Tuesday, April 28, 2020

This will be my 50th post of the year

...and it's not even the end of April yet, so I am on track to create 150 posts this year. It is tiring just to think about. Last year I managed to produce only 79. Whether my posts are important or trivial, fun or boring, intelligent or stupid is not for me to determine, and in any event making that determination is way above my pay grade.

Only you can make that determination, just as only you can prevent forest fires.

After not leaving the house for over a month, I have now been to the grocery store twice wearing one of the masks that our daughter-in-law sewed for us. There was no way I was going to make it there during the Exclusively Senior Citizens Hour (7 to 8 a.m.) but I managed to get there around 9:45 the first time and 11 the second time. There were remarkably few customers either time so I didn't have to be concerned about social distancing much. I also wore Latex-free disposable gloves at Mrs. RWP's insistence. I didn't have to worry about other people looking at me funny as they looked just as funny.

For those of you with inquiring minds, I did wear other things besides just gloves and a mask.

Now that you have that lovely visual in your head, I will sign off for now.

There really isn't anything to blog about today but that 150 goal is ever before me.


P.S. -- In my humble opinion, this post makes no sense at all.

Friday, April 24, 2020

Scary times here, there, and everywhere

Mother Nature must have been having a bad day.


The photo above was made around seven o'clock in the morning last Sunday (April 19th) in the town in Alabama where our daughter and her family live. It was taken in the Piggly-Wiggly parking lot (that's a supermarket chain) two blocks from our daughter's house, looking toward downtown. You can see the steeple of the First Baptist Church in the distance.

Shortly after the photo was taken, all hell (as they say) broke loose. The bottom dropped out. They're now saying it was a "Hailnado" with 80-mph straight-line winds. Not technically a tornado, but it's hard to tell the difference. Many trees and power lines are down and some houses were destroyed. The trees in our daughter's yard lost many limbs and one tree was split down the middle. Several windows in the house were broken from heavy hail, two of the cars were damaged, and the root cellar was flooded with two feet of water because the electric power went out and the sump pump stopped working. As a result, the water heater and furnace will have to be replaced. The repairman can't get the parts he needs until next week. In the meantime, our daughter's family is without electricity and hot water. Neighbors are bringing them food and letting them use their showers.

That was in Alabama. Georgia also has a problem.

Our governor is an idiot.

Brian Kemp, the 83rd governor of Georgia, has decided to re-open our state bit by bit to get the economy going again. Georgia is the first state to attempt this. The problem is that our pandemic statistics have not declined for 14 straight days as the Coronavirus Task Force stated was necessary before a state could begin a slow phasing back to what is now quaintly referred to as normal, something we may not see again for some time.

Not only have 14 days of improvement not occurred, the first establishments allowed to re-open are -- clutch your pearls, ladies -- tattoo parlours, massage parlours, beauty salons, nail salons, and bowling alleys. You know, really essential stuff. How you give a person a tattoo or a massage or a new hairdo or a manicure while maintaining six feet of social distancing between human bodies has yet to be determined.

During the shutdown, people couldn't go to church, but they could still buy liquor.

I repeat, our governor is an idiot.

This is just my opinion, of course, but it probably could be proven scientifically.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Another very interesting read

...at least to me, is the following article I found yesterday:

English Is Not Normal

Please note, before you get your knickers in a twist, that the article is about English (the language), not The English (the people), in which case the verb would have had to be Are and not Is.

I should get extra credit for using the conditional past imperfect, or whatever it's called, in the previous sentence.

I hope I am not boring you with these articles. I just am extremely geeky and nerdy when it comes to words and language.

Those of you who want to say that the nerdiness and geekiness is not confined to just words and language, please stifle yourselves at this time.


P.S. - Two hundred and forty-five years ago today, Paul Revere made a famous ride that was made even more famous than it might have been otherwise by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow with such words as "Listen, my children, and you shall hear / Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere; / On the eighteenth of April in Seventy-five, / Hardly a man is now alive / Who remembers that famous day and year." and also "One if by land and two if by sea, / And I on the opposite shore will be, / Ready to ride and spread the alarm / To every Middlesex village and farm"....

I thought you would want to know.

Friday, April 17, 2020

A rose by any other name would smell as sweet

Shakespeare said that.

