Hanging up.

Sorry for being such a bummer yesterday, but stories like that strike a nerve. Years ago, a friend who worked in emergency medicine introduced me to a bit of their diagnostic jargon — DFM, or dumb fuckin’ mom. Despite a moderate episode of DFM, the child is expected to recover, although it is known to be a chronic condition. DFM is the cause of childhood caries, the cavities that can deprive a kid of baby teeth well before the permanent ones come in, usually thanks to a mom who poured Hi-C or Coca-Cola into a bottle. That’s at one end of the spectrum. At the other is DFM with extreme prejudice, which was certainly a contributing factor in the ghastly demise of that cursed little girl in Fort Wayne last week. Leave your children with Some Guy for a week? Sure, why not?

But let’s lighten the mood a bit today. I get the sense many of you are like me this week, at work or not, but likely spending a lot of time goofing off on your computers. Fortunately, I have much linkage to love today, so let’s get to it.

I found this CDC data set in a Nate Silver tweet; it’s about the percentage of American households with cellular-only coverage, and he mentioned it in connection with polling. Evidently many pollsters don’t use cell-only households in their canvassing, and it has bitten them more than once — the seemingly come-from-behind victory of Kwame Kilpatrick in his last Detroit mayoral election was attributed to unpolled cell-only voters, mostly young people, who gave him an easy victory in a race that was said to be too close to call.

We’re starting this discussion — cutting the land line — in our house, and are being held back by a few factors, including 911 service, the lack of significant cost savings and, of course, the necessity of covering that ugly wall jack in the kitchen once the phone is gone. J.C., my digital guru and mentor, went to a Google Voice landline setup a while back, and reports no problems. What say the NN.C hoardes hordes?

Kim Severson considers sorghum, that quintessential southron sweetener, in today’s NYT food pages. Southern cooking is so far outside my gene pool that I don’t dare to experiment, but this sounds interesting:

At Two Boroughs Larder in Charleston, sorghum sweetens semifreddo. In Atlanta, Richard Blais, a winning “Top Chef” contestant, serves tiny popped grains of sorghum as a bar snack at his restaurant, HD1. It tastes like a toasty marriage of kettle corn and puffed rice.

And at Lantern, in Chapel Hill, N.C., Andrea Reusing uses sorghum to bridge the South and Asia. She makes a Vietnamese-style sorghum caramel with fish sauce, lime and chiles to glaze pork belly, and coats spicy fried walnuts or pine nuts with sorghum. Her pastry kitchen turns out a five-spice confection like Cracker Jack using sorghum. It also goes into a gold rum cocktail infused with black pepper and vanilla bean.

Ten words you mispronounce that make people think you’re an idiot. Not long enough.

And finally, the List of Lists, the WashPost’s 2012 Ins and Outs! Yayyyyy. (claps wildly) Out: Pippa’s bum; In: Kate’s uterus. Beautiful.

Have a great day, all.

Posted at 10:47 am in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

94 responses to “Hanging up.”

  1. Jolene said on December 28, 2011 at 11:02 am

    I’ve been a cell-only person for several years. The only problem I’ve had is that I’m not perfectly disciplined about where I put it down. Thus, I occasionally have to go through an irritating flurry of looking for it. It’s a small problem, though, and the presence of multiple phones in your household (and possibly more discipline) would make it even smaller.

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  2. Dexter said on December 28, 2011 at 11:14 am

    You won’t even miss the land line. We cut ours a few years ago, too.
    Jolene, my worst cell phone mistake was after a long call left my phone hot, very hot. I decided to stick in the freezer for five minutes to cool that battery down. Then I forgot it. For some reason I had forgotten I had done this, and I messaged some people to start calling the phone…nothing. I then sat down and thought really hard, step-by-step…and boy did I feel stoopid. 🙂 End result: no damage at all. Lesson learned: Don’t Do Dat.

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  3. coozledad said on December 28, 2011 at 11:23 am

    A lot of Chinese home cooking centers around the use of pork offal. There are a few other similarities with cooking in the southern US, so it’s good to see someone pursuing that idea for a fusion cuisine.
    Andrea Reusing at Lantern gets her farm cheese from an acquaintance of ours from our Durham Farmer’s Market days: Portia McKnight at Chapel Hill Creamery

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  4. jcburns said on December 28, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Dexter, that’s really not a good idea even if you don’t forget you put it in a freezer. Electronics will be happy and cool if you give them fresh air, but freezers or even fans directed at them can just cause more problems. So if the phone seemed too cool would you put it in the microwave for a few minutes?

