Thursday, March 30, 2017


Quite often, when I am in stores, I have people ask me the whereabouts of items.  If I know about the requests, I always respond with an answer but then I look at the clothes I'm wearing to see if the clothes resemble a uniform.  I always wonder if--and why-- they think I work at the stores.

It happened again today when a man and woman approached me;  the woman was in a wheelchair, and she asked, "Do you have any craft supplies here?"  Obviously, she assumed I worked there.  I was wearing black slacks, a black turtleneck sweater, and a turquoise jacket trimmed in black which in no way resembled the smocks worn by the store employees.  Later, relating the story to my brother, he asked, "Why don't you just ask them why they think you work there?"  I said, "I'm always taken aback and just give them the information." 

I was sorting through a bin of $3.00 movies. Oftentimes, I am on the lookout for bargain bin movies which I, Gerald, Les, and a number of family and friends might want.

I have a specific method of sorting.  I take out 20 movies, put them in the shopping cart, then stack the remainder in piles, working my way around the bin, which enables me to see all the titles.  I always compliment myself that this also helps other shoppers.

A woman came up to MY bin (yes, I realize I am very territorial during my pursuit) and began looking at movies, but she was ruining my method as she was tossing the movies willy-nilly around the bin.  I asked, "Are you looking for something in particular?"  She answered, "Nah."  I said, "I keep a list of ones I'd like to find." and I produced my fat notebook of lists which I maintain.  She looked at me as if I were the craziest person she'd ever met.  She said, "Oh, I thought you worked here."  Fortunately for me, she left quickly before she completely destroyed my process.  

Success:  I found a copy of Touch Of Evil which my sister-in-law wants!

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Wednesday, March 29, 2017


Yesterday, a woman who lives in my precinct, approached me in Kroger and told me that she'd changed her mind about the man who now occupies the White House.  I quoted Salena Zito, who wrote "The press took him literally, but not seriously, but his supporters took him seriously, but not literally."  She said she didn't understand what that meant.  I explained the quote and I told her, "I took him literally AND seriously!"

She asked my opinion of the local Primary races in May.  She is a person who has changed her party affiliation several times, has announced to run for office numerous times and subsequently withdrew her name, and is unbelievably wrong-headed, mercurial, and displays an egregious lack of knowledge.  

I asked her which candidate she had chosen for the Municipal Court Judge race. She said that she was going to vote for the incumbent.  I asked, "Really, why?"  She said she would never vote for the challenger and while telling several items, she mispronounced the name of the challenger.  I said, "I think the name is pronounced..." and I said the name and also spelled the name.  She continued, "Well, my daughter worked at the restaurant and I know a lot about them."  I asked, with a faux innocence, "Oh, did the candidate work there also;  is that how she got to know her legal ability?"  She answered testily, "I know a lot about the whole family." I replied, "So, you've changed your mind about the incumbent?  I remember that in the last election you had the opponent's signs in your yard and you told me you wouldn't vote for the incumbent that time."  She answered that the incumbent wasn't "much better" and then made a false, reprehensible allegation about the incumbent which I knew to be untrue.  I corrected her and said that it was false and she should not be saying things like that.   She asked, "Which one are you for?"

I said, "Neither one;  I'm in the other party." 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


A friend who is a grammarian sent an urgent message to me today: "THE END OF OUR WORLD IS NEAR: Google shows LITERALLY and FIGURATIVELY meaning the same!"

I replied, "NO! NO! NO!"

I don't mind if my hero Mark Twain misused it when he wrote that Tom Sawyer was "literally rolling in wealth" or that Fitzgerald wrote that Jay Gatsby "literally glowed", I shall not give in to the misusage!

Recently, at a meeting, someone said, "I literally died!" I grimaced and wrote on my notepad: "FIGURATIVELY, dammit!" A person sitting beside me, a retired teacher of English, wrote beside my note: "I gave up!"

Also, see THE URBAN DICTIONARY example:

People often confuse this word with figuratively.
-Dude, you figuratively died of embarrassment, you illiterate dipshit.

