Category: US

Java jolt

Don’t you hate it when your morning routine gets abruptly, unexpectedly disrupted?

It’s your way of slipping into the day as easily as possible, without having to think too hard about what you are doing until your mind reaches its fully awake state. A break in the routine is like a splash of cold water in the face.

My routine includes one cup of coffee, savored in front of the television while CNN drills slowly into my consciousness. It’s my only cup of the day, and it has become a ritual. My reward for climbing out of bed. Thanks to technology and automated coffeemakers, it’s ready and waiting for me when I stumble into the kitchen. All I have to do is pour, add copious amounts of CoffeeMate, and get to my chair.

This morning, though, there was no CoffeeMate!! Disaster. Black, bitter coffee was all I had. I went to the grocery store several days ago and I know I bought more CoffeeMate (the powdered kind, French Vanilla, full fat and sugar content). Yet sometime between taking it off the shelf at the store, and looking for it this morning, it disappeared. I’m hoping it just rolled out of the bag and is in the trunk of my car. Otherwise I’ll have to go buy some more. Not a big deal, in the overall scheme of things… but I’m such a creature of habit.

Sad, isn’t it?

Grammatical peeves

Verbification. Coining a verb from a noun. It makes any English purist shudder. I’d like to strangle those who originated or help perpetuate these:

Summit: To reach the top of a mountain, to reach the summit.

Medal or podium: To earn a medal in a competition, which often means you get to stand on a podium to receive it.

And at 6 a.m., I can’t remember the others.

Oh yes, the noun embed: A reporter traveling with U.S. troops in Iraq. Could anything be worse than this ghastly term coined by the media? Sounds like an impacted tooth, or a bullet that needs to be dug out, or something. Yuck!

Hero: Another peeve of mine, especially since 9/11, is the extreme overuse of the word hero. I wince when I hear it. The word hardly has any meaning left; these days it seems almost everyone is a hero. Are people heroes for simply doing their jobs, jobs they chose to do? Is Jessica Lynch a hero because her captors happened not to kill her? Are all our soldiers in Iraq heroes because they happened to have been stationed there instead of somewhere else?

Declaring everyone a hero diminishes the meaning of the accolade for those who truly deserve it for doing something extraordinary, something far beyond simply following orders or being lucky enough to survive an unfortunate situation. Be an Audie Murphy, or the passerby who pulls a child from a burning building, or the airline passenger who attacks a terrorist hijacker in order to save intended victims on the ground. Do something selfless, something beyond the call, something you didn’t have to do and few would do. Then I’ll call you a hero.

And speaking of 9/11, if I hear the adjective horrific one more time, I’ll scream.

English ala Bush

Please, Mr. Bush, stop embarrassing yourself in public!! There is a difference between persecution and prosecution and most college-educated people know the difference. You embarrass me and the country with mistakes like that in your prepared speeches. Use your speechwriters, have them double-check your every word, and then stick to the script.