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I wish all people were this enthusiastic about reading

13 Jul

People need to read more

If I had more spare time, I’d read a novel. OR I would add a blog post that is more than just a picture with a short description.

Merry Grammarmas to all and to all a goodnight!

27 Jun

Hmmm. That’s odd. It’s June 27. It’s 80 degrees out, perfect beach weather, and I’m drinking an iced coffee. However, I had to check five different technologies to make sure it wasn’t December 25. Today feels like Christmas. Then I realized, today is not Christmas; it must be Grammarmas! You won’t want to sit next to your fireplace, drink hot chocolate, and sing carols. Instead you’ll want to read some Strunk and White and speak only in Iambic Pentameter. This Grammarmas, I got the best presents from Grammar Claus and I want to share them with you.

While perusing the Internet this morning at work, I found a buried treasure of obscure and unusual punctuation. Thank you, Grammar Claus! This is the best Grammarmas present ever! I was so excited as I was reading about their various uses. Believe it or not, it was more exciting than the day that the English Department gives out the course offerings pamphlet for the following semester. It was quite the challenge at work as I could barely contain myself with delight. I needed to take a break so I could calm down and get a tissue to wipe away the tears of joy that were welling up in my eyes.

I won’t make this any more suspenseful for you, as I am sure you are dying to see these punctuation presents. They will be sure to warm your heart as they did mine. I only included my favorite ones because I didn’t want to overwhelm you.

irony-point

This is the Irony Point. It is a backwards question mark. How cool is that! It is used to indicate that the sentence is meant to be understood on a second level. In other words, you could use this when the sentence contains an element of irony or even sarcasm. No, that’s not cool at all؟

love-point

This is the Love Point. So basically, I would use this after every sentence describing these new punctuation marks. :) Before I go on, I want to warn you that these are the marks really caused me to need to take a breather. I completely encourage you to read on, but when you collapse onto the floor, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

exclamation-comma

This is called the Exclamation Comma. It is the beloved child of the exclamation point and the comma. You use it when you want to show excitement, but you don’t want to finish the sentence.

question-comma

The Question Comma is the inquisitive cousin of the exclamation comma.

interrobang

This punctuation is called the Interrobang.  I’m sure you can guess how you would use this one. This is the exact punctuation I would have use when I discovered all of these marks. (“Whatttt?!?!?? THERE’S MORE?!?!?”)

  As you may know, the semicolon used to be my favorite punctuation mark. I’m sorry, semicolon, but we’re done. We had a long relationship that lasted many years. You helped me add dynamic to my writing with varying sentence structure. You worked so well with words like however and therefore and complicated items in a series. Unfortunately, it seems as if our love affair has come to an end. I realized that there is so much more interesting punctuation out there. I am sure you’ll find another gramatician that you will make very happy.

Merry Grammarmas everyone! I hope you enjoyed these wonderful grammar presents.

My Deepest Empathies?

4 Jun

Since I have started writing blog entries and adding content for the American Health Journal, I have convinced myself that I have just about every disease, condition, and infection known to man. It took a matter of four weeks, but this job has definitely turned me into a hypochondriac. Well, to be fair, I talked myself out of a few of these ailments. For example, I am relieved that I do not have a brain tumor; I just get tension headaches at work. No, I don’t have Alzheimer’s—I just forgot where I left my phone. Oh, and did you know that they have a cure for leprosy? It’s called Hansen’s disease now. I was vaccinated for polio, I am not color blind, and I had the chicken pox when I was two. I am also up-to-date on my tetanus shot.

There is one condition that I am absolutely convinced I have that I must share it with you. I have diagnosed myself with mirror-touch synesthesia. Yes, it is a real thing. Mirror-touch synesthesia is a condition that causes people, such as myself, to feel touches that others receive. It has to do with neurons that deal with a person’s ability to empathize. People with MTS have overactive neurons. The idea is, if you see one person touch another in the arm, you will feel the sensation in your own arm. You see someone get pinched, you feel as if you have been pinched yourself. It does not stop with physical sensations. With MTS, people can hardly make it through horror movies because of the extreme feeling that what is happening to the actors, is happening to them.

All of my life, whenever I see someone get hit, I always react as if I have been hit. My friends will always look at me like I am a psychopath when I yell “OUCH!” whenever a stranger gets punched in the arm. I remember the time I watched The Human Centipede. I had to be pinned down to the couch with my eyes held open—no, that is not an exaggeration. I simply don’t like seeing people hurt. Don’t even get me started on the pain I feel when I take Willie to get a booster shot at the Vet.

Ok, well, maybe this isn’t the same thing as mirror-touch synesthesia, but it is an excellent opportunity to discuss a pair of very commonly confused words: empathy and sympathy. Empathy is the ability to experience the same feelings, thoughts, and emotions as another. If you are empathetic you feel what the other feels even though you are experiencing completely different situations. Sympathy is merely the understanding and caring for the suffering of others. When someone’s loved one has died, you offer him/her your deepest sympathy because you don’t feel as sad as they do, but you understand that she/he is hurting.

So to make it easy to remember: with empathy, you feel with someone—with sympathy, you feel for someone. Don’t forget to check out American Health Journal. It’s a cool, new website idea. Instead of just having simple posts like WebMd, AHJ has videos of doctors that explain any sort of medical question imaginable. It’s like being in the doctors’ office without the nuisance of the drive and endless wait in the waiting room.

