music, musings, YouTube

Beautiful Sunday…

It’s a lovely day, and I’m not sure how we’re going to spend it… We really should get out and see something new, especially since my last two posts on this blog have been about the IBLP, Bill Gothard, and culty fundie Christian groups. I should probably clear my head of such stuff and enjoy beautiful Germany, during this rare sunny weather.

Or, maybe I could finish my project, migrating my huge music library so that’s done…

I could practice guitar, or make another video for an old song from the 70s, like this one. What I probably should do is go on a long hike, and burn off my beer gut.

I dedicated this to my old friend, Chris, who is a big fan of Olivia Newton-John’s. I used to love her music a lot too, when I was a child. I still love her stuff, actually.

I was going to do a different song, but it wasn’t quite working out in a timely manner, and I didn’t want to spend hours on it. I had other stuff to do on Friday. Yes, even people with my ridiculous lifestyle have chores to do.

I don’t like to record music on Sundays, though… call it a holdover from living in Swabia, where people are a lot more uptight about local conventions. So, I think maybe I’ll go find something quiet to do, or maybe we’ll venture out somewhere new. The possibilities are endless.

Bill and I watched Shiny Happy People yesterday. Bill wanted to see what I was going on about. He was just as disgusted as I was. The docuseries generated some discussion that will probably turn into a blog post sometime soon. It’s sad that so many people willingly give up their lives to cults, and money and power hungry people like Jim Bob Duggar. I did notice that I got a hit from Siloam Springs, Arkansas… Perhaps the Dillards paid my humble blog a visit?

Ah well… Sundays aren’t the best days for thinking about cults. I think I’ll go find something fun to do.

The featured photo was taken last night in Hofheim, where everything was especially nice and lovely… It’s at times like these when living in Germany is the most awesome.

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animals, family, nostalgia, YouTube

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming…

Mmm’kay… now that the drama of the past few days has passed, it’s time to get back to “work”. I know not everyone considers what I do “work”, but what do they know? Maybe I’m just one of those people whose true worth won’t be known until after I’m dead. πŸ˜‰

It’s just after 9:00 AM, here in the land of Beer, Brats, and Broetchen. I’ve already gotten a few things done. I washed the sheets, cleaned Noyzi’s food and water bowls and refilled the water, did some more work on migrating and organizing my massive music collection to the newer computer, and paid a bill. And now I’m sitting here wondering if I want to upset my stomach by thinking about the news of the world.

I know I haven’t been writing as much about current events lately, but trust me, I’ve been watching what’s going on. I suppose it depresses me too much to comment on the epic political shitshow that is projected for 2024. I hate the idea of DeSantis or Trump in the White House. I’m not overly excited about another four years with Biden, either, mainly because he is so elderly and people say such awful things about him. I know it probably wouldn’t be any different with another candidate in power, but at least someone younger and more dynamic would seem more like a fair target. I have respect for Joe Biden. He truly inherited a circus when he entered the White House. It can’t be easy cleaning up Donald Trump’s messes… especially give his penchant for Big Macs and Whoppers.

I was never a fan of politics. Today’s political scene is especially heartbreaking to me, when I see idiots like Lauren Boebert holding court. I’m not proud of it, but whenever I hear her speak, I have a tendency to hurl insults at the TV. I respond to her much like I respond to hearing Trump speak. It’s safe to say that I despise her, and her ilk. But I didn’t used to be anti-conservative at all. In fact, for well over half my life, I identified as a Republican. Not anymore.

This morning, as Bill and I were having breakfast, we talked a bit more about what went down over the past few days. I wrote down my honest and candid thoughts in my blog, as if I were writing in a diary. I upset someone in my family, who in fairness, upset me first. It’s regrettable when people are negatively impacted by the things I do. However, I think I can glean some good stuff from my posts… and if I can, I’ll bet others can, too.

