Thursday, July 06, 2006

Grammar apostasy

In a comment to my last (cranky) post about grammar, Unca asks:

So you're setting up your own ("the people's"?) grammar rules here?

To which I reply: ab-so-freakin-lutely. That's how it works. We develop language to communicate ideas, feelings, concepts. Language grows and changes to accomodate our changing lives and habits, generally in the direction of more effective communication. When enough people have begun to say a certain thing, it becomes part of the language, and eventually finds its way into the rule books.

Think about the very first grammar primer. It had to have been primarily descriptive -- it described how people talked, which they were doing just fine, thank you, even tho they lacked a book to tell them how to do it. Then later, in our unending thirst to tame chaos and make ourselves feel secure, we began to view grammar books as normative -- this way to talk is "right", that way is "wrong".

Now, don't misunderstand me -- there are huge benefits to having grammar rules, and I'm not advocating throwing them out completely. What I rail against is the mindset that we are to serve the rules, rather than the rules serving us. The stultifying idea that language is supposed to stay static, that the Queen's English is always the most effective way to communicate. It's ballocks, and on some level we all know it (else why the difference in written and spoken speech? if the more formal, structured, rule-bound written language were actually the most effective way to communicate in every situation, we'd talk that way too.)

I propose we look at grammar rules -- or more accurately, at instances of their violation -- in the following way:
If breaking the rule makes meaning less clear, don't break the rule, keep it.
If the breaking the rule enhances communication (or if the effect is neutral), move on with your life.

If someone says "I should have went to the store today" is there any doubt whatsoever about what they're trying to communicate? I'll answer for you: there is not. So move on.
Likewise split infinitives, ending sentences with prepositions, "This is he", and on and on.
English has no gender-neutral third-person pronoun, and it desperately needs one. Recognizing this fact, we use "they" to communicate the idea of "he or she". What's wrong with that? Now we have a word ("they") that means either third-person-plural or third-person-singular-but-gender-neutral, depending on context. And context is more than adequate to resolve potential miscommunication. English is full of words with multiple meanings. We use context to resolve them thousands of times a day.

Another thing: in German, nouns are capitalized. If you asked the Germans (as rule-bound a people as you'll find outside Japan, I suspect) to write nouns without capitalizing them, they'd probably pee their pants. But guess what? English -- and most other languages -- get along fine without capitalizing nouns.

You know what that means, people? It means grammar rules are not set by God, that language can operate without some of them! How cool is that? It means that maybe your reactionary philistine resistance to grammar change is mostly about making you feel comfortable, not about effective communication! Wow!

But guess what else: now you're free! Bryan has struck from your arms the shackles of blinkered slavish adherence to every grammar rule some wizened crone drilled into you in 10th grade -- you have a new life, one in which you are free to say "Me and Jim went to the store", even if you don't know anyone named Jim! You can say "Don't be dissin' me" and "To boldly go" and even "23-skidoo" if you want, and you can say it proud(ly)! You're welcome!

51 Comments:

At Thu Jul 06, 12:22:00 PM PDT, Blogger Kylee said...

I feel better already.
I was never no good at grammer no how 8)

 
At Thu Jul 06, 02:16:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ain't this grand!!??

 
At Thu Jul 06, 05:34:00 PM PDT, Anonymous si said...

actually, who talks like YOU write? "normative" and "stultifying" are everyday words for me, that's for sure. (should have thrown "importunate" in for good measure.) ;)

also, i think "ballocks" is a far more descriptive term than "bollocks" (*spelling nazi* -- barely alive and semi-okay).

AND "rule-bound" japan...what can you possibly be talking about? :) (hey, ending in a preposition -- yay! could have asked, "about which are you talking?" [??])

 
At Thu Jul 06, 05:38:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wait til his Mum reads this... she is a school marm...

 
At Thu Jul 06, 06:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger Alan said...

My Grammer's usually baking cookies in the kitchen.

 
At Thu Jul 06, 06:20:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

You write:
"(else why the difference in written and spoken speech? if the more formal, structured, rule-bound written language were actually the most effective way to communicate in every situation, we'd talk that way too.)"
OK, then answer the question. If the idea behind language is to communicate, then why SHOULD our written language be any different? Why NOT write (even in your annual report) "Me and my staff did good this year?" If you say this is OK, then fine, if NOT OK, then why not?

