Wednesday, 26 February 2014

By on February 26th, 2014 in chemistry

10:34 – As I was making up chemicals yesterday, I thought again about how different chemists pronounce chemical names differently. The first time I remember this happening was my freshman year of college. I used the chemical name strontium and my roommates, also chemistry majors, started making fun of me. I’d pronounced it strawn-chum, whereas they thought it should be pronounced strawn-tee-um. They pointed out that I pronounced calcium cal-see-um. I pointed out that “ti” was not “ci”, that they did not pronounce action ak-tee-on, and that anyway a foolish consistency was the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.

A standards body called IUPAC defines official chemistry nomenclature, but the pronunciation of these standard names differs from chemist to chemist. For example, I was making up three liters of dilute acetic acid yesterday. Probably 99% of the chemists I’ve known pronounce that uh-SEE-tik, but I have known more than a few that use different pronunciations, including uh-SETT-ik, ay-SEE-tik, ay-SETT-ik, and probably others. Same deal on many other chemicals, such as phenol. I pronounce that FENN-all, but I’ve heard other pronounce it FENN-ole, FEEN-all, FEEN-ole, feen-OLE, fenn-ALL, and so on.

And when a chemical becomes a functional group name, all bets are off. For example, of the 99% of chemists I know who use uh-SEE-tik, all or nearly all pronounce acetylene as uh-SETT-uh-leen. I don’t believe I’ve ever heard it pronounced uh-SEE-tuh-leen. For that matter, one seldom hears acetate pronounced other than ASS-uh-tate. But I’ve heard acetyl (as in acetylsalicylic acid) pronounced uh-SEE-tul, uh-SETT-tul, and even ASS-uh-TEEL.

The interesting thing is that, as long as there’s no ambiguity, no one seems to care. Everyone just keeps pronouncing chemical names as they wish. No one ever thinks, “Wow. I’ve been mispronouncing that name all these years.”

11:00 – Oh, yeah. I should have mentioned that all bets are off with the Brits, too. One of my favorites is their spelling and pronunciation of aluminum/aluminium. Americans use aluminum and pronounce it al-OOM-ih-num. Brits use aluminium and pronounce it al-you-MINN-ee-um. What’s really odd is that the first spelling and pronuciation was originally British and the second was originally American. They decided they liked ours better about the same time that we decided we liked theirs better.

Of course, with the Brits it’s not limited to chemical pronunciations. Sometimes I think they pronounce words differently just to annoy us. We noticed this frequently while we watching The Borgias recently. Americans pronounce contribute cun-TRIB-byute. Brits apparently pronounce it CON-truh-byute, I think just to be annoying. But my personal favorite is urinal (American YOUR-in-nal), which the Brits apparently pronounce yur-INE-al.

Speaking of annoying, how is that Firefox, currently in something like version 27.0, still uses a British English dictionary rather than a US English dictionary? I mean, US English became Standard English a long time ago. British English is now a dialect.

70 Comments and discussion on "Wednesday, 26 February 2014"

  1. Chad says:

    Is calzone pronounced with a long e at the end, or not? Any resident Italians?

  2. Chad says:

    Bob, have you considered self-publishing a book on personal firearms. I picked this one up several years ago and liked it (though I see the price is now jacked as it’s out of print). It was a small booklet on what to consider and put a lot of stuff in layman’s terms.

    First Handgun – Making the Right Choice by Michael D. Johnson (ISBN: 1411659384)

  3. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I grew up in a town with many first, second-, and third-generation Italian immigrants, and they pronounced with a long “A” at the end, something like cal-tso-nay (short a in first syllable, long o in second, long a in third).

  4. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Bob, have you considered self-publishing a book on personal firearms.

    I’ll leave that to others who consider themselves better qualified. Unless one hunts with a handgun, I think only two pistols are necessary. A Colt 1911 or variant in .45 ACP and a Ruger 22/45 or Mark III in .22 LR for cheaper practice.

    Barbara prefers her Ruger .357 revolver because the recoil of my .45 ACP Colt Combat Commander is a bit heavy for her.

  5. Alex Regenass says:

    Sorry, you’ve got it all wrong. It is «cAlzone», with a very short e at the end (like in «next»).

    Listen here: LEO. Click on the play button on the first line.

