A great time was had by me at the Mitten Movie Project last night (and probably at least some others). The monthly festival of short films featured the director’s cut of “The Message,” our December 48-hour challenge short, and please don’t laugh — unlike most director’s cuts, this one really was better than the original. (Yes, of course it grew. By two minutes.)

The Mitten is curated by one of our producers, Connie Mangilin, who keeps a relentlessly upbeat attitude about film in Michigan, large and small. She frequently works on the large productions, in part to finance her participation in the small ones. Knowing how much work goes into even a very small one, it’s always amazing to see how many people even bother to do it, and gratifying that so many do it well.

(Of course, many do it not-well, too, but now that I’ve done this a time or three, I can almost always see what the problem was, and forgive them for it. When you can’t pay people, you get people willing to work for nothing. When they are actors, it’s a coin flip. Amateur actors are more likely to have grating upper-Midwest eeaccents that can reduce even well-written dialogue to cole slaw. And nearly all of them are young and most are arty hipster types, which becomes a problem when you’ve written a role for, say, a gangster. A word to directors: Putting sunglasses on a guy with a soul patch and a visible piercing doesn’t make him look particularly threatening. He just looks like an arty hipster douchebag. By the way, many professional actors have voice problems, too. Brad Pitt is from Nebraska southern Missouri, but has a persistent contemporary burr in his voice that works in the “Oceans” movies but sounds ludicrous in many roles, particularly as Achilles.)

Among the highlights last night: “The Farmer and the Philosopher,” a short about Toby Barlow, author and Detroit ad man, and Mark Covington, the inspiring soul behind the Georgia Street Community Collective, a reclamation of a battered neighborhood on the east side. A long-overdue note: Sweet Juniper has featured the GSCC a time or three, and when I mentioned it here some months back, one of you fabulous NN.C readers hit their Paypal button and donated $50. I learned of this sometime later, and while I know whoever did it wasn’t looking for credit (at least, I assume so — I don’t know who it was), here, have some: CREDIT.

Another fave was “Dr. Reddy,” a goofy story about a bad doctor but an awesome karaoke singer — in Telugu! Dr. Reddy was played by an actor — sorry, I didn’t get his name — who has actually worked in various Telugu-language films; it’s the one spoken in southern India, and the videos playing during his karaoke performance featured himself in a big Bollywood-style song-and-dance number. And the karaoke takes place in a biker bar, so what you end up with is a sort of Peewee Herman-goes-to-Hyderabad-via-Sturgis thing. That’s entertainment.

And then there was our film, with extra footage that wouldn’t fit into our 48-hour time limit. One of these days we’ll get it up on Vimeo and you folks can watch it. One of these days.

Until then, there’s a poster:

The existence of this poster just cracks me up. Both my co-writer Ron and I plan to hang it in our houses to impress our easily impressed friends. And if it isn’t a finalist in the competition (we find out any day now) I will stain it with bitter tears.

So, then, bloggage? There must be some:

I was struck by this picture of she-who, presumably taken on the set of some Fox News show. She may not have the Fox Lips yet, but she definitely has the Fox Parentheses, the styling of the hair into punctuation marks framing the face. For some reason this is the preferred hairstyle of TV news, mostly on blondes, but now on the world’s most famous right-wing brunette. I think we’ve seen the last of the messy updo, boys; if that’s your favorite look, hang on to your pictures and be careful how often you kiss them. I predict we’ll start seeing a lot more caramel-colored highlights in the future, too. Just be advised.

Hmm, Hoosiers: Dan Coats to take on Evan Bayh? We’ll see. Non-Hoosiers: The former Sen. Coats was one of the birdbrains behind the Communications Decency Act, an early attempt at regulating smut on the internet, a staggeringly dimwitted piece of legislation that was overturned by the Supreme Court unanimously. When you can get Justice John Paul Stevens and Justice Antonin Scalia to agree on something, you know you’ve got a hit on your hands.

And that’s it for today, folks. Let’s hope for a better tomorrow.

Posted at 10:51 am in Current events, Detroit life, Movies |

82 responses to “Detroitywood.”

  1. Sue said on February 3, 2010 at 10:58 am

    ‘grat­ing upper-Midwest eeac­cents’
    What accents?

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  2. nancy said on February 3, 2010 at 11:02 am

    Ha ha. Everybody says that. My Russian teacher has a sideline in “accent reduction,” aimed mostly at foreign nationals who work here and need to be more understandable to their colleagues and customers. She said at her first training session in this method, the teacher went around the room, had everyone say a sentence or two, and then pegged their native state and sometimes, city. My teacher is of the opinion she has no accent whatsoever, and was amazed that he told her she’s from Detroit.