 
At Thu Jul 06, 07:05:00 PM PDT, Anonymous si said...

do away with spelling link. what's a spelling nazi to do if this happens?

 
At Fri Jul 07, 12:20:00 AM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Wow! There's so many possibilities here (rather there're so many possibilities here) and so may chaces for us grammar-philes to be offended. I must say, "Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain!" Grammar should not be regarded as a barbed wire fence to keep us intimidated as we saunter along the path of communication.It is more like a demurely fitting dress that leaves just the right amount uncovered. Indeed, grammar today may be likened to the tragic fashion trend of exposed bellies, tattoos and fat blobs hanging out. When someone uses "wrong" grammar, some people don't notice. Fine. But, be honest Bryan. You mentally must chalk up a point for the candidate you are interviewing if he says "should have GONE to the store instead of WENT to the sore. That's because you were raised to say GONE, not because you read it in a book. People who wince at WENT are sort of grammar snobs. And you're telling us to quit that. But I don't think I can, so stone me.
I think Unca makes an excellent point about the report. Please answer his question. We all have different things that bug us (except you, I guess). For example "Me and John went to the store is "wrong" but it's easy to say (though we wouldn't in a speech) "Here's a picture of Mary and I" really bugs me, but not
"Where's she at?"
Anyway this comment is too long but I just remembered a book called "The Five Clocks" which discusses the five types of discourse we engage in. That concept seems to be the answer. We talk at differently levels of "correctness" depending on the audience. Your views are thought worthy but don't become a grammar nihilist. The School Marm

 
At Fri Jul 07, 02:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

I'm not advocating a grammar free-for-all -- I'm advocating using the rules in a way that they will serve us best. Certain standards of grammar are absolutely a good thing; we just need to resist the temptation to over-use and over-value it.
And there's nothing wrong with having more- or less-formal styles of speech. An annual report is different from a conversation about Green Day or the sickest skateboard tricks. By all means, be as precise, formal, and correct as you think appropriate in your annual report, if for no other reason than a certain %age of your shareholders care about such things.
My gripe is with a one-size-fits-all concept WRT grammar, and with blind adherence to rules that serve no purpose.
If someone wants to use uber-correct grammar at all times, that's their choice. But I have issues with people imposing their grammar standard on others, and I mock people who are unable to let go of their grammar blanket, even in casual speech.
I also have a problem with the idea that grammar truly MATTERS as a standard for one's life, like honesty or kindness or passion or good dental hygeine. I'll tell you right now: it doesn't. It is useful to know, it helps you get along in the world, many of its rules are very important for clarity of communication. But as a standard for judging others, it's not worth spit.
As a reformed grammar-nazi, I cringe when I remember times I thought I was being useful by "helping" someone else with their grammar. Unless they specifically asked for it, my contribution to the universe that day was a negative one -- there's no way the value I added by explaining some grammar point outweighed the negativity of the message "You are not as good/smart/educated as me*."

*I

 
At Fri Jul 07, 03:29:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

You write:
"I also have a problem with the idea that grammar truly MATTERS as a standard for one's life, like honesty or kindness or passion or good dental hygeine. I'll tell you right now: it doesn't. It is useful to know, it helps you get along in the world, many of its rules are very important for clarity of communication. But as a standard for judging others, it's not worth spit."
I don't think anyone would seriously argue with this statement. The other issues remain however and other than "certain %age of your shareholders care about such things." I don't see another reason for your advocating formality and correctness in the annual report. By the way, Mamacita, I hope you continue your thoughts on this -- you cracked me up (plus, I generally agree with you).

