When Words With Friends is Words With Strangers

So I quite enjoy a game of Scrabble every now and then… only most people I know won’t play with me anymore.  No idea why.  Enter Words With Friends on my iPhone.

I quite like to play, but every time I go away and find myself with limited internet, I end up forfeiting a bunch of games from them timing out, and you have to start from scratch when you get home again.  Which I have fallen out of the habit of doing because I tend to look at it, and think ‘I’ll just forfeit when I go away again anyway.’  Long story short, I recently updated my app and noticed some changes, and started playing again because I’m not going away for a few months.

The new version of the app, though, has made it quite ten times easier for people to start games with randoms on the Internet and unfortunately it seems that there are plenty of guys who appear to be primarily playing to basically try to meet women… who’d’ve thought? Within the space of a week, I’ve had about half a dozen guys hitting on me via online Scrabble.  :/

It started off innocuously enough, a few ‘Hi, how are you?’, ‘Where are you from?’, ‘Are you married?’, ‘Is that really you?’, type messages from guys who started games with me, and then this guy turned up:

My, who’s that handsome devil in the seriously impressive uniform?, Richard !!,,   Anyway, Lt. General Richard !!,, invited me to play a game with me and it was going fine. He was playing some obscure words that I’d never seen before which is rare but always great fun – I like a meaty game – and then about three moves in I get this:

Ummm… Do I have to answer this?  Is it rude to just ignore that and just play my next move?  Do we really have to make chit-chat to have a game of Scrabble?  Why is this unsolicited compliment making me uncomfortable?  Seriously, do we really have to talk at all?  :/

I left it for a few hours, but wanted to follow the game through so I eventually answered him and over the next day or so the conversation went along pleasantly enough…

Which was an honest enquiry.. how does someone at his rank on a peacekeeping mission in Syria have times for things like playing word games with strangers on the Internet? My curiosity however, was met with open hostility.  Whereupon the conversation, with no warning whatsoever, spiralled downhill rather rapidly… :/ Errr… whoa there Nellie!?  That seems kinda special.  😮
Now I’m not one for being ordered to do anything, and especially not from a total stranger on the Internet. But curiosity kills the whatsamadoover and all that… And I was going to leave it there – but at this point I was pretty convinced that this wasn’t Lt. General Richard!!,, but rather more likely, a fucking boorish stockbroker named Ralph living in his Mom’s basement somewhere.

With minimal effort (a single Google Image search and a response within microseconds) the photo of this very smartly Lt General in the US military with the name, Richard CLARKE (Yes Dick, the name badge is quite legible in the photo) was not exactly hard to find, and according to the profile that Ralph probably stole the photo from, he’s a Director for Strategic Plans and Policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff!   IE:  someone you would very likely imagine is way too busy to be playing stupid word games with strangers.

So I decided to throw an extra volley across the bow…

Predictably, Dick didn’t respond and ended the game…
What a shame.  He was winning too.  :/

Never pick a fight with the Grammar Nazis

  • I love the internet – You never know what you are going to find.  For example, I clicked through to a IFLScience link about some guy in a Mentos suit being dropped into a tank of diet soda to see what would happen.  There was a very short and disappointing .gif, but the internet trolls still provided plenty of entertainment.  Love it!
    haha true but still too short.