    To be sure, I can’t hear it in her voice. But I hear it everywhere else.

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  3. Sue said on February 3, 2010 at 11:06 am

    When I want to irritate my (Wisconsin) co-workers, I pull out a mild Chicago accent (“c’maaahn, guys”). I’ve never done the Full Daley on them, though.

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  4. LAMary said on February 3, 2010 at 11:11 am

    I revert to NJ when necessary.

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  5. LAMary said on February 3, 2010 at 11:17 am

    That Rush is a heck of a guy.

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  6. Dorothy said on February 3, 2010 at 11:25 am

    I’ve been told several times that there is barely a hint of “Pittsburgh-ese” when I speak. Of course I didn’t hear this until I moved away from the ‘burgh.

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  7. Jeff Borden said on February 3, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I’ve no doubt Rush loves women. The problem is they don’t love him back. Just ask Mrs. Limbaugh 1, 2 and 3. Or the housekeeper who kept him swimming in Oxycontin.

    Actually, I think having Rush as a judge of Miss America is brilliant. Both he and the pageant are symbols of the past. They belong together.

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  8. Peter said on February 3, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Gee, I thought with the St. Louis Rams and McNabb comments that Rush is a real big athletic supporter.

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  9. coozledad said on February 3, 2010 at 11:36 am

    I’m always amazed at how Brits seem to be able to isolate a dialect to a couple of blocks of London, or somewhere near a burned out shell of a truck in Cornwall. The dialect maps here seem to be a lot larger, or at least, not quite as defined. I had a fourth grade teacher who struggled to help me get rid of my “Central Piedmont Unskilled Laborer” accent. We worked over the key looping diphthongs slowly and methodically until I wound up speaking much more slowly and methodically.
    My British girlfriend in college described my accent as split between “Dublin, when you’re trying to make sense; a Glaswegian huffing rubber cement when you’re drunk.”

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  10. brian stouder said on February 3, 2010 at 11:40 am

    Well, seeing the video of Grant and I at the school choice fair (which now lives on the channel 15’s website) was definitely cringe inducing; there IS an accent coming from me….AND (here’s the worst part) – y’know how ‘She-Who’ pronounces any word ending in “ing” as ending in “in”?

    I do that, too!! (and honestly, if asked whether that was one of my tics, I’d have missed it on a quizz)

    btw – Coats is more a “never-was” that even a decent has-been. He kept the congressional seat warm after Bush-41 flushed Quayle from the underbrush, and then lost out. It would be good to see him instead of Souder back in that seat – but indeed, that’s faint praise!

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  11. MichaelG said on February 3, 2010 at 11:42 am

    I haven’t ever been told that I have a Maine accent. Of course I’ve never been there either.

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  12. Scout said on February 3, 2010 at 11:57 am

    From the look of that picture of She-Who it appears her botox injections just before her SOTU “anal-ysis” have dissipated. In that memorable appearance her swollen fish-lips drooped noticibly to the right. She was also unable to perform her normal facial mannerism of lifting her left eyebrow. Winking was totally not an option that night.

    I never thought I had a south central PA accent until I left there. I didn’t think there was such a thing, actually.

    Nancy, I’ve got my fingers crossed for your team making the finals. And the poster is impressive, for sure.

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  13. Bob said on February 3, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    Pence was a threat to Bayh. Coats? Don’t think so. Maybe he’s in the thrall of late-blooming midlife ennui, conveniently forgetting the client list from his lobbying days.

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  14. Sue said on February 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Cooz, aren’t British accents, even today, way more important to them as a way of pinpointing class and income than to Americans? They have an actual class system, or they did and it’s not dying out like it should. They can tell by listening to someone for a few minutes how to interact. Any episode of Monty Python brings that home.
    I once watched Princess Diana give a speech where she used the phrase “hard to bear”. “Bear” had three syllables and it looked like it was painful to say. All very up-up-upperclass, apparently.

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  15. Rana said on February 3, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    Oh, the Midwest definitely has accents – several flavors! It did take me a while to recognize them as such, however, as I tend to hear accents as “the way Person X talks.” It wasn’t until I was in Minnesota, overhearing a woman speaking exactly like one of my aunts, that I realized she had an accent (Wisconsin).

