Speaking Your Own Slanguage

Do you ever get the impression you were raised by strange people? Do you and your friends use strange vocabulary?

My family and friends and I tend to have our own language; we were also big fans of “sniglets” back in the day. I’m not sure how, exactly, we became so hard to understand without a cheat sheet, but I was asked a few times this week “what did you mean?” so here’s a sampler from our personal dictionary.

bukie: (n) (Pronounced: BOO-key). This was my father’s pet name for my brother when he was small. It was sometimes shortened to “bouk” and I’m not sure how it is spelled, but YOU try to spell it. It would be spelled “bookie” if that wasn’t already a word that has an entirely different meaning and pronounciation. It has since been used on pets, usually other people’s dogs. Apparently it only applies to small, annoying, cute things that poop a lot.

craptacular: (adj) Something that is remarkable for its inferiority.

soybomb: (n) Someone who foolishly intrudes on a performance (or an intense, private conversation)–ineffectively, but memorably nonetheless. Source: In 1998, some white git launched himself onto the stage during Bob Dylan’s performance for the Grammays. What he was about isn’t clear: he was just some shirtless dancing dude with “Soy Bomb” written across his bare chest.

cubed: (adj) An update of the old word “square”…incredibly unhip. L7. Dingleberry. Your mom.

A Dave or Sammy fight: (n) Pointless argument about two approximately equivalent annoying things.

defenestratocast: (v) To throw a guitar through a window. (Cribbed from Rich Hall a thousand years ago, when Sniglets were actually funny.)

me me me: (n, adj) When it’s all about you (a catch-up e-mail to your friends after an absence; self-involvement is thus forgiven). Also: selfish, thoughtless behavior. Also: a side project musical group formed by Blur’s Alex James.

dehermitize: (v) When a person comes out of self-imposed isolation and engages in social activities.

deja-poo: (n) Sudden realization that you’ve heard / experienced all this crap before.

poodoo doll: (n) A souvenir I bought in New Orleans that looks exactly like a poo in a casket. Stick Mr Hankey with pins, your enemies get constipation. Or something.

grampage: (n) When a senior citizen starts beating / raping / killing people. Example: James Brown, Robert Blake, Phil Spector.

darly: (n) (Pronounced: DAR-lee). This is sort of a contraction of doll, darling and maybe sweetie. I don’t know of anyone else who uses it. I call anyone I like ‘darly’ at some point or another, probably because ‘darling’ and ‘sweetie’ are only cool if used in the AbFab sense, e.g., together, i.e., “sweetie darling”, and then only with a dose of irony attached. ‘Darling’ and ‘sweetie’ used solo sound too granny or precious to use solo. Like the word ‘precious’. ‘Precious’, ‘cunning’, ‘adorable’…these are all crazy lady words, used to describe Precious Moments figurines or embroidered holiday dog sweaters. So I use ‘darly’. It’s a love word. If I ever blurt out ‘darly’ to you, you’re a friend (or more) of mine. And it is a noun, not an adjective. Ever.

funemployment: (n) The practice of actually enjoying one’s unemployment. This is always a temporary state of affairs.

doddle: (n) A cinch, something extremely simple to do. It’s probably British.

dweezil: (v) To name one’s child inappropriately, usually referring to rock musicians. See: Heavenly Hiraani, Peaches and Tigerlily Geldof-Yates, Moon Unit Zappa, Apple Paltrow-Robinson.

halfwitticism: (n) That knock-knock joke wasn’t funny the first eight times you told it.

fivehead: (n) A big forehead, usually found on balding males. Examples: Reese Witherspoon, Michael Stipe.

glip: (n) The squeak noise made in poorly ripped MP3s.

D O H A B: (n) Dropped On Head At Birth. Probably lifted from a Power Station documentary, after a comment made by drummer Tony Thompson.

glitterpunk: (n) “Torn between two lovers, feelin’ like a fooool…” It’s hard to be both Sid Vicious AND Marc Bolan. But some try.

Gothism: (n) A belief, made especially popular in the late 20th century, that openness when dealing with depression contributes something valuable to the public.

halford: (v) The ability to hide one’s obvious homosexuality. Obviously, can only be used after someone finally outs themselves.

hootie: (n) A bland person with horrible musical taste.

