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April 3, 2014

How to change numbers:

  • Take all the fours in the world, put them all together, and you have a meta-4.
  • Pulverize a pound of eights and you have pile of particuleights.
  • Seven and eleven are odd numbers, yet they are made mostly of even (seven and eleven). Take the evens out and replace them with the more fitting odd, and you have sodd and elodd. Please use these versions from now on. Thank you.
  • “Nine” sounds exactly like the German word for “no”. This is far too negative for a positive number. From now on, let’s leave off the e, and call it “nin“. It will also help to immortalize the band Nine Inch Nails (NIN), which will, in turn, help us to remember that it stands for 9. Of course, the band will have to drop the e as well. This will make them Nin Inch Nails, and they can get rid of the superfluous part and finally just be Nin.
  • From millipede to millennium, the prefix mill- means thousand. Yet, we use it to denote a number 1,000 times greater than 1,000. From now on, we will be calling this number: 1,000 “one million.” Please adjust your math homework and test answers accordingly.

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What’s the Difference?

September 17, 2013

Welcome to another episode of…


Today: Disambiguating confusing words.

I have compiled a list of words that you may have heard from time to time, even used when feeling brave, but whose meanings are a bit obscure to most people. Well, it’s finally time to get a handle on these often misunderstood members of the lexicon.

1. Bemused vs. Amused

Bemused should not be confused with amused. In fact, you may be amused to hear that bemused means confused. Think of it as befuddled fused with confused. Are you sufficiently bemused yet?

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Wordup, Digitons!

August 16, 2013


Here are some disjointed word thoughts for you to ponder… or not.

Word is a Funny

March 19, 2013

Blog posts need pictures. Here’s one:



Funny is a word, and by the Commutative Law, word is a funny. Here are some ways that word is a funny:

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why? Why?? WHY???

February 12, 2013


  • Why are movie superheroes always revealing their allegedly secret identities? That rarely, if ever, happens in the original comic books. But from Batman, Superman, The Green Lantern, Iron Man and Spiderman, movie versions of superheroes are letting their enemies, their loved ones, and even their liked ones know who they are. Why wear a mask (or in Superman’s case, a pair of glasses as Clark Kent) at all? And while I’m asking, why was Batman’s cowl, fashioned of secret, military, futuristic material, so easy to crack in half in that last movie? And why were he and Bane fighting like championship wrestlers instead of ninjas? But I digress. American movies have determined that, unlike in the comics, the bad guy should usually die at the end & secret identities should be dramatically revealed… or otherwise somehow figured out by bad guys preceding their deaths.

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Ten things that Bug Me About English

February 15, 2010

This year, I teach a combination of civics, social, and academic skills to seventh and eight graders and I get a queasy feeling when I teach them how to best do homework. This is because I believe that homework does more harm than good. Last year, I would get a similar feeling as a second grade teacher every time I had to pretend that the English language made some sort of sense. I taught all sorts of awkward “rules” forced out of coincidences in the language even though I knew the rules were inconsistent and due to their complexity were unlikely to be remembered.

I think that English spelling and grammar is something a person can develop an intuitive feeling for, but is foolish to try to make too much sense out of.

To pretend otherwise to children seems dishonest. What if you were a science teacher and were instructed to teach that the world is flat? Eventually, you would either convince yourself that the world was flat, or develop a stomach ailment from the stress of promoting a falsehood to developing minds. My guess is that there are a lot of English teachers who are sick to their stomachs.

Here is my list of top ten things that bug me about the English language. The alternative title is: Read the rest of this entry »

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