This blog, published free of charge since September 2007, is a way for me to stay in touch with seasonal bookstore visitors from afar and with all customers and friends when I am closed during the winter. My annual seasonal retirement will begin this year on November 1, and I expect to be back and open again by June 2021. Meanwhile, thank you so much for following Books in Northport and for supporting Dog Ears Books.
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Saturday, February 22, 2014
February 21, 2014
[I wrote this on Friday but waited until this (Saturday) morning to post it. Please note that today is Northport's Winter Carnival out at Braman Hill -- chili cook-off contest, cardboard sled races for the little ones, milk jug curling for the older crowd, etc., etc. A fine, wint'ry time will be had by all who attend.]
View out front window
No single large topic. It’s a wild, windy day, and my brain doesn’t
want to settle down. Big news is that the ice caves are over!Open water,
moving ice, very dangerous! Don’t go! Okay, that was my public service
announcement, and now for the more mundane agenda:
(1)I’ve been noticing
something for several years now. When I was in grade school (and my grade’s
spelling champion from third through sixth grade), we spelled anyone, anywhere,
anyhow, anyway as single words; any time was two separate words, as was any more. We had no rule to tell us whether to separate
the words or not, any more than French has a rule for whether a noun takes the
feminine or masculine article. It was just something we had to learn, one
instance a time. Increasingly these days, American-style English seems to jam
together any two words of which the first word is any. I’m not going off on a tirade about this. It’s no
big deal. Language evolves, and common
phrases tend to associate more closely over time, baby sitter becoming baby-sitter becoming babysitter. In fact, copy editor became copy-editor became copyeditor, and all the young copyeditors operate on the
jammed-together style. Well, yes, I can learn new tricks and make a point to do so from time to time. But
change my ways on these spellings? Don’t look for me to be doing that any
time soon. Old spelling champions’
habits die hard. -- And there the spelling program wants me to squash together die and hard,
but diehard (a noun) isn’t what I mean: I’m talking about dying hard! Sheesh!
(2)Here’s another recent
linguistic phenomenon. The word so
used to function almost exclusively as a transition word, an alternative to thus or therefore or in order to. Some years ago, I noticed someone using it apparently at
random, not as a transition from one thought to a logical implication but
simply to begin a sentence. She might be answering a question or merely
introducing a topic. "So, we were doing such-and-such...." The word so here functioned basically as a verbal throat-clearing, with no more meaning than uh. Again, this is not a tirade I’m embarking on. No big
deal. But I find it interesting to note how pervasive what I call "the throat-clearing so" has become. Listen for it the next time you hear
someone being interviewed on radio. And beware (if you have not already
succumbed), because it can be contagious, which is no doubt that’s why we’re hearing it
everywhere these days. Not very important, and yet it strikes my ear as a kind
of verbal tic, and I’m trying mightily to resist it.
(3)Well, then there’s the
academic who thinks we could get all perfectly well without commas, but I’m not
about to get into that one. You can guess which side I’d be on, anyway.
(4)About leaving comments
on this blog: More than one person has asked me in frustration if they must
have a Google account to leave comments. “It keeps asking me for my Google
account name!” My intrepid, persevering sister (one of them; actually, I have two, both
of whom are intrepid and persevering) figured out why she was encountering that
particular roadblock. It was because her browser default was set to Google,
i.e., she was on Google (on?)
while trying to leave a comment. If you don’t want a Google account, you can
visit via another browser and post a comment as Anonymous. What was interesting
to me was that people could be on Google and not know it. But, more importantly, now that I've given you the key, please go back a couple of days and leave a comment on the most recent book review post to be eligible for a book giveaway. A name will be chosen a week from today, Saturday, March 1 (weather permitting!).
The way it looks today
The LAW OFFICE sign will be
gone from the front of the building by summer. We were shocked and saddened by
the sudden, unexpected death of our lawyer neighbor, Bill. Moving forward, however,
David was hard at work on this stormy Friday, painting the floor a brighter,
cheerier color as he prepares to expand his gallery space right up to the
windows onto Waukazoo Street.
A can of paint, a bowl of chili from the Garage Bar & Grill -- let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! -- As if we had a choice, right?