diddums: (phrase) (Pronounced: DID-umz). I have since learned that Brits use this, and I’m going to try to refrain from listing all the Britticisms I was raised with, as no one believes it and it sounds pretentious. It sucks, because I love having been brought up with a very British vocabulary, but my rampant and unrepentant Anglophilia makes it sound WAY pretentious. Which I hate. I really did grow up saying ‘suss’ and ‘flat’ and ‘lift’ and so forth. But I grew up in Savannah, which is a strange sort of place. I think the Britticisms stayed down here because of the relative isolation Savannah enjoyed (until highways and basic cable television). It’s surrounded on three sides by water, it’s an hour away from any town that could reasonably be called ‘sizeable’ and five hours away from any metropolis of any decription. And that’s modern day travel time. Before highways, it probably took weeks to get here. So our ‘native’ language, imported when Oglethorpe came over from Mother England, wasn’t infiltrated much until recently. I think cable television was the biggest erosion factor. When it was just PBS (more British programming) and local channels, the exposure to other dialects, outside of clearly fictional television series, was minimal. Anyway, diddums is used mostly as a sarcastic and unsympathetic reply to a complaint, or as a playful remark to a friend crowing about a minor achievement. “Damnit! He ate all my Captain Crunch!” “Aw, diddums?”

tump: (v) This applies only to liquid-filled containers, and it’s what you do when you knock them over. You tump them over. Don’t ask.

infuritainment: (n) Anything that has entertainment value based solely on its most annoying qualities. See: game shows, reality shows.

Jerrytown: (n) A collection of Deadheads who don’t have anything to do anymore but show up and hang in parking lots at other crappy band’s concerts.

Jimmy Hoffa Conversion: (n) Technical term for a situation where something you have relied upon suddenly and magically vanishes without a trace.

King Fecalis: (prop. n) Because he is the opposite of King Midas, everything King Fecalis touches turns to feces. If he is in a band, he is not permitted by other band members to tamper with the mix. Do not allow King Fecalis to make plans for a social outing. You will be hit by lightning or attacked by rabid wombats.

limpbizkorn: (collective n) A generic term for testosterone-poisoned crappy rock bands.

johnandyoko: (adj) When two people are so in love or co-dependent that you begin to think that they are one person.

sursie: (n) (Pronounced: SIR-see). This is the consolation prize you get after your parents have had a fun time holidaying elsewhere without your annoying little rugrat ass. They come home, dole out hugs, and then distribute sursies from their coat pockets. I suspect it’s short for “surprise present”, and it did mutate into meaning a lagniappe of sorts, a little something extra. (Which is what lagniappe means.)

britneys: (n) Synthetically enhanced breasts. Source: obvious. Vaguely related to Cockney rhyming slang “bristols” (titties), from “Bristol cities”.

bubblegum: (adj) Used to negatively descibe trendy pop songs that are just too happy, shallow, and myopic.

buckwheating: (v) Inability to enunciate properly. Also: fargling, from the Weird Al video that made fun of Nirvana’s “Smells Like teen Spirit” where Yankovick actually put marbles in his mouth.

“But…(pause)…it goes to eleven.”: (phrase) An all-purpose evasive non-answer when you are stumped by some simple technical question. From Spinal Tap.

bukowski: (n) Someone who is belligerent and drunk. Can be used, if judiciously, as an adjective.

Captain Obvious: (prop n) The person who always points out the things we already know. Often hangs with Agent 21.

Agent 21: (prop. n) The member of your group of friends who just turned 21. Usually forced to go buy alcohol when the group runs out. Usually done for revenge for all the times you bought booze for them when they were under 21.

caraoke: (n) The practice of singing along to the radio while driving.

carmony: (v) Two or more people singing together inside a vehicle.

chimneyfish: (n) One who smokes a lot and drinks a lot, often at the same time.

pocket dragon: (n) A cigarette lighter.

deathstyle: (n) Habitual overindulgence in the bad habits of a rock’n’roll lifestyle, especially smoking.

crappy coaster: (1) (n) What a CD is called when there is an error burning data/writing to it. (2) (n) A CD by a band that sucks. See also: any unsolicited AOL software that arrives at your domicile.

nimnul: (n) It sounds vaguely Yiddish to me. Like “nimrod” plus “null” (nothing). By Biblical Accounts, Nimrod was “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” According to the Old Testament, he established a great kingdom and founded a number of important Babylonian and Assyrian cities. Nimrod was also two different Marvel Comics characters and the name of an album by Green Day. But where I grew up, a nimrod was a dork. In one particular 1940s cartoon, Bugs Bunny sarcastically referred to the hapless hunter Elmer Fudd as “Poor little Nimrod.” Although “nimrod” had already been used mockingly for a number of years, Bugs’ popularity probably gave this “idiot” sense a huge boost, and it is now used in contexts that have nothing to do with hunting. As for the Yiddish comment, because I went to school with a lot of Jewish kids, I understand a lot of Yiddish. I don’t always spell it correctly, as I suck at German. Oy vey iz mir. What a kakameimey idea. He’s got some chutzpah, acting like he can just cut in line like that. Stop kvetching, no one cares. Nobody knows what the hell they are doing, it was a real mischigos. I think he’s a little meshugginer, he was wearing a crocheted potholder on his head yesterday. if I don’t have a little nosh soon, I’m going to starve. Let’s fress, I don’t care if the food is trayf, I’m not keeping kosher, I’m a goyah. Maybe we could get a geshmak babka from the bakery. Ess, ess, mein kinder. I was like to plotz, I ate so much. I don’t know from (whatever). I got bubkes, nada. Nobody knows the tsures I’ve seen, nobody but The Jesus. I had to schlep a huge bag up three flights. Don’t be so farbissener, she won fair and square. (Recognize that word from Austin Powers, now? It means ‘bitter’.) He’s a little momzer sonuvabitch is what he is. He ate the whole megillah. (Now you know why Hanna Barbera’s Magilla Gorilla was named that.) What a mishmash of Yiddish. This shiksah thinks she knows, what a dumkopf. A leben ahf dir! A sof! A sof!

