Tag Archives: music

Apostrophe awareness

It was a sign. Literally.

I had apostrophe abuse on the brain, after my next door neighbor had sent me an entertaining video on the topic, along with a message asking, “Will this be the next Schoolhouse Rock?” Who can forget this 1970s classic? Wasn’t everyone’s favorite “Conjunction Junction, what’s your function?” Or did you prefer “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here?”

We’ve talked so much, maybe too much, about apostrophe abuse lately. Still, it’s epidemic. As I considered whether to wax critical on this overdone topic yet again, I saw a sign. 

While taking a walk yesterday afternoon, The Apostrophe Song bouncing in my head, I almost literally stumbled on this placard, as if it had come up to greet me.

Considering I believe in signs, I knew this one was telling me to share the video my neighbor had shared. I think of it as a public service announcement of sorts, increasing awareness of an abuse that still goes unchallenged and giving us the tools to fight it.

It turns out that the video was produced by Adelaide, Australia-based company Cool Rules, which produces learning tools for children. If you’re looking for an easy way to remember when the apostrophe is appropriate and when it is not, or need a fun way to teach others, or even if you just like a catchy tune, give it a listen. And if you don’t care for the pop version, Cool Rules also offers the ditty in hip hop, rock and acoustic varieties.

It’ll make you nostalgic for Schoolhouse Rock.

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Filed under All Things Wordish, Movies, Television and Radio, Music, Technology and Social Media

Plane folks

Do you think airlines intentionally seat well-known people beside people who don’t know them? Sometimes I wonder.

I don’t think this is the case with politicians. I’ve been seated beside former Secretary of State Alexander Haig, former Ohio Senator Howard Metzenbaum and current Texas Congressman Lamar Smith and I knew them all. There’ve been more, but these are the ones who made memorable impressions.

Many years ago, I was making chitchat with my neighbor on a flight from Dallas to Washington. We exchanged pleasantries and I asked what took him to Washington.

“I have some interviews,” he said.

I asked, “Job interviews?”

“Press interviews.” He went on, “I wrote a book.”

“Oh, what’s it called”?

Run, Bullet, Run.”

“What’s it about?”

‘It’s about football.”

When I got home I told my husband I met a man, and something about a football book, bullet something.

My husband gasped. “You met Bullet Bob Hayes?” Only a two-time Olympic Gold medalist, Super Bowl winner and once considered the fastest human being on the planet.

By the way, I still don’t know what hockey legend I met in an airport in April.

Now that I’m a more seasoned traveler, I rarely take airplane conversations past the hello half-smile as I am squeezing into the seat and reaching under my neighbor’s cheek for my seatbelt.

Yesterday I walked into it again. Just a little.

About midway into the flight, after she and I rolled our eyes at each other over some boisterous passengers behind us, my neighbor thanked me for having been quiet during the ride.

We started talking, I asked what took her to the cities she was visiting and she said she was a musician.

Later in the conversation (which she probably regretted starting), I mentioned I wrote a blog. She asked the usual, what do you write about, I said language and life, and then somewhere in there I said I enjoyed writing about song lyrics.

She said she enjoys writing song lyrics and she shared how she approaches putting her lyrics with the music she writes. She shared with me some of her language peeves and gave me some ideas for future blog posts.

She was lovely and I can’t remember when I’ve enjoyed a plane chat more. I hope she felt the same.

She gave me the name of her group and I gave her the name of my blog.

You may have noticed Word Nymph typically doesn’t mention people by name. I will say I had never heard of my neighbor and chances are you haven’t either. Maybe one day we all will. Perhaps she’ll read my blog and introduce herself by way of a comment.

Granted, in my opening I mentioned four people by name. That’s all right because they’re famous and three of them are dead.  Now if they comment…

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Filed under Foibles and Faux Pas, Music, Reading, Sports and Recreation, Technology and Social Media, Travel

Record time

Road trips always get me thinking about music.  So I hope you will indulge me in another reflection brought on by time spent in the car with Rosebud, my trusty iPod. 

To put this one in proper perspective, I go back to the Spring of 1969.  I was in the third grade.  My father came home from a Washington, D.C., record store with two albums that changed my life.  Well, at least made a deep impression.

The first was Bill Cosby’s comedy album, To Russell, My Brother Whom I Slept With, and maybe one day we will get back to that.  I still have the whole thing memorized.

The other album was extraordinary for so many reasons.  First, it was the first double album I had ever seen.  Two whole records in one cover that split into two parts.  Pretty amazing.  Second, the cover was entirely white, including the title, The Beatles, in raised white lettering.  I had never seen anything so radical in my lifetime of nine years, especially in the 1960s when everything was shocking pink and lime green.  Finally, the album came with four 8×10 glossy head shots of the long-haired musicians.  When I discovered these, I swiped them and tacked them up on the brand new yellow and green daisy wallpaper in my room.

At age 9, my friends were listening to The Archies.  I don’t know what their parents listened to, likely Pat Boone or maybe the New Seekers, but I can guarantee no one’s parents listened to The Beatles’ so-called White Album, released in late 1968.  Mine did.  We all loved it.  Maybe it was the snappy piano intro of “Martha My Dear,” the show-tuney sound of “Honey Pie,” maybe the animal noises sprinkled into “Blackbird” and “Piggies.”  Or the simple melody and chord changes of “Mother Nature’s Son.”

The first song I memorized was “Rocky Raccoon.”  What a great story.  It was the first time I had ever heard of Gideon’s Bible.

At 9, I understood very little about what was going on in the world and didn’t understand intellectually what most of the lyrics meant.  Still, the music made me aware on some level.  As it does now, the song “Julia” tore my heart out, even though I had no concept of the nature or depth of the romantic angst the song captures.

When I listen to the White Album, as I did on a recent long car ride, the images of the 1960s flash before me.  The music and lyrics are relatively simple, but they evoke vivid memories.  Volkswagen Beetles, avant-garde displays in Georgetown storefront windows, the psychedelic pattern of my diary cover.  Men with long hair.  Incense.  Laugh-In, which I only saw in black in white until we got our first color television in 1970. 

There really is no point to this.  Except maybe to suggest you pull out your copy, pop it in (or on) and see where it takes you.

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Filed under Family and Friends, Music