Today I want to talk about names, last names to be specific. I will give you a couple of examples from my own history that will lead you, hopefully not by the nose, into a little light reading meant to take your mind off being quarantined lo, these many days.

When Mrs. RWP's father arrived in Boston from Italy in 1917, his name was Dhimitri Kuçi, but on his grave marker in Florida it is James Cudse. His passport was Italian but he himself was from Albania. How his name got changed is a mystery. My theory is that somebody along the way -- an immigration official, an employer, a naturalization know-it-all, a friend -- suggested it as a way of dispensing with the cedilla. My future father-in-law, an easy-going sort of guy, went along with it. Nobody seems to know for sure. That still doesn't explain how the K became a C.

His wife's name was Ksanthipi in Albania (not unlike the Greek woman named Xanthippe who was the wife of Socrates) but her grave marker says Carrie. Go figure.

If you had asked my dad (non-bio) what kind of name Brague was, he would have said "Welsh" without hesitation and trotted out the family lore story, unproven, of seven brothers who came to the United States from Wales and all but one of whom moved on to Australia. This story is apocryphal at best. I always said, "Dad, with that -gue ending the name has to be French; it probably came over to the British Isles after the Norman Conquest" (which, if you didn't know, occurred in 1066 when William the Conqueror defeated Harold at the Battle of Hastings).

My mother was a Silberman although it may have been Silbermann back in Germany, but it was never Silverman. My mother said (I don't know whether it is accurate) that Silberman was a German Jewish name and Silverman was Russian. In America, people always get the two names mixed up. I have said on many occasions, "Silberman, with a B, not a V" and it is darned irritating to have to do so. In fact, when I was doing family research using the 1940 census, one of my mother's brothers had completely disappeared. I found his family (Sol, Naomi, Joan, and Eileen) in the right town but spelled the other way, with a V instead of a B, by a none-too-attentive census-taker. Back in those days, census takers went house to house with a big book and wrote everything down in it themselves. None of this do-it-yourself, mail it in stuff.

Longtime readers of this blog may remember reading about the Brague River in southeastern France or the Château de Brague winery in the Bordeaux region of western France. Both of these examples bolster my theory if only in my own mind. I suppose that in Europe my surname rhymes with Prague, the capital of Czechoslovakia (if there still were a Czechoslovakia), but here in the good old U. S. of A. it has always rhymed with, well, you know what.

Anyhoo, all of that is neither here nor there, except as a lead-in to the article I now present for your entertainment and reading edification:

Why 40% of Vietnamese People Have the Same Last Name

So if the readers of this blog were Vietnamese they might be Adrian Nguyen, Rachel Nguyen, Pam Nguyen, Bonnie Nguyen, Kathy Nguyen, Graham Nguyen, Red Nguyen, Sue Nguyen, Ian Nguyen, Kylie Nguyen, Michelle Nguyen, Tasker Nguyen, and Ho Chi Pudding.

Until next time, as they say in Ethiopia: Abyssinia.

Friday, April 10, 2020

I would be Rhymes With Virus if my name were Miley Cyrus

I would be Rhymes With Corona if my name were Desdemona.
I would be Rhymes With Polio if I were an ambassador without portfolio.
I would be Rhymes With Zulu if I lived in Honolulu.
I would be Rhymes With Haydn if my name were Joseph Biden.
I would be Rhymes With Moll Flanders if my name were Bernie Sanders.
I would be Rhymes With Frowning if my name were Robert Browning.
I would be Rhymes With Bordello if my name were Othello.
I would be Rhymes With Pudding if my name were Cuba Gooding.

I will stop before the mob forms.

Today is the 110th anniversary my mother’s birth.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The prefixes a-, in-, and un-, to say nothing of non-

Before we get to prefixes, I want to tell you about an exchange I had recently with our blogger friend Yorkshire Pudding.

In some of his recent posts he used the term The Plague in reference to you-know-what. I told him in a comment that every time he had mentioned The Plague in the past week it had startled me because, although I am not narcissistic in any way (yeah, right), I thought he was referring to me.

He replied as follows:

Sorry for any confusion or unintended offence caused, Sir Robert. However, my legal advisory team point out that you do not have exclusive use of the term "plague". Perhaps it would be simpler to change your blog title to "Rhymes With Vague" or "Doesn't Rhyme With Potato".

