Todays random word

gnome-08Opening the dictionary randomly, the word “Gnome” pops out and like many English words, the thing has several meanings.  The most recent official meaning comes from France, about 300 years ago.  This French meaning is probably known to young people these days.  This French meaning is those funny little people who live inside the planet to guard the Earth’s treasure.  Not me though.  I thought gnomes were those colourful little statues of Irish folklore embedded in some people’s front gardens here a-bouts.  Alas, these happy little statues are not apparently proper enough to be included in the Oxford English Dictionary.  I suspect even fewer would know, a gnome can signify certain types of American birds.  Surprisingly, this meaning was included in the dictionary.  What types of birds, I am not sure; Indigenous America birds perhaps.

The older meaning comes from Greece dating back 400 years or so, meaning a maxim, a proverb, a saying, a thought or a general truism.  The dictionary also lists a gnome as meaning an aphorism, which requires me to also look that word up, finding yet another word to mean, a maxim or a concise pithy statement of a principle.  From a logical computer science point of view, having more than one meaning for a word is bad enough, but having two different words mean the same, that is completely reckless.  Perhaps though, this older Greek definition of the word “Gnome”, exemplifies a gnome of an idea that the more recent usage of a word, replaces or at least obfuscates the original meanings.  The old simply fade away in time and are redefined as needed by the young who inevitably inherit the earth with the passing of the old.

Examples of gnomes ( Greek meaning ) could be say, “Tis better to have loved and lost, than to have only lost” or another example would be “if it ant broken, don’t fix it”.   An older example from legal history is “those that seek equity ( or fairness ) must also do equity”, whatever that means.  Perhaps this means this other gnome that says that “those coming to seek equity from the law courts must come with clean hands ”.  And pity anyone who is not perfect ( nor well off to afford a lawyer ) in the courts.  Forget all about those Buddhist Mindfulness gnomes of perfection.  This common law gnome of “clean hands” could be an example of cultural clashes of respective gnomes, though I suspect clashes could occur even within one cultural set of gnomes.

Now all these gnomes ( Greek meaning ) must have had someone invent them in the past, of course.  So anyone who writes a gnome ( though typically no one knows who they were ) are nevertheless called, despite their reluctant absences, a “Gnomist”.  Really, I kid you not !  So lets all get busy and become a gnomist before the next census.

© 2016, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.

A personal journey

A real WordPress install, none the less.

Yesterday I had this idea I would write a page of English and publish it on the internet.  Would I be able to write a page or two ?  Nothing at all novel about that, I suppose, but I did wonder if I could.  It just seemed to me that it was time I joined the 3 billion others out there somewhere.  I have had this idea of writing a page before ( many times actually ) and nothing came of it.  I would not have been at all surprised if this latest idea of mine ended the same way, but I didn’t care.  I’m enjoy making up ideas and I’m used to them ending up that way.  It was not like I was writing for anyone else.  Nothing to hung on that nail anymore.

However, it turned out that writing a page of English was easier then the installation of a web page for writing on.  Taking a bit longer than expected.  Just in case you too have taken a while to install a web page, or are still struggling or even given up like me so many times before, so you know you are not alone ( despite the massive amount of advertising saying how easy it is to create a blog etc ), this is how I conquered the install process.    Continue reading

© 2015, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.

Instant Magic

Instant magic, how rare that is these days, or any day for that matter.

While I waited to actually met her in person, my concerns were merely limited to her having worked in the same public service job for 24 years.  What would that do to anyone’s thinking.  She arrived at the coffee shop perfectly at her appointed time. Even two minutes early, and I was impressed.

We sat facing each other.  She wore a black skirt down to her knees which tended to slide up as she talked, and when I was not looking, she would quickly pull it back down.  She had black IMG_0888-small stockings and high black leather boots, with a moderate heal.  She wore middle size round silver coloured disc ear rings.  She had shortish hair, but when she smiled, which was often, the whole place lit up.

Our eyes meet and stayed there.  Very unusual.  Though unspoken, our hearts recognised each other at once.  We talked about serious things while our hearts were happy.  We both knew there were two conversations happening at once, the formal spoken one we could not think of how to stop, and the other silly silent conversation that was laughing loudly inside. Continue reading

© 2015, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.

The Burton Question

In some parts round here where I live, questions that are out of the box are known as a “Burton Question”.

