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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

X Is For...

X is a pretty boring little letter when you're not Feeling It and you're coming off a spate of Migraines and you're sick of Endless Summer Heat and you can't find a decent tomato to save your life.

And, honestly, you feel like a shit for complaining about stuff when there are people in the world who are putting their autistic child on the bus every day, or trying to navigate elder care, or figuring out how to afford an EpiPen now that some heartless shark has boosted the price over eleventy thousand percent.

Heavy sigh.

But, seriously, the X section of my hardbacked dictionary (Webster's New World College, 2nd ed., 1979) is exactly one and one-half pages long. And despite its being preciously ancient, doubtful there are loads and loads of New X-Words in everyday English that it is lacking, unless you count awful and terrible mashed-up words like Xtreme or Xtra, which, of course, I Don't.

So. Let's take a brief stroll through the Standard X-Words that we usually think of:

Xylophone: Worst toy ever. "Oh, but, Nance! It is creative and fosters an interest in music!" non-parents object. All parents, however, are nodding in fervent agreement with me. Toy xylophones are atonal and noisy and children rarely learn to really play a tune on them. Instead, kids bang on them, drag the mallet or a superhero action figure across them, and use them as a noisemaker, primarily, often to bug a sibling. In-laws often use them as a Passive Aggressive Weapon Gift to get revenge.

X-Ray: I don't object to these as strongly as many people. It's the MRI that bothers the hell out of me. X-Ray, as a term, seems so silly in this day and age, however. Can't we get a more definitive, intelligent term other than X-ray, which means absolutely nothing? It sounds like something out of an old SciFi movie. Especially when you understand that the X in X-Ray is there because the scientist who first discovered them did not know what they were, so he termed them X, like the X in algebra denoting unknowns.

Xmas: Whenever I see this term, I instinctively pronounce it Eks-mus. Some people (read: God Warriors) get very calisthenic about it and start ranting about that old chestnut The War On Christmas. I find the whole kerfuffle silly and pointless. One reason is, of course, that the X in Xmas is from the Greek symbol which represents Christ ; another is that lots of megachurches actually close on Christmas Day when it falls on a regular Sunday, a topic I covered over ten years ago. Finally, isn't it a Given that Christmas/Xmas is already a largely Commercial Holiday? It's inescapable. It is a huge economic determiner in the retail sector. It simply isn't up to Kohl's or Amazon or Target or Whatever MegaStore to Keep Christ In Christmas. That's not their job. If you are a Person Of Faith, and that Faith happens to be Christian, then You Keep Christ In Your Christmas. ANALOGY: I LOVE NUTELLA. IT IS, THEREFORE, MY JOB TO KEEP NUTELLA IN MY PANTRY. I DO NOT EXPECT RANDOM STRANGERS TO REMIND ME TO GET NUTELLA OR KEEP IT IN MY HOUSE. I think I've made my point.  (Note to self:  check supply of Nutella.)

Any X's you want to talk about?  (Not EXES, mind you; let's don't, as they say, Go There.)  Chat about Xylophones, X-Rays, Xmas or others in Comments.

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28 comments:

  1. There are 17 words starting with x in the Scrabble dictionary, and down from there. I do not know any of them. I suspect most of them are Greek technical words. As an example, Xenia, in the 5 letter slot, has no definition but is a good Scrabble word. I am not a good enough Scrabble player to remember any of these. Or my brain is finally fried.
    I used to love x in Algebra. Loved the subject in fact, as taking it raised my overall average. Well, loved it until the YD hit it in school and I realized that I did not know how to teach her to solve equations as I was doing it by instinct, I guess.
    Did you ever study Greek? I did not, and sometimes regret it. Not often though.
    X-rays, not so much. When I was a kid, shoe stores had X-ray machines and your childish foot got zapped every time you were fitted for shoes. I now have weird toenails and wonder if there was a connection. Maybe my toes are glowing away in the dark under the quilt.
    On to youth and yearning?
    Happy cool weather. It is cool and windy here today and I am wearing two layers of sweaters and putting away the sun tops and sandals.

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    1. Mary G--Xenia is a town in Southern Ohio once visited by a severe tornado in modern times, and that is its biggest claim to fame, as far as I know. Algebra was so impossible to me that I passed it with the lowest-yet-still-passing grade allowable, and I think even that was a charity mark from a teacher who was scared to death he might get saddled with me again if he did not pass me. I had no idea what was going on in that class. My view was that letters had No Place in with Numbers, or the Alphabet would look like this: A1B2C3 and so on. Since it did not, best we keep them separate at all times.

