Sunday, January 2, 2011

Hey! Is It Winter Yet?

Do you know what this is?

It's an orchidometer

An orchidometer is a medical instrument used to measure the volume of the testicles.

No matter how old one gets, it seems that there is always something of great value to be learned.


A thought just came to me . . .

positions of the planets change
from all geometric perspectives
...even a millennium or two after
the human race has faded away

Weird thought, huh?


Whenever I am reading a published short story or novel and I encounter words such as 'learnt' or 'dreamt' I pause to contemplate my reaction to them. If I were writing I would shun such words and use the form 'learned' or 'dreamed' even though I realize that the form the author used was grammatically correct. 'Learnt' is the past participle, past tense of learn. And 'dreamt' is the past participle, past tense of dream.

A few other words on the same order are:

burned, burnt
kneeled, knelt
leaned, learnt
leaped, leapt
spelled, spelt
spilled, spilt
spoiled, spoilt

It seems that the 'ed' ending is most often used in American English and the 't' ending in British English.


The site is a valuable tool for the serious writer.


How many words for snow exist in the language of the Eskimo? Not as many as you might have been led to believe. If you'd like to read an article regarding language myths and other interesting language related things, here is the link.

The article is by Dave Wilton who is a graduate student in the Department of English at the University of Toronto, the editor of the website and the author of Word Myths: Debunking Urban Legends by Oxford University Press.


At The Writer's Almanac I read a poem written by Charles Wright that grabbed me. A poem will do that, occasionally. Here is the first verse:


You still love the ones you loved
back when you loved them--books.
Records, and people.
Nothing much changes in the glittering rooms of the heart,
Only the dark spaces half-reclaimed.
And then not much,
An image, a line. sometimes a song.

And in another section, below that poem, was written:

J.D. Salinger
was born in New York City in 1919. He wanted to be a writer, and his dream was to publish his fiction in The New Yorker, which rejected his work over and over. In November of 1941, he finally got an acceptance letter from The New Yorker for a short story called "Slight Rebellion Off Madison," about a teenager named Holden Caulfield. It was set to come out in the Christmas issue, but then the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and the story was put on hold. Salinger was drafted into the Army, deployed in the ground force invasion of Normandy, and he was part of the Battle of the Bulge and some of the worst fighting of WWII. When the war ended, Salinger checked into an Army general hospital in Nuremberg, suffering from shell shock. In 1946, The New Yorker finally published "Slight Rebellion Off Madison." Salinger took the character of Holden Caulfield, and he wrote an entire novel about him. And even though it got mixed reviews and Salinger refused to help with publicity at all, it was a best seller: The Catcher in the Rye (1951). And Salinger became a celebrity, which he hated, so he became a recluse. He died just this past January (2010), at the age of 91.

And yet there are hopeful beginning writers who submit one manuscript, one time, to one or two of the major markets, and when rejected, they then become hurt and all discouraged and they quit trying.

Oh well . . .


What's the difference between an 'estate tax' and a 'death tax?' According to several online dictionaries, there is no difference. Both terms are defined as "a tax levied on the net value of the estate of a deceased person before distribution to the heirs." But the citizens making up the general public are more amenable to voting for the establishment of an 'estate tax' than for a 'death tax.'

I wonder why that is?

Of course, I know why that is. There is this little thing called 'nuance.'

nuance: subtle difference in meaning or opinion or attitude

But is there not a 'deeper' meaning of the word, 'nuance?' I think so. And I think that I understand it.

Here is an example:

He was the son of a prosperous Jewish importer of Kosher cheese.
He was the spawn of a rich Jew who profited from buying and selling foreign Kosher cheese.

Both sentences say the same thing, on the surface, but each has its own 'nuance.'

See what I mean?

Of course you do.


The term 'snowclone' was coined in 2004 by blogger Glen Whitman at the prompting of linguist Geoffrey Pullum.

The Snowclone Database will tickle your funny bone.


For those who might might have accidentally missed it, the public link to my Mountains photo album on Facebook is:


Here is a blog I really like . . .

link to Blue Collar Atheist blog --
Hank Fox is one helluva writer
Link to 'Buy The Book' --


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