RSS

Tag Archives: puppy

Was or were, right or wrong, not to worry, just read on

On a day not really all that far back in time—22 June, 2009—I submitted a letter to our local daily newspaper, the San Antonio Express-News, the only daily newspaper in the seventh largest city in the United States in the hope that it would be published. An offer was made to publish it but the editor e-mailed me to say that certain parts would be cut out. In an e-mail I told him to not publish the letter, and I chastised him for his response to a long-time subscriber to the paper. What follows is the initial response from the public editor.

From: BRichter@express-news.net (the public editor of the paper)
Mon, Jun 22, 2009 1:34 PM
H.M. – Thanks for your letter. May we publish it? I think I’ll cut all the whining about your letters not getting published when they strike a nerve. We’ll just go with the criticism of the photo in question (which I didn’t really think was so bad).
Bob Richter

I rejected publication because the public editor slimed me—well, perhaps slimed is a bit too strong—let’s just say that he whined me and because of that whining, the same label he placed on my submission, I vowed to never submit another letter to the public editor for consideration, but instead post my whining on WordPress, a far more appreciative audience than the Express-News. I have never had a submission rejected or criticized.

Now to get to the crux of this posting—everything I’ve said up to this point was intended to explain my criticism of the public editor’s grammar in his article that appeared in Metro of the Sunday edition of March 6, 2011.

Yes, grammar—with all that supposed talent he has at his beck and call, he started and finished an article he wrote by improperly using the verb was. The article centered on budget cuts proposed by Rick Perry, the governor of Texas that involved disabled Texans, and much to his credit he began the article with disclosing that his son has disabilities and lives in a group home that receives state aid.

I can readily understand and admire the title of his article:

Budget Cuts: What if it was your kid?

The final paragraph is a one-sentence closure with a wish from him and a question for Governor Perry:
What I wish is that Perry would put himself in our shoes:

What if it was your kid, Rick?

The verb was is the subjunctive mood of the verb to be, a mood suggesting that something is not or perhaps may not be. The subjunctive mood gets really complicated if one digs too deeply, but one does not need to dig deeply, or even pick up a shovel in order to determine whether was or were should  be used.

There is an incredibly simple way to remember whether to use was or were. If the word if is lurking anywhere in the sentence, whether visible or concealed, the proper usage is were, and if if can neither be seen nor assumed, the proper usage is was. Please forgive me for the double if in the previous sentence—I just couldn’t resist it—when read aloud it sounds like a puppy barking.

The article’s title should read, What if it were your kid?

The ending should read, What if it were your kid, Rick?

Some more examples of the subjunctive verb were:

What if the copywriters were better versed in English?
What if the current public editor were reassigned?
Were he reassigned
, would it lower the paper’s ratings or raise them?
Was
he reassigned?
No, he was not reassigned.
Note the absence of if in
the last two sentences above.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Postscript: In all fairness I must state that, in my somewhat unlearned opinion, the public editor’s article was highly cogent, nicely constructed, timely and well presented, with the only exceptions noted in this posting.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 6, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Letter to Lorene—December 6, 1994 . . .

San Antonio Int’l Airport

December 6, 1993

Dear Rene,

Your phone call yesterday was really a pleasant surprise. I had just about decided that you were keeping a mad on with me, because you didn’t write, you didn’t call . . .

I got to work right at 9 o’clock, just in time to make the daily schedule. Actually they didn’t need me. If I hadn’t shown up the inspectors would have assigned themselves the different jobs and processed the arriving aircraft. Sure is nice to know you’re not needed, isn’t it?

Sundays and holidays are nothing days anyhow. I work from 9 till about 11, then go home and piddle all day and come back at 6 pm, work for about an hour then go home. I get paid for all the time in between because I can’t go anywhere. I’m on standby.

Effective in January our overtime system changes, and probably not for the better. I’m certain the amount of overtime we earn is going to drop significantly. The good part about the new system is that the overtime we earn will be used to compute our high-three earning years to determine our retirement pay. The system we use now does not take overtime into account in determining retirement. So it’s one of those every cloud has a silver lining deals.

I’m not sure it’s true that every cloud must have a silver lining. I’ve seen lots of clouds that didn’t have a lining, silver or otherwise. The only way a cloud can have a silver lining is if the sun is behind it. What about a cloud that doesn’t have the sun behind it? The saying should be changed to every cloud with the sun behind it must have a silver lining and then it would be true.

I’ve definitely seen clouds without silver linings, and I’ve seen situations and circumstances and events that were bad, 100 percent bad, nothing good about them, or nothing that I could see, anyway. Wow! Am I feeling pessimistic, or what?

