In Defense Of Peruse

Peruse is a verb I’ve rarely heard or seen used correctly.  It means to read carefully with attention to detail.  However it is typically used as if it means “browse” or “skim”.  I speculate that this is because its sound when pronounced makes it sound like an activity done leisurely.

I know language evolves, and the meanings of words change.  In this case, however, I think we should resist changing the meaning of peruse:

  • I believe on balance changing the meaning of words should be resisted unless there is a compelling need to do so.
  • There are already adequate words which convey the meaning for which peruse is misused, e.g. skim and browse.
  • Peruse is the only word which conveys its meaning.  There are phrases which convey its meaning but no other single word.
  • The original meaning of peruse is the complete opposite of the meaning it is thought to have in its misuse.  Thus when one hears, “I perused the book”, the two possible meanings are 180 degrees opposite each other.  I believe this is unlike other evolutions of word meanings which are typically a less abrupt change from the original meaning, e.g. gay.

Christmas Cookies and Apple Pie

It’s the time of the year when one is likely to think about the delicious goodies which we dearly love.  For me Christmas cookies and apple pie are at the top of the list.  However my joy is tempered for each.

Christmas cookies had rather a precise meaning where I grew up in upstate New York.  They were a sugar cookie in a Christmas-related shape covered with a rather firm frosting.  When I moved to the west coast and saw what were called Christmas cookies, I felt like accusing the store of false advertising.  Their “Christmas cookies” were sugar cookies in Christmas shapes, however they were not covered in delicious frosting but rather in obnoxious sprinkles of some sort.  It was a sacrilege. 🙂

Growing up, I never had an apple pie not made by grandma, or mom, or an aunt, etc.  They were uniformly delicious, and I couldn’t conceive of an apple pie I wouldn’t like… until I was out on my own.  I quickly discovered there was one basic difference between the pies of my youth and every single store or restaurant apple pie I’ve been able to find: the former contained apples sliced thinly; the latter rather contained large chunks of apple which inevitably were raw on the inside and mush on the outside.  Doesn’t anybody in a restaurant or bakery know that thinly sliced apples are a requirement for a good apple pie?  If so, I’ve yet to find them.  Is it especially difficult or time consuming to thinly slice an apple?  This is so incomprehensible to me.  I feel sad for all of those who think an apple pie tastes like the sad imitation of an apple pie one finds in all (or so it seems) commercial establishments.

After so many years of searching, I’ve given up finding the Christmas cookies and apple pies of my youth.  Should some kind soul, who lives in the San Jose, CA area, read this and know where I can find either of them, please enlighten me.  I’d be most grateful.

Destruction

That we now, rather than live under the rule of law, live under the rule of Obama is more evidence that our country has slipped beyond the point of no return.  The most recent instances of Obama’s unconstitutional usurpation of congressional authority deal with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but he’s done it before, e.g. his decision to not enforce some immigration laws.  Even more daunting than his flouting of the constitution is the lack of uproar about it.  Where are the congressmen, lawyers, politicians (a redundancy I suppose), writers, pundits, talk show hosts, etc.?  Where is their outrage?  I’m dumbfounded by the lack of reaction.

I’m no fan of the ACA, but this is a larger issue.  Yet all I see are comments relating to the ACA rather than the destruction of the constitution’s separation of powers.

Article I, Section 1 says “All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”  Article II, section 3 says “he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed,…”  It does not say “he shall take Care that the Laws He likes be faithfully executed”.  He doesn’t get to pick and choose.

I realize that I am just  SIXHIRBOWSL*, and that I cannot hope to fathom the nuances my leftist betters can detect in the constitution.  Nevertheless, shouldn’t we all be fighting what Obama is doing and has been doing for years now?  Where are the lawsuits and protests from the entire political spectrum?  After all, should a conservative ever again be elected to the presidency (an unlikely possibility I admit), what’s to stop him or her from simply declaring that the ACA will no longer be enforced?  Obama’s set the precedent.  He’s enforced only what he likes.  If it’s OK for him, it’s OK for our next conservative president.

It’s an imperial presidency.  And few seem to care.

 

* Sexist, Intolerant, Xenophobic, Homophobic, Islamophobic, Racist, Bigoted, Old, White, Stupid, Liar.

Rude Awakening

The results of yesterday’s election proved to be a rude awakening for me.  I had, for some time now, labored under the assumption that the USA was a center-right country.  It quite clearly is not.  I live in a leftist country.

I had attributed Obama’s win in 2008 to people’s guilt over slavery.  However yesterday shows that the majority want to be led to the left.  Perhaps that was the case in 2008 as well. 

I’m forced to realize that most Americans are comfortable with living off the fruits of others’ labor, with being dependent upon the state, with a goal of equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity, with the country being subservient to the U.N., with America not being the world’s superpower, with an imperial presidency, and with all sorts of other things I abhor.

The people want to go left, and they have the perfect guy to take them there.  He is a committed leftist whose mentors were all radical leftists.  He knows what he wants and will, with the supreme court appointments he will likely make, guarantee that the march leftward will continue long after he’s gone.

One thing that won’t change as we irrecoverably slide into being a bankrupt European nanny state is how I think.  So there.

Law of Traffic Gaps

The Law of Traffic Gaps:  The vehicle whose distracted driver leaves a gap in traffic causing the vehicle sensor to “think” there is no more traffic will be the last vehicle to make it through the signal light.

How those who leave traffic gaps wake up just in time to be the last one through the light is a mystery yet to be solved.  It’s a mystery right up there with the mystery of how many can drive for decades and not realize that traffic lights are (for the most part) traffic actuated.  Oh well.

Sandusky Reaches New Depths

The monster Jerry Sandusky is going to spend the rest of his miserable life in prison.  Why doesn’t he do one last decent thing — admit his guilt, come clean, and plead guilty?  This would save the victims the agony of publicly reliving the horrors to which he subjected them.  Instead he’s proclaiming his innocence.  This certainly puts him high on the list of most contemptible human beings who have ever lived.  What a dirtbag.

(I know there’s a presumption of innocence in a court of law.  There is no such presumption in the court of public opinion, and in my opinion, based on what I’ve read of the case, the guy is guilty as hell.)

 

Accessing browser bookmarks

Internet Explorer 8 handles accessing bookmarks almost perfectly.  Searching bookmarks is missing, however it otherwise does these 4 things just as I would like them done:

  • To view bookmarks I simply click on the “Favorites” button
  • I am positioned on the last bookmark I accessed.  For me this is a big plus as I commonly access multiple bookmarks in a given folder one after the other, e.g. scanning the newspapers I follow each morning.
  • If I open another folder, the original is closed, and the display is moved up or down as needed so as to optimize my viewing of its contents
  • Upon clicking on a bookmark, I’m taken to it and the bookmark display is closed.

No other browser I’ve used combines these four desirable attributes.  Firefox (via ctrl-B) does not open bookmarks at the last one used.  It also does not reposition the display when I open a new folder.  If the folder is near the bottom for example, I have to scroll backwards to see its contents.  Safari’s handling seems even worse (in my admittedly brief check). 

The issue is compounded by the fact that inexplicably Microsoft has abandoned this superior feature in Internet Explorer 9.  There are so few things they do really well, changing bookmark accessing so it’s goofy like everyone else’s is very hard to understand.  I suppose they want to make its human factors weak to be consistent with the rest of their operating system.

That’s just my opinion.  I could well be full of shit.