Some Words Given Hyphens To Make Them Look Old-Timey


Courtesy hyphens, which my love pointed out are the official punctuation of old-timey-ness!

  • news-paper
  • nine-teen
  • space-ship
  • ice-cream
  • night-time
  • make-up
  • snow-fort
  • book-shelving
  • brick-layer
  • discon-nected
  • Play-station
  • architecture-school
  • ant-eater
  • web-site
  • pin-ball
  • dino-saur
  • Emmett-Otter’s-jug-band-Christmas
  • week-end
  • doubt-ful
  • tele-vision

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index drifted down just a little bit, and when it closed the day at 109.49 everyone asked if we couldn’t just round that up to 110. No, we can not. But then people point out we would round 49 up to 50, so why can’t we round 109.49 up to 109.5 and from there it’s a short jump to 110? And this is why people who do rounding stuff professionally get all bitey.

109

Statistics Saturday: Birdhouse In Your Soul In Alphabetical Order


A a a a a
A a a a a a
A a a a a a a a
A a a

A actually actually after always am
Am ancestry and and
And and angels Argonauts at at
At be beaches bee bee bee bee bee
Bee bells birdhouse birdhouse birdhouse birdhouse
Birdhouse birdhouse birdhouse birdhouse bird-

House birdhouse birdhouse birdhouse
Birdhouse birdhouse blue blue blue
Blue blue blue bluebird bonnet
Bonnet bonnet bonnet bonnet bon-
Net but but but but but but by
By by by by canary
Canary canary canar-
Y canary canary countless doesn’t elect-
Trical filibuster
Fine fine fine fine

Fine fine fired friend friend friend friend friend friend friend friend friend-
Liness from glowing glow-
Ing guardian have I I I I
I’d I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m
I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m I’m if in in
In in in in in in in in in

In in in in in
In in in in in in
In in in infinite inside
Inside in-

Side is it it it it it it
It it it it it’s it’s Jason
Job kept killing L-I-
T-E leave leave leave leaving light
Light light light light like like lis-
Ten little little little little
Little little little lit-
Tle little little little lit-
Tle little longines lot
Make make make make make make
Make make make

Make make me me message must my my my my my
Name near nightlight nightlight
Nightlight not not not not not not not
Not not not note of of off on on
On on on on on on on on one on-
Ly only only only only

Only only
Only only on-
Ly opposite out outlet out-
Let outlet outlet outlet over
Over over over over picture
Point point point point point point primitive

(Put put put put put put really really respect) Rest rocky room
(Say say say say say say) Screaming secret ship-
(Wreck-free shores simple so soul soul soul) Soul soul soul soul soul soul soul soul
Soul soul soul spelled stood story’s switch switch
Switch switch switch Symphonette tell that that the
The the the the the the the the the

(The the the the the the the the the the the the) The the the the
(There’s though to to to to) To to to to too
(Too too too too too vigilantly watch)Es watches watches watches watch-
Es well were which while while while whistles
Who who who who who you you you you you
You’re you’re you’re your your your your your your

[ Editor’s Note: I had some words left over. There shouldn’t have been any, but I wanted to make the syllables come out right and I tried over and over until I got dizzy, and I can’t work out where they should go and I’m sorry. Maybe you can fade out repeating the ‘Make a little birdhouse in your soul’ melody or something. ]

Your your your your your your your your your
Your your your your your your your your your
Your your

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index didn’t change at all today, which everyone agreed would have made Lisa’s crack about a watched index never rising more timely and appropriate so at least that’s got many of the hurt feelings a little less hurt. Or hurt in different ways, which is the best we have anymore.

94

The Top Ten For 2016


As it’s the time of year when we run out of time for the year let’s review the Top Ten of the year gone by.

