Saturday, July 16, 2005

At least I was never tardy

See if you can spot the one week old giant panda cub.

PANDA is also an acronym for "Perfect Attendance, No Days Absent".

I never achieved PANDAhood.

Passive-aggressive tit for tat

I know, I know, that tit for tat business is a whole 'nother post. So is 'nother. Yeah.

Useful tip:
If someone needs calling out, but you want to do it under the radar, do it in Turkish.

piç, pronounced "peach," is Turkish for bastard.

"Oh darling, you're such a peach." Or is it piç? He'll be left to figure it out on his own.

I'll have some sherbe(r)t, spelled correctly either way

Order it in the USA...
and you will get a frozen dessert made primarily of fruit juice, sugar, and water, and also containing milk, egg white, or gelatin

Order it in the UK...
and you will get a kind of fizzy powder sold as a sweet. A popular type of sherbet dip is one where the packet is divided into three or four sections, one contains an edible (candy) stick which can be licked and then dipped into the other sections, each of which contains a different flavour of sherbet (for example strawberry, orange, grape).

BUT order it in Australia...
and you will get an alcoholic beverage, most likely beer.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Understanding Captain Feathersword

Ahoy: Interjection used to hail a ship or a person or to attract attention.
Hearties: good fellows; comrades; sailors.
Scalawag: a reprobate; a rascal.
Little known fact: Captain Feathersword was originally played by Anthony Wiggle (Anthony Field) and his brother Paul Field, both of whom can be seen in early videos. As a matter of fact, Dorothy the Dinosaur, Wags the Dog, and Henry the Octopus were also all originally performed by Wiggles themselves, including the forgotten - and unreplaced - fifth Wiggle.

Did someone say hobo?

According to

Hobos generally apply the term hobo only to itinerant people who work.

In contrast, they define a tramp as a itinerant person who does not work, and supports himself by other means e.g. begging or scavenging.

A bum is a homeless person who neither travels nor works. Both are terms of derision within the hobo community.

No idea what the devil relevance this has, though.

Bum, vagabond, beggar, hobo....

and last but most definitely not least, BAG LADY. Where did these sweet words get off to anyhow? Now, it's not proper to call anyone a bag lady. But I clearly remember using this phrase when in the city as a child. Bag lady or bum were the words I used to describe the homeless. Hmmmm...

Is gypsy a bad thing to say too? All of those words are synonymous with words like vagrant, tramp, transient, rogue... and the like. I don't recall ever having called someone a rogue.

Bag ladies are tramps.

I have no idea why

But I feel compelled to post this photo.

There is something very wrong with my husband....

.....I just can't think of the right word to describe him.

If you have the eggs

I have the recipe.

Potato Crusted Quiche with Smoked Cheddar Cheese and Bacon
2 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced in 1/8-inch rounds
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
8 strips bacon, cooked crisp
8 to 10 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
4 ounces smoked cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Blanch potatoes in salted, boiling water for 1-1/2 minutes; drain. When cool, place a single layer potatoes in a pie dish (overlapping slightly). Stand up slices (also overlapping) around edge. Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, red bell pepper, and thyme and saute 5 minutes. Spoon mixture on top of potatoes. Crumble crisp bacon on top of onion mixture. Spread cheese on top of bacon.
Whisk together eggs, salt, and pepper. Pour into pie dish. Bake for 35 minutes. Cool 25 minutes and serve in wedges.
Serves: 6


Today I was paid by one customer in eggs, again.

Luckily I like eggs. I think that this particular customer would pay me with eggs even if I didn't like them. He has decided that eggs are his currency and that is his perogative. I have decided to accept eggs as payment as is my perogative. I am also paid with bread, cheeses and honey by other customers so the idea isn't so outlandish to me.

What peturbs me though is the overthinking that occurs after the customer has left and it is far too late for me to ask.

Where did the other eggs go? What did he buy with them?

Raising a Wordaholic?

This morning my two-year-old and I were sitting eating (or not eating) breakfast. My dear son had a plate of cinnamon toast in front of him.

I remarked, "Peter, you have let your toast sit there so long, it is cold now."

He responded by picking up a piece of the toast and then looking at me quizzically. "Cold. No."

"Well, it's not hot."


"It's not warm, either. It's mostly cold."

Peter frowned, and my husband piped in, "It's cool, Peter. Between warm and cold is cool. You have let your toast get cool."

Peter takes this in for a moment, smiles, and says, "Toast cool. Warm. No. Cold. No. Hot. No."

Then he hopped down from his chair and ran off to play abandoning the cool toast.

My child doesn't throw tantrums

My child doesn't throw tantrums; he makes kerfuffles.

He doesn't cling; he's a limpet.

He doesn't whine; he pules.

