Thursday, August 6, 2009

Parvum Opus 333 ~ Flag Me

Back in the Saddle

I’m back and I can type though I can’t lift my right arm. Too much pain, not enough strength, but it gets better every day. Thanks very much to all of you who sent your good wishes. They really do help, even with a relatively minor, though disabling, injury. I say “minor” because now everywhere I go I see the lame, halt, and blind. (Lame and halt are really the same, aren’t they? Maybe we should make that cliché more efficient by changing it to lame, blind, and rashy, or something.)

I’m now writing items for (Cincinnati version). The short URL is I’m still trying to get the hang of their editorial guidelines, but I guess what I post there, I can post elsewhere, and vice versa, so here I’ll show you what I’ve already done, since I’m still not able to type too much. I’m not focusing on language for the Examiner, but I’m still not quite clear why the Oprah bit below was rejected because it’s not about “Cincinnati politics” yet the tax rebate item was allowed. So far, the health care bill item is still up.

I should get a few pennies if I get enough Examiner clicks, and great oaks from little pennies grow, so clicks are appreciated.

Ain’t No One Happy If Oprah Ain’t Happy

An old philosophy exercise is this question: If you get a hole in your sock and patch it, then you get another hole and patch it, and so on until you’ve replaced every original fiber in the sock, is it still the same sock you started out with?

When Michael Jackson died, was he still the same person he was in, say, 1993, when Oprah Winfrey interviewed him? Clearly he didn’t want to be the same person.

Why is he being mourned as a black hero? He didn’t want to be black. As the old joke goes, America is a wonderful country, where a poor black boy can grow up to become a rich white woman. He didn’t even want his children to have his own DNA, or any black DNA from their mother.

Oprah Winfrey did not chime in with the chorus of memorial hosannas, although she throws in with every important or famous black person. The recent presidential election, when she supported Obama “not because he’s black, but because he’s brilliant,” left many of her fans feeling that she’s more about her black identity than her female identity. And certainly not about the issues.

But her black identity has limits. Oprah’s 1993 interview touched on Jackson’s abusive father. According to one blogger, years after that interview she lost her temper when the subject of Joe Jackson came up. But the interview must have taken place before the first lawsuits against Michael Jackson himself

Apparently Oprah doesn’t find Michael’s childhood abuse sufficient justification for his own (alleged) peculiar relations with children. Oprah was raped when she was a child and has zero tolerance for abusers, who ought to know better than anyone the pain they cause. This has to explain her silence on Michael Jackson’s death. Everyone wanted to pretend he was a black role model for young black men, but for Oprah, his money alone didn’t qualify him.

An Immodest Proposal

I have a proposal for an economic stimulus plan that will definitely get the economy moving immediately, and will be popular with everyone: Give full tax rebates to everyone. I want money to pay all my taxes — federal, state, local, and sales. And anything else that comes along. I think we could ease into this program with, say, 90% rebates, but just as Obama thinks it might take 10 years for his federal medical insurance plan to wipe out private insurers, we can give the government a bit of a margin and delay the 100% rebates for a few years.

Well, Flag Me

The White House wants to know if you receive scary e-mail about Obama’s health insurance plans. Go to the White House “Facts are Stubborn Things” blog site, where officially approved blogger Macon Phillips says the President has been consistent about his positions. If you get e-mails saying he hasn’t, the White House wants you to turn them in. They don’t want you to be upset by —

"scary chain emails and videos … starting to percolate on the internet, breathlessly claiming, for example, to 'uncover' the truth about the President's health insurance reform positions. … There is a lot of disinformation about health insurance reform out there, spanning from control of personal finances to end of life care. These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can't keep track of all of them here at the White House, we're asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to”

If your neighbor disagrees with the official White House line — or, to give him the benefit of the doubt, “misunderstands” it — just let them know. If you know anyone who’s actually read the health care bill, report that to the White House. [Note: You can read the bill yourself online . They could have made it a lot shorter by single-spacing.]

If you find any little inconsistency or change of position on the part of a politician or president, as unlikely as that seems, alert them. Then go flag yourself.

What will the White House do with these e-mails and the names of the senders? Don’t know.

And by the way, what color is that flag?

Apropos of flagging your e-mailers, here at home we just had another instance of someone asking to not receive e-mail from old friends who disagree politically and are “crazy”; no discussion of the issues wanted. In my experience, both active and passive, that’s always a one-way action: “liberals” (including myself in earlier years) do not want to discuss issues with people who have different opinions.


