Archive for December 2010
At this time of year it is traditional to do a look back on the past year or a look forward to what the coming year will bring. I will bore you with none of that nonsense and instead will bore you with a specially brewed batch of nonsense cooked up just for this occasion.
I thought I would share a particular personal complaint that has become an annoying burr under my saddle. It may be a surprise to some of you but I do a lot of reading of blogs and message boards of various sorts. Mostly they are software user groups, alumni association discussions, sports forums, chamber of commerce and industry specific blogs. The biggest complaint I have is the incorrect use of the English language. I will be the first to admit that I have my fair share of errors floating around cyberspace. It is easy to make errors even with spell check (especially if the word you incorrectly spelled is a word). I am talking about repeatedly using words that sound alike incorrectly in a sentence. When I say sound “alike” I really don’t mean homonyms such as the words; would and wood. I mean words that are now casually and lazily pronounced incorrectly to the point that when a phrase that contains such word is written, it is spelled wrong. And… it ticks me off.
Most of these errors are occurring in arena that once would expect a certain amount of educational attainment. I will cite two instances and then sign off for the year.
When expressing regret in making a purchase before getting expert advice someone may correctly use the following sentence:
I should have taken that jalopy to my ace mechanic to look at before buying it.
Many times I have seen the new incorrect English version of this sentence as follows:
I should of taken that jalopy to my ace mechanic to look at before buying it.
Perhaps if the person was smart enough to correctly use “have” he would have also been smart enough to seek counsel with his trusted ace mechanic.
When expressing the fact that your new car is in superior condition to that of a jalopy you may correctly use the following sentence:
My shiny, new Buick is better than your old rusty jalopy built in 1963.
Many times I have seen the new incorrect English version of this sentence as follows:
My shiny, new Buick is better then your old rusty jalopy built in 1963.
Perhaps if the person was smart enough to correctly use “than” he would have also realized that jalopies from 1963 are turning forty-eight this year and if cared for properly could be turned into a marvelous antique.
As promised, this jalopy is signing off for 2010, see you next year. Have a great week.
It is Christmas week and the big day finally arrives on Saturday. All the presents will be opened, food eaten and memories will be made. I hope everyone has a great holiday season with warm feelings that continue long into the New Year. It is a nice thought but often that holiday glow fades very quickly once the normal routine resumes.
For this week’s blog, I thought I would encourage everyone to forget about the material things and focus on your relationships which really make life rewarding. I decided I would take my own advice and tell my brothers and sisters how I feel about them. My siblings all get along well and there are no feuds among us, but I don’t think I ever openly told them how I feel about them. That stops today. I am the second of 5 kids and have an older brother, younger brother (#3 of 5) and 2 younger sisters.
To my older brother:
He is gruff but lovable, a perfect older brother who was always taking care of me when I was a kid. I can remember him making cool things for me like homemade cars from cardboard boxes and wagon wheels, tree houses and other things. I remember accidentally knocking over a make shift club-house that was equipped with 4 walls, a roof and a working door and he didn’t even get mad at me. As we grew older, he was always there to lend a hand and fix my car, my water heater, light fixtures and anything else I couldn’t do myself which includes about everything you can imagine. He is very generous with his time and money with me and all my siblings. He has a good sense of humor which is a trait in all of us kids. I wonder if we got that from him or from our parents – probably a little of both. We all love to have a good laugh but it is especially prominent in my older brother. After I took up bicycling he also gave it a try and was a participant on a lot of “death rides” that me and my younger brother would do and he hung on valiantly and I don’t know how. He is one tough cookie I will say that much. I recently asked him for advice and I later learned from my Mother he didn’t know why I asked him and not someone else? That’s easy, because you’re my big brother and I still look up to you!
To my younger brother:
In many ways he could be my twin despite almost 6 years difference in age. Several people have made that comment. First of all, I want to apologize for not being a better big brother. I should have known better, I had a very good example to follow. My poor kid brother had to be an unwilling participant in many wiffle ball games when I had no one else to play with. I would fire fast balls at him and even though I was much bigger, he battled courageously holding his own admirably (and keeping me entertained). Our relationship really grew once he got me interested in bicycling 22 years ago. We spent countless hours and probably thousands of miles on the road riding together. I think this is when we became like twins. It got to the point we knew what each other was thinking when on a bike ride and even would reach down for the water bottle to take a drink at the same time. Some of my best memories with him are the times when we were on the bicycle hammering away at the pedals in our quest to go faster and faster. We had great times after rides when we would talk about what we saw and did while pedaling. We pushed each other very hard and it was so much fun. He also deserves credit for the many times he has fixed my cars and other things for me.
