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March 20, 2008

Going to need a bigger laser
Posted by Avram Grumer at 07:37 PM * 179 comments

Next time anyone needs a great example of lasersharking, I can just point to the first half of this Paul Ford post.

(Also, at some I’ll actually have to get around to watching The Wire. Maybe after we finish Deadwood. And Paranoia Agent.)

(And I was sore tempted to use this video for the Deadwood link.)

Comments on Going to need a bigger laser:
#1 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 08:15 PM:

We make laser shark jokes all the time in my lab, even though our lasers are essentially just green laser pointers. It makes us feel more powerful.

I keep getting Deadwood and Torchwood mixed up in my head. I think
that when I actually get around to watching either, I'll get them
unmixed.

#2 ::: Claud R ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 08:21 PM:

Dear god, they've let Spider Jerusalem watch The Wire...

#3 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 08:32 PM:

I keep getting Deadwood and Torchwood mixed up in my head.

Oh, man, there's gotta some crossover fanfic!

#4 ::: Ulrika O'Brien ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 08:40 PM:

I keep getting Deadwood and Torchwood mixed up in my head. I
think that when I actually get around to watching either, I'll get them
unmixed.

Oh. Yeah. Hell, if you just get around to *listening* to them, you should be able to tell them apart. The language on Deadwood is blue enough to make a drunken longshoreman blush. Torchwood just sounds Welsh.

#5 ::: Papawhale ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 08:49 PM:

DO see the Wire---it's well worth the time...great characters and
story, acting superb! loved Deadwood...Torchwood not so much...but i
ain't Welsh

#6 ::: Hurricane Chapman ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 09:45 PM:

I still think Paranoia agent has the most brilliant intro ever.
Seems benign and silly the first couple times, but as the series
progresses and you begin to understand what you're seeing, it becomes
horrifying.

I can't watch that opening without chills up the spine.

#7 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 09:47 PM:

Ulrika writes at #4:

Oh. Yeah. Hell, if you just get around to *listening* to them,
you should be able to tell them apart. The language on Deadwood is blue
enough to make a drunken longshoreman blush. Torchwood just sounds Welsh.

Who on Torchwood sounds Welsh?

I've seen the first season.

I don't get to listen to Welsh people much, so I'm not confident in my ability to spot the accent(s).

Gwen, of course. And Gwen's boyfriend.

Not Captain Jack.

Ianto, pretty sure.

Toshiko?

Owen?

Educate me.

(And what is the purpose of the giant pillow-shaped thing in downtown Cardiff?)

#8 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 09:54 PM:

I keep getting Deadwood and Torchwood mixed up in my head.

Two of my favorite shows. Of course, the fact that I also loved Everwood means that I have even more -woods to take up space in my brain.

#9 ::: Paul Duncanson ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 10:59 PM:

Bill @ 7: (And what is the purpose of the giant pillow-shaped thing in downtown Cardiff?)

Is this the pillow-shaped thing you mean?

#10 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 11:21 PM:

Paul Duncanson #9:

Yes, of course.

#11 ::: Jon Rosebaugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 20, 2008, 11:30 PM:

Bill #10:

It's a beacon for the Doctor, innit?

#12 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 12:21 AM:

Does the Doctor sound Welsh?

#13 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 12:30 AM:

Bill Higgins @7: Wikipedia claims it's the Millennium Center.

There was a bit in Season 2 of Torchwood that felt a little like
Deadwood, jung jvgu Bjra'f fhqqra, arneyl zrnavatyrff qrngu, ohg gura
ur pbhyqa'g oybbql fgnl qrnq. (Naq V ernyvmr guvf vf n fubj juvpu
erirnyf va gur svefg rcvfbqr bs vgf svefg frnfba gung gur grnz pna
oevat crbcyr (oevrsyl) onpx gb yvsr, naq gung gur grnz'f yrnqre pna'g
qvr. Vg'f hayvxryl gur jevgref jbhyq whfg yrg Bjra tb. V fgvyy guvax vg
jbhyq unir orra zber fngvfslvat vs gur fubj unq tbar nyy
rkvfgragvnyvfg.)

Crossovers would be totally in-genre, given the Torchwood team's
previous time-travelling, and could be fucking awesome. Chaotic Good
Jack meets Chaotic ??? Deadwood, hilarity ensues.

#14 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 12:41 AM:

Bill Higgins @12: I've heard David Tennant-as-the-Tenth-Doctor's
accent described as "Estuary English," though I don't know quite what
that means. It's certainly not Welsh.

The actor David Tennant actually has a mild Scottish accent, as seen here, about a minute in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsyTDAM--5k

Ironically, so does John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness), though
that clip doesn't show it -- he switches from American to Scottish
halfway through this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1m0gA0yBA8c

#15 ::: Andrew Plotkin ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 01:00 AM:

Re the four-season Wire series intro:

Battlestar Galactica has also done one of those. (As a direct
homage, unless the Wire one is newer, in which case it's the other way
around.)

Now: someone must have done a pastiche of this form, which starts out clean for about fifteen seconds and then starts lying.

"Buffy moves to a new school because she burned down her old one.
She meets Xander, Willow, and Cordelia. Cordelia doesn't like her.
Giles tells Buffy to fight robots. Boom. The robots come for her.
Willow is dating Cameron, who's secretly a robot. So is Boomer, but the
Scorpius in her head doesn't know that. Buffy explodes. Boom. Now
Patrick McGoohan is pissed, and here's where it gets complicated..."

I rely on the power of ML to find me one of these by tomorrow.

#16 ::: Jim ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 01:39 AM:

It's hard for me to decide which I like better, The Wire or The Shield, but Deadwood is without a doubt the win. The Wire is much deeper and has an excellent portrayal of the environment that creates crime, but The shield has by far the better characterizations, and it possesses a grand sense of continuity.

But Deadwood? It was just so much fun. Pure obscene poetry, and it's a gol darned shame the C*********s cancelled it.

Torchwood honestly left me cold. It lacks a certain manic
glee that the good Doctor brings to his show, and I found it's
"raciness" forced. Meh.

#17 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 02:05 AM:

I keep getting Deadwood and Torchwood mixed up in my head.

I can totally see John Barrowman and Ian McShane going into a clinch. I'm just not sure what would come out.

#18 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 02:06 AM:

We haven't had TV for a year now, so I haven't watched the Deadtorch
or Wirewood or whatever you people are watching now, but (1) the kids
and I really get a kick out of making
references to sharks with frickin lasers on their heads, and (2) that
Paul Ford post was the most hilarious thing I've read in a while.

#19 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 03:24 AM:

"You know what, DavidSimonCreatorOfTheWire? I just read the
five-thousandth interview with you and enough. And you know what I'm
going to do? I'm going to create a TV series myself and my show is
going to last five MILLION seasons and it is going to BLOW YOUR MIND.
It's going to be set in even worse parts of Baltimore, maybe in the
sewers, and it will show HBO viewers not just the “Other America” but
the Other Other OTHER America..."

Umm... waiter? I'll have some of whatever he's smoking...

#20 ::: Lucy S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 04:10 AM:

Kayjayoh @ 8: Into the -woods?

#21 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 04:17 AM:

I could so go for half-leopard/half-human cops.

(Goodness, and just imagine Gene Hunt marking his territory.)

