Sunday, June 28, 2020

To err is human, to forgive practically impossible

That title is not original with me, but I liked it when I read it or heard it several years ago, and today I pass it along to you to do with what you will.

In 1711, an Englishment named Alexander Pope (1688-1744) sat down and wrote, at the tender age of 23, a little something he called An Essay on Criticism. It contains what became several famous quotations, such as "To err is human, to forgive divine", "A little learning is a dang'rous thing", and "Fools rush in where angels fear to tread".

(Note. Some readers may detect that I use British-style punctuation when it comes to quotation marks, which the British call double inverted commas, because the American way of putting commas and periods inside of quotation marks seems illogical to me. American pedants and grammarians, whoever you are, please do not send me comments pointing this out as an error. I am doing it on purpose. --RWP)

I'm not sure, but I think yesterday's post may have demonstrated all three of Pope's aphorisms. Be that as it may, I forge ahead. Inadvertently, of course.

Of course.

The post had six comments as of this morning, and I find myself agreeing with them all (except the part in Bonnie's comment about Jesus' middle initial as a child -- that seems a wholly fanciful explanation to me. How could he have had a "middle initial" when he didn't have a last name?). So I thought I would give the commenters their due and publish yesterday's comments as my post today for those readers who never bother to look at comments. You know who you are.

1. Kathy in Virginia wrote:

Very interesting.
Actually I don't say it since it seems like cursing and taking the Lord's name in vain. I hadn't heard of adding the H either.
And I didn't know there were wires around Manhattan. If one was really a devout Jew, I don't think wires strung overhead would make me think it was ok to break God's laws on the Sabbath. But I'm not Jewish, and it seems silly to me, but I'm glad the wires help them anyway.

2. Elephant's Child (Sue) in Australia wrote:

The eruv seem proof that where there is a will there is a way.
I believe that Jesus H Christ is a particularly American term - or at least I have not heard it here.

3. Terra in Oregon wrote:

The eruvs are hard to understand and allow Jews to move around more on their Sabbath and do things considered work, such as pushing a baby stroller, etc. I read about them several years ago when they wanted to put up an eruv in the San Jose area.

4. Emma Springfield in northwest Iowa wrote:


5. Bonnie in Missouri wrote:

Well, you have taught me something new. I've never heard of an eruv but then I'm not Jewish either. It does seem like the eruv is stretching their rules a bit though.

I was going to jokingly say that the "H" in Jesus H Christ was a middle initial. However I looked it up and it was his middle initial! As a child the "H" stood for Holy. Thanks to your post I have learned two things today.

6. Graham Edwards in Scotland wrote:

There are so many points on reading this and looking at the two links.

Firstly (here I go again), I've never heard of 'Jesus H Christ' so, as stated before me this may be a peculiarly American thing.
Secondly, I am atheist but I try never knowingly to blaspheme in any cultural context. It's always offensive to someone even if not someone within earshot.
Thirdly, when I was in my early 20s I had a Jewish friend and spent time with her family (she and I were not romantically involved which is a very important point). They were Orthodox. They used to employ a goy (their word not mine) to come in on The Sabbath to set and light fires in the winter and even switch the lights on and off plus anything else that was 'work'. It was worse than The Isle of Lewis when I arrived 45 years ago. That was the Free Church of Scotland though.
Fourthly, it seems to me that using obviously artificial methods to circumvent a law which was obviously thought to be stupid (otherwise the circumvention would have been irrelevant) is a blatant disregard for one's avowed beliefs and more a reflection of one's true beliefs.
That's enough. All this thinking first thing on the morning of the Sabbath is making my head hurt.

(end of comments)

Kathy is right. the phrases "Jesus H. Christ" and "Jesus, Mary, and Jehoshaphat" and even "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph" are epithets that call for exclamation points. They wouldn't be said in casual conversation; they are what are called "minced oaths", supposedly milder forms of cursing. I have never said any of them.

Sue is right. According to the article in yesterday's link, "ignorant Americans" before Mark Twain's time began saying "Jesus H. Christ" for the reason given in the article.

Terra is right, and there are more eruvs than just Manhattan and San Jose. There is a very long list of eruvs right here.