    Oh, by the way, Richard Blais’s HD1 is about a third of a mile from here. Haven’t been there yet, but I hear it’s a sausagefest.

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  5. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 28, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Sorry, but Pippa’s bum will never be out of style. Wait, I just stole Brian’s next post . . .

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  6. alex said on December 28, 2011 at 11:39 am

    When I moved to Fort Wayne from Chicago, I did without a land line for a couple of years. Then I tried a Vonage line, but the sound quality was piss poor and I didn’t use it much anyway. Then I changed from cable to DSL when the cable company jacked my rates and in so doing acquired a traditional land line that I seldom use, but it does come in handy as a number to give to high-maintenance people whom I’d rather didn’t bother me constantly on my cell phone, such as a high school classmate who washed up after 30 years with severe schizophrenia.

    You can always find an ornament to hide the ugly phone jack on the kitchen wall.

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  7. LAMary said on December 28, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Love the mispronounced words list. I’ve got a co-worker who is very proud of her prestigious alma mater who mispronounces five of those words. Aw-ree especially. If she had a sense of humor I’d share the list with her.

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  8. brian stouder said on December 28, 2011 at 11:41 am

    While I am attempting to resist the impulse to criticize mom, still, my chin dropped when our local CBS affiliate (which Nancy once did on-air commentary for) showed a bunch of neighbors and friends gathered in the falling snow at the trailer park, and mom was sitting in a wheelchair.

    The reporter said she was ‘temporarily paralyzed’ but expected to be up and around in a day or two.

    And, just to see, I tuned in Nancy Grace last night, and watched until I could take no more; she was wall-to-wall with our local sheriff, and her theatrical angst, and her defense attorney whipping-boys.

    Aside from that, let me just say that, at least in Fort Wayne, if you butt-dial 911 with your cell phone – or if you intentionally dial 911 with your cell phone – the police will respond, and will head for the area where the call actually originated

    edit: Jeff, you owe me one!

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  9. del said on December 28, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Jeff TMMO, you’re right, I thought Brian would be on that . . . wait, I stole his next post too.

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  10. Dexter said on December 28, 2011 at 11:53 am

    Well, JC, I know it a stupid thing to do, and it was a one-time thing. But thanks for the tip…when my phone gets icicles on it I will definitely use the microwave tip! 😉

    brian: A high school friend worked at a high-profile auctioneering firm in Fort Wayne; his brother owned the business.

    It was 1997 as I recall, and the ditches were full of water. it was early morning. The man crashed somehow and ended up in the ditch, trapped, with a cell phone. He desperately called 911 for help, and the operator asked for his location. He didn’t know the name of the road, couldn’t even remember the exact area.
    There was no GPS service…no way of tracking his location. The car was filling up quickly. The car was not found until daylight, with my friend’s head under water, dead for a few hours.
    When was GPS or any type of tracking added to basic cell phones? I really don’t know what would happen if I needed EMS and didn’t know where I was or I couldn’t speak or text.

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  11. Kim said on December 28, 2011 at 11:53 am

    My sister works in an urban trauma center where the staff has many acronyms like DFM. My favorite is AMFYOYO, which stands for “adios, motherfucker, you’re on your own.”

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  12. brian stouder said on December 28, 2011 at 11:56 am

    Well, if Pippa’s bum is out, I’m there!

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  13. Dexter said on December 28, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Okay…must ask this…is that GIANT ASS of Kim Kardashian really attractive to nearly all men? I mean, it’s just gargantuan, ginormous, huge….

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  14. del said on December 28, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I’m sensitive about mispronouncing words, having done that many times myself to great embarrassing effect. As for others mispronunciations the worst example I observed was by an adjunct faculty person recruited by my college Sociology Department chair to teach a 400 level course (that none of the regular faculty was willing to take on). In his lectures he would frequently say a word he pronounced as fuh-kade. He was going for facade. D’oh!

    And as to Brian I will only say this – may he one day be butt-dialed in Fort Wayne by Pippa’s bum.

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  15. Sue said on December 28, 2011 at 12:05 pm

    Oh for…
    Dexter, did you just try to unleash Caliban on us ON PURPOSE?

