Monday, January 31, 2011


I'm no English major, but I do love our language.  There's so much you can use it for.  Humor.  Expressing love.  Venting.  Making your wife grimace.  Which, coincidentally I do often when attempting humor.

One of my passtimes is to change the lyrics to songs on the fly.  It's like rapping but without the gold tooth or commercial success.  I usually do this to make myself laugh, but when Heather's in the car with me it seldom induces the same reaction. I am more likely to get a roll of the eyes than a guffaw, and sometimes elicit a head shake (the disapproving kind, which says "how dare you violate the song like that").  Today, for example, a song came on the radio that starts with the line:

"I saw a man today, his whole world upon his back; a living monument opposed to my success".  It's a great song about reaching out to the less fortunate, but I couldn't help but modify it as I sang along "I saw a man today, his whole world upon his back; a living monument to why homeless people shouldn't have pianos". 

Ok, I admit, it wasn't my best work (which usually fits the tempo and construct of the original better without adding or removing total number of syllables, and has been known to carry on for a good portion of the song) but it's the kind of thing that makes me laugh at myself, and is the reason Heather has learned not to ask me what I'm laughing about if there is nothing noticably funny occurring coincident with my outburst.  I didn't even get an honorable mention raised eyebrow today.

But the English language is not just a pleasure-giver in the realm of humor, it also keeps me occupied during times of boredom.  I downloaded the free app "Words with Friends" for my iPod touch (full disclosure: Apple does not endorse or in any way fund this blog.  If anyone at Apple would like to change that please contact me) which is basically Scrabble, but with a different title so the makers don't have to pay the folks at Hasbro any royalties (Hasbro is also not affiliated with this blog, unfortunately).

You may think that I enjoy playing Words with Friends because it gives me a chance to flex my lexiconical (is that even a word?) muscles, but the best thing about it is how it helps my vocabulary grow.  This is because one of my friends (I'm not calling you out, but you know who you are) uses another app to cheat. 

Ok, cheat is a strong word.  She uses another app to "help" her find words to use in the game.  I know this because nobody has words in their accessible memory like (and these are actual words she has played) "grith", "sialoid", and "turgor". And those are just from our present game.  The last one, where I lost by 50 points, had such gems as "tunicae", "beguine", and "zaxes".  No, that's not me mistyping "taxes", that's a 62 point "help"!  I also know she uses an app to help her because she has the audacity to use it WHILE I'M IN THE SAME ROOM AS HER!!  I didn't protest too loudly when her husband gave her a couple of words but a machine?  Even Kasparov lost to a computer.  But hey, at least I'm learning new words (a zax is a hatchetlike tool for cutting and punching nail holes in roofing slate by the way).  Bonus points to you if you noticed this blog's title can be read as word smithing or words my thing.