Category Archives: Wednesday’s Words

Offers short excerpts of writings from throughout history that has or should have influenced Western culture.

WEDNESDAY’S WORDS: between vs among

Ever heard somebody wanting to impress say “between you and I?”  Nails on a chalk board to me. Among and between are both prepositions. Among always implies three or more. Between is generally used with just two things.

Since among and between are prepositions, use “me” or “us” as the object.

WRONG: “between you and I”
RIGHT: “between you and me”
WRONG: “among you and we”
RIGHT: “among us or them” (when there are three or more)

Examples in Sentences:

Jane was among the smartest students in her class.
Julie likes to sit between Frank and Cathy.
Tomorrow, Thursday Redux with Ute Carbone

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Wednesday’s Words: Different from, different than, or different to?

False teeth4Sometimes an expression just hits you as wrong, but you can’t say why. A “dentist” in a TV commercial for a popular denture cleanser said “dentures are different to real teeth.” I couldn’t let it pass, so I put on my sleuth’s cap and started sleuthing – much to my eventual dissatisfaction.

The most in-depth source claimed that “different” is not a comparative word, but one of contrast. The word “than” should actually follow a comparative adjective – that would indicate using “different from.” “Different than” cannot be substituted for “different from” but is sometimes useful as an idiom or for beginning clauses if “different from” would be awkward. The construction “different to” is primarily British usage. All that sounds good to me.

HOWEVER, numerous other sources claim there is basically no difference, except for the British origin of “different to.” I can’t stand equivocation! Think I’ll go with “different from.”

Tomorrow, The Gruesome Repurposing of an Egyptian Monument

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Wednesday’s Words: Mel Fisher, Treasure Hunter Extraordinaire

“TODAY’S THE DAY!” (Mel Fisher’s Motto)

Mel Fisher3Mel Fisher (1922 – 1998) spent sixteen years searching for the wreck of Nuestra Señora de Atocha (“Our Lady of Atocha”), the most famous of the Spanish ships lost in a hurricane in 1622. It was a royal guard galleon with 40 tons of gold and silver aboard which sank in a devastating hurricane along with others in 1622.

After they found the ship in 1985, in keeping with his “today’s the day!” optimism, Mel commented later:

“I think that perseverance has paid. That’s one of the main things, just hang in there and do your thing and when people try to tear you down or get jealous, just let it go in one ear and out the other and keep on going.”

To learn more about Mel and his family and their enterprise check out their webpage http://www.melfisher.com/default.html. Interested parties can dive one of the wrecks or buy some of the treasures.

(On a personal note, after the treasure was discovered, I attended a tour of the Atocha treasures when it was shown at a jewelry store in Mobile, AL (my home town) .  Kicking self now because I didn’t buy some of the coins which were for sale for MUCH less than they cost today.)

Photo of Mel Fisher from melfisher.com.
Tomorrow, Thursday Redux

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Wednesday’s Words: A Famous Quote that Voltaire Never Wrote

VoltaireThe famous quote attributed to French author, humanist, and satirist Voltaire (1694 – 1778)
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”
was not actually written by him. Evelyn Beatrice Hall, writing as S. G. Tallentyre, wrote it as a summary of his philosophy in her essay in “The Friends of Voltaire” in 1906.

Voltaire did write in his Essay on Tolerance
“Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so too.”

Voltaire, who was born François-Marie Arouet, also wrote in a letter to M. le Riche (February 6, 1770)
“Monsieur l’abbé, I detest what you write, but I would give my life to make it possible for you to continue to write.”
 
Tomorrow, Thursday Redux: An Interview with Miss Jane Austen

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Stop the Presses: King Richard is Found

Richard_III_of_EnglandToday, archaeologists announced the certain identification of the remains of Richard III, the Yorkist King of England. Last year, a skeleton was discovered underneath a parking lot. The fact that it had numerous battle wounds and a spinal curvature seen in scoliosis convinced the excavators that they had stumbled on the remains of Richard III. After extensive testing—DNA, soil analysis, and dental tests—researchers announced that the skeleton was that of Richard III. They announced that the skull had a mortal battlefield wound from a sharp blade. Contemporary sources relate that Richard was fighting valiantly when a blow to the back of his head pushed his helmet into his skull. The skeleton’s skull had that exact wound at the base of his skull. The final proof offered was DNA evidence from Michael Ibsen, a direct descendent of Richard’s niece, Anne St Leger. The remains will be interred in the nearby Leicester Cathedral in 2014. A comprehensive TV special is in the making. Check out the earliest portrait of Richard III from the early 1500s and a pic of the skeleton (Credit –  University of Leicester). Check out the curvature of the spine of the skeleton.