Bonnie is right about "stretching the rules a bit" (although I suppose the faithful leave it up to the rabbis to decide) but wrong about the H in "Jesus H. Christ" as I said before.

Emma is right. Not only is she right, she is also succinct. I could take a lesson from her.

Graham is right. His penultimate paragraph (the next to last one, for readers in Alabama) especially resonates with me.

Until next time, gang, don't take any wooden nickels, and not even then.

Saturday, June 27, 2020

Ze time, she is zlipping away, plus a brand new word for you to ponder

At least it zeems zat way, n-est-ce pas?. Und vy, I mean why am I talking with a French German completely unidentifiable accent anyway?

So many questions, so little time.

Here's one. Actually, it's two:

Why Do People Say "Jesus H. Christ" and Where Did the "H" Come From?

Or maybe you don't say Jesus H. Christ. Maybe you say Jesus, Mary, and Jehoshaphat. My mother used to. She was Jewish.

I fear that I am rambling again.

As everyone knows, however, vhere dere's a vill, dere's an oy vey. Reading the following article should prove it once and for all. There's even a 3-minute video embedded in it. We spare no expense to entertain you.

There's A Wire Above Manhattan That You've Probably Never Noticed

An eruv, then, is either a very clever solution to what would otherwise be a most difficult problem or a way to keep the law while technically breaking the law.

But only if you're an observant Jew.

If you're not an observant Jew, or if you're not Jewish at all, you probably could or couldn't (pick one) care less.

This is not one of my more coherent posts, but enough time had elapsed since the last one that I felt another one was due.

Keep those cards and letters coming. Include money.

Monday, June 22, 2020

I don't have a master plan

Some bloggers do. Yorkshire Pudding, for instance, tries to post every single day and his titles always consist of one word. Not the same word. That would be silly. He goes on long walks through the English countryside and he always takes his camera with him, and his readers are the happy recipients of his ambulatory proclivities and his photographic skills.

Not so with me. I never know what I'm going to write about. Sometimes I'll publish several posts close together and sometimes I'll go a week or more between postings. I am nothing if not inconsistent.

It's what makes me so endearing.

I am endearing, you know. To whom is debatable. We won't go there. It could get ugly.

Today is another of those days when I have no idea what to write about. Maybe the lockdown.

What saddened me most about the lockdown was not being able to be with our children or grandchildren, but things took a turn for the better around Memorial Day and now the restraints on socializing seem to have lessened. I think I told you already that just as things began easing up, I was told by two different eye specialists that I should stop driving because of my poor vision. Even with corrective lenses, I'm currently seeing about 20/70 or 20/80, and that is downright scary. Not driving will be more of a permanent lifestyle change than any three-month pandemic-caused sheltering-in-place could cause.

One person said the wife can drive, then.

Well, no, my wife gave up driving about four years ago. So at the moment our car is just sitting in the garage and I'm having to rely on family and friends for EVERYTHING. We live out in the country, and the nearest shopping areas are four miles in one direction and five miles in another. Too far to walk or carry things at my age. I don't own a bicycle. In fact, I never learned to ride a bicycle. Roller skates are out (I'm being ridiculous now). Family are willing, but let's face it, they all work and have jobs. One son lives 12 miles away and the other about 30, and in metro Atlanta you can just about double what you think the drive time would be, so I really don't want to have to inconvenience them more than is absolutely necessary. My daughter, as some of you know, lives about three hours away in east central Alabama, which might as well be another country now.

Let's change subjects.

Bonnie's last post was about how busy June is for celebrations in her family. In our family there are 14 people (the 2 of us, the 3 children, the 3 children's spouses, and the 6 grandchildren), and our celebrations are spread all over the calendar: 2 birthdays in January, 2 in February, 2 in March, 2 in May, 2 in July, 1 in August, 2 in September, and 1 in December. There are four anniversaries: 2 in May, 1 in November, and 1 in December. When all six grands are married that will add 6 more birthdays and 6 more anniversaries. I may have to take out a federal loan to pay for all the celebrating!

