MISNAMING SMOKEY BEAR

REFLECTIONS

(updated every Wednesday)

by Steve Liddick

With all the important issues troubling the world, one of my pet peeves probably should not hold a place of great weight.

But I need to at least go on record as having objected to the use of the word “the” in front of so many entities.

Like “Smokey The Bear.” I mean, nobody calls John Smith “John The Human.”

Smokey is a bear. Therefore, the proper form of referring to him is: “Smokey Bear.”

That goes for the nation of Crimea. How many times have we heard about happenings in “The Crimea?” Nobody says “The Russia,” which is Crimea’s next door neighbor. Nobody says “The Alabama” or “The New York.”

As my grandfather often said, “this is something up with which I will not put.”

So spread the word all of you members of the Language Police. “The” has no place in front of the names of nations, states, people, or bears.

If I have to go door-to-door to do it, I vow to reeducate every one of my fellow residents of the error of their ways here in The California.

 

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STICKERS ON FRUIT

REFLECTIONS

by Steve Liddick

Have you ever wondered why there are stickers on fruit sold in supermarkets? Those usually include the name of the company that sold the fruit to the grocery chain, along with a picture of the item, itself. I mean, it’s pretty obvious that a banana is a banana and a pear is a pear without attaching a picture of it to tell you what it is sticking on.

The fruit was probably grown by some poor farmer, possibly in a third world country, who invested money and labor, risked pests, drought, fire, and the wrath of God to grow what sits in a basket in your kitchen or dining room. Then the middleman came along and took ownership, slapped a sticker on the fruit, and shipped it to market.

I have several objections to the practice. Objection 1: I don’t need to be told what is so obvious. Objection 2: I don’t care who caused said fruit to get it to my supermarket. Objection 3: It’s almost impossible to get the #^%*@* sticker off the fruit.

Pardon my language.

Years ago, when I worked at a Los Angeles radio station I wondered aloud in a newscast why the U.S. Postal Service used a glue on the back of stamps that ensured that the stamp would come off if even slightly moistened while in transit. I suggested that postal officials should consider partnering with the creators of bumper stickers so they could make stamps that would stay stuck. Those #^%*@* bumper stickers never come off.

I apologize if there are any church ladies around..

Years later the postal service, whether having heard of my suggestion or simply put two-and-glue together on their own and adopted the bumper sticker idea with their stamps.

We all know that government is slow to act, if it acts at all. But you have to wonder why it took them centuries to realize the need to improve their stickum.

I leave you with this suggestion: Never put a U.S. Postal Service stamp on your vehicle’s bumper because those #^%*@* things will never come off.

Oops!

SOPHISTICATE VRS CLODHOPPER

REFLECTIONS

by Steve Liddick

Do you want to look sophisticated? Do you want people to think you’re really hep? Do you want to appear as though you are cookin’ with gas?

Okay, first of all don’t use words like “hep” and phrases like “cookin’ with gas.” Nobody has said those things since the 1940s.

What is it about some people that they hold onto the phrases of their day—long after their day?

I guess some are big fans of the passé.

“Radical” was worn out by the end of the 90s but I still hear it. I don’t remember when “super” passed away, but it’s still out there for those who have not “gotten the memo.”

See? Now they have me doing it.

I once worked with a guy who, when someone said something interesting, he would say. “swingin’.” That went out of fashion in the 1950s along with “ginchy” and blue suede shoes.

“Cool” seems to have survived the ages, while “hot” has not. “Cool” jumped the acceptability barrier and continues as a symbol of approval.

Hard to say why some catchwords and phrases live on while others fall out of wide usage.

A woman I worked with a few years ago did everything imaginable to appear chic, worldly, and way out there on the front lines of really smart stuff. However, her efforts were so clumsy that she came off looking like a hick.

She would use what she apparently believed were the current catch phrases, “Don’t go there,” and “I didn’t see that coming,” not realizing that they had long since been relegated to the conversational slag heap.

She apparently never heard the groans coming from others in meetings when she would toss in words like “Paradigm,” “Algorithms,” and “Modalities.”

I guess she figured her bosses would think she was really hep.

If I ever again hear someone say “at this point in time” I may “toss my cookies” on their blue suede shoes.

ADDICTED TO OUR IPHONES

REFLECTIONS – Updated every Wednesday

by Steve Liddick

We are becoming a nation of addicts. I don’t mean drugs, although that is another problem to discuss at another time. No, we are becoming addicted to our smart phones.

You see it all the time; mostly young people walking down the street talking or texting on their iphones, seemingly unaware of the world around them. I have seen people walk into lamp posts, parking meters, and even into other people. Occasionally you see couples in restaurants or two people walking side by side, talking on their phones, not conscious of the actual human next to them. You have to wonder who they are talking to. Possibly to each other, but they apparently don’t know how to relate in the old-fashioned face-to-face mode.

I went to a county fair once and saw a young woman sitting on her horse, completely oblivious to her surroundings and–I’m not making this up–she was texting. It was as though the horse was not even there, just a convenient place to sit. At the very least she might have taken her weight off the poor animal and found a conventional chair to sit on to do her texting.

More and more car crashes these days involve drivers who were texting instead of paying attention to the road ahead of them. Texting while driving is at least as dangerous as driving drunk.

I own an iphone, of course. It would be un-American not to. I’m not addicted to it, though. I only use it for phone calls, email, messaging friends, connecting to the Internet, reading my Kindle books, checking Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, monitoring my checking account, watching TV shows and movies on Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Crackle, taking pictures, checking Craigslist, ordering items through Amazon, and as a calculator. I don’t wear a watch anymore, so I use the phone’s clock and alarm features to give me the time and to remind me when to walk the dog, water the outdoor plants, take my pills, and carry the trash down to the road for weekly pickup.

But I it’s not like I’m addicted or anything—like today’s young people.

Comments are invited

 

MISNAMING SMOKEY BEAR

REFLECTIONS

by Steve Liddick

With all the important issues troubling the world, one of my pet peeves probably should not hold a place of great weight.

But I need to at least go on record as having objected to the use of the word “the” in front of so many entities.

Like “Smokey The Bear.” I mean, nobody calls a human “John The Smith.”

Smokey is a bear. Therefore, the proper form of referring to him is: “Smokey Bear.”

That goes for the nation of Crimea. How many times have we heard about happenings in “The Crimea?” Nobody says “The Russia,” which is Crimea’s next door neighbor. Nobody says “The Alabama” or “The New York.”

As my grandfather often said, “this is something up with which I will not put.”

So spread the word, all of you members of the Language Police. “The” has no place in front of the names of bears, nations, states, or people.

If I have to go door-to-door to do it, I vow to reeducate every one of my fellow residents of the error of their ways here in The California.