  6. OFD says:

    I would agree with that, but I also prefer the .357 revolvers for personal defense, mainly because that’s what I’ve had during the cop years and since, nearly four decades now. I’m looking, though, at the Glock .45 ACP….

    The .357 can also fire .38s, of course, and makes a pretty good handgun for training someone otherwise unfamiliar with them. As does a Ruger Single-Six revolver which has both .22LR and .22WMR cylinders.

  7. jim C says:

    old fashion I know, but I would prefer a .357 revolver to a autoloader. They are just more reliable. Yes the autoloader has a bigger magazine, but after the first 5 shots if I haven’t hit I probably won’t. I did say 5 shots as I prefer to see the hammer on an empty cylinder. Sad to say I no longer own a handgun, but that would be my preference.

  8. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Modern revolvers use a transfer bar, so there’s no need for an empty cylinder under the hammer. Incidentally, using speed loaders can make reloading a revolver about as fast as reloading a magazine-fed pistol.

    As to reliability, in my opinion the Colt 1911 series is more reliable than any revolver ever made. You can drop it in the mud, run over it with a tank, and it’ll still fire every time. That’s assuming a stock 1911 rather than a Gold Cup or one that’s been accurized. The stock models have lots of slop, which is there for a reason. My carry .45 shot 4 to 6 inch groups from a machine rest at 50 yards. I wouldn’t want it any tighter.

  9. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    a pretty good handgun for training

    Yeah, I’ll never make that mistake again. When I was a senior in college I was out with my girlfriend, Karen Taylor, walking along the train tracks, plinking with my Ruger .44 Magnum Super Blackhawk with heavy hand loads. She pleaded with me to let her shoot it. I finally let her. She pulled the trigger with her elbows bent instead of locked, and the hammer hit her in the forehead.

  10. OFD says:

    There’s a reason why the 1911s and M1 were/are the way they were/are; they can take a lickin and keep on tickin. Which is good if you’re an infantry grunt in the field. Back in the day the AF issued us Security Police .38 S&W revolvers, but I didn’t bother with that overseas; I was an M60 machine-gunner and had enough weight to tote around already. Variants of that and the M16 are still in use today, of course, as are the B52 and AC130 gunships.

    I doubt I’ll be involved with infantry grunt operations around here anytime soon, though; and thus tend to prefer modern semi-auto rifles in .308. And luckily there are some pretty good .223 AR’s out there nowadays, much better than our old Mattel toys that sucked in the mud and needed constant babying.

  11. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Sorry, you’ve got it all wrong. It is «cAlzone», with a very short e at the end (like in «next»).

    No, it’s that site that’s wrong. Here’s a native Italian speaker pronouncing calzone, exactly as I remembered it.

  12. OFD says:

    ” She pulled the trigger with her elbows bent instead of locked, and the hammer hit her in the forehead.”

    That’s on you, Bob; weren’t you watching? I sure wouldn’t even hand off a .44 to any neophyte, let alone a girl. Ya gotta build up to it…

    Just looked at the Glock .45s; too bulky for regular concealed-carry. And the CZ’s and Dan Wessons are too expensive. I’ll have to poke around some gun shows. Meanwhile I’m good with my Taurus .357s.

  13. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, I know. I was right there with her, standing behind her to brace her against the recoil. The problem was, I was using earplugs but she didn’t have earplugs or muffs. When I’d shot, I’d warned her to put her fingers in her ears each time. When I finally gave in to her pleading, I stood behind her with my hands tight over her ears. I watched her cock the pistol and bring it up with both elbows bent to within about a foot of her face. I shouted DON’T …! but she pulled the trigger just as I shouted.

  14. bgrigg says:

    All the Brits I know pronounce urinal as “pisser”.

  15. Ray Thompson says:

    A federal judge has struck down Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage, ruling Wednesday it has no “rational relation to a legitimate government purpose.”

    Exactly. Marriage is not the government’s business.

    I personally think gay marriage is just not right. But what I think has no bearing on what other people do with their lives. Don’t bother me, I won’t bother you.

  16. Sam Olson says:

    Hi Bob (RBT) !! 1 pm Wednesday, 26-February-2014

    I seem to have misplaced your email address, but just wanted
    you to know that your link to Jerry Pournelle’s “blog” returns
    a “Page Not Found” error message …

    current link … “Jerry Pournelle” under “Personal Favorites” …

    SHOULD BE (??) …

    The current link does take you to his site, but doesn’t
    default to any useful information.