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Richard Plantagenet and his Yorkist relatives had warred with the Tudor family for the throne of England. Richard’s oldest brother Edward had reigned as Edward IV. When Edward died young, he left two young sons with Richard as Lord Protector. Richard convinced his sister-in-law, Queen Elizabeth Woodville, to allow the children to leave sanctuary and travel to London for Edward to be crowned king. The oldest son who should have reigned as Edward V and his younger brother entered the Tower of London and were never seen again. Many suspect the children (known as the Princes in the Tower) were murdered at Richard’s order, insuring his own succession to the throne. The discovery of the remains of two young children buried in the Tower is cited to support this theory.

Richard became King but reigned for only two years while defending his Crown. He was killed at Bosworth Field in 1485 when he was 32 years old.. His body was mutilated and put on display before being interred in Leicester. Henry Tudor, the victor of Bosworth, reigned as Henry VII who was succeeded by Henry VIII who was in turn succeeded by his daughters, Mary and Elizabeth. The victors write the history and the plays, so Richard has been portrayed as a poor king who valued only power.       Tomorrow, back on schedule with Mary, Queen of Scots. Rita Bay

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Washington’s Rules of Civility 3

Here’s the last of Washington’s Rules of Civility:

5th If You Cough, Sneeze, Sigh, or Yawn, do it not Loud but Privately; and Speak not in your Yawning, but put Your handkercheif or Hand before your face and turn aside.

6th Sleep not when others Speak, Sit not when others stand, Speak not when you Should hold your Peace, walk not on when others Stop.

14th Turn not your Back to others especially in Speaking, Jog not the Table or Desk on which Another reads or writes, lean not upon any one.

15th Keep your Nails clean and Short, also your Hands and Teeth Clean yet without Shewing any great Concern for them.

18th Read no Letters, Books, or Papers in Company but when there is a Necessity for the doing of it you must ask leave: come not near the Books or Writings of Another so as to read them unless desired or give your opinion of them unask’d also look not nigh when another is writing a Letter.

25th Superfluous Complements and all Affectation of Ceremonie are to be avoided, yet where due they are not to be Neglected.

26th In Pulling off your Hat to Persons of Distinction, as Noblemen, Justices, Churchmen &c make a Reverence, bowing more or less according to the Custom of the Better Bred, and Quality of the Person. Amongst your equals expect not always that they Should begin with you first, but to Pull off the Hat when there is no need is Affectation, in the Manner of Saluting and resaluting in words keep to the most usual Custom.

35th Let your Discourse with Men of Business be Short and Comprehensive.

40th Strive not with your Superiers in argument, but always Submit your Judgment to others with Modesty.

41st Undertake not to Teach your equal in the art himself Proffesses; it Savours of arrogancy.

62d Speak not of doleful Things in a Time of Mirth or at the Table; Speak not of Melancholy Things as Death and Wounds, and if others Mention them Change if you can the Discourse tell not your Dreams, but to your intimate Friend.

74th When Another Speaks be attentive your Self and disturb not the Audience if any hesitate in his Words help him not nor Prompt him without desired, Interrupt him not, nor Answer him till his Speech be ended.

76th While you are talking, Point not with your Finger at him of Whom you Discourse nor Approach too near him to whom you talk especially to his face.

77th Treat with men at fit Times about Business & Whisper not in the Company of Others.

79th Be not apt to relate News if you know not the truth thereof. In Discoursing of things you Have heard Name not your Author always A Secret Discover not.

81st Be not Curious to Know the Affairs of Others neither approach those that Speak in Private.

82d undertake not what you cannot perform but be carefull to keep your promise.

83d when you deliver a matter do it without passion & with discretion, however mean the person be you do it too.

84th When your Superiours talk to any Body hearken not neither Speak nor Laugh

Tomorrow,  Meeting & Conference Etiquette   Rita Bay

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Mistakes Men Make

     Although manners maven Emily Post died in 1960, her legacy continues on the internet.  EmilyPost.com answers just about any question you could imagine in an encyclopedia of articles on etiquette.  The site is operated by Emily’s descendents as part of The Emily Post Institute.

Peter Post

Peter Post is a descendent of Emily Post and a director of The Emily Post Institute.  He conducts seminars for businesses and writes a weekly question and answer business etiquette in an advice column, “Etiquette at Work,” for The Boston Sunday Globe. He is the author of five etiquette books including the New York Times bestseller Essential Manners for Men which has been reprinted eight times.

     Having appeared on almost every major network and written for most major mags, it’s evident that Peter Post is an expert in his field.  In an article last year, he listed the top five mistakes that men make.  They include (paraphrased):

 

  • 1. failing to use good table manners, especially chewing with your mouth open;
  • 2. leaving the toilet seat up after you use it;
  • 3. doing things that put people around you down (This includes failing to introduce your significant other to people you are talking to at a party, hogging the remote. Positive actions include: doing little things that make her smile when she thinks of you, putting dishes in the dishwasher instead of leaving them on the table or in the sink, cleaning out the sink after you shave, opening the car door for her, holding her coat for her or standing when she approaches the table in a restaurant.);
  • 4. staring at other women (The focus of attention should be on the person you came with.); and
  • 5. failing to use “please” and “thank you.”

