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Welcome to Mike Redmond's home on the Weird Wide Web!

Greetings, Earth People. I'm Mike Redmond. Not the baseball player. Instead of making you guess the rest, I'll just go ahead and tell you who I am and what I do.

  • I'm a newspaper columnist -- formerly the feature columnist for The Indianapolis Star (back when you could call it a newspaper). I bailed out of the place about two years after Gannett bought it, and I still count that as the best decision I ever made. My creditors don't always agree.
  • Now I write for papers around Central Indiana, a magazine or two, and this site. I'm also a public speaker, a teacher, an historical (as opposed to hysterical) interpreter, a farm tour guide, and occasionally, when I can be talked into it, an author. They're all my favorite jobs.
  • This is where you'll find my online column, posted every Wednesday, unless I get ambitious and post it Tuesday. But don't count on it.
  • This is also where to look for news about speaking engagements, new jobs, friends, and stuff that strikes me as interesting. I'll probably throw in a few recipes, too. I get wild like that sometimes.
  • Take a look around. Let's have some fun.

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Thursday, January 20, 2011

It's A Weird Word World


Our friends at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie, MI, (also known as north of the outdoors) have once again come forth with what seems to be the only thing for which Lake Superior State University is known: The annual list of words and phrases which ought to be banished from American English.

You'd Better Believe (banished 1978) it is a World Class (1982) Wake-Up Call (2000) for anyone who remembers our language as it was spoken Back In The Day (2008) when English was User-Friendly (1984) and the Vast Majority (1995) of us were engaged in Meaningful Dialogue (1978).

And so, Ripped From The Headlines (2004) and Supermarket-Fresh (1989) here is this year's list:

* Viral, as in videos that gain instant worldwide popularity by spreading like a virus. A number of these, it should be noted, involve human beings doing really stupid things resulting in humiliation and injury, proving that idiocy is also spreading like a virus.

* Epic and Fail, as in "Epic Fail" when someone does something stupid and injurious in a video that has gone viral. Epics are big books, or movies starring Charlton Heston. Fail is a verb. If you want to know why it doesn't make sense, use the opposites rule: Have you heard anyone talking about an Epic Succeed?

* Wow Factor and A-Ha Moment, which are more or less the same as "Superstar" - overused to the point of becoming meaningless. They're all in the same bag -- the one marked "Mind Drool."

* Back Story. Borrowed from Hollywood, where it means "justification for whatever objectionable thing your movie character does." In the real world, it means "before."

* BFF, as in Best Friends Forever. Which is usually BS.

* Man Up. A ridiculous way to say "get tough." Especially if you're talking to a woman.

* Refudiate. I don't care if you DO know what it is supposed to mean. It is not a real word. Not. Real.

* Mama Grizzly. Whenever I hear this, of course, I think of one particular woman -- the one who gave birth to Grizzly Adams.

* The American People. Evidently, politicians and commentators think we don't understand which people they're talking about. They operate on the theory that the more times you say "American People" the more the American people think you have their interests at heart. Unfortunately, it works.

* I'm Just Sayin', which is (a.) obvious, or (b.) a way of excusing yourself from saying something really nasty about someone or something. Either way it is (c.) dumb.

* Facebook or Google as verbs. To say you are going to Facebook or Google someone is like saying you're going to Chevrolet yourself to the store. Actually, it wasn't that long ago when the announcement that you were going to Google someone would have elicited smirks at least, and quite possibly a punch in the mouth. I have to admit that it is kind of fun to say, however.

And that's the list. I hope this has been a Teachable Moment (banished 2010) exploring this Unique (1978) Condition (1992). As We Speak (1993) Persons Of Interest (2006) are Pushing The Envelope (1995) of our language with New Innovations (1990).

In Other Words (1984), we're getting really good at talking more ... and saying less.

© 2011 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.

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By the way -- everything on this site is Copyright 2009 by Mike Redmond. If you copy it without my permission, I will hunt you down with either my dog or my lawyer. I'll probably go with the dog. She's smarter.

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