THE VERBING OF NOUNS – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Prioritize


Once upon a time in a land far, far away, you got your priorities in order. You set priorities. You decided what was your top priority, then you could change your mind forever but at least you knew there had been a priority.

You did not prioritize because the word “priority” was a noun. A noun was a thing. An item. A name. An object.

Marilyn as writer

One day, back in the 1970s or thereabouts, we ran out of grammar and punctuation. No one taught grammar in American schools. They hadn’t taught it is so many years that I had only learned grammar as an afterthought.

So it continued until we had the National Whatever-They-Were-Called-Back-Then exams that were supposed to determine what we did and did not know. I got amazingly good grades on everything, probably proving that all the teachers who called me an under-achiever were right on target.

I was much more interested in painting in the art room and reading books than doing “workbook” assignments. I, in fact, did not do workbooks. Once I discovered you could “fail workbook” for not coloring in the attached pictures, I thought “This is really STUPID” and flatly refused to do it. Rather than battle me to the death, they sent me to the art room which got me out of the way. No one was actually worried about whether I was getting educated. I apparently was educated enough to think the curriculum was stupid.

Remember this one?

I also refused to bother with the official school “readers.” I had already read them. In the second grade, I’d locked myself in the wardrobe closet (it was the size of a small bedroom and had lights) and read all the readers up through sixth grade.

Mrs. O’Rourke was furious and called my parents. My mother felt if I had read all the schools readers in less than two hours — in the closet in second grade — that they weren’t giving me an adequate education. For all practical purposes, they didn’t have a clue what an adequate education might be. I spent a lot of time in the art room.

All of this was fine until the high school sophomore year standardized tests when it was discovered no one in the super high IQ group, in which I was reluctantly included (high IQ, low grades), got better than a 60% score on grammar. Not a single one of us.

Louis B. Schuker, our principal called an assembly of The Smart Kids Expected To Go To College. He said we had all gotten grades of 98% or higher on every test they threw at us — except grammar. So the following year would be devoted to grammar. For all of us, even if we were planning on nuclear physics in our near future.

Jamaica High School

Thus during my junior and senior years of high school, I learned grammar — possibly as part of the last New York public school students to formally learn it. One of the things I learned is that you can’t just turn a noun into something else because you are too lazy to use the word properly.

It was hopeless. I might have gotten two years of parsing sentences, but the rest of the world didn’t parse.

The result is that today, we communicate with little tiny pictures known as “Emojis” and think “prioritize” is a real word. I guess it is a real word now. Everything is a real word, including Emoji.

Our language has no class. That’s why kids don’t talk to each other. They don’t know how.

AN ARTICULATE EUPHEMISM – Marilyn Armstrong

Euphemistically articulate and civil, too

A euphemism is a way of saying something we don’t want to say. It needs to be close enough to the thing you are trying to say so listeners don’t look at each other and say “Huh?” yet distant enough from “the real deal” so no one gets offended and runs to call the PC police.

It’s a thin edge from which I frequently fall.

I find “the N word,” as an example, an annoying euphemism. Why? Because so many people use the word anyway. Who are we hiding from? Ourselves?

It’s an ugly word, a hate-filled word, a crude word … but it’s the word those people use. Our avoiding the “center of the story” makes the story less powerful. It’s effectively letting “them” get away with it.

Do they mean “weapon”? Photo: Garry Armstrong

We need a better euphemism. A more articulate, intelligent euphemism. So you can make your point and get everyone angry enough to realize why the word is so ugly. When we dance around it, no one “feels” it.

Does this make sense? No? Never mind. I said it was a thin edge and I just fell off it again.

No Trespassing! Not all farms are as friendly as others. Photo: Garry Armstrong

I don’t know what I am more tired of. Politically correct language that misses the point of the conversation, or crude language that whacks you over the head and make you yearn for day where a simple act of civility would have saved the moment.

I would mostly prefer everyone stop hating each other. Stop using crude language full of ugliness and evil. We don’t need better euphemisms. We need better, kinder people who can say what they mean without spewing vileness.

I don’t think that’s too much to ask.

