Category Archives: Words

Snollygoster

Dictionary.com still sends me an email every day.  Some days I already know the word and most days I think “I’ve never seen this word before and I doubt I’ll ever see it again.”  But it’s still fun.  Last week, the word snollygoster hit my Inbox.  It means a clever, unscrupulous person.  This definitely falls into the category of “I’ll probably never run into this again” but it seems like such a fun word that maybe I should play with it for a bit.

If you are clever

But a bit unscrupulous –

A snollygoster!

Can you use it in a sentence?  Extra points if you can do a better haiku than I did!

Buzz Words?

Going back to work hasn’t been as traumatic as I was worried it would be.  The new software isn’t as daunting as I anticipated, although I shake my head that we’ve made things so complicated in trying to make them easier.  The steps to set up your various screens so you can “share” during an online presentation make my head hurt – luckily I don’t see that I will have to personally worry about this for quite some time. 

There is a new phrase that I’m hearing a lot since I came back (a whooping three weeks) … “socializing the idea”.  I don’t know if this is a Corporate America thing or just my company but I’ve heard at least 4 people use the phrase in various meetings/calls.  It basically means floating an idea by someone (usually a client) in a casual way.  As if you’re softening someone up to an idea before hitting on it hard.  The first time I heard it, I knew immediately what it meant – not sure if I’ve just been in the business-speak world too long or it’s a great phrase that needed inventing. 

But now that I’ve heard it four times, it’s beginning to grate a bit, so I’m wondering if this is just the new catch phrase of the month and it will be gone by fall.  There are so many buzz words in the business world that have disappeared off the horizon.  I haven’t heard anybody talk about paradigms recently and nobody seems to say “think outside the box” anymore.  Of course, “collaborate” is still going strong despite my prayers every night that it fly right off the world’s radar screen.

What words or phrases would you like to be retired?  Or kept on but at only 20 hours a week?

Cold Snap, Hot Jokes

The wind chill advisory is scheduled to expire today at 11:00 am. It is still only going to be in the single digits the rest of the week, though, so no big warming trend.

I thought this would be a good day for jokes about the cold. I will start:

Two friends meet on the street    “It sure was cold this morning.” “How cold was it?”  I’m not sure, but I saw a lawyer with his hands in his own  pockets!”

You get the idea. Tell some cold weather jokes.

 

The Bookmark

I have never spent much time thinking about who has read a book before I have.  Every now and then I get a book from the library that is old enough that it still has the check-out card in the little pocket in the back and I love to see the dates on the card, but even that only suggests when it might have been read prior to computerization. 

Last week I found a bookmark (photo above) in a book from the library, left by the prior reader.  It’s not a store-bought bookmark, but a little piece of artwork that some parent (probably) grabbed when they need to mark their place.  This resonates with me because I often use a folded post-it note, an old receipt or even a piece of used envelope when the need arises, although I do have massive numbers of official bookmarks.  When I was working in the bookstore, publishers often sent bookmarks and I always grabbed one.  If I found a bookmark when I was traveling, I always picked it up.  And, of course, I make bookmarks, often as gifts, but I always make one for myself any time I do that.  But you know how it goes; if you are downstairs when you get to a good stopping point, you’re not going to go upstairs just to find a bookmark!

This particular bookmark looks to belong to someone who works in a financial advice company and is the parent to a four- or five-year old.  The book that I found it in was How to Fly in Ten Thousand Lessons by Barbara Kingsolver, so clearly a poetry lover and someone who prefers library books to purchased books this year.  But in my fantasy world I’d love to think that the last person who picked up this book was Shirley Jackson.  I just finished her book Life Among the Savages and she mentions reading several times.  She had four kids and I can imagine her grabbing a scrap of kids’ scribbling when she needed to put down a book.

What was the last book you finished?  Who would YOU like to have read it right before you? 

