On Names

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Naming a thing gives it power.
Before my daughter was born, my wife and I spent a prodigious amount of time trying to decide on boys and girls names (at the time we didn’t know the sex of our yet to be born child) because we wanted to make sure that whatever we decided upon was right.
Moving backwards, before we got my dog, we also spent a lot of time deciding on the name because again, we wanted to make sure it was right.
Hell, when we got our car after our daughter was born, we batted around a number of names for it before we settled on “Murray.” One because Murray the Matrix has a nice sing-song ring to it and two because we used to live on Murray St. Due to the reasons I mentioned it, just seemed right.
All of that being said, I would like to point out that the Russian energy company Gazprom just made a 2.5 billion dollar investment in Nigera and the joint company is being called Nigaz. You don’t need be to a corporate branding guru to know that someone should have spent more a little more time thinking this one through. Nigaz? Really? For all the times that I mentioned the word right above, this name is just plain wrong.
Via Ben who said, “First rung on the ‘probably not the best name for a company’ ladder”


How To Win At Scrabble

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Sure, I’m giving away a secret but future victories will be even sweeter knowing that my opponent could have been on the same level as I am in terms of obscure word knowledge. Courtesey of Wired Mag’s “How To” issue, here are recommended “words to know” from John Williams Jr., executive director of the National Scrabble Association:
azo, jo, ka, ki, qaid, qat, qi, xi, xu, za, zin and zoa.
Also on the list for when you have too few or too many vowels:
hm, hmm and ourie.
When I pull a “zin” on someone, when he or she is complaining that it isn’t a word, I’m simply going to say “next time read my blog.”
Via Wired.


Nine Words Women Use

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I received the list below in an email from my Uncle and I have to say, it was the first forward in a long time that I not only read but found humorous. Those in a relationship with a woman will find the list below especially useful. So, without futher ado, the nine words that women use and what they mean:
1. Fine: This is the word women use to end an argument when they are right and you need to shut up.
2. Five Minutes: If she is getting dressed, this means a half an hour. Five minutes is only five minutes if you have just been given five more minutes to watch the game before helping around the house.
3. Nothing: This is the calm before the storm. This means something, and you should be on your toes. Arguments that begin with nothing usually end in fine. (Refer back to #1 for the meaning of fine.)
4. Go Ahead: This is a dare, not permission. Don’t do it!
5. Loud Sigh: This is actually a word, but is a non-verbal statement often misunderstood by men. A loud sigh means she thinks you are an idiot and wonders why she is wasting her time standing here and arguing with you about nothing. (Refer back to #3 for the meaning of nothing.)
6. That’s Okay: This is one of the most dangerous statements a women can make to a man. That’s okay means she wants to think long and hard before deciding how and when you will pay for your mistake.
7. Thanks: A woman is thanking you, do not question, or faint. Just say you’re welcome.
8. Whatever: Is a women’s way of saying F@!K YOU!
9. Don’t worry about it, I got it: Another dangerous statement, meaning this is something that a woman has told a man to do several times, but is now doing it herself. This will later result in a man asking “What’s wrong?” (For the woman’s response refer to #3)
Via the Mayor


Who Versus Whom

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I start many letters with “To Whom It May Concern” and usually this is the only time I used the word “whom” in a sentence. When writing an email today, I was stuck as to whether to use who or whom. So, I did some digging and got my answer.
A) Who: when the pronoun acts as the subject of the clause, use who. For example: The prize goes to the runner who collects the most points. [Who does the action of collecting.]
B) Whom: When the pronoun acts as the object of the clause, use whom. For example: The tutor to whom I was assigned was very supportive. [Whom is the object of the preposition to.]
If you can’t tell a subject from an object, you can replace who/whom with he/him. If he sounds right, use who; if him is right, use whom. For example: since he did it and not him did it, use who did it; since we give something to him and not to he, use to whom.