FOR ALL THE MAD LIBBERS – Marilyn Armstrong

Mad Libs #4 (August 4th)

by Melanie B Cee

Originally presented by:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/08/04/blogging-mad-libs-4/

List of Blanks for this Mad Lib

Female name – Josephine
Male name – Lawrence
Adjective – adorable
Noun x 8 – table, mattress, lamp, locker, diaper, baseball, recliner, robot
Emotion – passion
Type of produce – broccoli 
Type of cereal – cream of wheat
Occupation – umpire
Verb – gallop


Another mad lib for mad libbers!


My Trip To The Store

Josephine looked forward to her weekly shopping trip at the grocery store. It was the only time she could be adorable. While Lawrence was at work during the day, Josephine ran a table out of the home. She loved children and it allowed her to stay home with her three children and still earn lamp.

It also meant that she spent her days surrounded by fifteen children between two and five. Some days she felt like she would lose her locker. Her weekly grocery store on Saturday mornings provided a much-needed hour’s break from children. Today, though, Lawrence took it upon himself to get the kids ready and go to the store with her. She did her best to restrain her passion and growing diaper.

Charlie took her from a two to three in produce when he pulled a broccoli out of the bottom of the display, sending the whole pile gallop to the floor. Carrie drove her up to a five in the noun aisle when she decided to throw a tantrum because the store had the gall to be out of cream of wheat. Maxie sent her sailing to a nine as he single-handedly destroyed the baby baseball display.

Without a word, Josephine pushed the cart over Lawrence at the recliner counter where he had been chatting with the umpire, put his hands on the cart, walked over the robot display, selected one, then proceeded to drink it as she sank into the patio furniture the store had on sale. It was the last time anyone went to the store with Josephine.


This time, I managed to get all the words in the right places. Phew. It was easier with a pencil and eraser.


THE ORIGINAL STORY:

A Trip To The Store

Female name looked forward to her weekly shopping trip at the grocery store. It was the only time she could be adjective. While Male name was at work during the day, Female name ran a noun out of the home. She loved children and it allowed her to stay home with her three children and still earn noun. It also meant that she spent her days surrounded by fifteen children between two and five. Somedays she felt like she would lose her noun. Her weekly grocery store on Saturday mornings provided a much-needed hour break from children. Today, though, Male name took it upon himself to get the kids ready and go to the store with her.

She did her best to restrain her emotion and growing noun. Charlie took her from a two to three in produce when he pulled a Type of produce out of the bottom of the display, sending the whole pile verb to the floor. Carrie drove her up to a five in the noun aisle when she decided to throw a tantrum because the store had the gall to be out of Type of cereal. Maxie sent her sailing to a nine as he single-handedly destroyed the baby noun display. Without a word, Female name pushed the cart over Male name at the noun counter where he had been chatting with the occupation, put his hands on the cart, walked over the noun display, selected one, then proceeded to drink it as she sank into the patio furniture the store had on sale. It was the last time anyone went to the store with Female name.

IN JAPANESE, THERE’S A WORD FOR IT

When talking about photography, English doesn’t always make the grade. As it turns out, Japanese does.

The Japanese have a word for everything, I think. I just learned “Komorebi. It means “sunlight filtering through the leaves of trees,” and by extension, the natural filtering of light through anything. Like blinds or curtains, for example. 75-051214-Komorebi-Sunlight_12I’ve been chasing that light for more than 40 years. It’s just the word I’ve needed. I’ve been trying to capture that light as long as I can remember.

Komorebi.

Remember it. It’s a great word.A golden tree and the rays of sunlight Then there is bokeh, a word so popular it is now included in American books about photography.

Bokeh defines something difficult to say in English.

“Bokeh means the aesthetic quality of the blur (soft and out of focus) area in an image produced by a lens.”

Like this?Dry weeds by the river

Or that? KaityI’m sure there’s more, but this is my vocabulary lesson for the day.

MAD LIBS – Marilyn Armstrong

I remember when we used to buy these in paper books and sometimes, the results were absolutely hilarious. These are rather simpler, but hopefully also funny.

Here we are on Day 2 of the Mad Lib Daily Prompt.   Thanks to Ms. Haunted (Teresa) of The Haunted Wordsmith for hosting these!  I love ’em.

