Galileo’s “Gift”

Several years ago, we received a gift from our Italian friend, Eido Digati, who spends six months in St. Petersburg and six months in Italy. It is a Galileo thermometer, which I had first seen in Salzburg, Austria. This conversation piece now sits atop our coffee table in the living room and is usually an item of interest to those who visit in our home. It is perfect for me, a weather nut. When it is warm in the house, all of the floating balls are near or at the top. When it is chilly, the balls head to the bottom. This morning’s low in St. Petersburg was 48 degrees outside my house. The indoor temperature, however, is flirting with 70 degrees as the heat is on. The Galileo is responding to the heat rather than the cold outside, and all the balls are rushing to the top. I’m a ball-at-the-top person as I am pretty much cold weather intolerant. Dimitris is the opposite. Thanks to Eido and Galleleo for our wonderful, colorful scientific instrument that sits on our living room table.

thermometer

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What Did You Say?

My partner uses the kitchen as his office while I have a real computer room with a desk and desktop computer. If he is not at his kitchen “desk,” he is in the living room watching TV. The point is the difficulty we have communicating in our house. First of all, I would be the first to admit that I have at least a slight hearing problem. Not infrequently, I know that Dimitris is talking to me, but I cannot tell what he is saying. The reverse is also true when I am shouting a message to him from the computer room. I must admit that sometimes I get a little frustrated with trying to understand my partner or having him understand me. I have therefore come up with a solution: walkie talkies. We haven’t bought them yet, but we both agree that walkie talkies could enhance our communications greatly. Any brand suggestions?

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My “Constipated” Clock (Updated)

When I left my wife and moved out of the house, I left almost everything behind. One of the things that she offered me later was my Centurion chiming clock which I had bought with my CITGO credit card. She didn’t want the clock; it was too noisy. That clock is now many years old and still works like a charm. It requires winding only once monthly, and its chimes greet me each morning…well, most mornings. During the years that I had a roommate, I was asked if there was a way to mute the clock, which is possible as there is a mechanism for turning on/turning off the chimes. The only thing is that, when the chimes are turned off, the clock, instead of chiming on the hour and half hour, makes a strained sound as though it might be constipated. Now that my bachelorhood has been replaced with a spouse, the chimes are once again on. I never hear the clock during the night, but I hear it each morning as it chimes five times, the time I usually rise. I never wear a watch, but I depend greatly on my chiming clock, my no-longer constipated companion.

my-clock1

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The Cure for Nail-Biting

Ever since I can remember, I bit my nails. My parents fussed at me and tried various rewards to keep me from putting my hands in my mouth and biting my nails. I remember once my mother purchased something called Thum. It was a liquid that she put on my hands that was distasteful and burned. It may have kept my hands out of my mouth for a while, but it got into my eyes which caused me more pain in my eyes than it did in my mouth. At times, my nails were so in-the-quick that they bled. In church, I would put my arms up on the back of the pew and curve my fingers inward hoping to prevent anyone from seeing my nails. When I got married, I worked hard to keep my hands out of my mouth in order to have a wedding picture of my hands with my bride’s. Right after the ceremony, my hands were once again in my mouth. Finally, I have come up with the prevention. In fact, I just asked Dimitris to trim my nails as they were getting too long. The cure was dentures. There is no way to bite one’s nails with dentures. If only my parents had known that all they had to do was pull my teeth and provide me with dentures (smile).

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Playing with Words

I love language. Maybe that’s why I became an English teacher. As a teacher, I always pushed vocabulary, stressing that the more word choices one has contributes to their being understood and to their understanding others. Because I love words, I love playing with words. I have never turned away a good pun. Creatively, I have invented terms that weren’t legally words but seemed to fit the situation, such as the word “alonely.” Because “alone” and “lonely” have different connotations, “alonely,” to me, combines the two meanings. A friend of mine coined a word giving another noun to the redneck vocabulary. His created word was “redneckedness,” the art of being a redneck. Once, when I was drinking Slim Fast trying to reduce my weight, a friend told me I needed to drink Slim Faster. During my classroom days teaching in middle school, I  taught my students vocabulary words and then, when testing them, would ask them to use the words in proper context in a sentence. Two of the most wonderful examples of sentences that went awry were: (1) when asked to use the word “cloister” in a sentence, I got “The nuns were preying in the cloister.” (2) When asked to use the word “principal” in a sentence, I got “The voice of the principal came over the inner calm.” Words can be delicious, don’t you agree?

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My High School English Teacher

My senior English teacher at Clinton High School in Clinton, South Carolina, was easily the most polished grammarian as well as the politest person I have ever known. Whenever she orally quizzed a student, her response to an incorrect answer was inevitably, “No…but thank you for trying.” Her policy of humility paid off too in the respect she earned from her students. Besides her primary task, she was also our senior class sponsor. Just prior to our departure for the traditional senior trip to Washington, D. C ., she called to the auditorium first the girls to discuss a subject we males decided must be taboo amid mixed sexes. The talk turned out to be nothing but a warning to stay together in groups of three or four to avoid the perils of the big city. Returning to our classroom, one member of our class was heard to remark, “Well, if anyone should try to pick her up, she’d just say, “No…but thank you for trying.”

According to a tale told later by a classmate at a Clinton High reunion, Miss Shealy had been caught failing to come to a complete stop at a stop sign. The policeman who stopped her had been one of her students and reprimanded her by saying, “Miss Shealy, that was a period, not a comma.”

 

 

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Please Deliver the Paper

We have whittled our subscription to the Tampa Bay Times down to once a week, largely for the coupons. Our world and local news comes more from the computer and TV channels. Not infrequently, we have failed to receive a newspaper on Sunday morning. I’m always up early, and Dimitris is waiting for the paper, scissors in hand. When it doesn’t come, I always wait until 8:30, when I feel certain that the paper is not going to be delivered, before I write or call Customer Service. I have contacted the paper often enough that I added the e-mail address for reporting the missing paper to my address book. On Sunday, the November 12th, I reported the paper missing. About noon, a paper was delivered. When the paper was missing again on the 19th, I contacted the office again and complained. Later in the afternoon, someone from the Times came by, delivered the paper, and politely showed us that the house number cannot be seen from the street because of some palm fronds blocking the view. This morning, I grabbed my handy clippers and denuded the palm, exposing our 4743.

Reader, if you are not a follower of my blog, I hope you will become one. Go to http://www.bobosbest.wordpress.com and on the bottom of the right hand corner you will see the opportunity to sign up so that you receive this blog every time it is published. Click on the word FOLLOW and enter your e-mail address. Thank you.

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