Edit That Copy!

A new list.   These have to be current and from cited sources.   I’ll start.

Couple Killed in Crash ‘Did What They Loved’

(Am I alone in thinking this a botched headline?   I’m guessing that the couple didn’t love dying in a crash…)


“The entire show was basically a puzzle which led back to Red John, who was trying to track down former CBI head  Madeleine Hightower, who was on the lamb after being falsely accused of murdering a suspect in CBI custody.”



“Coach Hugh McCutcheon’s father was stabbed to death at a popular Chinese tourist site a day before opening ceremony and missed the team’s first three matches before leading them to the title.”

(Online Miami Herald, 8/4/2012)

Ways in Which the Human Race Can Be Divided into Two Groups

New list.   Please suggest and defend the above Ways.   That point is that everybody, without exception, must fall into one category or the other.   I’ll start.

1. You’re passing by a closed door and hear your name mentioned.   People  in the next room  are apparently talking about you.   Group A: You stop and listen.   Group B: You walk away quickly to avoid hearing anything.

I look forward to additions.   Also arguments and discussions of what it means to belong to one of the groups.

From JustKristin:

2.    People who, when traveling near the edge of a cliff, worry about whether they’ll fall, and those who worry instead about whether they’ll jump.

3.  People who see themselves, primarily, as a life or a soul which animates a body, and those who see themselves as bodies which contain a life/soul.

Question (from me): What about people who don’t see themselves at all, or people who, when they find themselves next to a steep dropoff, don’t worry about anything? Still, I guess these work   provided we think of them as responses to a poll question (i.e., “When driving next to a cliff, if you found yourself worrying, would you be worrying about…?”).   Right?

4.  People who leave the thin plastic films on the face plates of electronics and such as a prophylactic measure, and those who cannot wait to peel them off.

5. People who organize their books or other media (alpha, genre, etc.) and those who prefer to let things organize themselves.

From Morgan Macgregor:

6. People who walk into a room and immediately turn on the television, and people who walk into a room and immediately turn it off.

Microsoft Word 2003 Spell-Checks My Work in Progress

(A struggle ensues.)   With nod to Jon Stewart (see his Famous Pictures of Naked People), here’s a brief selection of Word’s “suggested substitutions”  to suspect words in my new novel, which I swear to god will be finished this year.  

Original                                                           Microsoft Word Improvement

CARROLLIAN                                         CAROLINA, CARROLL  IAN


PUCKISH                                                           PECKISH

CRUMPACKERS                                  CRUMP ACKERS

KRONKHEIT                                              CONCEIT, CRUNCHIEST, CRUNCHIER

MEDEVACED                                           MEDICATED, MEDI ACED, BEDEVILED

BABA YAGA                                                BABA YOGA, BABA YOGI


GOOGLING                                                       GO OGLING, GOODLING, GOUGING, GOSLING

MAMMO                                                               MAMMA, MAMBO, MEMO, AMMO, MAMMY

GRABOW                                                             GABO, GABON, GRABBED, GABOR, GREBE, GARBED

HAS-BEENS                                                     HAS-BEANS,   HAS-BEES,   HAS-BENZ    

DICTABELTS                                                 DISABLERS  

DEUS                                                                                 DUES

TIPARILLOS                                                   TOMATILLOS

BOMBECK                                                               BUYBACK, BOMBAST, BLOWBACK, COMEBACK

GONNA                                                                         GONAD

TAUTOG                                                                     TAUTER, TUTOR, AUTO, TATTOO, TUTU

MOUSING                                                               MUSING, HOUSING, LOUSING, MUSSING

QANUN                                                                       QUANTUM, CANCUN

TA-DA                                                                           TA-DAB, TA-DAD, TA-DAP, TA-DO

PANTLOAD                                                     PLANELOAD

GODOT                                                                        GODBOUT, GOODY, GOO, GOOF

UNLURED                                                           UNCURED, UNLOOSED, UNLADED

UNCURTAINED                                   UNCONTAINED

MOJITOS                                                             MONITORS, BONITOS

MOQUECA                                                         MOONQUAKE, MOSQUES, TOQUES

HAPPY-SLAPPY                                  HAPPY-SLOPPY, HAPPY-SAPPY, HAPPY-SOAPY

WALKIES                                                           ALKIES, TALKIES, WALKERS

REDUX                                                                     REDUB, REDO, REDBUD, RADIO

GUILTING                                                       QUILTING, GULPING

SLICE-O-MATICS                              SLICE-O-METRICS, SLICE-O-MATES

ONG-ONG-ONG                                     ONE-ON-ONE

CROATOAN                                                 CROATIAN

UNCHASTENED                                  UNCHASTE NED

RUGGLES                                                         BUGLES, WRIGGLES, DRUGLESS

ABRUPTED                                                    ABDUCTED

RETITLED                                                        RATTLED

LIT-FIC                                                                  LIT-FIX, LIT-FIB

Headlines that One Hopes are Real

Greek police smash violent doughnut ring

THESSALONIKI, Greece — It took an undercover operation, but Greek police have blown a hole in a ring of alleged crooks who had cornered the doughnut market in a beach resort.

It started with complaints that two Bulgarian men and a former Greek wrestling champion were using violence to choke off the trade by other doughnut vendors on Paliouri beach in the Halkidiki peninsula near Thessaloniki.


So an undercover officer posed as a doughnut seller, police said Tuesday, and he was attacked, leading to the arrest of the three aggressive doughnut sellers.

As a result, they have been charged with blackmail and fraud. They also were charged with food safety violations after police found they had stashed their product in an abandoned hotel that was open to the elements and used by bathers as a toilet.  —Associated Press,  08.24.11, 08:37 AM EDT  




Butts waives hearing in Boob murder case

If this is a prank (the Centre Daily Times is  the paper of record of  State College, Pa.), I’m going to be really annoyed.     The Comments section is particularly riveting, with one heroic soul trying to convince the rest of us that some things just aren’t funny.

Man with dead weasel accused of assault

Wed  Jun  8, 3:25  pm  ET

HOQUIAM, Wash. — Police say a man was carrying a dead weasel when he burst into an apartment and assaulted a man in Washington state.

The victim asked, “Why are you carrying a weasel?” Police said the attacker answered, “It’s not a weasel, it’s a marten,” then punched him in the nose and fled.

The attacker was apparently looking for his girlfriend and had gone to her former boyfriend’s apartment Monday where the victim was a guest.

KXRO reports he left the carcass behind.

Police later found the 33-year-old Hoquiam man arguing with his girlfriend at another location and arrested him after a fight.

He said he had found the marten dead near Hoquiam, but police don’t know why he carried it with him.

A marten is a member of the weasel family.


Punch To Nose After Dead Weasel Question


Dead weasel at centre of alleged assault


Police: Assault suspect mistook marten for mink


Dissolution Rate Does Not Help: More Adventures in Machine Translation

 Kurz tvůrčího psaní. Detective novel Detektivní román

Jincy Willettova

Detective story of modern and popular environment of creative writing courses for the public. Lonely, aging writer Amy Gallup is faced with the difficult task – to reveal the mastermind of the attacks led by members of her new group of students. Dissolution rate does not help, enthusiastic participants in it – and the search for perpetrators – continued secretly.   However, the escalating attacks and soon the innocent practical jokes become murderous deeds and adepts Writers craft their victims.

N.B. I hope it’s obvious with these Machine Translation posts that the books themselves have not been machine translated.   They’ve been translated by actual gifted human translators.   I just enjoy going to bookseller and review websites and machine-translating the text.   Obviously even with the cross-stitching I have too much time on my hands.

Nouns That Can Only Be Plural

The idea for this list is courtesy of the inestimable Billy Frolick.

Some nouns in English are always plural.   Can we add to this list?

pants (also slacks, trousers, pantaloons, shorts, etc.)







The standard explanation for this phenomenon is that these are things that essentially have two parts.   Yet we talk intelligibly about the buttock.   (Too intelligibly, some might say.)    What’s the diff?   Is it more “things with legs” than “things with two parts”? No, apparently, because, courtesy of Prof. T.F.T., here’s:

thanks (the noun)




Kudos to Caitlin for:







It has been suggested that the principle involved in most of these nouns isn’t “things with legs” but “things with crotches,” or whatever you want to call the thing that joins the two “legs.”   One doesn’t want to think of glasses as having a crotch.   I don’t, anyway.   Still, that doesn’t explain thanks and congratulations.   Also


A Hatlo hat tip to B. Frolick for




(Oddly, “lots” doesn’t work, because you can have a lot of something.   But you can’t have an oodle  or a scad, which is just as well, since it sounds like  part of a bad  song lyric.)

From Katharine Weber, whose terrific novel True Confections has just come out, these excellent additions:











(I’m not sure, though, about “species” and “crossroads.”   Can’t something be a   specie? Can’t a road be a crossroad?)

Late-breaking bulletin on “kudos”

Many thanks to Siri Gottlieb, who points out that “kudos” is not plural. It is a Greek word meaning honor, glory or acclaim, and is singular.
Correct: Much kudos to you for pulling it off.
Incorrect: Many kudos to you for pulling it off.

In other words, there’s no such word as “kudo.”

Of course, you can find dictionaries (such as the Online Webster’s) that legitimize “kudo.”   Let’s face it, dictionaries will inevitably  legitimize anything, including “incredulous” for “incredible,” and that’s only right (she said manfully), English being a living, organic thing, and blah blah blah.    Still at the end of the day you have to pick a dictionary and stick with it.   My own Ultimate Authority is  the Merriam-Webster’s Unabridged Second Edition, which, it turns out, does not recognize “kudo.”   So I won’t either.

I love the Second. You can keep your Oxford; the Second is the dictionary of the American language. In time, the two of us will sink  for good  beneath the waves, our pages floating free,  but right now we’re still afloat (barely).

Thanks, Siri!

By the way, here’s a nice page considering this topic, connecting kudos to peas and cherries:


Two New Lists!!

Actually, two new list ideas, each of which I have generously started.



wine-dark   (thanks and kudos, Jonathan Harnum)

sopping (thanks and kudos, Billy Frolick)






Please add–or subtract, if you can find exceptions.   I’m actually too busy writing my new novel to come up with more than one apiece, but I think both lists have merit.

Funny-Looking Words, part deux

When I was a kid, I sometimes used to stare at words just to see what they could do. I remember more than once staring at the word “soon” until it sprouted extra Os and the imagined sound of the word was strange and hilarious. Then there’s mere repetition, which can polish the most ordinary word to a high, dazzling gloss. You say the word over and over, and eventually, predictably, you pass through hive-inducing boredom and emerge into a magical world where the very sight of this word is just so damn funny. It helps to have a lot of time on your hands.

On one of Ed Kornhauser’s blogs I came across the most fantastic list. “Goat” has now joined “soon” in my list of nosebleedingly amusing words. I’ll let him introduce it.



The origin of this list stems from a conversation I had with Mack Leighton. I posed a query: if you were a musician, and you were marooned on a deserted island, and somehow, you wound up with a trumpet (say it came from the luggage rack of the plane that you were in prior to crashing), and you didn’t play trumpet, would you learn to play it? Both of us agreed that we would, to which I added, “…but all your songs would have to be about goats. The ones you domesticated to survive, like Robinson Crusoe.”
Here’s a list of jazz tunes as they would be titled if they were written about goats. Most of the songs in the list are mine; there are some great contributions from others. Feel free to add:*

A Day in the Life of a Goat
A Goat in Tunisia
A Goat Sang in Berkeley Square
Afro Goat
All the Things Goats Are
As Goats Go By
Autumn Goats Goat Glow
Basin St. Goats
Beautiful Goat
Bernie’s Goat
Besame Cabras
Beyond the Goat
Billy Goats Bounce
Blue and Goat
Body and Goat
Bye Bye Country Goat
Bye Bye Goat
Cheek to Goat
Clay Goat (or Goat Clay)
Darn That Goat
Don’t Get Around Goats Anymore
Dream a Little Dream for Goats
Embraceable Goat
Everything Happens to Goats
Falling Goats
Five Hundred Goats High
Flamenco Goats
Fly Goats to the Moon
Forest Goat
From This Goat On
Gee Baby Ain’t I Good to Goats
Giant Goats
Goat By Starlight (or Stella by Goats)
Goat Cleaner From Des Moines
Goat Dance
Goat Dreamer
Goat Enclosure
Goat for Sale
Goat From Ipenema
Goat Hunt
Goat in New York
Goat in Time Square
Goat of Darkness (or Prince of Goats)
Goat Peanuts
Goat Remembered
Goat Up
Goat Voyage
Goat-ee Goat-ee Goat-ee
Goat-ee Grind
Goats Bag’s
Goats Can Really Hang You Up the Most
Goats for Two
Goats from Heaven
Goats Get in Your Eyes
Goats in Vermont
Goats in Wonderland
Goat’s Notice
Goats on My Mind
Goats Rush In
Goats Weep for Me
God Bless the Goat
Gone With the Goat
Green Goat St.
Haitian Goat Song
Have You Met My Goat?
Honeysuckle Goat
How Deep is the Goat?
I Can’t Give You Anything but Goats
I Didn’t Know What Goat it Was
I Got Goats
I Hear a Goat
I Left My Goat in San Francisco
I Let a Song Go Out of My Goat (or a I Let a Goat Go Out of my Heart)
I Love Goats Porgy (or I Love You Goat)
I Remember Goats
I Will Wait for Goats
If I Were a Goat
If You Could See Goats Now
I’ll Take My Goats
In A Mellow Goat
In a Sentimental Goat
In the Goat
In the Wee Small Goats of the Morning
In Walked Goats
It Could Happen to Goats
It Had to Be Goats
It’s Only a Paper Goat
I’ve Got the Goat on a String
I’ve Never Been in Goats Before
Joy Goat
Just Goats (or Goat Friends)
Just One of Those Goats
Killer Goat
La Vie En Chèvre
Lennie’s Goat
Let’s Call the Goat Thing Off
Like Goats in Love
Lonnie’s Goats
Love Me or Leave Goats
Lullaby of Goatland
Mack the Goat
My Funny Goat
My Goat Stood Still
My Little Goat
My One and Only Goat
My Shining Goat
Nature Goat (or Goat Boy)
Nica’s Goat
Old Devil Goat
On the Sunny Side of the Goat
One Finger Goat
One Goat Samba
One More for My Baby, and One More for the Goat
Over the Goat
Passion Goat
Polka Dots and Goats (or Goats and Moonbeams)
Portrait of Goats
Put it Where Goats Want It
Quiet Nights and Quiet Goats
Re: Goat I Knew
Rhode Island is Famous for Goats
Satin Goat
Scrapple from the Goat
Serenade to a Goat
Seven Goats to Heaven
Softly As In a Morning Goat
Sophisticated Goat
Stolen Goats
String of Goats
Take the Goat (or Take the “A” Goat)
Taking a Chance on Goats (or Taking a Goat on Chance)
The Days of Wine and Goats
The Eternal Goat
The Goat Has a Thousand Eyes
The Shoes of the Fishermans Goat Are Some Jive-ass Slippers
The Very Thought of Goats
The Way Goats Look Tonight
There is No Greater Goat
There Will Never Be Another Goat
These Foolish Goats
They Can’t Take Goats Away From Me
This I Dig of Goats
This Time the Goat’s On Me
Time After Goat
Tones For Goats Bones (or Tones for Jones Goat)
Too Close For Goats
Turn Out the Goats
Un Poco Cabras
Up Jumped Goats
Waltz for Goat-ee
West Coats Goats
What A Wonderful Goat
What Are Goats Doing for the Rest of Your Life?
When I Fall in Goats (When Goats Fall in Love)
Who Can Goats Turn To?
Yardgoat Suite
You Are the Goat of My Life
You’re Nobody ’till Goats Love You

and lastly…

Goats Would Be So Nice to Come Home To

*Additions include:

Slow Goat to China
Goat 66
Pick Up the Goat Pieces
Cut the Goat
Red Goats in the Sunset
When the Goats Go Marching In
Goat Bless the Child
What Are You Doing With the Rest of Your Goat?

Note: The last suggestion is technically wrong, because “with” was introduced for syntactic purposes. Still. What are you doing with the rest of your goat?

Arrivederci, Goat

All You Need is Goat (thanks, Garrett Nichols)

I’m In Love with a Wonderful Goat

It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got that Goat)

My Goat Just Cares for Me

Lush Goat

Goaty Goaty (Goody Goody)