 
At Fri Jul 07, 03:35:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

Mamacita and Unca, I enjoyed and agree with your comments. You must come from a well spoken family.
I guess you could say good and bad grammar is in the ear of the beholder.
It’s all relative to each individual and we all have different “wince” thresholds.
However I do believe we owe it to ourselves and others to try our best to follow and respect the grammar rules that have been established. (Even if these rules do not follow any rules) I’m sure I make grammar mistakes every day and if someone points out my mistake I try my best not to do it again. This is to my benefit especially if I was young and looking for work. (like Mamacita’s example)

Bryan, it sounds like you mostly have been the guy who corrects others instead of the guy that was corrected. It also sounds like you almost feel guilty that you know the rules of grammar and the English language better than the average guy. This is something that should be celebrated. (Take it from a guy that has always struggled with this). The question is how did you feel when you were corrected of a grammar error? To get to the level of knowing what you do concerning language and grammar I have a feeling you really didn’t mind and added the new grammar rule or what ever you were corrected on to your continuing knowledge. Why should the guy you are correcting feel any different?

When learning a “new” language is it a good idea to have the attitude of “If breaking the rule makes meaning less clear, don't break the rule, keep it.
If the breaking the rule enhances communication (or if the effect is neutral), move on with your life”? Bryan, would you correct Sam or David if they said "I should have went to the store today" or would you delight in their rebellious grammar?

I am sure I have made grammatical mistakes in the above comment but I did my best and will try to do better next time out of respect for the language, even if the rules are often inconsistent. That’s just the way life is sometimes.

 
At Fri Jul 07, 03:38:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

"Here's a picture of Mary and I"
I think the reason this bugs Mamacita (and me) is that the person who says this is usually a grammar snob making a big deal of trying to get it right and then getting it wrong. That's why "Me and Mary went to the store" doesn't really bug me, at least in the same way (likewise for "Where's she at?"). I'll have to check out "The Five Clocks."

 
At Fri Jul 07, 04:54:00 PM PDT, Anonymous si said...

wow, another "phone-lighting" post! from *your* last comment, i was going to say (had started this but got distracted.): [do you cringe if you remember correcting someone's pronunciations? or the proper use of words? "dais" or "podium" come to mind as words you've *commented* to me on having incorrectly pronounced/used (tho vindicated myself on one of them, as i recall). :)

actually, i don't mind your corrections since my goal is to talk like you! ;)]

but after your family has "clocked" in -- well, never mind...

 
At Sat Jul 08, 10:58:00 PM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Bryan, are you getting to feel bad for opening this can of worms? Well, your commenters are having fun anyway. Blogball, I loved your term, "wince threshold". It was great. Well, it's off to bed now. I would of went to bed two hours ago but I was reading a book. :-)

 
At Sun Jul 09, 02:14:00 PM PDT, Anonymous si said...

mamacita: are you needling bryan a little? ("would of went" vs "would have gone"?) i must confess that i'm a grammar nazi of some (minor) fashion and this statement..., well let's say that i noticed it! especially from the "school marm". :-)

 
At Sun Jul 09, 10:56:00 PM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Dear PDT. Yes, I was intentionally needling Bryan. What do you take me for, anyway? One of the unwashed masses? :-)

 
At Sun Jul 09, 11:06:00 PM PDT, Blogger Dan Agonistes said...

Great discussion. I tend to think that engaging in a conversation with a high "wince ratio" is a barrier to communication in and of itself - but maybe I'm being a grammar nazi. That said, I agree that there is a fuzzy line below which we can all operate without getting all up in arms regarding proper grammar. As Dave Barry says "No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously".

A case in point - I've also had total strangers make comments on my grammar (in a public talk or an article) nitpicking some minor point when the statement or sentence was perfectly understandable. Being corrected by family and friends is one thing but total strangers is quite another.

 
At Sun Jul 09, 11:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

Well, here's another example of the kind of thing up with which I will not put:
There is a question as to whether one uses the singular or plural form of a verb with a collective noun. Eg,
"The group was undecided."
or
"The group were undecided."
The "correct" answer depends on whether we're British or American, whether we're emphasizing the group or the individuals in the group, etc.
But the bottom line is that 99.9% of the time it makes absolutely no difference. Is there any possible way the meaning in either of the possibilities above could be misconstrued?
And yet, we insist on debating and discussing and wasting time teaching the issue, and you know why? Because we're mad for rules, for consistency, for nailing things down.
But you know what? We don't need so many rules. We need to focus on the important ones, and accept some slop in the rest.
Consider the transitive verb for making someone stop sleeping:
is it "wake", "waken", or "awaken"? Guess what: it doesn't matter! I hereby declare it to be any of the three! Yay! What a rich language! And flexible! Whoopeeeee!