  17. OFD says:

    “Marriage is not the government’s business.”

    Agreed. Quit licensing us like dogs.

    Obviously I don’t cotton to gay marriage, either, and believe it impossible on several levels. But like Ray sez, live and let live.

    18 here today and sunny with blue skies, but kinda windy all day. Everything frozen over again, of course.

    Second-round interview tomorrow for another RHEL/CentOS gig. If I get it, it will be very interesting to work there; the site is cutting-edge progressive and a polar opposite to the Big Blue culture.

  18. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Good luck.

  19. OFD says:


    Better this than a Windoze shop but of course a job is a job. They apparently committed to open source right from the start and are at 97%, which is pretty good for a commercial enterprise focused heavily on web marketing and media.

  20. bgrigg says:

    While we’re at it, they can stop licensing our dogs, too!

  21. OFD says:

    Agreed on that, as well. We were told recently we can’t license our mutt until we provide a rabies certificate. As if we’d keep the mutt around here and feed him while he has rabies or is suspected of same, when I look for every excuse I can to execute him and feed him to the cats.

  22. rftruax says:

    The common name for the sodium salt of acetylsalicylic acid is asprin

  23. Chuck W says:

    Just coming up for air. Finished editing this afternoon around 3pm, encoded the final finished file, then authored it to DVD. About 6pm, got an email that the whole project may have to be re-edited, as the judge in the case is revisiting all the evidence and testimony and changing some of the things he will allow. That’s fine with me. More money for me and my boss. Deadline was for delivery tomorrow. I made it, but now the deadline is off, and the trial delayed by a week.

    I’m not long for doing much more video on PC’s. It taxes them beyond belief. Had 2 BSOD crashes that were the fault of the ATI Radeon video in this thing. Then, on Monday, my son contacted me. They were on a long weekend trip to celebrate DIL’s birthday. She had a video conference scheduled for the next day, so they wanted to test and check out using Google Hangouts instead of Skype from their vacation spot. My computer and son’s had stuttering audio and halting video (and he has one of the fastest laptops alive); DIL had her work MacBook Pro, and it was clean and clear as a bell, both video and audio. There really is nothing like Apple for video. And if I am going to continue editing video for a living, I am going to have to move over to a Mac. These BSOD’s are too much.

    As for global warming, bring it on! Worst case scenario I have seen is 2 degrees higher on average. That’s a problem? When it is 90F out already, 92 makes a difference? We had 110 for a week here a couple years ago and survived. Bring it on. There were days within the last month that is was so cold outside I could hardly make it from the house to the car without getting frostbite. Gimme heat any day to cold. Heating the house to the edge of comfort is also about 2.5 x the cost of cooling it to the edge of livability.

    The whole cause of this is a southern dip in the jetstream over the Rockies to about Tennessee, which is enough to cool off Lynn, too. And that explains why California and even Alaska have been so warm, because like a snake tail, the jetstream line has been above Alaska, then skirting south over the Rockies, then through the midsection, undulating north and south slightly, just enough to warm and cool every other week, then on out across the Atlantic, picking up moisture and dumping it on the British Isles. All part of the bent-out-of-shape polar vortex, which is pushing that jetstream south to below the northern US midsection, along with cold polar air.

    Okay, a non-deadline is past and now I’m going to sleep for a couple days.

  24. OFD says:

    “Gimme heat any day to cold.”

    Just the opposite for me and Mrs. OFD. We can always get warm but it can be tough cooling off in a heat wave; we’ve been in regions that are normally hot all year and if their A-C ever goes out permanently, due to Grid down or whatever, we’ll see the death toll go way up real fast. In colonial times my ancestors (the invaders) in Nova Anglia routinely lived into their 80s and 90s, and times were tough back then; but the folks in southern colonies like the Carolinas and Georgia dropped like flies.

    If it gets any warmer here we’re moving to Labrador or Greenland.

  25. Chuck W says:

    BTW, how our host pronounces calzone is also how I heard it while living in Europe. Additionally, the people I knew from around the Rome area, really hit those next-to-the-last syllables hard — harder than the recording. Such rhythmic repetition kind of got to me after listening to them for a while. They naturally hit the next-to-the-last syllable in English and German, too.

