“Backslide”: An Etymological Discourse and an Outrageous Suggestion Thursday, Aug 31 2006 

I’ve never heard the verb “backslide” used in any context other than church sermons, discussions, and meetings to describe some Saint-gone-astray or believer-turned-sinner. I ran into the term last night reading over some Sunday School lesson commentary. The commentary author, a learned university scholar with a formal seminary education, was using the term in reference what the epistle writer describes in Hebrews 2:1-4.

So I decided to look the word up online and found a link–click here to see the WebBible Encyclopedia’s definition. Interesting, I checked each of the scripture references, hoping to see “backslide” in scripture, but the closest terminology the scripture references ever provide to is “falling away” or “drifting away.”

You know, if you posed the question to the typical evangelical church member-in-the-pew, “Is ‘backslide’ a word in the bible?” almost all of them would swear vehemently that it is. But it’s not, at least according to my research to this point (If I’m wrong, I trust someone will correct me!). I just wonder where the term comes from.

We can conjugate it: “Today I backslide, yesterday I backslid, often I have backslidden.” Since it’s an irregular verb, it’s easily misused: “backslud.” But why do we need this word when “fall away” or “drift away” (which are used in the bible) effectively convey the same idea?

I think the answer has something to do with dogma, frankly. The word has become part of the doctrinal culture and dogma. Those who love doctrinal dogma and culture would likely think it woefully sinful to suggest that we eradicate the term from our cherished compendia of evangelical jargon (How many of them sincerely believe the word is scriptural, anyway?).

But leave it to me to propose the outlandish and outrageous anyway: Why not excise this word from our religious vocabularies? “Drift away” is probably much more accurate in most cases, and besides, it’s a biblical word!

What saith the cultural dogmatists to that idea?

In remembrance of Katrina–A Year Tuesday, Aug 29 2006 

235px-hurricane_katrina_august_28_2005_nasa.jpgA year ago today.  What a sickening image it was then, and what a sickening image it remains.  But,  sometimes we  can’t help but remember that which we’d rather forget, . . . and sometimes remembering is the right thing to do.  Katrina, thou child of hell!   But yet…

Psalm 104

God the Creator

 1 My soul, praise the LORD! …
        2 He wraps Himself in light . . . ,
    spreading out the sky like a canopy,  . . .

    3 making the clouds His chariot, walking on the wings of the wind,

    4 and making the winds His messengers, . . .

Hmmm… will we ever get it?  (On whatever “it” is supposed to be?)

Bye, Ernesto, w/stylistic counsel for the commentators Sunday, Aug 27 2006 

path.jpgFrom the sunny shores of the Louisiana Gulf Coast, we bid Ernesto a glad farewell with wishes for our Florida neighbors that the mountains of Cuba will work their charm to calm Ernesto’s furious nerves. This storm situation may work out pretty well for all of us.

As long as we’re not yet to the peak of hurricane season, though, and since we’ll more than likely be subjected to these weather dudes’ and dames’ reports on storms to come, I have a plea: Let’s declare an immediate moratorium on the use of the follwing verbs applied to hurricane forecasts:

“churn” to describe the action or motion of a storm (e.g., “churning through the Carribean”)

“packing winds” (e.g., “packing winds of 75 miles per hour”).

These figurative expressions are so overused in hurricane reporting that they’ve become trite. If these people can get degrees in meteorology or journalism, surely they’re bright enough to come up with fresh expressions!

I wonder if anyone else is nagged by a similar peeve? Or is this just my English-teacher hyper-sensitivity to bad (and good) word usage?

Somebody with blog connections: Please send this request to the Weather Channel.

Ernesto, Donde va usted? Saturday, Aug 26 2006 

accuweather.gifnhc.gif A tale of two forecasts? The left shows Accuweather‘s Rita-esque track for Erneso, the right showing National Hurricane Center‘s Katrina-esque path. This may be an interesting comparison to hold forth for the next few days: Who really knows their meteorological stuff? We’ll see!

Of course, we all know the perils of setting too much store by five-day tropical weather forecasts.  This could all be revised–for better or worse–tomorrow, and then back and forth from day to day thereafter.  What’s significant is the the suspense.  What an enormous distraction!  I don’t know how to explain that to folks who don’t go through it, and I can’t think of any other phenomenon that’s comparable . . . for the nerve-wracking, gut-wrenching drama and suspense, that is.

Ernesto es! Friday, Aug 25 2006 


The past few days I’ve written about Ernesto when Ernesto did not exist, but today Ernesto is real–at least as a tropical storm. The whole scenario has yet to materialize, but I’m starting to get those pangs of “stomach in throat” anxiety that only folks along the Gulf Coast or Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard understand. You have to have experienced a hurricane to understand the sensation.

I wondered today, for instance, if I should buy a generator and a portable air conditioner–as I’ve wondered if I should buy those things now since last hurricane season . . . or fill the truck’s tank with gas.

But then I chided myself for being anxious–But then I caught myself: “anxious” describes us after the past few years’ experience.

So this blog becomes a hurricane journal? We’ll see. There’s still some chance that Ernesto will get torn apart in the Carribean. We’ll hope and pray to that end!

Ernesto Update 8/24, . . . with a wish! Thursday, Aug 24 2006 

ernesto-fri.jpgWhither goest thou, Ernesto?  May ye choke on African dust, and may the westerlies shear thee to shreds!  May thy winds swell with rank flatulence to suffocate thee, stifled lifeless by thine own foul stench! 

(Thanks again, Accuweather, for the graphic.)

Ernesto, Donde esta usted? Thursday, Aug 24 2006 

ernesto.jpgLast night on local weather, the Lake Charles TV guy and the Lafayette TV guy both warned about the possibility of Ernesto.  Today, Accuweather picked up on the trend, too, as noted in the graphic.  We’d rather not worry about hurricanes just now, but that tropical paranoia really has a grip on us.  So we’ll keep an eye trained on the tropics.   That’ll give me something to blog about, if nothing else. 

Along the same lines, don’t we remember Andrew 15 or so years ago?  Kind of Andrewstarted off in the same neck of the woods as this disturbance that could become Ernesto.    Thanks to Accuweather for all of those cool  graphics!

Microphonies: Stooge-Lovers out there? Tuesday, Aug 22 2006 

microphonies_jpg-stooges.jpgAround our house, the Three Stooges “Microphonies” episode is unquestionably a favorite. I think it’s one of the best, if not the best, they ever made, if in fact any of their masterpieces can be singled out as “the best.” Who can forget the lip synch rendition of “Sestet from Lucia” and Christina McIntyre’s dazzling operatic performance of “Voices of Spring?” That blonde bombshell was a babe-in-her-day, and she could belt out the notes to boot!

logo_ts28.gifAny Stooge lovers out there in blog land ? Stooge haters?  Post one, post all!

Way Down Yonder: The Correct Use of “Y’all” Monday, Aug 21 2006 

300px-us_map-deep_south.pngI posted some fascinating linguistic observations  on my teaching blog, http://lsuecomp.blogspot.com/.  Check it out if you’re a true Southerner, or if you have friends who are true Southerners.

Rhetorically/Poetically Yours Sunday, Aug 20 2006 

pulling.JPGAnyone can check out my latest blog experiment at http://lsuecomp.blogspot.com/.

This new blog is purely pedagogical, a supplement for English 1002 that starts in a few weeks, plus it gives me a chance to try out the blogger.com site, which offers some text editing features I prefer more than Word Press.

The pic of me is the same pic I included with the initial post at rhetorically/poetically yours. As if anybody cares? LOL.

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