bollix: (v) Obviously derived from the British “bollocks”, but here it’s used as a verb. Use: You really bollixed that up.

copacetic: (adj) When everything is finer than fine.

couchsurfer: (n) Homeless or under-employed musician who lives for a few days/weeks on one friend’s couch then moves on to others. See: Chumbawumba song of the same title.

ambinoxious: (adj) The ability to tick people off left and right.

ambisexual: (adj) Of undetermined sexual orientation. Examples: early David Bowie, Placebo’s Brian Molko.

arsefication: (v) Making a mess of a job or the act of saying something stupid.

artattack: (n) The act of feeling an overwhelming desire to create art.

woo girls: (n) Those annoying drunk chicks, usually bro hos, who shriek “WOO!” at concerts. It has its own hand sign, the reverse rock fist. (Fold your thumb and pinkie down.)

rock fist: (n) The devil’s horns, the “you rock!” hand sign. Also used by surfers, with a waggling motion, to mean “hang loose, brah”.

audient: (n) Singular of audience. A pitifully small turn-out at a rock ‘n’ roll gig.

clownmunch: (n) Laughable musicians who wear greasepaint on their faces, or their retarded fans. Synonyms: Juggalo, Juggalette. I never utter the synonyms. Also: a person that is stupid in your eyes, or someone that makes you angry. Derived from “buttmunch”. Examples: Insane Clown Posse, Slipknot, Greasepaint band members

Barkie Bag: (n) Leftovers (“doggy bag”) that you bring home from a restaurant for your pooch or for your musician roommate. See also: roach.

roach: (n) Someone, usually a musician or artist without a good day job, who is comfortable with freeloading off other people’s dinner plates or from leftovers.

bassgod: (n) Person who is extraordinarily talented on the bass guitar.

guitarzan: (n) A person who is remarkably proficient with a guitar. Synonyms: guitargod, guitarstud. (Source: Ray Stevens)

bear: (n) A musician who leaves the recording studio only to sleep or use the bathroom. Synonym: Studio hermit, phantom roommate.

beelzebug: (n) Satan appearing in the form of an intermittent electronic / equipment problem you can’t locate.

craptop: (n) P O S laptop computer.

P O S: (n or adj) Piece Of Shit. I owned a Ford P O S named “Red Sonya” once.

beer fairy: (n) Malevolent invisible elf that takes all your money, all your smokes, and then clubs you repeatedly in the head.

Berk Bastardly: (prop. n) Having its origin in the evil cartoon sub-genius Dirk Dastardly, it has now come to represent every lecherous man at a bar who (but for want) would be twirling a waxed mustache while staring down your blouse.

bert: (n) A unibrow, word derived from the Sesame Street character. You can debert with a nice pluck or wax job.

B F E: (n.) A place out in the middle of nowhere. Acronym for Bumfuck Egypt.

Meowleluia Chorus: (prop n) A game in which you sing the word “miaou” to classical or religious tunes either solo or in groups. This really impresses the guys at the fast food drive-thru.

nillas: (n) Caucasian people, usually young males, usually bros, who labour under the delusion they are a certain type of African-American, and who thus adopt certain fashions (a.k.a. “ghetto”), speak in Ebonics and profess an interest in rap music, or funk. Actual African-Americans are embarrassed by them. Synonym: wiggas (but I HATE that word).

puffdaddy: (v) To take a preexisting project, such as a presentation, ad copy, or design, and even though it really doesn’t need improving, you make a few changes, make it worse, and then pass it off as entirely your own work.

rockasaurus: (n) Senior citizen that loves rock-n-roll or plays in a rock-n-roll band, especially one who refuses to retire and who cavorts in an undignified manner whilst clad in tight pants. Examples: Tom Jones, Mick Jagger

bibe: (n) A bisexual vibe. Example: Brian Molko, metrosexuals.

