August Rambling: Punctuation, Crowdfunding

As someone who has funded a dozen Kickstarter projects, I recognize the insight.

Listen to the KunstlerCast podcast #212: Health & Technology Update. James Howard Kunstler gives listeners an update on his recent health issues, and discusses the importance of advocating for oneself when dealing with medical professionals, rather than taking their word for it.

Keyboard Waffles. (But if they were REAL nerds, they would have spelled nerd’s correctly!)

My favorite new blog: Grammarly, from which the accompanying graphic was purloined. I’m also fond of this description about an English professor who wanted students to punctuate this sentence: A woman without her man is nothing.
The men wrote: A woman, without her man, is nothing.
The women wrote: A woman: without her, man is nothing.

26 Indispensable Writing Tips From Famous Authors.

That’s Progressive, Charlie Brown: On Schulz, LGBT Issues and Integrity.

Arthur links to The Lion and the Mouse II: This Time, It’s Personal,, an interesting essay about “Christian bashing” and LGBT acceptance.

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: George Takei.

Paul Rapp, in writing about Pussy Riot and Julian Assange, notes: “Newspapers used to be the vanguard, the line of defense against any incursions to the freedom of speech. Or at least they pretended to be. They printed stuff they weren’t supposed to, they challenged authority and corporate power, they called out politicians who lied. Newspapers had our back. No more.”

SO BUTTONS: SO MIGHTY a true story by Jonathan Baylis, with art by Fred Hembeck, about Jack Kirby, John Romita, and Thor.

Muppet Thor.

Kevin Marshall believes That botched painting of Jesus Christ is art in its purest form. And maybe it is; it’s generated its own Tumblr page, Beast-Jesus Restoration Society.

Fractured fairy tales.

Saturday morning nostalgia of the 1970s

Someone I know sent me this edition of the comic strip One Big Happy Family. Actually, I have a MUCH better percentage.

Here’s an article about crowdfunding. Even though the topic is Role Playing Games, and I’m not a participant in that world, I thought the discussion about why people do or do not choose to fund a project is right on. As someone who has funded a dozen Kickstarter projects, I recognize the insight.

Saying ‘please’ in restaurants – US v UK, with a link to Lynneguist’s TEDx talk .

A Date With a Countess.

Mary Ann Cotton, Britain’s first recognised serial killer.

I woke up on August 20 to discover that actor William Windom, singer Scott McKenzie and director Tony Scott had all died; my wife had no idea who any of them were, the problem of having a child bride. Here’s Mark Evanier on Windom, though he doesn’t mention either The Farmer’s Daughter or Murder, She Wrote; and Dustbury on McKenzie, who performed one of the most famous songs about San Francisco. The Wife actually has seen some Tony Scott pics, including Unstoppable with Denzel Washington; my favorite of his films is Crimson Tide, also with Denzel. At least she knew who Phyllis Diller was. Thom Wade on Scott and Diller. Also, SamuraiFrog on Muppeteer Jerry Nelson, and more on Joe Kubert by Steve Bissette.

Dinosaur poems, including one by Carl Sandburg.

Status of the Shark Infographic.

Binghamton addresses urban farming, a story featuring friends of mine.

The Doors Sing “Reading Rainbow” Theme (Jimmy Fallon as Jim Morrison).

Take that, Nazi scum! How Moses became ‘Superman’ and other exciting tales from the annals of comic books, a Jewish-American art form.


“Smalbany” is not a pejorative term to me – which was printed in the paper in toto
Nicknames for Albany: “Allah Born” and “The 518″
Let me see your reading list – sorry, not available
Chuck Schumer should can the Yenta/Michael Scott schtick

July Rambling: the God particle, and Key’s defense of slavery

Rod Serling, Mike Wallace, Roger & Chaz Ebert, Banana Splits, Golden Girls, Cookie Monster, 1904 Olympics

Cognitive Deficit: How Budget Cuts Could Prevent Scientific Breakthroughs
“The Higgs boson isn’t just one missed opportunity – it represents how much the U.S. stands to lose if we don’t give our scientists the support they need. The Congress of the early ’90s might have pulled the plug on a $10 billion particle accelerator, but it’s hard to imagine today’s Congress even contemplating such a project when attempts to fund basics like unemployment insurance and infrastructure repair result in partisan gridlock.”
We’re ALL Immigrants, Higgs is Our Common Ancestor.
Why the boson is like Justin Bieber.

Remembering when Francis Scott Key, the man who penned “The Star-Spangled Banner,” defended slavery in court.
Key “had a much narrower conception of freedom of speech. He argued that the antislavery publications could be suppressed in the name of public safety since they might incite violent rebellion. He defended a narrower conception of American citizenship — that it was reserved for the native-born and whites only… White men did have a constitutional right to own property in people…” Applicable discussion for today.

