Sunday, 30 June 2013

On Visiting England

Don't expect to understand every phrase or word just because the people share the same language.

(Flying across Greenland and the Atlantic Ocean)

Saturday, 29 June 2013

On Plastic Bags

There is nothing beautiful nor sustainable about a world filled with floating bags and apathy.

(A random plastic bag stuck in a tree in Montreal)

Friday, 28 June 2013

On Eggcorns

They are substitutions of a new word/phrase for another that sounds similar, generally introducing a new meaning.

"You've got another think coming" is the original phrase which refers to a desire to change an individual's thought process.

"You've got another thing coming" is the title of a popular 1982 song by the British heavy metal band Judas Priest. It is the version most people use nowadays.

(A crowd getting ready for a show at the Montreal Hippodrome)

Thursday, 27 June 2013

On Swimming Pools

They definitely come in handy on hot summer days but require constant cleaning and expensive maintenance for a relatively short period of pleasure.

(A friend's above-ground swimming pool in Montreal)

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

On Dating

As soon as I figure out the secret to doing this properly I will surely let you all know.

(A random couple chatting at a bar in Montreal)

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

On the Governor General

The representative of the Queen in Canada used to be an important job although these days the primary responsibility seems to be handing out various awards.

(GG David Johnston speaking at a volunteer benefit)

Monday, 24 June 2013

On Literary Devices

They are a necessary component to great literature as a technique in producing specific effects and/or desired outcomes.
  1. Alliteration: The repetition of consonant letters and sounds in neighboring words in a sentence. (e.g. Weak and weary, Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright, Three grey geese in a green field grazing, etc.)
  2. Assonance: The repetition of vowel sounds without repetitions of consonants. (e.g. The purple curtain, Don't pry in my lies, The sound of the hound pounding, etc.)
  3. Hyperbole: Exaggeration is used deliberately for effect/emphasis. (e.g. An ocean of tears, Mountains of gold, Enough food to feed a whole army, etc.)
  4. Imagery: Descriptions and figures of speech to create vivid mental pictures in the mind of the reader through various senses. (e.g. The room was bursting with people and champagne, The smell of banana bread filled the room, Her hands felt softer than a baby's behind, etc.)
  5. Irony: A statement/situation that has an underlying meaning different from its literal one. (e.g. An English teacher who makes spelling mistakes, Getting sick by worrying about health, A divorced marriage counselor, etc.)
  6. Metaphor: A word/phrase drawing comparisons without the use of the words "like" or "as". (e.g. Drowning in paperwork, Elephant in the room, Three sheets to the wind, etc.)
  7. Onomatopoeia: A word that phonetically imitates the source of the sound it describes. (e.g. buzz, hiss, meow, etc.)
  8. Personification: Attributing human qualities to animals or random objects. (e.g. the cat pranced around, the vase stood stoically, the car was showing off, etc.)
  9. Simile: Figure of speech comparing two things usually with the use of "like" or "as". (e.g. Hungry like the wolf, She is as sweet as candy, Busy as a bee, etc.)
  10. Symbolism: Attributing symbolic meaning to elements in a story. (e.g. Ring in Lord of the Rings, Conch shell in Lord of the Flies, Rosebud in Citizen Kane, etc.)
(The House of Jazz restaurant evokes auditory imagery in Montreal)

Sunday, 23 June 2013

On Ethiopian Cuisine

Just because a country may have suffered a string of famines in the past, it doesn't mean that it can't possess some of the world's tastiest food. 

(A delicious Ethiopian meal at a Montreal restaurant)

Saturday, 22 June 2013

On Being

"To be, or not to be, that is the question:
Whether 'tis Nobler in the mind to suffer
The Slings and Arrows of outrageous Fortune,
Or to take Arms against a Sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end
The Heart-ache, and the thousand Natural shocks
That Flesh is heir to? 'Tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die to sleep,
To sleep, perchance to Dream;
Aye, there's the rub."

-William Shakespeare, from Hamlet

(An interesting walkway in Adana, Turkey)

Friday, 21 June 2013

On Hot Sauces

They make a far healthier popcorn topping than butter or powdered flavors if one can handle the spiciness.

(A sea of hot sauces at a Florida restaurant)

Thursday, 20 June 2013

On Building Bridges

Understanding bridge concepts, including how to build them, is a crucial component in elementary science and technology education. 

(Bridge constructed with tape, toothpicks, and popsicle sticks)

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

On the Decline of America

Just because a country may have diversity, opportunity, and freedom it does not make it is "the" greatest in the world.

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

On Oronyms

They are homophonic phrases that are pronounced the same but entirely different in spelling and meaning.

For example/Four eggs ample:
  • Ice cream vs. I scream
  • An aim vs. A name
  • That's tough vs. That stuff
(I scream for ice cream in Paris, France)

Monday, 17 June 2013

On Twitter

Just because someone has tweeted and retweeted 1000+ times it doesn't mean he/she knows the first thing about using social media effectively. 