Graham Edwards posted a picture of what midnight on the longest day of the year looked like on the Isle of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides of western Scotland, where he lives. You can see it by clicking here . I do hope you will avail yourself of the opportunity and look at Graham's photograph because it is a sight worth seeing. One forgets that Graham lives so far north, about 525 miles from London and almost due west of Oslo, Norway and Stockholm, Sweden. I'm sure it seems normal to him, but it is truly a phenomenon for those of us who live much farther south.

Well, I've managed to waste another perfectly good few minutes of your day, so my work here is nearly done.

It's okay to be done, as long as we're not done for.

I will close by telling you that this is my 1,865th post (since September 2007). 1865 is the year Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and the Civil War ended in the United States, although you would never believe it by events of the last couple of weeks. I read that in California and Oregon, statues of Christopher Columbus, Ulysses S. Grant, Junipero Serra, and Francis Scott Key have all been torn down in the past week by what the American major media outlets call "peaceful protesters".

I said at the beginning that I do not have a master plan. John Wilkes Booth had a master plan, and look where it got him.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

I thought I was going to have to "Revert to legacy Blogger" be able to create a new post, because there was no "New Post" to click on on the page New Blogger showed me. And I didn't want to have to "Revert to legacy Blogger" since that feature is supposed to be going away forever in late July, if notes about New Blogger are to be believed.

Eventually I figured it out, and here we are.

My theory is that everything about computers is designed to drive one insane. In what other field, in order to stop, does one press "Start"? I mean, it is crazy, n'est-ce pas?

(Note to non-French-speaking readers and everybody in Alabama: N'est-ce pas? is French for "isn't it?" or "don't they?" or "wouldn't you?" or whatever one might need it to mean in a given instance. Clever, eh wot? The French also leave out a lot of letters from their words when they speak, such as when they write "they were" in French they write ils étaient but when they say it aloud they say ilzettay and completely ignore the i, the e, the n, and the t.)

Anyhoo, now I'm here, what do I want to say? That is the question.

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous Blogger or to take arms against a sea of troubles and by opposing end them.

Ay, there's the rub. For the whole speech, click here.

I never thought it would happen, but I seem to be getting more like Putz every day. He's a guy in Utah who hasn't blogged since 2013 who wrote nearly incomprehensible posts with outrageous punctuation. Thank God I haven't adopted his punctuation style yet. Older definitely does not mean wiser, and I am definitely older. On my next birthday, even though it is still nine months away, I will be 80. Eighty.


(Note to non-readers of the Bible, but everybody in Alabama already knows this): In the book of Psalms in the Old Testament, the word "Selah" appears every once in a while. It is a Hebrew word that means "Pause and consider" (what you just read).)

Old people do ramble, and I am definitely rambling, and saying exactly nothing so far.

So why should this day or this post be any different?

It is to laugh, n'est-ce pas?

Until next time, at ease. Fall out. Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.


I was going to add, "Hey, it's Saturday morning, and I can ramble if I want to" but then I realized (British, realised) that it's not Saturday, it's Thursday<<<<<>>>>> < > < >

Putz would be so proud.

Friday, June 12, 2020

Old English ain't what it used to be (Example #17,643), plus an announcement

I ran across another of those articles that I find so fascinating and you probably find highly irritating or at best irrelevant, but I being I, I have decided to provide a link to it in the hope that you will take the bait avail yourself of yet another wonderful opportunity to broaden your knowledge.

Here's the link.

And as if one "new normal" (the post-pandemic situation) were not enough, over there in the sidebar in the section entitled "About Me" you may henceforth ignore and/or disregard the part where I wrote that I enjoy driving in the country. I would enjoy driving in the country if I could drive in the country, but I have now been told by not just one but two eye specialists that I should no longer be driving at all. My eyesight is getting worse and worse, it seems. It will be a sea-change in our lifestyle, that's for sure, as I have been the only driver in the household for several years now, ever since Mrs. RWP stopped driving several years ago.

We will have to rely on friends, neighbors, kith, kin, adult children (who live quite a distance away), adult grandchildren (ditto), unsuspecting passersby, and perhaps a few four-legged creatures to help us get to grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor's appointments, veterinarians, tonsorial establishments (barber shops, for readers in Alabama), beauty salons (for the Mrs.), and I don't know what all (which you surely know by now is an expression made famous by Andy Griffith in his comedy album of long ago, "What It Was Was Football").