    My own accent is a mishmash of California coast (upbringing) and Illinois flat (mother – my dad grew up in Indiana and Kentucky and has fought all his life to get rid of that accent – though he’ll still say things like “warsh” if he’s tired/upset). I can’t tell if I have a regional accent, but I do know that I speak almost exactly like one of my cousins, who grew up under similar circumstances. It’s weird hearing my voice on tape, because it sounds like I’m listening to her.

    I’m also a bit of an accent chameleon (perhaps because I moved so much as a kid?). Surround me with a bunch of people with a particular, strong accent, and I will pick it up. (So perhaps I should never move to New Jersey or Brooklyn…)

    I’ve also noted that some accents are generational; my godparents and his mother had a particular way of speaking that I hear here sometimes, in the older, cheaper diners, and it’s almost always coming from the mouth of a tidy little woman in her 80s.

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  16. beb said on February 3, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    My wife mocks me for my hoosier way of saying ‘wash.’ She also gets upset when people pronounce nuclear as nukular instead of nu-clear. personally, I can’t hear the difference.

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  17. carol said on February 3, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    “The Full Daley” I love it!

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  18. alex said on February 3, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Indiana definitely has its own distinct dialects. I remember mine being singled out when I lived in Chicago, but then I’ve been told by Hoosiers that I now sound like a Chicagoan.

    Also, I once had a method acting coach in Chicago who detected, correctly, that I have a foreign-born parent.

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  19. nancy said on February 3, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    We had a feature writer from Kenosha who made Marge Gunderson sound like Princess Diana. She was the one (repetitive story alert) who was so unplugged from pop culture that one day, when she was reporting a story on how much TV old people watch, I overheard this telephone conversation, “And what’s the name of the show? That’s the woman’s name? And how do you spell that? O-P-R-A-H? Oprah?”

    It was the way she pronounced “Oprah” that cracked me up. That was one long O.

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  20. nancy said on February 3, 2010 at 12:32 pm

    I once heard an interview with the creators of “Wallace & Gromit,” and they were asked how they come up with the varieties of cheese Wallace prefers. They said they based it on how they could move the mouth of the clay Wallace figure when they were doing production, and whether the movement amused them. Hence: Wensleydale wins out over cheddar. I’d like to see a clay mouth saying “Oprah” the way that writer did. Comedy gold.

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  21. Michael said on February 3, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    Brad Pitt is from southern Missouri, not Nebraska.

    Nance: Thanks! Fixed.

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  22. Michael said on February 3, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    My funniest accent story is my wife’s cousin. Guy wears overalls and a buzz cut and sounds like he’s still got the hay stem in the corner of his mouth. It’s all “warsh” and “whut” and “Wwwaaalll” (that’s “well”), until you realize that he’s talking about testing for special education and that he’s one of the region’s foremost experts on the topic; has a master’s in it and “ever’thang.”

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  23. cliff said on February 3, 2010 at 12:59 pm

    So what distinguishes the Detroit accent? Having grown up in the fort, and then college in Wisconsin and the subsequent 25 years in Chicago, I know those accents well. (I still remember as a college freshman having someone from cheeseland comment on my Indiana accent — and I don’t say warsh or nukular.)

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  24. Kim said on February 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    So, Brad Pitt has a “burr”? I always thought it was either a lisp or his dentures didn’t fit right. My daughter can’t hear it at all.

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  25. jcburns said on February 3, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    So Nance, youall used Trajan, the Movie font on your poster!? Ironically ? Or just, “gee, it looks nice.”..? Designers have railed over this font’s overuse in a bunch of places, like here, and here.

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  26. Sue said on February 3, 2010 at 1:10 pm


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  27. nancy said on February 3, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    The Detroit accent has a lot in common with Cleveland’s — vowels are fleattened except for o’s, which get a little rounder. It’s still hard for me to imitate, but after five years I can spot it instantly. You hear it in local TV ads, occasionally on the radio, frequently in local-sport play-by-play. (Notable exception: Ernie Harwell.) It is subtle enough that when you tell people they talk like they’re natives, they express bafflement. And not all of them do — I don’t hear it in my friend Michael’s voice, and he’s born-and-bred.

    J.C., the poster was done by our lead actress’ mother. As you well know, I take no responsibility for typography. That’s your job.

    I’ve been told Hoosiers have a “nasal twang,” but I only heard it south of I-70. The warsh pronunciation is all over Ohio, as is the “this needs fixed” usage. Or, rather, “that shirt needs warshed.”

