Tag Archives: grammar

Texting Subtext

Recent politics makes us, perhaps, overly aware of just how differently from us people can see the world. Recent politics also makes us very aware of how fraught it can be interacting with people who see the world differently. (Although it isn’t the differences that divide us so much as our tribalism.)

Setting politics aside for a moment, I recently stumbled over a difference that I found both bemusing and enlightening. It explains something that’s puzzled me (and caused a degree of head-shaking) for quite a while. What’s cool is how it switches my worldview, because now I understand it’s not a mistake or laziness, but a valid choice.

I’m talking about periods and lower case in text messages!

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What’s the Word?

What’s the word for when you receive new information that alters your way of thinking? In particular, for when you thought things were one way, expected them to be that way, but the new information surprises you.

I used to think it was the word frisson, but that word (from the French, “to be cold”) refers to the pleasant thrill shiver you experience at the awards ceremony just before they open the envelope that might contain your name. Or when you watch a horror movie (assuming you like watching horror movies).

That’s not quite what I mean. There is—at least for me—some thrill shiver associated with learning a new and surprising thing, but I need a word that focuses more on the sense of realignment that occurs to your worldview.

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BB #4 – Fugacious Nous

Funny how people use “quantum leap” to mean a large jump.  In reality, a quantum leap—a real one, not a Scott Bakula one—is a tiny thing.  A very tiny thing.  Think decimal point, 33 bagels and a number.  Tiny. Tiny beyond belief (or unbelief, for that matter).

And yet…

It does mean jumping to a new level very different from the old. A quantum jump (we science geeks never say quantum “leap”) moves the system to a new notch, a ratchet step up or down.  So in the sense of meaning moving to a “new level” I suppose it’s okay.  Just don’t think of that new level as being so very far from the old.  It’s just a quantum away (remember what I said about tiny, and we don’t mean it ironically as we do with that 800-pound gorilla).


When I got into my car Sunday I discovered a nice odometer poker hand (and an extra card up my sleeve).

Which leads to a forced segue (we can scoot there on our Segways) about the millennium and why to Kay or not to Kay.

Funny untrue story: our IT department read the memo and spent thousands of dollars and hours going through all our stored documents and very carefully converting all the “Y”s to “K”s.  No one was quite sure why so many got fired shortly thereafter.  We’d worked together to solve an apparently critical problem (it was in all the news, if you recall).  It may be related to some sort of computer bug people were talking about back then, too.  Some kind of virus, maybe.

So did you celebrate the actual, true (calendar geek) century change as the very big hand moved from 2000 to 2001?  Or did you celebrate the common folks’ odometer-rollover change when all the nines changed to noughts?  (And were you naughty that night?)

Smart folks covered their bets: 12/31/1999 to win, 12/31/2000 to place, and I showed at both!


My gramma taught me grammar, but Allie taught me Alot!  And taught me to smile when people smuggle out the space and snuggle up the talented beast.

Did you know that eating your Oatmeal regularly can improve your grammarS’true!  And the delightful, delicious virtual porridge wasn’t the first to bring it up, but I’m on a mission to bring back the semi-dead semicolon.

My meager contribution to such excellence is the pithy: “Grammar Rules: They’re there for their purposes.”

I’ve been seeking one for those “y” words that give such trouble to so many and was recently gifted with: “Grammar: knowing your shit from you’re shit.”

Oh, my; yes, indeed.

(Note to damn near everyone: when you write like a moron, you look like a moron.  Ya might wanna consider that connection.)


I’m not sure, but I think it’s possible I drink too much Diet Mountain Dew (but Mr. Pepsi should be so proud of me—it’s possible I’m single-handedly maintaining his empire (or, you know, not)).

I swear I drink that stuff like it was made outta soda pop or something.

In my defense, have you ever read the ingredients?  I quote: Carbonated Water (and not very carbonated at that); Concentrated Orange Juice (mmmmm, vitamin C!), Citric Acid (that’s like, lemons, right?), Natural Flavor (well, if it’s natural, it’s gotta be good, yes?); Citrus Pectin (I think that makes my chest muscles strong… or possibly lemony); and then some chemically-sounding stuff that’s probably harmless, because they wouldn’t put in the bottle if it was bad for you, now, would they.

Or would they?  Nah, surely not.


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