Stop Usin’ Them Fancy Words in Mah Jumble!


This newspaper clip made the internet rounds about six months ago, but it’s new to me:

I look forward every day to working the jumble, unscrambling jumbles to make “ordinary” words, which then provide an answer to the picture drawn.

On Thanksgiving Day, R U S U Y was one of the jumbled words. My 9-year-old grandson and my sister worked for hours. He became so frustrated because he could not figure it out.

The next day the answer was “usury” – no ordinary word, not even in the dictionary.

I think you should stick to using “ordinary” words.

Patsy Lyon
Loretto KY 40037

I’m sure I wasn’t the only one reminded of the episode of The Simpsons in which Lisa gets a pony. There’s a scene in which Homer applies for a loan from Mr. Burns to buy it:

Mr. Burns: …By the way, are you acquainted with our state’s stringent usury laws?

Homer: Yoo-shoo-ree?

Mr. Burns: Oh, silly me! I must have just made up a word that doesn’t exist!

(Found via Certified Bullshit Technician.)


You’re Doing It Wrong

Truck with boat trailer lower boat into the water...truck first.Photo courtesy of Will from Dork Shelf.
Click the photo to see it at full size.

funny Life

Teach Us About Rhetorical Questions, Keyboard Cat

Here’s a great scene from a Judge Judy case (never thought I’d write those words) in which a high school student learns about rhetorical questions the hard way: in front of millions of viewers!

And technically speaking, it’s astronomers and cosmologists who find out things about space, and what we think of as “rocket science” is really rocket engineering.

The Current Situation

Party Schools and Media Training

Forget whether or not you think Arizona State University’s decision not to give President Obama an honourary degree because he hasn’t achieved enough yet was a mistake. The real lesson to learn from the whole affair is that you should never do an interview with a journalist, even a “fake news show” journo, unless:

  1. You’ve given a lot of thought to the one message you want to get across
  2. You are sober
  3. You have an IQ of at least 100

It would appear from this Daily Show clip that very few people from Arizona State (they call it “the Harvard of Date Rape”, which is probably a reference to this recent case) would be able to meet conditions 2 and 3:

The video above isn’t available to Canadian readers, but here’s the same video, as hosted on Canada’s Comedy network.

(In case you were wondering, no, Alexander Hamilton was not a President.)

Even people with three-digit IQs from real universities, such as my alma mater Crazy Go Nuts University, have fallen prey to this trap. I remember a student couple who complained about being featured in a “Sex on Campus” article in Macleans magazine even though they were interviewed about sex on campus (the young woman even boasted of her “European attitude towards sex”, which probably made her quite popular at the pub) and consented to being photographed together in a bed.

Young coed in skimpy halter top: "Party pics of Playboy's Top 10 Party Schools 2009"

Getting back to Arizona State: although it looks like a great party school, it still failed to earn a place in Playboy’s 2009 Top Party Schools list, as featured in COED magazine.


As for dealing with the media, I would recommend that at the very least, you should read a book like Media Training 101. If you have a little more money and you’re in the Accordion City area, I would also suggest taking some training from someone like my friend Michael O’Connor Clarke, who’s forgotten more about dealing with the media than most people have learned.

In the News

Memo to George Lagogianes: It’s the ISRAELI Consulate, Not the JEWISH Consulate

CP24 reporter George Lagogianes is reporting from the protests outside the Israeli Consulate near Bloor and Avenue Road. He keeps alternating between calling it “the Israeli Consulate” and “the Jewish Consulate”. For his benefit, I now present a quick primer:

  • An Israeli is a citizen of the country of Israel.
  • A Jew is a member of the Jewish ethnoreligious group.

While Israel is a Jewish nation-state and three-quarters of Israel is Jewish, not all Jews are Israelis. According to Wikipedia, there are about as many Jews in the United States as there are in Israel.

Here’s a Venn diagram that should simplify matters:

Venn diagram showing Jews and Israelis

Calling it “the Jewish Consulate” is like referring to the American Consulate as “the Christian Consulate” or the Indian Consulate as “the Hindu Consulate”. People at the homegrown TV news station of one of the world’s most multicultural cities should know better.