30 January 2011

Conversational Ellipsis

I'm growing tired of improper starts and stops. Why is it whenever I'm watching an interview on the television that the person being interviewed doesn't know how to stop when done with a thought? Why is it that it takes a bit to warm up and get going? It all falls on the word ellipsis.

Ellipsis (plural ellipses; from the Ancient Greek: λλειψις, élleipsis, "omission") is a mark or series of marks that usually indicate an intentional omission of a word in the original text. An ellipsis can also be used to indicate a pause in speech, an unfinished thought, or, at the end of a sentence, a trailing off into silence (aposiopesis) (apostrophe and ellipsis mixed). When placed at the end of a sentence, the ellipsis can also inspire a feeling of melancholy longing. The ellipsis calls for a slight pause in speech.

The most common form of an ellipsis is a row of three periods or full stops (...) or pre-composed triple-dot glyph (…). The usage of the em dash (—) can overlap the usage of the ellipsis.

The triple-dot punctuation mark is also called a suspension point, points of ellipsis, periods of ellipsis, or colloquially, dot-dot-dot.

Here's what I mean. I just heard it on CNN or MSNBC or something I flipped past. The question had to do with the Egyptian political troubles. When a person is interviewed, on almost any subject, of late, they think it's proper to begin the answer with "Well, you know, that's a good question" or the like. To me, that's simply an ellipsis for them to get their wheels of communication intention started. It's as if we could hear, "...I think the trouble in Egypt is related to..." 

My mother used to enter conversations with "Anyway" and then go on to subjects of more concern to her. It was as if we never ended the last conversation, followed by an ellipsis and then her next thought. "...anyway, how are the kids?" 

In Australia I hear the inability to finish a sentence by the tailing "so." (This is not to be confused with the finishing of the thought. That is more clearly seen and heard.) A person in conversation says, "Yeah, they came over to the house, you know, so." and tail off into silence.  And I always want to ask, "So what?" But I don't, because I'm polite. Or others would say, "I don't, because I'm polite, so" The ellipsis shows up there! I'm polite, ...

I want to know the end of the conversation. I (more than I should) move to the end of the conversation. 

The New York expression, which became standard the last few years here in Australia, beginning a sentence with "So" as in "So you think you can dance?" sounds more yiddish. Even so, in my view it's an ellipsis. "...you think you can dance?" See what I mean? These little dots are everywhere!

Please, if you are interviewed, think your thoughts first, then speak. Start with an answer, not with 'well' and not with 'you know' and not with 'um...' OK?

And when you are interviewed, Mr Sports Star or Ms Hollywood(, or anyone), please when you are finished with a thought, END. Be comfortable with silence. There is no need to carry on with "um"s and "so"s. Please let an ellipsis stay where it really belongs.

The ellipsis belongs in the dictionary. 

26 January 2011

Australia Day

Originally uploaded by bobmendo
Today we celebrate Australia Day, the day in 1788 when Captain Phillip and the First Fleet arrived in Sydney Harbour from nearby Botany Bay. More history is below (below the line) for those who want more details. And to celebrate that arrival, Australian people will have already eaten barbecued breakfasts and lunches, gathered at the beaches, kicked footballs and smashed cricket bats against balls, and celebrated the landing these 223 years later.

To add to that, the celebrations at the Harbour tonight with fireworks, and in fact, all across the country from the Yarra to the Swan, will be met with tens of thousands of co-celebrants. We love to toast the country and the opportunities.

Of course, some Australians, most notably the native Aborigines, don't celebrate today in the same way. For them this is Invasion Day when they lost their footing and standing in so many ways.

One man's trash is another man's treasure. Some see the glass half-empty; for others it's half-full. You get it...there's a lot of variety out there and different views of the same reality.

Yet into the midst of that variety came the Absolute Truth. He alone is the One who arrived, 2000 years ago and declared himself to be The One. Wow, what chutzpah!

Some today now celebrate the One who died for our sins and rose from the dead.

Some today dismiss Y'shua as irrelevant.

And some will aver that one man's view of Y'shua (some call him by the English name "Jesus") is just as accurate and right as any other view. But that relativism is not on.

Who He is matters. What we believe about Him doesn't change who he is. However, it will change our perspective on life. And our life in its entirety.

And that's something to celebrate for the next 223 years and eternity!

The first records of European mariners sailing into 'Australian' waters occurs around 1606, and includes their observations of the land known as Terra Australis Incognita (unknown southern land). The first ship and crew to chart the Australian coast and meet with Aboriginal people was the Duyfken captained by Dutchman, Willem Janszoon.

