Are you a fan of bluegrbutt music? Do you own a peniser spaniel? Are you concerned about terrorist enbreasties in North Korea and Iran?
Congratulations: your computer is protecting you from naughty word bits.
Language Hat (a k a Steve Dodson) reports on nanny software that automatically replaces "ass," "cock," "tit," "sex," and "shit"--wherever they appear in words--with supposedly safe synonyms. It's the sort of penisamamie thing that results in actual sentences like "I know the difference between a transvesbreaste and a homoloveual."
Steve Dodson knows whereof he speaks: He's the coauthor of Uglier Than a Monkey's Armpit, a book of "insults, put-downs and curses from around the world." It was published last December in England; while we await the U.S. edition, we can entertain ourselves with a sampling that includes the Icelandic prumphænsn (PRUHMP-hine-s’n)--literally, "fartchicken." My own favorite non-English insult is pendejo (pen-DAY-ho), Spanish for "pubic hair." It's an all-purpose epithet for anyone beneath contempt.
Sodexho, the French multinational food services company, has dropped its aitches and become Sodexo. And last month it gave its logo an all-lower-case Web 2.0-ish slant:
Armin at the design blog Brand New (where I found the side-by-side logo comparison) is skeptical:
Sodexo has fallen into the trap of thinking lowercase makes for a friendlier logo. I don't see a rational reason behind this change.
It's the same irrationality behind the recent Xerox logo change, which also involved lower-case-ification.
In the new Sodexo logo, the curving red element is supposed to represent a smile. But its lopsided skew resembles like nothing so much as the slash of red lipstick a three-year-old applies to her face while playing dress-up.
And what about the spelling change? Sodexho was a compression of Societé d'Exploitation Hotelière (Hotel Services Company). In its 2006-2007 annual report, the company explained the decision to de-aitch by saying that "in certain languages an 'x' followed by an 'h' is difficult to pronounce."
Sodexo was founded in 1966. It took them 40 years to discover this little language problem?
Commenters to Armin's post focused mostly on the logo redesign, which they mostly disliked, but Chris observed:
Biggest improvement would be they took out that "h" in the brand name. Take the "od" out of "Sodexho" and you'll get what we called them in college.
Readers of top-flight publications don't get their copy directly from the reporters for the same reason that a stalk of wheat and a cow do not a hamburger make, for the same reason that fiancees don't have a freshly mined chunk of carbon, mounted on a sliver of ore, deposited on their fingers. We hire editors to make the writing presentable the same way we hire designers instead of letting the stories flow onto the page or the screen scroll-style, a la Kerouac. There is a certain level of refinement that the readers expect and deserve in the presentation.
Here in the non-journalism world, I frequently have to explain to clients that a copywriter is not the same as a copy editor (hint: one writes, the other edits). Most folks don't know the difference between copy editing and proofreading, either. For them, I recommend Sherri Schultz's definitions: copy editing (she spells it as one word, Bill Walsh spells it with two; it's a style choice, and to ensure that your own choice is applied consistently you really should hire a copy editor) and proofreading.
For more on the importance of editors, see this post by Nancy Nall, which includes a priceless example of unedited newspaper copy. Excellent comments thread, too.
The other day my neighbor Margitta raved to me about a cake from a Berkeley bakery called Crixa Cakes. Now, I'm a big baked-goods fan, and I live near Berkeley, but I'd never heard of Crixa Cakes. When I located it online, I was surprised to learn it is celebrating its tenth anniversary.
And of course I was curious about the name. What on earth did "Crixa" mean? Margitta couldn't tell me; all she knew was that the owners, a married couple, were Hungarian, or maybe Russian, and that the bakery sold Central and Eastern European specialties. Did "Crixa" come from Hungarian or Russian? Or maybe Albanian or Maltese or Basque, all of which I dimly recalled having a lot of X's? Or was it a word invented to chime pleasantly with "cakes"?
