Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

Words gone astray

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Words and phrases that have long been in circulation sometimes sneak around and bite you on the backside.
I usually celebrate the vernal equinox by watching for new words and phrases admitted to the Oxford English Dictionary long before they come into common use.
This year the chief new word was “selfie.” I thought it had to do with tittering British school girls, but suddenly I see or hear it everywhere, and it has nothing to do with young girls. It’s a comfortable word, easy to use, fairly organic. Read More»

There are Birds and Birds

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There are birds and there are birds. We watch them closely in winter because in severe weather, faithful bird feeders can actually make a difference between life and death.
And there are those (like Dave) who go out in the meanest wind and consistently keep their feeders topped off with suet and peanut butter, which fuel the furnaces in their tiny bellies and get them through just one more night, and then one more, and again one more. Read More»

Time, You Old Gypsy Man

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Time, you old gypsy man,
Will you not stay,
Put up your caravan
Just for one day?

This bit of poetry has been rattling around in my head for a week or so now, and I know not why. I don’t remember anything punching its way into my mind, nor even who the author was. Read More»

Murphy strikes again

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We all know Murphy’s Law, but did you realize there really was a documented “Murphy?” His name was invoked by the development engineer overseeing repairs to a malfunctioning strap transducer at Wright Field Aircraft Lab at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in 1949.

Captain Ed Murphy was quoted by George Nichols, used it in a press conference, and it went viral within a few months. Researchers have claimed attribution for this story, some very persuasive, but this is the first I’ve seen that appears “so spot on.”
The law? “If anything can go wrong, it will.” Read More»

Second Surgery

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Few family crises tug more at the heart of mother than not being with her child when she is in pain.
Mary had to undergo another operation for a ragged rotator cuff.
Yes, the first one was just last fall, but once that healed up, the other began to make itself felt and she went ahead and scheduled surgery.
Why would a 50-something pianist come down with what is usually regarded as an athletic ailment when she is so careful about nutrition and fitness? And why did this develop in the first place? Read More»

February, short but sweet

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Portions of this column appeared in 2002.

My old copy of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations surprised me: No entry for February among its vast hoard of words, except for the nursery rhyme, “Thirty days hath September….”
The framers of our calendar were merciful in dealing to this wintry month only four rounded-off weeks of weeping skies. Would they have been so thoughtful with January. Read More»

Ice storm

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Someone ought to publish recipes that ice-constrained menus go into effect. What do you do with so much milk and bread?
We didn’t shop for a week and survived, so far as I know. Once the initial surprise snowstorm has snowed itself out and only then does hunger strike little boys who are drenched and red-cheeked, and the snowstorm itself history. Read More»

Hail the BBC

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It takes a little time to build up a “must-watch” television listing strong enough to make me say, “I’m sorry, we have plans for that evening.”
Smile, enigmatically.
When my girls were very young, they were allowed to watch television or go to movies only after we had vetted the material and deemed it acceptable for our little dears’ developing taste. They were good about it. “Because I say so” was a reason they didn’t often challenge. Read More»

Superman and Hometown Newspapers

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These short stories really have nothing in common except they are being published on the same day…
I don’t remember what aroused my interest in Superman a few weeks ago. Was looking for something else and lost track of time – when, “Look! Up in the sky!” There he was, on my laptop screen. No, actually it was a TV movie I had never watched. So I did, and found it winsome. Read More»

Whatever happened to...?

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This column originally ran in April, 1996.

Not many of today’s Peachtree City residents remember a time when we did not have a real police department. Our earliest policing came from the Sheriff’s Office -- the county supplied a car and support; local businesses paid for a deputy.
Granted, he didn’t have much to do, but people felt good knowing he was out there.

Ralph Jones was mayor and Chip Conner on city council when the city began developing its own department, and by the time Chip became mayor, in 1970, we were well on our way. Read More»

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