Monday, November 1, 2010


On the back cover of the magazine is a large green rectangle. I won't mention the product or magazine to save me a peevish comment from either of the two. The green rectangle proclaims in large bold print yellow " Save Up To $5000 . In smaller print underneath the bold statement the advertisement qualifies the savings with the word "annually". In even smaller print below the large banner is an endorsement from John Doe, abbreviated John D. ,New Mexico. "With the ...I saved $5000 last year." I mention the ad to my wife. "Can you believe this?" I growl peevishly. They make an undocumented claim and back it up with an endorsement equally without proof. Unless there's some federal agency reading the back pages of magazines like this one, the claims might as well be tooting Dr.Feelgood's Tonic and Elixir. Sorry Dr. Feelgood, but at least your product sold from the back of a wagon made people feel good since the old time swindlers laced their concoction with alcohol. Madison Avenue. A coverall term I use to describe the advertising tricks and gimmicks used to sell a product.

Yahoo news this morning warns people to beware of the 50% off deals. There is more to the claim than meets the eye.

Of course I look inward for answers. Am I peevish because the coffee this morning was leftover from Sunday. "Are you cranky because you've another day of hard labor hauling firewood?" Oh wow. Peeve. Cranky. Get out the Oxford Etymology. I learn that "peeved" is a past participle formed upon a supposed verb stem. Does that mean the English language is a fake, too. There is no verb to peeve. The closest thing is what we did behind the barn as kids. I am really peevish now, because I lost my cursor. "Where the heck did it go?"

Cranky? The Oxford dictionary says it's obsolete , a fanciful turn of speech of US origin.

My sister sends me a cookbook she helped to publish. In the evening my phone rings. I see her name on the display. I don't pick up. For reasons that are too involved to explain here, such as: 1. I look at the telephone as an intrusion. 2. After a phone call from the other sister, I usually have to pour a glass of wine to calm myself. 3. My oldest sister is most like my crazy step mother. The next day I e-mail her a thank you note. I include a few details about life here in Kickapoo Center. When I retrieve her voice mail message, I get a detailed summary of the next five days of her travel plans. There's no way I can remember when she's home and when she's on the road. I call several times, leaving no message on her home phone. Finally we connect.

"Did you get my cookbook?" she asks. I counter with, "You didn't read my e-mail, did you." "No I never got one," she says. I tell her to get another ISP if she's losing mail. "Oh, they told me they couldn't fix the problem until they lay another cable next spring. I start gnashing my teeth. Further in the conversation I mention the new windows we've been busy installing before the cold winds of winter lash this old schoolhouse. "Oh. I remember a thing someone wrote about windows. No it wasn't you. It was somebody else."

A day or two later I get an e-mail telling me she finally got my e-mail.

Krikey. The ends that people go to save face. My premise. People are so used to deception, they employ many of these same tactics of omission, half truths, coyote yarns(exaggeration) , lies and distortions that they see and hear on the media.

Yes. I looked up harping, too. There wasn't an entry in the Oxford etymology. My dictionary gave two definitions: to play the harp and to dwell on a subject tiresomely.

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