Fond regards,
Damnable Pudding

I just want to get your opinion. What do you think of his suggestion?

I would tell you what I think of it, but this is a family-friendly blog.

I’m kidding. I laughed.

Now on with the post.

Adding the prefix a- in front of a word negates it, turning the word into its opposite. Atypical means not typical, asymmetrical means not symmetrical, apolitical means not political. Since theism means belief in God, an atheist is someone who believes there is no God. If Gnostic means having knowledge, knowing, then an agnostic is someone who doesn't know.

The prefix in- also means “not”, as in indivisible (not divisible), ineligible (not eligible), inconceivable (not conceivable), indecisive (not decisive), intolerant (not tolerant), incredible (not credible), inconvenient (not convenient), and so forth.

When the word being modified begins with certain consonants, however, the prefix in- is changed into a double consonant. To name a few examples, illogical, illegible, illegitimate, illicit, immodest, immaterial, immortal, irreverent, irresponsible, irredeemable. Hillary Clinton especially liked irredeemable.

Something different happens if the word begins with p. If something is not possible we don’t say inpossible or ippossible, we say impossible. Same thing goes for improper (not proper), imprecise (not precise), impolite (not polite), impenetrable (not penetrable), impermissible (not permissible), impervious (not pervious) —- yes, friends, something can be pervious. Look it up.

And sometimes when we want to say that something is the opposite of something, we use the prefix un-, as in unacceptable (not acceptable), unbelievable (not believable), unyielding (not yielding), undocumented (not documented), unlearned (not learned), unopposed (not opposed), untold (not told), unknown (not known), unworthy (not worthy).

There is a notable exception. If something can catch fire, it is either flammable or inflammable. Both words mean the same thing. To avoid/cause (pick one) confusion, if something cannot catch fire we say it is non-inflammable. Plus there are non-starter and non-negotiable.

Go figure.

I just wonder why there are so many ways to say not.

We say regardless, but all the experts agree that we should not say irregardless. There is no such word as irregardless, despite the fact that I just typed it on my keyboard.

A little thing like experts never stopped my dad (non-bio). In a burst of ignorance and creativity, he. came up with a new word. [Note. The word that means a new word is neologism. —RWP]. Throughout the part of his life that included me, I never once heard him say either regardless or irregardless. He always said — brace yourself — ilregardless.

I think that ilregardless makes every bit as much sense as impossible and impermssible. In fact, its very existence (if only in my own memory) proves it is neither.

My dad (non-bio) was some kind of genius! What kind has not been determined.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Poetic thoughts upon waking, or Long live the Queen

I watched and listened to Queen Elizabeth's speech to her people yesterday. This morning I awoke with the words A gecko is a lizard and Gandalf is a wizard inexplicably rolling around inside my head. I arose and promptly dashed off the following:

A gecko is a lizard
And Gandalf is a wizard,
The Model T was made by Henry Ford;
A cavalry, of course, is
A place with lots of horses,
And Calvary's the place they killed Our Lord.

Elizabeth the Second
Is a force with which to be reckoned,
At 93 she's still here going strong;
Her mum bid us "toodle-oo"
Just shy of one-oh-two,
And Philip's life at 98 is long.

Her Charles and Anne and Andy
And Edward made life dandy,
Prince William added three great-grands with Kate;
And 80 years apart
Her broadcasts move one's heart.
No Tin Lizzie she, Elizabeth is great.

I think I shall call the poem "On Listening To Queen Elizabeth's Speech During the Pandemic Of 2020".

If you can think of a better title, let me know in the comments. “American Fool” is also a possibility.

A heads up to Yorkshire Pudding: No disrespect here, sir, none at all. Only great admiration.

(1925 Ford Model T Touring Car, photo by ModelTMitch, 2018. Used in accordance with CC-BY-SA 4.0)

A true "Aha!" moment, or an explanation that finally makes sense

I ran across an article by Will Oremus at Marker that is enlightening:

What Everyone's Getting Wrong About the Toilet Paper Shortage

It's so simple. Why didn't anyone think of it before?

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Sad news

Our friend Tom B. -- James Thomas Brown -- expired this afternoon due to coronavirus COVID-19 after spending 25 days in hospital and 21 on a ventilator. I believe he is the sixth resident of Cherokee County to succumb to this disease. He was 69 and is survived by his wife of over 45 years, Cheryl; two daughters, Staci Brown and Mandy Brown Holcombe; two sons, Matthew Brown and Clinton Brown; and several grandchildren.

