An Ordinary Post

Ordinarily ordinary

Ordinary. Hmm. A post about ordinary. Usual. Normal. Routine. Vanilla. Common. How do you talk about ordinary without seeming, well, ordinary?

Of course, if it weren’t for ordinary, we wouldn’t have extraordinary. It would just be extra. Everyone likes extraordinary. Some people get the “roar” in it when they pronounce extraordinary, as in “ext ROAR dinary.” And some like to make it into two words, like “extra ordinary.” I wonder why the definition of extraordinary means “unordinary”, and not “more ordinary than ordinary?” I imagine most people would hope to be viewed as extraordinary.

wordcloudOf course, we could be talking about the Ordinary in a Catholic Mass. That’s the part that is the same every time. Sometimes the same word is used to describe the book that defines the order of a Mass. That would be kind of a specialized post, though. Extraordinarily arcane and esoteric.

Or maybe we could talk about going down for the ordinary at the Boar’s Head. In archaic English this referred to a one-choice, one-price meal served at an inn. A sort of old-world blue plate lunch special. We could save up a couple of ordinaries to pay for it. That’s what we used to call penny-farthings here in North America when we were still under the British.

When they read your last will and testament, they used to read it in front of an Ordinary. Now they call them Probate judges. Or we could talk about the area in a coat of arms that contains the ordinaries. That would be kind of dull, though.

In fact, this whole post has turned out kind of ordinary. Dull and uninteresting. Guess that’s why it’s an ordinary post.

Ain’t It Funny How Time Slips Away?

She finally looked at me in love, and she was gone

Holy cow! Where has the time gone? I just looked away from the monitor for a minute, and “Bam!” It’s suddenly nine months later. An entire Homo sapiens gestation period gone by in an instant! Did any of you give birth while I was away? If so, congratulations! I’m sorry I missed it. And if you’re a man and you gave birth, well, just, “Wow!”

Nine months is a long time. Lots of things can happen in nine months. And things did happen! Summer in North America came and went, and is on its way again. Winter in North America came, and is gone. We’ve passed the vernal equinox. It’s astronomical spring! Woohoo!

Read more ruminating

That Which Is Forbidden

You can’t do that!

“It is forbidden!” Even the sound of it is, well, forbidding. “I forbid you!” Ouch! I think it may be universal that prohibition of something that we desire to have, or something that we desire to do, stings a bit. The free will that we all have bristles when we’re told that we can’t. And if the forbidding seems arbitrary or capricious, it stings all the worse. But if nothing was forbidden, if we could do and say and have all the things we wanted, we would live a chaotic, anything-goes existence. We need some prohibitions to live together.

Alligator_no_swimming
Forbidden, but for a good reason

What is the purpose of forbidding something in the first place? Why are some things forbidden? And why are others not? Why are some things that were once forbidden now not forbidden? And why are some things that were perfectly fine in antiquity forbidden today? Seems rather, well, arbitrary and capricious, doesn’t it?

Read more ruminating

Home Improvement with rudyblues

Or, why I’ll never have one of those PBS home improvement shows

Dateline, July 5, 2016, Podunk, Illinois. rudyblues, local malcontent and all around grumpy old man, has decided to take the week off and paint the exterior trim on his house. That he made a decision at all is news enough for some, but that he has decided to do something productive is truly a man-bites-dog type of story. (If the ASPCA is listening, the dog is fine and is expected to make a full recovery).

Did I mention I was painting the house? Yes, that’s the same reaction I had when I made the decision. “Are you nuts?” Not that it’s all that big a deal. It’s really just the trim, since the whole thing is a small sea of vinyl siding. And it’s really just on the front of the house. But still, come on, it’s rudyblues we’re talking about here. The last time he decided to do something this ambitious Jimmy Carter was president!

HomeBeforeNow, as you might be able to tell from the photo, my home has zero curb appeal. No, in fact, it has negative curb appeal. In a recent survey of passengers in autos that stopped when I flagged them down, and of pedestrians who weren’t fast enough to outrun me, a full 62% said the curb in front of my house was more appealing than my house. Now mind you, it is a fine curb, but it’s high time to improve my home’s curb appeal.

Read more ruminating

Pity Epitome

The epitome of an epitome

Epitome. Funny little word. Comes to us from Greek via Latin. Via comes to us via Latin, too. Does the English language have any words that aren’t nicked from some other language? I suppose it does, but even some of those seem to be from older languages. My kingdom for a single word that is genuinely and originally from the English language! But I digress. Thanks to Latin, I’m able to do just that.

Aristo
Aristotle

Anyway, epitome. From Latin, via the Greek word epitomē, which derived from epitemnein, meaning “abridge”, a conjunction of epi, meaning “in addition”, and temnein, meaning “to cut.” So, let’s see, “in addition to cut,” maybe “an additional cut,” abridgment, how did we get to where we are with today’s most prevalent meaning, a “perfect example of a particular quality or type?”

Read more ruminating

Drop What You’re Doing and Drop on By

Getting the drop on drop

Wow! Lots of meanings for the word drop. And lots of idioms. I’m just going to drop a few on you, and that will just be a drop in the bucket! So before the bottom drops out of your interest in this post, and you drop it like a hot rock, let me tell you I’m glad you could drop by, and feel free to drop me a line in the comments below.

words-639303_640The Daily Post folks just dropped this hint in my lap, and I sure hope I don’t drop the ball on this one, but before it’s over you might ask me to drop the subject. Now I can drop a clanger at the drop of a hat, so if I see your jaw drop, and it gets so quiet I can hear a pin drop, then I’ll know you’re about to tell me to drop dead.

Read more ruminating