    Not sure I would rate LEO high on accuracy of their audio files for anything but German. I know it did not agree with me on some English pronunciations my students were trying to get right, and I told them not to rely too heavily on it.

  26. jim` says:

    Add medical pronunciation to your list.
    Was at the dentist yesterday. Hygienist said “buckle”, I say “byew-cal”.
    Luckily we pronounce lingual the same way, so no misunderstanding.
    Glad I didn’d have an inguinal hernia.

  27. Miles_Teg says:

    Aluminium is Al-u-MIN-eum. The only times I’ve heard it spelt/pronounced al-OOM-ih-num is at the cinema. You guys need to get in line with the rest of the world, just as you need to adopt Metric… 🙂

  28. Ray Thompson says:

    just as you need to adopt Metric

    Nah, that 0.09144 kilometer kickoff return just does not sound right.

  29. Miles_Teg says:

    My favourite Metric joke is one woman complaining to another:

    “I hate dating engineers. You give ’em a centimetre and they take a kilometre.”

  30. Chad says:

    …live and let live…

    That would solve about 95% of the social problems in the world.

  31. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah. And “live and let live” is the core value of libertarianism.

  32. Jim B says:

    “just as you need to adopt Metric”

    Eh, which metric system should we adopt? There are several in commercial use, especially for threaded fasteners. Don”t get me started!

  33. bgrigg says:

    Canada went metric in the 70s. So we drive at 80 kmh, buy paper in sheets sizes like 8 1/2″x11″ and purchase orange juice in jugs labelled 3.87 litres. Lumber is still in Imperial sizes, and we still sell meat and veggies with both lbs. and kilos listed. It’s great!

  34. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Same here, except our mileages and speed limits are still in miles instead of kilometers, and nearly all consumer products list weights and volumes in both traditional and metric.

  35. Chuck W says:

    I lived for a decade with metric exclusively, and now back to pounds, inches, and Fahrenheit. I much, much prefer metric. Greg is right: it is the US that is odd man out. Aside from a few inconsequentially small municipalities around the world, the US is the lone holdout against metric. And it is costing on our export side. The EU passed a regulation that weights and measurements of goods sold in the EU must be labeled ONLY in metric, not both metric and English. I am not sure whether that has taken effect yet, or if it is enforced, but the cost alone of relabeling things for export, as opposed to using one label worldwide, is not insignificant for many products.

    I once got accidentally entangled in a fight over standard margins for letters in Germany. No matter that I had just been through a Volkshochschule German class that dealt with that very issue. Two Americans were discussing this with the German spouse of one also present. The visiting American insisted mightily that, after you switched Word from displaying inches to centimeters, the correct margins were 2.54cm. Of course, that is what a 1 inch margin converted to centimeters turns out to be. My contribution to the argument was to ask if they really thought that anybody living in centimeterland would go to the trouble of remembering and entering 2.54 as the margin. That turned out to be a useless comment. So the German-married American pulled out a letter she had received and measured the margins. 2 centimeters on the dot.

  36. Miles_Teg says:

    I love standards. Doesn’t have to be *my* preferred standard, but I hate converting between them.

    In Australia we converted to metric in about 1971, when I was 13. Now the only Imperial measurement I’m comfortable with is height: I’m 6’1″. I know that’s about 185 cm but always think first in Imperial. I have to convert weights, liquid measures and temperatures. If someone says the temperature is 50 degrees F I have little idea what that means unless I convert to degrees C.

  37. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Growing up studying science, I was completely bilingual while I was still in elementary school. I don’t have to do conversions. A 3/4″ nut and a 19mm nut are the same size, so to me it’s just two words for the same thing. Same deal on temperatures. Our high tomorrow is to be 68F. I don’t have to do any kind of mental conversion to think of that as 20C. Again, just two words for the same thing.

  38. Richard Brown says:

    As the *comedian* Gallagher says: It’s Chuh hem eck hals.

  39. Rod Schaffter says:

    The US has been officially on the Metric System since 1866, and was one of the original signatories of the Treaty of the Metre. However, unlike the rest of the world, its use was not mandated by the Government because we have a free market Federal republic(or at least we once did). That is why automotive fasteners and pop bottles are metric, but lumber and plumbing are customary. Also, the UK was still using MPH on speed limits signs the last time I was there in 1997…

  40. Ray Thompson says:

    My wife’s 1974 Pinto was terrible to work on. Some of the bolts were metric, some were SAE. The engine was especially miserable as an example the bolt for the alternator tension was metric but the bolt to hold the bracket to the engine was SAE. I think this during the time when the US was considering converting to metric and never did make it. But by gosh Ford was doing their part and making it miserable to work on their vehicles.

