Thursday, March 18, 2010

Parvum Opus 363: Gullyfluff

Dulce, utile, et decorum est pro patria scribere


W--t g--s a----d the i------t c---s a----d F------k

Did you k--w t--t y--r b---n o--y r---s the f---t and l--t l-----s and it d----t m----r if the l-----s in b-----n are j-----d up you can s---l r--d it p-------y!!


Get it? How about this, which showed up yet again, on Facebook:

Did you konw taht yuor barin olny raeds the frist and lsat ltrtes and it doenst mtater if the ltters in bteewen are jmubeld up you can sitll raed it prfeeclty!!

OK, you can read this, because all the letters are there. I don't believe your brain reads only the first and last letters. If that were true, you'd have no problem with that sentence full of blanks, which I constructed to prove a point. While you can read the second sentence, you don't read it "perfectly" but you read it rather easily (despite the faulty punctuation also) because all the letters are there, and in the words of two or three letters they kept the middle letters in the correct position. Meanwhile, your brain is working to sort out the middle letters in the longer words. You are reading them, you can't block them from your vision, so your brain can use them. But if your eye and brain couldn't pick them up at all, you'd have that first sentence and the title.

Figured out the headline yet? Anyone who gets it will receive a book from somewhere in our bookshelves.

Old Words

Also gleaned from Facebook (but better than the spelling flim-flam) was The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man, which includes archaic vocabulary such as:

Admiral of the Red: A person whose very red face evinces a fondness for strong potations.

All-overish: Neither sick nor well; the premonitory symptoms of illness. Also the feeling which comes over a man at a critical moment, say just when he is about to “pop the question.” Sometimes this is called, “feeling all-over alike, and touching nowhere.” [I’ve read this, maybe in one of the Lord Peter Wimsey mysteries from the 1920s and ‘30s.]

Cat-heads. A woman’s breasts. Sea phrase.

Cupboard Love. Pretended love to the cook, or any other person, for the sake of a meal. My guts cry cupboard; i.e. I am hungry.

Cut. To renounce acquaintance with any one is to cut him. There are several species of the CUT. Such as the cut direct, the cut indirect, the cut sublime, the cut infernal, etc. The cut direct is to start across the street, at the approach of the obnoxious person, in order to avoid him. The cut indirect is to look another way, and pass without appearing to observe him. The cut sublime is to admire the top of King’s College Chapel, or the beauty of the passing clouds, till he is cut of sight. The cut infernal is to analyze the arrangement of your shoe-strings, for the same purpose. [I’ve read about cuts, though etiquette experts say cutting is unacceptable. But some people need to be cut.]

Dash-fire. Vigor, manliness.

Firing A Gun. Introducing a story by head and shoulders. A man, wanting to tell a particular story, said to the company, “Hark; did you not hear a gun? — but now we are talking of a gun, I will tell you the story of one.” [Note “by head and shoulders”, also a new one to me. Anyway, this is a useful technique.]

Gullyfluff. The waste — coagulated dust, crumbs, and hair — which accumulates imperceptibly in the pockets of schoolboys.

Gunpowder. An old woman.

Heavy Wet. Malt liquor — because the more a man drinks of it, the heavier and more stupid he becomes.

Month of Sundays. An indefinite period, a long time. [Still used, of course.]

Out of Print. Slang made use of by booksellers. In speaking of any person that is dead, they observe, ”he is out of print.”

Tune the Old Cow Died of. An epithet for any ill-played or discordant piece of music. [Used by A. E. Houseman in one of my favorite poems.]

A useful reference if you read anything published before the 20th century.


Chris Stephens wrote about bad selling techniques in his blog Minddynamite, but follow the link about how to learn to speak with a Middle Eastern accent. Chris also mentioned Indiglish (also known as Englian), which is what you get when you call a service tech in India. Sounds like it’s what you say when you’re indignant (or possibly indigenous). Anyway India is not Middle Eastern, it’s Asian. It looks like it’s in the middle of Asia, whereas what we call the Middle East looks like it’s Western Asia. Sort of like the U.S. Mid-West is really Mid-East.

I don’t think we have Middle Eastern service techs yet. Personally I don’t want to be hearing “Allahu Akbar” when I’m trying to find out why Yahoo Mail is screwing up again.