Not really. I’m feeling good. Yesterday I had a phone call from one of my two favorite sisters (worded that one neatly, didn’t I!), I’m at work making good money and earning 10 percent extra wages just for being on the evening shift (and it goes to 15 percent January1), and they got my concrete poured today, and if all goes well I should have the new patio cover up in a week or so, and all my kids are well and we will all be together for Christmas, and I have no doubt that the rest of the universe is unfolding as it should, even without my help!

Did I ever tell you about my dog? I’ve had her for about four years now, and sometimes I really don’t like her. She is a barker and a sitter—I omitted the H—when people ask what breed of dog I have, I tell them that she is a Shitzalot, and some say, Oh, okay, I’ve heard of that breed. I can’t keep the patio clean because she tracks dirt and mud on it, and I can’t have a pretty back yard because she cuts trails all through the grass, and I have been threatening to give her away, sell her, shoot her, or donate her to the dog pound almost from the time we got her as a puppy. And I unfairly blame Alta, because she is the one that wanted a puppy four years ago.

Today one of the concrete workers said that she was a pretty dog and he really liked her, and I asked him if he wanted her. He said he really would like to have her, and guess what? I don’t want him to have her. She’s my dog, and I’m stuck with her. I must have figured that if someone else wanted her she must be an outstanding dog, and it would be foolish to get rid of such a fine animal.

I made Alta a promise, though. I had my chance to get rid of her—the dog, not Alta—and didn’t take it, so I promised never to cuss or punish or even complain about her again—the dog, not Alta. It isn’t going to be an easy promise to keep, but I’ll work hard at it.

The dog was supposed to be a Cockapoo, a mix of Cocker Spaniel and French Poodle, but somehow a Labrador Retriever got into the act and accomplished the act, so my Cockapoo weighs about 40 pounds and eats like a horse and dumps like a horse and cuts paths in my yard like a horse—but I’m not complaining!

Would you believe it? I have been sitting here looking at the screen for a long time, couldn’t think of anything to talk about. That’s not like me, is it? Usually I have something to chatter about. How about San Antonio and its drive-by shootings? We are right up there with the big boys in Los Angeles and Chicago and New York. The city is averaging some 3-4 drive-by shootings daily. They are mostly on the east side where most of the blacks live, and on the south and west side where most of the Hispanics live. However, youth gangs are beginning to spread to the north side where most of the white folks live.

I’m really not sure who to blame, whether it’s the parents’ fault, or television and the movies, or the government, or maybe that old a-tomic bomb they keep setting off. I imagine more effort will be put into the problem now that it is spreading to the side of town where all the power movers and the wealthy live—the people with the financial and political clout.

Since I live on the north side, you won’t have to worry about the gangs when you come to visit. I mention this only to allay your fears, not to imply that I am one of the wealthy or a power mover, or one of those with financial or political clout. I live on the north side just because it’s closer to the airport. We looked everywhere in the city before we finally settled on this house. I believe I could qualify as a taxi driver in virtually every section of San Antonio.

Valley High, the subdivision we lived in from 1964 till 1972, is now one of the most crime-ridden areas in the city. Our old house still looks good, except it is now a bright pink with blue trim—doesn’t look too bad, actually. The area has junk cars on the streets and in the front yards, and many of the homeowners have completely fenced their houses, front yard as well as the back. I guess the fence is intended to keep out people as well as dogs. We have some friends who still live in Valley High, but we don’t visit too often. Well, actually, we haven’t visited them in 6 years. I guess that’s not too often, isn’t it?

They’ve been to our house a couple of times since we returned to San Antonio, but that’s about it. Is this depressing you? It’s depressing me. I feel a deep resentment when I see how property values have gone down in various areas here because of the influx of lower income people. I don’t know who to blame for this, either. I suppose the people do the best they can with what they have to work with.

So whose fault is it that they don’t have much to work with? Is it theirs because they don’t try to improve, or is it ours because we fail to share with them, or is it government’s fault because it doesn’t provide adequately for them?

Boy, I’m waxing philosophical, ain’t I? Want to know how I really feel about all this? To heck with them—I have mine, let them get theirs! The only problem is that too often they want to get theirs from someone else instead of earning it.

I know you’re not supposed to listen to bad jokes, so skip this paragraph. Three young women, all pregnant, were at the clinic waiting to see the doctor. They were discussing the sex of their unborn children and one said, “I know I’m going to have a little boy because my husband was on top when our baby was conceived.” The second woman said, “Well, I’m sure mine is going to be a girl, because my husband was on the bottom when our baby was conceived.” The third woman burst into tears and said, “Oh, my God, I’m gonna have a puppy!

