Smashing Thoughts


It is clear from her blog, DutchCorner, that Marja is a brave and passionate woman, especially in her concern for children welfare in general and for those with learning difficulties specifically. She is also a very good promoter of the blogging community, so do go visit and learn about what is happening in her corner. Just to confuse matters, her corner of the world is actually New Zealand. Intrigued? Confused? Drop in on her blog and all will be clear.

Recently, Marja celebrated her 10,000th visitor and she was also given the “Brilliant Weblog Premio 2008” Award. All the denizens of this Realm send their congratulations to Marja on her twin achievements.

On that special occasion, in typically generous fashion, she celebrated by giving out some awards of her own, which is how the Lone Grey Squirrel came to get his grubby paws on the “Smashing Blog” Award. Many thanks, Marja.


This squirrel was mesmerised by the pretty award for most of the day. You might be familiar with this look…….it is the same when a squirrel’s eyes are caught in a car’s headlights. When I was finally able to stop staring at the bright light, I did what comes naturally to inquisitive squirrels; I asked, “What does ‘Smashing’ mean?”

According to the Merriam-Webster On-line Dictionary, smashing can either mean 1. crushing (as in, smashing defeat) or 2. extraordinarily impressive (as in, smashing performance). Squirrels are more familiar with the first meaning as in the case of “smashing nuts” to get to the goodies inside but I am hoping that the award refers to the second meaning. Here it is again, this schizophrenic nature of the English language where either the same word can mean completely different things or different and opposite words can mean the same thing.

So we find that when something is good, it is “cool” but it could also be “hot”. It is cool to be driving a hot car but the hot chick can still give you the cold shoulder which just isn’t cool, dude.

I heard this recently and I thought it also illustrates this point well; “How can you tell that you have grown old? You tell you best friend that you are having an affair and he asks who is the caterer.”

Then there is the use of the same or similar word twice to reverse the meaning. Actually this is apparently true of many languages, where a double negative gives a positive. For example, “He would not disagree.” means “He agreed”. A professor of English is said to have given a class on this very topic recently and he said that many languages have this “double negative equals positive rule” but though some languages also have the reverse which is that “double positive equals negative”, that is not the case in the English language. There was silence initially as his students scribbled down their notes but then a voice from the back of the lecture hall said, “Yeah, right!”

Ah, English…….she is always evolving. Isn’t it simply smashing? (and I mean both meanings of the word).

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