Everyone Is Jumping Off the Brooklyn Bridge

Monday, July 31, 2006

Words to Your Mother: Ebay

Ebay is Pig Latin for "be". It may also be written "e-bay".

On a side note, the Latin word for "pig" is sus, which is also the genus to which pigs belong.

The pig word for "Latin" is usually transcribed in an onomatopoeic sense in English as "oink", although there is some ambiguity as to whether Latin is in fact what the pigs are meaning to describe.

The Latvian translation of the pig word for "Latin" is ruk. The Latverian translation of the pig word for "Latin" is unclear, although it may be röf (based on Latverian's Hungarian roots). Perhaps the only way to be certain would be to ask Victor Von Doom, who might kill you for the inquiry, but would provide you with an honest answer otherwise. (Though Dr. Doom is capable of many things, the Master of Latveria does not lie.)

technorati tags:, , , , , , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Would you let these people manage your your money?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

technorati tags:, , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Words to Your Mother: Chiropodist

A chiropodist is a podiatrist, or foot doctor. It is particularly used for British podiatrists. A good word to know if you're watching Animal Crackers and want to understand Groucho Marx's dubious joke about the Irish chiropodist.

technorati tags:, , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Saturday, July 29, 2006

For once, Google doesn't know what I'm thinking

Words to Your Mother: Maximal

We hear about things being minimal so often that most don't realize that the opposite is in fact a real word.  Maximal is the antonym of minimal, so it would not be inappropriate to say that something caused "maximal damage" or that a piece of art was "maximalist"...  Actually, that last one might be inappropriate.

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

Friday, July 28, 2006

Words to Your Mother: Embarazada

"Soy embarazada" is something a man might say if he is embarrassed, particularly if the source of his embarrassment is his continual state of pregnancy and his dubious grasp of Spanish grammar.

Embarazada is the Castillian word for "pregnant".  It would more properly be used in a sentence like "estoy embarazada" ("I'm pregnant") or (e perdon el Español malo aqui) "Me desconciertan para decir que soy embarazado" ("I'm embarrassed to say that I am pregnant").

It has been misused in such cases as Parker Pens campaign that their pens wouldn't "leak in your pocket and make you pregnant".  It probably doesn't help that Babelfish doesn't know the difference between the two.

Just goes to show you that words aren't always what you think they areCómo molesto. So much for Spanglish.

technorati tags:, , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Words to Your Mother: Tchotchke

Tchotchke is a Yiddish word for a trinket, knickknack, or other fairly cheap or useless items.  Thus, "Weird Al" Yankovic sang "I'll buy your tchotchkes" in the song "eBay".

While that's interesting in itself, I find Yiddish as a language more interesting.  The way many speak of it today, you'd think it was modern Hebrew.  In reality, the nation of Israel uses Hebrew primarily and Yiddish is not really a major language. Yiddish is a Germanic language that developed in the Jewish culture living in Germany in the 10th century.  It developed and spread over many years to the point that there were 10 million Yiddish speakers before World War II.  The Holocaust led to a decline of Yiddish not just because of the slaughter, but also because of the dissipation that resulted.  As this dissipation happened, though, Yiddish began to slip into other languages and cultures, and we have tchotchke (among many other words) in the English language today because of it.

technorati tags:, , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Words to Your Mother: Rashomon effect

The Rashomon effect is an effect that practically every TV show ever made seems to have made use of at some point or other.  Basically it refers to how people may view the same events in completely different ways, making the truth of the matter difficult to verify.  This motif pops up in many places ranging from Star Trek: The Next Generation ("A Matter of Perspective") to Perfect Strangers. ("Eyewitless Reports") to NewsRadio ("Catherine Moves On").  I think it was in something else too, but I can't quite put my finger on what it was.

technorati tags:, , , , , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Flock: RSS Feeds Part II: The Sequel

Well, I'll take back some of the nasty things I said about Flock's RSS feed reader.  Not that I was that nasty to start with.  Flock seems to be doing a better job of regularly checking my RSS feeds.  I'm still a little leery of its previous reluctance to check my feeds on the promised hourly basis, but it's become far more reliable.

