Time to Write a Poem

09C450E1-B82F-4E62-9267-BA968ADACB91There was that time
I decided to write a poem
Whenever others read it
All they could do was to groan


Written for Teresa Grab’s Poetry Challenge. Teresa explains that there are more than 100 different poetic forms and she asked us to find one form and to use the picture from Susan Cipriano from Pixabay as inspiration. The form of poetry I chose is FFFP, otherwise known as Fandango’s Free-Form Poetry. And although Teresa said that there is no such thing as a bad poem, I think my poem has just proven her wrong.

Historic Article

C3D5CE8D-F3A6-429B-B8A1-EBC128F1BEA8I saw an article that popped up on my iPhone’s news feed this morning. It was about the U.S. and the Taliban having signed a peace agreement and it contained a sentence that read:

After a week-long “reduction in violence,” the US and Taliban have signed a historic agreement Saturday, which would set into motion the drawdown of US troops from Afghanistan and potentially pave the way to ending America’s longest-fought war.

My post, by the way, has nothing to do with that “historic agreement.” It does have to do, as the image at the top hints, with historic articles, though.

When I read that sentence, I was struck by the phrase “a historic.” Way back in my school days I was taught that the article “an” should be used before the letter “h.” After all, you wouldn’t say “I’ll meet you in a hour.” You’d say “…an hour.” Likewise, “It would be an honor,” not “a honor.” Right?

So the sentence in the article, based upon what I had learned, should have read “…have signed an historic agreement….”

Now I’m second guessing myself. Was I taught the wrong thing? Am I misremembering? Did I dream the whole thing up?

So, of course, I Googled it. Most of the sites I found said that “a historic” is correct. As one site explained:

The article “an” is correct before historic if the word is pronounced “istoric.” “A” is the correct article if the word is pronounced “historic,” beginning with an h sound. In print, at least in the United States, where the word is normally pronounced with an h, the correct written form is “a historic.”

Another site put it simply:

Here’s the basic rule: If the word begins with a consonant sound, the correct article is “a.” If the word begins with a vowel sound, the correct article is “an.”

So was I taught the wrong grammatical rule in my formative years, or did I just misunderstand how to apply the rule? In any event, “a historic” sounds awkward to me, while “an historic” sounds right.

What about you? Do you use an “a” or an “an” before the word “historic”?

#JusJoJan — New Phone Case

Linda G. Hill, the blogger behind the weekly “One-Liner Wednesday” and “Stream of Consciousness Saturday” prompts has a new daily challenge for the month of January. It’s called Just Jot It January, or “JusJoJan.”

Linda explains that “the ‘jot it’ part of JusJoJan, means that anything you jot down, anywhere (it doesn’t have to be a post, it can even be a grocery list), counts as a ‘jot.’ If it makes it to your blog that day, great! If it waits a week to get from a sticky note to your screen, no problem!”

For today’s JusJoJan prompt, Linda has asked us to post “a picture you’ve taken in the last week.”

My wife got a new smartphone last month and she ordered a protective case for it, which arrived on Tuesday.8AFCD5C6-BF4C-4E28-83BA-567E59B46235She loves it. It suits her. So I took this picture of her new case and this is my JusJoJan post for today.

The Monday Peeve — Chomping at the Bit

Every Monday, Paula Light publishes her “The Monday Peeve” prompt in which she gives us “the chance to blow off a little steam at the beginning of the week, so then we can go merrily on our way once again.”

I’m going to do a lot of blowing off today. Are you ready for my rant?

This may sound petty, but as I admitted in my provocative question post last Wednesday, I’m a peeveblogger. And one thing that peeves me off is when people use the expressing “chomping at the bit.” Why does that peeve me off? Simple. It’s not the correct idiom, which is “champing at the bit.” Yes, it’s “champing” not “chomping.”

50D55F6F-302E-43CD-A9EA-D01121F93BCFThe idiom comes from horse racing. A bit is part of the apparatus that goes in the horse’s mouth and connects to the bridle and reins so the horse can be controlled and directed by the jockey on its back. The bit fits into a toothless ridge of the horse’s mouth, so the horse never really bites the bit. But it can grind his teeth or jaw against the bit, and if it does, it means that the horse is either nervous, or really excited about racing. That’s how the phrase “champing at the bit” entered everyday communications: to indicate extreme eagerness.

Most people use the phrase today to indicate when someone is eager or anxious to do something. They are said to be champing at the bit, not chomping at the bit, nor chomping on the bit. So what am I supposed to do when someone says or writes “chomping at the bit”? Am I supposed to just sit back, swallow hard, and let whoever said or wrote it mangle and abuse the English language? Probably some, or maybe most, of you think I should.

While I’m on a roll, it also drives me crazy when people say “flush out” when what they really mean is “flesh out.” As I’m sure you know, to flesh out an idea is to give it substance, whereas to flush out something is to reveal a thing previously concealed. Flesh out and flush out are not synonymous or interchangeable.

Or how about those who say that they could care less, when what they really mean is that they couldn’t care less? “I couldn’t care less” means that it’s not possible for me to care any less about the subject at hand than I already do. On the other hand, “I could care less” literally means “I care more than I might seem to.” If you could care less, you’re saying that you care a little and it’s possible that you could care even less, which is the opposite of not caring at all.

And, finally, if you don’t know the difference between the Latin abbreviations “e.g.” and “i.e.,” don’t use them. Use, instead, “for example” or “that is.”

Okay, I’m done.TMP