from the "SmartStuff" Dept.

2007
Oct
7

Clich Stadium

Yahoo! Picks, the irony-deficient Official Barometer of What’s New and Cool on the Web, recently officially re-discovered The Cliché Rotation Project, one of Michael “Defective Yeti” Baldwin’s greatest contributions to culture, as well as a cool tool for those like myself, lazy writers who wish to write more while remaining lazy.

By coming up with fresh, novel turns-of-phrase to replace old overused ones…
“Looks a gift horse in the mouth?” Cliché. “Wants birthday cake on Christmas” Hooray!
“It’s a win-win situation?” Outdated. “Everyone gets ice cream!” Innovated!
“Looking for a needle in a haystack?” Aw, come on! “Trying to find a clock in a casino,” Awesome!
“More fun than a barrel of monkeys?” Yawn. “More fun than 20 yards of bubble wrap” Right On!
“You made your bed, now sleep in it?” Expired. “You poop it, you scoop it,” Inspired!
“He’s yesterday’s news?” (damn, I’ve run out of good rhyming antonyms – whatever) “He’s a stamp-licker!”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it?” “We’ll chop that tomato when the salsa runs out!”
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?” “If you won’t shake your bootie, get off the dance floor!” (not as good as a parallel as most, but still. totally awesome)

No prejudgers of the validity of a cliché, Baldwin and company provide replacements for contradictory concepts that just show even better how contradictory they are!
“Still waters run deep?” “Quiet squirrels have more nuts!”
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease?” “The squeaky dolphin gets the fish!”

I know what you’re thinking. Replacing chichés is just “reinventing the wheel”… which is itself a cliché they have a replacement for! “Starting a whole new batch of sourdough” (you may need to be from certain parts of the USofA to fully understand that, but it is PERFECT).

Disclosure: I considered making up a site all about clichés in the past; even got a domain name for it ClicheStadium.com (since abandoned). For a while I even thought about staging cliché fights in the ‘stadium’… “two clichés go in, only one comes out” (which is itself a cliché).

So, now that I’ve copies all the best of The Cliché Rotation Project, am I going to contribute any of my own? Hey, I already admitted I’m a lazy writer, but here goes…

“Have your cake and eat it too?” “Use your laptop and keep the battery charged”

“The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of a train?” “The last three words in the book are “to be continued…”

“The Pen is mightier than the sword?” “Bytes of data are more powerful than the waves carrying them.” (Hey, I like that one! And I just thunk it up! I’m going to quit while I’m ahead… or “cash out before the bubble bursts”)

AND NOW A WORD FROM SOMEBODY WHO MAY HAVE NEVER HEARD OF ME...
Oct
7

Clich

Yahoo! Picks, the irony-deficient Official Barometer of What’s New and Cool on the Web, recently officially re-discovered The Cliché Rotation Project, one of Michael “Defective Yeti” Baldwin’s greatest contributions to culture, as well as a cool tool for those like myself, lazy writers who wish to write more while remaining lazy.

By coming up with fresh, novel turns-of-phrase to replace old overused ones…
“Looks a gift horse in the mouth?” Cliché. “Wants birthday cake on Christmas” Hooray!
“It’s a win-win situation?” Outdated. “Everyone gets ice cream!” Innovated!
“Looking for a needle in a haystack?” Aw, come on! “Trying to find a clock in a casino,” Awesome!
“More fun than a barrel of monkeys?” Yawn. “More fun than 20 yards of bubble wrap” Right On!
“You made your bed, now sleep in it?” Expired. “You poop it, you scoop it,” Inspired!
“He’s yesterday’s news?” (damn, I’ve run out of good rhyming antonyms – whatever) “He’s a stamp-licker!”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it?” “We’ll chop that tomato when the salsa runs out!”
“If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen?” “If you won’t shake your bootie, get off the dance floor!” (not as good as a parallel as most, but still. totally awesome)

No prejudgers of the validity of a cliché, Baldwin and company provide replacements for contradictory concepts that just show even better how contradictory they are!
“Still waters run deep?” “Quiet squirrels have more nuts!”
“The squeaky wheel gets the grease?” “The squeaky dolphin gets the fish!”

I know what you’re thinking. Replacing chichés is just “reinventing the wheel”… which is itself a cliché they have a replacement for! “Starting a whole new batch of sourdough” (you may need to be from certain parts of the USofA to fully understand that, but it is PERFECT).

Disclosure: I considered making up a site all about clichés in the past; even got a domain name for it ClicheStadium.com (since abandoned). For a while I even thought about staging cliché fights in the ‘stadium’… “two clichés go in, only one comes out” (which is itself a cliché).

