Signs of Subliteracy

Here’s one. When folks either misuse a word entirely (“effect” for “affect” for but one of many examples) or spell words phonetically (or nearly), it’s a pretty good sign that their literacy skills are pretty thin.

For example, I saw “amuck” used by someone whose verbal vocabulary exceeds his literacy. The word he was groping for, of course, was “amok.” (It’s a fascinating word.) I’m willing to give folks credit for trying, but I’d really rather folks used words they actually KNOW (as a result of good literacy) than spout off with words they really don’t know at all.


Actually, I’d be more charitable had the fellow typed, “amuk,” since that’s an early 17th Century variant spelling. Both spellings derived, of course, from “amuco.”

Oh, and yes I do know that some contemporary folks are arguing for “amuck,” but that’s really just because they’re too lazy to learn how to spell and use words well.

Danger! Danger!

Back when I was a lad, I used to have some seriously dangerous thoughts. For example, driving “into town,” as I thought of it, in my ’53 Chevy, there was a place in the road where the road curved to the left and ascended a wee bit. To the right, just over the curb and a wee bit of verge was an arroyo. Every now and then I wondered what it would be like to just keep going straight and launch myself off the roadway. Oh, these weren’t serious thoughts, and I was in no way (consciously) suicidal, but every now and then. . .

This morning, I had another such “dangerous thought” as I reached into the fridge to get the cream for our coffees. I almost picked up the buttermilk thinking, “I wonder what buttermilk in coffee would taste like?”

DANGER! DANGER!

*heh*

“Lucy”

Amusing to watch a movie on TV (I’m also reading a book and slipping out to do this during commercial breaks. a close approximation of my typical TV-watching habits for about. . . 6 decades) and watch, during a gunfight scene, one character’s wound move from one side of his body to another. Yeh, continuity shoulda caught that. But then, that was the least of the continuity errors and other flubs and wildly laughable mistakes in the film.

Suspension of disbelief was irrevocably broken in the first five minutes though, so all the errors, laughable mistakes of anatomy, mechanics, procedural “bind-moggling,” etc., were more amusing than distracting, because NOTHING about the film was in any way, shape, fashion, or form believable, even within its own framework, right down to the protagonist’s hair color.

Just a question

In our near-1984-style surveillance society, how many folks physically block their device’s cameras/microphones when not using them for specific tasks?

*raises hand*

Well, that’s one of us. . .

Lessons Learned

*sigh* Signed up for a writer’s email list in order to get a free “prequel” to a giveaway novel. That’s two freebies–coulda been pretty sweet, but. . . Read the prequel. *meh* So-so. Too many places where it was skimmed by incompetent (or no) editing, after having been written by a Dunning-Kruger-ite who thought he knew what too many words meant that he did NOT know the meanings of (well, either that or he was just intentionally writing gibberish in those places).

Got my first list emails. Yeh, incompetent writer goes on and on about how he’s trying to “change the world” with books that “mean something” (whatever THAT means). Yeh, didn’t read the freebie novel. The freebie novella was enough to convince me, but a fiction writer who isn’t FIRST concerned with being a good storyteller and writer is only, at best, going to change the world for the worse if his writing succeeds at anything at all.

Takeaway: sometimes “freebies” are more costly than they at first seem. I’ll never have back the time I spent on the novella or reading two of this writer’s emails.

Shoulda known, though. He refers to himself as “Author [So-and-so]”–an almost sure sign of an unconscious insecurity (based on REAL incompetence) covered over with a casually assumed expression of self-importance.

Law Enfarcement in America’s Third World County™

Just another *cough* typical *cough* interaction with putative “law enforcement” in America’s Third World County™. . .

[Phone rings]

Me: Hello.
Caller: This is [some redneck] with the [Third World County™] Sheriff’s Department. What can I do for you?
Me: You called _me_. What do you want?
Caller: Dispatch gave me your name and number and told me you requested a call.
Me: What name?
Caller: Junior [Redacted].
Me: Junior [Redacted] lives two miles from me. What number did dispatch give you?
Caller: [recites my landline number]
Me: That’s not Junior [Redacted]’s number.
Caller: Sorry.
Me: *click*

I should have asked if dispatched was referring to Junior [Redacted] or Junior [Redacted] Junior, his son, although they live (lived? Is Junior [Redacted] still among the “quick”?) in “manufactured homes” catty-cornered from each other. . . (and Junior [Redacted] Junior now runs the family business).

Lil EDC Tip

Have instructional cards (cheat sheets, EPrep “Cliff Notes” as it were) for various things, like fire-making, basic first aid, etc., in your EDC bag, in case YOU are unable to access your EDC bag and have to ask for help from someone else.* For example, my EDC bag has a small set of instructional “fire-building cards.” They’re waxed 3×5 cards with instructions and a few matches affixed to the cards via the wax (so, the matches are also waterproof, more or less). . . 😉 Each of them separately packaged in nicely flammable envelopes, containing a bit of waxed dryer lint.

Even Dunning-Kruger-ites should be able to start fires with those resources.
_______________________________________

You, of course, should already have all the info in the cheat sheets down cold.

Note, also: my “EDC Bags” are bags I keep in my car for emergencies away from home, but they are essentially smaller versions of 72-hour kits. Since I also have car-specific emergency kits in the trunk/rear package area (the latter referring to a hatchback), these kits are tailored for more personal items, and can also double as very (very) short term bugout bags. . . or “Get home bags.”

Micro-mini kits I carry on my person (knives, multi-tool, VERY simple and limited first aid, etc.) should be enough to get me back to my car (and my car and its kits, back home).

Since we live in an area with VERY low risks, apart from weather risks which can usually be anticipated, preps like this combined with our home preps should generally be sufficient.

Safe Spaces

Elsewhere on the Interwebs, an acquaintance quoted Sir Conan Doyle,

“There are many men in London, you know, who, some from shyness, some from misanthropy, have no wish for the company of their fellows. Yet they are not averse to comfortable chairs and the latest periodicals. It is for the convenience of these that the Diogenes Club was started, and it now contains the most unsociable and unclubable men in town. No member is permitted to take the least notice of any other one. Save in the Stranger’s Room, no talking is, under any circumstances, allowed. and three offences, if brought to the notice of the committee, render the talker liable to expulsion. My brother was one of the founders, and I have myself found it a very soothing atmosphere.” ~ Sherlock Holmes, “The Greek Interpreter”

A sort of 19th Century British “safe space.” *meh* My “safe place” is designed for the safety of others. I’m thoughtful that way.

I have my “Curmudgeon’s Corner” home office for that. Comfy chair. Semi-adequate research capabilities. TONS of books and periodicals. Fine music. Phones NOT allowed. And “Do NOT Disturb” is well-observed by the household. A “Misanthropists’ Club” would probably include some asthmatic wheezer or “irritable bowel gurgler” to harsh my curmudgeonly “mellow.” *heh* No thanks. 😉 (OK, I do allow the dog to share the space, sometimes, even though his presence tends to curdle my curmudgeonry into a genuinely peaceful attitude. Oh, well. The sacrifices I make for his adoration. . . 🙂 )