      Greek, not by itself, but the study of Greek and Latin roots as part of linguistics in college and as part of vocabulary lessons all along through high school. St Patsy speaks lovingly of her Latin classes in high school and her high marks in them, of course.

      We still lack rain, are looking at a week in the 80s, and I feel as if it is an Endless Summer (not in a Good Way). Enjoy your cool entree to Autumn, and I'd say send some this way, but you generous Canadians never know when to stop the cold air once you start it on its way here.

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    2. I live in Xenia! Woo hoo! But that's a proper name, so why the heck is it acceptable in scrabble?

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    3. Bug--Noted.
      I have no idea why Scrabble (and its electronic cousin, WWF) frustratingly accepts some seemingly proper nouns and not others. Or refuses some actual words (ade, for example) that are accepted as words in the world and in my crossword puzzles. I do know that it is infinitely frustrating, and that it has cost me points and wins.

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  2. The YD's music class in Grade 7 included xylophones. And bell ringing. Low budget items, I guess. The grandkid's music teacher also used mass xylophones for the kindergarten kids. Sheer hell!

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    1. Mary G--Few things require more stamina and patience than sitting all the way through an elementary music program. It is not polite to leave once your child's class is done performing, or arrive only at the time his or her class is ready to take the stage and miss everyone else. And if there is an instrumental performance, that requires even more fortitude. I am glad I have served my time and may very well be deaf or oblivious once any grandchildren arrive.

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    2. Does not help to be deaf.

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  3. XXXXX does stand for kisses, I like that option!
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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    1. Mereknits,

      That's so true; how did I forget that? St. Patsy loves to toss those around like birdseed in her text messages and greeting cards. That and underlining words in the printed sentiments of said cards.

      I wonder if other countries/cultures use X's for kisses; do you know?

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  4. Xi!

    I have no idea what it means, but I use it in WWF all the time.

    I have had soooo many Xrays, despite never actually breaking a bone.

    I would get weird sports injuries and they would always take an Xray. I'm going to guess I've had a minimum of ten sets or so.

    I had an MRI but it was luckily on my leg, so I didn't have to go into the tube thingy. It was nerve-wracking to have to stay still for so long. And then they had asked me what music I wanted playing on the speaker system, and I told them the wrong kind and I had to listen to classical piano for an hour or so. Of all the classical instruments, I dislike the piano the most. Don't ask me why. It's neck and neck with classical guitar for me.

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    1. Gina--Absolutely the Magical WWF Word XI has been a difference maker for both of us numerous times.

      You know, I don't know why they even ask about the music for the MRI. I can never really hear it well enough to enjoy it. The massive noise from that machine is so all-encompassing that I'd rather not have any music and have said so a few times. There are few things more annoying than tinny, barely-distinct music. Ugh.

      I like piano music, and cello music. Violin and guitar irritate me hideously. Harp music is very lovely and soothing for me. Ditto clarinet. And forget accordion. I'd rather have bagpipes.

      I've gone to a couple of Rod Stewart concerts in my day, and he used to love to have a drum and bagpipe band (corps?) open for him. Such fun.

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  5. XYLOPHONE: It should be spelled with a Z. Period. And, yes, totally useless as a toy or musical instrument.

    X-RAY. I have had a shitload of them. Especially in the field of dentistry. Nowadays they put a heavy metal covering over me. Before... nothing. How much radiation is in me now? No effing (or x-ing) idea.

    X-MAS: I hate the use of "X-Mas". Not for religious reasons, since I have no interest in that; I just don't like lazy abbreviations. Pretty much how I feel about people who spell "through" as "thru."

    Tons of "exes." I won't go there, as instructed.

    I'm O.K. with "X" = kiss.

    XXXXXX for you, darling Nance.

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    1. Dearest Ortizzle--Double the kisses to you!

      I am infinitely interested now in your Tons Of Exes. Add that to the List Of Topics we will cover when we finally meet in person and spend oodles of time together. I can only imagine the international streets filled with broken hearts in your wake. Ah!

      Oooh, I do hate the Thru. Also all the other Early Texter Abbreviations like ppl, u, and all of those terrible horrible things. I have to admit that the only reason I ever use Xmas is to irritate the hyperreligious.

      Is "yada yada" considered an abbreviation, do you think? Because I am a huge fan of that one.

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    2. My "exes"--- mostly boring except from the viewpoint of Men Behaving Badly. Which is why, of course, they became "exes." Always good for a laugh. (Also: I am giving a fairly liberal interpretation to “ex”--- some are just memorable slobs I went out with more than once, but never got to the stage of having their own toothbrush and razor in my bathroom.)

