Wednesday, April 10, 2013
  Language update for spring



Professor Polistra brings us one old linguistic gem and a few new word-turds this season.

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First the old gem: Skate as adjective.

This seems to be totally lost to reference books, but was apparently common in tradesman circles around 1910. Found in a 1911 'Domestic Engineering Journal', aimed at plumbers and heating contractors. Seems to mean something slightly better than slipshod, perhaps just enough quality to pass inspection, and not one penny more. Later on, hack work seems to have replaced skate work. (Generally speaking, trade jargon and tech jargon have never been represented properly in dictionaries. Lexicographers included the jargon of academicians, but never plumbers or contractors or electricians.)
The skate plumber is a pest on society and his trade, but he is a product of conditions, and as long as conditions remain the same the skate will always be with us. ... The skate which is the product of ignorance is produced by a lack of knowledge of proper work, by not appreciating why certain devices and connections are needed in certain places. The other variety is by far the harder to deal with. The skate of necessity is not ignorant, not unbusinesslike, not unsuccessful; on the contrary he is often a sharp, shrewd, keenly alive skate all full of business, handling a large amount of cheap and poor patronage.


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Now the modern shit:

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Piece:

In a discussion of online bullying, "There's the safety piece and there's the how we treat each other piece."

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NYE as acronym for New Years Eve:

Must have been used before, but unfamiliar. It's all over the place this year.

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Prepone:

Logical and useful side-formation from postpone, never seen before. "Egyptian President Morsi has preponed the first elections from April 27 to April 22."

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A Destabilizing Climate:

Latest euphemism for the Global Warming crime. Heard from some fucking genocidal mass-murderer representing the genocidal mass-murdering Sierra Club. Discussing their idiotic civil disobedience effort (undoubtedly funded by EPA) nominally aimed at "encouraging" EPA to stop the Keystone Pipeline. "The threat of a destabilizing climate"; "we need to re-stabilize the climate". Orwellian falsehood as always, since the current spell of droughts and floods is SPECIFICALLY CAUSED BY TOO MUCH FUCKING STABILITY. High pressure and low pressure remain locked in place longer than normal.

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Long shot in the dark:

Quoting a mother who agitated for an improved intersection after her daughter was killed in a crash: "I thought it was a long shot in the dark, to be honest." Makes sense! If it's more risky than a long shot, and more risky than a shot in the dark, it's a long shot in the dark. (Incidentally, her agitation bore fruit: a full interchange is now under construction.)

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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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