Re: A light bulb literally turned on over my head.

1

"It is what it is."

AAAAAAAAGH.


Posted by: Mike d | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:16 PM
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On the other hand "It shows to go you" is a great phrase.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:17 PM
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I hate almost all my verbal tics. I have way too many of them. I was most recently aghast at my overuse of "without further adieu" in class when I was getting started.

I also have a tendency to speak in superlatives - the best ever, the worst ever - which I get made fun of for but I've decided it is just a charming element of my personality. (I'm quite sure I'm wrong on this, but I can't eradicate it so I've decided to love it).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:21 PM
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I say "totally" more than a Valley Girl.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:22 PM
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just a charming element of my personality

Not just, the best.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:23 PM
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"It is what it is."

I found myself saying this today and literally wanted to shoot myself.

If I don't watch it, I can easily end up saying "On the other hand" so much that I sound like Tevye.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:23 PM
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I have many Valley Girl-isms. I've mostly eradicated them from my vocabulary in professional settings but they totally pop up in casual settings.

Also, I'm a "literally" offender, although I do generally use it correctly - I literally fell on my ass! (Something I do far too often).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:24 PM
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"Long story short..."

On the plus side, "But in the face of", only because, you know, butt. In the face.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:25 PM
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"and whatnot." Gaaaahhh.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:26 PM
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Simply put, Heebie, it's a tradeoff between concision and cliché. Which is literally, like, the worst thing ever.

I dislike "it isn't clear to me"


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:27 PM
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What does Mimi Smartypants have against Belgians? All the Belgians I know are perfectly nice.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:27 PM
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I also have a tendency to speak in superlatives - the best ever, the worst ever - which I get made fun of for but I've decided it is just a charming element of my personality.

Marco Polo did that too.

Properly used, all of these expressions are very useful. My brother says "There you are!" for "It just goes to show". Both phrases mean so little that the interlocutor is dumfounded. The mistake is in thinking that there's some meaning beyond that.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:28 PM
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I also have a tendency to speak in superlatives - the best ever, the worst ever

I try to start these sorts of statements with "Hyperbolically speaking".

I've been trying to work in "hey, when I'm right, I'm right" as an argument ender, but so far no one's gone for it.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:28 PM
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9: I really can't stand "and whatnot" either. And I can precisely pinpoint the person years ago who overused it until my hatred germinated.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:28 PM
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Also: Cam Jansen! That brings back memories of my local library when I was, like, so young I can barely remember anything.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:28 PM
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I'll loose the CA-isms in times of stress. I also use many personal neologisms.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:29 PM
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15: Cam Jansen! She said click whenever she wanted to remember a scene for later. What does she have to do with the thread?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:29 PM
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My aunt's ex-husband used "or whatever the case may be" in roughly every other sentence. That was the worst thing ever.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:30 PM
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Foolishmortal: such as?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:30 PM
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17: Mimi Smartypants mentioned her! You should go read the whole post you linked to.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:30 PM
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I am right now resisting the urge to go back to my dissertation (filed last spring) and search for some of my most ticcy tics, to see how embarrassingly many times they appear. It's very tempting, but I know the results will just make me ill. Nnnnnnng!


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:30 PM
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I really hate "Shut up, Emerson".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:30 PM
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My spoken vocabulary is 80% tics. The best part is that from repetition, slowly everyone around me picks up the exact same tics.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:32 PM
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20: So she did.

22 made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:32 PM
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I dislike "it isn't clear to me"

How about "it's not clear [that]"?

I can't stand "awesome." A waitress at a restaurant recently felt that everything we ordered was awesome.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:32 PM
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I actually like my verbal tics. They give me a chance to make sure I can remember what I'm going to say next without an awkward pause. Probably the most frequent one I use is "It's interesting to note..." but there are others that I can't remember right now.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:33 PM
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That's because you're well adjusted, teo. What's it like?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:35 PM
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It's a trade-off.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:36 PM
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23 The best part is that from repetition, slowly everyone around me picks up the exact same tics.

I pick up tics, accents, mannerisms, everything from people I'm talking to. Unconsciously. I mean, everyone does, but I'm really bad at it, to the point that people wonder if I'm mocking them.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:36 PM
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I'm not a big fan of recurring complaints about verbal tics. They are literally what they are, and whatnot, so it just goes to show that while on the one hand, they are not the most awesome things ever, on the other hand, shut up Emerson.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:36 PM
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I dislike "it isn't clear to me"

Yet we are friends! You've made generous and tactful allowances for me.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:38 PM
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That's because you're well adjusted, teo. What's it like?

It is what it is.

(Or is it?)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:41 PM
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The best part is that from repetition, slowly everyone around me picks up the exact same tics.

I do this to the people around me as well. We're evil people.

I pick up tics, accents, mannerisms, everything from people I'm talking to. Unconsciously. I mean, everyone does, but I'm really bad at it, to the point that people wonder if I'm mocking them.

On the other hand, this is also very descriptive of me. My mother used to be able to tell who I had been hanging out with after school by the way I talked at dinner.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:41 PM
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Actually my worst habit in speech is just sort trailing off midway through a sentence, under the assumption


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:43 PM
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...that someone like me has the complementary tic of finishing people's sentences?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:44 PM
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33: Au contraire. Once everyone talks the same way, then we will have world peace.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:44 PM
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It just goes to show you. That is who it goes to show. You.

Mostly my tics (and they are manifold) don't bother me, now that I've finally cured myself of a tendency to say "um," without any follow-up, which'll kill a conversation in a minute. ("in a minute", there's one.)

I like speaking hyperbolically, I like saying "wicked" and "rad" and "hella", I like making dopey Homer Simpson-esque noises, I like saying "I tell you what" and "that's what she said". I mean, who gives a fuck? (There's another.)

I did have a bad habit of over-using the adjective "profoundly" in my writing for a while. That was profoundly lame.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:46 PM
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My brother had a boss that would always say "wheelhouse", as in "That's in your wheelhouse." "That's in his wheelhouse." It made him so crazy that he now says the word "wheelhouse" with the same contempt that an ordinary person would reserve for "Hitler", or "Derek Jeter".


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:47 PM
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6.1: Just unfortunate proof that us jackasses have overwhelmed Fresh Salt. I apologize.


Posted by: Mike d | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:47 PM
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My biases were revealed to me when I realized that I disliked hearing people say "my bad" but was more tolerant of the essentially equivalent "mea culpa".

I think I'm on record detesting the use of "incredibly" as a synonym of "very".


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:48 PM
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19:e.g. "Equivilate": to render equivalent. I'll also forget my audience enough that I'll say"clueful" in mixed company. Or I'll use personal slang like "reverse thieves" (=FedEx, as in "the reverse thieves are making their reverse getaway") when I have no expectation of understanding. Standard geek stuff.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:50 PM
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Megan, your excellent topics of conversation overwhelm any dispreffered tics.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:51 PM
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Years ago, KJ got me started saying "word" as a generic greeting, agreement, etc. I still say it all the time. Sometimes I wonder if I should try to train myself out of it, but fuck that. Close friends use it to greet me. I feel it has become a lasting part of how I identify myself in one of my longest-term social circles. Everybody's got their idiosyncrasies. I feel no need to be ashamed of mine.

I have a co-worker who starts every sentence with "My friend..." and ends every sentence with "...if you will." I find it kind of endearing.

I guess what I'm saying is, actually, I rather like verbal tics.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:52 PM
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37: Where do you get off saying "hella"?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:53 PM
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After reading this book review, I tried to decide whether I write in blogspeak. I decided that I don't, much. I've been working on getting rid of the comma for my breath in run-on sentences ever since SEK objected to it in his students' writing. I will say, though, that the breath-comma sounds Valley-esque. Since I actually grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the 80's, I have a strong claim to that heritage.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:53 PM
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I like saying "hell of".


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:54 PM
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I have a co-worker who starts every sentence with "My friend..." and ends every sentence with "...if you will."

Jesus, that's awful.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:55 PM
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You know what would be wicked lame? I mean, like, profoundly so? If somebody were to say "'tis what 'tis."


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:55 PM
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46: yeah, same here.

44: dude I lived in the east bay for a while, what can I tell you. At least I don't say "brah".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:56 PM
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If somebody were to say "'tis what 'tis."

It's a new Broadway production of Office Space, starring Frank McCourt.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:56 PM
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45: Ouch, I sort of see myself in that critique. I've been known to exploit a run-on sentence or ten.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:56 PM
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Commas are phenomenal. There aren't enough commas in this world.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:57 PM
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I have to admit that "it is what it is" kind of works for me, but if there's a better cliche for expressing fatalistic acceptance of God's fucked-up sense of humor I'm willing to consider it.

I pick up tics, accents, mannerisms, everything from people I'm talking to. Unconsciously. I mean, everyone does, but I'm really bad at it, to the point that people wonder if I'm mocking them.

Me too, which is particularly bad when one is trying to get along in an adopted home without pretending to be more insidery than he is.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:58 PM
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42 - Really? Water water water, climate change water make fun of someone. Pretty predictable, I think. But I'll take it!


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:58 PM
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You all know that "dude" is dispreferred in many circles, right?

I made the mistake a while back -- after hanging around here! -- of saying to my roommate, "Dude, you forgot to refill the ice tray again!" This did not go over well, and I had to stumble over myself to explain that "dude" used in this way is affectionate, a joke.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:58 PM
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51: Me too.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:58 PM
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I've got a key that produces nothing but a stream of pure commas.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:58 PM
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I have developed a tic which is actually somewhat useful. When I state an opinion, or a somewhat controversial factual claim, and the person(s) I'm talking to start to look dubious, I finish the sentence with "...in theory".

My fiancee constantly begins sentences with "The thing is is" or "The problem is is". I mock her by comparing this to the title of tihs movie, but haven't shamed her out of it yet.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:59 PM
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'Twere it what 'tis, then 'twere well 'twere it done quickly.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 9:59 PM
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46: I'm all in favor, I suppose. I'm just bitter because I spent years training myself not to say it (and when I did, I did say it, "hell of").


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:00 PM
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It's what it's.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:01 PM
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You all know that "dude" is dispreferred in many circles, right?

I know this, and yet I don't really understand why, beyond the fact that it makes you sound like a surfer/frat boy/me.