#22 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 08:55 AM:

What would be even better is if Deadwood were pulled through the rift so that it overlapped with Cardiff.

The sheriff has his hands full because the weevils keep attacking people and everyone thinks it's the Chinese.

Swearingen starts selling alien gizmos behind the bar.

Calamity Jane joins Torchwood and Captain Jack has to quell a race riot in Roald Dahl Platz by making out with everyone.

#23 ::: J M McDermott ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 09:28 AM:

Paranoia Agent is glorious.

A couple of the episodes edge towards preachy, but they are quickly
fixed by the strange surreality of the symbolism, and the general
inventiveness of the action.

Parania Agent is invited my birthday party. At my birthday party there will be laser tag, pizza, and cake.

#24 ::: J.D. Rhoades ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 10:03 AM:

I would totally watch that series.

#25 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 10:32 AM:

"Warm, flat Canadian Tab with a dead rat floating in it."

#26 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 10:54 AM:

J M McDermott @ 23 -

Parania Agent is invited my birthday party. At my birthday party there will be laser tag, pizza, and cake.

The Cake is a lie!

#27 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 11:25 AM:

A bigger laser, or An Equally Large Boa?

#28 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 11:39 AM:

I'm halfway through Series 1 of Torchwood, and I have to say
it's not the lack of manicity (welll, whaddaya want, 'manicness'?) that
gets to me, so much as the total lack of happiness. If anyone's happy
for 5 minutes it means they're about to die or be made miserable. And
happy endings? Not so far, not that I remember.

I love a tragic episode every now and again, don't get me wrong. But
does EVERY episode have to be so unrelievedly bleak? Granted, I'm
depressed currently, and that may lead me to remember only the sad bits.

So John Barrowman is a Scot, huh? That explains the tiny
imperfections in his American accent, as well as the writing errors in
his part (which an American actor would point out). For example, in one
episode he says "fancy a walk?" An American would say "wanna take a
walk?" or "let's take a walk."

You might say he's adopted some British English usages, and I have to go into spoilers to say why I don't think so:

Vs ur'f orra va Ratynaq fvapr avargrra sbegl-bar, gura vs ur'f
nqncgnoyr ng nyy ur jbhyq unir gur onerfg genpr bs na Nzrevpna npprag
yrsg. V'ir xabja crbcyr jub'ir ybfg gurve nppragf va yrff guna gra
lrnef! (Oevgf jub pbzr gb Nzrevpn qba'g graq gb ybfr gurvef nf dhvpxyl;
V rkcrpg guvf znl or orpnhfr n Oevgvfu npprag (naq zbfg Nzrevpnaf
pbhyqa'g gryy Pneqvss sebz Znapurfgre jvgu n tha gb gurve urnqf) vf
pbafvqrerq punezvat naq rira frkl va Nzrevpn, jurernf V trg gur
vzcerffvba na Nzrevpna npprag vf n qvfgvapg artngvir va gur HX.)

Ba gur bgure unaq, vs ur'f ABG nqncgnoyr, gura ur jbhyq unir gur
npprag bs zvq-gjragvrgu-praghel Nzrevpn, abg rneyl-gjraglsvefg; ohg
gura ab bar qbrf nhguragvp crevbq nppragf va ragregnvazrag. Ohg gurl QB
hfr crevbq cuenfvatf naq jbeqf, naq Wnpx qbrfa'g.

Guvf vf xvaq bs gur erirefr bs n guvat V pbzcynva nobhg va fgbevrf
frg va gur shgher, jurer crbcyr jr xabj nf lbhat ner qrcvpgrq nf byq,
naq sbe fbzr ernfba gnxr gb fnlvat "qntanoovg" naq bgure guvatf byq
crbcyr fnvq onpx va gur friragvrf. Byq crbcyr fbhaq byq orpnhfr gurl
gnyx gur jnl gurl qvq jura gurl jrer lbhat! Va svsgl lrnef, crbcyr jvyy
fbhaq byq jura gurl fnl "NUUf'z!" naq gur xvqf jvyy ynhtu ng gurz. Ohg
ab bar jvyy fnl "qntanoovg" hayrff gurl'er n fpubyne bs
rneyl-gjragvrgu-praghel rhcurzvfz.

#29 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 11:43 AM:

Kip 25: Did you get that from Stuart Stinson? I did (except I think
it was a mouse), and I had thought he made it up. Possibly it's spread
untraceably far by now; I think it was 1979 or somethine when I heard
him say it.

#30 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 11:57 AM:

And I thought a laser shark was a guy who pretends to be really bad at laser tag until he gets you to bet the big bucks, then cleans you out. Live and learn.

#31 ::: broundy ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 01:38 PM:

Xopher, I had the same reaction to Torchwood, and stopped watching halfway through the first season.

But I was lured back for Season Two, which I think has improved
immensely. It's not all happy endings, but there's more of a sense of
humor, and when people die it has some meaning behind it, not just the
universe being nasty. And episode 2, with James Marsters (Spike!) as
Jack's old partner (in every sense of the word) is just a fun show,
filled with sex, murder, and rollicking good times.

#32 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 01:41 PM:

Deadwood was great up until Hearst, and then it became one big tease
with no payoff. The series finale left me going "What? That's it?"

#33 ::: J M McDermott ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 01:55 PM:

Oddly enough, I think "Paranoia Agent" is a laser-sharked "Lain".

And, I like Paranoia Agent better, because of the laser-sharking.

#34 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 02:11 PM:

Xopher (28): You are absolutely right about linguistic changes as
depicted in popular entertainment*. But I would like to point out that
I have been known to say 'dagnabbit', and I'm only in my forties.
(wheezes, shakes newly-acquired cane)

*i.e., badly

#35 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 02:26 PM:

You are absolutely right about linguistic changes as depicted in
popular entertainment*. But I would like to point out that I have been
known to say 'dagnabbit', and I'm only in my forties

I read a lovely article about that very phenomenon somewhere, and
now I can't find it. Talked about how, about when the Warner Brothers
cartoons (the principle example, IIRC) were being made, most old people
really had grown up somewhere rural, and saying 'consarn it!' was
something they'd actually do.

Darn, I wish I could find that article!

Did anyone watch Batman Beyond? I thought 'schway' was a
really great bit of invented slang, and I seem to recall an old guy
getting funny looks for saying 'cool'--though as slang goes, 'cool' is
practically Methuselah at this point and shows no signs of slowing down.

#36 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 03:14 PM:

Carrie S. #35:

though as slang goes, 'cool' is practically Methuselah at this point and shows no signs of slowing down.

"Cool" really is an astonishingly enduring slangword. It's been
around since the 60s, right? And while probably 99% of the slang
current at the time is completely dated (and has been for twenty years
at least), "cool" is still, um, cool to say.

Groovy, man.

#37 ::: Emily H. ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 03:30 PM:

Carrie S., I'm almost certain that the article you're looking for is here. (I'm a LanguageLog devotee).

#38 ::: The Constructivist ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 04:31 PM:

Hmm, have you gotten to the point in Paranoia Agent where the writers couldn't figure out where they were going any more? When do you think they jumped the shark?

#39 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 05:30 PM:

So John Barrowman is a Scot, huh? That explains the tiny
imperfections in his American accent, as well as the writing errors in
his part (which an American actor would point out). For example, in one
episode he says "fancy a walk?" An American would say "wanna take a
walk?" or "let's take a walk."

