Saturday, February 28, 2009


This month is of significance to me as, on the debit side, my Father and Mother died during it and, on the credit side, my Sister, Granny J, of Blog fame was born on 1/Feb/way back when. and of course, there's Mardi Gras.

The month was named "after the Latin term februum, which means purification.." You will note note that it probably was pronounced feb-ru-um. If one believes the letters in the spelling of the month as it stands. any one with half an ounce/gram of smarts should say feb-RU-ary. The caps merely were to indicate the presence of an R in the word.

Guess what, smarts are in short supply, very short supply, consequently, one hears feb-U-ary (where's the bloody R) and here in OZ even worse, feb-ree (no RU and no AIR!!!). Now, it's not just a street pronunciation, one hears it also on radio and tv. along with the occasional vunerable, yecht!

As usual, I'm one of the select few to say the word proper-like--such a burden, sigh.

Luckily enough, tomorrow is 1/March and it's pretty hard to stuff-up pronouncing it To start the month off with a bang, spouse, self and others will be participating in 'Clean Up Australia Day', where in we collect assorted trash (inanimate type) and surprise ourselves when the streets and verges are trashless (albeit temporarily).

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Devaluation of the American Language--Sad

The language that one learns in his/her youth is that which is "correct"--mainly, as that is what one speaks/writes. As time passes dimwits, idolaters, innovators and linguists bugger-up one's cherished mode of oral/written communication.

Being born in the '30's, raised in the 40's and Tertiaried in the 50's I had a fine grasp of American english (Mrs York, my 9th grade english teacher made sure of that). Though raised in the South, my pronunciation of most words couldn't be faulted. In the 60's, I departed the land of the grand old flag for the land of koalas, kangaroos, billabongs, and Foster's.

With my egress, unfortunately the preservation of 'proper' pronunciation and usage of American english hit the skids and redneckazation surged to the fore. One may ask, 'what do you mean'?

I respond--in the late 1940's, after the war, truck transport became important in the recovery and expansion of the economy and the semi-trailer, a relatively rare vehicle, became a dominant form of the transport of goods--the drivers of which were 'good ole boys', who were damned good truckers; however, their form of the spoken word left much to be desired.

Many were of the rural persuasion where the three R's were of low priority. I reckon that when posed with a newish word in the written form, many letters were pronounced in their basic form, particularly vowels. When presented with the word 'semi-trailer', out of ignorance, the letter i
in semi, was, unfortunately, pronounced semEYE-trailer instead of the then existing semEE-trailer. This subsequently was shortened to "I drive a semEYE" (part of a convoy no doubt).

Compounding this tragedy, essentially all words beginning with semi have been bastardised i.e.
semEYE-circle, semEYE-colon. The disease has spread, so that the prefix quasi has become quAsEYE and multi to multEYE. AARRGH!!! and pitui.

As if the above was not enough, There is the word with a cotton field/inarticulate sportscaster pronunciation, D-fence which once was defence. Just think of that arm of U.S. Government, the D-partment of D-fence. Deity save us all.

Have a nice day, already.


Sunday, March 30, 2008


It all started when wife and I noted, and agreed, that the family-room cork tiled floor was starting to look tatty--a few chips out here and there, scratch marks from dog Tootsie's nails etc.

I took it upon myself to ferret around for a cork person to solve the problem and damned if didn't succeed, in fact he'll be here this Thursday--barring usual unforeseen circumstances.

Preparing for the event is no mean task as the room has to be emptied of it's contents, such having to be stored elsewhere in the house. A heavy skull session betwixt wife and I took place and a plan of action was formulated. The most onerous task was to empty a 7'x4', 5 shelf bookcase that had never been emptied before. In addition to assorted books, about 200 vinyl discs had to be removed.

I prepared for action by essentially emptying our local supermarket of boxes in which to store said books and discs. Starting on the top shelf I grabbed three to four pocket books at a time, whisked them on all sides with an ancient face cloth and stashed them in boxes. Ad infinitum.

A 7'x4' bookcase holds a heap of books, also they're bloody heavy in bulk. There are now 8 boxes of books and 4 of discs under the dining room table--all dusted and with a label on each box stating approximately which shelf the items came from. Being thorough when forced, the book case was swabbed down. In order to clean the book case it had to be moved--this revealed the remains and residue of a swarm of caterpillars that invaded the premises a few years ago. The remains were removed easily, but the residues are sort of permanent.

This combined with the prospect of a renewed, burnished floor will result in the title of this post. Shiney floor makes a repaint of the room obligatory, repaint could mean addition of replacement furniture, justifying some throw rugs, possibly a few new paintings. Where and when will it all end??!!


Thursday, March 20, 2008


On Tuesday I arose early(8:00am, early for me) abluted, this included shaving with an old two blader. Now this is a big deal as I don't shave that often, my whiskers being white, in general. Why would a bloke do anything this radical?

I had a 10:30 appointment at the US consulate, down town, so I reckoned that I should be presentable--even to the extent that I donned trousers (instead of shorts) replete with classy braces (suspenders to yanks), belt (you never can be too careful) and clean short sleeved, square bottom shirt, black (instead of white) sox and almost polished shoes.

