Your Week in Seriously Times: Mar. 11 – 17, 2012

That's an ancient Bull Moose proverb my grandmother used to tell me.

Baseball, strippers, Coldplay, pat-downs, political parties, psychics, and vasectomies — no, this isn’t a list of things I think about to delay an orgasm. They were the topics of this week’s SeriouslyGuys posts. Here’s the recap:

  • President Obama admits to having Coldplay on his iPod … but that doesn’t necessarily mean he likes them. The last time I shared a playlist with Joe Biden, my iPod caught a scorching case of the Hooties and the Blowfish. (Mar. 13, 2012)
  • Take it from Snee: I attempt to explain our political parties to foreigners and children, and in the process discover that my grandmother was half Bull Moose. That makes me a quarter Moosish! (Mar. 14, 2012)
  • British psychics fail to prove themselves in three attempts to recreate an American test’s positive results. Looks like they’ll have to go back to lying about being psychic like every other psychic in the world. (Mar. 15, 2012)
  • Vasectomy providers see an upswing in patients during March Madness. And that’s not just depressed Duke fans who refuse to bring a child into this world. (Mar. 16, 2012)

Explaining U.S. political parties to foreigners, children

Longtime readers may recall that for three glorious days back in 2008, I was a legal subject of Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II (long may she reign so that Camilla may not). Bermuda was a welcome vacation from the U.S. because it was an election year, but alas, the natives knew all about it and would ask tourists who we’re going to vote for.

What was most striking was that, although they knew the names, they still didn’t quite grasp the subtleties or history behind the American political parties or why one American would support one over another.

It is in the spirit of not knowing what a Tory or Socialist is that I’ve assembled this handy guide to the great and small political parties of these United States for foreigners and children. (For best use, please print this out onto a 4 x 11-inch note card, and keep it in your wallet with a magnifying glass.)

Read the guide at either:

Cleaning Out the Language Gutters for 2012

Every year, Michigan’s Lake Superior University and I like to take stock of the English language. The school lets students nominate words that they feel have become misused, overused and cliché, and the winners are compiled into a list for your banishment consideration. This is a valuable lesson in democracy in which students learn that they can make nominations and cast votes, while a college has the liberty of overriding their decision.

I refer to this act as “cleaning out the language gutters,” which should be performed yearly lest they fill with water and gunk, and then freeze and burst. After all, if I wanted to persist with a language full of ridiculous words, I would have continued taking Spanish in college.

“Occupy” made the list, and consequently dominated headlines about it. It was popularized, of course, by the Occupy Wall Street movement as a play on words for graduates that couldn’t find steady work in this economy, so they “occupied” a park. Unfortunately, everything is “occupied” now according to nominators, including Black Friday Promotions and Thanksgiving. Unless the lock on the porta-john says “occupied,” it might be time to give this word a rest. Might I suggest economic protesters adopt “squat” in the meantime?

Left unchecked, amazement fatigue could ruin all that we hold "amazing."

“Amazing,” however, was number one. And, as a veteran to the word-scorning game, I’m not surprised that at least entry is an adjective for “very good.” Previous winners of my disdain include “awesome” and “decadent,” which had been words du jour for advertisers and public relations firms. As with “awesome,” not everything can be “amazing.” Either every item sold in television truly inspires amazement, or you have the wonder (and mind) of a child.

“Baby bump.” Jesus. Look, I get that the miracle of life is amazing — even if it’s your twentieth time (The Duggars: 19 and one, baby!) — but let’s not encourage tabloid writers to make any further alliterations whenever they catch Britney Spears sporting a beer belly. Besides, I always thought a “baby bump” was mob slang for an abortion.

Read the other words (including the ones those eggheads missed) at: