About Style Guides

Use them consistently. It makes your writing more betterer.
Consistency comes in as many flavors as different spellings for the same word and all variations of correctly punctuating the same sentence. Rules is rules. Adhering to them establishes credibility. Breaking them is okay if done consistently and to make a point. We call such consistency in writing style. Excellent writers have a style, call it a voice, identifiable as their own even though that voice follows rules the writer would rather not. Competent editors and publishers see to it. Compromise happens, sometimes. It’s a process. It’s credible and/or creditable. But go with one or the other. Make sure a word means what you want it to mean, and be consistent.

Babies are Gross

Birth. Our nephew’s daughter entered Earth’s atmosphere in the vicinity of San Antonio. Hardly a moment later photos came as email attachments, precious new yet-to-be-swaddled human, her waxy white and vernix coat softening the blushing red. Other than in emails, this image was spared social media exposure as far as we know. The parents are commended.
The joy of a new family member spread quickly to the other side of the world. Our daughter in Seoul quickly shot back her observation. “Babies are gross.” Such candor attests to her lineage, and the adage: she is her father’s daughter. I’m so proud.
She’s right, you know. She, at birth, was no exception. None of us are. Caesar’s entry into life and exit from his mother, the method of which bears his name, was probably more especially gross. And of course all the accompanying baggage, you know, that cord and a couple of square feet of amniotic membrane, the child’s weight in placenta, have got to go somewhere and aren’t going to dispose of themselves.
Even the immaculately conceived Jesus, vaginally birthed in circumstances so abjectly humble as to emphasize the glory of his virgin mother’s deliverance, halos all around, angels attending, afterbirth lost somewhere in the hay, not unusual for that kind of place.
Civilization removes the grossness of childbirth. But there’s no escaping the reality. I was born in my father’s absence as was the custom in those days. He was in the waiting room down the hall. One could argue that my mother wasn’t even there. I don’t know if she was anesthetized for the event, also an easy option of the times. As for me? I don’t remember. And no manner of hypnotic regression will change that. What would be the point. My mother tells me she thought I looked like a red rat when she saw me for the first time. And looking at the black-and-white of me as a newborn, I’ve got to agree.

deny aisle

deny aisle

I got in trouble for the first time when I lied about getting on the Dean’s List. The job, that job, the one I had, almost had at that time and indeed would have in a very short time and for a very short time, seemed so important at the time. And so, during the interview I let something slip out, just a sideways mention of it as an off-off-handed comment, just a non-important tossing of a salad. Eyebrows raised. I blushed like a school secretary with too much cleavage. None of this made the difference as to whether or not I got hired. (more…)

what is a sacred clone

This is truly a question that I am frequently asked. ((I’ve answered this before in two mini-essays, the second after the first was destroyed. This is the third attempt. Here’s hoping.)) This is a question to which I would like to hear more answers than the one I’m about to give. It would be pretty cool for people to offer their own conclusions as possible answers: “Is a Sacred Clone…   such and such and so forth?” Even that answer is sounds good to me right now. Think of a sacred clone as a clone that is sacred.  All too obvious, I know, but it’s that

The fun lies in the multiple layers of meaning. ((A childhood friend referred to these layers as “transparencies.”  I am not sure what he meant by that other than the different meanings a thing takes on when you look at it, or through it, in a different light, other connotations and denotations derived in the context of situation and circumstance.)) The term “layers” can be deceptive, implying hierarchy of each meaning, one over the other, disparate definitions insulated with layers of nuance and interpretation. Such is the hazard of bias, inflexibility, rigidity. Words are alive with their meanings. All things alive grow and change and evolve, potentially into something unrecognizable. ((Most people I run into these days do not recognize me if we have not seen each other in more than twenty years.)) And so, sometimes you just have to move on.  Some words just don’t mean the same thing they meant a generation or so ago. When one does not accept the plasticity of language one is not likely to accept the inevitable communication failures that result.
Clones are identical, right? I don’t know. Most if not all the sci-fi literature I have beheld seems to emphasize degradation as the common theme. Rule of thumb is that a clone from an original isn’t quite as good as the original. Same goes for a clone of a clone until all integrity is lost and it just won’t hold together. And so, what’s the point? If a clone is not identical to the original, why would you want it?
One of the meanings of the term Sacred Clone could be that that particular is different than all the others. But then, is it a clone? Would the difference lie in mutation or some other fluke that allowed it survivability, that it should not degrade as others of its generation? Again, I don’t know.
All emperor penguins look alike. To me, they sound alike, they act alike, they smell the same. And it is a scent without nuance or subtlety as far as I can tell. But they know each other. Mates know their mates. Parents know their offspring, and can distinguish one from another in the throngs of companions upon returning from weeks away hunting and eating.
A friend and I were playing billiards. She was beautiful as far as I was concerned. But she was a bit older than me, had children half my age. Talking about this she mentioned something, threw it out in our conversation like any other sentence. Yet, I have heard nothing as profound spoken so casually in any conversation since: “We are much more alike than we are different.” And she wasn’t talking about the two of us necessarily. That was when we looked up and noticed a crowd gathered around one of the TV monitors at the Student Union Building. Ronald Reagan had just been shot. He survived. My friendship with that particular beautiful woman did not. However, if you put the two of us together in a crowd after all these years, we would find each other. We would know who the other was from that other time and place and we would enjoy a visit and then move on.

