Your Pain Is Our Pleasure

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Robbert Forbes MacGregor

Joined: December 20, 2012
Comments posted: 5
Votes received: 4

Forty-four. Scottish. I have six defects: I drink, I smoke, I curse. I'm bat-shite crazy. I cannot count. Defender of The Crown. Erstwhile Prince of A Dying Civilization In My Mind. My favorite word is kerfuffle. Or shenanigans. Depends on the day and the kerfuffle or shenanigan.

Recent Comments

I like to italicize portions of my comments for emphasis and since I can't find a way to italicize here, I'm putting _underscores_ before and after words to indicate where I would have placed emphasis. I'm effectively testing to see if you all get angry with me for that and start throwing internet monkey poo at me for doing it. If you would prefer that I _not_ use this convention, I'll behave.

First, thank you for the proper use of my initials! :-)

Re: playing with the rules with my definition of bling -- Yes inasmuch as I didn't look it up and instead just defined it via my own sense of what the people around me (in North Texas mostly mid-forties Moms who say such things) seem to define it as.

The other night I was at a Christmas party and a little girl was wearing a very whimsical outfit which included a pink ballerina outfit with high-top sneakers. Her sneakers were covered in tiny silver sequins and her Mother was saying "...she loves bling! Anything sparkly and shiny!" in reference to the shoes.

I would assume that the shoes were slightly more expensive than their non-sequined counterparts, but they wouldn't fit inside the definition of jewelry or 'expensive' (though again the meaning of the word expensive is relative (per the rest of my post) in that technically that word doesn't really mean anything objectively. If the shoes were an expense, then they were 'expensive' in the most technical definition of the word.)

Re: my reading of "one of the best" really comes from my spending too much time in Marketing departments and hearing co-workers of mine get asked questions like "Can we say 'experience the difference with __________' " and having those co-workers then send an email to the Legal Department who subsequently bless the 'difference' statement 'because that statement doesn't put us in a position we would legally have to defend,' (read: 'It means nothing')

I heard an advertisement the other day that said "Plato's Closet where you can find gently used name brands at up to 50 to 70% less than mall prices" which ostensibly means that the very cheapest price you'll find on that item in any building called 'a mall' will be _at most_ 70% more than you _might_ be able to find that same exact product in their store. (???) They might as well just imitate a Caveman and say "Ugh. We Got Stuff You Maybe Like To Try? We Put Price On It We Think Low Enough You Buy Now. Come And Look Please Because We Lonely And Afraid We Go Out Of Business. We Have A Cute Store Name." That advertisement might _actually_ be more effective in terms of increased sales.

Re: 'endemic' vs. 'epidemic': You are correct, and no I wasn't playing a game, that's just one of those places I let my passion get the better of me and I made a mistake. Thank you for correcting that.

Re: my whole post being one enormous game to 'catch us out' (I love that word-usement you structured!) As much as I would love to consider myself to be _that_ clever, the answer is 'No'. I didn't intend for my whole post to be a game. I'm just a person who has several things 'wrong with me' that the psychiatric community all consider to be disorders of one type or another. My living with these 'disorders' (I call them 'super powers' but that is only because I prefer to think of myself as being not pathologically disordered and broken) over the last forty-one years has exercised my brain synapses to the point where -- when I become passionately engaged in some activity (like writing that post above) -- I can get a bit _too_ passionate and lose the ability to 'stay inside the lines'. That may, from time to time, really start to bother people in a forum like this -- but I've really enjoyed perusing this site over the past few days and would very much like to stay if I can. :-) You all seem very clever and like worthwhile Human Beings.

If you'll forgive the occasional (and occasionally pervasive) mistakes in my posts, I will most likely not cause any _other_ types of major controversy and we can all be internet acquaintances (a.k.a "friends"). "Loki The Trickster" I am not.

In the words of Tiny Tim, "Please, Sir. May I have some more?"

Happy Christmas to you and yours.


Robbert Forbes MacGregor December 24, 2012, 8:53am

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Backronyms give me geesepimple.