For instance, yesterday I wrote about the “Bless your heart” mentality so prevalent in the South, and how it leads to excessive bullshitting. Some years ago, I remember hearing an interesting metaphor about the different types of people one encounters in life. I don’t remember exactly where I heard this concept, but it’s stuck with me. And, forgive me, but I’ve also written about this previously. In the interest of full disclosure, here’s a link.

Some people are like “peaches”. They are soft, fleshy, fuzzy, and sweet on the outside. They look and smell delicious, and they attract everyone with their mainstream appeal. But, deep down, they have hearts of stone. I picture the stereotypical mean Queen Bee bitch who’s all “honey lippin'” sweetness and light to everyone to their faces, but then stabs them in the back. I think some southern people are kind of like this by nature– or by virtue of that whole “Bless your heart” mentality that we have down there. Be “nice”, no matter what… even if you’re being profoundly disingenuous.

Other people are more like coconuts. They have rough, tough, hard outer shells that are abrasive to the touch. They aren’t easy to crack, nor are they easy to enjoy, but beneath that rough exterior, there’s exotic sweetness that can be very refreshing. I picture the weird, grouchy, eccentric old lady on the corner who is a wonderful, sensitive artist or talented musician… or tells wonderful, vivid stories to enchanted children. The lady who collects homeless cats or dogs and lovingly cares for them as she screams at people to get off her lawn might be more of a “coconut”. I think of certain northern folks as coconuts– the people who are very gruff in the subway station as they help you validate your ticket.

And then there are people who are just plain nuts, like me… πŸ˜‰ Crunchy, salty, and occasionally oily, maybe? I don’t know. Or maybe I’m more like a crab… or a lobster, like Leon, the lucky crustacean who was rescued from a grocery store by an enterprising YouTuber who makes educational videos about him.

The latest on Leon…

I like peaches, and I like coconuts and nuts in moderation… I’m not a fan of eating crabs, although it’s fun to catch them in rivers. It’s probably fun to catch them from certain sexual partners, too, but the aftermath isn’t much fun. I suppose I could say that I enjoy people who resemble those types, too. I have some friends who are like peaches, and a few who are like coconuts. Having a hard “stone pit like” heart doesn’t always mean someone is inherently evil. And being sweet and fluffy on the inside doesn’t always a person is easy to love, once you break the shell.

I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in Gloucester, Virginia, which is a small, conservative, southern town in Virginia. I didn’t like Gloucester when we first moved there. Even though I was born in Hampton, which isn’t that far away from there, moving to Gloucester in 1980 was a big culture shock to me. It took a long time for me to appreciate Gloucester. I don’t think I ever really liked it when I lived there, although I did eventually fit in better, and other kids finally stopped bullying me. Now that I’m an adult, I appreciate it a whole lot more. Not enough to move back there, mind you… but more than I did when I was a child. It is a beautiful place with really good people… many of whom are very religious and politically conservative, and like to catch and eat crabs.

Unlike my sisters, I had the experience of mostly growing up in one town. I lived in Gloucester from the age of eight until I went to college at age 18. Then I boomeranged there back a couple of times before I finally left for good at age 27. Like it or not, that place had a huge effect on me. Even today, there are still a lot of people there who know me. One of them left me a comment on my link to yesterday’s post. She and I have probably known each other since 1981 or so… Her mom and my dad used to sing duets in church. We are the same age, and graduated in the same class. She also went to Longwood for awhile, although she didn’t graduate from there.

My old friend had kind words for me yesterday, which I really appreciated. Another friend also had kind words, even though we have never met offline. I think both of those ladies, who are living in the South, might understand the whole “bless your heart” thing… where you are expected to be nice, even if it means being dishonest. The weird thing is, I was always proud of being southern… but now, I feel divorced from the culture.

