Beyond the soft palate

Tag: words


I have just received an email which contains these phrases, acronyms, and words …

Innovative, transformational.
Leverage best practices.
Maximize scale.
Optimum efficiency.
Smart Content triangle.
Data enrichment.
(Insert name) will champion this activity as VP, Operations
WCM, WGT Content Technology.
Solidifying our near-term objectives.
Cutting-edge, market-leading products and services.
Crack the Smart Content nut.
Delight our customers.
Content Strategy Framework.
Smart Content roadmap.
Smart Content journey.
Competitive intelligence.
Content-enabled services.
Smart Content journey.
Robust roadmap.
Art of the possible.
Smart Content constituents.
Our “game plan” for Smart Content.

“Are you sure you want to permanently delete this?”




Consider this …

“ … a couple dollars … “

Or this …

“ … a couple of dollars …”

You see, as we know a couple is two, in the first instance one is saying “two dollars”, and in the second instance one is saying “two of dollars”, therefore the “of” is redundant, yes?


Of course, if one wanted to be really precise, one would actually have to say, “a two dollars”, but that would be retarded.

What about “footpath” vs. “sidewalk”?

I happen to prefer “sidewalk”. It’s more precise. It’s a “walk” on the “side”, whereas a “footpath” is a “path” one treads with one’s “foot”, so you could be talking about a trek through the fucking jungle for all anyone knows you say “footpath”, you say “sidewalk” people know what and whereof you’re speaking.

A “walk” on the “side”. Preferably paved for ease of passage.

I mean, you don’t find any fucking sidewalks in the fucking jungle, do you? Footpaths, yes. Paving, no.

I like the way Americans pronounce “aluminium” as “aluminum”.

It’s quick and efficient, whereas “aluminium” is all over the place, five syllables, it takes forever, four syllables, it’s streamlined, sleek, gets to the point.

I should use more full stops, less commas.

My last post had one sentence with 238 words in it.

I like commas.

Colons and semi-colons not so much, they’re a little too clinical and clever-clever, a bit try-hard, up to doing too many things at once, fucking show-offs, the both of.

Punctuation doesn’t have to multitask.

It should just do a thing, and move on.

As should we all.


Having made my selection, I take my wine to the counter.

“Will that be all today?”, I am asked by the darkly attractive, slim-hipped young woman in attendance.

“Yes, thanks.”

“Nine-ninety, thank you”, and I hand over my money and receive my change.

“Would you like a bhaarg with that?”, she inquires.

“Sorry … ?”

“A bhaaarg?”

“What … ?”


“I … “

And she points at a pile of plastic carry bags near the register.

I stare, briefly dumbfounded.

“Uh … No … Thanks”, I mumble, and I take my bottle and I take my leave, and as I wander the few blocks back to my home, I find myself wondering, “Is it me?”

For I did not know a “bag” had become a “bharg”.

But now I do.

Here endeth the lesson.


From 1953, Dwight D. Eisenhower

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.”

“This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway. We pay for a single fighter with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people …”

“This is one of those times in the affairs of nations when the gravest choices must be made, if there is to be a turning toward a just and lasting peace. It is a moment that calls upon the governments of the world to speak their intentions with simplicity and with honesty. It calls upon them to answer the questions that stirs the hearts of all sane men: is there no other way the world may live?”

(H/t to The Washington Note)



A gerbilist is an erstwhile journalist whose prime modus operandi is to load each and every “article” they write with links to other journalists with whom they agree on pretty much everything and who, in turn, agree with them. Gerbilists do not generally quote from, or link to, those journalists who pose a contrary point of view to their own.

Gerbilists produce “gerbilism”, a style of abstract typing that, when recognised, immediately puts the reader in mind of brown noses, small furry animals wrapped in duct tape, ferris wheels and speech impediments.

Example No.1–

The gerbilist praises itself for finding another gerbilist in agreement, and says as much …

There was no real Julia

Janet Albrechtsen agrees:

Gillard has become the casebook study of how to shrink in the job as PM

Example No.2 –

This is when a gerbilist disappears up their own arsehole by linking to other gerbilists who say warm and runny things about them …

Lose some, win some

I wish I could persuade Joel Silver to read my columns, but luckily I’ve still got my TV show.

Gerbilists are like the Human Centipedes of news media, forever defecating in each other’s cakeholes and then chewing with their mouths open in public.


Nine days away from a computer, no internet, no email, no endless barrage of news impersonating gossip, gossip as news, no blogs, no fucktards, no noise …

Curiously liberating.

I can highly recommend it.

When I grow up, I think I shall become a recluse. Two tin cans and some string, that’s all I’ll need, just two tin cans and some string.

And this ashtray.

Just two tin cans and some string, and this ashtray. And the lamp. I’ll need the lamp.

But that’s all I’ll need.

Here is a word I came upon during the course of some reading over my break, and I think it is a fine one and deserving of attention …


“We picked up one excellent word–a word worth traveling to New Orleans to get; a nice limber, expressive, handy word – “lagniappe”. They pronounce it lanny-yap. It is Spanish – so they said. We discovered it at the head of a column of odds and ends in the Picayune, the first day; heard twenty people use it the second; inquired what it meant the third; adopted it and got facility in swinging it the fourth. It has a restricted meaning, but I think the people spread it out a little when they choose. It is the equivalent of the thirteenth roll in a “baker’s dozen”. It is something thrown in, gratis, for good measure. The custom  originated in the Spanish quarter of the city … If the waiter in the restaurant stumbles and spills a gill of coffee down the back of your neck, he says “For lagniappe, sah”, and gets you another cup without extra charge.” Mark Twain – “Life on the Mississippi”

And so, for lagniappe on this day, I offer the opening credits sequence from Robert Mulligan’s 1962 adaptation of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, surely one of the finest such sequences ever made. Music by Elmer Bernstein …

You should feel good now.


Oh, for fuck’s sake.


“Swearing gaffe takes shine off Barack Obama’s historic health bill” … Colourful language draws “gasps”

As Squeaky Rat commented at the New York Times …

Oh my God. Help me to the fainting couch, someone. Everything’s spinning around.


A word, courtesy of colourNOmovement in comments

“CLIOCIDE” – the “silencing” or symbolic killing of collective historical-political or historical-disciplinary identities and identifying practices by historical or discipline deficient “scientific” coding practices. The suppression, destruction, rewriting or denial of history.

(From Greek mythology, Clio was the Greek muse whose task was to watch over the course of human history.)

Thanks, cNm.


Would you?

The late Alan Clark, Tory historian and amoral wit, once drew up a list of the occasions on which it is permissible to employ the word fuck in polite society. One of his examples was, “What the fuck was that?” as uttered by the mayor of Hiroshima.

Yes, you probably would.






noun: The part of the body where one cannot reach to scratch.


From Greek aknestis (spine), from Ancient Greek knestis (spine, cheese-grater).


“In what has to be the longest post-election season in living memory, the last five months have felt like an acnestis upon our collective soul; like that little patch of skin on our backs that we just can’t reach to scratch ourselves. It’s irritating. It’s annoying. It’s left us reaching and spinning around in circles.”

A Wish List to Soothe Our Collective Itch; New Straits Times (Malaysia); Aug 5, 2008.

From A Word A Day