I’m bored and sad, so let’s do some more dialect quizzies. Areas in red are places that pronounce things similar to how I do; areas in blue pronounce things most differently from how I do. Here are the interesting ones to me:
I apparently pronounce “Colorado” like an East Coaster (colo-RAH-do).
Pronunciation of “pecan” (pick-AHN). I blame my Missouri-born mom.
“Route” (rhymes with “out”). Montana has my back on this one.
Woo! Give it a shot here.
I done speak good
A few of my friends posted this on their Facebooks and so I decided to check it out and then post it here ‘cause it’s pretty freaking snazzy. I found the link to the whole data set here.
Some of the interesting ones to me:
- I pronounce “crayon” like “cran” (rhymes with “can”), which is the common pronunciation in Minnesota/Wisconsin/Michigan/that region.
- I pronounce “realtor” as “reel-uh-ter,” which is a little more common in the Midwest/upper south.
- I pronounce “roof,” “room,” “broom,” and “root” with the same vowel sound, which is very common in the south and New England.
- My “route” rhymes with “out” and that would probably get me beat up in New England, who strongly prefers that it rhyme with “hoot.”
- I say “garage sale” rather than “yard sale” or “rummage sale.” Garage sale is common in Tornado Alley.
Crappity Crap Crapperson McCrapsty.
Our final essay in English is a “larger world” essay, meaning that we have to write about something beyond ourselves but still relate it back to ourselves in some way or another.
(I think I’ve blogged about this before.)
Anyway, before today my choice was between the calculus controversy and anosmia.
Now I’ve added in Antarctica.
We had to do a short writing exercise about a childhood obsession. I picked Antarctica by mistake. I say “by mistake” because now that I’ve rambled on about it for only 5 pages I just want to keep going. Which wouldn’t be bad except for the fact that my copies for my workshop are due in a week.
I think I’ll just stick with the calculus controversy. It’ll give me an excuse to dive back into Philosophers at War.
Claudia + 0 = 0
Wow, I am extraordinarily stupid.
IN OTHER NEWS:
I’m conflicted over what I want to write about for my “big” essay in non-fiction. We don’t have a lot of guidelines, but one of them is that the topic be “bigger world” oriented—that is, it’s something that exists outside of our own lives but at the same time is something we can relate to a personal experience or trait or idea.
I’ve got two ideas in mind:
1. Calculus. Yes, again. I had a lot more I wanted to say in my original essay that I couldn’t due to page limit restrictions. But this essay is longer, and it’s the perfect opportunity to expand my older essay. The only problem is, apart from me being a math major, I really don’t have a way to “personalize” the calculus debate. Unless I talk about my beyond creepy obsession with Leibniz. And I don’t know what my English prof would think of that.
2. Anosmia. I’ve never really written about it in any serious manner, and that’s actually what I was planning on doing my long essay on in beginning non-fic, but then I was like “oh hey, I wanna write about LEIBNIZ!” and so that changed. The problem with this option is that since I’ve never really thought about writing about anosmia, I don’t at the moment have any idea of a cohesively structured essay. And my workshop is April 17th (or something) so I’d need to bang that noise out fairly quickly.
Bah. So I don’t know. Weekend shall be spent mulling in a puddle of self-directed anger.
LIKE EVERY WEEKEND THIS SEMESTER UGH.
Hey, remember back when my blogs were good?
I may have mentioned this video on here before, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never posted it or really talked about it. And I re-discovered it the other day, so here you go.
This nifty little song is called Prisecolinensinenciousol. Written by Italian Adriano Celentano, the song’s lyrics are total gibberish designed to sound like American English.
Catchy, ain’t it? I remember one spring when Nick and I would talk to each other in fake French we actually convinced some dude at Hastings that we were really speaking French. We’re bad people, oui?
Do babies deprived of disco exhibit a failure to jive?
You know, sometimes the most “pointless” analyses turn up the coolest stuff.
Today I had…get ready for it…FREE TIME! So I decided to try analyzing a fairly large dataset using SAS (’cause SAS can handle large datasets better than R and because I need to practice my coding anyway).
I went here to get a list of the 5,000 most common words in the English language. What I wanted to do was answer the following questions:
1. What is the frequency distribution of letters looking at just the first letter of each word?
2. Does the distribution in (1) differ from the overall distribution in the whole of the English language?
3. Does either frequency distribution hold for the second letter, third letter, etc.?
LET’S DO THIS!