Robbert Forbes MacGregor December 23, 2012, 5:00pm

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[Looks Up][mutters: "King of the run-on sentence"]

Robbert Forbes MacGregor December 23, 2012, 12:14pm

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I personally get pleasure from following the rules of english -- it makes the game of communication more fun for me. In knowing the rules, I can choose when to follow them for the greatest effect. For example, if I choose I can purposefully break the rules in order to prove a point or "turn up the volume" on a problem in a tongue-in-cheek way that allows me to secretly express a belief system to others who are "in the know". If I say "I are a English Teechur. People like we is is gets to break the rules." It focuses a lens on several different facts. First, I must know the rules in order to break them. Second, I've broken them humorously which lets you all know that I mean no real malice in my jovial use of this lens -- it gives you and I a way to break the proscenium that lies between reader and author and allows you onto my stage as it were in order to participate in the drama that will unfold by my using a persecutor's stance to act as hero and bring all victims to our shores. What part you play in that drama is up to you. You can choose to laugh with me while joining in the fun, rail at me as your jailer, or hang your head in disgust and say that I should not break such rules as my breaking them is akin to blasphemy. Playing fast and loose with the rules can only be done by knowing them. They key is to make the effort to know them so you can choose when to use them and when not to use them. Admittedly, I know all or at least most of the rules, and sometimes when I break them I am doing so on purpose. Sometimes I simply make mistakes or don't wish to make the effort to diagram each of my sentences in my head to ensure accuracy. I figure as long as I can clearly get my point across or understand what you are trying to say, the rules are less important than the act of communication. When my breaking of the rules confuses another or another's breaking of the rules causes me to wonder if they know the rules and are just being lazy or they are breaking them on purpose then listening stops between the two of us and communication cannot happen. People who are afraid of others getting too lazy with the rules so that we are unable then to communicate with each other are most likely just resistant to change or feel that they themselves have a difficult time rising above the rules and listening to the message that is being imparted. Maybe they feel like their own abilities to communicate are dependent on the rules being in place. I do not feel that way -- the biggest thing I personally fear is words losing their meaning. Advertisers use much hyperbole and obfuscation of definitions of words that are causing our individual words to lose their impact and meaning. It causes me great sadness to hear judges on American Idol say "You, Sheila are one of the best singers we have had to date in this competition." and then to watch Sheila beaming as this compliment is read by her mind to mean "In a skill ranking of all singers in this competition to date I am in the very top echelon!" when in reality all that judge has truly communicated is "You, Sheila, are a contestant on this program.". Think about that. All of the singers on the program are considered to be starting from a level of "good" -- there is no ranking beneath that if you're on the program. As long as you are on the program, you are at least good. All of the singers therefore rank in a list, that list could just as easily be called "A List Of All Singers" or "A List Of The Worst Singers" Kelly Clarkson might be listed as one of the least worst, but she's still one of the worst and one of the best -- the list is meaningless and therefore the statement "You are one of the best" is meaningless.
I fear we are coming to a time when people can say anything they like and we will morph the meaning of their statement into what we want to hear. Most if not all of us use this "trickery" all the time when we want to spin something so that another person can hear it. Lying in this way is epidemic and it frightens me. We must strive to get to a place where words mean something specific again -- a 'gold standard' if you will. I do not see our ability to truly communicate with each other surviving eternally or even a whole lot longer if we avoid putting these stakes in the ground. We continually invent new words that suggest a concept rather than defining a thing. I hear people all the time saying "Oooh! I *love* to wear BLING! Girl! Everything I have is covered in bling from top to bottom!" when "bling" is not something you can wear, it is the effect of light on a shiny object. It is onomatopoeia for a trick of the light. You can wear things that create that trick of the light, and that sound exists, but the trick of the light is only associated in our minds with that sound. What you define as bling is not necessarily what I would define as bling -- and in that trick of the light, an advertiser on the radio can say "Come to our store and find all your favorite bling!" and this creates a vision in the listener's mind of what the store has to offer -- as if they've read the listener's mind. The listener may never even go to that store, but they associate a good feeling with it -- and then when a friend asks where to go (or worse -- that listener goes on to and decides to review a store they've never been to because of the amazing things they *must* have) they tell that friend to go to this store because it's so awesome. A friend's recommendation of a place needs to be grounded in reality -- and we are living our lives virtually and spiraling down to a place which has no meaning -- and though I don't believe in Hell, if there is one, that will at least be one component of Hell for me.

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Robbert Forbes MacGregor December 23, 2012, 12:12pm

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I don't really know the extent of this rule or whether it is foolproof but I was taught that if you can either answer the question or replace the word [who/whom] with "him" or "her" or "them", then it's "whom" and if you can only answer/replace it with "he", "she" or "they" then it would be "who"

An example:
"I do not know [who / whom] she means."
If you can turn that sentence into a declarative one (answer it) with "She means he" or "She means they" then it would be "who" (doesn't sound right to use "he", "she" or "they") but "She means him." works, so the correct usage would be "I do not know whom she means." -- I realize upon typing this out that to other people that may seem very convoluted, but for some insane reason, it seems to work in my head. "Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee." but it could also toll for him or her or them, but not for he or she. I dunno. Makes perfect sense to me. :-)

Robbert Forbes MacGregor December 20, 2012, 5:18pm

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