That said, another beef has become a bit more serious.  Now that I'm actually getting my feeds, it's frustrating when feeds I haven't read get marked as read.  This tends to happen when I view a folder full of feeds or a feed I haven't checked in a while (or a feed like digg or Slashdot that gets many stories quickly).   Clicking on the folder or feed will mark all of them read but will only display around 15 headlines.  If I haven't seen it yet, I obviously haven't read it.  A bit frustrating.

This can be tweaked slightly by going to Edit -> Accounts and Services -> News and unchecking "Mark news feeds as viewed when selected from the sidebar", which helps quite a bit.  Unfortunately, if you want to go partway through and read the rest later, you must mark the articles you have read as viewed individually, since "Mark All As Viewed" will mark the ones  that haven't appeared on screen yet.  "Mark All on This Page as Viewed" would be infinitely handy here.

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

Words to Your Mother: Schadenfreude

Schadenfreude is a German word which basically means "taking pleasure in the pain of others".  Although it would probably not be correct to say that all bad things come from schadenfreude, it certainly would explain a lot.

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

Monday, July 24, 2006

Flock: Search box

The Flock search box is a really neat idea. Unfortunately, I find myself going back to Firefox nearly every single time I want to do any serious searching.

My beefs with the new search:
  1. Defaults to Yahoo! search. I get why that is—they're the ones set up for the "search as you type"—but I strongly prefer Google. (Yes, I know you can change the default.)
  2. Search as you type. Neat idea, but not particularly necessary. What are the odds I'll need my results before I'm done typing? Not a bad thing per se, but not my cup of tea so far.
  3. Too hard—if not impossible—to change the "temporary default". When you select a different search engine in Firefox, it becomes the default for that window for future searches. With Flock I have to click the engine I want every single time. Annoying when I'm doing multiple searches in, say, Wikipedia or IMDB. Also, anything that makes it necessary to use the mouse more gets on my nerves.

Some of the nicer bits so far:

  1. Search through your history. Invaluable when trying to track down that page you were at two hours ago. Probably pretty handy to see if your teenager has been using your system to search for "pr0n" as well.
  2. Search Favorites. Not nearly as essential, but appreciated.
  3. Search as you type. Yeah, I listed this as a bad thing too. Five points for innovation, even if I'm not a huge fan of how it turned out.

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

Flock: RSS Feeds

While I was initially impressed with how Flock handled RSS feeds, that initial feeling is quickly waning. Flock supposedly checks RSS feeds every hour. Why is it, then, that I'm only getting updates on one or two specific feeds, and for any other feed I have to do a manual refresh to load new headlines. If I have to do that, I might as well just browse the site itself. Re-mark Thunderbird as my favorite RSS reader.

Blogged with Flock

Words to Your Mother: Inter arma enim silent leges

Cicero at about age 60, from an ancient marble bustNormally I wouldn't post two in a row, but I really need to get the taste of flustrated out of my mouth. Since this is a rare case of me posting two of these in an hour, I'm going to have some fun with
this one. Just as flustrated is a bit unusual for this list (in the sense that it's fairly commonly known), this entry is a bit unusual in the sense that it's a complete phrase rather than just a word or two.

Inter arma enim silent leges is a phrase which means "In times of war, the law falls silent" (or, more literally, "In the face of arms, the law falls mute"). The quote originally comes from Cicero, who had a lot to say around the time Julius Caesar was killed. Cicero said while defending friend his Milo, who was on trial for murder, saying that this was excusable in self defense. While this speech, known as the Pro Milone, didn't result in Milo's acquittal (he was exiled to France), Cicero later got Marcus Saufeius off on the same charge.