So the frequency distribution of characters for the first letter of words is well-established. Wiki, of course, has a whole section on it. Note that this distribution is markedly different than the distribution when you consider the frequency of character use overall.
I found practically the same thing with my sample of 5,000 words.
So this wasn’t really anything too exciting.
What I did next, though, was to look at the frequencies for the next four letters (so the second letter of a word, the third letter, the fourth, and the fifth).
Now obviously there were many words in the top 5,000 that weren’t five letters long. So with each additional letter I did lose some data. But I adjusted the comparative percentages so that any difference we saw weren’t due to the data loss.
Anyway. So what I did was plot the “overall frequency” in grey—that is, the frequency of each letter in the whole of the English language—against the observed frequency in my sample of 5,000 words in red—again, for the first, second, third, fourth, and fifth letter of the word.
And what I found was actually really interesting. The further “into” a word we got, the closer the frequencies conformed to the overall frequency in the English language.
The x-axis is the letter (A=1, B=2,…Z=26). The y-axis is the number of instances out of a sample of 5,000 words. See how the red distribution gets closer in shape to the grey distribution as we move from the first to the fifth letter in the words? The “error”–the absolute value of the overall difference between the red and grey distributions–gets smaller with each further letter into the word.
I was going to go further into the words, but 1) I left my data at school and 2) I figured anyway that after five letters, I would find a substantial drop in data because there would be a much lower count of words that were 6+ letters long.
COOL, huh? It’s like a reverse Benford’s Law.*
*Edit: actually, now that I think about it, it’s not really a REVERSE Benford’s Law; as I found when I analyzed that pattern, it too rapidly disintegrated as we moved to the second and third digit in a given number and the frequency of the digits 0 – 9 conformed to the expected frequencies (1/10 each).
In This Blog: Eighth Grade Literary Tomfoolery
Yeah, it’s pretty much official: the only story I’ve ever written in which there is no character death is Prime. And that’s because the characters were numbers.
In searching for an old poem this evening, I came across this little short story. I remember writing this back in eighth grade during a soccer match I had to attend because I was in a sports medicine class. Yeah, yeah, I know, don’t ask me why I took sports med. I think I just wanted to learn the names of the bones and didn’t realize that the “sports” aspect of the class would involve six hours devoted to sitting on the sidelines at [insert random sport] and waiting for someone to sprain an ankle or break a toe or get heat stroke.
Party on, Moscow Junior High.
* * * * *
His name was Lars Robertson, but we never called him that. He was born with a hearing problem, and by the time he was six and I was seven, he was totally deaf. When he was seven and I was eight, he was in a bad car accident and lost both his arms: the left one just above the elbow and the right one in the middle of the upper arm. He didn’t seem to care. He just smiled from the hospital bed, pumping his bandaged stumps up and down as if he were trying to fly, and asked his mom to give him a candy bar. From then on, we called him Stumps. It’s not like he cared, he just smiled.
His parents didn’t understand why he was so happy. Sometimes at dinner they just stared at him in wonder.
“Why Lars?” his father asked.
His mother asked, “Why both his arms?”
And Stumps asked, “Could someone please pass the peas?”
I am surprised that Stumps can talk as well as he can. It’s always in the same tone, and sometimes he forgets a word and just mumbles incoherently as a substitute, but he’s pretty good for a deaf kid. He can’t use sign language, that’s for sure, and his parents can’t afford prosthetics right now, but Stumps has seemed to have adapted well to having no arms.
For instance, he’s a natural at soccer. He has socks put on his stubs to keep them warm, goes out on the field, and wins. He doesn’t just play, he wins. Our boys’ soccer team hasn’t lost a game since Stumps joined. Last season, we played for the championship. The other team made two goals. We made four. Stumps made three of them. After we won we lined up to shake hands with the losing team. The team captain went to congratulate Stumps; he stuck out his hand to shake. When he realized that Stumps had no hands, he took a step back, looked around nervously, and mumbled a hurried, “Good job.” Stumps smiled and flapped his empty jersey sleeves. He was a good lip reader.
Once, when I went to McDonald’s with Stumps and his parents, Stumps told them that he wanted to play soccer at the Olympics.
“You mean the Paralympics, dear,” his mother said.
