Altruism? Foolishness? Ingratitude? Selfishness? You decide.
Count from one to ten in over 5,000 languages! Useless, but very cool.
For those starved of All Things Bickmo the past two months,
a Photo Diary
Now inhabiting the maelstrom of student teaching
Awash in college homework
Slave to the lawn seed’s fuzzy beard now greening my front yard
Mired in a steamroller speed do-it-myself home remodel
I stumbled upon a birthday
My Ferrari* caught on fire
*What, you don’t believe me?
Today I write of a major Bickmo Pet Peeve:
I know, our irregular English tongue makes the root “lose” rhyme with “choose” but not “loose,” which rhymes with, appropriately enough, “obtuse.” Still, people, you are total loosers if you write this word incorrectly. At least you can untie me well.
Have you ever felt this way?
Oh, which word to use? We often ask ourselves this question (or if you don’t, you just may qualify as one who ought to ask more than most. Malapropism, anyone?). As a conversationalist and writer, I have often used adage and aphorism interchangeably to describe a wise saying. May an anvil fall on my head! While fine for ordinary conversation, a writer ought to choose words with precision. However subtle, these words have distinct meanings.
I now post my research for the edification of all. Don’t let me catch you using these words incorrectly again, naughty people!
a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).
a traditional saying expressing a common experience or observation; proverb
Economic class, that is. I know, America was founded as the great classless society, where all can rise or fall according to their efforts. To her great credit, America shed the bondage of institutionalized class found elsewhere across the globe. No person may claim nobility, no babe must take the merchant’s station, no child must live as a beggarly untouchable. Royalty does not exist.
America does break down into classes. What serves as the distinguishing factor? Economics (ethnicity as well, but that factor has diminished over the past generation). And the fascinating part — each economic class speaks a different hidden language. Have you ever felt perplexed by the behavior or appearance of someone in obvious generational poverty? Generational wealth? How about from generational middle class? Like as not, that person was acting upon their hidden rules of economic class, and you did not possess the translation.
I’m going to give it to you.
Dr. Ruby Payne (site here) pioneered the subject of generational poverty research; the table below comes from her work. Now realize it refers to the hidden rules of generational poverty, middle class, and wealth, not situational poverty etc. It also describes general patterns, not absolutes, so please don’t share your anecdote about how the such-and-such category does not apply because your Aunt Ethel’s situation blah blah blah. Just read and enjoy the social science of it all! And yes, Mr. Byrd, I recall your objection to that term.
Now y’all speak the language.
Hidden Rules of Economic Class
|DRIVING FORCES||Survival, relationships, entertainment.||Work, achievement.||Financial, political, social connections.|
|POSSESSIONS||People||Things||One-of-a-kind objects, legacies, pedigrees.|
|MONEY||To be used, spent.||To be managed.||To be conserved, invested.|
|PERSONALITY||Is for entertainment. Sense of humor is highly valued.||Is for acquisition and stability. Achievement is highly valued.||Is for connections. Financial, political, social connections are highly valued.|
|SOCIAL EMPHASIS||Social inclusion of people he/she likes.||Emphasis is on self-governance and self-sufficiency.||Emphasis is on social exclusion.|
|FOOD||Key question: Did you have enough? Quantity important.||Key question: Did you like it? Quality important.||Key question: Was it presented well? Presentation important.|
|CLOTHING||Clothing valued for individual and expression of personality.||Clothing valued for its quality and acceptance into norm of middle class. Label important.||Clothing valued for its artistic sense and expression. Designer important.|
|TIME ORIENTATION||Present most important. Decisions made for moment based on feelings or survival.||Future most important. Decisions made against future ramifications.||Traditions and history most important. Decisions made partially on basis of tradition or decorum.|
|EDUCATION||Valued and revered as abstract but not as reality.||Crucial for climbing success ladder and making money.||Necessary tradition for making and maintaining connections.|
|DESTINY||Believes in fate. Cannot do much to mitigate chance.||Believes in choice. Can change future with good choices now.||Noblesse oblige (the moral obligation of those of high birth, powerful social position to act with honor, kindliness, generosity, etc.)|
|LANGUAGE*||Casual register. Language is about survival.||Formal register. Language is about negotiation.||Formal register. Language is about networking.|
|FAMILY STRUCTURE||Tends to be matriarchal.||Tends to be patriarchal.||Depends on who has/controls money.|
|WORLD VIEW||See world in terms of local setting.||See world in terms of national setting.||Sees world in terms of international view.|
|LOVE||Love and acceptance conditional, based upon whether individual is liked.||Love and acceptance conditional and based largely upon achievement.||Love and acceptance conditional and related to social standing and connections.|
|HUMOR||About people and sex.||About situations.||About social faux pas.|
|CONFLICT||Physical fighting is how conflict is resolved. If you only know casual register, you do not have the words to negotiate a resolution. Respect is accorded to those who can physically defend themselves.||Fighting is done verbally. Physical fighting is viewed with distaste.||Fighting is done through social inclusion or exclusion and through lawyers.|
*Frozen Register: always the same (Lord’s Prayer, wedding vows, etc.)
