Sunday, January 23, 2005


Friday, January 21, 2005

"HOW DO YOU SPELL WOLFOWITZ?" I overhear in the newsroom of a major metropolitan daily newspaper.

Grrr. How many #$@#%$ ways could it possibly be spelled? I know, I know -- spelling is supposedly not that great an indicator of intelligence. But I get annoyed at people who think more letters and more syllables necessarily mean a word gets more difficult to spell. "Antidisestablishmentarianism" was the vogue stumper in my youth. Again, where could you possibly go wrong on that one? Or even "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." I suppose "cali" could be "cala," but not bloody likely.

The real stumpers are the switcheroos ("tendon" but "tendinitis," "strategy" but "stratagem") and the exceptions to the rule ("supersede") and the "-ible"-vs.-"-able" coin flips.

Occasionally in coverage of an international sporting event -- say, tennis's U.S. Open -- you'll see a set piece in which Ugly American spectators are asked to spell or pronounce exotic names. A-holes without a creative bone in their bodies suddenly become verbal cubists.

"Paradorn Srichaphan?" the contestant might be asked.

"P-X-Q-Y-Z S-B-T-R-N-M-X?"

"Sorry, that's incorrect!"

Or the contestant will be shown a card reading, say, "Yevgeny Kafelnikov."

"Uggabugga Krazabaza?"


Monday, January 17, 2005

WHAT'S WRONG with this commercial script?

"The eggs come from real chickens, the milk comes from real cows, and the sausage comes from Jimmy Dean!"

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

I LOOKED IN on my college newspaper for the first time in a while and found this priceless string of non sequiturs in the beloved Police Beat column:
The woman first said that the pills were Oxycodone and said she had gotten them from her doctor for her teeth.

The woman later admitted that she had gotten the pills from her friend, who was the daughter of a mafia boss.

The woman said she had found the UA keys in a Jack in the Box and said she didn't know what they were.

The keys looked like they had been run over by a car, reports stated.
Extra points, as always, for a Jack in the Box reference. In Tucson, the Mexican-food capital of the world (what, you thought that would be in Mexico?), I routinely walked a mile for J-in-the-B's Chicken Supreme sandwich. I report this not with shame, but with regret for all those wasted opportunities.

Monday, January 03, 2005

ON XM THE OTHER DAY I heard "Blue Spark," a wonderful '80s song by X. (In my brief flirtation with electric-guitar lessons, that was the song I wanted to learn. That and "Our Lips Are Sealed" by the Go-Go's.)

More notably, it was followed by a not-so-great but deliciously obscure number called "Teenage Enema Nurses in Bondage," by a Phoenix band called Killer Pussy. As someone who lived in Phoenix in the '80s, I was more than a little surprised to hear that on the radio in Washington, D.C.

All that got me to searching, and I came upon this. I might be busy for a while.

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