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Why This Copy Editor Will Capitalize Your Name Whether You Like It or Not

Last month the National Weather Service made the long-overdue decision to cease delivering its forecasts entirely in capital letters. (Its all-caps screeds were relics of a time when weather reports were sent by teleprinter.) As theShow More Summary

The world wants "bigly"

Back in February, we covered the whole Donald Trump big league ? bigly business at length, and if you want details, go read that post: "Bigly", 2/26/2016. But Trump continues to say things like Your browser does not support the audio element. We're not going to lose, we're going to start winning again, and we're […]

The mind is its own place

The Republican presidential campaign is getting apocalyptic. The Bloomberg News headline on a story by Ben Brody — "Boehner Uncorks on ‘Lucifer’ Cruz, Says He Wouldn’t Back Him in Fall" — led reader A.R. to wonder whether that "fall" is merely the October election, or rather the fall of Him the Almighty Power Hurld headlong flaming from th' […]

Ted Cruz's "basketball ring" — or was it "rim"?

Ted Cruz has gotten a lot of very creative grief for apparently messing up the re-enactment of a scene from the movie Hoosiers by referring to the height of a "basketball ring": But in our comments this morning, Richard Hershberger wrote: Speaking of politicians speaking, I would like to put in a request for an analysis of whether Cruz […]

Slowed speech

This is pretty funny. Rob Beschizza, "Trump slowed 50%", BoingBoing 4/19/2016: Everyone sounds drunk or stoned when slowed down 50%, but doing so to Trump reveals that his bizarre, digressive speech patterns are uncannily like a drunk sped up 200%. So it seems appropriate to try the same trick on some other politicians. Here's Bernie […]

We’re Quoting the Wrong Shakespearean Prince to Honor Prince    

Prince’s sudden and shocking death last week prompted an outpouring of responses on social media, with one particularly widespread commemoration taking the form of the quote: “Good night, sweet prince.” While the words make for a pithy...Show More Summary

"Is a thing" antedated to 1783

In the comments on my post "When did 'a thing' become a thing", 4/18/2016,, James Barrett points us to a video from the Royal Society that includes the following passage from a letter, dated 1783, from one Eberhard Johann Schröter in St. Petersburg, addressed to Dr. Daniel Solander, an associate of Sir Joseph Banks: Your browser does […]

Thai Practice: 10 Simple Games and Exercises to Improve your Thai Skills

Thailand’s a favourite destination for vacations and world travellers. So it’s little wonder that that language is proving popular too. The jump in popularity of Thai as a foreign language has led to an explosion of fun games and exercise...Show More Summary

Rhetorical reviews

Negative reviews of Donald Trump's rhetorical style are all over the place. A small sample might start with Gary Schmidgall, "What would Shakespeare make of Trump?", The Chronicle Review 2/7/2016: The current campaign’s race to the bottom of the rhetorical barrel, of course, has been led by Donald Trump. Did you know "trumpery" was Shakespeare’s […]

The Alliterative Appeal of the ‘Flying F—k’

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. What exactly is a flying fuck? And why does this fuck fly? Flying fuck enjoys many fun literal interpretations. Gadget-heads might like the remote-controlled...Show More Summary

Stop ??  Emphasizing ??  Your ??  Point ?? By Putting ??  Clap ??  Emojis ?? After ??  Every ??  Word

Sometimes I click over to Twitter and feel great because everyone seems to be clapping for me. I haven’t even done anything! But there’s all this applause. So many of my friends in virtual reality can hardly squeeze a single word out...Show More Summary

The Erotic Rabbits of Easter

This post originally appeared on Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing. Easter: It’s a fuckable feast. For its Christian observers, of course, Easter marks the salvific resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. A cornerstone of the faith, the holiday teems with symbols of new life and fertility. Show More Summary

How “Kumbaya” Went From Sincere Protest Song to Drippy Punch Line 

Rush Limbaugh won’t buy that preposterous tripe Hillary Clinton is selling about an America united by shared and everlasting values. On his show recently, Limbaugh expectorated: “This whole notion of working together, bringing the country together? We’re way past that. Show More Summary

10 German Songs to Help You Learn German Faster

German is one of the first languages I ever learnt (at school in Ireland and later in Berlin). It remains one of my favourite languages. That said, I remember well how frustrating German could be. How I had to wrap my head around German...Show More Summary

Multilingual Dating: Should I Date Someone Who Speaks Another Language?

When I was a senior at high school, I had a Brazilian exchange student live with me for three months. We became best friends instantly. On the first day at school, all the girls had a crush on him. Even the teachers. I don’t know exactly what it was. Show More Summary

Fecal compounds

Donna Cassata, "Lindsey Graham: 'My Party Has Gone Batshit Crazy'", USN 2/26/2016: Sen. Lindsey Graham is disgusted with the GOP's embrace of Donald Trump: "My party has gone batshit crazy." In no-holds-barred remarks at a celebratory dinner Thursday night, the South Carolina senator and unsuccessful presidential candidate said the GOP has lost all semblance of […]

Learn Finnish with Kirikou.

Nothing much to say about this except it’s a fun four-minute video in which a Finnish kid teaches you a little Finnish with a lot of attitude. The sentences he doesn’t translate are transcribed and translated in this MetaFilter post, where I got the link.

How “-Splain” Became Our Most Meaningless Suffix

“-splain,” tweeted Jonathan Chait earlier this month, responding to a New York Times editorial titled “Stop Bernie-Splaining to Black Voters,” has become an “all-purpose shorthand for ad hominem argument.” Scores of Internet wits proved...Show More Summary

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