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My books can be purchased as e-books for only $1.99. If interested, just click here: Books.
Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life is the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, you can find an archive list at the bottom of this page.

Monday, August 3

Swan Song, Cecil, & Direct Address

Here it is, my swan song, my thousandth post. Maybe a permanent song and maybe not. I hope that some of my regular readers and some of my occasional readers will miss me, miss my reviews and my musings. We’re being inundated these days with the writing of just about everybody—letters to the editor, blogs, strands of dialogue on Amazon about what’s good and not good, and, of course, the billions of text messages back and forth. Too many words to keep track of. Thus, I think I should stop adding to the deluge. A thousand posts should be enough. Samuel Taylor Coleridge had this comical comment about swans and their songs: “Swans sing before they die—‘twere no bad thing / Should certain persons die before they sing.” I’m not planning on dying but I think I’ll quit singing.
A huge coyote came through our backyard this morning, with Tiger and Tuffy taking wary note of him. He wasn’t moving very fast because his right leg seemed to be broken right at the ankle. He used his one good leg to dig a shallow hole at the base of one of our neighbor’s grapefruit trees, looking for some comfort in the moist soil. He lay there for fifteen minutes before limping away. I felt so bad about his condition but there wasn’t anything I could do. He wouldn’t be able to catch any birds or rabbits and unless he could find enough road kill he wasn’t going to survive. A call to the Humane Society wouldn’t have helped since there’d be no way they could find him or catch him. A three-legged coyote is a dead coyote. Maybe we could call Dr. Palmer to come put him out of his misery. Palmer could then mount his head next to Cecil’s as testimony to the doctor’s courage.

I still don’t feel comfortable going to Facebook either to read other peoples’ posts or to post anything for myself. Ninety-five percent of what’s said there is so empty, so meaningless. I get a notification about someone’s birthday and go there to find countless messages all saying “Happy birthday Joe” (insert any other name you like). There’s seldom anything personalized. And almost without exception, there’s no comma to set off the name. Is the comma designating direct address a thing of the past? Let this old English codger explain. We used to enclose in commas persons being spoken to directly in a sentence, indicating to the reader that the name isn’t part of the sentence, almost like we’re putting it in parentheses. Look at this old grammatical chestnut in which we have two speakers, Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf: “I feel like eating, Grannie,” and “I feel like eating Grannie.” Can you tell which says what? Can you see the importance of that comma? Well, Grannie certainly sees it. It makes all the difference in the world to her. Texting and Twittering have done so much to change the way we communicate, some of the changes good, some bad. I think the inattention of too many of our young communicators regarding proper phrasing and punctuation is regrettable. And Grannie agrees. Here she is, agreeing and waving goodbye.

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Any comments? Write me at jertrav33@aol.com