Great Names

I saw the most wonderful sign on my way to work yesterday.  Taquiria el Monte Sinai was advertising a new location and taco special. I had not heard of this business before. Husband says it is run by an Evangelical Protestant  Mexican Church. It made me wonder if their fish tacos were made from gefiilte fish!  We also have a Hamburger ‘s meat store run by the Hamburger family,  I think that is a great name, too.

What are some wonderful or wacky names of places, people, or businesses that you have encountered?  Make up some names if you feel like it. What is your favorite Mexican food?

So They Say

It was terribly foggy the other day. There is a saying out here that when it is foggy in the fall or winter, we will have snow in three days, three weeks, or three months.  Well that is a pretty safe bet and leaves a lot of room for fudging.  “Yep, remember that fog we had in early December?  See, its snowing” (in mid February)!

I love hearing sayings like this. It seems to me that they are ways to make sense of the universe,  even if they aren’t really true.

What are some of your favorite  sayings,  colloquialisms, and euphemisms?  Can you make up some new ones?

Salty Language Advisory – Redux

In honor of “Talk Like a Pirate Day” today, this post comes to us from the archives, gratitude to Dale Connelly.

With some sharp language-related news cutting through the air of late involving the U.S. Navy and some people standing in the road in North Carolina, I thought it would be enlightening to consult with someone I consider to be an expert in the field of salty talk, the skipper of the pirate clipper Muskellunge, Captain Billy.

I tossed some relevant press clippings into a bottle and launched it down the Mississippi through a hole in the ice near Fridley about a week ago, and much to my surprise a reply from the Captain arrived on my desk late last night, boldly dashed on a piece of damp parchment by someone using a parrot feather dipped in pomegranate juice. I deduce that it came from somewhere in the southern climes. Maybe Mendota Heights or even as far away as Cottage Grove!

Ahoy!

Many thanks fer yer question about public language an’ what is an’ what ain’t considered foul!

As Cap’n of a pirate ship, people automatically assumes I has a sharp tongue, a form of stereotypin’ which I resents. Me and me boys labors under heavy expectations from landlubbers regardin’ our manner of public discourse.

Fer instance, if’n one of me boys enters a waterfront saloon anywhere in th’ world, he ain’t taken serious until he either punches somebody’s lights out or utters at least a half dozen choice curse words in th’ local dialect. This gets t’ be a problem on account of th’ vast number of places we visits an’ all th’ different local standards fer rough talk. We ain’t scholars out here, an’ it’s quite a chore t’ keep up wi’ current foul language fashions.

Believe it or don’t, a surprising number of me boys is kind hearted souls who took t’ th’ life of piratin’ t’ get away from uncouth situations at home, an’ they ain’t much inclined to employ harsh language anyhow. They often declines shore leave, on account of th’ fact that it’s too much work to make th’ kind of impression a pirate has to make merely to get served a beer in some places.

But I caution’s ye against thinkin’ pirates is in any way refined. I prefers t’ think we’s Libertarians, language-wise. On board th’ Muskellunge there’s no rules about what a pirate can or can’t say, an’ that goes both ways. Most standard obscenities is allowed as well as any kind of precious, non-piratical sissy words like “Gosh”, “Jeepers” an’ “Swell.”

Where I draws th’ line is attitude. Me boys is not permitted t’ be mean spirited towards one another or anyone else, unless it has t’ do wi’ official pirate business, such as pillagin’ a quiet coastal town or ransackin’ a defenseless vessel.

Th’ one spoken word I never wants to hear on board th’ Muskellunge is th’ last name of that famous FAKE movie pirate, Johnny Depp. If’n one of me boys curses another with a “God Depp” or a “Depp You” or a “you’s a no good barnacle Depper,” I’ll wash his mouth out with a fruity wine cooler – a horrible insult t’ any boy what loves his grog.

Yers in love o’ th’ language,

Capt. B.

The captain has a strong point that the “bad”ness of words is more a question of local custom than universal truth, and the attitude we bring to any exchange is more important that what is actually said. Given that, I do think he is a bit of a hypocrite for taking such an uncharitable attitude toward Johnny Depp.

