Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I know we can't really trust Wikipedia

...because it can be changed so easily by anybody, but click here for just about everything you could ever want to know about Halloween.

It may take you from now until next Halloween to read it all, but I will guarantee you this:

You will learn a few things you didn't know.

This post was prompted by Tasker Dunham, who left this comment on the previous post: "Don't know why we imported this custom from you anyway."

You didn't. We imported it from you.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Mini-rant and request for feedback

Halloween approaches. We do not observe it, but I read an article earlier today from Fortune magazine about the giving of candy. It got my dander up, made my hackles rise, and other expressions of displeasure.

Here it is if you want to give it a go.

I can't explain why but for some reason it made me absolutely furious.

To me, it had a Marie-Antoinette-like "Let them eat cake" air about it.

It might as well have been written by a dentist. It definitely was written by someone with more money than he or she knows what to do with.

Am I over-reacting? Tell me what you think.

Or just call me Scrooge and get it over with.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Chocolate mousse is like what??

Back on September 28th, in a short post entitled "A short post is still a post" I shared the following with you:

The three hardest things to say:
1. I’m sorry
2. I need help
3. Worcestershire Sauce

which elicited from you, my vast reading public, what for this blog is quite a few comments, 12 or 13, or as we say here in the colonies, "a right smart amount".

Just yesterday it elicited another one from my old friend Elizabeth Stanforth-Sharpe, from whom I had not heard in some time. She said, "Why bother saying 'Worcestershire Sauce' when you could say 'Henderson's Relish'? Far tastier and from an infinitely superior county” (meaning Yorkshire) and then congratulated me on having reached my 12th, or silk, blogging anniversary.

Blogging is so educational. As I had never heard of Henderson's Relish, I looked it up.

I received a shock of inestimable proportions and replied to Elizabeth as follows:

"Elizabeth, I am not familiar with Henderson's Relish. Another name for Worcestershire Sauce in the U.S. is Lea & Perrins (the two men who, I discovered in my reading, invented Worcestershire Sauce in 1837). Live and learn. I also learned just how little I know when I read that Henderson's Relish is very similar to Worcestershire Sauce but without the anchovies. I had no idea that Worcestershire Sauce contained anchovies. You have furthered my education. Reading that Henderson's Relish is very similar to Worcestershire Sauce but without the anchovies was rather like reading that chocolate mousse is very similar to trifle but without the mustard. I am still in shock."

I want to ask readers who don't live in the U.K. two questions:

1. Have you ever heard of Henderson's Relish or am I the only one living in a vacuum?
2. Did you know before reading this post that Worcestershire Sauce contains anchovies?

I want to ask readers who do live in the U.K., in the interest of science, of course, to prepare two trifles, one with mustard and one without, and report your findings to us. Anchovies are optional.

As we also say in the colonies, "Don't knock it until you've tried it."

(Both images used in accordance with CC-BY-SA 3.0)

(Above image used in accordance with CC-BY-3.0)

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

I also identify as Jonathan Swift

I want to share a couple of facts with you and then, like Jonathan Swift, make a modest proposal.

Fact 1:. The current population of the United States of America is around 330,000,000 living human beings plus, of course, an indeterminate number of dead ones who manage to vote in every election. At some point after the next decennial census (for readers in Alabama, that means a census that occurs every 10 years) takes place next spring we will have a more exact number to report in the living human being category.

Fact 2: According to a study released by George Mason University in 2018, the “Medicare for All” plan pushed by Senator Bernie Sanders and endorsed by a host of Democratic congressional and presidential hopefuls would increase government health care spending by $32.6 trillion over 10 years. Several other studies have been completed since then, and all are in the same ballpark, give or take a few trillion dollars here or there. To make our calculations easier, let's round that $32.6T to an even $33T.

Anybody guessed where I am going with this? No? Read on.

After learning those two facts, I had an "Aha!" moment that resulted in this Modest Proposal that I now present for your consideration:.

Whereas Our Glorious Leader is so busy doing things of great importance like pulling troops out of Syria and trying to avoid impeachment and trying to decide where to host the next G7 summit without violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution that he doesn't need to worry his pretty little orange head over a little thing like administering $33 trillion for healthcare, and

Whereas the 435 members of the United States House of Representatives and the 100 members of the United States Senate are also so busy doing things of great importance like trying to impeach Our Glorious Leader and criticizing him when he does such things as suddenly pulling troops out of places like Syria and scheduling G7 summits at his very own hotel in Miami, Florida, thus violating the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, and we mustn't forget constantly fundraising to ensure their own re-election to the aforementioned House of Representatives and Senate that they have no time for such minor things as creating new laws and government agencies and finding ways to pay 33 trillion dollars for their constituents' healthcare without enraging said constituents, and

Whereas the author of this document noticed how evenly 33 trillion dollars can be divided among 330 million people, and

Whereas our government leaders can create as many postage stamps, certificates of citizenship, coins, and pieces of paper currency as they wish and no one can do anything to stop them,

Therefore, be it resolved that every living human being in the United States of American be given one million dollars ($1,000,000 USD) and let him or her take care of his or her own darned healthcare henceforth, even now and forever.

