Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Parvum Opus 361: Jujubes

Dulce, utile, et decorum est pro patria scribere



From Facebook:

>>))) "Thank god for statues of limitation."

Minimalist art? Then there are the statues of imitation, which are portraits.

>>))) “I do not go hunting. The word hunting implies a chance of failure. I go killing.”

This is from a Marine veteran. I like the precision.

From a crossword puzzle book:
>>))) Definition: “ferret out” = to uproot and drive out

I don’t think so. Someone must have been thinking of driving out ferrets. The meaning is actually to find through persistent investigation (maybe this is something ferrets are good at). Another rodent phrasal verb is “rat out” which means to squeal on somebody, to fink, to be a stool pigeon.

…by any other name would be a Tweet

Eric Cummings in Daily Writing Tips discusses what to call the things that people write and upload to blogs and other web sites. He feels that the traditional terms of publishing (e.g. “article”) are too formal but some of the newer Web-specific terms (e.g. “blog” or “blog entry”) sound too trivial.

If it looks like a duck online and quacks like a duck, call it a duck. It makes sense to use traditional publishing terminology for comparable pieces of writing online. Just as some airplane terminology was borrowed from the vocabulary of ships — boarding, crew, captain, even airship — newer forms of publishing may sometimes reasonably borrow the language of older forms of publishing, if the content is parallel.

Parvum Opus began as e-mail, but I never considered it a personal letter, though some e-mail is personal communication. I considered it something like a newspaper or magazine column, though not an “article” since each issue is part of a series on a related theme, the English language. “Column” comes from the physical layout of a newspaper or magazine where parallel blocks of text are laid out on the page. Web pages and even e-mail can be laid out in parallel columns. Later, when I started posting PO to two blog sites, I still considered it a column. Only the appearance changed, not the content or intent.

Carrying Baggage

I had suggested adding an apostrophe to:

Courtesy Storage of Passengers

Baggage is Not Permitted


Courtesy Storage of Passenger’s

Baggage is Not Permitted

Bill Roberts suggested Passengers’, making it plural. Mike Sykes also questioned my apostrophic suggestion: “It might [help], but is that really where you would put it?” OK, I concede that the singular “passenger’s” would not be the best solution.

Bill then added, like the saucy minx he is:

“Officer, that baggage ran off with my luggage!”

“Baggage” isn’t used much any more to mean a pert girl or a prostitute. Nowadays a person with baggage is one with too many emotional attachments to the past.

He also contributed this regarding the scarlet letter:

From the 2009 Bulwer-Lytton contest, runner up in the Historical Fiction department:

On a fine summer morning during the days of the Puritans, the prison door in the small New England town of B----n opened to release a convicted adulteress, the Scarlet Letter A embroidered on her dress, along with the Scarlet Letters B through J, a veritable McGuffey's Reader of Scarlet Letters, one for each little tyke waiting for her at the gate.

By Joseph Aspler, Kirkland, QC, Canada

Now there was a piece of baggage.

Warming Wishes

Mike Sykes wrote about global warming:

You might like to consider that the vast majority of deniers/skeptics are not climatologists and many are not professional scientists at all.

The vast majority of human-caused global warming acolytes are also not climatologists or scientists. And as Herb Hickman, scientist, remarked here recently, you don’t have to be a scientist to venture an opinion even in a professional journal. Also, many scientists are following the grant money. Science is influenced by politics as well.

Moreover, when errors have been trumpeted, responses have often been played down (or do you prefer "downplayed"?).

In the US, “downplayed” is probably more common. As for errors, what I can no longer avoid calling the mainstream media has only recently reported errors and chicanery on the part of the IPCC.

Inevitably Dave

The inevitable Dave DaBee said he doesn’t inevitably hear "redistributing wealth" in the company name Saalfeld Redistribution. I guess I read more about politics, while Dave is doing more useful stuff with his time under the name Dave DeBronkart.

He also asked, “btw, what is ‘evitable’? What is ‘evit,’ other than the root of ‘e-vite’?” The Latin roots mean un + avoidable, probably related to “evade” also. lists the word “evitable” but gives no example of usage. I guess it’s one of those words with no natural positive companion (like “disgruntled” has no “gruntled”); I’ve never heard or read “evitable” and I’d advise against using it.

