Hair o’ the Hare
I’m not going to look this up, but shouldn’t “hair brained plot” (which I read in a blog) be “hare brained plot”? That is, as stupid as something a rabbit would dream up. Of course you might argue that a hair is even less intelligent than a rabbit.
Ben and Jerry’s has changed the name of its “Chubby Hubby” ice cream to “Hubby Hubby” in honor of the same-sex marriage law in Vermont. It’s a temporary change, just for the month of September. I think they should have rolled out an entirely new flavor, because it sort of makes me think of someone’s hubby changing his sexual preference mid-scoop. Not a good idea.
We’ve joined a new gym with lots of new machines by several different manufacturers. One is a bicep curl called Preacher Curl. Fred has heard of that, I haven’t. Why would you call this machine or this exercise a preacher curl? There’s also a preacher bench for exercising. Was there a piece of furniture customarily assigned to the preacher? Fred thinks it’s an Americanism for the prie-dieu, a bench for kneeling and leaning, which the preacher bench resembles. But prie-dieu is so French and so Catholic, while preacher bench is such a Protestant term, and I don’t recall that type of furniture in a Protestant church.
If you’re not familiar with ecclesiastical terminology, the word apologetics may be misleading. We almost invariably use the word “apologetic” (without the S) to refer to a tone of apology, that is, expressing regret for something. So when we hear about church apologetics, it sounds like someone is apologizing for something wrong. Apologetics and related words all come from the Greek word meaning defense. Church apologetics are detailed and reasoned explanations of tenets of faith. Ordinarily I’m not in favor of abandoning words because they’re unfamiliar to the average listener or reader — get a dictionary, sez I — but this is a case where if I used the word in an ordinary classroom, I would immediately define it, or else use a different word.
There are those who even think the subjunctive can be done away with, merely because so many people don’t get it. Daily Writing Tips thinks so, but if I were you I wouldn’t bite on that one yet. If you say “If I was you” you’re still going to sound sub-literate, at least for the time being. I did learn a new term from DWT, however: irrealis. This grammatical term refers to moods in English and other languages that refer to the unreal.
And Now for a Hymn
Most people know the old hymn “Amazing Grace” by reformed slave trader John Newton. You’ve heard it at church or at a funeral or on TV or from a bagpiper. Today, people sometimes change the second line of the first verse:
Now you might hear:
John Newton knew he was a wretch. Wretch, by the way, descends from an Anglo-Saxon word meaning exile. I don’t know if it retained any of that sense in the 18th century when Newton wrote the song, though Newton must have felt exiled from God. Today it just means some who’s miserable or vile, and who probably has poor self-esteem. Here’s my suggestion for another variation:
I stumbled across an interesting version of the song by The Dropkick Murphys, a Boston punk band, which keeps the word “wretch” but is interspersed with (it’s hard to make it out) their own song, “Good Rats”, about “a little lad named vermin McCann / who fell upon a drink that made him feel like quite a man”. The good rats eventually sink in the beer. Funny guys, those Murphys. They know a false paradise when they taste it.
Anne DaBee suspected I might have meant “eke out your pension with a little moonlighting on the side” instead of “eke out your pension with a little moonshining on the side.” No, I meant moonshining. She went on:
It is a nuisance, and vermin will fall into the still. Literally. My dad told the story of going to buy moonshine in the hills of West Virginia when he was a lad, but he changed his mind when he spotted rats floating in the ‘shine.
Anne also recounted another restaurant scam which was much like the scene in the movie Victor, Victoria, but she said “this was the brainchild of a TEACHER — who thought he was terribly clever, and saw nothing wrong with what he'd done. Glad none of MY kids were in his class, and God help those who were.” Now you know better than to mention God within 100 feet of a school.
Anne concluded, “glad you're better — and healing or heeling or whatever.” Those DaBees are irrepressible.
President Obama is planning to speak to school children and there’s been some grumbling that the federal government is interfering with curriculum, which is outside its scope. There’s nothing wrong with a president speaking to students. My objection might be to some of the questions, such as, How does President Obama inspire you? Things like that. Too much like a cult of personality. Schoolchildren should be studying the principles on which the country was founded, not the inspirational personality of a politician.
Spinner, Necker, Suicide, Brodie . . .
Herb H. wrote at technical length about the famous knob:
Herb recommended I buy one. It would look cool in my aging PT Cruiser… But Dave DaBee wrote:
Risking death to look cool is the ultimate in cool.
This week on Examiner.com:
Thursday, September 3rd, 2009
Entrepreneur Matt Miles has built a new calculator big enough to display the new national deficit, which doesn't...
The dogs that didn't bark
Tuesday, September 1st, 2009
Once again the National Organization for Women has made a dubious political bargain by lauding Ted Kennedy after...
Chappaquiddick is old news
Sunday, August 30th, 2009
Senator Edward Kennedy is being mourned as a great statesman, as a hero of the common people, as a Kennedy, though...
Deficit is not created by intelligent design
Saturday, August 29th, 2009
There's an old story about a professor who gave a lecture saying that the sun would burn out in a billion years,...
I’m publishing for the Kindle digital reader with Amazon and now also on Lulu.com for download to computer and for printing. Most of these titles are available in both locations. Search for Rhonda Keith on Amazon.com Kindle store and Lulu.com.
A Walk Around Stonehaven is a travel article on my trip to Scotland. Short article with photos. (Lulu.com 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.
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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 http://www.geocities.com/