Shemp: (n) Band member considered most expendable/least talented. Synonym: Ringo.

bogarting: (v) Hogging the combustible comestibles.

borked: (adj) Broken, defunct, not working, screwed, fukt, dysfunctional, buggered, shafted, knackered, duff, murphed, farkt.

magic smoke: (n) The stuff inside expensive electric things that you can smell if you accidentally zorch them.

zorch: (v) The verb for the state of a thing or situation after it gets borked.

farkt: (adj) See above. Also: farqued, fucked.

breastaurant: (n) A bar or restaurant with scantily-clad waitresses. Example: Hooter’s.

wooga: (n) (Pronounced: WOO-gah). Used for fat pets. Also: woogums. Use: Who’s a big wooga? He is! He’s a big wooga!

schmurgles: (plural n.) It’s a combination of snuggles, cuddles and smushes. Affectionate contact with loved ones, like your wooga or darly. Non-sexual.

rumorf: (n) This is the idiot who starts every chat session with “a/s/l?” (age/sex/location). The next question is invariably “are you male or female”, translated into Luser as “R u M or F?” Geddit?

abbeverate: (v) To offer a drink or provide a drink.

swag: (n) Supposedly it is an acronym for ‘Something We All Get’. Usually this is promotional stuff like freebie CDs and pinback buttons and stickers, left-over little goodies from shows or business meetings, etc.

Trustafarian: (n) A wealthy collegiate hippie who sports grimy dreadlocks, never showers, smells like gorilla hork, and can afford to consume enormous quantities of drugs thanks to their rich family. Will commit at least four years to fashionable reactionary political causes.

Ugly Lights: (n) The bright lights they turn on in the concert hall, bar or nightclub when it’s about to close to get everyone to go the hell home already. The usual antidote to a mild case of beergoggles.

umfriend: (n) Someone you’re sleeping with who isn’t your girlfriend, boyfriend, or significant other. See also: justafriend

justafriend: (n) How jerks refer to the person they are obviously dating when said person is out of earshot.

Velvis: (n) An Elvis Presley painting done on black velvet.

vonTrapping: (v) When you break out into song in a public place, like in The Sound of Music. “The BANK is aaaaaliiiiive, with the sounds of MUUUUUsic!”

weefreaks: (n) The very short children at the all-ages concert. It’s cruel to stand in front of them.

acrapulate: (v) To collect a large amount of useless junk over a period of time. I have acrapulated an entire room full of toys, art supplies, and other stuff. It makes moving a real bear.

agnorant: (adj) Arrogant and ignorant.

bumcakes: (n) Sort of an all-purpose word. It can be used as a mild expletive or be a nicer way of saying “arse”. Variation: buncakes. See: Spinal Tap. (“Big bottom, big bottom! Talk about buncakes, my gal’s got ’em!”) While we’re being fifth graders here (ha), I read a blog today that taught me a new car game. It’s called “Anal Cars”. You just add “Anal” to the car names you see. You get fun things like “Anal Dart”, “Anal Probe”, “Anal Hummer”, “Anal Explorer” and so forth. It’s almost as amusing with the word “Butt”. (“Butt Mountaineer”! “Butt Wagoneer”!) It’s akin to that Chinese restaurant game, where you add “…between the sheets” or “…in bed” to whatever your fortune cookie’s fortune says. Hilarial. I can imagine frustrated fortune cookie makers trying the darndest to come up with incorruptible cookie fortunes.

Fun for the whole family! Give it a try!


Some Facebook Users are Shockingly Stupid. News at 11.

Browsing Failbook is funny but also depressing. Tonight I have read the following:

  • More than one person thinking Japan and China are the same country
  • Two people unable to correctly ID photos of The Great Wall and the Eiffel Tower and asking where the photos were taken
  • One person not knowing the sun is a star and another who thought it went out at night like a lightbulb
  • A handful of evolution deniers, topped by someone claiming (facetiously, I hope) not to believe in gravity who was immediately embraced by the creationists
  • A gajillion spelling and grammar errors
  • A Bible “scholar” claiming that Adam and Eve were BFFs with Jesus
  • Another scholar claiming that The Last Supper, if it happened, happened chronologically after WWII
  • A history scholar fist-shaking that the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor
  • Several dozen illiterates bitching that school sucks
  • A handful of whiners complaining bitterly about their jobs but forgetting that they Facebook friended their bosses
  • A boy who did not know how to boil water
  • Many people bitching about bad drivers while texting Facebook updates as they drive
  • A mother who fed her child a chocolate cupcake so she could sleep in, knowing the child is mildly allergic to chocolate and would be quiet while her little system processed the unpleasant side effects caused by her allergy
  • A girl who thinks Florida is “landlocked”
  • Two guys who think Austria = Australia
  • A girl who was not sure what chicken wings are, and who asked if they were from baby chickens.
  • Chad Ochocinco being stunned that pigeons lay eggs and do not give birth to tiny baby pigeons
  • A girl arguing that walnuts are the same thing as peanuts because “both are nuts”
  • Someone wondering if there were cats in the United States
  • Someone asking, “I wonder where the other half of the moon goes when it is not full?”
  • An idiot arguing that there is a vast left-wing conspiracy controlling the sun to cause global warming
  • Someone all saddened to discover that bacon comes from piggies.
  • Someone claiming that a coworker asked what London is. He reported that he told her that London was a country. A friend popped up to say that it was not a country, it was the capital of France.
  • Another geographically-impaired person insisted that New York City was the “capital of the United States.”
  • A girl asking how to rewind a DVD.
  • Someone poured out several bottles of expensive liquor after mistaking routing numbers / product ID codes for expiration dates.
  • Someone’s dad used catnip as a spice in all the family meals for weeks until someone else caught on
  • Someone so dumb that another user was reduced to typing “battery make electricity” in caveman-ese to her.

