is It…? Everyday conundrums
Wanted on the World's Tallest Mountain
in a Word? Could be trouble....
Sites of Note…business
the Writer's Corner …
This brand-new monthly e-zine is devoted to those of us
who are passionate about words, their correct usage, and
the art of old-fashioned communication (even when it uses
new technology). Your feedback is always appreciated. Drop
us a line at email@example.com
pay to go to a gym and walk in circles around a track, yet
we park as close as we can to the building?
don't smile at strangers more often?
don't help our senior citizens carry their groceries to
their car? Is it partly because we can't be bothered helping
a total stranger, and partly because we are a total stranger
that they won't trust? Life's getting to be like that.
think slapstick comedy is funny, but it's got to hurt?!
fewer ingredients, the higher the cost? Unsalted butter
always costs more than salted. We know why, but there's
something odd about paying extra for fewer ingredients or
think like drivers when we're driving and like pedestrians
when we're walking? If we did the opposite, we'd all be
better drivers and pedestrians.
Windows runs in safe mode, you lose access to your CD-ROM?
If you had access to your CD-ROM, you could reload the Windows
which crashed, making you run in safe mode. Even my office
assistant, Clipit, scratches his head at that one!
you have a "why is it…" of your own? You're welcome to submit
it for inclusion in the next issue. Send your submission
Wanted on the World's Tallest Mountain
recent interview, the publisher of the Guinness 2000 World
Record Book mentioned something he'd like some help with.
It seems that virtually the entire world mispronounces "Mount
Everest" regularly. Named after George Everest (the British
Royal Surveyor in India from 1825-1843, and whose name is
pronounced EVE-rest), the mispronunciation is now the commonly
accepted EVER-est, something that the Everest family has
been attempting to have corrected for most of the 20th
century. Perhaps we can help out. The correct pronunciation
is EVE-rest, not EVER-est. It would also make the Guinness
publishing family enormously happy to have this corrected.
other interesting facts about this, tallest of the world's
30 highest peaks: It's 8,848 metres (or 29,028 feet) high,
and the summit is constructed of marine limestone
- imagine the cataclysmic force that drove it skyward. Tibetans
revere the mountain as Jomo Langmo, "goddess mother of the
world." The Nepalese gateway to Mount Everest, Namche Bazar
sits at 3,440 metres (11,290 feet) above sea level, and
is home to the famous Sherpas.
name "Himalayas" is derived from Sanskrit, ("hima" being
"snow" and "alaya" meaning "abode"), an apt name for this
mountain chain which runs some 2,500 km along the northern
edge of the Indian subcontinent. Scientists believe that
Tibet may be the fastest rising major landmass in the world
at half a centimetre each year. That's an amazing one inch
every five years.
Himalayas are tall enough, in fact, that they alter weather
patterns globally. They affect the west-east flow of the
Jet Stream into north-south meanders, which in turn influence
the climate over much of the Northern Hemisphere. Some of
our North American cold snaps and heat waves are precipitated
by these events, half a world away.
is a word that sounds the same as another word, but means
something entirely different. But the spelling can be very
similar, and there's where trouble can creep into what you
hope is perfect sentence structure. Here are but a few pairs
and triplets with brief definitions to help avoid common
(a climb up)
(group of persons, companies or nations)
(noun: group of things, solid piece; verb: obstruct)
(unit of mass for precious stones)
(unit used to specify proportion of gold in alloy)
(noun: actors; verb: to throw, as a net)
(noun: exclusive social class)
(verb: complete; noun: that which completes)
(verb: to praise; noun: word of praise)
(member of a council)
(about to occur)
(verb: to enclose)
(noun: object made of paper to enclose mail or items)
(preface in a book)
(belonging to it)
(only can mean IT IS; exception to a rule—here an apostrophe
NEVER denotes possession)
(a measuring device, as for hydro)
(a unit of measurement in the metric system)
(chief, main, leading, head of school)
(writing material; just remember "e is for envelope")
are hundreds more of these little tricksters. If you wish
to contribute some of your pet misspellings, send them along
to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll include them. What's
The Wordsmith's pet peeve? There are two: the creeping tendency
of dropping the double consonant when adding "ing", found
predominantly in American spellcheckers (simply select UK
in your spellchecker preferences to avoid this problem—unless
you WANT American spelling); and the galloping tendency
now to incorrectly spell "thank you" as a hyphenated word.
Sites of Note: Business and freebies
and microenterprises are always looking for good sources
of information on how to set up a business to run efficiently
and effectively, especially cost-wise. Check these out!
is the Canada Business Service Centres site. Every province
and territory has at least one of these centres, with reference
libraries and a wealth of information. Or call 1-888-576-4444
for info on your nearest centre.
is Industry Canada's website for small business. Lots of
contact info here for more than 2,500 support organizations.
