silly english language

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Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it’s written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation’s OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation — think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won’t it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It’s a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough —
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

–George Bernard Shaw

Another thought for the day

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When the Evil One sees a person commence on some virtuous action with great fervour of faith, he has the habit of placing grievous temptations in that person’s path, in order to frighten him away from this course of action.

—Isaac of Syria

Knowing and expecting this goes a long way to fight it and stay on the right path.

change of pace

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Out of the Muck and Mire

Raven news

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It appears that extra work must be kept up in order to keep the monarchy safe and the Tower of London standing.

I wonder if Grog the Raven just got fed up with the inanity of the royal family. Likely. Ravens are smarter than most folks, and a lot less willing to put up with shenanigans.

Psalm for the Day

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Psalm 84

How delightful is your dwelling-place, Lord of hosts!
My soul is weak with longing for the courts of your palace.
My heart and my body rejoice in the living God.
Even the sparrow finds itself a home,
the swallow a nest to raise her young –
in your altars, O Lord,
Lord of strength, my king and my God.
Blessed are they who dwell in your house:
they will praise you for ever.

Blessed the man whose help comes from you,
who has set his heart on reaching you.
They pass through the valley of thirst
and make a spring there:
the morning rain will cover it with blessings.
They will go from strength to strength:
they will see the God of gods, in Sion.

Lord God of hosts, listen to my prayer;
hear me, O God of Jacob.
Take notice of us, God our protector,
and look on the face of your anointed one.

One day in the courts of my God
is worth more than a thousand elsewhere.
I would rather be at the doorstep of the house of my God
than live in the dwellings of sinners.

For the Lord my God is my sun and my shield.
The Lord gives grace and glory.
He will not deny his good things
to those who walk in purity.
Blessed is he who trusts in you,
O Lord of hosts.

Thought for the Day

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If we believe that someone else is invisibly guiding our life, how can we ever obey our own thoughts when they say ‘I want this’ or ‘I do not want it’, ‘This is good’ or ‘This is bad’? If we had some visible guide, we would ask him about everything, would hear the reply and carry into effect what was said. But even when we do not have a visible guide, we do have Christ.

We should therefore put questions to Him through prayer from the heart, in faith hoping His answer will manifest itself in our thoughts and actions. Otherwise Satan, not being able to affect us in our actions, may answer us in our thoughts, pretending that he is the guide and in this way dragging us to perdition because we lack patient endurance.

It is those lacking such endurance who in their ignorance impetuously hurry on to seize what they have not yet been given, failing to realize that one day in the eyes of the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as a single day. But he who by enduring patiently has gained experience of the devil’s machinations will fight and strive forward with patience so as to reach the goal, as St. Paul puts it. He will be able to say, ‘We are not ignorant of Satan’s devices’, that is, of the devil’s invisible ploys, unknown to most men. For St. Paul says, ‘Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light’ and there is nothing surprising in this, since the thoughts that he causes to appear in our heart seem to be righteous thoughts to those who lack experience.

For this reason it is good to say ‘I do not know’, so that we neither disbelieve what is said by an angel nor place credence in what occurs through the decietfulness of the enemy. By thus accepting patiently whatever comes we may avoid both pitfalls. We may wait for many years until the answer is given us, unsolicited and unperceived, in the form of some concrete action — as someone has put it with reference to the contemplation of created beings. In this way we reach the haven of active spiritual knowledge. When we see this knowledge persisting in us over many years, then we will understand that truly we have been heard and have invisibly received the answer.

–Peter of Damascus


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Seems like someone has been passing a copy of 1 Corinthians around Japan. At least chapter seven… you know, that chapter that has gotten cut out of the canon of most inerrantist evangelical churches.

Though I suspect the women surveyed are not quite keeping with Paul’s other moral suggestions.

eminent domain

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There was a case argued in the Supreme Court the other day (Kelo v. New London) which seems to be significantly more important than the press coverage is giving it.