    Brad Pitt has a whisper of a rumor of a burr. It’s something to do with his Rs. It might not be regional at all, just the shape of his mouth, or the fact he never learned formal diction as part of his training. I much prefer his natural voice to Madonna’s bogus one, anyway.

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  28. Dorothy said on February 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Pittsburghers say “warsh” too, and they drop the verb “to be” when saying “This room needs redd up” – “redd” meaning cleaned up or straightened up. I don’t know who started it, Ohioans or Pennsylvanians, but it’s not baffling to me to hear it.

    beb: I say NUCLEAR as “new-klee-err.” Like your wife, I hate when I hear people say “Newk-YOU-lerr.” Does that help? Another pet peeve of mine is coupons (coo-ponz) vs. que-pons. I say it the first way.

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  29. Scout said on February 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Madonna! That woman should never open her mouth unless it is to sing. She’s a simply terrible interviewee.

    Dorothy, I grew up saying “redd up” although I always spelled it read up, assuming it was short for “ready up”.

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  30. paddyo' said on February 3, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Here where the Rockies meet the Plains, we get a warshin-machine mixture of accents west and Midwest.
    Of course, being a coastal California native, I have none whatsoever, fer sheurr, deud!

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  31. Dexter said on February 3, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    hair. I now can surmise who does the hair for Jenna Lee, one of the stunners on Fox Business News . The style is like the Palin-do. It simply looks ridiculous. Jenna Lee’s hair is absolutely cartoonish, more pronounced than Palin’s. I don’t even notice stuff like this, but truly, when you look at Jenna Lee’s on-camera presence, you’ll notice it too. Who orders this styling? S/he ought to be fired.

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  32. Dexter said on February 3, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    paddyo’—dude! I just watched a double feature: “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” followed by “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Adventure”. Rock on! Long live Rufus.

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  33. paddyo' said on February 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Dexter, you rawk . . . teau-tully

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  34. crinoidgirl said on February 3, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    The Golden Girls: How One TV Show Turned A Generation Of American Boys Into Homosexuals –


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  35. A. Riley said on February 3, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    Oh, and there are distinct Chicago accents too — Mayor Daley’s mushmouth sout’side is a world away from former Mayor Byrne’s flat flat flat nort’side.

    When I was a kid in Logansport, there was a town v. country accent divide, and that had class connotations too. Much later I learned that Indiana’s early immigration patterns had to do with that. It was settled south to north first, up to about the Wabash River, by people who brought their Dan’l Boone-style accent with them. Later came a wave of more prosperous New Englanders via the Erie Canal, who settled north to south, to about the Wabash River. Logansport, that old town right on said river, was one of the places where both tribes settled. And since not many people move in or out any more, there their descendants remain. (Along with the descendants of the Irish, Germans, & Italians who dug the canals & laid the railroads.)

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  36. LAMary said on February 3, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    In house Brit says that in the UK your accent lets everyone know if they should look down on you, hate you, or show respect. I have a good friend from Belfast, Northern Ireland (not Belfast, Maine) and I can only communicate with him in writing. His accent is impenetrable. When he visits we all just nod and say, Oh really? When he calls on the phone I try to sound engaged, but I can’t understand about 80% of what he says.

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  37. nancy said on February 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    Paul Helmke once said he thought Ohio, Illinois and Indiana were three states, but the true divisions were latitudinal, not the other way around. Which is to say, Chicago has more in common with Cleveland, and Columbus with Indianapolis and Springfield, and Evansville with Cincinnati, etc., than they do with cities within their own states. I think the accents reflect that, and it’s true it comes from settlement patterns.

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  38. Rana said on February 3, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    paddyo’ the “dude” test is one of the quickest ways for me to tell if someone’s “not from California.” If you pronounce it “dood” instead of something closer to “dewd” you’re definitely from out of state.

    (And I don’t know if it’s your phonetics or what, but I’m guessing you grew up in the more southerly part of the state? ’cause I’d render those words as “dewd,” “fer shrr,” and “tooooe-dawlee.” *laughs* Like, awesum, dewd!)

    beb, I feel your pain. My dad and I, with two masters and two PhDs between us, invariably say “nucular” and it always chafes my shorts when people start harping on people’s pronunciations of it as a shorthand for “gee, that person’s stupid and uncouth!” Uh, no. That’s just how some of us happen to talk.

