Saturday, February 18, 2006

Neologisms: shimper(ing), shrimper(ing)

To shrink down or make oneself small out of fear or discomfort. (Molley shrimpers down to be petted, or begins shimpering to go outside.)

Email: Professionals in movies [KF]

Filmmakers too often (usually) just play off stereotypes. They are not overly intellectual or analytical; they work in pictures mostly. They usually go for the utterly intuitive response. (Sells more tickets.)

Movie Names: Turner and Cooch

Nebbish detective Tom Hanks gets more than he bargained for in a partner with the over-the-top if aging Charo. (Is she still alive?) His new partner moves in ("This is not your room!") and empties the fridge, but to wear it on her head in a tasteless dance number.

Movie Names: Bubba Imhotep - Dumb As A Post

This blend of Conspiracy Theory, Sling Blade, and Bubba Ho-Tep would be the bastard spawn godchild of the Dumb and Dumber film dynasty.

Movie Names: Naked With Bubbles

This movie would be about a curvaceous, pink, red-haired woman who takes lots of bubble baths, spending half her time in the tub and half out of it (sans robe). Targeting the 18-30 male demographic, it wouldn't need a script. [Thanks, LK]

Weblogs: Drunk on text

Infinite Regression: Drunk on Text: "Books have a powerful sway over me. For one thing I generally believe and am influenced by the well-written good ones, so you may say that they exercise some control over my mind. Secondly, I also compulsively purchase used books. I have to have more books. You could say that my economics are in part textually oriented. (the good thing here is that I rarely buy new books, the covers are too colorful and you spent as much on a paperback as what you might spend on a nice used hardback in perfect condition). A lot of the words I use, whether writing or speaking, are in my mind because of books. My moods are even influenced by the atmospheres created by the texts I continually immerse myself in."

Press: Absinthe and its artifacts

Magazine Antiques: Absinthe and its artifacts: "The green fairy. The green goddess. The green muse. The parrot. Melted emeralds. Ambrosial poison. These are just some of the metaphors that have been used for absinthe--that green-colored, bitter-tasting, anise-flavored, high-alcohol liqueur that was the 'national drink' of France during la belle epoque. This was the period from the end of the Franco-Prussian War to the beginning of World War I, during which Western Europe experienced relative peace, and both the arts and industry flourished. Absinthe drinking was the inspiration for many literary and visual works of art, and it spawned a huge agricultural and manufacturing industry. But its health and social effects were anything but beautiful. Outlawed in France in 1915 and still not legally consumed there today, (1) absinthe left behind a fascinating story as well as a trail of unique artifacts (now termed absinthiana) that in recent years have become highly collectible."

Press: The mystery of the Green Menace

Wired 13.11: The Mystery of the Green Menace: "Nouvelle-Orléans is just one absinthe formulation Breaux has mastered. He also makes re-creations of pre-ban bottles. He shows me one that he just distilled, based on an Edouard Pernod absinthe, and I'm dying to taste it. Breaux begins to prepare it in the traditional French manner, a process as intricate as a tea ceremony. First he decants a couple of ounces into two widemouthed glasses specially made for the drink. A strong licorice aroma wafts across the table. Then he adds 5 or 6 ounces of ice-cold water, letting it trickle through a silver dripper into the glass. 'Pour it slowly,' he says. 'That's the secret to making it taste good. If the water's too warm, it will taste like donkey piss.'

The drink turns milky, and a condensate floats to the top. This is called the louche, a word that's come to mean 'disreputable.' Breaux hands it to me and tells me there's no need to stir away the louche or add sugar to an absinthe this fine. I take a sip. The flavor is subtle, dry, complex. It makes my tongue feel a little numb."

Weblogs: The history of absinthe

Accidental Hedonist - The History of Absinthe: "The golden age of Absinthe can be considered to occur between 1870 and 1900.

Initially, ettiquette required that a person was to have only one drink of Absinthe a day. To have more than one was seen as a bit of a faux pas. But when absinthe jumped from the middle class to the working class, women, and then the Bohemians, all claims to absinthe ettiquette were ignored and then forgotten. When the Aesthetic/Decadence movement adopted the drink as the liquor of choice, public opinion against the drink began to change. As many of the writers associated with the Aesthetic/Decadence movement were influenced by the Gothic period of the early 19th century, many present day 'goths' have also adopted the drink and helped revive absinthe's popularity."