I’m so depressed.

Snake! On a bathroom floor! (Warning: this entry is rated NC-17 for Samuel L. Jackson content)

Never mind the exclamation points, I’m not all that scared of snakes.

This guy is huge, though. About four feet long and as big as a dollar coin all the way around. And he’s in the basement bathroom. Good grief.

Where’s Samuel L. Jackson when you need him?

“Dude, did you see Pulp Fiction?”

“Yeah, that guy Samuel L. Jackson is such a bad m-“

“Shut yo’ mouth!”

“I’m just talkin’ ’bout Sam!”

“We can dig it.”

“I think I found your problem, lady.”

*begin dream sequence*

Samuel L. Jackson: Describe what he looks like!

Me: He’s, um, black…bald…long…stripey…

Samuel L. Jackson: Does he look like a bitch?

Me: What?!

Samuel L. Jackson: DOES…HE…LOOK..LIKE…A BITCH?!

Me: NO!

Samuel L. Jackson: Well, okay, then. … WHAT?

Me: I’d just like to, you know, go to the bathroom without starring in the home version of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. I don’t own any hipwaders, yo.

Samuel L. Jackson: “The path of the righteous woman is beset on all sides by the inequities of the socio-economic level you occupy and the tyrannies of evil snakes. Blessed is he who in the name of charity and good will shepherds the weak through the valley of motherfucking snakes for he is truly his sister’s keeper, and the finder of lost reptiles. And I shall strike down upon the serpent with great vengeance and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and freak out my sisters when all they want to do is pee in peace. And you will know my name is Samuel L. Jackson when I lay my vengeance upon the snake!”

Me: YEAH! It’s a snake. In my bathroom! What’s up with that shit?!

Samuel L. Jackson: Motherfucking snakes in a motherfucking bathroom! Stand aside, fool, I’ve got it.

Snake: Oh, hello. Hey! What? Who? Blimey, it’ssss that guy! From that film! Who did that thing! Woah. How’ssssss it goin’, dude?

Samuel L. Jackson: Say ‘hisssss’ one more time, motherfucker!

Snake: Uh…ssssssay what?

Samuel L. Jackson: *divine retribution, possibly with sharp, pointy farm-implement, such as hoe or shovel*

Me: I TOLD you to get out of my damn bathroom. Stupid. I had to break out the Bad MotherFucker brand Snake-Be-Gone canned Whoop-Ass.

Samuel L. Jackson: Your sins, motherfucker! Do you repent?!

Snake: Hey! That ssssssmarts! Ouch! That hurtsssss! Yow! That’s not fair, givin’ a guy a ssssshot down there!


Snake: Lo, I be sssslain and ssssmote. *expiressss*

Samuel L. Jackson: Time for a Royale with Cheese. That’s a mighty fine burger.

Me: How about some freshly dead snake? Tastes like chicken!

*end dream sequence*

I’ve been catch-and-releasing little green frogs of various sizes for two months, I guess Snakey knows a good hunting ground when he sees one.

Wee Phwahwg, stay out of my house.

Last year I had a Snake Intruder who zipped under my bed downstairs. This left me slightly less complacent for two reasons. I did not want to wake up nose-to-flicking-tongue with a snake coiled up on the neighboring pillows. I also did not want to pick up a dead snake a few weeks later.

I went on a Great Snake Hunt lat year and never found him. This leads me to one of two conclusions: Snake One survived and has become Snake Two, OR Snake Two is a different, larger snake. The former conclusion means that Snake One survived on his steady diet of wee frogs and got much, much larger. The latter conclusion means that I probably have an unknown number of snakes living with me but not paying rent.

There are other conclusions possible, including one where, when I move, I find an entire NEST of the damned things down here. I prefer not to think about it.

I told Snake One that I’d live and let live if s/he’d stay hidden or find the way back outside. I hope that this discussion worked. All I know is that I never did end up sharing a bed with Snake One, or find Snake One in the shower stall, and what I don’t see doesn’t stress me out. Now I’ve told Snake Two that if s/he will oblige me by crawling into a handy container, I will put said container outside, which is where Snake Two should be. Time alone will tell if this happens.