Well actually, Barrowman moved with his family to Illinois when he
was eight or nine and only moved back to the UK after college. So I'd
say the American accent is pretty natural. From what I've read, he uses
his Scottish accent in Scotland and when he is with his family, and the
American accent everywhere else.

#40 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 05:34 PM:

Deadwood was great up until Hearst, and then it became one big
tease with no payoff. The series finale left me going "What? That's it?"

I have read through the third season on TWoP, and it is that exact
reason that has me hesitating to start watching the last season.
Nothing but bad things happening to characters I like, with nothing to
make up for it. Cbbe Ryfjbegu! Ubj qner gurl?

#41 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 06:16 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 34... Those kids still on your lawn?

#42 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 06:20 PM:

As for the character "Captain Jack Harkness" (played by Barrowman),
he's neither American nor British, in fact he's not Terran, which is
mildly ironic for the head of a team of alien-hunters, and is also
something he hadn't mentioned to his team the last I saw -- now that
should be an interesting revelation for them to handle....

#43 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 06:24 PM:

Speaking of outdated words...

"Meeting you and Jimmy and Mr. White - on the whole I think it's swell."

"Swell. You know, Clark, there are very few people left in the world these days who

sound comfortable saying that word... 'swell'."

"Really? It just sort of comes naturally to me."

#44 ::: Jim ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 06:29 PM:

@30 and 42, the end of Deadwood season 3 wasn't the "season
finale" per se, it was canceled without getting enough time to finish
up the storyline. There was talk of wrapping things up in a couple of
movie length episodes, but "they have not come to fruition".

The story of my life.

#45 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 06:39 PM:

Leigh @ 36: I vaguely recall reading sometime ago that "cool"
actually dates back much farther than the 1960s. If I recall correctly,
it was used in the same meaning back in the 1920s -- and possibly
earlier, but I don't know for sure. I'll have to dig out my Dictionary
of Slang.

#46 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 06:54 PM:

Serge (41): Yep. Which is quite an accomplishment, considering I live in an apartment and don't have a lawn.

#47 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 06:58 PM:

Xopher #28, Kayjayoh, et al, I've noticed for a fair while (mentioned before)
there seems to be a 'down' tendency in the UK dramas I've seen. It
could, of course, be my own selection &/or memory that are skewed.
I'm not sure if it's happening in US ones, which I see less of, but
from the concentration I've heard about on icky murders in the crime
series and comments on Battlestar Galactica and now Deadwood, perhaps a bit.

James Nicholl coined a good description, originally for Peter Watt's Blindsight for this style of story: "recommended for those with a surfeit of will to live".

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 07:00 PM:

Mary Aileen @ 46... "You kids get off my metaphorical lawn!"

#49 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 07:56 PM:

Pyre 42: First, that's a spoiler. I haven't gotten to that in Torchwood yet. They clearly rewrote history a little from the Doctor Who character, because in early eps of Torchwood he has flashbacks to WWII. Or maybe he's been time traveling, of course.

Second, if he's faking being an American, one of these people
should notice that he's not getting it quite right. Like, say, the copy
who knows how long he's (supposedly) been in England?

#50 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 08:07 PM:

Cop, not copy. Duhh.

#51 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 09:14 PM:

Wikipedia has an interesting article
about the word cool and its aesthetic meanings. I can't speak to
anything but the "Americas" section, but the word was in use here
(Wikipedia says) in the 1940s. I think I've read about its usage even
earlier, in the 1920s and 1930s among jazz musicians.

#52 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 09:44 PM:

First, that's a spoiler. I haven't gotten to that in Torchwood
yet. They clearly rewrote history a little from the Doctor Who
character, because in early eps of Torchwood he has flashbacks to WWII.
Or maybe he's been time traveling, of course.

Xopher, how far have you gotten in Doctor Who? If you haven't finished season 3 I'll ROT 13 it for you just in case.

Va gur rcvfbqr Hgbcvn, jura Wnpx naq gur Qbpgbe ner erhavgrq, Wnpx
gryyf gur Qbpgbe gung nsgre ur jnf onfvpnyyl nonaqbarq ba Fngryyvgr
Svir ur jnf noyr gb erghea gb rnegu jvgu uvf ibegrk znavchyngbe (gung
ovt jevfgjngpu ur jrnef) ohg jnf fgenaqrq va gur 19gu praghel. Fb ur
qvq unir gb yvir guebhtu n ovt puhax bs rnegu uvfgbel gur ybat jnl
nebhaq.



Also keep in mind that when Rose and the Doctor met Jack (the former
Time Agent), it was in London during the Blitz. So flashbacks to WWII
aren't at all surprising.

#53 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: March 21, 2008, 09:52 PM:

Pyre 42: First, that's a spoiler. I haven't gotten to that in Torchwood yet.

Also, in reference to Pyre's assertion that Jack isn't Terran but
alien, I have only seen one episode of the second season of Torchwood,
but I always kind of assumed since his very first appearance in The Empty Child
that Jack may very well not have been born on Earth, which is not to
say that he couldn't be human or part human. He could be from any
number of times and/or planets--it is left pretty vague (beyond the
Doctor calling him a 51st century guy). But he does have knowledge of
and access to some pretty sophisticated technology.

#54 ::: Pocketeer ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 12:55 AM:

Keith @ 22

I think that show sort of exists. They called it Eureka.

Conscripted Sherriff? yup.

(mad?) Scientists,and their creations run amok? Definitely.

Parodying Conspiracy Theories? Check!

Not so much with the mass makeouts. At least not the episodes I've seen.

#55 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 02:05 AM:

Pocketeer @54, regarding mass makeouts: Gurer jnf gung bar rcvfbqr
jvgu gur frjre flfgrz naq gur fcberf naq gur veerfvfgnoyr furevss.
There weren't exactly orgies in the street, but the potential was there.

#56 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 02:25 AM:

Kayjayoh @ 53

The end of one episode of the Doctor in fact told us who Captain
Jack is. Ur'f gur punenpgre bevtvanyyl vagebqhprq nf gur Snpr bs Ob. Fb
ur jnf obea va bhe shgher (jnf vg gur 51fg praghel? V'z abg fher nobhg
gung), jrag onpx vagb bhe cnfg, jnf gnxra gb gur raq bs Gvzr ol gur
Qbpgbe naq oebhtug onpx vzzbegny, gura qebccrq vagb gur yngr 19gu
praghel, jurer ur wbvarq Gbepujbbq. Gura ur yvirq nabgure 5 ovyyvba
lrnef orsber svanyyl qlvat nf gur Snpr.

#57 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 02:28 AM:

"Zombie laser sharks" would make part of a great earworm if I could just figure out what the heck song that line scans to. heh.

#58 ::: Mike McHugh ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 06:20 AM:

Earl @57: how about "On My Radio" by The Selecter?

"(Secret volcano lair) Zombie laser sharks"

#59 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 06:23 AM:

Pocketeer @ 54... Not so much with the mass makeouts.

Well, there was an episode where it appeared that Matt Frewer was
exuding something that made women want to do the dirty deed with him.
That theory was tested by having him stand in his undies in the lab's
public area. (Yes, I still shudder in horror at the thought.)