(end of proposal)

There, I did it and I'm glad, and if you think this proposal is bad, you should read the one Jonathan Swift made back in 1729.

P.S. —- Oops, I made a little boo-boo in my math. Giving 330 million people a million dollars each equals 330 trillion dollars, not 33 trillion dollars. You’ll be receiving only a hundred thousand dollars, not a million dollars, and it has to last for ten years. That’s only ten thousand dollars per year, which may not cover some people’s healthcare expenses. Best we not reveal the mistake and let them give us the full million dollars proposed. Besides, government estimates are so notoriously low that the actual cost may end up being 330 trillion dollars anyway, so all’s well that ends well.

P.P.S. —- As Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois said many years ago, “A few billion here, a few billion there, pretty soon you’re talking real money.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

I identify as a Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer

I remember reading some years ago that when a man and a woman are alone together in a room — the very premise shows how many years ago it must have been — there are six people present:

1. The man he actually is.
2. The man he thinks he is.
3. The man she thinks he is.
4. The woman she actually is.
5. The woman she thinks she is.
6. The woman he thinks she is.

Wow, that’s quite a crowd in that room.

At some point between then and now, however, the earth must have shifted.

Today, according to the self-styled movers and shakers, you can be anyone you wish.

The website for October 14, 2019, had the following headline:

Awkward! Chelsea Clinton emphatically states a person with a beard and a penis can 'absolutely' identify as a woman, while mom Hillary shuffles and looks conflicted as she blames 'generational' differences for not being as open to trans rights

That is not the first paragraph of the article. That is the headline.

Without burdening you further about the article -- you can go read it for yourself if you have a mind to -- I would like to make the following observation.

You can identify as anything that suits your fancy -- a woman, a man, a French poodle, a purple popsicle. The list of possibilities is endless. That is your right as a free moral agent. Have at it. Be my guest.

Whatever you want to identify as is fine with me -- a Douglas fir, a lake in the Adirondacks, a Doberman Pinscher, a medium-sized courgette (that's U.K.-speak for zucchini) -- anything at all.

But here’s the thing. Identifying as a zucchini or a whatever doesn't mean you are one.

As Popeye the Sailor Man may or may not have once said, "You are what you are, and that's all that you are."

He couldn't live without his can of spinach. Lucy couldn't live without Ricky Ricardo. Kim Kardashian can't live without her Kanye. It takes all kinds.

As to how I (or we) should treat people with different-from-the-mainstream ideas, the Golden Rule should always be kept in mind: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Many people’s credo seems to be Do unto others before they get a chance to do unto you.

Some groups, like Antifa on the one hand and neo-Nazis on the other, carry this idea to extremes and physically attack anyone who disagrees with them they perceive as standing in the way of accomplishing their agenda.

How I (or we) should treat Antifa or neo-Nazis is a topic for a different post.

This post is too discombobulated to win a Pulitzer Prize, but on the off-chance that the selection committee picks me, tell them to send the money to Tahiti, which is where I identify as currently living.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Hasenpfeffer Incorporated

This post serves as a sort of filler to keep you occupied while I am trying to think of what to blog about next.

For your edification and reading enjoyment, here is your very own link to a fascinating article from the website entitled "Thirty-Eight Wonderful Words With No Equivalent In English".

If you watched Laverne and Shirley in decades past, you will understand the title of this post when you finish reading the article.


Wednesday, October 9, 2019

I thought of a fifth adjective go with terrifying, horrifying, shocking, and devastating (my personal list of turn-off “click bait” in internet headlines).

That word is -- drum roll, please -- heartbreaking.

Moving right along, Mrs. RWP received a mystery bouquet this week. It wasn't from me. Here are sides A, B, and C:

So now you know that in addition to every argument having two sides, every bouquet has three. That's not really true. I just wanted you to see the flowers from different angles to get the full effect.

The bouquet contained some wonderfully fragrant lavender flowers that I didn't recognize, so I called the florist's shop to find out what they were. "Stock," the woman who answered the phone said, after checking with the floral designer. I had never heard of stock before, but I have led a sheltered life.

I suppose that statement alone makes this post truly shocking!

It turned out that the vase of beautiful flowers was sent by our son-in-law in Alabama, just because he was thinking about Mrs. RWP. His timing could not have been more perfect to lift her spirits. The bouquet arrived the day before the anniversary of the burial of our niece, Mrs. RWP's brother's daughter, who died suddenly of heart failure last year at 53 in North Carolina. Our Alabama son-in-law had no way of knowing that, so it made his thoughtfulness extra special.

Here is a photo of our daughter and her husband at last Saturday's football game at their alma mater, Jacksonville State University, where this year both of their sons play in the marching band show at half-time.

After 26 years of marriage, our daughter and son-in-law are still apparently very happy. If they are not, they are hiding it very well.

My daughter looks so much like my mother that it is almost scary. It is not terrifying, horrifying, shocking, devastating, or heartbreaking, but it is definitely scary.