“No,” Stumps said. “The Olympics.” His mother looked at his father. They looked so sad, like they didn’t want Stumps to be in the Olympics, but they didn’t say anything else.
Stumps looked at me. “The Olympics. Right, Louie?”
“Right,” I told him, and fed him his french-fries.
Stumps is really nice to me. Every time I make a goal he calls me Louie Kablooey and dances around. And I’m pretty much the only one who talks to him. There are these two bullies at school this year: Zack and Ricky. They’re both in the third grade, and they both pick on Stumps a lot. I try to help Stumps, but Ricky always corners me and if I try to get away he kicks me or throws rocks at me. One time Zack tripped Stumps and he fell flat on his face. Then Zack picked him up by the shirt and shook him. Then he brought Stumps over to me and held him right up close to me.
“Say ‘Stumps is an armless monkey-butt,” he told me.
“No,” I said.
Ricky was standing right beside me, and he told me to say it or else he’d beat my brains out. I wanted to be nice to Stumps, but I also wanted to keep my brains, so I said it quietly.
“Louder!” Zack commanded.
I yelled, “STUMPS IS AN ARMLESS MONKEY-BUTT!” and everyone turned and laughed and looked at Stumps. Zack dropped Stumps, Ricky threw me in the dirt, and they ran off, laughing. I got up and went over to Stumps. He had rolled onto his back and his nose was bleeding. He had tears on his cheeks, but he smiled when he saw me and flapped his arms, trying to sit up. I lifted him and carried him like a baby to the boys’ bathroom.
“I am sorry, Stumps,” I told him. “I don’t think you’re an armless monkey-butt.” Stumps smiled and said that it was okay as I turned on the sink water for him to wash the blood off his face.
On Stumps’ eighth birthday, I went over to his house to watch him open his presents and to have cake. Stumps was all dressed up. He had a black suit on, which had no sleeves to it, and fancy shoes. Everybody, even Stump’s older brother Michael, was wearing a party hat. It was weird to see Michael opening the presents even though it was Stump’s birthday, but Stumps just smiled. I gave him a new soccer ball.
“It’s got little blue circles in every white place,” I said. Stumps told me it was the best present he’d ever gotten. While Stumps fooled around with the soccer ball, Michael tore open another present and produced a pair of blue socks.
“I can use these,” Stumps stated, “for my stubs when I play soccer, now. They match my ball.”
“Those are for your feet, Lars,” his mother told him. “You use all of your socks for your stubs, but these are special socks. They’re for your feet only.”
Stumps’ smile disintegrated. “But all my other socks have holes in them,” he said. “They make my stubs cold.”
“Then maybe you should try something else for your stubs, son,” his father said. “Or not play so hard when it gets cold outside.” Stumps looked at his father as if he didn’t understand a word he was saying, while his mother removed Stumps’ shoes and old dirty socks and replaced them with the blue ones.
“These fit your feet so nicely,” his mother said to Stumps. “And look—no holes for your toes to poke out! Isn’t that nice?” Stumps examined his feet, and all he said was, “They match my ball.”
About a week later, I thought of the perfect present for Stumps, and brought it to school the next day.
“Hey Stumps,” I said. “I’ve got a present for you.” I pulled the lid off the shoebox and took out the toe socks. I had gotten them a few years ago from my grandma, but I never wore them because they itched my feet. I put one sock on each of Stumps’ stubs. “See?” I told him. “Now it’s like you have fingers.” Stumps smiled and told me it was the best present he’d ever gotten.
Stumps went around for the next three days wearing the toe socks. He showed them off to everybody and told them all that I had given them to him. He was just getting used to them when one day, he came to class without them.
“Stumps,” I asked him. “Where are your fingers?”
He scrunched up his face real tightly trying to remember the words to say, but came up with “mmmmm…” so I left him alone for awhile. If he was left alone, he could sometimes think of the words. This time, he didn’t.
It wasn’t until after school that day that I found out what happened to his fingers. I was walking out of the building when someone grabbed my backpack and swung me around. It startled me so much that it took me about 10 seconds to realize that it was Stumps’ mother. She demanded I tell her if I had really given Stumps the toe socks.
I stood there, shocked, then squeaked out, “Yes.” Then she got a real mean look on her face. Stumps’ mother had always been very relaxed and kind, even though she worried about Stumps a lot. But then, she gripped my shoulders really tight—I thought I would scream—and said, “Don’t you ever disrespect my son that way again. Just because Lars has no arms doesn’t mean you’re better than he is in any way, Louie. Do you understand?” I nodded. “You don’t make fun of people’s disabilities.” She looked hard into my eyes, then let go of me.
