Friday, January 11, 2008

The Blacker The Berry, ...

The sweeter the juice. At least that's what the Isley Brothers say. Of course, I'm pretty sure they weren't singing lustily about the virtues of sleek handheld e-mail devices.

Anyhow, here's today's moment of sublime quixotica, submitted by daverd, a fellow wordsmith I stumbled upon at

A buzz of blackberries

N., A collective noun (e.g., like a flock of seagulls or a murder of crows) that refers to the distinctive vibrating, oscillating hum of a group of Blackberry hand-helds situated in close proximity to one another.

For non-users, the buzz and the subsequent Pavlovian response it triggers in its rabid followers (i.e., a rapid "inbox" check for new e-mails) can be profoundly annoying. This noisome "hum" often short-circuits real communication with actual human beings.

Did You Know?:

  • RIM, the company that manufactures the Blackberry, decided on the product's unique name after just a few weeks of research and development with Lexicon Branding, Inc., ... the same creative company that came up with winning product names for Apple's Powerbook and Intel's Pentium processor. Apparently, one of the Lexicon consultants felt that the device's mini-buttons resembled the tiny seeds in a strawberry. Some genius in marketing dropped the "straw" (felt to be too slow-sounding) and changed it to "black" (faster-sounding) . The rest, as they say, is history.
  • Here's a gaggle of links to a plurality of collective nouns

Gotta Love Those Aussies, They're the Ant's Pants ...

Ant's Pants: Australian for someone or something considered the ultimate in style, novelty or cleverness.

Just when we thought we could close the book on Word of the Year awards season, those friendly Aussies pull us back in

Reprinted from the BBC.Com ....

Australians vote on word of 2007

Are these Sydney beachgoers running the risk of tanorexia?Are you suffering from password fatigue? Ever considered manscaping? Do you know any tanorexics?

These phrases and more are contenders in an online vote organised by Australia's Macquarie Dictionary to select the Word of the Year 2007.

Seventeen categories contain a total of 85 words from which voters can choose.
Options include globesity - the problem of rising obesity around the globe - and floordrobe - the use of the floor as a substitute wardrobe.

Some words appear to be unique to Australia.

Salad dodger is included as a term for an overweight person, while a surfer under the age of 10 can now be called a microgrom.


  • Password fatigue: Frustration caused by having too many passwords and failing to remember them

  • Manscaping: Male grooming procedures involving the removal of body hair

  • Tanorexia: An obsessive desire to have tanned skin

  • Credit card tart: Someone who transfers loans to a new card when the interest-free period of the first card expires

Your comments: Word of 2007

But many of the new words seem to reflect global developments and trends.
Chindia is used as a noun to refer to China and India as a collective unit, in terms of economic power and strategic importance.

There are also five new words related to carbon emissions and how to deal with them, reflecting growing concern about climate change. Several of the new words relate to advances in technology. Pod slurping is described as the practice of downloading large quantities of data to an MP3 player or memory stick from a computer. Griefers, meanwhile, are players who deliberately sabotage online computer games instead of abiding by the rules.

Other words represent new definitions for old concepts. Kippers are adult children who fail to leave home - a contraction of Kids In Parents' Pockets Eroding Retirement Savings. Man flu, meanwhile, refers to a minor cold contracted by a man who then proceeds to exaggerate the symptoms, the dictionary said.

Voting closes on 31 January and Australia's Word of the Year 2007 will be announced in the first week of February.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Persona Non Gratuitata ...

Persona non gratuitata
[per-soh-nah nohn grah-too-i-tah-tuh]
N., the person at any food or drink-related group gathering that consistently feigns ignorance and under-contributes his/her portion of the overall group tab; examples include: forgetting to include taxes, tip, soft drinks and any shared entrees, appetizers or side dishes in the final bill reckoning

This is typically a regular occurrence for the offending party and therefore an extremely tough habit to break. For fellow group diners, it is especially awkward to broach the topic of underpayment with the perpetrator (for fear of seeming petty), ... an omission which unfortunately only seems to perpetuate this odious behavior

In many cases, the underpayment is often accompanied by a calculated diversion (an unexpected phone call, a trip to the restroom, spontaneous conversation or an early departure) to avoid detection.

See also tab averse and tab jumping

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Duke

The Duke noun, verb (duk-ing) also The Dook

n., the maneuver one must perform upon realizing that his/her (though usually his) lavatory is out of toilet paper. The Duke is an undoubtedly awkward, wide-stanced walk, resembling the cautious, purposeful gait of its namesake, John Wayne. This stride is used to either travel to another stall which may have paper (in the case of public restrooms) or to wander around anxiously in hopes of finding an alternative means detoxing one's rim.

"During Sunday service, I went to the can to take care of something evil, and next then I knew, I was doing The Duke halfway around the chapel until I found a facility with the proper supplies."
(Submitted by L'il Dom)

See also two-ply-ability

Quixotica is Growing ...

Quixotica is pleased to announce the addition of a new FOQ-er, or Friend of Quixotica, Miss Lindsey "Trill" Bledsoe.

