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May the Fourth · 4 May 2024


I almost passed up an opportunity to write about Star Wars Day.


Our middle son, Thing 2, hates Star Wars Day. Rather, he hates that his birthday coincides with Star Wars Day. Rather, he hates that people think May the Fourth is Star Wars Day. Maybe “hate” is the wrong word. Loathe is probably closer to how he feels.


(By the way, if you are like me, you might not know why May the Fourth is Star Wars Day. And by like me, I mean, clueless. After all, if you have even heard of Star Wars, you know that the line, is, “May the Force be with you,” comes up over and over and over again. (When somebody greets me with, “May the Force be with you,” I usually want to say, “And also with you,” but that is another story.) Anyway. May the Fourth sounds a lot like May the Force. Which is why May the Fourth is called Star Wars Day. And being clueless, I need to be reminded of this almost every year.)


At any rate.


I had to comment on Star Wars Day and my son’s birthday because they fall on the day my blog post is posted. So what better subject to write about on May the Fourth than May the Fourth. It makes perfect sense. Then again, I do need to make sure that my son says it is okay to write about it. After all, I like people who are featured in my blog to approve of my post before I post it. Not that it always happens that way, but usually. (And it did this time.)


At any rate.



I love Star Wars Day. Okay. Maybe love is too strong of a word. I do enjoy it though. Mostly because it is my son’s birthday. But loving Star Ward Day? I mean really. I am not so much of a Star Wars geek that I go out of my way to recognize May the Fourth as Star Wars Day. Half the time I need to be reminded that it is Star Wars Day. (Oops. I said above that I almost always need to be reminded.)


“What day is it?”
“May the Fourth.”
“And also with you. And Happy birthday!”


Star Wars Day is usually only a second thought. But I suppose it is the thought that counts. I suppose. Some people think it is the gift that counts. Some other people think it is the people who count. Rather, the people are the ones doing the counting.


Okay. This is getting silly. Of course, if you have read my blog for long, you know that I rarely say anything intelligible, let alone profound. Or maybe even worth reading.


At any rate.


I hope you enjoy Star Wars Day. I hope that you have a happy birthday. And remember. May the Force be with you. On May the fourth and on every day.


Happy Star Wars Day.


(Are you glad that I did not miss the opportunity to comment on Star Wars Day?)

© 2024 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Idioms Can Be Idiotic · 27 April 2024


I do not know if other languages have many of them, but English has so many idiotic idioms.


Idioms are quaint little sayings that we take for granted when we are native speakers. We just know that other people know what certain phrases mean. Even though they do not seem to have anything to do with the subject we are talking about.


“Packed in like sardines.” (Lots of people in this place.)
“Filled to the gills.” (Overate.)
“Dead as a doornail.” (Dead.)
“You know the drill.” (You know what to do next.)


I do wonder sometimes why we use idioms. I mean really. Would it be any different to just say “There are lots of people in this place,” instead of “They’re packed in like sardines”? They convey the same meaning. And people who do not know the idiom, might wonder who packs sardines where and what it has to do with the crowded restaurant you are at. They may never have even seen a sardine tin. Or for that matter, they may not even know what a sardine is. Still, we expect that people understand our English idioms. Even when they are idiotic. (The idioms, not the people.)


I suppose that my favorite idiotic idioms (if such a thing is possible) are:


“Filled to the gills.”
“Dead as a doornail.”


Think about it. Why does filled to the gills mean that you are so full of food that you cannot eat another bite. If you actually had gills, you would not be eating with them, you would be breathing with them. And if you could actually eat so much that you were filled to those gills, you would then not be able to breathe. Which, I suppose might be the point. When I overeat, I can barely breathe. After all, my stomach is pressing down on my diaphragm, which is, of course, part of our main breathing apparatus. The diaphragm moves down and up to draw air into and push air out of our lungs. So when that diaphragm cannot move much, you cannot breathe much. Still, I think filled to the gills is an idiotic idiom.