#60 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 08:19 AM:

You know what I think would be funny? Say that Xoph
someone is working on their Rot-13 to English dictionary, sounding out
the words in hopes of identifying a viable pronunciation.

This someone is working alone in their apartment, possibly with
candles and/or incense. It happens to be the full moon. Upon completion
of a big, long, nigh-unpronouncable passage there's a big cloud of
brimstone smoke behind our orator. Something Lovecrafty appears.

"Who dares to summon the great vqrn abg bevtvany gb zr, ohg zrzbel snvyf. Fgvyy shaal gub?" it says.

#61 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 12:05 PM:

Scott, it's not that hard. Once I hit on the idea of Uvtu
(pronounceable only by linguists and natives of the Caucasus) being
separate from the colloquial language (pronounceable by everyone) and
the idea of shwa-ing the consonant clusters, it became possible to
invent, rather than discover, good pronunciations.

And if a Lovecraftian being appears...well, I'm a Witch, and if I can't banish it, I wasted 25 years studying!

#62 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 12:23 PM:

Xopher @ 61... I'm a Witch, and if I can't banish it, I wasted 25 years studying!

Have you tried banishing Qvpx Purarl yet?

#63 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 12:31 PM:

Serge 62: No, but I didn't summon him.

#64 ::: Bruce Purcell ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 12:34 PM:

#51- Maybe we're all thinking of Kenneth Rexroth's 'Autobiographical
Novel'- he remembers telling loud jazz players 'cool it, you'll get us
all busted' in the twenties.

The Wikipedia article never mentions 'sang-froid' as a form of cool.

Cool article though.

#65 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 12:38 PM:

Xopher @ 63... So you have to be the summoner if you want to be the banisher? Drat.

#66 ::: Ginger ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 01:08 PM:

Serge @ 65: I think there are a lot of people who would like to have
a word with the summoner of Qvpx Purarl. Maybe more than one word.
Strong words, even.

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 01:16 PM:

Ginger @ 66... If we can't banish Qvpx Purarl, we could always trap him in a crystal cave with the Charm of Making.

"Anall nathrach, oorfas bethud, dorhiel dienvay"
#68 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 01:35 PM:

Serge 65: Not entirely, but since I didn't summon him myself I can't
be entirely certain that he's not a human being, unlikely as that
seems. And my oath forbids me to banish actual human beings, however
inhuman they may seem.

#69 ::: HP ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 04:28 PM:

Asides and digressions:

Kip W @ 25: I heard that Canadian Tab is made with real sugar.

Xopher @ 28: I would've gone with mania, myself. But then, I use maniate as an intransitive verb.*

34 & 37: I'm reasonably certain that the "old timer" dialect is
not based on any actual dialect, but on the popular vaudeville skit "The Arkansas Traveler"
(1922 .mp3 at link) which dates, IIRC, from the 1850s. (Sample dialog
-- City slicker: "On my way here, I saw a horse with a broken leg.
Don't you usually shoot a horse with a broken leg? Old-Timer: "Nope.
Usually shoot'im with a shotgun.") The Old-Timer is a stock character
with no historical basis, much like Pierrot or Punch.**

* Well, I will now.

** My all-time favorite "old timey" dialect is the voice of "Old Nancy" from The Witch's Tale,
created by Adelaide Fitz-Allen***. Fitz-Allen was in her 70s when she
created the voice in the early 1930s, based on an impossibly old woman
she knew when she was a child in New England.**** Part New England,
part old England, and part Anglo-Carribean, it' the one old-time
American dialect I've heard that actually sounds plausible. (And now you can listen to her on the Internet. I love the future.)

*** The creator of the voice, not the show. The show was created by
Alonzo Deen Cole, perhaps better known (but not deservedly so) as the
creator of the radio/comic book franchise, Casey, Crime Photographer. Cole had nothing to do with EC's The Witches Tale comic, which was an unauthorized ripoffadaptation. I'm such a geek.

**** When Fitz-Allen passed away in 1935, she was replaced by an
actress named Miriam Wolfe***** who duplicated the antique dialect
exactly. Miriam Wolfe was 13 years old at the time.

***** Miriam Wolfe was replaced in the role by Martha Wentworth, who went to become Martha freakin' Wentworth.

#70 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 04:59 PM:

What I want to know is who summoned Qholn? Whoever it was really
didn't know how to handle particularly stupid and malicious pixies.

#71 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 05:02 PM:

I must say that Qholn is a very appropriate name for a stupid, malicious minor demon.

#72 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 05:35 PM:

Someone on my street has been working overtime with the Liber Ebg Guvegrra, I guess, because I met two...somethings...walking today at midmorning.

I was on my way to the chemist to get some cough syrup for my son,
who is a little unwell. And they were standing in the middle of the
road, peering at a piece of paper, an old man and a young one. I
glanced over, making enough eye contact to enable them to ask directions if need be.

The elder approached me. His skin was as thin, and as colorless, as
paper; his eyes were pale blue and his hair white and sparse. He
blinked rarely. The younger man, darker and fleshier, stood back from
our conversation, watching in silence.

"May I ask you something?" asked the first man, in Dutch.

"Yes, of course."

He asked me a question, but I could not make it out.

"I'm sorry, I don't understand," I replied. "I only speak a little Dutch. I can understand more if you speak slowly."

"What is an easier language for you?"

"English."

"Well, then," he replied in my native tongue, "I can speak English if that will be better."

I inclined my head, and waited for his question. I expected it to be
a request for directions, though our neighborhood is not confusing.

"Do you believe that there is one God, who is the same for all people?"

Something in the way that he watched me as he asked the question
frightened me, and I have met many prostletyzers in my day. I
disentagled myself from the conversation in an unfair manner: I managed
to imply, in a very few comments, that I was even more fanatical in my
(unstated) beliefs than he was in his.

I walked away, eyes smarting from the effort of outstaring the old
man. I could feel them watching me as I made my way toward the store.

They were gone when I returned, but I wonder for how long. Any suggestions for an incantation of banishment?

#73 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 05:58 PM:

abi @ 72... I have met many prostletyzers

...who then proceeded to jostle with their tweezers.

#74 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 06:02 PM:

Actually, usually it's the amtateurstletyzers that really drive me nuts. The pro's are at least practised at taking rejection.

#75 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 06:08 PM:

abi @ 74... it's the amtateurstletyzers that really drive me nuts. The pro's are at least practised at taking rejection

...while catalyzers accelerate reactions.

#76 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 06:09 PM:

I don't know how felines spread religion.

#77 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 06:13 PM:

Abi... Shall we ask the Mews Brothers, Jake and Elwood?

#78 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 06:20 PM:

Better than asking the More sisters, Mona and Quella...

#79 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 06:24 PM:

abi... "A young exotic dancer named Mona More had been attacked in Washington Heights."

Not that Mona More, I suppose.

#80 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 06:39 PM:

The Mona More I knew was only female a few days a year, going
otherwise by the name of Craig. Quella was his flatmate, same intervals.

(I learned all of my makeup tricks from drag queens, which is one reason I don't wear the stuff. I know a lot about disguising square jawlines and virtually nothing about more normal usages.)

#81 ::: Scott H ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 07:46 PM:

Abi@ 72: Any suggestions for an incantation of banishment?

