What do :-) and :-( and 1982 and today have in common?


On this day in 1982 the first “emoticons” ever were used and were created by is Scott Fahlman, a computer scientist. In 1982, when he was participating in an online forum, he used the :- ) and :( to note when he was making a joke. Little did he know…


Are you a Mr. or Mrs.?

History and etiquette tell us that Mister and Missus, known by the contractions Mr. and Mrs., are the proper form of address for men and women. Beneath the surface of these everyday honorifics lies a linguistic glitch that has spawned social havoc since “Mrs.” entered mainstream English in the 17th century.

Mister is a direct variant of master, which in turn derives from the Old English maegester meaning “one having control or authority.” Already a discrepancy rears its head: The period that follows the abbreviation Mr. is usually omitted in British English grammar. According to the Oxford A-Z of Grammar and Punctuation, “If the abbreviation includes both the first and last letter of the abbreviated word, as in ‘mister’ and ‘doctor’, a full stop is not used.” However, a period always follows the title in American English grammar – as in Mr. President and Mr. Speaker.

Once used to address men under the rank of knighthood, by the mid-18th century mister became a common English honorific to generally address males of a higher social rank. English domestic servants often used the title to distinguish the eldest member of the household – a practice that is, for the most part, obsolete today.

Mrs. is a contraction derived from Middle English maistresse, “female teacher, governess.” Once a title of courtesy, mistress fell into disuse around the late 14th century. The pronunciation, however, remained intact. By the 15th century, mistress evolved into a derogatory term for “a kept woman of a married man.”

By the early 17th century, Mr., Mrs. Ms. and Miss became part of English vernacular, creating an awkward socio-linguistic discrepancy. In an attempt to avoid the use of “mistress,” a variety of phonetic substitutes have been utilized, including “missus” or “missis.”

While Mrs. does refer to a married woman, according to The Emily Post Institute, Ms. is the proper way to address a woman regardless of marital status — the term alleviates any guesswork. Miss is often used to address an unmarried woman, presumably a girl under the age of eighteen years old. Note however, that “Miss” also derives from “mistress.”

In 2011, what is the proper manner of address for men and women? Miss, Ms., or something entirely different? Are these honorifics too formal for our society, or the perfect bit of courtesy?

_Taken from dictionary.com___________________________________________-

Of course, being something over 40, I’m old school and I still think they are proper. – CK

Book Trivia

The Great Gatsby

On April10th, 1925 F. Scott Fitzgerld’s book, The Great Gatsby, was first published.  Fitzgerld’s preferred title for the work was Trimalchio in West Egg, but the publisher wouldn’t agree.  Under the Red, White, and Blue was also a possibility or Gold-Hatted Gatsby, but those too, were discarded. Initially, it didn’t sell well. I can understand. It’s not a very upbeat story. I have not read the book, only seen the movie. It is now on my list to read.

Movie time with a daughter

Just went to see the new Jane Eyre movie with my fifteen year old daughter. Both Rachel and I are movie fans, so it’s one of those bonding things for us and today did not disappoint. It doesn’t really matter if the movie is good, but it does help make it more fun for both of us. Unfortunately about 3/4 of the way through, we both realized that we had seen a different version before. Rachel, having the younger mind, realized it before I did, but luckily for us, neither remembered the ending.

I won’t spoil the ending for those who haven’t seen it or read the book, but I think the movie was done well: good acting, good scenes, good story. I can imagine how scandalous the young Jane must have appeared when it was first put in print. The thing that interests me about this movie and many period pieces is how the human spirit has not changed much since 1847, when it was published, just the external trappings and morays are different.

 For those who like a bit of trivia, Jane Eyre was first published by Charlotte Bronte under the pen name of Currer Bell, since at the time literature was not a woman’s business. Her sister, Emily was also a writer and used Ellis Bell as her pen name. Does anyone know her rather famous work? I just listened to it this summer on audio and quite enjoyed it. (It was published less than a year after Jane Eyre.) I have the book on my list of must reads (goodreads.com). I started it a while back but got distracted and stopped. The movie has spurred me to see which is better. Any opinions on that?