  1. August 22. This is usually a pretty solid 24 hours of the year and once again we really nailed it. Everyone involved with the production of August 22nd should give themselves a round of applause, although not in so unseemly a way.
  2. once-in-james-joyce.com. The rare follow-up project that builds on the brilliance of the original, this scrappy web site allows us to quickly look up all the words which appear precisely one time in the collected works of James Joyce. The site’s designers admitted they thought nothing might top once-in-shakespeare.com but found new challenges and delights in working with another author considering they want to be thought of as the kinds of people who’ve read Joyce without actually going to the trouble of doing it.
  3. Flatware. Although much flatware these days extends into a third dimension and so falls short of being actually flat, it nevertheless remains the best-known way to satisfy the need to have flatware. Besides, flatware can be made much more like itself if one simply is on good terms with one or more steamroller operators or possibly pile-drive drivers. You are on good terms with one or more of them, I hope, lest you have no way of slowing down that determined cartoon cat who’s been chasing you all through the construction site.
  4. Mellifluous. One of the English language’s top words for sounding like what it is without falling into an onomatopoetic trap. It’s especially good for saying out loud in case you ever need the feeling of being a comforting voice actor or movie trailer voice-over person. Rated PG-13, warnings for language use.
  5. People being buried with their cell phones. “I’m sorry, you’re breaking up — I’m entering a long, dark tunnel with a bright light at the end.” I probably accidentally stole that joke from somebody and I hope it was a friend.
  6. Simple home-recipe syrup. Despite the breakthroughs in solving higher-order syrup polynomials that make complex-valued syrups an exciting possibility we can still do quite nicely without anything but real numbers, syrup, and a trio of pancakes with blueberry that turn out to be rather more food than anyone had imagined. Also they come with eggs for some reason. And six pieces of toast. It’s getting to be a little much, but at least it’s a simple much.
  7. Adverbs. These bread crumbs of the English language have stuck on well past their expected end-of-support date. But they’re just too useful in meeting a mandatory word count. And we realize now there would be too large and too noticeable a hole if we did finally get rid of them. The hole would be where the wrong form of “a” or “an” were used.
  8. Swiss IV. This, one of the most exciting cheeses in years, overcomes nearly all the problems inherent in the original Swiss cheese. No longer are its holes too large nor too small. Thanks to the latest of aerogel dairy technology we can just have chunks of cloudlike foam that have within them the potential to be sandwiches. It’s great as it is, and promises to be only better in 2017 when we start to see rooms full of cheese air that let us finally eliminate the difference between eating and breathing. Not for the Vegan or lactose-intolerant eater, but they’re used to that. Do not ask about Swiss II or Swiss III. Everybody involved is still very sensitive about the side effects.
  9. The following Wikipedia Statement: “The Tasmanian rainforest is considered a Gondwanan relic.” Though there have been many unsettling and struggling and disturbing things about the year, to know there is still a general consensus on some rainforest somewhere being a Gondwanan relic is itself a great relief. To know that it is Tasmanian simply adds to the relief, then squares it, then doubles that result, reverse the numbers, subtracts the original number and gives us the result of 17. Is that not amazing?
  10. Chrissy the Christmas Mouse. Despite the proliferation of 24-hour Christmas music stations this chipper little ditty continues to not be overexposed. In fact I don’t remember hearing it at all since 1999 so at this point I have to suppose I just made up this little tune about a mouse that lives in the floorboards of Santa’s house and loves being around all the Christmas activity and finally one year gets to ride in Santa’s sleigh. I can’t have made that up, can I? But nobody ever plays it. So that’s good. Or maybe I did imagine it in which case I’ve got a great idea for a catchy Christmas tune that’ll become horribly overused inside of like two years. Let me know.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The Another Blog, Meanwhile index rose five points when everyone resolved they had indeed eaten too much over the eating holidays this year and they were going to start a serious diet come Monday.

89

Statistics Saturday: Twelve Days of Christmas In Alphabetical Order


  1. Calling bird
  2. Drummers drumming
  3. French hens
  4. Geese a-laying
  5. Gold rings
  6. Ladies dancing
  7. Lords a-leaping
  8. Maids a-milking
  9. Partridges in a pear tree, a
  10. Pipers piping
  11. Swans a-swimming
  12. Turtle doves

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

Seven points went a-dropping off the Another Blog, Meanwhile index as the trading floor was consumed with the question of: you can’t just prefix “a-” to any old verb, can you? Like, you can’t have drummers a-drumming? Except that sounds all right, and we could make a go of “pipers a-piping”. There must be some limits. You couldn’t have “web developers a-content-managing”, or even “web developers content a-managing”. Except now we can kind of hear that working if the melody were right and that brings us back to spoof versions of The Twelve Days of Christmas, which everyone is afraid to get.

97

Statistics Saturday: Some Words Which Mean Nothing


And which may be safely omitted from nearly all writing.

