I’m worried about Google

socs badge 2016-17A few days ago, actually, it was over a week ago, but there’s no real time-keeper in the blog universe…is there? Anyway, whenever it was, I was reading a post from my blog-buddy Dan. You know Dan. Dan is the guy in southern California who is sometimes in Poland and sometimes in a pool hall and has been known to steal rescue plants from his uncaring neighbors. He debates all manner of things. He goes places I won’t go. Places angels fear to tread. Dan’s tough. He was a teacher in a Catholic school. You have to be tough to teach in those schools, otherwise, the good sisters will tread all over you and the angels you rode in with.

OK, so I was over at Dan’s place, and he was talking about the first presidential candidate’s debate. You should read his post, but you might want to continue here first. Don’t worry, I’ll give you the link again, later.

Dan mentioned that one of his Facebook buddies has turned on him during the election season. Dan didn’t say this next bit, well a ‘Dan’ said it, but not that Dan. Readers often confuse Dan for Dan when I reblog his posts. I’ll try to be more specific.

East coast Dan thinks losing friends because you don’t ardently support the candidate of their choice makes it seem like less of a loss. How good a friend were they in the first place? It’s also stupid. I mean, if I were only friends with people that think like me, I’d be in trouble.

Coincidently, west coast Dan doesn’t seem to be bothered by this. His comments prove that and also serve to introduce the subject of this post. I know, I’m well over 250 words, I guess it’s time to introduce the subject. Dan said:

my buddyWell , could be , more correctly stated , my ex-buddy , because his Facebook posts label me as various things :  an idiot , a coward , etc. , and ,lately , as a “sycophant”.  Not that I take it personally, but I’ll be sure to get that checked sometime soon.”

I didn’t really know what sycophant meant. I’ve heard the term before. I’ve deduced its meaning from context, but I wouldn’t be able to define it, or use it in a sentence in a spelling bee if one of the contestants asked. I’d probably say:

One of west coast Dan’s friends thinks he’s a sycophant” – which wouldn’t help, but how does hearing the word in a sentence help you spell it, anyway?

It’s not like ‘sycophant’ is bandied around a lot at work, or used in the social circles in which I travel.

See what I did there? I did that whole preposition thing correctly to make it seem like I’m smarter than a guy who doesn’t know what ‘sycophant’ means. If I had said: “the circles I travel in” you might have thought, “sheesh, I’m not surprised he doesn’t know what sycophant means; he ended a sentence with a preposition.”

Maybe it’s just me, but a lot of the words I understand in conversation, are words I might not be able to define to a spelling bee contestant. Maybe it’s not a lot of words. Maybe that makes me sound dumb. I’m not. Go back and see that preposition thing.

When I see those words online, I look them up. I want to be able to use them correctly in my writing, or when I refer to Dan on Facebook.


portland-mapWho does that? Who defines a word using a word that the kind of people who don’t know the meaning of the first word would have to look up? I mean, if I don’t know where Portland, Oregon is, telling me that it’s northeast of Beaverton probably isn’t going to help. Maybe if you told me that the blue thing is the Pacific Ocean…just sayin’.

By the way, did you know that Portland, OR could have been Boston, OR? Those were the two choices. They flipped a coin to decide and Portland won. I dunno, maybe that’s folklore, ‘cuz, Wikipedia, but it’s interesting and it lets me use ‘coin’ again. I wanted to use ‘coin’ again because this post is part of Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday thingie:

Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is: “coin.” Use it any way you’d like. Enjoy!

I decided to let the eggheads at Google have another shot.

obsequiousIs it me? Am I just shooting blanks on the vocabulary range or is ‘servile’ a word you might not use to define ‘obsequious’? Again, assume that the person asking you to define obsequious doesn’t know what it means.

That’s like defining ‘lavender’ as a color similar to ‘mauve’. Is lavender similar to mauve? I don’t really know. I’m somewhat colorblind. If the color isn’t in the Crayola box of eight, it’s suspect in my book.

I’m worried about Google. I’m concerned that my next conversation with Google Maps is going to go something like this:

I need directions to the airport.

Proceed three furlongs and then turn west.

How far is a furlong?