In fact, I feel divorced from my family, too. It would be easy for me to blow off what happened the other day, with my cousin’s wife. But it’s not the first online altercation I’ve had with people in my family, and I’m feeling pretty estranged now… like, most of them are now strangers and don’t care about me. It makes me glad there’s an ocean between us… even though there are lots of times when I wish I could live in my own country. I don’t know when, or even if, we’re going to move back there. Situations like this make staying abroad more appealing. I don’t want to fly eight hours on a plane to go home to people who are shitty to me because of petty Facebook dramas. But, like I wrote yesterday, most of them don’t understand me anyway… and seem unwilling to try. The bright side is, I don’t feel guilty when I plan lavish Nordic vacations instead of not having gone home to see my mom for the past 8 years. Actually, I wouldn’t mind seeing my mom. She’s got common sense, and a sense of humor.

A couple of years ago, Bill and I met a German woman at a Christmas market. It turned out she had lived in the United States for some time, working for Seagrams in Tennessee. We traded a couple of stories about our experiences living in different countries from our origins. She looked at us with empathy and said, “The United States will never be the same for you again. You have now become Europeanized.”

She’s right. I don’t see the USA the way I did when I was younger. I don’t see “home” in the same way, either. Germany’s not quite “home”, but it’s been where I’ve lived for over half my marriage. I don’t even speak the language, but it’s become a familiar and comfortable place to me… and in many ways, it’s more welcoming than home is. At least here, no one knows that much about me, or where I came from. And no one cares that much, either, except they usually do want to know what state we’re from. Germans, by and large, seem to love Florida… but I’m sure it’s strictly because of the beaches and beautiful (hot and sunny) weather. If they had to live there under Ron DeSantis and religious wackos, I suspect a lot of them would hate the place.

Well, it’s now getting close to 11:30 AM. My work on this post has been interrupted a few times by music migration breaks. I think I’ll end this entry and get on with the other activities of the day. Noyzi needs a walk, and my guitar is calling me for a quick practice session. Hopefully, I won’t alienate anyone with today’s musings… but if I do alienate anyone, I suspect they’ll just shitcan me without a second thought, too. Oh well.

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good news, politics, Trump

It’s FINALLY Friday… and you know what that means!

Well, maybe you don’t know what that means… But many of the people who read this blog every day, follow me on Facebook. And if you follow me on Facebook, you know that I’ve been waiting all week for this day. Friday means Mr. Bill is coming home.

Bill has been looking forward to coming home as much as I’ve been waiting for him to get here. This particular business trip has been especially onerous for him, because he’s had to work overnights. He isn’t a night person at all. So I know he will be very glad to come back to the land of daylight… although it probably means he’ll have to recover all weekend.

I’m beginning to wonder if maybe it’s not time for Bill to change jobs. I think we’re both tired of the constant trips to Bavaria. But then I realize that what made this particular trip so tough is a pretty rare thing for him. Most of the business trips he does don’t require him to work overnights. He also gets paid very well to do what he does, and we aren’t in a hurry to move again. So, I guess we’ll suck it up… or, I will. Unless, of course, Bill decides he’s ready for a different position. For now, I probably should just focus on next month’s planned trip, which we are eagerly anticipating.

I haven’t been following the news much over the past few days, although I have heard some reactions to Trump’s “town hall” on CNN. Naturally, the press has been negative, as people are apparently just now waking up to the fact that Trump is a lying fascist who delights in molesting women. Some of us have known about this for years, though, and I didn’t need to sit through Trump on television to know what he is. I watched Beau of the Fifth Column’s video about the fiasco yesterday, and he pretty much called out Trump’s base…

It sounds like CNN is heading right… which is all wrong.

The problem is, Donald Trump is not someone who takes direction. If he gets back in office, he will have no reason to rein in his worst impulses. It will be even more difficult to get him to leave, if he manages to survive the term. And the worst people will be championing him, which will be absolutely terrible for the country.

I’d like to think that we won’t make the same mistake twice and vote in the lying orange turd. But in 2016, I didn’t think he’d win, and he did. So I can’t relax, even though it does seem like more people have awakened to what a joke he is.