Lindsey, a lover of words and a talented writer in her own right, will be contributing illustrations periodically to the website. In fact, she will be our lead illustrator, our VP of illustration, and our CEO of pictures all rolled into one. And whatever else she wants to call herself.

Bledsoe, who recently moved to the area from Arkansas, is a senior in high school in the vast suburban sprawl of Northern Virginia. She will be attending college shortly, though the exact destination of this talented artist is as of yet undetermined. Wherever she decides to ply her trade, Bledsoe's ambition and search for la dolce vita will surely carry her far.

"I aspire to be a traveler, to study Tango in Argentina, smell the fresh bread every morning in France, sail the Mediterranean, explore the Brazilian jungles, and live in a penthouse in Santa Fe.," reads Bledsoe's Facebook profile. "I'd like to either become a journalist/art columnist, Graphic Designer, Photographer, or a sort of jack-of-all trades mix. I'd also like to minor in Psychology, and flip houses on the side. Eventually, someday I'd love to own a gallery."

Lindsey will also be doing some undercover work for Quixotica, ... as the eyes and ears at ground zero of one of the most fertile incubators of modern invented slang -- high school.

And apparently she's pretty handy with this Internet thing that the kids are using these days. Maybe she could show this old dog a thing or two about how to run a blog. In fact, I bet she knows how I can repair my "submission" button at the top right of the page, so my dedicated readers can submit all their clever neologisms right from our site.

Lindsey is a fan of House and 24 (arguably the two best shows on network television) and knows the true meaning of Bauer-ing it. An accomplished blogger and artist, samples of Lindsey's work can be found by clicking on the following links:

Deviant Art -- Samples of Lindsey's portfolio

Trill Spots --This is Lindsey's personal blog, where she waxes poetic about Zen, World Lit class, office chair-itis and the art of blog maintenance

BrickFilms.Com -- Lindsey is an administrator for this website. That's all I know. I have not been cleared for any additional information at this point

Did You Know?

In the fictional Star Trek universe, the Trill are a species of symbiotic lifeforms native to the Alpha Quadrant. Their home world is also named Trill. Trill is a very sparsely populated planet with only a few million inhabitants. Its oceans are predominantly purple.

Now I know. God Bless You, Wikipedia.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Alt-Tabbing (-er)(-erry)


n., the act of navigating successfully (and quickly) back and forth between multiple open computer applications using the "alt" and "tab" keystroke shortcut; achieved by holding the "alt" key in a depressed position and pressing down the "tab" button a single time to toggle from one program to another.

Examples of this technique include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Switching between complementary applications for an editing-related purpose (cut-and-paste, copying, etc.)

  • For the purpose of dissimulation, i.e., to create the appearance that you are using one application while really using another. This is typically done to avoid detection by a colleague, friend, spouse, supervisor or similar authority figure. Examples include any prohibited non-work-related websites (MySpace, Facebook, Ebay, ESPN, GMail), game programs (solitaire, hearts, Yahoo Games) or an application that may be particularly embarrassing or revealing (chat rooms, pornography or any graphic NSFW site)

  • Showing off one's keyboard-related dexterity

  • To give the impression that one is working harden on a project/assignment than one really is

"In hindsight, it probably wasn't a good idea for Jake to his use his workstation PC to participate in his fantasy baseball draft and download songs to his Ipod. After all, it was his first week on the job and his first job out of college. Thankfully, his expert alt-tabbing left his boss and co-workers none the wiser. In fact, his uncanny ability to avoid detection only spurred him on to more frequent and reckless workstation personal use."

American Dialect Society Taps "Sub-Prime" As 2007 Word of the Year

As posted on the American Dialect Society website

In its 18th annual words of the year vote, the American Dialect Society voted “subprime” as the word of the year. Subprime is an adjective used to describe a risky or less than ideal loan, mortgage, or investment. Subprime was also winner of a brand-new 2007 category for real estate words, a category which reflects the preoccupation of the press and public for the past year with a deepening mortgage crisis.

Presiding at the Jan. 4 voting session were ADS Executive Secretary Allan Metcalf of McMurray College and Professor Wayne Glowka, Dean of Arts and Humanities of Reinhardt College, chair of the New Words Committee of the American Dialect Society. Wayne edits the column “Among the New Words” in the society’s quarterly journal American Speech.

“When you have investment companies losing billions of dollars over something like bundled subprime loans, then you have to consider whether it’s important,” Professor Glowka said. “You probably also want to think about paying off that third mortgage.”

Word of the Year is interpreted in its broader sense as “vocabulary item”—not just words but phrases. The words or phrases do not have to be brand-new, but they have to be newly prominent or notable in the past year, in the manner of Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
The vote is the longest-running such vote anywhere, the only one not tied to commercial interests, and the word-of-the-year event up to which all others lead. It is fully informed by the members’ expertise in the study of words, but it is far from a solemn occasion. Members in the 118-year-old organization include linguists, lexicographers, etymologists, grammarians, historians, researchers, writers, authors, editors, professors, university students, and independent scholars. In conducting the vote, they act in fun and do not pretend to be officially inducting words into the English language. Instead they are highlighting that language change is normal, ongoing, and entertaining.