That's just going to be life for us from now on. I certainly hope to continue blogging as long as I can.

To repeat something else I said recently, Brethren and cistern, pray for us.

P.S. - Just so you know, it rains on the just and the unjust, but it rains more on the just because the unjust stole the just's umbrella.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Try the new Blogger, they said. It'll be fun, they said.

And besides, the old (or legacy) Blogger is going away in late June and definitely will not be able to be reverted to after some indeterminate date in late July.

So I did.

The whole world may not have gone cuckoo, although it seems that way of late, but Blogger definitely has. I have lost my header and my sidebar photographs and I don't know what all (as Andy Griffith said way back when on the vinyl recording "What It Was Was Football").

Most to be lamented is the loss in the sidebar of Neil Theasby's poem, "Song For Lost Youth" or "Song of a Yorkshire Lad" or whatever its title was. I am so upset right now I cannot think straight.

Do not say what you are thinking, which I know as well as I know my own name is, "He must have been upset for the past several years."

I am not a totally happy camper, but I suppose I will get there eventually.

I do not like a sans-serif type font. I prefer fonts with serifs as they are actually easier for the brain to comprehend.

What I would really like is a font with seraphs.

That would be not only nifty, but just about perfect.

But I am not in a mood to experiment further at this time. I am an old dog trying to learn new tricks. Perhaps you could start a GoFundMe page in my behalf.

In the meantime, toodle-oo or cheerio or whatever floats your boat. Ta-ta is also available for a limited time.

Until next time, I remain
Your bewildered correspondent

P.S. - I have found the photographs and the poem way down at the bottom of the long list of labels. Now if I can just figure out how to move them back to where they were before this fiasco, I mean conversion, took place.

Brethren and cistern, pray for me.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Three completely unrelated subjects

Subject 1 - Proximity Has Its Advantages

I grew up in a small town (around 1,000 people) with a small high school (around 300 students). Today 75,000 people live in my hometown and it has five huge high schools, but back then it seemed like Nowheresville, USA. My town had exactly two traffic signals, one at either end of its block-long business district. I grew up exactly 14 miles from a big city, but it might as well have been 14 light years.

It was therefore only natural when the young and the restless thereabouts began yearning to seek to alleviate certain hormonal tensions with other young and restless individuals through mutual and consensual exploration that they would look to individuals near at hand instead of individuals in the city 14 light years away. Many of my peers who didn’t leave home to attend university or to seek employment elsewhere often ended up marrying one another after high school. It took me practically no time at all to come up with this list from my era off the top of my head:

1. Robert H. married Anna C.
2. Oscar S. married Mary Elizabeth N.
3. Guy Lewis A. married Gloria F. (they later divorced)
4. Ben N. married Sue N.
5. Barbara P. married Odell E.
6. Patsy H. married Roland C.
7. Louise M. married Bruce C. (they later divorced)
8. Patsy R. married Ronnal B.
9. Diane H. co-habited without benefit of clergy with Robert M.
10. Alene B. married Gene B.
11. Johnny Paul H. married Johnie Charlene S.
12. John F. married Barbara M.
13. Joe S. married Martha T.
14. Wayne W. married Carol Ann W.
15. Billy P. married Delores W.
16. Wesley S. married Linda G.
17. Kenneth G. married Carolyn W.
18. Fred S. married Judy W. (they later divorced)
19. Elmer W. married Martha
20. Margie N. married Don (they later divorced)
21. Dianne P. married Larry C.
22. Ruth Ann S. married Doug M.
23. Luis H. married Paula G.
24. Laurence W. married Donna M. (they later divorced)
25. Charles M. married Cora Faith M.
26. Glenda V. married Morris F.
27. Roy W. married Rosalie E.
28. Bonnie Gaye H. married Wayne H.