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  16. MichaelG said on December 28, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    I have a land line for three reasons: 1. My satellite provider requires it, 2. My DSL provider requires one and 3. My alarm company requires a land line. Absent those three reasons I would not have a LL. I haven’t talked on it for years. When it rings I just let it go to the machine.

    I wonder how many people have cell phones with area codes from areas where they don’t live. I got my cell account when I lived in Auburn where the area code is 530. Now I live in the 916 area but still have my old 530 number. I know at least two people who live in 530 and have cells with 916 numbers.

    Never heard awry pronounced aw ree before. List is too short.

    How about “realator” for realtor. Drownded. Amblience. There are tons more.

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  17. basset said on December 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    A couple of acronyms often seen in the planning world… you know NIMBY, Not In My Back Yard… and there’s BANANA, Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anybody…

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  18. Judybusy said on December 28, 2011 at 12:27 pm

    I appreciated the word list too. It finally helped me understand why people mocked Bush for nuclear. I usually couldn’t catch the difference, but now that I see it spelled out, I finally get it!

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  19. coozledad said on December 28, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    I can’t understand the new pronunciation marks, so there are a lot of words I won’t even go near, in conversation. One of them is asafoetida. I always thought it shared the spirit, if not the root, of “fetid”, hence “ass-uh-fed-id-ah”. I’ve been told it’s ass-o’-fett-eee-duh, which sounds too Irish to me, as in

    “I was goin down to Feteedah
    to get myself some ass”

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  20. caliban said on December 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    We’ve got a Magic Jack plus cell service. The former is necessary because AT&T doesn’t seem able to cover the interior of our condo. But I wanted an iPhone. At&T really sucks. The MagicJack works perfectly and the cost is unbeatable.

    How ’bout “press-piration”?

    The Kardashians are singularly unattractive, but it’s got little to do with steatopygious buttocks, more about their harpy tongues and talons, frequently deployed against each other, and their empty rapaciousness and vacant cupidity that pass for character and personality.

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  21. del said on December 28, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    And Cooze ties it all together.

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  22. Deborah said on December 28, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I just had to look this up. From Wikipedia: Asafoetida (Ferula assafoetida), alternative spelling asafetida,( /æsəˈfɛtɨdə/)[1] (also known as devil’s dung, stinking gum, asant, food of the gods, giant fennel, hing and ting) is the dried latex (gum oleoresin) exuded from the living underground rhizome or tap root of several species of Ferula, which is a perennial herb (1 to 1.5 m high). The species is native to India[2]. Asafoetida has a pungent, unpleasant smell when raw, but in cooked dishes, it delivers a smooth flavor, reminiscent of leeks.

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  23. James said on December 28, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    My brother (that’d be J.C., not his Christian name, by the way…) talked me through the process of abandoning the phone company when we moved into the loft last July. Using GoogleVoice, ObiTalk, and it all seems to work.


    No power = no phone.
    No Internet = no phone.
    Occasional hang ups and people not hearing hearing us on calls.


    Saving $30 a month
    Free long distance, call waiting, caller ID, the ability to block spammers, the ability to route my home number to my mobile…

    Enjoying it so far.

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  24. Brandon said on December 28, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    On pronunciation: I’d like to recommend The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunications: The Complete Opinionated Guide for the Careful Speaker by Charles Harrington Elster.

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  25. Rana said on December 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm

    We went to cell-only when we moved here. I’d actually like to have a landline for backup and better quality, but internet access gets budget priority, and we don’t have the money to toss into another communication service.

    (I was going to say I’m unemployed, but can’t figure out if that’s the right word for someone who’s freelancing but currently lacking clients. In any case, there’s no money coming in from my side. Fingers crossed things improve in the new year!)

    We have two different area codes between us, neither of which is local; I have my San Diego one from back in 2003, and D’s got his from the last place we lived. It does make getting wrong numbers somewhat entertaining; a quarter of the time there’s a Spanish speaker on the other end, so I get to practice saying “Wrong number” in Spanish.

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  26. Cathy D. said on December 28, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    We signed up with the cheapest possible Vonage plan a couple of years ago. It let us keep our long-time landline number, which we were loathe to give up. We also forward all calls to our cells through Vonage. Works awesomely.

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  27. Julie Robinson said on December 28, 2011 at 1:12 pm

    Guilty on prerogative, feeling stupid now.

