Communication Is One Thing

Someone I know recently shared the following image on Social Media, and I think I understand the gist of what the writer was trying to say:

Communication-Is-One-Thing
"Communication is one thing
but your tone while communicating
With someone is everything ."

The general thought that is being expressed is fine, I guess - but... holy cow! What's up with the grammar? Let's see, the "W" in "With" on the third line is capitalized, but not the "b" in "But" on the second line, which makes it seem like an entirely different thought. And where's the comma after the first line? And why is there a visible space before the period? Who wrote this? 1,000,000 monkeys with typewriters? Surprised smile

With that in mind, perhaps what this statement could have said was:

"Communication is one thing,
but your tone while communicating
with someone is everything."

Of course, the redundancy for "communication" on the first and second lines is kind of amateurish; perhaps another word would have been better in either the first or second line? But then again, I believe the thought that the writer was trying to express is that "tone" is part of "communication," so it makes no sense to begin the with the word "communication" since it can't be both "part" and "everything" at the same time, though we can infer by context that the writer meant "speaking" when he or she wrote "communication" in the first line. In a like manner, "tone" isn't "everything" because "speaking" is still part of "communication." In other words, "communication" is "everything," of which "tone" and "speaking" are both parts.

Taking all of that into account, perhaps this statement would have been better?

"The spoken word is one thing,
but the tone of your voice when speaking to someone
often says more than your words."

Hmm... have I overthought this enough yet? Winking smile

The Fastest Manmade Object

I just read the following article: The Fastest Speed Ever Reached by a Manmade Object?, and I have to disagree with their assessment.

The fastest speed ever reached by a manmade object was the back of my mom's hand, which broke the sound barrier several times over while spinning around from the front seat of a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda when I tried backtalking from the rear seat...

Surprised smile

I Wonder If History Was Like This

I love studying history, and I must admit that the majority of the books that I read are on that subject. That said, I recently stumbled across the following video from Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, which an amusing look at the signing of the Treaty of Westphalia. Even though I know that it's meant humorously, there are times when I wonder how historically accurate events like this might have been.

Winking smile

Prog Rock Sentiments on Saint Patrick's Day

In honor of St. Patrick's Day and my favorite prog rock band, this is the t-shirt that I'm wearing today...

irush-shamrock-green

In keeping with that theme, here are some possible lyrics that go along with that t-shirt:

An ancient cleric
Humble stride
Today's Saint Patrick
Humble pride

No his snakes are not for rent
Neither viper nor serpent
And I'm glad they finally went
For they all would not repent

Saint Patrick!

My Humble Request to Amend the English Language

I have realized a serious shortcoming within the English language: we have no word to describe someone who speaks sarcasm fluently, which I believe is a serious lapse in linguistic breadth.

In the current iteration of the English language, we have an adverb to say that something was said "sarcastically," or an adjective to describe a particular turn of phrase as being "sarcastic," or a noun to denote "sarcasm" itself as a form of bitter irony, but we have no way to properly identify the person who employs sarcasm to communicate.

On the contrary, someone who is speaking "satirically" is labeled a "satirist," though that word does not adequately describe someone who is speaking sarcastically.

Therefore, I propose that the word "sarcastinator" be added to the English language. I think this simple linguistic addition will do well to recognize the talents of those who are proficient in the fine art of sarcasm, and begin to reconcile the years of oversight and neglect that sarcastinators have endured within conversational circles.

To that end, I welcome your participation in promoting "sarcastinator" to the English speaking nations of the world, because I care about your participation.

Really.

If only you could hear the sincerity with which I am asking for your support.

I-Speak-Fluent-Sarcasm

Excuse My French

As a military brat, the scenario depicted in the following image could easily have played itself out in our household when I was growing up. Winking smile

Excuse my French

Although I must admit, in the years since my exit from the Army (where I had been serving as a military linguist), I have found the ability to utter colorful vocabulary in foreign languages extremely beneficial during times of crisis... though I am careful to choose a language that is not likely to be understood by the people around me.

Open-mouthed smile

My Halloween Zombie Story

Here's a story from my distant past for your Halloween amusement...

Back in our High School days, my good friend James and I loved horror movies - the scarier or the gorier the better. On weekends, we loved to host horror movie marathons at James' house in the Tucson foothills, where it was nice and dark after hours, and his parents were cool enough to let the two of us invite over a bunch of friends to participate in our fright fests.

On one such occasion, several people were on their way as dusk was beginning to fall, and one of the people we were expecting was Carrie, who was a friend of ours from Drama class. Since zombies had been the theme of choice on multiple occasions, we hatched an evil plan to play a prank in that genre on Carrie. James and I had a few gallons of stage blood lying around, as one does, and I suggested that we rip up the front of one of James' shirts so it looked like it was torn open by a zombie, then cover his chest with cold cut meats that matched his skin color as best as possible, then drown everything in stage blood while James was lying in the middle of the street. We quickly set everything up in front of his house, then we waited for Carrie's car to turn down his street.

