Thursday, December 6, 2012

Interesting language differences

Just got back from a trip to Australia and New Zealand. Had a lovely time and noticed some fun language differences.

There was a sign on the cruise ship's Promenade Deck asking people to walk or jog in an anti-clockwise direction, rather than counter-clockwise.

You don't call someone on the phone, you ring them up.

If you are a bit chilly, you need to put on your jumper (sweater).

You don't have to yield to traffic, but you may need to give way.

I did have a terrible time adapting to seeing vehicles driving on the "wrong" side of the road.  The idea that a left turn is easier than a right turn seems so odd to me.  I suppose that comes from more than 48 years of driving the American way.  I wondered which other countries do it the way New Zealand and Australia do:  the UK I suppose? Germany? Austria?  I know that some European countries drive the way we do, like Italy.  I think it would be pretty challenging to change back and forth.  Thank goodness I didn't have to do any driving.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Our crazy language

It's funny how language works.  Enough people say something that is grammatically incorrect, and eventually it becomes widely used and accepted.  Take, for instance, the past tense of sneak.  It should be sneaked (I sneaked an extra piece of cake), but people said snuck so much that it is in the dictionary now as an informal past tense.

I wonder why the past tense of peak (or peek) didn't become puck, or speak didn't turn into spuck.  Even sneeze could have been, "Yesterday I snuzz several times."

See, it doesn't really make sense why some words get changed and others don't,

While I'm writing about words, there are some expressions that have become so common that they are beginning to annoy me.  There is nothing really grammatically wrong, but they are used so much that it seems no one is willing to stretch verbal skills far enough to think of another way to say what they want to say.  Listen to how many times you hear (particularly on television) someone avoid answering a question because "it's complicated."  How often do designers of decor or fashion like the way a color or accessory makes something "pop."  Everyone seems to want to take relationships, experiences, or activities "to the next level."  If I notice others, I'll come back and add them.

Meanwhile, since I snuck an extra candy I'll try to take my exercise to the next level.  Afterwards I'll wear my red scarf so my outfit will have that pop of color.  I'd explain more, but it's complicated.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Oh commercials!

Commercial hyperbole is bugging me again.

 If you get a new pair of glasses from VisionWorks (used to be America's Best),  you not only get the glasses but a better you.  That's pretty impressive.  I've known a person or two who could really use a new pair of glasses from there.  Hey, if I get some glasses there, can I get rid of 20 pounds?  That would make me better.

Even more interesting is the United States Postal Service's commercial that states that there is nothing worse than going to the Post Office and standing in line.  Goodness, if that is the most terrible thing that can happen, have we all been making too big a fuss over serious illnesses, accidents, and deaths?  Are all our realities seriously whacked?  I've actually done that standing in line thing many times; it's a wonder I've survived.

I'll add others as they bug me.  Of course I realize that the commercials are not meant to be taken literally, but the exaggerated language annoys me.  That's why I love my DVRs.

I've also seen some cute license plates lately so maybe I'll have to post about those again.  There are some clever folks out there.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

How much is a trillion?

I'm afraid we are becoming numb to the enormous size of the numbers our government uses.  When President Clinton was in office, we talked in millions.  President Bush in billions.  President Obama throws around trillions.

As a teacher, I used to try to help students understand really big numbers, because the words aren't particularly scary.  It's pretty hard to get your head around.

A trillion is a thousand thousand thousand thousand.  Not so bad?  That's 10 to the 12th power.  How about a thousand billions, or a million millions?

Still okay?  Current estimates put the number of stars in our Milky Way (the only ones we can actually see) at between 300 and 400 billion--but a fraction of a trillion.

If we had been able to spend a million dollars a day, starting with the birth of Jesus (on which our calendar is based), we would not yet have reached one trillion dollars.

It takes nearly 32,000 years to get to a trillion seconds.  Sixteen trillion is sixteen times as long (more than 500,000 years).  Are you worried yet?  I sure am.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Corn and People

As we have been working on enjoying and preserving the bounty from my father-in-law's enormous garden, I found myself thinking about an odd comparison.

Cobs of corn are sort of like people.  Some of them find their paths early and head toward maturity with purpose and nary a misstep.

Others take detours growing up.  Often finding their way after getting sidetracked by choices, chances, or challenges.

Some are just so darn unique that they defy the "normal" and mature in their own unusual way.

