Requite Rightly

I realize that anything I post here has been pondered before. I hope only to shed light on questions and invite lively and humorous discussion.
Folks got into this one about negative-sounding words that don't exist without their prefixes or suffixes, like "unrequited". In sorting through their suggestions (props Jess), I came across this fabulous piece, written by a fellow who pondered the same thing, over a decade ago.
Enjoy. It rocks.

How I Met My Wife
by Jack Winter Published July 25, 1994 in The New Yorker

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate. I was furling my wieldy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way. I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I'd have to make bones about it since I was traveling cognito.
Beknownst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn't be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.
Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.
So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make heads and tails of. I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen.
Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated as if this were something I was great shakes at, and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.
Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had no time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d'oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myself.


Three Things! Two, Sir. Two!

Some recent thoughts I managed to not forget:

• Don't know why, but I've started collecting words that have common negative usage but rarely-used positives. Like "unrequited". Requited is a word, but no one ever speaks of "requited love" (btw, I've never said this word right. It's Ri-QUITE. I want to say WRECK-WIT, because it looks like "requiem"). "Unabashed" is another one I wanted to mention, but just today I was told onpg. 273 of the new Harry that "Riddle did not look remotely abashed". So, there, I guess. And "unnerved". No one is ever said to be "nerved." There's not even an adjective form. Others, please?

• On pg. 89 (so I'm wild about Harry. Sue me.), Hermione scrutinizes Harry "as though he was sickening for something." No, I'm not going to complain about the subjunctive, but thanks for mentioning it. I'm just curious about the phrase. Obviously a British-ism, for about to be sick. I have no comment, I just like new phrases. Like "tastes of chicken". I say that sometimes, now. Working "sickening for something" into conversation will be little harder.

...and where are your Tom Swifties? Come on, people! These Blogs are Made For Posting (and that's just what they'll do).

The Darkness' Growing on Me just came up on shuffle as I'm about to hit "Publish". Rock.


Tom Tom Club


"I still can't believe my godfather is dead!" Harry said seriously.

Sorry. Been reading Harry Potter.
And there's nothing better than a ripping Harry Potter Tom Swifty to start off a post!

So this morning, I was thinking about Tom Swifties. Not sure why... I hadn't really thought of them in ages, probably since I read them in the "Think & Grin" section of Boys' Life magazine. They're named after a character in an old series named Tom Swift. The book (over)used adverbs to describe most of Tom's dialogue ("Father," said Tom earnestly, "may I buy that machine of him?") and soon it became fun to riff on that structure punningly.

-------:::::::::tangent alert:::::::----------

Boys' Life. Now there's an apostrophe to be pondered, yes? Possessive use, so it is the life that belongs to... the boys? One life shared by millions of boys, then? This is the meaning, I believe. Is it that the more proper, I think, Boys' Lives just doesn't swing? Or is the use of Life truly a singular item available to many? As in "Jesus said I am...the Life"? Usage of Life in this way warrants this treatment, I suppose. Jesus is the Life, singular. So in reference to a group of boys all of whom would see Jesus as theirs, we could say "Boys' Life". But we will never do this. And I don't think that's what the Boy Scouts are getting at.


Tom Swifties are way more fun to me 20 years later. At the time, I got them. But I didn't appreciate the minds behind them. At 13, "orange you glad I didn't say banana"? was still killing. And there are some terrible Tom Swifties out there. But some pretty clever ones, too. To wit:

" ..., and you lose a few," said Tom winsomely.
"I'd love some Chinese food," said Tom wantonly.
"We're presently thinking about a figure somewhere between 7 and 9," said Tom considerately.
"I dropped the toothpaste," said Tom, crestfallen. (doesn't technically fit adverb structure, but funny)
" ," said Tom blankly

Maybe you think these are the worst of puns. They make me laugh. Not OMGROFLMAO. Just usually one Hunh! or even no laugh, just a thoughtful nod that says "well crafted".
For me, even the terrible ones are due props to the thinker-upper:

"No pilaf for me, please", said Tom derisively.
"Fee, fo, fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman!" said the giant defiantly.
"I've lost my trousers," Tom said expansively.

None of these are mine, but the Harry Potter one. Which is quite inside baseball, if you're not a fan. But who isn't, really? I mean, come on! One more:

"Where's the Hogwarts gamekeeper?" Tom said haggardly.

Don't much like this one, but it's what I got.
I've shown you mine. Now you show me yours.


A Fair Cop

I realize the county fair is not the place to go if looking for strict adherence to grammar rules. We're usually happy if the number of tickets to ride is less than or equal to the number of teeth owned by the ride operator. We do not go looking for rule-breaking to pounce upon.

But, wow. I must share.

I do not wish for a camera phone; they seem quite unnecessary to me. But I wished I'd had one yesterday so that I could have documented these examples for you, so you knew I was not lying. I think you'll see that the truth here is far wilder than anything one could concoct.

Offender #1
Extremely minor, but interesting. A T-shirt with the Rebel Flag. Underneath:

If my shirt offends you,
Its made my day.

The only punctuation missing, of course, would be the apostrophe in the contraction it's. But beyond that, the structure of the sentence seems to be telling me that if I am offended, somehow the shirt has made his day. This is not the crazy example. But I found it interesting that this shirt has obviously been mass-produced, leading me again to wonder at the quality of people in the T-Shirt proofing business. Colleges offering Associate degrees in T-Shirt proofing are obviously not doing their jobs, and standardized testing should be required to improve their performance.

