Might He?

The Ragtag Daily Prompt this morning is MIGHTY

Sad to say, I feel anything but mighty today. For the past while I’ve felt more like I’m falling apart, with a couple medical issues taking front+centre stage in my thoughts. On Wednesday I had a couple of medical appointments: a blood-flow-to-the-heart test to figure out why I’m so short of breath these days; the other about a hernia I’ve developed. The Dr tells me this calls for me a surgery to repair that issue. And a wait of several months until that can be done.

Fandango’s One-Word Challenge this morning is INTANGIBLE. For some reason this morning I’m feeling an intangible blue fog. Lots to do but don’t feel like doing anything kind of cloud. Maybe I need a long walk. For most of the past week we’ve been afflicted with a howling, chilling wind — even the cats haven’t wanted to set foot outside. No rain or snow, so yesterday the dust was blowing. Thankfully today’s calm and I should take advantage of that.

Now back to the title of this blog post. “Might he” and mighty. This morning I read a thread on GoodReads where a reader was reviewing the query letter of a wannabe author. Reviewer comments on the plot where the “pro-tag” (supposed to be protag, short for protagonist) “looses it” (loses it) when his parents disappear. And she reminds the writer that for his query letter, he must present his summary in “present tenths.” (present tense)

I had to laugh! I won’t be hiring this reviewer to beta read my book. 🙂

Merriam-Webster has been doing a series about this sort of mix-up. They’re calling words and phrases like this EGGCORN words. Explaining that “egg horn” was once the mixed-up version of ACORN. They also use the example of “to all intensive purposes” — which should be all intents and purposes. “All over sudden” instead of all of a sudden. Makes me think of my cousin, who was wont to say, “the whole toot’n taboodle” instead of the whole kit and caboodle. What eggcorn words have you heard lately?

Where would we be without our daily chuckles?

Apostrophic Lapses

Good morning everyone!
I have been reading in Lynne Truss’s book, Eats, Shoots
and Leaves and came across her lament about misused and AWOL apostrophes.
Ms Truss tells of how she wrote an article for The Daily Telegraph about incorrect or missing punctuation and got an avalanche of letters from readers sharing and ticked off over violations they’d seen.

A lack of apostrophic know-how & know-where leads to signs like:

Lemon’s – 2 for $1
(or even) Lemon,s – 2 for $1
Trouser’s shortened
Summer cottages’ for rent
Member’s Only
Mikes’ Garage
The Smiths’s Silver Anniversary
Cyclist’s only on this path
The guest speakers talk will be about…
XMA’S trees
Jamison Antique,s

Her account, coupled with various writing prompts yesterday and today, has led me to write this verse:

THE OVER-WORKED EDITOR

Apostrophe confusion
gives Editor such grief:
he finds them wandering randomly
or employed beyond belief.

For Thompson’s prone to muff it
typesetting the word beaux’s
and covering the Jone’s affair
his know-where hits new lows.

An ad reads “Naval orange’s”
and Molly’s ship is sinking,
while it’s and its and their and they’re
confuse that fellow Pinking.

Restrained the Editor may be
but don’t you know he’ll rage
should “Sports Marts’ Sale on Bycycle’s”
appear on his printed page.

He caught “the citys’ bylaw”
before it got to press,
but a write-up about the Queens’ speech
led to a royal mess.

So he begs them to get serious:
“Study punctuation rules!
We need to shake this errancy
so we don’t look like fools.”

“But I was sure I had it right,”
dumbfounded Molly wails.
Editor sighs and insists again
on accurate details.

“Our readers are nit-picking,”
young Thompson quickly states.
Editor growls. “Get it right or else
your job here terminates.”

“From now on I’ll be checking
on every bit of copy;
your pages will be cremated
if you hand in anything sloppy.”

“No apostrophic laxity
permissible henceforth
or there will be pecuniary
punishment in store.”

