Dulce, utile, et decorum est pro patria scribere.
Christmas Hiatus, Unplanned
What with one thing and another, this and that, main computer down and then downer, and activities up, shopping, wrapping, mailing, working, selling, partying, I just didn’t write PO last week. I wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, or just the Happy New Year if that’s your preference. Be merry anyway. Here’s my Examiner.com Christmas piece, “Light is never wasted.”
Guessing at Meaning
Erin McKean, writing in William Safire’s old New York Times “On Language” spot, is working on Wordnik, a new online dictionary, because:
The Great Oxford English Dictionary, of course, uses examples of usage along with the definitions, but examples alone do not explain a word, even aside from the issue of “proscriptive” and “descriptive” dictionaries. For example, I looked at a random word in Wordnik, Pharmacology, and the first five usage examples were:
- Antihistamine Pharmacology * Cost Management - According to drugpriceinfo. com: - — Recently Uploaded Slideshows
- Participants may choose from sessions in the following tracks: Nutrition / Fitness, Emerging Science, Professional Issues, Pharmacology, and Acute Care. — Health News from Medical News Today
- Dr. Badmus has a first degree in Virology from the University Of Ilorin and a Doctorate in Pharmacology, he is the founder and President of the African Center Foundation (ACF) which has over 200,000 members and is presently active in seventeen countries working in the African communities to develop local industries and primary health care. — Headlines - Inside INdiana Business with Gerry Dick
- A second study in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, also appearing online in March, showed which PCBs affected brain-cell circuits in the hippocampus, a region of the brain known to be impaired in several complex neurodevelopmental disorders including autism.. — Health News from Medical News Today
- Germany, 5Department of Veterinary and Comparative Anatomy, Pharmacology, and Physiology, — innovations-report
If you had no idea what the word might mean, say if you were just learning English and did not speak a European language and had no scientific vocabulary, or if you were ten years old, you might possibly guess that it had something to do with health and possibly drugs, from the context. You might guess correctly, or you might think it had something to do with animal drugs (pharm = farm) or drugs made from cola. But Wordnik had no actual definition until the twelfth example in the list. Also, the random word was capitalized, which brought up a different set of examples than the lower case word, thus all the journal names. If you don’t know right off the bat that the idea is “knowledge of drugs” then you waste a lot of time. What’s the problem with learning that “logy” means knowledge or science, and “pharma” means drug? It’s not that hard.
McKean and partners possibly learned to read by word shapes in elementary school, rather than by the traditional alphabet + sounds method.
As well as both and
I ran across another misuse of “as well as”, which is not equivalent to “and”; the errant sentence was structured like this:
It should be:
It could be:
“As well as” always points to something in addition to whatever item, or series of items, form the compound phrase. “Both” and its object need to be followed by “and”.
Racial Facial Gestures
One Mr. Khoja, both victim and victimizer, was accused of making “racial facial gestures”. I like the rhyme. The race of the person he made faces at was not specified but it would be fun to guess, in the privacy of your own home, of course, while repeating “racial facial gestures” quickly ten times. Of course you will begin with your own race.
Legless in Gaza
In his book Drinking with George, actor George Wendt lists “legless” as one of the many terms for “drunk”. It’s a new one to me.
Babelfish Is Back
Beth Fridinger wondered where the Babelfish link went; she uses it for her foreign correspondence. I removed it from the end matter of Parvum Opus to make it a little shorter, not realizing that anyone really ever used Babelfish from here. Babelfish translates into a dozen languages, including two different kinds of Chinese. Now it’s back. Thanks, Beth.
The Scientific Mind
Herb Hickman, who is a scientist, wrote:
Two Weeks of the Weekly Gizzaard: Moi on Examiner.com
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
From the new Louisiana Purchase to the Full Nelson (for Nebraska), some of the Senate holdouts on the healthcare...
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
Jonathan Gurwitz of the San Antonio Express-News wrote today about three Navy SEALs, Matthew McCabe, Julio Huertas,...
Sunday, December 20th, 2009
The Travel Channel is running a documentary series called Meet the Natives in which five men from the South Pacific...
Thursday, December 17th, 2009
A man called into a radio talk show last week complaining about Christmas lights. He resented his neighbors who put...
Sunday, December 13th, 2009
Today's Cincinnati Enquirer ran a long story plus an editorial about overtime pay for police officers....
Saturday, December 12th, 2009
Pamela Geller, of the Atlas Shrugs blog, started a campaign to have people send Christmas cards to Rifqa Bary, the...
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
This week Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced that offshore exploratory drilling by Shell will be allowed in...
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
This is not about jihadist threat. This is about the LA Times saying there is an increasing terrorist threat within...
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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Scot Tartans: T-shirts and more (custom orders available).
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/