Slowly, I started walking home. I was crying. I didn’t understand Stumps’ mother. I wasn’t trying to make fun of Stumps, I just figured he’d want to have fingers. I told him this the next day, and he just shrugged his shoulders and said, “You weren’t making fun of me. I liked having fingers, anyway.”
It was November and the soccer season was over, but it didn’t matter to Stumps. Even after it started to snow in December, Stumps would wait for the snowplow to clear their street, and then dribble the soccer ball I had given him for his birthday up and down the street for hours a day. He continued this until three days before Christmas when he got a bad case of pneumonia and his mother took away his soccer ball.
“No more soccer,” she told him “until the spring.”
I had tried to avoid Stumps’ mother since the day she yelled at me, so Michael called me that night and held the phone up so that Stumps could talk to me. “Louie, now what am I supposed to do?”
I was about to tell Michael to tell Stumps to try something like drawing or yo-yoing, but then I remembered that Stumps couldn’t do any of those. “Dance, Stumps,” I told Michael finally. “You can dance. You like to dance.”
I heard Michael repeat this to Stumps. “There’s no dancing in the Olympics,” he told me.
I thought he wouldn’t try it, but when we got back to school in January, we started square dancing in gym, and Stumps was better than all of us. The girls were afraid to dance with him, but Stumps didn’t care. He just stood alone in the corner, spinning in circles and pumping his stubs like a wild man and laughing the whole time. It didn’t seem to matter to him that he couldn’t hear the music. It also didn’t matter that he wasn’t square dancing—he was still better than all the rest of us.
The gym teacher held a competition for the whole school, and Stumps won. He even beat the sixth graders. He got applause and five dollars. His mother and father were very proud. I think they wanted him to quit soccer, but Stumps wouldn’t.
“But you’re such a good dancer,” his mother protested. “You could join a dance club after-school and perform for many people.”
“I like soccer better,” Stumps replied.
In March, Stumps began kicking the soccer ball around again, and his mother gave up all hope of ever getting Stumps to dance. I didn’t see Stumps at all that summer because we went to Maine to spend the summer with my grandma. Stumps’ brother wrote a letter for Stumps to send to me:
Dear Louie Kablooey,
Mom told me the Olympics wouldn’t take me without arms. I didn’t believe her, but she kept saying it. She told me there had
never been a person without arms in any Olympic sport, and I said that I would be the first. Michael told me about this
Jamaican Bobsled team. If Jamaicans learned to bobsled without snow, can’t I play soccer without arms? What do you
I answered him by saying that he should try for the Olympics no matter what his mother told him, but I also said he’d look good with arms. I even drew him a picture. I think he liked it, because he wrote back saying that he was looking for arms. I showed this letter to my mom.
She laughed. “I don’t think that little boy has any idea of how prosthetics cost. I’d like to see their family afford two arms.”
When we got back at the beginning of the school year, Stumps had already saved up $50. “I got twenty of it from dancing competitions,” he told me. “I didn’t think that you could get that much money for just dancing. My partner’s name is Brittany. She’s not afraid to dance with me. She says I’m a really good dancer.” It turned out that Brittany had to teach Stumps every single step and every single rhythm because Stumps could not hear the music. The other $30 Stumps had earned had been from his birthday money and donations from his mother’s friends.
“I hear Lars wants prosthetics,” one would say to her. “Give him these $5 and wish him good luck.”
She would try to tell them that there would be no way that Stumps could save up the $30,000 it would cost for both arms, but they gave it to her anyway. He didn’t collect candy on Halloween night; instead, he wore a sign on his shirt that asked for donations for prosthetic arms. He went around the town without socks on his stubs so he could show them to curious donators. Before Halloween, he had about $80. After Halloween, he had over $120.
His mother got curious about where Stumps was keeping all the money and asked me about it. This was the first time she’d spoken to me since she yelled at me about making fun of Stumps. I told her I had no idea where Stumps was keeping his money, but she kept pestering me for the answer.
“You started this madness,” she said to me “with those toe socks. You think this is going to make his life easier?”
“If he gets the arms it will,” I replied.
“Do you have any idea how much prosthetic arms cost?”