A furlong is the length of a furrow that oxen can plow before they are rested.”

By the way, ‘servile’ for those that are interested, means:

servileIn other words, obsequious, perhaps even rising to the level of being a sycophant.

Now, you are full prepared to read west-coast Dan’s post.

I don’t have any pictures of Portland, but I have some from the Loop Drive around Mt. Hood and a hike to the top of Multnomah Falls, taken in 2006.


  1. Don’t worry about a furlong – all our horse races in the UK are measured that way. Try looking up a Rod, Pole or Perch which was one of the measurements I had to know when a child but can’t remember the distance now. BTW, glad to see that Californian Dan doesn’t have a TV. We are back in that state after two years between. We do things in the evening now – like play Scrabble!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I did see a mention of Rods when I looked up furlong. I think you would get along well with west coast Dan. I seem to be attracted to interesting people ;)

      As you might imagine from the subject of this post, I might be easy to beat at Scrabble. Although I could get a few points with Obsequiously (if I had enough tiles).


    1. “one big incompetent amalgam” – What a great definition of our government, John. That’s fodder for another blog post :)

      It is sad that people would end relationships over differences of opinion. We can’t all be alike, and we can’t all think the same way. That would be a very boring world.

      Thanks for the very nice remark on Twitter, John.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Having ended relationships this year over “the elections”, it wasn’t due to their voting habits or their beliefs, a i have friends at both ends of the specturm. It was due to the constant crap they were giving me about mine… Does that count?

      Liked by 3 people

        1. There is open-mindedness, and then there is having such an open mind that your brains fall out every time you bend over.

          My Facebook friends and I have mostly civil debates when it comes to politics and issues. I have many friends: Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, Put-Upon Independents, foreign nationals, men, women, LGBTQ folks, immigrants (I don’t ask for proof of legal status before friending people on Facebook), marginally sane and “somewhere on the spectrum” – but what they all have in common is their ability to engage in vigorous discussions or back the hell out like grown-ups. Those who can’t – they get blocked. Even if they’re family or close friends – no exceptions. (If you’re suddenly seeing pictures of barfing cats on my wall, you’ll know you’re in what one friend termed my “private Guantanamo,” which is a sort of “time-out” for bad behavior not quite warranting a full block.)

          That said, if your values are in line with Trump’s – if you approve his message and aren’t simply so terrified of the Washington establishment that you’d vote for a cockroach rather than for HRC – then I hope you’ll do me the courtesy of unfriending me, because we can never truly be friends. We can be civil; we can be colleagues, neighbors – I mean, I don’t wish you dead, or anything. But I will never, ever call you “friend” if you and Trump are on the same wavelength. Because I DO have some core values and that man just blithely steps all over them.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I like the barfing cat as a warning message. I don’t have a very large presence I Facebook and I don’t go there for deep discussions. I’ve seen them get invaded too many times. I have those discussions often, but in much less social settings. I have a pretty broad collection of friends. I think my core values are on display through this blog. I’m not sure they align with any politician. At least not any I’m aware of.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. As I’ve tried to get across to my son, no one will ever perfectly represent your values 100% of the time, so all any of us can do is judge each candidate by their qualifications and how they’ve used them in the past – whether it’s been sincerely in service to others (we’re all self-serving, too, to a point) or wholly self-serving and up for grabs by the highest bidder.

              “So-and-so is just as bad!” doesn’t cut it with me. Specifics – facts – matter. So-and-so has flaws, as do we all. The question is, are their flaws “deal breakers” in our opinion? Rarely have I felt that a candidate’s flaws were so horrible I’d really have to consider moving to a different country. Rarely has their been a different country that had any real appeal. That time, back in the 1980s, when Lyndon LaRouche was running? That came close. So-and-so may be bad, but they are not “just as bad” and they are bad in their own ways. We have to choose who BEST represents us – there is no mythical “perfect representation” unless we, ourselves, feel brave enough – or foolish enough – to run for the office.

