Monday, July 9, 2007

Assorted Irritants

Some things will never change, no matter how many times I rail about them. I realize there’s limited hope, but I’ll write this anyway.

Even if I touch just one life, if I open one set of eyes and cause one person to think, even for a moment, then it will be worth it.

If I am wrong about any of the following, then I apologize.

A.M. means ante meridian. Ante means before.
P.M means post meridian. Post means after.
Noon and midnight are the meridians.
That which happens before or after a meridian can, by definition, not be happening on a meridian.
Ergo, 12 a.m. and 12 p.m. do not exist. They’re not real times. Stop using them. Now.

I will allow one exception: speeding tickets. Although I rarely speed I do occasionally catch myself sneaking up past the posted limit. If caught at noon or midnight I want the ticket to read 12 a.m. or 12 p.m. It will be a gift from the Universe.

This is the seventh year of the new millennium, not the eighth. Decades run from 1-0, not 0-9. 2000 was the final year of the nineties.
No one cares, I know, and it’s old news at best. But it still rankles.

The word “the” is pronounced “thee” in front of vowels in Canada.
Pronouncing it “thuh” in front of vowels and consonants alike is American usage. Good for them. It’s their country. They can spin the language any way they please.

“Thuh only,” and “thuh average” hurts my Canadian ears when it comes from a born and bred Canadian. I went to school with a girl who used “thuh” before vowel sounds. It still grates.
We had exactly the same education all through elementary school. We learned the same day in the same class from the same teacher that we were to say “thee” before vowels. I remember the day. She apparently doesn't.

Many things, seemingly little, irk me no end. I could go on, but these three seem about right for now.

What about you? What gets the steam whistling out of your ears?


Holly said...

ATM machine (that's what the M stands for!)
PIN number. (same as before)

It is completely coincidental that these are both banking terms.

Drives me nuts!!!

p.s. I am here via crabby's page

Leah J. Utas said...

Welcome, Holly. Thanks for coming by. I agree completely with your stance on redundancy.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Hooray, it's holly!

So I have a dumb question--how is one supposed to write noon or midnight in digital form so that they can be told apart?

I had no idea about the Canadian "the/thee" rule. (I was going to say "how cute!" but I suspect that would do more than rankle).

And good point Holly about the ATM machine & PIN number, though I'm guilty sometimes of using both!

Leah J. Utas said...

Crabby - I have no clue how to render the meridians in digital form. Very good question, though.

Dawn said...

Leah, if some poor traffic officer should give you a ticket at any time, I suspect he will have bitten off far more than he can chew! And if he's dumb enough to give you a ticket at 12am - heaven help him!

Thanks for this thoughtful post. I'm as guilty as the next on some of these "lazy" habits. I doubt if I'll ever do them again now.

Leah J. Utas said...

Everybody slips up, Dawn. I've made some whacking large errors myself. Still do.
Thanks for the vote of confidence re: poor traffic officer.

Anonymous said...

Don't know if this is related, but how about the politically correct B.C.E. and C.E.? For some great portion of 2000 years, we've been using BC and AD, but we can't use them anymore because they refer to the birth of Christ? What's with that?

Rebecca said...

Police officers anywhere, should be writing your tickets in the 24 hour clock, thusly: 00.00 and 12.00. (Unless the tickets have little A.M. and P.M. boxes to check for people that can't +/- 12 to the hour.) Not having gotten any tickets in a really long time, I can't remember, but it just makes sense.

What really bugs me is calling multiple Canada Geese "Canadian" because there is more than one! Our Government has never given Geese Citizenship as far as I know.

Leah J. Utas said...

Hello Anonymous,
Thanks for commenting.

I don't know for a fact, but I think the real sticking point on that one is the A.D. because the translation is "in the year of our lord."

Hey Rebecca, good point. I haven't had a speeding ticket in 19 years. AM and PM are noted sometime during the court proceedings. I remember one lawyer arguing that a drunk driving charge should be thrown out because the time was rendered as 10.15 instead of 10:15.
It worked in Ontario, apparently, but didn't fly here.

That geese thing is unforgivable.