Monthly Archives: August 2009

Yes, we WILL have a barbeque.

Yes, we WILL have a barbeque.

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Bicyclists are lucky here ...

Bicyclists are lucky here ...


but here, not so much.

but here, not so much.

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e-2-2

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Vacation Exit

Vacation Exit

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FunnySign6-2006

Gone to the beach. Check back here regularly for more pictures of funny signs.

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What’s in a Boat Name?

It is a well-known superstition that changing the name of a boat brings bad luck, but I never knew why until I read an article on globalpsychics.com recently. “Naming something, anything, serves to give it life, an energy of its own – and a mind of its own. When a boat is named and christened, energetically, it has been enlivened, and from that point on must be treated with the same respect that we would a person.”

Huh. Well, I can understand why a boat would be upset at suddenly having its name changed without so much as the courtesy of a consultation. It does seem wise, no matter your beliefs, to give serious thought to your yacht’s original name since you’ll probably – hopefully – be spending a lot of time on it. And sailors do come up with some witty and humourous choices.

Some people choose to go with a boat moniker that includes their name or that of a loved one: For Pete’s Sake, Sam I Am, and Robin’s Nest.

Other names reflect the owner’s career. A dentist owns Tooth Fairy, two nuclear engineers –Isotope, a vintner – Cabernet and C:> Prompt belongs to, I assume, a computer programmer.

Sailing has been described as “the fine art of getting wet and becoming ill while slowly going nowhere at great expense.” There are lots of names that reference the cost involved in keeping a boat: Soggy Dollars, Cash Flow, Time and Money, Colin’s Tuition, Moby Debt, and Last Nickel.

Some names reflect the brand of boat. I’ve seen several X-boats with interesting names: EXoteric, Xtra, Xtra, and XTC.

Many sailboats have names that express a sailing/water related play on words: Wake My Day, Keel-Joy, Sails Call, Sloop du Jour, Mast Confusion, Anchor Management, and Going Coastal. Just about every word combination imaginable has been made using wind (Windsage, Windwizard, Summer Wind, Wind Dancer), sea (Sea Spray, Sea La Vie, Sea Ya) and knot (Knot Too Shabby, Fraid Knot, O.Y. Knot), among plenty of others.

I read online of a couple who couldn’t reach an agreement on a good boat name, so they finally gave up arguing and went with Whatsitsname. And I love this name, no doubt arrived at in a fashion similar to the aforementioned: Something Witty and Original.

This one makes me laugh: Ship Happens, and its accompanying dinghy Piece of Ship.

And so does this one: Never Again II.

Carpe Diem is, reportedly, one of the most popular names for a sailboat: I prefer Seas the Day.

Also popular are boat monikers that reflect their owners’ delight at being away from the office: Saturday’s Child, Mental Floss, Five Fifteen, Knot ‘til Monday, Peaceful Easy Feeling, Sabbatical, and my favourite, knot@work.calm.

I appreciate a name that includes an amusing play on words, while other people put that name on their list of top ten stupid boat names. I guess all that really matters is whether the boat likes it.

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When Good Grammar Goes Bad

Apparently the shirt featuring this design, encouraging its readers to love the one YOUR with, was offered for sale in American Eagle stores. Ouch.

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See Your Right post of August 2.

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Youse Guys

When I hear the term youse guys, I think of New Jersey and movies about the Mob. I don’t know why because I’ve never been to New Jersey and I don’t watch movies about the Mafia. Maybe it came from the years of exposure to TV commercials for The Sopranos, despite the fact that I’ve never seen the actual show.

The dictionary doesn’t even specifically mention New Jersey. “YOUSE (you + the plural –s ending of nouns), probably of Irish-American origin, is most common in the North [United States], especially in urban centers like Boston, New York, and Chicago. It is rare in educated speech.”

The pronoun you can be singular or plural, but in American English it has been supplemented by additional forms to make the distinction between the two clear. You-all is used widely in the southern states; you guys is common in informal speech in the North. Youse doesn’t belong anywhere, except here at Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

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You People

Several years ago I worked in customer service for a mail order gift store. Overall, I would say that people are generally reasonable and polite but, of course, there are always exceptions. I’ve never forgotten one of my coworkers telling me that her pet peeve was when snarky customers used the term you people. I suppose there’s really no reason why you people couldn’t be used nicely, e.g. “You people have done an excellent job fulfilling my order,” but it never was. You people, when spat out by an angry customer, is condescending and accusing, and meant to group everyone in the company into one large school of scum-sucking bottom-dwellers who only rise into the light to better view, and bask in, the frustrations of their aggrieved customers. THOSE customers should remind themselves that sometimes things legitimately go wrong: a package was sent out when promised but got lost in the mail (nothing to do with the store), the supplier who promised to have an item available for shipping by the store on a certain date didn’t deliver as promised (not the direct fault of the store), or a package, for whatever reason, didn’t get sent out on the day it should have (okay, that is the fault of the store staff, but hey, everyone makes a mistake once in a while). THOSE people should remember that the odds that the telephone representative they’re harassing is the one who made the original dire mistake are slim to nil. I had some exceptionally nice colleagues who made every effort to provide top-notch customer service and they hardly ever laughed demonically … while on the phone.

I’ve been the frustrated person on the line with a stereotypical customer service representative who is one twist short of a slinky. I’ve been passed from department to department before finally having my problem resolved.

But I still never say you people.

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Great Beginnings – Angela’s Ashes

It’s so satisfying when you begin reading a new book and are immediately captivated by the story. It could be due to a character so well drawn that she instantly interests you, or a humourous situation that has you laughing out loud. Sometimes there’s just something about the overall style and intelligence of the writing that appeals to your taste and encourages you to keep reading “just one more chapter” until finally collapsing into bed hours later than would have been prudent. The alarm rings way too soon and you start the morning overtired … and wishing you had time to read another chapter before heading out for the day.

That instant involvement doesn’t happen to me often. Some books take an investment of time and patience to get into, needing several pages or even chapters to set the scene and characters and draw me in. Some never do succeed and are set aside unread. Other books are pleasant reads, enjoyed for the short term but then largely forgotten; I’d have to pick them up six months later and read the back cover to remind myself of the plot.

It is wonderful, then, when a book really captures my heart. And best yet when, years after the initial reading, I can still recall the opening paragraphs that grabbed my interest and held it.

Angela’s Ashes is one of those books. I loved the poignant, Pulitzer Prize-winning memoir from page one. Published back in 1996, the tale of Frank McCourt’s poverty-stricken childhood was brought to mind again by the author’s recent passing, so I looked it up and began rereading.

One person’s idea of an excellent book, or paragraph, or even sentence is not necessarily another’s, but for me, this is a great beginning:

When I look back on my childhood I wonder how I survived at all. It was, of course, a miserable childhood; the happy childhood is hardly worth your while. Worse than the ordinary miserable childhood is the miserable Irish childhood, and worse yet is the miserable Irish Catholic childhood.

People everywhere brag and whimper about the woes of their early years, but nothing can compare with the Irish version; the poverty; the shiftless loquacious alcoholic father; the pious defeated mother moaning by the fire; pompous priests; bullying schoolmasters; the English and the terrible things they did to us for eight hundred long years.

Above all – we were wet.

angelas_ashes

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