You can open your eyes now, but don’t look back. You remember what happened to Lott’s wife, don’t you? Are you aware that she was probably the first salt lick in history?

Are you getting tired? Would you like to take a break, maybe get a cup of coffee, go to the bathroom or walk around for awhile or something? I don’t mind. I can wait. Go ahead.

Boy, you must have really had to go!

Did I ever tell you about the time we were traveling through North Carolina and Debbie, who was about four years old, started to ask me something then said, Oh, never mind, you’ll just tell me I’m going upstream. We finally figured out that she meant was that I would tell her she was going to extremes. She also brought me the phone book one time and asked me to show her an unlisted number. And the funny thing is, I started to hunt one. She was about 17 then. No, she was about seven, I guess.

Isn’t it funny the things we remember about the kids? I remember so clearly you telling about Larry, when he was just a little fellow, playing on the porch and saying Whew, tod dam, and he turned out to be saying what Elmer would say when he got home from working, Whew, tired down. You did tell me that, didn’t you? I do remember it right, don’t I? Or did I make it up? Well, if I did, it’s a good story. I’ve told it a lot over the years.

My girls come up with stories about when they were little, especially about things concerning me, that I know never happened. My only problem is that when one of them tells the story, the other two back her up. In fact, Alta usually jumps on the bandwagon and also claims it happened just like they said. Can you believe that?

Oops, got a plane to work. This is my last one tonight, from Mexico City. Shouldn’t take long, just 21 passengers. Maybe we’ll get out early tonight. So I’ll close for now.

Lots of love to you and yours, from us and ours,

Mike

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on August 8, 2010 in Childhood, Family, Humor, pets

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Declaration and covenant—dad and daughter . . .

Away back in 1995 my daughter, the one living at home at the time, slipped her bonds from her parents in San Antonio and migrated to Dallas to accept a position with a real estate corporation. She met a really nice guy and married him, and they now live near Dallas with their two children and a puppy. Before she left home I wrote the document below for her to sign—she never got around to signing it, but had she signed it she definitely would have compromised the conditions outlined in the covenant, and would have accepted and been subjected to the punishment outlined below.

I am posting this covenant to remind her of how far she has come, and to offer it to any father that may find himself in a similar position. I offer it freely, without need of recompense—just say thanks.

Declaration and Covenant

To any and all presents, to all who have gone before and to all who may come later, let it hereby, forthwith and forever be known that I, Kelley, being of sound mind (?) and body (!) and in no way under stress or duress on the part of any person or persons, known or unknown to me, living or otherwise, do hereby, hereon, herein and forever promise and swear that I will treat this magnificent sum of money (which is being tendered unto me by my omnipotent, beneficent, munificent and prescient ol’ pappy) in such manner that it will not hold itself at its present amount but that it will  increase under my administration, although it may from time to time be reduced in varying amounts for varying periods of time due to the many vagaries and exigencies of life, but it will then be restored to its original amount in the shortest length of time possible, but in no event later than one day following my next paycheck, said restoration to be accomplished by returning to the account (which I will establish) the amount withdrawn, plus an amount equal to ten percent of the amount withdrawn from the account, with the initial (and entire!) tendered amount of $500.00 to be placed in a Money Market account with Security Service Credit Union, San Antonio, Texas to draw interest at variable rates depending on the economy and to be maintained without charge to me provided my withdrawals  are limited to three or fewer per month, said withdrawals to be for nothing other than the purpose of paying just, legal and due (never overdue!) debts, and I most solemnly and sincerely promise and swear, without any hesitation, mental reservation, or secret evasion of mind in me whatsoever, that I am firmly determined to follow and perform everything to which I have promised and sworn, and if I fail to abide by the terms of this covenant I promise that I will, filled with remorse and shame and clad only in a smile, push a peanut with my nose from my father’s house to my sister’s house, a distance of one mile, repeating loudly all the way at 10-foot intervals (to be measured by my sister Debbie and witnessed by my friend Thelma) the phrase, “Pappy, you da most!”

So help me Hannah and keep me steadfast in due performance of all the above.

Signed __________________  Date ___________

Witness  ________________   Date ___________

An afterthought: Who would have thought it! Some folks actually push peanuts with their nose, as shown in this photo. I found no female peanut pusher photos, but I did find a competition that ended in crowning a king and a queen in a peanut pushing contest. Had my daughter acquiesced to the punishment outlined above, she may well have entered the book of Guinness World Records as the first naked woman to push a peanut with her nose, regardless of the distance involved.

