from the "MyStuff" Dept.

2007
Jun
4

New Dictionary Words: extraordinary rendition or girlfriend experience?

cross-posted at MetaFilter

Hundreds of ‘new’ words in the new edition of the Collins English Dictionary (Reuters story), also via BBC, AP and the Fox Television Stations (headline with no story, surprising since its publisher is another Rupert Murdoch subsidiary… but I digress). Some are obvious: hoodie, wiki, POTUS, plasma screen; some reflect our times: Gitmo, Londonistan, extraordinary rendition, carbon footprint; some are absolutely slangy: celebutante, McMansion, muffin top, man bag, disemvowel, barbecue stopper, girlfriend experience… Also in the book: ho. And not the version Santa Claus says. The new dictionary is available “online, on mobiles, as a desktop application or integrated with Microsoft Word” – when you buy the deadtree edition.

Addendum (not at MeFi): Not yet in the Collins Dictionary, but in the online Urban Dictionary and Pseudodictionary is the word foxymoron. Its becoming commonly defined as “a woman whose incredibly gorgeous appearance belies her unbelievably dim-witted intelligence, ” which sadly belies the proud heritage of the term “oxymoron” a subject which I know well and once built a website about. (Yes, I had collected 2000+ oxymorons.And that was back when I was supposed to have had a life.)

Correctly defined, a ‘foxymoron’ SHOULD be an obvious looking contradiction (oxymoron) that has a sly ulterior motive behind it (foxy – sly like a fox). Or, if capitalized, a reference to Fox News (a name I included in the Oxy2K), which, when you think about it is often the way Fox and other Big Media manipulators work.

There are already some foxymorons on the web, including a New Zealand-based “webazine”. Still, I need to work on redefining that definition… as if any of my other attempts at word-coining ever got anywhere.

AND NOW A WORD FROM SOMEBODY WHO MAY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ME...
2007
Jan
16

Economic States

Is California = France? (economically, that is)

Norwegian bløgger Carl Størmer (via THE BIG PICTURE) made a U.S. map substituting the state names for other countries of equivalent GDP. Some of the substitutions are funny: Illinois = Mexico? Texas = Canada? New Jersey = Russia? Hawaii = Nigeria?

But your economic mileage will vary: apparently California no longer has the “sixth-largest economy in the world”, no matter what The Governator says. Wikipedia chimes in, while some Californians don’t want to be bothered with facts.

Crossposted with MetaFilter

2006
Dec
22

Going to Potter

With the roundabout announcement of the title of the 7th and final Harry Potter book, the collective snark of MetaFilter was engaged with the task of devising ‘better’ titles. I was a bit late to the Potter party, but I gave it several of my best shots:

Harry Potter and the Snakes on a Plane
(nobody did this one yet?)

Harry Potter 7: Electric Boogaloo

Harry Potter and the Poincare Conjecture

Harry Potter and the Palatine Uvula

Harry Potter and the Unauthorized Biography

Harry Potter and the Downing Street Memo

Harry Potter and the Protease Inhibitor

Harry Potter and the Sleeper Cell

Harry Potter on Rails

Harry Potter and the Attractions
(like you never noticed his resemblance to a young Elvis Costello)

Harry Potter and John Ford Coley
(’70s pop music reference. kids, get off my lawn)

and some Harry Potter Crossovers That We Hope Never Happen:
Harry Potter and the Chocolate Factory
Harry Potter and the Phantom Tollbooth
Harry Potter and the Dharma Initiative
Harry Potter and the Final Fantasy
Harry Potter Hears a Who
Harry Potter and Hobbes
Harry Potter and the Neverending Story (NO-O-O-O!)

But I was still overwhelmed by the number of ‘wish I’d thought of thats’ that were submitted both before and after mine. Ladies and gentlemen: the reasons for my deepening inferiority complex.

“ND¢” lived up to his name by starting the (ahem) ball rolling with “Harry Potter and the Assless Chaps”.

“Mister_A” gave us “Harry Potter and the Inevitable Meme”, “Harry Potter and the Last Train to Clarksville” and “Harry Potter and the 58-Game Hitting Streak”.

A new member named “bruce” (MetaFilter ran for seven years before that name was registered?) offered the truly fantasy-driven “Harry Potter and the Forthright, Plainspoken Fed Chairman” and “Harry Potter and the Secure, Reliable Systems from Microsoft”.

“gcbv” provided “Harry Potter and the Supremes”, which beat all other musical-group-themed titles by popular demand.

