After a Michigan legislator was censured for saying “Vagina” in a speach, my pals Erin and Bryan had an impromptu contest on their hilarious podcast Throwing Shade to see how many alternate words they could come up with, just in case she wanted to try a synonym or euphemism. It was like that…
The Electronic Privacy Information Center came upon a lexical gold mine, and by mine, I’m not in any way referring to the landmine variety of mines. But if I were, I could garner some attention. Via the Freedom of Information Act, the Center dug up this list of words that the Department of Homeland Security monitors on social networking sites. For the game below, I’ve simply taken a word from each of the nine categories to form a sentence or two. For extra points, see if you can add the name Kardashian in there.
An agent at the film screening kicked over his soda, causing major spillover; luckily, the foot and mouth aren’t connected, so no need to collapse during 3:10 to Yuma. After all, the plot is such a disaster that even Kim Kardashian will reinstate a denial of service.
When the federal aviation official found a worm in the powder (white) snow, he knew pirates must have dealt with way worse on their first sail to San Diego. Everyone knows that port got hit with a wave of Kardashians.
If the Red Cross has taught us anything, it’s that authorities on Khloe Kardashian all risk exposure to failure or outage of the brain. The folks at El Paso Salsa surely know their organization brings a burst of flavor to any football party—go Trojans!
My favorite thing about Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms is that no matter how much social media brings erosion to our culture, you can always run by Target to pick up supplies for la familia (the family). You’re bound to run into delays when slow-roasting pork; just avoid the beans for fear of gas. Kourtney Kardashian has made that mistake plenty of times, and it smells like a dirty bomb if I’ve ever smelled one!
Last weekend’s Sunday Review chalked up another point for the virtue of idleness camp with an essay entitled “Let’s Be Less Productive”. The concept is fittingly masturbatory for a Sunday morning, sort of in the same vein as Facebook-detracts-from-human-interaction and watching-concerts-through-iPhones-destroys-the-experience pieces. After citing education and medical care—valid professions where taking one’s time is beneficial—it slips into this:
“Care is not the only profession deserving renewed attention as a source of economic employment. Craft is another. It is the accuracy and detail inherent in crafted goods that endows them with lasting value. It is the time and attention paid by the carpenter, the seamstress and the tailor that makes this detail possible. The same is true of the cultural sector: it is the time spent practicing, rehearsing and performing that gives music, for instance, its enduring appeal. What — aside from meaningless noise — would be gained by asking the New York Philharmonic to play Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony faster and faster each year?
The endemic modern tendency to streamline or phase out such professions highlights the lunacy at the heart of the growth-obsessed, resource-intensive consumer economy.”
1) Carpenters and seamstresses, much like haberdashers, cobblers, bakers and candlestick makers, don’t need any more advocates. They’re doing just fine. The author may not be familiar with Brooklyn.
2) Anyone that’s ever rehearsed for something knows that plenty of time is allocated not only for practice and run-throughs, but also for manual clearing of the nasal cavities. Added time to the rehearsal schedule would probably just result in more time for the latter.
And as I tried to pinpoint my visceral unease with this, I thought of a new find: a 1955 article from The Economist called “Parkinson’s Law” by Cyril Northcote Parkinson. The gist is that work expands and contracts to fill the time allotted for a given task, and “the total effort which would occupy a busy man for three minutes all told may…leave another person [if given three days] prostrate after a day of doubt, anxiety and toil.” Moreover, increasing staff size, while inevitable (according to the Law), will not increase productivity, efficiency, or quality of work. In fact, it’ll just make operations more expensive and coworkers more frustrated. Certain systems seem designed to be inefficient—namely, corporate and governmental bureaucracies—to the point where they’re not financially sustainable. That can be made up for with tax subsidies and the like. But no tax law could keep a man from prostrating with his finger up his nose. Which is what I spend most of my days doing. So, cheers.
During our thesis seminar, a friend was trying to explain his epistemology project, something to do with an ambiguous definition of knowledge that he planned to articulate. It brought to mind 8th grade Spanish class and the distinction between saber and conocer, to know of or about something versus to know the essence of it. For all intents and purposes, English simply has the verb “to know.” Was I onto something? No matter, because a friend just tipped me off to this:
Age-otori is a Japanese-specific word meaning “to look worse after a haircut.”
Ilunga is a Tshiluba (Congolese) word for “A person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time, to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.”
A pochemuchka is, according to the Russian language, someone who asks a lot of questions.
And tingo is a verb heard on Easter Island meaning to borrow things one by one from a neighbor’s house until there’s nothing left.
More gems here: http://bit.ly/IhHLwP
Philosophical illustrations have provided some of our most colorful and iconic memes and clichés: the cave, the evil demon, the unshaven barber. And I think I’ve come upon the origin, at least in the English language, of the cat meme:
An ancient philosophical opinion, inherited from Aristotle, is that we do not understand a thing until we know it by its causes. When the maidservant says that “the cat” broke the tea-cup, she would have us conceive the fracture in a causally explanatory way… All our scientific explanations would seem to conform to this simple type of the “necessary cat.”
A conversation regarding alternate monikers for one radio show’s “Puzzle Gurus” (puzzle writers/presenters) prompted my thinking about notable titles. I offered what sounded cool as it popped into my head: call them Imperial Wizards. I then remembered that Imperial Wizard is the highest post in the Ku Klux Klan, thus rendering my suggestion inappropriate and deeply unsettling. To redeem myself, I present this collection of unreasonably epic but morally sound nomenclature:
Exalted Ruler, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
Worshipful Master, Freemasons
Postmaster General, U.S. Postal Service
Chief Strategic Strategist, J.W. Baxter Widget Co.
Cap’n Crunch, Breakfast Cereal
Trustee-in-Trust, Church of Jesus Christ of Later Day Saints
While a young Willard Romney was away in France on missionary leave, his high school snookums Ann Davies, an LDS convert, was back at BYU bumping (fully clothed) uglies with one Kim S. Cameron, student body veep and recipient of the campus’ “Most Preferred Man” distinction. The following, taken from the BYU Signature Books Library, is an explanation of said superlative:
Among the most celebrated student activities since the mid-1940s has been the annual women’s-choice[*] “Preference Ball.” Originally the student Social Office arranged dates for those attending the dance, based on requests submitted by coeds. The man requested as a date by the most number of women was honored as the “Most Preferred Man on Campus.” Coeds later began arranging their own dates, although they continued to vote for the Most Preferred Man. In 1958, by submitting a petition with fifty signatures, BYU men could also become candidates for “Least Preferred Man on Campus.” This, in turn, led in the mid-1970s to a yearly “Ugly Man Contest,” with students voting for photographs of contestants pulling the most grotesque faces.[†]
[†] Full passage: http://signaturebookslibrary.org/?p=13935