  • very
  • somewhat
  • basically
  • honestly
  • well
  • impactfulness
  • finarkle
  • nearly
  • antepenultimate
  • essentially
  • not-unjusifiable
  • closh
  • finial
  • presumptive
  • Thworbsday
  • lycopodium [as in powder]
  • stroerbnell
  • conditionally
  • imnay
  • perhaps

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

While the Another Blog, Meanwhile index lost three points, the remaining points were polished and arranged in a more tasteful manner. The result is more aesthetically compelling and makes a grand statement on the design and purpose of systems. It reminds us that the mere accumulation of points is not everything; it is the purpose they are put to which matters. That’s what we’re telling ourselves.

101

Statistics Saturday: The Whole Numbers Zero Through Twenty Ordered By Scrabble Word Value


(Ascending Order)

  • 1. one
  • 1 (tied). ten
  • 3. nine
  • 4. two
  • 5. four
  • 6. three
  • 6 (tied). seven
  • 6 (tied). nineteen
  • 9. eight
  • 9 (tied). eleven
  • 11. five
  • 11 (tied). six
  • 13. thirteen
  • 13 (tied). fourteen
  • 15. twelve
  • 15 (tied). seventeen
  • 15 (tied). eighteen
  • 15 (tied). twenty
  • 19. zero
  • 19 (tied). fifteen
  • 21. sixteen

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

Success! The mainstream and the alternate Another Bog, Meanwhile indices managed to finally get their trading desks and trading floors and trading chairs and trading wallpapers and everything in synch and they’ve gotten back together! And they even managed to do it a day they bounced back to 100, which is right where this whole project started. Now we can move ahead forward into a proud future until someone points out that someone, and we’re not saying who, Lisa, misspelled “Blog” in the official stationery.

100

Alphabet Rocked By Returned Letter


After a holdout of just over four thousand and thirteen years, the Phoenician letter Sade has announced its return to the alphabet. The late-Thursday announcement took by surprise thousands of dictionary writers, spelling bee contestants, Linotype keyboardists, and font designers still recovering from sprained ligatures. It set off an hour of panicked spelling on the Amsterdam Diphthong and Fricatives Exchange. The markets are expected to return to normal if anyone remembers what normal even is anymore.

Speaking before the press Sade shook off questions about the start of its holdout. It said the source was “obscure and, now that I’m a wiser, silly arguments. In hindsight I should not have been so stubborn”. (The Palmyrene letter Samek insisted the problem was about Sade not paying back a loan of about 25 obolus cash.) Sade denied allegations its long absence had left it an irrelevancy. Sade went on to explain that “you’ve all carried on as best you could, and for some of you that’s been very good”. This was taken to be a reference to power-letter superstar E.

“But you have been overlooking the wealth of words that rely on me, or that could.” To support this claim Sade suggested a word starting with it, and appearing in all three syllables. It would express a mild worry that you’ve left the coffee maker to burn an empty pot even though the light is off, just because you can’t be completely sure you’ve ever noticed that particular smell from the kitchen before. “And you didn’t even know you needed to express that,” Sade added, as three reporters stared at the break room.

“And it’s not as if I’ve been completely unknown,” it said to multiple polite coughs. “I’ve kept enrolled in the official newsletter. And I do play at least two games each year in Worcester [Massachusetts], per the custom.” Residents of Worcester confirmed that it had been doing that. One expressed relief to find out what the games with the strange symbol were all about. Nobody had ever had an explanation that quite satisfied. It had been supposed to just be a quirky habit of a long-time New England resident. The way some will compose witty epitaphs on gravestones and others will make johnnycakes on purpose.

The head of Rhode Island’s Department of Motor Vehicles, assuming there is one, announced the state would recognize Sade as part of the alphabet. “With luck,” she or maybe he said, “we’ll get to reduce license plate length one or two characters.” The savings would be returned to car owners, assuming they can be found.

If the letter is to be generally accepted back in there will have to be adjustments. Asked where it might fit in the alphabet — records of its old position are ambiguous or available only on web sites you have to sign up way too much for — Sade said it would be happy anywhere. “But I think I’m at my best fitting between the Z and the Upsilon.” To the silent press room it said, “There’s a few linguistics majors out there chuckling, anyway.” They are. “Seriously, I think I’d fit in best near the D. But the important thing is putting in my part for the team. Remember,” and here it smiled as if it just thought of this, “you can’t spell team with ‘Sade’, if all goes well.”