Do you have to watch your language?

Words To Live By

Husband stopped working  on the Reservation in March,  and he became increasingly agitated and scattered as the weeks passed as he adjusted to retirement.  He was running around doing all sorts of things at home and around town, and was so exhausted by noon he had to take a nap every day. He talked of getting a part time job at the local butcher shop.  It finally dawned on me that he thought that even though he was retired, he had to be as busy as I was working full time. When I mentioned to him that retirement meant he should be doing less than I was doing, he got quiet, sat down, thought for a long time, and then started writing.  He wrote:

When you are retired, how much you do matters far less than how well and how lovingly you do it.

I told him those were pretty good words for him  to live by right now.  He still is busy, but I don’t think he worries so much now about needing to work like he is still working full time.

What are your words to live by for right now?

10K

Photo credit:  Sebastian Pena Lambarri

Last week Chris mentioned that we were closing in on 10,000 followers.  If the rate that someone new clicks on Follow keeps up, we will hit that number this weekend.  As I’m typing this on Friday night, we are at 9,996.  This is for just the Trail – if you look at our WordPress account, it also adds in Blevins and Kitchen Congress, so the number looks a little higher than 10K.

I’m not big on social media optics, so I’m not sure what this really says about us.  Obviously from looking at the stats, we don’t have thousands of folks looking at the Trail every day; we average between 150 and 200 views most days.  And of course, I find it fascinating that not everybody is always looking at the same post as we are.  For example, yesterday 2 people viewed Why I Don’t Eat the Coleslaw from August 2015 and The Magnolia Steakhouse from November 2010, among other pages.

Although the overwhelming number of readers hale from the U.S., we have a worldwide viewership.  Yesterday we also had folks from Canada, Australia, Finland, Kenya, Cameroon, Germany, Nigeria, France, India, New Zealand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Georgia and Benin visit.

We are all over the board in terms of comments… some days we are chattier than others.  I used to worry that we didn’t have more folks commenting, but then I think about all the other blogs that I read on a regular basis.  They have way more followers than we do, but fewer comments.  I also don’t see the kind of community that we have in the comment section of most blogs.  And I can’t speak for anybody else, but I almost never comment on any blog except ours (unless there is a possible prize in it for me).

So all in all, as we’ve hit our decade anniversary and 10K followers, I’m still feeling like we’re just a small fish in a big pond and I like it that way.  Hope the Trail is meeting your needs these days.

Not sure about a question for this data – did you ever imagine, in your wildest dreams, that we’d come this far?

Up Late

With the possible exception of the folks who are directing the decisions about library services for Hennepin County, I’m not sure if anybody else is paying as much attention to the library situation as I am.  I’m checking the website every day or so, massaging my hold list, checking the status of anything coming available to me and just generally watching the news.

So I know that I don’t have to rush through anything – nothing that has been checked out since March 14 is due yet and won’t be due until a minimum of three weeks after libraries begin to open back up (no date on that yet).  I’ve actually read all but one of the physical books that I have checked out (just picked one up yesterday from curbside pick-up) and I only have two audiobooks that aren’t finished.

That knowledge did not keep me from staying up late on Sunday night however.  I was reading The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R. King, one of my favorite series and the clock was advancing towards my usual bedtime, about 10.  Normally I say to myself, “keep reading until you fall asleep” and this works pretty well but the book was good and I wasn’t getting tired.  I just kept going.  11 o’clock, midnight…. one… two…   I felt like I was a kid reading under the covers, doing something illicit and I had to remind myself that I can stay up as late as I want.  It’s not like I have anything specific that I have to be out of bed for in the mornings.

Finished at 2:45 a.m.  Enjoyed it thoroughly and although I was a little droopy on Tuesday, it was worth it.  I went to bed at 8 that night.

What’s the last book you remember staying up late to finish?