Archive for June, 2005

The Bad Simile

“Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.”

Well, actually you do: chocolate; bloated; nausea after over indulging.



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Unnecessary Words

“Homes wrecked in violent storm.”

First, anybody who’s had their home destroyed by a storm has our utmost sympathy. I was a victim of lightning last week. It didn’t actually fry me, charring my clothes in that comic film way, rather it hit the power lines which overloaded the circuits in the house, destroying my computer.

Last week’s floods in North Yorkshire were caused by a ‘violent storm.’ The most basic definition of the word ‘storm’ being, a violent weather condition of strong winds, rain, hail, thunder, lightning, etc. it seems unnecessary to precede the word with ‘violent.’

So, what the newspapers are telling us is that the homes were wrecked by a violent violent storm. And these are edited by allegedly educated people. Do they mock us, or are they just plain stupid?

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Word of the Week

Greetings from the North of England. We’ve got some weird sayings here, which brings me to…

The Word of the Week is: spud

If we’re going to peel some spuds, hopefully we’ll be having chips, or French Fries as some people prefer to call them, as opposed to boring boiled or mashed potatoes.

Spuds can be fun if you own a spud gun. Spud guns come in all shapes and sizes. You can get ones that fire whole potatoes, or small pistols that you just fire bits of the spud with. And they’re much friendlier than real guns.

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Word of the Week

This weeks WOTW is: clack

Here’s a usage of the word clack you may not be familiar with:

Get that down yer clack, son.
He’s got no clacker he hasn’t.

Clack, or clacker, then is the gullet. I’ve hunted high and low for the origins of this usage, which is found in Northern England, but believe it stems from the traditional sense:

To make or cause to make a succession of short, sharp sounds.

You could apply this to the gulping sound we make when drinking quickly. Just a thought, but it’d be nice to get some more input on it.

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Let Me Elabourate

Flavor. Favorite. Color.

These words are so much better with the addition of one single letter.

Flavour. Favourite. Colour.

Yes, there we go. They seem so much more elegant now.

Sometimes, I wish I were British or Canadian (though not French Canadian because, well, I guess I’d be speaking French) so that I could spell my words that way.

Hell, I’d spell words that way that aren’t even spelled that way.

Would you like me to elabourate?

I must use candour. I find speaking “American,” in all its crippling efficiency, not too terribly invigourating.

Alas, though, to suddenly go against the convention of my culture would make me … well, a pretendour.

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nappy n. Brit. a piece of soft absorbent material wrapped around the waist and between the legs of a baby to absorb its excrement. [from napkin]

diaper n. U.S. & Canada. a nappy. [Medieval Greek diaspros pure white]

The above definitions were taken from my Collins dictionary. I’d love to hear the definition of diaper from a Canadian or US dictionary.

It could just be my childish mind, but I think nappy and diaper are really bad words to describe what they do. Okay, so nappy comes from napkin, but I’ve never seen anybody sit down to lunch and wrap a napkin around their arse. As for diaper, pure white it will not be for long.

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A duty we have as human beings, I believe, is to contribute at least one completely original word to our respective primary languages.

Sure, the literary snobs will preach the sanctity of form and the virtues of purity … but, really, those guys never get laid.

Shakespeare certainly wasn’t afraid to make up some words,and judging by his contributions, he certainly didn’t have a problem with the ladies. In fact, many of the phrases we English-speaking folk use today come from Billy Shakes (click on the link of his namesake to the right for some fine examples).

Anyway, I use this backdrop to share a word I don’t talk about often … mostly because it’s difficult to express succinctly why it exists and what it means. I’m inspired by my visit with a childhood friend over the weekend in Miami.

Basically, my friend, Tommy, would visit South Carolina each summer from San Diego, and it was quite the culture shock. I remember one year he lived out here and in the eighth grade went to a country school. He found that “stoked,” “rad” and “dude” weren’t part of the lexicon of our fine backwoods comrades.

So, he began trying to fit in by using the word “bo.” You know, “Bo, did yew see the rack on theyat buck? If I’da hed ma shotgyun, I’da popped his eyass.”

There came a point when we had reached the latter years of high school when Tommy became conscious of the time he tried to fit in by using “Bo” as an acceptable preamble to a conversation.

In a random gesture of ridicule both at himself and the people who would ever lead him to speak in such unimaginative terms, he spoke the word, but adding to it for full effect of his disdain for that period in his life.

Phonetically, I suppose, it would be “bo-HINEY.” The “h” would be spoken with a harsh inflection as if a cat were coughing up a hair ball. Maybe a kind of Slavic sound or something. I don’t know (he did marry a Polish woman; so maybe it was a bit of clairvoyance of some sort).

I can’t express how funny this word is to us whenever we speak it. It’s one of those things, as he and I discussed over the past few days, that when you are a teenager, you can’t imagine that anyone else is as cool as the people you know and the friends you cling to.

But I can give you one more task once you speak the word: You must spell it.

One day when we were on the beach years ago, Tommy and I decided we should do just that. I figured that a word of such magnitude should employ ALL of the vowels of the English language … yes, even sometimes “y.”

So, in the sand I sketched “Bourhkheinay.”

And so it was. And so it became.

A new word that only two people use.

But a new word nonetheless.

Please, do your duty and bless the human race with a new word.

The more childish and innane, the better. Shakespeare would be proud.

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