Words: carminative [AHED]

ADJECTIVE: Inducing the expulsion of gas from the stomach and intestines.
NOUN: A drug or agent that induces the expulsion of gas from the stomach or intestines.
ETYMOLOGY: Middle English carminatif, from Old French, from Latin carmintus, past participle of carminre, to card wool, from *carmen, card for wool, from crere, to card.

(Folk remedies would be a fascinating study, less from the pragmatic perspective of try-this-it-works than from the historical perspective of what-were-they-thinking. I just learned that anise, dill, savory, fennel, and others were given as a carminative to relieve stomach or intestinal gas--specifically, flatulence. Is this like applying leeches to relieve the blood--literally? Is the belief that a carminative would work more real than the proof that it worked? Please also note that to card wool is to comb or to cull it for quality.)

Email: Purple haze [AS]

Hazing [by friends] can be good, but (as in all my life) I will choose which hazes to rise up to and which ones to decline. (I don't do cigar bars, for instance. Wait a minute, that could be a bad hazing joke, couldn't it?)

Oh, I don't think my courage has ever been in doubt. It's just who I decide to be brave with that matters to me!

Proverbs: Great minds may think alike...

Great minds think alike--but they don't actually say that cliché and laugh as if it were original with them, or funny.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Words: métier [AHED]

NOUN: 1. An occupation, a trade, or a profession. 2. Work or activity for which a person is particularly suited; one's specialty. See synonyms at forte.
ETYMOLOGY: French, from Old French mestier, from Vulgar Latin *misterium, from Latin ministerium. See ministry.

Words: right [MW]

Pronunciation: 'rIt
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Old English riht; akin to Old High German reht right, Latin rectus straight, right, regere to lead straight, direct, rule, rogare to ask, Greek oregein to stretch out
2 : being in accordance with what is just, good, or proper right conduct
3 a : agreeable to a standard b : conforming to facts or truth : CORRECT the right answer
4 : SUITABLE, APPROPRIATE the right man for the job
5 : STRAIGHT a right line
7 a : of, relating to, situated on, or being the side of the body which is away from the heart and on which the hand is stronger in most people b : located nearer to the right hand than to the left c : located to the right of an observer facing the object specified or directed as the right arm would point when raised out to the side d (1) : located on the right of an observer facing in the same direction as the object specified stage right (2) : located on the right when facing downstream the right bank of a river
8 : having the axis perpendicular to the base right cone
9 : of, relating to, or constituting the principal or more prominent side of an object made sure the socks were right side out
10 : acting or judging in accordance with truth or fact time proved her right
11 a : being in good physical or mental health or order b : being in a correct or proper state put things right
12 : most favorable or desired : PREFERABLE; also : socially acceptable knew all the right people
13 often capitalized : of, adhering to, or constituted by the Right especially in politics
synonym see CORRECT

Words: abrogate [MW]

Pronunciation: 'a-br&-"gAt
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): -gat·ed; -gat·ing
Etymology: Latin abrogatus, past participle of abrogare, from ab- + rogare to ask, propose a law -- more at RIGHT
1 : to abolish by authoritative action : ANNUL
2 : to treat as nonexistent
synonym see NULLIFY

Email: meatspace and wetware [EKW]

Yep, meatspace is a yucky cyberword--like wetware (which the Oxford Compact Dictionary doesn't have). Geeks have such a poor bedside manner, don't they?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fortunes: Unusual proposition

You will soon receive an unusual proposition.

Email: Time warp please [LK]

So much to do, so little time warp available! (I'd like the one that turns 24 into 48 hours, please.)

Trivia: An owl is in my yard

I was just letting out Twerpette when I thought I saw something in the top of the clipped myrtle at the edge of the yard. I approached the tree and saw a small (burrowing? elf?) owl. He didn't flee, he did his 360, he was cool.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Email: Microsoft Support

You have got to be insane to expect lay people to document such a compendium as you state below. No mere mortal will ever do so! So your new approach to tech support is to scare people away now? It's easier to turn Luddite and give up computing than to comply with your draconian data devices below.

(I originally sought help deleting obsolete addresses from my MSN Messenger block and allow lists. As usual, it took 3-4 rounds of repeating myself for the techs to grasp what I was saying all along. In the end, they could only offer the conventional solution, which does not work -- this is why I was writing them in the first place. Their ultimate response was to ask me to provide all the information that I excerpt below.)
Again, I do apologize if the following instructions are quite lengthy, but it is important that you follow them carefully to ensure your concern is resolved. I know how some lengthy steps can be confusing but I would really appreciate your patience in taking the time to accomplish each step.

