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From a 1926 volume of Glamordaze, 10 sarcastic pieces of flapper slang:
The Top 10 most sarcastic Flapper slang words.
1- Umbrella- young man any girl can borrow for the evening.
2- Rock of Ages- any woman over 30 years of age.
3- Face stretcher- old maid who tries to look young.
4- Cellar Smeller- a young man who always turns up where there’s free liquor to be had.
5- Corn Shredder- young man who dances on a girl’s feet.
6- Being Edisoned- getting asked a lot of boring questions.
7- Finale Hopper- a young man who arrives after everything is paid for.
8- Mustard Plaster- unwelcome guy who sticks around.
9- Potato- a young man shy of brains.
10-Rug Hopper- young man who never takes a girl out. A parlor hound.
I don't want to give away the punchline here, but it's definitely worth 1:40 of your time to get to it. This Australian gentleman placed a classified ad announcing the sale of his house, with the stipulation "No Asians." A news-crew cornered him in front of the house and demanded an explanation, and, well...
Eric Andre offers the Internet-visiting public a compendium of up-for-grabs band names. Band names are the original Twitter: hyper-compressed witticisms meant to leap off a poster wheatpasted to a telephone pole and lodge in the mind forever. Here are some of my favorites from Eric's list:
Jesus and the Christs
Polyamorous Brazilian Atheist
Alien vs Predator vs Brown vs The Board of Education
Mega Nintendo Death Hibachi
Mud Butt Monorail
The Dave Matthews’ Dave Matthews’ Band
Axe Body Spray
9 mm Camera
Surprisingly, they're not all long, Germanic compound words (generally a font of useful no-equivalent words):
8. Tartle (Scots)
The nearly onomatopoeic word for that panicky hesitation just before you have to introduce someone whose name you can't quite remember.
9. Koi No Yokan (Japanese)
The sense upon first meeting a person that the two of you are going to fall in love.
10. Mamihlapinatapai (Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego)
This word captures that special look shared between two people, when both are wishing that the other would do something that they both want, but neither want to do.
Tartle is something I often experience, because I'm really, embarrassingly terrible with names.
The FBI and Ernst and Young have released a list of top-ten phrases that indicate corporate fraud, based on data-mining evidence from real corporate fraud investigations.
In total more than 3,000 terms are logged by the technology, which monitors for conversations within the "fraud triangle", where pressure, rationalisation, and opportunity meet, said the FBI and Ernst & Young...
1. Cover up
2. Write off
4. Failed investment
5. Nobody will find out
6. Grey area
7. They owe it to me
8. Do not volunteer information
9. Not ethical
10. Off the books
Chandra, a "recovering grammar snob" who works as an English teacher, has a smashing trio of essays on Literacy Privilege -- the invisible privilege that accrues to people who have the facility to write well and clearly, and who have absorbed the "correct" conventions of English. I know I've been guilty of dismissing people because of their grammar/spelling errors (I'm sure I'll make several in this post, BTW, thanks to Muphry's Law), and I've also posted regrettable grammar-mockery in place of rebuttal at times. Even when I was doing it, I knew that it wasn't quite fair or rigorous but Chandra's critique is a good frame for understanding precisely what's wrong with the practice.
One important issue that Chandra doesn't touch on in her essays is the way that this works in languages where an official academy defines formal correctness -- French and German, for example. English is very much up for grabs, thanks to the absence of any final authority over its rules. In other cases, there is a technically correct way of doing things, and an incorrect way -- presumably, this exacerbates the problem.
Literacy Privilege Checklist:
I can easily and safely navigate my way around the city I live in because I understand all of the posted signs, warnings and notifications.
* I can make healthy and informed choices about the products I purchase because I can accurately read their labels and price tags.
* I can safely use pharmaceuticals prescribed to me without having to remember the doctor’s or pharmacist’s instructions because I can accurately read their labels.
* When required to visit doctors, hospitals, government agencies, banks, or legal offices, I do not have to invent excuses to bring paperwork home so that someone else can read it to me. If I live alone, I do not have to expose myself to judgement and ridicule by asking the doctor, nurse, agent, clerk, lawyer or other employee to read it to me.
* I can independently make informed medical, legal, political and financial decisions about myself and my family because I can read and understand important documents.
* I can be sure that my paycheques and bills are accurate because I can read them to check for errors.
