A century ago, dozens of American girls were named Milady because of the success of a new product: the Milady Décolleté Gillette safety razor, developed to remove underarm hair. (And did you know that “underarm” was coined as a euphemism for “armpit”?) (Baby Name Wizard)
“Most verbs stay basically the same in different grammatical roles. ‘Walk’ looks like ‘walks’ and ‘walked.’ But the word ‘be’ looks nothing like the word ‘am,’ which looks nothing like the word ‘were.’” (Arika Okrent for Curiosity.)
When I wrote about mansplain, in September 2010, the earliest citation I found for the word was from an April 2009 Urban Dictionary entry. Now lexicographers at the OED have antedated mansplaining to a May 2008 comment about the TV show “Supernatural.”Katherine Connor Martin, Oxford University Press’s head of US dictionaries, says the OED usually waits a decade or so before adding new words, but makes exceptions when a word “is deemed important enough.” (Quartz)
The Oscar-nominated 2017 film Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri has inspired at least two real-world imitations, reports AdWeek. After the shooting massacre in a Parkland, Florida, high school, the group Progressive Turnout Project placed a billboard with a gun-reform challenge outside the Janesville, Wisconsin, office of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has accepted $61,401 in contributions from the National Rifle Association.
“17 killed in their classrooms. Still no gun reform? How come, Paul Ryan?”
And in London, Justice4Grenfell placed three mobile billboards outside Grenfell Towers, the site of disastrous fire last year that killed 71 people.
“71 dead / and still no arrests? / How come?”
For comparison, here are the billboards that appear in the film, which stars Frances McDormand.
The last linkfest of 2017! Let’s exorcise this miserable year with some amusing and edumacational links. And have yourselves a merry little Festivus.
Drew Magary is back with the 2017 edition of his Hater’s Guide to the Williams-Sonoma catalog: “More than any reindeer parable or silly children’s rhyme, it is THIS catalog and its splendidly useless items wherein you and I can discover the TRUE meaning of Christmas, which is that it delays the pain and horrors of this shit world at least until after New Year’s.”
“You listen to me, Williams-Sonoma: There will NEVER be a fondueassaince. Ever.”
Collins Dictionary, based in London and Glasgow, got a head start on the WOTY competition in early November, selectingfake news over runners-up such as unicorn, echo chamber, and gig economy. (Related: My November 2016 post on fake.)
Years ago, I named the world’s first “bidirectional” condom, so this story really spoke to me:
Diverse & Resilient, an LGBTQ organization in Milwaukee, decided to do something about the bland branding of free condoms. So it partnered with a local marekting agency, Cramer Krasselt, to create Naughty Bags, condoms designed by teens for teens. According to Adweek, the condoms are made “to be sex-positive, humorous, and cool” and feature “witty names like Pork Parka, Pelvic Poncho, Scuba Gear, Surge Protector and—our favorite—Papa Stopper.” Brilliant – in every sense.