Category: Language On!


And now for something completely different for this blog: A Book Review!

First and personally, I am so proud to have finally found and tied into the public library here in the land of Spanish Moss. It always takes a while to humble myself again and do these things – maybe deep in my soul I should own a library! Oh I do, and it is just vinyl record albums. I digress again.

In the Autumn of 2017, I had three titles on my list of books to read and one of them was a no-brainer, when I heard about it, Maria Sharapova’s autobiography. I have always been one of her fans.
Why now? I knew I had to begin to read again because I was in a writer’s limbo, and you know that, as I stated in past blogs, in order to write well you have to read much. So let’s get to it!

I just finished reading Maria Sharapova’s first autobiography,“Unstoppable – My Life So Far” with Rich Cohen in record time (for me)! Masha (her real name in “Russian) weaves a compelling and enlightening story, with candid diary clips throughout that I could only put down to sleep, eat and run my own work errands. If you’ve ever wondered what life is like for a major player on the Women’s professional tennis tour as a girl becomes a woman, this autobiography is a must read and a real page turner.

It is the first sports autobiography I remember reading since The Roy Campanella story, as a teen, and more recently, “Namath” about my main New York Jets quarterback, whose style and ability I grew up admiring, although I must have read Mickey Mantle’s and others through the years.

I learned that we share admiration for Monica Seles, whose audible power release as she hit the ball (some call it a “grunt”, but it is more sexy than that to a man’s ears, believe me, I’ve had sex with many women who make the same sound when they orgasm) first turned my attention into women’s tennis back in the 1990s. Indeed, Ms. Seles’ story of rising as a teenager achieving stardom on one of the biggest stages in sport, the Pro tennis tour is similar to Ms. Sharapova’s!
The Author also emulates Lindsay Davenport, whose classy game I too came to admire and shows respect for another of my favorites to watch, Serbian, Jelena Jankovic`. We learn about her coaches and even a favorite brand of shoes in these pages.

She used what I call the “sandwich” format for this first part of telling about her life. Using this format allowed Ms. Sharapova to recount her life, so that the reader can get to know her better and it works. She started with the present unjust failed drug test scandal drama and then retraced how she got to this point, while setting up her feelings about going forward with her career and life. The major theme was to tell her side of the suspension story to help clear her name of being associated with doping and I commend her for that. Hell, the substance they flagged her for was not even on the list of illegals throughout 99% of her career, and something smells very fishy about how it was suddenly added. It is almost like the suspicion East Germans who were competing in the Olympics were under, back in the Cold War days.

There is a nice pictorial section mid-way through and I like how neutral her cover photo is and how she describes her relationship with her main motivator, Yuri, her father and their initial trek following the ugly Chernobyl, now part of Ukraine, melt-down, eventually into Sochi, Russia and on to Florida as unknowns when she was a little girl with a huge racket.

She speaks about what I have often wondered while following women’s tennis: her main nemesis, Serena Williams. Oddly, she only mentions her older sister, Venus once. I would have like to have read her comparison of their games.

My favorite quote is from her father, Yuri, who said, “When you let your brain overrule your gut, you screw up your life.” Wow, my mentor used that philosophy and so do I programming my radio shows and identifying hit music through the years! Even though I borrowed it from the library, I will gladly purchase it for my private hardcover collection once I move into my own home.
Nice job, tall lady!! Whatta twenty-first century Fox. You are a “hit” and I’d look up to you without insecurity, rating your book with five out of a possible 5 tennis rackets.

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My degree from the University is in English and Communication. I am a bit of a “wordsmith” in the tradition of the late William Safire, who penned the “On Language” column in the Sunday New York Times magazine.
Not a snob by any means, certain trends or linguistic fads get my Capricorn “goat”.

Recently, and I mean that I didn’t notice this until this year, 2015, I feel it disengenuous when I hear “Thank you SO much.” It is almost like the person saying that is almost hoping that the receiver will accept what they know is a knee-jerk bullshit common statement! soo

When I was raised, everybody said a version of “Thank you VERY much!”, if they had to go beyond just “Thank you.”

So when did this battle of the adverb/adjective, “very” versus the multifunctional “so” begin? My answer is when the laziness created by cell phones and other personal devices that have cause lowered educational standerds began: the advent of the “information superhighway” begat by techno inventions.

Sad to think that if most people are left to their own devices, they will take the easy way out, turn their brains mostly off and do the wrong thing like texting or paying too much attention to their telephone while driving.

This is all part of the reason that “Thank you VERY much!” is so much better than the lazy and lame, “SO much” we hear these days. I even heard an MSNBC TV news female anchor use it when receiving the toss back from a reporter the other day. I almost became nauseous.

For you, my reader, who was not an English major in college and do not understand what all the fuss is about, I will now define according to http://partofspeech.org/
“In verbal and written English, the word “so” has multiple functions. It can act as an adverb, a conjunction, a pronoun, an adjective, or an interjection depending on the context.”

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While “like many words in the English language, the word ”very” also serves a double function. It can be used as an adverb or an adjective depending on the context.”

The solution could be to combine the two as in this version of the British “Keep Calm and Carry On” series: download
Yet, I want to see “so” deleted from the modern appreciation lexicpon altogether! Its slang leanings are fake and lame, rolling off the tongues of (mostly) female hipsters with captious intentions.
Listen, now that I have brought this to your attention and according to your generation (or if you even care), please analyse the preference. Most of we Baby Boomers will agree with me and/or go “Oh Wow! I’d heard that trend but not really paid any attention to it – it did sound kind of weird…” lol Other younguns might find this column superflous or even dumb. And that last part is what I am getting at: the dumbing-down of our society and in this case, lingustic culture and traditions for the worse. Now, for a little musical punctuation for my points above:

“Thank you so much is becoming way over used and doesn’t come off as genuine anymore. It’s almost as if everyone were hypnotized into saying Thank you so much instead of the good old Thanks a lot.”http://english.stackexchange.com/

Thank you very, very much for your comments!

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