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Profile: thar
User Name: thar
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Joined: Thursday, July 8, 2010
Last Visit: Monday, June 24, 2019 2:09:51 PM
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: take
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2019 11:50:15 AM
It really is just the context.

You need --------security measures.

So in this context it has to mean 'design(in the software)', 'construct', 'put in place', 'make them happen' - the best alternative verb here would be implement:


put (a decision, plan, agreement, etc.) into effect.
"the scheme to implement student loans"
synonyms: execute, apply, put into effect/action, put into practice, carry out, carry through, perform, enact, administer;

There is a general pattern of doing a positive action, bit what that is depends entirely on the noun, the context.
Topic: take
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2019 11:24:12 AM
You take action. (Ie do something)
Eg You take care to do something right

2. verb
In ordinary spoken or written English, people use take with a range of nouns instead of using a more specific verb. For example people often say 'he took control' or 'she took a positive attitude' instead of 'he assumed control' or 'she adopted a positive attitude'.

They took power after a three-month civil war. [VERB noun]
I felt it was important for women to join and take a leading role. [VERB noun]
The constitution requires members of parliament to take an oath of allegiance. [VERB noun]
In Asia the crisis took a different form. [VERB noun]

You take security measures
(You implement security measures).

You need to take security measures.
They are necessary.

Passive voice (since they don't care who does it, just that it is done)
Security measures need to be taken.
Topic: Would Vs is
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2019 10:04:25 AM
Tara2 wrote:
I can't understand why some of verbs in these text are the present perfect and some "would". Can you please explain?

"In addition, centralized components now lead to a waste of network resources.

This is stated as a fact, a truth. (The writer's opinion, but they speak with authority).

Imagine that a single mail server is used for an entire country.

Imagine this situation. It happens purely in your imagination.

If this were real

This would mean that sending an e-mail to your neighbor
would first have to go to the central mail server, which may be hundreds of miles away.

This is what would happen if that were the system.

So you explored that hypothetical situation and found the flaw.
Now back to reality.
Now you can give an opinion, state a truth:

Clearly, this is not the way to go."

You are told to imagine that something is true.
There is only one mail server. And then think about what would happen when you used that system.
Having only one seever means the email has to (edit: has to = must) go to it.
But this is unreal. It doesn't happen. You can only think what would happen if there were only one server.

They could have said
Imagine [what would happen] if a single mail server were used for a whole country.

The result would be the same. But the construction is different. That doesn't have to be conditional. That is a system you can imagine. It is the result that is hypothetical.
Topic: sailing
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2019 4:24:01 AM
Or I am sailing by Rod Stewart

(not an official video, nothing to do with him or his views on anything. A video made on the ship for the crew to sing along in the hangar space)

this is them singing - don't know if and how it is related, or when each was made, but this is the ship's company singing it

crew and band of the Ark Royal - We are sailing

for anybody who watches the video, where they have the song list - "Sailing" then "Remember you're a Womble" by the crew of the Ark Royal - and the comment "once in a while a song comes along so emotional it sends a tingle down your spine". Yes, the wombles will do that. Whistle
Topic: But
Posted: Monday, June 24, 2019 1:31:59 AM
Also, paddy is used as an adjective, not a noun.

...., but in English it is a called a 'paddy field'.

'Paddy' actually describes the rice after it has been husked, but it is used to describe the product grown in that particular way, so it is like calling it a corn field.

Topic: belles-lettres
Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2019 3:17:42 PM
It certainly feels more natural in one way, it being plural.

I don't know how the French use it, or if it is a purely English appropriation.

There is precedent for the singular verb, though.
Mathematics is from the plural Latin mathematica but always takes a singular verb in English, as it is one subject, the uncountable concept.
(Americans solve that problem by having singular math, whereas British English has singular maths.)
You could consider 'belles-lettres' an uncountable concept.
Topic: The material in a rubber band
Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2019 2:58:48 PM
The material could be considered either mass or countable, but it feels more like a mass noun. It is "the stuff" - what it consists of, what it is made of.

