Reasons Why Not

Thumbing through an old Sherlock Holmes tale last night, I came across a rather antique word. I think this one’s at least vaguely known to most people but rarely used anymore.
Dr Watson reproves Sherlock for his sarcastic reply to Watson’s comment, but Holmes is absorbed by his own thoughts and pays no attention to Watson’s REMONSTRANCE.

Remonstrance, or Remonstration — the noun — according to M-W, is a plea in protest, objection, or disapproval. In other words, Reasons Why Not.
Remonstrate — the verb from which it comes — Lexico defines as: to say or plead in protest, objection, or disapproval. to present reasons in complaint; plead in protest.

Today’s Ragtag Daily Prompt word, TATTOO, gives me a good chance to use this almost abandoned word. In my opinion, here are some reasons why not.

When I think of tattoos, another word comes to mind: FORESIGHT – or the lack of it. Hindsight may be 20/20 but our ability to look into the future and see how we will feel, or what our life will be like, twenty or thirty years hence is extremely limited. Tattoos are a permanent body decoration, often done on the spur of the moment, often done while intoxicated or high. No room for FORESIGHT there.

This is one of my main remonstrances when it comes to tattoos – or any other permanent disfigurement. Does anyone really want to look at the same wallpaper design 24/7 for 60-70 years? Will a super-hero on a teen’s arm still be cool when he’s 55, chairman of some corporation, the father of teenagers, or a seventy-year-old grandparent? Or will it someday be an embarrassment he needs to cover up?

It’s a fad, and fads pass – or circle. In the 50s tattoos were popular; my cousin has his own name discreetly tattooed on his forearm. By the time I was a teen they were passé; none of the kids in my class got inked up. Now tats are all the rage for a time. What if the next generation says, “Yuck, Grandma! That looks awful.”

If adults get tattoos, I think at least they’ve seen some of life and are making their own choices, but teens come under such pressure from their peers. When I see young people sporting multiple tattoos I feel sorry for them because I think someday they’ll mature and move on. Then they’ll realize what they’ve done to their body is permanent. I’ve heard of people who later regret their tats and spend big bucks to have them removed. We have a friend who’s trying bit by bit to remove his many tats with a laser — and the process is quite painful.

My last remonstrance: relationship changes are unforeseeable. Some years back another blogger wrote about how her boyfriend, madly in love with her at the time, insisted they get each other’s names tattooed on their arm. He went whole hog and had her name blazed across his biceps. She was more cautious and had his name tattooed in smaller letters on her arm. Good thing, too, because they broke up and her new spouse, a few years later, didn’t appreciate seeing the old boyfriend’s name on her arm every day.

Inimitable

The Ragtag Daily Prompt word this morning is INIMITABLE.

And here are my thoughts on the matter.

Inimitable means matchless; unsurpassed; unequalled.

As far as the actual meaning of the word is concerned, few things in this world are inimitable. Most everything ever produced can be imitated. Forgers have proved this over and over. Is this a real Rembrandt or an imitation? Our countries spend millions of dollars trying to come up with currency that’s inimitable, but counterfeiters can be so clever.

Someone may laud a beautiful piece of architecture, but before long someone somewhere has imitated it. A work of art likewise. Trends are all about imitation. I can recall from back when I was a young teen how “curvy” gave way to “Twiggy” and before long most models appeared emaciated and young girls were dying to look like them.

Cheap knock-offs abound – which is why patents were invented. A competitor can imitate a product but they can’t sell it under the originator’s name, or company brand name. That’s why the Harley-Davidson company patented the unique roar of its motorbikes. No cheap imitation should sound like a Harley.

As to the greater sense of the word, beyond compare or unequaled, there are many things in nature that have no equal; they can’t be imitated by man. One night we watched a spectacular fireworks display, the likes of which I’d never seen before. Yet compared to the northern lights dancing across the heavens, or a night storm with lightning flashing and thunder cannons booming, fireworks look like a cheap imitation. Man may build an impressive dam across a river but it’ll never hold a candle to Niagara Falls.

The human body is a matchless engineering design, with its circulatory system, computer communication skills, self-healing and reproductive capacities, its memory storage, thought processing, emotional and external communications abilities. Medical science has learned a lot about repairing the various functions that break down, but they can’t construct anything like a facsimile.

As the wise Solomon once said:
“As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”
–Ecclesiastes 11:5

And life once gone is gone forever. My sister gave birth to a perfectly healthy, fully formed little boy, but he’d strangled on the umbilical cord during the birth process and was born dead. Medicine could do nothing to re-ignite the spark of life. That spark of life is truly inimitable.