    When we got wifi from the phone company, they yanked the old line and replaced it with a battery backup, so if power is out more than 8 hours we don’t have phone service anyway. But we’ve been weighing this one too, especially since our answering machine and two phones are in need of replacement. But then we’ll have to up our cell minutes, and go speakerphone when our daughter calls, and our wifi rate will go up, and inertia wins.

    We’ve had enhanced 911 in the Fort for several years now. Even old cell phones that have been disconnected bring the police, as a young friend of mine found when she gave hers to a toddler she was babysitting. She didn’t even realize that 911 had been dialed so was mystified when the police showed up at the front door.

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  28. Rana said on December 28, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    The whole “noo-kyu-lar” thing was the one single item I had any sympathy towards Bush about. My dad says it that way, and I inherited it from him. To say it the way people think is proper requires a conscious effort, and even then I’m not sure I said it correctly (because I don’t notice when it’s wrong.)

    We both have doctorates, and both of us are/have worked as editors, so the whole “Bush is so dumb for mispronouncing “nuclear” hur hur hur” got old pretty fast. I had similar reactions to the “Let’s mock Palin for her speech” thing, too; her speech was somewhat affected, but a lot of what people slammed her for is simply the way many people talk in the places I grew up, so it felt like I and my friends were getting slammed along with her. You don’t need to mock either’s speech in order to declare them idiots.

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  29. caliban said on December 28, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    “Vee-hickle” is a strange pronunciation. The word comes from vehiculum (L), meaning a mode of transport. The original root is the verb vehere, to carry, that led eventually through high German to Old English vegan, wagon. Most modern scholars believe that Latin “v” was pronounced as modern “w”. And that single “c”s were generally hard “c”, as modern k.

    In the southern US, asafetida was worn in pouches around the neck to ward off TB and other respiratory afflictions. The stench might have done the trick. In India, the herb is taken internally to ease flatulence.

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  30. Scout said on December 28, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    We dumped the land line years ago and never looked back. Once we realized the only people who ever called us on it were telemarketers it was an easy decision. Cell phones are everywhere we are when we’re home, making them way more convenient plus we’re never stuck in one place while on the phone.

    I loved the mispronunciation list. I work with someone who constantly pronounces invoice as envoice. However, he also spells the word that way and no matter how many times I correct him, it’s stuck in his brain that way.

    Another one I hear pronounced wrong is frustrated. Not sure how it managed to morph into fusterated, but it did.

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  31. Julie Robinson said on December 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    Not on the list, but should be: worsh-rag for washcloth.

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  32. Connie said on December 28, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    MichaelG I live in suburban Detroit 248 with a 574 (South Bend) cell number. Gave up our land line when we moved here. Only problem is when my phone spends the weekend in my purse and I miss every call. I called 911 on it a few months ago when I got rear ended while stopped for a construction flag and 911 dispatch had to ask where I was. I knew the street but couldn’t provide a cross street, until it occurred to me to tell them I was where they were paving the road, which they got immediately. I don’t think my phone has GPS. My phone is so old it says Cingular on it.

    MOst irritating mispronounced word: liberry.

    Dutch lady pronounciations of my childhood include worsh-rag and kitchen zink.

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  33. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 28, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    GOMER – get out of my emergency room. There’s more, if you’re all interested in those chart-ready acronyms. DBI we’ve been discussing indirectly the last couple days; Brian would like GLM; a high DBI is congruent with UBI. I once stood watch as chaplain for someone who died of a UBI, but out of a certain amount of respect for the GFPO patient, they didn’t score the DBI for her. We were usually sky-pilots, at least at that hospital (Methodist in Indy) if we weren’t God-botherers, but if we had an acronym they never clued us in on it. One nurse on overnight handover wrote up on the status board that she & her doc spouse “FLFWTOF,” and they didn’t tell me what that one meant until the shift was over, over their shoulders heading for the elevators.

    Hat tip, Caliban, for “steatopygious,” and keep in mind that, according to all the various Venus of Willendorf/Catal Huyuk figurines, that was beauty for at least 30,000 years. Not my tastes, but our ancestors seemed pretty emphatic about the importance of that style.

    Edit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venus_figurines if you’re interested in early human history . . . and steatopygious tastes.

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  34. Linda said on December 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    Here’s a list of some acronyms.

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  35. caliban said on December 28, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I believe Indian asafetida is an ingredient in the foul Italian liqueur Fernet Branca, brought to my attention by the hilarious novel,
    Cooking with Fernet Branca, by James Hamilton-Patterson. Liqueur is another word that lends itself to mangled pronunciation. For some reason, Food Channel chefs and cooks can’t get it right, tending mostly to “li-quore”. Where that comes from, can’t imagine. They also say “tumeric” for turmeric.