  41. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Just be thankful you didn’t have a 19mm bolt with a 3/4″ nut. Or, worse, vice versa.

    Which reminds me of a guy I met back in the early 70’s. He was a precision machinist and told the story about a company that was putting together a batch of prototypes that involved him machining a housing with a hole through which a spindle protruded. He pointed out to the purchasing agent that the hole and the spindle were exactly the same diameter, with zero clearance. The purchasing agent told him to do it according to the drawings. Sure enough, they were able to assemble the components, but as soon as they turned them on and the spindle began spinning it welded to the housing.

  42. dkreck says:

    My wife’s 1974 Pinto was terrible to work on.

    1974 Pinto was terrible. (actually any Pinto)

  43. Ray Thompson says:

    1974 Pinto was terrible. (actually any Pinto)

    Yeh, I know. But she bought it before we got married.

    The ’74 Pinto had A/C but this was before clutch cycling controlled the output. This version used a bleed valve to control the temperature, compressor running all the time. Took a trip from San Antonio to Dallas on a hot humid Friday night. When I got to Dallas I had trouble making a sharp right turn as something would scrape and no further wheel movement was possible. That could not be good. Turned out the problem was due to the receiver/drier being in the right wheel well. Because of the dumping of the cold freon into the device it became encrusted in a massive layer of ice that blocked part of the wheel well. Sat overnight and all was well again.

    My ’74 Super Beetle was actually much worse, the absolute worst car I have ever owned. Two A/C compressors, 5 speedometers, two fuel gauges, two clutches and still had problems. There was a water leak somewhere so that whenever it rained water accumulated in the floor. Never could find it after multiple trips to the dealer. Warranty ran out and dealer refused to deal with it. So I just drilled a small hole in the floor so the water could drain.

    Drove 30 miles to the south of San Antonio after filling up the tank with gas. When I got to my destination the tank was half empty. Turns out a fuel line was leaking and spewing gas over the engine missing any hot spots. That should have told me to replace all the fuel lines but I didn’t.

    Traded that piece of junk in for a Honda Accord. When I went back to the dealer two weeks later the salesperson told me he sold my vehicle in a couple of days. But a week after selling it the buyer was back. Seems the car had caught fire and burned up. I am guessing one of those other fuel lines I did not replace sprang a leak and this time managed to find a hot spot.

    Soured me on every buying a VW ever again.

  44. Lynn McGuire says:

    I wonder how much extra money Sears made selling their awesome Craftsman tools in both US and Metric to people like me.

  45. Lynn McGuire says:

    old fashion I know, but I would prefer a .357 revolver to a autoloader. They are just more reliable. Yes the autoloader has a bigger magazine, but after the first 5 shots if I haven’t hit I probably won’t. I did say 5 shots as I prefer to see the hammer on an empty cylinder. Sad to say I no longer own a handgun, but that would be my preference.

    Big magazines are highly preferable in zombie situations. Until you run out of ammo. Learned that from “The Walking Dead” as they are now running out of ammo, a year and a half after the apocalypse. Tire irons and baseball bats just do not work well when a dozen zombies attack you from all directions.

    My .44 special bulldog just has too much recoil with a two inch barrel. Double action is just not even usable after the first shot. But my 629 with the six inch barrel is freaking awesome and smooth with .44 specials. Even using double action.

    I do like my 16 shot mags for my .40 S&W XDM. Just takes forever to load them and you have to be a real man to get those last two bullets in them. And that is with the auto-loader tool.

  46. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I even have full sets of metric screwdrivers and pliers.

  47. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I do like my 16 shot mags for my .40 S&W XDM. Just takes forever to load them

    Hah. You should try loading the 100-round drum magazines for a Thompson SMG.

  48. Lynn McGuire says:

    Traded that piece of junk in for a Honda Accord. When I went back to the dealer two weeks later the salesperson told me he sold my vehicle in a couple of days. But a week after selling it the buyer was back. Seems the car had caught fire and burned up. I am guessing one of those other fuel lines I did not replace sprang a leak and this time managed to find a hot spot.

