Quicksilver

Posted on March 11, 2012. Filed under: Humor, language, Mythology | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

I suspect that recognition of his tattle-tale talents took all the fun out of it for Hermes, so he loaned those winged boots and caduceus to Mercury, his Roman cousin (face it, they had to be related in that little Peyton Place) and let him take all the press as messenger of the gods.

And that explains how the winged Mercury (Quicksilver to his buds) became so intertwined with the messenger business…   that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.

But, it doesn’t explain why you were subjected to this strange little stroll through ancient mythology.  Pleas, let me count the ways:

  1. I truly was stranded just short of inspiration for the next segment of this cruise.  What I needed was a segue (single syllable) between Mercury (the god) and the Press/Media (self-proclaimed gods).
  2. The 9 Muses ploy did get me moving on a train of thought.  I didn’t even know about Hermes, or who the heck all those muses were, until I punched in “mercury” on my smart phone.  So, none of this was really my fault; blame Wikipedia and Mobil Britannica.
  3. It was basically just a lot of fun stringing all those thought snippets into a story of sorts.
  4. Now, really, aren’t you glad you came along for the ride?

Mercury, a lesser god, enhanced his stature by being a go-between for the big gods.  As we continue our cruise, I will use that relationship as a metaphor for present day media-expert relations.  You are in for a treat, because, in this pursuit, we will encounter such terms as litigation, pismires, journalists, reporters, pismires, yellow journalism, pismires, lawyers (yucca-pah-too-ee!  Sorry.  That was a reaction, not a noun), and even pismires, all of which put the itch in my woolen long johns.

Next up:  Ship’s itinerary – a quick review.

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Why Not Me?

Posted on February 27, 2012. Filed under: General Interest, language | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

segueTo make a smooth, almost imperceptible transition from one state, situation, or subject to another,  (se-gway; mid 18th century, Italian/’Latin)

So, what do you think:  Going from whining about the Great Learned to actually sliding into a brief discussion about a specific word, and using “segue” as the opener?  Smooth, huh?

The first time I heard this word, it was pronounced as a single syllable, “seg.”  That articulation seemed to fit the dictionary definition nicely.  So, I kept that template in my mind as the proper enunciation.

Then came that two-wheeled scooter, the Segway.  Since I was happy that segue was a single syllable word, I did not connect that scooter with my neat-sounding smoothie.  Shortly after that, segue became popular in celebrity speech (it was “in” so it must have sounded refined), and now, carefully – even painfully – pronounced se-gway. My, how that grated on my nerves; from a smooth, single-syllable sigh to a harsh two-syllable thought-stopper that sounded like a donkey’s bray or a pig snort.  The dictionary pronunciation takes away from the simple symmetry of the meaning.

The dictionary credits Italian and Latin as the root for the word.  The Great Learned used the spelling from Language A, and called it Language B even though the B people pronounced that spelling differently.  Italians can pronounce their language any way they wish, and Latin is a dead language (Ancient Rome) so no one really gives a hoot how they pronounced it.  Over here, we do not pronounce “league” as lee-gway, “Teague” as tee-gway, or “fatigue” as fa-tee-gway.

Give it a try.  Segue as though you are sighing.  Let other, more refined persons SE-gway like a braying jack-ass or snorting pig.

Why not me?  Why not you?  As previously noted, there is no manual for how we conduct LIFE.  It is truly done “on the fly.”  The Great Learned do not have a lock on its protocol.  We can do it on our own terms, or the terms of others.  That choice belongs to each of us.  Always has, always will.  As for this very incidental side issue, I will single-syllable segue into the next topic.  (ASIDE:  The spell-checker in this authoritarian PC took exception to all my hyphenated words and suggested I do them in accepted format.  It was a pleasure to click ignore suggestion repeatedly.)

Next up:  Passion — A real pain

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