And he's never cranky; he's cantankerous, crabbed, cross, disagreeable, fretful, grumpy, ill-tempered, irascible, testy, peevish, petulant, querulous, snappish, surly, or waspish.

My child may have badly-behaved moments, but they are always well-worded.

As a restorative...

you cannot beat 40 winks.

6 entries found for restorative.

re·stor·a·tive ( P ) Pronunciation Key (r-stôr-tv, -str-)
Of or relating to restoration.
Tending or having the power to restore: a restorative tonic.

Something that restores.
A medicine or other agent that helps to restore health, strength, or consciousness.

40 winks does it for me every time.

Other favourite restoratives for me are, in no particular order...

Pleasant company, hot tea, intelligent debate, cuddling boys, beachcombing and taking a break.

Today I have achieved all of the above. Life is good.

As a what?

Yesterday, I used the phrase "mad as a wet hen" when speaking with a friend. She laughed and declared that to be "so Southern". But I found evidence that the wet hen phenomenon occurs in the Midwest.

And according to, "Mad as a wet hen, first recorded in 1823, is puzzling, since hens don't really mind water."

Oh, dear.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

You know who rocked?

Yosemite Sam.

He had the most exquisite way of calling someone out.

Come back here, you lily-livered varmint!

Other Great Words for Lily-livered: pusillanimous, chickenhearted, cowardly, craven, dastardly, gutless, yellow, yellow-bellied.

Varmint: slang for vermin, to wit various small animals or insects that are pests; such as cockroaches or rats.


One entry found for snide.

Main Entry: snide Pronunciation: 'snId

Function: adjective

Etymology: origin unknown


b : practicing deception : DISHONEST
2 : unworthy of esteem :
3 : slyly disparaging :
INSINUATING - snide·ly adverb- snide·ness noun

In my experience, snide is the new black on internet fora. When the insecure come across true beauty, in whatever form, they often resort to what ever low means they can to reduce the happy to their own level of sad.

Whether, it takes mocking the object of their frustration or even slighting their loved ones, snide people use this dishonest form of bullying to alienate the individual.

We all recognise it and it truly is pathetic.

Yo, Homes!

Homey/Homie: slang for friend
Homeboy: slang for male friend
Homegirl: slang for female friend
Homeslice: slang for friend
Homefry: slang for friend
Homebread: slang for friend
Homecheese: slang for friend
Home stovetop: slang for friend
Home skillet: slang for friend
Home-nugget: slang for friend
Homebox: slang for friend
Hometoast: slang for friend
Homey-G: slang for friend

Forsooth, I'm hungry.

Better than coagulated

Sometimes words used in unusual contexts can be exceptionally descriptive.

Recently, I was asked by a friend - CORRECTION: a "fantabulous, chocolate-skinned beauty" (sorry, Atch!) - how I was feeling. I stumbled to describe it accurately, looking for a single word that would sum it up. I said the weather was hot and humid, I was bloated, and I felt like I was paying the price for a small cookie dough episode the night before.

It came to me in a flash.

"I just feel... congealed."

And my friend promptly replied, "I know exactly what you mean."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I'm usually a 1c kind of poignant girl...

However, waaaaaaaaay at the end of the poignant definition, in the archaic 5a, there is another gem.

Translating the flavor mysteries for you, one at a time...
Coming soon: Adobo...

A Little Refresher

I find that my working vocabulary requires a little refresher now and again.

Recently, I needed to look up two words that I have used a few times (and certainly read many more times) to be certain of their meanings.

in·trep·id (n-trpd)
adj. Resolutely courageous; fearless.


poign·ant (poinynt)
    1. Physically painful: “Keen, poignant agonies seemed to shoot from his neck downward” (Ambrose Bierce).
    2. Keenly distressing to the mind or feelings: poignant anxiety.
    3. Profoundly moving; touching: a poignant memory.
  1. Piercing; incisive: poignant criticism.
    1. Neat, skillful, and to the point: poignant illustrations supplementing the text.
    2. Astute and pertinent; relevant: poignant suggestions.
  2. Agreeably intense or stimulating: poignant delight.
  3. Archaic.
    1. Sharp or sour to the taste; piquant.
    2. Sharp or pungent to the smell.

Wordaholism: generally not fatal

I have another language blog that deals with obituaries. Specifically, it deals with the obituaries in my local paper and the words people choose to convey the act of dying.

I am blessed to live in the South of the United States, where the art of euphemism is a time-honored tradition.

(whispering) Eskimo

Eskimo is a no-no.

I'm not ashamed to admit I first learned of this watching Postcards from Buster with my children.