Formal Register: standard sentence syntax and word choice of work and school (complete sentences and specific word choice)
Casual Register: language between friends and is characterized by a 400-800 word vocabulary (non-verbal communication is often used)
Wanna see a solar eclipse? The longest solar eclipse of the 21st century, not to be surpassed in duration until June 13, 2132? WELL, TOO BAD. The spectacular total eclipse of Wednesday, July 22, 2009 will only be visible from a narrow corridor through northern Maldives, northern India, eastern Nepal, northern Bangladesh, Bhutan, the northern tip of Myanmar, central China and the Pacific Ocean, including the Ryukyu Islands, Marshall Islands and Kiribati (pronounced “keer-a-biss”). But not here, in good ol’ North America. The sun doesn’t like us much over here, apparently.
The heavenly event that you will not see will last, at most, 6 minutes, 39 seconds. The moon will begin to cover the sun long before, and exit long after, but what astronomers call “totality” does not last all that long. But the moon is closer to the Earth than normal due to being near perigee, making its apparent diameter 8% larger than the sun, giving us (I mean them) our (their) six and two-thirds minutes of darkness.
A solar eclipse is a wonder not to be missed. Stars and planets come out. Chickens tuck in for the night. The sun’s corona, normally invisible, blazes forth in fiery display. Did I mention the stars come out? That little fact enabled early 20th Century scientists to validate Einstein’s theory of general relativity by showing the stars appearing around the sun were not quite where they should be due to the sun’s gravity bending light*, indicating that space itself is curved. All because our moon sits at exactly the correct distance to fit over the sun; not too far, not too close. This breakthrough would have been impossible if we had no moon, or if it was in any other orbital position. (Of course, the moon is slowly inching, or more correctly, centimeter-ing away from the Earth. In the far future, the total eclipse will be forever replaced by the annular or “ring” eclipse.)
So, thanks a lot, Mr. Sun and Mr. Moon. I didn’t have the money or time to travel to rural China to witness your celestial dance. Next time, have the manners to cast your narrow shadow right over my house. I may switch off “Battlestar Galactica” to come see you, if it has gone to commercial.
* Light actually does NOT bend, but must always travel in a straight line. When space is curved around a large gravity well like the sun, the light follows the curvature in a straight line. Get it? Whew.
According to my friend Ryan B., the Blogmo was mired in the the technological Dark Ages. Horrifications! As all know, the Dark Ages were a time of oppression, ghastly hygeine, and general non-Renaissance. My blog, a partaker of that vile era? Well, no more, forsooth! The same Sir Ryan, may his teeth ever shine white, gifted this yon blog with a “What Not To Wear” makeover. Ye shall espie its snazzy new appearance, but that is indeed manor, er, minor, m’lord. What has truly changed, is the…um…the versiony thing…it’s more safe from cyberjerks, um, less spam sandwiches…ye can upload photopiccy thingadoodles…it’s not dwelling in the Dark Ages anymore. Trumpets and fifes and electric guitars! Begone, medieval blog! Get ye hence to the Underworld. I shall wallow in the Light henceforth. Forsooth.
Posted because my wife could not believe the mind-altering awesomeness that was the “NBA on NBC” theme song. Now we all know.
Please forgive the string of lazy posts. Your favorite Bickmo humbly asks for your patience; he is up to his eyebrows in schoolwork. More and better later!