Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Monday, April 11, 2011


In yesterday's Sunday Globe, Jan Freeman was commenting on the numbers of people made irate by the Oxford English Dictionary recognising LOL as an expression, at least. Freeman pointed out that the OED's* task is to keep a finger on the pulse of the language, not waggle a finger in the air when it sees something meriting disapproval.

Once again I was a bit disappointed to see no recognition that many of the abbreviations that people associate with the Internet are much older than that. From my own education, I can attest that they have existed as long as wireless radio. They're usually three letters or less because it's very quick to send three letters in Morse code: think SOS. I haven't researched it, but I suspect that many go back to landline telegraph.

I don't recall LOL being in the Navy's CW** vocabulary, but WTF sure was. Because there is no code for question marks, one would key either:


"What the fuck... over", with the question implied.

If one wanted to make the question absolutely clear, one would send


"What the fuck? Over."

But not very often. Obscenities on air were frowned upon, even if you weren't George Carlin and weren't actually saying the seven dirty words.

That is a very digressive beginning to my WTF of the week. By now, we all know that responsible dog owners bring along plastic bags into which they scoop the poop of their beloved pet/companion. Now, I bet you figured that the logical outcome of these socially responsible acts was that the dog's human would carry the bag of dog shit either home or to a socially responsible receptacle for disposal. As Mr. Spock would observe, that is logical.

Not necessarily.

Since the warm weather began, I've been walking several times a week along "the Path," the local reclaimed railroad right of way. Somewhere in the past here I commented on the slovenly habits of the entitled youth of this entitled town along this route. What we now have is a steadily increasing number of dog walkers who drop their bags of dog shit along the Path.

Let's be fair: are these accidents? I think not. Each of these lovely parcels is nestled carefully in the grass or brush along the way, discreetly set up to look like ordinary litter. As one of the people who makes an effort to take out not just what they bring in, but a little more besides, I can't help thinking the entitled dog walkers would like me to include Fido's faeces in my ministrations.

Dream on: other peoples' dog shit, packaged or otherwise, and used tissue are over the line for me.

I might have thought this sort of arrogance was unique to my town, where arrogance is practically an industry. But last Saturday, my spouse and I opened this year's hiking season with a five-some mile warmup in the Blue Hills. And there they were: neatly tied plastic bags of dog shit, coyly hidden here and there beside the trails.

OK, maybe there's some excuse for the arrogance along our path, which nips behind various Mcmansion back fences, if not for the stupidity. Would these people really wrap up their own puppy's stools in plastic in their back yards? No, forget I asked, because they might. But the Blue Hills? One of the best pieces of urban preservation anywhere? Christ wept.

(Since we were speaking of idiots, I came downstairs this morning to hear Good Morning America announce that Sarah Palin is backing Donald Trump's run for President. How nice: this is a good start to getting all the clowns into one tent. Mitt? Paging Mr. Romney!)


* Nobody seems to object to OED. LOL.

**CW (continuous wave) is what you call broadcast Morse code if you have ever done it. Real manly-type CW operators pretend they don't even know what Morse Code means: talk about arrogance!

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