US Senator John McCain (R-AZ) calls out the sheer lunacy of Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) when she and four Republican colleagues accuse Hillary Clinton’s deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin of being circuitously connected to the Muslim Brotherhood.

The deplorable 1904 Olympics.

Jim Stanek, Disabled Veteran Says United Airlines Staff Kicked His Service Dog, Asked If He Was ‘Retarded’

Kevin Marshall collected the musings of Alan Ilagan, who recently served on the jury for a locally prominent murder trial.

Lynneguist’s mom died, and what you can do in honor of that.

The girl I met in Rome in World War II named Miss Mountain of Flowers.

Roger Ebert loves his wife Chaz. Wednesday, July 18, was the 20th anniversary of their marriage.

Wynton Marsalis on America’s Musical Classics. What They Are and Why We Need to Share Them with Our Kids.

The two Londons.

I got an invitation from Glassdoor. At my request, here’s Gordon’s post about it.

If you like classic television, check out Kliph Nesteroff’s Classic Television Showbiz.

Rod Serling in an interview with Mike Wallace just before the The Twilight Zone’s first broadcast.

Steve Bissette writes on Facebook: “I always thought Bob Marley HAD to have seen or heard the BANANA SPLITS theme. Compare Bob’s “Buffalo Soldiers” riff; —c’mon, don’tcha think so, mon?”

This is funny if you’ve watched too much Dora the Explorer.

Cookie Monster connects with his inner Carly Rae Jepsen.

The Superfriends/Golden Girls mashup.

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) on the Senate floor, eulogizing his late writing partner, Tom Davis.

A JED eye chart.

How to write 99 3/4 in Roman numerals.

That classic La maquina de escribbir.

When you write yourself into a corner.


Change in credit card rules?

The new poll tax: voter ID.

Agreeing with Ronald Reagan – hey, it happens.

The Ridin’, Tom Paxton Blues.


In this short video, presented by Applied Transformation, Inc., Roger Green talks with Ivan Misner about Misner’s view on business networking and whether or not it has a place in formal education.

Roger Green, founder of Edinburgh-based Spotless Commercial Cleaning, has stepped down as chief executive after 24 years.

Roger currently serves as Vice President, Strategy, Policy Marketing & Communications for the HealthEast Care System in Saint Paul.

Salvation Army Honors Roger Green with Rare Citation.

Listen to 11 Even by Roger Green: My first full-length solo album after leaving the Czars, features Marc Dalio on drums, Eric Thorin on bass, Eric Moon on Piano.

(Limo picture c 2012 Mark Klonfas. Cat picture c 2012 Alexandria Green)

That darned American English!

I’m a sucker for Yiddish terms.

Right before the family went on vacation, what the Brits (and others) call holiday, this summer, I came across this cause celebre involving the differences between British English and that which is spoken across the pond in the United States.

From LynneGuist: I refrained from saying much about the BBC Magazine piece by Matthew Engel on ‘Why do some Americanisms annoy people?’, pointing readers instead to Mark Liberman/Language Log’s analysis of the so-called Americanisms identified by…Engel. She then analyzed at the previous link and here, that some of the idioms criticized in this BBC piece on Americanisms: 50 of your most noted examples, which was derived by “thousands of e-mails, aren’t even American English in origin.

1. When people ask for something, I often hear: “Can I get a…” It infuriates me. It’s not New York. It’s not the 90s. You’re not in Central Perk with the rest of the Friends. Really.”

In a different context, I know this from much earlier. “Can I get an amen?” from a black preacher. And after that, “Can I Get A Witness” by Marvin Gaye; it may be an Americanism, but hardly that new.

2. The next time someone tells you something is the “least worst option”, tell them that their most best option is learning grammar.

There may be two different issues here. If the objection is “Why not just say ‘best’, then it’s missing the point; it’s a Sophie’s Choice situation.
Whereas if it’s the two superlatives, I’m more sympathetic. One wouldn’t say ‘least ugliest’, one would say ‘least ugly’.

3. The phrase I’ve watched seep into the language (especially with broadcasters) is “two-time” and “three-time”. Have the words double, triple etc, been totally lost? Grammatically it makes no sense, and is even worse when spoken. My pulse rises every time I hear or see it. Which is not healthy as it’s almost every day now. Argh!

I don’t understand the British terms at all. Maybe because JEOPARDY uses ‘one-day champion’.

4. Using 24/7 rather than “24 hours, 7 days a week” or even just plain “all day, every day”.

Yeah, it bugged me early on, mostly because it was business speak. But frankly, it has fewer syllables and I’ve learned to live with it.