I guessed at around $500 for each arm. She just shook her head and walked away.
Stumps continued practicing soccer and dancing after school in his dance club with Brittany as well. When Stumps told her about his raising money for new arms, she was ecstatic.
“Then you can really twirl me!” she said.
Stumps got really sick in February—sick enough to have to stop going to both school and the dance club for awhile. We were in 4th grade, and Stumps missed all this important testing stuff, as well as the concert for the dance club. Brittany was upset because she had to dance with another partner, but because she was used to leading and he could twirl her for real, they won the $10 prize.
Brittany gave half of it to Stumps. “So you can dance with arms next year and be my partner!” she told him. By now, Stumps had over $200. But he was still very sick. His mother took him to the hospital to see what was wrong with him and why he wasn’t getting any better, and the doctors did a lot of tests. And when they did find out what it was, it wasn’t good. Stumps had stomach cancer.
The doctors thought that this cancer had been growing for about five years and had just started causing problems. I asked my mom if the cancer didn’t do anything bad to Stumps until it got big enough, kind of like a splinter in your foot wouldn’t hurt unless you stepped on it wrong, and she told me that cancer was a lot worse than any splinter. Also, we found out that Stumps’ cancer was inoperable, which meant that they couldn’t take it out. He had to stay in the hospital.
I asked if Stumps was going to die, and mom said, “Most likely, dear.”
From that point on, I tried to spend as much time with Stumps as I could. But his hospital room was scary—it was very white and there wasn’t even a window in it. He had a needle in his shoulder and a lot of monitors around his bed. But every time I came into the room, he’d smile and ask me to tell him stories or to play a simple game with him.
One day in early April, Stumps’ mom caught me outside of Stumps’ room and said she needed to talk to me. “The doctors say he’s only got about a month left to live,” she told me while we walked slowly down the hall.
“Does he know he’s going to die?” I asked her.
She sighed and put her arm around my shoulder. “Oh, he’s known that from day one,” she said. “Lars is a fighter. He’s strong—but not stronger than cancer.” Then we stopped walking and she put her hands on my shoulders, only this time she didn’t yell at me.
“What does he want?” she asked me. “What does he want more than anything else in the world?”
I thought. “He wants arms,” I told her. “But that’s not the thing he wants most.”
“What does he want most?” I paused. “He wants you to want him to be in the Olympics.” I paused again. I felt like Stumps, trying to think of the right words. “He wants your…approval,” I said at last.
She took her hands off my shoulders. “My approval. Out of all the things he could want in the world—even more than a pair of arms—he wants my approval. How could I be so stupid?” I started to tell her that she wasn’t stupid, but she interrupted me by saying that I could go see Stumps. I could tell she was crying, so I left her.
I wasn’t there when Stumps’ mother told him that she approved of him trying out for the Olympics, but Stumps later told me that it was the best day of his life. Then his mother did another good thing—she got Stumps his arms. The $400 Stumps had saved up, as well as another $1,000 was enough to persuade a prosthetic expert to give a dying boy his last wish.
It was May when Stumps was no longer Stumps. Even though he was in extreme pain, he was able to sit up and have the two prosthetic arms fitted onto his stubs. Everyone in the room clapped for him, and Stumps, for the first time in three years, was able to raise his arms up into the air. He made the ‘touchdown’ sign, and everyone laughed. It was like a birthday party—there were cards and teddy bears and balloons.
I said goodbye to him the next morning.
“Thank you,” he said to me “for being my friend. And for teaching me how to dance. I would have never met Brittany or raised enough money for my arms.” He used what little strength he had in his left stub to raise the plastic arm. I grabbed the cold, fake fingers, and shook hands with Stumps.
“Goodbye, Louie,” he said, smiling.
Stumps passed away on the morning of May 5th, 2003. They were going to have an open casket service for him, and his mother asked me if he should be buried with the prosthetics attached.
“No,” I said. “He wouldn’t be Stumps without his stubs.”
“Stumps?” His mother had never known about his nickname.
“It’s what we all called him,” I said. I expected her to get mad at the thought of a nickname like ‘Stumps,’ but instead she just smiled.
“It’s cute,” she told me.
At the service, I was afraid. A lifeless Stumps was in the room with everybody looking at him and crying over him. I didn’t want to go at first, but my mom said it would be disrespectful to Stumps if I didn’t at least see him in his casket. I walked to the front of the church. Stumps looked like he was asleep; I felt as if I could reach out and shake his shoulder and he’d wake up and smile at me. But I didn’t; I knew it wouldn’t happen.