RIP, Tom Brown.

Friday, April 3, 2020

It's not June that's bustin' out all over,...

...it's April!

For example, here are the azaleas in our front yard:


I cannot show you any other places where April is bustin' out all over, however, because I haven't left my house for several weeks now thanks to you-know-what.

Here's a news flash: All the gold is not in them thar hills. Here is another photo for your perusal:


It is not, as you might think, a picture of a man who just busted out (much ike June). It's the mug shot from Delaware County, Ohio, of a man named Tommy Thompson, who either is or isn't a criminal depending on your point of view.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, read the following article that I found this morning (it's rather lengthy but worth the read), if for no other reason than that it will create a welcome and much-needed diversion from thinking constantly about you-know-what. After reading it, you will discover that you have been so engrossed that you didn't think about you-know-what even once.

The Curse of the Ship of Gold

You can thank me later.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Thoughts about April on April 1, 2020

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.
Summer surprised us, coming over the Starnbergersee
With a shower of rain; we stopped in the colonnade,
And went on in sunlight, into the Hofgarten,
And drank coffee, and talked for an hour.
Bin gar keine Russin, stamm’ aus Litauen, echt deutsch.
And when we were children, staying at the arch-duke’s,
My cousin’s, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.
--Lines 1-18 of The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot (1888-1965)


Oh, to be in England now that April ’s there
And whoever wakes in England sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England—now!

And after April, when May follows
And the white-throat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossom’d pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge—
That ’s the wise thrush: he sings each song twice over
Lest you should think he never could re-capture
The first fine careless rapture!
And, though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower,
Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!
--Home Thoughts from Abroad by Robert Browning (1812-1889)


Life is not a highway strewn with flowers,
Still it holds a goodly share of bliss,
When the sun gives way to April showers,
Here's a thought that we should never miss:

Though April showers
May come your way,
They bring the flowers
That bloom in May;
And if it's raining,
Have no regrets;
Because, it isn't raining rain, you know,
It's raining violets.
And when you see clouds
Upon the hill,
You soon will see crowds
Of daffodils;
So keep on looking for the bluebird,
And listening for his song,
Whenever April showers come along.
--"April Showers", a 1921 song by Louis Silvers (music) and B. G. De Sylva (lyrics), made popular by singer Al Jolson


Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote
The droghte of March hath perced to the roote,
And bathed every veyne in swich licour
Of which vertu engendred is the flour,
Whan Zephirus eek with his sweete breeth
Inspired hath in every holt and heeth
The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
Hath in the Ram his halve cours yronne,
And smale foweles maken melodye,
That slepen al the nyght with open ye
(so priketh hem Nature in hir corages),
Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages,
And palmeres for to seken straunge strondes,
To ferne halwes, kowthe in sondry londes;
And specially from every shires ende
Of Engelond to Caunterbury they wende,
The hooly blisful martir for to seke,
That hem hath holpen whan that they were seeke.
--Lines 1-14 of Prologue to The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer (1340?-1400)


Speaking of "whan that they were seeke", the statistics as of 17:20 GMT today, April 20, 2020, from the World Health Organization (WHO) about the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic are:

No. of cases worldwide: 911,570
No. of deaths: 45,536
No. recovered: 190,921
No. of active cases: 675,113
--in mild condition (95%): 640,257
--in serious or critical condition (5%): 34,856
No. of closed cases: 236,457
--No. recovered/discharged (81%): 190,921
--No. of deaths (19%): 45,536

It is my intention to post updated figures from WHO on May 1st, June 1st, etc. so that we can keep our heads about us as the days go by. The current numbers do not seem to match what Doctors Fauci and Birx are telling the American public, that the death rate is 10 times that of the flu (which is 0.1%) or 1% -- I have been keeping track every afternoon for about a week and the death figures worldwide compared to confirmed cases worldwide seem to be running steadily at around 5%. I'm not trying to alarm anybody, I just believe that truth is better than, if not fiction, wishful thinking.

Fascinating, but useless

I want to make one thing perfectly clear. I am not talking about myself. No, friends, I'm talking about an article by Nicola Davis in...