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Showing posts from June, 2015

Meh, OED Adds 500 New Words

It really must be my birthday.

I mean, it is — I turned 48 last Saturday. Or as I'm now calling it "nearly f---ing fifty." In fact, that's going to be my response when people ask my age: nearly f---ing fifty.

I just hope no one asks me at church.

But for my birthday, the Oxford English Dictionary (official motto: "Making you smarter for one hundred f---ing fifty years!") has added 500 new words and definitions to their pages.

This kind of linguistic largesse usually only happens at the beginning of each year, when Lake Superior State University releases its List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.

And since the list was released two days before my birthday, I'm counting this as the best present the OED could ever give me (unless they want to give me an online subscription).


To understand what this list means, it's important to know the difference between descriptive and proscriptive dictionari…

Karl the Curmudgeon Is Sick Of Your Crap

"When did people become so self-centered, Kid?" Karl asked me.

Is this a trick question, Karl? Am I supposed to say 'The Garden of Eden' or something?

"No, I mean when did people start thinking their opinion mattered?" I stared at Karl. This was pretty brutal, even for him.

Don't you think people's opinions matter? I asked. We were at Eaux Canada, our favorite Canadian bar, watching the Women's World Cup on satellite TV.

"No, not really."

How can you say that? I asked. We live in a democracy, and you yourself believe the First Amendment is the most sacred right of everyone in this country.

"And I still stand by that, Kid. Everyone is free to say what they want. But that doesn't mean they have to weigh in on each and every controversial issue like they automatically get a say in what happens."

How are those things different?


"Look at Caitlyn Jenner," said Karl. "She's made the transition into the person s…

I'm Misunderstood In Several Languages

We have a weird accent in the Midwest. That is, we sound weird to other people in this country because of the way we talk.

"You don't sound like anything," my Southern friends tell me. "You sound like a TV newscaster." We Midwesterners have that non-accent accent that all the TV newscasters use so they'll sound the same throughout the country.

We don't sound Southern ("three people got killt, y'all!"), we don't have that Boston accent ("five cahs weh stolen from Hahvahd Pahk"), and despite it being in the Midwest, we're not from Chi-kaa-goh ("Tonight, Sal de Chef cooks up de perfect saa-sej-ess.")

The British do it too. If you've ever heard the BBC News on the radio, you've heard England's version of the Midwest accent. The rest of the world thinks all British people sound like that, but if you've ever heard someone from Manchester or Gloucestershire, you know British accents are as widely varied…

The Fever Set a Guinness World Record, Fall Short Against Minnesota

My family and I are now part of a Guinness World Record.

Last Saturday, we were able to attend the Indiana Fever's home opener against the Minnesota Lynx, in a rematch of the 2013 WNBA finals where the Fever wanted to set a world record by having the most glow sticks lit in one building at one time.

They were talking this up on social media big time, and everywhere I turned someone was tweeting or updating about the record attempt. We got some tickets, thanks to Kevin Messenger, the Fever's PR director, and we were off!

We've been loyal fans of the Fever for years, and we were looking forward to a new season under coach Stephanie White. They had already lost the season opener to Chicago, and this was the home opener.

We waited for the appropriate time, right after player introductions, and right there up on the ginormous video display — seriously, that thing is huge! — Briann January told us to crack the glow sticks, and they cut the lights.

It was the first time I had eve…

A Graduation Speech to 8th Graders

This time each year, I like to write a Graduation Speech I'll Never Give. This time, it's to all the 8th graders who are "graduating" and moving up to high school in the fall.

Thank you, Principal Harbinger, parents, and "graduates."

I say "graduates" with tongue firmly in cheek, because we all know you haven't actually graduated anything. You won't graduate from school for another four years, but our participation trophy society now calls leaving one school building for another "graduation," so here we are.

But a check is a check, and I told Principal Harbinger I would call you whatever she wanted as long as the check cleared.

First of all, I want to congratulate you. You have completed nine years of your 13 years of education, and you've met the requirements necessary to become a teacher during Laura Ingalls Wilder's time.

You are also entering the stage of life where you will be at your smartest. Now that you can read …

Looking Beyond 2015 with the Indiana Fever

Stephanie White may be nervous, but it doesn't show. She's been preparing to take over as a WNBA head coach for the last several years. And she's been thinking about the mark she's going to leave on the game, especially with her former teammate and now star player, Tamika Catchings.

"One of the things I frequently speak to Catch about is where we want this franchise to be long after we're gone," she said in a recent Media Day interview. My daughter, Maddie, and I were able to attend, having been long-time Fever bloggers.

"We have seen the tremendous growth, and really she has been the heart and soul of laying the foundation of what the Fever has been about," White said. "And she wants to maintain the direction she has steered us. I'm always talking to her about continuing to show the other players what that is."

Those leadership lessons make sense, because Tamika is planning on retiring after the 2016 Summer Olympics, and she's…