Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So what if he can't spell...

...he sure can cook!

This recipe arrived yesterday from one of my favorite readers. He is a creative cook as well as a creative speller. With no intention of embarrassing him, I present it to you exactly as I got it.

home made chicken fiehetas(?)

take a plain pre cooked rotissery chicken from the store
and shred the breasts put it in a bowl beside the stove
in a skillit or on the flat griddle slice red bells and onions splash them with oil and simmer them on a medium heat till they start to fall apart warm your tortillas and add your chicken as soon as the chicken has warmed up serve with guac dip

take a big bite and wipe your chin
enjoy Jme

Now, I'll bet you shook your heads over the spelling but be honest, you had no difficulty understanding how to make this dish, did you? As long as you understood it you can cook it- right?

There is a whole school of thought that says free spelling should be promoted. After all, just who said there was only one way to spell words in English let alone Spanish words like fajitas! Just a bunch of supposedly learned men(rarely women) who wished to impose their rules upon the rest of us. And even they couldn't agree.

Take for instance this information most of which comes from "Written Dialects" by Kenneth Ives. (Scrabble players take notes some high point words in this.)

"In 1876, the American Philological Association adopted 11 new spellings, and began promoting their use:
ar catalog definit gard giv hav infinit liv tho thru wisht

Then, as Ken Ives notes, "Also in 1876, an `International Convention for the Amendment of English Orthography' was held in Philadelphia, during the Centennial Exposition. This developed into the Spelling Reform Association."

In 1879, the British Spelling Reform Association was founded. In 1886, the American Philological Association (which had earlier proposed 11 new spellings) came out with a list of 3500 spellings.

In 1898, the (American) National Education Association began promoting a list of 12 spellings. They were:
tho altho thru thruout thoro thoroly thorofare program prolog catalog pedagog decalog.

The Simplified Spelling Board was founded in the U.S. in 1906, and had a list of 300-plus spellings. One of the founding members was Andrew Carnegie, who donated more than $250,000 over the next several years. The Simplified Spelling Society was founded in the U.K. in 1908, as a "sister" organization.

U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt also promoted simpler spellings. Initially, he ordered the Government Printing Office to use the Simplified Spelling Board's 300 or so proposed spellings. This order was issued on August 27, 1906 (while the U.S. Congress was in recess). There was resistance from the Government Printing Office and others who were to carry it out, and when Congress re adjourned that fall, they set to revoke Roosevelt's order.

Congress ... voted, 142 to 24, that "no money appropriated in this act shall be used (for) printing documents ... unless same shall conform to the orthography ... in ... generally accepted dictionaries."

Thus, it ended up that simplified spellings were used only in written items coming from the White House itself, and at that, only 12 were used. "

Take another look at those lists of words. How many are still spelled that way?

In another work Ives wrote:

As early as the 1870s, the Chicago Tribune began using reformed spellings. Joseph Medill, editor and owner, was a member of the Council of the Spelling Reform Association. In 1880 the Chicago Spelling Reform Association met at the Sherman House and read letters approving the Tribune's efforts.

About 50 years later, under Medill's grandson, Robert H. McCormick, and editor James O'Donnell Bennett, the Tribune began a new effort. This "practical test of spelling reform" started in January 1934, and continued for 41 years, with various changes.

An unsystematic list of 80 respelled words was introduced in four editorials over a two month period, and used thereafter in the paper, which had the largest circulation in Chicago. On January 28, "advertisment, catalog," and seven more "-gue" words were among those shortened. The February 11 list included "agast, ameba, burocrat, crum, missil, subpena."

{YT note: I noticed Sage got a bunch of junk mail last month while I was staying at his house. Included were catalogs, cataloges, and catalogues!}

On February 25, "bazar, hemloc, herse, intern, rime, sherif, staf," were among those introduced. On March 11 an editorial reported that "short spelling wins votes of readers 3 to 1."

On March 18, the final list included "glamor, harth, iland, jaz, tarif, trafic." An editorial that day, "Why dictionary makers avoid simpler spellings" claimed that they dare not pioneer, "prejudice and competition prevent it."

On September 24, 1939, the list was reduced to 40, but "tho, altho, thru, thoro," were added. Addition of "frate, frater" came on September 24, 1945. Changing "ph" not at the start of a word to "f" came on July 3, 1949, with "autograf, telegraf, philosofy, photograf, sofomore."

My mother always wrote tho and of course I picked it up from her. Naturally, the Sisters of Mercy and later the Sisters of St. Joseph disagreed. I learned to write though on school papers but I still frequently use tho in letters.

My father, Old Newsie, the newspaper editor, presented me with two books when I was in high school, the Chicago Tribune Style book and the New York Times Style book. They often disagreed with each other, yet many Americans learned to read and spell by reading those newspapers. I got in trouble for using some of the writing advice given by those esteemed authorities too, because he often proofed my term papers for me. To make matters worse he still edits things I write and lets me know when I've broken a spelling rule. (And we won't go into contractions will we Dad? It's a losing battle when the language can't control it's usage.)

The debate over the spelling of the English language has been going on for close to 130 years and that does not include the sub topic of English English vs American English. It's really quite fascinating to read about and you can by clicking here. See which side of the aisle Mark Twain was on.