Basically, the concept of eminent domain allows the government to buy, or condemn, property for public use. This is fair. We need our roads, we need our institutions of public interest, we need to be able, at times, to put the general good of a society first. Plus, the concept is Constitutional, finding its way into the national soul by means of the 5th amendment.

This case hinges on what exactly is meant by “Public Use”. The town of New London feels that higher tax revenue is a public benefit, so tried to buy out residents of a coastal swath of land in order to build an office park and other high cost amenities. Those that refused to sell were told their land was condenmed. They rightly refused to leave.

In our “business is everything” conception of civic life it seems there are crucial aspects of freedom being lost. The right to hold onto private property is among the most important of these. Otherwise, we continue to drift into a new feudalism which is not based on hereditary title, but the even more insiduous Right of Revenue. Anyone with more money or potential will trump those who are small and weak. The right, and hope, of owning a piece of land is at the heart of the American enterprise. We can dream of investing in ourselves, whether through a simple home investment, a space in which our thoughts can wander freely, or in other creative use of something of our own.

The fear and danger of a potential land grab by the powerful diminishes this dream and hope. Why find a quiet piece of choice land for oneself if there is the potential it will be taken by someone who wants to rape the land for the profit of faceless investors?

Should the Supreme Court allow New London to take what it wants from whoever it wants for the sake of appeasing the principalities and powers of our present world we will all lose something precious. On that day, we will have lost the heart and soul of America and we will see the beginning of the real decline and fall into eventual dissolution.

For on the day armed representatives of the government come to force residents off their own land for the sake of the private wealth of another is the day America has ended.

I suspect that such a ruling will result in a sharp rise of membership in the NRA, and rightly so. I support my country, and am patriotic without excuse. But, should my government be bought out by the bidding of Pfizer, then I, and many, many others, will say “don’t tread on me.” The second amendment will be pitted against this new interpretation of the fifth amendment, and no one will benefit from that fight.

Right now, New London is treading on those residents in a way which even King George III may have been embarrassed to pursue. Fortunately, my guess is that the justices will see a line being crossed here and will rule against the uncivil authorities of New London, Connecticut.

And yes, I am not a lawyer, and don’t know the nuances of the constitutional claims. I am from pioneer stock, however, and know how popular interpretation will take such a move in the Law, despite the niceties of some lawyerly rhetoric.

It also seems that pushing this case to the public eye seems to be helpful. It was when such activities were limited to ill attended county board meetings that people suffered. Opinion articles seem to be realizing the dangers involved and throwing support to the property owners.

Property rights were written into the Constitution explicitly to defend against this very brand of wrecking-ball politics. Respect for private land is what separated this country from others with a penchant for seizing and nationalizing things at whim.

So here’s to property owners around the country who are standing up to the bulldozer’s advance. Let’s hope the Supreme Court gives them reason for a toast.

Amen to that. Let’s hope and pray. For who will suffer the most from this? Once again it will be the poor.

Nicene Creed

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David Neff, over at Christianity Today, writes an excellent and concise overview of the Nicene Creed and its Jewish background.

The Next President of the United States?

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From the Washington Post:
Condoleeza in '08

Seriously, she’s perfect for the job. Condi Rice is an amalgamation of the Democratic base (single, black woman whose spent most of her life in Academia, can speak fluent French, and is a well regarded musician with strong Northern Californian connections) with a Republican perspective. There’s something for everyone. Fashion magazines will have an American leader worth covering as much as they cover foreign princesses. Pundritry will have a heyday attempting to understand how the various interest groups will respond. Dr. Rice would completely blow out of the water any conception of expected voting patterns and if you think Oprah is good at promoting a book, you have no idea what she could accomplish as a political supporter.

I’m not a typically PC guy, but I do think it would be good for this country to pass some milestones. We need Condi Rice to be President, I think. It would be good for our collective American soul to break down once impossible barriers.