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  39. Harrison said on February 3, 2010 at 2:17 pm

    Regarding Mike Pence, I just have this feeling that he’ll run for the Senate in 2012, when Dick Lugar retires after serving there for 36 years.

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  40. Rana said on February 3, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Harrison, that elicited a *twitch* from me. I dislike Lugar’s politics, but Pence’s imbecility is grating to an astonishing degree. I hate to think of him hanging around for that long.

    But maybe he’ll crash and burn! *hopeful*

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  41. paddyo' said on February 3, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    You are a linguist of the highest order, Rana — born in Berkeley but raised in the L.A. ‘burbs (shout out to the San Gabriel Valley, peeps). . .

    Hey, on another matter, I think Detroit’s own Sweet Juniper must’ve taken a trip to the Mojave Desert. Check out this nice photo essay from the dilapidated last word in the phone book . . .

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  42. ROgirl said on February 3, 2010 at 2:35 pm

    Brad Pitt is from Springfield, Missouri, which is right close to Branson and not too far from Arkansas. I used to travel down there for work and there’s a definite twang that can get really strong coming out of some people.

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  43. Sue said on February 3, 2010 at 2:49 pm

    Move over, Fox Babes. This is how you do hair!
    (She’s on some televangelist program on cable)

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  44. cliff said on February 3, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Agreed on the latitude point. When you get down around Kay-Row, in southern Illinois, it’s like being in Tennessee. Hey, if anyone needs a recommendation, there’s a beauty salon right near the Garden of the Gods that serves a great pulled pork BBQ sandwich.

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  45. beb said on February 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Not a pronounciation story as such, but it gave me a good laugh at myself.

    My wife and I were driving around, doind some shopping when we come up to a light behind a car with a vanity plate. We chuckle at that, then I look to my side and I see another vanity plate and I can’t for the life of my figure out what it’s supposed to mean. The letters looks like they’s sound out ‘ahurokk.’ So I motion to my wife and say, “Here’s a weird plate,” and start spelling it out “U-R-A-O-K.” At which point my slapped myself on the forehead for not getting before this. And of course it was a really cool plate once you got it.

    My brother, born in Northern Indiana I like I was, moved to southern Indiana 30-35 years ago. Now it talks like an Alabama hillbilly. Now that’s assimilation!

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  46. brian stouder said on February 3, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    “Paul Helmke once said…” He turned up on Countdown the other night (dogging on President Obama for not going far enough with gun control!), and he talks a bit like a ventriloquist – not moving his jaws much, and not showing his teeth….and now it strikes me – THAT’s Fort Wayne.

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  47. alex said on February 3, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    crinoidgirl @ 34–

    Yikes, indeed. I, for one, couldn’t stand that show.

    Joan Collins on Dynasty is what made me go queer.

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  48. Deborah said on February 3, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    People in St. Louis, MO say warsh too, as in Warsh U, for Washington University located there. And they say “Highway Farty” for Highway 40 a main thoroughfare bisecting the city.

    My nieces who live in Minnesota sound just like they stepped out of “Fargo”, but my sister doesn’t have an accent at all. The thing she does is she sounds like she is talking to a kindergartner when she speaks to anyone, which she never used to do.

    There was a show on PBS with McNiel (the guy who used to be on the McNiel Leher show) about accents in the US, the gist of it was that they are constantly changing. He described among other things a newly emerging Chicago accent.

    Have any of you noticed this irritating vocalization that a lot of young women do now? I don’t know where it comes from but you hear a lot of beauty contestants doing it. It’s very hard to imitate (for me anyway). It’s a flat aaa sound that is attached to the beginning and ending of some words. When I really want to bug my daughter, I try to imitate that sound, it drives her crazy (she doesn’t do the vocalization by the way, she just thinks I’m acting like a fool when I try to do it).

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  49. Dorothy said on February 3, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    Rana @ 38: I don’t think *all* people who say nucular are dumb. There’s only one person who says it that way that I have a low opinion of and that would be Dubya.

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  50. annie said on February 3, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Tho born & raised in coastal California, I have never actually said the word “dude.”

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  51. brian stouder said on February 3, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Have any of you noticed this irri­tat­ing vocal­iza­tion that a lot of young women do now?

    Our 11 year old does that; and when she is angry, it becomes more pronounced (“alRIGHTuh” or “NOuh”)

    My theory is it comes from Nick-Teen (or whatever they call that channel)

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  52. Rana said on February 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Fair enough, Dorothy, fair enough. I’ve just seen it tossed out there so often that it almost – almost – makes me sympathetic to our much-loathed former president. (Similar comments came up again with regards to Palin’s accent – which, honestly, didn’t strike me as all that strange. Sometimes, yeah, she dialed the folksy up to eleven, but a lot of her speech tics were ones I grew up around.)

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  53. paddyo' said on February 3, 2010 at 4:19 pm

    Deborah and Brian S — sounds like some nationwide variation on Val-speak, maybe? Uhh-Rully-uhh . . .

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  54. Dexter said on February 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Another fascinating thread today. I like the three states, split sideways instead of by legal borders. Great point. A while back here at nn.c we were discussing this and I guessed it must be Marion, IN where the drawl starts. If any of you saw that HBO special on the destitute city of Anderson, IN, well…the folks in that docu speak very much like Kentuckians.
    I trained in the army at Fort Knox, and there were soldiers who absolutely hated us Hoosier lads, and there were many off-hours fistfights and also a “sanctioned” gloves-on boxing match card on Fridays between “Indiana boys and Kentucky boys”.
    My late in-laws used some words that seems to have died with their generation, like “go to the store and FETCH me a gallon of milk”, and “…wash the car and put some wax ONTO IT”.
    I grew up north of Fort Wayne and my ancestors migrated from New Jersey to Pennsylvania , New York state, Ohio, and homesteaded in Indiana. I was brought up saying “warsh”. We also said “kin” for “can”, as in “I can.”
    Others from the neighborhood would say “shove that board there UP A-GIN this post”, but we never said that. My 84 year old uncle still says “I DARE-UH-SUNT eat steak no more”. He is the last person I know who says dareuhsunt, literally, “darest not”.
    Then I had my work-buddy Leona, an African-American from Fort Wayne via Alabama. I’d say “Howyadoin?” and receive “Tobbly well.” She didn’t have a clue what it meant, but I deciphered “tolerably well” and she agreed.
    A small mystery was solved the other day for me.
    When I cuss , a fave word I type is “goddam”. Sometimes my fastidious friends correct me…it is, they write, “goddamn”.
    I had no idea where I had picked up my habit…until…J.D. Salinger died, I got my copy of “The Catcher in the Rye” off the shelf and started reading…yep, Holden Caufield spouted “goddam” incessantly. So that’s where I got it from.
    nance and Deborah: Nothing threw me off like when, during my first visit to Minneapolis-St. Paul, my brother’s inlaw, a spry 90 year old Norwegian lady, began laughing during conversation and she said “Oof-dah…OOF-dah!!” I had no clue until brother ‘splained it to me.
    And I love Canandian-born hockey people with their “ote” for out.

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  55. ROgirl said on February 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    My family lived in England when I was a teenager and the first time I heard someone say, “I reckon,” I couldn’t believe my ears. It’s a normal expression there, spoken by educated people and not just associated with hicks and Hee Haw (my take on it from this side of the Atlantic).

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  56. moe99 said on February 3, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Washington and Oregon would do well if they joined and split in the middle vertically–the west side is so different from the east side.

    When we moved from Ohio to MN, one of the linguistic oddities I noted was that they said aunt exactly how it was spelled, while we said “ant.” Then, of course, we moved to Kentucky and all bets were off. I understand Europeans love a southern accent–it seems more melodious to them. Some of the phrases that I heard during the 5 years I lived in KY were descriptve and wonderfully evocative.

    “Howah yuu?”

    “Fahn as frog haar…”

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  57. Dexter said on February 3, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    My over-educated brother, a for-real Ball State J-grad, weighs in with this in an email :
    “By the way, years ago U.S. linguists decided that good ol’ Fort Wayne, Indiana, was the language “center” of this nation, i.e., the place devoid of any regional accents. This may or may not still hold true — but was “sho’ nuff” a fact back then.~~~brother Bobby

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  58. Jen said on February 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I love all the weird accents and dialects people have. My friends all made fun of me because I called a vacuum cleaner “a sweeper” and I “sweep the floor” with it. Apparently that’s a regional thing. I’m about the only person I know who calls a TV remote control a “flipper,” too – even my husband, who grew up in the same town as I did, calls it a “remote.”

    Meanwhile, my father-in-law is from Wisconsin/Minnesota border (near the twin cities), and while he doesn’t have much of an accent anymore, his parents, brothers and sister-in-law do. It was hilarious listening to them talk when we visited. But the best part was the name of a game we played – they called it “Bag-o,” we called it “Cornhole.” Needless to say, there were many, many jokes exchanged throughout our visit.

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  59. Dexter said on February 3, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    flipper? new to me—-remote? yep! Always. I realize the preferred term is “clicker”, however. “Remote” is one of those words which is always preceded by my fave word, of course “goddam”. As in “all right…where’s the goddam remote!”

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  60. Deborah said on February 3, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Paddy-O the val speak thing isn’t quite it, it’s a broad flat throaty A sound that is accompanied by a wide grimacing mouth movement. I usually hear it around where I live from what we call Lincoln Park Trixies, 20 somethings who all look alike. I don’t think it’s just a Chicago thing because I hear it from young women on TV too, mostly bimbos.

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  61. Jeff Borden said on February 3, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    I have noticed a difference in what we call those enormous, yawning caverns that appear in cement and asphalt roadways with distressing regulatory in the Midwest during the cold winter months.

    In Northeast Ohio, we called them “chuckholes.” Everywhere else I’ve ever lived, they are “potholes.”

    Whatever you call `em, I hate `em. I hit a big one on Lake Shore Drive last year that bent my expensive alloy wheel and produced a sidewall bubble the size of a large egg. Now, I have a wheel permanently out of round. The tired was 86ed too, of course.

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  62. coozledad said on February 3, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    ROgirl: I always thought “pizzlin’ string” was intrafamily bandinage. It sounded like something that broke its chains and made its way down from the attic, anyway. Then I heard an East Anglian use “pizzle”.
    “Yep,” I says. “There’s the root.”

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  63. alex said on February 3, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    Chuckholes! Yes. I thought that was just one of my dad’s dad-isms. Probably a Detroitism from his early life there.

    Jeff, I bent an alloy wheel a few years ago and it pretty much fucked up everything connected to it, axle, strut, etc. Ended up being a very expensive repair. I learned that the dealer didn’t really replace the wheels but sent them out to a place in Huntington, Indiana, to get them reconditioned. So I drove there myself and paid $125 instead of paying the dealer $500.

    As far as the northern Indiana linguistic belt goes, Yankee-speak used to dominate the northern counties. Lots of Connecticut Firelands people, same as those who settled around Lake Erie in Cleveland, Sandusky, Toledo. Steuben County, our northernmost, was first settled by Vermonters, then drew a huge migration from the counties of northern New York because of its similar topography with hills and lakes. The eastern central border of Indiana had a lot of Quakers from the Carolinas so that’s what you’re hearing, say, between Huntington and Indy. South of there it’s pure Appalachia.

    Of course, these days it’s all a lot more mixed up, in part because of the migrations from the south to work in the factories during and post-WWII, and at the same time sort of flattened out because of the influence of television as babysitter. But if you grew up listening to old-timers of pioneer stock, you could definitely hear differences.

    Fort Wayne is interesting in that there is an African-American old guard dating back to the mid-nineteenth century, although it’s vastly outnumbered now by newcomers from places like Alabama. The original black community consisted largely of people from the Chesapeake. The prominent Woodson family, for instance, are descendants of Jefferson and Hemmings.

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  64. nancy said on February 3, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Really? Rod Woodson, et al? That’s fascinating.

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  65. alex said on February 3, 2010 at 9:15 pm


    They had descendants who went to Willshire on the Van Wert/Adams County line, and from there to the Fort.

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  66. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on February 3, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    There’s also some interesting info from down in Jackson County, east of Chillicothe, OH, that indicates that Sally Hemmings came to live with her eldest surviving son after Jefferson’s death, and that she’s buried there. No official records or surviving tombstones at Olive Branch, and almost impossible to confirm . . . or deny, but the supporting records make it very likely, including that if she had died at Monticello her death & burial would have been recorded. Eston Hemmings gave interviews published in the 1850s that were overlooked by historians for years until the DNA technology forced us to look again, and see.

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  67. basset said on February 3, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    We said “chuckholes” in southwestern Indiana… you can still hear “orrel” for “oil,” “feesh” for “fish,” and so forth.

    Here in Tennessee, a grocery cart is a “buggy” and a stove burner is an “eye.”

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  68. alex said on February 3, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Feesh! And Chreeschun! That’s how they talk over in Huntington. (I think it’s called speaking in tongues.)

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  69. alex said on February 3, 2010 at 11:10 pm

    Tinky Winky foreclosure sale:;

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  70. Joe Kobiela said on February 3, 2010 at 11:19 pm

    There is a fix up by Minn St Paul called UFFTA.
    Pilot Joe

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  71. Denice B. said on February 4, 2010 at 1:53 am

    Beb drives me nuts with ‘Noo-ku-lar’. Come on people! It’s spelled nuclear. Pronounced NEW-CLEAR! It’s not rocket science! Which is much easier to spell, by the way. Still, love my Brian.

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  72. Dexter said on February 4, 2010 at 3:10 am

    My old army buddy in Connecticut emails me this: “It jes’ so happens, Dexter, that you tossed “tolabble” (you spelled it something like that at the time) to me for deciphering and I concluded it prob. represented “tolerably well”. ”

    So I relinquish that problem-solved to Greg from The Nutmeg State.

    He also asked me who preceded Peter Jennings as evening anchor at ABC…I could not recall and had to search…Frank Reynolds was lead anchor and Max Robinson was national news anchor. Robinson was the first African American co-anchor in the USA.

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  73. Dorothy said on February 4, 2010 at 6:40 am

    I didn’t want to call attention to the obvious Denice, but you’re right – it’s spelled N U C L E A R. Doesn’t seem that complicated to me and I can’t understand where that alternate pronunciation came from.

    And Moe (@ 56) you need to add a few more u’s to that “Howuh youuuuuuuuu?” statement. That grated on me when we lived in Greenville, SC. Like fingernails on the chalkboard!!

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  74. basset said on February 4, 2010 at 7:30 am

    Mrs. Basset’s comment on the Palin do: “Well, it’s OK… but it’s HER.” Wish I knew when she was getting here so I could go stand by the side of the road and moon her car as it passes.

    Joe, isn’t there a GUITR navigation point somewhere around Nashville?

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  75. Joe Kobiela said on February 4, 2010 at 8:26 am

    Yep, and a micky, minnie, goofy,down Orlando way. There is a gps approach that has fixes named itot itaa apuddy tatte.
    Pilot joe

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  76. derwood said on February 4, 2010 at 9:08 am

    I just got back form North Dakota. My wife slips right back into the Dak-oh-tah accent the minute we land. Her grandma uses Uff-da when she is in pain. Minot is full of insanely nice people who all talk this way. Cracks me up.


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  77. coozledad said on February 4, 2010 at 9:29 am

    This has to be the Finnegans Wake of political advertising. Does it really take three minutes and twenty two seconds to call your opponent a sheep-fucker?

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  78. Rana said on February 4, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Well, Dorothy and Denise, where does “warsh” come from? Or any other number of “odd” pronunciations? It’s not like English is the most phonetically spelled language, after all. If you grow up hearing the word pronounced “nuke-yu-ler” you’re going to pronounce it that way yourself. Given that there are so many words that people “mis”pronounce (according to some standardized accent authority???) every day, it’s a little strange that “nuclear” gets singled out for such opprobrium. (Not by you two specifically, but it’s clearly a touchstone for people who use attacks on it as a shorthand for “you dumb rubes, why can’t you speak correctly.”)

    And it can’t be that freaky a pronunciation shift, otherwise we wouldn’t have words like “nukes” or “nuking” – “nu-clee-ar” doesn’t chunk that way.

    Thinking on it further, it may be worth mentioning that I talk about “nuke-yu-ler” power but “nu-cle-ar” families. So it’s probably more complicated than just the “how is it spelled” question suggests.

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  79. brian stouder said on February 4, 2010 at 11:58 am

    Cooz – I saw that on Rachel’s show last night; whatever kind of day I’ve had – she always makes me laugh

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  80. moe99 said on February 4, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    C’dad. That is a horrible, horrible ad. I’m thinking maybe there should be a political ad competition similar to the short movie competition that our hostess participates in so we could get some real talent putting together these ads.

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  81. Connie said on February 4, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I used to say I had to get out of southern Indiana before my kid permanently talked like a hillbilly. Moved her to Minnesota in time for 4th grade and all the girls in her loved her southern accent.

    I once spent an evening with voice actress Barbara Rosenblatt, best known these days for the audio books she does for Recorded Books. We ended up at a fine restaurant late at night, and the waitress clearly had an accent. Barbara – in the same accent – immediately told her where in Wales she was from. Barbara also works extensively as an actor’s dialogue coach. Other memorable event that night — my first ever glass of Shiraz.

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  82. brian stouder said on February 4, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    Connie – sounds like a great evening!; and even though I have no idea what Shiraz is, it sounds awfully good right about now

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