The Write Way
18 February 2005
You're Saving That?
Whenever we move house, we usually have a garage sale to try to get rid of all those things we haven't used since we moved into our current house, but I always draw the line at putting some things out for sale.
F'r instance, how could I possible sell those little glass dishes that were Grandma's? Admittedly, I haven't used them once in all the years I've been married ... but you just never know, do you?
And the table cloth and matching napkins that Mum hand-embroidered for her Glory Box before she got married in 1942? Yes, I know they have yellow, age stains on them and that the stitching would probably unravel if I washed them ... but put them out for strangers to paw over? Not on your nelly!
Then there's the rocking horse my kids had as toddlers that I'm saving for my grandchildren when they come ... and the ... Well, I think you get the picture.
Yes, dear reader, I suffer from hoarditis ... But it's only a mild form because I'm not one of those people who washes the plastic bags you get your fruit in at the supermarket or who saves stacks of newspapers. (Ummm ... at least not unless I'm planning another no-dig garden and need lots of papers to suppress the weeds.) Nor do I store dozens and dozens of empty bottles and jars because they look too good to throw in the recycle bin and they're just the right size for mango chutney.
No, I only save good things, like material scraps for the patchwork I'm going to get around to doing again ... one day. And really handy plastic containers that will be perfect for my hydroponic vegie garden ... and magazines that have great recipes I intend to try because the wall of cook books in my kitchen is just not enough.
My defence is that it's genetic. I've already told you about my dad's ability to recycle bits and pieces into car parts: http://www.write101.com/W.Tips260.htm so I like to think I'm carrying on the family tradition. And part of the tradition is that you can't throw out anything that looks as if it might come in handy for something ... anything!
This philosophy is at odds with an interesting concept I remember reading when I was in my late teens, and you know how idealistic you are at that age ... ready to save the world single-handedly ... (That really doesn't look right, does it? "Single-handedly." But that's what we say and it is in the dictionary!)
Plus this was in the late 60s and ... Say no more.
The writer was proclaiming against the Scourge of the Age - Materialism, and he was writing about someone he'd met who only ever had 50 possessions.
Whenever this person needed to acquire something new, he'd give something away so he could maintain his limit of 50 ... Can you imagine how easy it would be to move if you only had 50 possessions to pack?
I wonder how many of us could live like that ...
Not this little black duck!
As I sit here at my desk, I look around and can see 50 books within arm's reach, 50 assorted pens, pencils, rulers, paper clips, 50 bits of paper ... So whether it's 50 possessions or 5,000 is a mute point for me.
Caught me again!
Yes, mute means 'expressed without speech; refraining from producing speech or vocal sound' and comes from the Latin mutus (silent; still; dumb).
Moot, on the other hand means 'of no legal significance (as having been previously decided); open to argument or debate' and comes from an Old English word mot meaning 'a meeting.'
dictionary.com explains that when used as a noun, moot is "a hypothetical case argued by law students as an exercise; an ancient English meeting, especially a representative meeting of the freemen of a shire," and it's this latter that have been the original meaning.
So it's a moot point, not a mute one.
Douglas Irvin found the latest results for the Bulwer-Lytton contest and knew we'd all love to see the latest offerings! This is the winner for 2004:
"She resolved to end the love affair with Ramon tonight . . . summarily, like Martha Stewart ripping the sand vein out of a shrimp's tail . . . though the term "love affair" now struck her as a ridiculous euphemism . . . not unlike "sand vein," which is after all an intestine, not a vein . . . and that tarry substance inside certainly isn't sand . . . and that brought her back to Ramon."
And this one appeals to me ... don't you know people who talk just like this? I do!
"It was a dark and stormy night--actually not all that dark, but more dusky or maybe cloudy, and to say "stormy" may be overstating things a bit, although the sidewalks were still wettish and smelled of ozone, and, truth be told, characterizing the time as night is a stretch as it was more in the late, late afternoon because I think Oprah was still on."
Read more here: http://www2.sjsu.edu/depts/english/2004.htm
Then pop over and see if the weather has improved for Dr Morgenes: http://write101.blogspot.com (Use the Comments button at the end of the entry to add your contribution.)
This week's quiz:
OK ... some easy ones this week.
