Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Rolling About at Three-Something in the Morning

Why is it that words roll about in my head when it's dark outside and everyone else is asleep in my house except for me and Barley, one of our two cats? And she can't type, at least that I know of.

I lay (was laying? lying?) in bed a short while ago, after having drifted awake from a beautiful sleep and I thought of the word 'roll' and how it can be both verb or noun--but not both simultaneously. I can roll a stone or eat a roll. But I can't eat a role. I can certainly play a role. I can also roll a roll or toss a roll. And sometimes I'm on a roll. I can even be on a roll in a role.

Then there's 'strike'. I could go on a strike, or strike out. I can strike a match, but only if I wish to start a fire, but not if I were to fire someone. Depending on where I worked, I could certainly be fired if I started a fire by striking a match. Then I would have to find another job that would be a good match for me.

Ah, yes, I think most of the words have rolled out of my head now. Perhaps I will head back to bed. And why is it head but not hed and bed but not bead?

That's for another three-something session. Goodnight, everyone. C'mon, Barley, let's go back to bed.

For more of my word-playish posts, please see these:


  Keep writing, friends.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Mail Call!

I love getting mail. Well, most of the time. I always loved getting catalogs in the mail, or a letter. But I don't care much for junk mail. Today, though, I decided I'd have some fun with my microscopic vision and take a deeper look at two pieces of junk we got.

First, though, a couple of quick asides. I remember two efficient methods for getting rid of junk mail, or creditors, etc. One is from a favorite movie of mine, Harvey, with Jimmy Stewart. There's a scene where he's looking through a stack of his daily mail and he simply tears everything in half and tosses it away. Simple and effective. Another method is one I developed many years ago. I had an old 57 Chevy pickup truck, and I'd stack all mail and other assorted papers on the seat beside me. Then, whenever I happened to brake too hard, anything heavy, such as a book I was reading, would stay firmly planted in the seat--anything lighter, such as bills, junk mail, or whatnot would fall to the floor. That would be tossed out.

Now, back to today's mail. Anytime you get a postcard in the mail, and it has the words "You're Invited" in a fancy font at the top, you can pretty well figure it needs to go in the round file. Here's the rest of the 'invitation': "To celebrate our anniversary Southwest Travel is pleased to invite you to an exciting VIP seminar. At this fun-filled 90 minute seminar you will receive two (2) round trip, coach class airline vouchers to most major airports in the continental United States."

Oh, boy, I can hardly wait!

Now, first off, they have some punctuation issues I won't even get into here. Besides that, however, which definition of VIP do they mean? Yes, it's assumed it means "Very Important Person", but there's also "Volunteers in Parks", "Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide", "Very Important Pet", and "Variable Insurance Products", to list just a handful of the 150-plus possible meanings.

Also, I've been to many seminars, and, whereas I've found some interesting, I've never been to one that's exciting, let alone both exciting and fun-filled.

Finally, we get airline vouchers. Not tickets, but vouchers. And another quick dictionary check says that a voucher is "...a small printed piece of paper that entitles the holder to a discount or that may be exchanged for goods or services." Maybe I can get a free cup of coffee at Starbucks with it.

 Since they're being so generous with me, I'm considering inviting them to a VIP Recycling Party. They can bring all their fancy little vouchers and we'll have a grand old time. I might even give them a free cup of coffee.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Another Case for Cursive

One of the things I've written about before is the need to continue teaching cursive handwriting. I'm continually reminded of this as Wendy and I research old documents in our genealogical research. Deeds, wills, census records, birth and death certificates, if they go back a hundred years or further, well, they're most likely written in cursive.

Even for those of us who learned to read and write cursive, some of these old documents are difficult to read, if not next to impossible. What made me think about this was a manuscript I found in the Missouri Historical Review. It's a biography of one of my ancestors, Adam Zumwalt, or as the author, Solomon Zumwalt, wrote it, "Biographa of Adam Zumwalt". This is a fascinating historical work, penned by Adam's son Solomon, in 1880, who details his memories of his pioneer father. The version I have is typed out, but is accurate as far as the spelling is concerned. So, what we have is the language of this frontier man from the 19th century.

It's perfectly readable, typed out as it is, even with the misspellings and speech patterns of the day. However, would it be so easy for me to read if it was handwritten in cursive? Here's an example: "...So Adams brother Gorg fited him of with hors sadel and gun. So he jind the arma. The raized som 7 or 8 hundrid men." Now, think about reading that in cursive.

That is why we must not lose the ability to read cursive. It is a beautiful and historical part of language.

Keep writing, friends.