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Today's instant vacation highlights some interesting aspects of life here in the southern part of the USA. I've now lived here almost half of my life. I heard something on the radio the other day that made me do a Google search. I found lists similar to what I'm sending today for almost every state in the South, with just a few local variations. It should help non-Southerners understand life here better and give Southerners a chance to chuckle at some of the local charm.

Interesting facts about the South and Southernosity...

Florida, except for the areas closest to Alabama and Georgia (pronounced Jawja), is *not* considered a Southern state. There are far more Yankees than Southerners living in Florida.

There are 5,000 types of snakes and 4,998 of them live in the South.

There are 10,000 types of spiders. All 10,000 live in the South, plus a couple that nobody has seen before.

Unknown critters love to dig holes under your tomato plants.

Raccoons will test your crop of melons and let you know when they're ripe.

Possums will sleep in the road with their feet in the air.

"Onced" and "twiced" are words.

It is not a shopping cart - it is a buggy.

Fire ants consider your skin a picnic.

People actually grow and eat okra.

"Fixinto" is one word, and it's a verb. Example: I'm fixinto go to the store.

"Backwards and forwards" means "I know everything about you".

"Jeet" is actually a phrase meaning "Did you eat?"

You sometimes have to switch from heat to air conditioning, all in the same day.

All festivals across your state are named after a fruit, vegetable, grain, insect, or animal.

You only know 4 spices - salt, pepper, Tabasco, and ketchup.

The local papers cover national and international news on one page, but require 6 pages for local gossip and sports.

You think the first day of deer season is a national holiday.

You find 100°F (38°C) "a little warm".

You know that the South really *does* have four distinct seasons - almost summer, summer, still summer, and Christmas.

Going to Wal-Mart is a favorite pastime, known as "Goin' Walmartin'" or "Off to Wally World".

You describe the first cool snap (below 70° or 21°C) as good pinto bean weather.

If there is the prediction of the slightest chance of even the most minuscule accumulation of snow, your presence is required at the local grocery store. It does not matter that you don't need anything from the store - it is just something you're supposed to do. Apparently, since the items Southerns rush out to buy are bread, milk, and eggs, the comfort food of choice in a "snow crisis" *must* be French toast.

You know that fried catfish is the other white meat.

You don't have to wear a watch because it doesn't matter what time it is. You work until you're done or it's too dark to see.

Stores don't have bags; they have sacks.

You see a car running in the parking lot at the store with no one in it, no matter what time of the year.

You install security lights on your house and garage, and leave both unlocked.

You think everyone from a bigger city has an accent.

You know what "cow tipping" is .

You don't PUSH buttons, you MASH them.

And you don't TAKE someone to the doctor's office or any other place - you CARRY them there.

You know what a "DAWG" is.

When you live in the country, you don't have to buy a dawg. City people drop them off at your gate in the middle of the night.

A carbonated soft drink isn't a soda, tonic, or pop. It's a Coke, regardless of brand or flavor. Example: "What kinda Coke you want?" "Aw, I'll have a Dr Pepper, thanks."

You know the difference between a hissy fit and a conniption fit, and that you don't "HAVE" one, you "PITCH" one.

You know how many fish, collard greens, turnip greens, peas, beans, etc., make up "a mess."

You know the general direction of not only "yonder" but also "cattywumpus."

You know exactly how long "directly" is - as in "Going to town, be back directly."

You grow up knowing the difference between "right near" and "a right far piece." You also know that "just down the road" can be 1 mile or 20.

Even Southern babies know that "Gimme some sugar" is not a request for the white, granular sweet substance that sits in a pretty little bowl in the middle of the table.

You know instinctively that the best gesture of solace for a neighbor who's got trouble is a plate of hot fried chicken and a big bowl of cold potato salad. If the neighbor's trouble is a real crisis, you also know to add a large banana puddin'.

You both know and understand the difference between a redneck, a good ol' boy, and po' white trash.

