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Today's quote:

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

This is a Barnaby-free zone


I don't want to hear another word about Barnaby's unborn son, or that he may not be his son. That's all right by me, too, because one Barnaby in the country is quite enough. Let's just wait for the book he's going to write. If it's anything like Monica Lewinsky's "Me and My Big Mouth", it should be a bestseller.

There are days when I reflect fondly on the story of ninety-seven-year-old John D. Rockefeller, who had a specially doctored version of the New York Times delivered every day, altered to contain only good news.

We've had very light rain ever since the week started. Its patter-pitter kept me awake all night and lulled me to sleep during the day. As did the soporific tock-tick of the clock on the mantelpiece. Enough of this chat-chit because you've already picked me up on it, haven't you? The unwritten rule that native speakers know without knowing.

Which is? If there are three words, then the order is I, A, O. If there are two words, then the first is I and the second is either A or O. So it's mish-mash, chit-chat, dilly-dally, shilly-shally, tip top, hip-hop, flip-flop, tic tac, sing song, ding dong, King Kong, zig zag, ping pong, and the pitter-patter of little feet - we're not back to Barnaby again, are we?

That rule is inviolate because even though all four of a horse's feet make exactly the same sound, we always, always say clip-clop, never clop-clip. This rule even has a technical name - the rule of ablaut redu-plication - but you already knew that without knowing it, didn't you?

Isn't all this so much more interesting than Barnaby's self-declared 'grey area' paternity and his total lack of chivalry towards his new partner? Grey area, my foot! What that guy needs is some grey matter.