Monday, March 27, 2017


A young friend and I were going to an event together.  As she was getting a coat from her coat closet,  I noticed a button on the floor.  I picked up the button and asked which coat it was from; she pointed to a plaid jacket.   I asked, "Did you want to wear that one today?"  She said, "No, but I wonder where it goes on the coat?"  There were buttons down the front of the jacket;  buttons on pockets on the front;  buttons on the shoulders holding decorative tabs;  a button at the neck to fasten another tab; and buttons on the sleeves.  Finally, after examining the jacket, I saw that the button was missing from another decorative tab on the back of the jacket.  I said, "This makes SIXTEEN buttons!  I'll bet that's an expensive jacket."  We had a discussion about covered buttons and other features which made clothing costly. 

I asked, "Do you want me to sew it on the jacket?"  She said, "Oh, yes, I am no good at those things;  I would have put it on with a safety pin."  She said that she didn't have any needles or thread;  I told her I had a little sewing kit in my "work bag" in my car.  I carry a purse, but I also have emergency items in another bag in the trunk of the car.  

I said, "You're driving;  I'll do it in the car;  I'll have it done in a whipstitch."

She said she had never heard that usage.

I said, "Well, it's an idiom;  my mother used to say it, but a whipstitch is also an actual stitch, but you don't use a whipstitch to attach a button."

Today, I looked for the definition of whipstitch and after the definition about sewing, it shows that, as an idiom, it means "at short intervals";  all of my life I've thought it meant "quickly"; I do learn something new each day, and sometimes, it's in a whipstitch! 

Sunday, March 26, 2017


At a recent all-day training session, I was fortunate to be seated next to a charming, and interesting, witty conversationalist.   Before the meeting and during breaks we found we had a great deal in common.  We began trading whispered comments and notes during the presentations.  

One of the instructors used the term "jive" when it clearly should have been "gibe";  the instructor was an attorney and one could assume he was educated and should have known the difference.  I jotted down "GIBE!" and my fellow-attendee jotted down "JIBE?" beside my note.

Thus began stream-of consciousness repartee between her and me.

She wrote:  "JIVE Talkin'!".    I jotted down "GIBBS!".  After my reference to the Bee Gees, she jotted down "NCIS", a reference to Mark Harmon's character's name on the series.

The back-and-forth competition began:

BARRY, ROBIN, MAURICE (with names of various people with those names)

JIVE TURKEY with a small drawing by her.

SHUCKIN' AND JIVIN' with several comments.

She wrote:  "JIBE THE MAIN SAIL" followed by my note: "See how the main sail sets'' with her question:  "Huh?"  I wrote:   "That's from Sloop John B."  followed by her question "Beach Boys?",  with my answer, "No, The Weavers."  She wrote "Lemme go home!"  I wrote, "I'll call the captain ashore!"

During the break, I wondered aloud to her, "Should we tell him?"  She answered, "Yeah, YOU tell him it just doesn't JIBE;  that he needs to cut out all that JIVE, or you'll GIBE at him!"

See the article below from Grammarphobia:

Jibe, gibe, and jive

Q: I see both “jibe” and “jive” used to mean agree, as in “His testimony did not jibe/jive with what he said earlier.” As a sailor, I know “jibe” refers to changing tack while sailing downwind. “Jive,” on the other hand, refers to deceptive talk. How on earth did we get from point A to point B here?

A: We’re dealing with three similar-sounding words: “jibe,” “gibe,” and “jive.” That’s confusing enough.

To muddle things more, dictionaries recognize “jibe” and “gibe” as variant spellings of each other. And the nautical word for changing tack is spelled “jibe” in the US and “gybe” in the UK.

If you’re still with us, there are two more flies in the ointment. The verb “jibe” has a second meaning, primarily in American English: to agree.

And as you’ve noticed, “jive” is often used for “jibe” in the sense of agreement, though no authoritative dictionary considers this usage standard English.

To get to the bottom of all this, let’s begin with some definitions.

The verb “jibe,” as you say, is a nautical term that refers to changing course by shifting a fore-and-aft sail from side to side while sailing before the wind. (Remember, British dictionaries spell the word “gybe.”)