After a few minutes a car was headed our way, and I sat in the street next to James as I began to slowly rip pieces of flesh off James' chest and eat them, with copious amounts of stage blood dripping down my face. The car came to a halt next to our macabre spectacle, and when the occupants rolled down the window, I was surprised to discover that it wasn't Carrie - it was the parents who lived next door to James. They looked at me with a genuine amount of fear and asked, "Is he okay?," to which I replied with the first thing that popped into my head, "He's delicious."

 Open-mouthed smile

James' neighbors quickly drove away, and by some miracle they didn't call the cops on us. Carrie arrived a few minutes later, and we repeated the whole scene for her benefit, with the expected results. I believe her words - or at least her thoughts - were along the lines of: "The two of you are not right in the head." (It's quite possible that she still holds that opinion of us.)

 

PS - I should mention that James' neighbors never asked him to babysit again.

Reckless Behavior in Enemy Territory

Okay, It's Time to Come Clean. One evening, after the Fall of the Wall but long before German Reunification, I hopped in the car and drove into East Germany to spend some face-to-face time with some real, honest-to-goodness "Bad Guys."

I studied several of our official military maps beforehand, and I had planned out my route in detail. It was only a half-hour drive from Fulda to the border, then another half-hour to my destination. I pulled into town and parked my car somewhere inconspicuous, then I made my way through several neighborhoods on foot. I cut through people's backyards, and I hopped over fences... making sure that I was using a random pattern so I couldn't be followed.

I was dressed in civilian clothes that would pass for a native German, and as I approached my destination, I blended into a crowd of East German college students who were milling about. I was 25 years old at the time, so my youthful appearance and choice of attire matched the rest of the group.

A short time later, two Bad Guys in officer uniforms happened by. I left the group of students, and I approached the two Bad Guys. I greeted them with a thoroughly awful Bad Guy accent - which was by intention. I explained in a mixture of German and Bad Guy dialect that I had studied their language in school (which was true), and that I hoped to study more (which was also true). As I continued to speak their language badly, I was gambling on the notion that all I had to do to sell the illusion that I was an East German college student was to make sure that my grasp of the German language exceeded theirs.

My ruse paid off - the two Bad Guys dropped their guard, and they were more than willing to help out a poor college student who was butchering their language. Shortly after that, I was asking them questions about their uniforms, what they thought of Germany, where they were stationed, and... some other things. It's been years, so I don't really remember everything that I asked them. (Although, even if I did remember what I asked them, I'd still say that I didn't remember, so I'll leave it to you to decide whether I'm telling the truth.)

After several minutes, I decided that I needed to make my exit. I thanked the pair of Bad Guys for their time, then I joined another group of college students that were walking in the opposite direction of my car. After I had walked a sufficient distance, I broke from the group of students and headed down a narrow street, and then I began a long process of cutting through yards and hopping fences as I made my way back to where I had stashed my car. When I arrived, I made a quick inspection and decided that it hadn't been touched, then I climbed behind the wheel and headed out of town. I didn't head west, though - I headed north for a half-hour or so, then I headed west.

I had lots of details bouncing around in my head, but I was careful not to write anything down until after I had crossed the border back into West Germany.

I will admit, this short jaunt into enemy territory was... fun. And it produced a modicum of interesting information, but nothing that was earth-shattering. However, years later, I can put this entire experience in perspective: no one knew where I was. This wasn't anything that I was tasked to do. I wasn't working for anyone else. I was a member of the US Army, in civilian clothes, in a civilian vehicle, on foreign soil. If I'd been caught - or killed - there's a very good chance that no one in the West ever would have known what happened to me.

In other words, I was an idiot.


POSTSCRIPT:

My spouse would like me to remind everyone that even though 30 years have passed, she’s still angry about this.

Winking smile

The Day I was a Sports Legend

Back in my early days as a Technical Support Engineer at Microsoft, my boss had a dartboard outside her office, and several of our fellow team members would play darts on their breaks. I suck at darts, so I never joined them.

One day I happened to be walking by, and one of the guys asked, "Why don't you ever play with us?" I replied, "You wanna see why?," then I grabbed one of the darts and threw it with barely a look in the direction of the dartboard.

I fully expected to miss the board by several feet, and thereby demonstrate to everyone my complete lack of skills. However, by some miracle the dart landed dead center in the bull's-eye. Rather than show everyone my expression of dumbfounded surprise, I quickly collected myself, then I turned to the people gathered around and asked with a feigned air of superiority, "Do you REALLY want a piece of me?"

Then I walked off, leaving my stunned coworkers in awe while I basked in the glow of a victory that I could never have achieved if I had tried, and like any great athlete - I left the sport at the top of my game.

bullseye

Anti-Vaxxers are Anti-Science

I like making fun of anti-vaxxers because they tend to be rather silly people who usually act on their uneducated emotions and staunchly refuse to listen to actual science; they're much like the whackos in the Flat Earth Society.

And with that in mind, the following video contains some actual facts about vaccines for anti-vaxxers to blissfully ignore as they continue their respective crusades toward reinstating the Dark Ages.

😄