But here it only consists of one material.
(Still natural rubber, surprisingly. Synthetic rubber just can't do the job as effectively).
If it were something with two things in it, you could conceivably consider it made of the material (all the stuff) or the materials (the different components)

It is the definite article because you specify what material

The material which is in a rubber band.

Not the material that is in a metal bar, or the material that is in a piece of string.

Topic: belles-lettres
Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2019 2:46:08 PM
My Guesses

If it is used as literature it could be considered singular, the concept.

If it is used as writings, ie the books that are written, that would be plural.

It is a plural phrase!
Belles lettres
To some writers, with even a passable French education, the idea of giving that a singular verb would go against all their instincts!
(This was the age when English people were taught English strictly according to the rules of Latin grammar (alongside Latin, French, and ancient Greek, probably, in his case). Rules such as not using the singular 'they', a shoehorned rule which is still screwing up learners to this day, even though the English have happily been using the singular 'they' for the past 700 years.)

Thackeray was writing a while ago - presumably that dictionary gives the current usage but it is extremely likely it has changed.
Topic: sprog
Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2019 9:01:58 AM
Sprog (and sproglet )

Apparently RAF (Royal Air Force) slang, originally.
From RAF groups websites recalling service slang:
Sprog - an inexperienced young officer, or a child or A 'new boy' fresh from training

Sprog" = Brand new in uniform - newly commissioned officer


The British informal word for a child.

I couldn't get any work done because the sprogs were running riot.

ODO has the following:

1940s (originally services' slang): perhaps from obsolete sprag 'lively young man', of unknown origin

Sprag means energetic, quick, ingenious in Middle English.


It comes from the same place as sprig, spring, sprat, and sprout. I.e, the phonosemantics of the SPR- assonance. – John Lawler Dec 29 '13

Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of Slang and Unconventional English, Fifth Edition (1961) offers this entry for sprog:

sprog, n. A recruit: R.A.F.: since ca. 1930; by ca. 1939, also—via the Fleet Air Arm—used occ[asionally] by the Navy. H. & P. Origin obscure and debatable (see esp[ecially] Partridge, 1945); but perhaps a reversal of 'frog spawn' (very, very green) or, more prob[ably], the adoption of a recruit's sprog, a confusion of 'sprocket' and 'cog', a sprocket being, like the recruit, a cog in a wheel.
In the Navy the term means an infant, 'Nobby Clark's gone on leave, his wife's just had a sprog': Granville, 1945. —2. Hence, an Aircraftman: Australian airmen's: since ca. 1939. (B. 1943.)

The reference to "Partridge, 1945" is a short citation of Eric Partridge, A Dictionary of R.A.F. Slang (January 1945). And "Granville, 1945" refers to Wilfred Granville, A Dictionary of Naval Slang (typescript, 1945). I haven't seen either of these sources.

One early attempt to explain the etymology of the term appears in Walter Hatfield, College English, volume 7 (1946) [combined snippets]:

The Army speaks of a recruit as a rooky, but the R.A.F. calls him a sprog, which, like erk, presents an etymological puzzle. One explanation is that, about the year 1930, a recruit, confusing a sprocket with a cog, achieved the unintentional blend sprog—a mistake that immediately achieved popularity and very rapidly spread throughout the R.A.F. I, however, prefer that ingenious etymology which derives it from frog spawn," the unpronounceable rogsp being back-slanged to sprog.


I would say this link looks promising except the use seems modern in English so it is not an old word. But the feel for it being a comfortable word to use for a kid does fit in with the whole spr- pattern.

Etymology 3
This etymology is incomplete.
Compare Icelandic spraka (“a small flounder”)? [ A halibut]


sprag (plural sprags)

A young salmon.

Not just salmon - a sprag is also a young cod- the important thing being they are not grown yet.
Topic: Musings from of the day
Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2019 5:43:05 AM
Yeah, I could never understand that problem. If your time zone is mismatched, just start work or school at 11 in the morning! I guess that doesn't work for government offices but for anyone else it seems reasonable.

Another post here because it is also from 'of the day. I posted there but decided what the heck, put it here.

Some artsy writing from the NEw York Times that really belongs in culture. If not literature! Whistle

The tfd linked article in of the day says it is the longest day so I had to debunk that mistake.


