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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:12 am 
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an seanduine wrote:
Ben, in the US military, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on maintaining a surface deferral to authority. The UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice) is quite clear about the penalties for disrespect shown to an officer. You can disagree with your superior, but you must maintain a surface level of respect. The instance I witnessed involved some seriously poor judgement on the part of an officer.
Successful non-coms master the art of subtly and indirectly correcting poor judgements by their superiors. In this instance, the officer basically told the non-com to myob. Unfortunately, in the long run, it did not turn out well for the officer. . .

Bob

Yeah. It is different in the military. There almost has to be a culture of simply not questioning superiors. In civilian life, there is not that imperative.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:55 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
... to pee on his roses.

Is that a common americanism? If there were a drought or a shortage of soil nitrogen that would be a good thing.

In fact, in parts of India, sterile water is in very short supply. It is not uncommon (according to Satish Kumar) for a person to ask a feind for urine to wash their wound. Withholding such a boon is part of a common expression of meanness.

Funny old world.....

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 2:38 pm 
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DrPhill wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
... to pee on his roses.

Is that a common americanism?

I couldn't say, but I come across it at least once a year, and obviously I use it myself. I think I first heard it around ten years ago, give or take, mainly at sessions and other pub situations. I just now looked up the expression, and to my surprise could find nothing at all, so there's a real possibility it may be closely confined to my locale. TBH, given the reference to gardening I thought it was a British import! :lol:

It's a metaphor that I would think needs no explanation, but there's always the risk a literalist will pick it apart and deflate the fun. For example, one evening at the bar I ordered a pizza for a bunch of elder statesmen I often chat with (and I must admit that, now into my sixties, I was an entry-level member of the club myself). "Where do you want it delivered?", asked the bartender. "Just look for the table where everyone's farting dust," I quipped. It was a slow night, and we were hard to miss. Anyway, back at the table and waiting for the feast, I regaled them with what I had told the bartender, for wit and cleverness should be shared, should they not? But this is where I learned that one of us had no affinity at all for metaphor - he was a mathematician by trade, which might explain things somewhat - and he genuinely was bewildered by "farting dust" and needed me to explain it. Now, this is a phrase that I grew up with and it is well known, so I was just as bewildered in turn as he. As it turns out, in all his long life he had somehow managed to never have heard it until that very moment, and that, I can tell you, is long odds in the extreme. "But people don't f*rt dust!", he protested. "It's a poetic way of saying you're damned old," I said. "Ohhhhhh....", he said. "I still don't get it." At first I thought he was pulling my leg, but no.

Well, we both learned something that night. In retrospect, I sometimes wonder why I had to do all the heavy lifting, but the other guys had long known the mathematician better than I, so they probably just wanted the entertainment of seeing how I handled it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:01 pm 
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Now, I am not the one to claim authority on english usage, so I may well be contradicted, but I have never heard that phrase about urination and roses. I have heard 'Rain on his parade' where rain has been replaced with an alliterative verb indicating similar. I have also heard a phrase 'I wouldn't p*** on him if he were on fire'. But my first thought with pee and roses were entirely the opposite of what I assume you intended. Maybe because I am a gardener and have just had a long hot dry summer where any source of moisture was welcomed by the garden. We used the water from washing the veg, the water from washing the dishes, and yes, I peed on the roses too.

Of course I amy be mistaking your mental picture. We dont pick our roses - they last longer on the bush and the insects get to forage. Maybe your saying is about cut and bunched roses... in a vase... on a dining room table..... in which case I can see innapropriateness.

Odd is isnt it. A colourful phrase designed to add flavour and meaning can do just the opposite.....

Oh, and I am not doing this to be awkward.... or not too much. I have a delight in the use of language and the ways that english (and maybe even american) can be used to express fine nuances of meaning. I also find it fascinating how cultural context can completely change the meaning of phrases.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:24 pm 
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DrPhill wrote:
Of course I amy be mistaking your mental picture. We dont pick our roses - they last longer on the bush and the insects get to forage. Maybe your saying is about cut and bunched roses... in a vase... on a dining room table..... in which case I can see innapropriateness.

I can't say how others envision the metaphor; I've never thought to ask. To me the image has always been of someone's prized garden, peed on by an outside party. It's an offense, a despoiling; peeing on something is an insult before it's anything else, and this overall perception is pretty universal. It has nothing to do with botanical nutrition, but the principle of the thing. Would you like it if some stranger came by and merrily started micturating all over your hard work without so much as a by-your-leave? He would be out of place.