5. The one I can’t stand is “deplane”, meaning to disembark an aircraft, used in the phrase “you will be able to deplane momentarily”.

As one of Lynneguist’s correspondents noted, the term came out in 1923. My problem with it is that it reminds me, every time, of Fantasy Island’s Hervé Villechaize calling to Ricardo Montalbán, “De plane! De plane!”

6. To “wait on” instead of “wait for” when you’re not a waiter – once read a friend’s comment about being in a station waiting on a train. For him, the train had yet to arrive – I would have thought rather that it had got stuck at the station with the friend on board.

As Lynnequist noted, writers from Chaucer to George Eliot used ‘wait on’.

7. “It is what it is”. Pity us.

Do people still say that? I heard it a lot in the 1970s.

8. Dare I even mention the fanny pack?

What DOES this mean in Britain?

9. “Touch base” – it makes me cringe no end.

Some Brits particularly hated terms that seem to come from American sports.

10. Is “physicality” a real word?

“First noted in a book published in London in 1827.”

11. Transportation. What’s wrong with transport?

Different meanings to me.

12. The word I hate to hear is “leverage”. Pronounced lev-er-ig rather than lee-ver -ig. It seems to pop up in all aspects of work. And its meaning seems to have changed to “value added”.

Business jargon that most people hate.

13. Does nobody celebrate a birthday anymore, must we all “turn” 12 or 21 or 40? Even the Duke of Edinburgh was universally described as “turning” 90 last month. When did this begin? I quite like the phrase in itself, but it seems to have obliterated all other ways of speaking about birthdays.

Turning an age seems to suggest a calendar; I like it.

14. I caught myself saying “shopping cart” instead of shopping trolley today and was thoroughly disgusted with myself. I’ve never lived nor been to the US either.

A trolley suggests a much larger, motorized vehicle.

15. What kind of word is “gotten”? It makes me shudder.

“First OED citation, ca. 1380.”

16. “I’m good” for “I’m well”. That’ll do for a start.

They are not synonymous. “I’m good” has a non-medical slant.

17. “Bangs” for a fringe of the hair. Philip Hall, Nottingham

As noted, “bangs and fringe would be somewhat different styles. (Nuance!)”

18. Take-out rather than takeaway!

I hear takeaway, I think American football fumbles and interceptions.

19. I enjoy Americanisms. I suspect even some Americans use them in a tongue-in-cheek manner? “That statement was the height of ridiculosity”.


20. “A half hour” instead of “half an hour”.

“The OED has citations back to 1420.”

21. A “heads up”. For example, as in a business meeting. Lets do a “heads up” on this issue. I have never been sure of the meaning.

“To give someone a heads up is to give them a warning.” But the example given is bizarre to me.

22. Train station. My teeth are on edge every time I hear it. Who started it? Have they been punished?

I don’t understand the irritation, frankly.

23. To put a list into alphabetical order is to “alphabetize it” – horrid!


24. People that say “my bad” after a mistake. I don’t know how anything could be as annoying or lazy as that.

Yeah, it bugged me initially. But not so much now, and people seem to use it less, at least around me.

25. “Normalcy” instead of “normality” really irritates me.

“For a long time, it was considered non-standard in AmE too, but we’ve overcome that and it’s now nearly twice as common as normality.”

26. As an expat living in New Orleans, it is a very long list but “burglarize” is currently the word that I most dislike. Simon, New Orleans

Again, I fail to see the issue.

27. “Oftentimes” just makes me shiver with annoyance. Fortunately I’ve not noticed it over here yet.

“This is one of those things that’s an archaism in BrE (OED has it going back to the 14th century.” I don’t hear it myself, though people speaking poetically will use oftimes, which I rather like, actually.

28. Eaterie. To use a prevalent phrase, oh my gaad!

I’ve never seen that word spelled that way, and I’ve seen bad spelling.

29. I’m a Brit living in New York. The one that always gets me is the American need to use the word bi-weekly when fortnightly would suffice just fine.

Actually, I like the very British fortnightly, but only because I dislike biweekly. And I dislike it because it means both “Occurring once every two weeks” AND “Occurring twice a week”, which I find confusing.

30. I hate “alternate” for “alternative”. I don’t like this as they are two distinct words, both have distinct meanings and it’s useful to have both. Using alternate for alternative deprives us of a word.

“This is something that people complain about on both sides of the Atlantic.”

31. “Hike” a price. Does that mean people who do that are hikers? No, hikers are ramblers!

“Rambler [in the UK] is a very BrE word–one that Americans in the UK tend to find amusing, since we only use the verb to ramble with the older meaning…: ‘With reference to physical pursuits: to wander or travel in a free, unrestrained manner, without a definite aim or direction.'”

