Sunday, July 20, 2008

word play

one of my favorite things to do is read the dictionary. i know, i'm a big nerd. i've come to terms with it, it's okay. this also means that i get really excited when words are added to the dictionary. a few weeks ago, i saw the little notice in the paper announcing the eleventh edition of the merriam-webster dictionary. yay for 100 new words!!! my top two favorites (thus far) are pescatarian-a vegetarian who eats fish and mondegreen-words mistaken for other words. how could one not be fascinated by a vegetarian (defined as a person who does not eat or does not believe in eating meat, FISH, fowl, or, in some cases, any food derived from animals, as eggs or cheese, but subsists on vegetables, fruits, nuts, grain, etc.) who eats fish? [i'm sensing a self-deconstruction in the near future.] or perhaps trying to classify the differences between "excuse me while I kiss this guy" and "excuse me while I kiss the sky"? i'm once again reminded of my linguistics class and totally intrigued by the noises that our mouths make and the subtle differences that make drastic changes in final outcomes. language is such a fascinating thing. how in the world do we make sounds, identify them, and then standardize them? who really has the power to do that?(that's another question for another day...) yay for the evolution of language! yes. there was a very good reason that i studied words...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

red, white, blue . . . and green?

now to preface my 4th of July entry, i should start a few years ago. once upon a time in my life, i worked at dinosaur national monument. now, this was a very enlightening experience for me. i met a lot of people and established a few opinions. my father went so far as to declare me politically as a "conservative green". is that really possible? that's a bit beside the point. wait, back to the 4th of July. i decided, at the invitation of a good friend, to return to my small town roots for the holiday weekend. i grew up in a small town, passed many holidays in even smaller towns, and have spent most of the time completely amused and entertained by the activities found there. this year, i found no less in richfield. they have what is called the "fish grab". (if you want a visual, try http://youtube.com/watch?v=xEBNBvtPbEA&feature=related.) basically, kids 0-11, are given the opportunity to catch a fish with their bare hands. fascinating, no? yeah, that's what i thought. i'll admit i found it quite amusing for about 5-10 minutes until i saw what was actually happening to the fish. as displayed in the youtube clip, the little kids walked while the fish swam. my view was of the other end of the scale, the 9-11 year old kids. i saw one of the older kids with blood smeared across his chest and a rather large fish hooked on his finger. this picture, which will be forever ingrained in my mind, could be interpreted a few ways: 1) the kid picked a fight with his best friend when he tried to rip off the prize trout; 2) the poor fish was beaten to death (i'm telling you, the 9-11 year old kids have a pretty violent streak in them!); or 3) it was actually a mercy killing rather than letting the poor fish suffocate (if they can really do that) in his hands. really it could have been any of the three choices, but the thing that hit me more than the fish or the blood occured after i saw it all. i turned around and said two things, "i can't watch this anymore" and "those poor fish". as i made the "those poor fish" comment, something happened that surprised me and resurrected my green streak...someone agreed with me!?! not that i have anything against richfield, but that shocked me, especially considering the source of the consent. it was the stereotypical middle-aged-white-male-in-a-texas-ball-cap who surely spent everyday of his childhood summers fishing and tormenting small animals. really?!? i suppose all of us have a little green in us, whether we believe it or not. kermit the frog probably said it best, "it's not easy being green."