If You've Got Odds and Ends on a Table...

I loved George Carlin, naughty as he was. I guess it's hard to see the world as clearly as he did and remain nice. Lately I'm finding that to be true for myself as well. And he loved words, loved playing with words, loved wondering why words mean what they mean and convey what they convey. What author can resist a guy like that?

Anyway, he would ask sometimes, "If you have odds and ends on a table and something falls off, is it an odd or an end?" A single word is an amazing thing. It can add to or detract from meaning. It can smooth out a sentence or stop it cold. And oddly enough, it's different for different people.

My mother hated the word CRAP. A friend I taught with hated BUGGER and would practically attack small children who called each other that. British friends are shocked when we say we GOT STUFFED on Thanksgiving or ROOT FOR someone at a football game. A friend who reads a lot hates FRISSON, says it's pretentious. When my daughter mentioned an OPEN HOUSE (an after-graduation party common in the Midwest) in Virginia, she was asked why she would even think of selling her lovely Richmond home. Words have connotations for people based on their upbringing, their geographical area, and their experiences.

Sometimes you can pick out a word that an author likes or is proud of knowing, a phrase he made up (or thinks he did) that makes him happy. Someone probably should point it out, and someone probably will.

Like Carlin, I love words, their derivation, their variations, their connotations. If you're wondering what the point of this blog is, I'm not sure. I guess it's a Friday blog; you know, just odds and ends.

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Comment by Peg Herring on November 15, 2008 at 8:21am
That's funny. I'm supposed to speak on the English language soon; I'll add it to my list.

As for the blogging, I thought an author friend of mine was more energetic than I am because she does a newsletter. I guess we all do what we do to get our names out there. I like giving opinions...
Comment by Dana King on November 15, 2008 at 5:14am
Everyone has their pet words and phrases, or those they hate. Context is everything. A brit or Aussie in the States who asks if he can "knock your sister up sometime" is likely to get knocked out here.

I wish Carlin had stuck it out for another year or two. I'd love to hear what he thought about the recent presidential campaign and current financial mess.

How do you do these every day? I have a hard time getting one done a week.

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