The Power of Words Friday, Sep 25 2009 

 I love words!  I mean, if you want to be a writer, you’ve got to love words, right?  Without them, you’d not be reading this!  But, even more than just the sheer breadth of words that one can use when writing or speaking to describe the infinite shades of meaning and nuance one wishes to impart, there are the roots of the words themselves.  This is where my love of history and languages come into play.

 

Most people realize that English isn’t something that just sprang magically into being, fully formed and ready to go, like Athena springing from Zeus’ head.  Well, I sure hope they do, but I’ve met some people that cause me to doubt this statement.  Sidetrack, avoided! Continuing…

Words we use every day have their roots in Latin, Greek, Old French, Old German, and any number of older languages.  Oh, and we Americans steal words like a fat kid steals candy.  Cognates, I believe they are called.  Anyhow, I just love how bits of ancient words come together to form a new word we use now.  To this end, I get a Word of the Day from

http://www.dictionary.com

I highly recommend this to everyone!  It’s free, it builds your vocabulary, and you never again have to say “What does that mean? When standing around a bunch of over-educated

Ph. D.-packing cognoscente.  

 

“What does that last word mean?” you might ask?!? Well, I’m glad you asked, as cognoscente was a recent Word of the Day! *GRIN*

 

cognoscente \kon-yuh-SHEN-tee; kog-nuh-; -SEN-\, noun:

A person with special knowledge of a subject; a connoisseur.

Cognoscente derives from the Obsolete Italian, from Latin cognoscens, cognoscent-, present participle of cognoscere, “to know.”

 

If this little bit of my mental weirdness posted on the Web has got you thinking about words and where they came from, well, then yeah, it’s my fault.

Funny Never; Funny Once; Funny Always. Thursday, Sep 24 2009 

These are the classifications of humor that Manny, a computer repair tech on Luna, gave to Mycroft, the self-aware super computer in Robert Heinlein’s classic “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”.  What is it that makes something funny?  And, in Heinleinian terms, is it funny just the one time, or is it always funny?  Or just not funny at all?  

 

Personally, and that is where I think humor resides, it is something individual and experiential.  Something is going to be funny to a person in unique ways.  It’s just like I’ve tried to explain to my family for years about my own humor.  If *I* think it’s funny, then it *IS* funny!  There is no need for external validation.  You know, like whether they laugh at my joke or comment, think it’s funny, a horrible pun, etc.  I can’t count the times I’ve heard them tell me “That’s not funny!” only to be drowned out by my own hilarious laughter. *GRIN*

 

So, what do y’all think?  Is humor unique to the individual?  Are there Universal funny things?  Are there some jokes that are just never funny?  Just a little something to ponder.  And, if you waste your time thinking about this…yeah, it’s my fault.

Have You Ever Gotten A Song Stuck In Your Head? Wednesday, Sep 9 2009 

Have you ever gotten a song stuck in your head?

TV commercials are the worst for doing that to me. I wake up in the morning and there is a song playing in my head and I think to myself, “Now how did *THAT* get in here?!?” Usually, it was just some snippet of song on a commercial, maybe even not the exact song, but one close enough to trigger some sort of neurological cascade of misfiring neurons in my admittedly odd brain. And, voila! Morning head music!

I spend far too much time pondering the question of where something like that came from. Thank you, Google and the Internet! And, again, usually I can pin it down. And commercials today are playing so much music with which I am familiar, I think the problem is actually getting worse! I think this may be a comment on my age. My theory is this: Once you and your music get to be a certain age, it becomes fodder for TV commercials. I think it is a very sad milestone in the aging process, too. Probably not as bad as when Muzak remakes your favorite song into some mutant, bastardized, but still sadly recognizable version of its former self. But it’s bad…definitely bad.

The latest culprit is Toyota and their Third Generation Prius. Here is a link to the commercial if you haven’t seen it:
http://www.toyota.com/prius-hybrid/commercial.html
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with a hybrid car, mind you! No, not at all. Nothing except the smugness factor of the driver, of course! And the fact that it is a silent, environmentally friendly ton of smug-driven death hurtling down on unaware pedestrians… It’s the song they use…”Let Your love Shine”. It’s not the original song, though. It’s a new one, sung á capella by Petra haden. You can find her official website at:
http://petrahadenmusic.com/sounds.html
Anyhow, it’s a wonderful song where Petra sings every bit herself, including the instrumental portions! It reminded me of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” in that regard. I finally had to track down the song, and thank you to Toyota for making it available for a free download! I was then able to listen several times to the full version until my mental fixation dwindled to a manageable level. Of course, if I was totally over it, I’d not be writing about it, right?