    thats what she said
    Avatar “That’s what she said.”
    Avatar  Spell-check guy, thank heavens you’re here. Oh wait did I spell that right? Thank-you spell-check guy, the world is a better place with your trustee spelling skills.
    Avatar  “trusty”
    Avatar  another spell-check guy. I’m guessing you a little thick when it comes to irony. Oh wait lets address this with Irony-guy.
    Avatar  You’re* let’s*
    Avatar  wait while I’m here, please let me run my essay in with you guys, this is awesome! always admire a free service, now while your carefully scrutinizing my every letter of every word that I’m typing, I just wanted to say thanks and I feel privileged.
    Avatar  Ah, screw it. “Wait, while I’m here, please let me run my essay by you guys. This is awesome! I always admire a free service. Now while you’re carefully scrutinizing my every letter, of every word that I’m typing, I just want to say, “thanks and I feel privileged”.”
    Avatar  You just comma spliced…
    Avatar  Actually he didn’t. It’s just a complex sentence.
    Avatar  Congrats u corrected grammar in your native language…something I was told Westerners were taught in gr. 5, yet is not important in a casual commentary. You and everyone who “liked” this need may need an education? You can then contribute something to a thread/convo. Maybe something funny on an intellectual level instead of a fifth grade level. (ps. Eng is my fourth language please feel free to correct professor…or is it “Professor” as spelling and grammar are more important than ideas in your world). These people who correct spelling and grammar rather than speaking on ideas need to expand themselves……….that is all…until you or someone else comment on my spelling/grammar so I can show my English class how English speakers respond to online errors in commentary. lol (that’s laugh-out-loud right? Or is there an error?
    Avatar  Actually, I just thought the corrections by others was humorous and decided to continue. Hence, the “screw it” comment. However, since you brought it up, when I speak or write German or Russian, I actually appreciate those who correct me so I can be better at speaking or writing the languages I am trying to use. I would not take offense as much as use it as a learning tool. And I would also add that language is important even in commentary as you are still trying to be understood in any language you use. Maybe I am correcting because the act of correcting solidifies my ability to speak the language as English is a difficult one and one others who are native speakers still have problems with well into adulthood. Furthermore, I had no indication that he is not a native speaker and was not doing it to ridicule, so your comments and attempts at insults have no place in a reply to me. Having said all of that, bite me.
    Avatar  “Having said all of that, bite me” You sire, you winneth the internet.
    Avatar  Are you calling him a king, or are you calling him a man in a respectful manner?Avatar  I don’t care what these people are saying. Your comments were the delight of my day. Thank you sir.
    Avatar  English to me is the 3rd out of 5 languages and, indeed, i highly appreciate being corrected as it helps me learn and further develop my skills. Also, I do mind it when people cannot use their own language properly, even in an informal comment/ conversation. As for your last sentence, I am now officially a fan of yours <bows>.Avatar  “Actually, I just thought the corrections by others were* humorous..”
    Avatar  Here’s some additional help Patrick “and” or “but” are conjunctions, used to to connect clauses and not to start them (no problem starting with a conjunction properly). Let’s make all threads an English lessons :). Please correct me. I’m here to learn how to speak/write not read an article about mentos/coke explosions. Avatar  Sure, I’ll give it a go! “Here’s some additional help, Patrick.” Your sentence was ended. “And” should have been the start of a new sentence.
    Avatar  You don’t start a sentence with “and”…
    Avatar  Actually in that sentence, you most definitely do:  “Here’s some additional help Patrick. ‘And’ or ‘but’ are conjunctions, used to to connect clauses and not to start them.”  Think about it. The “and” in quotes is not functioning as a conjunction. Avatar  Actually, in this particular case you do start it with an “and. It should go: “And” and “But” are conjuntions, bla, bla, bla… You are providing information about the language. In this particular case, “and” is not being used as a conjuntion… It’s being merely used as an example, it must be between “” or in italic…. 🙂
    Avatar  I’d have gone with a colon, personally.
    Avatar  wow you’re english is so goode. Golde star! (You stfil didnt use “and” proparly no mater how hard you try to deflecte)
    Avatar  (A different Patrick) You can actually begin clauses with ‘and’ or ‘but’ however it’s advisable to practise it sparingly.
    Avatar  oooooohhhh, I see you, felt these English speakers needed “help”…….. it was a big misunderstanding. You wern’t trying to be smart. You had me until that last comment. smh
    Avatar  Don’t we all need help at times? The truth of the matter was in the first sentence. I thought it all very funny. The rest was just points for him to ponder. I don’t dismiss anyone’s point because of grammar but if you are going to write, why not try to be “better”.
    Avatar  ^ *were humorous” I hope the correction helps you “become better at speaking or writing” as you suggested.
    Avatar  See? You make my point. That’s a good catch on your part.
    Avatar  Since you’re so concerned about meaning, the meanings of the word “your” and contraction “you’re” are ENTIRELY DIFFERENT.
    Avatar  Yep, that’s true. It’s very important to know the difference between knowing YOUR sh*t and knowing YOU’RE sh*t. 😉

Weird and wonderful English

I love language… I was one of those weird teenagers who used their dictionaries for something other than squashing spiders.  I actually read the damn thing from time to time… for fun.  I’ve always loved learning new words, playing Scrabble (when I can con someone into playing with me), writing, long or obscure of adopted words and etymology in general.  And English is a madhouse when you delve into it.  I can’t imagine how difficult it is for people to learn it as adults.  The pronunciation alone would drive you round the bend…

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was used to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  • We must polish the Polish furniture..
  • He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert..
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  • A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  • When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  • I did not object to the object.
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  • To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  • Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear..
  • I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

But’s that is just how it has evolved.  English is a fucking crazy language.  Then you find this sort of thing:

“There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; likewise no apple nor pine in pineapple!  English muffins weren’t invented in England and French fries don’t come from France. Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are actually meat.  That which we call quicksand usually works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig!

