Tag Archives: Paul Simon

Lots of Words in Italics Meaning I’m Jus’ Sayin’

Accents, real speech, figures of speech, colorful speech. Expressions. The way we use language fascinates me. I wonder if technology changes it?

I have questions:

  • Why is groovy so hideously and embarrassingly obsolete, but cool is still cool? Am I the only one who still likes Paul Simon’s song, Feelin’ Groovy?
  • Why does just sayin work so well, especially in Twitter, to smooth out rough edges, frame thoughts, and soften things? It’s almost like a Photoshop effect to make a photograph look like a painting. I don’t get it. I mean, I’m just sayin.
  • And why does is it just me seem to flow so well, almost like just sayin, as a statement softener?
  • How do you pronounce LOL? Can you use it outside of instant messaging and/or Twitter? Is it okay in normal conversation? And what about WTF and OMG, both acronyms using single-syllable letters instead of single-syllable words. I think I know the answer to that one. Not that there is a single right answer. BTW, I liked it when my daughter was studying in Madrid, and came up with QTF. Although I hate the F part of that.

And also, some simple observations, about language in my lifetime, and how it’s been changing.

  • I love the way Spanish has grown and prospered inside our modern American English. Starting with simple expressions like nada and the whole enchilada, there’s Spanish all over the place now, and I, for one, love it. I think it’s a living example of the kind of natural change that brought French into English a few centuries ago, and that gave us, gradually, the English we speak instead of the English they spoke in Shakespeare’s time. I like to see that living change. And I like it that it’s happened before. Deja vu. And here’s a test of popular culture: can you say deja vu without adding the Yogi Berra addition, all over again? Nobody seems to use the naked deja vu expression anymore. It’s verboten.
  • I hate the expression that something sucks, meaning that it’s bad. Do you know where that expression has been? And if you don’t, I warn you, don’t ask anybody who was a boy in the 1950s or 1960s. And then there are those related expressions, like bite me, or it bites the big one. Not good. It’s weird, to me, that these are now commonplace, and accepted by picky censors, like on network TV.
  • And, speaking of what’s acceptable on network television these days, I kind of like what Jon Stuart and Stephen Colbert have done with the beeped-out expression. Have you noticed how well they both use that? This stuff can be overused, but still, language and expression prevails.
  • And all the cleaned expressions, like bleeping and fricken, [Ed. Note: and the popular (among sci-fi fans) frak from the Battlestar Gallactica TV series].
  • Is it possible that all of the silliness related to code works and acceptable and nonacceptable has contributed to the twisting and distortions?
  • Which reminds me, the overuse of certain words becomes just silly. I listen to people on a bus unable to say a simple sentence without adding fuckin after every three words. What’s up with that? Doesn’t it get in the way? I think an actual conversation with all that extra burden would be exhausting. Do they even hear it?
  • I suspect that the worst language anywhere in this country, in terms of supposedly swearing and foul words and such, is found on the elementary school playgrounds, particularly where the fourth-sixth grade boys are playing?

I’m just sayin.

Great Lines in Songs

Have you seen the Freakonomics Blegs series? It’s fun. Great lines in movies, things like that. I gather that bleg is a contraction for blogging and begging, a play on words related to asking readers for contributions.

It made me think of some great lines in songs. Some of these are pure poetry. Or so it seems to me.

Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose
I’d trade all of my tomorrows for a single yesterday

Kris Kristofferson, Me and Bobby McGee

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot

Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi

The last time I felt like this I was in the wilderness and the canyon was on fire
and I stood on the mountain in the night and I watched it burn

Emmylou Harris, Boulder to Birmingham

You of tender years can’t know the fears that your elders grew by. So help them with your youth, they seek the truth before they can die. Teach your parents well, their childrens’ hell will slowly go by. And feed them on your dreams.

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Teach Your Children

Because the cops don’t need you, and man they expect the same

Bob Dylan, Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues

Once I had mountains in the palm of my hand, and rivers that ran through every day. I must have been mad, I never knew what I had until I threw it all away.

Bob Dylan, I Threw it All Away

Cowboys like smoky old poolrooms and clear mountain mornings

Patsy and Ed Bruce, Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys

I married her because she looks like you

Lyle Lovett, I Married Her Because She Looks Like You

Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance

Paul Simon, Train in the Distance

Why am I soft in the middle when the rest of my life is so hard

Paul Simon, You Can Call Me Al

All I ever had: Redemption songs: These songs of freedom

Bob Marley, Redemption Songs

In the end, only kindness matters

Jewel, Hands


And, if you happen to speak (or read) Spanish, how about these:

Simon Blanco tuvo suerte. De tres balas que le dieron, solo una fue de muerte.

Anonymous corrido, Simon Blanco

Yo soy como el chile verde, picante pero sabroso

Anonymous, la Llorona