To my oldest sister:
My oldest sister is about Eight and a half years younger than me and is definitely a Joy in everyone’s life. What a wonderful and pretty addition to the family she was when she came into this world and broke the string of 3 boys. It was different dealing with a sister so I used my tried and true approach and had her playing wiffle ball as soon as she could swing a bat. (I actually think I taught her how to swing a bat.) It paid off because along with my other sister she turned out to be a pretty darn good softball player. I was so proud when together they won the league championship in the 10-12 year old age bracket. But pink uniforms? Ugh. She always has had a good sense of humor and is fun to be around. I missed a lot of her growing up while I was in college but am happy to report she has turned out just fine without my constant advice on how to hit a curveball. She is handy around the house and even put up wallpaper for me in one of my houses. She also does stuff I won’t even try to do around the house like putting up drywall. She has a great family and is a wonderful wife and mother. I wish I could learn to deal with life’s ups and downs as easily as she does.
To my youngest sister:
The “baby” of the family is about nine and a half years younger than me and is another pretty addition to the family and also a “victim” of my wiffle ball. She was a scrappy player and was the pitcher on that championship team while my older sister played outfield. Both were sluggers and I think the wiffle ball they played at age 5 and 6 had a lot to do with it. At least that is my story and I will stick to it. I also missed a lot of her growing up while I was in college but always enjoy her company and she also has inherited a good sense of humor. When she was in her late teens and early twenty’s, I had a good time hanging out with my grown up baby sister. I found out my little sis was pretty cool. I think her personality traits are a lot like mine in some respects. I realized this not too long ago when I was going on and on analyzing something and she was joining in on the “fun”. Most people will tire of my lengthy analysis. She was either enjoying it or was being kind to me. Both of my sisters need to step up their efforts in “fixing” things for me like my brothers but both are great cooks and have “fixed” me many awesome meals. My youngest sister also has a great family and is a wonderful wife and mother.
My message to my Mom and Dad is written above. Look what good kids you raised.
Have a great week and take some time to tell your loved-ones how you feel about them.
The northern part of the country got pounded with snow last week and is getting another dose this week. A White Christmas is looking very likely. This week I am reminiscing about all the great gifts I got for Christmas as a child. I have made a list and checked it twice and here are my ten best.
- A chemistry set when I was in 4th grade was pretty cool.
- Walkie-talkies when I was in kindergarten – I wrote about this last year in my Blog Two Rock Star Uncles
- A football game that was played with a deck of cards and a game board that was a football field that kept track of your progress on the field. If I remember correctly the offense called a play (rush or pass) and then read the result by drawing a card.
- A four person toboggan.
- A real leather football.
- A baseball glove “signed” by New York Mets Outfielder Cleon Jones that I still have to this day. His last full season in the big leagues was 1975. He is in the New York Mets Hall of Fame which is nice, but I grew up and still am a Pittsburgh Pirates fan.
- A long-sleeved paisley shirt that I wore out from wearing it all the time. It got to the point that my mom burned it because she was so tired of looking at it. She got rid of it when I was in 3rd grade and I got it in first grade and the elbows were worn out and it was way too small.
- An Etch a sketch which are still made today.
- An Authentic Franco Harris Football jersey.
- An air rifle that made a loud noise and discharged air out of the barrel which would probably never be allowed by the Consumer Products Safety Commission today.
I would be interested in hearing what cool gifts you got as a child. Did you get Rock’em Sock’em robots, Hot Wheels, or perhaps a cabbage patch doll or a Nintendo 64? Did anyone get a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock? (You’ll shoot your eye out!)
Next week is Christmas week; I hope everyone has all of their gift shopping done. Unfortunately, I still have some gifts to buy before I am done. I hope the snow stops long enough for me to sneak out to the mall. Have a great week.
We are now almost two weeks past Thanksgiving and the start of the Christmas shopping season and Christmas music playing on the radio is in full swing. If you have ever worked in retail you probably have a few stories of how sick of the music you can get after a month or more of non-stop holiday classics. I once worked a Christmas season and the store where I worked had about 3 cassettes and I got very sick of the songs that have been burned into my memory. If I never hear Run, Rudolph Run again that will be fine by me!
According to a yahoo article found by clicking here This is their list of top 10 favorite Christmas songs of all time. I can’t really argue much with including these in the top 10 – they are classics.
Their list is below:
10. Twelve days of Christmas
9. Jingle Bells
8. The First Noel
7. Deck the Halls
6. Joy to the World
5. Silent Night
4. Let it Snow
3. Jingle Bell Rock
2. Frosty the Snowman
1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Now that we have covered some favorites, here is my list of Christmas songs (and the offending Artist) that need to go away for a long time. Most are parodies or by rock artists. A few of these indicated by an asterisk are from my retail days.
10. Santa Baby (Madonna)*
9. The Twelve Pains of Christmas (Bob Rivers)
8. Father Christmas (The Kinks)
7. Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer (Elmo and Patsy)
6. All I want for Christmas is my Two front teeth (Various artists)
5. I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus (Jimmy Boyd)
4. Any song by Kenny G
3. Santa Claus is Coming to Town (Bruce Springsteen)
2. Run Rudolph Run (Bryan Adams)*
1. Merry Christmas Baby (Bruce Springsteen)*
I am sorry if your favorite song appears on my worst list and I apologize to the fans of the “The Boss” who has two songs that made my list. Have a great week and watch out for the snow – and bad Christmas songs!