Sunday, September 17, 2023

One does what one can and hopes for the best

My inability to reply to comments on my own blog or to leave a comment on anyone else's blog from my iPhone continues.

Aside: My mother, God rest her soul, invariably said "someone's else" and "anyone's else" because, she said, her English teacher in high school was actually from England and that's what SHE said, along with some veddy British pronunciations like strawbree, dictionree, and stationree. (End of Aside)

I do not have a problem commenting when using my desktop computer but unfortunately I am in front of it less and less nowadays and find myself relying more and more on my iPhone, even for composing blogposts. It's a Catch-22 situation if there ever was one. I am reminded, and I don't know why, of the short story "The Gift of the Magi" by William Sidney Porter (he is probably better known by his nom de plume, O. Henry) in which a woman cuts off her beautiful long hair and sells it to a wigmaker in order to have enough money to buy her husband a watch fob for his gold pocket watch, and the husband sells his gold pocket watch in order to have enough money to buy his wife a set of combs for her beautiful long hair. Maybe that's not a Catch-22. Maybe it's what computer programmers call a "deadly embrace" that can occur when two programs cannot proceed because each is waiting for the other to complete an action.

This post is taking much longer to write than I anticipated.

Anyway, in the meantime, until the problem is resolved, if I want to comment I must do so inside my blogposts, so here goes.

In her blog, Rachel Phillips recently referred to herself as "an alumnus, if that is the correct word" of a particular university. No, Rachel, and I hope you see this, that is not the correct word. You are not an alumnus, and here's why. Latin is a highly inflected language where, in addition to verbs being conjugated, nouns are declined. First declension nouns are feminine; nomimative case singular ending is -a and nominative case plural ending is -ae. Second declension nouns, on the other hand, are masculine; nominative case singular ending is -us and nominative case plural ending is -i. There are three or four other declensions as well, but I won't burden you with them.

To keep it as simple as possible:

One female graduate is an alumna.
Several female graduates are alumnae.
One male graduate is an alumnus.
Several male graduates are alumni.

These four words are pronounced, respectively, in Latin, as uh-LOOM-nuh, uh-LOOM-nigh, uh-LOOM-nus, and uh-LOOM-nee but they are usually pronounced differently in English, which can cause even nore confusion..

It's okay to be confused. Hardly anyone gets these particular words right. The only reason I do is that I had a very good Latin teacher, Mrs. Elizabeth Beaver. at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, way back in the 1958-59 school year. I did not graduate from Southwestern and therefore am not an alumnus, merely an ex-student.

In her Cowboys blogpost, Emma Springfield called the raspy-voiced actor who played Jingles on the Wild Bill Hickok TV show by his first name only, Andy. He was Andy Devine, whose career, I discovered, included appearances in no less than 10 feature-length western films starring Roy Rogers and three starring John Wayne that you may remember: Stagecoach, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and How The West Was Won. My favorites were Roy Rogers and Hopalong Cassidy. Emma left Gene Autry off her list but he was also quite popular.

Kylie in Australia said she often wonders how the ancients figured out what causes pregnancy since, with a nine-month interim, the whole cause and effect thing isn't exactly obvious. That is a very good question and certainly more interesting to ponder, I must admit, than why a circle is divided into 360 degrees.

Here's a shout-out to jabblog, a fairly new reader and leaver of comments. And it's always good to hear from Tasker and Terra and Jinksy and Graham and Red. Hilltophomesteader is probably too busy milking goats and feeding chickens and making applesauce and canning green beans and entertaining grandchildren to have much time for commenting these days. We miss her.

This new method is rather clunky and inefficient, but it's better than nothing.

I hope you agree. Let me know if you don't.


  1. Ah yes, alumna. I should have known as I studied Latin at school.

  2. My goodness, I applaud you for the considerable effort you have to make. Lesser souls (well, me or rather I) would have given up.

  3. I liked O Henry's stories. Good on you for going the extra mile to make comments.

  4. And a collection of male and femane graduates are? Also alumni?

  5. I am so happy you noticed that I left off Andy Devine's last name. It wasn't intentional and I will see to it that it is added.. As for Gene Autry I lived in a very small town. We had one television station. They plucked from the three major networks to provide us with entertainment. I knew of Gene Autry but never saw his programs.

  6. You 'simply' need to sign into your account on the phone in the browser yoiu are using. It's easiest if you use Chrome instead of Safari. The trouble is it's a pain. Which is why I so often read blogs but don't comment because I read them when I'm not at home with the laptop.

  7. You sound like my Mother. She thought gramatically in Latin. She loved it. If you asked "What part of speech is 'That having been done' " she would translate it into Latin. Insert it in her head into the appropriate table, look at the heading and say "Ablative Absolute". Leastways I think that's what she would have said. What I can recall of the technicalities of grammatical construction these days is sketchy.

  8. ... You have since had me thinking about other words. Why is it executor and executrix and not executa? Why do we have graduands?

  9. So I am an alumna. I won't say of where, but I is one. xoxo

  10. Oh me oh my! As an English person to the very core, I must let you know that in the words strawberry, dictionary and stationary/stationery I pronounce ALL the syllables, but have never used an apostrophe 's' for 'anyone else', or 'someone else', but then eight two years ago English language was English language, whereas these days it's anybody's guess when listening to some youngsters today. :-)

  11. I'll have you know that I am not milking goats at present - they are 'resting' until they kid again near the end of January! You've got me pegged, though, I AM canning many things and enjoying my grandbabies immensely! We recently took them to the county fair. Their hopes for the fair? They wanted to see the unicorns and eat cotton candy! (Never did locate the unicorn barn.....)


<b> Multiple Brunhildas will have to wait</b>

...because Mrs. RWP and I watched the 1980 film Somewhere In Time the other night on the freevee (formerly IMDb) movie channel and I need...