(Yep, that would be yet another tic of mine).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:01 PM
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Has anyone else consciously introduced a word/phrase/interjection into their vocabulary because you thought it sounded cool? I actually succeeded with one, after a few failed opportunities ("sweet", "savage" (used in the same sense as "sweet"; this was a group attempt)). It took years to feel comfortable saying it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:02 PM
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Whatever happened to It's It"s? I loved those.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:03 PM
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that is, "sweet" and "savage" were two things I FAILED to become a sayer of.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:03 PM
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Some people like to punctuate their writing entirely with ellipses. I do not like that. I like it even less when they use clutches of arbitrarily many periods, like so: "I'm not sure....Sometimes people will say one thing.....Sometimes they will say another...You can't always rely on their first reaction......It's confusing, I know.....But you should try to be tolerant....Just ask again when the person is in a better mood......Maybe then you will get their true feelings......Sometimes they don't even know what their own true feelings are!...It's not necessarily dishonest........"


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:05 PM
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Has anyone else consciously introduced a word/phrase/interjection into their vocabulary because you thought it sounded cool?

"Wizard cocksucker".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:05 PM
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I've had travelling-hangover britticisms stick. "Fuck All" and "Fucking Hell" now come natural, and I don't mind it.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:05 PM
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"too * by half"


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:07 PM
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too motherfucker by half


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:08 PM
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"Dude" is incredibly useful, and again, part of my natural heritage. I will never give it up.

I don't try to introduce words because I think they sound cool, but I mimic people and sayings very quickly. I picked up a lot of what the toddlers in my family said and kept it. People can figure it out from context. Or not understand, either way.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:08 PM
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I have a personal game with myself to interject "It's a trade-off" into as many conversations as possible.

I try to say "It's all a rich tapestry" as often as possible. Probably in exactly the same situations where you would say "It's a trade-off".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:08 PM
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62: I think "dude" sounds to many people as though you're implying that the addressee is stupid.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:09 PM
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55 You all know that "dude" is dispreferred in many circles, right?

Dude no way!

63 Has anyone else consciously introduced a word/phrase/interjection into their vocabulary because you thought it sounded cool?

"Modulo". That's cool, right?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:10 PM
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I hope Emerson didn't take comment 30 literally.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:10 PM
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"orders of magnitude"


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:11 PM
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At the end of the day, for all intents and purposes, they're one and the same.

Welcome to grading undergraduate essays.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:12 PM
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73: Oh. Hm. That never occurred to me. Perhaps people should start calling me dude.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:13 PM
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Welcome to grading undergraduate essays.

I'm avoiding my stack.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:14 PM
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62: I think "dude" sounds to many people as though you're implying that the addressee is stupid.

This has to be a matter of inflection, right? I don't believe that people misinterpret an enthusiastic "Dude!" as a patronizing "Dude..." very often.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:15 PM
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Google turns up instances of people apparently seriously using "for all extensive purposes".


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:15 PM
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I can't stand "awesome." A waitress at a restaurant recently felt that everything we ordered was awesome.

I don't mind "awesome" used for things that are awesome. But I have to resist the urge, when dealing with a waitress like this, not to respond, "I KNOW. IT IS TRULY INCREDIBLE---SUBLIME, EVEN, IN ITS FULLEST SENSE---THAT I ORDERED THE EGGPLANT."


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:15 PM
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Yeah, modulo is cool in my book, but I say "equivilate", so it just goes to shut awesome while other literal shows uphand Emerson.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:16 PM
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Does anyone else get the public radio show A Way With Words? Our local affiliate just picked it up, and I've been enjoying it. People call in with their tics and pet peeves. The hosts seem to hew to a generally descriptivist line.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:16 PM
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Well, 77 could have been more accurately written as "An the inn of a day, for all intensive purposes, they're one in the same." That's how I usually see these in papers.

79: I swore to my students I'd get through the stack (of 80!!!) before class tomorrow. I'll be up all night, folks.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:17 PM
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In my experience people generally address each other as "Dude" in the same tone that they address each other as "Pal" or "Lady". That is, when being condescending and/or hostile.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:18 PM
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But this is regionally specific.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:18 PM
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I hate it when people carp about "literally".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:18 PM
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I add suffixish suffixes to words that don't usually have them.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:18 PM
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I'm a big fan of the "th" suffix and am sad that it's no longer productive.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:19 PM
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I have said "dude" for so long that I assume everyone thinks of it as an endearing bit of casual speech, used to signify that I am comfortable with them.

I chose to pick up "hell of" after reading Achewood and find it very useful.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:19 PM
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82: "You'd like to take the rest of that home? Awesome!"


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:19 PM
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75; I was in the next room sorting old papers. I don't actually have a life, but occasionally leave the keyboard.

I found myself overusing words and phrases like "ultimately". It fits into the things I'm trying to say, it's a useful word, but You can't use it very often at all.

"Docile bodies" and "attendant lords" are my new catch phrases.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:20 PM
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In 7th or 8th grade, in an English class, one kid got a failing grade on a paper entirely because he consistently spelled "aspects" as "ass pecs". The teacher could not be convinced that someone actually thought it was spelled that way, and believed she was being subjected to mockery and insubordination. I wasn't sure whether she was right.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:20 PM
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82: Oh come on. I can count on the fingers of three fingers the number of times in my life I've experienced awe.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:21 PM
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79: I swore to my students I'd get through the stack (of 80!!!) before class tomorrow. I'll be up all night, folks.

Oh good lord. My sympathies.

Two things that undergrads do that drive me batty:

1. According to Webster's Dictionary, love is an overwhelming emotion. And throughout history, love has been overwhelming people. (Ok, that's really two things right there).

2. In the novel The Legacy of Conquest*,....

*Let it be understood that said book, whatever it may be, is in no way a novel.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:21 PM
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84: holy cow do I ever hate that show.

You know what phrase utterly chaps my ass? "Do you love it?" Way to ask a leading question, geez. What if I merely like it a great deal? Now I'm disappointing you?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:21 PM
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My dad calls my "Dude" as a term of endearment. I'll call and greet him, and he'll say, "Duuuuude!!! How's it going?" And I'm pretty sure he's never even smoked pot.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:22 PM
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And I can precisely pinpoint the person years ago who overused it until my hatred germinated.

Me?

An the inn of a day, for all intensive purposes, they're one in the same.

For all intensive purposes.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:22 PM
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What does he call your dude? I know you call your dude "Eekbeat".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:22 PM
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I'll be up all night, too, writing up project reports in (fucking) LaTeX. Fun!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:23 PM
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No, Stanley calls his girl "eekbeat". What he calls his "dude" I frankly don't want to know.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:24 PM
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I use "'n'shit" for "etc." completely naturally. I imagine that in most circles it sounds either affected (faux tough) or trashy.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:24 PM
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96.1: I know.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:24 PM
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All intents of purposes have lighted fools the way from tic to tic.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:25 PM
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I cannot imagine a milieu where "dude" is deprecated, nor taken as possibly derogatory. Once again, the internet shows me that I move in limited circles.

I hear it used more often as an expression of incredulity than as an address.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:25 PM
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What's wrong with LaTeX?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:25 PM
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I use modulo all the time.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:25 PM
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For all obtensive purposes.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:26 PM
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What he calls his "dude" I frankly don't want to know.

"Chairman Meow". It's weird.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:26 PM
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106: But as a mode of address...isn't it sometimes condescending?

"Dude, lighten up."
"Dude, I wouldn't say that right now."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:27 PM
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18: My aunt's ex-husband used "or whatever the case may be" in roughly every other sentence.

My father had a period where he did the same with "on the whole thing", sometimes to the point of incomprehensibility. Through a program of lovingly applied family ridicule and his own self-discipline he expunged it from his lexicon entirely (surprised me how completely he did so).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:27 PM
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Modulo the times when you don't.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:27 PM
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104: Huh, did I just read that comment? Mine is but a pale shadow of the beauty that yours is.

I have looked at only one of my papers, and he begins with a dictionary definition. I immediately set it aside, so I am not even sure what it was that he was defining. I'm just glad that he's my student who's coasting through to get a C, and the rest of my students are far better writers.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:27 PM
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113 to 108.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:28 PM
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Since the beginning of time, man has complained about bad essays.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:28 PM
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107: I don't feel like learning it right now.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:28 PM
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Something and something else and something else, oh my!


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:28 PM
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I cannot imagine a milieu where "dude" is deprecated, nor taken as possibly derogatory.

Like a short, clipped, "Dude." Almost stern. "Dude. Cut it out."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:29 PM
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I just got an email that says:


FINAL NOTICE:
The Earth will fall into Null Space.

Weird!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:30 PM
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Dude, you're like totally harshing my milieu.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:30 PM
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You don't already know LaTeX, Sifu?

And you call yourself a science type!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:30 PM
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I try to self-edit rigorously to avoid cliches, but I've given up on curing myself of saying 'dude' and 'like' and 'awesome'. It's not as though I use those words all the time, and I like to think that I do it with some self-awareness, but I've come to recognize that they're part of a casual idiom I use more than I used to, like people who once dressed better but end up wearing sweatpants all the time. I don't wear sweatpants, though, so there's that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:30 PM
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Oh come on. I can count on the fingers of three fingers the number of times in my life I've experienced awe.

95 raises a worrisome point: when is "awesome" actually appropriate at this point? The times I've experienced anything I'd properly consider awe, the word "awesome" wouldn't have cut it. "Awe-inspiring" maybe. I'm beginning to think this word "awesome" is a made up word. I've become suspicious, I have.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:31 PM
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114: I recently repeated myself in a similar fashion. I've been fairly lucky about things like that recently, but right now I'm in the middle of a stack of papers that all begin by informing me that 17th-century women poets had it really hard because they couldn't express themselves because they didn't really have rights or anything and it was so hard to get an education or get their poems out there the way men could and also they weren't allowed to have sex.

JUST FUCKING TALK ABOUT THE POEMS. THAT WOULD BE AWESOME.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:32 PM
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You guys are right. I do use "dude" for that. See? So useful.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:33 PM
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The key to LaTeX is to get a file from someone else that contains examples of everything you need to do (tables, figures) and use it as a guide.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:33 PM
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"Awesome" is appropriate whenever something awesome happens. Hint: that doesn't necessarily mean that you were filled with awe.

Another hot tip! Calling something "awful" also doesn't necessarily make a connection with awe!