Dampen your fingers and stroke the side of his neck as you speak.

#82 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 07:55 PM:

abi #76: Dander if I know either.

#83 ::: K.C. Shaw ::: (view all by) ::: March 22, 2008, 10:01 PM:

Regarding "cool" as a slang term, I distinctly remember a time
during the 80s when no one used it. I would almost rather have worn
bellbottom jeans than say that something was cool.

I'm surprised that groovy hasn't come back yet on a larger scale. I
only hear it occasionally. Maybe I'll start using it myself.

#84 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2008, 12:56 AM:

I heard "righteous" the other day from a 20-something tattooist; I
hadn't heard that in a very long time. She was startled when I and the
other older guy there kind of chuckled or spluttered a bit.

#85 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2008, 02:22 AM:

Scott H @ 81

Ban is usually used only on the underarms.

#86 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2008, 07:44 AM:

Abi @ 80... I learned all of my makeup tricks from drag queens

That sounds like the premise for a Reality show.

#87 ::: philsuth ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2008, 08:54 AM:

abi@76...I don't know how felines spread religion.

Another of the behavior modifications supposedly induced by Toxoplasma gondii?

#88 ::: Donald Delny ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2008, 09:46 AM:

abi, 72,

he said:

"Do you believe that there is one God, who is the same for all people?"

The formulation of that is creepy. It's like no earthly Christian-type
construction - has a kind of nondenom-unitarian-universalist flavor
that Christian proselytizers avoid, but with a very
non-unitarian-universalist tone. It hints that the that the answer to
the riddle involves something that escaped from the outer dark and has
lain sleeping for millenia.

put aside your petty religious differences, puny human, and bow down to the terror that is the same for all people!

n.b. Donald Delny is a Christian, but does not believe in street proselitization.

#89 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2008, 12:18 PM:

Earl @57: "Islands in the Sea".

#90 ::: Hurricane Chapman ::: (view all by) ::: March 23, 2008, 07:19 PM:

J M McDermott @ 23: "Parania Agent is invited my birthday party. At my birthday party there will be laser tag, pizza, and cake."

What? No baseball-on-rollerblades? Isn't that dangerous? Someone
could show up with their own gear and, I dunno, with nothing else to
do, start attacking the party-goers instead. Could happen. Yep.

@33:

Unfortunately, having never seen Lain (despite a college friend's
insistence that it's exactly my kind of brain-buggery,) I don't know
how they compare. Maybe I should find out.

#91 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 12:36 AM:

Earl #57: "Zombie laser sharks" would make part of a great earworm if I could just figure out what the heck song that line scans to.

Found it. Part of a line out of Taco Ockerse's eccentric cover of
Irving Berlin's "Puttin' On The Ritz" (popularized in an MTV video) has
the words "How 'bout you and me". I'm so doomed....

#92 ::: Pete Darby ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 06:07 AM:

Hang on, Mike didn't use Laser Sharking as a verb first... http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=7072.msg74344#msg74344

Dammit, if I'm going to be remembered for one thing in this world...

#93 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 09:03 AM:

Bill HIggins asks in #7, about Torchwood and Welsh accents.

Gwen has a Welsh accent so thick it forms valleys and mountains of
its own. Her BF has a slightly less extreme Welsh accent. Toshiko
doesn't, as far as I recall.

I would not be surprised if Owen had been born in Cardiff and lived
there all his life, but he may well be from not-Wales (Cardiff is an
anomaly in the Welsh dialect pattern, it seems, being that it has a
large influx of non-Welsh-natives).

Ianto sounds Welsh. Jack sounds like he's a rather western mid-Atlantic.

#94 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 09:04 AM:

Emily @#37: Yes, that was the one. I should have known it would be on Language Log. :)

#95 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 10:26 AM:

Being British, the Torchwood accent-space seems OK. I'm old enough,
and rural enough, that my speech has some very specific accent traces,
but somebody even ten years younger would have that Higgins-bait
swamped by TV-english.

(Different Higgins.)

As much as anything, it's a linguistic landscape worn down by media
glaciation. There are hard-angled spikes which protruded above the
ice-sheet, and still some deep-gouged valleys, but much has been ground
away.

#96 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 03:35 PM:

K.C. Shaw @ 83:

I am fond of dated slang, myself. I use it to weird people out and/or make them laugh.

"Groovy" is my favorite, though it's kind of losing its
effectiveness in this regard. "Spiffy" is always good for a double-take
or two, however.

#97 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 03:59 PM:

Ingvar 93: Toshiko doesn't, as far as I recall.

That would make sense. I just watched an episode last night in which she declares that she grew up in London.

#98 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 04:16 PM:

Leigh #96:

I use "spiffing". Sometimes the demon of portmanteau words pops up and turns it into "spifty" or even "spifting".

#99 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 04:18 PM:

I like to tell people that I don't cotton to various things.

#100 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 04:19 PM:

Which reminds me: I use "way cool" a fair amount, and for some weird
reason this always perturbed my students back in the 90s, even though
they were likely to use it themselves.l

#101 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 04:29 PM:

Some things are snazzy, like cars and clothes.

#102 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 04:31 PM:

I cringe when I hear 'groovy'. Possibly because it was current when
I was a child. If I say something is groovy I mean that it's a relic
from the 60s.

I've hung on to some slang from my young-adulthood; I still say "right on!" for example.

joann, I suspect there's some fannish element going on when you and (I admit) I say "spiffing." I think I got it from Teresa.

I use free-associative intensifiers. I think this is actually
something organically wrong with my brain. For example, if there are
more than just lots of something, I don't say "lots and lots" like a
noimal poisson, I say "lots of it, on film and in the studio." This is
from a Monty Python routine.

In a related phenomenon, whenever I hear something that has the same
rhythm as a line from a nursery rhyme, the next line pops into my head,
and like as not out my mouth. For example, someone sarcasticly parodied
childish joy by saying "Well goodie goodie gumdrops." Before I could
stop myself, I said "My son John," which made no sense.

#103 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 04:38 PM:

joann 100: I've observed the phenomenon you describe. It actually embarrasses them to hear an adult (or older adult, pace
the young adults here) talking "too young." If pressed, they talk about
"trying to be cool" or something. But that's not it. It actually seems
to hurt them in some way. It's very amusing, if one has a cruel streak.

Talking out of your class will always disturb people. Young people
in particular don't seem to understand that we talk differently from
them not out of inability to talk like them, but out of lack of desire
to do so. (Similarly, they never realize - if we've been properly kind
- how hard it is not to laugh at them sometimes.)

#105 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 04:42 PM:

Stefan 104: I concur. It is also spiffing, if I may say so.

#106 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 04:44 PM:

Xopher #102: joann, I suspect there's some fannish element going on when you and (I admit) I say "spiffing." I think I got it from Teresa.

I think I got it from P.G. Wodehouse, or near offer.

#107 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 04:47 PM:

Ooo, I read Wodehouse too. Ya might be right.

#108 ::: Mary Aileen ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 05:39 PM:

I use 'nifty' when appropriate.