So, now that I’ve copies all the best of The Cliché Rotation Project, am I going to contribute any of my own? Hey, I already admitted I’m a lazy writer, but here goes…

“Have your cake and eat it too?” “Use your laptop and keep the battery charged”

“The light at the end of the tunnel is the headlight of a train?” “The last three words in the book are “to be continued…”

“The Pen is mightier than the sword?” “Bytes of data are more powerful than the waves carrying them.” (Hey, I like that one! And I just thunk it up! I’m going to quit while I’m ahead… or “cash out before the bubble bursts”)

2007
May
10

This pun followed me home, can I keep it?

I heard that ’80s rockstar Adam Ant has just been reunited with his two long-lost brothers, Repent and Indign. He has another brother named Intoler, but he isn’t on speaking terms with anybody. And a sister, Irrelev, but she’s… you know…

2007
Apr
22

pizza pi

Some things remind me of my Math Geek childhood and make me smile*

Like this “self-referencial pizza formula”:
A pizza of radius z and thickness a has a volume of pi z z a
(or for those of you who need operation signs, pi * z * z * a. Overexplain, me?)

* most things that remind me of my childhood make me curl up in a ball and shudder

2006
Dec
18

Alien Without Alienation

As you may know (or maybe you don’t), I an All About the Peace, Love and Understanding. (Even though the Mis-Understanding produces some of the best jokes.) I will do whatever I can to reconcile the irreconcilable. Toward that end, I offer to the American People a phrase I just saw on a British newssite. Yes, I know I ridiculed the British for their “ASBOs” and their “Yobs” recently, but this is something that could help the American dialogue on a divisive issue.

For those of you outside the U.S. of A. (or in blissful ignorance herein), much of the heated debate about Immigration involves a class of people referred to either by the non-judgmental term “undocumented alien” or the judgmental term “illegal alien”. It has become impossible to use either term without raising assumptions on your opinion thereof.

Anyway, this Guardian article about those kinds of people used a term that I think should be used over here as well: Irregular migrants. Now obviously, the term “irregular” has its own subtext, much of which is associated with Sherlock Holmes. Then there are those Irregular linens that cost less than the ‘perfect’ ones. And referring to human beings like badly-hemmed bedsheets may not be exactly complimentary, but it does lighten the tone of the debate.

So, if you really are undecided whether they should be treated as “illegal” or merely “undocumented”, why not just say Irregular Aliens?

2006
Oct
3

The Cow Went Mu (As We Cooked Him)

As it is my policy to acknowledge great new ideas made by other bloggers (especially those much more famous than I am), I’d like to bring your attention to Matt Haughey’s so-cool-its-hot suggestion to rename Barbecues (or BBQs) as Meat-Up Meet-Ups (or MUMUs). Of course, considering my track record in linguistic coinages, he may not want my help. But then, who’s going to defend him when the Hawaiian Garment Industry gets wind of this?

2006
Sep
25

None Dare Call It Whatever

Those mental_flossers at mental_floss have hijacked my train of thought again with a blog post about euphemisms, which I pointed out as ironic since I was already using them as a euphemism.

So let me point out some original euphemisms I’ve come up with (that like all my other contributions to the language, will forever be used by nobody but me):

Bodily Functions

A “symphony” is an attack of diarrhea, since both involve several movements. “I can’t go out; I’m conducting a symphony in the bathroom.

And vomiting? Since it mixes non-digested food with digestive fluids, I like to call it “acid recycling”.

This one’s kind of a reverse-euphemism, but when I was in the hospital, the catheter they put in to measure my urinary output I called my “penile extension”.

Sexual Stuff

The two most common preparations for sex are undressing and “re-dressing”, ifyouknowwhatimean… (“Yes, honey, I’ll help you take that off if you’ll help me put this on…”)

And of course, there are three standards for the duration of a sexual encounter, the “Looney Tune” (7 minutes or less), the “Sitcom” (a half-hour) and the “Lord of the Rings Trilogy” (8 hours, you braggart). Which does open you up to other TV/movie based euphemisms like “very special episode”, “after-school special”, “Police Academy 37”, “the best stuff was in the trailer” and the dreaded “season-ending cliffhanger”… and woe be to you if you finish in a “Bullwinkle” (half the time of a Looney Tune).

Going out in the water to wash off after having sex on the beach is “skinny double dipping”. (What? You’ve never done it? Hey, it’s the best way to get sand out of sensitive places!)