* I can acquire a driver’s license and its associated freedoms because I am able to complete the written test for a learner’s permit.
* I can accept invitations to a restaurant without anxiety because I know I will be able to read the menu.
The Atlantic's Derek Thompson has located a truly world-beating piece of obfuscated corporate bullshit, courtesy of Citi, who took 86 words to convey a simple fact: "Citigroup today announced [lay offs]. These actions will [save money]."
Citigroup today announced a series of repositioning actions that will further reduce expenses and improve efficiency across the company while maintaining Citi's unique capabilities to serve clients, especially in the emerging markets. These actions will result in increased business efficiency, streamlined operations and an optimized consumer footprint across geographies.
The Internet Archive has a complete scan of James Redding Ware's wonderful 1909 treatise "Passing English of the Victorian era: a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase," ganked from the University of Toronto's Robarts library. The Archive has OCR'ed versions, hi-rez PDFs of color and b/w scans, and every ebook format you're likely to need.
If you'd prefer a hardcopy there's a paperback reprint for sale, too. It's really something. Here's a few gems:
Enobs (Back slang). Bone, in ordinary plural. A very favourite inversion is a sort of rebus, bones showing affording a study of ' knobs '.
But he swallowed a box of matches one day which burnt away all the fat and left the mere enoba you see now.
Evening wheezes (Peoples'). False news, spread in evening half- penny papers in order to sell them.
Fairy (Lower Peoples). A debauched, hideous old woman, especially when drunk.
Fake a poke (Thieves'). To pick, or manipulate, a pocket. This phrase is a singular revival. Johnson has ' Fake amongst seamen a pile of rope,' and as to poke ' a pocket or small bag'. ' I will not buy a pig in a poke !' Camden.
He denied that when entering the music hall he was accused by a larty of picking her pocket, and further said that when called out he did not say he had never ' faked a poke ' in his life. People, 6th September 1896.
Fake pie (Straitened Soc., 1880). A towards -the-end-of-the- week effort at pastry, into which go all the ' orts ', ' overs ', and ' ends ' of the week. See Resurrection pie a term which this has superseded.
Penny puzzle (Street, 1883). Sausage because it is never found out. (See Bag o' mystery.)
Wingers sometimes called Flanges (Colloquial about 1865). After the Crimean beard, which meant all the hair growable on the face, had lasted in fashion about ten or twelve years, the chin came to be once more shown, and the whiskers were thrown back, or pulled away from the cheeks, and allowed to grow as long as nature decided. The name was obtained from their streaming and waving character.
(via Making Light)
Here's Dmitry Golubovskiy, CEO of Esquire Russia, reading the longest word in Englis. It's the chemical name for titin, and it runs to 189,819 letters. It takes him 3:33 to read the whole thing. Here's a bit of it:
After consultingo con el Runner de Calle club, los advisoros, y Captain Obviouso, yo decidero to que cancelo elmarathoño— Miguel Bloombito (@ElBloombito) November 2, 2012
The @ElBloombito Twitter account is a running -- and hilarious -- sendup of NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg's terrible Spanish. Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams profiled Rachel Figueroa-Levin, the mastermind behind the account.
In the past two days, El Bloombito’s pidgin Español Twitter stream has been a balm to disaster-scarred New Yorkers, a bracingly funny respite from the ravages of Sandy. Prior to the storm, it was Bloombito who warned New Yorkers, “Cuidado! El stormo somos about to que vamos el lañdfall! Batteño los hatches!” and “Por favor to remaiño insidero until notice de furthero. Peligroso!” Afterward, it was Bloombito who reminded, “El floodo agua esta still todos los everywhere. Necesitos los gearo de scuba y el flipper!”
Speaking to Salon while her toddler daughter takes a post-Sandy afternoon nap, Figueroa-Levin says El Bloombito originally “gave me something to do while I was stuck inside” during Irene. As it happened, the account attracted an instant following — and the attention of Mike Bloomberg himself — who admitted last year that “Es difícil para aprender un nuevo idioma.”
“I don’t know why he does it,” Figueroa-Levin says. “Not that my Spanish is that fantastic, but I live in a neighborhood where it’s common. I grew up hearing it. I’m Puerto Rican. And I don’t know who he thinks he’s talking to. In fact, last year I had an elderly Dominican neighbor tell me he thought Bloomberg was Italian.”