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Friday, May 24, 2019

Introducing the Schwa, the Upside Down e

There are 44 basic sounds in the English language, represented by 26 letters of the alphabet. Of these, 23 are vowels, which is quite a lot more than in some other European languages, like Spanish, or Italian.

Because of the mismatch between the number of phonemes in English and the number of letters used to represent them, there are often difficulties in trying to spell English words phonetically. This is actually one of the biggest complaints of non-native speakers when they learn English.

To overcome this problem, phonetic symbols were developed to represent the natural sounds of English in a comprehensive scientific way. The International Phonetic Association has created a system that describes the phonemes which can be used not only in English, but any language in the world (even Klingon, or Sindarin!)... (For more on the schwa and other 43 English phonemes, click here.)

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Deconstructing Cannabis

My world expanding, it is comforting how I inherit new windfalls all the time now, assets that I can use in my life right today, not in some speculated future. Long Jetty is in my orbit finally, Morisset is within my reach. Recently I was informed by one of my physicians that I could be eligible for a bit of the old medical marijuana, which is slowly being approved for therapeutic use in Australia. Cannabis supposedly has anxiolytic properties, although I will believe that when I feel it. In my experience, the only substance which reliably reduces anxiety is booze, and the doctors would never prescribe that. In fact, some of my first panic attacks were sparked by the wicked weed.

Call me a sucker for punishment, but it would be great to get back into pot, in spite of the possible anxiety it might provoke. Fortunately, the marijuana that they now dispense here has been stripped of its treacherous tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the compound which gets you high, and suffused instead with cannabidiol (CBD), a miracle substance being investigated for its anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective promises... (For my complete deconstruction of medical marijuana and how it may help with panic disorder, click here.)
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