    I watched my friend’s Porsche 914 burn one day. The only thing worse than rubber fuel hoses on a rear mounted air cooled engine was rubber fuel hoses on a air cooled mid engine. I had a 1973 Volvo station wagon with the same rubber fuel hoses. I could always smell the vaporizing gasoline since it was front engine and always seemed to leak gasoline onto the exhaust manifold. I always carried extra fuel hose and clamps with me after the first couple of times. Those little three inch rubber hoses from the fuel ring to the fuel injectors were a freaking nightmare.

  49. Ray Thompson says:

    I even have full sets of metric screwdrivers and pliers.

    I’ve got you beat. I have left and right handed screwdrivers. Salesman told me it was a good idea to have both.

  50. OFD says:

    Good idea to have both here as Mrs. OFD is left-handed physically but moving away from that position politically as she continues to be swayed under my evil influence.

    She just called from north of Austin, TX, where it was 21 last night or this morning; on her way to the airport. I guess that’s pretty harsh for down there. Harsh up here would be 90. We just wilt and run for the lake.

  51. OFD says:

    This from Sovereign Man today:

    “This is a hard mental adjustment. We’re programmed to view anything outside of our home country as perilous and to fear the unknown. So many folks would rather suffer in a place they know rather than take a chance on a place they don’t.”

    “Fortunately it’s rather easy to overcome this mental hurdle by starting slowly. I’ve seen hundreds of people take their first trips overseas and be shocked at how modern and civilized many foreign countries are.”

    “They find out it’s not so scary after all. And it sure beats the slow grind of watching your freedom and livelihood erode.”

    Plus knowing that our kids and grandkids are in for a very rough time ahead and possible second civil war in this country. Luckily our two are dual Canadian-American citizens, so there’s that, and they may be triple citizens, via their biological dad’s birth in Bermuda.

    In other nooz just got a call about possibly going back to Big Blue again, this on top of yesterday’s interview elsewhere; nice to be wanted for a change.

  52. Lynn McGuire says:

    In other nooz just got a call about possibly going back to Big Blue again, this on top of yesterday’s interview elsewhere; nice to be wanted for a change.

    Dude, good luck! Or is it break a leg?

    As many people have moved down here to the Great State of Texas, I cannot believe that there is anybody available for jobs up there. The home builders are slapping them up as fast as they can around here. And everybody is out driving around here, clogging up the roads to impassibility.

  53. SteveF says:

    I even have full sets of metric screwdrivers and pliers.

    I got both metric and standard crosscut saws but drew the line when the salesman tried to get me to buy a metric bowsaw. But I must confess that I’m a dumbass and let him talk me into getting both left- and right-handed whetstones — I could have bought one and just turned it around for the left-handed blades.

  54. Lynn McGuire says:

    We hit 74 F today. Was about 40 F this morning. Austin is truly weird if they were 21 F last night.

  55. OFD says:

    Mrs. OFD brought back a bumper sticker from a previous trip there: KEEP AUSTIN WEIRD. I guess it worked; then I see in the current issue of Wired a whole page article on how wonderful the place is. Apparently several hundred music “venues”! I saw ZZ Top there in 1972. And I have several recent videos of Billy Gibbons playing with Jeff Beck, among others; mind-blowing. Beck looks the same as he did forty years ago and doesn’t use a pick. He has a girl bass player who is amazing and looks like she’s in eighth grade.

    “The home builders are slapping them up as fast as they can around here. And everybody is out driving around here, clogging up the roads to impassibility.”

    They were doing that up here over the past several years and in this area, at least, they’re staying empty. Looks weird. Giant boxes on flat land with no trees, just like New Jersey; first thing the developers do, evidently, is bulldoze all the trees and shrubs, fill in any bodies of wottuh, and grind to dust First Nations graveyards and bones. At least down in Texas they move all that and throw a tarp over it.

    Peeps who wanna move here gotta be able to deal with long, cold and usually snowy winters, Mud Season, a short summuh, and a certain amount of isolation. And the local yokels and their accents, which I discovered was a bastardized dialect of Quebecois French, itself a bastardized version of French. Most are good folks, but they have some Deliverance-type characters floating around here, too. They don’t bother me and apparently think I’m one of them for some reason.

