Friday, July 19, 2013

The Art Of Appearing Facetious


An AP press release states:
New entry in the AP Stylebook: husband, wife
Regardless of sexual orientation, husband or wife is acceptable in all references to individuals in any legally recognized marriage. Spouse or partner may be used if requested.

I am not sure what that means, exactly, but I suspect it is meant to inform writers who conform to the AP Stylebook that they are allowed to refer to either party in a marriage as 'husband' or 'wife' -- no doubt to accommodate the parties in a same sex marriage.

But it seems to me that it also allows, in a traditional marriage, the male to be called the wife and the female to be called the husband.

Doesn't it?

Taken from Press Release

Surprisingly, I have heard mention three times in this last week, the term, 'on tenterhooks.' While I knew from context what this meant, I was unsure enough to look it up.

on tenterhooks
-  in a state of uneasy suspense or painful anxiety:
-  nervously waiting to find out what is going to happen
She waited on tenterhooks for James to call.
We were kept on tenterhooks all morning waiting for his decision.

(Obsolete) one of the hooks or bent nails that hold cloth stretched on a tenter.

a framework on which cloth in the process of manufacture is stretched so it may set or dry evenly.

In my opinion, on tenterhooks, while perfectly appropriate to its time, has probably outlived its usefulness. Even though some news readers and pedantic politicians still occasionally mouth the term, it's doubtful that any American citizen under the age of thirty even knows its meaning.

There is a poem  titled "That Reminds Me" by Ogden Nash that I read over at The Writer's Almanac and it struck me as not only understandable and humorous poetry but is also a deeply profound statement regarding women and life lived in their shadow by puny man.

Even if you do not usually read poetry, please give this one a try.




The number of possible ways of playing the first four moves per side in a game of chess is 318,979,564,000.


On this day, July 19 in 1942, the agricultural chemist George Washington Carver, head of Alabama's Tuskegee Institute, arrived in Dearborn, Michigan at the invitation of Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor Company.

Ford had made repeated journeys to Tuskegee to convince Carver to come to Dearborn and help him develop a synthetic rubber to help compensate for wartime rubber shortages. Carver set up a laboratory in an old water works building in Dearborn.

He and Ford experimented with different crops, including sweet potatoes and dandelions, eventually devising a way to make the rubber substitute from goldenrod, a plant weed.

Carver died in January 1943, Ford in April 1947, but the relationship between their two institutions continued to flourish:  The Ford Company awarded grants of $4 million over two years to the George Washington Carver School at Tuskegee.


facetious [fuh-see-shus]
-  treating serious issues with deliberately inappropriate humor; flippant.
-  characterized by levity of attitude and love of joking a facetious person
-  jocular or amusing, especially at inappropriate times



Anthony Charles Edwards
(born July 19, 1962)
Anthony Edwards is an American actor and director. He has appeared in various movies and television shows, including Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Top Gun, Zodiac, Miracle Mile, Revenge of the Nerds, Northern Exposure, and ER.

Nancy Ellen Carell
(born July 19, 1966)
Nancy Carell is an American actress best known for her comedic work on Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show, and The Office.

George Stanley McGovern
(July 19, 1922 - Oct. 21, 2012)
George McGovern was an American historian, author and U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party presidential nominee in the 1972 presidential election.

Samuel Colt
(July 19, 1814 - Jan. 10, 1862)
Samuel Colt was an American inventor and industrialist from Hartford, Connecticut. He was the founder of Colt's Patent Fire-Arms Manufacturing Company (now known as Colt's Manufacturing Company), and made the mass-production of the revolver commercially viable for the first time.


A joke is a very serious thing.
--Winston Churchill

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