Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose. Nothin’, and that’s all that Bobby left me. 1969/1970 Janis Joplin and Others Me and Bobby McGee
Welcome to Drivel Over Coffee. The Drivel rambles through this thing called life, stopping here and there for reflection, an enlightenment, some storytelling, and a touch of humor perhaps. All while my brain reverberates with the best music in the world – The ‘60’s and early 70’s. Yep – Lost in The Sixties.
Hi guys, come on in. Reading the Drivel, I know, has often been a challenge for many of you over the years. I have gone back and re-read some of the early issues. I see where the storyline was pretty cool and interesting compared to today but my language usage was horrendous. Mrs. Crouse, my high-school English teacher, would not have been happy at all. In fact, I may still have been in school. Grammar was not one of my stronger suits, obviously.
English is Hard
I have never understood why we have a word and use it to mean two or more completely different things. Naively I suspect it was just innocent acts of trying to be economical with the use of words fearing we might run out of letter combinations someday and thus run out of words. I personally feel it was a clever way to encode transcriptions to keep secrets from our early enemies by confusing the meanings of our messages. Here are some examples to show what I mean,
• The bandage was wound around the wound.
• The farm was used to produce produce.
• The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
• We must polish the Polish furniture.
• He could lead if he would get the lead out.
• The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
• Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
• A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
• When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
• I did not object to the object.
• The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
• There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
• They were too close to the door to close it.
Of course, the world did not end, and we have not run out of words so the doubling up on words doesn’t really need to happen anymore. Instead the pendulum has swung the other way. We are now making up new words left and right. The millennials are having a field day in their cyber world of abstract cogitation. Two perfectly useless terms that seem to have sprung up in everyday conversation are meme and emoji. They are used everywhere. I firmly believe people use these terms don’t even know what they mean. Like I overheard a sweet old gray-haired grandma in the grocery store tell her friend that her granddaughter sends her a text message and calls her “meme”. She thought it was so cute.
Meme and Emoji are two newbie terms that are like fingernails scratching the old slate blackboards. Yeouw! Surely, you all know about these terms. Just in case, Fritz doesn’t know, Memes are cultural symbols and social ideas that spread virally, primarily with the intent to either make people laugh or to make fun of others. The meme content itself is usually something of minor everyday consequence: jokes about dad, urban legends, TV and movie references, human and animal oddities. In rare cases, memes can be profound art and music curiosities, and even philosophical ideas.
According to Cecil Adams of theStraightDope.com, the concept of memes “is either really deep or really, really obvious.” The majority of internet memes are transmitted by 20-something millennials. This is because that age group is hyper connected and enamored with social media. The average age of meme users is increasing, though, as Generation X and Baby Boomer users discover the entertainment fun of spreading memes to their spreads.
Hey, Baby Boomers – Have you yet to discover the entertainment of spreading memes? I have no use for this term, Really, we are talking about an image/video with a caption. Whoopie! Anyway, I am still working on my second adult coloring book. Can we slow things down a bit? But no, right on the heels of the Meme thing is the Emoji revolution or the other way around I guess. Hang onto the handles of your walker friend’s emoji’s will blow your mind.
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Emoji. Emoji (Japanese: 絵文字(えもじ), English: /ɪˈmoʊdʒi/; Japanese:[emodʑi]; singular emoji, plural emoji or emojis ) are ideograms and smileys used in electronic messages and web pages. Emoji exist in various genres, including facial expressions, common objects, places and types of weather, and animals. They are much like emoticons, but emoji are actual pictures instead of typographics. Originally meaning pictograph, the word emoji comes from Japanese e (絵, “picture”) + moji (文字, “character”). The resemblance to the English words emotion and emoticon is purely coincidental.
Originating on Japanese mobile phones in 1999, emoji have become increasingly popular worldwide in the 2010s after being added to several mobile operating systems. They are now considered to be a large part of popular culture in the west. In 2015, Oxford Dictionaries named an emoji the Word of the Year. An emoji (絵文字) which translates to “picture character” is an electronic pictograph (picture conveying a message) initially used in Japan, and now all over the world. Emojis were first invented by Shigetaka Kurita and became more mainstream when they were introduced on the iPhone in 2011. Today, Emojis are now part of the Unicode character set, and can be used in e-mails and text messages on IOS or Android devices and has been called one of the fastest growing languages ever.
Friends as soon as the weather warms, I think it behooves each of us to go exploring and pick out our favorite cave. We are most certainly heading right back to those times where only pictograms will be used for communication. In my limited research, I have found that there are complete specialized dictionaries of emojis for various trades and specialties. What oh what is our world coming to? Our public schools have already discontinued the teaching of cursive writing so none of our kids will even be able to sign their name or read a signature for that matter. They are allowed to attend school with the electronic cellular devices instead of checking them at the door. Friends tell me it is a real zoo.