None of the above, as it turns out. But owners Elizabeth Kloian and Zoltan Der had anticipated my question. Here's what their FAQ says:
Crixa is lapin for crossroads. Lapin is the language of the rabbits in Richard Adam's [sic] novel Watership Down. In the book Crixa is the center of Efrafa, the rabbit warren. It is located at the crossing point of two bridle paths.
In Berkeley, Crixa Cakes is at the crossroads of Adeline Street and Shattuck Avenue on the site of an old horse stable.
Well, I am impressed. I'd read Watership Down (by Richard Adams) years ago, and seen the excellent animated movie, too (warning: too scary for young children). I remembered that the rabbit characters spoke their own language, Lapin (French for "rabbit"), but I'd forgotten all of its vocabulary, and it had never occurred to me to mine that text for my own naming work.
In sound--crispy consonants, mouthwatering alliteration--and meaning, "Crixa" is an inspired choice for this former horse stables-turned-bakery at a city crossroads. It's fresh and unfamiliar yet easy and fun to pronounce, and its story makes it memorable. And the charming logo (see above) underscores the literary association. Congratulations--and happy anniversary!
P.S. On the sign, cukrászda comes not from Lapin but from Hungarian. It means "confectionery."
P.P.S. Oh, and the pastries? Friends, I performed time- and calorie-consuming research, and I'm happy to report that there are some delicious names on the menu. There's a Soprano Tiramisu ("with a dark streak"). There's a Rigó Jancsi cake that comes with a great story. And there are the suggestively named Fatima's Thighs, made with rosewater and almonds and a prodigious quantity of butter: sublime.
Obamamentum is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to neologisms coined from Barack Obama's name. Chris Wilson of Slate presents the Encyclopedia Baracktannica, a random Obamalingo generator available as a widget. Smith writes:
It's hard to imagine that Barack Obama would be as big of a phenomenon if his name were, say, Tom Smith. As numerous fans, detractors, reporters, and bloggers have demonstrated, it's a name that lends itself to neologisms—everything from Barackstar to Obamania to Omentum.
I especially like obamanomenon, obamalaise ("the hangover resulting from repeated listenings to the 'Yes We Can' montages"), and Barack to the Future ("2008 film in which Barack Obama uses the flux capacitor to defy traditional partisan politics, race, gender, the 'Clinton Attack Machine,' and the space-time contiuum"--thanks to Timothy O'Brien for that humdinger!).
And yes--as Orange pointed out in a comment on my previous post, and as Dr. James Peykanu informed Slate--omentum is the anatomical term for a "big membrane in the belly that serves as the root [sic] by which the blood to the intestines flows."
Perhaps it bodes well for Barack Obama that his momentum has so many names: Barack-mentum, Mo-bama-mentum, Obama-mentum, Obama-rama-mentum, Oba-mentum, and O-mentum have all been used. O-mentum is a particularly delicious word: it rhymes with momentum, while bringing to mind Oprah, Obama's most famous supporter.
Earlier coinages have included Joementum (during the momentum-challenged 2004 Joe Lieberman presidential campaign) and Met-mentum, seen in New York in 2000.
Peters speculates that no-mentum, used as candidates drop out of the race,"may be a word with a future, since it could be applied to so many subjects besides politics. And a new, less catchy, addition to the -mentum lexicon emerged recently when no-mentum gained a semi-synonym: mutnemom, or reverse momentum, which Slate blogger Mickey Kaus coined to describe Hillary Clinton's sudden deceleration."
There's also faux-mentum, as in "nothing going on after all."
Thinking about -mentum got my name-mentum going. How about...
D'oh!mentum: Homer Simpson can't stop doing one stupid thing after another.
Eskimomentum: Global warming accelerates; Aleuts and Inuits step up their protests.
