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Archive for the ‘Lifestyle & Travel’ Category

Innovative Ways to Recognize CANADA DAY in 2019

Another CANADA DAY is on the horizon, this coming Monday.

What can Canadians do to celebrate, this first day of the second half of the calendar year?

  • Consume red and white beverages all day
  • Bar-b-que everything with maple syrup
  • Find an American history book, and write in a ‘u’ to the spelling of words like honor and color
  • Play mini-putt golf with fresh strawberry balls
  • Watch at least two hours of authentic Canadian TV programming
  • Take a trip across the country via Google Earth
  • Wrap a Canadian flag around your mailbox, since there’s no delivery this day anyway
  • Spend some time during the day in each of the Canadian time zones
  • Convince young children there’s more daylight because fireworks need extra time to burst in red and white
  • Invite friends over to debate which revised version of the national anthem should be sung

Be sure, of course, that any activity engaged in happens politely.

Morals 2.0

While preparing for a new Toastmasters speech assignment about telling a story with a valuable lesson, or moral, I listed a number of candidates among currently well-known axioms.  I’ve finally narrowed this down to one around which to build my own fable.

However, when one considers the way many clichés are constructed, they leave room for alteration, or new perspectives considering our increasingly diversified society.

To wit…

  • When life gives you lemons, make lemonade – why restrict this to lemons, or assume receiving lemons is pejorative?
  • You can’t teach an old dog new tricks – doesn’t this ignore the potential of other pet species?
  • You should look before you leap – shouldn’t there be a warm-up period first?
  • Know which side your bread is buttered on – what about new spreads available as alternatives to butter?
  • Every cloud has a silver lining – is there some way to harvest this precious metal?
  • The handwriting is on the wall – is it signed and dated, suitable for framing?
  • Actions speak louder than words – but what about words that come in parentheses?
  • An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – shouldn’t a metric version of this be around by now?
  • It’s what’s in-side that counts – would modern scanning techniques necessarily agree with this?
  • The more things change, the more they stay the same – is the reverse also true?
  • Opportunity doesn’t knock twice – doesn’t this discount the impact of social media?
  • A rising tide lifts all boats – so, what are we supposed to do at low tide?
  • Too many chefs spoil the broth – given the ingredients of many broths, shouldn’t some of the chefs be focused on healthier options?
  • Walk softly, and carry a big stick – so, what size stick should one carry if walking quickly or with purpose?
  • You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube – how sanitary could this ever be?

A fabulous ‘no prize’ can be had for guessing which cliché I chose.   

A Glossary of Modern Urban Potholes

A combination of highly unfavourable freeze/thaw conditions and less focus on roadway maintenance has resulted in the worst springtime driving conditions in Canada’s capital city in recent memory (i.e. 35 plus years).

It should be noted that this has not only been impacting vehicles with four, or more, tires.  For those of us who like to bicycle, moped, or in some cases even just walk, the circumstances range from unpleasant to daunting in too many places.

The variety of cuts and holes in paved areas has become so voluminous that a category of names is being established for them.  Here are ‘popular’ ones in our region:

  • Aqua crater, a hole with depth up to 10 cm which frequently fills with water and so can provide a hidden dip in proceeding
  • Old rail, as in an imbedded metal sensor showing through crumbling surfaces at intersections
  • Road tube remnant, namely indentation formed by tube counter smashed from volume impacts
  • Cut groove web, as in where pavement at vehicle intersection stops is worn down
  • Reptile cut, with a spine look, which incorporates a hodgepodge of revealed sensors or tubes
  • Cave in, where a soft surface hides vulnerable, undercut asphalt
  • Line of insanity, which is displayed as several metres or more of continuous breakage
  • Danger dodge, which means little reaction time to unexpected locations encountered with little warning
  • Gauntlet, as in having to navigate through a range of cracks both to the left and to the right
  • Trap, as in little reaction time to craters where there is only low to zero margin of error in avoiding
  • Manhole, occurring around manholes, as cracks around them starting to create a widening circle of crumble
  • Depression, as with reaching an appreciable, unavoidable drop
  • Patch-on-patch, as evidenced frequently subsequent to road maintenance patching efforts which become a quilt of unevenness
  • Rivulet crack, as a long, thin stream acting as discomforting accompaniment
  • Bumping up, referring to fill-ins which rise above the roadway, creating turbulence felt physically

It may be that one has to crack a few eggs to make an omelette, but pavement cracks are harder to swallow.

 

More Enriching Vocabulary

In eastern Canada warmer we’re slowly moving toward seasonally warm weather.

Combine this with the first holiday weekend of this cross-over season, AKA the Victoria Day weekend (AKA what references to the monarchy are mostly good for these days). One can feel the relaxed call, to a mind-set well-served by some well-spent exposure to words.

One of the ongoing elements of self-improvement in communication is a broader vocabulary.  As a supplement to the last post, here are more words from our Toastmasters club library, which have been featured in meetings as ‘word of the day’. The correct answers appear after the list of options:

