Credit Shakespeare With Oyster Supremacy

In irony of ironies, considering how poor I am, I woke up this morning and opened the shutters in my living room to see the sun rising from the east and said outloud (yes, I do talk to myself), "The world is my oyster."  Of course, it’s not, and actually I said, "The woild is my oyster," mimicking a Mafioso or someone from stereotypical New Jersey/New York.

That got me to look up the origins of the saying, and it is indeed something from The Bard in The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Said Pistol to Falstaff therein:

Why, then the world’s mine oyster,
Which I with sword will open.

Maybe I’ll just fall on my sword.  LOL

AP Takes on the Blogosphere

A site called the Drudge Retort, a liberal answer to the Drudge Report, was ordered by the Associated Press (AP) to cease and desist using snippets of AP articles in its own articles this past week.

Drudge II complied, but objected that copyright law permits the "fair use" of copyrighted material, in limited portions, for scholarly and academic purposes.

I doubt I’d consider either Drudge I or Drudge II scholarly or academic, but I defend their right to quote from published sources and comment on them.  This is the meaning, to me, of a free press.  I do it all the time here and on my other blogs.

Anyway, a spat ensued, and eventually AP backed away from its legal threat and said the organization "needed to rethink" matters.

What really galled AP, from what I can determine from reading between the lines, is that Drudge and other sites were using the quotations as tie-ins to advertising.

If that’s the case, then AP has a good argument. 

Happy Friday the 13th, You Paraskavedekatriaphobiacs

Paraskavedekatriaphobia is a word formed from three Greek words:  paraskevi (Friday,) dekatreis (thirteen) and phobia (fear or phobia), meaning "fear of Friday the 13th."  Triskaidekaphobia means just "fear of the number 13."

There you go.  Learn something everyday.  Happy Friday the 13th!

Nothing to Do With English Grammar, But Useful

I came across this site that lists the highest–and lowest–gasoline pump prices in each state and counties, parishes, areas, etc., within that state.

I checked it against my local knowledge, and while it was good, it didn’t list the stations that I know to consistently have the lowest prices.  Still, it beats not knowing where to save money.

It’s called Gas Buddy.

PS Unless I’m mistaken, look for gas prices to reach $5 a gallon by the Fourth of July, or shortly thereafter.  They’ll come down in September or October for the presidential election and then continue their upward march after the new president is elected.

NOPEC Shows Government Garble at Its Standard Worst

The politics is bad too, but I’ll leave that aside.

Congress recently passed a piece of legislation known affectionately as NOPEC, which may as well stand for No One Possibly Expects Clarity, but instead is an acronym for The No Oil-Producing and -Exporting Cartels Act."  Okay, I added the hypens because no one in Washington, D.C., could possibly understand compound adjectives, let alone writing basic, clear English.

What this act does is allow Congress and its designated henchmen to sue OPEC countries if they feel the latter has been withholding production of oil and thus artificially raising prices through manipulation of supply and demand.  Good luck with these lawsuits, but let’s take a look at the enabling language of NOPEC:

"It shall be illegal and a violation of this Act," declared the House of Representatives, "to limit the production or distribution of oil, natural gas, or any other petroleum product … or to otherwise take any action in restraint of trade for oil, natural gas or any petroleum product when such action, combination, or collective action has a direct, substantial, and reasonably foreseeable effect on the market, supply, price or distribution of oil, natural gas or other petroleum product in the United States."

As I said, good luck with NOPEC. And good luck with writing clear English.  You’ll need it in both cases.

Nice Use of Juxtaposition in Newspaper Story

The sports journalists of the world made hay this past week with allegations that USC college basketball phenom O.J. Mayo had been on the take the whole time since high school.

A few days after the story broke, Mayo met with Los Angeles Times reporter Ben Bolch to deny the allegations, saying:

"So for them to say I received $30,000 or whatever the case is, I definitely don’t think that’s enough to sell out myself and my family."

That was in the next-to-last paragraph.  Here’s what the last paragraph observed:

"Following the interview, Mayo slipped off into a new red Porsche Cayenne GTS with two friends and drove off."

Nice juxtaposition.  Or was it irony?

Metaphors Are Like, Well, Similes…

Every year, English teachers from across the country submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country.

Here are last year’s winners:

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

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Is There a Difference: Truth v. Honesty?

I was watching an ESPN telecast when the host brought on a PR expert in reclaiming one’s reputation.  The subject, obviously, was Roger Clements and his string of lies ever since he was revealed to be a ‘roids monstrosity.

This PR guy said there was a six-step process to recover one’s reputation and that the first two steps were "truth" and "honesty."

"There’s a difference?" I kept thinking.

So I looked up the two words:

Truth is defined as "the true or actual state of a matter" by dictionary.com (the first meaning given).  Honesty is defined, first meaning, as "the quality or fact of being honest; uprightness and fairness."

So, I assume what PR guy meant was that, first, one had to begin telling the truth, and second, one had to adopt a policy of always telling the truth.

I still think the two are redundant since, if you adopt either truth or honesty as a policy, you’ll achieve the same goal.

However, it’s highly unlikely that Roger Clements has any intention of telling the truth or adopting honesty.  Deceit is his only mode other than bullying others.