The other night, when I talked to my mom, she brought up Trump and, once again, reminded me how fortunate we are to not be in the United States right now. She said it’s really bad there. Even so, there’s a part of me that does want to go home, if only to see a few people I love. We were both happy that a jury held Trump responsible for sexually abusing and defaming E. Jean Carroll. But of course, Trump will appeal, and his base are mostly disgusting people who refuse to see what is obvious, and/or just plain don’t care.

Looks like Anderson Cooper is doing damage control…

Anderson, do the right thing, and change networks, please! CNN has gone to the dark side.

It sickens me that Republicans… so many of whom I know are not terrible people… are going to vote for this fucking asshole. It’s absolutely outrageous. I get being conservative, but PLEASE… let’s get someone decent to run. Let’s have someone who isn’t such a liar, abuser, and wannabe dictator. And no, I don’t mean Ron DeSantis. The United States is a huge country with so many educated people, some of whom have charisma. There’s got to be SOMEONE who can be president, other than Trump. He’s just a vile, despicable turd. We don’t need to re-elect an election denying insurrectionist to the White House. Let’s drop kick this piece of crap back to Florida, where he belongs.

Anyway… there’s no sense in getting too riled up about this, since there’s nothing I can do. Best to just be glad it’s Friday, and I won’t be hanging out alone tonight. I might even fall off the wagon again. We are having a wine stand tonight in our Dorfplatz, after all.

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movies, music, nostalgia, YouTube

A movie that still haunts me after 44 years…

It’s Friday, and I’m sitting here listening to Anne Murray, of all people. As a child of the 70s, I can’t help but have some guilty pleasures. Anne Murray had a lot of hits in the 70s, so her music is a big part of my personal soundtrack. Listening to her sing takes me to a comforting place.

What a Wonderful World (14 Inspirational Classics), the album I’m listening to right now, is one of Anne’s more recent ones. Or, it’s relatively recent, anyway, having been released in 1999. When you consider that Anne Murray has been around since before I was born, it’s kind of recent. It consists of fourteen cover songs, all of which are either pop songs made famous in a previous era by other artists, or old fashioned hymns. It’s an album my father would have enjoyed. My mom would probably like it, too, although her tastes in music were decidedly peppier than his were.

I think I like Anne’s 70s hits better than this album, although her versions of these songs are certainly pleasant enough. It sounds like she enjoyed making this record, even if the songs lack the emotional punch of her earlier stuff. It’s not a bad thing to wake up to, I guess.

I think I bought this album because I heard Anne singing with her daughter, Dawn Langstroth, on another album, and I liked Dawn’s voice a whole lot. It probably shouldn’t be a surprise that Dawn has a really beautiful voice that compliments her mother’s voice very nicely. I like to support artists when I like what they do– especially if they aren’t super famous. Dawn Langstroth has a couple of albums with music that isn’t like her mom’s, but is equally appealing (I have eclectic tastes).

At least I’m not listening to anything with profanity in it. God knows, I’ve been known to do that, too. I usually do that when I need a laugh.

Bill is in Bavaria again, so I’m on my own for the next week, trying to stay out of trouble. When Bill goes away, I try to occupy myself with “wholesome” activities and maintain sobriety. I don’t always succeed in not drinking beer when he’s gone, as it helps me pass the time. However, I do make an effort, because it’s good for me, and because there may be a need for me to drive somewhere. This was more of a concern when Arran was still with us, but suffering from cancer. Now that he’s gone, it’s less of an issue. But we do still have Noyzi, and he could get into trouble.

Also, I like to reassure myself that drinking is always a choice. For the most part, I don’t really miss drinking when I abstain from it, especially if I am engaged in something. I don’t necessarily want to walk all the way to the basement for a beer. πŸ˜‰

Last night, I decided I wanted to watch an old made for TV movie from 1979. I remember watching this movie on CBS when I was about 6 or 7 years old. The film, titled And Your Name is Jonah, was about a deaf child who was misdiagnosed as “retarded” (the term used in the movie– today, we would use a more politically correct term). It starred Sally Struthers, James Woods, Jeremy Licht, and introduced nine year old Jeffrey Bravin, who is deaf in “real life”.