So, now that I’ve got that off my chest, maybe you’ve got the song stuck in your head? Well, if you did, then…yeah, it’s my fault.

Happy Labor Day! Monday, Sep 7 2009 

It’s Labor Day here in the U.S. and, of course, I am not laboring.  OK, that is a goal I strive for every day of the year, but especially on Labor Day, when we are supposed to laze about and honor those who labor.  And how best to honor them than by sleeping in, having a few mugs o’ fine coffee, followed by a wonderful breakfast of French Toast, sausage and bacon?  Then, top that off with some more lazing about.  It’s all about honoring those who labor with the appropriate level of non-labor you see.  

 

Sure, you can overdo the celebration of Labor Day and it’s really everywhere.  People are outside, mowing lawns, getting ready for big outdoor parties, slaving away over hot grills.  Ah, the fools!  Forgive them, Laborers, for they know not what they do!

 

I shall continue to do my best, to do my duty, and do as little as possible today.  If nothing gets done around here today, then yeah, it’s my fault. 😉

And so it begins… Friday, Sep 4 2009 

I’m a guy, mid forties, just graduated with a Masters in History  from the University of Central arkansas, and, yeah, it’s my fault. 

 

I want to be a writer, and not just any writer!  I want to be a sci-fi/fantasy writer!  This, by default, makes me odd, strange, weird…but in a good way, I think.  At least I hope so.  Of course, I want to be disgustingly successful, too.  Like King, revered by masses of cheering fans, like Tolkien, but I pretty much have given up on being a rock star.  I guess I can settle for the first two.

 

I also want to be a lecturer at the college level somewhere.  You know, the guy (or gal! I am a reluctantly admitted feminist due to a Gender History class I took…damn you, Wendy Castro and your sweet, sweet reason!!!)

standing up front with that cool, $20 wooden pedestal thingy, torturing the best and brightest of our children…at least the ones willing to fork over the dough and sign up for my History course. 

 

I also got my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems in 1999 from Arkansas Tech University.  This makes me a Geek, I guess.  I know that I am prone to random bouts of what I call TechnoLust.  That is when I see some new bit of technological voodoo that just came out, or, even worse,  somebody else has in their sweaty hands and I don’t!  I want it.  No, not want…need it! And, the sooner the better!  because if I don’t get it, I’ll just DIE!!!  Luckily, my bank is aware of this disease I have and regularly rejects all my drool-sodden checks written to technology pushers like Best Buy or Egghead.  This  gives me a chance to shake off the fever and chills of the TechnoLust, then rip them up before I infect anyone else.

 

What sort of History am I interested in?  Most of it, actually.  But especially the military aspects, the cool stuff, with swords, shields, people sweating, bleeding, and dying for their cause/religion/nation/city/state!  From the Greek Hoplite to the Roman Centurion, Byzantine Catafract horsemen and Welsh Longbowmen.  Billy the Bastard, who invaded England in 1066 whenn he had a perfectly good Duchy in Normandy already.  Napoleon and Wellington and those beautiful bastards they commanded.  All the way up through the World wars and the Cold War and to our latest escapades about this blue marble we call Terra! 
I’m Also fascinated by the technology and engineering feats accomplished along the way.  Roman aquaducts, water wheels, mills, bridges, fortifications, ships, all that cool stuff, too.  because a war is no fun if you don’t have toys!  I come by this obsession/interest honestly, though.  I was a soldier for 4 years and change back in the 80’s for Uncle Sam, but I got better…  I still speak Russian though.  Sort of.

 

Oh, and I read a lot.  Several books a week, usually.  Grad school makes you read fast, but I loved it and it never was an issue for me.  So, I’ll post on what books I’ve read lately.  And things that  annoy me or spark my interest.  OR I think are cool.  I am eclectic, so you never really know what you will find me yammering about in this magical place called syberspace!

Hello world! Friday, Sep 4 2009 

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