#109 ::: Leah Miller ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 05:58 PM:

Xopher and Joann:

There's an xkcd on
the subject of older people talking too young. I fully intend to put
that plan into practice myself, when I get older. I nearly do it now...
adopting an overly formalized manner of speaking and then peppering it
with ridiculous slang. Example: "Here is, as the kids say, 'the sitch:'
the current proposal is held up in meetings." (Ridiculous slang lifted
from Kim Possible.)

Also, Xopher: I'm very happy to hear about your 'free-associative intensifiers;' glad both to have a name
for that phenomenon and to know I'm not the only one. I can't think of
my best examples, but a very common one is that something that is
embarrassingly bad is not just 'bad,' it is 'bad and you should feel
bad.' (the reference is a Futurama one).

#110 ::: Ingvar M ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 06:08 PM:

Xopher @ #97

I grew up in Stoclholm, but I've been accused of having a Dublin
accent. I am not entirely sure how that works and I cannot consistently
reproduce it outside Dublin. Tough in Tosh's case, she's at least
staying in the same language, that's bound to stick harder.

#111 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 06:17 PM:

Leah Miller #109: I say "what's the sitch?" sometimes, and I'm pretty sure I either got it from Heathers or the original Buffy movie. Via Heathers, I also like to describe things as being "really very".

#112 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 06:57 PM:

I mix and match things-- 'spifftacular' was my favorite word this time last year.

#113 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 07:07 PM:

I like to put "the" in front of things. "That is the awesome." or "That is the coolness."

There was a brief period of time when I mentally transformed this
into "teh awesome" and the dropped off the second half, just saying
"teh" (which I pronounced "tay"). However, I broke myself of this habit
since it only seemed to confuse people.

#114 ::: Kate ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 08:21 PM:

Re Xopher's free-associative intensifiers:

In meeting at work recently, we were explaining something that had
several levels and I siad "It has layers, like an ogre" (Shrek
reference) and to my dismay, no-one blinked an eye.

#115 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 09:44 PM:

Xopher @102: I had a girlfriend who would respond with "Doo dah, doo
dah" (the second line of "Camp-Town Races") whenever someone said
something that scanned to the first line of "Camp-Town Races". There
are a lot of things that scan to the first line of "Camp-Town Races".
After a while of dating her, I was doing it too.

It's common in my friends group to respond "But I just met her!" to
words ending in -er (or less commonly -im or -it), as in "Rubber? But I
just met her!" It's funny for a while, but I've personally gotten to
the point where I'll respond "But I just met her!" to words that have
no particular ending and are just said with the right inflection, and
it's starting to annoy me. @#$% verbal tics.

#116 ::: Sam Kelly ::: (view all by) ::: March 24, 2008, 10:47 PM:

Ingvar M at 93: Specifically, Gwen's accent is working-class urban
Welsh, quite thick - Eve Myles, the actress, is actually toning down
her own native accent.

Ianto has a rich, educated Valleys accent, and the others don't sound Welsh at all to me.

Mind you, I grew up in North Wales, and they're all Hwntws, so I may well be missing something.

#117 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 12:02 AM:

On free-association: I have free-association musical earworms. If I
read a phrase, even out of the corner of my eye, that figures into a
song I know, I might get that song stuck in my head and take all
afternoon to figure out why. I might even get the next song on the same album stuck in my head, if the earworm stops repeating and simply starts playing.

The other musical earworm-making phenomenon I get is getting a song
stuck in my head if I hear the note that song starts on. Only works for
songs whose instrumentation starts overtly on single notes, of course.
The carpentry mini-game in Puzzle Pirates will get me humming Rush's
"Emotion Detector" all damn day, because of the two-note warning sound
the puzzle gives you two moves before a portion of the board will
explode. Strangely, I am unable to use this power for good - when my
chorus needed an F#, I couldn't just hum the first note of Rush's
"Subdivisions." Nope. Pitch pipe, please. But if in the course of the
day I randomly hear an F#, my brain starts going "bom bom bom, bom bom
bom" in 7/4 time, by which I'll know it had to have been an F#. It's
like a really useless manifestation of perfect pitch.



On Torchwood: I don't know enough to say who sounds Welsh and who doesn't, but I know that *I* sound really, really wrong after a Sunday afternoon three-episode marathon.

#118 ::: Clifton Royston ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 12:08 AM:

Earl:



It just occurred to me that "Zombie laser sharks" would scan to "Let's you and me do it" from 'Let's Do It':

"Zombie laser sharks, let's fall in love!"

#119 ::: Kayjayoh ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 01:34 AM:

Kevin @ 115:

it's starting to annoy me. @#$% verbal tics.

Oh, I hear ya! In my social circle it is "giggity" (from The Family Guy)
after anything that can be made even vaguely suggestive...and really,
almost anything can be made at least vaguely suggestive if you try hard
enough (including this sentence).

Now, whether I want to or not, I find myself thinking "giggity" all
the damn time. I've been schooling myself to at least not vocalize the
giggity, but it has been...difficult.

#120 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 02:14 AM:

Sweet, Savage Zombie Laser Sharks?

#121 ::: anatidaeling ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 02:16 AM:

Outdated slang, still fun to say:

"Far out!"

#122 ::: flaede ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 03:02 AM:

So many here are taking so much glee over ridiculously contrived plot twists (like, say, the "Sweet, Savage Zombie Laser Sharks?" @ 120 ) that I have to wonder what folks' feelings are on the good->bad->good-again continuum.

#123 ::: Sica ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 05:12 AM:

I've always been fond of the Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot familiar over on Kingdom of Loathing.

I hadn't heard of lasersharking before but I guess that one sort of fits. Although it's all tongue in cheek of course.

As for slang I use 'shiny' a fair bit. I think I picked that up from Firefly.

#124 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 07:04 AM:

Clifton Royston @118: I can't hear You May Be Right
without mentally substituting the line "But it just might be a lunatic
you're looking for" with "These aren't the droids that you're looking
for".

#125 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 09:47 AM:

Being something of a curmudgarian*, I tend to pick up new slang as
it's falling off the trailing edge of popularity. Sort of a language
conservation move, keeping the dying slang alive.

Also, because I've been hanging around with so mnay Brits and Ozzies
the last few years, my language is full of their verbal quirks, like
"gone pear-shaped" and the mid-Atlantic "screw this for a game of
soldiers".

Speaking of verbal tics, the line "Tear off your own head" from
Elvis Colstello's "Doll Revolution" has been inserting itself into my
head when I hear just about anything that scans similarly. This makes
people look at me strangely when I break into giggles for no obvious
reason.

* a portmaneau of "curmudgeon" and "contrarian"

#126 ::: JamesE ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 09:57 AM:

Kevin Riggle@115: You've dragged up from the depths of my memory this Lore Sjoberg gem:

Twelve Actual AP Headlines Which, When Followed By 'Doo-Dah, Doo-Dah,' Can Be Sung To The Tune of 'Camptown Races'

Now I have a variety of bad-taste earworms to blight my day....

#127 ::: Diatryma ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 10:08 AM:

Nicole at 117, I am the same way. It's mostly words for me, and
often near-misses-- "Secret Agent Man" when dealing with an Asian
friend, "Elijah Rock" with a friend named Eliza, and so on. I sometimes
skip the trigger word or phrase entirely if I'm reading, since I read
fast, but it registers enough to put whatever random song in my head.

#128 ::: Leigh Butler ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 10:33 AM:

Leah Miller @ 109:

I love the ridiculous out-of-context slang.