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:33 PM
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Related to this thread, eekbeat and I quibbled on the way home tonight over whether the phrase was "go pound salt" or "go pound sand". A third possibility was: they're both in usage. I suppose I could look this up.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:34 PM
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LaTeX is terrible is what's wrong with it.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:34 PM
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Something is awful when you're overwhelmed by the enormity of it all.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:35 PM
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129: sand.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:35 PM
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127: okay. Can you send me that?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:36 PM
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The Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX is actually quite useful.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:36 PM
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Yeah, what's with all the awesome-hate? Words are not their etymologies! Words are words!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:36 PM
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114: I recently repeated myself in a similar fashion.

And I think me repeating it is living proof that I do do the whole mimicry thing discussed earlier!

"Awesome" is appropriate whenever something awesome happens.

Good to know, since I use it somewhat frequently.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:37 PM
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Not so short. But not so long, either. It cleaves to the middle path.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:37 PM
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LaTeX uses a terrible algorithm to decide where to drop your pictures. Why the hell would I want to reference a figure and have it not show up for three pages, and then when it shows up it's the only thing on its entire page, even though it takes up a quarter of a page?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:37 PM
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LaTeX is terrible is what's wrong with it.

After a few years of practice, it's quite intuitive.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:37 PM
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Arguments from entomology really bug me. (Yeah, I should be banned for that one.)


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:38 PM
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But do you frequently experience awesome things, Paren? If not, it might be because you don't associate enough with me.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:38 PM
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No one's been banned in a while.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:39 PM
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129: sand.

Vindication! (LB uses it from time to time, which is where I think I picked it up.) But it does seem they're both used, with the "sand" expression having come first.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:39 PM
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LaTeX uses a terrible algorithm to decide where to drop your pictures. Why the hell would I want to reference a figure and have it not show up for three pages, and then when it shows up it's the only thing on its entire page, even though it takes up a quarter of a page?

This is why you use "!h" to tell it "put the figure here, and I mean it this time!".

And anyway, isn't LaTeX far better than the alternative? Microsoft Word puts figures wherever it damn well pleases, and they might be somewhere different if you close the file and re-open it or open the same file on a different machine.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:39 PM
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Honestly I would rather pound sand than salt.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:40 PM
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128: Thank you that is very helpful neb.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:40 PM
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No, it actually seems really neat all around, I just wish I didn't have to 1. learn it and 2. write this giant-ass thing with it by tomorrow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:40 PM
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127: okay. Can you send me that?

Find a file on arXiv.org that looks like it contains most of the features you might need. Click the "other formats" link and download the source.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:40 PM
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Gloriously, I have an editor who loves me to remove my worst tics from my only published writing. I often spot them as I go, but my role is to whip out the framework, and AB's is to refine it.

When I write professionally, I'm pretty tic-free, except that I learned professional correspondence from some pretty tic-prone people, and I almost literally don't know how to write a business letter that doesn't include phrases like "the above-referenced project" or "as per our previous discussion." I have come to peace with the knowledge that, on the whole, I'm a better writer than 95% of businesspeople and 99% of architects*, so what the hell.

Orally, AB just last night informed me that I have 3 adverbs that I apply to every situation, but I'm not sure what they are. Theoretically is one. Presumably? Ideally?

* The quasi-legalisms of specifications and drawing notes doesn't help, neither. "Typical all locations" may not be great prose, but it's sure as hell well-attested and legally-determined


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:40 PM
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144: The person who wrote the template I use never used "!h", so how am I to know of its existence?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:41 PM
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I use awesome pretty frequently, but interchangeably with similar hyperboles like "incredible," "amazing," and "fantastic." What I ordered for dinner is none of these things, even in hyperbole.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:41 PM
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I am not a type setter.

Acknowledge that the word processng program has limitations and deal with that disappointment on your own time.

The mouse exists and works well. Use it.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:41 PM
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But salt more prevalent these days per Google. I used it with "salt" this very day.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:42 PM
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He thrusts his fists against the sands and still insists he feels his hands.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:42 PM
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The person who wrote the template I use never used "!h", so how am I to know of its existence?

You could read the Not So Short Introduction to LaTeX.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:42 PM
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"Awesome" is appropriate whenever something awesome happens. Hint: that doesn't necessarily mean that you were filled with awe.
Another hot tip! Calling something "awful" also doesn't necessarily make a connection with awe!

Nosflow's copy of Paradise Lost is pretty much illegible from all the red marks.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:42 PM
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I hate hate hate "in any way, shape, or form". But I would like it a lot more if people said "formally" instead.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:42 PM
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Some people like to punctuate their writing entirely with ellipses.

This makes me want to scream and run in circles.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:43 PM
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I just wish I didn't have to 1. learn it and 2. write this giant-ass thing with it by tomorrow.

That's easy to avoid -- just engage in some yak-shaving sequence, such as having someone tell you if you don't want to learn latex just use lyx instead, but maybe you need to install ubuntu first, so you should back up before hand etc etc. Problem solved.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:43 PM
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155: I dunno, sounds long.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:43 PM
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Nosflow's copy of Paradise Lost is pretty much illegible from all the red marks.

I can't stand to read that thing; the memory of the old revolt from awe is too fresh. Pricks the scars.

Some people like to punctuate their writing entirely with ellipses.

I was really disappointed, when I read Journey to the End of Night, to learn that this isn't actually true of Celine.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:45 PM
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I think the only person I've ever known to use the phrase IRL used salt (he was Irish, FWIW).

Oh, I've recently caught myself about to use internet abbreviations in business emails - especially WRT.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:45 PM
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This makes me want to scream and run in circles.

Around... and around... and around... and around... and around.... j/k...!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:46 PM
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OK, the !h thing looks like this:

\begin{figure}[!h]
\begin{center}
\includegraphics[width=8cm]{myfigure}
\end{center}
\caption{My figure: let me show you it.}
\label{fig:myfigure}
\end{figure}

The "h" means "here". You can also use "t" for "top of the page" or "b" for "bottom of the page". The exclamation mark tells TeX that you don't want it to override your request.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:46 PM
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Maybe I should charge a fee for LaTeX consulting.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:48 PM
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128: See 124. If it wasn't for your kind she could just use "awesome." But no, now it's "awe-inspiring," which is lame. A learned gentleman, upon encountering something which one of you would term "awesome," will instead declare it "hell of tight."


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:48 PM
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The variety of proposed etymologies extant for "pound sand" is pretty fantastic.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:48 PM
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164: I see your lips moving, but all I hear is "E-mail essear when this comes up many months from now."


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:49 PM
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If it wasn't for your kind she could just use "awesome."

My kind? I'm just the messenger, here.

You can of course say that something which is awe-full is awful or awesome, you just have to use the right hushed tone in doing so.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:52 PM
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Is it just me, or did this thread slow way down when I started talking details about LaTeX figures? I promise I'll stop now! You can all come back and talk about 'dude' and 'awesome'!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:53 PM
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The cool kids are now saying ofsome and offal, I hear.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:53 PM
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"-ass" is a suffix I would like never to see or hear again.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:54 PM
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170: Don't worry, essear, I don't even know what LaTex is.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:55 PM
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Sucks to your assmar, Jesus.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:55 PM
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172: Dude, that's weak-ass.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:56 PM
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172 gets it right.

Also "-fu".

Also "Best/Worst. _____. Ever."

Basically, just spend ten minutes reading the comments to The Onion AV Club articles and you'll see the full complement of Earth's most irritating clichés, and virtually no other content. No other site's comment section is quite like it.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:56 PM
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161: to learn that this isn't actually true of Celine.

Yes, not entirely, but from a sample of three pages in Death on the Installment Plan I got between 20 and 40 uses on each page. And undoubtedly varies by translation (I assume they are as prevalent in the original). Manheim complaining of a previous translation, The three dots and what they stand for are largely eliminated.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 10:58 PM
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||

With the replacement of gnome-terminal by ROXTerm, I now have an entirely gnome- and kde-free system.

|>


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:00 PM
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No one wants to talk about awesome but me, and even I use it. But this is the first of the dominoes! "Enormity" will be next, and then "disinterested" and "uninterested" will osmotically flow into each other. One day you'll wake up to find "it's" and "its" wedded at the altar of convenience.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:00 PM
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"ATM machine" and "HIV virus" are pet peeves of mine. Also, while editing a capabilities presentation today, I eliminated a "more unique" with extreme-ass prejudice-fu.

Dude.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:01 PM
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Before posting 161 I flipped through Journey again to see, and indeed they were present frequently but not 20-40 times to the page. I have whatever translation City Lights publishes (likewise of Death, which I haven't read yet).


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:01 PM
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Manheim's translation, in fact.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:01 PM
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PIN number?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:01 PM
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It will be a sad day when "disinterested" vanishes from this earth. But I think "awesome"'s day came and went long ago.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:02 PM
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I now have an entirely gnome- and kde-free system.

So do I! It's called a Mac.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:02 PM
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My ass-fu is hell of awe-ass.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:03 PM
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Oh, I have one of those, too.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:03 PM
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I like disinterested. It comes up frequently in my sources.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:03 PM
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180 is almost perfect.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:04 PM
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Can't find my Journey in my effed up book storage system to check. In other ways he became a bit of a caricature of himself in Death. Maybe in that regard as well.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:04 PM
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180: what about "HIV machine"?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:04 PM
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The OED's citations for "awesome" are interesting: for the old-skool senses, nothing past 1880; for the new senses, nothing prior to 1960.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:04 PM
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162: Oh, I've recently caught myself about to use internet abbreviations in business emails - especially WRT.

Oh my dear, you've caught yourself, though, so it's alright,* then.

I get occasionally get business emails spelled to hell and back like that, and it's just not a happy thing.

* Alt. sp. All right


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:05 PM
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Historically "awesome" is almost identical to "fabulous", about 50 years earlier: High-tone word meaning "rare and splendid" --> pop word meaning "really really god and special" --> word used mostly in parodies and sarcasm.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:05 PM
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What?!?!?!??!?!?!? If Celine is "translated" without the ellipses intact, he isn't translated at all, but merely adapted! Just like the kireji!


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:05 PM
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International Standard ISBN Number for Books.

