Saturday, May 27, 2006

Language: a fur and sneaky piece

On the way to lunch today, JS said her parents in Oklahoma don't expect her home that often because it is "a fur and sneaky piece" (a far and snaky piece of road). You gotta love this language, English!

Email: Netflix Support

Title request: At Play in the Fields of the Lord

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Words: nary [MW]

Function: adjective
Etymology: alteration of ne'er a
: not any "nary a person wanted to go"

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Typos: El derecho de ser ubre (libre) de la discriminación

(OSHA federal workplace laws poster)

Musings: Optimism is not a realistic strategy

I'm all for optimism and have been an optimist all my life (sometimes to my own detriment). However, optimism is a strategy for personal coping more than situational problem-solving. Speaking professionally, optimism without action will not help others complete their part of a cooperative project, though it certainly lends us energy and options to individually persevere. Speaking socially, waiting by the phone for someone to call does nothing, no matter how much hope one holds. A realistic strategy for success requires one to assume the possibility that nothing may be done by others, and then to act in order to accomplish one's professional or personal goals.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Words: doozy [AHED]

VARIANT FORMS: or doo·zie
NOUN: Inflected forms: pl. doo·zies
Slang Something extraordinary or bizarre: “Among the delicious names taken by, or given to, minor political parties in the United States . . . are these doozies: Quids, Locofocos, Barnburners, Coodies, Hunkies, Bucktails” (Saturday Review).
ETYMOLOGY: Possibly blend of daisy and Duesenberg, a luxury car of the late 1920s and 1930s.

(I found out this word origin from my trusty AHED in grad school while writing a review of the movie The Stuntman, in which they wrecked two Duesies.)

Euphemisms: Thank you for your kind intentions

(It's not much consolation that you meant well, but it's better than nothing or the alternative.)

Email: Another PowerPoint bulk mail [N]

Thank you if this is important but I suggest using Blind Copies (Bcc:) not the Copies (Cc:) field to keep everyone's addresses private and out of the hands of spammers. In fact, if you cannot do so, please exclude my address. Thank you for your kind intentions.

Proverbs: Anyone who diminishes another's humanity, diminishes his own

(Coined during this morning's public radio news coverage of the Abu Graibh torture trials and the ongoing inquiries into how high up the chain of command the orders really go.)

Musings: High-tech graffiti

Selling a secondhand cell phone or laptop on eBay without adequately deleting your address book is (at minimum) a slightly updated version of leaving graffiti that says "For a good time, call Jane at..."