Wish I may, wish I might, make a point in this column tonight
Have you ever walked into a room and wondered, "Why am I here?"
Better yet, how many times have you done that already today?
I had a bout of that in writing last weekend's column.
I started describing the difficulty in differentiating such similar words as "stalactite" and "stalagmite" and introduced the concept of mnemonics -- little memory tricks people use.
And then I kinda sorta glossed over my mnemonic to separate them.
But at least this gave you an opportunity to write to me about your little memory tricks, including a surprising number of mnemonics for stalactites/stalagmites.
Judy Scala, a retired English teacher, wrote: "The way to remember the difference between stalactites and stalagmites is in their spellings. 'C' is for 'ceiling,' and 'g' is for 'ground.' I thought that's where you were headed, but then the column ended."
Actually, Judy, that's not where I was headed, but I now like yours better than mine.
David Filar wrote: "A mnemonic I learned from a park ranger 55-plus years ago pertaining to stalactite/stalagmite: 'When the mites go up the tites (tights) come down' as it pertains to a ballet dancer."
From Bill Thomas: "I'd like to suggest an easier way to remember the difference between 'stalacTite' and 'stalagmite': yes, I capitalized the 'T' on purpose. When I was taught about these geological formations, the instructor said that the second (middle) T in stalactite indicated that it hung down from the roof or from the TOP. By default, the stalagmite grew up from the floor. It has been quite few years since the lesson, but I remembered it and, therefore, it makes sense to me."
Who knew there could be so many ways to remember something as obscure as this? I should really interview some of the tour guides at Mammoth Cave National Park in Kentucky for their memory tricks. I was prohibited from entering the cave with the rest of my family, because I'd been acting up in the car. Or so I'm told. (Don't worry. I was old enough to fend for myself.)
If you missed it the first time around, my mnemonic is that stalactites hang "tight" to the ceiling.
Is 'convex' complex?
What I did finish last week's column with is my mnemonic for remembering convex/concave.
Karl Landl wrote in with another: "I never had any difficulties with these two words. Why? Because in German (in which nouns are capitalized) it is quite simple using the phrase 'Mein Podex ist convex.'"
And 'Podex' in English is synonymous with "rear end." Write carefully!
• Jim Baumann is vice president/managing editor of the Daily Herald. Write him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Put Grammar Moses in the subject line. You also can friend or follow Jim at facebook.com/baumannjim.