Write one word for each of the following expressions. In each case, the word must use one of the following prefixes: inter (between), sub (under) or bene (well):
1. to ask for a favour for someone
2. one who receives money etc at a person's death
3. lower in rank
4. ceasing and going on again at intervals
5. to scatter or place randomly
6. to put in the place of another
7. words of blessing
8. an order commanding a person's presence at a court
9. under the earth
10.a remark thrown into a conversation
I couldn't resist just one more entry from the Bulwer-Lytton contest:
"She was a tough one, all right, as tough as a marshmallow--not one of those soft sticky ones used in s'mores, cooked to a turn over a good campfire, or even like the stale chewy type covered in yellow sugar and found at the bottom of a three-week-old Easter basket--no, she was tough like a freeze-dried marshmallow in kid's cereal that despite being shaped like a little balloon and colored a friendly pink are so rock solid that they are responsible for the loss of more baby teeth than most older siblings."
Maybe just one more ... And haven't we all been here?
"To her dismay, Julia found that her right hand seemed to be pulling her into an increasingly horizontal position; first her wrist and forearm, then her upper arm and shoulder, until her cheek lay on her shoulder, leaving her to surmise that the handrail of the airport's moving sidewalk progressed at a more rapid pace than the sidewalk itself."
Last week's quiz:
antibody, plague, encephalitis, cholera, meningitis, ebola, diphtheria, anthrax, botulism, dracunculiasis
1. an infectious, usually fatal disease of warm-blooded animals, especially of cattle and sheep, caused by bacteria; can be transmitted to humans through contact with contaminated animal substances, such as hair, faeces or hides, and is characterised by ulcerative skin lesions - ANTHRAX
2. a severe, sometimes fatal food poisoning characterised by nausea, vomiting, disturbed vision, muscular weakness, and fatigue - BOTULISM
3. an inflammation of the membrane that covers the brain and spinal cord - MENINGITIS
4. highly fatal infectious disease that is caused by the bacteria transmitted primarily by the bite of a rat flea - PLAGUE
5. a special protein produced by the body's immune system that recognizes and helps fight infectious agents and other foreign substances that invade the body - ANTIBODY
6. a painful and debilitating infestation contracted by drinking stagnant water contaminated with Guinea worm larvae that can mature inside a human's abdomen until the worm emerges through a painful blister in the person's skin - DRACUNCULIASIS
7. a severe and often fatal disease in humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys and chimpanzees) caused by a virus; characterised by high fever and severe internal bleeding; can be spread from person to person - EBOLA
8. a viral infection of the brain - ENCEPHALITIS
9. a serious, infectious disease that produces a toxin (poison) and an inflammation in the membrane lining of the throat, nose, trachea, and other tissues - DIPHTHERIA
10. an acute infectious disease of the small intestine, caused by bacteria and characterised by profuse watery diarrohea, vomiting, muscle cramps, severe dehydration and depletion of electrolytes - CHOLERA
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A Little Something Extra
Not quite a writing tip this week, but definitely something you'll appreciate ... some tips on storage and moving!
The following hints can be used by anyone moving house, no matter where they live: http://www.ourbrisbane.com/living/moving/tips/
How to pack books
Pack books together in small moving boxes. Big moving boxes of books can weigh too much. Store your valuable papers in plastic bags. Consider putting moving boxes on pallets or something to keep them off the floor. http://www.private-mini.com/tips.htm
And how to organise your work
You can't be efficient unless you're organised. No ifs or buts. You don't have to be rigid about it, but you must have some system for organising your work. Any system is better than no system, but whatever system you choose, it should make things easier. You don't want a system which requires hours per day of maintenance. http://staff.library.adelaide.edu.au/~sthomas/papers/perseff.html
Word of the week: Hypotyposis (n) a vivid, picturesque description of scenes or events
This is one of those words that little kids love because it's such fun to say ... go on, try it!
(It's easy to remember how to spell this if you sound out all the syllables separately: hi-potty-poh-sis.)
Oxymoron of the week: enough cupboard space
And a Latin phrase to use if you're planning to party this weekend:
Diem perdidi. (I have lost a day.)
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Copyright 2005 Jennifer Stewart
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