But my question today is simply this (and yes I know we aren't supposed to begin a sentence with but; at least we weren't supposed to in the olden days):

Would Jme's fiehetas taste any better if they were spelled

Fajitas ?

I'm hungry.

See ya down the road,

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Due to Technocal Difficulties

In my never ending quest to get Ramblings to look the way I'd like it to, despite the fact that I don't know what that is, I'm trying new "stuff" again. So we'll see what the next few days does to the appearance of Ramblings. It may change radically or it may stay the same.

My problem is that half of what I do means exactly squat to me until I hit the "submit" button and then go see what I've done. Sometimes, to my absolute amazement something totally unexpected happens and I like it.

My header up there was one of those things. I found the picture (somewhere- don't ask, I couldn't tell you) and then worked for about an hour to get the wording to fit in the right spot and not get swallowed up by the trees. For the life of me I couldn't make that happen and I finally clicked on "Apply" when I got it to a point I could stand for a few days. When I clicked on "view blog" there it was - exactly the way I wanted it. How did that happen?

More often than not I detest the results. Take a look at this whole page for example. Go ahead and scroll all the way down to the bottom. (insert Final Jeopardy music here) All the way. Did you see that vast area of blankness? Of course you did, how can you miss it? I really hate that.(I also hate the fact that I've been trying to use music to underscore a point since last fall and I still haven't managed to do that even though others have tried to show me how.)

At first, I thought if I simply write longer blog posts the problem would take care of itself and I wouldn't have this long right hand side bar dangling off the bottom like Baja California. Well, that sure didn't work. All I got for that was wordy silly posts with a longer pigtail dangling off the right sidebar like Baja California!.

Then there are the add-ons. Everyday I see attractively laid out blogs that include buttons and widgets to take me to other interesting places. I would really like to include a few of those. I'd like to proudly proclaim my two or three affiliations and I'd love to add a button that would mean a few cents to feed hungry children and adults or provide a child with a book. But I can't. If I could even figure out how to add them, all they would do is extend Baja to somewhere in the Antarctic region!

Heck! even the ones I have on there now are not producing anything. We (meaning Geezerguy, Clancy, and myself) bought into this whole Ad Sense idea back in November. All three blogs are on one account which is supposed to produce a tidy sum for us. All our readers have to do is click on and read the ads. Yeah right! So far I have made exactly $5.99! They send you a check when you hit $100.00!

But I'm always up for a challenge. So today I added a thingamabob that will tell me who's looked at my blog. I am already having second thoughts and it's not even published yet. I may be setting myself up for a big disappointment if no one, in fact, is looking! I don't even know how it works! It's sort of the same thing as a counter which I rejected for the same reason but this one is supposed to get Ramblings out there to new readers on other blogs too. (Nuts! I just realized that means I have to add an avatar to the Blog catalog because no one clicks on those blank heads.)

The thing is, I do know what I need. I need a three column format which gives me space for all the doodads I want to decorate the blog . The problem is that I don't want to pay for one and most of the free ones look like they should be used by either some big corporation or a funeral parlor. The few that I might consider are full of code which I can't fathom at all. Is it really too much to ask for some wonderfully artistic ,creative person to come up with something pretty but not too pretty, feminine but not girlie, modern but not OMG! designs which are both free and easily understood, by someone who doesn't know html from HGTV??

I can hear my brother, Denis laughing at me all the way from San Jose. He is a superb Web Content Manager and Database Developer (among other techie titles) who labored patiently with me for weeks-nay months, to produce a Web site when we first began our storytelling back in 2003. He did it for me as a birthday gift and all I had to produce was the content and a few dollars to buy a domain. But once he had it up and looking wonderfully, I was too dense to learn how to actually do anything to it. Because of that, he was the one who had to take time from his busy work week to add a picture or change a date for us.

Denis and I both fell ill within a short time
of each other a few years ago and between us were out of action for several months. Denis is back in full swing and has not ceased his busy work schedule with his own company Triumph Research Group. Our Storytelling focus changed from the original plan and we rarely do school programs any more but I still direct people to Under The Story Tree when they want to see some of our history programs. I do point out that it's hopelessly out of date (and we disabled the contact page) but it helps to add to our credits a bit and gives you a chance to see us with a few less gray hairs in my case or shorter beard in Jim's.

By the way, it should also be noted that while I may be a techno peasant, Denis, the Geek, who stated "Content is King" has not posted a second blog after his big announcement 3 months ago so I don't feel so bad about my lack of bells and whistles. At least I have content; trivial, foolish, and mundane it may be but my friends and readers seem to like it! And I guess that makes me King...Queen... Empress? Yeah! Empress Yarntangler, that's me.

See ya down the road,
Empress Yarntangler

OMG!!!!!! Can you believe this?? I write this whole long silly post about how I never get things right. I make a BFHD (big fat hairy deal) about how my post is always too short and the side bar extends way beyond it and guess what? It doesn't happen! Don't ask me why? This is the very first time I didn't have a Baja effect on my blog!

Of all the stupid&^%$#@*(&!$!!!

Denis, Stop laughing! I really can hear you from here! And as for the four Cumberland boys...I am your mother - show a little respect or at least compassion!
Jim, turn around. Do you really want me to look at you like this all day?
Dad, never mind. If I can't figure it out there's no way I can explain it to you.