I used to do it with "yo" all the time. Because me saying "yo", in
any context, is automatically hilarious. Best paired with the most
bland, whitebread tone possible.

"I quite enjoyed that movie, yo."

#129 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 11:44 AM:

Wow, so it's not just me with all these triggers! I have the Doo-Dah Disease as well, and the Elijah Rock disease.

I just looked up "Mid-Atlantic," which is a new one on me. You think
JACK sounds Mid-Atlantic?!?!? I think he sounds American, except when
he doesn't.

#130 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 11:49 AM:

Leigh 128: Yep. "I believe I shall blow this, as it were, pop stand."

A related phenomenon: When Snoop Doggy Dogg was billed in a movie as
Snoop Dogg, one critic earned a place in my heart forever by saying "It
appears that Mr. Dogg has ceased to use his middle name."

#131 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 12:49 PM:

I have no idea where it originated, but I got "Let's blow this
fascist pop stand" from somewhere, and now say it every time I'm trying
to get people to leave a place.

#132 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 03:06 PM:

It's unfortunate that Olivia has become such a popular baby name
lately - I can't hear it without mentally singing "O Livia, O Livia,
the tattooed lady..." (Yes, I know it's "Lydia", but has long ceased to
be in my personal hell full of tiny Olivias. Also, it's always the
Muppet version, which doesn't help matters any.)

#133 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 06:07 PM:

Leigh Butler #128: I used to do it with "yo" all the time.

Irwin, a character from "The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy" does that a lot.

#134 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 06:24 PM:

Jeopardy! Category: Bumper Snickers.

Answer: Let's blow this fascist pop stand.

Question: What would Godzilla do?

#135 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 07:08 PM:

Kevin riggle #115: Senior House?

#136 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 07:45 PM:

"Bumper Snickers" indeed...

#137 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 08:22 PM:

JamesE (#126): There's always The Doo-Dah News Ticker to generate more of them any time you need some.

"Man held over war crimes claim". Doo-dah, doo-dah....

#138 ::: Edward Oleander ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 10:01 PM:

I use free-associative intensifiers. I think this is actually
something organically wrong with my brain. For example, if there are
more than just lots of something, I don't say "lots and lots" like a
noimal poisson, I say "lots of it, on film and in the studio." This is
from a Monty Python routine.

Xopher, I knew there had to be a name for this condition... Free
Associative Intensivitis... Melody and I drive my family nuts by using
quotes and semi-quotes (mainly from Monty Python or the Simpsons) that
have variable meaning given whatever the current context is, and the
tone used to say it. WE understand each other perfectly...

#139 ::: Steve Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 11:36 PM:

Bruce Cohen at #125 writes:

> "screw this for a game of soldiers".

I can't say I've ever heard that phrase with "screw" in it before :)

It's also the subtitle of Christopher Brookmyre's silly but enjoyable _Be My Enemy_ btw.

#140 ::: Kevin Riggle ::: (view all by) ::: March 25, 2008, 11:53 PM:

Rikibeth @135: Random, actually, but I suspect it came here from SH -- my social group has a lot of overlap there.

Christopher Davis @137: Aaaaaugh... now that'll be stuck in my head all day.

#141 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 12:50 AM:

"screw this for a game of soldiers"

Fuck that for a game of cowboys!

(Etymology unknown.)

#142 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 02:13 AM:

Steve Taylor @ 139

That's why I called it a mid-Atlantic phrase; I've jiggered it a
little for US consumption. Most people in the US have no idea that
"sodding" is a contraction of "sodomizing", and few would use it, for
fear of firestorms from the religiously-challenged. "Screw" is becoming
an acceptable euphemism these days, I guess because it's better than
"fuck" to delicate ears.

#143 ::: Jurie ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 05:45 AM:

OK, I know I am not adding much to this conversation, but: Paranoia
Agent! Best anime series evar! Well, among my top 10 at least.

#144 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 06:26 AM:

Bruce Cohen #142: A year and a bit ago, my wife and I were driving
up from Savannah to Atlanta when my eye lit on a billboard advertising
'the best sod from the Sodmaster'. She couldn't understand why I
doubled up with laughter (she was driving).

#145 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 07:15 AM:

Fragano @ 144... About 10 years ago, San Francisco columnist
Herb Caen (May he rest in peace) brought to his readers's attention a
gardening center's ad that had run on Father's Day, with a caption that
said "Time to get rid of the old rake".

#146 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 07:47 AM:

Serge #145: Oh dear me!

#147 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 09:03 AM:

I had a girlfriend who would respond with "Doo dah, doo dah"
(the second line of "Camp-Town Races") whenever someone said something
that scanned to the first line of "Camp-Town Races".

"Crosstown bus run all night long?"

There was a brief period of time when I mentally transformed
this into "teh awesome" and the dropped off the second half, just
saying "teh" (which I pronounced "tay").

My friends and I pronounce it /te/, like "eh, whatever" with a t at
the beginning. We use it and other bits of leet-speak to connote "My
feelings on this are ridiculously overblown". Like, if you have an
unreasonable crush on an actor, he's "teh sexxay", and if something
annoys you beyond what it really ought to, it's "teh lamezorz".

If I read a phrase, even out of the corner of my eye, that
figures into a song I know, I might get that song stuck in my head and
take all afternoon to figure out why.

I've been playing recently an online game called Ikariam, which is
very cute and which I enjoy. Problem is, it means I spend a lot of time
with "Hey Carrie Ann" by the Hollies playing in my head...

The other musical earworm-making phenomenon I get is getting a song stuck in my head if I hear the note that song starts on.

One of the warning noises buses in this city make is the same
interval as a particular piece of SCA dance music, the one they dance
St. Martin's to. It drives me nuts.

Most people in the US have no idea that "sodding" is a contraction of "sodomizing"

Apparently the computer term "root" was not well-chosen when it comes to those of the Antipodean persuasion.

#148 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 09:12 AM:

The other musical earworm-making phenomenon

My wife got mad at me the other day when I started humming the pon'far fight music. I suggested that she could kill the earworm by simply tuning in to one of her internet classical-music sites.

#149 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 12:36 PM:

It's not the "sod that" part that has me scratching my head. It's
the "for a game of soldiers" part. Anybody know where that came from or
what it refers to?

Carrie 147: And you can see some odd expressions on their faces when
you say you're rooting for your team (cheering for your side).

#150 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 12:57 PM:

"Who on Torchwood sounds Welsh?"

Understandable confusion. You're thinking of Under Torch Wood.
Captain Cat, Dai Bread and the others fighting weekly alien menaces in
Llaregub.

#151 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 01:17 PM:

Kevin @140: It amazes me that after 20 years, I can still recognize residence-specific speech patterns.

And that it doesn't seem to have CHANGED.

#152 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 01:45 PM:

I had a car which made pinging noises when the door opened with the key still in the ignition.

This caused me to hum "It's My Happy Heart You Hear," in imitation of Andy Williams, nearly every time I refueled.

I had succeeded in forgetting this, but reading this thread has dredged up the memory.

#153 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 02:03 PM:

Bill Higgins @152 -- You know, "It's My Happy Heart You Hear" scans to Camptown Races. Does that help? (Now I've got that earworm. So, um, thanks a million. :-) )

#154 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 03:01 PM:

"For a game of soliders": I like it, it's got a lot of potential.
Also has that vague British interestingness that makes it more
appropriate for various situations than the American "fuck this shit".