You would never assume that the car with the flashing turn signal is actually going to make a turn or change lanes. Most Southerners do not use turn signals, and they ignore those who do. In fact, if you see a signal blinking on a car with a southern license plate, you may rest assured that the blinker was on when the car was purchased.

You make friends while standing in lines. You don't do "queues," you do "lines"; and when you're "in line," you talk to everybody - even total strangers!

Put 100 Southerners in a room, and half of them will discover they're related, even if only by marriage.

You never refer to one person as "y'all."

You know grits come from corn and how to eat them.

You know:
- that tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful.
- that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food.
- and that fried green tomatoes are *not* a breakfast food.

When you hear someone say, "Well, I caught myself lookin'," you know you are in the presence of a true Southerner!

You say "sweet tea" and "sweet milk." Sweet tea indicates with sugar, and *lots* of it - Southerners do not like their tea unsweetened. Sweet tea is appropriate for all meals, and you start drinking it when you're two. "Sweet milk" means you don't want buttermilk.

You know you don't scream at little old ladies who drive 30 mph on the freeway. You just say, "Bless her heart," and go your own way.

You don't need no stinkin' driver's ed ... when yo mama says you can drive, you can drive!

To those of you who're still a little embarrassed by your Southernness - Take two biscuits, a dose of sausage gravy and a tall glass of sweet tea, and call me in the morning. Bless your heart!

And to those of you who are still having a hard time understanding all this Southern stuff - Bless your hearts. I hear they're fixinto have classes on Southernosity as a second language!

And for anyone who is not from the South but has lived here for a long time - Y'all need a sign to hang on y'all's front porch that reads, "I ain't from the South, but I got here as fast as I could."

Bless your hearts! All y'all have a blessed day!


"Am I living so that it's obvious that God is the most important person in the universe, and not I?" - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Two reasons that it is so hard to solve a redneck murder -
1st - The DNA is all the same.
2nd - No dental records.

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The English Lesson

We are reminded daily here of how difficult and inexplicable our "Engrish" language really is. I can hardly imagine having to learn English as a foreign language. What a task that would be! But I remind my students that their language is also no piece of rice cake either, and I demonstrate at least some of the difficulties when attempting to say some of the few things I know in their language. Suffice it to say, my students are mildly to wildly amused at my feeble attempts in Chinese. I hope they can not only see the reverse problem, but also have more confidence to make mistakes themselves instead of sitting quietly by.

Today's iv is a poem that points out only a few of the anomalies of the English language.

The English Lesson
attributed to Richard Krogh

We'll begin with box, and the plural is boxes;
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
When couldn't the plural of pan be called pen?

The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,
But the plural of vow is vows, not vine.
And I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,
But I give a boot - would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn't the plural of booth be called beeth?
If the singular is this and plural is these,
Why shouldn't the plural of kiss be nicknamed kese?

Then one may be that, and three may be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose;
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.

The masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim!
So our English, I think you will all agree,
Is the trickiest language you ever did see.

I take it you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
On hiccough, thorough, slough, and through?

Well done! And now you wish, perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.

And dead; it's said like bed, not bead;
For goodness sake, don't call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat,
(they rhyme with suite and straight and debt)

A moth is not a moth in mother.
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there.
And dear and fear for bear and pear.

And then there's dose and rose and lose --
Just look them up -- and goose and choose.
And cork and work and card and ward,
And font and front and word and sword.

And do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come, I've hardly made a start.
A dreadful language? Why, man alive,
I'd learned to talk it when I was five,

And yet to write it, the more I tried,
I hadn't learned it at fifty-five!


Our classes are going fine, and our social lives are quite active. We've been invited out to dinner every night this week except Wednesday by students or others here whom we have gotten to know. And dinner engagements for next week have already begun, with Monday already planned.