However, “jibe” has another meaning that’s not etymologically related to the nautical usage: to agree or be consistent with, as in, “Those figures don’t jibe.” The Oxford English Dictionary describes this usage as “chiefly U.S.”

The word “jive” can be either a noun or a verb, as in “Don’t give me that jive” or “Don’t jive me.” It’s a Jazz Era slang term that usually refers to deceptive or nonsensical talk, though it can also mean jazz music.

A third word that’s often confused with these, “gibe,” is both a noun and a verb referring to teasing, taunting, or caustic remarks, as in “Ignore his rude gibes” or “He tends to gibe when he’s annoyed.”

These three words cover a lot of etymological history, so let’s take a look at their origins. (We’ll discuss them in order of seniority, saving “jive” for last.)

The oldest is the verb “gibe,” first recorded in the mid-16th century. The OED says to “gibe” is “to speak sneeringly; to utter taunts; to jeer, flout, scoff.”

As we’ve said, the nautical “jibe” is not related to the agreeable “jibe,” which first showed up in American English in the early 1800s, meaning “to chime in (with); to be in harmony or accord; to agree,” to quote the OED.

This leaves us with “jive,” a term of unknown origin that showed up—both noun and verb— in American slang in the Roaring Twenties. It has close associations with jazz, Harlem, and black American English.

The OED defines the verb as meaning “to mislead, to deceive, to ‘kid’; to taunt or sneer at.” To “talk jive,” Oxford adds, is “to talk nonsense, to act foolishly.”

And the noun “jive” is defined similarly: “talk or conversation; spec. talk that is misleading, untrue, empty, or pretentious; hence, anything false, worthless, or unpleasant.”

Saturday, March 25, 2017


This week, I asked my younger brother, "Do they still have the NIT?"  He asked, "How do you even know about the NIT?"  I answered, "When I was a kid, it was a big deal;  UD went there and so did Saint Bonaventure, Gonzaga, Villanova and others; that's how I learned about all those schools!"  As I reminisced, he sighed and said, "Ohio State didn't even get invited to the NIT  this year."  I said, "They always went to the NCAA;  oh, WOW, I remember when Cincinnati and OSU played!"  He said, "You are positively OLD!" 

First, let me say that I am currently abysmally ignorant about sports.  However, as a  teenager, I was a walking compendium of sports knowledge as I was under the influence of my sports-loving brothers and father.  After moving from home and meeting my husband, my interest in sports nearly vanished because Gerald's only interests are golfing and auto-racing, which much to his irritation, I told him that those really aren't sports.

Several years ago, my friend Charles was filling out the brackets for the NCAA basketball championship.  I made an enlarged copy for him to use;  I had the original copy from the newspaper.  As a lark, I also filled out the form along with him.  Charles laughed at my choices and methods for choosing.  I told him, "There is no method to my madness!" Charles kept the forms and would call me after each game, breathlessly, to tell me how we fared in our competition.

Imagine his shock--and mine--when I chose 48 of 64 correctly, and he had 32!

My brother told me that I should enter the next year's competition because I fared better than most of the "experts".

Some of my method:  I always choose Syracuse because they are the "Orangemen" and my family came from Northern Ireland.  Suffering from Liberal guilt for choosing something for ethnic reasons, I immediately chose some Catholic colleges.  I chose Gonzaga because I recalled that it was Bing Crosby's alma mater and a double-whammy, it is also a Catholic school. I chose Butler because Gerald's mother was born there in Indiana. I chose Ohio State because I feared for my own safety from my basketball-crazed friends if I did not choose THE Ohio State University team.  

So, of course, I actually had NO method!

After that first year, it was always our "thing" to complete and compete with our BRACKETS. Charles was especially excited when I told him about President Obama's charts.  He posted his brackets, mine,  and the President's on his wall.  After Charles' death, my interest waned, but I still completed the forms in his memory, and at my brother's amused urging, vying against President Obama's choices.

This year my brother asked, "No brackets?"  I said, "Nah, Syracuse isn't in the competition this year so I'm  just MAD with no method!"

 But good luck to Gonzaga!