The world is full of new music. Some of which is old.

From the soundrack to the forthcoming This Must Be the Place movie…

From stalking Richard’s Spotify habits …

From some random link on NPR Music … (click it)


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Vocabulary development

I’m learning an entirely new language at my new job. Things like systems of teacher effectiveness. MDC and LDC (which have nothing to do with developing countries). Outcomes-based funding.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we’re operating on a much less abstract level. Tom mumbles something ’bout “Cause she ratchet.” What! Ratched? What’s it mean? Does it have something to do with women’s butts? (My Mom reaction to most rap songs.)   “Janky,” Warren yells down the stairs. I heard skanky. You mean like ‘wretched,’  I ask?  “JANKY,” he yells, giving me yet another word to define.

Tom says he can’t explain it, has to show me the video. I fear I will see women’s butts. Instead, it makes me hap-pay, and explains the term far better than Urban Dictionary.


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Naive melody

Very excited about this movie named for my favorite song. IMDB says March 12. If anyone sees it playing, let me know.

And here it looks like a self-referential road movie, with buildings and cars that would make Byrne proud ..

Our hero Byrne’s role…

I’m loving the soundtrack already >

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The weekend’s words

I think reading Jonathan Lethem is making me more word-conscious than ever. I’m collecting new ones, obsessively looking up etymologies of old ones, and, like the Tourettic narrator of Motherless Brooklyn,  savoring the sonickiness of tasty treats.

Blustery. Speaking of sonicky. We had a blustery day on Saturday. The word brings to mind not only good ol’ Pooh bear, but the condition itself. That quick push of air with the first syllable quickly giving way to the sibilant center and rolling finish.

Soporific. Round and sleepy, that word. Impossible to say it quickly. Butler says he only this year discovered the soporific effects of turkey at Thanksgiving. But the word always makes me think about Miss Potters’ little bunnies, vulnerable after their lettuce to mean old Mr. McGregor.

Bomb. From children’s books to my children’s behavior … from Jeff J comes a new word for what Tom does to a room.  The details in this story — a note “doodled” on toilet paper, the teacher who “blew it all out of proportion” — might obscure the moral lesson I hope my kids learn: Passing a bomb can be a punishable offense.  Ode to the joy of flatulating in the library >

Appoggiatura. Just in time for Whitney’s weekend replays and Adele’s sweep of the Grammys, The Wall Street Journal  explains the technical reasons some songs make us cry. And teaches me a new word I have no idea how to pronounce. A little lesson in music theory for the boys at The Church of the Morose One. And a great example of how multimedia can make for a better story.

Women of a certain age A friend hit 50 this weekend, which caused me to wonder just exactly what is “a certain age.” As always, Safire says it best. 

Copralalic. Oh, what a beautiful word for pottymouth! Even better? Copralalia! It’s like singing shit instead of slinging it. This one is, in fact, courtesy of Lethem’s Lionell Essrog, who is only too aware of his affliction, long before something like EAT ME MR. DICKYWEED!” makes it out of his mouth.


Turd. My children have discovered the word makes me giggle. And snort. Making it the newest weapon in their arsenal to disarm me when they’re in trouble. Note the sonic similarity to Tourettic.

It’s also the biggest search term for this bubble blog.


Filed under Books, Words words words

Tweeking and trolling through the weekend

I have such a backlog of new words. Here are two from this week.

That South Park kid who's all hopped up because his parents own a coffee shop, and who is the source of Jaffner's beloved Underpants Trolls ... I mean Gnomes? His name is Tweek Tweak -- now i get it!

Tweaking, tweeking: So Friday night I was driving a vanload of high school kids through the “Open ’til 1 am” McDonald’s drivethrough. As we pulled toward the speaker, we saw a zombie staggering ahead of us, quite purposefully staying in the drivethrough lines. Around the corner he stumbled, and we pulled up to give our order — only to have the girl interrupt us and ask us to wait. We figured the zombie must have been at the window, and she confirmed this when she came back to complete our order. He was dragging off as we pulled around to the window. Imagine our surprise, when he turned and headed back to the window,  to see that he wasn’t actually undead, as he appeared from behind. Just a really drunk white guy

“Or maybe he’s tweeking,” said the boy in the shotgun seat. Wait! what’s that mean? I insisted, and after some frantic hushing, I understood it to mean “in a state of having used marijuana.” An adjective, not a verb, as one would expect from the form? Yes, they confirmed, equivalent to the archaic, stone-age “stoned.”

Urban Dictionary, however, calls it all about meth, which makes more sense. Let’s hope this means our boys really don’t know nuthin bout no drug use yet.

"Who's that tripping over my bridge!" Paul Galdone's very scary troll.

Trolling: When I was a kid, this would have referred to what the SC State Patrolman was doing under that highway overpass, lying in wait for my dad to speed by. My mother said they lived under bridges, like the troll in the Three Billygoats Gruff.  ‘trolman, get it? 

In college, this would have been what our friend Bruce was doing in bars, trolling for some … dates, I suppose.

More recently, it’s what Jaffner does to piss people off online.

But my kids beg to differ. Trolling is what the GYSO boys say to me in the minivan that makes me not believe a word out of their mouths. They’ve burned me so many times I’ve quit responding at all. It’s when Tom and his pals set their not-so-smart classmates up for a fall. A prank, generally a verbal one, The Littles say. So definition 2 here at Urban Dictionary.

At one point some in a discussion about the word this weekend, a carload of kids refused to believe that trolls sing (I can’t remember how we got there), despite my insistence that they do so in The Hobbit.  Here’s proof!


Filed under in the bubble, Words words words

Mister Doctor: Boys making noise

Don’t you envy me getting to listen to this while they’re practicing? Seriously, it’s great having a house full of live tunes.

I must say, The Mom in Me really wishes Warren would make up the beds before he fills the room with people — and especially before The Girl Next Door records them for YouTube.

I asked them what they’ve been listening to that their music sounds so happy ’80s. “I listen to a lot of funk,” Warren said. “Cameron listens to Hendrix.”

“I listen to DeathCore,” (or some such angry dark Metal) says Danny B. Tarik? Dubstep, I think, and T-Buck seems to like old hair bands.

How they got here I have no idea, but I like it.

Facebook page >


Filed under in the bubble, Tunes

Why I didn’t go to my class reunion

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Facebook ruined it for me. You think I want to go stand in a room with a bunch of people I’ve deleted and ignored, when I’ve already caught up with the folks I care about? Nope.

I have never missed one until now —  always enjoyed getting to know some folks I didn’t hang out with in high school and catching up with those I did.

But now Facebook introduces me to anyone who happened to graduate the same year I did, and I think that was about 625. There are some of them I’ve enjoyed becoming acquainted with. But at some point I wised up and quit accepting friend requests from random high school associations and started actively ignoring and deleting them. The Sarah Palin page and some band called called Beloved are a sure sign to hit the delete button.

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