My wife Becka started getting a cold the other day, and she is sure that it has now gone into a sinus infection. She had brought along a prescription of antibiotic that her doctor back home gave her before the trip, and so she has begun to take that medication. I have completed my Chinese medicine. Phew! I really do feel much better now, and I'm especially happy to have finished the medicine!


"One day every knee will bow. Those who see things as they really are are on their knees now." - Dr. Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^= =^..^=

If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages?

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English or German?

Several times lately I've been in situations where people were having fun with "pseudo-German." As a French teacher and a former German teacher, I actually enjoy humor about the languages I love. One article I'm sending today pokes fun at English, and the other lampoons German - both are tongue-in-cheek.

The European Commission has announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU, rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had room for improvement and has therefore accepted a five-year for phasing in of "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make sivil servants jump for joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the "k", Which should klear up some konfusion and also keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f", making words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e" is disgrasful, and it should go away.

By the fourth yer, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and everivun vil find it ezi to understand ech ozer. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali com tru! Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German lik zey vunted us to in ze forst plas!


Germany to Phase Out German
by William Grim

For the sake of those who don't know German (and you don't really need to to catch most of the humor), You'll find a little "glossary" at the beginning of the article to unlock a couple of the otherwise hidden elements of humor. The author himself glossed some of the terms in the article. I also did one minor tweak to the wording to make it more appropriate to my clientel.

GLOSSARY-- (the translations within the story itself were made by the author, William Grim, and not by ivman, and are not all completely accurate)

Lappenhund = lap dog
Pferdeloskarriage = horseless carriage
Fragenschlager = question slinger

Berlin - Citing the success of the new Euro currency, the members of the German Bundestag have voted unanimously to phase out German and to adopt English as the new official language.

"Let's face it," said German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer. "German is one ugly language. I mean, the German word for butterfly is Schmetterling, for goodness sake. That sorta says it all."

Leading German businessmen, like Deutscheseisenbahngesellschaftdirigent (German Railroad Company director) Guenther Lappenhund, say the language changeover will save the Germany economy billions. "We spend all this money on dual-language signage and for dubbing movies," said Herr Lappenhund from his Hamburg office. "What a waste. Who wants to watch 'Hey, Dude, Where's My Car?' ('Achtung, Duede, Wo Ist Meine Pferdeloskarriage?') in German anyway?"

German mental health experts don't think that the loss of their native tongue will be any more traumatic than the change from the Deutschmark to the Euro, which most Germans took in stride. "It's not like Germans have much to be proud of," said Dr. Renate Steinheimer, chairperson of the Psychology Department of Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich. "You don't see swarms of young Germans painting themselves red, black and gold and running through Dachau chanting 'Ger-man-y!' over and over. You think Germany, you still think of ol' Schiklgruber and Sargeant Schultz of Hogan's Heroes. There hasn't been much positive news out of Germany since the Treaty of Westphalia ended the Thirty Year's War in 1648."

Although details of the changeover are still being finalized, the general plan appears to be a complete conversion to English by January 1, 2007 with a 20% reduction in German usage each year for the next five years. German words beginning with letters A to D are slated to be retired by January 1, 2003. A national party is scheduled for December 31, 2006 when at 11:59pm the entire country of Germany will yell out "zwischen" ("between") legally for the last time.

"It'll be kinda sad," said Bruenhilde Fragenschlager, a 10th grade student at the Hockenheimer Hochschule fuer Linguistik und Grammatik (Hockenheimer High School for Linguistics and Grammar), "But I understand the reasons for the change. Still, it's nice that "Gesundheit" and "Kindergarten" are going to be grandfathered in, but I guess that's because they're really English words now. Boy, the next time we start a war, I sure hope we wait to invade Russia until after we've defeated England."
by William Grim
© Copyright 2002


"The gray areas of life are the dwelling place of the defiled conscience." - Dr. Randy Jaeggli

=^..^= =^..^= =^..^=

Change is constant, and the most dangerous place to be is inside your own comfort zone.

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