Bitch on the Blog

January 15, 2017

Repetition

Filed under: Errors,Fairy Tales,Folklore,Future,language — bitchontheblog @ 13:53
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Never being backward at being forward I have identified at least three phrases I have started overusing in my blog posts. If I were my own editor I’d have word with me.

In no particular order:

“in the olden times”

“once upon a time”

“apropos of nothing”

creep up with increasing frequency.

Mitigating circumstances are, say, age. Obviously now there are more “olden times” than any time ahead of me. “Once upon a time” is solely to be put at the doorstep of being brought up on a heavy diet of fairy tales and folklore, a habit I have kept up to this day. “Apropos of nothing”? Well, it is usually apropos of nothing. Just something that pops into my  mind, apropos of nothing.

So, not so much apropos of nothing, what do you find when digging in your memory box of once upon a time in the olden days?

U

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July 5, 2016

Off the well worn path

I do have fond memories of my school days. The time between age seven (in the motherland they don’t shove kids off to school at the unreasonable age of four as they do in the UK) and when I left (age 19). Yes, it was an education. In more ways than one. Which is why I think home schooling should be avoided unless your kid is a Mimosa and allergic to human interaction.

So, among my many other favourites, one challenge I remember with particular enthusiasm was when one of our teachers bounced in and wrote, chalk screeching, onto the blackboard: BEGRIFFSABGRENZUNG.

Don’t panic. It’s just a word. In English you’d write “begriffs abgrenzung”. Two words. Same difference.  (As an aside why is the English language so Capital averse?) “Begriff” meaning term/concept. “Abgrenzung” meaning boundaries/overlap. I’d say “definition”. Let’s say the option we were given was “clever, wise, intelligent, educated”. You then had to define each in relation to the other. Call me anal but that sort of challenge appealed to my sense of order. To my sense of enjoying being a nit picking precision freak. Two hours would fly by.

Long intro – short inspiration. Nick, on his blog the other day, brought up the subject of “shame”. Which set me thinking how closely “shame” is related to “regret”. Indeed how they overlap. Of course one may regret, more often than not, without feeling shame.

I am not ashamed to admit that I have felt shame in my life, acutely. Regret? Yes, and no. Where I think shame to be an all encompassing moral concept, regret is very very personal, and elusive. I may regret something to some extent, and yet, in terms of causality, chain of life events which, some way down the line, may give you cause to regret may also, in a wider context, have been a good thing to happen to you. Naturally, that’s the long view. Short term? Don’t bite your fingernails. It’s not becoming. Slam a door instead. At least it makes a noise.

Chew on that. You’ve got two hours.

U

October 4, 2014

Five minus four

Filed under: Amusement,Culture,language — bitchontheblog @ 19:46
Tags: ,

Need to wear hats in England notwithstanding, I sometimes wish I were associated with the Queen. Or Charles. Or someone. One could then go round using “one”  without being called pretentious. I like ‘one’. As one does.

Do you remember the film (Dudley Moore) “Ten”? One of those guys who proved that there is more to a man than height. I like men who scramble up hills to get to their woman. Dudley did it so well. I once dissuaded someone to climb a precarious slope to get me some cherries (Switzerland). As alluring as the cherries were ardour needs to be channelled. And sometimes one needs to know how to stem a flow and build a dam (think Holland). One did stay friends. One’s (that’s my) instinct proving right that it pays to not have that marsh mellow.

Marsh mellows – context: Instant Gratification – currently in the news big time.  So the deal being that your four year old self is faced with a choice: You can have ONE marsh mellow now or wait for twenty minutes and have two. It’s awful when you think about it. Particularly, when like me, you don’t even like sweets  So I sit there for twenty minutes hoping someone would take that damn thing out of my sight, only to then be presented with another one. Brilliant, don’t you think? How to get rewarded in life with things ONE does not want.

U

August 10, 2014

Gorging yourself

I like descriptive language. Language that conjures up an image in your mind.

Thus I have just been reminded of “Kummerspeck” which the author of the article correctly translates as  “grief bacon”. For those of you either dim or preoccupied with other things: Grief bacon is when you eat BEYOND HUNGER because something is eating away at you, like grief.

So you are unhappy, you eat. Which means that an awful lot of people in this world (no, not the starving – they don’t have the means to drown their grief in a bacon sandwich) must be unhappy. Forget the BM index. Measure your unhappiness in wobble. Don’t you dare: I have already patented this amazing piece of intellectual property in copyright. All I now need to do is write it all down and get it on the market.

My father once remarked (and yes, I do know I have mentioned it before) that if I, his daughter, were driving down the motorway and the radio would announce that there is a ghost driver coming their way I’d think to myself: “What do they mean, ONE? Thousands.” I took it (not) hard. Though as character assessments go it was on the harsh side.  Still, being my parents’ daughter I am thick skinned. I smiled to myself – and it’s true. Going against the trend.

Going against a trend. Doesn’t make you popular on its own. You have to charm people in other ways rather than just contradicting perceived wisdom.

Yes, so in short,  when I have ‘Kummer’ (grief – even lightweight one) I lose all appetite. The last thing I need when gnawing away at a piece of shit fate has buried for lean times is food. Stomach shuts down. Most effectively. I can barely eat one of my beloved apples.

Do you know what a syllogism is? All cows are animals. Not all animals are cows.

So just because I am slender does not mean … Don’t worry, I have lost my own line of reasoning in the course of this meandering … not least slightly distracted by the remnants of Big Bertha having arrived at the South Coast: Hale bashing against the window. Thunder in the middle distance.

U

July 29, 2013

Moi

Filed under: language — bitchontheblog @ 19:56
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Am on warpath. And you don’t know the half of it. Not even a smidgen.

To vent spleen, yes, at you, Hippo aka Tom in particular since you should know better: Will people stop being pretentious and use ‘me’ instead of ‘I’ when appropriate? Please. Otherwise may condemn you to learn the first page of Julius Caesar’s war (in Latin) by heart. And recite it in front of me and all the friends you thought you had and who will applaud you – at the end.

Want a lesson in grammar? Look no further.

To whom it may concern: Love you too. Don’t apply to be my sub.

U

December 10, 2012

Not for the first time

Filed under: language — bitchontheblog @ 19:55
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Am slightly unnerved by myself.

I find it hard to leave things alone. Like spelling mistakes. The only reason I sometimes will – with cold sweat on my feverish forehead – let one stand because I was told that to make a mistake is what makes us human and other people love you. As comforts go it’s a great one: Which human doesn’t want to be considered human? Being loved? Let’s get back to that another time. Instead I bleed. Not least because I am the daughter of a perfectionist. OH MY GOD. And to make matters worse I don’t use a spell checker (as you, Cynthia, no doubt, will remember). It’s a matter of pride. If I don’t know how to spell something I will consult my dictionary and ignore all American spelling suggested to me: Where there is colour there is a ‘U’. And that’s that. You don’t swot a sizeable chunk of your life learning the intracacies of English spelling only to then realize that Americans have taken the German route chucking out all that is superfluous.

Hugs and kisses,

U

May 13, 2012

Vita brevis, my breath is long

Filed under: Communication,language — bitchontheblog @ 13:34
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Why settle for three words when thirty will suffice?

I come from a wordy family, I married into a wordy family, I gave birth to … no not a wordy family – why have five children when one is such chatter box delight?

My father is the king of all words – which is why, no doubt, he taught me, in no uncertain terms, how to keep it short. I remember writing essays, in more tongues than my mother’s, teachers admiringly stating that they’d never read such convincing tosh, my employing limited vocabulary with little grasp of foreign grammar yet so concise, so stylish, they couldn’t help themselves but give me top marks. If I could frame those comments of theirs I would.

Don’t ask. To this day I have no idea what they were talking about. Probably best. As soon as you become self conscious, aware of your (in)abilities, it takes the innocence away. Compliment me on my eloquence and I will promptly fall into a stammer. Which is fine when you speak English in England: It’ll immediately mark you as a member of the inbred upper class

U

March 8, 2012

Going to the dogs

Filed under: language — bitchontheblog @ 07:03
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I just had startling thought. And I am not easily startled.

“Son of a bitch”. Why does no one ever insult a woman with: “Daughter of a bitch”?

I dare say a woman would just shrug her shoulders. Hit a man where it hurts at your peril: His mother’s honour.

It’s only 0655 hrs GMT. Please forgive me for keeping my reasoning simple.

U

Edit: Sweethearts, it’s now 0745. I have woken up. The reason no one says “Daughter of a bitch” is because there is a short cut. Just call her: “You Bitch”. Yes. Happened to me three years ago: “YOU BITCH, IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT” This was dished out to me, just as I was trying to hold on to last remnants of sanity, the morning of moving house and cats being lost, my world spiralling down the plug hole, by the same American who, two months, earlier had told me that if she were in my situation she’d commit suicide. Yes, you, my readers, may flinch at her recommendation. Several people did. I didn’t. I thought it rather comforting (at least someone understood the drama, neither do I commit suicide). However, whilst being called a bitch is ok with me she also slapped me, twice, so hard that my glasses flew off. And she didn’t help me find them. The “bitch” was fine with me, the slaps were fine with me (people do lose their temper, not the end of the world, no hard feelings). But WATCH me try and find my glasses? And not help? Never shall you learn more about people than when the shit hits the fan. I found them, eventually.Tell the truth: I was so happy she didn’t stamp on them for good measure.

February 27, 2012

Not so simple

Filed under: language — bitchontheblog @ 11:56
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Some words need to roll off our tongues more often than they do: Like “nincompoop”.

I adore “nincompoop”. It sounds delicious. As does “Knickerbocker Glory”, a most disconcerting dessert I had when I first set foot on these isles. I only ordered it because I wanted to hear myself say it.

There is a faction of mankind which (most uncharitably) has taught me that about .. % of the world’s population is stupid.

Stupid. Nothing to do with intelligence. You may score on the Richter Scale of IQ as high as Einstein or Goethe and still qualify as stupid. Take it from me. It’s a fact. And no, no rats were harmed in the pursuit of my enlightenment.

There is a novel I keep re-reading every so often, maybe every three years – when I need to feel safe, and at home in the woods. I don’t know the politically correct term: The author’s chosen narrator ain’t a shining light how most people measure wattage. But shine he does. For me. And stupid he is not.

U

September 28, 2011

Note to self

Filed under: Culture,language,Philosophy — bitchontheblog @ 02:22
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I’ve got to watch it. It’s one thing to pride myself on never, yes really – never, using a spell checker. Why would I? Either I know how to spell or I don’t. And I can live with my mistakes and typos even if they are embarrassing at times. Am still traumatized from the time when the x on my keyboard gave out.  Currently the ‘i’ sticks. Maybe my subconscious telling me to be more ego something. Will come back to eggs in a minute.

So in an idle moment tonight I pondered on what using more than one language – on a daily basis – does to your mind. What is a catalysator to some is, naturally, a catalyst to another (English that is). Have you ever noticed that when addressing the very person you’d preferably not make a fool of yourself in front of is precisely the person you will? It’s a sideshoot of Sod’s law. Can also be observed when you quickly nip out to get, say, a pint of milk at seven in the morning only to bump into someone you’d hoped would never see you in curlers (and before any of you run away and unsubscribe because you do not wish to be associated with someone in curlers stop the hysteria now: I don’t use curlers, mainly because my hair is curly by nature.) Yes, so there I was congratulating Charles on his daughter’s imagination and, needless to say, giving away my lack of education by using the word “catalysator” instead of “catalyst”. Why this occurs to me ca 24 hrs after writing my comment I do not know. But then my brain seems to have a mind of its own.

Where were we? Eggs. I rarely quote other people. Being full of myself I am content to spout my own nonsense rather than quoting George Bernard Shaw or, worse, Oscar Wilde. However, believing in exceptions to rules and also easily amused I came across this, in The Little Book of Wrong Shui:

Eggsistentialism

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Use an egg box like everyone else and stop being such a poser.

Sartre eat your heart out.

U

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