I’d be a lot more nervous if I thought the Snakes were poisonous. Georgia is home to six species of poisonous snakes, and these guys do not look like rattlesnakes (canebreak / timber, pygmy, or eastern diamondback), southern copperheads, water mocassins / cottonmouths or coral snakes. I suspect it’s a common garter snake (though it could be a ribbon snake, they prefer wetter environments).

What I learned today:

Eastern Garter Snake (Thamnophis sirtalis): This species is found in a diversity of grassy habitats that are usually wet or damp, although not necessarily near permanent aquatic areas. It is usually less than 2 feet long, large specimens occasionally reach lengths greater than 3 feet. It is distinguished from all other Georgia species, except ribbon snakes, by the presence of three yellow longitudinal stripes down a dark body. Garter snakes have black lines on their lip scales, whereas ribbon snakes do not. Some garter snakes in Georgia have a checkered body pattern with poorly defined stripes. This species gives birth to live young, sometimes having more than 50 babies. Common garter snakes feed on earthworms, frogs, toads, salamanders, fish and tadpoles.

The only part that gives me pause is the several dozen live babies bit. I may be sharing a home with dozens of snakelets. The fun never ends.

Here’s a picture of my little buddy:

Sssssss! I have come to bring much unneeded excssssssitement to your day! Sssssscrew your grad ssssschool projectssssss! You musssssssssst now focusssss on ME! Then you mussssst wassssste time telling some friendsssss and total sssssssstrangerssss about me on Teh Intarwebzssss. Ssssssss!

Not so scary, is he?

If he had rattles or fangs, though, I’d be screaming just like my ass was on fire. Or if he was much bigger. Three or four feet or so is about my limit for free-range snakes….longer than my legs, and I get a little freaked out.

My cousin was an amateur herpetologist and he tried to freak me out repeatedly with his snake collection when I’d visit. Instead, I’d happily hold them all and ask questions, which disappointed him. I even cheerfully scooped clammy newts out of their tanks and handled them. The only beastie I couldn’t really deal with was the furry spider the size of a tea saucer. I held it once, but gladly never repeated the experience. I’m not into arachnids. Frankly, I prefer my pets to be furry, but I also prefer for them to be mammals. (Great. Now I have They Might Be Giants singing “Mammal” in my mind.)

Speaking of: ferret v. garter snake. Who do you think would win?

This is another reason I’m not too fussed. If Snake Two gets out of line, I’m sending in fanged mustalid reinforcements to weasel war-dance and dook him to bits. Right now Snake Two is hiding behind the water heater in the bathroom (or so I think!), and that’s fine by me.

PROTIP: Stop harassing Samuel L. Jackson about snakes whenever he gets on a plane.

Grammar Cats Offer Assistance to the Grammatically Oppressed and Confused

Irritable Grammar Cat challenges the premise that all cats are incapable of using proper grammar. (Even LOLchat a.k.a. Catois has its own grammatical rules based on CORRECT English grammar. You have to know the rules to break them properly for the LULZ.)

GRAMMA–Your mother or father’s maternal parent
GRAMMAR–Proper use of your native language
GRAMMER–Kelsey Grammer was an actor on “Cheers” and “Frasier”.

YOUR–Possessive. Something you own. “Is that your book?”
YOURS–Note that this does not have an apostrophe. “No, that book is yours.”
YOU’RE–Contraction. Shortened form of YOU ARE. “You’re not into grammar?”
YORE–Time long past. “Back in the days of yore, King Arthur spoke with pond-dwelling watery tarts.”

LOSER–Not a winner.
LOOSER–Less tight than before.
LUSER–Internet slang for someone who cannot properly use a computer.
LOSE–“Lose” is pronounced “looze.” It means “to misplace,” as in “I always lose my car keys,” or “to be defeated,” as in “We will lose the game without Bob.”
LOOSE–“Loose” means “not tight” (“This shirt is too loose on me”), or “not confined” (“The ferret got loose when the door on his kennel broke”).

BARE: Naked. “Please bare with me, we need more naked people for our streaking prank.”
BEAR: Either a large, carnivorous furry mammal known to defecate in woods (if a noun) or a verb with a similar meaning as “endure.” “I don’t know how much longer I can bear this bear gnawing my face off.”

Apostrophe Cat is never used to make plural Apostrophe Cats. Apostrophe Cat also deplores the use of “greengrocer’s quotes” for emphasis.

ITS–Possessive. “The tree shed its leaves.”
IT’S–Contraction. Shortened form of IT IS. “It’s a shame about Ray.”