Kingdoms and Dominions To Come

I’ve written about King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation. Later Daniel himself had an awe-inspiring dream that made him tremble. In Chapter 7: 1-8 he tells of seeing four beasts rise up out of the sea, corresponding to the four kingdoms Nebuchadnezzar had seen in his dream, but Daniel was given more details about the last kingdom upon the earth, which was again represented by iron.
…the fourth beast…was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet.” — Dan 7:19

As in the king’s dream, Daniel saw how this kingdom would be subdued by the coming of the Messiah and the kingdom of God would be established.
“And the kingdom and dominion…shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom and all dominions shall serve and obey him.” — Dan 7:10

Zechariah also saw the King’s arrival and the kingdom established:
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.
…and the battle bow shall be cut off: and he shall speak peace unto the heathen: and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.
— Zechariah 9: 9-10.

When Jesus made his entry into Jerusalem, riding on an ass’s colt, people remembered this prophecy.

Isaiah’s prediction is similar:
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” — Isaiah 9: 6-7

It seems clear from these and other prophecies that when Jesus came, his kingdom would be established. He would sit on the throne of David. Literally or figuratively; that is the question that’s fueled so much debate.

However, while we’ve all been waiting for Jesus’ return, various theories and divisions have arisen as to what the prophecies mean. Will he come back once? Twice? Once secretly, and then again openly, as some claim? Or even three times? When, and where, shall his Kingdom be established. When does “Forever” start?

Back in the day when we really got into prophecies, we noted three things as we read and studied the matter:
1. Each teacher tells you it’s fairly easy to understand from the Bible how the future will play out.
2. It’s hard to find two teachers who totally agree on how the prophecies will be fulfilled, and how future events will play out.
3. Many books have been written and events predicted, but they have been proven wrong. Things just haven’t happened that way, so various prophets have had to rethink and rewrite.

I plan to get into these differences in later posts, but Christians are all agreed on one thing: Jesus will return someday.

One thing that is clear from various scriptures is that when Jesus returns, everyone will know it.
“Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” — Revelation 1:7

And that someday time for this earth will be over. The great Judgment day that Daniel foresaw will begin.
“And the angel which I saw stand upon the sea and upon the earth lifted up his hand to heaven, And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer.” — Rev 10: 5-6:

So the Apostle Peter counsels all believers to be prepared:

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of person ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the element shall melt with fervent heat?

Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. — 2 Peter 3: 10-13

The SQUISH Heard Round the World

“Online Outrage”

That’s the phrase that jumped out at me as I read an article online this morning. An American couple made a family decision, posted the fact on social media, and now face a storm of outrage from all over the world.
Then I read something else online and my muse immediately started to spin and weave the two stories together, finally giving me the odd title for this post.

Fellow blogger Judy-Dykstra Brown posted this morning about the hornworms that live on her Virginia creeper vine, hornworms being the larva of the hummingbird moth. We had a hummingbird moth visit our flowers one summer and I thought it was cute. Judy decided to move them elsewhere rather than leaving them to eat her vine or squishing them. I trust she won’t get a lot of online outrage from objectors. People’s reactions are unpredictable.

I Decide to SQUISH

Let’s say I decide to plant a garden and post the story of my efforts, essentially inviting the whole world to oversee my my project. Some people think I should put my garden in the east corner of my yard, near the trees to gain the benefit of their shade; some think I should put it in the other corner where there are no trees to rob the plants of moisture.

People in Timbuktu may have their ideas about what kind of fertilizer I should use. Gnu dung works best, or maybe antelope. People in Australia think I should lay in pipes for irrigation while Ontario gardeners tell me I should put in lots of drainage because in Ontario it rains so much a garden would be flooded unless it’s well drained. (Well, not quite, but you get my point. This isn’t Timbuktu, Australia or Ontario.)

So I grow my garden, posting online pictures of the resulting lush veggies. One day I find this caterpillar and do a video of it climbing on my pepper plant. Then I SQUISH it. Will I be subjected to online outrage by environmentalists? Will save-the-planet types vilify me on Facebook? Prairie bloggers may give me the thumbs-up and say, “Good for you. I hate those things!”

Because I’ve involved them, people in far-flung lands who know zilch about prairie pests or our ecology will still feel they have an investment in my decision. My followers in Timbuktu, Ontario, Brazil and Australia may denounce me online because I squished a worm. After all, am I not guilty of decimating the number of creatures on the planet and depriving some bird of its rightful diet? Facebook pages may decry my foolish decision.

Yes, this is a silly comparison, but when we invite people all over the globe to peek into our lives, we face consequences. People all over the world have two things in common: they have opinions and they like to give advice. It’s universal.