General Information

- First and last name:
- If you are not the account owner, list the relationship of the caller to the owner:
- If one is available, list an alternative callback number:
- If one is available, list an alternative e-mail contact:

Important Environmental/System Information

- The MSN Messenger client type and version number:
- The full version number of the operating System:
- The full version number and type of the browser:
- The connection Type:

Note: Do the following to obtain this information: From the Main Messenger window, click Tools, click Options, click the Connection tab, and then look under Advanced Connection Information.

- Wired or Wireless connection:
- Indicate whether the account uses a proxy server, and the type of proxy server used:
- Indicate whether the computer on which the issue exists uses one or more of the following: Routers, NATs, Firewalls:

Troubleshooting Information Summary

- Issue Summary:
- The troubleshooting Steps Taken to Date:
- List the steps needed to reproduce the issue:
- The error message:
- The hexadecimal error code value:
- You can reproduce the issue on another computer and a different network type, yes or no:
- The issue occurs for all users on the local computer, yes or no:
- You can reproduce the issue with at test account on your computer or a lab computer when you use the same MSN Messenger version, yes or no:
- The date that the issue first appeared:
- Constant or intermittent issue:
- List recent changes to the computer:

Software Information

Note: List the manufacturer and version number of each type of software that is present on the computer. Indicate N/A for the types of software that are not present.

- Antivirus software:
- Firewall software:
- Download enhancers:
- Popup Blockers:
- Dial-up accelerator (DUA) other than an MSN DUA:

Peeves: American Greetings cards

Seriously, it seems like half of the entire stock of American Greetings cards at CVS are premised upon poop jokes. How juvenile. (Oh, wait: Greeting card writers are virtually juveniles, since most of them are in their early to mid-twenties -- which these days sometimes amounts to the same thing. Does this make me an old fart?)

Email: From dogs to nuclear power [AS]

Well that's often the purpose of a fair-sized dog then! To make a stranger feel like he's only so much hamburger. ;-) Whereas my dog generally provides only comic relief. :-)

Oh you have to have a fire in the fireplace in snow country! That's the whole point! And I feel the same way about shoveling snow vs. turning on the AC during the Christmas season.

I don't mind Bible discussions in a restaurant as long as it's a dialog and not a harangue -- and the subject moves on if I want it to -- in other words, a conversation with a friend, not a missionary.

Werner von Braun was a great man. I greatly respect Oppenheimer and esp. Feynman. Where would the world be without them? Possibly all under the thumbs of the Nazis and Taliban.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Email: History and philosophy [CH]

The control-oriented intelligent ones play on the fears of the masses. There are plenty of intelligent but freedom-loving people; in fact, they are the entire reason that society survives despite the despots.

The trouble is that it's safest to anticipate the lowest common denominator; yet growth can only happen by encouraging or welcoming all persons who would willingly exceed expectations.

Yes, the wheels turn slowly. The Catholic Church is too often 40 to 140 years behind the times.

Signs: Shouting "Oh God"

Words: bruit, auscultation [MW]

(I've always enjoyed the archaic phrase "to bruit about" or "to bruit far and wide." I now see that not only did I learn the pronunciation wrong -- the Anglo-Saxon brew-it, not the Anglo-Norman brewt or brew-EY) -- but the word in its modern sense describes all those gurgly sounds your throat and stomach make.)

Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French, from Old French, noise
1 /'brüt/ archaic a : NOISE, DIN b : REPORT, RUMOR
2 /'brü-E/ [French, literally, noise] : any of several generally abnormal sounds heard on auscultation

Pronunciation: 'brüt
Function: transitive verb
: to noise abroad : REPORT

Pronunciation: "o-sk&l-'tA-sh&n
Function: noun
Etymology: Latin auscultation-, auscultatio act of listening, from auscultare to listen; akin to Latin auris ear -- more at EAR
: the act of listening to sounds arising within organs (as the lungs) as an aid to diagnosis and treatment

Email: Easy as ABC [JS]

Welcome to the Almost Bifocular Club.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Websites: Cat and ladybug

(Photo by Ekaterina Filina of Schlumberger.)

Email: Aztec practices [CH]

Human sacrifice is not cool. They probably had a priesthood who picked the victims. See what happens anytime an ideology or theology is placed above the welfare of the people who hold it?

Oh, we have ways of injustice and child sacrifice today too. Someday our successors will look back and ask how we could have been so barbaric as we are now.