Contradiction in Terms
You say to-may-toe; I say toh-mah-tah. Deal with it.
Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Nikki Talks to God

NIKKI: Lord, why do I have so much work to do? Why can't I have sane clients who know what they want and still want the same thing two days later?

GOD: My child, you were concerned that you and your husband would not be able to send your child to school. And lo! I have inundated you both with a veritable deluge of projects, that your child may grow in wisdom and learning. As for clients, they are the work of the Devil.

NIKKI: Amen to that. But, um, about the money thing? It's not that I'm not grateful, but I distinctly remember opting for the "billionaire-relative-I've-never-heard-of-keels-over-and-leaves-me-loads-of-pelf" route.

GOD: Ah, but then you would not appreciate My bounty, and would no doubt fritter it away on foolishness such as cosmetics and original video games.

NIKKI: Okay, in the first place, Lord, even I cannot manage to spend billions on Anew retroactive cream; and in the second place, look how the good people at 3DO have suffered because I bought pirated versions of Heroes of Might and Magic!

GOD: You do not realize that I have a plan for penurious game developers as well. You are merely too flawed and mortal to grasp My grand scheme... yet you persist in questioning Me every time we have these discussions.

NIKKI: I know, Lord, but if You didn't want me to be this way, then why would You make me this way? It's really not kosher that You go around penalizing us mortals for what may be considered, as it were, manufacturing defects. I know greater thinkers than me have pondered this over the years, but You know, I'm just sayin'.

GOD: This, too, is unfortunately beyond your limited comprehension. I work in mysterious ways, it's well-documented.

NIKKI: You always fall back on the "I'm divine, you're not" argument, You know that? You are a cheaty debater.

GOD: When I do it, it is called "lateral thinking", not "cheating". Now be quiet and do your job; and let Me get on with Mine. I don't even know why I bother responding to your laughably-named "prayers"; I ought to delegate it to some minor saint, really...

NIKKI: Because You love us troublesome lambs more than the placid sheep, right? It's in Your book; it's well-documented.

(I'm aware that most people don't go around reporting their conversations with the Almighty, but you know I tell you guys everything. Obviously, this is the slightly edited version, by the way, because of course the Lord got the last word, as He always does. But this is my blog, so until He puts up one of His own, I get to decide how these things are presented. So there.)
Nikki bit in at 5:22 PM :: ::
Monday, March 07, 2005

Miss Herd

A friend recounted this anecdote today, and I just have to share it:

Okay, so Friend (Her name is Rea) went grocery shopping for the family one day, because the helper who usually does it was sick. Rea was dutifully picking up and ticking off items from the list the helper had given her when she came upon the mysterious notation: LIGO FLUM.

Cleverly, she deduced that it must be some new product by local canned food manufacturer Ligo. So she hied off to the canned goods section and scoured the shelves, but found only the usual selection of every sardine variety known to man. She therefore dug up her handy-dandy cell phone and called the helper at home.

REA: 'Day, ano 'tong LIGO FLUM?


REA: Oo nga. Ano nga 'yun?

HELPER: 'Yung gustong-gusto po ng Daddy niyo.

REA: Ng Daddy ko? (Rea pauses to pummel her memory for a list of her father's favorite comestibles.) Alin?

HELPER: 'Yung ano po, yung nilalagyan ng rosemary at saka mint jelly.

The light dawns.


HELPER: 'Yun nga po. 'Yung LIGO FLUM.
Nikki bit in at 2:59 PM :: ::
Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Grumpy Grammarian

I have to confess that I'm actually bothered when people post in text-speak on my blog.

I know this is pretty damn snotty of me, but I'm an editor by nature and nurture and I can't help it. When sending SMS messages myself by cell phone, I don't use text-speak--I spell everything out. Hell, I punctuate. Friends know that if I fail to capitalize the word 'I', for instance, I am either really harassed or in the process of being abducted by aliens (during which event, it may be assumed, I would be feeling harassed).

It's not that I'm some kind of puritanical stickler for formal English in some rarefied, snootier-than-thou form. If you read this blog regularly, then you know that I delight in slang. I all but roll around in rhapsody over bastardized forms of pidgin English, and I practically had paroxysms of glee over Rei's 'gangsta-speak' post. I thoroughly enjoy the evolution of language.

Text-speak, however, seems more like a devolution to me, a lemming-like mass plunge into the waters of conceptual paucity and linguistic sloth. While I understand its use in the context of a cellular phone's compact screen and cramped keyboard, I fail to understand the necessity for its application when using a computer keyboard. Is it really that much harder to type 'people' instead of 'ppl', and 'anyway' instead of 'nwei'?

My stepfather-in-law once said to me that the purpose of language is to facilitate communication: if you understand what the other person is telling you, then language has been served. To an extent, I agree that language is meant to be a tool; and I am equally fascinated by language whether one chooses to wield it like a scalpel or swing it like a baseball bat. My point, however, is that if you insist on using your scalpel to slice sausage, does it not, eventually, cease to function as a scalpel?
Grammar and Punctuation: the possessive form
It has attracted my attention that many otherwise eloquent people don't seem to know how to indicate possession when using nouns that end in 'S'. So for your edification, here's how it works:

For singular nouns, add an 'apostrophe-s'. (E.g. "Ellis's anger was directed toward her mother.")

For plural nouns, add an apostrophe. (E.g. "The cousins' travails were by no means over.")

This generally only gets tricky when dealing with nouns that appear to be plural in form, but are in fact singular in function. For instance, since the Philippines, as a nation, is a single entity (I'm aware that this is highly arguable, but we're talking grammar, not politics), we should write "the Philippines's economy", not "the Philippines' economy".

Another exception is when dealing with historical personages, as the proper phrasing for some includes "Isis' temple" and "Moses' staff". However, since I don't expect y'all to be discussing Isis and Moses in your daily writing, don't worry about it and just stick to the two main rules outlined above.
Nikki bit in at 1:36 PM :: ::
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