Posts Tagged ‘language’
Occasionally I get the darnedest questions at work. Someone wanted information about the toy The Magic Eight Ball, which used for fortune-telling or seeking advice,. It is apparently manufactured in China, and someone wanted to know if the number eight was selected – instead of seven or nine – because the number eight is considered lucky in China.
I found no evidence of that. I assumed it was developed from a billiards reference, which it appears to be. But it was interesting to read about the derivation of the term behind the eight-ball:
…a common idiom meaning to be in trouble, stymied or thwarted, in an awkward position or out of luck. Read the rest of this entry »
Pleonasm (/ˈpliːənæzəm/, from Greek πλεονασμός pleonasmos from πλέον pleon “more, too much”) is the use of more words or parts of words than is necessary for clear expression: examples are black darkness, or burning fire. Such redundancy is, by traditional rhetorical criteria, a manifestation of tautology.
In this article, one can read George Carlin’s Department of Pleonasms and Redundancies.
But are all the words on the list that bad? I am going to make the case for keeping some of them, though NOT “three a.m. in the morning.” The inference, in most cases, is that by dropping one or more words in a phrase, the sentence would be equally clear.
Read the rest of this entry »
One of our librarians wanted to help a colleague who operates a trivia night competition periodically. He was working on a variation on a question he heard in a Trivial Pursuit edition, something along the lines of “Which two 1960s classic songs, released within a year of each other, both use the phrase ‘koo kook a choo'”.
Librarian that he is, he wanted to know how to “spell” the “koo koo”. Read the rest of this entry »
On Christmas Eve, I’m reading the Facebook feed of someone I sorta know – she interviewed me by phone and e-mail for an article about education – and I come to this story You Don’t Have the Right to Remain Silent, a story about the Supreme Court’s “terrible—and dangerous—ruling” on the Fifth Amendment, a decision I hate. The presumption is that a “person of interest” need be versed in the nuances of law. Here’s the ruling in Salinas v. Texas in which “you remain silent at your peril,” as the SCOTUS blog recaps this.
But it couldn’t have been decided on THAT Monday Read the rest of this entry »
Teenager’s Sentence in Fatal Drunken-Driving Case Stirs ‘Affluenza’ Debate; my, when I saw this story on TV I got really ticked off. Will they also accept povertenza as a defense? Didn’t think so.
The former editor-in-chief at the New England Journal of Medicine believes it is no longer possible to believe much of clinical research published.
I didn’t write about that Duck Dynasty cable TV guy, mostly because of time, but also because I didn’t have a fresh angle. Arthur wrote about him, and about his reluctance to write about the issue at all, and it’s pretty much my position too.
There’s a new film about Walt Disney and the making of the movie Mary Poppins: watch Harlan Ellison on “Saving Mr. Banks”. For another new film, Philomena, read this article from three years ago, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee, for background.
Melanie: Reading, Russian, and the Soviet Union.
Always hated end-of-the-year lists that come out in early December, because the year isn’t over. Still, 45 powerful photos and NPR’s 100 favorite songs and the best and worst media errors and corrections and worst words and phrases and the Jibjab piece
what brought us together.
Jaquandor: “Bitching about what people post on social networks is rather like going to each individual table in your high school cafeteria and demanding that everyone at each table only discuss the topics you want to hear discussed.” I agree with that. He also mentioned SamuraiFrog’s situation, linked therein.
Speaking of SF: 50 Shades of Smartass, Chapter 4 and Chapter 5 and Chapter 6 and Chapter 7, which you should check out, even if you don’t read the others, because now the truly awful stuff is being eviscerated. Or wait until Chapter 8, when the sex stuff starts. Would someone who liked this book please write me and tell me why?
The status of Jaquandor’s Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title).
The “radio call” of the miraculous Auburn win over Alabama, both a faux one and the real thing.
Amy Biancolli has a new blog. She’s a writer for the local newspaper I’ve met once or twice. As she noted in her first post, ” In 2011, my beloved, brilliant husband, Chris, committed suicide. This left me and our three unbelievably spirited, beautiful children with a task ahead of us: to live.” So she’s FSO, Figuring Stuff Out, such as Things. Except she doesn’t say “stuff.”
Of all the noteworthy people who died this month – Ray Price, Eleanor Parker, Peter O’Toole, Joan Fontaine, Tom Laughlin – the only obit I link to is Harold Camping? OK, here’s one for Price, and for O’Toole.
Food Fight Muppet episode featuring Gordon Ramsey.
Mark Evanier has been blogging for thirty years! I didn’t even have Internet access at work TWENTY years ago.
Unexpected singers: Run Joe by Maya Angelou from the Miss Calypso album. And Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out by Richard Pryor.
I wrote: 50 is the new 65, and not in a good way.