Randy Smith

Randy Smith
New Albany, Indiana, USA
January 09
Destinations Booksellers, New Albany Now, and Flood Crest Press
An independent bookseller, publisher, Internet journalist, and sometimes broadcaster in the Louisville metro area. "There's no idea that's as dangerous as ignorance." I urge you to buy from your local independent bookseller, but if you can't, we are also online. Message me through OS and we'll take good care of you. Call it the OSticate Program.


MARCH 29, 2009 1:51PM

Just an old so-and-so: W.O.O.D.

Rate: 5 Flag

OK, so you don't care for the W.O.O.D. feature? Doesn't mean I won't keep using the "open" feature of Open Salon to continue the series, a series that is, to my mind, both serendipitous and synchronous.

That is, when I run across something that crosses my eyes, I'll feel free to upload a post.


We are far removed from an agricultural society. Very few of us grow our own food. OS probably has a higher percentage of locavores than the run-of-the-mill online network, but still, how many of us know where our food comes from? and what it takes to get it to the table?

I don't grow my own food. I do support community supported agriculture and I crave locally grown food in season. I honor the idea of slow food in the only way I can.

That's a long, slow introduction to today's W.O.O.D.

Sowing. To spread or plant seed. In the non-ag vernacular, the proper expression is "sowing his wild oats," although it's understandable that some who use the expression orally might neglect to remember that the expression has a history - and mistakenly talk about someone "sewing" wild oats.

From the free dictionary: to do wild and foolish things in one's youth. (often assumed to have some sort of sexual meaning.)

According to Phraseology: Thousands of Bizarre Origins, Unexpected Connections, and Fascinating Facts About English's Best Expressions, by Barbara Ann Kipfer, wild oats are relatively worthless weeds, so the idiom represents the planting of worthless seeds.

When using idioms, don't be an idiot. Find out why the idiom exists before you use it. It's really not that hard.

BONUS: The original meaning and usage of the word "broadcasting" was related to a particular method of sowing seed - that is, spreading the seed in wide parabolic arcs as the sower proceeded down the row.

DOUBLE BONUS: That's the same "row" that is often hard to hoe. Is it most definitely not a "hard road to hoe."

TRIPLE BONUS: de-finite. Next time you're confused about how to spell definitely (for example, the all too common definately), just remember that you are discussing something that is FINITE, or finished. Unless you're Finnish.

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Thank you! I don't know why, but definately is like nails on a blackboard to me.

Some of this I already knew, others I learned something new. Don't stop doing these, please.
Thanks, Sally. I love to read things like this - Barbara Wallraff in The Atlantic, Bill Safire in NYT Magazine. Richard Lederer has a weekly (Sunday) call-in show on KPBS in San Diego with Martha Barnette, who I had the pleasure to meet once.

It's not the kind of thing to be used to call anyone out, but rather as a subtle resource to keep even the polished writer shiny. For the record, if/when I stumble in these areas, corrective comments are definitely invited.
JK, a board I'm on just considered a contract where they were asked to agree to pay a consultant for complimentary projects she might undertake in the future. I asked the lawyers in the room if it mattered. I hated to bring it up, but it does change the meaning, doesn't it?

I pictured her coming in and telling us how swell we were, then submitting an invoice.
I'm sure the lawysers loved that question. Very funny. I love these kinds of things too. Like toward vs towards. Only apparent difference is on is British and one is American.
Roger, I'm positively anal about towards, but it turns out I'm wrong. Where I now live, many are of German descent, and they all say towards, when I think it ought to be toward.

The root word, though, is German, something like toeverts, and I've conclude that towards is acceptable in the U.S. polyglot language.

However, that does NOT excuse someone to say forwards, upwards, etc. There is no "S" in forward.