Religiosity

I do refer to Lent as the “Vatican Top 40 Countdown”, but not in front of my Catholic friends. On the other hand, the long, boring football pre-game shows on Sundays are “Agnostic Mass”.

Getting married in a church, in the eyes of both The State and The Lord? That’s “getting double-locked”.

Other Cultural Stuff

Since “Lost”, I don’t call the numerous actors on complicated dramas an ‘ensemble cast’ anymore. I call them a “passenger list”.

Any dull ‘boilerplate’ ‘fillin-in-the-blanks’ official statement I call “Sane Libs” (after “Mad Libs”).

Since “The Colbert Report” (with its silent t’s) has become the standard for this satirical sub-form, I’d refer to any deadpan exaggeration of opinions you don’t believe in as “doing a silent T”, or maybe “silenty”.

A ‘nipple slip’ on live TV? That’s an “FCC fundraiser”.

Finally (for now), a political reverse-euphemism: you could call ‘waterboarding’ the “Cheney’s Water Torture”.

Coming soon, I have some words about my least favorite common euphemisms, which I was going to include here, but I’ve been trying to break up my blogging into less-than-3000-word-pieces

2006
Sep
20

Celebrinerd

I just thought I’d make my own celebrinerd contribution to celebrinerd Ken Jennings’ very celebrinerdy * campaign to popularize the term Celebrinerd. Of course, if I’m involved in trying to create a celebrinerd meme, you know it’s going to fail. Look at just some of my other failed attempts at linguistic popularizing.

Of course, it helps that during my long-ago days as a college-age radio sidekick to a morning DJ with very little college-age audience, I was a bit of a celebrinerd myself. Well, at least I was rather celebrinerdy *. Come on, who else do you know who was immortalized on a t-shirt like this:

And to top it all off, all proceeds for the very limited edition shirt (50 of varying sizes) went to the Leukemia Socity as part of a station-sponsored radiothon. And nothing has ever been more disappointing to me than the fact that the $500 raised was NOT enough to cure leukemia. Celebrinerd.

One more thing: if “celebrinerd” looks different than it should be pronounced (se-LEB-ri-nerd), it’s probably because if you lose the ending “d” it becomes “celebriner” (se-le-BRIE-ner) which sounds like something Alton Brown does to a turkey. But then, A.B. is probably the only person who’s both a Celebrinerd AND a Celebriner.

*OOOOOH! Adjective form, how ahead-the-curve/outside-the-box/pushing-the-envelope is THAT! And as of the posting of this blog, ZERO Google results. Celebrinerdy. Of course, “celebriner” also gets ZERO Google results.

2006
Sep
19

If It Talks Like a Pirate and Walks Like an Egyptian It Must Be a Duck

Ay, me hearties and me liveries, ’tis Talk Like a Pirate Day, tha now-almost-traditional day fer landlubbers to find a new lubb, prosthetic devices to go Old Skool, Disney to count their movie money, tha MPAA and ArrrrIAA to stay home an hide their heads under their pillows and the linguistic standards of the Web to become, not necessarily better, but certainly more consistant.

I like ta think I been slightly ahead of tha pirate trend. 20-plus years ago, fer Halloween, I put together a “Computer Pirate” costume what included a pocket protector full of tiny toy swords, a hand hook with 5-inch floppy disks strung on it, white socks, a black eye patch and, instead of a parrot on my shoulder, I had a penguin. And that was YEARS before Linux.

Fer ye refarrrrence, here be a guide ta translatin’ gangsta rap talk ta pirate talk.

I’ve already spoken highly of the “It’s drivin’ me nuts!” joke, and I assume you all know how much a pirate pays to get his ears pierced: A buck an ear! So, me buck-os, buckettes and buckwits, thar’s nothin to do but me fave part of the Pirate Talk rituals… the “Arrrr” puns!

Why were real pirates disappointed in the Disney pirate movies? They weren’t rated Arrrrrrr!

What’s a pirate’s favorite fast food place? Arrrrrrby’s!

And a pirate’s favorite vegetable? Arrrrrrtichokes!

What kinda socks do pirates wear on their non-peg legs? Arrrrrrgyle!

What do pirates study in college? Liberal Arrrrrrts!

EDIT: the last part of this post, containg several more ‘Arrrrrr’ puns mysteriously disappeared. If this weren’t Talk Like a Pirate Day, I’d suspect ninjas. For the benefit of those who, like Ken Jennings, never heard of ’em, I’ll complete the one cut off in the middle.

Who does a pirate’s tax return? H and Arrrrrr Block!