On alt.possessive.its.has.no.apostrophe this sort of thing was labelled "PNS Syndrome" (Personal Identification Number Number Syndrome Syndrome) but evidently the term didn't originate there.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:06 PM
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I'm currently toying with "epic" and "brutal", but it's a passing fancy.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:07 PM
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No wait! I was too quick; the source wikipedia cites for "PNS Syndrome" is in fact apihna. How about that. Present at the creation, I was.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:07 PM
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162: Oh, I've recently caught myself about to use internet abbreviations in business emails - especially WRT.

Oh my dear, you've caught yourself, though, so it's alright,* then.

* Alt. sp. all right


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:07 PM
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The only word you need.


Posted by: Kobe | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:08 PM
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Another word whose meaning has undergone lenition with respect to how interesting it is: "fascinate".

Also: "captivate"; "enthrall"; "churlish".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:08 PM
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After a few years of practice, it's quite intuitive.

It's perfectly logical and transparent, like the German noun declensions. The rules are clear, and there are lots of them, and the rules as to which rule overrides which other rule are also perfectly clear and very abundant, and there are only 50-200 completely arbitrary exceptions, which can be learned in an afternoon. Soon it becomes second nature, and then you invade Poland and kill everything you see.

Probably the excellent German declensions account for the crystalline writing of Kant, Hegel, Marx, and Heidegger. No one knows WTF happened to Nietzsche, probably it was the spirochetes.)

I know nothing about LaTex, but Gonerill sounded like a German teacher just now.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:13 PM
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I don't think of w/r/t, punctuated thus, as being particularly of the internet.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:14 PM
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And I can precisely pinpoint the person years ago who overused it until my hatred germinated.

Me too! Was yours named Cherice? Did she flip a switch one day and immediately drop it into every other fucking sentence she spoke? Did your hatred for the idiom make you feel like a racist because you assumed it was a new piece of black slang and your intense disdain for it's overuse was carrying over to the people who use it?


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:16 PM
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194: "awesome" as "really really good and special" -- well, how special. I'd thought there was some defense of the word as actually still meaningful going on upthread, but I think I was mistaken.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:18 PM
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205: For you, parsy.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:22 PM
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(likewise of Death, which I haven't read yet)

As I implied, I find that it generally pales in a comparison, but it does have its moments, including one of the most awesomely misanthropic passages in all of literature:

"The most exquisite deaths, remember that, Ferdinand, are those that attack us in our most sensitive tissues....." He had a precious, elaborate, subtle way of talking, like the men of Charcot's day. His prospecting of the Rolandic, the third ventricle, and the gray nucleus didn't do him much good.....in the end he died of a heart attack, under circumstances that were anything but cozy. An attack of angina pectoris that lasted twenty minutes. He held out for twenty minutes. He held out memories, his resolutions, the example of Caesar.... But for eighteen minutes he screamed like a stuck pig....his diaphragm was being ripped out, his living guts....a thousand open razors had been plunged into his aorta....He tried to vomit them out at us....I'm not exaggerating. He crawled out into the living room.....He damn near hammered his chest in...He bellowed into the carpet.....in spite of the morphine...You could hear him all over the house and in the street....He ended up under the piano. When the cardiac arterioles burst one by one, it's quite a harp....it's too bad nobody ever comes back from angina pectoris. There's be wisdom and genius to spare.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:22 PM
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Awesome as it is currently used is so widely used that it needs no defense. The other position is the one that needs defending, and as a loser it always will.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:24 PM
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When I started reading "Death on the Installment Plan" the ellipses annoyed me and was one of the reasons why I didn't finish. Celine's new style was highly admired at the time, but didn't wear well at all AFAIC.

Ezra Pound's early, annoyingly slangy punctuation and diction trace back to the French poet Tristan Corbiere, whose poems in that mode I also dislike. (Oddly, because a dozen or so of his non-slangy poems are among my most favorite.) Beyond that, I'm not convinced that Ez's slang was every spoken anywhere by anyone; it's Ezzish.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:26 PM
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207: "He held out for *two* minutes", not twenty.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:26 PM
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After a few years of practice, it's quite intuitive.

It's perfectly logical and transparent, like the German noun declensions.

And Chinese character combinations. Not so sure about the perfection.

201: Lenition? Point taken, I suppose, but isn't there a better word for that?


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:26 PM
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"Wicked awesome", in the context of the words' archaic definitions, seems somewhat theologically confused.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:28 PM
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... there are only 50-200 completely arbitrary exceptions, which can be learned in an afternoon. Soon it becomes second nature, and then you invade Poland and kill everything you see.

Emerson, can you link German grammar to what's wrong with economists and analytic philosophers, in 200 words or less? I'll bet you can.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:29 PM
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Celine's medical education and practice gave him some special resources.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:29 PM
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Emerson should write a book about how evil the practice of economics is called The Economicon.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:31 PM
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213: I'm going after law once analytic philosophy is destroyed. International Relations would be next if there were a there there.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:31 PM
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Okay, with a little bit of time on it under my belt, I must say that LaTeX's ability to make incomprehensible nonsense look like actual mathematical reasoning is fairly impressive.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:34 PM
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||
Is nothing sacred? EvPsych people have a nice racket going.
|>


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:34 PM
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208: Awesome as it is currently used is so widely used that it needs no defense. The other position is the one that needs defending, and as a loser it always will.

Fascinating.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:35 PM
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111:106: But as a mode of address...isn't it sometimes condescending?

Could be. And since the intertubs are full of anal-retentative, irritable and uncharitable readers, I have taken to mostly unconsciously resorted to Dude! to emphasize the friendly, exclamatory aspects of the usage, rather than the condescending bits. Since if they're irritable enough to read that as condescending, they should be allowed to wallow in it. I wouldn't want to deprive anyone of their hobbies.

Also cryptically: Has anyone else consciously introduced a word/phrase/interjection into their vocabulary because you thought it sounded cool?

Unconsciously. Half-consciously. Either I originate, or copy, something that sounds good, and I stick with it until everyone else is using it, and then the little counter in my head clicks over and I move on. This usually takes about three months. Sometimes it takes as little as week. Occasionally phrases last longer, like the half-conscious, 'Look! I'm a stoner! Except I'm not! Let us now hilariate on topics usually discussed in the gravest yet obfuscatory terms by those Most High of our senior pomposities! Whee!' appearance of dude. If I had some kind of database of crap I've written, I could probably track the appearance, disappearance and reappearance of various phrases in the writing, and use that information to pin down the dates of composition within a week or two.

max
['And I bet it all suddenly started looking a lot worse when I shifted to composing in tiny little comment boxes.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:36 PM
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One of my favorite uses of "awesome"—imminent arrival of Samson announced to hubby.

Then the woman went to her husband and told him, "A man of God came to me. He looked like an angel of God, very awesome. I didn't ask him where he came from, and he didn't tell me his name. But he said to me, 'You will conceive and give birth to a son.

It is "very terrible" in the King James, not sure which translation first used "awesome". (This is from New International Version from the 60s, but others semm to have it as well.)


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:38 PM
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Protagonists, such as Elizabeth Bennett in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, for example, scored highly on conscientiousness and nurturing,

And snark. And shrewdness. And subtle barbs. And antagonistic sarcasm. And not so much nurturing and only moderate conscientiousness.

But otherwise, the analysis is persuasive.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:38 PM
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Personally, I've started to bracket an afterthought to everything I say, but these brackets are really heavy to tote about.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:39 PM
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223: I've hired hobo consultants to carry mine.

Admit it. You thought it was over, didnja?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:42 PM
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218: I guess, except the dude's an English professor.

Actually, it ties into a (not particularly original) theory of mine that you're seeing something in the humanities akin to what you saw in physics over the past ten or twenty years; the lack of jobs is causing people to bring their expertise to bear on more-or-less tenuously connected fields that are better funded.

That's hardly even a theory, is it? Hey, maybe people who can't... get jobs doing... one thing... get a job doing... something kinda related! Incisive, Sifu.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:42 PM
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I'd thought there was some defense of the word as actually still meaningful going on upthread, but I think I was mistaken.

Of course it's still meaningful.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:42 PM
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The problem with "awesome" isn't etymology, it's the bimbo/stoner/PR traces.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:42 PM
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Bimbo stoners have great PR, it's true.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:43 PM
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Lots of English professors have a thing for ev psych.

"Lenition" technically refers to a sort of sound change.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:45 PM
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224: You bastard.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:46 PM
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Admit it. You thought it was over, didnja?

Didnjas are the highly-trained assassins who gave it up for easier work.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:46 PM
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225: At my last hospital job (ca. 1999-2002) there were two PhD supervisors in my division, maybe three, and none of their training was in way relevant to the work.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:47 PM
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In particular, the following two definitions capture meanings of "awesome" that are current:

3. a. … overwhelming, staggering; remarkable, prodigious. colloq. (orig. and chiefly U.S.).
b. … an enthusiastic term of commendation: 'marvellous', 'great'; stunning, mind-boggling. slang.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:49 PM
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233b: Outstanding.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:51 PM
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234: Crackerjack.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:51 PM
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The problem with virtue of "awesome" isn't etymology, it's the bimbo/stoner/PR traces.

Didn't people at some time, perhaps before my time, used to use 'death' as a synonym for 'awesome'? Or was that just in Diner? I might use that; it's delightfully hyperbolic.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:52 PM
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I think that wherever possible, "like, wow" should be substituted for "awesome". Of course, you usually can't substitute directly, so the sentence will often have to be rewritten entirely.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:52 PM
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226: The topic of the post was the use of words that have ceased to mean anything distinct. I guess I'll buy that "awesome" means something other than "excellent" or "great" or "wonderful" or "marvelous" or "outstanding" etc., insofar as it's (to be) used by a particular sort of person in a particular setting to describe a particular kind of circumstance, but I think that's a tenuous claim to its having any meaningfulness as other than a slang term.

I can talk myself out of this yet, since I'm playing fast and loose with meaning and use here. Still, it's a crutch word.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:54 PM
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He looked like an angel of God, very like, wow.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:54 PM
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238: Terrif.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:56 PM
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238 before seeing 233. Right.

Mind-boggling? Like, literally?


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-18-09 11:57 PM
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It literally ran literally me literally amok.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:00 AM
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Slang words are the best words.

Will nobody defend "phenomenal" from the awesome onslaught of the dude-hordes?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:04 AM
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Superb!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:05 AM
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In throes of laughing fit ... staggering! "That would be staggering!" "This bacon peppercorn [whatever] chocolate bar is staggering!" "That's a totally mind-boggling romantic comedy!"


