Friday, December 28, 2012

Certain words annoying? Whatever...

You are some words and phrases, although inconsequential in nature that can make you grit your teeth. Their usage can act as an assault on one’s ears during a conversation.

For the third year, the Marist poll revealed that the most annoying words/phrases used in conversation are “you know”, “whatever”, “like” and “we’re just sayin.”  In the way of background information and for those who are curious, according to the Maris site, “founded in 1978, MIPO is home to the Marist Poll and regularly measures public opinion at the local, state, and national level. The Marist Poll is highly respected and is often cited by journalists and analysts around the globe.”

The word, “whatever” was on top of the list cited by 32% of adults, followed by “like” at 21%. Thinking further, I have to admit to using “whatever” perhaps far too frequently, and the poll indicates this word seems to irritate people the most. Thing is - it’s the type of word that covers so many bases and can be used as a conversation ender. You know what I mean... Correction: that s to say, when a conversation seems to drag, inserting a “whatever” at a critical point is the easiest way to end a boring topic and start a new one. Am I right? Something to the effect:

“Letitia, dearest friend of mine, do you think it would be socially remiss if I didn’t extend my pinky finger in the air, while sipping a cup of Earl Grey tea?”

To which Letitia (or anyone) would or could reply: “whatever” in order to cover up indifference one way or the other.

The also-ran and much used words “gotcha” and “Twitterverse” followed closely behind.

Actually, “gotcha” isn’t a word personally used and definitely not “twitterverse” being not familiar with the latter whatsoever. I was under the impression that 'gotcha' was a word used by kids when they play tag.

According to Wiki, ‘twitterverse’  “is to twitter what the blogosphere is to blogs. It’s the word that Twitter users live in.” This leads one – me – to wonder how one can actually live in Twitterverse, or is it limited to a cyberspace address?

“Where do you live?”
“Oh I live in twitterverse.”
“Just...twitterverse. Planet earth. The universe.”

Anybody know? But I digress.

The survey results covered 1,246 adults living in the U.S. who were phoned to get their opinions. Furthermore and according to the Marist site statistics: “Results showed differences by age and regions, with people younger than 45 or in the Northeast especially annoyed by "like," while "you know" offended more of the 45-and-over set. Men and women gave similar responses overall, but whites were twice as likely as non-whites to find "you know" irritating. And people under 45 were more than twice as likely as those over 45 to be put off by "just sayin.'

I mean, I’m just sayin’, you know.

Friday, December 21, 2012

I'm still here - the Mayan apocalypse non-event

So after much hoopla and apocalyptic predictions, I'm still here. I'll go out on a limb here and assume that people reading this are also still in the land of the living. Now that we've established we survived the Mayan 'Long Count' Calendar, what led up to this belief?

According to Wikipedia, "this date was regarded as the end-date of a 5125-year-long cycle in the
Mesoamerican Long Count calendar."

"Now that you've brought it up, what in the world is the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar of which you speak, Eleanor?"

Again, and according to Wikipedia, "The Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is a non-repeating, bigesimal (base-20) and base-18 calendar used by several Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican cultures, most notably, Mayan. Using a modified vigesimal tally, the Long Count calendar identifies a day by counting the number of days passed since a mythical creation date that corresponds to August 11, 3114 BCE in the Gregorian calendar."

  • the calendar begins in year corresponding to 3114BC

  • Moves forward in 394-year periods known as Baktuns

  • Winter solstice in 2012 marks end of the 13th Baktun

  • Myth of end of the world based on erroneous reading of Mayan tablet carved 1,300 years ago

  • Archaeologists and Maya experts say text refers to start of a new era

  • Thank you Wikipedia for your informative background.

    To be candid, didn't really give much thought to how to spend the day in 'case-of.' I mean, how does one prepare for an apocalypse, anyway?

    Most likely I would have had my usual breakfast of toast and bumbleberry preserves and tea. Somehow, a cup of tea always seems to hit the spot during times of turmoil and an apocalypse would definitely fall into this category. Maybe given the nature of this precursor of doom, perhaps a bowl of cereal would have been in order. My diet most likely would have been forgotten under the circumstances.

    Thinking further (again), what would be the correct thing to wear for an apocalypse, anyway? Would casual wear be acceptable or perhaps a more formal look would be proper. Choosing the right accessories would present a problem. Should one wear elbow evening gloves or would that be a fashion faux-pas? What about a/the hat bought in the event that an invitation to the royal nuptials came in the mail, which it didn't?  Is it or would it be proper to wear in a doomsday event, instead? Would the royal family care? Would anybody care? The problem is there is no apocalyptic guide to help make these choices easier.

    If I had thought about it, which I didn't because it slipped my mind somehow, perhaps the construction of an ark would have been in order. Not that anybody asked me to but one does feel some responsbility for the animals of the planet. Then again, having never had any experience in ark building or any type of construction would have made this difficult. However, should it have been feasible, there would have been the dilemma of whether or not bringing along some species that included snakes, alligators or lions and the like. Snakes do not rate high on my "favorite animal" list. Just can't envision myself rounding up, say...pairs of pythons or cobras or crocodiles.

