Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Homophones are great, aren't they? I can't go an entire day without seeing someone use the wrong "to, too, or two" online. And who can forget how to "Pare a pear with a pair of scissors?" Well, the other day, I heard someone butchering a saying involving yet another set of phonic triplets.

We were discussing a business partner’s apparent lack of desire to help us on a project that is coming due within the next few weeks, followed by a sudden flurry of interest. Said increase in activity immediately followed some phone calls to higher-ups in the partner’s organization. At some point, I heard the phrase, “Well, at that point his disinterest must have piqued.”

What exactly does that mean?

My first thought was that he was trying to say that the phone calls Piqued our contact's interest, but the more I thought about it, the less sure I became. The degree to which the phrase was mauled made me wonder. It may have been the case that the speaker was going to say something about the contact's disinterest getting him in trouble, but then decided to change it to having his interest piqued (forcibly, I assume) by his superiors. By the time he decided to go with the latter, however, the first part of the former was already on its way out of his mouth. However, considering the speaker's remarkable ability to mangle idioms, I have to consider other options.

Perhaps this just another example of people trying to repeat sayings they didn’t really understand in the first place. In these cases, they use the phrase in the proper context, but they change one of the words to something more familiar to them. Take the phrase "Its a moot point." In that phrase, the key word is "moot," meaning "of little or no practical value or meaning; purely academic." It seems straightforward, but I've heard the phrase pronounced “It’s a mute point” (because it can’t talk?), or, via Friends, a “Moo point” (because a cow’s opinions don’t matter).

I’m not sure about a lot of things surrounding this. How would the last word be spelled anyway? I went with “piqued” because that is what the original phrase uses. But I suspect that the speaker would just as quickly have spelled it “peaked” or even “peeked.” If we accept that we’re talking about one’s disinterest (rather than the interest in the conventional saying), it only makes sense to use another spelling. If something piques one’s disinterest, I can only guess that means he has been turned off by a subject - which was not the intent of the speaker. If, however, one’s disinterest “peaked,” I suppose it has reached a turning point – the highest it can reach – and it is therefore in decline, which means that the person is becoming more interested in something. In the same vein, he may have just been mispronouncing “peak-ed,” as in “his disinterest is a bit sickly, so maybe he wants to know more.” In either of those situations, the speaker must be given props for creating an entirely new and thought-provoking phrase.

I’m not sure what “disinterest was peeked” might mean, though. Maybe it’s a bit like being caught with your zipper down – something so embarrassing that you have to fix it immediately? “Son, your disinterest in calculus is peeking.” “Gosh, dad! Thanks for noticing. I sure would be heckled at school if anyone else saw that.”

I don’t know, though, really. I suppose you could say that the speaker piques/peeks/peaks my disinterest fairly often with his language usage. I'll keep posting his (and many others') non-standard uses of English here.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Job Interview

Questions you never want to hear during a job interview for an IT manager position:
"So let's say - hypothetically - you were hired for this job. You do outstanding work for about two weeks and then you find out - hypothetically - that due to your predecessor's negligence, your supplier was never paid for the servers your engineers use to develop EVERYTHING and that the servers will be re-possessed the next day. Still speaking hypothetically, you have no budget to purchase new servers because your predecessor somehow made the entire hardware budget vanish.

The question is, how many times will you be able to beat FreeCell before you actually get your pink slip?"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Unfortunate Linking

Awww... look at the cute kitties! Those three are soooo adorable, I want to go buy all the food at my grocery store and take it to the Humane Society RIGHT NOW!!! If there's anything cuter than one kitten, it's three! So I'm just gonna...


What does the link to the previous story say?

Ummm... I... never mind.

Quotes for the Day:

"If those guys were wolves, they'd be eating their young." Soooo... they're really hungry?

"The date this happened was some legacy year." As opposed to the futuristic years we have now?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Quotes for the Day:

"We need to keep our crazy trains going on separate tracks, or else we'll get confused." Too late.

"If you get the chance, it's always better to stay at hotels with all the humanities." FREE LINGUISTICS SEMINAR WITH EARLY CHECK-IN!!!

"We need to be careful, or we'll just end up beating ourselves into a corner." Paint is for sissies.

"Make sure you culinize those lesson plans." Ummmm... I'm really confused. I guess that's what happens when you stop steering your crazy train.