  • ACYROLOGIA: Does this refer to inappropriate or improper language, physical gestures, or diet?
  • AEGIS: Does this concern protection or support of legislation, of procedures, or of people or organizations?
  • CONTUMACIOUS: Does this adjective describe eating habits, stubborn behaviour, or lack of coordination?
  • DOUGHTY: Would someone with this characteristic be more slow, confident, or discouraged?
  • ENDEMIC: True or false – this word is used as both an adjective and a noun
  • HETERODOX: Is someone with this quality apt to think as a freethinker or as a conformist?
  • LOGORRHOEA: Does someone with this tendency talk slowly, with a stutter, or excessively?
  • LUCENT: True or false – this relates to more to internal than external appearance
  • MELLIFLUOUS: True or false – this word is used as an adverb as well as an adjective
  • OBITER DICTUM: Does this noun refer to an expression of personal opinion, or of reference to legal statute?
  • PALAVER: In which of these ways does this word not qualify, as adjective, noun, or verb?
  • PERIPATETIC: In which of these ways does this word not qualify, as adjective, noun, or verb?
  • PROPITIOUS: Is this word likely to be used in circumstances which are based on luck, are favourable, or are tenuous?
  • REDOLENT: Does this refer to something in a suggested way, an implied way, or a direct way?
  • SUBLIME: Does this condition cause people to feel compelled, satisfied, or inspired?
  • SYMBIOSIS: Does this activity relate primarily to chemistry, physics, or biology?
  • TRALATITIOUS: Yes or no – this characteristic can apply both to metaphor and to tradition
  • VERDANT: True or false – this word is used to describe depictions coloured other than green

Correct responses:

  • ACYROLOGIA: language
  • AEGIS: people or organizations
  • CONTUMACIOUS: stubborn behaviour
  • DOUGHTY: confident
  • ENDEMIC: true
  • HETERODOX: freethinker
  • LOGORRHOEA: excessively
  • LUCENT: false
  • MELLIFLUOUS: false
  • OBITER DICTUM: personal opinion
  • PALAVER: adjective
  • PERIPATETIC: verb
  • PROPITIOUS: favourable
  • REDOLENT: suggested way
  • SUBLIME: inspired
  • SYMBIOSIS: biology
  • TRALATATIOUS: yes
  • VERDANT: false

Enriching Vocabulary

One of the ongoing goals in Toastmasters is to try to broaden one’s vocabulary.

To that end, each meeting features a ‘word of the day’.  Since in recent years our club has adopted a theme of the day as well, the Grammarian is encouraged to come up with a word relating to the theme, and is ideally a little uncommon.  The club has been around for about 25 years, so we have accumulated a mini-library of words; the Grammarian can select from these if not supplying an addition to the file.

Some people debate the value of adding, into speech or writing, words which are unfamiliar to many.  Some see this as opportunity to enrich one’s language options.  It should be remembered that not only are diverse words part of language but so too are often similarly challenging idiom and jargon.

Further to the list of words from our club library discussed in a January posting, here are more to test one’s mettle.  See if you know the appropriate response:

  • ASSUAGE Does this verb refer more to satisfaction, measurement, or persuasion?
  • BUCOLIC  Is this considered an adjective or an adverb?
  • CAPACITATE Does this verb refer more to human frailties or to human capabilities?
  • EBULLIENT Would someone displaying this behaviour be uncomfortable, cheerful, or questioning?
  • EMOLLIENT Is this a quality of contemplating, being firm, or being soothing?
  • ERSTWHILE Is this word used as an adverb, an adjective, or a noun?
  • FECUND Would this type of ground be helpful for growth, poor for growth, or unrelated to growth?
  • FORFEND Used as a verb, does this imply trying to attract or trying to avoid?
  • HEGEMONY Is this a quality of being a follower, of leadership, or of being a compromiser?
  • JEJUNE Would something described this way be considered complicated or simple?
  • MENDACIOUS Is this a quality of being truthful, being untruthful, or being aggressive?
  • PERORATION Does this describe an action which is verbal or physical?
  • PROPINQUITY Are you more likely to exhibit this behaviour with friends, with correspondents, or with enemies?
  • QUIXOTIC Is this used as an adverb, an adjective, or a noun?
  • SOLECISM Does this refer to doing something correct, doing something incorrect, or making a correction?
  • UMBRAGE Is one apt to be appeased, confused, or disturbed in this context?

The correct responses follow:

  • ASSUAGE satisfaction
  • BUCOLIC  adjective
  • CAPACITATE capabilities
  • EBULLIENT cheerful
  • EMOLLIENT soothing
  • ERSTWHILE adjective
  • FECUND helpful
  • FORFEND avoid
  • HEGEMONY leadership
  • JEJUNE simple
  • MENDACIOUS untruthful
  • PERORATION verbal
  • PROPINQUITY friends
  • QUIXOTIC adjective
  • SOLECISM incorrect
  • UMBRAGE disturbed

Being in ‘Ahh’ Voice

An article in the April issue of Psychology Today focuses on an issue familiar with those of us in Toastmasters, but to some extent with a somewhat different, even favourable, position.

One goal in Toastmasters continuously is to reduce, ideally weed out, filler words and sounds; the point of view expressed in Psychology Today is that the person or circumstances dictate some flexibility in applying such a strategy. (more…)

TOP 10 Double-Edged Benefits of Spring

After a very tough winter, slowing ebbing away this week officially but not in evidence, let’s remember that some expressions shift to another side of their connotations…

  • ‘White out conditions’ refer mainly to the need to correct typos
  • ‘Bundling up’ means trying to combine services for a cheaper rate
  • ‘Skating on thin ice’ focuses on one’s status in the workplace or relationships
  • A ‘Blanket of snow’ reverts to its rightful place as a soft assessment of political bafflegab
  • ‘Breaking the ice’ relates to reducing the size of ice cubes for drinks
  • The ‘tip of the iceberg’ alludes to the gradual rise of problems not previously evident in a project
  • Dealing with a ‘cold snap’ means handling a number of people feeling weakened by a virus
  • ‘Putting something on ice’ becomes a desirable option for diluting the effects of heat
  • Being ‘left out in the cold’ becomes more hurtful, because it’s not dependent on temperature
  • Feeling ‘snowed under’ identifies the emergence of projects put on hiatus during the winter