It is not the longest day - that has passed, on the 21st this year as is most common, but it can vary because the calendar does not quite match the orbit of the Earth. The longest day, with the most hours of sunlight - the Summer Solstice

24th is midsummer's day (St John's Day). The Eve is on 23rd.

That is different. They are linked, but not the same.

The birth of Jesus was linked to Jule (Christmas, 24 Dec), slightly displaced from the winter solstice (21 Dec)

The birth of John the Baptist was linked to Midsummer (24 June) which is slightly after the summer solstice (21 June)

It is a big deal in Nordic countries.
In Iceland, St John's€Midsummer's Eve and Day are celebrated but not with bonfires - historically, there is no spare wood to burn - you save the bonfires for winter when you need the warmth and light! Also, it was the time of the gathering of Parliament, Alþingi - a natural time for distant people to gather together, both to party and sort disputes. So in Iceland it is also a mystical time, with gatherings, music and fetes, but it is celebrated slightly differently from in mainland Nordic Scandinavia.

New York Times article about Norway

Midsummer Magic in the Lands of the Midnight Sun
MARCH 12, 1989

This is a digitized version of an article from The Times’s print archive, before the start of online publication in 1996. To preserve these articles as they originally appeared, The Times does not alter, edit or update them.

Occasionally the digitization process introduces transcription errors or other problems. Please send reports of such problems to

A STORY IS TOLD ABOUT THE AESIR, THE gods of Asgard. It seems that they had to fashion a rope of tremendous strength, and they asked Odin the One-Eyed to obtain one for them. He went away for a while and returned with what appeared to be a slender silken cord. It didn't look very strong, but when the gods examined it they saw that it was woven from the roots of a mountain, the purring of a cat, the sinews of a bear, the breath of a fish, the beard of a woman, the spittle of a bird. And nothing could break it.

The Nordic festival of Midsummer Eve is a little like this cord. It, too, is a skein of puzzling and impalpable things, of twilight and witches and wildflowers and a thousand curious fancies and lies. That is why Midsummer Eve binds the people of the North with such strength - it has in its weave too much imagination for anyone to pull it apart. Yet the Midsummer mystique resists imaginative possession; you are never quite certain what is instinct and what is ritual. Are people doing these crazy things because they are driven to do them, or because the ritual demands that they seem driven? It's hard to tell. Midsummer is a sort of saturnalia; it inverts the usual proprieties; like all such inversions, it develops proprieties of its own. Among these are hard drinking, especially if you can't hold your liquor, and falling in love, preferably with the wrong person.

The problem is that the white nights of June are a sort of naturally occurring metaphor. They put the year's pulse into your blood. Season becomes mood, light becomes vision, nature is transformed into imagination. Midsummer Eve is only a fleeting moment, but there is no way to stand outside its spell. Try as you may, you cannot avoid feeling the same jubilation and heartache as everybody else.

Astronomically speaking, Midsummer falls on the day of the summer solstice - June 21st or 22d. For the Lutheran Church - the main Scandinavian denomination - Midsummer falls on June 24th, the feast of St. John the Baptist - ''St. Hans's Day,'' in the vernacular of many regions - who was born, the Gospel tells us, six months before the birth of Jesus. But everyone knows that this observance is merely a fig leaf for an ancient pagan fascination. In any case, the actual celebration takes place on whatever date a particular nation decrees to be Midsummer Eve. In Denmark, it's St. John's Eve, June 23d; in Sweden, it's the Friday nearest St. John's Day.

The festivities vary from place to place. At Skagen, on the north tip of Jutland - a spot held sacred by the Vikings on account of the confluence of the Kattegat and Skagerrak straits - the Danes still celebrate St. John's Eve by lighting a huge bonfire. It commemorates the many witches burned here in the old days and also puts viewers in mind of the blazing ships that carried the corpses of great lords out to sea. The town itself is a place of white picket fences and yellow-washed brick, of whimsical window frames and dogtoothed eaves, and the surrounding moor is covered with heather and sweet gale, which is used for flavoring schnapps. A towerlike medieval church with a steeply pitched Flemish gable sits half-buried in the migrating dunes.

