October 23, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: I Don’t Speak English — I Speak American!

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesday — Tags: , , , , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 8:44 pm


I love words, but I especially love weird, non-English (or American English) “loan” words that Americans have co-opted over the centuries because they so perfectly (and usually much more succinctly) sum up a full phrase. Here are my top ten favorites of the bunch!

10. Yankee – From the Dutch, in reference to the English colonists who began settling previously Dutch-dominated areas in the New England and northern mid-Atlantic regions. To wit: before it became New York City, the Big Apple was known as New Amsterdam.

9. Pundit – From the Sanskrit “pandit”, referring to learned individuals renowned for their wisdom. Nowadays all you need is a decent suit and a TV camera to earn this title!

8. Ad lib – From the Latin “ad libitum”, directly translating as “at one’s pleasure”, but commonly used to describe improvisation, particularly as it pertains to speech. See “binders full of women”, etc.

7. Lingua Franca – From the…lingua franca. OK, this one is weird — it actually refers to the composite language used to facilitate trade and communication between various western European peoples (particularly around the Mediterranean rim) and the wider world who spoke different native languages. It refers to the “language of the Franks”, and became the dominant European language following the rule of Charlemagne. These days, I’m pretty sure the lingua franca is just a mash-up of Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Carly Rae Jepson lyrics.

6. Femme Fatale – French for “deadly woman”. Can run the gamut from sultry vixens like Jessica Rabbit to more authentic representations of the term, like Sharon Stone’s ice-pick-happy character in Basic Instinct or Glen Close in Fatal Attraction. Really, any stab-happy female.

5. Zeitgeist – German for “of the times”. An angrier-sounding synonym for “pop culture”. Or a bad Smashing Pumpkins album.

4. Blitz – Also German, meaning “lightning”, but so much more awesome. “Blitz” can refer to a “shock-and-awe”-style military campaign, sending swarms of large, athletic men after one much smaller athletic man to “tackle” (hurt, maim, kill, disable, grope) him, or as a more enthusiastic synonym for “inebriation”; “I got BLITZED last night, dude!”

3. Nemesis – From the Greek for “retribution”, but currently used as a catch-all for revenge, comeuppance, downfall, etc. Remember the G.I. Joe animated movie from the late 80s? There’s a reason every boy (and probably some girls) of a certain age loved it, and that reason is Nemesis Enforcer.

2. Doppelgänger – From the German for “double walker”, this word has lost some bite over the centuries. Originally it referred to one’s evil twin; now it just refers to any old look-alike.

1. Schadenfreude – Again with the German! I love this word most of all, as it really has no comparable one in English: “pleasure derived from the misfortune of others”. Now, I’m not saying it’s cool to be an un-caring jerk — but schadenfreude has its place AND its merits. “When the Tigers swept the Yankees in the 2012 American League Championship Series, I totally indulged in some good, old-fashioned schadenfreude.”

(H/T to Adj for sparking the idea for this post!)

April 10, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Nerdy Nail Art

Filed under: Top Ten Tuesday — Tags: , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 5:43 am

Since joining Pinterest (follow me!) I’ve been noticing an obsession with nail art. So many questions, so few answers. Are these women actually painstakingly painting each nail this way? Isn’t doing your right hand a lot more difficult (or your left hand if you’re a southpaw)? In any case, enjoy…I guess…

November 1, 2010

Mystery Monday Brings Mystery Computer Files?

Filed under: Mystery Monday — Tags: , , , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 10:05 pm

New from NYC, the Dead Drop project has arrived. Creator Aram Bartholl explains:

“I am pleased to preview ‘Dead Drops’ a new project which I started off as part of my ongoing EYEBEAM residency in NYC the last couple weeks. ‘Dead Drops’ is an anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. I am ‘injecting’ USB flash drives into walls, buildings and curbs accessable to anybody in public space. You are invited to go to these places (so far 5 in NYC) to drop or find files on a dead drop. Plug your laptop to a wall, house or pole to share your favorite files and data. Each dead drop contains a readme.txt file explaining the project. ‘Dead Drops’ is still in progress, to be continued here and in more cities. Full documentation, movie, map and ‘How to make your own dead drop’ manual coming soon! Stay tuned.”

This could really go any way. The cynic in me expects jerks to vandalize or load these drives up with viruses. Sad :( On the other hand, this could result in some spectacular James Bond-like cloak and dagger fun. Maybe a little of both? Of course if nature has its say, and doesn’t it always, these poor drives won’t be long for this world. Think Snowpocalypse 2010! Even my patio furniture couldn’t stand up to that beating. USB drives don’t stand a chance.

What would you share on one of these drives?

August 25, 2010

WTF Wednesday: Star Wars Yoga

Filed under: WTF Wednesday — Tags: , , , , — ex-boyfriend @ 10:44 pm

Although I spend my fair share of time at the gym, I must confess, I never developed a fondness for yoga. My gym has free classes, but I’d sooner lick a bus stop than sit though an hour of lotus pose set to Southeast Asia-style hippie tunes. I don’t want to hug the earth or feel the child’s pose. I just want to listen to some Fugazi and sweat out last night’s boozy indiscretions.

I guess in an effort to get yoga to man up (or nerd up), You Will Not Believe has come up with a “Star Wars” themed yoga system. I’m not duped by this obvious ruse though. Whether it’s “downward facing wookie” or “downward dog”, I’d rather spend my afternoon on the treadmill thanks.

Speaking of boozy indiscretions, $5 Dos Equis yards at Woody’s Rum Bar in Fells Point tonight. I’m there!