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of grace and beauty

Notice that vessels of all kinds that require constant attention and maintenance, careful systems monitoring on the part of a pilot to bring out the best performance… these vessels all sport vast control panels. Captains refer to their ships using feminine pronouns. They are things of grace and beauty. What ever happened to the love a captain should have for his ship? Is this a romance lost on our day? He must love her. Only if he truly loves the vessel that carries him to all points on earth, that keeps him afloat through all storms and calms, that is an oasis in times of doldrums, a cradling shelter for the weary traveler… only if he is willing to care for her with all his heart and energy to the point that exceeds the willingness of all others aware of that ship, only then is he worthy to command her and her crew to go places and do things never imagined.
This is an exquisite metaphor for relationships, and doesn’t seem as though it would popular today as the male would seem the dominant partner. But such dominance has never been the case in the shared purposes of this partnership.
Women were thought to bring bad luck when they came aboard a ship. Superstition had it that the ship became jealous of the other lady, (notice I say the other lady with emphasis on ‘other’ as if I really mean it!) especially if the lady was the captain’s wife. This makes perfect sense when you consider how the flesh-and-blood woman would distract the captain from his duties to see that the ship was cared for to as high a degree as ever: impossible if attempting ensure his spousal unit comfort.”You love your smelly old ship more than you love me,” the wife would whine. A loud creaking sound would come from below decks as if the smelly old ship acknowledged the perfumed witch of a captain’s wife, echoing her point of view. This is what would happen:  Checklists would get hurried through, knots would be left untied, gear would not get stowed, rowdiness would go unchecked… next thing you would know she’d be taking on water and the rudder would be jammed. The ship could do nothing but go in circles while she and all aboard her sank.

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remember…

remember…

The nature of this venue does not put a premium on research. This is no publication of record. It’s the Internet. Worse, it’s a blog. A web log. A log on the web. It is a log of blurbs and nonverbal verbiage because it has not been verbalized, actually uttered other than through these fingers upon this keyboard, and then, if you are a tormented with cognition, the voice you are hearing as you read this. The difference is that I don’t talk this way, the way these words are coming out here on this screen, unless I am writing. Or do I? I don’t really know. Sometimes and not.

Source: Wikipedia

I remember very little of what I say when I say a thing or two verbally, using the articulation tools from my guts to the end of my nose.  ((Some would include body movements, facial expressions and gestures often accompanying my speech.))  So, I’m discovering as these words accumulate on this log, I do not remember them as I thought I should or would. But that’s okay. They are here. That’s where the log part of blog comes in. That’s for what logs are. And the web, it’s for convenience, I suppose. Otherwise I probably would not have written here what I have written. But I did. I wrote them on this day, the 5th of November.

Upon hearing this date I’m reminded of it, of hearing the date spoken, verbalized, written about, cataloged, sung even. The singing part was what I couldn’t get out of my head. Instantly John Lennon’s song surfaced amidst the chemical flora and fauna playing with each other in the forest that is my gray matter. Some call it memory. I remembered the song, but not the title. Irony blesses my life again. This called for action on which the nature of this venue does not put a premium. ((Research. Remember? NOTE: First mentioned in the first sentence, first paragraph of this post.))
What I remembered most about the song was its finish, the last line. I dug a bit and found quite a few sites offered lyrics to all of John Lennon’s song catalog. To my amazement the first few sites showed different versions of the same song, different from each other, and certainly varied from what I remembered. The thing is, I don’t trust my memory as once I did. This is probably a mistake. I’ve discovered that I’ve remembered incorrectly far fewer times than not, even with younger, fresher minds at hand. Nevertheless, I could have sworn that Mr. Lennon ended the song Remember with “the 5th of November.” But the versions of lyrics I beheld through my “research” had omitted those words. ((Forgive me when I say that I felt like somebody was playing mind games.))  Anyway, I looked around until I found a couple of sites that did indeed agree with my memory. And so, I felt a lot better about a few things. Just couldn’t remember what.

Remember

Remember when you were young
How the hero was never hung
Always got away
Remember how the man
Used to leave you empty handed
Always, always let you down
If you ever change your mind
About leaving it all behind
Remember, remember, today
And don’t feel sorry
The way it’s gone
And don’t you worry
‘Bout what you’ve done
Remember when you were small
How people seemed so tall
Always had their way
Remember your ma and pa
Just wishing for movie stardom
Always, always playing a part
If you ever feel so sad
And the whole world is
driving you mad
Remember, remember, today
And don’t feel sorry
‘Bout the way it’s gone
And don’t you worry
‘Bout what you’ve done
o, no, remember, remember
The fifth of November.

John Lennon

Oh, and something about a Guy named Fawkes…