32. Going forward? If I do I shall collide with my keyboard.

“The OED’s first citations of ‘go forward’ to mean ‘make progress’ come from Sir Thomas More…”

33. I hate the word “deliverable”. Used by management consultants for something that they will “deliver” instead of a report.

It is ugly business jargon, I’d agree.

34. The most annoying Americanism is “a million and a half” when it is clearly one and a half million! A million and a half is 1,000,000.5 where one and a half million is 1,500,000.

“If I go somewhere for an hour and a half, I am going for an hour and a half an hour. If a horse wins by a length and a half, it wins by a length and a half a length. On the same analogy, a million and a half is a million and a half a million…” This seemed particularly fussy to me.

35. “Reach out to” when the correct word is “ask”. For example: “I will reach out to Kevin and let you know if that timing is convenient”. Reach out? Is Kevin stuck in quicksand? Is he teetering on the edge of a cliff? Can’t we just ask him?

True enough, though it does have a nuanced different meaning, to seek someone’s help and support. For instance, one might reach out to Turkey to support sanctions againsat Iran, e.g.

36. Surely the most irritating is: “You do the Math.” Math? It’s MATHS.

Here is the true, muddled story of maths, a term I had never heard.

37. I hate the fact I now have to order a “regular Americano”. What ever happened to a medium sized coffee?

I imagine this is more nationalism than anything else; not a term I’ve heard.

38. My worst horror is expiration, as in “expiration date”. Whatever happened to expiry?

“Expiration in the ‘ending of something that was meant to last a certain time’ sense goes back to the 1500s. First recorded use of expiry is in 1752. So, shouldn’t it be Whatever happened to expiration?”

39. My favourite one was where Americans claimed their family were “Scotch-Irish”. This of course it totally inaccurate, as even if it were possible, it would be “Scots” not “Scotch”, which as I pointed out is a drink.

“Scotch-Irish is an American term to refer to a particular immigrant group.”

40.I am increasingly hearing the phrase “that’ll learn you” – when the English (and more correct) version was always “that’ll teach you”. What a ridiculous phrase!

“If you express a ‘that’ll teach you’ message, you’re putting yourself above the person you were talking to. If you want to soften that grab for social/moral superiority, you make it a non-standard way of expressing it, in order to humorously put yourself down a (more BrE) peg/(more AmE) notch. To do this in an emphatic way, people who wouldn’t usually do so sometimes spell/pronounce this as that’ll larn ya.”

41. I really hate the phrase: “Where’s it at?” This is not more efficient or informative than “where is it?” It just sounds grotesque and is immensely irritating.

Seems that the former is talking informal English about what’s going on, whereas the latter is geographical. If the former is meant as geographical, then the preposition could be an irritant.

42. Period instead of full stop.

“Another case of Americans using a British cast-off. (Now-AmE) period for this . punctuation mark dates to the 16th century. The first record of (BrE) full stop is from just a few decades later, in 1600. It looks like both terms were introduced around the same time, and a different one won the battle for supremacy in different places.”
In any case “full stop” is what drivers should be coming to at red lights.

43. My pet hate is “winningest”, used in the context “Michael Schumacher is the winningest driver of all time”. I can feel the rage rising even using it here.

I wish the writer had offered an alternative. “Most winning” means something entirely different. “Winningest” doesn’t bother me.

44. My brother now uses the term “season” for a TV series. Hideous.

AmE uses the term season and series for different television-related meanings, but BrE doesn’t make that distinction at the lexical (word) level.

45. Having an “issue” instead of a “problem”.

“This has been much-maligned in AmE too, but I think it’s thrived because it’s less negative and confrontational to talk of having an issue with something rather than a problem with it.”
I thinks she’s exactly right. Issue seems softer.

46. I hear more and more people pronouncing the letter Z as “zee”. Not happy about it!

“Fear of ‘zee’ is a major reason that Sesame Street is no longer broadcast in most of the UK.” To-MAY-toe, to-MAH-toe.

47. To “medal” instead of to win a medal. Sets my teeth on edge with a vengeance.

“The noun already was a verb,” going back to Byron, not an American.

48. “I got it for free” is a pet hate. You got it “free” not “for free”. You don’t get something cheap and say you got it “for cheap” do you?

“Some of the early OED examples–from just 1887 and 1900–sound very old-fashioned, if not completely odd: a for-true doctor and goin’ to railroad him for fair.”

49. “Turn that off already”. Oh dear.

“Utterance-final already comes to AmE via Yiddish. It’s used to mark exasperation, and it does so very well.” I agree with that assessment, but I’m a sucker for Yiddish terms.

50. “I could care less” instead of “I couldn’t care less” has to be the worst. Opposite meaning of what they’re trying to say.

I always took it as ironic, but I know it bugs a lot of people.

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