              Liked by 1 person

  2. I will tell you awhile back I raided my voice towards a dear good friend. It was on politics and my artistic brother. I was trying to “set her up” 23 years ago. So funny, it was all about her “protecting her nut,” (like a squirrel) but it meant her money as a teacher. She felt a certain group of people may take it away from her. She and I still are best friends and so ironically, the man I met in a “video store” who I set her up with is still married to her 22 years long, and he has not yelled but like water upon a stone I have seen her do an “about face” in politics! :) (I secretly think: “I won!”)
    My brother is still a bachelor but he was not too keen on her opinions either but on that blind date was silent. . .
    I love words but don’t try to use big ones in my blog, but I have won as a child spelling bee contests at fairly high levels and was in a speed reading program in my kindergarten class in the 60’s in Sandusky Ohio. Strange ticker tape machine. . . i like words but tend to think it was kind of a waste of time, when I could have been studying science or math more. :D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oops, I “raised” my voice and wish I could raid a refrigerator for something yummy! Ha ha ;) sorry, dump me didn’t proofread.
      My Mom, as a past English teacher, thinks the preposition isn’t a solid problem at the end of sentences. Blasphemy! Heresy! :)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. That’s a good story, Robin. People can wear on each other, if given the chance. Deciding that you won’t risk giving someone a chance to wear on you, is not a good idea, in my book, unless that person is so far in the opposite direction in which you are set. I was terrible at spelling, I still am, but technology has come to my rescue. Almost everything checks my spelling these days. I never made it out of my classroom in a spelling bee. I did go pretty far in Math Bees, on a couple of occasions, but those never were big events.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I wish I could have been better in science and math, Dan! I am glad you went far in Math Bees!
        I also would not wish to be so “set in my ways,” that I couldn’t change nor learn more from other perspectives. Life is a continual learning and growing process.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. “Life is a continual learning and growing process…” for some, Robin. So many people have stopped learning, some actually avoid learning, and there is so much to learn.

          As for math bees, my success may have been due to what the teachers thought was an inappropriate approach to math. But, in a Math Bee, you don’t have to “show your work” so I had an advantage. Because you did have to show your work on tests, my grades were lower than you might expect. But, I’m still pretty good at math, so I’m not complaining.


    1. 2 out of 3 – that’s pretty good. I’m impressed. I had a good understanding of ‘sycophant’ but I didn’t think it was very precise. Mt Hood is a striking peak, for sure. I love that you can drive so far up. Timberline lodge is slightly over half-way up the 11,000 odd feet of the peak.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Shoot, I lived all of your magnificent photographs and also, recommend the “Magnificent Seven,” Dan. Felicia and I liked the scenery and felt the actors and little Haley Bennett is going to soar in stardom!
    dump =dumb

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Loved your photos. I suppose you may figure out my warped, too quick to send comments. I think you will like this movie. I do believe your daughter will, I hoe your wife would close her eyes at certain times. Happy Monday to you!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. So much to say…

    First, my college roomie and I used to have a sign on our door: “Keep out! We’re digressing.” Hats off to you, Dan – I had to work to keep up with this post, and I’m an old PRO.

    Second, I attended a little community college many, many, ma–you get the idea–years ago, where I took a class on Advanced Reading Skills. It was vocabulary building, speed, and comprehension training, all rolled into one. (I’d started college at 12. My parents had attended the same community college, and the woman who taught this course had been one of their absolute FAVORITE instructors, so they urged me to take it, too. Mostly just for fun. At my initial reading assessment, I missed one question on the diagnostic test and tested at “15th grade reading level.” I only remember this because she had to explain it was college level. I thought there was something horribly wrong with the test.) Anyway, she liked to play this little game: She’d give us a vocabulary list consisting of nothing but words like obsequious (in fact, that was one of the more memorable ones, and a particular favorite of mine, but I digress). She’d tell us to use five of them in a single, grammatically-correct sentence demonstrating understanding of the meaning of the words. You learn quickly that a “run-on sentence” isn’t merely an extremely long and convoluted one.

    That list – the memorable favorite – included the words obsequious, sycophant, and tyro. I remember those, particularly, because I’d never heard of them before. The others were just “big words,” but not so utterly unfamiliar. I went to New York, with my grandfather, for a long weekend, and we stayed at the Park Lane hotel. I was telling my mother about it by phone, later that night, and giggled that “the waiters were obsequious.” They were also a bit sycophantic, but it seemed unkind to put it that way. I was such a tyro – I let them make me feel small, the next morning, for using my knife on the jam, when really I ought to have scolded them for their failure to put the proper utensil on the table.

