Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Year's Language Scofflaws 2015

Television newscasters seem to be leaders in poor usage of our language. Tonight I was listening to a news story about flooding in St. Louis. The reporter used the word “devastated” three times in the same report. Don’t these people have vocabularies or at least thesauri? My late father worked in broadcasting all his adult life. He often said that broadcasters have an obligation to speak correctly because they influence the nation. He was the original grammar police.

It’s not just the media. Over-used words. Decorated words. Altered words. Where is our language going? Here is my year end commentary on words that I have noticed with some pain. Our language is misused daily, especially in the media and everyday speech. Stay tuned. More words are coming up next, sponsored by Webster’s New World College Dictionary, 4th edition, which probably is already out of date.

Over-Used Words
Gotcha.  Generally this means I understand what you just said. I have not heard this on television news. People everywhere seem to be saying it.
Devastated, devastation. This is a popular word for scenes of destruction or desolation. I understand victims of unfortunate events using the word in interviews, but other people can use it less frequently.
So.  So has become a way to begin a sentence, especially a response to a question. It appears to replace well.  Example: So can we find another way to begin a sentence?

Decorated Words.
I call them decorated because they have been altered with added letters, which I call decorations that do not change the meaning of the words.
Towards is the same as toward. My dictionary defines towards as toward.
Amongst. My dictionary says it is a chiefly British variant of among. It means among.
Amidst. Unhistoric for amid.
Regards is used for regard, as “in regards to.” It is ok to say “as regards,” according to the dictionary, meaning concerning.
Anyways for anyway. The dictionary accepts this, but why bother?

Altered Words.
These are used to replace the original word.
Bemuse. Used for amuse, but they don’t mean the same thing. Amuse means to keep pleasantly or enjoyably occupied. Bemuse is to preoccupy or plunge into thought.
Alright. This means “all right.” The dictionary says it is a disputed spelling of “all right.”
Ginormous. Gigantic and enormous gave birth to this coming together. It isn’t in my dictionary although I hear it frequently.

At the End of the Day.

Been there; done that. 

Friday, December 11, 2015

Pumpkin Bread - One Loaf

My daughter Sarah has a shelf filled with canned pumpkin, which she bought for a purpose that is not part of this discussion and no longer matters in her life. In response to her need to find something to do with it all, I offer her and the world a recipe for pumpkin bread. She lives alone with her cats, so this continues my theme of preparing foods for one or two instead of a family of humans. Here is the opportunity to make one loaf of pumpkin bread.

Great recipes often turn up in church cookbooks. Often the contributors to these books have simple and delicious ways to prepare foods. I found this in a book that I bought long ago in my Green Bay years, St. John the Baptist Church Family Cook Book, created by the church in Howard in 1982. I shrank the quantities and revised ingredients a bit. It is sweet and almost cakey.

One problem might be what to do with the other half of the can of pumpkin. I suggest pumpkin soup, which exists elsewhere in my blog. On the other hand, one can double it and make more pumpkin bread.

For Sarah and not her cats, but maybe her deceased dog, here it is.

Pumpkin Bread – One loaf

1/3 cup shortening                                                          1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar                                                                         ¾ teaspoon salt
2 eggs                                                                                   ¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin                             ½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup water                                                                    12 teaspoon ground cloves
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour                                            ½ cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour one standard loaf pan. I learned the hard way that just greasing the pan caused the baked bread to stick to the pan, so I suggest sprinkling a dusting of flour on the bottom and sides as with cake.
Stir together until well mixed the flour, soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves. In a large bowl cream the shortening and sugar. Add eggs, pumpkin and water and stir until blended. Mix in the flour mixture. Last add the raisins. Nuts can be added. Pour it into the bread pan and bake about 70 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the loaf from the pan immediately.