and those are just the ones I can toss off without even thinking about it. I could provide surnames upon request, but I won't. These names stir up other memories of my hometown. Anna C.'s brother Tommy was valedictorian the year after I was. Barbara P.'s and Billy P.'s dad was principal of our high school. Linda G.'s dad owned the local Mobil Oil service station with the sign of the Flying Red Horse. Fred S. eventually married three different women named Judy, and today he owns a boat named Judy, Judy, Judy that people think is named after Cary Grant. It isn't. Elmer's wife Martha earned a doctorate and became head of the mathematics department at a local university while Elmer ran an automobile repair shop. Cora Faith's dad was pastor of Central Baptist CHurch. Sometimes Diane lived at Robert's house and sometimes Robert lived at Diane's house. John and Barbara became millionaires. Several of the couples in that list have been married for nearly 60 years. I remember them all like it was only yesterday (reader Bonnie in Missouri, see what I did there?).

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Subject 2 - Frustration Is Not Just A Word In The Dictionary

I do enjoy watching the television program Jeopardy! in which statements are presented in various categories and the contestants' answers must be in the form of a question. Alex Trebek has been the program's host for 37 years. I'm pretty good at general knowledge (what some call trivia, but it isn't) and can usually answer about half of the answers. There are 30 in Jeopardy, 30 in Double Jeopardy, and one in Final Jeopardy -- 61 opportunities each evening to test one's general knowledge. What keeps me flabbergasted (British, gobsmacked) are the occasions on which I know the answer but not a single contestant buzzes in. Last night it happened again when Alex said, "This book of the Bible includes the story of King Nebuchadnezzar throwing Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednigo into a fiery furnace" and the three contestants just stood there (I do not say with their tongues hanging out) while I yelled "What is Daniel?" at the screen. Repeatedly. These were not ordinary contestants, either. They were the three finalists in this year’s awards Teachers Tournament.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Subject 3 - Why Black Lives Matter

Here's food for thought borrowed from the blog of Starshine Twinkletoes:

Monday, June 1, 2020

Dealing with doctors in the Covid era

(Editor's note. I really wasn't intending to publish a post today but then I got caught up making a longer-than-usual comment in the comments section on the post about unsuccessfuly trying to get her ear syringed over at Rachel Dubois neé Phillips's blog or Rachel Phillips neé Dubois's blog or whatever it is and decided to make it a post on my own blog as well. I do apologize (British, apologise) for the long, rambling stream-of-consciousness writing; it's more like Billy Ray Barnwell's style than mine, and if you don't know who Billy Ray Barnwell is, there's a link to him over there in the sidebar. --RWP)

I'm 79 and had a heart attack 24 years ago. Ever since, I've had semi-annual check-ups with the cardiologist, always preceded by a trip to the lab for blood work. Usually my check-up appointments are routine but three years ago I suddenly had to go into hospital and have five stents inserted into my coronary arteries, so the appointments do serve a purpose.

My most recent semi-annual was to have been in early April, but when I called a few days in advance like I always do to make sure the order for blood work was in the computer (the lab people get miffed if it isn't), the cardiologist's office said that since I had had blood work done in October I didn't need it in April as they require it only yearly, and would I like to schedule a virtual or telephone appointment instead? and when I asked is the doctor going to stick the stethoscope through the telephone to listen to my heart and lungs? the woman on the phone got downright snippy. I canceled the appointment altogether and made another one for October. Recently the covid situation has lightened up somewhat around here so when my local pharmacy wouldn't fill my medicines, medicines that one is not supposed to stop taking suddenly, I called the doctor's office again and pulled up the October appointment to late May. An NP (nurse practitioner) saw me instead of the cardiologist. When I mentioned about the blood work she said no, it's every six months, not once a year. So she put in an order and I had the blood work done the day after the actual appointment instead. Very strange way to do business if you ask me, but everything is hunky-dory as the results are available on the computer anyway.

This is a long way of saying I feel your pain, or non-pain, as the case may be.

The world has gone cuckoo, if you ask me.

(Editor's note #2. As further proof the world is going or has gone cuckoo, it has now been one year exactly as of yesterday since Frances Garrood posted anything, and it has been more than 18 months since Kate Steeds has, and the world is definitely not a better place for it. --RWP)

Test from phone

Now is the time for all good men to blah blah blah Well, what do you know! I did it! From my phone! For the first time! Live and learn,...