Here are some of the various, random thoughts that crossed my mind this week. Please don’t hold any of these opinions against me – treat them as clouds that pass in the sky, just dalliances with chance notions that presented themselves to yours truly as I went about my business.
First of all, guns. It seems we have a bit of a problem with guns in this country that no one can seem to get to grips with. Nutcases can acquire guns with no trouble at all. Normally sensible people caught up in sudden moments of discord can get their hands on guns, then wonder how they managed to take out their loved ones in a moment of temper. And children have been known to blast each other to pieces with guns. This is a sad situation, and clearly some lateral thinking is in order. Perhaps Chris Rock (was it Chris Rock?) had it right in that skit where he said that if we can’t control the guns, let’s control the ammo - $500 per bullet. There you go, that would make people think twice before firing, perhaps. I’ve a couple of ideas of my own.
First of all, I wonder why these morons who go out to create mass murder with guns have a propensity to wear camouflage gear, the sort of designer duds generally worn by members of the armed services. Interesting, that. So, let’s do this – if we can’t control the guns, let’s control the uniform. I don’t think I have ever heard of a dude in a Hawaiian shirt shooting up a MacDonalds. Happy clothing, that’s what we need. So, if the background checks aren’t working, let’s give away a free Hawaiian shirt with every gun, and have it be mandatory that if you pick up that gun, you have to wear the shirt.
Ooops, I forgot about him and the NRA. OK, so maybe some Mickey Mouse ears. Just no army fatigues. In fact, let’s take that a step further.
Only people in the armed forces can wear any kind of camouflage. Strict control over all green/beige/weird flappy-legged clothing.
No army surplus stores, none of that – and you hand over your uniform when you leave the services, or the police or any security organization, with big consequences if you try to sell the uniform. And no more war-ish fashion statements. In fact, even one more step further – uniforms can only be worn by people who should be wearing them when they are at work. Except Hawaiian shirts – they can be worn by anyone, and you have to smile while you’re wearing said shirt.
That’s it from me on that subject. And don’t think I’m being flip about a serious matter. I just want people in some sort of authority or government to take this issue seriously instead of pandering to the whims of those who keep quoting that darn Second Amendment. Go get yourself a musket and try jabbing away with some gunpowder before you want to fire your gun ...
... and Jim, you know I don't mean you - you're a trained professional in the service of the people, and you carry a gun because you need to - and because of the people out there with guns not wearing Hawaiian shirts.
On to real estate agents. Seen in an advertisement – in fact, often seen in property advertisements, especially in the San Francisco area. “Queen Anne Victorian (house for sale …)” Couple of things occur to me about this. First, Queen Anne lived from 1665 to 1707. Houses built in her reign tend to look like this:
Queen Victoria lived from 1819 to 1901, and houses built in her reign looked like this:
There is a difference, and there was no real overlap, so I’m wondering about this Queen Anne Victorian. But more than anything, I wonder about these houses named after British monarchs in American Cities. I mean, Queen Anne, yes, because she was also queen of America during her lifetime, and London was effectively the capital of America at that point. But Victoria, no, America had its own government established by the time she rolled around, so I wonder why houses are not called, say, a Quincy or a Tyler, or Grover. Just wondering.
And there’s another thing that real estate agents do that’s seems a bit weird to this Brit. When I firsr came to live in the USA, I stayed with a friend who was a real estate agent, and having seen several properties described as a “manse” I asked, “Wow, why so many vicars selling their houses?” She looked at me blankly. “A manse," I said. "The home of a man of the cloth!" Manse was not, traditionally, an abbreviation of “mansion” and when I see it used in advertising for big houses, it makes me giggle. Now you know I look at photos of houses I can’t afford. By the way, this is an old English manse:
All very Wuthering Heights, eh?
This is a San Francisco mansion:
The size of that thing! Can you imagine yelling up the stairs that dinner is on the table and getting cold!
And while we’re on the subject of men of the cloth, I was reading a review of Robert Redford’s new movie this week – All Is Lost – when I came across the paragraph where the reviewer informs the readers that at one point Redford has to use the “sexton” to plot a course after his yacht is severely damaged at sea. A sexton, eh? This is a sexton:
A sexton is the officer of the church (or other place of worship) responsible for buildings, maintenance, etc. I think the reviewer meant this:
A sextant. Typically used in celestial navigation (correct me if I'm wrong, Patty). Clearly, All Is Lost in more ways that one. Let's start with vocabulary.
Finally (thank the Lord, I hear you say). Could I be the only person who thinks an advertisement for “Conflict Free Diamond Engagement And Wedding Rings” gives the impression that marriage needs all the help it can get?
So, that’s it from me this week. Have a great weekend!
Oh, and one more tiny thing - why "real" estate agent? Why not simply "estate agent"? What is an estate, if not real? Especially Queen Anne mansions and Victorian manses. I think I am slipping into locution's netherworld ....