Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Friday, March 17, 2021

I do like me some wordplay, with an especially soft spot for puns. So I’m down with “Word Fugitives: In Pursuit of Wanted Words”, Barbara Wallraff’s compendium of necessitated verbage for a modern age.

Some examples:

Reader Allan Crossman, of Oakland, Calif., asked: “I’m looking for a term that describes the momentary confusion experienced by everyone in the vicinity when a cell phone rings and no one is sure if it is his/hers or not.”

Wallraff say that with ring tones, “you’d think that that would be history even by now. But no, people still experience ‘pandephonium.’” Or is it ringchronicity, ringxiety — or even fauxcellarm?…

“I’d like a word for that feeling that you always arrive after the heyday, the boom, or the free ride. For example, when I started college, the drinking age was raised; when I graduated from law school, the job market disappeared. Now I am trying to buy a house, and prices are soaring. This is more than disappointment. It’s about missing a departure when you’ve never been advised of the schedule.”
- Catherine Mehno, Weehawken, N.J.

More than a few people thinking about this word fugitive make a generational association, and take the matter personally. For instance, Yvonne deReynier, of Seattle, admitted, “It’s a feeling I’m familiar with myself,” and suggested the term GenXasperation. Popular suggestions of the same type include buster and late boomer.

I’m feeling a bout of GenXasperation right about now, actually…

This is veering into too-cutesy territory. Like anything, it’s easy to overload on inside references, to the point where the cleverness cache is exahausted, and/or the inside info is so reliant that too many people miss the meaning. But introduced sparingly into the vernacular wild, it’s cool.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/17/2006 07:15:40 PM
Category: Creative, Publishing
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I was just watching an old episode of “All in the Family”. As always, I have the closed captioning enabled (I’m not deaf, but I like having text accompaniment, in case I mishear something).

At one point, Archie Bunker is yelling his head off, talking about the “banana oil” he’s being fed. But on the closed captions, that slang term is spelled out as “banana royale”.

I don’t know if the person(s) doing the captions thought Archie was referring to a plant or ice cream. Or maybe they were taking a too-literal definintion of banana oil into account.

Whatever it was, it was weird to read “banana royale” on the screen.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/17/2006 06:39:08 PM
Category: Comedy, Food, TV
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Katherine Harris is doggedly keeping her floundering U.S. Senate bid alive by injecting $10 million of her own money (inherited from her recently-departed father) into the campaign.

This, despite polls showing her trailing Democratic Senator Bill Nelson by 20 percentage points — basically the same deficit she’s been running against the incumbent this whole time. Not to mention her own party is doing everything it can to replace her with a more viable candidate.

What happens from here is fairly predictable: Harris will lose big to Nelson, and she’ll blame Florida Republicans for undercutting her and the media for sliming her. She’ll still hold onto her Sarasota U.S. House seat for as long as she wants it (see the comments, below) — they love her there, regardless of how incompetent she is — but her role as a major player in the GOP will be finished.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/17/2006 06:22:18 PM
Category: Florida Livin', Politics
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I couldn’t let the holiday pass without indulging in a Shamrock Shake from McDonald’s. Small size, but still full of minty-green goodness.

Much like the shamrock motif present in today’s AdSense units, I wish I could get Shamrock Shakes every day of the year. Not to the point where I’d get Sinn Fein about it, though.

Incidentally, this is my fourth (and last) St. Patrick’s post of the day, which is a fourfold increase over last year’s solitary entry. Some years you’re inspired, others not.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/17/2006 05:54:35 PM
Category: Comedy, Food
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As this year’s 150,000-strong St. Patrick’s Day Parade starts rumbling down 5th Avenue, I’m sitting here watching coverage on Channel 4. It’s too damned cold, and I’m not much for parades anyway, regardless of the occasion.

I can wait until nightfall (when it’ll probably be colder out, but more bearable because I won’t be standing on the street exposed) to celebrate the holiday. In the meantime, I’ll step out for lunch and a couple of errands, along with some work.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/17/2006 11:06:23 AM
Category: New Yorkin'
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If you’re going to tipple in honor of St. Patrick today — and I know I will — be mindful of which brand of Irish booze you choose. Depending on how oldschool the pub is, a certain whiskey might be pointedly off the menu:

Distilled in County Antrim, in Ireland’s north, Bushmills has been derided by some as “that Protestant whiskey.” As Jameson comes from County Cork, in the heart of the Republic, it’s no surprise that some Catholics refuse to drink anything but.

“I know people that prefer one over the other, just for taste,” says George Clancy, a bartender at Patrick Kavanagh’s on Third Avenue. “But some would ask for Jameson, knowing what it stands for. Sometimes people will tell you why they’re drinking it, because they want to let you know they know what the difference is.”

It’s not as big a deal anymore, especially in terms of business: Until recently, both Jameson and Bushmills had the same corporate parent in Pernod-Ricard (Bushmills was sold to Diageo last summer).

But you never know. At the very least, you might find yourself bellying up to a bar, next to some old guy from Dublin, and get an earful as soon as you ask for a dram of “that Protestant whiskey”.

Or, I suppose, you could avoid the issue altogether and stick to the ubiquitous green beer. (Yuck.)

Personally, I’ve drank far more Jamesons than Bushmills. It’s not a preference, it’s just based on availability — seems like Jamesons is more common in bars. To be fair, I’ll doubledip tonight, where possible.

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/17/2006 10:34:43 AM
Category: Food, History
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It’s St. Patty’s Day. I think today’s Google AdSense themed ads, displaying subtle background images of shamrocks, accents this blog’s green theme quite nicely. Almost makes me want to keep them year-round, regardless of whether or not they’ll boost clickthrus.

And speaking of shamrocks and Saint Patrick, there’s an interesting legend about how he made instructive use of their shape:

The story was first recorded in 1726 in a book about the wild flowers of Ireland written by an English dissenting (protestant) cleric, Dr Caleb Threlkeld, who recorded that

This Plant [white clover] is worn by the People in their Hats upon the 17. Day of March yearly (which is called St. Patrick’s Day.) it being a Current Tradition, that by this Three Leafed Grass, he emblematically set forth to them the Mystery of the Holy Trinity.

Which brings up an interesting point: If the common three-leafed clover symbolizes the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, then what does the sought-after four-leafed sprout symbolize? And why should such a blatant departure from Christian symbolism be considered lucky? Theologicially speaking, it should be a shunned pagan offshoot.

So, you heard it here first: If you wear a four-leafed shamrock today, you’re probably going to Hell. Who’s lucky now, hmm?

by Costa Tsiokos, Fri 03/17/2006 10:01:34 AM
Category: History
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