By Chuck Wiser, I write the words to share what my eyes see and my heart feels
The column title is somewhat of a sneak peek at the lead in topic and perhaps if you separate the last word into syllables (or cylinders as my students would groan at every time, I used that malaprop) Wiseropity might invite any emotion and excuse any lameness from this “writhing.”
LIFO (Last in First out) would be an example of the addition of a topic to today’s column as an article in the Olean Times Herald read just minutes ago inspired it. On the heels of several days of illness recently I am now off the non-prescription medicine commonly known as Sudafed (PseudoephedrineHCL). Other than just plain, or enhanced AlkaSelzer, it is one of the “over the counter” (OTC) medicines that I come to rely on. It is very effective in helping to lessen the congestion, pain, and stuffiness of the cold/sinus symptoms. There is a supposedly, or implied, “enhanced” product, playing on the recognized name, which is called Sudafed PE (Phenylephrine). Phenylephrine does not decongest. The so-called medicine is a multi-billion-dollar sales item that is completely ineffective as to its implied medical purpose.
The use of just those couple of terms triggers the next topic. I have discussed “Prefixes” and “Suffixes” before, and they are a component of my admiration, inspiration and even frustration with our language. Many of those word etymology components are based on the root languages, especially Latin. My mother often mentioned having to take latin as a “required” course during her high school days. That is not an unusual feeling that many students express in the shape of: “Why do I have to learn that?”, or I will never need to know that, and I could (or couldn’t) care less about that.
I remember taking both Physics and Chemistry courses in my high school days bypassing such things as “Driver Ed.” I’m not sure if I was prescient or just had an interest in the “sciences” despite every intention, at that time, to “become a writer when I grow up.” Dear old Mr. Hood (or “Uncle-Bugger” as many nicknamed him), might have been joked about behind his back, but he was at least tied with Del Mancuso as one of the most respected and effective teachers in my high school days and education. They left an indelible mark on my life and my future love of learning and teaching. The History classes that Mr. Mancuso taught were the least appreciated by most as they could not see or understand the value of learning “about history”. Some of those lessons may well help us in today’s world events as we ponder what is going on in our world.
In chemistry we learned much of the terminology, of which, I write today. Words or terms ending with the suffix “ite” versus “ate,” are distinguished by the subtle difference in the meaning of those suffixes. Without getting too technical and perhaps with a slight amount of “writers license,” the differences between “ites,” “ates,” “ides” etc., are based on their molecular structure. One such, is the amount of Oxygen, that is included in, and is a major chemical component of the molecule. Carbon (C) is the other most common “element.” Co2 and Co are almost universally understood terms recognized as the chemical compound terminology for Carbon Dioxide (“Di” meaning two), and Carbon Monoxide (Mono meaning one). Co2 has two oxygen molecules. Co has only one oxygen molecule and the “1” is understood without the addition of the number.
That is another steppingstone for the next suffix designation bringing us to “ite” versus “ate.” The former would be classified as a “metal.” The latter would be classified as a “salt.” Those two molecular components are included with the different types of compounds known as “bases,” “acids,” “metals” and “salts.” Sodium Chloride (NaCl) is table salt.
With all due apologies to those not sleeping through that, writing like this brings me shivers of joy as I get to exercise two of my greatest pleasures in life, learning and teaching. One other such pleasure, now being recently re-experienced, is that of singing. I have explained my earlier in life naivety of my by-passing formal musical education or exposure in high school so am now making up for lost time. One of my Choral publications, of which I am most proud, and grateful to Dave Dunbar and Peg Dunbar for, is Thank You Lord, which is going to be performed as one of the Grace United Church choir anthems in the near future. I make no apologies for the next blatant advertisement in inviting those who miss, or would like to return to singing, to join us for worship services at Grace United, as we have a very active Church Choir and a “Praise Band” which is a little lighter musical offering carried over with the merger with the Christian Temple church a few years ago. Choir and Praise practices are each Wednesday at 7 PM and church is Sunday at 10 AM with Choir warmup starting at 9:15.
That is a lead-in to summarizing the culmination of the Gracefull Arts Poetry Slam contest held under the auspices of that same church. The poetry contest participation and attendance at the recent reading included many area poets this past week. I had hopes of re-printing the poems offered by the three winners in today’s writings but reached out to the more highly placing (than me) winners, too late to receive a copy of their poem from all of them but I have included the poem written, and read, by the overall winner Mary Gardner-Ruch.
I have entered quite a few Poetry contests and have been moderately successful in my efforts. I came in 3rd in this recent Poetry Slam and have won in others or have been added to their publications in the Olean Times Herald and other nationally recognized poetry contests.
My interpretation of Poetry is, and always had been, I guess, what seems to be a narrowing practice field of rhyming lines of verse in a certain pattern. That has been influenced by my familiarity with the singing or writing of musical scores. Musical compositions traditionally, and typically, are written with 8 beats over two measures with 4 beats in each. The ending words of alternating lines, the first and last line or first and third are typically “rhymes” with each other.
I read three poems, the first two of which were examples of 90% of my poems, which follow what I perceived as the traditional format. The last, one of the few non-rhyming poems I have written, won me the prize. As I look back over my past experiences, I note that when I happen to include one of those 10% non-rhyming poems, my success rate is notably higher. I guess I will continue writing the poems hoping to line up with a musical composer with my words ending up as the lyrics for their composition. I will continue writing my poetry in the “traditional” rhyming style but may re-consider for those I wish to enter into writing/wreading contests in the more modern Wrambling, non-Wrhyming style. I will wrap up this section of Wiser’s Wramblings and try to separate the separate topics that follow into a reader friendly sleep “inducementable” words.
Scanner calls, and others:
- Cow in the road on eastbound I86 near the West Almond exit.
- Several calls regarding “unable to maintain lane,” or “wandering all over the road, crossing the yellow outside borderline and center lines.
- Car traveling 35 MPH in the passing lane impeding traffic flow.
- License plate number reported using the “Aught” as “zero” as in “8 aught, aught 4” in 8004.
My last acknowledgement goes to express my thanks and appreciation for the comments made by a young lady (between 20 and 70 years of age) who is also a member of the Genesee Valley Chorus. I have yet to identify or meet her personally that I was aware of, at practices. Thanks!
Overall winner of the Grace United Poetry Slam Mary Gardner Ruch sent me her poem a little while ago. I can understand the lateness of its arrival, it being so long and such…
by Mary Gardner-Ruch
I close my eyes and travel with my nose
to my German Grandma’s kitchen.
Yeasty Kucan sprinkled with cinnamon
And now mine as the third-place winner, which was most likely one of the longest…