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:06 AM
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"Phenomenal" should only be used in its original and correct sense, "of or relating to appearances".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:06 AM
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Superb!

Which, of course, means "proud".


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:07 AM
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Excellent!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:07 AM
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I threw up a little in my ears mouth.


Posted by: Econolicious | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:09 AM
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Still, it's a crutch word.

NTTAWWT. Carefully considered language has its place, the lexical equivalent of grunting with pleasure has its place, and the two aren't mutually exclusive. 'Awesome' is awesome, dude.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:11 AM
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"That is literally death." I am so totally going to start saying that.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:13 AM
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Awesome is an awesome word
It rules like wicked hell of


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:13 AM
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"Phenomenal" should only be used in its original and correct sense, "of or relating to appearances".

Or at least responded to with "Noumenal, even."


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:15 AM
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||
Best disease name ever:
Jumping Frenchmen of Maine
|>


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:15 AM
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The meter of 252 suggests Dickinson.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:17 AM
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Perhaps that was intended, now that I think about it.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:18 AM
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I know people who use "stunning" when talking about clothing they regard as not totally horrible. I've been repressing the urge to point out that 50 kilovolts is stunning, getting a baseball bat between the eyes is stunning and 9mm slug is moreso but no jeans, skirt or scarf, etc. can possibly be stunning unless it's in a crate landing on one's head.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:21 AM
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256: unlikely.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:24 AM
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I had three awesome-in-the-old-sense experiences just last year: the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, standing on Hoover Dam, and going through Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada (the last was as much "holy fuck!" as awesome-in-either-sense). While standing on Hoover Dam I quite literally lamented that I'm one of those people who've used 'awesome' to the point that it has lost all meaning, and that I found myself left without another word to describe the gorge and dam.

The verbal tics I can't get rid of are the occasional "y'know" and the "it's like, ____" construction of valley girls everywhere. As for other people, I despise "and whatnot" from the bottom of my soul, but for that I blame Neil LaBute. It hadn't made my radar until I became conscious of it in the third LaBute script I saw performed.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:27 AM
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257, say hello to 250!

(Acknowledged, 250.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:30 AM
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258: Nothing, really. Other than 23,567 comments in a little over 2 years! Stupendous!


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:36 AM
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"at the end of the day"
"tongue planted firmly in cheek"

The first annoys me from overuse, although I understand the work that it does and why it would tend to become a tick. The second is probably not really the kind of thing we're talking about, but I hate it so much I couldn't resist a chance to announce how much I hate it.

My own verbal ticks, now, I like just fine.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:36 AM
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261: Best. YouTube. Comment. Thread. Ever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:38 AM
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"tongue planted firmly in ass", on the other hand, is gold.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:38 AM
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259: With those sorts of things, I resort to sublime, though that's another hugely misused word.

(And I've been dinged on my usage of it to describe the coast).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:39 AM
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Face it, we're adjectivally challenged. Which, er, may be a bit pathetic depending on your perspective.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:42 AM
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The coast seems a good candidate for sublimity.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:43 AM
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264: I know THAT's right.


Posted by: piminnowcheez | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:44 AM
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I dislike the verb impact, but I fear it will reign.

"At the end of the day" is acceptable when and only when the speaker and everyone else in the meeting are revealed to be set upon a great rotating platform, and all together they continue with "there's another day dawning, and the sun in the morning is starting to rise. Like the waves crash on the sand, like a storm that'll break any second, there's a hunger in the land, there's a reckoning still to be reckoned and there's gonna be hell to pay...at the end of the day!"


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:45 AM
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266: and yet superlatively wealthy.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:45 AM
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267: That was my position as well. I gave up after being argued down about the nature of the horror/terror we feel in the sight of the sea. Or something like that. The conversation is muddy in my head and at the time I respected the opinion of my opponent given the nature of their research on the sublime.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:48 AM
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I totally have a crush on Wrongshore.

An acquaintance told me a while back that ever since she'd studied philosophy, she was noun impaired. Odd. She was showing me around her house and was gesturing toward the furnace in the basement, saying something about it, "the um, that, um, thing that heats, the, um" ... "furnace?" I said helpfully. Right. Noun-impaired since the philosophy, you see! Still don't know what to make of that.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:52 AM
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I don't want to overheat your cockles, dear parsimon, but I have twice performed selections from Les Miz in public. Once a capella while chasing a friend through the streets of Boston ("Who Am I?"). Once on a stage, in a dress, with an accordion ("I Dreamed A Dream").


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:55 AM
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O Lordy!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 1:03 AM
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271: The sublime does, cough cough, technically include an element of the horrible/terrible (in a grand sense), but I might have argued on that my response to the sea includes that. Yours may not. It's really a question of whether you'd be trying to say that the coast/vista itself is sublime (e.g. pretty), or whether you experience the sublime in it.

Not to carry on.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 1:11 AM
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I concur enthusiastically with number 1. In my office "It is what it is" translates to "I can't be bothered to do this right, so hurry up and crank out some piece of shit I can show the client, and by the way there's no budget."
Hate.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 5:12 AM
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: "You'd like to take the rest of that home? Awesome!"

It's just the 21st century equivalent of "Very good miss."


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 5:29 AM
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I wish "toodle pip" would come back. To this country. Somehow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 5:30 AM
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Damn. Mike D pwned me back in comment 1.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 5:48 AM
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This is long overdue.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 5:49 AM
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I say 'dude' much more than I'm demographically entitled to, and it does tend to have a slightly negative edge.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 5:58 AM
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281. I'd always supposed you're use of that was vaguely ironic.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:00 AM
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I revel in being able to say "dude" as much as I want. Anyone who gives me trouble gets to hear my fifteen minute lecture on Valley Girl as a protected regional dialect.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:01 AM
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I'm doubtless not the best judge of my most annoying verbal tics (Fleur, are you out there?), but one that I use to definite excess is "To the extent that [stipulation]...", as a means of qualifying the statement to follow.

I can still remember the guy who got me hooked on that one. It simultaneously serves the purposes of (1) bridging the silence; (2) supplying an opportunity to slip in an unwarranted assumption; (3) creating some wiggle room to weasel out of the subsequent assertion if it is challenged. Really quite a fantastic weasel phrase.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:05 AM
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282: Not in any well thought out or clever way -- it's just something I say a lot.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:08 AM
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With respect to "dude", my Big Boss (boss's boss) has, I am prepared to bet, the lowest ratio of demographic entitlement to frequency of usage in the entire English-speaking world. He hails from a remote village on an island off the coast of Scotland, and has lived for years as an expat in Texas. And yet he says "dude" at least once in every utterance--sometimes at the beginning, middle, and end of the sentence.


Posted by: Dead President | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:25 AM
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He hails from a remote village on an island off the coast of Scotland, and has lived for years as an expat in Texas.

Poor guy. Nobody would understand his native slang.

Actually, this happens a lot of immigrants. You learn a couple of pieces of slang and lean on them with all your might. Since you don't have enough vocabulary comfortably to hand, you end up repeating the slang tics like a maniac. For me, in French, it was "quoi" added to the end of sentences. I just couldn't stop.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:30 AM
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It is a very humbling experience to read a trial transcript after you have tried a case.

Does "with all due respect" count as a verbal tic?

It means, "Judge, I think that you are an idiot. Let me try to jam this thought into your thick head."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:33 AM
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Actually, this happens a lot of immigrants.

We had a Czech exchange student stay with us. He started every sentence with "actually."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:35 AM
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I knew someone who in response to a joke would wag his head, do a soundless laugh, look like he was about to say something, pause, and then go, 'Okay!' It literally made me homicidal.


Posted by: LordKrishna | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:40 AM
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We had a Czech exchange student stay with us. He started every sentence with "actually."

I've noticed that John LeCarre specially lards characters' dialogue liberally with not-quite-right deployment of "actually" in order to render not-quite-native English performed by Central Europeans -- maybe it's a common import that he's noticed and I hadn't. (Maybe not.)


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:46 AM
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What I don't like is utilize instead of use. I think it's meant to sound classy. It doesn't.


Posted by: Mary Catherine | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:46 AM
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to render not-quite-native English performed by Central Europeans

This is why I hated Everything is Illuminated. The malapropisms used to render the Ukrainian character's dialogue seemed like such an uncharitable joke.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:50 AM
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It literally made me homicidal.
Good thing you're using a pseudonym, then. How did you do it? In the case you describe I think dropping a safe on the person would be appropriate.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:52 AM
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"It is what it is" translates to

Huh. When I hear it, it's usually following an apology and means, "You don't have anything to be sorry for; it's just the situation we've found ourselves in."


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:53 AM
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He hails from a remote village on an island off the coast of Scotland, and has lived for years as an expat in Texas.

Poor guy. Nobody would understand his native slang.

Actually, he might not have any; depending on which island he is from.

The people on the formerly Gaelic speaking [or currently still partially Gaelic speaking] islands don't speak Scots, so their use of English isn't particularly thick with 'Scottish' idiom. It tends to be quite standard English with an accent. The same thing applies with Highlanders.

The people with the rich slang are all from the south, central belt, and the east coast.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:55 AM
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Bugger.

"Poor guy..., etc." should have also been in italics.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:55 AM
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296: Might be a dialect peculiar to my office. It ought to just mean "Oh, God!"


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:57 AM
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In throes of laughing fit ... staggering! "That would be staggering!" "This bacon peppercorn [whatever] chocolate bar is staggering!" "That's a totally mind-boggling romantic comedy!"

I make a point of staggering in response to things that strike me as in some way noteworthy, so that I have the option of using the word correctly.

Also, that picture of Paris Hilton's pink Bentley from The Poorman the other day did, in fact, cause my mind to boggle. I just stared at it for a couple minutes, and then sent it to a friend with no comment, as I was incapable of developing one.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:00 AM
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Also at my office the phrase "to your point" is used to mean "I don't care what you say, but I have to pretend to be collegial, so I will concede this triviality and hope it pacifies you."


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:01 AM
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We had a Czech exchange student stay with us. He started every sentence with "actually."

OMG, Iris did this when she was ~3, and it was so freaking cute (esp. with the adorable little kid pronunciation of words that require a bit more articulation than they're capable of).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:02 AM
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That said, my worst tic is while swearing. When I'm really angry and trying to be deliberately offensive, I can't think of anything besides 'asshole'. 'You're an asshole, you asshole' doesn't really cut it.

An ex of mine used the most picturesque swear language while driving - in response to being cut-off, he'd yell (translated), 'A chilly up your ass, you bastard! A fat red chilly!'


Posted by: LordKrishna | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:05 AM
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285: Not in any well thought out or clever way -- it's just something I say a lot.

To sum up the thread: People who say, almost absentmindedly, the most unlistenable shit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:05 AM
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Also, I think 295 is right.

A phrase that rattles around my head was used by a friend/classmate long ago. She was describing some unfortunate situation that I can't quite recall (possibly the fact that, instead of sleeping with her, I was living unhappily with Bag Old GF; but it could have been something much more minor). "It's the human condition." Something about it - and the resigned simplicity* with which she said it - was really striking. The sort of thing that could be a cliche, but isn't (it wouldn't shock me to know that it's from a book, but it's still not a cliche).

* As opposed to faux wisdom or weary cynicism


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:05 AM
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296:

'Dude'.... that 'literally' was in homage to mimi's post. I'm not that dense.

(Should I put the ellipses in quotes, too?)


Posted by: LordKrishna | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:07 AM
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Aaargh. 305 to 294.


Posted by: LordKrishna | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:08 AM
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it wouldn't shock me to know that it's from a book, but it's still not a cliche

By Malraux. Don't know where he got it. Also a painting by Magritte.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:11 AM
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305: I know, Lord Krishna. I was joking, by pretending to take your joke literally. I guess it wasn't a very good joke*, but hey, it was what it was. Dude.

*My joke, I mean. I mean my joke wasn't a very good joke.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:23 AM
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275, 295: I think you are getting at the same thing, but mcmc is not able to slide into the total acceptance of reality encapsulated by "it is what it is."

We rented, and then later bought, a house from a guy who loved to say "it is what it is." For him, it meant something very specific: "I'm not going to fix this."

"That ink stain on the hardwood floor--it is what it is."

"It is what it is": not just a verbal tic, a whole way of being.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:27 AM
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I mean, what are you going to do? You can't fight city hall.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:32 AM
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Come to think of it, I know what my annoying verbal tics are, because I've seen teenage Samoan kids imitate me. At least while teaching, I pause to think of what I'm going to say next, and then drawl out an extended "Oh-kay".


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:35 AM
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That's just the way the cookie bounces. Some days you get the bear and some days the bear gets you.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:35 AM
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mcmc is not able to slide into the total acceptance of reality encapsulated by "it is what it is."

It's true--I'm a lousy Daoist. I tried meditation but it just made me tense.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:35 AM
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OT:
Hey, does anyone have any quick-healing tips? I need the giant scab on my nose to go away as soon as possible, and my only idea is "don't pick at it, you dork." Any other ideas?


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:38 AM
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In high school, my best friend and I were sat down by her grandmother (very serious lady, Int'l president of B'nai Brith) and told that we would never go anywhere in the world if we didn't stop saying "like" every third word.

My mother told me recently that she would have to stop speaking to me if I continued to start 50% of my sentences with "In any event . . .."

(I am pretty much the queen of annoying verbal tics; I pick them up quickly and put them down slowly.)


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:40 AM
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290: Huh, I guess I'm lucky to be alive, then. I mean, that sounds like me.

"Literally" bugs me too. I guess nosflow kinda has a point that it's irrational to fixate on that, but the problem is, both uses of it are meaningful. To quote someone upthread, "I literally was knocked on my ass" would be meaningful whether "literally" is being used correctly traditionally or not, but the meaning would be different.

A verbal tic: I usually say "How goes it?" where other people might say "How are you?" or "What's up?" or whatever. I very rarely hear that phrase from other people and as far as I remember I only hear it from other people after I've known them for a while, so whenever I hear it I wonder if I'm starting/have started a trend.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:41 AM
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"That ink stain [on the hardwood floor]--it is what it is."

dude, that would be an awesome response to a Rorschach test.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:42 AM
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314: I know I recommend Aquafor for everything, but rub some Aquafor on it. It's not so much the initial scab, but it seems to turn the raw spot where the initial scab falls off into normal skin more quickly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:43 AM
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Thanks, LB!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:46 AM
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In a meeting earlier this week, a colleague said, "Understand that if we do this, we will literally be letting the proverbial cat out of the bag."

Literally? The proverbial cat? I nodded, but, in truth, I did not understand.

(Another colleague nodded in solemn agreement: "Yes, this will literally open Pandora's box." At that point I became afraid.)


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:46 AM
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Brock!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:49 AM
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"Yes, this will literally open Pandora's box."

Oh dear. Especially since the only thing left in the box was hope.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:49 AM
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316.last continued: Come to think of it, I'm like that with ex recto too. Or maybe I should say I use it the opposite way. I use it a fair amount, at least in blog commenting. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing I would have come up with myself but I have no idea where I would have read it. I see dog Latin in a lot of places, but none of them exactly seem like the kind of place where that phrase would be used.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:50 AM
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Awesome? Indeed.


Posted by: rmpeditor | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:51 AM
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Rob!


Posted by: Brock Landers | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:51 AM
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(I am pretty much the queen of annoying verbal tics; I pick them up quickly and put them down slowly.)

I know someone like that. He spent about six months saying "what-have-you" twice per minute. I think he was using it wrong, too. (in the sense of "et cetera")

Then he adopted the use of "lo siento" at all possible opportunities. Yes, in otherwise English sentences.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:52 AM
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we will literally be letting the proverbial cat out of the bag

This makes my head hurt.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:54 AM
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This literally makes my proverbial head hurt.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:56 AM
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How do people feel about "as it were"? I think I may say that an unseemly amount -- I haven't had complaints, but the people I talk to may be being polite.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:56 AM
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"You'd like to take the rest of that home? Awesome!"

Same venue, different tic. A waitress at Family Restaurant addressed the people at my table consistently used "wish" where non-Martians would have used "would like" or the equivalent contraction. As in, Do you wish the steak fries or the baked potato? You wish the fries? Excellent. (My dearest Wesley, what have I done?)


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:58 AM
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addressed the people at my table


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 7:59 AM
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Actually my worst habit in speech is just sort trailing off midway through a sentence, under the assumption

I do this as well, and it annoys me when I do it, because I can hear myself sounding stupid. (It's different to just forgetting the end of the sentence, which I also do constantly, but my kids are very good at filling in the missing word(s), so I don't mind that so much.) Most people seem to just ignore it, but I have one friend who will politely wait for me to finish the sentence. It was never going to finish! It was a semi-random collection of words!


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:00 AM
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There's a song I haven't gotten around to writing yet. A long hallucinatory early-Dylan thing. I think it's in D. But I do have the refrain, which goes:

And I
Was all
Like
Whate-e-e-e-e-e-e-
E-e-e-ver
(Jing jing jing jing)


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:03 AM
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Has anyone else consciously introduced a word/phrase/interjection into their vocabulary because you thought it sounded cool?

I don't think it was because I thought it sounded cool, but when I finally decided in my late teens that there really wasn't a god, I made a deliberate choice to start using Jesus/Christ/Jesus Christ as swearwords. I still love the sound of them.


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:03 AM
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Do you wish the steak fries or the baked potato?

I immediately thought of that scene in The Philadelphia Story where Jimmy Stewart encounters the Quaker librarian, who asks "What is thee wish?" meaning, roughly, "Can I help you?"


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:04 AM
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333 is sublime, in the fullest sense of the word.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:06 AM
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re: 332

Yeah, I do that: the trailing off into nothing thing.

I also used to end sentences with, "you know", or "you know what I mean?" all the time. I stopped that particular 'tic'.

I don't think I've ever introduced words into my vocabulary, but I've consciously cut out loads. I've substantially changed accents and vocabulary more than once [in the sense of toning down the accent, and making an effort to swear less and use less Scots].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:09 AM
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taking an effort to swear less and use less Scots

Clearly tautological.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:12 AM
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Quakers aren't endemic to Family Restaurant Locale, but that might explain it. I probably sound odd to French waitpersons in just the same way, since I can never remember whether to express my food-wishings with "je veux" or "je voudrais".


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:14 AM
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Oh, the trailing off thing; I do that too.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:14 AM
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332: My dad does it quite a bit. It was really annoying when I was a kid, but I eventually learned that just letting him complete the sentence at his own pace or not at all was a good way to get out of holding up my end of a conversation I didn't particularly care about, doing whatever he would ask me to do once he finished his train of thought, etc. For the life of me, I can't remember him doing it on a subject I was particularly interested in.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:15 AM
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Best word in the English language: Thing.

Second best: Stuff.

My Dad used to collect words meaning "thing," "stuff," and "hassle/trouble" in various languages Unfortunately I'm having difficulty recalling many of them. Truk and Kutundu both mean "stuff," the first in some northern African Language and the second in a Chinyanja (which I used to speak but now know only the one word). Matlakala is "hassle" or more generally "things that need to be dealt with" or even more generally "stuff" in colloquial Setswana.

And my favorite verbal tic in other people is, of course, "The thing of it is..."


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:15 AM
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Watching large amounts of standup comedy makes people think it's acceptable to end sentences in the middle, with things like "so...". But these are rarely instances where we are expecting to cue laughter and applause, in normal conversations.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:16 AM
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I think the problm is talking too much rather than particular styles of speech; in particular, speaking when there is actually nothing to be said. Politicians and ninnies alike do this, and are driven to stupid cliche use as a consequence. In the workplace, politician ninnies are never silenced and are difficult to exclude from all meetings IME. Among friends, where even saying nothing can be nice, cliche and nonsense are OK.

There are thoughtful but inarticulate people who deploy cliches effectively and insightfully, I think.

There is some irony in praising taciturnity on unfogged, I guess.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:16 AM
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re: 338

Heheh. Actually, come to think of it, I must have made the decision at some point to swear more and use more Scots words, because when I started high school I didn't do that much of either. But I have no memory of doing so, and by the time I started university both were habits quite well-ingrained.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:17 AM
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I probably sound odd to French waitpersons in just the same way, since I can never remember whether to express my food-wishings with "je veux" or "je voudrais".

