Spontaneous Combustion

While I’m on funny sayings I used to work with a bloke who was a master of malapropisms and for those who don’t know what that is it means the malapprorpiate use of words.  And yes that was an attempt at rather bad joke.

There are a couple that stick in my mind.  The first was when he asked one of the other guys in the office who was a keen gardener to help him pick out some periannuals to grow in his garden.

The funniest though was when a young lady who worked on another floor pooped into our office for the first time in a number of months and she was noticeably pregnant.

“I didn’t even know she was married,” he said, “it must have been spontaneous combustion.”

Now let’s see if you can guess exactly what he meant

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Changing Language

I’ve noticed another trend in the pronunciation of a word recently and I don’t know why these things happen.  Given you my readers [sounds like there’s a lot doesn’t there :)] are from many different places around the world let’s see if you can help me here.

My name is Laurie, short for Laurence having been named for an Uncle who was killed by the Japanese when they invaded Rabaul in World War 2.   Now the phonetic pronunciation of my name is like that of the truck – “lorry”.    Some of my American work colleagues call me Lawry, and a Malaysian guy I used to work with called be Rorry and himseld Lobert – I didn’t get that.

Anyway the word I’m actually talking about today is worry which I pronounce wurry as in slurry.  But I’ve noticed a lot of people lately pronouncing it worry as in sorry or lorry.   What is that?  Where did it come from and how do you say it?

Snollygoster

Always on the lookout for unusual words I found this one with a high hit rate on google trends today and as with some other things I have come across I can find no real reason why a search for this word takes off on one particular day. Certainly in searching it myself there is no hit on Google news so it doesn’t seem to have been triggered by a news item.

Still this is a useful word and the meaning is worth checking out.   Here are some of the definitions – From Urban Dictionary

  • A 19th century coinage, meaning a crooked and flamboyant politician. Later, in Maryland folklore, a monster half bird and half snake, that was used to frighten ex-slaves out of voting.
  • A “carpetbagger”. Somebody who will go to any lengths to achieve public office, regardless of party affiliation or platform.

Michael Quinion on World Wide Words writes –

  •  “A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.”

I guess we all know politicians like that and some may even say that politician is a subset of snollygoster which I don’t personally subscribe to.   Well, maybe sometimes I do because there is always a fair bit of snollygosting going on amongst our erstwhile leaders.

Look at our Premier here in Victoria, John Brumby,  who claims, despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary, that we are not in recession.  Shrewd, certainly, unprincipled arguably, snollygoster?  Well I guess that will depend what side of the political fence you sit on and in the current climate whether you have a job or not.

I know that politicians change their minds – I live in the eastern suburbs and I remember the pre-election promise that eastlink would not be a toll road, only to find a few short weeks after they were re-elected that the situation had changed.  But how often is bad policy blamed on external influences and how often is political expediency used to mask the truth from the public?

Remember in the state budget last year that we were told we could expect four years of continued growth and that unemployment would remain at around 4-5% with a budget surplus approaching $800m/annum.   Now we find that growth is flat, if not negative, that unemployment will climb to more than 7% and the surplus is gone, not only for this year but probably for the forseeable future too.  I am an economic moron so I have no idea who to blame for this, but I guarantee you that politicians around the world will not only continue to blame the “worldwide economic crisis” but swine flu as well.

Watch the snollygostering continue.

Snollygoster

Always on the lookout for unusual words I found this one with a high hit rate on google trends today and as with some other things I have come across I can find no real reason why a search for this word takes off on one particular day. Certainly in searching it myself there is no hit on Google news so it doesn’t seem to have been triggered by a news item.

Still this is a useful word and the meaning is worth checking out.   Here are some of the definitions – From Urban Dictionary

  • A 19th century coinage, meaning a crooked and flamboyant politician. Later, in Maryland folklore, a monster half bird and half snake, that was used to frighten ex-slaves out of voting.
  • A “carpetbagger”. Somebody who will go to any lengths to achieve public office, regardless of party affiliation or platform.

Michael Quinion on World Wide Words writes –

  •  “A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician.”

I guess we all know politicians like that and some may even say that politician is a subset of snollygoster which I don’t personally subscribe to.   Well, maybe sometimes I do because there is always a fair bit of snollygosting going on amongst our erstwhile leaders.

Look at our Premier here in Victoria, John Brumby,  who claims, despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary, that we are not in recession.  Shrewd, certainly, unprincipled arguably, snollygoster?  Well I guess that will depend what side of the political fence you sit on and in the current climate whether you have a job or not.

I know that politicians change their minds – I live in the eastern suburbs and I remember the pre-election promise that eastlink would not be a toll road, only to find a few short weeks after they were re-elected that the situation had changed.  But how often is bad policy blamed on external influences and how often is political expediency used to mask the truth from the public?

Remember in the state budget last year that we were told we could expect four years of continued growth and that unemployment would remain at around 4-5% with a budget surplus approaching $800m/annum.   Now we find that growth is flat, if not negative, that unemployment will climb to more than 7% and the surplus is gone, not only for this year but probably for the forseeable future too.  I am an economic moron so I have no idea who to blame for this, but I guarantee you that politicians around the world will not only continue to blame the “worldwide economic crisis” but swine flu as well.

Watch the snollygostering continue.