He was wearing the same suit that he had worn on his eighth birthday, but instead of the fancy dress shoes, he was wearing the shoes he always danced in. He had the blue socks on his stubs, and the prosthetics lying beside him. The soccer ball I had given him was down by his feet. Brittany was there and we said ‘hi’ to each other and stood looking at Stumps before we walked out of the church. But before we left his side, I turned back to look at him, and I could swear he was smiling.
I still visit Stumps’ grave every once and awhile. I put a soccer ball on his plot a few years ago, but some kids stole it, so ever since then, I’d put flowers or a poem there for him. But the best part is what’s written on his tombstone:
Lars ‘Stumps’ Robertson
Artz n’ Letterz
So this is something I noticed a long time ago, but going through my playlists in iTunes this afternoon made the observation come to the forefront of my mind: when I sort my “Top Favorites” playlist by artist, I notice that a large amount of the songs (68%) are by artists whose names begin with a letter from the first half of the alphabet (A – M). When I sort my entire music library in this manner, I find the same proportion (okay, 67%…it’s pretty damn close). And you know what’s more interesting? If I sort by the TITLE of the song, I get the same proportion again! OOH, OOH, and sorting my freaking book list gives the same 67% as the music.
I find this quite fascinating. Has anyone else ever noticed this type of pattern in any of their things? It’s interesting to me that this 2:1 ratio keeps coming up. This requires exploration.
Hypothesis: this 2:1 ratio occurs because the first half of the alphabet contain more letters that appear more often as the first letters in English words.
Method: utilizing letterfrequency.org, I found the list of the frequencies of the most common letters appearing as the 1st letter in English words*. I used this list as a ranking and, using a point-biserial correlation, correlated this ranking with a dichotomized list of the letters, in which letters in the first half of the alphabet were assigned a value of “0” and those in the second half of the alphabet were assigned a value of “1.”
Results: here are the two values being correlated alongside their respective letters:
Where the “X” column is ranking by the frequency of appearance as the first letter of a word and the “Y” column is a dichotomized ranking by alphabetical order. Point-biserial correlation necessary because one of the variables is dichotomous. So what were the results of the correlation? rpb = .20, p = .163.
Conclusion: well, the correlation isn’t statistically significant (p < .05) by a long shot, but I’ll interpret it anyway. A positive correlation in this case means that letters with the larger dichotomy value (in this case, those coded “1”) tend to also be those same letters with a “worse” (or higher-value) coding when ranked by frequency as the first letter in English words. So in plain English: there is a positive correlation between letters appearing in the second half of the alphabet and their infrequency as their appearance as the first letter in English words. In other words, letters appearing in the first half of the alphabet are more likely to appear as the first letter in English words. Not statistically more likely, but more likely.
Meh. Would have been cooler if the correlation were significant, but what are you going to do? Data are data.
*Q, V, X, and Z were not listed in the ranking, but given the letters, I assume that they were so infrequent as first letters that they were all at the “bottom.” Therefore, that is where I put them.
Blog 1,434: yeah, best New Year’s resolution EVER.
This “new song a day” thing is really probably the best resolution I’ve ever made. Why? Because when you actively seek out a new song everyday, you’re bound to stumble across awesome stuff like this:
When they drop into Viva La Vida at 3:44, I think my heart stopped. The subsequent singing didn’t help.
Oh, and here’s something to satisfy everyone’s English geekery:
Edit: and you know what song sounds freakishly cool played backwards? Cut Copy’s Lights and Music. Just FYI.
Today’s song: Rain by Mika (yeah, I had to)
Apparently the Competence Train doesn’t stop in Vancouver
A YouTube video in which is represented every mistake in every Infancy paper I read this semester.
“He’s stealing your cups because he has werewolf instinct”
Hahahaha what the hell.
As I was transferring all my crap from Vaio onto Vaio II, I came upon this little bit of writing I did in 5th grade. Our job was to pick a well-known fable and modify it as much as we could while keeping the general idea. My idea was to mess with “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” but as you can see, I got a little…um…carried away with other stuff.