The film is pretty dated, since it was made in 1979. Watching it last night reminded me of how old I am, especially as I heard the actors speaking of “retardation” (which was a valid diagnostic term when I was a child), watched Jonah riding on his mother’s lap in the front seat of the car (with no one wearing seatbelts, no less), and saw Jonah, at nine years old, running around New York City alone.

It’s hard to believe that was how things kind of were at that time. I can remember being allowed to go places alone from a very young age, riding in the car unrestrained (even in the front seat), and hearing all manner of words now deemed egregiously offensive being thrown around on television and in “polite” conversation. You wouldn’t hear the word “shit” on primetime television, but the r bomb and n bomb were dropped all over the place. And yet, there were some really intelligent and thought provoking movies and TV shows made in those days. Some “Movies of the Week”, as And Your Name is Jonah was, were genuinely excellent.

I was a bit traumatized by And Your Name is Jonah back in 1979. If you’ve seen this movie, you might know which scene was especially haunting to a small child. One thing that comes across in this movie is that Jonah, who was “institutionalized” for three years with children who were intellectually disabled, is terrified of the new world outside of the hospital where he’d been living.

Jonah does not have an intellectual disability, but he is profoundly deaf, and he’s never been taught to communicate. He wears uncomfortable hearing aids that don’t really help him hear better. The film presents Jonah’s perspective– first not being able to hear at all, and then only hearing unpleasant and unintelligible noise when he wears hearing aids. So, even though his cognitive function is normal, he is constantly frustrated, trying to communicate and understand what’s happening. Most of the time, he seems very stressed as he tries to have his needs met, and things like his little brother’s Spiderman doll, scare him. However, there are some bright spots, such as when he meets his mother’s grandpa, a friendly Greek man who loves to dance and is very kind to Jonah.

Jonah meets Grandpa and learns how to dance to vibrations…

Jonah’s father Danny, played by James Woods, has a short temper and little patience for Jonah. He tells his wife, Jenny (Struthers), that he wants to put Jonah back in the hospital. Jenny refuses to consider sending Jonah back to the institution. Danny ends up leaving when he can’t take dealing with Jonah, leaving Jenny to deal with their son alone. He does send her a paltry sum of cash in the mail and a note.

Grandpa runs a vegetable stand. Jonah visits him often with his mother and brother. One day, Jonah is having a ball with Grandpa, and the old man collapses from a heart attack. He dies. Jonah doesn’t understand what has happened to his beloved grandfather. Then there’s a funeral scene, and the family files by the open casket, kissing Grandpa on the forehead. Jonah is the last to see him as the lid is closed forever. Danny shows up after the funeral, hanging around outside of the church to offer his condolences to his wife. Jenny is devastated, trying to talk to him about their son… and Danny, predictably, can’t handle it and leaves again. There’s so much profound loss in Jonah’s life, and he has no way to process it with other people.

So very sad… Grandpa was Jonah’s best friend.

After Jonah’s dad, Danny, leaves, Jonah has even more trouble adjusting to his circumstances. One day, he sneaks out of the house, gets on the bus by himself, and goes to Grandpa’s vegetable stand, which is not open. Confused, Jonah wanders around looking for his Grandpa, then sees a lady who knows him. He panics, and tries to get back on the bus, but he’s too late to catch it. It leaves without him. Now, Jonah is left without transportation, wandering alone in the city.

One of New York City’s finest sees Jonah wandering around alone. Not understanding that Jonah is deaf, the cop assumes the boy is “crazy”. He picks up Jonah and takes him to a hospital. Jonah knows about hospitals, and he freaks out when he goes inside the building. Everyone is dressed in white– and the nurses all wear scary caps, just like they did back in the day. It probably smells medicinal, too, which would likely be pretty powerful for someone who doesn’t hear.