It may be intentional, or merely a perceived offense. Any clearer, now?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:55 pm 
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Perhaps the distinction is that you are concentrating on the micturation, and not thinking so much about the target of the stream. It may be that, to you, peeing on anything is disrespectful. But I have illustrated two circumstances where peeing on something is a positive. So there is an inherent ambiguity in the phrase 'peeing on his roses'. The meaning mutates with cultural context. If the phrase was 'p*ss*ng on you boots' or '...on you lunch' , '...on your bed' or similar the ambiguity in my mind disappears. But '....on your roses' does not have that clarity; for me roses and urine have a natural positive affinity. Maybe I am more chthonic than you.....

EDIT: https://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifes ... arden.html

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:13 pm 
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DrPhill wrote:
It may be that, to you, peeing on anything is disrespectful.

I'll admit that I could have been more clear, but "anything" is an awfully big word for you to to be putting in my mouth, my friend. If I didn't know better, I'd think you assume I don't have the ability to draw distinctions. Now, peeing on something that doesn't belong to me? Absolutely it's disrespectful. How could it not be? Surely you would be offended if, for example, I peed all over your car. If I peed on my own, then where's the disrespect? It's my car, so in that case I'm simply a pig and probably dead drunk. If you asked me to pee on your garden with care and feeding in mind, that's an entirely different matter again, and - bladder providing - I would be glad to help out, although the neighbors might prove problematic. But if you didn't give me the go-ahead, I definitely wouldn't presume it was all right anyway, precisely because it's your garden, not mine. As you can see, I have at least some grasp of degree.

All of a sudden I have this inkling that maybe I should apologize to the urinal. :lol:

DrPhill wrote:
But '....on your roses' does not have that clarity; for me roses and urine have a natural positive affinity. Maybe I am more chthonic than you.....

Where but on C&F would we hope to hear "chthonic"? :) You could be right. I've been told my head's in the clouds, so there you go. But you're still focusing on how you treat your own roses, not the proprietary boundaries implicit in someone else's (I touched on this already, above), and that is what the metaphor's about: boundaries, ownership, and the violation thereof. To me it couldn't be more clear; the metaphor says you're peeing on someone else's roses, not your own, and the distinction is key. Social boundaries are not an exotic, much less invalid, idea; indeed, I'll bet most people will think of peeing on private property as an offense first, rather than as fertilizer. We are not cattle. Not to press, but you still haven't addressed how you yourself would like it if a total stranger waltzed up and peed on your garden. You can profess all you like that you're grateful for the free nutrients, and no doubt it's a mitigating benefit, but tell me you wouldn't first be offended by the sheer gall of some unfamiliar lout using your beauties for a toilet. You can be sure that horticultural largesse would be the last thing on his mind.

Now, it has to be said that we're beating this poor metaphor to within an inch of its sad life. It is what it is, it makes all the sense in the world to me, and I've never known anyone else to be confused by it. For all I know you've been pulling my leg, but I'm not left much choice but to operate on the assumption that you're in earnest, so here we are. In truth, I wouldn't be explosively offended if someone peed on my garden - in the end I tend to be philosophical about such things - but I still would register at least some irritation. Beyond any shadow of a doubt the transgressor will have intended offense, so mission accomplished, and congratulations. After all, he could have peed on more neutral ground. I think a negative reaction on my part would be normal, don't you?

We also say "peeing on someone's doorstep" in much the same spirit, but it doesn't carry the subtext of all the care, devotion, and personal investment that go into raising roses. It's not intended at all to be about fertilizing plants; rather, it's about someone who treasures something, and sees their prize as being treated roughly. Again: boundaries, ownership, and investment; you need only ask around to know that that's the context that most will infer. The difference between the illustrations above and the metaphor itself is that the metaphor doesn't assume an intent to offend; it only assumes that a construct will be critiqued or even dismantled, and that someone probably won't like it.

Here's an example of "peeing on someone's roses": A fellow once told me that lice can jump. Well, they can't. They're built for clinging to hair shafts, not jumping; without hairs to hang onto, they're sunk. It's why shaving is a sure remedy for lice. He said I was wrong, so I suggested he must be thinking of fleas, but he assured me he knew the difference. I wasn't so sure. On it went, and I couldn't convince him of the truth. For me it wasn't about being right - I knew I was already - but I have a real problem with willful ignorance. Willful ignorance can land you in a heap of trouble, and I think that if one is to be of service to one's fellow humans then one should not let such sleeping dogs lie, because even in little matters like lice, you never know where ignorance will lead; I have lived too long to hope that it would be anywhere good. But I digress. Back to the story: Fortunately we have smartphones nowadays, so all it took was a quick Google then and there to settle the debate, and while he was now one critter the wiser, the fact remained that he'd obstinately held onto a belief that was easily proven false, and he could have long ago corrected this all on his own with very little effort, sparing himself chagrin into the bargain. Even if he hadn't been embarrassed, proof still repudiated his "roses". Another example could be mocking someone for their attire, so the metaphor covers some ground regardless of the intent, which might be malicious, or not.

