written by Norm:
Words and a little night music
Your comments about this column are welcome ~ e-mail Norm at
There are certain words that have become very popular. If you tune in to network and cable news programs you will hear the word “absolutely” any night of the week. Mostly people being interviewed use it. “Did you hear that gun being fired? Absolutely! But I thought it was a car backfiring.” Tune into the live interview shows like Martha Stewart and Rachel Ray. They “absolutely” love that recipe. It’s not a bad word but a very overused word.
I want to make it clear that I don’t watch Martha or Rachel but my wife does. She tapes them so she can watch before dinner. I spend that time computing on my absolutely wonderful Mac Book.
Another word to watch out for is “um”. That’s not really a word yet but I notice a lot of people in Obama’s administration are using it. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano used it almost twice in every sentence the other day. Press Secretary Robert Gibbs uses it a lot. Speech analysts tell us the use of “um” and “err” is a stalling ploy when people are thinking of what to say next.
The Supreme Court has just announced that networks are responsible for what words are uttered on their airwaves. If a singer or talk show host or someone being interviewed says the “f” word and it gets past the three-second delay, the network could be fined up to $100,000. Even if a recipient of a Music Award blurts out a profanity on live TV, it’s a fine for the network.
It makes me think of George Carlin’s “Seven words you can’t say on TV. Hardly any of us would say them aloud at home or even on the golf course. Well, maybe on the 17th hole after a bad bunker shot. They are really dirty words.
So I don’t mind the networks banning bad words. We have enough trouble raising kids these days without four letter words being used by Katie Couric or Andy Rooney. But what happened to the 3rd Amendment protecting Freedom of Speech? That only applies to words said anywhere but on network television and radio? Oh, by the way, the ruling only covers over-the- air broadcasting, not cable or Internet or texting. The government has no jurisdiction there. So it’s not illegal to say dirty words on cable, so have at it, Bill O’Riley.
Sometimes we can’t even understand words when they are spoken or sung. I was in a new concert hall recently to hear the good acoustics. The speaker could hardly be understood because of the reverberation of her voice. I can’t understand the words rap singers say. I don’t mind that.
Speaking of concert halls, our local symphony will move into a brand new concert hall soon that is said to rival the ten best concert halls in the country. I didn’t know which ones they are either until I looked them up.
We go to the symphony about every other month because we are season ticket holders and because we like to brag to our friends that we “belong” to this esoteric highbrow experience. Better than season tickets to the Chargers or Dodgers? Well, no, but it is more uplifting and there are no banned words or spitting chewing tobacco at the symphony.
I like to sit and close my eyes at the symphony and listen to Prokofiev or Tchaikovsky. Sometimes I am transported to the clouds and waving fields and beautiful pastures. Sometimes I go to sleep. As I sit there I often wonder how a person without a computer could compose a symphony. So many notes and so many instruments! I expect there are rules to composing like getting all the sharps and flats in the right places and getting everyone to end at exactly the right time.
We went to a Broadway review a few weeks ago. The singers were great getting into Rogers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber. I love that music. Never mind that the local orchestra was a few notes off. The whole audience saw Nellie Forbush wash that man right out of her hair. We also attended a Gilbert & Sullivan production of the highlights of their shows. The rhymes were sung so fast one could hardly understand the words.
We listen to soft jazz on our car radio when we are on our way to Costco. Nice and comforting in traffic.
Music soothes the savage beast, they say and I believe it. But since we are banning the bad words on TV, lets also ban the rappers and the boom boxes with hip hop music blaring at the top of the Richter scale.
Let’s Sing Along With Mitch and enjoy all the words and a little night music.
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