About 9:15, I decided that I'd best be on my way, not knowing how long it would take to arrive at my destination. I hadn't caught a bus for several years, so knew neither the schedule nor the fare . As luck would have it, four different buses routes passed my stop; one of which I wanted to catch. I erred slightly and hailed a 102 vs a 103 which meant I had a bit of a hike upon arrival. It is assumed that the exercise was good for me.

The building housing the consulate was reached in plenty of time. A perusal of the board listing the occupants of the building showed the consulate to be on the fourth floor. On to the lift and off at the fourth floor where a sign pointed to an extremely sturdy door with a heavy window (no doubt bullet proof) through which a rotund figure could be seen.

Upon opening the door I was informed by the figure to stand still, empty my pockets into a small wicker basket, remove all metal objects from my person and place same in the small wicker basket then walk through the Arch of Death (every decent airport has lots of them). Emptying my pockets was simple as was the removal of my belt, but unclipping my braces and slipping them from under my clean shirt with the square bottom was done with difficulty, in addition, with the removal of all support, gravity began to work on my trousers. One hand was needed to preserve my modesty while the other scooched the wicker basket around the Arch of Death prior to my march through same. After several tries (I had a half empty packet of chewing gum in my shirt pocket that set off the buzzer) I was allowed to retrieve my possessions, put on the belt---I stuffed the braces in my pocket as it was too difficult and time consuming to reinstall them---and was given a yellow clip-on 'visitors' badge and permitted to catch the lift to the thirteenth floor where business was to be conducted. I was given the once over by a civilian guard of likely Philippine ancestry and allowed into the business office.

The lady with whom I dealt was most pleasant and efficient and took the sheaf of papers that I shoved under the blast-proof tellers window and she asked me to take a seat. One could see that there was plenty of activity and within a relatively short time a gentleman summoned me to the window and said every thing was about ready and would I go to window four and pay the lady $US90, which I did--back to window one where the chap, who was the consul, finished affixing his signature and shoved my papers back with cover-sheets with legal words, signatures and an impress of the Great Seal of the U.S. and bound to my papers with a genuine brass grommet (I checked with a magnet).

My departure was less traumatic than my arrival; however, being of advanced years, I felt the call of nature and when returning the yellow 'visitors' badge I asked the rotund figure if there was a loo in the vicinity and he responded, pointing, that "the men's bathroom was over there" Not wanting to tell him that I'd already had a shower and didn't really need a bath, I went through the door and lo and behold there before me was a urinal!

This all took only two hours including bus transport home.


Sunday, March 16, 2008

The Problem with Issues

The word ISSUE has a fair number of meanings eg. arise, children, contest, copy, discharge, effect, egress, emanate, emerge, emit end, ensue, event, exit, flow, flux, follow, gush, kinsman litigation, mint, outcome, outflow, outgoing, outlet, point, posterity, pour, print, progeny, publish, result, rise, spring, termination, topic, not to forget PROBLEM (source, my crossword dictionary).

Of all the above, in my opinion, if someone uses the word ISSUE, he or she uses it as an euphemism for PROBLEM(difficulty or trouble). Very few folk are willing to say that their son Tarquin has a problem with his behavior--'Tarquin has an issue with his behavior'. Does this mean at age eight Tarquin is a father??

Anyway, it's bloody annoying to hear and read the plethora of issues.

And there is OUTCOME--usually used to avoid saying RESULT. Here in Westen Van Dieman's Land those of the educationist persuasion (administrative non-teachers) speak in the terms of OUTCOMES, but seem to eschew achieving results.

A final observation regarding words is the vintage space/pause term LIKE. It replaced, ya know, in the 1960's. Even people of moderate intelligence still use it--'like, I'm going to town', 'and she even like smiled at me' etc. ad infinitum.

I propose that akin or similar be used instead of like, thus--'similar, I'm going to town', 'and she even akin smiled at me'.

Off to the dentist.


Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Logic in the Philippines

After inspecting my first post and not being overly enthusiastic about it and having nothing better to do I pressed "Next Blog" and up came "" a post of the RC church in the Philippines edited by Gerald.

Two paragraphs were of interest, being ignorant of the mechanics of my computor, I've hand typed most of the test below:

"Relics of the Passion at Greenbelt Chapel"

A very special the city was visited by the relics of Passion. A piece of the True Cross, Crown of Thorns, Holy Nails, Column of Flagellation.....the relic from the table where the Last Supper took place, Sindonis D.N.J.C. from the burial shroud of Our Lord.

.....after the Holy Mass, the faithful venerated the sacred relics amidst the Interfaith Rally for Truth..."

I sense that there is a bit of conflict in the above, possibly Gerald can resolve this?? The words above bring to mind an observation by Samuel Clements (Mark Twain) in his book "Innocents Abroad" That if all the pieces of the True Cross possessed by the various Cathedrals, Abbeys and Convents were put together, a structure about 100 feet high and 50 feet across would result.


Tuesday, March 4, 2008


I didn't really like the name that I gave my initial blog viz "Old Fart from Australia" it being a tad crass, albeit accurate. So, after one post I opted out and sought a better title.

From the dim, dark (mainly dim) recesses of my mind came the name of H. L. Menken, an american journalist of the 1920s-40s acerbic of tongue, though witty at times and labled the 'Old Curmudgeon'--a term applicable to myself and as I am an Aussie (pronounced auzzie), the title of this blog emerged.

Having dampened my toe, again, I'll retire and attempt to think of something to say, comment upon or whinge about in my next post.