Why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?  Why is it when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible?!

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are complete opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as quickly as it burns down; in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.”

All this fun stuff really tells us is that English was invented by people in an osmotic and evolutionary manner, not by design, not by computers or definitely not by a plan.  Language perhaps more than art, reflects the creativity of the human race – which, of course, is not actually a race at all!

awful better than awesome trex

Lost in Translation

I read an article’11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures’  that focused on a handful of words that are completely untranslatable into the English language without resorting to an entire phrase to replace one elegant word.  Most of these words encapsulate a universal human experience that occurs in the English speaking world, but English simply does not have single words to represent these concepts.

Which immediately reminded me of a ridiculously long and equally obscure Inuit word which reflected a uniquely Inuit practice, but which was annoyingly eluded me and has been on the tip of my tongue for days.  So I started to search for it… and instead I found a whole collection of other awesome, yet untranslatable, words from other languages.  Naturally, through my research I have been unable to find the original Inuit word I was looking for..  :/

untranslatable words culaccino

Mamihlapinatapei – Yagan (indigenous language of Tierra del Fuego) – “The wordless, yet meaningful look shared by two people who both desire to initiate something but are both reluctant to start.”
Donaldkacsázás –  Hungarian – Literally translated as “Donald Ducking” but refers to the act of wandering around one’s house wearing a shirt and no trousers like the beloved Disney character.

untranslatable words depaysement

Litost – Czech – The state of agony and torment created by the sudden sight of one’s own misery.
Drachenfutter – German – Literally, “dragon fodder,”. Refers to the gift German husbands bestow on their wives when they’re the doghouse, IE: have stayed out late or they have otherwise engaged in some kind of inappropriate behaviour.
Ya’aburnee – Arabic – Morbidly beautiful this word means “You bury me,” and is a declaration of one’s hope that they will die before another person, because of how difficult it would be to live without them.

untranslatable words goya

Kyoikumama – Japanese – “A mother who relentlessly pushes her children toward academic achievement.”
Ponte – Italian – While it literally means “bridge,” this word also refers to the concept of taking an extra day off taken to make a national holiday falling on a Tuesday or Thursday, into a four-day vacation.
L’appel du vide – French – Literally, “the call of the void”, this French expression is used to describe the instinctive urge to jump from high places (not sure this one counts, it’s more a phrase).

untranslatable words iktsuarpok

Tartle – Scottish – The act of hesitating while introducing someone because you’ve forgotten their name.
Duende – Spanish – refers to the mysterious power that a work of art has to deeply move a person, though it was originally used to describe a sprite-like entity that possessed humans and creates the feeling of awe of one’s surroundings in nature.

Bakku-shanJapanese – A woman that looks attractive from the rear but not from the front.

untranslatable words jayus

Ilunga – Tshiluba (Southwest Congo) – the willingness to forgive and forget any first abuse, tolerate a second abuse, but never forgive nor tolerate a third offence.
Dozywocie – Polish – Many cultures acknowledge this concept, but Polish sums it up in a single word, it refers to the parental contract with children that guarantees offspring lifelong support.
Saudade – Portuguese – this word refers to the feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.

untranslatable words komorebi

Prozvonit – Czech – The act of calling a mobile phone and letting it ring once so that the other person will call back, saving the first caller money.

Wom-baPersian – Describes the smile of a child as it sleeps.