This site is a must.
are specialty sites for both women and youth entrepreneurs,
but their information is excellent no matter what your gender
or age. Check out http://www.cybf.ca for a mentoring, funding
and networking system if you're an entrepreneur aged 18
to 29. It's the Canadian Youth Business Foundation site,
but the information here is excellent for entrepreneurs
of all ages. And http://www.wboc.ca is the Women Business
Owners of Canada national site. Again, it's a wealth of
information, not necessarily only for women.
e-mail from a friend warning about a virus? Quite often,
these hoaxes are passed on. There are several sources to
check for bogus virus warnings. One excellent site is http://www.kumite.com/myths
and another is http://www.mykonic.com which also has a newsletter
full of user-friendly tips. Check them out!
out http://www.freebiedirectory.com see what you can find
at no cost!
of almost free, check out http://www.kitsilano.net to discover
how you can have a free homestead. The monthly rates for
maintenance on this cheerful site are very affordable, and
webmistress Marjorie Milliken struts some of her portfolio
stuff here as well. If you're looking for a very talented
web designer, you've come to the right place!
Canadian and fun all describe http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/mapping
and wonderful maps that morph (metamorphose) from one period
to the next. The site runs a little more slowly than some,
but there's a wealth of good general information to be found
Canadian is http://www.ec.gc.ca which is Environment Canada's
excellent site. Here you can vote for your three most significant
Canadian weather-related events of the century, bring yourself
up to date on global warming issues, and learn lots of interesting
things about this diverse country we call home.
the military- or peace-minded, some of our troops serving
with the UN Forces in Kosovo have a website. Check out http://www.1rcr.org
to learn more about Serbs and Croats, what our troops are
doing and how they're doing it. Might be nice to send a
little encouragement their way too! Just "sign" the guest
but definitely not least, check out http://www.Ehow.com
for some excellent freebie ideas. Want to make a butter
dish with lid? They'll tell you how. There's something for
everyone here, and the site is full of links to take you
shopping on-line for all those essential ingredients.
an unusual or interesting web site, or is there a favourite
bookmarked on your computer? You're welcome to share URLs
(universal resource locators), and we'll share them with
Lowery is a writer/editor/proofreader, Internet-based in London,
Ontario, with clients across Canada and internationally. This
piece is included in Lowery's forthcoming "52 Pick-Up."
Packets, John, Marsha and Mom
Marsha. It's John. What's happening?"
much. Just hanging around."
John and Marsha, ever-linked lovers?
our earliest joke version of phone sex, 'way before Bill
and Monica or Charles and Camilla, long before the Internet.
It was back in the 60s.
pauses. And the Internet has taken them to whole new heights.
Because, you see, in those long, steamy pauses between "John!"
and "Marsha!" there are strange and wondrous things happening.
Yes, even more than that.
Packets working as hard as Tribbles from the Star Trek of
old, where another breathless Bill (Shatner, this time)
always got his woman. Packets are jamming themselves boldly
off into space, riding your conversation.
Imagine gaining 10 pounds and wanting to fit into those
Dwight-Yoakam-wanna-be skin-tight jeans. You lie down on
the floor, wiggle until your thighs are snugged in tight,
then you face the zipper. Take a deep breath, and zip fast.
That's how hard your telephone line is working, while you're
breathlessly imagining John or Marsha struggling into (or
out of!) those skin-tight jeans.
time you make a telephone call, gazillions of packets are
zapping at the speed of sound through YOUR telephone call,
squeezing themselves into the pauses in your conversation.
know that telephone lines, whether they're slow or fast,
are being used to help us connect on the Internet. But each
time we compose an e-mail message and send it, a packet
(one little part of that little message) is magically (well,
electronically) wizarded to the first available pause in
the first available phone call.
message from Vancouver to Adelaide, Australia can be composed
of, maybe, 2000 packets. And each packet, like our DNA,
knows and recognizes its sister or brother structure. Perhaps
12 of the packets will go Vancouver-Toronto-Winnipeg-Des
They should earn frequent flyer points.
others take even more circuitous routes, all dissembled
as soon as we hit the "send" button, then properly (somehow!)
reassembled back into their original format and the chirp
in Adelaide indicates "You've got mail."
the next time you call your mother - when was the
last the last time you called your mother? - imagine how
hard you're all working. Your mum, her offspring, and the
little telephone line that could. All those packets....
you have an original offering you'd like to share? Submit
it via e-mail and we'll share with our readers. Offerings
of 500 words or less are welcome (the above is 398 words
counting the title). Please DO NOT submit by attaching a
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Word's the Word" is a free and unsolicited offering (all
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information contained herein is for general information
purposes only. "Cyberspace, Packets, John, Marsha and Mom"
is copyrighted material (Barbara Lowery, 2000) and may be
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research, writing and editing done by
Lowery, 166 Rectory St., London, ON N5Z 2A5
(519) 432-2885; URL http://wordsmithing.com