    9 right now and heading for minus 5 tonight. Wife on her way home tonight from TX; bienvenue Vermont, mon petit jolie fille!

  56. Roy Harvey says:

    I suspect Italian accents are about as varied as British accents.

    I grew up in a town on LI NY that was heavily Italian. Later I moved to CT where I encountered another area that had been heavily Italian. I’m guessing the immigrants to the two places came from different parts of Italy because I found pronunciation quite different. Here in CT there is a strong tendency to drop the trailing vowel on some words. Mozzarella, for example. And up here they are like to call pizza apizza, pronouncing it something like aPEETZ.

  57. bgrigg says:

    Expecting all Italians to have the same accent makes as much sense as thinking that all Americans do. Italy wasn’t even a complete country until the late 1800s. Before that they were city-states or kingdoms. The Genovasi spoke a different dialect than the Bolognesi who spoke a different dialect than the Napoli or the Sicilians.

    I know a person from Puglia who owns a pizzeria in Vancouver, and he calls a calozne a “panzarotti”!

  58. SteveF says:

    I gave up trying to learn Spanish decades ago. I’d started to learn “proper” Spanish, meaning upper-class from Spain, but when I spoke with real people in Spanish they constantly corrected my accent and phrasing. Even when I mimicked one person or group accurately, I’d get another raft of corrections when I spoke to someone new. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I figured out how widely varied the Caribbean, South American, and Mesoamerican dialects are. And, you know, it’s just not that important to me to learn the language of a dead-end culture.

  59. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    Yeah, it sure would be easier if everyone would just give up on these 2nd- and 3rd-rate languages and just speak English like Thor intended.

  60. Miles_Teg says:

    “Yeah, it sure would be easier if everyone would just give up on these 2nd- and 3rd-rate languages and just speak Latin like Cicero intended.”

    There, fixed that for you.

  61. SteveF says:

    If the English language was good enough for Jesus Christ when he wrote the Bible, then it’s good enough for me.

  62. Robert Bruce Thompson says:

    I speak Latin, or at least I used to. It’s better than many modern languages, but grossly inferior to English.

  63. OFD says:

    English is the Master Language of the Universe; God speaks English. Like SteveF sez, He wrote the Bible, didn’t He?

    Latin is good because the Devil knows Latin and he tries to trip us up all the time. And a lot of English comes from the Latin, one way or another, and it is still heavy in medicine, law and science, not to mention in constant use by Holy Mother Church. Every Sunday at 11 here and every Saturday at 08:30.

    I gotta learn enough French to get over with the chicks in Quebec; they love it when a big Anglo-Celtic-Kraut-Squarehead type like me attempts to use their lingo.

  64. Miles_Teg says:

    “Latin … grossly inferior to English.”

    O hominem turpisimum!

  65. Miles_Teg says:

    OFD wrote:

    “I gotta learn enough French to get over with the chicks in Quebec…”

    But they don’t speak French in Quebec.

  66. bgrigg says:

    “But they don’t speak French in Quebec.”

    But they think they do!

  67. brad says:

    Just read that Sovereign Man article, and the article it links to. So it’s now gonna be illegal to irrigate with surface water? Given that lots of rivers are used for exactly that, I gotta wonder how far the bureaucracy has managed to insert its head this time. Also no plowing using animal – might get some shit on your field by accident.

    Clueless idiots, but the real message is the usual: big government out to justify its existence. Best thing to do would be to abolish 99% of government jobs.

    Failing that, make compost out of visiting bureaucrats. That way, they’re at least useful…

  68. OFD says:


    The bureaucratic compost will have to sterilized first, of course, so no neo-Marxist bacteria infects the existing landscape.

  69. Lynn McGuire says:

    Also no plowing using animal – might get some sh** on your field by accident.

    What happens if a cow wanders into the field? Or a coyote? Or a snake? Seen all three of those happen more times than I can remember.

    Do these bureaucrats show up in parties of more than one? “Dead men tell no tales” comes to mind.

  70. brad says:

    @Lynn: My thought exactly. I would only worry that using them as compost might reduce the intelligence of the vegetables.

    At least half in seriousness: These people remind me of a girl I knew: at the age of 16 or so, someone mention that chicken breasts came from chickens. She was shocked! She never knew that “dinner chicken” came from actual, living chickens!

    These bureaucrats should have to work on a farm for at least a year before passing any regulations concerning food production.

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