Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot

I just got a business communication filled with u for you. What's next? Resumes? It's high time to take our revenge on those whose instant messagings have wrought depredations on our lovely languages. Everything is shortened, homonymophied, abbreviated, uncapitalized. enuf alredy! if u wont spel rite i wnt ethr. Let letters become words. Let elisions become enlongenations. Let the phonetic substitutions begin!

Oscar Mike Golf this is fun! Uniform can't stop once Uniform get started. Where's my India phone? I've got to India Mike my Baker Foxtrot Foxtrot right away!

Arguing about Rolling Rs

I'm sitting here with Peter and we are arguing about rolling Rs. I say they do. He says they don't. I gave him the practice sentence: Rapido corren los carros del ferrocarril. Naturally applying all the appropriate rolls for the r-r rs.
He still doubts. Foolish boy.

From Speech Therapy--Or What?

I remember a sentence from my youth in the 60s. I had thought it was something my parents said for fun, like "How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck could chuck wood." Now I'm not so sure. It may be something I had to say in speech therapy to correct my lisp, though my lisp was for R not for S. Here it is:

Theopold Theopolis thrust three thousand thorny thistles through the thick of his thumb.

It must be important. Why would I remember it this long if it wasn't. But I don't find any references to it on the Web. Is it possible that this piece of our culture has avoided rampant webification? Or maybe it was just something my parents made up. Is it possible?

A Perfect Commute

It's not often you come across a perfect commute. There's always a tailgater/lanechanger/slowpoke driving stupid or road conditions less than ideal, be it rain, be it snow, be they oil drops dripping from a supercharged Chevy Nova. Not today. Today the commute was perfect in its every moment. Despite the morning chill and dew, my windows were not severely fogged. The line to get onto the freeway was only one car long - mine. The merge was easy because the traffic was spaced out, and I'm not using slang. All the way into town traffic was swimming. It slowed a little on the narrow bridge, but the slowdown didn't result in madman lane changes. Very uncharacteristic. The merge back onto the byways downtown was wide open. The last two blocks to the parking lot I couldn't see another car, and not because I was blinded; because the roads were bereft of automobile traffic (There WERE six pedestrians, but they weren't walking in the traffic lanes.) And (This part is not unusual, because I park in the most inconveniently located lot) I had no trouble finding a parking space.

If I'd been playing Strauss waltzes on the car stereo instead of listening to Bob and Dave cut up about The Balloon Boy it would all have seemed like a dreamy dance.

"... all this stuff will be moved. You would be right about that..."

Fractured cell phone conversations. I walk half a mile through the downtown area every morning and afternoon, bracketing my workday with a constitutional. Almost every day there is at least one person declaiming loudly into a cell phone or earpiece/mic. (Sure beats the old days when there'd be at least one person declaiming loudly into the air or at other pedestrians [ME!].) Sometimes the cell conversations are happening in a language I don't understand. I recognize it as a dialect of English, but the flow of words and their pronunciation don't carry meaning for me. Those are the days I ask myself just exactly how out of touch with common parlance I am becoming. Today wasn't one of those days. I understood every word.