After all this, maybe I should just stick with "raining on someone's parade". :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 10:35 am 
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Been distracted a while.... but I have caught up on your post. It is always fun and educational crossing verbal swords with you. I admire the clarity and simplicity of your writing style, even when I do not completely agree with your opinions.

I simply asked if 'pee on someones roses' was a common americanism, and tried to explain why, to me and maybe others unfamiliar with it, that it might increase rather than decrease the ambiguity of sentiment. If there is a risk of increasing the ambiguity then this risks defeating its own purpose when used as a metaphor or simile.

I am not being 'wilfully ignorant' - I am aware that the phrase can be interpreted in more than one way - just refusing to treat this as a right/wrong issue and more as a matter of opinion. Shall we say you have yours and I have mine?

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 1:01 pm 
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DrPhill wrote:
I am not being 'wilfully ignorant'...

It was never, ever my intent to imply that. I was referring only to such people as would doggedly believe in falsehoods, like jumping lice. :)

To recap my take on the metaphor (one last time, and then I'm done): Because of boundaries, we conventionally don't like it when someone pees on our stuff. That's the gist of it. Conventionally speaking. All this being immediately apparent to me, I take it, DrPhill, that you must be anything but conventional. :wink:

Again, I'd assumed (wrongly) that it would have been common enough to the whole Anglosphere, but it's starting to look as if it's common only to the Minneapolisphere, not even to the US! Well, I'm here to change that. :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 2:14 pm 
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We all use euphemisms from time to time. Agnes Brown, for instance.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 6:02 pm 
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michaelpthompson wrote:
Agnes Brown, for instance.

And THAT is why we don't support embedded videos here. :lol:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:16 am 
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Nanohedron wrote:
michaelpthompson wrote:
Agnes Brown, for instance.

And THAT is why we don't support embedded videos here. :lol:

I totally would have embedded it too! :moreevil:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 12:13 pm 
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DrPhill wrote:
All this being immediately apparent to me, I take it, DrPhill, that you must be anything but conventional. :wink:

:thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:02 am 
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For my two cents, I had not heard the "peeing on roses" or "farting dust" before. However, it could be that I am young (~30) and haven't had a history of hanging around pubs until last year. The phrases could be from Minnesota or perhaps they have Scandinavian heritage? Who knows.

Edit:

In regards to the thread in general. I greatly appreciate my biggest take away from my Cultural Anthropology and Linguistic Anthropology: nothing is obvious.
It is easy to think things are obvious from our own perspective, but as one of my professors emphasized a lot: nothing is obvious. Everything always gets interpreted through our view of the world and it is fascinating to understand how others view the world and how the things that we've grown to think of as 'obvious' aren't 'obvious' from different perspectives or different worldviews.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:34 pm 
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AaronFW wrote:
...I had not heard the "peeing on roses" or "farting dust" before.

Interesting. Did you have an immediate understanding of their meaning, even so? The reason I ask is that I never had to have them explained to me, but apparently this may not be the case elsewhere. I find it frankly inconceivable, but then it's a big world, isn't it.

Just for future reference, remember it's not just "peeing on roses", but "peeing on someone's roses". There's a big difference, and it counts. :)

I've always tended to be at ease around similes and metaphors, though. Last night on a talk show some fellow was describing getting his preteen daughters ready to go somewhere, how what might have been quick work wound up taking over four hours, and now they had to eat, and the project was steadily losing daylight. "It was like shoveling cats," he said. I was delighted. Normally we say "herding cats", but this fresh variation was even more amusing because of its incongruity; that aside, in practical terms alone it goes without saying that getting a typical cat onto a shovel is a fool's errand if ever you wanted one - never mind the cat staying on it long enough to be moved from point A to point B. It just ain't gonna happen.

I'll be using that one in the future. :thumbsup:

AaronFW wrote:
The phrases could be from Minnesota or perhaps they have Scandinavian heritage?

Either or both are entirely possible. In the upper Midwest, most especially in Minnesota, the Nordic imprint is so pervasive that we're often unlikely to see it for what it is.

Just a quick check on what may also be a regionalism: Do any Yanks outside of Minnesota use the word "spendy" at all?

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