(Random web image)

Sunday, 16 June 2013

On Long-Term Customers

It does not necessarily cost a lot of money but rewarding long-term customers with something as small as a fruit basket can make a world of difference in their lives.

(Rewarding a loyal couple for years of service)

Saturday, 15 June 2013

On Recycled Materials

"Forgive and forget" is an adage that can be used for a lot more than just relationships among people.

(A napkin from Chipotle restaurant in Toronto)

Friday, 14 June 2013

On English Sayings

Knowing the difference between these common types of expressions may make you seem more knowledgeable than the average person.

Adage: A common saying that attempts to educate through lived experiences. (e.g. Don't count your chickens before they hatch, Don't burn your bridges, The early bird gets the worm, etc.)

Cliche: An expression that has lost any meaning due to overuse. (e.g. Made in China, Tastes like chicken, It was a dark and stormy night, etc.)

Idiom: A saying/sentence that takes on a figurative meaning due to its everyday use in a particular community or class. (e.g. Apple of my eye, Bed of Roses, Hit the hay, etc.)

Proverb: A simple popular saying that expresses a common truth. (e.g. Ignorance is bliss, You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink, Haste makes waste, etc.)

(Graffiti in Montreal that was "left in the cold")

Thursday, 13 June 2013

On Ice Cream Sundaes

Be careful about adding chocolate/caramel/gummy bears to an ice cream sundae as they are much more effective in pulling out fillings when frozen.

(Delicious Red Velvet ice cream I recently had in Florida)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

On Adverbs

"The adverb is not your friend. [They] are words that modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They're the ones that usually end in -ly. Adverbs, like the passive voice, seem to have been created with the timid writer in mind... With adverbs, the writer usually tells us he or she is afraid he/she isn't expressing himself/herself clearly, that he or she is not getting the point or the picture across... I believe the road to hell is paved with adverbs, and I will shout it from the rooftops."
-Stephen King, On Writing

(A sign outside Lucy Maud Montgomery's home in PEI)

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

On Playgrounds

Many first childhood lessons are discovered while playing around and experimenting in a sandbox.

(Random playground in Montreal's west island)

Monday, 10 June 2013

On Hitchhiking

It is a declining form of transportation but one should be open to offering a ride to others in need at least once in their lives.

(Random girl running near Boston, MA)

Sunday, 9 June 2013

On School vs. Education

There's more than one way in this world to be an educated person, but "If you don't build your dreams someone else will hire you to help build theirs."

Saturday, 8 June 2013

On i.e. & e.g.

People love to pen these Latin abbreviations, although many do not know the subtle difference between them.

i.e. (id est) means "in other words" and used to clarify a meaning: We run the marathon in July, i.e., next month!
e.g. (exempli gratia) means "for example" and used to provide a list of examples: She loves music, e.g., pop and classical.

(I love going to pop/rock concerts, e.g., U2, Coldplay, Bon Jovi, etc.)

Friday, 7 June 2013

On Nepotism

It is favoritism granted to children/relatives into (professional) positions of power regardless of their merit.

(Sample VAIO Photo)

Thursday, 6 June 2013

On Non-Dairy Beverages

If you're searching for a non-lactose, gluten-free, un-genetically modified alternative to milk, almond-based ones are far healthier than soy.

(Some almond-based drinks that I prefer at the moment)

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

On Foreign Products

Before buying products in a language you do not understand be sure to know something about how to prepare or serve it.

(A Korean dish that requires specific instructions)

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

On Atheism

Although it is the word most frequently associated with non-believers of God, there are important distinctions to be made.

Atheism: The belief that there is/are no God(s).
Agnosticism: The belief that the existence of God is unknown and impossible to prove/disprove.
Agnostic Atheism: The belief that there is no God because its existence is unknowable.

(A religious painting at the Louvre museum in Paris)

Monday, 3 June 2013

On Toronto

It is the Canadian equivalent to New York City and the fourth largest city in North America so make sure you are prepared for large crowds, pollution, and endless distractions.

(The heart of downtown Toronto on a sunny May afternoon)

Sunday, 2 June 2013

On Revenge

"It was not easy being a soldier, but we just had to do it. I have been rehabilitated now, so don't be afraid of me. I am not a soldier anymore; I am a child. We are all brothers and sisters. What I have learned from my experience is that revenge is not good. I joined the army to avenge the deaths of my family and to survive, but I've come to learn that if I am going to take revenge, in that process I will kill another person whose family will want revenge; then revenge and revenge and revenge will never come to an end..."     

-Ishmael Beah, author of "A Long Way Gone".

(A duck family passing through a Montreal parking lot)

Saturday, 1 June 2013

On a Cyclist's Place

Drivers own the road; pedestrians own the sidewalks, but most cyclists are expected to maneuver somewhere in between. 

(Sample VIAO picture)