By Gary Wamsley
With a little help, the parade of scarecrows crossed Mountain Avenue to the farmers market last Thursday. Twenty-two scarecrows attended this year’s event. Kudos to the Berthoud Library for their assistance in hosting the scarecrow making activity. If not for their participation, I suspect the scarecrow population would have been smaller. The judges did not announce a selection of winners, so I assume everyone was a winner. It certainly looked that way to me.
A few hours later, flames from the high school homecoming bonfire were leaping 150 feet into the night air. The heat of such a large fire is intense and as the fire grows, the ring of spectators gets further and further away. Eventually, only firefighters from the BFPD stood in the no-man zone, keeping the perimeter hosed down, and the fire remained contained. Without their cooperation, this annual event could not take place.
We were gone for the weekend but came back to a full slate of activity. The Citizens First committee had their first public meeting on Tuesday evening, but the day started early with a visit by KUSA television. Acting on a news tip by someone identified only as “Vicky,” the reporter visited several places in town and aired a piece a few hours prior to the meeting. The meeting itself was jam packed, with many spectators standing. It seems to be a good start for the committee.
I was saddened this week to learn of the death of William Safire. I have several of his books on language and agreed with much of his reasoning about its use. I fear what may happen with this most prestigious protector of the language out of the battle. I see the misuse of many words and object to the argument that some of these misuses are becoming acceptable as language changes. One of the most insidious of the misused words is “myself.” I often hear it used where “me” is the correct word. I have even heard television news anchors signing off saying “Good night from Joan, John and myself.” It sends a shiver down my back when I hear someone who is supposed to be a language professional make such a faux pas.
Perhaps people think it makes them sound more educated to say “myself.” That probably explains another of my pet peeves, the use of a word like “utilize” when “use” is all that is needed. I don’t know where these “ize” words got started, but I wish they would go away.
Strangely, I see no one to fill the void left by these great purveyors of prose. Who could match Safire or William F. Buckley, Jr. in turning out great examples of language? The fact that there seems to be no one to take their place may be an indication that the public no longer cares about the fine distinctions and beauty of the English language. I hope that is not the case.
I’ll see you around town.