I have been at the new church, Sts. Anargyroi, in Marlborough for several weeks now and have already written several articles for our monthly zine Sofia (you can read the November issue by clicking on the Sofia button on the home page).  The December one will contain my musings on the Advent season versus the Christmas season, and one thing I mention is the tendency for the local oldies station to play “holiday” (as they call it) music earlier and earlier each year.  I generally boycott until close to Christmas, but in my unfocused button-pushing while driving I still hit the last programmed button occasionally and end up hearing the Christmas music.  Usually I immediately switch stations but if it is a Carpenters Christmas song then I have to hear it out, regardless of how early in Advent we are.  Today I heard (There’s No Place Like) Home For The Holidays – the wiki article points out that it is really more of a Thanksgiving song.  There is a line that goes “the traffic is terrific”, meaning that there is a lot of traffic and it is not a good thing.  This line struck me because it is a rare use of terrific in its original form, with the root of terror, meaning really bad.  The word today is used almost exclusively as a slang term to mean really good.  The Merriam Webster definition bears this out, with the “really bad” definition listed first and the “really good” one listed third.  Interesting stuff.  Some of the Christmas classics contain quaint language but this is an example of a word where the meaning has totally changed in general usage.  This phenomena is one of the reasons that the King James version of the Bible is, to me, not good for everyday use; the problem is not that the language is archaic but that many words are used in it that are still around and have totally different meanings.

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