Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Odds and ends

1. Some back-formations drive me bonkers. Others, not so much. When you're around me, therefore, please say orient, not orientate. Converse, not conversate. Reveal, not revelate. Crown, not coronate. Don't make awkward new verbs out of good nouns (orientation, conversation, revelation, coronation) when perfectly good verbs already exist that express what you want to say (the aforementioned orient, converse, reveal, crown). Here's more on the subject by an Irishman named Stan Carey.

2. My all-time favorite (British, favourite) helpful household hint is found, appropriately enough, in a book entitled Phyllis Diller's Household Hints. Remember her? Zany, wacko comedienne. Is that word still politically correct? I suppose not. If we must say flight attendant instead of stewardess, I guess we should abandon comedienne and say joke teller. Maybe we already have. I'm always one of the last to know.

Here's Phyllis's hint: If you let your children write their names in the dust on your dining room table, don't let them write the date." That has to be the best household hint ever.

Phyllis wrote several books along the way. Here are some of them:

I'm as sure as I can be (although I have been wrong on occasion) that you can't get enough of Phyllis. Here she is doing her schtick (and, let us not forget, earning a lot of money) as a guest on Liberace's program back in the 1960s (8:45).

And here she is playing the piano with Liberace (gasp!) on the same program (2:56).

Finally -- and you really should listen to this -- here is Phyllis Diller at the age of 94 in January 2012 (she turned 95 in July and died in August that same year) singing "Smile" (3:04). Although she doesn't have a great voice, anyone who still wants to sing at 94 should probably be paid attention to.

3. Another writer, Lewis Grizzard, who wrote humor (British, humour) columns for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for many years, also tried his hand at books. It is my considered opinion that the best things about Lewis Grizzard's books were their titles. I was never enamored (British, enamoured) of what lay between the covers. Here (wouldn't you know) is a list of some of his titles:

Kathy Sue Loudermilk, I Love You (1979).
Elvis Is Dead and I Don't Feel So Good Myself (1980).
Won't You Come Home, Billy Bob Bailey? (1980).
Don't Sit Under the Grits Tree With Anyone Else But Me (1981).
They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat (1982).
If Love Were Oil, I'd Be About a Quart Low (1983).
Shoot Low Boys, They're Ridin' Shetland Ponies (1985).
My Daddy Was a Pistol and I'm a Son of a Gun (1987)
When My Love Returns From the Ladies Room, Will I Be Too Old to Care? (1987).
Don't Bend Over in the Garden, Granny, You Know Them 'Taters Got Eyes (1988).
Chili Dawgs Always Bark at Night (1989).
If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I'm Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground (1990).
Advice to the Newly Wed . . . & the Newly Divorced (1990).
Does a Wild Bear Chip in the Woods? (the book is about golf) (1990).
You Can't Put No Boogie-Woogie on the King of Rock and Roll (1991).
Don't Forget to Call Your Mama, I Wish I Could Call Mine (1991).
I Haven't Understood Anything Since 1962: And Other Nekkid Truths (1992).
I Took a Lickin' and Kept on Tickin' and Now I Believe in Miracles (1993).

4. Finally, here from a long time ago (the 1950s) is a violin duet by Jack Benny and Gisele MacKensie (2:24). The voice at the beginning calling it legendary is none other than Walter Cronkite. If those three names don't ring a bell, I feel truly sorry for you.

Until next time, I remain your faithful correspondent.


  1. Some of your back formations I can live with happily. Revelation to me has an emphasis (if used properly) that reveal doesn't.
    The one which always gets my hackles up is grow, as in grow your business. Hiss and spit.

  2. Sue, revelation is not the problem. Revelate is the problem. Grow your business is definitely weird, but it isn't a back-formation. Another back-formation I don't like is destruct (from destruction) when the better word to use is destroy.

  3. My apologies. My reading was faulty. Revelate is just plain ugly. And destruct is wrong.
    My writing was faulty too. Grow isn't a backformation, just an ugly use/misuse of a word which is becoming increasingly common here. Our politicians talk about policies allowing people to grow their businesses...

  4. Memories, expectations, and laughter. A very good post. As Phyllis would say, "Aah, ha, ha ,ha."

  5. Regarding Item 4, I have heard of Walter Cronkite. I believe he was a newscaster. However, I have not heard of the other two so you will need to steel yourself and feel sorry for me. In return I shall feel sorry for you if you have not heard of Ken Wagstaff, Chris Chilton and Ian McKechnie.

    Regarding language use, I hate to hear "gift" used as a verb. It has crept into ordinary English parlance here in the motherland. Has the same thing happened out in the colonies?

  6. Yorkshire P., not just gift but re-gift as well are commonly heard verbs here, especially amongst advocates of the consumer economy and merchandisers of all sorts.

    As I did not recognize any of the gentlemen you mentioned, Wikipedia helped fill me in on the blank spaces. I surmise that you have a very narrow range of interests or at least a fixation on Hull City football. Around here you would be expected to sing the praises of one Herschel Walker.

  7. Emma, I'm glad you liked both it (the post) and her (Phyllis). I will admit that a little of Phyllis goes a long way and there definitely can be too much of a good thing.

  8. Pa showed me that Jack Benny clip when I stayed over at their house last time! He's a fan of Phyllis too and I've seen some of her clips before as well, but not these. Great stuff!

  9. Michelle, I'm probably a bit older than your Pa but I'm glad he is passing along the really worthwhile stuff to the younger generation (meaning you). I'm also glad you feel well enough to be out and about in Blogworld again.

  10. He's 78! I'm almost 50! Time ticks ondoesn't it? Thanks sweetie x