Thursday, July 17, 2014

Coffee Chat 19.0 with S.K. Anthony: Where'd That Come From?

[S.K. taps fingers on Lynda's kitchen table with a frown.]
Good morning, guys. I'm waiting for Lynda to get her behind down here so I can question her. I need some answers from "her kind" and I won't be able to think clearly until I get them. [Reaches out to the big plate of crispy bacon and starts munching.]

Oh Lynda, there you are!

ER: Hey! Is the coffee—

SK: So yesterday morning it dawned on me that it was Wednesday, and I was spelling it out for the kids so they can familiarize themselves with days of the week. Now, can you explain what's up with all the "odd" rules the English language has? Why isn't it just Wensday?

ER: Uh, my coffee cup—

SK: I don't know who Wen is, but he's probably nice enough to have his own day. Who is Wednes anyway? Exactly. In fact, it should be Wineday, I mean, really.

ER: [Finally reaches the cupboard, only to have S.K. grab the cup away.] Wen who? Wednes? Wine? Aren’t we having coffee?

SK: Sit, sit, I'll get coffee while you answer.

ER: Okay, Wineday first. I mean, Wednesday. Isn’t it named after Woden, that Germanic god who was kind of like the Norse guy, Odin? I wasn’t around back then when they named these things, so I—

SK: That’s like a cheap excuse though, isn’t it? I mean I wasn’t around either. If anybody has the answer it’s you, I know it.

ER: Okay, yes, you’re right. It had nothing to do with Woden. The real story is that halfway through the week, kids all over the world would get very whiny. It happened then and it happens now. “When is it going to be Friday? Why isn’t Saturday here yet?” Whine, whine, whine. It was unbearable. And the elders in the villages started really laying down the law as soon as the kids would even open their mouths during the middle of the week. They’d tell them to stop their complaining, but of course it was the olden days and they spoke a little more formally back then, so they’d say, “Whine not, children.” Eventually, the midweek day became known as Whine-not Day. 


Unfortunately, as the name became popular and other villages adopted it, a few towns misunderstood—because they were villages without whiny children—and thought it was Wine-not Day. They abstained from wine in the middle of the week, but they weren’t really crazy about it. Still, they assumed all the other villages were doing the same. Since they weren’t drinking wine on that day, nobody wanted to get married midweek because they couldn’t put on a proper celebration. It gradually began to be known as Wed-not Day. I’m sure you can connect the dots to see how lazy spelling and improper pronunciation caused it to be known as Wednesday the world over.

SK: I knew it! I knew there had to be something fishy but acceptable behind the name.

ER: However, I should note that the word from an alternate source (my eighteen-year-old) is that it was always supposed to be pronounced as “Weddin’s Day,” the day most people wanted to get married. Having a wedding in the middle of the week would guarantee a person the most time off work before having to return to the old grind on Monday.

SK: That makes sense and it makes me think of cake. So while we're on it, what's up with the phrase "have your cake and eat it too." Why would I have cake and not eat it? Staring at it does me no good. Or is the one I "have" hidden so I eat it later? What is it?

ER: You hide cake? And . . . my coffee . . . can I—?

SK: I know it's a lot of questions. Don't you think I know? I'm all riled up. I've been up pondering on them while you've been busy getting your beauty sleep. Here's your coffee; you can have bacon after you answer each question.

ER: What is this, a game show? Ahh. Coffeeeeeee . . . [Sighs into the cup.] Wait—what? Bacon? [Runs to the window and sighs in relief to see Live Bacon outside, splashing in mud, still wearing his cute little red boots.]

SK: Yes, it’s straight up bacon. I'm stressed out.

ER: Hey, as long as it’s not our little buddy, I’m good with it, though we should probably keep him outside so he’s not offended that we’re chowing down on his kinfolk. Pass that bacon this way. I think coffee and bacon could possibly be the perfect breakfast, all in one tidy little package. Chocolate for dessert and we’re all set.

What? Nobody ever said breakfast shouldn’t include dessert.

SK: Word, sistah! But no bacon for you until you answer my questions. Rules are rules, you know.

ER: Okay, the cake. Um . . . having cake and eating it was never really a thing. Because . . . because back in the old days, they only had really bad cakes . . . like fruitcake. So if you had cake—and a brain in your head—you didn’t want to eat it. Wanting to “have your cake and eat it too” meant you were deranged. Yeah. [Nods.] And if someone accused you of wanting to have your cake and eat it too, then they were basically calling you a crazy person. In fact, that’s why Marie Antoinette said, “Let them eat cake.” She was, in effect, telling people to just haul off and die somewhere from eating bad fruitcake. You know, choking on it since it’s so dry, or digesting that candied fruit poorly, or . . . whatever.