The team seems to have mixed feelings. Rookie letters J and W were quoted as saying they “knew of” Sade but “never expected to be in the same word”. J, interviewed before quite waking up, admitted “I didn’t know Sade was even still alive”. There has been no comment yet from E, whose rise to dominance began with Sade’s holdout. E seems to have stayed in its house since the announcement, doors locked and curtains drawn. Its only tweets have been some apparently pre-scheduled photos of tripping squirrels, a regular feature of its feed.

All these plans may be for nothing if spring training turns out to be too much for the long-inactive letter. Few forget how Qoppa had to retire 2,477 years ago after a wrenched serif. Sade is not worried. It noted such an accident could not happen now thanks to modern printing technology.

Sade noted how it was already available in Unicode, but what isn’t?

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

This time the alternate Another Blog, Meanwhile index fell three points. At the end of the day they looked up and saw the main index had also dropped to 103. So now the rival traders are accusing the mainstream ones of just copying them. The quarrel is getting pretty nasty, although it’s all in the polite and snarky quasi-academic tone the analysts like to use. It’d be funny if not for whatever it was that’s presumably on the line being on the line.

103

Statistics Saturday: Twelve Typos That Ought To Be English Words


  • puctures
  • gon
  • stor
  • toyble
  • crowbell
  • jeaded
  • gerat
  • hremor
  • denetistry
  • plasteroid
  • etimate
  • lemonal

Here, if you’d like to put in some deserving would-be words of your own, enjoy.

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose seven points over the day. Traders are naturally thrilled, not just because they could also say it rose seven percent and be exactly as right. Anyway everyone’s agreed that there’ll never again be a disaster like the index dropping below 100 ever again. So goodness knows what Sunday is going to bring but if it’s 99 it’s going to get so many people acting smug.

107

Statistics Saturday: Final Words In 100 Comics I Read Thursday


  • procedure
  • carpool
  • know
  • mind
  • Corvette
  • you
  • silos
  • rubbish
  • you
  • child
  • end
  • espresso
  • see
  • inventor
  • the
  • Constance
  • idea
  • shade
  • manner
  • home
  • window
  • spineless
  • contactless
  • you
  • adorable
  • deck
  • again
  • guys
  • cards
  • fast
  • here
  • touched
  • grateful
  • shell
  • sir
  • stuff
  • what’s-his-name
  • transferred
  • scores
  • sauvignon
  • confirm
  • so
  • digested
  • whistles
  • again
  • smooch
  • dinner
  • in
  • plate
  • press
  • booths
  • right
  • ball
  • Glorg
  • click
  • Murphy
  • progress
  • another
  • play
  • epilepsy
  • you
  • bullhorn
  • die
  • there
  • the
  • Selfy
  • security
  • Dale
  • bad
  • you
  • winter
  • do
  • know
  • man
  • Frankenswine
  • Richard
  • journal
  • mode
  • statement
  • leave
  • that
  • lane
  • crumb
  • it
  • trumpeters
  • it
  • it
  • guys
  • competitive
  • kilts
  • minutes
  • pepperoni
  • on
  • fries
  • jungle
  • sideways
  • self-explanatory
  • Crunch
  • ball
  • mine

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

All right, five more points down on the index. We can handle this. It wouldn’t even be a big jump tomorrow needed to wipe out all those losses and were we really at a hundred and fifty just last week? Oh gads we were, it was so little time ago, whatever happened? Why did it happen? Why?

113

Caption This: Another Question Raised By Star Trek: Voyager


Barclay sitting with his arms folded and it just happens his eyes closed while Troi watches and his cat licks a bowl of what looks like peach ice cream to me.
Deep into the sixth season, Star Trek: Voyager seeks to tap the share of the TV-watching public that just can’t get enough of the powerhouse combo of Marina Sirtis and The Guy Who Played The Guy Who Used Holodecks For Actual Fun And Power Fantasies The Way Humans Would. Guests of Star Trek: Voyager stay in the lovely Pavel Chekov Microtel convenient to the heart of the old Desilu filming lot and with great views of the Golden Gate Bridge from every single window, including the fridge door one into the freezer and the windows Barclay’s sometimes-opened eyes would show into his soul.

It’s the 24th century. Why are people having meetings in the lobby of a Cracker Barrel?