 
At Mon Jul 10, 08:20:00 AM PDT, Blogger unca said...

Yes, well the question is, "where do you draw the line?" If some grammar is "good," then how much grammar is good. If the idea is so just get your point across, I think we can dispense with a whole lot more than the examples here and go ahead and accept phrases like, "He don't want no beer." Let's face it, we all know that the subject of the sentence doesn't want any beer even though parsing its double negative gives us the opposite result. Are you willing to accept this using the same reasoning (i.e., it gets the point across?). If not, why not?

 
At Mon Jul 10, 09:18:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

Yup.

Regarding #1: all of life is a slippery slope, requiring us to determine "how much is too much" of everything.

Regarding #2: he don't want no beer. we dont' need no education. (well, yes we do, but there's SOME of it we don't need so much of.) most languages I've seen use double- and triple- and n-tuple negatives. it's only English that carries boolean logic rules into conversation, requiring us to count how many negatives in a sentence (odd=no, even=yes) to determine its meaning...

 
At Mon Jul 10, 10:25:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

he DOESN'T want no beer.....

 
At Tue Jul 11, 12:02:00 AM PDT, Anonymous si said...

21 comments! (now, 22.) this must be a record! i think the sheer quantity blew up your blog for a while...

i was going to add that i saw this statement in this week's parade magazine (talking about actor, paul giamotti): "...(the waitress) had no idea whom i was talking about."

does anyone else think that this sounds pretentious, and even wrong? please let me know (because i'm probably a nazi-grammar-pretender), if i'm the one that's *wrong*. [bryan, don't be irritated...] :)

 
At Wed Jul 12, 12:27:00 PM PDT, Blogger SoozeSchmooze said...

Wow..I feel so shortchanged to be adding to this so late...I think that guy that didn't want no beer could have went to get it.. :) hey, I am the one that has received the most helpful grammar hints over the years from the grammar wizzards and I feel like blogball..I am not offended by correction...I try to bennefit from it...so I will be disappointed Bryan, if you start treating me so nicely. I won't know who you really are...hee hee..guess maybe I don't...oh well here's to relearning...Susie

 
At Thu Jul 13, 01:10:00 AM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Bryan my Boy,Not to pound this thing into the ground, but thought I'd offer a couple of thoughts here (by the way, it bugs me when people say "a couple thoughts" without the OF. I think I'm really "old school".
My thought is that the grammarpattern people ar raised with usually sticks with them. "Janey don't like pears but I make her eat'em anyways". Sometimes kids will opt to abandon their parents' speech patterns, sometimes not. Occasionally I feel that adults feel guilty if they move on to "standard English". That is,they feel like they're killing part of Paw by not using Paw's grammar.
The other thought is that in learning a new language, a thorough knowledge of your own language is a requisite and ideas can be transferred more easily, e.g., "that's the nominative form of the pronoun, etc."
Keep up the good work spreading happy chaos to the beleagured ones. It's a great pleasure to read these comments, it sure is!

 
At Thu Jul 13, 11:09:00 AM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

Does it bug anybody when people say "acrosst" instead of "across" ?
“The school is right accrost the street”
I have heard very articulate people say this.
Maybe it was passed down from Paw to Paw

 
At Thu Jul 13, 11:20:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

....or what about 'irregardless'....ain't such a word in the dictionary.

 
At Thu Jul 13, 01:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

From Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Main Entry: ir•re•gard•less
Pronunciation: "ir-i-'gärd-l&s
Function: adverb
Etymology: probably blend of irrespective and regardless
nonstandard : REGARDLESS
usage Irregardless originated in dialectal American speech in the early 20th century. Its fairly widespread use in speech called it to the attention of usage commentators as early as 1927. The most frequently repeated remark about it is that "there is no such word." There is such a word, however. It is still used primarily in speech, although it can be found from time to time in edited prose. Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.

