Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Reader Questions

A tropical storm pattern is again ruining a spearfishing trip for me, so once again, the spiny lobster, grouper, hogfish and the invasive lionfish are temporarily safe.  The sun is still out and warm, but the seas are growing everyday and the wind pipes away.  We drove up to a spot just south of Ft. Lauderdale where the activity undersea had been good lately.  When the guide dropped us off over the second reef, I held my breath and dove down following a small yellow line we had marked to the floor at 30 or so feet.  The visibility was a frustrating fluctuation between only five and ten feet with the silt and churn.  On the surface, we bobbed up and down on five-to-eight foot swells.  My purchased permits became a mere donation to the state (happily).  Bad day for us, but the suicidal kite boarders were in fine form.  Even the grackles, gulls, and the pelicans have gone into hiding.

Some reader questions from this week:


Yankee Whisky,
What, if any, accessories do you like? Specifically wrists and necks.



Dear Reader,
While I generally require that all of my reader questions begin with gushing praise of my blog, I will set aside this rule to answer your question.

Beyond a watch or the occasional outdoor event bracelet which allows me access to the drinks tent, I don't have a taste for accessories at all.  If you have something that you like, or is meaningful to you, by all means wear it.

Speaking of wrist accessories, I imagine that recycling centers are seeing a lot more of these in the past few days:

What a putz.


Dear YWP, 

I have been enjoying your blog for some months now and look forward to each new posting. I have a sincere question for you. How do YOU pronounce patina? I have been told that my putting the accent on the first syllable as any proper Anglophile would, is wrong and makes me seem a pretentious ass. I must note, I AM a pretentious ass, albeit a broke one. Nevertheless, I just cannot bear to pronounce one of my favorite words like one would pronounce the nickname of small child. I appreciate your ruling on this.

Douglas in Philadelphia 



The leverage that this was given originated in part from Paul Fussell's book Class, which said that the pronunciation of this word was a sure-fire indicator of class.  Unfortunately, like many points in his book, it is inaccurate.

I usually try to infuriate as many people as possible by avoiding emphasis on certain syllables. I also try to pronounce it differently in different situations to confuse further.  You can actually pronounce it with neutrality with practice. If the audience expects one way, I go the other. It's tricky, but it can be done.
Does this answer your question?


***Note: As of earlier this year, Fussell is dead.


  1. I have no question at the moment, so I'll settle for some lavish praise. It's nice to see that your answers to these questions have such a pat'na of common sense.
    --Road to Parnassus

    1. When people argue about first or second syllable, I aggressively say "pah-tee-NAAAH!" just to self-alienate.

  2. I usually just say "rust", or "dirt", ensuring that my friendship circle is continually culled of people that actually care about the pronunciation of patina. But then again I suppose that I am a bit of a philistine.

    1. Don't forget tarnish, grit, layers of old paint, lacquer, or smoker's cough. I seem to recall a auctioneer once using "dust, rust, crust".

  3. Curators with whom I am acquainted usually just call it "crud."

    1. I know several collectors who use "patina" as an excuse for not restoring certain pieces in need of restoration.


Let's keep it clean... but if you DO have to get foul, at least give it a bit of wit. Also, advertising disguised as comments will be deleted, unless it is clever.