Archive for 4: UUppercase 2

TT: Lost in Translation

I realize that it's not polite to make fun of writing that's been translated poorly from another language. I suspect that mocking Japanglish, Franglais, and Chinglish can be considered politically incorrect at best and racist at worst. But I can't help myself. I find myself vastly entertained by the weird English that translators come up […]

RR: Down Came the Good Fairy

Almost everyone I know has had some encounter with the song "Little Rabbit Foo Foo." But I've found, to my dismay, that about half the people who've heard the song are totally unaware of the punchline/moral that justifies the song. A quick explanation for those few of you who have no idea what I'm talking […]

QQ: Drongos, Droobs, and Droogs

Have you been looking for a good slang dictionary? Me too. It can be hard to tell, on a cursory inspection, which are reasonably accurate and which are outdated, miss shades of meaning, or are just plain wrong. I've taken to checking a few particular words that I feel reasonably confident I know the current […]

PP: Party Boobytrap

Everyone knows what a palindrome is: a word that reads the same backwards as forwards (except for spaces and punctuation). Maybe the fact that everyone knows about them is why it's taken me a year and a half to get around to writing about them. The most famous palindrome is probably "Madam, I'm Adam." Perhaps […]

OO: Peephole in a Barbed Wire Fence

In a 1985 column, world's greatest columnist Jon Carroll asked for information about the phrase "I stand before you to sit behind you..." He was deluged with comments. Like many of his correspondents, I had heard a version of the phrase as a child; it's the start of a contradictory nonsense verse. The verse generally […]

NN: The Eponymous Four

I don't know how long people have been coming up with odd names for groups of musical performers, but the practice dates back at least to the 1930s. (Before that there were named musical groups, but the names were usually descriptive (and often place-linked), like "The London Philharmonic Orchestra," rather than fanciful.) Bands with names […]