I encountered it again a few days before this thread in a bit of British re-done ad humor which was almost completely inpentrable until I searched out that "fly tipping" is their term for illegal dumping.

#155 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 03:19 PM:

Diatryma: I sometimes skip the trigger word or phrase entirely
if I'm reading, since I read fast, but it registers enough to put
whatever random song in my head.
YES yes yes, that's eXACTly the
phenomenon. Subliminal free-association earworm seeding! And I'm
type-A/anal/OCD enough to sit there trying to figure out why I've got that earworm, and be very bothered and distracted until I pinpoint the vector.

Earl Cooley III at 134, you have officially broken my brain. In
accordance with the "You broke it, you bought it" principle, you now
owe me the internet you won. Please ship it to me forthwith, preferably
not by C.O.D. kthxbai

#156 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 03:55 PM:

I always heard people say "for a game of toy soldiers", which scans better.

And frequently I my friends would say bugger rather than sod. The two are synonymous, and sometimes you just want a pile of short syllables rather than a long one*.

-----

* syllable, that is. Stop that.

#157 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 03:58 PM:

Carrie S. @ 147

Apparently the computer term "root" was not well-chosen when it comes to those of the Antipodean persuasion.

Like what blues singers mean when they talk about "John the Conquerroot"?

#158 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 04:02 PM:

abi @ 156... a pile of short syllables rather than a long one*. syllable, that is. Stop that.

Or, as Mrs.Slocombe once said:

"Watch out! Here comes a big one."

#159 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 04:04 PM:

Madeline @154:

How funny...the sole comment on that entry is from an old friend of mine, whom I almost never see online.

Small intarweeb.

#160 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 04:19 PM:

Abi 159: You know Guy? Ah! Of course, from the days of Amber in
England! Do you also know the Amber people from the Netherlands;
Astrid, Jan-Pieter, Jopie...? I've been thinking about them lately
because Joe Saul is working on a diceless scholarship nonprofit in
honor of Erick Wujcik, to bring GMs from Eurasia to North America and
send North American GMs to Britain/Europe.

#161 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 04:27 PM:

Madeline @160:

Yes, I know Guy from Ambercon UK. I also know Simone (Guy's wife) from
the same context. I haven't been in touch with them for some time,
apart from one brief burst last year.

Astrid and Jan-Pieter both played in many of the games I ran at
Ambercon UK. (I'm sure they've long surpassed me in GMing now.) I
wonder if they remember Red Amber...

#162 ::: Jim ::: (view all by) ::: March 26, 2008, 09:32 PM:

I'm not even near topic here, any of the several billion that seem
to be buzzing around like mosquitoes, but I have been assailed by a
Question, and y'all seem relatively erudite, mayhap you can offer some
assistance, yo.

Anyway, when I was a lowly undergrad, oh so many years ago, and
taking a Philosophy 101 course for laughs, the teacher had prefaced the
syllabus with a quote. I do not remember the exact words, but it was
something along the lines of "When we realize to what evils we can
become accustomed, we must wonder to what evils we have already become
accustomed." or something vaguely like that. I have no idea of the
source, and I was wondering if any of you might have an idea...or some
kind of level 12 Psi ability that might dredge it from my memory.

Or not. "Who said dat, and what did dey say?" Is my question, I reckon.

Thanks.

#163 ::: Pete ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2008, 07:08 AM:

Carrie S. @ 147

Apparently the computer term "root" was not well-chosen when it comes to those of the Antipodean persuasion.

It is, as I recall the (late, lamented) Doug Anthony All-Stars mentioning in their version of Stairway to Heaven, one of those words that have two meanings, like hump, shag, pork, ...

It could be considered remarkably apposite, given that it's
painfully easy to inadvertently trash a unix box when running as root
-- leaving both you (and it) rooted.

#164 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2008, 08:43 AM:

Jim at #162:

George Bernard Shaw, A Treatise on Parents and Children (1910):

"When will we realize that the fact that we can become accustomed to
anything, however disgusting at first, makes it necessary to examine
carefully everything we have become accustomed to."

After fumbling around a bit, I decided to search on "become
accustomed"+"quotations." This got me Shaw's quote in the first page. I
then punched it in, to confirm that other sites also cited it, and
chose the Wikiquote page to offer here.

Do I win?

One version of the full text is here.

#165 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2008, 09:05 AM:

Every time someone mentions "linux" lately, I keep imagining this xkcd cartoon.

#166 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2008, 12:56 PM:

Jim 162: Not that it's in any way a problem, nor do I have any
authority here, but usually we post questions like that in the active
Open Thread. As you've noticed, even non-open threads drift quite a
bit, though!

#167 ::: Rymenhild ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2008, 02:59 PM:

Why does that XKCD comic make me think of Bush on the Iraq war?

#168 ::: Jim ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2008, 09:04 PM:

@bill higgins, #164--

Yes! you win! Your Prize? A hearty huzzah...

HUZZAH!

Really, though, thank you. You google-fu completely swamped my dancing crane style.



@Xopher, #167 Sorry sir/ma'am.*Shuffles sheepishly* Won't do it again.

#169 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 27, 2008, 10:03 PM:

That would be Sir. And I'll punish you if you'd like, but actually I'm prepared to forgive you.

This time.

#170 ::: Trip the Space Parasite ::: (view all by) ::: March 28, 2008, 08:18 PM:

Kayjayoh @ #113: I like to put "the" in front of things.

That reminds me of this. (Specific example here, but I like the whole thing.)



Jurie @ #143: Paranoia Agent! Best anime series evar! Well, among my top 10 at least.



But what are the other nine?

#171 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2008, 05:08 AM:

Serge @ #67: "Anall nathrach, oorfas bethud, dorhiel dienvay"

What is that? It sounds naggingly familiar.

#172 ::: Rob Rusick ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2008, 07:12 AM:

Paul A. @171: From John Boorman's Excalibur. It was Merlin's universal spell (The Spell of Making, IIRC), later stolen by Morgana.

#173 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 29, 2008, 07:35 AM:

Paul A and Rob Rusick... Indeed. That was Merlin's Charm of Making, which has nothing to do with The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie.

#174 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2008, 08:08 PM:

That's interesting, because I've never seen Excalibur.

...well, I've seen bits of it. Maybe one of those bits had the Charm of Making in it.

#175 ::: Mary Aileen sees more of that lame spam ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2008, 11:39 AM:

Why spam and leave out the link?

#176 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: May 07, 2008, 12:05 PM:

I suspect that we're looking at a broken spambot: stripped of its purpose, it continues to lay waste to the frontier.

#177 ::: Syd now sees lame spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 11, 2008, 02:57 PM:

@ 178

What, indeed, is the point?

#178 ::: Rob Rusick sees Syd predict spam ::: (view all by) ::: June 12, 2008, 04:17 AM:

Although why anyone would anticipate spam...

#179 ::: Joel Polowin sees a spambot test ::: (view all by) ::: June 15, 2008, 12:28 PM:

Can you set up an automated system that alerts the moderators if a user name with four or more consecutive consonants (pre-disemvowelled?) is entered?

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

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