The Gramm’azis’s a rude bunch. Even the term [just spoils my tea]…

When was their 1919 moment?

Besides the mobile-phone…

536031_10150755819601041_591256550_nGramm’azis sometime jump all over paragraphs, because in their rage they sometimes fail to recognise them as paragraphs; instead focus on a particular phrase. Even the term— perhaps even the use of Nazi in the plural tense— perhaps even the use of italics instead of the inverted comma. They’d complain that ia sentence wasn’t a sentence and didn’t make sense and blah to the la-de-dah, calling people stupid and whatever. And in one version of the universe— where cohesion, elision, endophora, hell, even the minor sentence didn’t exist— they’d be quite right, which is why I find the very term Grammar Nazi so apt. There really couldn’t be a more fitting soubriquet; it’s accurate with just the right hint of irony. Lucky for me however, I live in a galaxy far, far away from the one party state where a little sterilisation is OK. Because although language is a constituency of one, grammar is just one of the bits. Granted it’s one of the big bits, but without a complement of bits, shit gets sterile; and that would be— as long as you accept gramm’azis turd is safe to eat— an ineffective form of rule. And a contradiction: shit should not be fit for human consumption.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Standard English and think it ought to be protected. As a teaching tool it’s invaluable and as a means with which to measure English variance, there’s really no substitute, but holy-moly. I wouldn’t want to imagine a world where these guys go unopposed, which shouldn’t be too Earth-altering because they inhabit a really small place; it’s not even part of the planet. It’s a place with zero separation of spelling and grammar— which is a big no no Brown-Shirts, and if the metonymy offends you, you’re gonna love this one: grammar is based on sound, not words. The your, you’re, their, they’re, there place— I don’t know what to call this ego-enhancing pleasure-palace— is not a grammar problem, it’s a representation issue, it’s orthography; and yes, it’s annoying and best avoided, but in comment-boxes? Really? Is there really no higher place to call? Did pragmatics and deixis suddenly disappear?

That was me thinking out-loud. And that was me being flippant. And that was me wondering why anyone— and let’s be clear here— anyone with but a rudimentary grasp of language think it’s perfectly acceptable to respond to something with— wah, wah, grammar police wah fucking wah wah?

Clever people don’t do that. Linguists and language folk don’t do that. In fact the guys who are in a position to comment upon specific language uses, tend not to make the mistake of using too many logically fallacious statements, especially not ad hominem, tu quoque crap like your momma’s do— come on. I mean, god— is there some kind of high-register discourse convention for comment-boxes that I don’t know about? The one where anything short of five-part essay-standard formality is open-season for the sanctimonious? Aren’t comment-boxes supposed to be a convenient way to get a point across when you’re doing something you’re not supposed to instead of working? Are gramm’azis so blind-sided by blues-and-twos that they cannot see that good points sometimes come in shitty packages?

The ability to spot these mistakes then point them out does not require any particular skill or training, it really doesn’t. It doesn’t make you smart— it makes you an asshole. It means, at the very least you have a rudimentary grasp of language and are conscious of it. Our cueing systems are remarkable things, brilliant; they’re not toys to throw at each other. Now, most non-drivers can tell the difference between a good and shitty driver, and on this I’d steak a gamm’azis’ momma. Driving is not an inherent attribute. Language acquisition and development is pretty uniform the world over which means we are all, to some degree grammatical creatures, we are also contextual creatures— with few exceptions, I should know, I’ve worked with a few. But I’m also careful not to generalise too sweepingly and incur wrath from the fallacy police, even though those guys know how to party.

I can go on for weeks, literally. It was my job— Actually, I rarely left a dry eye, but I’d rather not. These people are ruining just about every article I read these days.


I just don’t like the rude, it’s not contructive…

Damn you gramm’azis! All I wanted to do was read about cricket, drink tea and find my day!

