Friday, June 26, 2009

The caves are alive with the sound of music?

To paraphrase the philosopher: I sing, therefore I am. Human beings need music in their lives! And not just humans in recent history; ones who lived wa-a-a-ay back, too. In a remote valley of Germany, archeologists have unearthed a 35,000-year-old flute, the oldest instrument ever discovered. Using stone tools, a cave person carved the flute from the hollow wing-bone of a giant vulture, according to the Vancouver Sun.

Maybe the Flintstone-era folk believed, as I do, that music lifts you up and makes you feel better, even when things aren’t going well. Like I say about music in The Man in the Moonstone, “It cleared bad things away, just like … well, just like opening the bathroom window cleared away the smell of our cat Wilfred’s litter.”

Friday, June 19, 2009

‘Defanitely’? Get a grip on your spelling, people!

As someone raised by a librarian mom, I may gripe about eating my broccoli, but never about spelling it with only one c. And I may not agree with Mother that tidying my room is necessary, but I would never DARE tell her it’s unecessary. Good grief! So, whatever my other wee flaws – acting before I think, say, or being a tad too blunt – I definitely think correct spelling is important. Oh, and note that it’s definitely, not defanitely, as most people misspell it. According to the Scottish Daily Record, “definitely” is the number-one misspelled word in the English language. The others I've noted above follow shamefully behind. Sigh. All of you who get your words wrong, may the spelling bee sting you!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Eccentric characters? The real-life ones are even weirder

At a school presentation recently, a student asked Melanie, “How do you think of these funny characters, like the warty-nosed fortune teller in Queen of Disguises?” Well, the answer is: Melanie draws them, like a bucket from a well, from real life. And real-life characters are funnier than any she could make up. If Melanie invented characters similar to the real people you read about, she’d be accused of being too far-fetched.

For a real-life example of eccentric types, the Daily Mail reported on a posh London club where – get this – toilet paper is being pilfered! The snooty Hurlingham Club, whose waiting list to belong is 15 years, issued an angry memo to patrons about “conduct unbecoming.” As a junior sleuth, I’d advise the club: look for someone with a very large purse – that’s the only way a person could smuggle out toilet paper.

But the thefts don’t stop in the washrooms. Reports the Mail: “ … a lady member [was] filling her own bottle from the hand-lotion dispenser.” The light-fingered lass also pocketed “a decoration from the club Christmas tree and potpourri by the handful.” Potpourri’s that scented stuff your mom leaves out to make rooms smell nice.

Seems to me the Hurlington Club, potpourri or no, is smelling awfully fishy these days.