I expect we all know people of each kind.  And, like we do the corn, we appreciate what they bring to us.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I heard another good redundancy today.  A television news anchor was talking about a free concert series and mentioned that liquid beverages would not be permitted.  Here I thought all beverages were liquid.  So could someone take in a Coke popsicle?

I've also heard some new words: suicidality (the likelihood of someone committing suicide?); and how about a skin care product that will redensify your skin?

Then there is the continuing verbing of nouns (like I just did).  Stories are trending, we text, Google, fuel our cars, video events, and bookmark our favorites.  There are more, but I'll end with this appropriate comic.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Solar Eclipse from my front yard!

Just as the moon began to move across the sun.

I held my special viewing glasses in front of my little camera to take a picture.  It wasn't easy.
Getting closer.
There, the Annular Eclipse; also known as the Ring of Fire.

It was so nice to have it right outside my front door.  The next solar eclipse to cross Utah won't be until 2023.  The way time passes, it will be here very soon.  I'd better hang on to my special glasses.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Just a quick post.

Just a quick note with another excellent example of redundancy.
Even comics characters dislike some commercials.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Entitlement Creep

I think a huge problem today is entitlement creep. Parents experience the beginnings of it with the best of intentions. They bring a child a small treat from a shopping trip, just because they were thinking of him. If the parent gets a fun reaction, chances are they'll do it again. In very few trips, the child is soon asking, "What did you bring me?"

If a teacher rewards students' behavior or accomplishments with tangible rewards, before long students ask, "What will I get if I....?"

Pay your children for cleaning their rooms or doing normal chores and it won't take long before they want payment for everything they do.

Unfortunately, many adults have come to expect things for little or no effort too. Somewhere along the way they lost the idea of personal responsibility or working to earn what they want.

I watched a television news spot where a woman was shouting questions to a presidential candidate. She was asking about his views on women's health issues and her last shouted question was did he support free birth control. The "free" part surprised the candidate, and me. Where did this woman get the idea that something like that could be free? It must be produced, packaged, shipped, stored, and distributed. Costs are incurred all along the way and must be paid if we want additional product.

A depressingly large number of people seem to believe that the "government" gives money, services, and products away. Not true. They use money taken from other people. It is so wrong that we can work for many years, save all we can, invest carefully when we're able, and live always within our means only to have our own government demand a fat percentage of what we have so it can be given to someone who choses not to do those things. As if a circumstance (self-inflicted or not) entitles one to someone else's earnings.

Sunshine is free, but not much else is.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Painted with a broad brush

I'll admit that I get a little irked over some things others don't even notice. My sister mentioned she had that tendency too and was amazed by those who weren't bothered. Lately I've found myself resenting being painted with a broad brush. Advertisers, sponsors, public service spots seem to try to make us all the same and it bugs me.

There are items for sale that I "can't live without." Wanna bet?

There is a show "everybody is talking about." Who is everybody? As if we all have nothing to do but talk about about a television show--pure fiction.

I've "heard (this company) has the best customer service." I have? Who told me?

"Everybody loves a meatball sub." Who took that survey? I've never even eaten one.

"Most people prefer Almond Milk in their cereal to regular milk." Did someone ask everyone but me? Talk about hyperbole.

This is "the episode [I've] been waiting for." Wow, I don't usually get too excited about upcoming programming, but if they say so.....

None of these really involve or pertain to me. No one asked me, I answered no questions, I was not polled. But I guess lots of folks know all about what I eat, watch, talk about, and think. Where's my foil hat?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Signs for the obvious.

This is the longest I've gone without a new post, but I guess I've needed inspiration. Hubby was talking about a comedian whose routine was about how many stupid signs we routinely run into. Lately, I've noticed that he is right.

In the airport you'll see signs telling you that the moving sidewalks end. Good to know; one might not notice and expect the floor to carry us onward.

In Maui we came across a sign informing us that the sidewalk was ending. Within three feet, the concrete stopped and there was a sturdy fence across the end. The sign was obviously needed to keep us from walking into the fence.

After driving on a twisty, turning road for quite a while, we kept noticing signs that said "curves ahead." No kidding, this road is famous for its curves, that's why we were on it. I even bought a tee shirt that said I survived it.

How about the signs that tell you the road has no shoulder. That's something we would not know without a sign?

I know there are lots more. I'll post again when I remember what they are. In the meantime I'll ponder why we need these signs. Are people really that dumb or is it just a result of the "sue somebody" mentality that seems to be out there?