Embracing the Euphemism

I’m at CSICon this weekend with very limited writing time, so have a fun repost. Originally posted here.

I’ve long had a complicated relationship with euphemisms. On their own, I don’t like them much. I’m annoyed by people’s inability to talk about the things they clearly want or need to talk about. Many of them reflect the negative attitudes that keep us from speaking plainly in the first place. And some of them are just gallingly twee.

However, put a bunch of them together in one place, and they go from an act of denial to a demonstration of our creativity in the face of repression and a testament to the fact that we will talk about these things, no matter how much we’re told we shouldn’t. One lovely example is this song, brought to my attention by Sex, Etc., a sex education site aimed at teenagers. I don’t need to tell you this isn’t work-safe, do I? Continue reading “Embracing the Euphemism”

Embracing the Euphemism

The Big Trip

I’m just back from my shortest ever trip to Canada. Turned back at the Canadian Customs station in under 10 minutes. I was also fingerprinted and had my picture taken. And I paid for the privilege.

But the leaves in northern Minnesota are beautiful right now, and the traffic is sparse. That made this a good trip to stop and take a picture of all the very large roadside attractions between here and Warroad. Minnesota seems to collect these things.

After all, where but Garrison do you need a sign like this?

Keep Off the Fish! No leaning on, hanging from or climbing on Fish, including its fins, tail and mouth.

I love how specific that is. It makes me wonder whether they redid the sign every time there was damage to the fish. “Harry, I’m going to need you to add a bit to the sign.” Continue reading “The Big Trip”

The Big Trip

How It Is Pronounced

There is an excellent chance you’ve already seen this video elsewhere on FreethoughtBlogs. I post it here as well, because you may not have seen it but still want to know how a bunch of us here talk about this when we get together. There is also one thing I’d like to draw your attention to.

A number of people have been mispronouncing my name lately on the radio and in Google+ hangouts and the like. They’ve been doing this despite me doing a radio show on which I introduce myself approximately every other week.

Now, I’m used to this. People who hear the radio show regularly still mispronounce my name. Still, if you want to know how it’s done, let this discussion be your guide.

Just make sure you pay attention to how I pronounce it, not how that Meyers guy does.

How It Is Pronounced

Saturday Storytime: Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue

If you don’t know who John Scalzi is, you may not read enough science fiction, follow enough silly people on Twitter, read enough blogs, or have gone to enough W00tstocks. Last April, very, very (very) early in April, Scalzi wrote a story for Tor. That story has since been nominated for the 2012 Hugo Award.

Night had come to the city of Skalandarharia, the sort of night with such a quality of black to it that it was as if black coal had been wrapped in blackest velvet, bathed in the purple-black ink of the demon squid Drindel and flung down a black well that descended toward the deepest, blackest crevasses of Drindelthengen, the netherworld ruled by Drindel, in which the sinful were punished, the black of which was so legendarily black that when the dreaded Drindelthengenflagen, the ravenous blind black badger trolls of Drindelthengen, would feast upon the uselessly dilated eyes of damned, the abandoned would cry out in joy as the Drindelthengenflagenmorden, the feared Black Spoons of the Drindelthengenflagen, pressed against their optic nerves, giving them one last sensation of light before the most absolute blackness fell upon them, made yet even blacker by the injury sustained from a falling lump of ink-bathed, velvet-wrapped coal.

With the night came a storm, the likes of which the eldest among the Skalandarharians would proclaim they had seen only once before, although none of them could agree which on which one time that was; some said it was like the fabled Scouring of Skalandarharia, in which the needle-sharp ice-rain flayed the skin from the unjust of the city, provided they were outside at the time, while sparing the just who had stayed indoors; others said it was very similar to the unforgettable Pounding of Skalandarharia, in which hailstones the size of melons destroyed the city’s melon harvest; still others compared it to the oft-commented-upon Moistening of Skalandarharia, in which the persistent humidity made everyone unbearably sticky for several weeks; at which point they were informed that this storm was really nothing like that at all, to which they replied perhaps not, but you had to admit that was a pretty damn miserable time.

Which is to say: It was a dark and stormy night.

And in that dark and stormy night, upon the walls of Smaelkaven, the imperial castle of Skalandarharia, two guards stood, upon a watch.

Keep reading.

Saturday Storytime: Shadow War of the Night Dragons: Book One: The Dead City: Prologue

The Sex Lives of Trees

…really shouldn’t involve me, but they do. Pollen counts are high today and expected to be high all week. That means my body is intensely busy doing absolutely nothing productive. Since I still have to get a bunch of other stuff done, I offer you this little ditty in lieu of a post.

Too bad the Muppets never did a song about refraining from clawing your eyeballs out so you could wash them.

The Sex Lives of Trees