Between 1606 and 1770, an estimated 54 European ships from a range of nations made contact. Many of these were merchant ships from the Dutch East Indies Company and included the ships of Abel Tasman. Tasman charted parts of the north, west and south coasts of Australia which was then known as New Holland.

In 1770, Englishman Lieutenant James Cook charted the Australian east coast in his ship HM Barque Endeavour. Cook claimed the east coast under instruction from King George III of England on 22 August 1770 at Possession Island, naming eastern Australia 'New South Wales'. The coast of Australia, featuring Tasmania as a separate island, was mapped in detail by the English mariners and navigators Bass and Flinders, and the French mariner, Baudin. A nearly completed map of the coastline was published by Flinders in 1814.

This period of European exploration is reflected in the names of landmarks such as the Torres Strait, Arnhem Land, Dampier Sound, Tasmania, the Furneaux Islands, Cape Frecinyet and La Perouse. French expeditions between 1790 and the 1830s, led by D'Entrecasteaux, Baudin, and Furneaux, were recorded by the naturalists Labillardière and Péron.

Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet, comprising 11 ships and around 1,350 people, arrived at Botany Bay between 18 and 20 January 1788. However, this area was deemed to be unsuitable for settlement and they moved north to Port Jackson on 26 January 1788, landing at Camp Cove, known as 'cadi' to the Cadigal people.

Governor Phillip carried instructions to establish the first British Colony in Australia. The First Fleet was under prepared for the task, and the soil around Sydney Cove was poor. The young colony relied upon both the development of farms around Parramatta, 25 kilometres upstream to the west, and also trading food with local Aboriginal clans.

The Second Fleet's arrival in 1790 provided badly needed food and supplies; however the newly arrived convicts were too ill, with many near to death, to be useful to the colony. The Second Fleet became known as the 'Death Fleet' - 278 of the convicts and crew died on the voyage to Australia, compared to only 48 on the First Fleet.

The colony experienced many other difficulties, including the fact that there were many more men than women - around four men for every woman - which caused problems in the settlement for many years.

25 January 2011

Country Music Awards and Disappointment

Jasmine Rae
Originally uploaded by bobmendo
Last weekend the announcements were made. And the Award goes to...

Here then is the full list of winners from the 39th Country Music Awards of Australia at the Tamworth Country Music Festival on Saturday:

Album Of The Year
Lee Kernaghan - Planet Country

Male Artist Of The Year
Graeme Connors - A Good Life

Female Artist Of The Year
Kasey Chambers - Little Bird

Maton New Talent Of The Year
McAlister Kemp - All Kinds Of Tough

Group Or Duo Of The Year
The McClymonts - Wrapped Up Good

Vocal Collaboration Of The Year
Kasey Chambers and Kevin Bennett - Love Like A Hurricane

Single Of The Year
Kasey Chambers - Little Bird

Video Clip Of The Year
Sara Storer - Calling Me Home

Toyota Heritage Song Of The Year
Recorded by Luke Austen, written by Luke Austen and Troy Cassar-Daley - Sacred Bones

APRA Song Of The Year
Kasey Chambers - Little Bird

Sanity Music Top Selling Album Of The Year
Lee Kernaghan - Planet Country

Bush Ballad Of The Year
Recorded by Luke Austen, written by Peter Denahy - Every Time He Travels Through Cloncurry

Fender Instrumental Of The Year
Ian Simpson and John Kane - Dixie Breakdown

Telstra Horizon Award
The Sunny Cowgirls

Pictured is Jasmine Rae, who along with all those listed really does bring a good show to Tamworth. Congrats to all those above, and good wishes to those who didn't come in at number one.

Disappointment. I guess it goes with award shows. So many are worthy of an award and they just don't win. And we say 'shame' or 'better luck next year' and sometimes we mean it. The same happens with the Academy Awards or Golden Globe Awards. So many come so close, only to not win.

How do you handle disappointments?
In Australia, we even have a state forest. Straddling the Great Dividing Range about 60 km north of Melbourne on the Hume Highway is Mount Disappointment State Forest. Odd name, eh?

The early explorers Hume and Hovell in 1824 named the peak Mount Disappointment because the thick forest prevented them from seeing Port Philip Bay from the summit.

Maybe your disappointment comes from losing a promotion or an advance at work or not reaching your mates using a hopeless mobile phone. Gauging disappointment is useful for pacing your own emotions about life. And when you should push on, and when you should let go.