Why they made the cake in the first place really doesn’t factor into the equation. So why are you stressed?

SK: I don't understand why we have noses that run and feet that smell.

ER: That has you stressed?

SK: And why a ‘fat chance’ and a ‘slim chance’ are the same thing. Is it the same 'chance' before and after a diet? Like, does he yo-yo diet constantly?

ER: Chances are that a yo-yo diet will allow you to be fat first, and then progressively thinner because yo-yos don’t move through your digestive system very quickly. Still faster and easier than fruitcake, though. True fact. Next?

SK: The Oxford comma, yay or nay? Why can't your kind stick to the same rule?

ER: That’s an easy one I can actually answer. I’m a huge fan of the Oxford comma. Oxford shirts, too. In fact, the Oxford comma came from the old days, too. I’ll bet you didn’t know that.

SK: You can actually answer? What does that mea—

ER: —The Oxford comma used to be called the Oxen-ford comma, stemming from a place where wandering writers used to allow their oxen to cross the streams. The oxen would have to pause, you see . . . um . . . I kind of forget the rest, but you get the idea.

SK: And I like starting sentences with conjunctions. But some people hate it. Yet I see it all the time. Just old-timers, right? RIGHT?

ER: I suppose I should say “right” right about now. I’m getting conjunctivitis just listening to it. More coffee, please. And more bacon for sure. I’ve earned it.

SK: Yes you have. [Passes the bacon and gets a coffee refill for Lynda.] Also "e-mail" should now be written as "email." Why was the correct abbreviation of "electronic mail" such a big deal?

ER: I’m with you on that one, but I need to obey the Chicago Manual of Style overlords until they give me permission to eliminate that hyphen. The Old School of writers and publishers is really resistant to any electronic forays, so keeping that hyphen in there is their way of creating distance between the written word and the electronic world toward which it’s migrating. It’s not me, baby, it’s them there overlords, cramping my style.

SK: Can't your kind just chill? As if hyphenation wasn't already a pain in the . . . ahem, grammar world.

ER: My kind?

SK: Yes, editors. Grammar Enforcers, Punctuation Queen and Kings. Your kind.

ER: I hadn’t realized we were a whole different species, but it does make sense in a way. I’ve always felt queen-like. I even wore a crown to the grocery store once, but that was an accident.

SK: Man, I’m just glad I’m friends with one of you, at least. I feel better now. More bacon? I have something to show you! Your kind will love it!


42 comments:

  1. That video is great!
    You ladies can have my cake if you like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WHAT? Are you trying to kill us? No cake, thanks. Only coffee, bacon, and chocolate. (<---Note the Oxen-ford comma.)

      Delete
    2. Okay, Alex. Thanks, but can we eat it?

      Finger's crossed it's chocolate cake (dessert after coffee & bacon, Lyn)

      Delete
  2. I always knew there was something fishy about "Wednesday"...now I know :)

    Also, I'm surprised there wasn't an all out brawl due to someone getting in the way of someone else's coffee. At least there was bacon, too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No brawls . . . not over that anyway, we both understand the importance of sharing those. Only this time Lynda had to go along with the rules. Now the chocolate . . . that's another story.

      Delete
    2. We don't brawl, but we have been known to arm-wrestle over the last piece of chocolate.

      Delete
  3. Hi you two amazing humans,

    I almost fell awake reading this. I was sound awake and slow asleep at the same time. Funny language is English, eh. Even subtle has the "b" be rather subtle. Weird Al, what a guy, an honorary Canadian Idiot!

    Time for coffee, British coffee. Wish me luck with that!

    Fun times here, eh!

    Gary :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you have British bacon to go with your British coffee? Or do you import your Canadian bacon instead?

      Weird Al . . . he really can't be beat.

      Delete
    2. Of course, I import Canadian back bacon. I should really get some more Tim Hortons coffee to go with it, eh. Along with my "puncakes" and maple syrup.

      Delete
  4. You should never write words as numbers unless you are seven or your name is Prince. Hahahaha. This was post a lot of fun.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was one of my favorite parts as well!

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    2. One of my favorite parts too! Funny video :D

      Delete
  5. Good God, Lynda, you're brilliant. I've learned so much from you today. Thank you for posting my collaboration with my good friend Al. I am in favor of the Oxford comma, but the Associated Press isn't. I wasn't supposed to use it in newspaper articles, but I often sneaked it in (and, yes, it's sneaked, not snuck).