Dear Davis Love III,
This letter was just written to you from a remote nuclear power plant in Russia. At this moment now, some crazy English sheep, who seem to be drunk on herbal tea, are crying out my name (which, by the way, is Vladimir Rimidalv) and beckoning me to join them for their afternoon tea. If you ask me, they’ve been obsessed with this ‘tea’ thing ever since Dimitri (their owner) took away their cigarettes. Dimitri had worked at the plant all his life except for the three years he spent on the Russian Space Station. Of course, he gave me the most formal greeting a guy with a half-liquefied brain could: “Welcome to the Russian Space Station.” Then he broke out into a round of the Russian National Anthem. If you could have heard his rancid voice and seen his crazy gestures, you’d know what I mean when I say he should’ve stayed in space where he belonged. Anyway, as you can tell, it is chaos up here. I‘d like to know more about Roswell, NM, and, by the way, weren’t you a famous golfer at one point? Sincerely, Vladimir Rimidalv.
Dear Vladimir Rimidalv,
I think your living by a remote power plant is really interesting. Have you ever thought about opening a soup kitchen there? I bet you would get lots of money. Hey, why don’t you sell herbal tea to those annoying sheep? When you write about Dimitri, it began to worry me. Do you know about werewolves? I’ve been doing some research on them, and I’m pretty sure he is one. Here are some things to look for: séances every full moon, extra hair, and dangerous-looking teeth. Roswell, NM is really sort of like your place. I would send you one of my school pictures, but they got burned up one day when I was walking home from school (they accidentally set off a nuke!). Watch for the signs.
Dear Davis Love III,
I opened that soup kitchen you suggested, and my business is not that great. I’m selling more than soup, too. Cappuccino is the only type of thing that gets me money; the groups of sheep come at least three times a day. I’ve learned a lot about them in a week. The leader, who buys all the tea, is named Keith. He’s not the smartest though…Roberto is. He’s the one who invented the coffee filter. The most proper is Marvin. He’s always telling me how to pour the tea. I’ve been watching Dimitri. I’ve purposely been making key chains that say: “Welcome to the Russian Space Station” just to get him over to my shop and get a closer look at him. And I’m afraid to report that I think he really is turning into a werewolf! He’s growing more hair on face and his teeth are turning silver. Also, he’s stealing my cups. What’s up with that??
Dear Mr. Rimidalv,
An answer to your question: he’s stealing your cups because he has werewolf instinct. They can’t stay away from Styrofoam. Anyway, keep the cups away from him. They encourage the developing werewolf.
You won’t believe what happened! It was all the boy’s fault! And the sheep’s! And yours! Anyway, I was selling tea to the sheep, just like normal, and having a nice conversation with Marvin, when the boy came up, looking more like a werewolf than ever, and snatched up about 2/3 of my cups! So naturally, I started screaming “Boy! Boy!” I grabbed the burning hot coffee from Marvin’s paws and dumped it on Dimitri. Of course, the sheep began to freak out. They were all galloping all over the place until Marvin, who had uncurled from his hiding position, said, “Hey! That’s not a werewolf! It’s Dimitri!” All the chaos stopped. “But he is a werewolf,” I shouted. “Really! He’s turning hairy, his teeth are silver, and he is stealing my cups!” “No, I’m not a werewolf,” he replied. “I’m growing a beard, I got braces a few days ago, and I’m taking your cups because I want you to stop getting my sheep drunk!” I looked at the sheep. The sheep looked at me. With Marvin’s help, I pushed him into a sinkhole, and he was never heard of again. The sheep went with me on a tour of England, and we made a fortune selling herbal tea.
Sincerely, Vlad R.
StumbleUpon is simultaneously destroying and improving my free time
Best sentence ever!
English is so weird.
I almost flew off the handle last night until I realized I didn’t have wings…
Ahh, Sean, where would I be without you?
Well, I’d be looking up rarely used words online at 2:00 in the morning all alone, that’s where.
This was fun. It was inspired by our Psych of Emotion class, in which our teacher claimed there was no exact English word for the German word Schadenfreude. It turns out there is—it’s epicaricacy. We found it on this online dictionary full of a bunch of rarely used words.
So here are some interesting ones in my opinion, plus some fun snippets of our conversation.
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: this is a goldmine for confusing people
*hsus says: hell yes
*hsus says: bookmarked
Xenodocheiorology: love of hotels and inns
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Tittup
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: To prance
*hsus says: haha
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: I’m so using that in everyday conversation
*hsus says: good luck
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: “Tittup over there and get me those papers!”
