Thursday, June 24, 2010

Simply (and wonderfully) said

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

I was looking for an apt quote as a tagline for my own blog when I discovered this gem by Robert Brault. A Robert Brault Reader is a wonderful blog of original sayings that will make you pause, smile and think. Here are a few of Brault’s sayings:

"Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true."

"My age? Let me put it this way. In the dance of life, I am applauding the band."

"Observing your child at make-believe, you realize that the most underrated of family values is its entertainment value."

"Failure would be a bad thing if it didn't reopen so many opportunities."

"Stay out of the court of self-judgment, for there is no presumption of innocence."

"Do not judge yourself until you're done. And if you judge yourself a failure, you're not done."

"A parent's love is whole no matter how many times divided."

"We've heard that ignorance of math in the U.S. is growing geometrically, whatever that means."

"Although we try to shield our kids from the ugly side of life, inevitably we must watch as they turn over every rock -- including the one we made certain we're sitting on."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

So? Whatever....

The New York Times’ May 30th article Follow My Logic? A Connective Word Takes the Lead discussed the rise of the word “so” which “may be the new 'well,' 'um,' 'oh' and 'like.' No longer content to lurk in the middle of sentences, it has jumped to the beginning, where it can portend many things: transition, certitude, logic, attentiveness, a major insight.”

It seems to fall in line with other words and phrases that a recent poll found to be the most over-used today: “whatever,” “anyway,” “it is what it is,” and “at the end of the day.”

Although I have my own list of over-used, misused and redundant words and phrases in the current vernacular, I must admit first of all that I’m guilty of “anyway.” I’ll try and correct myself if the rest of the world would kindly refrain from the words and expressions I find most annoying and redundant:

“Listen up” - Whatever happened to just “Listen”?
“At this point in time.” Why not just “Now”?
“At that point in time.” "Then”?
“Sleeping in” - in what? If it means sleeping late, why not say so?

New words and phrases make their way into our language every year from Silicon Valley, advertising, street slang, the media, business jargon, politics, and now from the abbreviations written on email messages, Twitter and texting.

LOL? When I received this at the bottom of an email message from a male colleague a few years ago, I didn’t know it meant “lots of laughs.” I was taken aback because I misunderstood, believing it meant “lots of love.” Fortunately, I was clued in immediately by a co-worker.

So listen, if you have a language pet peeve, I hope you’ll let me know.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Another reminder of the ‘50s

In this morning’s newspaper, the “Today’s Birthday” column noted that Bill Hayes is celebrating his 85th! He was a popular singer back in television’s early days on the weekly variety show “Your Show of Shows.” Later on he had the top recording of the “Ballad of Davy Crocket” and a long career as an actor on a TV soap.

His name doesn’t come up often all these years later of course, yet I am reminded of him every time I hear a certain phrase.

In 1953 Hayes was appearing on Broadway in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “Me and Juliet.” One Saturday afternoon, as I was walking past an alley onto which the stage door opened, I heard the kind of screams that come from a mob of thrilled fans. As I turned to see what was happening, I noticed a throng of people crowded around someone. Looking closer, I saw it was Bill Hayes. He looked kind of apprehensive and not sure if he liked all the attention. Just then a member of the stage crew walked past the crowd and yelled to Hayes, “What price glory?” Indeed.