Ragtag Daily Prompt: SERIOUS
Fandango’s FOWC: STUDY and DUMBFOUNDED
Word of the Day: CREMATE
M-W’s Word of the Day: PECUNIARY

Verbalizing English

As often happens, an article on another blog has fired my mental cylinders and — coupled together with some peeves I’ve already petted — has generated enough sparks to inspire a story.

The culpritical article in this case, is Merriam-Webster’s Great Big List of List of Words You Love to Hate. All your favorite pet peeves in one location.

This has touched a nerve. My past musings, after seeing the word HEROIZE in an article, were about how some writers have such a love of making nouns into verbs, and/or mangling both. Heroize is actually an old word that’s never caught on well, but M-W’s article has given me a few new words to grind my teeth on: CONVERSATE, COMMENTATE, and INCENTIVIZE. Shriek!

Biff has done another Whatnot Wednesday prompt post again; since this post definitely fits in the “Whatnot” class, I’ll give him a nod for that inspiration.
The Ragtag Daily Prompt word for today is ZEPHYR. I think I can work a few of those into my tale.

A Page from Mrs Ditz’s Longsuffering Diary…

My car was running rough, so at 10 am I took it to the mechanic to see if he could figure out what was wrong. And since I didn’t want to loiter at the shop while he was mechanizing it, I decided to go for a walk. The morning was warm and sunny with zephyrs swirling around, I felt inspirated to meanderate through the park and enjoy the flowers.

I wonder if my daughter is finding the prom dress fabric she’s looking for. I left her at the mall where she planned to materialize at Fabric Haven. This girl is definitely an accomplished seamstress. You should have seen the gorgeous fitted blazer she seamed for herself last month. A perfect fit!

I’d thought of going back to the mall myself and grabbing a coffee in the food court, but you know how it is when everybody’s cacophoning on their cells. You can’t hear yourself think! So I’ll just stroll along and appreciate these morning breezes zephyrating the flowers and shrubs. I just encounted a nice old lady taking her young grandson for a walk and she commentated, too, on the lovely weather.

This morning my son is engaged in an important work. He’s together with several other scientists who want to scientize a report on our local environment. They’ve got a lot of data to analyze and categorize, then they’ll compilate their findings and present their report to some committee that wants to improvate air quality in our city.

I hope it doesn’t take that fellow long to mechanize my car. My dog’s having pups and the vet tells me Drowsy could be litterating any moment now. Drowsy’s a purebred English Terrier and I was hoping to sell the pups, but I suspicion that the mongrel down the street may have illegitimatized this batch.

I think I’d best rotate and head back in the direction of the garage. I don’t want to incentivize him to bill me for any more time than what’s strictly necessary.

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. 😉

Of Spider Webs & Goose Down

The Ragtag Daily Prompt today is GOSSAMER.

If you’ve taken the time to check out this word over at Merriam-Webster, you’ll find that it has an interesting etymology. Gossamer comes from “goose summer,” a time that would roughly correspond to our Indian Summer. And not because they were flying south, but because they’re at their plumpest for the roasting pan.

Gossomer was also the Middle English word used to describe filmy cobwebs floating through the air in calm clear weather, apparently because somebody thought the webs looked like the down of a goose. If you see them in the early morning on the grass, wet with dew, you could almost think of down.

Today we use it as a rather poetic synonym for thin, light, flimsy, filmy. As in:
The weary travelers sighed for some break in the heat, but the gossamer wisps above offered no relief.

Cowcatcher Persona

The Word of the Day over at Merriam-Webster is an old-fashioned one I haven’t heard for years. A COWCATCHER is an inclined frame on the front of a railroad locomotive for throwing obstacles off the track. Since cows no longer wander about freely, I suppose locomotive makers no longer see the need of adding one.

Just for fun I decided to re-purpose this word for our day and created this verse:

Your words hurt,
I try to explain.
I feel the sting;
see the pain in their faces.
But his cowcatcher persona
tosses my words to the winds
and plows on.