Social Media as International Opinion Poll

When we put our lives “out there” on television, Facebook, You-tube, and invite the whole world interact, it’s like inviting the global community to be our parents and older siblings. If they spend time following us, they will want to help us along. If we have difficult decisions to make, some of our followers will understand and support our choice, while others will disapprove – maybe even be insulted that we didn’t ask their advice. Get enough people involved and you may get a storm of online outrage.

The article I read tells how, through a foreign adoption agency, a couple adopted a toddler. Three years later, after dealing with various health and behavioral issues that have overwhelmed them and their other children, they’ve made the painful decision to surrender their child over to foster care. And a lot of readers think that’s terrible. “If it were me, I would never do that.”

While this isn’t an unheard of situation and other adoptive parents have faced the same dilemma – I heard of one case here in our province where the baby’s health issues proved more than the new parents could cope with – since this couple put their whole story on YouTube, they now have thousands of people criticizing their motives and their decision.

But my heart does go out to the couple, especially when I read that they’ve actually received death threats, even vicious threats to harm their other children, because of this decision. Seeing that, I had to shake my head. How can people get so involved in the life of complete strangers that they’ll go so far as the threaten the lives of people they’ve never met?

Peace of Mind Versus Media-Generated Outrage

Years back when Nicholas Sarkozy, Prime Minister of France, married Carla Bruni, an Italian singer and former supermodel, my French penpal wrote, “I hate him. I hate both of them.” I asked her, “Have you ever met them? “No, but I hate them.” Her feelings were 100% fueled by the media.

I understand how the media works and why. Competing with an audience steep in television dramas, they need sensational news. They need to – and want to – provoke strong emotions. Getting people emotionally involved in a story is what sells news and channels public opinion in the direction they want it to go. From what I can tell, the emotion the media does best is outrage. Journalists and reporters have proven very able to orchestrate news that will stir up public outrage.

But if I allow the media – or anyone else — to influence me to hate someone, I’d better not criticize the Germans who allowed Hitler to inflame them against the Jews. We all hate the havoc this one man wreaked, but cool common sense has to guide our feelings and actions, or we’ll be ripe for another type of Hitler to come along and use our hatred as his tool.

For myself, I don’t want to hate anybody. Not Trump…or Trudeau…or whoever. I may guess, but I can’t possibly know how they think, feel, react, or what their motives are. Also my own peace of mind is precious to me. Hate and outrage are draining. I like to know what’s going on in the world, but refuse to let my peace be shattered and emotions shredded by the actions of politicians. I may be concerned about different things our Prime Minister says and does, but I don’t hate him.

I’m saddened that a couple with initial good intentions have had to go through this devastating experience, but I can offer neither support nor censure, seeing I haven’t walked a mile in their shoes.

Words of Fervor & Folly

Good afternoon, dear readers. I’ve been looking at the word prompts for today, plus I read an interesting article at Pocket, now I’ll try to gather all the thoughtlets that are bouncing around.

First, I must thank Fandango for his FOWC prompt today, which is ARCANE. I thought I understood this word, but decided I’d check in the dictionary and be certain. And I was SO WRONG! Somehow I’ve gotten this word confused with INANE.

Sue’s JibberJabber prompt for today is CHANGE and I’ve had to completely change my thinking after this little visit to the dictionary. I’ll know better now if I happen to read in a story: “After making an arcane remark in answer to his question, his assistant left the room.”
How I’ve misjudged the poor person! I always thought they’d said something stupid or sarcastic.

According to Lexico, ARCANE means
Understood by few; mysterious or secret.
synonyms: obscure, deep, profound

INANE means:
Lacking sense or meaning; silly
synonyms: empty, insubstantial

ASININE, going even further, means:
Extremely stupid or foolish
synonyms: silly, brainless, nonsensical

The Your Daily Word prompt for today is PLETHORA, so I’ll tack this all together for a bit of linguistic history.

Owing to its tendency to gather words from all nations, the English language has a plethora of words that mean, or sound, almost the same — synonyms, we call them. Check out any thesaurus and  you’ll see dozens of synonyms for some words, especially slang expressions. I counted 48 shorter variations of “drunk” and a few longer ones like “in his cups.”

Quite a few dictionary words are archaic, or regional and thus arcane — do you know what a SCOP is? — while most are widely known to English speakers across the globe. Some words have shifted, like HAGGARD, which meant wild or untamed, but has shifted over time and is now understood as “having a gaunt, worn appearance.”

Over the centuries the Bible has had a profound effect on English, giving us the Ten Commandments and the  Golden Rule, along with many other expressions and lines. And poets have enriched the language with expressions that became part of everyday vocabulary.

Like Bobby Burns, with “the best laid plans of mice and man go oft astray…” Even though he wrote his “Ode To A Mouse” in 1785, I still see these words in articles today. Charles Dickens gave us Scrooge, who will forever represent the quintessential miser.