“emelenjr” came up with the most popular TV reference: “Welcome Back, Potter”.

“gompa” successfully went Meta with “Harry Potter and the Relentless Snark”.

“Cyclopsis Raptor” provided the self-explanatory “Harry Potter and the Name That Totally Won’t Make Sense Until You’re On Page 458”.

“Awkward Pause” lived up to his name with a title split between two comments:
“Harry Potter and the…”

“Eponysterical Comment”.

“Harry Potter and the Giblet of Chicken” (appropriately) from “stirfry”
“Harry Potter and the Hardy Boys in The Mystery of Tom Swift’s Thermokinetic Railcycle” from “Smart Dalek”
“Harry Potter and the Delerium Tremens” from “Darth Fedor”
“Harry Potter and the Overused Ellipses” from “casarkos”
“Harry Potter and the Autoclaved Speculum” from “retronic”
“It Turns Out Harry Is Not a Potter, But a Glazer, Which Is a Related Profession” from “Astro Zombie”
“Harry Potter and the Furious Five” from “Uther Bentrazor”

“Harry Potter and the Thingamajig of the Whatchamacallit”
and “Harry Potter and the Side Order of Onion Rings from “pardonyou?”

“Harry Potter and the Amazon Women from Mars”
and “Harry Potter and the Toe Eating Ferret” (fast breaking newsiness!) from
“pyramid termite”.

“Harry Potter and this One Time in Band Camp”
“Harry Potter and the Bad Guy Mustache <:-[”
“Harry Potter and…The Aristocrats!”
“Harry Potter and the Iraq Study Group Report”
and “Harry Potter and the Evil Bailey Building & Loan” (this one sneaks up on you later) from “Smedleyman”.

“Harry Potter and the Biscuit of Doom”
“Harry Potter and the Carburetor of Despair”
“Harry Potter and the Ghastly Proboscis”
and “Harry Potter and the Noun Phrase Sex Offenders” from “sfenders”.

“Harry Potter and the Swiftly Tilting Planet”
“Harry Potter and the Series of Unfortunate Events”
and “Harry Potter and the Weekend at Bernie’s” from “BeReasonable”

“Harry Potter and the Elective Marine Neurochemistry Laboratory Studying the Mating Response of Geoducks Because He Needed the Credits”
“Harry Potter and the Never-Ending Department of Motor Vehicles Queue”
“Harry Potter and the Super-Ultra-Big-Gulp Slurpee Headache”
“Harry Potter Goes To Burning Man and Catches Herpes From A Stiltperson”
and “Harry Potter Dies In A Fire – Twice” from “loquacious”

“Harry Potter and the Higgs Boson Field”
“Harry Potter and Multi-dimensional String Theory”
and “Harry Potter and the Undiscovered Country” from “thecaddy”

And then “It’s Raining Florence Henderson” showed up with:
“Harry Potter and the Magdalen Laundries”
“Harry Potter: If I Did It”
“Harry Potter Live at the Palladium”
“Harry Potter and the One-Eyed Trouser-Snake… of Doom”
and “Harry Potter and the [Redacted by White House]” (more topical than the ferret!)

One MeFite cheated by quoting a few gems from this list (but was at least honest enough to link to it):

Harry Potter and the E Street Band
Harry Potter and the Things You Have to do to Get By in Prison
Harry Potter and the It Was All Only A Dream
Harry Potter and the Wand of Franchise Extension
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood, the Quadroon, and the Octaroon
Hal Pot and the Intellectuals of Cambodia
Harry Putter’s Magic Golf Game in 21 Weeks
Harry Potter and the shameless Tom Clancy Crossover
Harry Potter and the Weapons of Magic Destruction
Harry Potter and the Order of the Pizza
Harry Potter and the Bizarro Harry Potter
Harry Potter the Geopolitical Realities of the Post-Nuclear Age
Harry Potter and Whoever Alan Rickman’s Character is are Totally Doing It
Harry Potter and the Insidious Compact Disc Root Kit Installation
Harry Potter and the Website of Jokes
Harry Potter and the Hendersons

I am beginning to understand my problem. I do not have a weird enough username at MeFi.

2006
Dec
9

The Year of the Truth(iness)

Merriam-Webster’s 2006 Word of the Year is NOT in their online dictionary. Officially coined on October 17, 2005, it had already won the American Dialect Society’s 2005 Award (pdf) where they claim that “other meanings of the word date as far back as 1824”, and is probably a shoe-in for for the Banished Words of 2007 list.