      I also find text abbreviations annoying, although I get why they were invented. Remember the early cell phones where you had to use the dial pad (or whatever it is called) to text? (1 = A, B, C and so on.) It took for freaking ever to text. I resorted to short cryptic texts, though, rather than "How r u?" These days... if a text does need to be longer than usual, I am totally in to the dictation function. This leads to some hilarious results if I don’t check to make sure the language mode matches the language I need/want to use. Such as the day I wanted to add “champi├▒ones” (mushrooms) to my shopping list. Came out as “jumping Eunice.” (Mr. O., by the way, is the KING of short texts which require some head-scratching to work out. “Abajo,” for example, means = Go downstairs to the garage and open the door because I will be home in about 3 minutes and need to unload a bunch of construction equipment. When you get right down to it, though, he’s right.)

      For me, yada yada is not really an abbreviation— more like a variation of “etcetera”, right?

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    3. Ortizzle--I had an Ex who followed me to college, enrolling there, and then...well, we'll save that story. Bless their dear hearts, some men are good for stories.

      You know, I do pride myself on excellent diction, but apparently my iPhone does not hear well, and the ensuing dictated texts often frustrate me. I can give any phone a pass when it comes to bilingual texts, and jumping Eunice is a stellar effort. The Brevity Award will never have any other recipient than your husband, obviously, for whom yada yada is far too wordy.

      I like to think of yada yada as a sort of Conversational Abbreviation: "I took St. Patsy to the doctor at ten, but you know her, so yada yada yada, I didn't get home til about four thirty." Or: "I was wiping up some spilled coffee on the counter and yada yada yada the Spring Cleaning was all done."

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  6. You've X-spressed X-actly what I think about these three X-tra special X words. ;-)

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    1. Ally Bean--Your first mashed up Xword reminds me of a Pet Peeve of mine: people who pronounce Espresso "Expresso." Drives me batty. Expresso sounds like a great name for an Italian Mime.

      Anyway, glad to know we are of the same mind. On to Y!

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  7. I hope you get some cooler weather soon! Hugs ♥

    summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

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    1. Summer--Me too. While we are not forecast for 90s as far as I can see, we are still looking at 80s in the foreseeable. This is too hot. It is September, and I am over Summer (the season--nothing personal). I am heartily sick of wearing shorts and sandals and feeling sweaty and running the air conditioner. If you can do Something About It, please do. You may have all the Summer over at your place.

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  8. I'm pretty annoyed that you didn't mention Xanadu. What the hay! It's naturally the first thing I think of when I think of X. Ha!

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    1. Bug--Did you mention it in your ABC Outing when you wrote your alphabet posts? If not, were you annoyed at yourself? If you did, then it was already well covered!

      I love the poem by Coleridge, and I still can recite a few of the first lines--"In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree where Alph the sacred river ran...." The cadence and tone of it is infinitely gorgeous and haunting. My youngest son is partly named for Coleridge.

      If you are speaking of the horrid film, I saw that, too--Ugh. Olivia Newton-John in rags and on rollerskates. What on earth was anyone--including me!--thinking?

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    2. Ha - I DID talk about Xanadu. Had to go back & look because I didn't remember: http://danabugseyeview.blogspot.com/2011/11/xanadu.html

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    3. Through caverns measureless to man, Down to a sunless sea.
      So, why can't I find the house key or someone's last name?

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  9. The X word that immediately comes to my mind is xenophobia. I've always liked the sound of the word as much as I have despised its meaning. And in our current political climate it is (sadly) a word for our time. None other than DJT himself has put this word directly in my face with his constant rhetoric against all Muslims and people of other nations. The man is the very definition of xenophobe.

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    1. NCmountainwoman--Sorry for the late reply. I was off on a little Solo Jaunt.

      Another good X Word. As far as your example, I wonder if he is really xenophobic or merely ignorant and narcissistic, thus ideologically Isolationist. He doesn't strike me as afraid of other people and cultures as much as he is merely disinterested and largely intolerant. Whichever it is, he's an ass, and people who are using their votes as a protest against the two Principle Party candidates and voting Green or Libertarian may be hurling our country to the barbarians or worse.

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  10. Xs are kisses. I get my kisses from bunnies.

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    1. JennTeacher--Welcome to the Dept! Teaching and Bunnies--right up my alley. I've been deeply embroiled in both in the past, but I still think about and love them both. Hope to see you here often.

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Oh, thank you for joining the fray!

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