If you know or have a better thought what to do with this picture, please, use the space here. I’m mostly including a picture like this to pad out pointing over to my mathematics blog, which had some more comic strips to talk about the other day, which was yesterday. Suggested topic: why is Barclay’s cat eating a heaping dish of Brain Ice Cream? Is that really healthy for a creature made of live Photoshop “dry brush” pen strokes?

Another Blog, Meanwhile Index

The index rose a nice four points, or more than 2.8 percent, on trading that most described as “kippy” or even “disembogue” because those were the vocabulary words on the word-a-day calendar the last couple days. “Kippy” can kind of be made to fit but “disembogue” is something about rivers so they’re just showing off at this point. Also they like expressing stuff in percent because it has all those decimals and those look nice and scientific.

145

Statistics Saturday: 24 Words Prefixed By “Thermo” For No Good Reason


  1. thermocookie
  2. thermobook
  3. thermowolverine
  4. thermomansard
  5. thermoglasses
  6. thermodemocracy
  7. thermomumford
  8. thermosons
  9. thermoscraping
  10. thermoyard
  11. thermovalentine
  12. thermoflight
  13. thermoquarrelsome
  14. thermokippy
  15. thermoscoop
  16. thermolight
  17. thermoworkforce
  18. thermosoup
  19. thermoverbal
  20. thermoshort
  21. thermofling
  22. thermorain
  23. thermobounce
  24. thermoyipping

Next week: why didn’t my spell check object to “thermosons”, “thermoscoop”, “thermoshort”, and “thermoyard”? How can any of these possibly be wordlike constructs?

Will Style Guide Writers Take Over Michigan?


My love and I went to the Clearly Used To Be An Arthur Treacher’s Fish And Chips a couple blocks away, because a bunch of restaurants that have been around forever closed recently and we didn’t want to miss this one. While reading the newspaper there we got to the summary of recently-introduced state legislature bills, so you know what kind of fun people we are. I remind you, I’m a person who owns multiple pop histories about containerized cargo. But among recently introduced pieces of legislation is Michigan House Bill 5770. If passed, it’ll change some state law references regarding the Department of Community Health to the Vital Records Office. The blockbuster bill would also change “Department of Human Services” references to “Department of Health and Human Services”, reflecting some department mergers and renamings. Also if I’m reading it right they’re changing a reference to the “commission for the accreditation of birth centers” to the “commission for the accreditation of birth centers”. I think that was put in to see if anybody was reading closely. I was skimming.

I don’t mind the state legislature bowing to the forces of Big Copy Edit like this. Of all the special interests that might have their way in the capitol, the fearsome Blue Pencil Squad is one I’m not so afraid of. Sure, I’d like the roads to get fixed too, but I understand that takes money. This just takes fixing the web site listing state laws.

What gets me is that this bill has seven sponsors. Why? What was the controversy someone was hoping to squelch by showing the bill started with broad support around the state? Is it the bit where the use of “pursuant to” is changed to “under”? I bet it’s that. I know the kinds of people who say “pursuant to” and they will put up a heck of a fight to make other people say it.

I don’t mean to make this a political blog. But put me down in favor of correcting references to government departments in order to reflect the current names or the mergers of agencies into new administrative structures. And I don’t care who I’ve offended by saying this, unless it’s my love or the guy making my fish and chips meal. To them I say I’m sorry and remind them of my deep and long-held moral cowardice. Thank you.

Me Week: How To Write Out Numbers


When I was barely old enough to understand any of the editorial page writers, I understood and loved Art Buchwald’s Thanksgiving-Explained-To-French-People essay. The love’s stayed with me. A good nonsense explanation is maybe perfectly fitted to my attitudes. I love learning things, and yet, I love seeing the form of exposition smashed and scattered about and rebuilt into gibberish. It’s a tough mode to get right. It needs to have a strong enough factual backbone that the piece has the grammar of explanations. But it also needs a strong enough whimsical and absurdist backbone to carry the reader through.

How To Write Out Numbers, from April 2014, is one of my attempts at this that I’m happy with. In it I get to blend my love of mathematics with my deep interest in copy editing and standard-setting. I know what sort of person this makes me, but maybe you’ll also like it. If you don’t, that’s all right. We still probably have some things we can talk about.