I was reminded of this fact when I recently ventured up the street to the local pie shop in my lunch half hour.  This particular pie shop had been recommended to me some time ago by a IMG_4301-webreliable source.  Best pies in town.  OK, but the side street this small shop was in was out of the way; standing alone up a slight hill and in a side street.  They must therefore make wonderful pies to still be in business.  That was my thinking as I hurried up the hill and as a consequence I suspect, feeling more and more like eating a pie or two.

There was no obvious sign on the shop, but it was easy for me to find as it was the only shop thereabouts.  Confirming my guess work, there were several pies in the shops window.  The doorway was a screen and also easily opened.  When I walked into the shop there was no one around and all I could see were lovely pies on display all over the place.  A lovely shop.  There were plenty to choose from.  Across behind the counter was a pastry work bench with neat rows of pies in the progress of being made.  Thinking again, I figured there must be someone back soon with so many part pies waiting to be finished.  I waited. Continue reading

© 2015, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.

A Girl

Even though it was a long time ago, I clearly remember the first time I ever noticed a girl, as if it had happened to me earlier today.

This is what happened.  When I was 12 years old, my family went on an Easter holiday to the Hydro Majestic in the Blue Mountains.  We stayed a week or two.  I remember this because I spent most of the time painting a water colour picture of the view and I still have this painting somewhere.  IMG_2700-webThis was my second painting  which was much better than my first.  My mother had it framed at the local framing shop.  Under my signature is written “12 years”, which seems about right cause I had just started senior school.  Unfortunately, I can’t find my second painting, so will have to settle for my first painting that was not good enough to get framed ( on the left ) which I remember painting a few years earlier when we all lived on a farm.  This first painting was the view on the farm,as you can see.  Why painting on my holiday at the Hydro is important is because I was painting from within the establishment, along the Grand Walkway and many people would stop and some would comment, but mostly not.  In any even, I took little notice.  Thinking back on it after what happened to me later one evening, I have a vague idea she stopped by, but I must have ignored her as well.

Continue reading

© 2015, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.


Once, I was sent to Los Angeles as part of my job.  At that time I was working in Sydney for an American company that had a new product soon to be released and they wanted me to plane-webundertake training on how it worked and write it up.  “Sales Support” they call it.

This was the first time I went to the USA.  The companies manufacturing plant was located in Pasadena.  Me, not having been to the US before, soon discovered that Pasedena was in fact, a suburb of LA.   Well, it seemed like a suburb to me as there are no trees between downtown and Pasadena.  Still, I think it funny how I would hear people say they live in Pasadena, or work in Pasadena, no matter who in the world they are talking to at the time.

Reminds me of this person I over heard being asked in the Philippines by a local, “Where are you  from”.  To which this Sydney sider, replied, “Pymble”.  Like anyone not from Sydney, this Filipino could only manage a blank polite face as a reply.  Pymble happens to be where my first girlfriend lived, but that is another story. But Pasadena, I had at least heard of that name before from the movies.  Sounds like the wild west and cow boys.  Maybe it was once, now it was were things were made, this company I worked for and others.  Though I did happen to meet some cowboys and girls there… Continue reading

© 2015, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.

Quantum Encounter

Quantum Braid Loop

Quantum Braid Loop

Lately I have been hearing from many that they are into “Quantum Physics”.  Seems like this has become rather popular, to be interested in such metaphysical stuff.  Hype maybe, but what does it mean.  Having long forgotten pretty much all the Physics I ever learnt at school or Uni,  “Oh” is all I could think of to reply.  This got me to thinking. Continue reading

© 2015, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.

The Three Dinner Rule

IMG_4733-coffee-shop-old-weI saw this post recently on a blog of a large internet dating site, allegedly and presumably written by a women, though one never knows for sure these days.  This is what she posted:

“I met this wonderful man recently on a popular internet dating site.  We had a lot in common, but we both insisted from the beginning that there was to be no expectations and just be friends.  That way we could relax, be ourselves, get to know each other and be respectful, taking our time, without having to worry about the usual sexual complications.  We had a great time talking for ages and I admired him for his stand.  By the third date though, chemistry started to happen and despite our agreement not to do anything, one thing lead to another.  Then nothing.  Not even a phone call and his phone goes unanswered.  So no explanations, merely silence.”

It seems to me that this tragedy occurred because of a common misunderstanding ( by both parties ) of the Three Dinner Rule as there is much more subtly and depth to that rule than its popular interpretation and it rarely, if ever, gets a mention…. Continue reading

© 2015, James Harry Burton. All rights reserved.