By the sea is a fishing port fronted by long rows of fish houses selling eels and boiled prawns and turbot and plaice and smoked mackerel; the little harbor bristles with the masts of wooden cutters and big steel herring boats. At 9 o'clock on St. John's Eve you can sit and drink schnapps in the outdoor cafe of Brondums, an inn where many Scandinavian painters spent their summers about a century ago, and you can watch the revelers parade by to the beat of a marching band. Out on the beach patriotic songs are sung, and a huge pyre of herring crates is set afire under a life-size rag-doll witch with a green frock and orange hair. About 20 or 30 pleasure boats ride in the offing, and people crane over the gunwales to see the red flame flare up against the blue dusk.

ACROSS THE WATER, IN Sweden, the Midsummer Eve festivities are different. There it is the custom to eat fresh local potatoes with matjes herring, sour cream and chives. Then to dance around the Maypole, a sort of mast with a yardarm from which wreathes are suspended from either side; in the evening revelers may also dance the polka and the schottische to the music of a country fiddlers' band. It is said that a draft of water from certain magical springs will heal whatever ails them, and they take a luminous delight in keeping the Midsummer Vigil. But this brief white night is not merely an expression of primitive sun worship; it is also the northerners' answer to the old Italic Feast of Flora - a fleeting hour of festoons and bowers. If a maiden gathers a bouquet of nine different wildflowers and goes out to a crossroad and stays awake all night, she will soon see her future bridegroom in her dreams.

So Midsummer is a holiday with sex appeal, and has been commercialized accordingly. What a boon for breweries and amusement parks! One reads in Dagens Nyheter, the Stockholm daily, that in the early hours of last Midsummer Eve a quarter of a million people passed over the bridge to Oland, a large island off Sweden's Baltic coast. The police were specially authorized to make spot checks of motorists and to confiscate unduly large stashes of liquor.

Up in the hilly province of Dalarna, the area around the town of Sater is notorious for youthful rowdiness at this time of year. Long ago I put on a white cap and sold sausages out of a trailer there; an acquaintance had thought this a great way to rack up some fast kronor, which perhaps it was. The trailer looked like a gypsy wagon; it had a counter with a window, which from my vendor's point of view inside perfectly framed the passing Midsummer mischief. The spectacle of mass drunkenness bathed in lapis lazuli illumination was spellbinding, but foreign visitors might well wish to pass it up. They would do better to find a seaside or lakeside village with a jetty roped off for dancing, or a midsommarhage - a glade with an improvised dance floor - where villagers take their children to sing the old songs and play the old games that go with Midsummer Eve.

DURING THE LATE 18TH CENTURY a kind of cult grew up around the dream of the mystic North. It was largely inspired by the Norse heroes of the Ossianic poems, supposedly written by the third-century Irish bard Ossian, but actually a literary hoax perpetrated in the 1760's by the Scottish author James Macpherson. Little bands of bookish people set out from England and the Continent toward the Hebrides and Iceland and Scandinavia. One of the things they were seeking was the experience of Midsummer Eve. They had read about the nights of dancing around the Maypole, about peasants and even gentlefolk yielding to their wildest instincts, but what they discovered was that not much was actually going on. In Dalarna some young people were throwing flowers around, but that was about it. In the summer of 1804, the German writer Ernst Moritz Arndt traveled way up to the province of Norrland and reported with some dismay that no Maypoles were to be found. The only place one could see them was in the south, in Scania, which suggested that Maypoles might be a Continental import (they were).

Wandering about Scandinavia today, looking for ''genuine'' Midsummer rites, one is haunted by these early travelers' reports. It is clear that for the Romantic imagination the land of the midnight sun simply had to have a Midsummer cult. If none existed, it would have to be invented, and it was invented, in the late 19th century, by a great many like-minded writers, painters and composers. These men and women had not failed to notice that most of the rustic observances traditionally connected with May Day had recently been shifted, for reasons both economic and social, to St. John's Day in June. The change struck them as natural and felicitous, for Midsummer as such had a kind of decadent, fin de siecle allure - the shimmering twilight, the slightly morbid exaltation, the disruptive surge of pagan sensuality. At the same time, the festival's quintessential northernness satisfied the Romantic nationalism then growing in the Scandinavian countries.