    Now, about those Multnomah Falls pictures of yours…

    You made me gasp. You see that one you have, there, titled, “From the top of…”? You know that little flat outcropping of dirt, overlooking the parking lot about a million feet down? Imagine you are huffing and puffing up the trail (you have never been there, and have no idea what’s near the top – you think it’s just…more of the same) and your 11-12 year old child has scampered off ahead, and you try to catch up but you think, “Oh, it’s fine, he’s a smart kid, and there are no wolves in these woods…” and when you DO catch up, he’s climbed to the wrong side of the railing and is SITTING ON THAT @#$% outcropping of slightly damp earth?

    Thanks for the memories.

    It’s fine; I’m still breathing and he’s now a 20 year old college student. But seriously, I know where some of these gray hairs come from, and I earned every one of them.

    As for furlongs…

    When I was working as a technical writer, one of my best and most reliable reviewers asked me if I’d be willing to send out a review draft in which I (with his help) provided measurements of a product in cubits – just to see if anyone else would notice. (Turns out he had a side bet with a colleague that he could get me to do it – and he won, because of course. Why not?)

    You might think it would be a challenge to play Scrabble, or Words with Friends, with me – but a good vocabulary isn’t all it takes. I can’t do math for spit, and never am quick to see those perfectly puzzling combinations that would win the game. I could probably come up with a quick short story correctly using all the words on the board, though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for this amusing and interesting comment, Holly. I never dreamed that this post would trigger memories for people reading it. That’s really cool. I don’t like obsequious waiters. I quickly get to the Caddyshack “I think I have enough butter” point with them. As for Scrabble and Words with Friends, I don’t do well, but that’s because I usually play with my daughter who has a great vocabulary and is pretty good at math.

      I do like the idea of sending out a product description like that, just to see if anyone notices – that’s a good test.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You just haven’t encountered the right kind of obsequious waiter, Dan. My grandfather was an executive and a regular guest at the Park Lane; they treated him like visiting royalty. We had the full attention of about three waiters and the Maitre d’ – they had impeccable timing and near perfect mastery of mind-reading, and could literally anticipate one’s every need. These are the folks who probably earn six figures annually in tips, alone.

        What you’re describing makes me think more of the waiter at a chain restaurant who’s desperate to improve tips in order to make this month’s rent and thinks if he slides into the booth next to you and establishes rapport he can get you to reach into your wallet and give him 23% instead of 18%, but it backfires because you start mentally deducting to 10%. THAT is where obsequious meets sycophantic and becomes annoying.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh my gosh, Dan! The BEST! This was so great. I knew none of those words–none! I love the quote (supposedly) attributed to Winston Churchill about prepositions: “This is the kind of tedious (or pedantic) nonsense up with which I will not put.” Gotta love it.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I never use words that I can’t pronounce – even in written form. If I can’t pronounce them, neither can my readers, so why would I put them through that?

    I have unfollowed and unfriended many people in the last year, not because I disagree with their politics but because I can’t stand their tribal chest-thumping. They remind me of angry barflies who forget that football is just a game.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Maybe that’s why I enjoy your blog so much. You think about us readers. Good on you ! I won’t pick on west coast Dan, he was quoting one of those angry barflies (I like that term).


    2. Thanks for that image, as that is about what happened with me. I’ve kept a friend who si just about as fr from my politics as I could handle, because she is respectful and so am I about passionate beliefs. But that image — tribal chest thumping — is purr-fect.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Ha!!! It’s pretty sad when another dictionary is necessary to look up the first dictionary’s meaning. Hasn’t Google ever heard of the Plain Language Act? It might not be a requirement for them, but not a bad idea. Sadly, I use the word sycophant almost daily in describing my workplace…
    Mega hugs!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Aw, sorry about your familiarity with sycophant, but thanks for the comment. I don’t think Google cares much about plain language. The more you search, the more money they make. Thanks for the hugs :)