 
At Thu Jul 13, 03:07:00 PM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Yes, Blogball. "Acrosst bugs me very much. It also bugs me when people say "slep" instead of slept. Same with "kep" instead of kept. Now, the solution here is to use the T in all the acrossts to tag onto the end of kep and slep! Yay! And if they're not willing to do that, I say throw them all clear acrosst the ocean where they might be kep from doing further harm. :-)
p.s. excellent info, Blogball, on the irregardless situation. Irregardless, some people will still use irregardless. ha ha

 
At Thu Jul 13, 04:46:00 PM PDT, Anonymous si said...

this has taken on a life of its own -- it's great! why not aim for 50 comments?

i've heard extraneous t's ("acrosst") more often than lack of t's ("kep")in people's speeches. (i may just be lazy in my hearing.)

"irregardless" really bugs me; there's also "pacificly" used for "specifically" -- actually the list could go on and on...

also, bryan, did you notice the spelling of "dieing" instead of "dying" on the listserv? not that i care or anything...

signed,

"pacific daylight time" :)

 
At Thu Jul 13, 04:53:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

Mamacita,
Speaking of changing and swapping letters reminds me of my
Wife’s family from New York. They will pronounce words ending in A as an R and vise versa so if they said “The Ballerina likes to drink Beer” it would sound like “The Balleriner likes to drink Beea.

Hey Mamacita, Susie, Unca , Si, Dan or Bryan (Mr. I’m not going to correct people on their grammar anymore unless they ask me) In the above comment should I have written "a R" instead of "an R"?

I gots to know.

 
At Thu Jul 13, 05:16:00 PM PDT, Anonymous si said...

*an* R (IMO).

 
At Thu Jul 13, 11:18:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohhhhh...I am SO sad irregardless is now a 'real'word............

 
At Fri Jul 14, 01:56:00 AM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Kind of along this line (and I risk being a "snob reversal" type person here) I have always marvelled that each person's area of expertise is the one they assume to be the most important to the world. I know a builder who can build a palace (literally). He has little formal education, but probably if he were to write an essay you'd find a few grammatical errors. I know a guy who knows more about cars than most men could learn in 5 lifetimes but he says things like "John don't know where he wants ta move next." As this revelation unfolds itself (I know it's not very deep; everybody knows it) I then picture myself trapped on a rain forest island with someone who knows all about biology, weather, building makeshift shelters,etc. and while he's busy with his machete trying to make survival possible, I say, "Do you know that I can put a perfect paragraph together?"

 
At Fri Jul 14, 07:38:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

...good to have a balanced perspective...

 
At Fri Jul 14, 08:43:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

Hey, Mamacita, right when I start to feel a little cocky about the English language and then you wimp out with your last bleeding heart comment.
What’s up with that?

 
At Fri Jul 14, 10:23:00 PM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Sorry, Blogball. I've just always wanted to set up that scenario. hee hee

 
At Sat Jul 15, 12:08:00 PM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

As si (Pacific Daylight Time :-) )
said, this post has taken on a life of its own. So here's a limerick for you, Bryan:

Mr. Torre, it's very apparent
That the spawn have (has?) devoured its parent.
Your original thought
Has now dwindled to naught
Except for bright comments coherent. :-)

 
At Sat Jul 15, 12:59:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The comment section has taken on a mind of it's own;
The original thought has been chewed to the bone.

(now should there be an apostrophe in its or no...... :(

 
At Sat Jul 15, 01:13:00 PM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Good imagery, Anonymous. When sticking to the strict rhyme sceme of the limerick some things must be sacrificed. No apostrophe necessary for that use of its. :-)

 
At Sun Jul 16, 12:48:00 PM PDT, Anonymous si said...

40th comment! woo hoo -- the most MOA's (moments of adequacy) ever received! (maybe?? -- actually not sure of this.) of course, there's not much lately that's recognizable to bryan's original rant... tho, one thing i wanted to add about bryan's comment of "boolean logic" for the use of multiple negatives: i like the use of double negatives. it sometimes emphasizes the meaning to use double negatives instead of the single use of the positive. (but not a fan of more than two negatives.) it's probably the math-nerd in me that makes it make sense for me. e.g., "i cannot not make a retaliatory, smarta** comment on some of bryan's posts." ;-)

its vs it's: its denotes possessive use of "it" and it's is the contraction of "it is" (at least that's what i have learned/believed). :-)

remembered another misuse (i think) of a word: supposably instead of supposedly. a few people where i work use it incorrectly. (and no, bryan, i haven't corrected them. however, if YOU were the one incorrectly pronouncing something...well, you can surmise THAT answer [not that you give me much ammunition -- it's usually the other way around].)

good limerick/poem, guys. this post has truly been a forum of interesting discussion and even literary originality.