Offender #2
Here we go. Seen at the game booth of a knock-down-the-pins game. Hand-painted, quite permanent, looking as if some care had been taken in creating it, this sign read:


This is truly amazing to me. You can see the fellow, standing there, brush in hand:
There's an apostrophe, I'm sure of it. But where?
Or, perhaps it's a contraction, but I'm not coming up with the missing letter. Elm?

Offender #3
Across the lane, there was another game of skill. Its title:


I swear I am not making this up.

Final Review: the cotton candy was fabulous, the elephant ear greasy, the pizza doughy, the demolition derby loud. A good time was had by all.
The fair rock's!


Johnny Storm

-the guy at the beginning of Monty Python's Flying Circus

Newsguy the other night said that:

"Hurricane Dennis hit land today. We'll see what damage he caused."

Isn't the idea of naming hurricanes just to keep track of them, not to personify them?

I'm pretty sure we needed an "it" instead of a "he".

Unless of course, said newsguy really thinks the hurricane is a dude. Which, I'm afraid, is possible...


Amber Waves of Grainy

A red, white & blue sign hung over our restaurant table this evening. It had an Americana feel, meant to look Arts & Crafts, but was definitely mass-produced.
It read:

Land of the Freedom



Give Ps A Chance

Welcome to our ool.
Notice there is no P in it.
Please keep it that way.
-hilarious sign that everyone whose grandma has a pool has seen.

What does it take to turn a "shop" into a "shoppe"?

We have a "Book Shoppe" in town. From what I can tell, they do not traffic in Old World literature, and they have no British bent. Some of their books are old, but like Harlequin circa 1980 old.

There is also an ice cream shoppe. I don't know why, but this sits a little better with me (is food more "shoppe"-friendly?). But even if it's a quaint Pleasantvillesque place, which it is not, I don't think it qualifies*. Is it a "shoppe" if it's from the '50s? The 1850s, maybe?

I buy "shoppe" when the establishment is legitimately dealing in old stuff... even if their product isn't of the "Ye Olde" era. Antique shoppes are a much nicer fit. Curiosity shoppes I can buy, as well. Wikipedia has an interesting bit about how the phrases "Ye Olde" and "Curiosity Shoppe" would never have co-existed, as they are taken from two different time periods.

But there's a Disc Golf Shoppe. Come on! Disc golf? It's been around, since, like, last Monday. You do NOT get to say "shoppe". This is a waste of two perfectly good letters.

And we need those letters!

Something not many people know is that there is a finite number of letters available for each piece of the alphabet. When they're all being used, we're out. Luckily, they can be recycled. When Boz Skaggs was really popular (August, 1982), there was a serious Z shortage. Things quickly evened out, until recently. Snoop Dogg is hogging most of the Zs out there right now. I've cut way back to conserve, only saying "swizzle stick" if I'm at a party and it's quite necessary.

Anyhow, these "shoppe" people are using up a lot of Ps and Es they don't need. Right now, there are brokers just waiting for a block to be freed so they can list current P/E ratios for their stocks. Instead of saying they have to pee, gradeschoolers are being forced to say crazy things like "Might I use the loo?" Come on, people!

There's a place called "Ye Olde Rocket Shoppe." Dudes...

Now, my two minutes of extensive research on this subject have shown me that folks in Canada and the UK seem to like to use "shoppe" even more than we do. Is this because you're from England ("you know, where history comes from?" -paraphrased Eddie Izzard), and you've earned the right to spell stuff like Geoff Chaucer? Do you spell it that way all the time? How do you choose?

As for me, I'm saving my Ps for a rainy day. Actually, I need to take one now.


What Is Hip?

A new boutique sprung up overnight in our area. The sign advertises "Clothing for the Truly Hip!" After seeing the clothing in the window, my wife was heard to say:

...should say "clothing for the truly hipless."

Words are fun.


Isn't It Colonic? ( doncha think)

So I'm watching Family Feud with my father-in-law, and learn that they're sponsored by this product:
Now, I'm all for truth in advertising. But, man, they're not beating about the bush here. In case you're unclear what a colon is, there is a drawing right on the bottle. I felt like I was seeing a fake ad, like on SNL. I guess I like a little more mystery in my names: Correctol. Metamucil. Anyone who needs these products knows what they're used for, and doesn't need a graphic description. With Fibercon, you can be regular, without having to look at a picture of a colon sitting on your kitchen counter while you fix dinner.

Speaking of SNL fake ads, the one that came to mind was for ColonBlow®, a cereal Phil Hartman pitched. At the time, it was over-the-top. Now, there's not a lot of exaggeration in it. Now, this is the way they're pitching this stuff. As a matter of fact, someone's co-opted the name and is selling it as a real product. I don't suggest going to this site.

note: An acquaintance had colon cancer awhile back, and had to have a fairly big chunk removed. I asked if now it was called a semi-colon.

note #2 We have a town in Michigan called Colon. It's known as the "Magic Capital of the World." How about that? We have a Hell, too. I'd rather live in Hell than Colon.

Finally, now is the perfect time to tell the world about the sight gag in my blog title graphic. It's "SPASTIC", followed by a ":". If you don't get it, say it out loud. This was not my idea. Props to Nick.

I know someone was waiting for me to say this post was a load of crap, but it ain't gonna happen.