I'm of the conviction that we ought to trust in God in all our circumstances. He does intercede for us, and make our life at times interesting or full. The prophet Isaiah wrote God's words, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a tested stone, A costly cornerstone for the foundation, firmly placed. He who believes in it will not be disturbed." (Isaiah chapter 28, verse 16) In the Newer Testament, Paul the apostle used the word disappointed rather than disturbed. I like that. (Romans 9.33) and Peter also used the Septuagint word: disappointed (1 Peter 2.6)

That said, our issues which include disappointment because of lack of notice or lack of acceptance or lack of honor or lack of...whatever, if we trust in the Lord, if we believe in Him, we will not be disappointed. With Him!

Why? Because God has laid in the midst of His people, in Zion, a tested foundation stone. The Bible tells us that this stone is Y'shua. Some will trip over him, but others will embrace him. He is the original. He is the Rock; his work is perfect, and all his ways are justice. (Deuteronomy 32).

No other foundation can anyone lay besides the One who was laid. (1 Corinthians 3.11) And that foundation is the Messiah. Y'shua.
Do you know Him? Do you believe in Him? Ask God who Y'shua is, and you won't be disappointed!

13 January 2011

If you know the result, can you watch?

Originally uploaded by bobmendo
Monday morning our family gathered around the television to watch what is at the same time Sunday afternoon in the US, for playoff football. We were going to watch a couple games, the Kansas City Chiefs at home against Baltimore and what we had taped the day before of the New York Jets playing in Indianapolis against the Colts. My daughter has been living in New York and her boyfriend is there, and like most New Yorkers, they cheer for anything in a New York uniform.

We sat down to watch and she like most young people opened her laptop to see who had written her in the last while. Seemed Byron, her boyfriend had written, rejoicing that the Jets had beaten the Colts. Oh no, now she knew the result, would she still watch the recorded game?

Last night I stayed up very very late watching the 20/20 Cricket match between Australia and England. And it was a delayed broadcast from earlier in the day. And if you knew the result, that England won by one run, on the last ball, would you have watched?

Both games were great. Both could have gone either way. Any of the four teams could have won, and no matter for whom you cheer, they were great games.

But would you have watched?

Knowing how things will turn out doesn't preclude watching the game. But it does change things.

Some watch movies they have already seen. Some read books they have already read. Or TV series like West Wing, NCIS or 24, and others that still captivate.

Look, I know how the end of the world is going to happen. That is, how, just when things are bleakest, Messiah Y'shua is going to return to earth, and put His foot down, taking over the world, His world, that He created. He will rule from Jerusalem. The kingdoms of this world will have become the kingdoms of the Lord and of His Messiah.

The Bible makes it clear that the end of the world is not really the end. For those of us who know Y'shua (some call him Jesus) the overtime will last forever. And it will be a great ride.

Even though we already know how it will play out, it will be worth watching and experiencing. I invite you to the real Game. The Eternal Game. Where everyone can win.

Even you can win. What a way to enjoy 2011...and beyond.

11 January 2011

Where is this going?

Erich Zimmermann
Originally uploaded by bobmendo
The world has changed after 9/11. Worry, fear, anxiety... all known in measure before that day nine years ago, now have escalated into an 'ism.' Terrorism we call it. We issue declarations of war against it. We send troops into battle about it. We frisk people at airports and train stations. Four stolen airplanes and now we have a fear that is settling in like an English fog.

Once again this revelation hit me yesterday. I was playing golf at St Michaels Golf Course in Sydney. For a couple years I've been taking my Nikon camera along with me now and then to the games we play. And taking pictures and putting them into the website so that the men can see the places and their own photos...kind of a service I perform. (The site is Golfers here )

The group ahead of us looked like candidates for such photojournalism, and I pulled out my mobile phone to shoot them. It was too rainy to bring my good camera out yesterday. One of them, not pictured, asked me 'Where is this going?" and followed with "You never know who will steal your identity these days."

Wow, what a splash of reality from a simple gesture of photography. And he's right, of course. Before 9/11 would he have even thought of such? Has the world really gone as mad as all that?

Yup, that's the effect of four stolen airplanes. And the fear that is gripping even the simplest of activities.

Y'shua the Messiah foretold this 'last days' reality as it's recorded in the Gospel of Luke: "Men’s hearts failing them for fear" (Luke chapter 21 verse 26) In the midst of the change and changeability of the world as Y'shua described it, the reality of what we title terrorism would be front and center.

Where is this going? It's up to you.

06 January 2011

Fast Food Axe Attack

Terrible news from Melbourne about robbers hitting McDonalds. Is nowhere safe? Even playland?