On the Subject of the words “Faggot” and “Dyke”

Other that some passing linkage, I haven’t weighed in on the controversy surrounding actor Isaiah Washington and his use of the F-word twice in the last three months on the set of “Grey’s Anatomy” and at the Golden Globes. The New York Times summarizes the events. Given that there has been lots of commentary, I think I should say something.

For me, the use of the words “faggot” and “dyke” are as unacceptable as using the N word. Having been the victim of a violent hate crime in which I was repeatedly called a dyke (an event where I was threatened with death and where I honestly didn’t know if I was going to be killed) I’ve had a particularly strong reaction to the word ever since, no matter who uses it (I’m still pissed as hell at that being called that recently, and still intend for there to be some accountability for it eventually.)

There are souls out there in the universe for which the words “faggot” and “dyke” are the final words ever they heard as they were beaten and killed. For that reason alone, I don’t think the use of them should be taken lightly, and I think trying to “rehabilitate” the words diminishes the suffering of those souls.

People who use these words with malicious intent should be shunned in the same way that we ostracize and revile people who use the N word. I care about free speech too much to suggest that there are words that should never be used (I think the fact that we censor “swear” words is egregious to say the least) but I do think we can institute social consequences for bad behavior where legal ones are not appropriate.

Continue ReadingOn the Subject of the words “Faggot” and “Dyke”

English “Non-Errors” Examined

I blogged a link yesterday to a site of “Non-Errors” in English — discussion of some language rules that the site argues are not really valid rules of language today.
The link is making the rounds of popular blog sites, which is how I picked up on it. I sent it to Stephanie, who is my definitive source for all grammar and editing, (being a well-educated editor with a great editor salary for a publishing company and connoisseur of the English language) for her thoughts. Here’s what she had to say:

I think he’s a little hard on split infinitives; for some reason I don’t have a problem with them unless they aren’t clear. I think there’s more to the between/among distinction than he says. The IDG style guide mentions that it matters whether a one-to-one relationship is meant. Our style guides have always specified the over/more than and since/because distinctions, and although I’m certainly not as strict as some, I’m not as permissive as he is. I’m not convinced that “regime” and “regimen” are synonyms — I’ve never heard of a “dietary regime.” Titled vs. entitled — in terms of a book, entitled means “given a title,” and that, to me, happens once. I don’t have the OED, so I can’t see what sense Chaucer used it in.

Continue ReadingEnglish “Non-Errors” Examined

My Lexicon

A handy guide to my personal idioms and their origins, because I notice that a lot of times people look at me funny when I’m talking. I’ve had this page around for awhile but forgot to transfer it into my new content management system. There seem to be some terms missing, too.

"Big Girl" Seats

The newer theatres in town have wider butt-space seating for those of us who’ve spread out over the years.

Birthday Mardi Gras

Usage: When your birthday falls on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday of the week, you get to celebrate both the weekend before AND the weekend after.

Origin: Cuzin Jim and Cuzin Mick (not my actual cousins) started Birthday Mardi Gras back in college (Ball State, late 80’s) to compensate for the drinking binges we were missing out on due to mid-week birthdays. This term has spread far and wide, and even ended up on an episode of "The West Wing" when Jed Barlett suggests celebrating his wife’s birthday in Mardi Gras style.

Evil Robot Brain/Organizational Automaton

i don’t like clutter, and I tend to get stuck in a mode of organizing things and can’t stop, because I just keep spotting more things that can be put away.

"Funny… But No"

Origin: Hallmark’s Shoebox Greetings website, where they actually post the greeting card ideas that have been rejected as offensive for one reason or another, but are too hilarious to just let go.

Grumpy Pants

When you cranky, you’re wearing “grumpy pants.” Anything is funny when the word “pants” is involved.

Kitty Television

The bird feeder I hung outside my front window that provides hours of entertainment for my three cats, who sit plot how they might get those birds if they ever got outside.

Pre-menstrual Amnesia

I manage to forget that I have a menstrual cycle every darned month until it shows up to surprise me.


When I was a small child, I used to mix up the words "memory" and "remember." I tend to think "remembory" first, and correct myself and use "memory" before the word comes out of my mouth, but sometimes I say this when I’m tired.

Turn Into a Pumpkin

Somewhere between 10 and 11 p.m., I start getting sleepy and I stop making sense when I talk. Like Cinderella’s carriage, I become somewhat less exciting to be around.

Continue ReadingMy Lexicon

Literary Terms I Like

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I started making this list several years ago, when I was reading Benet’s Reader’s Encyclopedia straight through. I believe I got to the letter H before I got too busy and abandoned the project. That’s fantastic reference book, though.

Irony involving insincere modesty

Aesthetic distance
A term that describes the ability to objectify experience in art and present it as independent from its maker.

Jealously watchful

Dante’s symbol of Spiritual inspiration

Continue ReadingLiterary Terms I Like

Biomimicry, the law of unintended consequences, Chinese water torture

Via wikipedia:


Biomimicry or biomimetics is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems. The term biomimicry and biomimetics come from the Greek words bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate. Similar terms include bionics.

