Archive for August, 2006

He’s Not A Dragon, People

“Man charged in honor student’s slaying”

 Since when are people “slayed?”

Newspapers love to use words and phrases that no one uses in regular discourse … like referring to someone who died in a car accident as a “fatal” or an issue creating a “firestorm of controversy.”

But “slaying” has to be the worst. You don’t slay people. You slay dragons or evil, invading marauders.

 It’s just a cheap, lazy way to sound more salacious.

More respect is in order for human beings who have passed.


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I’d just like to thank the cool people at the Highways Department for this great new sign on New Beetwell Street:


Got any good ones? Then let us know.

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Say that out loud to yourself. How you pronounce the name of that nut says something about you … I think … although I’m not sure what exactly that might be.

Here in the deep South, I hear people say this different ways.

One — and I think I’m right about this — is distinctly deep South: “PEE-can.”

That’s what all my people back home and others I run into with the thickest accents say.

I hear a number of transplants from the North say  “peh-KAHN.”

But there are some with solid Southern accents and solid Southern pedigree who say it that way, too.

I say “PEE-can,” like my Grandma, who shoots and traps squirrels because she’s convinced they’re the reason she has no “PEE-cans” on any of her trees (not something like, say, poor soil nutrition that makes them not even grow).

My step-mother, who’s from the Pacific Northwest, says “peh-KAHN.” All my life, I thought that was just the way Northern intruders said things.

Until my cousin, who is from the same town I’m from (and is actually more “from it” than I am) told me recently that she says “peh-KAHN.”

It totally shattered my theory. My wife, a Southerner, says “peh-KAHN.”

It makes me wonder: Am I just some backwards dipstick who refuses to call something by its proper pronunication?

Well, I do call it Butter “peh-KAHN” Ice Cream.

I say we just meet in the middle and start calling them “PEH-kins.”

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As far as flyers go, well, when they drop through my letterbox they usually go straight into the recycle bin.

But not this one. It was too good an opportunity to miss. Understanding some of the stuff was easy, some a little bit more difficult.

That ones easy enough. I think it means “you may pay by cheque.”


Now there’s a surprise: a bacon burger topped with…wait for it…sliced bacon on burger! Wow, who’d have thought it!

Which is why I got really worried after something so obvious when I saw what number 6 was:

Holy crap! If a bacon burger is topped with…sliced bacon…then an American burger must be topped with…a sliced American? Well, if we’re going to keep with the theme, anyway.


Phew! That was a close one. Stranger things have happened though.

This next one was quite straight forward…but still funny:

So, I saved the best one until last. I really don’t understand this one at all. If anyone can figure this one out for us at Just Language, please do so in comments, it’ll be much appreciated:

Any ideas? Nope? Me neither.

Here, they repeated it for us on the back, just in case we didn’t get it first time:

I’ll never complain about flyers again.

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I was on vacation recently here along the South Carolina coast. We have quite a number of Northerners who visit here over the summer.

It’s rare that I’m sitting in a hot tub completely outnumbered by Yankees.

So, I hear some guy say, “Yeah, so I guess you’re not supposed to call it a ‘pop.’ They call it ‘soda’ here. Because they’re like, Southern or something.”

 He said it with a certain superiority about his dialect. I refrained from joining in because 1.) I was on vacation and 2.) It might seem like I was actually angry.

But first, guy, the term we use more is ‘coke.’ A Coke is a coke. A Pepsi is a coke. A Sprite is a coke.

Rail on that, sport … because that indeed really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. It can be quite confusing and just exhibits a certain laziness in expressing ourselves.

But soda? That sounds about right to me.

So, today at lunch, I asked my friend from Wisconsin what he thinks. Which sounds weirder: soda or pop? Being from Wisconsin, he calls it pop.

He tells me pop. And goes on to elaborate. And that was quite interesting.

He tells me that pop is more of a Midwestern thing. In fact, in two different towns he lived in in Wisconsin, they called it soda and pop. Just an hour or so apart.

But that’s not all. The city where the call it pop also calls other things weird names.

What most would call a “water fountain,” they call it a “bubbler.”

What most would refer to as a “sloppy joe” sandwich, they call it a “hot tamale.”

So, if I had known this, perhaps I should have asked the guy if he planned to drink out of the hot tub.

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