    I’ve known many people, mostly down South, who actually say “flusterated” for frustrated, which strikes me as a useful mispronunciation that should probably be another word altogether. Just about every black person I ever worked construction with pronounced concrete “con-creek”. I’ve always wondered how the term “buck-naked” morphed into butt naked. “Miss-cheev-ee-ous” is another favorite, and “larnyx” for larynx is painfully embarrassing. And lots of people say “pronounciation”, I suppose, in honor of a useful part of speech. Extended list:


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  36. MichaelG said on December 28, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    I dunno, Rana. Bush was the President of the United States of America. He dealt with nuclear on a policy level. When he spoke in public representing the United States in front of the country and the world he needed to pronounce correctly words like “nuclear”. How is he supposed to demonstrate that he has a grasp on policy, how is he supposed to sound credible on the world stage if he can’t even say the word? No, he needed to have one of his entourage explain the proper pronunciation.

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  37. Sherri said on December 28, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    I keep our landline because I don’t like to give my cell phone number out to everyone. I’d rather most people call my landline, and only select people call my cell phone, because the cell phone is more intrusive. Either I put the cell phone on vibrate all the time, and then I miss the important calls I really do want to get on my cell, or I selectively put it on vibrate, which means I forget, and then I’m one of those obnoxious people whose cell phone goes off at inappropriate times.

    As someone whose first encounter with a lot of words was through the written word, not the spoken word, I’m pretty forgiving about mispronunciations.

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  38. Vince said on December 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    I vote to cut your landline. I made the move about 4 months ago.

    Cable internet + Google Voice = free calls anywhere in the US.

    Cell phone to boot.
    Plus Register my Cell Phone with the city so I’m in their 9-1-1 and emergency call-out databases. (Our city has a reverse 9-1-1 system for evacuations or lock downs.)

    Pronunciation: I vote for “police.” Thank goodness I no longer live in a state where the standard form is PO-leece.

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  39. del said on December 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    MichaelG, I think it’s a generational thing. When the word nuclear was first popularized in the mid 20th century it was probably commonly pronounced with the added “u” for whatever reason.

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  40. brian stouder said on December 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Here’s one that isn’t strictly a pronunciation thing, but which always bothers me. I was taught that the word “a” precedes a word starting with a consonant, while “an” precedes a word starting with a vowel. “Choose a car carefully”/ “Choose an ambulance quickly”. But for some reason “an” precedes “historian” with dull regularity, and always strikes me as frumpy, if not snooty. (A person can be a historian, just as we might have a hot day)

    On the other hand, a thing can be “an honor” for “an hour”, because those H-words start out with a vowel sound…

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  41. beb said on December 28, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    You know it a slow news period when the political pundits start woorrying about pickles
    Of course the issue is getting the sort of unflavored pickles that he likes.

    Living without a landline. A year back we got the Comcast triple-pack – – cable, wifi and phone over the internet. We also all have cell phones. The phone over the internet works fine the only thing is that everyone calls us on our cell phones anyway so the only people who use our old landline number are 800 number scammers. As for 911, cell phones are I believe cell phone companies are required to provide location service on 911 calls, part of the tracking-you-everywhere service of cell phone companies.

    As for the hideous phone jack…I’m sure a question at your local hardware store will produce a flat plate to cover over the hole in the wall in a discreet and inoffensive manner.

    ‘in: Kate’s uterus…’ is that you Kate or someone else’s?

    The only way I learned to spell vehicle was to remember as if it were pronounced ve-hickle but when speaking I always pronounce it as vee-ickle. My wife gets worked up about the pronunciation of nuclear but I honestly can’t hear the difference. In fact, except for pronouncing awry as ah-ree I think most of the mispronunciations listed are more region and ethnic issues. And when — EVER — was Often pronounced with a silent t. It’s the off-en pronunciation that labels one as an idiot.

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  42. caliban said on December 28, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    Sports and American cities (interesting reading and way coo maps):



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  43. Minnie said on December 28, 2011 at 3:08 pm

    Reading an Indian recipe one day I ran into the word asafoetida. It took a while for my brain to connect that ingredient with was what as I child I’d heard pronounced “ass-FID-id-ee”. I knew it as an item sold in a small grocery/general store in the Mississippi Delta, ususally purchased by black farm workers to be worn in a cotton bag around the neck, as noted by Caliban, to ward off illness. I enjoyed opening the clear glass candy container where the tarry dark balls and bags were stored and taking a whiff, admiring the awful aroma.