Sitcoms and stand-up comedians have added a lot of witty and/or inane wisecracks, like “He’s quite fond of John Barleycorn,” and “The elevator doesn’t go all the way to the top floor,” and punch lines like “Been there; done that.”

Now for a thought on FERVOR, which I gleaned a few hours ago from an article at POCKET. Here’s a list of six “weak verbs” we should use sparingly in our speech. Using these expressions make us sound INDECISIVE.* Something to consider.
I think
I need
I want
I hope
I guess
I suppose

*Synonyms: ambivalent, conflicted, doubtful, dithering,
faltering, skeptical, wishy-washy, uncertain, wavering

And now I guess…oops!…I…er…definitely WILL go and do something else. 😉

Hate Is A Transitive Verb: It Needs An Object

I wrote a few days ago about the book I was reading, If These Walls Could Talk, by Dan Walsh. This story starts out in the present, a couple doing some renovations discover a strange message scratched into some of the studs. As they uncover more of the studs, they find a plea for help.

Then the writer takes us back to June 1964 and a family divided by hatred and contempt. The father and redneck older brother are determined that blacks should be subservient; the younger son believes in equal treatment for all human beings. Walsh works into his story in a very realistic way the deep-seated prejudices, the civil rights marches, hostility and subsequent violence that took place in the South at that time.

In the Afterword, Walsh writes about watching these events on the news as they were happening, including Dr Martin Luther King delivering his famous “I have a dream” speech. I believe most of us in North America would love to see his dream come true: a society where all humans are respected as equals regardless of race, ethnic origins, or religion.

It would be tragic if, after all this time and all these years of struggle and strife, people should sink back into the attitudes so prevalent back then! God forbid that society should lose what it has gained in fair treatment for all!

Anyone who has carefully read the Bible has surely seen these words:
“God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands…
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth…
– Acts 17: 24, 26

Sad to say, Paul Simon’s line is too often true:
“Still a man he hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest.”
–from his song, The Boxer

I once met a man who’d probably fit the category, “southern white trash.” Definitely a redneck. While his racial slurs were dramatic, it became apparent that the first person this man hated was himself. Though he put on a cheerful persona, those who knew him sensed he was deeply discontented with who and what he was. His own children suffered the fall-out from his frustration, too.

One time I read the memoir of a young boy who’d been verbally abused and severely beaten many times by his construction worker father. He did survive, got an education and became a vet. As a mature adult he asked his father one day, “Why were you so brutal with me?”

His father replied, “I saw your nature as being a lot like mine and I wanted to straighten you out. I didn’t want you to be like me. I wanted you to make something of yourself and have a better life than I had.”

He told his dad that beating a kid is poor way to encourage him. But the father seemed to know no other way; he probably got the same. It’s amazing that the son escaped that vicious circle.

My heart aches for people who haven’t found contentment in life — and for their victims. People who aren’t happy with themselves and what they are, will be inclined to severe depression, because hate has to have an object. If these frustrated ones don’t find some outlet for their hate it will blow their minds somehow, so they turn it on someone else. “Ah! It’s not MY fault. I’m the helpless victim here. It’s HIS/HER/THEIR fault that I don’t have a better place in life.”

Common sense won’t faze people determined to hate those they imagine are oppressing them. People determined to be victims must cast someone, some group or class, into the role of Oppressor. Sadly, the “victims” become the bullies, self-righteously striking back at their oppressors – who are often bewildered by the venom they feel from someone they don’t even know.

Hating the Haters

“I hate rich snobs!”
“I hate people who are prejudiced.”
“I despise religious hypocrites who look down on others.”
“I detest people who are intolerant.”
“I hate abusers and predators.”
“I just hate people who oppress the poor!”
“Of course I’m right for hating them because they’re so worthy of hate.”

Sad to say, if we start hating the haters, we become haters, too. Contrary to popular thinking, there is no “righteous” hatred of other humans.

God asks us to surrender all this hate, give it all to him, and show respect for all people. The good, the bad, the ugly – as much as we are able.
“Vengeance is mine, said the Lord, I will repay it.”

 Through the pen of the Apostle Peter, our Heavenly Father gives us this command:
“Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
– I Peter 2:17-18

Show the same respect to males and females, all races, rednecks and preppies, rich and poor, janitors and CEOs, the government, the Donald Trumps and Vladimir Putins of this world? Doesn’t that just choke you!

We don’t have to approve of what they do; we may denounce their actions as wrong. But Jesus clearly warns us never to call any person a fool, an idiot, or a good-for-nothing:
“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.”
Matthew 5:22

Pretty sobering stuff!

Dear Christian friends & readers, have you taken these Scriptures to heart? Each of us needs to be sure that we are as free of anger and name-calling as the Lord wants us to be.