A distant number 2 is our friend “the goog”, and after that, it’s all NewsFilter/PoliticsFilter/IraqFilter (with that all-time classic “war” at #4).
(From the MeFite who posted the Favorite Words of 2004 and the Banished Words List in 2003 and 2004)

2006
Dec
2

Soul Marketing 2.0

Old and Busted: Selling Your Soul. The New Hotness: Raffling It Off.
(Why not? I’m already going to hell.) (via mentalfloss) crossposted to MetaFilter

ADDENDUM:
I knew I would catch some grief for this post, but the first comment was:

I picked up a copy of Mental Floss hoping to be entertained on a relatively short flight, but found it to be full of the same stupid conventions and forced cynicism of Time or Newsweek or other such magazines Mental Floss presumes to lampoon/transcend.
posted by Burhanistan at 3:23 PM PST

…which is the most impressive topic derailing one of my contributions has ever been subjected to. Jumped past everything else to the “via” link, which, going to mental_floss’s website, is somewhat editorially different (much more bloggy) than the magazine, and then… ohhhh… why bother?

Dec
2

Snakes on a Game

snakeeater.jpgSometimes I really need somebody else to remind me that I AM A WINNER!!! In this case, it’s that Edge Curve Caption Game where I have been awarded the Grandiose Prize and a few bucks to spend at Amazon for the follwing caption to the picture on the left:

I don’t know what happened, but there’s a guy in the next studio trying to charm a pack of cigarettes.

I am most pleasantly surprised, especially since I had more trouble than usual getting the wording right to express the funny idea (and when that happens, the result always seems less funny than when I just let the funny flow)

As always, I had submitted several ideas, a couple of which made “Honorable Mention” status:

Finally, payback for all my pet mice…

Don’t you recognize the universal symbol for “bat-s#!t crazy”?

And several of which were not…

Few people knew that Gary Larson had used live models for many of his Far Side cartoons.

Well, Harry, the good news is… you don’t have tapeworms…

That is the second-worst Cthulhu impression I’ve ever seen!

I’m sorry sir, but the rules clearly state that, no matter how you carry them, you aren’t allowed to have props your American Idol audition.

Just another crummy day at Airport Security…

Wasn’t he supposed to stuff them all into his SHIRT?

Don’t tell me… let me guess… tastes like chicken?

That’s what happens when you don’t quit telling those dumb “Snakes on a Plane” jokes…

If this doesn’t make me a shoe-in to replace Ted Haggard at the Christian Coalition, I don’t know what will.

Oddly, when I started to prepare this blog post and was thinking of a title, I thought of a few more that neither I nor the runner-up (“Projectile reptile vomiting?”) nor the 60 other “Honorable Mentions” had come up with:
Worst case of reptile misfunction I’ve ever seen.
The former soccer player insisted on a no-hands approach to his new job as snake handler.
Nigel’s “Badger badger badger” dance was most notable for what he did when the song got to “Snake!”

I also thought of “That’s NOT what we mean by snakebite,” but assumed that everybody would enter it; surprisingly, the judges noted that “Do I have anything in my teeth?” was the most common entry. Other people’s entries I wish I had said: “Outrageous new appetizers at TGIFriday’s go too far.” (Giovanna Kranenberg) “Could be a tapeworm, Dr. Foreman, run an MRI and get Cameron to do a lumbar puncture.” (Rick ‘House’ Wainright) “Medusa’s boyfriend was quite romantic, but he had a funny hat.” (Dave Mattingly) “Uncle Ronald finally learned not to try and eat the whole can of peanut brittle at once.” (Ryan Knapper) And best use of the inevitable phrase: “Damned in-flight meals. Who ever heard of snakes on a plane?” (David Franks)

But the most important thing is I WON and I WHOOPED jeff green (who thinks that he can be as cool as jason kottke by using all lower case). The next contest is up, and it really goes to the dogs…

2006
Nov
30

Bad Sex on the Sheets (of Paper)

This year’s winner of the Literary Review Bad Sex Award: “…we’re lost in a commotion of grunts and squeaks, flashing unconnected images and explosions of a million little particles.” Uh, yeah. The competition this year was, uh, “stiff”, according to The Guardian, and “unstoppably on”, according to The Independent. Well timed for the end of NaNoWriMo, which really should provide some of next year’s contenders.

crossposted on MonkeyFilter