Yikes! Can you blame him for being terrified?

Once again, panic overwhelms Jonah, and he tries to run away. The cop and an intern (in an old fashioned white smock) grab the boy, who winds up in restraints. It’s a very short but extremely powerful scene. As a small child, I remember being scared when I saw it on television. Especially when I saw Jonah’s terrified face at the end of the scene (see the featured photo).

Although this film is about two-thirds emotionally wrenching and sad, it does have a very happy ending when Jonah has a breakthrough. Jenny meets deaf people in speech therapy. They introduce Jenny to more deaf people, all of whom use American Sign Language to communicate. Jenny has been told that signing is bad– Jonah’s been in a school where signing is expressly forbidden. But it turns out that sign language is Jonah’s key to the world. And once he realizes he can sign to be understood, things finally get better.

Jenny’s new deaf friend explains what it’s been like for her in a hearing world.
Jenny confronts Jonah’s clueless teacher…
Jonah catches on…

Billy Seago, the young man who helps get through to Jonah, is just amazing in the breakthrough scene. Look at his facial expressions. They are amazing. I should also give a shout out to the late Fred Karlin, the composer who provided the moving soundtrack for this film. It sets just the right tone… and in fact, the main theme is stuck in my head as I type this.

Jonah has a breakthrough.

This movie can be watched for free on YouTube, but I decided to download it from Apple TV. I figure even though it was a Movie of the Week from 1979, the fact that I still think about it is a sign that it belongs in my library. I was legitimately traumatized by this movie when I saw it aired on CBS in 1979, but today, I just think it’s a really touching and beautifully done film.

Jeff Bravin, who played Jonah, was on 3-2-1 Contact (a children’s science show that aired on PBS back in the early 80s), but other than that, he’s left acting in the past. Although he’s obviously found a different vocation, I have to say that I am very impressed by his acting skills in this movie. His facial expressions are amazing. He was such a cute child, too… I read in an interview he did that the “restraint scene” was a point of pride for him, as he actually broke some of the straps!

Jeff Bravin is now highly educated and works as a school administrator in deaf education. I read that he never really learned how to speak clearly, because he is so profoundly deaf. Both of his parents and all four of his grandparents were deaf, as is his wife. He has three hearing daughters and grandchildren now, but clearly there are both genetic and cultural components to Bravin’s experience as a deaf person. If you search for him, Bravin is easily found on YouTube– bright, confident, and signing away very fluently.

In a weird way… this movie reminds me a bit of how it was when we brought Noyzi home. Granted, Noyzi is a dog, but he was absolutely terrified for a good long while, especially of Bill. He’s morphed into a wonderful dog, but it’s taken time, love, patience, and understanding. And there have been a few times when Noyzi’s eyes have looked a bit like Jonah’s in the hospital restraint scene. He still reacts automatically to a lot of stimuli, like sudden noises or movements. However, overall, he has adapted very well… and we continue to see progress with him, as he is introduced to new experiences. It’s very rewarding to watch him evolve into the sweet, gentle, loving giant he is…

Which reminds me, it’s time to get dressed and take him for a walk, now that we finally have good weather. I hope this post has entertained and informed… and I hope if I’ve piqued your interest in this movie, you might seek it out on YouTube or even on Apple TV, if you’re so inclined. I’m glad I watched it again, even though it’s very dated, not very politically correct, and reminds me of just how old I am. πŸ˜‰ I think it’s very well done, even in 2023.

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communication, language, lessons learned, narcissists, YouTube

Are you experiencing envy, or is it actually jealousy?