Statistics Saturday: The Twelve Most Patriotic English Words


  1. Flagpole
  2. Governor (politician)
  3. Cinderblock
  4. Muskrat
  5. Aileron
  6. Six
  7. Governor (engineering)
  8. Granite
  9. Necessitous
  10. Interscholastic
  11. Postcard
  12. Practice

Based on generally accepted scholarly consensus from the words’ private writings or interviews with knowledgeable parties and, in some cases, interviews regarding the words’ political views.

Statistics Saturday: Word Counts Of _The Scooby-Doo Show_ Episode Titles


From the 1976 Scoopy-Doo/Dynomutt Hour. Dynomutt episodes omitted, even the ones with Scooby-Doo and the Gang crossing over.

Word Appearances
’76 1
a 13
an 1
and 2
at 1
awake 1
away 1
Aztec 1
bad 1
bats 1
beast 2
beeline 1
Bermuda 1
bottomless 1
bum 1
Camelot 1
caper 1
case 3
cats 1
chase 1
chiller 1
Chinese 1
claw 1
creature 1
creepy 5
crew 1
cruise 1
curse 1
dark 1
deep 1
demon 2
demons 1
diabolical 1
diller 1
disc 1
don’t 1
face 1
fear 1
feline 1
fiesta 1
fling 1
for 1
fortress 1
fortune 1
fright 1
frightened 1
froggy 1
from 2
game 1
gator 1
ghost 4
ghoul 1
go 1
grand 1
gruesome 1
hair 1
Halloween 1
hang 1
harum-scarum 1
Headless 1
heap 1
high 1
Highland 1
hoodoo 1
Horseman 1
host 1
hound 1
humor 1
in 5
iron 1
is 2
it’s 1
jaguaro 1
jeepers 1
kooky 1
lake 2
lot 1
make 1
Mamba 1
man 1
meets 1
menace 1
monster 1
monstrous 1
movie 1
near 1
night 1
no-face 1
of 10
old 1
out 1
Ozark 1
prix 1
quarterback 1
race 1
raiser 1
rise 1
sacked 1
sanitarium 1
scared 1
scaredy 1
scary 1
Scooby 1
Scooby-Doo 2
Scooby’s 1
shark 1
shocking 1
snow 1
spirits 1
spooky 1
steer 1
switch 2
tangle 1
tar 1
that 2
the 33
theater 1
there 1
there’s 1
thing 1
to 1
triangle 1
underground 1
vampire 1
Venice 1
Viking 1
Voodoo 1
vulture’s 1
Wamba 1
warlock 1
watch 1
Watt 1
where’s 1
willawaw 1
Wimbledon 1
witch 2
with 2
zombie 1

For the first time in the Scooby-Doo franchise neither Jekyll nor Hyde appear in episode titles. Also there was an episode in Venice that was never put into syndication for some reason? Canada too, and that one had a sea monster and everything. The heck, guys? When I was eight I’d have loved to see Scooby-Doo with a sea monster. You’ll give me the episode where, according to Wikipedia’s description, “the gang meets up with tennis star Jimmy Pelton, who has been cursed by a warlock”, but not a Canadian sea monster? The heck, I mean really, what the heck?

Statistics Saturday: Word Counts Of _The New Scooby-Doo Movies_ Episode Titles


Word Appearances
a 1
affair 1
and 1
Baron 1
Bigfoot 1
candy 1
Caped 1
caper 1
carnival 1
coming 1
country 1
creep 1
Crusader 1
deep 1
dinner 1
Doo 1
Duncan’s 1
dynamic 1
exterminator 1
factory 1
fog 1
fracas 1
Frickert 1
from 1
ghastly 1
ghost 3
ghostly 1
good 1
guess 1
Hagglethorn 1
hall 2
haunted 5
horseman 1
Hyde 1
in 1
is 2
island 2
Jekyll 1
Knott 1
loch 1
medium 1
mess 1
missing 1
music 1
mystery 2
Ness 1
of 7
Persia 1
phantom 1
rare 1
red 1
Sandy 1
Scooby 1
secret 1
shark 1
show 1
showboat 1
spirited 1
spooked 1
spooky 1
sports 1
the 22
to 1
town 1
Wednesday 1
weird 1
who’s 1
winds 1
Winona 1

Most surprising point: while Hyde appeared in episode titles for both Scooby-Doo Where Are You and The New Scooby-Doo Movies Jekyll does not.