Truthiness Is Tearing Apart Our Country

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“Truthiness is tearing apart our country, and I don’t mean the argument over who came up with the word. I don’t know whether it’s a new thing, but it’s certainly a current thing, in that it doesn’t seem to matter what facts are. It used to be, everyone was entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts. But that’s not the case anymore. Facts matter not at all. Perception is everything. It’s certainty. People love the president because he’s certain of his choices as a leader, even if the facts that back him up don’t seem to exist. It’s the fact that he’s certain that is very appealing to a certain section of the country. I really feel a dichotomy in the American populace. What is important? What you want to be true, or what is true?” – Stephen Colbert, from an interview with the Onion in its AV Club section. The rest of the interview is even better.
Via Chris


Misuse of Language

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In an article in today’s NY Times, there is a quote in reference to Harriet Miers Supreme Court nomination that she has “a tough road to hoe.” To me, it is impossible to “hoe” a “road” unless you are prostituting yourself. Other words like trick and john come to mind as well. While the original saying “A tough row to hoe” makes sense from a gardening perspective, the way it is currently being used is flat out wrong and should be stopped.


Daily Candy’s Lexicon X

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Now that I’m on the Daily Candy email list again (I don’t know why, I delete without reading 9 out of 10 emails because they are about boutiques that only the trendiest girls will like), I received these words and definitions in my inbox this morning courtesy of Daily Candy. Like the last time, I thought I’d share:

Violent night, troll-y night
n. The aftermath of the holiday party where a certain elf swills too much vodka.

n. Someone who hangs around under the mistletoe, waiting to get kissed. (“Eve was being such a mistleho at the company party that no one else could get any play from the cute tech guys.”)

n. A makeout session that takes place under the influence of eggnog.

n. The outrageous marketing push that begins two months before each holiday (Halloween decorations in July, Christmas decorations in October).

Round yon virgin
n. Severely overweight child relative who hogs all the dessert. (“I never even got to try Aunt Martha’s cranberry squares – the round yon virgins charged the dessert table.”)

Santa fraud
n. Poorly costumed Santa Claus impersonator. (“Avoid department stores at all costs. They’re overrun with Santa frauds this year.”)

Dreidel robber
n. Someone who cheats young children at dreidel.

n. Someone who goes way too overboard with the Christmas decorations (usually Mom).

Mrs. Claws
n. Work buddy’s wife whose steely gaze keeps her husband’s female colleagues on the other side of the office-party dance floor.


Daily Candy’s Lexicon IX

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I received these words and definitions in my inbox this morning courtesy of Daily Candy. I thought I’d share:

n. Area populated by good-looking people. (“Let’s go downtown. Fifth Street has turned into a total beighborhood.”)

n. Acronym. Describes (busy, working, all-too-typical) couple: Dual Income, Zero Orgasm.

Earnest Hemorrhage
n. A man who is oppressively forthcoming with every thought and feeling. Antonym: Ernest Hemingway, linguistically stingy author.

n. One who is incredibly dumb but incredibly cute, who simultaneously attracts and repels. (“I’m so ashamed. I hooked up with that foxymoron last night.”)

n. Acronym. Girl-Hating Girl. The one whose only friends are guys.

n. A less-than-hygienic boyfriend. (“Better open the window. Here come Gloria and her hobeau.”)

n. A group of undesirable sycophants. (“The party was fun until Justin showed up with his nontourage.”)

n. The secret bond one has with her pharmacist. (“Only Mr. Myers knows the truth about my little Klonopin/Paxil/laxative habit.”)

n. Person who chronically misses every appointment (e.g., haircuts, doctor visits, dinners). (“Is Louisa going to show, or is she pulling a showflake again?”)

n. Socialite/designer/whatever. The model/actress/ whatever of the ’00s. You know the type.

n. Gym dandies who constantly check themselves out in the mirror. (“If that staremaster touches his pecs one more time …”)