Hash tag/ Pound Sign
My last rant on useless words is the term “Hashtag”. A hashtag is a type of metadata tag used on social networks such as Twitter and other micro-blogging services, allowing users to apply dynamic, user-generated tagging that makes it possible for others to easily find messages with a specific theme or content; it allows easy, informal markup of folk taxonomy without need of any formal taxonomy or markup language.
Users create and use hashtags by placing the number sign or pound sign “#” (also known as the hash character) in front of a string of alphanumeric characters, usually a word or unspaced phrase, in or at the end of a message. The hashtag may contain letters, digits, and underscores. Searching for that hashtag will yield each message that has been tagged with it. A hashtag archive is consequently collected into a single stream under the same hashtag. For example, on the photo-sharing service Instagram, the hashtag #bluesky allows users to find all the posts that have been tagged using that hashtag. Wouldn’t this be just as easy to find in Instagram if it read the poundtag #bluesky……. Seems the same to me.
Because of its widespread use, hashtag was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in June 2014. The term hashtag can also refer to the hash symbol itself when used in the context of a hashtag. Formal taxonomies can be developed from the folk taxonomy rendered machine-readable by the markup that hashtags provide; this process is called folksonomy. Well, isn’t this just special? If you haven’t thrown this away yet, I would like to move onto some other things.
I was having mid-morning coffee with Bill, a friend of mine, at a new coffee shop last week. His girlfriend called him and said, “Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can’t figure it out or how to get it started.” Her boyfriend asked, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished?” The blonde said, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a tiger.” Her boyfriend decided to go over and help with the puzzle. Bill asked if I would like to ride along so I said sure. Her place wasn’t far away. She let us in and showed us she had the puzzle spread all over the table. Bill, the adoring boyfriend, studied the pieces for a moment, looked at the box, then turned to her and said, “First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a tiger.” He took her hand and very patiently said, “Second, I want you to relax. Let’s have a nice cup of hot chocolate and then…..,” he sighed, “Let’s put all of these frosted flakes back into the box.”
Bill and I jumped back into his car and returned to the coffee shop. We managed quite the chuckle on the way back. Safely back sipping our brews, mine the usual French Roast and his was designer double something something triple decker half gainer squirt of something blended or other latte. So, I ask, “Bill, just where did you meet this gal? She is really cute but maybe a little dizzy?” “Oh, she really is not like that. She is smart.
Sometimes, she gets too far into the abstract and can’t see the logical things in front of her. It really is kind of funny. I met her at a hotel restaurant, I saw an attractive woman sitting alone at the next table. Suddenly, she sneezes, and a glass eye came flying out of her eye socket. It hurled by me, and I snatched it from the air and handed it back to her.
“This is so embarrassing.” She says, and promptly pops her eye back in place. “I’m sorry to have disturbed you. Let me buy dinner to make it up to you. May I join you?” I nodded. It turns out the woman is a stimulating conversationalist, stunningly pretty, and I find we have a lot in common. I get her phone number and asked, “You are the most charming woman I’ve ever encountered. Are you this nice to every guy you meet?” “No.” she replied. “You just happened to catch my eye.”
The nearer I get to the end of days, I find I subconsciously have narrowed the circle of retail destinations that I frequent. I am down to the grocery store, drugstore, lumberyard, café. I move at a slower pace. As such, I tend to watch people much more. I have noticed that many people seemed concerned about the germs that may be living on the shopping carts. They come in the store and take great care wiping down the handles with the Purel sanitary wipes that kill 99.9% of the germs. They them will take another wipe, wipe down the same area killing 99.9% or .1% of the germs that were left after the first wipe. Now if that isn’t quite enough, they have brought their recyclable sacks to put their purchases in. Off they go. Usually the very first department is the produce. Here we will browse through the apples, oranges, peaches, grapes, bananas, etc. We will pick up a fruit, look at it, put it back, take another, examine it, over and over. Perhaps, we will sneeze or cough along the way. Did we sanitize our hand after we picked up each fruit? Uh – No we didn’t did we? And why not? Oh, we don’t eat the outside of the fruit. Well, you don’t eat the handle on the cart, do you? Rubber gloves maybe? Think about it the next time you pick up a grape to sample.
…. Well my friends, thanks for allowing me back into your day. It is always an honor. If I can make at least one-person smile, laugh till they leak, or maybe spit out a drink, my day was not wasted. Until we meet again -TA!”
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