If I recall correctly, most French people say "je prends", but if you say "je voudrais" the French waitpersons will think you're a well-brought-up, polite foreigner: there are worse things to be thought.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:17 AM
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"Truc" means "thing" in French too.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:17 AM
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309: Yes, for instance shorter Tim Geithner earlier this week, "The AIG Bonuses? It is what it is."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:18 AM
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We had a Czech exchange student stay with us. He started every sentence with "actually."

A lot of Czechs do this. I assume it's a literal translation of something that they do in their native Czech - like the caricature of Frenchmen using "isn't it" inappropriately, as in "you arrived yesterday, isn't it?" as a translation of n'est-ce pas - but I don't know enough Czech.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:24 AM
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Sometimes it ticks people off, my habit of imagining the most absurd possible interpretation of what they're saying and cracking myself up at it. I find this works out better on blogs, where I can explain the humor in detail.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:26 AM
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I start an embarassing number of sentences with "look, ..." I am never directing the listener to look at anything.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:27 AM
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Specimen of an idiot! This type is a true imbecile, is it not?!


Posted by: Anatole | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:27 AM
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352: now, now. Essay to remain as cool as some cucumbers.

A friend of mine swears that a common chant at French football matches is "Arbite! Espece de trouffe!" which literally means "Referee! Essence of truffle!"

Traduttore-tradittore.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:29 AM
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Has anyone had a Chukcha exchange student? Do they really fill their sentences with "however"?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:30 AM
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Enough! The mustard runs up my nose.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:30 AM
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Dammit, I hate threads that encourage self-examination, I always start them out thinking fairly well of myself, and then finish up in a tizzy of self-loathing. I am unable to remember either anyone's name, or the noun referring to any specific object, in a timely fashion. So I spend a lot of time sounding like parsimon's philosophically damaged interlocutor, referring to all objects as 'thing', and all people as either 'whasisface' or simply 'Face'. I'm sure this drives people I'm talking to batty.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:32 AM
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Matlakala is "hassle" or more generally "things that need to be dealt with" or even more generally "stuff" in colloquial Setswana.

Wow, that's great. I don't think we have a word with quite that nuance in English. I generally will say "shit" to refer to small things I have to deal with or do, but really "shit" is too strong a word. "Stuff" is too weak, though.

From now on, Matlaka it is.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:34 AM
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Presidents seem to spread tics among political writers. There was a rash of "make no mistake" in the Bush age, and now a lot of folks have suddenly started "reject"-ing things.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:35 AM
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Matlakaka, that is.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:35 AM
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TRY A THIRD TIME


Posted by: OPINIONATED BOTSWANAN | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:36 AM
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oh, nevermind.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:36 AM
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Matlakaka, that is.

It's a matlakala, this matlakala.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:37 AM
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re: 349

Czechs say, 'samozřejmě' a lot, which translates as 'of course'. That might be the analogue. Either that or 'fakt' ('really'), maybe?

My Czech isn't good enough to know. Perhaps lw can say?


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:38 AM
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"Faalavelave" is Samoan for hassle/stuff -- literally it means party, but it gets used in the context of things that have to get done and are going to be a big annoying deal to manage. That's all IIRC -- my Samoan grows dimmer and dimmer in the past.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:38 AM
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Arbite! Espece de trouffe!" which literally means "Referee! Essence of truffle!"

I doubt it. I suspect that "trouffe" is instead verlan for "foutre," which literally means "jizz" (as in "ejaculation") or more colloquially "trash" or "reject."


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:39 AM
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There's a CZ phrase ("Troufám si říct") that corresponds to "I dare say" that often prepends expressions of opinion in reasonably polite speech-- "actually" is probably the best translation. I think it's a politeness tic that doesn't quite translate to English. There are a bunch that Japanese speakers have, consequence of mild diglossia for CZ or whatever the ramified equivalent for Japanese is.

"Fuckt" has become a cute way to say fakt in email or SMS in CZ.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:46 AM
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365: LOL, hadn't thought about verlan. I was going to say, though, that "essence of" is probably not as accurate a translation as it was phrased in 352, "specimen of." So it's not quite as weird as it sounds.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 8:59 AM
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364: Useful word. How do you pronounce it?


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:01 AM
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368: Consonants as in English, vowels as in Romance languages, double vowels are just held longer. Stresses are on the Faa and the two la's, with the ve's unstressed.

It's also not just a hassle, but a major expense you can't get out of.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:06 AM
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It's also not just a hassle, but a major expense you can't get out of.

I was hoping it had something to do with lava-lava, but those look pretty easy to get out of.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:15 AM
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The link doesn't work, but assuming it's your basic floral ie lavalava, it's the world's greatest garment. That's my summer bathrobe/housedress/not really dressed to go outdoors but at least I'm wearing something outfit, and I love them truly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:18 AM
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289: We had a Czech exchange student stay with us. He started every sentence with "actually.

My son was doing that when he was about three.

"Actually" and related terms ("really", "effectively", etc.) are tics of mine along with "ultimately".


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:19 AM
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363: I also say "of course" a lot. The trick is using the word only for situations which are not "of course" at all, or in answers to questions, when your message is partly "Why do you ask?"

"Of course, Hillary is still basically the same Republican she was in 1964."

I say "basically" a lot too.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:25 AM
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I also say "of course" a lot. The trick is using the word only for situations which are not "of course" at all

Experts on things like "the historical Jesus" do this all the time.

"Of course, the gospel of Luke was written by a woman. Probably a woman priest."
"Of course, Jesus had children. It's not mentioned one way or another in the canonical gospels, but it's the most logical conclusion. There's even a character in the book of Acts named 'Son of Jesus'. Of course, Jesus is the same name as Joshua, so there were a lot of Jesuses around at that time, so that's not really evidence, of course."
"Of course, Jesus was just one of many magicians of the time, who supported themselves by faith-healing."


Posted by: James Madison | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:30 AM
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In Mandarin there's this great word: ma fan

It basically means trouble or bother. It's often used in a phrase that means something like "sorry to bug you, but . ."

But as with most Chinese words it can be used as both a noun and a verb. So you can say something like "Getting that permit is going to be such a lot of mafan. I'm going to have to have to mafan that bureaucrat until she realizes that it's more mafan to say no than it is to say yes."


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:30 AM
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A friend of mine and I started translating Hasek's "The Party of Moderate Progress Within the Limits of Law". We quit because he got a job, and it was hard to do because of all the topical references. If we had finished I would have declared myself a Czech. (All I was doing was polishing up his English -- "Polish", get it?)

Hasek was the greatest writer of the Twentieth Century, of course, with the possible exception of Bataille.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:32 AM
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re: 366

Yeah. Until you know what the words mean, Czech speakers saying 'fuck you?' [fakt jo] all the time in telephone conversations is mildly amusing.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:45 AM
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||

So it turns out the guy who invented mortgage securitization is named Lou Ranieri. Lets kick his ass.

|>


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:48 AM
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378: Does he seem likely to have had a [grand]daughter in Miami in elementary school ca. 1980?

Unless her name was Renieri.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:56 AM
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CzechScottish speakers saying 'fuck you?' all the time in telephone conversations is mildly amusing pretty normal.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 9:58 AM
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Wikipedia says he was at Solomon Bros. in the 80s when he popularized the concept, along with Mike Milken.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:00 AM
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"Espece de...." was explained to me as "Sort of...." / "Kind of....", so that "Espece de crapaud" would be "sort of toad" meaning "sort of like a toad, but not even that". There was also "Espece d'espece" which was the bottom of the barrel.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:01 AM
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378 - won't he get big and green and kick OUR arses instead?

(What *was* that guy's name?)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:01 AM
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IME, Russians tend to say either "of course" (=konechno presumably) or "well, ectually, you know".

I like "mafan" and "matlakala".

Apparently the Arabic word "wasta" has now sneaked into US military jargon, as native words tend to do to occupying armies (cf. basha, hootch, khaki, dhobi, honcho, ulu etc). It means, very roughly, "pull" in the sense of unofficial influence/status; the Pentagon is now full of ambitious officers measuring each other's wasta.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:03 AM
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measuring each other's wasta.

ATM.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:03 AM
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"as it were" and "how goes it" are perfectly acceptable.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:05 AM
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381: Oh well, no link to infamy for me.

Thinking of Ms. Ranieri made me google the girl I had a crush on pretty much my entire 7 years living in Miami (ages 7-13).

Great Doctor, Great Group: She is very understanding and super compastionate about her patients. She always gives 100%.
I always knew she was great.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:07 AM
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383: Lou Ferrigno.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:07 AM
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(What *was* that guy's name?)

Lou Ferrigno.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:07 AM
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Dammit, ajay.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:08 AM
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Wait! It wasn't Lesl/e Ranieri - it was Lou Ferrigno!


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:09 AM
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One word in colloquial arabic I always liked and still use in English is "dowsha" which roughly translates to "clusterfuck"--but you know, appropriate for polite company.

As in, dude, I would have been on time, except for this dowsha down the street.

Of course, you would never hear that phrase in my native Egypt, because no one is ever on time, dowsha or not.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:09 AM
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373, 374: Reminds me of a joke about 3 actual math profs (at Princeton?) that I will retell badly.


If prof 1 say is is "obvious", if you go home and think about it overnight you can figure it out.
If prof 2 say it is "obvious", if you go home and think about it for the rest of your life you might figure it out.
If prof 3 say is is "obvious", it's wrong.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:10 AM
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391: if you think that the school-age girl you remember from Miami in the 1980s was Lou Ferrigno, YOU ARE WRONG.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:12 AM
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You never saw Leslie when she got mad.

Actually, I'm 95% certain that her dad was a local radio host - morning drive maybe, altho the only morning drive show I recall from that era was (no shit) Cox on the Radio.

Later I was in a gifted class with the niece of the guy who made "A Christmas Story," right around the time it came out.

Sorry, at this point I'm just playing Random Memory Generator.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:17 AM
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"clusterfuck"--but you know, appropriate for polite company

Speaking of annoying personal phrases, this was mine for a number years--only calling it a "Charlie Foxtrot." Useful in business settings where you want to indicate vehement frustration at a situation withoug dropping the literal F-bomb, toolish if overused.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:24 AM
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393 - that was badly.

One of my maths teachers at school used to say "As we can see" and then look at us, laugh, and correct himself with something along the lines of "Well, as *I* can see ... fuck knows what you twats can see". Never failed to amuse, which is why he now has a facebook fanclub.