Law of unintended consequences

In the social sciences, unintended consequences (sometimes unanticipated consequences or unforeseen consequences) are outcomes that are not the ones intended by a purposeful action. The concept has long existed but was named and popularised in the 20th century by American sociologist Robert K. Merton. Unintended consequences can be roughly grouped into three types:

  • A positive, unexpected benefit (usually referred to as luck, serendipity or a windfall).
  • A negative, unexpected detriment occurring in addition to the desired effect of the policy (e.g., while irrigation schemes provide people with water for agriculture, they can increase waterborne diseases that have devastating health effects, such as schistosomiasis).
  • A perverse effect contrary to what was originally intended (when an intended solution makes a problem worse)

Chinese water torture

Chinese water torture is a process in which water is slowly dripped onto a person’s forehead, allegedly driving the restrained victim insane. This form of torture was first described under a different name by Hippolytus de Marsiliis in Italy in the 15th or 16th century.

The term “Chinese water torture” may have arisen from Chinese Water Torture Cell (a feat of escapology introduced in Berlin at Circus Busch September 13, 1910; the escape entailed Houdini being bound and suspended upside-down in a locked glass and steel cabinet full to overflowing with water, from which he escaped), together with the Fu Manchu stories of Sax Rohmer that were popular in the 1930s (in which Fu Manchu subjected his victims to various ingenious tortures, such as the wired jacket). Hippolytus de Marsiliis is credited with the invention of a form of water torture. Having observed how drops of water falling one by one on a stone gradually created a hollow, he applied the method to the human body. Other suggestions say that the term “Chinese water torture” was invented merely to grant the method a sense of ominous mystery.

Continue ReadingBiomimicry, the law of unintended consequences, Chinese water torture

‘Cultural Generations’ via wikipedia

via wikipedia, Cultural generations , i.e., “Baby Boomer” and “Generation X.”

Generation X:

Generation X, commonly abbreviated to Gen X, is the generation born after the Western Post–World War II baby boom. Demographers, historians and commentators use beginning birth dates from the early 1960s to the early 1980s.

The term was popularized by Douglas Coupland’s 1991 novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. Before that, it had been used for various subcultures or countercultures after the 1950s.

Generation Y:

Generation Y, also known as the Millennial Generation, is the demographic cohort following Generation X. There are no precise dates for when Generation Y starts and ends. Commentators use beginning birth dates from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.

Generation Z:

Generation Z is one name used for the cohort of people born after the Millennial Generation. There is no agreement on the exact dates of the generation with some sources starting it at the mid or late 1990s or from the mid-2000s to the present day. This is the generation which is currently being born.

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I don’t need your dictionary; I gots my own lexicon

Merriam-Webster gives us a list of their favorite top-ten words that are not in the dictionary. I’ve heard ginormous before, and my sister has used slickery on occasion.

I have my own lexicon of made up words and phrases, although because of cognitive displaysia, there are some things I’ve forgotten to add.

Continue ReadingI don’t need your dictionary; I gots my own lexicon

Hanzi Smatter

My friend Lori’s site pointed me in the direction of this: Hanzi Smatter is a site that looks at Chinese or Japanese language characters that Americans have adopted as logos or tattoos and analyzes what they really mean. Which is often not at all what the American intended it to mean.

Sort of their revenge for all the “Engrish” sites that make fun of non-English speakers use of English words.

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Neologisms and New Words Dictionary: A – L

Author Unknown

Neologisms are alternate meanings for common words – a few of those, plus some new words from old ones.

Accordionated (ah kor’ de on ay tid) adj.
Being able to drive and fold a road map at the same time.

Ala’ Python: Something outlandishly funny
example: Justin began singing the song normally but then he started making fun of it ala’ python.

Anacondom, n:
A large-sized, constrictive prophylactic.

Aquadextrous (ak wa deks’ trus) adj.
Possessing the ability to turn the bathtub faucet on and off with your toes.

Aqualibrium (ak wa lib’ re um) n.
The point at which the stream of drinking water is at its perfect height, thus relieving the drinker from: (a) having to suck the nozzle, or (b) squirting himself in the eye.

Arachnoleptic fit, n:
The frantic dance performed just after you’ve accidentally walked through a spider web.

Barbie-Dream: To describe perfection from the perspective of a barbie doll
example: Friend: "Are you still dating Mike?" You: "Don’t ask. I really thought he was my Barbie-Dream Boyfriend. But then I found out he was married."

Putting up emotional shields. Refers to the retracting armor that covers the Batmobile as in "she started talking marriage and he started batmobiling."

Beelzebug, n:
Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at 3 in the morning and cannot be cast out.

Body Nazis:
Hard core exercise and weightlifting fanatics who look down on anyone who doesn’t work out obsessively.

Bozone, n:
The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

Burgacide (burg’ uh side) n.
When a hamburger can’t take any more torture and hurls itself through the grill into the coals.