As the days get closer to King Charles III’s coronation, YouTube personality, H.G. Tudor, has been making more videos about Meghan Markle’s inevitable narcissistic response to the “ballyhoo”. H.G. Tudor claims to be a narcissistic psychopath, and he makes many videos about other people he deems narcissists. Personally, I’m not sure he’s as narcissistic as he claims he is. I’m sure he’d argue with me about it… and I could be wrong. I just don’t think a really hardcore narcissist would care about sharing knowledge and personal experiences with the public, to β€œeducate” them about their β€œkind”. He claims he does it because it “suits him”, and it’s for his own purposes. Maybe… and I do think he is very narcissistic. But as to the extent of his narcissism, who knows? And who cares? That’s not the main idea of this post, anyway…

One thing I notice and appreciate about H.G. Tudor is that he’s very precise about language and word usage. That happens to be one of my idiosyncrasies, too, although I confess there are times when I use words incorrectly. It’s just that I find words fascinating, so when I am corrected, I try to remember the correction and mend my ways.

Recently, I’ve noticed H.G. Tudor pointing out the difference between the words “envy” and “jealousy”. Many people think of those two words as synonyms and use them that way accordingly. However, they actually have distinctive meanings. And true to his narcissistic nature, H.G. Tudor sneeringly points out the difference every time he runs across comments in which someone dares to use the word “jealousy” when they really mean “envy”. It seems like people more often use jealousy in place of envy, rather than vice versa.

For those who don’t wish to look it up (for the love of GOD!), here’s a quick rule of thumb. The word “envy” is correctly used when you want something someone else has. For instance, you might feel envy if your best friend comes home with a brand new sports car or gets a big promotion at their job. You might be envious of a friend who gets to travel to exotic locations or has a really good looking partner.

“Jealousy”, however, is properly used when you feel protective or territorial toward something or someone. That’s when you feel like your position is threatened somehow. For example, you might “jealously guard” your property, or feel jealous when a potential romantic rival flirts with your significant other.

I must confess that although I did know the difference between the two words, like a lot of Americans, I mix them up all the time. But H.G. Tudor is correct, so I shall try harder to use those words properly. It’s good for the brain to keep these things in mind, and my brain needs all the help it can get.

My personal pet peeve is when people misuse (and overuse) the words “use” and “utilize”. There is also a difference in the meanings between these two words, but people frequently interchange them. I distinctly remember one time, telling a friend on Facebook that there’s a difference between the two words, only to be taken to task by another one of his friends who insisted that I was wrong (I’m not, by the way… For the love of God, look it up!).

The word “use” means to “consume from a limited supply or take something to achieve a result.” The word “utilize” means to use something beyond its intended purpose or in an unexpected way. They are NOT synonyms, although so many people mix them up that they’re probably by now considered synonyms in many dictionaries based only on popular usage.

You’d use a frying pan to cook your eggs. You’d utilize a frying pan to knock your husband unconscious for coming home drunk. You’d use a spoon to eat pudding. You’d utilize a spoon to open a can of paint. See what I mean?

A lot of people seem to think that “utilize” is a more “advanced” word, so they employ it as a means of sounding more formal or educated. Maybe it is a more advanced word, but only when it’s used properly. There are also situations in which both words will work. For instance:

I use old newspapers to line my cat’s litter box.

I utilize old newspapers to line my cat’s litter box.

Utilize works in that case, because newspapers are originally meant to be read, not spread in litter boxes for absorbing cat waste. But you wouldn’t correctly employ the word “utilize” in a situation in which you’ve employed an object for its intended purpose. For instance:

I utilize a curling iron to curl my hair.

Curling irons are meant for curling hair, so it would be more correct to write:

I use a curling iron to curl my hair.

Ditto:

I use a rake to gather the leaves in the fall, but I utilize a rake to beat my neighbor’s ass through the fence. (That would be quite an unexpected way to use a rake, right?)

I already have a lot of rather uptight language pet peeves like this… but I have to confess that H.G. Tudor has added another to my list. I will now make a point of using the words “envy” and “jealousy” properly. It’s the right thing to do.

Now… Mr. Bill has to leave town today, and I have some other stuff to get done. So, I think I shall end today’s blog rantings and get on with the day. I do hope you’re able to use the information I’ve provided in today’s post to good effect somehow. Maybe you’ll even be able to utilize it somehow, too.

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