Alas, fame is fleeting, and one should reach for the brass ring at every opportunity! The fellow pictured here pushed a peanut with his nose seven miles to #10 Downing Street in England to protest his student loan debt—I understand that he is now known as The student with no nose, and adding insult to injury, his protest was ignored by the Prime Minister of England.


 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 22, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Re: October wedding, 2009 . . .

In October of 2009 there was a happening in Seguin, Texas involving the wedding of my middle daughter, the one that lives, loves and works in Alexandria, Virginia. She planned the event from start to finish, from A to Z—if there was anything connected to the event that she did not create or set up, I am not aware of it. It was a smashing success, a three-day event that took place on Lake Placid just south of the city of Seguin, an event that followed some 20 years of unwedded bliss—namely cohabitation—already enjoyed by the couple living, loving and working together, and they recently celebrated the first six months of their wedded bliss—as opposed to the twenty years of so of their unwedded bliss.

Prominent among the relatives and friends that attended the wedding was our niece Deanna, a comely young lady that came with her father Charles, my wife’s younger brother. They live in the small town of Pridgen in south Georgia—the state, not the European nation. Pridgen has a metropolitan population that fluctuates around twenty or so souls, all church-going hard-working folks that spend a lot of time praying for rain.

On their return home our niece sent us a very nice letter, an e-mail thanking us for everything. The purpose of this posting is to share her e-mail and \my response with all the friends, guests and relatives that found their way to the wedding, and also to share it with any visitors to my blog.

Her e-mail and my response follow. Her e-mail is in bold text and the italicized text is my response.

Hey, y’all,

Here’s  our “Hey, y’all” right back at you.

Wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving from a rainy South Georgia. Hoping for sunshine tomorrow.

And everyone here wishes the same Happy Thanksgiving to you and all of yours.

Daddy’s shirt made it safely home.

And Deb’s hoodie—hoody?—also made it back safely—she says thanks for sending it—our nights are dropping down to the forties and even the high thirties now, so she’ll probably be using it.

I can hardly believe a month has passed since we were in Texas.

Neither can we.

I really enjoyed my time there.

And we really enjoyed your being here—let’s do it again soon—not the marriage, just the visit.

Hope to visit again next year.

Next year, next month, next week or tomorrow, you’ll always be welcome—we’ll even leave the light on for you.

Thanks for making us truly feel at home.

You’re welcome—we felt the same way while you and your dad were here, and we felt the same way when we were with you and your dad at that impromptu reunion we had in metropolitan Pridgen.

The wedding was great and so glad I could be a part of it.

We agree—it was great, and we were glad you were here for it.

But for me it is these big moments in life that make the little moments even more special, like sitting around the table in your kitchen. Just talking about anything or really nothing at all.

And you thought I wasn’t listening while I was doing my kitchen chores—I heard everything—everything! Well, almost everything, except when I was watching TV and napping.

Uncle Mike, when I was little I respected you out of fear, but as an adult I respect you out of love.

And that’s probably the nicest and sweetest thing anyone has ever said to me—it stands at the very top of the list of other nice and sweet things that have been said to me—an extremely short list—in fact it stands alone. I printed out your e-mail for Alta to read and she came up with the phrase “nicest and sweetest,” and she agrees with me on the length of that list. Many times over my working years I heard this from those I had the misfortune to supervise: “That Dyer has a really sweet wife, but he’s a real p – – – k !

Oh, well —it may be lonely at the top, but the food’s better!

Tell Aunt Alta and everyone else Happy Thanksgiving and I love them.

I told Alta and I’ll tell everyone else as they gather today—I can assure you that everybody—they and I and all of us, love you right back. We will be thinking of you folks and wishing you the very best life has to offer as we tear into that 22-pound turkey now roosting in the oven—no, not roosting—I meant roasting.

And speaking of our neighbors—they are treating our family to three days at a posh resort just a few miles from home during spring break next year, just as they did this year—we had a great time. If you can time your next visit to that, you can join us—there’s always room for one more. You’ll need to bring your bikini, sunscreen and an appetite.

Signed:

Alta and Mike, Debbie and Bill and their devil cat, Lauren and Landen, Kelley and Brantley, Macie and Brennan and their new puppy, Cindy and Michael and both their cats, and Kathy and Kevin, our next door neighbors to the west of us, and their cat Ralph.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on May 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,