It’s certainly not any travel I know, just a hobby which shares characteristics with the way I think. We may sometimes dress alike…

I’m not yet forty; still a way off that particular milestone, but like everyone else who is—

I find it approaching a little faster than I’d like…

26396_430151901040_6641225_nThe social stuff between now and then, or whatever time-frame I tend to use as reference for what I have or haven’t done doesn’t get any smaller. Just because I can’t get it ticked off the list shouldn’t matter, but it go figures. It just becomes more compact, which is a whole other type of frustration. It’s just not as easy as other stuff: cups of tea, peace and quiet, stuff which I need more of these days— language definitely counts as stuff…

For twenty years, sabbaticals beside— which you need if you don’t want to go a little blind or, hurt people I guess— has been my primary: academically and vocationally. To describe it as a journey just doesn’t work for me. I get it, it’s all kinda kinds of fitting, but it’s used to describe football seasons, relationships, books, school, work, pregnancy; I can see it insofar as life and everything in it is neater when it’s compartmentalised and separated into a series of cultural markers, but only at a stretch. I still don’t like it; it’s not for me— my associations don’t work that way. I struggle to compartmentalise neatly because I have a need for everything to be intermentalised and far reaching, somehow— somewhere, it’s got to have a relative context and I couldn’t care less how superficially— which is why I became ever increasingly drawn to it, language that is, not superficiality, though that’s OK too. For a start it lacks the same degree of constraint which burdens journeys. In fact it’s always given me the impression that it doesn’t like to be constrained by anything— which has been the source of many a headache and a-ha alike.

If you can make a rule, there’ll be an exception; an observation, an aberration. A framework which might explains a phenomena, there’ll be an approach to make you question whether you were on the right track at all. So in that sense, it couldn’t really have more appeal to me than if I designed it myself. No, I’m pretty comfortable running with the assumption that it most certainly is not a journey. But, it could be thousands of them, all different, all seemingly heading the same way but overlapping, double-backing, reversing, contributing, refuting and turning one piece of work into many, many more.

It’s never just an aspect, or one thing— that’s too neat when you’ve got all these trains whooshing left and right and what-have-you. One aspect requires others and each of those require the same, even when it isn’t always plain to see how or why; which is why it all takes time and the social stuff keeps getting fat. There’s a lot of going back and forth— to the beginning, back and forth to the end sometimes; starting again, screaming and so forth.

It’s rich, diverse and can be frustrating; though never less than rewarding, even when you’re getting nowhere. It is something which requires constantly chipping away at— and a good rail-pass. There’s always something new, a connection; a correlation, something utterly unexpected just around the corner— something you daren’t miss.

If I had one complaint, despite having been researcher, analyst, consultant and educator, it would be my failure to become proficient in no more than 5% of it.

By the time I am forty, that number will have shrunk…

In which case I’ll get stuff ticked off…

I ventured and gained: nothing mind you, but still. Trial by coffee…

A life without adventure is likely to be unsatisfying, but a life in which adventure is allowed to take whatever form it will is sure to be short.

Bertrand Russell 


Every now and then I get this craving for really good coffee— which wouldn’t be quite so torrid if the fridge wasn’t sporting some. Some days it practically spits it at me whilst endorsing the stuff at the same time; teasing me with breath so chilled it’s clearly a word of lost participles. It was being particularly unpleasant only the other evening, as I attempted to locate the cheese for a good strumming:

‘Hey treacle’ It said, ‘you look tired. Go on— make some— you know you want to…’

But since my cafeteria fell foul of complications due to wear and tear— the fridge gets torn into with the more industrial side of my language. It’s hardly civilised, but since I managed to get it to talk to the toaster— I’m afraid it’s become a little lippy!

Being without a vessel for your beans is monstrous you see, and the fridge knows this— it’s like trying to drive a car with no steering wheel. Today though, I just couldn’t be restrained.

So I buckled up and found a saucepan which was too small and filled it up with a too large a sprinkling of coffee; administered too great a volume of water; used a grind catcher designed for fewer granules whilst pouring into my inadequate mug, which was too close to the edge of the work surface— which allowed me the oppotunity to determine exactly how not absorbent enough the kitchen towel was to pick up the dribbles; the mug not large enough to entertain my drink; the catcher had butter-fingers, over-flew and trickled over everything; leaving me with a hard fought out pint of gritty coffee— and all the makings of a good clear up. All however— was not to be lost with, melancholy lost.

I found another mug of similar design and filtered the contents of the first mug into it and simply rinsed away the offending particles in the sink…

Unfortunately, my efforts were tepid and I sunk the lot in a superhero sized gulp—

Now I’m thirsty again;

Though I may apply Russian scientific principals to my labours and improve the definition of my practises…

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