Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Parvum Opus 360: Warmist Wishes

Dulce, utile, et decorum est pro patria scribere


Commas Save Lives

Plucked from the slush pile:

Commas, they save lives!


Let’s eat Grandpa!

Let’s eat, Grandpa!

Keep in mind that “let’s” means “let us” thus needs an apostrophe:

Speaking of apostrophes, Dave DaBee wrote:

Parse this airport sign:

Courtesy Storage of Passengers

Baggage is Not Permitted

As is, it looks like you can store passengers for free, but they can’t have baggage. Does that help? An apostrophe in “Passenger’s” might.


Joanna Bogle is a British author who hosts a TV show called Feasts and Seasons, where she explains the significance and traditions of various church holidays and cooks suitable food for each occasion, sort of a Catholic Julia Child. This week she explained that Carnival (as in Rio and Mardi Gras) comes from roots meaning “meat” and “remove”.

Redistributive Justice

I passed a semi the other day that said:



At first I confused this with the Saalfield Publishing Company in Akron, Ohio, a publisher of children’s books where one of my aunts worked when I was a kid. Sometimes she’d visit and bring stacks of coloring books, paper doll books, and other exciting stuff. Unfortunately Saalfield is no more.

Saalfeld Redistribution, coincidentally located in Loveland, Ohio, is a company that buys large miscellaneous inventory to resell in smaller lots to businesses. Its slogan makes sense in a b.s. slogan kind of way, but “redistributing” now inevitably brings to mind “redistribution of wealth”. Reselling products is an innocent pastime; less so is redistribution of anything. You can take away people’s material stuff, and money, and give it to someone else, with the implication that wealth and material goods were “distributed” in the first place, sort of handed around randomly by the Great Distributor. To redistribute success, you would have to imagine that success is distributed. But while a successful business owner, for instance, may share profits with employees and shareholders, success itself can only be earned.

Mank Ind

Maeve Maddox writes on gender neutral language in Daily Writing Tips. The best comment is from one Daniel:

Any discussion of “mankind” cannot be complete without a reference to Jack Handey’s “deep thoughts” on it:

“Maybe in order to understand mankind, we have to look at the word itself. Mankind. Basically, it’s made up of two separate words—’mank’ and ‘ind’. What do these words mean? It’s a mystery, and that’s why so is mankind.”

Recently I permitted myself to use the traditional male pronoun as a generic instead of trying to include every possible gender or twist a singular into a plural (example: “Everyone would like to speak his piece” instead of “speak their piece” or “speak his or her piece”).

Suppose we made sure always to say “he and she” instead of “he”, someone would complain that these two pronouns are heteronormative and leave out shemales and eunuchs, etc.

No problemo inshallah

Bill Roberts wrote about “No problem”:

Some years (okay, decades) back, I did a UNITAS deployment, which involves circumnavigating South America and operating with all of the navies on the way. The standard response was No problemo para mi. They were always right—it never was a problem for them

… It’s almost as annoying as inshallah—if God wills. If the harbormaster says the tugs will be there at 0830 tomorrow, you have a chance. If the harbormaster says the tugs will be there at 0830 tomorrow inshallah, it’s going to be a long morning at sea detail.

My response to Bill was that the tugs would be there if they weren’t blown up, but then I’m bitter and clinging to my Bible, Beretta, and blog.

From the Uke

Mike Sykes wrote:

About victuals/vittles:

I had the same problem, but, pace Gabby Hayes, the word may be more common in UK. I'm not sure whether it's still true, but the association of inn-keepers was the licensed victuallers, and it's not unusual to come across the phase "pay and victuals", though "pay and rations" is probably more common.

I don’t think victuals is used anymore in the U.S. in licensing departments or much of anywhere; it seems to be archaic.

About bloody:

Curiously enough, it was when I reported for service in the RAF (of which today just happens to be the anniversary) that I discovered how widespread was the use of obscenity. Since then I have some come to tolerate more in others, especially in TV programs that have compensating merits, but still have difficulty articulating some of the words myself. "Bloody" I never had a problem with, though my parents did. I was always rather amused by "abso-bloody-lutely" — does any other language have this kind of intensifier?

I’ve read or heard “abso-f***ing-lutely” over here.

There is a theory, possibly etymythology, that "bloody" was originally a corruption of "by Our Lady", in the same way as "zounds".

About leazing:

By the way, I learned a new word a couple of weeks back, in an episode of this TV series, set in the 1890s. From the context, "leazing" was clearly a synonym of "gleaning", but it's not in the OED. Moreover there are only very few results from Google (other than misspellings of "leasing").

About the scarlet letter:

I'd never heard of the scarlet letter, but I gather it's a badge of the letter "A" for adultery, so it's a badge of guilt. The dead albatross is also a badge of guilt, but it's an attempt to transfer the supposedly collective guilt, and the curse that came with it, from the rest of the crew, who had previously implicated themselves by approving the mariner's action. In actual fact (Wikipedia cites a reference) sailors used to kill them for food.

French Milieu

Bob Oberg wrote:

A French word that I thought had been thoroughly adapted into English is “milieu” (even Word autocorrects the spelling, as I just discovered). But I was startled by this translator’s note for Chardin’s “The Divine Milieu”:

“All Teilhard’s works involve grave problems for the translators, and the present version of The Divine Milieu is the result of much discussion and collaboration. Perhaps what most needs explanation is the retention of the word ‘milieu’ from the original French title. This has been done more by necessity than by choice. The word ‘milieu’ has no exact equivalent in English, as it implies both centre and environment or setting; and even the normal use in English of the word ‘milieu’ has insular associations. One suggested title, In the Context of God, did not meet with the approval of the French committee in charge of the publication of Teilhard’s works and I myself did not feel that another, The Divine Environment, was close enough to the original. As we could reach no agreed solution, we left the word ‘milieu’ in the title.

“As a result of this, it was decided to retain the word ‘milieu’ throughout the text also. Readers are asked to understand this word in the precise French connotation in which it was used by the author.”

I don’t use “milieu” often but now I don’t think I should use it at all. Nevertheless, it may be safe to say that it has assumed an English definition apart from the original French.

Warmist Wishes

First we had global warming (a decade or so after the global cooling scare). That didn’t pan out, so global warming became climate change (“The sky is changing! The sky is changing!”) Thus the evil flat-earther “global warming deniers” (patterned after “Holocaust deniers”) became slightly more respectable “global warming skeptics”. Now that we see that the scientific foundation for the global warming theory has been built on shifting sand, the word “warmists” is popping up more frequently to refer to those of the global warming persuasion. The “ist” suffix may suggest an ideologue or a fanatic.


Angie the Anti-Theist posted herself videotaped while having a live chemical abortion on YouTube. She wrote that you can find other “positive abortion stories” online.

Questions: Is “positive abortion story” an oxymoron? Why is her first child not a “parasite”? Note that her YouTube URL ends in “ymOM”.



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.)

NEW: Click to Embiggen boxer shorts

Eschew Obfuscation bumper sticker


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. 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 2010. 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.

Translate into 12 languages, including two forms of Chinese, using Babelfish.

No comments: