Archive for the ‘language’ Category

Nice, but I still couldn’t finish Paradise Lost.

Money Shot:

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

C.S. LEWIS: Finally, a utopia ruled by children and populated by talking animals.

THE WITCH: Hi, I’m a sexually mature woman of power and confidence.

C.S. LEWIS: Ah! Kill it, lion Jesus!


Photo by Sarako


A co-worker came up to me today and said:

“Hey Don, where did the phrase “deadpan” come from?”

My immediate thought was:

“I want to eat your soul!”

But I am trying to be more positive and less soul-eating so I decided to look it up on Wikipedia:

The term “deadpan” first emerged as an adjective or adverb in the 1920s, as a compound word combining “dead” and “pan” (a slang term for the face). It was first recorded as a noun in Vanity Fair in 1927; a dead pan was thus ‘a face or facial expression displaying no emotion, animation, or humor’. Adam Taczynski perfected this technique and is an extreme version of dry humor. The Greek god Pan in mythology is another source of the term, having laughed himself to death due to a Non sequitur. Finally, the verb deadpan ‘to speak, act, or utter in a deadpan manner; to maintain a dead pan’ arose by the early 1940s, apparently as a journalistic coinage rather than a theatrical one. It must be noted that today its use is especially common in humour from the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. It is also very appreciated in France, by the influence of the “esprit” (dry-humour mostly).

Vanity Fair? Pan? Esprit? Who knew? I find the etymology of such common words fascinating.

Speaking of big words, here’s “National Brotherhood Week” from the excellent satirist and math professor Tom Lehrer:

I first “met” Tom Lehrer by working with 1812 Productions. They used his songs during their 2002 holiday show LIKE CRAZY, LIKE WOW and it was great fun. We (yes, we) used him again in the 2006 holiday show THIS IS THE WEEK THAT IS to even greater effect.


Thanks to TSOYA for the Tom Lehrer clip.

If you read this blog (and I know 2.5 of you do) you know that I am a big Doug Benson fan. This is one reason why (unfortunately edited for television):

During the last DIE ACTOR DIE, I got into a conversation with one of the judges over what a “douche chill” was. Apparently this excellent piece of nomenclature is unknown by the general masses.

Tis a shame for it is a beautiful word and most descriptive.

I did my best to communicate it’s meaning (i.e. hearing your parents having sex) but it was still not quite conveyed.

According to the Urban Dictionary:

  Douche Chill

1. A feeling of strong embarrasement for and verbal or physical act someone else has preformed.

1-a . Feeling the need to look away from an embarrasing moment on TV.

1-b. The experience you receive when your coworker allways says the wrong thing in an attempt to be funny.

2- Also reffered to as a D.C., so as not to offend the person making the akward comment or statement.

A: Watching Taylor Hicks attempt to kick over a microphone stand on american idol, I shivered as a douche chill washed over me.

B: The feeling received from viewing any of the MTV reality shows.

Listen to any Gary Garver interview on Stern and you’ve probably experienced a douche chill. But nothing is quite as douche chilly as the following collection of clips. Watch the clip between Tom Selleck and Rosie O’Donnell (around 4 minutes). That feeling you get in the stomach the moves up your back and physically makes you shrink away in embarrassment is a douche chill.

Now you know. And knowing is half the battle. G.I. Joe!!!

Thanks to BWE.


I am reading A.J. Jacobs’ The Know-It-All : One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World. It’s very good.

I stole it.

Anywho, there is an entry called the Etruscan Language. Apparently the Etruscans (from Etruscanzania) came up with a way of writing where they interchanged the direction of their printing.

Here, it’s best if I show you. Here is an entry from an Etruscan Teenage Girl’s Journal:

“Oh Diary, Pepenene is such a nerd. He is constantly telling
boring is he is know I All .boars 23 killed has he that me
me to death! Why can’t Geuseppietoratano look at my face?”

See! They wrap the sentence so the eye (or eyes if you were lucky enough to be born with two) can easily jump to the next line without having to scan back to the right margin.

Scholars called the Etruscans “a brilliant civilization that reinvented the Latin alphabet and use of sentence structure.”

I call them too lazy to scan across a page. That’s why they’re extinct!

Next week’s lesson: Neanderthal Trigonometery