Interior Design magazine reports on a contest to create the "undiscovered" 27th letter for the English alphabet. But before you start spending your prize money (of which there apparently is none, anyway; participants get free notebooks in which to record their ideas), read the rules:
Sponsored by the Art Directors Club and Moleskine, the competition is open exclusively to the Young Guns, a group of the visual communication club's members under the age of 30. The deadline for the contest is March 3. Finalists will be announced April 1, just as the club begins accepting entries for the sixth Young Guns class.
Participants can create the letter through any media, from type design and websites to video and photography. The results will be evaluated by a jury that will select 27 finalists to feature in a virtual exhibition on the ADC website, and in a limited edition Moleskin publication which will be available for sale to benefit Lettera 27, a non-profit literacy advocate.
I hereby make this an open-source contest. If you'd like to nominate a new letter, leave a comment. I'll forward all the submissions to the Art Directors Club.
Hat tip to reader Marjanne Pearson, who didn't want a link but who commented, "I always thought the 27th letter was the ampersand." So did I.
Pictured: Eth (also spelled edh), a letter in the Anglo-Saxon alphabet and in modern Icelandic, where it represents a voiced dental fricative like the th sound in them.
Real people are dreaming about presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. And they're sharing their dreams on a couple of blogs known as I Dream of Hillary / I Dream of Barack. "A Christian Clinton-Hater" writes: We were in a car going somewhere. As we talked and things unfolded, I found myself liking her. By the end of the dream, I actually found her desirable. (Via Murketing.) (P.S. Does anyone else remember all the sexual dreams people--OK, women--reported having about Bill Clinton during the 1992 campaign? They were collected in a book, Dreams of Bill, now available online for as little as 20 cents.)
The Dictionary of Newfoundland English presents "the regional lexicon of one of the oldest overseas communities of the English-speaking world." As you might expect, it includes plenty of seafaring terms as well as holdovers from earlier British dialectical items such as droke, dwy, fadge, frore, keecorn, linny, nish, and suant. (Via Errata.)
You too can possess a richer, more colorful vocabulary for insulting your enemies! Simply transport yourself to Wikipedia's Pejorative Terms for People, a compilation that includes macacawitz, jíbaro, and shoobie (a New Jersey insult applied to people from Philadelphia). (Hat tip: qwghlm.)
Here's how The Ad Generator explains itself: "Words and semantic structures from real corporate slogans are remixed to generate invented slogans, which are then paired with related images from Flickr, thereby creating fake advertisements on the fly." Provocative, beautiful, unsettling. (Via Verbatim.)
On Davis' side are the small but vocal, and growing, forces against circumcision, so-called intactivists: young parents who don't want to alter their perfect babies, men who feel their circumcisions left them psychically scarred and sexually disadvantaged ("I always felt something was missing, not functioning properly," says David Wilson, whose Stop Infant Circumcision Society marches on Washington annually) and even some medical professionals who consider the procedure genital mutilation.
(Hat tip: Michael F.)
A Google search for intactivist produces more than 22,000 hits. First on the list is a site called Circumstitions (a blend of circumcisions and superstitions), which proclaims itself opposed to "the involuntary genital modification of children of any sex." Here in Oakland, the Bay Area iNactivists Group (BANG) "hosts frequent public demonstrations and informational events on the consequences of male circumcision," according to a post on California Patriot Blog. (No, I've never attended one of those public demonstrations.)
A related term is genital integrity, which the legalese blog Party of the First Part reports "may be the new buzz phrase for plaintiffs' lawyers looking to cash in on botched circumcisions":
The movement suffered a setback, as New York Lawyer reports, when the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled that a mother who didn't like the way her baby's circumcision looked could not sue the hospital for medical malpractice. Sure, and they laughed at tobacco suits at first! The woman's lawyer vowed to battle on in the fight for "genital integrity."
Adam Freedman, the blog's author, can't resist adding:
Here at POFP, we're planning a campaign against errant apostrophes -- we call it the battle for "genitive integrity."