Find more outstanding etiquette info at:  http://www.emilypost.com/

Tomorrow, Unique Proposals.  Rita Bay

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More of Washington’s Rules of Civility

Below are a few more of George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation that relate specifically to the manners of the time:

Young Washington

2d When in Company, put not your Hands to any Part of the Body, not usualy Discovered.

4th In the Presence of Others Sing not to yourself with a humming Noise, nor Drum with your Fingers or Feet.

7th Put not off your Cloths in the presence of Others, nor go out your Chamber half Drest.

10th When you Sit down, Keep your Feet firm and Even, without putting one on the other or Crossing them.

12th Shake not the head, Feet, or Legs rowl not the Eys lift not one eyebrow higher than the other wry not the mouth, and bedew no mans face with your Spittle, by approaching too near him when you Speak.

13th Kill no Vermin as Fleas, lice ticks &c in the Sight of Others, if you See any filth or thick Spittle put your foot Dexteriously upon it if it be upon the Cloths of your Companions, Put it off privately, and if it be upon your own Cloths return Thanks to him who puts it off.

29th When you meet with one of Greater Quality than yourself, Stop, and retire especially if it be at a Door or any Straight place to give way for him to Pass.

Tomorrow,  A Medieval Welcome   Rita Bay

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Washington’s Rules of Civility

June’s theme on RitaBay’s blog is To the Manner Born, a look at manners–past and present.  Tomorrow, we’ll have the full introduction for the month but today, we begin with a short general introduction to manners as written by George Washington.

George Washington

George Washington’s 110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation were originally composed by French Jesuit priests in 1595. Washington’s rules were copied as an assignment given to him by his schoolmaster.   Later in Washington’s life, the rules provided a framework for the treatment of equals among equals, a profound belief of American society that all men were created equal.  Whether serious or humorous (for our time), the rules provide a foundation of self-respect and self-esteem and respect and esteem for others. Here’s a few favorites in their original form—others will be featured throughout the month.  

110 Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior in Company

1st Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.

20th The Gestures of the Body must be Suited to the discourse you are upon.

21st: Reproach none for the Infirmaties of Nature, nor Delight to Put them that have in mind thereof.

22d Shew not yourself glad at the Misfortune of another though he were your enemy.

23d When you see a Crime punished, you may be inwardly Pleased; but always shew Pity to the Suffering Offender.

24th Do not laugh too loud or too much at any Publick Spectacle.

86th In Disputes, be not So Desireous to Overcome as not to give Liberty to each one to deliver his Opinion and Submit to the Judgment of the Major Part especially if they are Judges of the Dispute.

87th Let thy carriage be such as becomes a Man Grave Settled and attentive to that which is spoken. Contradict not at every turn what others Say.

88th Be not tedious in Discourse, make not many Digressigns, nor repeat often the Same manner of Discourse.

89th Speak not Evil of the absent for it is unjust.

108th When you Speak of God or his Atributes, let it be Seriously & wt. Reverence. Honour & Obey your Natural Parents altho they be Poor.

109th Let your Recreations be Manfull not Sinfull.

110th Labour to keep alive in your Breast that Little Spark of Celestial fire Called Conscience.

More to follow later this month.    Tomorrow,  To the Manner Born     Rita Bay

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Palladian Mansions

Harewood House

Palladian is an architectural style based on the work of Andreas Palladio, an Italian architect of the 16th century who sought to recreate the style and proportions of the buildings of ancient Rome.  His work was widely imitated throughout Europe, particularly in 18th century England.  In England, the style was characterized by grace, elegant decorative elements, and use of classical orders.

Syon House

     Inigo Jones, Surveyor-General under King James I at the beginning of the 17th century, popularized the Palladian style in England.  Jones incorporated the Palladian style in to  several buildings, including Queen’s House, Greenwich, and the Banqueting House at Whitehall. Later, Richard Boyle, Lord Burlington (1694-1753), an amateur architect, was responsible for the popular success of Palladianism in 18th century England.

     The 18th century saw a huge growth in the number of ostentatious country houses such as Stowe and Stourhead. One of the names most associated with Palladianism is that of Robert Adam, the most sought-after architect of his day. Although heavily influenced by Roman classicism, Adam advocated a Roman style as a starting point for his own style, which can best be called “neoclassical.”  Syon House, Kedeleston Hall, Harewood House, Osterly, and Kenwood House are examples of Admas’ work.

       Lancelot Brown (1715-1783) often landscaped the estate gardens. (He was known as ‘Capability’ Brown from his habit of looking at land and saying it had ‘great capabilities’). The estates were also filled with comfortably upholstered furniture. by Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779), George Hepplewhite (?-1786) and Thomas Sheraton (1751-1806).

Tomorrow, American Frontier Cabins   Rita Bay

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