Further research informs me that "Eskimo has come under strong attack in recent years for its supposed offensiveness, and many Americans today either avoid this term or feel uneasy using it. It is widely known that Inuit, a term of ethnic pride, offers an acceptable alternative, but it is less well understood that Inuit cannot substitute for Eskimo in all cases, being restricted in usage to the Inuit-speaking peoples of Arctic Canada and parts of Greenland. In Alaska and Arctic Siberia, where Inuit is not spoken, the comparable terms are Inupiaq and Yupik, neither of which has gained as wide a currency in English as Inuit."

Gulp. I grew up eating Eskimo Pies, sitting Indian style, and referring to ripoffs as gyps.

I also grew up being embarassed when my father would use culturally-charged terms that dated him, assuming he did so in spite of knowing better. As an adult, I realize they were no more than second nature slips of the tongue, not cultural insensitivities.

I'm as diligent as possible, as my father most likely was.

May my children be more forgiving.


My nearly-seven year old year old son just used the word outré correctly.

Context? Upon seeing a poodle styled as above.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Won't you help an endangered word or two?

Don't let these words be killed off by their modern counterparts. There's room for all. Use them or lose them!

betwixt: between

monger: a trader or seller; a costermonger is a produceseller

forsooth!: an exclamation of dismay, a childsafe way of saying, "Damn!"

Monday, July 11, 2005

Sometimes words AREN'T enough

From an article in The Washington Post about a bone marrow donor meeting the 5 year old who received his marrow as an infant:

In summer 2000, when the National Marrow Donor Program searched its registry of about 4 million names (now more than 5 million), it found just four perfect matches for Cameron. All four were contacted. Only Young called back.

It's not enough to be able to say "I'm on the National Marrow Donor Registry." One actually needs to act when called upon to do so.

To confuse the crore issue further...

In India and Bangladesh, a crore is equal to 10 million.

But in Iran, where the crore was in use until some decades ago, a crore is/was equal to half a million.

The vast majority of people in Iran are ethnically Persian.
A small minority of the remainder are ethnically Arab.
An arab is equivalent to 1 billion in India.
An arab is written 1,00,00,00,000.
1 arab = 100 crore.
100 crore is the value of vehicles stolen in Mumbai in the past 12 months.

(That Kevin Bacon game has nothing on the crore.)

And the Mumbai underworld slang for a crore is a khokha.

(Shout out to any Bollywood gangsters who may be reading!)

This concludes today's lesson in the Indian numbering system, about which I knew nothing before today.

Read More Here

India's greatest mathematical riddle... a secret and virtually impenetrable numbering system, which took me a full four months of careful study to master. Lemme s'plain:

Crore (pronounced "crore", as in "crore"): actually means ten million units of something--anything, including: rupees, people, or (in the particular case of my recently ex-neighborhood) small, tan dogs that lick themselves. But after the comfortably familiar third-zero comma-placement, a swirling madness (not unlike a raging hurly burly) engulfs the mind of the crore student. All second subsequent zeroes are separated by commas. (So, one crore is frustratingly written: 1,00,00,000.)

For example, today we learned from the helpful (if annoying hell-hole of internet pop-up ads) Times of India:

"...Going, going, gone. Three thousand two hundred at last count. That's the number of vehicles stolen in Mumbai in the past 12 months. Their value: A whopping Rs 100 crore..."

(Addendum: At Rs 43.5 to the dollar, one crore is about $230,000, so the year's value of stolen cars in Mumbai is around $23,000,000.)
(Addendum for Koo: That's something over 13,239,000 Pounds.)

FYI, there is also a smaller beast called a Lakh (also Lac), which refers to 100,000 somethings, and carries the same, second zero comma separation. So, 1 Lakh is written 1,00,000.

There is no escape.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Footnote for Koo's post

Queen: a female having eminence or supremacy in a given domain

Quean: lewd woman; hussy; woman of bad character

Lest there be any confusion.

Bow down before me...........

....for I am your Queen.

It's that time of year again. Thousands of working class people have converged on our village for their summer holiday as their workplace factories shut down for a compulsory week or two.

They come from all over the North of of England with their extended families for summer-fun in a mobile home next to our amazing pebble-ridge. They leave behind factory life and smoky coal-stacks, bingo halls and working-mens clubs to wake up hung-over late in the day to the sound of sea-gulls.

I adore these people. They really know how to treat a shop-girl.

For most of the year, I have neither a name nor a face. Most people cast their money on the counter with nary a 'please' or a smile. My holiday makers are so different, they come from the poorest areas of our country and take the cheapest holiday possible. They research their holiday gift purchases carefully, trawling all the gift shops for a canny deal. They come to find, over the week that they always get a warm welcome, interested conversation and an opportunity to barter with me.

Consequently, I find that my title changes over the course of the week. I begin the week being called 'my pet' which is in itself a welcome change from anonymity. By Wednesday I am refered to as 'my duck' which I find very sweet but by Friday I am undisputed Queen of the village. Every other purchase on a Friday elicits a 'thankyou, Queen'.

Bow down before me.....