Until next time, I remain
Yr faithful correspondent,

P.S. -- Because it rained last Saturday, the band marched without their plumed hats. My two grandsons are plainly visible in the two photos below, one in each photo.

Friday, October 4, 2019

And another thing....

I get really tired of seeing what are supposed to be news articles on the internet that include the words terrifying, horrifying, shocking, or devastating in the headline. Just report the facts and eliminate the click-bait. We, the readers, will decide whether we are terrified, horrified, shocked, or devastated.

This is my 1,777th post, the second post in my thirteenth year of blogging. I hope to have many more posts and many more years of blogging. It would also please me no end to have more readers.

But even if that never happens, I am completely satisfied with us -- we few, we happy few, we band of brothers and sisters. Shakespeare didn't say "and sisters" but Shakespeare was stuck back there in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries and I am an enlightened 21st-century person.

Besides, and I haven't told you this previously, my middle name is Henry, so I have no compunction whatever about mangling some lines from Henry V.

As my mother used to say, "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread."

She was always saying things like that. She was a regular Bartlett's Familiar Quotations.

She would say, "Faint heart ne'er won fair maid."

She would say, "Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds."

She would say, "A soft answer turneth away wrath."

She would say, "If wishes were horses, then beggars would ride."

It was very educational and even inspirational growing up around my mother.

My dad, on the other hand, would say, "Wish in one hand and spit in the other, and see what you get the most of." Sometimes he didn't say "spit" but the word he used rhymed with "spit".

How did I get on this subject? Oh, yes, thinking about how nice it would be to have more readers.

Today is also the 62nd anniversary of my mother's death, which probably explains why I am thinking about her.

I shall now bring this post to a close and hope that you won't be terrified, horrified, shocked, or devastated by it, although you may choose to be if you so desire.

See you next time, which will be my 1,778th post, the third post in my thirteenth year of blogging.

Until then, spread the word. If you spread it, they will come.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

This post is revolutionary.

I mentioned at the end of my last post that my next post would be revolutionary, and it is. It says so right there in the title. To learn why, continue reading.

What I am about to tell you is not what makes this post revolutionary, though. What I am about to tell you merely documents a recently-acquired pet peeve of mine to go along with all the other pet peeves I already have.

I don't know if it happens in England or Australia, but more and more Americans are confusing the words where and were in their writing. I roll my eyes, I clench my teeth, my jaws tighten every time I encounter it, but to date my actions have had absolutely no effect on my fellow countrymen (and women).

It shouldn’t be that difficult, people.

As every speaker of English should know, “were” is the past tense of the verb "to be". Surely you remember conjugating verbs:

I am, you are, he/she/it is, we are, you are, they are show the present tense of the verb "to be" in first person singular, second person singular, third person singular, first person plural, second person plural, and third person plural, respectively.

I was, you were, he/she/it was, we were, you were, they were show the past tense.

I shall be, you will be, he/she/it will be, we shall be, you will be, they will be show the future tense.

Some people no longer differentiate between shall and will, but we oldtimers who were taught well still do.

I could also speak, if time permitted, of the present perfect (I have been, you have been, etc.) and the past perfect (I had been, you had been, etc.) and even the future perfect (I shall have been, you will have been, etc.), but it does not.

Time is precious.

As I was saying, more and more Americans write sentences like “We where late to the festivities” and “I don’t know were I left my car keys.“ I see sentences like these quite frequently.

I’m not kidding.

There are two reasons, in my opinion. First of all, in old western movies, people with frontier accents were always saying things like “Whur did y’all git them there horses?” A lot of people in America still talk like that, except today they say things like “Whur did y’all git that there iPhone 10?”

So the word where has been mispronounced on this side of the pond for a very long time.

And second of all, people also drop the H sound from the WH combination so that the words where and were have become American homonyms (words that sound alike but are spelled differently) when they are not. For the record, I was taught back in antediluvian times to pronounce WH words as though they were spelled HW (hwat, hwere, hwich, hwen, hwy, hwether, and so forth) because they originally began with “hw” in Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon.

I use the HW sound in all the words mentioned previously, but I have never used it in who, whom, or whose. I don’t know why. I just don’t. I say hoo, hoom, and hooz. I don’t spell them that way but I do say them that way. It’s quite inconsistent of me, I know. But I have heard a woman on television say “to hwom” on more than one occasion. I could tell you her name but I won’t.

As I said at the beginning, absolutely none of any of that makes this post revolutionary.

Here’s what makes this post revolutionary.

It’s my 1776th post.

What could be more revolutionary than that?

(Declaration of Independence, a 12-by-18-foot (3.7 by 5.5 m) oil-on-canvas painting created by John Trumbull in 1819, hangs in the U.S. Capitol rotunda and depicts activities that occurred in Philadelphia in July 1776.)

I will be laboring (<i>British,</i> labouring) under a handicap for the next couple of weeks (<i>British,</i> fortnight)

More about that below. First, though, I want to add an addendum (what else would you do with an addendum?) to my previous post about phone...