Darren Barefoot
Darren Barefoot

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Entries about words...I like the words

August 18, 2003

Links for the memories:

  • Be the first on your block to own a wireless chair.
  • While looking up the word smoot (a unit of measurement equalling five feet, seven inches), I re-discovered the most excellent Jargon Dictionary.
  • Laundry care for men. I take issue with this, as I'm a careful and thorough laundry-doer. In fact, it's my favourite household task.
  • This man is crazy (thanks, Bike Trouble).
  • The complete works of Troy McLure. Favourites include 'Leper in the Backfield' and 'Suddenly Last Supper'.

10:16:25 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Link Round-up Mixed Bag Technology The Arts Words

August 3, 2003

ErosBlog (not safe for work) offers this excellent new term:

Porn Shui: noun, refers to the art of positioning oneself in one's office or cubicle so that one can surf porn undetected. Usage: "I have great porn shui- I face the hallway and the desk behind me is vacant."

Tell your friends. And by the way, nobody's said moose-tickler to me, so I guess it still awaits broad acceptance.


11:26:34 PM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Words

July 24, 2003

I don't want many things. I've recently taken a more Zen approach to possessions. I've got more than I need, really. Except, of course, for this. That's all 38 of Shakespeare's plays (well, 37 and the dubious Two Noble Kinsmen) recorded on CDs, voiced by some of the finest actors of the British stage. All for a mere CAN $630.00.

I could add it to my fantastic Complete National Geographic. What's with this info-hoarding instinct of mine? Some alternative to a nesting instinct?

Incidentally, the title is a line from Julius Caesar.


9:51:01 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Books The Arts Words

July 23, 2003

Freakgirlspew teaches me a new word:

dysphemism (DIS-fuh-miz-em) noun. The substitution of a harsher, deprecating or offensive term in place of a relatively neutral term.

It's the opposite of euphemism. The example that this page gives is 'A guerrilla in neutral language might be called freedom-fighter by some while a terrorist by others.' The all-knowing wikipedia expands on this:

Oddly, some humorous expressions can be both euphemistic and dysphemistic depending on context: for example "spank the monkey" might be used as either a softer alternative to "masturbate", or as a more deliberately provocative one depending on the audience.

As I'm feeling thorough, here's a third definition with examples.


2:27:47 PM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Words

July 14, 2003

Arwen discusses the trouble with grown-ups reading Harry Potter. That got me started on a related topic: our growing biblioligarchy (a word, incidentally, which I just invented).

My complaint about the popularization of the Harry Potter books is the same as my complaint about Oprah's book club. It puts too few books in the hands of too many people.

Maybe it's wrong, but I have this perception that a lot of people buy books based on the bestseller list, or what's in the news (e.g. Harry Potter or Oprah). Just as in any other industry, most people don't make particularly informed book-purchasing decisions. You get a kind of biblioligarchy, where few books are purchased by many, many people. This is, of course, a general trend of cultural capitalism (see also book stores, record companies and, I don't know, media companies), but it disturbs me.

In short, Harry Potter is, by its own success (and the success of the media machine behind him) contributing to the cultural model where there are a million people with one book, instead of a million people with a million different books.

Incidentally, way back in the early days of HP, I tried reading the first book (whatever it's called, Harry Potter and the Filthy Short Order Cook? Harry Potter and the Hooded Fang? Harry Potter and My Best Friend's Wedding? I can never remember), and was hopelessly bored. I found it utterly unoriginal and a real trudge to read. I gave up after about two hundred pages.


1:13:01 PM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Books The Arts Words

July 9, 2003

My friend James sends me this gem from the World Wide Words Newsletter. I was familiar with Italy's ill-named www.powergenitalia.com, but who knew there were so many others?

Newspapers have been having fun with the name of the Web site set up by the British energy firm PowerGen, which is investing in Italy and has created the wonderful www.powergenitalia.com (it is a real Web site, I can confirm, though not always easy to access). But you might prefer instead www.crotch-partnership.co.uk, which isn't what you're thinking it is, unless you know it's a firm of solicitors in Norwich. Another odd one is http://www.whorepresents.com/, at which you can find an actor's representative.

And there was a follow-up:

It turns out that PowerGen has nothing to do with the site I mentioned last week, www.powergenitalia.com, which has actually been set up by an Italian firm - presumably one with poor English - that charges batteries. Douglas Yates provided two other nice examples, one being http://www.classicalbums.co.uk/, but his favourite is a company that sells mobile phone ring tones based on hit tunes, http://www.ringtoneshits.com/.

I was disappointed by www.ringtoneshits.com. I hoped it was some kind of Hall of Shame for the worst perpetrators of lousy ring tones.


8:41:28 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Words

June 3, 2003

Todd's entry on found Usenet art reminded me of a little geeky goofiness that myself and a co-worker got up to last year. We devised poems by reading prose into his digital recorder, and then using it's lousy voice recognition software to translate it into text. 

All we did is insert line breaks and punctuation and remove an occasional word or phrase. I think they achieve a nice surrealism. Here are a couple results:

untitled
Source: The first verse of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock

flowers gone belly-laugh
as the evening as his ferry
as a star like efficient
the tour as the backer

sophia
Source: A paragraph of Understanding SOAP

if Sophia's as the circus
and a lot of research left to the individual
and for example, has killed other countries
he has acquired what number of calls
but the desperation of the Korean department is under straw

This sort of Europe
Source: Hamlet's speech to the players

5th seed and a speech campaigners
as it collapsed into you,
Truly are not harmful if you loved it as relevant
has left the Paris border.

If not the last idea too much of her hand and thus
for an average of one tendency.
As a racing,
a whirlwind passion,
the masterplan begat its next West End
needs this sort of Europe.

She has periwig Peter Fell.
To terror passion for carriage to bury works.
Split the use of the grounds,
of her most are capable of nothing.

Its organ of controls:
whipcord,
grind,
coloured ink,
because he lives here and there.


11:46:32 AM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Technology The Arts Words

While I'm on the subject of words, my belletrist (Stephen King taught me that word...imagine that) friend James sent me this great contest from the World Wide Words newsletter (you have to scroll down to item #3):

Candida Frith-Macdonald e-mailed me, appropriately from a British domain named "brainstorm", to ask whether there is a good word for the deliberate misspelling of words to evade spam filters.

She continued: "I say this after the fifth copy of a spam promising 'PEN1S ENKARGEMENT' has arrived today. As 'enkargement' is the one I see most often I'd be inclined to use this as a word for the practice, or perhaps 'hyding'. But there are probably better ideas. Or perhaps a word that could cover all such distorted forms, including ones like 'Kwik Save' [A British discount store chain - Ed]. Any chance of a World Wide Words hunt for the perfect name?"

First off, be skeptical of any email from anybody named Candida Frith-MacDonald (turns out she's a book editor), but to the point: anybody got anything? My best suggestion follows:

bun mot

Not bad, eh? Submit entries to competition@worldwidewords.org by June 8.


4:14:55 PM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Words

My Irish colleagues and I invented a good phrase. It refers to an employing who is seething, apathetic or otherwise showing signs of a quick, violent exit:

"Oh, that's Bob. He's just in his cubicle planning his postal route."

This, of course, refers to that popular phrase "going postal". And to this infamous (and stupid) video game (caution, booth babes--and Gary Coleman!--ahead).


3:55:56 PM  Permanent link to this entry    Trackback []    Technical Writing Words