Statistics Saturday: Seven Words Whose First Syllables Are Like Those Of The Days Of The Week


  • Sundae
  • Monkfish
  • Teughly
  • Wedging
  • Thurible
  • Friability
  • Saturation

No, “Teughly” is not a word, but the Scrabble Dictionary allows it, as a giggle.

Robert Benchley: The Word “Three”


I’m a know-it-all. By this I mean simply that I assume you have an opinion about David Rice Atchison, and whatever it is I am prepared to argue that you are wrong. It’s amazing that I don’t spend more time running away from people meaning to slap me. But I credit that for my always loving the mock-explanatory essay. I love the real things, certainly, but the humorist who can capture the rhythms of explanation while producing nonsense — well, that’s wonderful. Robert Benchley in My Ten Years In A Quandary And How They Grew provides one of the most perfect examples of this. From the fourth paragraph on there’s barely a misfired word or a weak sentence, and the first three paragraphs are a good warming up. The antepenultimate paragraph alone is worth learning what “antepenultimate” means.

The Word “Three”

I don’t know whether you care or not, but etymological circles are in an uproar. They have just discovered what the word “three” comes from.

They have known the derivation of all the other words in the number-table (as, for example, “two” from “Tuesday,” or the second day in the week if you don’t count Sunday as the first, and “five” from the god Woden, or Thor, or Buttercup, and so forth and so forth), but they have never been able to figure out where the word “three” came from.


A little fellow from the University of Welf discovered it. He doesn’t speak English himself, but he is awfully interested in people who do. It was during one of these periods (I should have told you that he has periods when he looks up words) that he found out about the word “three.” He was looking up the word “tree” and, not speaking English well, he thought that it was pronounced “three.” You can see how that might very well be.

The word “three” comes to us direct from the French, collect. The original word was (and still is) tri, which means a sorting, or, as in card-playing, a deal. Thus, one would say: “Give me a tri,” or “How is your tri?” meaning “Give me a deal” or “How is your deal?” If one were really speaking in French, of course, all the other words in the sentence would be French, too. (i.e., “Donnez-moi un tri” or “Votre tri, ça marche?”)

Just how the word tri got into the French language is a mystery which occupies practically nobody’s attention at the moment. It is supposed to have come from the Creole patois of New Orleans, and was used to signify hurry or lethargy. The old form of the word was blo, which gradually was shortened into tri. Later the whole word was dropped from the language by a rising vote.

The Normans brought the word into England just before the Norman Conquest. In their use of it an extra syllable was added, making it triouille, meaning white-bait or Roger crab. We still are no nearer than we were to finding out how it came to mean three of anything. Don’t think that I’m not just as worried as you are.

With the advent of water-power and the subsequent water-pistol, Luke (Luke was the fellow I was speaking of a few yards back) didn’t know what to do. Unless I am greatly mistaken, this paragraph belongs in another article.

Well, anyway, the people who are making up the English language found themselves with names for every digit except “three.” And, as there were three of quite a lot of things (Marx Brothers, blind mice, wishes and cent stamps) it got increasingly embarrassing not to have a word to express “three.” They tried using the word “four,” but it ended only in confusion, especially when addition or subtraction was at stake.


Suddenly someone said: “Why don’t we take the word tri from the French? They’ll never miss it, and they owe it to us anyway.” This seemed like a logical plan, and everybody but one man agreed to it. He later committed suicide when he found out how successfully it had worked out. “I was a blind fool,” he wrote.

As it sounded rather common to say tri, they put in an h and substituted a double e for the i. This made as pretty a “three” as you could wish, and from that day on it was a part of the language. They tried it out in a little rhyme: “One-two-three—buckle my shoe,” and it went so well that soon everybody was saying it.

Frankly, I don’t know whether I like it as a word or not. It still sounds a little slangy.

Statistics Saturday: My Use Of The Term ‘Crazypants’ Versus Time


Recent peaks: discussing the crazypants art teacher in the comic strip _Luann_, finally reading a plot summary of 1979's film _The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh_, and making this chart.
Until recently I just assumed The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh was one of those 1970s magic-animal-saving-stuff movies. It turns out it’s more a crazypants disco basketball movie.

You know how it is you just sometimes realize you’re using a word way more than normal? This happened to me recently.

If you’ve got any notable uses of the word “crazypants” or are curious about my other word uses let me know!

Not charted: the crazypants Immanuel Kant quote that kind of set off this whole recent crazypants phrasing.