Lingam – Sanskrit – Refers to the symbol of the erect penis or phallus used as an object of veneration and worship.
Takallouf – Urdu – Loosely translated as “formality,” it often refers to the prodigious amount of preparation put into hosting a tea or dinner.  However, it also refers to a deeply ingrained social restraint so extreme, as to make it impossible for the victim to express what he or she really means.

untranslatable words mangata

Torschlusspanik – German – Translated literally, it means “gate-closing panic,” but its contextual meaning actually refers to the fear of diminishing opportunities as one gets older.
Wabi (rhymes with Bobby) – Japanese – A flawed detail that allows the creation of an elegant whole.
Ayurnamat – Inuit – Roughly translates as the philosophy that there is no point in worrying about events that cannot be changed.

untranslatable words panapo o

Cafuné – Brazilian Portuguese – Tenderly running one’s fingers through someone’s hair.
Treppenwitz – German – Literally “the wit of the staircase,” also known as that witty comeback that only occurs to you after you’ve left an argument you’ve lost. It’s a universal pain that most of us know all too well.
Gagung – Cantonese – Translates as “bare branches,” this word is used to talk about men who have little chance to get married or start families due to China’s one-child policy.

untranslatable words pochemuchka

Tingo – Pascuense (Easter Island) – The act of taking objects one desires from the house of a friend by gradually borrowing all of them.
Frotteur – French – An individuals who get their rocks off by rubbing their crotches against the buttocks of women in crowds… classy.
Fremdschämen – German again – This is a word for the embarrassment one feels at watching someone else embarrass themselves, a sort of secondhand awkwardness.

untranslatable words sombremesa

Hyggelig – Danish – Difficult to translate, it gives connotations of a warm, friendly, cozy demeanor, but it’s unlikely that just these words truly capture the essence of a hyggelig; it’s something that must be experienced – think of good friends, cold beer, and a warm fire; to create intimacy.
Kokusaijin – Japanese – This has a literal translation as “an international person,” but refers only to Japanese people who have f0reign language skills and get along well with foreigners.
Chai-pani – Hindi-Urdu – While it literally means “tea and water,” this compound word is used to describe the money and favours given to someone, often a bureaucrat, to get things done.  In English, the closest we have is “greasing someone’s palm.”

untranslatable words waldeinsamkeitAnd last but not least… my favourite and yours:

Schadenfreude – German – Quite famous for its meaning, such that it has been absored into other languages; this refers to the feeling of pleasure derived by seeing another’s misfortune.  Think ‘Funniest Home Videos’.

UPDATE:    (Thursday, 17th October, 10:41PM)

I found it!  Bizarre words ahoy…

Aerodjarekput Inuit – A term used for the act of swapping wives with another family for a few days to a week during the extended winter period.  Also refers to a long standing, socially accepted practice of co-marriage or polygamy within traditional Inuit culture.

Huh.  So what started out as 11 Untranslatable Words… has turned into 41 Untranslatable Words.  The ridiculous stuff that sticks in your head, taking up valuable memory space…?   :S


The blow job dilemma.

Here’s something that has been bothering my, obviously completely under-occupied, mind today…

Is blow job one word or two?  Is it ‘blow job’?  Or ‘blowjob’?

Yes, such a weighty consideration for the people, (read: I need to get out more).  My browser would have me believe that it is two words… for it has given me the red underscore of misspelling on the ‘blowjob’ single word variant and has no problem whatsoever with the ‘blow job’ two word variant, which, given both words operate independently with sufficient meaning, is not surprising at all.

My iPhone is, strangely enough, agreeing with my browser… but honestly?  Can you trust an iPhone with such things – we’ve all seen Damn You Auto Correct and know that iPhones can’t be trusted with anything of the sort, let alone the correct spelling and grammar of a term like ‘blow job’.

Quick office survey came out two to one in favour of ‘blowjob’; being a singular and distinct compound word, and not comprised of two separate and individual words at all… hmmm.  Which would mean that either that token office workers in my extensive last minute poll can’t spell, (sheesh… IT guys… you’d think they’d know how to spell blow job!) or the browser and iPhone evidence is fallacious.

Hang on a minute!  Maybe it’s not a term… maybe (if the browser and iPhone are correct) it’s actually a phrase!  One needs must turn to Google in a time of information crises!

So here is what I get if I Google, ‘blowjob’ – very important, all one word, no spaces.blow job blowjob fellatio google search

And here is what I get if I Google ‘blow job’ – two words, one space, no waiting!blow job blowjob fellatio google search

Well, if it is good enough for Google, in this case, i’ll be good enough for me.  Neither a ‘blow job’ nor a ‘blowjob’ be!  Instead henceforth, be known only as…  Fellatio!