Bashir speaksCicero originally phrased this a bit differently, saying "Silent enim leges inter arma". How did the wording change over? As far as I can tell, it started with an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, appropriately named "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges". And where did they get it? We find the answer in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion by Terry J. Erdman, where former DS9 producer Ronald D. Moore says:

I got the title at a book store. I was browsing through the new stuff, and there was a copy of William Rehnquist's new
. It was about habeas corpus in American law and how Abraham Lincoln had suspended that writ during the Civil War, along with some other civil liberties. On the book jacket, there was a blurb that said Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus was a classic case of the old Roman dictum Inter arma silent leges― 'In times of war, the laws fall silent.' And I looked at it and said, 'Hey!' because I was working on this episode and it was all about Section 31 and this espionage thing and how the law was going
to fall silent because of the war. It was perfect! […] The word order provided [by the show's research
consultant] was different from the original quote, but she told me that word order doesn't matter in Latin so I could arrange the words however they looked best, so I arranged them in a way that looked and read best to me.

Incidentally, the pronunciation of the phrase as described in the show's script was "EN-ter ARM-ah EYE-nim SEE-lent LEH-ges". Just remember that all of the I's are pronounced like E's and vice versa (except for "Inter") and you'll have it about right.

technorati tags:, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Words to Your Mother: Flustrated

I'm going to start by saying that I hate this word. It annoys me to no end. That said, I can't seem to make a solid argument against using it.

As I'm writing this, Wiktionary claims that flustrated is a blend of "frustrated" and "flustered". I would've guessed the same thing. Although I generally trust Wikipedia and its sister sites to some extent, the fact is, the person who wrote this may have just been guessing.

Several other sites give the same definition -- word-for-word. Obviously, these are just drawing from Wiktionary.

Langmaker claims that Flustrated first originated around 1980. Not even close. Let's dig back further.

Dictionary.com doesn't go into the etymology, but according to their definition (drawn from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary), flustrated is a colloquialism. Still not looking good for flustrated.

At this point it comes in handy to have a good printed copy of a dictionary with better etymological information. Random House Webster's College Dictionary (1995 edition) states that flustrated originated in 1710-20 as a blend of "fluster" and "frustrate" (+ "-ed"). (Interestingly, "flustrate" itself does not have an entry; only "flustrated" does.) While this leaves the origin at what we would expect, this pushes the dates back significantly: This obviously isn't some form or modern slang * or "Ebonics". This word has, for better or worse, been around far too long to be considered a simple mispronunciation any longer. At worst, it is a portmanteau (or, more accurately, a blend). At best, it might not even be that.

According to The Mavens' Word of the Day:

The word flustrate, also found in the spelling flusterate and the derived from flust(e)ration, is just an elaborated variant of fluster, with the verb-forming suffix -ate; it is probably not a blend of fluster and frustrate (though some recent examples do suggest a blend or a confusion with frustrate). [...] Flustrate is first found in Addison and Steele's The Spectator, one of the seminal periodicals in English literary history, written by two of English's greatest prose stylists. Steele, in Spectator number493, wrote: "We were coming down Essex Street one Night a little flustrated." And Samuel Richardson wrote in his novel Clarissa, "How soon these fine young ladies will be put into flusterations."

Follow the above link for more information, but, if Random House has done their research properly, this throws every assumption most have about flustrate into doubt. In summary:

  1. Flustrate is not a recent word: It has been around for around 300 years (at minimum).
  2. Because of its long history, flustrate cannot reasonably be considered "slang".
  3. Flustrate is not necessarily a blend of fluster and frustrate, although it almost certainly is derived from fluster.

That said, the faulty assumptions and negative connotations surrounding this word and probably more than enough reason to avoid it in regular usage. At minimum, I would avoid it in any "professional" settings.

I still hate that word.

* Warning: Link may contain foul language.

technorati tags:, , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Words to Your Mother: Noblesse oblige

Noblesse oblige is a French phrase meaning "nobility obliges". It's loosely based on Luke 12:48. For fans of the King James Version, that says:

But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.

A more recent translation says instead:

But the one that did not understand and so did things deserving of strokes will be beaten with few. Indeed, everyone to whom much was given, much will be demanded of him; and the one whom people put in charge of much, they will demand more than usual of him.

Either way, it might be best summed up in the words of one of the great modern authors, who said:

With great power comes great responsibility.