    It wasn't until mid-to-late afternoon that it occurred to me after checking in CNN, Twitter, Facebook and other on-line sources that I, along with the rest of the world, had survived an/the apocalypse. So all the issues of fashion choices, survival equipment has been put on the back burner. At least for now or until another doomsday soothsayer(s) (say that fast after a few drinks) dictates otherwise, at which point I'll sit down and have a cup of tea.

    Thursday, December 13, 2012

    Psssssst - snake round-up and other stories on the cyber highway of life

    As is my habit and delight, came across some interesting and quirky-ish, “huh...what?” pieces in which I felt would or could be of interest to people dropping by this blog. I mean, these type of pieces are what makes life interesting. Right?

     “Do get on with the content Eleanor, and dispense with the commentary!”

    Snowbirds, the human variety, who seek out warmer climates to avoid winter’s chill, frequently choose Florida as a popular destination. Recently, the state has been dealing with an over-abundance of interlopers that have made the Everglades their home.

    Although I'm not particularly fond of snakes particularly those that tend to hug excessively, my philosophy in as far as this creature is concerned is live-and-let-live. I mean, garter snakes are sort-of cute and they don’t really hurt anyone. Sort-of long-ish worms...

     “You’re boring people, Eleanor! Get to the point!”

     On occasion, when humans interfere with the natural course of nature and introduce species that aren't natural to a particular habitat, problems arise. In this case - big problems. Take the plethora of pythons (say that fast after a few drinks), which are slowly overtaking the Florida Everglades for example, whose presence is due to humans introducing it to a habitat that is a  perfect environment for python reproduction.

    As a means in which to deal with their ever-increasing numbers, Florida wildlife officials are holding a competition to see who can catch the most pythons for cash. Personally, there is no amount of money that anyone could tempt me with, to go within 100 feet of a python, never mind catch one! But I digress.

    So, anyway and as an interesting means in which to cut back on their numbers, a "2013 Python Challenge" will be held starting on January 12, 2013 and run for a month, for anyone interested in participating. The slithery action will focus on a marshy area known as the River of Grass and the competition is open to both professional and non professional snake hunters. Just thinking here...what type of clothes would one wear to catch snakes? Presumably, boots that would reach the hip level, long, thick rubber gloves for anti-biting purposes but what about a cover for one's head? Do sporting goods stores sell these type of outfits? More importantly, do they come in a variety of shades? But I digress. Does anybody reading this, know?
    Just to give you some type of idea of the rationale behind holding this type of challenge and according to Wikipedia, “the Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) is the largest subspecies of the Indian Python and one of the six largest snakes in the world, native to a large variation of topic and sub-tropic areas of Southern and Southeast Asia. They are often found near water and are sometimes semi-aquatic but can also be found in trees.” They can reach sizes up to 19 feet. We’re talking big – and long – and slithery - and dangerous here.

    Pythons are definitely not the type of creature as pet material although some people raise  smaller and non-dangerous snakes. Snakes, though, can’t be trained to do tricks or be taken for a walk on a leash. They’re just...there.
    To return to the snake roundup... The purpose of the event is to reduce the number of non-native reptiles who have taken to the local wildlife in a big way. Winners will receive up to $1500 for the longest snake in addition to $1000 for the snake slayer bringing in the most snakes. Dead one presumes. As a matter of fact, a Burmese python found in August last year set a record as the largest python ever captured measuring 17 feet, 7 inches and carrying - wait for it - 87 eggs! We're talking here about 87 potential Burmese pythons! A federal ban exists that encompasses the Burmese python, the yellow anaconda and the northern and southern African pythons. Good luck to the brave snake hunters who decide to respond to this challenge. Not moi. I’ll stick to seeing them under glass in a zoo.


    Not sure how many people would take advantage of this offer. Count me in as not one of them.

    A coffin maker from Truskavets, Ukraine, wants to give people the opportunity to see what it’s like to lay in a coffin – while they’re alive. The logic behind it is to prepare people for the afterlife. Thinking further about this opportunity and speaking for myself, I’m in no rush to find out to be candid.

    The creator calls his new service, “coffin therapy.” Coffin loungers/lay-people can relax if one can actually relax in a coffin, for approximately 15 minutes. Lid on is optional. Not sure exactly what is meant by this. In any case, as part of the experience, he has set up a room with several empty coffin from which to choose. Clients can recline while listening to the sound of a bird song or waterfall playing in the background. Pass on this offer, thank you very much. A bit too creepy for me.


    Last but not least... The holiday of Christmas is a holiday in which celebrants embellish their homes with holiday decorations in addition to the religious rites. Some people celebrate the holiday in a different manner. On a government-owned piece of property in Deerfield Beach, Florida, Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus are a part of a nativity scene set up at an intersection, for more than twenty years. This year, though, they are being joined by a Festivus Pole which is not to the liking of some people. TV viewers will recall the pretend holiday of Festivus held on December 23, featured in a “Seinfeld” episode.

    Activist/blogger, Chaz Stevens, had been trying unsuccessfully to get permission to install it for five years to install it. The Festivus Pole, composed of 23 beer cans stacked 8 feet high, is
    located six feet from baby Jesus. In order to make the pole, Stevens and a friend drained (no mentioning of drinking) 23 cans of beer, sawed off the ends of the cans and threaded on to the pole. To each her/own and different strokes for different folk.

    Here is the Festivus Pole:

     How was your week?