Sunday, May 18, 2008


First a little senryu:

Modern styles — without

dropping a pound, wife’s dress size
shrinks from 6 to 2.

Lately, because I've been on some shopping trips in Portland with my wife, I've learned a thing or two. I even bought my wife a nice casual summer dress that she likes! Let's hope she does anyway. . . . But, what I've learned is that dress makers, in order to accommodate America's large and growing larger women, have been altering their dress sizes. My wife's weight has remained the same for quite some time now, but when she goes shopping, she finds that whereas she used to shop in the dress size 6 racks, she now finds she must shop in the size 2 racks. So if you hear a woman exclaiming, "I can't believe it. I'm a size six", it probably means she's an 8 or 10 dress size and the dress manufacturers are lying to her to make her feel better. Now you know. . . . but don't let your wives know what you know, gentleman readers.

While speaking of fashion sizes—men who wear pants that require the odd lengths are in for trouble too unless they're willing to employ tailors. I have a damn hard time finding the 31 pants length that I need. Last time I went shopping, I ended up buying a 32 and a 30. Now I've got one new pair of high water pants and another pair, a pair of dungarees, that I must fold up at the bottom just like I did in high school back in the early 50s.

O—and another thing I learned—when you buy your wife a dress that she actually likes, you are going to have to buy her a pair of shoes to match that dress on your next shopping trip with her.


Awhile back, I read somewhere that within the next two hundred years, the English and the Americans won't be speaking the same language unless, of course, the lingua franca has become Mandarin Chinese or whatever language India speaks. No, the statement had to do with the fact that languages never stand still. That's why Latin is a dead language. No one speaks it anymore as, I'm sure, my intelligent readers know unless they're a member of one of those throw back Roman churches where the priests still use Latin in their services. Of course, the average Catholic didn't understand what the priest was saying anyway, so perhaps this observation doesn't count.

But, thinking about the subject, I was saddened to realize that declining literacy in America can only make matters worse. Whereas I can still read Shakespeare and even Chaucer with the help of a dictionary, I will probably still be able to communicate with a Britisher who is also literary since we can touch our common roots but what about his illiterate fellow citizens? Now, take a modern American who's only steady reading is instructions for video games, Internet chat babble, and the chit chat of his school chums—he's filled with the jargon of the day, as is his counterpart in England (if their literacy rate is declining too) filled with English chit chat. Their languages are drifting apart at an alarming rate. In fact, I'll bet I could go into a English pub right now and have a pretty hard time understanding a young Britisher, if he were illiterate. By illiterate, I mean unread by and large on a daily basis so that his only language contact is with his local idioms.

When I realized that the English and Americans were drifting apart, I was rather saddened. It made America seem isolated in the world, losing an old friend like that. I mean even more isolated than Bush has made us with his and Cheney's constant paranoia, seeing enemies everywhere. Of course, that fracture with the English is several generations away so why am I borrowing trouble? Don't we have enough troubles as it is?

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