It is generally used with people of high wealth, rank, or social status to infer the additional social responsibilities that this implicitly confers upon them, although it might also be used sarcastically or to refer to anyone's responsibility to use their power for good, rather than the alternative.

technorati tags:, , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Friday, July 21, 2006


Just wanted to take a moment to point out that, while some of the links that I throw on this blog may seem a bit strange or random (especially some of the Amazon.com products), all of them have specific meanings and purposes. Consider it a minor challenge to figure out what some of the less obvious ones mean.

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

Words to Your Mother: Perestroika

Although depending on your age, Mom may be more likely to remember this one than you are.

Poster showing Mikhail GorbachevPerestroika is a Russian word that means "restructuring", although it has been successfully integrated into English vocabulary thanks to the restructuring efforts of Mikhail Gorbachev back toward the end of the Soviet Union. Glasnost probably didn't help much either, although I'm sure it seemed like a good idea at the time. Good intentions paved the road for what some called "catastroika", the catastrophe that involved the fall of the USSR.

If Wikipedia can be believed (in this case at the moment I'm writing this), perestroyka is also Greek for "accident". Oops.

If there's any sort of linguistic relation between Perestroika and troika (a group of three) beyond the obvious and the fact that they're both Russian words, I have no idea what it is.

technorati tags:, , , , , , , ,

Blogged with Flock

And, on an appropriate final note...

Perseus Development Corp. randomly surveyed 3,634 blogs on eight leading blog-hosting services to develop a model of blog populations. Based on this research, Perseus estimates that 4.12 million blogs have been created on these services: Blog-City, BlogSpot, Diaryland, LiveJournal, Pitas, TypePad, Weblogger and Xanga.Abandoned BlogsThe most dramatic finding was that 66.0% of surveyed blogs had not been updated in two months, representing 2.72 million blogs that have been either permanently or temporarily abandoned. Apparently the blog-hosting services have made it so easy to create a blog that many tire-kickers feel no commitment to continuing the blog they initiate. In fact, 1.09 million blogs were one-day wonders, with no postings on subsequent days. The average duration of the remaining 1.63 million abandoned blogs was 126 days (almost four months). A surprising 132,000 blogs were abandoned after being maintained a year or more (the oldest abandoned blog surveyed had been maintained for 923 days).

Perseus Blog Survey

Well, at least I can vouch for the "Blog This" feature in Flock now,

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

Words to Your Mother: Decimation

I thought about sticking a word of the day feature on this, but I'll be shocked if I keep up any regularity of posting (despite this initial flurry). Instead, I give you "Words to Your Mother". Words you may not have known or properly understood, but are safe to use around the girl who married dear old dad. Or someone just like her. Or around the shameless tart who had a one-night stand with your father and never saw him again, leaving him to deal with the consequences... waitaminute... that doesn't sound right...

Anyway, today you can safely teach mom about decimation. Keep reading even if you think you know this one.

Decimation *originally* referred to the killing of every tenth person, a practice the Romans used to keep mutinous legions in check. So decimation, rather than being the slaughtering of a large group of people, is the killing of one out of every ten, which, while less than ideal, isn't nearly as bad.

Or does it mean that? Some dictionaries say otherwise. And some would say that Decimation is something else entirely.

The fact is, that English is an evolving language, something that smarter linguists (like Paul Brians) aren't afraid to admit. Check out his site on Common Errors in English Usage, which is well worth purchasing if you, like me, sometimes appreciate a hard copy, even if the online version is free.

BTW, should I keep posting to this blog, don't expect as many of the words to be so well known.  And no, I'm not going to start ripping off various word of the day lists.

Oh, yeah.  Don't expect them all to be in English either.

Stay tuned.

Blogged with Flock

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Flock: RSS

Well, I'm definitely digging Flock's RSS support.  Best I've seen outside of Thunderbird for handling large numbers of feeds.  Will have to keep using it for a while before I pass final judgment, although Thunderbird's save search feature might edge it out a bit.

