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Monday, January 26, 2009

The Unfact™ of the Month

The Unfact™ is, to the best of our knowledge, completely false and unsupportable. We are not responsible for any consequences that are bound to occur if you are silly enough to believe it.

The Roman god Janus’ name means “I circle” in Latin and the Romans regarded the month that bears his name as the beginning and end of the year. This is regarded as proof that the Romans were aware that the Earth circled the sun.

Veritas!

posted by latiolais at 0800  

Monday, January 19, 2009

A burning sensation

From Merriam-Webster.

Vitriol

Pronunciation: \’vi-trē-əl\

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French vitriole, from Medieval Latin vitriolum, alteration of Late Latin vitreolum, neuter of vitreolus glassy, from Latin vitreus vitreous

Date: 14th century

1 a: a sulfate of any of various metals (as copper, iron, or zinc); especially: a glassy hydrate of such a sulfate b: oil of vitriol

2 :something felt to resemble vitriol especially in caustic quality; especially: virulence of feeling or of speech

vit·ri·ol·ic \’vi-trē-‘ä-lik\ adjective

"Do they merit vitriol, even a drop of it? Yes, because they corrupt the young, persuading them that the mature world, which produced Beethoven and Schweitzer, sets an even higher value on the transient anodynes of youth than does youth itself. For this they stink to heaven." – Anthony Burgess on intellectuals who praise pop music. Snarky old toff, ennee?

posted by latiolais at 0800  

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let’s bail, dudes

The American Dialect Society has voted on the word of the year for 2008. The winner is "bailout".

bailout, the rescue by the government of companies on the brink of failure, including large players in the banking industry.

The Management is pleased that it’s not alone in wasting your tax dollar and is looking forward to regaling The Young People of Tomorrow with frightening tales of deprivation and hardship.

"You kids today don’t know how good you’ve got it! Back in Aught-Nine all twenty-seven of us lived in a box in the middle of I-10 and paid a man $7.28 a day just to let us work! We got up four hours before we went to bed and lived nothing but ramen noodles and local brand bottled water! AND WE LIKED IT!"

The word voted most likely to succeed is "shovel-ready".

shovel-ready: Used to describe infrastructure projects that can be started quickly when funds become available.

The Management is disappointed with this choice. It sounds a lot like “off the shelf”, “out of the box”, or “just add water”. Y’know…like ramen.

"And we didn’t have all the fancy toys you little ingrates have got nowadays! We had to make do with cellphones, teh intarwebs, laptops, PDAS, Bluetooth accessories, plasma TVs, and ramen! AND WE LIKED IT!"

posted by latiolais at 0800  

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Elvislution!

Joyeaux Elvismas!

“The King said unto the mob: ‘Let him who is without bad singles cast the first rhinestone’.”

posted by latiolais at 0800  

Monday, January 5, 2009

Limber, Expressive, Handy

I’ve never used the word "lagniappe" in this blog. What the hell is wrong with me?


From Merriam-Webster.

Lagniappe

Pronunciation: \’lan-‘yap, lan-‘\

Function: noun

Inflected Form(s): -s

Etymology: American French (Louisiana), from American Spanish la ñapa the lagniappe, from Spanish la the (feminine of el, definite article, the) + American Spanish ñapa, yapa lagniappe, from Quechua yápa addition — more at LARIAT

1 a chiefly Louisiana: a small gift given to a customer by a merchant at the time of a purchase (a sack of lemon drops for lagniappe with the groceries) (giving her half a yard extra for lagniappe — Lyle Saxon) b : something given or obtained gratuitously or by way of bonus or good measure (the … beautiful widow from whom he first accepts a reward of five thousand dollars, and later her love as a sort of lagniappe — Neal Cross)

2 : a gratuity of any kind : TIP


Mark Twain called it "a word worth travelling to New Orleans to get":

We picked up one excellent word – a word worth travelling 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. When a child or a servant buys something in a shop – or even the mayor or the governor, for aught I know – he finishes the operation by saying –

"Give me something for lagniappe."

The shopman always responds; gives the child a bit of licorice-root, gives the servant a cheap cigar or a spool of thread, gives the governor – I don’t know what he gives the governor; support, likely.

When you are invited to drink, and this does occur now and then in New Orleans – and you say, "What, again? – no, I’ve had enough;" the other party says, "But just this one time more – this is for lagniappe." When the beau perceives that he is stacking his compliments a trifle too high, and sees by the young lady’s countenance that the edifice would have been better with the top compliment left off, he puts his "I beg pardon-no harm intended," into the briefer form of "Oh, that’s for lagniappe." 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.

From Life on the Mississippi

Been in Texas too long, I suppose.

posted by latiolais at 0800  

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