Welcome to Alphaday 12, Season XIV. There’s still plenty going on in our Alpha world and it doesn’t really feel as if the end of the season is as near as it is. Nevertheless, with only two more Alphadays to go before we’re off on our annual holiday (to get on with our exciting writing projects) it is time to do a spot of planning ahead for the September start of our next season. We have our habitual rituals which include collecting your opinions about the way we operate and how to improve as we move ahead. You can start thinking about it now, and I’ll put together some specific questions for you to answer which I’ll send out with the next bulletin.
For now we have an interesting agenda which will keep us busy for a while – as follows:
- This bulletin from me
- The results of the poetry challenge from Jackie
- The 3rd edition of the Open Page from Christine
- A Call for Log entries from Sally
I think you’ll find enough stimulation and enjoyment in that lot even though there are fewer items than when we’re in full swing.
You will find an additional attachment with this communication which Olaf has asked me to send out to the group. I know that Olaf is reluctant to retire from active participation in all Alpha activities. He ran the group single-handedly for the first couple of seasons before gradually handing over some responsibilities to other, trusted members – carefully supervised by Olaf’s eagle eye. I’ve always referred to his judgment in matters that weren’t straightforward, and his mentorship helped me enormously. He can now retire with a good conscience from the responsibilities, but hopefully he’ll never retire from following everything that’s going on in Alpha.
Take it easy, Olaf. We’ll always be delighted to hear from you whenever you can’t keep away from us.
In my long experience with Alpha I have come to consider the upheaval of moving house as one of the hardest troubles to reconcile with the simple pleasures of keeping up with Alpha. I’m impressed with Sarah’s smooth transition from one house to another. There was hardly a glitch. I’m now wishing Abigail a similar painless move from her present home to her new home near the NW corner of the Mediterranean. I believe she’s perched on top of cardboard boxes and will be off in less than a week.
It’s a long time since we’ve marvelled at the way words are used. I’ve come across a couple of gems that I’ll share with you. Perhaps the rest of you have some equally interesting word news to share.
There was a perfect oxymoron that emerged from the White House recently. With the lingustic elegance and finesse we’ve come to expect from there, they’d appointed a “temporary permanent secretary”. Nice one.
The word “protest” has taken on new dimensions for me. Basically it shares a stress particularity with a number of other words such as “refuse” and “convict”. As a noun the stress is on the first syllable; as a verb the stress is on the second syllable.
I heard a news reader saying that a group of people had gathered to ‘protest against something. That jarred on my upbringing which is heavily influenced by quotes from Hamlet where Gertrude says that “The lady doth pro’test too much, methinks.” Verb, 2nd syllable stress. It appears that the verb “protest” has been split into two separate semantic areas: one is about contradicting / arguing (pro’test) while the other is about political manifestations (‘protest).
To this one could add that the word “protest” is also used as an adjective and as such it’s stressed on the first syllable: a ‘protest march.
It’s important to keep protesting or ‘protesting in a world that’s in such a mess. That’s why we’d better learn to use the word in the latest, modern way.