 
At Sun Jul 16, 08:30:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At Sun Jul 16, 08:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

OK -- Just so everybody can call me a grammar snob, I'll point out that "Boolean" should always be capitalized since it is eponymous -- named after mathematician, George Boole. So there.

 
At Sun Jul 16, 10:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

Right-o, absolutely. Capitalized, yes sirree... until, of course, it isn't any more.
At some point Boolean will become like newton, angstrom, volt, roentgen, pasteurize, sadism, spoonerism, galvanize, mackintosh, guillotine, tarmac, epicurean, derringer, curium, baud rate, sousaphone, braille, sandwich, bowdlerize, quisling, boycott, cardigan, chauvinism, thespian, or a hundred other eponyms.
But by all means let's pretend it makes a difference at what point we drop the capitalization.
You know I love you, unca, and even more for providing a perfect example of the type of grammar snobbery that I consider a huge waste of time. :-)

 
At Mon Jul 17, 02:36:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

Bryan-
You are so much fun to bait. Sorry.

 
At Sat Jul 22, 10:37:00 PM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Hey, Bryan, you got kind of crabby there at poor Unca, who meant you no harm. It's okay to spell "crabby" with a small "c" even though the adjective was coined 2 centuries ago and at that time was capitalized. A very irritable and sensitive Russian nobleman, Ivan Petrovich Crabov, was responsible for the term "crabby" in English.
It never hurts to know these things.

 
At Sun Jul 23, 10:02:00 AM PDT, Anonymous si said...

oh mamacita, this is great! i had stopped commenting myself (and only came back here because jay are referred to this in her post); wasn't sure what might set bryan off next and i didn't want it to be me! i tend to shy away from Crabbiness...

(MY goal of 50 comments for this post is maybe now back to being a possibility! if bryan has quit being so crabby, he might have to come up with a "special something" for the 50th [just a thought].)

 
At Sun Jul 23, 02:44:00 PM PDT, Anonymous si said...

found at the following website:

Anti-Crabby Calming Drops
·A homeopathic remedy for all animals and people.
·Works extremely well for crabby cats and dogs, especially if they have gastrointestinal problems (gas, hairballs, loose or hard stools).
·This formula is natural and safe in the homeopathic potencies.
·Poison Nut is the main ingredient.


maybe someone should make a note to pick some up...

:-)

 
At Sun Jul 23, 09:38:00 PM PDT, Blogger mamacita said...

Dear si, I'm so glad you liked my comment. And thanks for the crabby drops possibility!! I hope Bryan writes a fantastic (and grammatical) finish for all these special comments!

 
At Mon Jul 24, 10:07:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Say, where is he anyway????

 
At Tue Jul 25, 09:12:00 AM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

he's really really busy. and cranky. ;-)

actually, i didn't mean to be cranky at unca -- i was just... excited. a little over-exuberant, as it were. he came up with something that EXACTLY illustrates the kind of rule i think doesn't make a whit of difference in our lives.

and note that he did it deliberately, to bait me. but do you see mamacita sweeping to my defense? you do not. you see her offering verbal succor to the person who in this metaphor is the one poking the chinchilla thru the bars with a sharp stick, just to see it jump around and wiggle its fur. or something. i'm sure you get my point.

sorry comment #50 wasn't anything spectacular. thanks to everyone for playing. :-)

 
At Tue Jul 25, 11:42:00 AM PDT, Anonymous si said...

#50 is bryan himself. no, that isn't how it should work! (actually if we are counting actual comments, i think there was at least one deleted comment, so therefore I'M actually #50!)

my "prize" would be the same as the "best friend" one from a previous post, right? i'm still waiting on that. :)

 

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