The Slow No

A Canadian caller to the Dennis Miller show said his mother had cancer and was being given the “slow no”, meaning delays in treatment, meaning no medical treatment. He brought his mother to the States for medical care.

From Vigilance to Completion

Since ancient times, monks have had regular hours for prayer, which are called:

Vigils: night
Matins: dawn
Lauds: dawn
Prime: 6 a.m., first hour
Terce: 9 a.m., third hour
Sext: noon, sixth hour
Nones: 3 p.m., ninth hour
Vespers: sunset
Compline: before bed

I went to camp for a week when I was a kid, where we had prayers at vespers, so that’s the only word of this list that fixed itself in my memory. I had to look up the rest.

Vigils: Of course we all know vigilant — wake, watch. The night watch makes sense.

Matins: From Matuta, Roman goddess of morning. Ever hear of her?

Lauds: Praises, like the song “Morning Has Broken”.

Prime: Obviously, number one.

Terce: Obviously, number three.

Sext: Ditto six.

Nones: Ditto nine.

Vespers: Means evening.

Compline: Related to Latin completa/completus.

Fred says he thinks Vigils may be Anglican. In Catholic monasteries, Vigil is the watch over the body of a dead monk before burial. Daily, after about five hours sleep, Lauds directly follows Matins and together they last about three hours. Prime, Terce, Sext, and Nones are about half an hour each. Vespers is long, and is followed by Compline.

Jobs You Can’t Get Anymore

Mike Sykes sent along another old poem from his stock, “I Was a Bustlemaker.” There probably are still a couple of bustlemakers around, though, making bustles for movies and theater companies.

Terms of Engagement

Ryan Scott Welch, in writing about controlling your own terms of political argument, said:

Never let them use "working poor" because that assumes that only poor people work.

That hadn’t occurred to me. I always thought the term distinguished between poor people who work and those who don’t, which makes another though equally valid point.

Marriage Agency Albatross

I received an e-mail from a Russian lady who wishes possibly to marry me, which I must decline, but perhaps some of you will be as charmed by her writing as I was (I can send you her e-mail address). Here are excerpts:

Hello my new friend!!!

Thanks you for a prompt reply!!!

Your electronic address, to me allowed in "Marriage Agency Albatross" my city which cooperates with sites of acquaintances.

For the certain payment of money to me electronic addresses of the foreign men, wishing to get acquainted with girls allowed.

I am interested in search foreign men as I do not like mentality of Russian men!!!

And you like mentality of your women?????

I can forgive much, but only not treachery and lie!

And you are capable to forgive treachery and lie????

I from Russia, live in village Kuzhener.

I was born January 22, year 1981, my growth of 169 centimeters, in family I the unique child.

I was not married, children at me are not present.

I have two higher educations, economic and legal.

I studied the English language at school and at universities.

I talk in English much better, than I write.

Mine favourite kitchen Russian and Italian.

My hobby, collection of ancient coins, and also I write poems.

Sometimes I like to run on fresh air.

In the childhood I was fond of art gymnastics and consequently I have beautiful appearance.

I do not smoke a cigarette, alcohol I use in small dozes, I love red wine and cold champagne.

With impatience I wait your answer, your new familiar of Russia!!!


The Weekly Gizzard: Moi on

About my March 16 item below on Obama’s promising 3,000% reduction in costs: It was rightly pointed out that this was a straw man argument since he probably just flubbed it or his teleprompter writer did, though he wasn’t thinking and the audience applauded. Nevertheless, I’ll put my straw man up against your straw man any day. That particular piece was quoted, much to my surprise, on Special Report with Bret Baier on Tuesday.

Health care is not like the Internet

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Internet is one reason Americans may be more open, more vulnerable actually, to a huge, hulking, centralized...
Obama says 3,000% lower insurance payments are possible

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Monday in Strongsville, Ohio, Obama said that if his health care bill passes, American employers could wind up...
Billions for projects stimulate more questions than jobs

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Below is a list of 102 projects to be funded by the stimulus package. There will be a lot more questions created by...
ACORN goes underground for the time being

Thursday, March 11, 2010

ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is leaving Ohio. Maybe. The 1851 Center for...



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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. 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.

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