See, the word “it” is not a noun. It’s a pronoun! Pronouns never, ever, ever get an apostrophe to indicate possession. Think about it: You don’t say “mi’ne” or “hi’s”, so you DO NOT say “your’s” or “it’s” or “her’s” to indicate possession. If you get confused, take out the apostrophe in “it’s” and put in the letter or letters the apostrophe is replacing, e.g., “it is.” If the sentence makes no sense, don’t use the apostrophe.

THERE–Location. “It’s not here, it’s there.”
THEY’RE–Contraction. Shortened form of THEY ARE. “They’re driving me crazy with the bad grammar.”
THEIR–Possessive. “Their inability to use simple words properly is annoying.”

DIABEETUS Grammar Cat points out that your snarky comment is not nearly as clever if it is ungrammatical.

When to use LESS: When you can’t precisely count the amount. “He has less courage than she does.”
When to use FEWER: When you can. It should be “10 items or FEWER” at your grocery store. “She has fewer demerits than I do.”

When to use “I” or “Me”:
* If the sentence makes sense when you omit everyone else, e.g., “Bob and I enjoy reading books”, then you use “I”. If the sentence still makes sense after removing “Bob and”, then you did it right. “Me enjoy reading books” is only right if you are Cookie Monster.
* If the sentence makes sense when you omit everyone else, e.g., “Susan gave books to Bob and me,” then you use “me.” If the sentence still makes sense after removing “Bob and”, then you did
it right. “Susan gave books to I” is incorrect.

When to use “We” or “Us”:
* If the sentence makes sense when you omit the noun following the “we”, e.g., “We teachers enjoy reading books” vs. “We enjoy reading books”, then you use “we”. The sentence still makes sense after removing “teachers”, so you did it right. “Us enjoy reading books” is incorrect.
* If the sentence makes sense when you omit everyone else, e.g., “Susan gave books to the teachers and us,” then you use “us.” If the sentence still makes sense after removing “the teachers and”, then you did it right. “Susan gave books to we” is incorrect.

THEN: Then is used either as a time marker (“Back then we knew what was expected of us.”) or with a sequence of events (“If you misuse these words, then you look unintelligent.”)
THAN: Unlike then, than is not related to time. Than is used in comparative statements. “He is taller than I am.”

AFFECT: Affect with an a means “to influence,” as in, “The rain affected Amy’s hairdo.” Affect can also mean, roughly, “to act in a way that you don’t feel,” as in, “She affected an air of superiority.”
EFFECT: Effect with an e has a lot of subtle meanings as a noun, but to me the meaning “a result” seems to be at the core of all the definitions. For example, you can say, “The effect was eye-popping,” or “The sound effects were amazing,” or “The rain had no effect on Amy’s hairdo.”

Generally speaking, affect is a verb and effect is a noun. When you affect something, you produce an effect on it. Even in the passive voice, something would be affected, not effected. (The exceptions to the rule: As a verb, effect means to execute, produce, or accomplish something; as a noun, affect is used primarily by psychologists to refer to feelings and desires as factors in thought or conduct.)

ACCEPT: Accept is a verb meaning to receive.
EXCEPT: Except is usually a preposition meaning excluding. “I will accept all the packages except that one.” Except is also a verb meaning to exclude. “Please except that item from the list.”

ALLUSION: An Allusion is an indirect reference. “Did you catch my allusion to Shakespeare?”
ILLUSION: An illusion is a misconception or false impression. “Mirrors give the room an illusion of depth.”

On the Internet, no one knows you’re a cat…especially if you are a Grammar Cat.

WHOM: Use whom when you are referring to the object of a sentence. For example, it is “Whom did you step on?” if you are trying to figure out that I had squished Squiggly the caterpillar. Similarly, it would be “Whom do I love?” because you are asking about the object — the target of my love. I know, it’s shocking, but the Rolling Stones were being grammatically incorrect when they belted out the song “Who Do You Love?”
THE WHO: A great band.
WHO: Two correct sentences are “Who loves you?” and “Who stepped on the caterpillar?” In both these cases the one you are asking about is the subject — the one taking action, not the one being acted upon.

More on WHO vs. WHOM: My friend Regina has an even easier PROTIP. “If you can use him/her, use whom. If you can use he/she, use who. IOW, reconfigure the sentence into a statement. “Whom did you step on?” becomes “I stepped on him,” NOT “I stepped on he.” So, whom is correct in the sentence. (This is how I remember it! I know you said the same thing, but the grammar-challenged may not understand tricky phrases like “subject” and “object” in regard to sentence structure.)”

FARTHER: Use “farther” for physical distance. It’s easy to remember because “farther” has the word “far” in it, and“far” obviously relates to physical distance.
FATHER: Dear old Dad.
FURTHER: Use “further” for metaphorical, or figurative, distance.
FURTHERMORE: Use “furthermore” when you mean “in addition.”

TO: To is a preposition. “I am going to work.”
TOO: Too is an adverb. Try substituting “also” and see if it still makes sense. “She is going to work, too.”
TWO: Two is a number. “Two of us are going to work today.”

BREAK: You use this when you take a break at work or when you break something.
BRAKE: The pedal in your car that makes the car stop.

PEAK: A peak is a summit.
PEEK: A peek is a glimpse.
PIQUE: This s a French word meaning “prick,” in the sense of “stimulate.” Therefore the expression is “my curiosity was piqued.” If someone reacts badly because their pride is hurt, this is a “fit of pique”.

VILA: Bob Vila will help you with your home repairs.
VILLA: A fancy home.
VIOLA: Tiny violin-like instrument.
VOILA: French for “Here it is!” This is probably the word you want.
WA LA or WAH LAH: Just…no. No. WRONG. Stop that.
WALLA: A Hindi word used in UK slang as a suffix to mean “takes care of”: i.e., a dishwalla is a person who washes the dishes.
WALLA WALLA: A town in the state of Washington.

THE REASON WHY: Just flat wrong, It does NOT mean “That is why.” Redundant.
HENCE WHY: Just flat WRONG. It does NOT mean “That is why.” Redundant.
HENSE: Graffiti artist based in Atlanta.
HENCE: Hence is used in a couple of ways. First, it can mean away from this place or away from this time: “Get thee hence,” or “We’ll meet again two weeks hence.” It can also mean “therefore” or “as a result”. So you could say “It was raining, which is why I got wet,” OR “It was raining; hence, I got wet.”

Grammar Nazi Cat has been forced to retaliate by taking an authoritarian stance after years of frustration spawned by scores of Internet users’ illiteracy.


Confused about LAY vs. LIE? Lie is an intransitive verb meaning “to recline or rest on a surface”. Its principal parts are “lie, lay, lain”. Lay is a transitive verb meaning “to put or place”. Its principal parts are “lay, laid”. Hint: “Chickens lay eggs”. “I lie down when I am tired.” Still confused? You need advanced help: http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/lay-versus-lie.aspx

SET, SIT: “Set” is a transitive verb meaning “to put or to place”. Its principal parts are “set, set, set”. “Sit” is an intransitive verb meaning “to be seated”. Its principal parts are “sit, sat, sat”. “She set the dough in a warm corner of the kitchen.” “The cat sat in the warmest part of the room.”

WHO, WHICH, THAT: Do not use “which” to refer to persons. Use “who” instead. “That”, though generally used to refer to things, may be used to refer to a group or class of people. “I just saw a boy who was wearing a yellow banana costume.” “I have to go to math next, which is my hardest class.” “Where is the book that I was reading?”

WHO’s: Means “who is.”
WHOSE: Possessive. “Whose shoes are these?” means “To whom do these shoes belong?” or “Who owns these shoes?”

SEGUE: It is pronounced “seg-way.”

COULD HAVE / COULD’VE: Not “could of.” “Could’ve” is risky, use it carefully.
SHOULD HAVE / SHOULD’VE: Not “should of.” “Should’ve” is risky, use it carefully.
WOULD HAVE / WOULD’VE: Not “would of.” “Would’ve” is risky, use it carefully.

SUPPOSED TO: Do not omit the “d”. “Suppose to” is incorrect.
USED TO: Same as above. Do not write “use to”.

IN REGARD TO / WITH REGARD TO: Please note that there is no “s” in “regard”.
REGARDS: A nice way to sign off a letter. (Please observe that the “T” is close to the “G” on your keyboard: proofread before you send your note.)

TOWARD: There is no “s” at the end of the word.
ANYWAY: Also has no ending “s”. “Anyways” is nonstandard.

COULDN’T CARE LESS: Be sure to make it negative. (Not “I could care less”.)

ALL WALKS OF LIFE: Not “woks of life”. This phrase does not apply to Asian cuisine.

ORIENTAL: Refers to things from Asia, like rugs, not people.
ASIAN: People from Asia.

CHEST OF DRAWERS: Not “chester drawers”.

PEDESTAL: Not “petal stool” or “pedal stool”.
PEDAL: The little doohickeys you press with your feet in your car.
PETAL: Part of a flower.

LADDER: A thing you climb. It has rungs.
LATTER: When referring to two things, one is the former (or first), and one is the latter (or last).

SHUTTER: A hinged wooden window covering.
SHUDDER: To briefly shake oneself violently. “I shudder to think.”

FAUX PAS: Means “false step,” and you make a faux pas when you spell it incorrectly. Just sayin’.

FOR ALL INTENTS AND PURPOSES: Not “intensive purposes”.

PER SE: It is not “per say.” (Don’t use “per se” if you can’t define or spell it properly.)

Hope this helps.

High Five Grammar Cat offers congratulations.