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It sounds really weird that people there get upset over choosing different political candidates. Yes,in India we do debate over who’s better over whom, but I have never seen friendships turning sour on such petty issues. If that was the case, I would have lost all my friends. I believe a few days ago Kate lost her friend over the same issue. I was like – is this real? How can you throw away a valuable relationship so easily? With regards to the Google search thing, yes, I have experienced the same as I often come across words that are too high for my vocabulary. These days, I don’t use Google at all. I have Grammarly installed so the moment I read a difficult word I double click over it and Grammarly pops up the meaning and I continue my reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s the first good use of Grammarly that I’ve heard. Thanks for that. I think the election is bringing out the worst in people. It is very sad. This is as close to a political post as you will see from me.


  9. SYCOPHANT,syn. brown-noser , lickspittle, flunky
    Always look up the synonyms . You’ll find one you know , and you may learn a new one . Lickspittle ?
    Thanks for the beautifully written plug , EC Dan ! You border , however , on being a lickspittle .{ Just kidding , of course . Please don’t unfollow me ! ]

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha – You know I had to go and look that up, WC Dan – “Lickspittle – a person who behaves obsequiously to those in power” Well, good that I already looked up obsequiously, but “those in power” ??? I’m not sure that’s what I’m dealing with. All indications from your blog would be that Ada is the person in power…just sayin.

      I told you that you had inspired something when I read that post. I decided to save it for an #SoCS. wouldn’t you know, we got “coin” instead of “sycophant” – just your/my luck. I’m glad you approve.


  10. I’m with you on the definition frustration. Sometimes it’s just a near endless loop (as you demonstrated) that I think is deliberately designed to make people think they are stupid. Brother. The first pic in your gallery is spectacular. Looks like a Bob Ross mountain painting!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I have friends who have very different views than me on several issues. We agree to disagree and not discuss those issues. I also have friends who like me enjoy a healthy debate and we will take opposite sides of an issue just for the fun of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Funny, Dan. It cracks me up when definitions include words that require definitions. That happens to me with how-to directions all the time. I need directions to understand the directions :-) I’m heading over to see the other Dan’s commentary on the debate. Should be a melee tonight!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Things like furlongs and hectares and well, even kilometers, haha, always throw me. I’m better off with miles, football fields, and car lengths — not too bad with yonder.
    I fully understand servile and sycophant and obsequious, but then, I was an English major.
    I don’t like to argue politics. It saddens me. When other people begin to talk about their asinine, misinformed viewpoints, leaking cognitive dissonance and bs all over my shoes, I simply say things like, “Let’s talk about something else.” I’ve been talking about something else for about a year now. ;)
    I shall go read Other Dan’s post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I figured you would have known servile and sycophant and obsequious. I also like football fields and yonder as a measurement. Dan’s post isn’t too political, perhaps I should have mentioned that. It was more the notion that you could lose a friend over such crap. Let’s talk about something else, for at least 4 more weeks.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Dan’s post made me laugh, especially that bit you quoted, about his friend calling him names.
        From my FB, I have surmised that I am a Libtard and that I am mostly friends with other Libtards and that I am not to take any of it personally, so that’s nice. :)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. Friends took me on the hike to the falls one day, and we had dinner at the lodge at the base. The next day, I drove the loop. I had beautiful weather on that trip, but very little time.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. That was the goal :) I am glad you enjoyed this. I just completed the forms interviews, background checks and arm-wrestled the guard at your site, so I could re-subscribe. Hopefully, my inbox will soon runeth over. Thanks for hanging with me in my absence.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Dan, you really have to stop attaching so many spectacular pics to your posts. Pretty soon, people are just going to scroll down to the pics and ignore the text! Good stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh, hell, I could have defined sycophant in a way that wouldn’t chase any English speaker to Google: It’s someone who sucks up. Now mauve–I sort of suspected that was an ugly shade of green. Lavender, you say?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well then, next time I’ll ask you. As for mauve, according to Wikipedia – I know, I know – “Mauve ( i/ˈmoʊv/, mohv) is a pale purple color named after the mallow flower ”

      However, if you showed me a green shirt and said it was mauve, I’d have to take your word for it.

      Liked by 1 person

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