Archive for June, 2009

All-Request: iPod Top 20

Monday, June 29th, 2009

So, I’m back from “hiking the Appalachian Trail,” or wherever I’ve been, and I’m going to start catching up on some questions and suggestions from my recent All-Request post. First, in response to commenter Cheech’s request, the current top 20 songs on my iPod. A few of these surprised me, but the gap between “most listened” and “never listened” is pretty small. But anyway, here they are. UPDATED with links!

1. “Sugar Magnolia,” by Bob Weir
2. “King Dork,” by Frank Portman
3. “Playing in the Band,” by Bob Weir
4. “London Calling,” by The Clash
5. “Paradise,” by John Prine
6. “The Rascal King,” by The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
7. “Dirty Life and Times,” by Warren Zevon
8. “Everybody Dance (Clap Your Hands),” by Chic
9. “Young Americans,” by David Bowie
10. “Romeo & Juliet,” by Dire Straits
11. “Alison,” by Elvis Costello
12. “Promises,” by Eric Clapton
13. “Never Going Back Again,” by Fleetwood Mac
14. “Boulevard,” by Jackson Browne
15. “Lawyers in Love,” by Jackson Browne
16. “Capital Radio One,” by The Clash
17. “Tumbling Dice,” by Linda Ronstadt
18. “I Want To Help You Ann,” by The Lyres
19. “Kissaway,” by Mates of State
20. “King of All the World,” by Old 97s

Let’s play Guess the Gaffe!

Friday, June 19th, 2009

So the gays (and the gay-friendly) are upset with the Obama administration for failing to deliver on campaign promises to be a “fierce advocate” for gay rights. And, I’d say, with good reason — Obama has not just failed to deliver, but in some cases been outright hostile.

With exquisite timing, this fuss comes shortly before a DNC fundraiser for the LBGT community. Plenty of gay activists are upset that the administration is giving them the high-hat with one hand and passing the hat with the other. But the best part about all this is that the featured guest at the fundraiser is Vice-President Joe Biden.

That’s right — Joe Biden is going to be speaking to an important, sensitive, upset group paying close attention for more slights. Frankly, I think they have yet to invent the computer capable of calculating the odds that Biden won’t say something stupid. So instead of debating whether Biden will say something that’ll require an apology or “clarification” a day or so later, I think we should discuss what kind of gaffe Biden will make. My suggestions:

Maybe not the way you want to put it. Praising the distinguished Congressman appearing with him, Biden says the line “I love Barney Frank!” and instantly launches a million YouTube clips.

The creepy story. Biden tells a rambling story about a gay kid he used to know in Scranton, and kind of intimates he used to beat the kid up.

The inappropriate revelation of insider info/inappropriate promises. Biden reveals that Pam Karlan was his choice for SCOTUS, but promises that Judge Sotomayor “has your back.”

The bad joke. “Hey, if all the gays get married, nobody will be left to cater the receptions!”

The really bad joke. “Hey, when Bristol Palin realized that Levi Johnston was her only option, she said, ‘Tell me more about this gay marriage thing!'”

Anybody else want to venture a guess at what Biden’s gaffe will be?

Open Thread/All-Request

Friday, June 12th, 2009

I’m still around. No, I didn’t quit blogging, I didn’t get outed, and I’m not escorting the Uighers to Palau. I’ve just been too busy to write down a few thoughts that are knockin’ around my noggin. I’ll be back soon, but for now, consider this an open thread/all-request post. What’s on your mind?

I do not think that word means what you think it means

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

For some reason, I’ve always been annoyed by people who say “decimate” when they actually mean something closer to “annihilate.” Sure, I’ve misappropriated words a few times, but this particular bit just annoys me. So it was funny when I saw a cartoon in The New Yorker which featured two viking-looking guys chatting to each other. One said something like, “Did you know that decimate means 1 in 10?”

I guess it’s one thing to not know what “mayhem” means (since it appears no one ever teaches that in law school), but generally, aren’t people saying “mayhem” without actually meaning ripping limbs apart? Sure, “decimate” and “annihilate” both give the impression that something really bad happened, but to me, I’m going to be a lot more impressed with annihilation than mere decimation.

Friend: Still, “decimate” is pretty bad. It’s not like anyone really means “one out of every ten.”

McPan: But people say “decimate” in place of “annihilate!” One is clearly worse than the other!

Friend: It’s not like if someone says “decimate” it lessens how bad something is.

McPan: I guess, but “decimate” should mean something less than 50% for sure. I mean, it should be a lot closer to the original 1/10.

Friend: No, I think people can use “decimate” and mean more than 50%.

McPan: That’s just dumb. I mean, “decimate” is one of those SAT vocabulary words that you’re supposed to figure out by looking at the root, or trying to guess what it means from the words around it. “Nihil” is practically the opposite of “deca.”

Friend: Fair enough, but I think “decimate” is used commonly enough now that the original meaning doesn’t matter as much.

McPan: What?! You can’t say, It’s a decathalon but there’s only eight events.

Friend: Haven’t we had this conversation before?

McPan: I know. We’re such dorks.

Interestingly, whoever this “Usage Panel” is, they agree that the modern usage extends to killing a large proportion of a group but not to “large-scale destruction other than killing.”

Garçon means boy.