Monday, October 22, 2007

Don't be a cunctator; come to the spelling bee

At a recent spelling bee, contestants were asked to spell words from Butt Rot and Bottom Gas: A Glossary of Tragically Misunderstood Words.

From the cover:
The English language is full of words that sound obscene but aren't. Terms like arsole (an organic chemical compound) and crack spread (a calculation showing theoretical market values of petroleum). Words like cunctator (a person who procrastinates, delays, or wastes time) and spotted dick (a traditional English dessert made with hot, thick custard).

Seventh-grade language arts teacher Eric Groves Sr. has spent years listening to his students giggle after he used words like thespian, coccyx, and masticate. Now he has compiled hundreds of these foul-sounding terms into a delightfully innocent dictionary, complete with illustrated definitions of their true meanings. From air cock (a valve on a boiler) and bushmaster (a large venomous snake) to cummingtonite (a mineral) and beyond, Butt Rot and Bottom Gas is a wonderful reference for word lovers and the snickering seventh grader in all of us.
I did, in fact, ask someone at the bee to spell cummingtonite. And she got it right! The "adult spelling bee" is finally ... "adult."

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

the long, obnoxious saga of Blogger making us sad

This blog, since 2005, has been located at and updated infrequently by me. A couple weeks ago, I go to post something and notice that the spelling blog is gone, and in its place is a one-post "blog" in Vietnamese.

I log into Blogger and am told that Blogger marked our blog as a "spam blog" and, what's more, suspected that I was not a real person. (Do scroll down over the original contents of this blog and see if it all looks like a veiled entreaty for you to purchase creams or potions for the enlargement of your member or mammaries).

I followed Blogger's process for launching an "investigation." Two weeks later, with no notice or explanation, our blog went back up at a new address,

To prevent further automated hijackings, I have now purchased, the new home for all future linguaphilic blogging.

Blogger may perform an obscene sex act upon the orifice or protuberance of a person of woeful spelling.