ the bar in her day.

Finally, here’s something out of copyright, brought to mind by the end-of-season garden bird I bought in Walgreen’s ~ a solar-powered plastic common yellowtail that chirps when you walk by and trigger the motion sensor.

Sailing to Byzantium

by William Butler Yeats

That is no country for old men. The young

In one another's arms, birds in the trees

- Those dying generations - at their song,

The salmon-falls, the mackerel-crowded seas,

Fish, flesh, or fowl, commend all summer long

Whatever is begotten, born, and dies.

Caught in that sensual music all neglect

Monuments of unageing intellect.

An aged man is but a paltry thing,

A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing

For every tatter in its mortal dress,

Nor is there singing school but studying

Monuments of its own magnificence;

And therefore I have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium.

O sages standing in God's holy fire

As in the gold mosaic of a wall,

Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre,

And be the singing-masters of my soul.

Consume my heart away; sick with desire

And fastened to a dying animal

It knows not what it is; and gather me

Into the artifice of eternity.

Once out of nature I shall never take

My bodily form from any natural thing,

But such a form as Grecian goldsmiths make

Of hammered gold and gold enamelling

To keep a drowsy Emperor awake;

Or set upon a golden bough to sing

To lords and ladies of Byzantium

Of what is past, or passing, or to come.


Trivium pursuit ~ rhetoric, grammar, and logic, or reading, writing, and reckoning: Parvum Opus discusses language, education, journalism, culture, and more. Parvum Opus by Rhonda Keith is a publication of KeithOps / Opus Publishing Services. Editorial input provided by Fred Stephens. Rhonda Keith is a long-time writer, editor, and English teacher. Back issues from December 2002 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 e-mail, and I'll take you off the mailing list. Copyright Rhonda Keith 2008. 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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