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  44. alex said on December 28, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Speaking of the Mississippi delta, I recall being introduced to asafoetida by a friend who insisted that jambalaya would be incomplete without it. I don’t recall one way or another if it improved the flavor.

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  45. Connie said on December 28, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    I agree with Sherri’s comment: “As someone whose first encounter with a lot of words was through the written word, not the spoken word, I’m pretty forgiving about mispronunciations.”

    As a young gifted reader I read many words I never learned to pronounce. I once auditioned for a play and mispronounced the name Penelope as Pen el lope. I had no idea why they were all laughing. It was even more embarassing as my mother’s nickname for me was Penelope – pronounced correctly.

    My problem word has always been maintenance, which my brain wants to pronounce maintain ence.

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  46. Sue said on December 28, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    Connie, I pronounced the word “stoic” with one syllable in an English class once (“stoyk”). Also “plebian”, accent on the first syllable, in a history class, during gods-help-me a presentation in front of the whole class. Thank goodness for good-humored teachers who knew how to gently correct.
    Since a great many of my childhood friends were book characters, and many of those book characters were from books that were 50 – 100 years old, not only did I use words nobody used anymore but I screwed up pronunciations pretty regularly. Gosh, maybe that was one of the many reasons I was soooooo popular.

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  47. Sherri said on December 28, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Comcast is constantly trying to get us to switch to Triple Play (we have Comcast cable and internet, but not phone.) Frontier (once Verizon) is always trying to convince us to switch to FIOS, their voice/internet/TV fiberoptic solution (our landline is with them.) I refuse both. Landline over copper is the most likely to stay up during an extended power outage, and in fact, did stay up over the 5 day outage we had several years ago. I’m hanging onto my copper as long as I can.

    BTW, I love sorghum, though I’ve never used it in cooking. At my grandmother’s, we always just had it mixed with a little butter and served over biscuits.

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  48. JWfromNJ said on December 28, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    We’ve held on to a landline for a few reasons. We have a fax machine that I still use from time to time. Also we have an incredibly fast fiber optic internet connection through AT&T Uverse and their constant and cryptic pricing changes made the difference less than $5 a month to keep the landline. That and anytime we call with billing or service inquiries my wife manages to wheedle a $25 or $50 AT&T prepaid Visa card from them. We cut the cable a while back and use a Roku box and computers instead so the speed is a nice luxury.

    My 12-year old is aghast at having to call people or take calls on the landline and he’s dissapointed that we won’t buy him a cell phone but I don’t give a crap if “all the other kids,” have one, even if they have iPhones. I can’t be convinced he has a pressing need for his own phone vs. the cost to me, and I won’t entertain the idea of buying minutes for a prepaid phone. If I had to endure sharing one phone with my to sisters, my parents, and my dad’s business then this won’t kill him.

    My other stumbling block that makes me hold off on going cell only is location and construction. Cell phones only work in half of our Florida concrete bunker house and not well, so dropping the landline just wouldn’t work.

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  49. David C. said on December 28, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I had no idea who Pippa is and why she was in until she was out. My pop culture cred is going to hell in a handbag.

    I have one semester of linguistics, so I know enough to be dangerous. Many of the so-called mispronunciations are regional pronunciations. They’re not wrong, just different. This from someone who has been told that the way I pronounce roof (like book rather than like boot) is stupid. I’m much more tolerant of regional pronunciations than I once was. I don’t even bat an eye at “noo-kyu-lar” anymore. It’s just a waste of perfectly good outrage.

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  50. Brandon said on December 28, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    And when-EVER— was Often pronounced with a silent t. It’s the off-en pronunciation that labels one as an idiot.”–beb

    See the entry for often in The Big Book of Beastly Mispronunciations. It goes into great detail on the history of that word’s pronunciation.

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  51. JWfromNJ said on December 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    @Coozledad – I didn’t even catch your post until now. I went to high school with Andrea in Glen Rock, NJ. We worked on the high school newspaper together. I had such a crush on her, wow. She moved to Bethesda before her senior year and I had just started at American University. I thought that would be a winning opportunity but we only hung out a few times. She went off to NYU but didn’t stay. The girl I remember didn’t cook at all. Apparently she picked up that skillset, mostly self taught and the results I have heard are impressive.

    Here’s a reference for LA Mary, I tried to get Andrea to come with me to Johnny & Hanges!

    RE: prerogative – I’d bet one of the main reasons people pronounce this wrong is the old Bobby Brown song, “My Prerogative.” Old in a relative way..

    Regional mispronounced words: Italian, as opposed to eye-talian. I let that one slide in Indiana UNLESS it was preceeded by Frakkin. In other parts of the country it would be taken as an ehtnic slur. My wife who is Hoosier born and raised and hasn’t a drop of Italian blood bristles everytime she hears it.

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  52. Minnie said on December 28, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Alex, that asafoetida/gumbo connection is new to me – and intriguing. Will have to do some research. Wonder how the substance came into creole and cajun cookery, or for that matter into rural Mississippi.

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  53. LAMary said on December 28, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    Johnny and Hanges? Hot dogs all the way? We all heard the rumors about what was in that all the way sauce.
    Connie, along with zink, did the old Dutch ladies around you rench (rinse) off the dishes?
    Worsh doesn’t sound Dutch to me. The Dutch word for wash is wass or wassen, I think, pronounced voss. No R sound in there.

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  54. alex said on December 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm

    So many interesting thoughts here today, dunno where to begin…

    My high school Latin teacher once pronounced epitome as “ep-uh-toam.” I remember being embarrassed for him, although I doubt anyone else in that class caught it. He gave it as an example of a word derived from Latin. In Latin, he pronounced Ws as Vs and wice wersa, as discussed above. Just like a vealthy Chermin girl of my acquaintance in college who used to go shopping mit her WISA.

    My high school Latin teacher found Jesus, quit teaching and became a factory worker in the RV & manufactured housing industry, and gave away his quite considerable library because he had fallen under the spell of a cult that believes erudition is evil. This was in the mid-1980s or so.

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  55. MichaelG said on December 28, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Connie, Penelope is a Greek name. I don’t know how the Greeks pronounce it but my Portuguese erstwhile wife pronounces it “Pen el lope” with the accent on the last syllable. So there you are, not dumb but sophisticated and European.

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  56. David C. said on December 28, 2011 at 6:52 pm

    I had a teacher correct my pronunciation of calliope – told me it was cal-e-ope. I disagreed and was sent to the principal’s office.

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  57. Dorothy said on December 28, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    Ever since hubby fell off a ladder 5 years ago we are loathe to give up a land line. They are more reliable in an emergency @ our house in the country, where our cell phones do not always have a signal. Plus it is our source for our internet service so I don’t mind the extra expense. I look @ it as an insurance policy (referencing the ladder fall).

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  58. caliban said on December 28, 2011 at 7:07 pm

    Asafoetida in gumbo and jambalaya sounds like some odd substitution or analog for file’, without which thickening and flavoring agent I don’t think you can make authentic gumbo. It would be like leaving out the olive drab slimy snot-pods.

    As far as Penelope is concerned, I took Greek in HS and can’t think of a single case (aside from diphthongs) in which a noun would go unpronounced or not have a syllable of it’s own. This is also a good chance to recommend a fascinating book by Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad. Tells the Odysseus story from his wife’s point of view, with the hanged handmaidens that dallied with the suitors as a proper Greek chorus. Very original and poetic.

    Bobby Brown’s “prerogative” was smacking Whitney Houston around while whacked on crack mixed with pot.

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  59. ROGirl said on December 28, 2011 at 7:11 pm

    The first time I heard someone say “pacific” for “specific” I thought it was a joke. It wasn’t. I’ve heard it once or twice since then. I aks you.

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  60. coozledad said on December 28, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Michel G: Ever hear this guy?

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  61. Rana said on December 28, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Connie, Sue – as an avid reader both as a kid and now, I’ve my fair share of “misled by phonics” pronunciations. The most memorable were “sword” pronounced with the “w” as in “swore” and “Freud” as “Frood” (the latter in front of a doctor and a psychiatrist, embarrassingly).

    MichaelG – the thing is, though, it’s a lot harder to change than you might think. I know how “nuclear” is supposed to be pronounced in order to sound educated, I try not to mispronounce it, but it still, at age 41, requires deliberate, conscious effort to do so, and it never feels anything but forced and awkward. If I’m tired, or rushed, it’s going to come out wrong, despite my knowing better. Honestly, I’d rather that the president’s brainpower – especially when it seems to be of a low wattage as in that particular case – be directed towards important things rather than remembering how to pronounce a word correctly.

