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[Towertalk] Antennas vs. Antennae and Lightning vs.Lightening

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Subject: [Towertalk] Antennas vs. Antennae and Lightning vs.Lightening
From: (W0UN--John Brosnahan)
Date: Sat, 17 Aug 2002 09:33:30 -0500
> From Lew, W7EW-----

>ANTENNA (pl. -tennae, pr. -ten-ee, -tennas) 1) one of a pair of flexible 
>sensitive projections on the heads of insects, crustaceans, etc., a feeler 
>2) wire(s) or rod(s) used to transmit or receive radio waves, an aerial.
>     Definition from The Oxford American Dictionary, Heald Colleges 
> Edition 1980

                                        (With all due respect to Britney 
Spears--see below)

I have already had well over a dozen responses (mostly private) but I feel 
that I
should respond publicly with a note to the reflector to make my point in 

And with all due respect to Lew, W7EW, he cites for his reference "The OXFORD
American Dictionary".  Now isn't OXFORD a little village in the United 
Now what would THEY know about the English language?

For those outside the USA and even those on the left coast let me quote QST for

CRUSTACEAN AIRS HIS VIEWS                     (QST September 2002, p25)

"I was disappointed to see "antennae" instead of "antennas" used several 
times in
the August 2002 issue.  It may have seemed more erudite to the writers, but 
arthropods (such as insects and lobsters) have antennae.  We poor mortals have
antennas.  On the other hand, since my antennae went up when I read the issue,
I might be described as an arthropod...specifically, a crab.----Roy A. 
Raney, K0OVQ,
Denver, Colorado"

But antennas vs. antennae was only my "relevant introduction" to the crux of
my note--lightning vs. lightening.

I feel it is imperative to stop this confusion NOW--having just read TIME 
August 12, 2002 (page 69--PEOPLE section).  In the Britney Spears paragraph
(I DO try to be widely read!) Benjamin Nugent states that Ms. Spears left the
stage in the middle of her outdoor show because of the risk that "lightening"
might hit the stage.   So this seems to indicate that there was no issue
with the weather but rather a concern that the uterus of Ms. Spears might
descend well past her pelvic cavity and actually hit the stage.  Now THAT
is a serious matter and I am sure that she was justified in leaving the stage.

So, as you can see, "lightening", when improperly used, can impart an entirely
different meaning to any story.

I certainly make the occasional typo in my hurry to send a quick reply to
someone.  But I usually know the difference and feel quite ashamed for the
errors.  (MY weakness is in the vagaries of the tenses of lie vs. lay!)  But
"lightening" when used multiple times in the same note appears to be more
than just a typo.

And I haven't even mentioned the "survey" done by TechTV where callers
voted on the importance of penmanship.  91% said it wasn't important
anymore.   If Palmer were alive today, he would be rolling in his grave!    ;-)

I had one response (tongue-in-cheek) that maybe I had too much time on
my hands and would be better served if I spent my time working on
antennas and towers.   I have no argument with that.   But when one's
hardware is still 900 miles away, one must do SOMETHING to keep
the brain active.

Lest anyone be confused, my rantings are intended to raise the level
of quality on the Towertalk reflector and I appreciate the moderator's

This was meant as a lecture not a debate--so I will refrain from any more
postings--but will try to reply personally to anyone who really cares!  I must
now take on Time magazine!

73--John   W0UN

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