Unhand That Pancake!

On a local radio cooking program, Marilyn Harris said that every country has its own form of cooked dough, like crepes or tortillas, and that our version is pancakes, “which of course we stole”.

Now hold on a minute. The English make the pancakes we’re familiar with and have for a long time. When they settled in America, did they steal pancake recipes from the Indians? I think not. I think they remembered how to cook them. Their ancestors pounded grain on rocks and cooked pancakes in the fire like everyone else in the world. When the Mexicans moved (or stayed) north of the border, did they steal tortillas? Did the Cajuns steal crepes? Did the Jews steal latkes? Did the Russians steal blinis? WE Americans brought all kinds of recipes along to the new world.

“We stole pancakes” sounded like an automatic verbal tic from someone who thinks “we” (meaning Americans of English extraction and maybe the British Empire before us) “stole” everything from all the other poor benighted people in the world.

I interpreted her remark this way because of all that political reading. “Which of course we stole” has a familiar ring, and she wasn’t talking about swiping a recipe from a restaurant or a neighbor, or even figuring out a recipe.

Corex: World in a Grain of Silicon, Not Silica

Herb Hickman wrote a lot about silica:

For the record, before it goes to join all the spent ascii code in the cybercemetery*, that grain is a tad confusing. Silica, remember, is the oxide of silicon, silicon dioxide, familiar to all of us as the beach sand and also quartz and I think flint too. And let us not forget cristobalite. At your wedding was a stern but kindly old uncle** who revealed that he, his company or himself, was the manufacturer or producer of a substantial portion of the world's cristobalite. That I was familiar with. Quartz and the much rarer cristobalite and tridymite are the crystalline free silicas that cause the industrial lung disease silicosis, which has hastened the death of many a worker.

Fascinating in its own right, we take our children to the beach to play in the countless tons of silica there, while restricting silica in the workplace air to extremely small concentrations as it is measured. The devil is in the size of the particles. Those big grains of sand are absolutely incapable of passage through the upper respiratory tract into the terminal bronchioles and alveoli of the lung parenchyma. Grinding in a casting plant or in many other situations makes super fine crystalling silica particles, which by virtue of small size can negotiate the twists and turns of the upper respiratory apparatus and reach the deep lung tissue.

Then bad things can happen. In those deep lung chambers hang out some special cells called pulmonary macrophages. You've instantly recognized*** that means something like "big eaters of the lung." When a hapless airborne bacterium happens to make it all the way into that deep lung tissue, in most cases it will be swallowed by a macrophage. Engulfed is a better word than swallowed. The interior of the macrophage is hell. In there are digestive enzymes that do indeed eat that bacterium in short order, unless it's one of the few varieties that resist. And that's as it apparently should be.

But when a pulmonary macrophage ingests a particle of crystalline silica, it is the macrophage that commonly dies. And ruptures in the process, releasing those powerful digestive enzymes. And the enzymes don't know whether they're still in a macrophage or not. They just digest, probably chop up proteins they encounter for a while. The delicate lung tissue forms scars -- which means it thickens and toughens -- a process that makes difficult the exchange of gases between the air spaces and tiny blood vessels. On which life is dependent.

So a grain of silica is worthy of study, it don't store any information. For that you need tiny structures of silicon -- not silica and not silicone. Silicon is a hard mineral which -- especially with certain impurities present -- exhibits semiconductor behavior. Silicon is an element, the second most plentiful element in the earth's crust. And after highly technical design and processing, is used to make "chips" that make most all computers work. I don't know if it comes in grains or not.

Thank you for the clarification.

* What does silica or silicon have to do with ascii code?

** Ha.

*** I did.

The Weekly Gizzard: Moi on

Adopt a Legislator Constitution Seminar in Columbus

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

Adopt A Legislator Constitution Seminar, sponsored by Homemakers of America, will be held Wednesday, March 31,...
Tiger Woods: Medical, Legal, Personal, or Moral Judgment?

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

In today's Cincinnati Enquirer, two unrelated items popped out and landed on the floor together: "experts...
"Reconciliation" means political finagling

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010

Mike Wilson (Founder, Cincinnati Tea Party and Candidate for Ohio Representative, District 28) clarifies...



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: