Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Say what?

Do you feel yourself going nuclear whenever you hear the word pronounced nuke-u-ler? Then you should enjoy this latest video from Mental Floss titled "79 Common Mispronunciations," in which John Green discusses 79 of the most commonly mispronounced words in English, including the word nuclear.

Though do people really pronounce epitome epi-tome (as opposed to e-pit-o-me) and hyperbole (hi-per-buh-lee) as hyper-bowl?

And while we are on the topic of common mispronunciations, it's wreaking havoc (not wrecking). And you (or your horse) champ (or champs, not chomp) at the bit.

Okay, my work here is done.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Where are the nude models?

Just saw this video of Bill Clinton "singing" Robin Thicke's hit song "Blurred Lines" (which, by the way, is my current favorite song).

My question (and, no doubt, Bill Clinton's), where are the nude models*?

Hey, hey, hey.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Negotiating with your teenage daughter

That post title? It's a lie. You cannot negotiate with teenage girls. Oh, you can try, but it won't do you any good.

Exhibit A

The scene: A video chat with the teenager, who is studying in France.

The spouse: So, do you need us to bring you anything?

[We are about to fly to France to visit the teenager and celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary.]

The teenager: Could you go to Penzey's [amazing spice store not particularly close to here though not that far] and get me some Tandoori spice?

Me: I am not going to Penzey's to get you Tandoori spice.

The teenager: Then why did you ask me if I needed anything?

Me: I have to run errands in town and go to Stop & Shop -- and have things to do. If they have Tandoori spice at Stop & Shop, I'll get some, but I am not going to Penzey's.

[Teenager is pouting.]

The spouse: If I have time tomorrow, I will go to Penzey's. [Big smile from teenager.] What do you need Tandoori spice for?

The teenager: We invited over H and C [two girls in her program] and we all love Indian food, but we don't have any Tandoori spice. 

Me: Okay, I'm going to run errands. Bye.

Meanwhile at Stop & Shop... there is no Tandoori spice to be had. Jamaican spice? Yah mon. Italian spice? Si. Herbes de Provence? Oui. Moroccan spice? Yup. Dozens of spices representing practically every ethnic cuisine, but no Indian or Tandoori spice (though they did have Curry spice and turmeric and coriander).

Two spice aisles and ten minutes later, I was back in my car, heading nearly half an hour away to Penzey's. Sigh.

[Note to the teenager if you are reading this: No, I did not get that amazing-looking Indian spice gift pack. I got you a small container of Tandoori spice, which I bubble-wrapped and will pack in my suitcase. However, had I seen that gift pack, I would have purchased it as a gift for your host mom. And no, I am not going back to Penzey's to get it.]

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Talk about a hair-raising experience!

For those of you who have ever groused about having just washed your hair and not being able to do a thing with it, check out this great video from astronaut Karen Nyberg on how she washes her hair while on the International Space Station.


Talk about a hair-raising experience.

Personally, I would have cut my hair before going into outer space. It would have certainly saved on aggravation and water. But I'm no rocket scientist.

[The spouse watched the video, titled "Inside the ISS - Hair Raising Hygiene!" with me. He liked it, but he still thinks astronaut Chris Hadfield's video cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity," filmed on board the International Space Station, is better. And I have to agree. Though thank you, Karen Nyberg, for answering that (rocket) age-old question, How do you wash your hair in space? Now if only some enterprising astronaut could figure out how to get a cat aboard the ISS and film it....]

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A noun and a verb are at a bar...

While I enjoy a good grammar joke...

A noun and a verb are at a bar. They spot each other, and the verb smiles and goes over to the noun. "Hello there," the verb says to the noun. "Want to come back to my place and conjugate?" The noun replies, "Oh, no. I decline."

Good grammar is no joking matter. Yet what passes for writing these days is often laughable.

And I know I am not the only person who feels this way in regard to grammar (or starts a sentence with a conjunction, which, by the way, is acceptable if not done too frequently).

Indeed, type "grammar errors" into Google and the search engine immediately spits out over 18 million search results, including this brilliant video from Mental Floss, titled "38 Common Spelling and Grammar Errors." Not only is the video funny, it is instructive.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Everything I know about the 4th of July...

I learned from watching Schoolhouse Rock.

Ooh, there's gonna be fireworks (Fireworks!)
On the Fourth of July (red, white, and blue!)
Red, white, and blue fireworks
Like diamonds in the sky. (diamonds in the sky!)
We're gonna shoot the entire works on fireworks
That really show, oh yeah,
We declared our liberty 200 years ago.


In 1776 (fireworks!)
There were fireworks too (red, white, and blue!)
The original colonists,
You know their tempers blew (They really blew!)
Like Thomas Paine once wrote:
It's only common sense (only common sense)
That if a government won't give you your basic rights
You'd better get another government.

And though some people tried to fight it,
Well, a committee was formed to write it:
Benjamin Franklin, Philip Livingston,
John Adams, Roger Sherman, Thomas Jefferson,
They got it done (Oh yes they did!)
The Declaration, uh-huh-huh,
The Declaration of Independence (Oh yeah!)
In seventeen hundred seventy six (Right on!)
The Continental Congress said that we were free (We're free!)
Said we had the right of life and liberty,
...And the pursuit of happiness!

Ooh, when England heard the news, (Kerpow!)
They blew their stack (They really blew their cool!)
But the colonies lit the fuse,
There'd be no turning back (no turnin' back!)
They'd had enough of injustice now
But even if it really hurts, oh yeah,
If you don't give us our freedom now
You're gonna see some fireworks!

And on the Fourth of July they signed it
And 56 names underlined it,
And now to honor those first 13 states,
We turn the sky into a birthday cake.
They got it done (Oh yes they did!)
The Declaration, uh-huh-huh,
The Declaration of Independence (Oh yeah!)
In seventeen hundred seventy six (Right on!)
The Continental Congress said that we were free (We're free!)
Said we had the right of life and liberty,
...And the pursuit of happiness!

We hold these truths to be self-evident,
That all men are created equal
And that they are endowed by their creator
With certain inalienable rights.
That among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

And if there's one thing that makes me happy,
Then you know that it's (ooh)
There's gonna be fireworks!

As for me and the spouse, we'll be celebrating the Fourth of July at Citi Field with this guy, the Mets' All-Star Gnome. 

Because what's more American than baseball, beer... and garden gnomes dressed in baseball uniforms?

Wishing you all a happy -- and safe -- Fourth of July!