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

RSS/Atom Feeds

They sure can be a pain to get to sometimes. If anyone cares, here are mine:

Atom 0.3: http://everyonesjumping.blogspot.com/atom.xml
RSS 2.0: http://everyonesjumping.blogspot.com/rss.xml

Don't know the difference, but do care? Check this out: http://www.intertwingly.net/wiki/pie/Rss20AndAtom10Compared.

All I know is that I liked RSS better when it was called "Rich Site Summary", which sounded so much better than "Really Simple Syndication". That and they're both syndicated XML feeds. And a lot of other stuff that distracts from the point that I'm making.

Blogged with Flock

At first I thought I could care less whether people read this blog...

... and then I discovered that I couldn't. Huh.

Blogged with Flock

Flock non-feature?

I notice the "Replace existing post" feature doesn't seem to work.  The list of existing posts never loads.  Maybe it's just me.

Blogged with Flock

Love for Gail Simone

Just wanted to mention Gail Simone again, whose (whom's?) blog I linked to in the previous post. She is the best female writer in superhero comics these days. Although I'm sure that this sounds akin to being the best limbo dancer on the moon, she really is an excellent writer. Slightly demented with a great grasp of character. Any of the following DCU books is a good introduction to her style(s):

BIrds of Prey: Sensei & Student

BIrds of Prey: Between Dark and Dawn

BIrds of Prey: The Battle Within

Superman: Strange Attractors

Villains United

Lots of little links to Amazon.com. See how I did that? ;-)

technorati tags:, ,

Blogged with Flock

Obligatory links to other blogs

All good. Some I read regularly; some only occasionally; some almost never. Most are fairly notable outside of the "blogosphere" and were blogging long before it was fashionable. I'm not responsible for the content of these blogs. May contain peanuts, where profanity is peanuts.

Gail Simone
"Bloodstains on the Looking Glass"

Peter David

Wil Wheaton

May add more later. Right now I'm more curious whether Flock/Blogger will automatically recognize the links above without me adding hyperlinks explicitly.

Edit: Nope. Had to add them manually. Curses! Foiled again!

Blogged with Flock
But edited without Flock

You got chocolate in my peanut butter

I like money.  I like Google.  They seem like a perfect match, so I've decided to integrate both here in ways that shall remain nameless.  Theoretically, I would probably appreaciate you doing the things I've been instructed not to tell you to do, but I can't really confirm or deny that, and I'll deny confirming it and confirm denying it if asked.  I think.  Except for that last part.

Blogged with Flock

Random Trivia: Non-ancient non-Chinese non-curses

I think one of the great all-time quotes coms from Robert F. Kennedy, who said:

There is a Chinese curse which says, 'May he live in interesting times'. Like it or not, we live in interesting times...

Of course, the fact is that this was more likely a 16-year-old British phrase purporting to be an ancient Chinese curse.  So now you know (if you didn't already).



technorati tags:, , , ,

Blogged with Flock

Flock post

As per my previous statement, this is my first test of using Flock for blogging. (The initial post was made in Blogger's normal posting method in Firefox.) So far it seems to be a nice, clean interface.  The spell check is definitely a nice feature, albeit one available in the Firefox 2.0 Beta and several Firefox extensions.

Let's see what the checker does to some random garbage:


auifwa njka askjf akafpior asdfwef sfedse dids


aquifers nska flask akafpior asdfwef feds deeds

Well, no great Freudian secrets there.  Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Interestingly enough, some of the words that failed spell-check include "blogging", "Blogger's", and "Firefox".  The latter two are understandable, but not including "blogging" is a bit sloppy.

Blogged with Flock

Call me Ishmael.

Out of the estimated 200 million blogs in existence (as of February 2006), I have no idea why you're reading this one. Even I don't particularly care about it: I'm largely using this to test the capabilities of the Flock web browser. I do plan to occasionally deposit articles of interest here, but mostly for my own sake so I can recall them later. I may post the occasional random thought here as well, or I may simply never post here again. Following this blog is more than likely a waste of your valuable time. However, if you're into that sort of thing and you enjoy this, then welcome.