Buzzacks (buz’ acks) n.
People in phone marts who walk around picking up display phones and listening for dial tones even when they know the phones are not connected.

Carperpetuation (kar’ pur pet u a shun) n.
The act, when vacuuming, of running over a string or a piece of lint at least a dozen times,reaching over and picking it up, examining it, then putting it backdown to give the vacuum one more chance.

Cashtration, n:
The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

Caterpallor, n:
The color you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you’re eating.

Coldest: A person (or song) that is absolutely the coolest in the world
example: Dude that song was the coldest!

Coolerator: Device that uses compressed refrigerant gasses and general properties of thermodynamics to keep perishables at a lower temperature. Also known as a refrigerator.
example: Stick that chocolate cake in the coolerator.

Create A Low-Pressure Area: To be low in quality
example: "Was the concert any good?" "Nah, that band really creates a low-pressure area."

Crunchy: The feeling you get when you do or say something really stupid
example: When I tripped on my shoelace in the mall, I felt really crunchy.

Dap: white people
example: Yo dap, wassup?

D&M: A deep and meaningful conversation
example: "Go away! I’m having a D&M with Heidi."

Decaflon, n:
The gruelling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

Digest: Put up with a person you don’t like
example: I’m trying very hard to digest Melanie, but she drives me up the wall.

Dimp (dimp) n.
A person who insults you in a cheap department store by asking, "Do you work here?"

Disconfect (dis kon fekt’) v.
To sterilize the piece of candy you dropped on the floor by blowing on it, assuming this will somehow "remove" all the germs.

meaning you were invited, but now you are not. Not to be confused with uninvited (never invited at all).

Dopelar effect, n:
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when you come at them rapidly.

Dorito Syndrome:
Feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction triggered by addictive substances that lack nutritional content. "I just spent six hours surfing the Web, and now I’ve got a bad case of Dorito Syndrome."

Ecnalubma (ek na lub’ ma) n.
A rescue vehicle which can only be seen in the rear-view mirror.

Eiffelites (eye’ ful eyetz) n.
Gangly people sitting in front of you at the movies who, no matter which direction you lean in, follow suit.

Elbonics (el bon’ iks) n.
The actions of two people maneuvering for one armrest in a movie theater.

Elecelleration (el a sel er ay’ shun) n.
The mistaken notion that the more you press an elevator button the faster it will arrive.

Elvis Year:
The peak year of something’s popularity. "Barney the Dinosaur’s Elvis year was 1993."

Extraterrestaurant, n:
An eating place where you feel you’ve been abducted and experimented on. Also known as ETry.

Faunacated, adj
How wildlife ends up when its environment is destroyed. Hence faunacatering, noun, which has made a meal of many species.

Floopy: Dizzy, funny, not quite right
example: The pain killers made me feel quite floopy.

Flump: The act of sitting down in a casual manner
example: Why don’t you guys flump down on the couch.

Foreploy, n:
Any misrepresentation or outright lie about yourself that leads to sex.

Frust (frust) n.
The small line of debris that refuses to be swept onto the dust pan and keeps backing a person across the room until s/he finally decides to give up and sweep it under the rug.

fast food joints, strip malls, sub-divisions as in "we were so lost in generica that I couldn’t remember what city it was"

Go Salad: To become confused
example: We were rapping about regular stuff and then the guy went all salad on me.

Going Global: To gain a lot of weight
example: After I ate 300 bean burritos in two days, my friends said I had gone global.

Going Postal:
Totally stressed out and losing it like postal employees who went on shooting rampages.

Good Day: A greeting or term of surprise
example: To a friend: "Good day!"

Good Gravy!: A simple exclamation
example: Good Gravy! What did you do that for?

Grantartica, n:
The cold, isolated place where arts companies without funding dwell.

Hhemaglobe, n:
The bloody state of the world.

How Much?:
A request for more details.
example: Person 1: "Did you see Johnny?"
Person 2: "Johnny? Johnny how much?"
Person 1: "Johnny Johnson!"

Intaxication, n:
Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

Annoying but you can’t stop watching; e.g. the O.J. trial.

Isk Isk: An expression meaning GO AWAY. A way of ignoring someone.
example: Jess: "Hey Christine…"
Christine: "Isk isk" while waving him off with her hands.

Kinstirpation, n:
A painful inability to move relatives who come to visit.

Join WA (whiner’s anonymous): Go somewhere else to whine.
example: Friend: "My life is miserable." You: "Why don’t you join WA or something."

Lactomangulation (lak to man gyu lay’ shun) n.
Manhandling the "open here" spout on a milk container so badly that one has to resort to the "illegal" side.

Lie: 1. Exclamation of a positive nature. 2. Exclamation of a negative nature.
example: 1. That is lie! (positive). 2. That’s soooo lie! (negative).

Like a doctor: Pulling something off with ease or with a great deal of panache.
example: He plays guitar like a doctor.

Lullabuoy, n:
An idea that keeps floating into your head and prevents you from drifting off to sleep.

Continue ReadingNeologisms and New Words Dictionary: A – L