*hsus says: wow, you really need to be a teacher
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Haha
*hsus says: ‘cos for some reason that fits perfectly
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Final exam: “Tittup or F in the class. It’s up to you to figure out what that means”
*hsus says: haha
*hsus says: that’s cruel
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: But oh so funny
Adoxography: good writing on a trivial subject
*hsus says: “oh, we’re covering this?”
*hsus says: “why, do you think we shouldn’t?”
*hsus says: “well, I’m just saying it’s a bit…adscititious is all”
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Haha
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: “But…but we’re not talking about acid at all”
Sacerdotophrenia: clerical stage fright
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Haha, schediasm
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Impromptu work
*hsus says: nice
*hsus says: that also describes my pscyh papers
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Same here
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: And essentially every other paper I’ve written/will write
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Freud paper? OH SHIT
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Doctorate thesis? OH SHIT
Obdormition: when a limb “goes to sleep”
Steatopygous: pertaining to or characterized by a large buttocks
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Parasigmatism
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Inability to pronounce the sound “s”
*hsus says: awesome
Leibniz Rocks My Socks says: Which would suck to tell someone you have, seeing as it has two “s”s in it
*hsus says: “I have para-…para-…fuck it”
Perissotomist: a knife-happy surgeon
A Farm-Thawing Sun (or, “Fun with Anagrams”)
Or, “Hidden Meanings in Popular Phrases”
Or, “Claudia’s Bored Out of Her Mind and Loves Playing with Words”
Or, “Reason 764 Why Claudia Should Not Be Allowed on the Internet”
Or, “Claudia, Stop Making Alternate Titles, STFU, and Get to the Blog”
I kept the most interesting ones. Explanations follow in parenthesis. Enjoy.
~Lame Child Aura (oh come now, that’s cruel. It’s my first and last names now!)
~Hula-Clad Ramie (a ramie is an African bush. This does not describe me, but I thought it amusing anyway)
“Claudia Marie Mahler”
~A Hued Malarial Crime (haha, that’s funny, ’cause my last name, in ancient Egyptian, is translated as “Malaria.” Thank you, 7th grade history class.)
~A Radical Mime Hauler (mimes piss me off. And I’m rather radical).
~Hi. A Marmalade Ulcer, I (not grammatically correct, I think, but funny nonetheless).
“The Origin of the Universe”
~Thou Thrive in Foreseeing (ooh, deep!)
~Horniest Refugee Hit Vino (vino is wine, for those of you not knowing. In other words, the horniest refugee hit the wine, thus creating the universe.)
“The Secret of Life”
~Theft of Celeries (kleptos, you hold the secret.)
~The Relic Toffees (quick, archaeologists, search for ancient toffee! This will tell us all!)
~These Feet Frolic (dancing?)
~Of These I Reflect (this would make sense if it were “the secrets of life, but then the anagram wouldn’t work)
~Sit. Feel The Force (haha, creepy. George Lucas knew all!)
“What Blogging Leads To”
~A Bad Wiggle-Thong Lost (hahaha…I totally want a “wiggle thong!”)
“University of Idaho”
~A Fed Rhino Visit You (a tribute to the grammar I’ve seen)
~A Hoofed Ruin. It’s Ivy (haha.)
Yeah. This is why I need school, people.
Thog! Mind mammoth! It bite hard!
So we had a fun little thing to do in my fiction class today where we had to tell one the stories in our book as if it took place in a different setting. I thought it would be rather fun to do Carver’s “Cathedral” with cavemen (“What a cathedral? Mmm, Thog not know,” etc.). It was rather funny.
Yeah. That’s all I got today.
Though I probably won’t post my blogs until…oh…let’s say next Wednesday, I just wanted to explain why I haven’t been keeping up. In my lit class we’ve been deeply involved in…oh, what’s it called…oh yeah! THE ENGLIGHTENMENT!
I must say, I like it. I like it a lot. But today we had our test and now we’re moving on to Romanticism (ugh.).
So let the good times roll! Blogs will be appearing soon!
Philosophy in English
…well, not really. But it was a fun discussion.
In English, we spent most of our time trying to figure out why the expression is “horse shit” or “bull shit” and not something with more substance…like, for instance, “whale shit”.
Makes sense, doesn’t it? I think I’ll use “that’s w.s.!” a lot more often.