All the major Scandinavian painters of the day, including the two greatest, Vilhelm Hammershoi and Edvard Munch, produced examples of the nocturne, and more well-known novels and plays had a Midsummer Eve scene than did not. Strindberg's ''Miss Julie'' comes easily to mind, but the most telling evocations of the Midsummer mood as such occur in the fiction of Hjalmar Soderberg. In picturesque, lapidary prose this Stockholm boulevardier managed to assemble all the images of the modern Midsummer mystique: the white caps of Gymnasium laureates glimmering in the dusk, the half-swooning, flower-bedecked girls, the long, restless shadows, the compulsive drinking and the feeling, when all is said and done, that some momentous thing that should have happened has not happened and that one is left alone with oneself until . . . the next Midsummer Eve.

MIDSUMMER WAS originally a rural fete, and its flavor of compulsion comes from the compulsion of nature itself, from the fixed cycle of the seasons. To sense what Midsummer means to Swedish country people, you must first make believe that you live in a typical old crofter's cottage with red board-and-batten siding and a roof of terra-cotta tiles. Your native ground consists of a few tilled fields and a hilly cow pasture; for up to five months of the year it is swathed in snow and, often, in deepest darkness. In the dead of winter the cottage grows so cold that no fire will avail; in order to feel warm you have to go outside to get really cold and then come back in again.

The snow rises and rises; the winter is so long and hard that you eagerly examine your surroundings for the first hint of a serious thaw, and you rejoice when at last the thaw comes, and with it the great spring flood. On the first warm morning in May, you thread your way through the remaining puddles of April rain and head for the cow pasture. A veil of green has unfolded itself over the oaks and the aspens, and it is through this veil that you spy -unbelieving at first - a mist of blue glimmering in the underbrush. You hurry forward, and in a moment you are stooping before a carpet of the first wildflowers of the year, the longed-for hepatica. This tiny bloom, with its spade-shaped petals and jaunty white stamens, is the earliest of the three wildflowers that all Swedish country people particularly associate with the coming of spring. In a day or so the hepatica blossoms are gone, to be succeeded by white wood anemones in dense, low-lying clouds. Much later, toward mid-June, appear the celebrated ''Midsummer flowers,'' or wood cranesbill, whose blue-violet petals are delicately veined with scarlet and seem to reflect the blue of the sky.

Come Midsummer, the roadsides are bestrewn with straggling cohorts of poppies, and fields of blooming rape blast their too-vital, almost vulgar yellow note over the countryside. Warm breezes waft the nearly overpowering scent of flowering fruit trees and lilacs. The meadows and glades are brocaded with clover and thistles, violets and cowslips, lilies of the valley and babies' slippers. At the edge of the forest, thick clusters of buds portend the berries of July -wild strawberries, wild raspberries, blueberries, cloudberries. The sun shines far into the evening, and when at long last twilight does set in - the endless, endless twilight - it mutes the brilliance of the millefleurs meadows and puts you in mind of the back of a piece of rare tapestry. All is so still, so momentously quiet. A solitary ringdove flutes his three soft notes.

IT IS A TIME WHEN YOU MUST stay awake to dream, but that dream can turn into a nightmare. A little before midnight, when the sun slips down behind the mountain and all the birches swim together in a sparkling silver-green sea, the solitary gatherer of wildflowers may be mesmerized into losing his way. He believes, perhaps, that he is merely searching for rare and sweet-smelling butterfly orchis, but by and by he grows aware that he is lost in the infinite maze of the north woods. In Sweden one who has fallen prey to this helpless sylvan straying is called bergtagen, or ''spirited away by the mountain.'' He has yielded to a fatal love of beauty, and will never find his way back into the world of men.

Love and death . . . they are inextricably woven together in this most Germanic of festivals. There is something majestic about it, and also something a little gimcrack. But you do not need to be very young, or an incurable romantic, to enjoy it. Just give in to the season, the light, the flowers. They are the party the North throws for itself. THE LONGEST DAYS


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