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/08/02/blogging-mad-libs-2/

Name
Adjective
Verb x 6
Time span
Nouns (plural) x 4
Form of Transportation
Types of Animals x 3
Occupation
Snack food
Body part
Location
Pronoun
Noun


Name – Delores
Adjective – annoyed
Verb x 6 – wait, lurk, chatter, yell, complain, whine, yammer
Time span – one hour
Nouns (plural) x 4 – telephones, customer services, stupidity, headaches
Verb – yammered
Form of Transportation – feet
Verb – stumbling
Types of Animals x 3 – Scottie, Scottie, mutt
Occupation – holding while being told my business is important
Snack food – coffee
Body part -left ear
Location – the loveseat
Pronoun – that
Noun – pointless.


Original Story:

Name was so adjective to see the circus, it was the only thing she could verb about for the whole time span. She read stories of nouns that verb on the high wire, nouns that drove around in miniature forms of transportation, elephants that verb, and wild animals that jumped through nouns. The night of the show arrived and Name dressed up like an occupation with a huge smile painted on her face. Her family found their seats and after eating some snack food, devouring a rainbow snow cone, and verb her first cotton candy, Name promptly fell asleep with her body part on her dad’s lap. Name didn’t verb till the next morning but regaled everyone at the breakfast table with stories of animals that sang, noun artists that verb from treetop to treetop in the middle of location, and nouns that morphed into small animals that made everyone laugh. Name loved pronoun night at the circus.


My Story:

Delores was so annoyed to see the circus, it was the only thing she could wait about for the whole hour. She read stories of telephones that lurk on the high wire, customer services that drove around in miniature feet, elephants that chatter, and wild Scotties and a mutt that jumped through stupidity. The night of the show arrived and Delores dressed up like a holding while being told my business is important with a huge smile painted on her face. Her family found their seats and after eating some coffee, devouring a rainbow snow cone, and complaining her first cotton candy, Delores promptly fell asleep with her ear on her dad’s lap. Delores didn’t whine till the next morning but regaled everyone at the breakfast table with stories of Scotties and a mutt that sang, headache artists that yammer from treetop to treetop in the middle of the loveseat, and Scotties and a mutt that morphed into small Scotties and a mutt that made everyone laugh. Delores loved that night at the circus.


Note: You needed some past tenses and a gerund or two, but it’s still funny.

PAULA’S PICK A WORD FOR JULY 2018 – Marilyn Armstrong

THURSDAY’S SPECIAL: PICK A WORD IN JULY – Y3

You are wrong if you think I forgot about July’s Pick a Word challenge. I’ve just been too busy to see the last week’s entries, but I will get to that soon. For now, here is the July’s mix for you:
canicular, splash, feathered, marine, scenic


And here are a few pictures to go with it. Canicular reminds me a song my mother used to sing “Canicule, Canicular.” The song never made sense to me and still doesn’t. But I think it was about a small railroad that went up a mountain. It was hard to tell.

My mother never remembered lyrics, so she’d sing the song’s title over and over, but never sing lyrics that made sense. I remember all the melodies and some very odd words.

Ogunquit shore
Canicular — If you don’t think this is narrow, try hauling a bag of groceries up past the lift chair!
I love the waves on the shore, but usually, my camera doesn’t like it nearly as much. Let’s hear it for water-resistant cameras!
Feathered 
Photo: Garry Armstrong – About as scenic as it gets!

OSTENTATION – Marilyn Armstrong

WHO’S OSTENTATIOUS?

FOWCYou must be talking about someone else. We live in an old house, drive an old (yet somehow, not fully paid for) car. We wear ratty clothing (it’s really because of the dogs — nice clothing would just get covered by hair, so what’s the point?). We live in a town where you couldn’t buy a luxury item for love or money. No one sells luxury items unless you count the lumber yard or Walmart as luxury purveyors.

You know what’s really weird? I have never had any interest in impressing the world with my goods. I occasionally envy someone’s location. They live in a particularly beautiful place or near an ocean … but of all my sins, envy isn’t one of them. I come from a family where comparing things you bought is not about how much you spent, but how much you saved. As in: “I got this $400 suit for $25 on the super clearance rack!”

That’s bragging. Telling people you paid the full price for any item? Why would that impress anyone?

It’s probably why we aren’t rich. To become wealthy, you have to care about money and we’ve simply never cared enough. These days, though, I wish we’d cared a little more.