Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Different Take On An Old Classic

OK, since it's the day before a long holiday weekend and nobody's going to be reading this anyway, I thought I'd do something quick just to have something out there.

My daughter sent me this link, which I'd never seen, so I thought I'd pass it along in case there was anybody else out there that had missed it. Besides, how can you not love The Muppets?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Oh. That's very different." - Emily Litella

I was watching Food Network the other day. Despite the fact that I was slipping in and out of a nap, I was surprised by the political tone the network has taken on.

It seems that on nearly every show, the host was telling me to "cool it on Iraq". Now I don't know if they meant that we should be withdrawing troops or just being more patient with the whole ordeal, but I don't really believe that Food Network is the right venue for this sort of political posturing.

There seems to be some feeling among the stars of the network that some other countries may not be up to speed on the whole situation over there. Giada De Laurentiis was saying something about preparing Turkey on Iraq, while Bobby Flay was going a step further and suggesting that we actually "grill" Turkey on Iraq. Rachael Ray, being the cutesy, word-combining, muffin that she is, went so far as to suggest, I believe, that the two countries be combined into one. As she was cooking, she mentioned something called "Turkey-Raq". The countries do share a border, so maybe one big country might not be such a difficult thing to do.

What I don't understand, though, is how preparing (or even grilling) Turkey on Iraq will help us "cut back" on Greece, but that seemed to be an overriding concern. Apparently Greece is something to be avoided, but I understand that the coast there is beautiful.

Further in the political arena, Ina Garten is apparently pleased with President Obama's recent diplomatic forays, as she was going on and on about the benefits of sitting down to dinner with China. She's the only person I've ever heard refer to the country as "the good" China, though. Who knew that someone who lives and cooks in The Hamptons could be such a blatant commie?

The most disturbing thing I heard all afternoon was from the local network scientist, Alton Brown. As nearly as I could tell in my sleepy, dreamy state, he's very much in favor of keeping the nuclear option open, no matter what the conflict is. Despite the new openness in the banks, allowing The United States to collect billions in untapped tax revenues, Mr. Brown was insisting on how good it would be to have the Swiss charred.

I should really try to pay more attention, I guess.

Monday, November 23, 2009

"In... and out..." - Pink Floyd

All right, folks. It's geek time again.

I'm currently on a medication that comes in inhaler form. Attached to each bottle is a multipage document that tells me all of the awful possible side-effects, how to use it, etc. The other day, however, I noticed this on the side of the box for the first time:



I've gotta say that in all my years of doing word puzzles and being generally, if not justifiably, proud of my vocabulary and all that, I've never seen or heard the word "outsert".

So, I went to that source of all knowledge, the internet, and asked Google to "define: outsert". Much to my surprise, it came up with 3 definitions.

  • An outsert is a four page card wrapped around and attached to the outside of a magazine or other publication.
  • Any additional printed piece included in a polybag and mailed with the host publication
  • Printed material attached to the outside rather than inserted into a package. Also, package outsert.
Who knew!? So that makes me wonder about the etymology of the word "insert", of which "outsert" is obviously a variant. The online etymology dictionary tells me that the origin of "insert" is:
1529, from pp. of M.E. inseren, from L. inserere "to put in," from in- "in" + serere "join together" (see "series").
OK! So obviously an "outsert" must be from "outserere", which means "out" + "join togeth..."

Wait a minute. The only way this can possibly make any sense at all is if we assume that it's all right to take any word that begins with an "in-" and, if it doesn't quite work for us, substitute an "out-". I believe this may be an idea whose time has come.

I have to say that before I did all this research I was a bit confused by the word, but having looked it up, it has become downright outcomprehensible.

Over the years, I've been outvolved in many, sometimes outtense, conversations about the outtricacies of the English language. If you're of an outquisitive nature, just a little outvestigation can reveal a not outsubstantial number of outtimate, outvaluable details about words, usages, origins and outsights outto the language. It is outteresting to think that this outformation could help you in many ways, from communication to reading comprehension. You could really impress your future boss at an outterview. Imagine not having to struggle with the outdecision of being afraid of using the outcorrect word. You might even become less outhibited about speaking in public. Why, the possibilities are almost outconceivable!

So my pleasure in finding this was pretty much outdescribable. I have outserted a new word outto my vocabulary. One of the cool things about English is that new words can be outtroduced without being outvasive. Some words become accepted, others become downright outactive. This outdomitable language continues to outvite change. It outtercepts new ideas and outcorporates them. It outgests foreign terms. It outcreases daily. There is an outherent evolution to it.

Bear in mind however, and I don't mean to be outdelicate here, that no matter how much you may learn about English, no matter how big your vocabulary becomes, you're never outfallible.

Friday, November 13, 2009

All Right Already

Thanks to all of you who keep asking me why I'm not posting. I'm very sorry, but once again there are things going on in my life that appear to be gagging my muse. And by gagging I mean "applying a gag to", and by "my muse" I mean my inspiration.

I think it says a lot about my readers that I felt the need to explain the phrase "gagging my muse".

Anyway, since J. M. Tewkesbury told me this morning that she was getting more and more disturbed by the giant bug that she sees every time she checks my blog (see previous entry), I just thought I'd pop something in here quickly for a change of pace.

I think the picture above brings a whole new meaning to the term "handicapped bathroom", and brings to mind the question of the day: Are handicapped stalls in public restrooms reserved for the handicapped, or are they simply there for the convenience of the handicapped?


Add to Technorati Favorites