The problem with new-fangled inventions is their likelihood of being abused.
I’ve written ad infinitum about the gratuitous porn that shows up on my desktop at home and, if I’m not careful, within view of my three grandchildren, all of tender years.
I’m still working on a fix and I’m happy to report that the hundreds of unwanted emails I got daily, promising to make me as wealthy as Bill Gates and a virile as Antonio Banderas, have vanished, thanks to a bit of Mac-tweaking by one of my sons.
What I dislike about the Internet is something both praise- and blame-worthy. The ease with which one can “forward all,” that is, dispatch something cute to everyone in Christendom with one click of the mouse, is both good and bad.
Sometimes it’s good to send mass messages out in a hurry, but that same convenience also de-personalizes things. Often the message contains a prayer, which “if sent out today — and please don’t break the chain — will help feed 7 million orphans in Sweden.”
Now I don’t want to appear a total ingrate. I appreciate various emails containing humor; some of the best emails I’ve received in mass mailings have been thought-provoking and often brilliant. I recently received a missive, which has made the rounds for a few days, on language. Regrettably, in many cases such as this, tracking down the author is difficult. If one of you knows the identity, please contact me. Here goes: —
The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.
As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English.”
In the first year, “s” will replace the soft “c.” Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.
The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k.” This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.
There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced with “f.” This will make words like fotograf 20 percent shorter.
In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.
Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent “e” in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.
By the fourth yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” with “z” and “w” with “v.”
During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou” and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensibl riten styl.
Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united Urop vil finali kum tru.
Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas. —
Meanwhile, Joe Angel of Las Vegas recently dropped off a note which I thought for sure was in a foreign language. Try it. Stick with it. It says a lot about the notion of correct spelling. —
I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg.
The pheonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rsceeeachr at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it denso’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are; the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig, huh? Yaeh and I awlyas tohuhgt slpeling was ipmorantt.