The Finest Example of Free Verse in the English Language

20 May

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            I found this picture online and it made me think of my friend Alex immediately. He is obsessed with Teddy Roosevelt. Not only is Teddy Alex’s favorite president, but he is also one of his favorite historical figures—second to none other than Gandhi. When I met Alex, he had never been to Sagamore Hill, (Roosevelt’s summer home in Oyster Bay, Long Island) let alone heard of it—and he called himself a Roosevelt fan, whatta poser :). Since I live two towns over from and went to high school in Oyster Bay, I felt obligated to take him to Long Island and show him Sagamore Hill and Teddy’s gravesite. Alex didn’t learn anything on the tour because he already knew all Roosevelt trivia you can think of, but it was still a lot of fun. Anyway, the play on the “world’s most interesting man” meme pretty much exemplifies why Roosevelt is Alex’s favorite president—Teddy Roosevelt was a boss. The man was shot with a pistol at point-blank range during a speech, yet he went on to continue the speech before going to the hospital.

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Alex and I at Sagamore Hill, Oyster Bay, Long Island

So it got me thinking who is my favorite president? And why? Naturally, I knew the answer immediately. Abraham Lincoln, of course. No, I don’t pick favorite historical figures based on their political policies, remarkable actions, or heroic deeds. No, that would be too normal. Abraham Lincoln has been my favorite president ever since I discovered that his Gettysburg Address is widely considered the finest example of free verse in the English language. I can’t think of a better reason to pick a favorite, but let’s see why.

Lincoln was attending an event to dedicate the plot of land that was to be used as the cemetery for those who had died in the Battle of Gettysburg—the turning point of the American Civil War. For the ceremony, Governor Edward Everett, who was known for his oratory skills, was asked to give a speech at the ceremony. He went on for over two hours before Lincoln gave his two-minute address. His Gettysburg Address was a mere and 272 words with ten sentences. He offered more meaningful, profound thoughts in those two minutes than many will in a lifetime.

When simple phrasing would have sufficed, Lincoln used such beautiful, poetic wording. When you say the immortal words

aloud, you can feel their powerful cadence and rhythm. You can only imagine what the audience thought that day when they heard the speech uttered for the first time. The speech also shows how Lincoln was a good writer.

  • Contrasts in speeches get people’s attention. In the Gettysburg Address, there is frequent juxtaposition of contrasting ideas—for example, “those who here gave their lives that this nation might live”.
  • There is an abundance of metaphors of birth, life, and death in the speech—namely through words like conceived, final resting place, and so on.
  • The use of triads in a public address is also very compelling. Lincoln offers some of the most famous triads in history: “…government of the people, by the people, for the people” and “…we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground”.

However, my favorite aspect of the speech is its irony. Take a look at the line, “The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here”. Lincoln says that no one will remember a simple dedication ceremony for a cemetery, but his speech is regarded one of the best in American history. I am even writing a blog about it. Lincoln said these words years ago, but people will continue to remember them for countless years to come.

I’d love to hear who your favorite president or historical figure is and why. In the meantime, here is a reading of The Gettysburg Address. Enjoy!

Willie’s Etymology Lesson! —Dunce

3 May

DunceDoesn’t Willie look so cute in that hat? Of course he does :) This picture was taken in December during Willie’s first birthday party. It’s clearly a birthday hat that he’s wearing. If you thought that is a dunce cap he has on, you must not know Willie too well. He is a very smart boy. He is so smart that he taught me the etymology of the word dunce.

The modern meaning of dunce is a slow-witted person or student in particular. Well, it didn’t always have that meaning. Back in the day, John Duns Scotus was a highly influential medieval theologian and philosopher. Well he still is influential because many of his teachings are still in use today in the Catholic Church. From the middle ages up unto the beginning of the Protestant Revolution, the followers of Duns Scotus were referred to as Duns. Later in the 16th century, Protestants who opposed Duns Scotus’ way of thinking referred to Scotus’ followers in a derogatory way and the term Duns grew into a term of abuse. The Protestants felt that the Duns were closed-minded and unwilling to learn. The spelling of the word and its meaning slowly evolved into how it is used today because of John Duns Scotus and his followers.

Willie is not a dunce, or a Duns, but I think John Duns Scotus would find him adorable!

I’m Hungry! The Proper Use of Exclamations

9 Mar

Are you hungry too? I can’t give you any food but I can give you some chicken dinner. Check out my friend’s blog for a serving of chckndnnr! It’s so informative! It will make you laugh! I enjoy reading the posts and I think you will too! No, I know you will enjoy it! Well, not quite.

Don’t get me wrong—you’ll enjoy reading my friend’s blog, but I didn’t correctly punctuate that paragraph. Exclamations are supposed to be used only with exclamations or commands—for example, “What a great blog!” or “Read the blog!” The use of exclamations only to emphasize a particular sentence is incorrect.

Seinfeld fans may be disappointed to learn that Elaine was wrong in “The Sniffling Accountant” (Episode 5-04) Check out the video below! (Note my proper use of exclamation.)

Her editor, Mr. Lippman, had the right idea about exclamations.

Award :)

8 Feb

I started this blog just about a week ago and I can’t believe the amount of positive feedback I have received! I would like to thank http://thejottersjoint.wordpress.com/ for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger’s award :)

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