I have a love and hate relationship with my second favorite idiotic idiom. Dead as a doornail. Really? Think about it. Dead is dead. So why compare death to a doornail? After all, the doornail is dead in the first place since it was never alive. Rather, you could argue that a doornail cannot be dead because it was never alive. And what is a doornail anyway? Just a nail in a door. So you have a state of being or not being (dead) being compared to an inanimate object (doornail), so the idiotic idiom is in and of itself redundant, and the comparison is to something specific (again, the doornail) that nobody has ever heard of. Of course, by nobody I mean not that many people. After all, it is never true that nobody does not know something. And by never, I mean rarely. Which just goes to show that generalizations using never and always are never (meaning rarely) true. (Which might mean that any and all idioms referring to all, none, everybody, nobody, always, and never are idiotic as well.)


Then again, I really do like Dead as a doornail. I think it is funny for all the reasons I listed above. It is a beloved idiotic idiom. At least to me.



(By the way… If you use Google to look up words, there are now usage statistics. They are rather funny. And after seeing the usage graph for doornail, I am not sure I believe them. Then again, Google may be surveying documents and books and blog posts to count the number of times a word is used. And there are thousands and thousands more books now than there were in the 1800s. So if a word is still in use today, it ought to have more usage numbers, just by virtue of the volume of works out there. By the way, I thought of this because of the graph below the definition of the word doornail when I looked it up.)


Well, I might have beaten that dead horse. Which is also a strange idiom. After all, did you beat the dead horse in a race or did you beat the dead horse with your riding crop. Either way, the idiom does not make that much sense. Ah well. I suppose that is the thing of it. Idioms do not really need to make sense. At least not today. They just had to make sense sometime in the past. After all, they would not have become idioms had they not made sense to some of the people some of the time. Or more probably many of the people for many a time.


I know I started out bemoaning idiotic idioms. But now that I think about them, I am rather fond of idioms. Especially, the idiotic idioms.

© 2024 Michael T. Miyoshi

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Inherited Idiosyncrasies – Peeling Oranges · 20 April 2024


Trying to peal oranges with a continuous peal is a strange idiosyncrasy that I inherited from my dad.


I am not sure that you can actually inherit idiosyncrasies, but it does not really matter. I am going to say that I did. After all, if we had a discussion about it, it would be a silly argument about nature versus nurture, and since I am just writing a blog, I would win the argument anyway. After all, a blog is, by its very nature, just a one way street. I know. People have the opportunity to comment and such, so it can be interactive. At least to a certain extent.


At any rate.


It has been a few years since my dad passed away, but I still think of him and my mom often. Often times I think of my dad when I peal oranges. I know. It is a strange time to think of him, but it will make sense in a moment.


My dad used to like to peal oranges in one spiral peel. I think he started doing it with the Mandarin oranges. You know, the little ones that are practically bite-sized. For some reason, their peels seem to hang off them like baggy pants or something. And for some reason, my dad decided that he was going to peel them in one spiral peel from the top to the bottom. I would say that he saw it on a YouTube video, but those were not a thing back in the day. I know. It seems like videos and the internet have always been around, but that is not the way people learned things back in the day. I am not sure how Dad learned about peeling his oranges, but I know it was not through the internet.


At any rate.


The interesting thing is that it was pretty easy to do the spiral peel thing with the little Mandarin oranges. But to do so on a navel orange or any other type of orange was something altogether different. Their peels did not hang off of them like baggy pants. They were held tight on those oranges. So the spiral peel thing was not a thing with them. At least not a sure thing. Still, my dad often tried it on them. At least I think he did.



What I know for sure though is that I tried to copy my dad. On many things, but especially, on peeling oranges in that spiral fashion. Which is why I am not going to debate whether I inherited the idiosyncrasy or not. Yes, I know that I watched him peel those Mandarins and other oranges. Yes, I learned that behavior. But I am sure I inherited the notion that I could do it whether my dad could or not. Which is to say that regardless of the type of orange, I try to peel it in one long spiral piece from top to bottom.


I must say that I am proud of myself when I accomplish the spiral peel on a regular orange. I know. It is not that great of an accomplishment. Still, I get pleasure out of doing it. Partly because it is a fun thing. And partly because even being proud of myself when doing something silly is one of those idiosyncrasies that I inherited from my dad.


Well, I did not really talk much about inheriting idiosyncrasies, but that is okay. I really just wanted to remember my dad for one of the strange things he taught me. One of those idiosyncratic things that I inherited from him.


By the way, if you decide that you want to spiral peel oranges from now on, you can say that you inherited the idiosyncrasy from me. And you can say so whether we are related or not.

© 2024 Michael T. Miyoshi

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