Here at PO, we’ve discussed floogy and floozy, but not boogie-woogie, and I haven’t told you the Little Richard story. In PO 331 I wrote: As for “floogy”, listening to the song by Slim Gaillard on YouTube, I discovered that the G in “floogie” is pronounced like J in jam, not G in good, making it a bit closer to the sound of “floozy”.

We’d expect it to rhyme with “boogie-woogie” which has a hard G sound, but there’s an exception. I haven’t been able to locate this on YouTube or the Web, so I’m relying on my non-digital memory. Years ago I saw Little Richard on TV introducing the song “Don’t try to lay no boogie-woogie on the king of rock and roll” (I thought he had written it). I can’t find a recording by him online, but it was composed by Jeff Thomas. Little Richard told a story about being arrested in England for rocking lewdness or something like that, and the judge said he would not permit any of that “boojie-woojie” (J sound) in his town, mispronouncing it as well as confusing boogie-woogie with rock and roll. Long John Baldry also tells the story and sings the song but not with Little Richard’s verve and hilarity.

Now let’s all imagine “Boojie-Woojie Bujle Boy of Company B”.

(Note: By the way, the Charlie F. who wrote to me about “Flat Foot Floogie” is Charlotte, not Charles.)


And a bit more on coup:

Bill R. reminded us of Chuck Berry’s:

As I was motivatin' over the hill

I saw Maybellene in a Coup de Ville

“ And it certainly wasn’t a coo-pay de Vil…” sez Bill.

Dave DaBee wrote:

To tell the truth, my first memory of the word in conversation was in summer 1958, when my family was about to leave on vacation, with a neighboring teen as our cat-herder / sitter. (5 kids, 8 and under, good job for a 16 year old.) I was at her house when a bunch of other teens were there and a couple of guys mentioned a coup(e), and I (having seen how it's spelled) generously corrected them with coupay. You should have seen the looks these greasers gave this 8 year old punk. And the moment seems to have stuck with me for a half century.



I’m publishing for the Kindle digital reader with Amazon and now also on for download to computer and for printing. Most of these titles are available in both locations. Search for Rhonda Keith on Kindle store and

* The Man from Scratch is about cloning, escort services, murder, and restaurants in Akron, Ohio, featuring Roxy Barbarino, writer for Adventuress Magazine. Novel.

* A Walk Around Stonehaven is a travel article on my trip to Scotland. Short article with photos. ( only.)

* The Wish Book is fantasy-suspense-romance featuring the old Sears Roebuck catalogues. Novella.

* Carl Kriegbaum Sleeps with the Corn is about a young gambler who finds himself upright in a cornfield in Kansas with his feet encased in a tub of concrete; how would you get out of a spot like that? Short story.

* Still Ridge is about a young woman who moves from Boston to Appalachia and finds there are two kinds of moonshine, the good kind and the kind that can kill you. Short story.

* Whither Spooning? asks whether synchronized spooning can be admitted to the 2010 Winter Olympics. Humorous sports article.

* Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Cats: One woman's tale of menopause, in which I learn that the body is predictive; I perceive that I am like my cat; and I find love. Autobiographical essay.

* Parvum Opus Volume I. The first year (December 2002 through 2003). You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll get PO’ed. Collection of columns.

10% discount on my Lulu publications:

Browse to:

Click "Buy" and enter 'BESTSELLER10' at checkout.

Save 10% on your order.


Scot Tartans: T-shirts and more (custom orders available).

T-Shirts & mug: FRESH PICT, with two ancient Pictish designs

BUMPER STICKER: FRESH PICT, white on blue, with 10th Century Pict-Scot Merman Cross (blue on white also available)

SIGG WATER BOTTLE, ORGANIC T-SHIRTS IN GREAT COLORS, MINI-CAMERAS, DENIM SHIRTS, MUGS, TOTE BAGS, MOUSE PAD, TEDDY BEAR, AND MUCH MORE AT Parvum Opus CafePress shop: (NOTE: There are problems viewing this site with Firefox but Earthlink seems OK.)


Graphic covers of my books

Dulce, Utile, et Decorum (Sweet, Useful, and Proper), title of new collection of Parvum Opus, Volume I

BUMPER STICKER: Dulce, Utile, et Decorum

No Pain, No Pain

Star o’ the Bar

Veritas Vincit (Truth Conquers) with Keith clan Catti insignia

Flash in the Pants

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

PWE (Protestant Work Ethic)

I am here maternity tops

I eat dead things (doggy shirt, pet dishes, and BBQ apron)

If you don’t see exactly what you want — a particular design or text on a particular item — let me know and I’ll customize products for you.


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; 2009 issues are 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 2009. 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.

No comments: