Monday, August 30, 2010

As We Know It

“If we don’t act now, civilization, AS WE KNOW IT, will be destroyed.”

“If we don’t stop this asteroid, it will mean the end of LIFE AS WE KNOW IT"!”

But civilization/life as we don’t know it will be fine?

I really hate that kind of meaningless, reflexive verbiage. It gets added to proclamations, I think because the speaker has heard it so often that he thinks it’s necessary, even though it adds nothing to his statement. Or else because he’s a kneejerk twit.

There are other examples. After Nixon used the phrase “at this point in time”, perhaps during the Watergate crisis, everyone started saying “at this point in time” when they meant “now". Now, damn it, now!

Nixon was the first person I heard say, “I misspoke myself,” instead of, “I was mistaken,” or “I am a pile-of-shit, amoral, soulless, lying crook.” After that, other speakers started using that phrase. Which is okay if you’re a pile-of-shit, amoral, soulless, lying crook. If not, you should probably avoid it and just say something like, “Sorry, I spoke carelessly.”

The first person I heard say “with all due respect” was Jimmy Carter. It was during one of the presidential debates, either in 1976 when he was debating the silly but not evil Gerald Ford or in 1980 when he was debating the Good-God-what-an-evil-pile-of-stupid-shit Ronald Reagan. If I weren’t so old and if I hadn’t drunk so much bourbon, perhaps I’d remember which it was. Not that it matters. Silly but not evil on one hand. Evil pile of stupid shit on the other. Or Republican presidential nominee, for brevity’s sake.

(I think it was 1976, and I think it was in response to Ford clumsily misspeaking himself at that point in time about how East Germans or Poles saw themselves in relation to the Soviet Union. As we knew it.)

I remember being astonished at Carter’s using that phrase. Respect? I thought. For that gray space on the podium? Are you kidding? What respect could you, a highly intelligent, technically educated, well spoken man possibly have for that creature? Why did Carter say it? Was he trying, kindly, to soften the blow before demonstrating how brain dead the Republican was?

Why bother? If you don’t respect the other guy’s opinion, don’t bother with the empty phrase “with all due respect”. If you’re predicting the end of the world, then predict it; don’t add excess words like “as we know it”. If you’re a Democratic candidate debating your opponent, just say, “You’re an astonishingly stupid pile of evil shit, and the policies you propose would destroy civilization. You need to be shut away in a loony bin right now. Jerk.”

Sunday, August 22, 2010

David’s Definitions for October 2010


An adjective describing platitudes, trite sayings, clichés. A person who constantly utters such stuff can also be called bromidic. This describes a lot of politicians and speakers at graduations. In the great musical "South Pacific," Nellie Forbush describes herself as bromidic - boring, ordinary, and "a cliché coming true." The adjective bromidic comes from the noun bromide, which refers to such platitudes and clichés. A person who tends to utter bromides can also be called a bromide. In turn, bromide comes from chemistry. Yes, chemistry! Not because chemistry is a cliche, but because a bromide is a compound of the element bromine and some other element, and 100 years ago, certain bromides, in particular potassium bromide, also called bromide of potassium, were commonly used as sedatives. Hence bromide came to mean something that puts you to sleep - like the typical graduation speech. Interestingly, the element bromine, where all of this started, has a very pungent smell, and the name bromine comes from a Greek word that refers to the stench of billy goats, which is not something that any of us would consider bromidic.

(Will be published in the October 2010 issue of Denver's Community News.)

The Scrabble word score of bromidic is 15.
You can find that out here:

I'm collecting all of these at:

Fascinating Word Facts

Did you know that:

The words "race car" spelled backwards still spell "race car"?

"Eat" is the only word that, if you take the first letter and move it to the last, spells its past tense, "ate."

And if you rearrange the letters in "Tea Party Republicans," and add just a few more letters, it spells: "Shut the fuck up, you free-loading, progress-blocking, benefit-grabbing, resource-sucking, violent, hypocritical douche bags, and deal with the fact that you nearly wrecked the country under Bush and that our President is black, so get used to it."

Isn't that interesting?