    Love,
    Janie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic job on the collaboration, Janie. I knew he couldn't have come up with all that genius on his own. ;)

      Delete
    2. I'm a sneaker from way back, Janie. And thank you for recognizing my genius. I don't want to brag, but I will under the proper circumstances.

      You and Al did a bang-up job! I'm proud!

      Delete
  6. When you wrote “When is it going to be Friday? Why isn’t Saturday here yet?” I thought you were going to continue to say "That's why it's called When's-day." Oh, well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And as for why the correct abbreviation of "electronic mail" was such a big deal, the reason may somehow be connected to archaic words like "to-day" and "to-morrow," and how they eventually disappeared from use.

      Delete
    2. I just thought "Wednes" was latin for wine because that would have made amazing sense, but what do I know? *shrugs*

      I get the abbreviation issue, but the hyphen really doesn't stop the world from spinning, does it? Wait! It does! Another answer discovered . . . Lynda is rubbing off on me lol

      :P

      Delete
    3. When's-day! You are spectacular, Silver Fox! Wish I'd thought of that . . . ahem, I meant to say, facts are facts and I can't argue with them.

      Delete
  7. I tried parking on a parkway once didn't go well. Not even going to mention the driveway incident. Just remember your palindromes Stressed is just a backward desserts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know palindromes are the same word or phrase backward and forward. I just wanted to make Lynda turn red. Just keep your race car level.

      Delete
    2. Doesn't take much to get me going, J.T.

      Dessert does help, though!

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    3. Dessert ALWAYS helps! Always.

      Delete
  8. Finally someone's said it! I've been waiting for a lot of years (I will not say the exact number) for dessert to be on the breakfast menu. My choice: Hot Fudge Sundaes. Yes. And Triple Cream Cannoli. How about Tarts--not those kinds--I already see your synapses snapping--I'm talking apple and berry and. . . oh . . . Creme Brulee. Eat your heart out pancakes and waffles!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't worry, I won't tell S.K. you tried calling us tarts and then covered your tracks.

      Hot Fudge Sundaes can be the dessert for any of my meals. Or even just the hot fudge with a large spoon.

      I really need to learn how to make Creme Brulee. I even have a little handheld blowtorch specifically for it that I received as a gift. I'm inspired! Waffles, pft. Bunch of wanna-be dessert things . . .

      Delete
    2. Hot Fudge Sundaes are perfect for any and all meal times. That and dessert sounds good to me. Wait, Hot Fudge Sundaes ARE meals, right? RIGHT?

      Delete
  9. Hey, what's wrong with hyphens? Hyphens make my g-mail gut-bustingly crap-tastic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's just so much to love about the word "crap-tastic," hyphen or not.

      Delete
    2. Gut-bustingly crap-tastic! Love it, consider me converted to hy-phens now. :P

      Delete
  10. That bit about fatal fruitcake is true. Right?
    "I could care less" drives me mad too. I also hate it when people spell the institution of higher learning "collage."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robyn, you need to check out "Your Grammar Sucks" on youtube (Jacksfilms). This guy asks people to send in screenshots of comments using terrible grammar or spelling, and then he compiles them into hilarious songs and skits. One of his favorites is the spelling of "collage." You'll be hooked.

      Delete
    2. Grrr on "I could care less." Thanks, now I'm back to feeling rage . . . lol

      Delete
  11. Okay...smelly feet & running noses, conjunctions & conjunctivitis, whine-not & wed-not and the rest of those what-nots... phew - that was a mouthful or is it an earful?

    ...and here are a few more what-nots to boggle your brains even further! I'd love to see your reponses to the following:
    If electricity comes from electrons – does morality come from morons?
    When a deaf person goes to court, it is still called a hearing?
    Why do they call it an asteroid when it's outside the hemisphere, but call it a haemorrhoid when it's in your posterior extremity?

    Enjoy ladies!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahahaha Love it!

      Now why didn't I think of these? Awesome! :D

      Delete
    2. I'll have to check into the moron thing, since that particular word is a favorite of mine.

      I'm still laughing about the asteroid! Terrific, Michelle!

      Delete
  12. I'll have some bacon too, thanks--and some cheese. Loved the interview.

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    Replies
    1. One big plate of bacon and cheese coming up!

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    2. We're the cheesiest. You'd have a great time here.

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    3. I totally did. I'm back for more. =)

      Delete
  13. I love Weird Al.

    Can we petition to have it changed to Wineday?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We can be the trend-setters who force the issue. I'm in!

      Delete

I love comments, and will always answer them, partly because I like having the last word and partly because I just like getting to know the people who read my blog.