(I'm just joining in with JRoth's game.)


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:24 AM
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Useful in business settings where you want to indicate vehement frustration at a situation withoug dropping the literal F-bomb, toolish if overused.

Has "Snafu" gone out of fashion?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:26 AM
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I think it's softened to the point that it nolonger really implies 'fuck'.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:27 AM
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"Snafu" sounds too cute, like a snuffleupagus or however you spell it.


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:38 AM
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Hey, bird.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:53 AM
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I wonder how that's rendered in Britain, Sesame Street being a family show.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:54 AM
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Yeah. Until you know what the words mean, Czech speakers saying 'fuck you?' [fakt jo] all the time in telephone conversations is mildly amusing.

I knew someone who had all these stories about being on stage crews in Europe. One was when he was working with half German/non-English speakers, and half English/non-German speakers, and the person giving them orders pronounced "Up!" exactly the same as "Ab!", which apparently means "Down" (at least when you're telling people to pull things up and lower them down and so forth).


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:57 AM
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I asked my wife if I had any verbal tics, and she adopted her imitating-me expression and said, "I know, right?!" I shrugged, and said, "Fair enough," and she said, "That, too."


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:58 AM
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'Bird's not obscene, it just means 'woman', right? Why would it be a problem? AFAIK they don't have any difficulty talking about 'chicks' in the US when they mean immature poultry. (Although there was that one wonderful moment on the Muppet Show when Gonzo contemplated hitting on Big Bird: "Statuesque, but definitely poultry!")


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 10:59 AM
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402: How what is rendered in Britain, "snuffleupagus"? I have no idea, but I assume it's the same as in America. "Snafu" is used around here plenty.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:00 AM
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Dammit LB, stop pwning me.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:01 AM
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"Statuesque, but definitely poultry!"
HAHAHAHA!!!
Wait a minute, Big Bird is supposed to be something like six years old.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:09 AM
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how old is Gonzo supposed to be?

probably at least pubescent.


Posted by: Es-tonea-pesta | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:10 AM
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Six years old is 60 in bird years. Past the use-by date.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:10 AM
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Apparently the typical lifespan of an ostrich is 40 years in the wild, and for emus and rheas it's 15 years. Big Bird is supposed to be a canary but that's obviously a lie they tell to make him feel better.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:13 AM
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That said, Big Bird appears to have a nest of her own.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:16 AM
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408-412: Look, it's deeply twisted and wrong, which was what made it such a great moment of TV.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:20 AM
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Why would it be a problem?

It's not the vocabulary, woman, it's its use in direct address.

At any rate, what I meant was, "and that's not a euphemism".


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:25 AM
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In different settings I have to use terms that indicate mild agreement and no desire to converse further. Work: "Sounds good!" Radicals my own age or older up to about fifty: "Right on." Radicals younger than me, otherwise known as about ninety percent of my collective: "Awesome". Several people in my collective say "word" in this instance, but I just can't.

"Awesome" is also useful in sentences like, "So we're on the hook for thirty copies of War Is A Force That Gives Us Meaning and we've sold exactly three in the past two years. Awesome!"

We have a whole set of collective phrases, as it were. ("As it were" is one of my tics....in this instance it's meant to convey that I'm thinking "collective subject", that's sort of like "collective phrase", how humorous.") One collective member has contributed "toodles", another "pure profit!" All of us have developed a distressing tendency ("distressing tendency" is another tic of mine) to speak in LOLCat. We are the dorkiest collective this side of the Mississippi!


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:34 AM
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Hašek is great. The jewish priest is one of many great characters. Humorous fiction seems like a thing of the past, though. John Collier is basically forgotten, for instance. Maybe the talented funny writers go into film/tv now, cf Gonzo.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:35 AM
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415: But endearingly dorky. I should talk my father into moving to Minneapolis and applying for a position as your collective's elderly mascot -- he shares many of those tics, which is where I picked up my collection.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:39 AM
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More verbal tics of mine -- this is something I've become aware of since blog-commenting. I make, and rely on, a lot of non-verbal noises, to the point where I feel the need to type them out: mmmm, um, erm, er, eh... all of these convey different tones of meaning to me at least, but I have no idea if they're effective communication either verbally or when typed out.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:47 AM
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There seem to be several people here who begin comments by saying "Mmmm." Or maybe you just do it five times a day. Anyway, I know now that it means "I disagree."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:50 AM
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If the natural endpoint of eliminating verbal tics is to speak with the absolute minimum of vocabulary, my little son demonstrated conclusively that you can get quite a long way in life knowing only the words "No" and "More".


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:51 AM
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Not always. Sometimes it means, "I agree but want to sound thoughtful about my agreement, and and going to offer some additional thought or fact in support."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:53 AM
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AFAIK Sesame Street was unedited for British viewing, but it never really caught on big.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:55 AM
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LB, I have seen you begin a comment with "Eh", and I must confess I usually have no idea what you mean. I usually take it as something like a shrug. Or "I disagree, but not vociferously."


Posted by: m. leblanc | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 11:56 AM
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423: Pretty much -- "I'm not going to say I agree with you, but I don't see any point in continuing to argue, so I'll drop it if you will." I think I "eh"d at Shearer in the grand jury conversation yesterday, after his third-level rebuttal of my claims that they serve some useful purpose.

I'm not really sure how to spell the noise I make, though. "Eh" is also how you spell a Canadian sentence-ending noise that sounds like the name of the letter "A", and that's not the noise I'm making.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:00 PM
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66: Yes, I live the nightmare. I just looked closely at an email from my boss and found 9 ellipses among 64 words.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:02 PM
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419, 421: How about "Um."? For me beginning something with "Um." always means "I disagree"; "Mmmm" is more noncommittal.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:07 PM
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418: When I was young, it was common for older people to lecture kids about how saying "umm.." makes you look uneducated. Now that everyone spends time talking by typing, it should be absolutely clear to all that these little sounds are an important part of communication.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:07 PM
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426: Yep. Um = "I disagree but something about the topic makes me tentative about launching into it."


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:08 PM
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Really there's a whole arsenal of these things: "um", "mmm", "eh", "eeeeh", "weeeell....", "huh", "so", "soooo...", "so?"....


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:09 PM
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Stan the man:Personally, I've started to bracket an afterthought to everything I say, but these brackets are really heavy to tote about.

Yeah, I totally had the angsters doing that for awhile, for like realz! So I had to briefly (a year or two) switch to /* */. Such are the wages of inequity savage jungle politics annoying people annoying annoying people annoying annoying people annoyingly annoying myself the fact that biological life is process of irritation to action swearing oaths to Cthulu DUDE!

LB: Dammit, I hate threads that encourage self-examination, I always start them out thinking fairly well of myself, and then finish up in a tizzy of self-loathing.

The sad fact of the matter is that the universe is a hostile place full of unpleasant things, therefore you should let someone else do that work, or else nothing would ever get done.

More: I am unable to remember either anyone's name, or the noun referring to any specific object, in a timely fashion. So I spend a lot of time sounding like parsimon's philosophically damaged interlocutor, referring to all objects as 'thing', and all people as either 'whasisface' or simply 'Face'.

My great-grandfather gave me that exact problem. He referred to my grandfather (his son) as Frank (great-granddad's brother), my uncle (granddad's son) as Dan or sometimes Clifford (granddad's names), and he referred to me as Daniel (my uncle's name). He knew who I was, he just had the wrong name attached to my face.

That passed through my mother (somehow) and as a consequence, I can describe (exactly) two minutes of a scene from a movie, without being able to conjure up the names (while visualizing the faces and remembering the careers) of the actors involved or the name of the movie, until the names appear a good two to three minutes afterwards. It seems like the system where the verbal tags for faces are stored seriously lags the rest of the memory system. It's there, it just takes a lot longer to appear. I already suspected it was genetic; now I have a suspicion that the genetic quirk might tend to appear in people with some Irish ancestry.

I'm sure this drives people I'm talking to batty.

But it's great to deliberately work with it - you can be discussing some hyperrich politically powerful person, who is fond of marinating in their own self-importance, and refer to them as 'Whatshisface'. Which really tends to bring the whole thing down to earth.

max
['Or maybe not.']


Posted by: max | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:14 PM
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I've been working on getting rid of the comma for my breath in run-on sentences ever since SEK objected to it in his students' writing.

Is there any feeling greater than knee-capping someone who's actually a better writer than you are?

"No," I say. Or did I mean "Yes"? What did I mean? Crap.


Posted by: SEK | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:15 PM
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425 - does your boss also Randomly capitalize words? The office admin for one of Our clients types in sentence fragments...........separated by multiple periods...........with random capitalization mid-Sentence [fragment]. She is also known to misspell the names of new employees we're to be creating accounts for, making everybody look stupid, and creating a whole lot of work when we have to go fix this by hand in the DB and on the mail server.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:18 PM
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When I was young, it was common for older people to lecture kids about how saying "umm.." makes you look uneducated.

Some of this advice (in my case) may have been over-focused. I responded merely by replacing "um" with "uh" (or in classy Brit spelling, "er").

One of my pet peeves: grammatically redundant hedging of statements. "There may be a possibility that we could..."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:18 PM
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432: I've seen him misspell his own daughter's name.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:19 PM
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429: Really there's a whole arsenal of these things: "um", "mmm", "eh", "eeeeh", "weeeell....", "huh", "so", "soooo...", "so?"....

It's a pity that they're not read by many (most?) people in the same way that they're intended. Otherwise I'd use them a lot more than I do. Too bad, too bad!


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 12:29 PM
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for emus and rheas it's 15 years.

Bird brain == mens rhea?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 1:04 PM
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431 - What? You were right.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 1:10 PM
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I've seen him misspell his own daughter's name.

My dad's done that to me. He's a really truly awful speller. He recently spelled "kayak" three separate, wrong ways in a one-paragraph email.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 1:13 PM
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these expressions are kinda easier to learn, my sister speaks English with a lot of this kind of expressions and i say her usually, talk straight
my prof always says the bottom line is....


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 2:53 PM
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173: Don't worry, essear, I don't even know what LaTex is.

Barbecued crawfish tacos.


Posted by: DominEditrix | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:23 PM
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438: Eh, "qajaq" is actually correct.


Posted by: Not Prince Hamlet | Link to this comment | 03-19-09 6:26 PM
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