    Brian – for what it’s worth, every historian I know, including myself and my husband, uses “a” before “historian.” The only time I’ve ever heard someone say “an historian” they were either British or a pretentious twit.

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  62. LAMary said on December 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm

    One of the theatres at UCLA is the Freud, pronounce Frood.

    I once said hyper-bole instead of hy PER bo lee in the ninth grade. It’s a word I had read but not heard. Interestingly, the teacher seemed to be the only person who knew it was incorrect.

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  63. Little Bird said on December 28, 2011 at 8:17 pm

    I remember saying society as sock-ety in the third grade and being mocked mercilessly for it. To be fair, I had never seen it in print before.
    I must say I am guilty of ofTen.

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  64. basset said on December 28, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    Caliban’s latest reminder that he is better educated, more sophisticated, so on, so forth than any of us would be a lot more believable if he had spelled “steatopygous” correctly. I’ll give him “asafetida,” though, since it’s a recognized alternative spelling.

    An old Daviess County story that I heard many years ago involves a local pharmacist who gave a customer a prescription for free because he didn’t want to spell “asafoetida” and “Swartzentruber” on the same receipt.

    And, Caliban, I waited till my AT&T contract was up to get an iPhone for many of the same reasons you’re encountering. Shouldn’t have dead spots in the urban part of a MSA of more than a million people… but I don’t believe I’ve had a dropped call since I went to Verizon.

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  65. Deborah said on December 28, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    My husband has a masters from Harvard but he says pot-por-ee. I always thought it was pronounced po-por-ee. Am I wrong?

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  66. brian stouder said on December 28, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Deborah, that’s how they always say it on Jeopardy, so I’m with you!

    Our 13 year old daughter is a voracious reader, and this pays her all sorts of dividends; but indeed, we occasionally get a smile from how she pronounces this or that word, which she has read but not heard.

    I mispronounce my share of words too, no doubt. In fact, some words seem to be purposely designed for bar-room brawls. Why do British people say “alew-min-eeum” for aluminum, or GAraj for garrage? (actually, I like their pronunciations better)

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  67. alex said on December 28, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Here’s the palate cleanser our local CBS affiliate is giving us in the wake of the heinous child murder in a trashy trailer park full of registered sex offenders. As if our community hasn’t been disgraced and demoralized enough already, this former favorite son comes home to tout an autobiography that’s doubtless as inauthentic as the rest of his body of work, although the words might actually be his own this time.

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  68. 4dbirds said on December 28, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    FLK. My internist co-worker said that was the shorthand for “funny looking kid”. Usually meant something was amiss, something didn’t meld correctly or split at the right time shortly after conception. No exact syndrome they could put their finger on in the near-term without extensive tests so they just wrote FLK in their records.

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  69. brian stouder said on December 28, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Alex – BLECHH!!

    The photo looks like an unctious pigeon, caught between sudden turns of his head

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  70. moe99 said on December 28, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    “FLK” was also used at the University of KY hospital when I lived there 4dbirds. It meant the child was suspected of being a product of incest.

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  71. Little Bird said on December 28, 2011 at 11:35 pm

    Just an observation, but the comments appear to go from #59 to #70. Mildly confusing, that is.

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  72. MichaelG said on December 28, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Cooz, you bet I have. I have a ton of old Brazilian music on vinyl and CD. I love the stuff. Gal, and Maria and Gil and Veloso and Jobim and Gilberto and the rest whom I can’t think of with my zinfandel befuddled mind.

    Rana, I must confess that I love your comments and think that you are a lovely and gracious woman and I concede.

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  73. Dexter said on December 29, 2011 at 2:32 am

    It started for me during Watergate Investigations in Washington.
    All the southern senators said “gummint” . There is nothing difficult abut saying gov-ern-ment. The President of the mid 1960s said “guv-munt”.
    Reagan said it like that, too.

    I grew up 35 miles west of where I live now. In NE Indiana,we said “Uh-high-uh” for Ohio. We said “worsh the dishes”. This is not a southern thing…my family , both sides, came west to here from New Jersey and New York. My uncle, age 85, still says “daresn’t” . That is a really old word.
    When I tried to reform and say “wash the dishes”, it sounded phony in my ears. I worshed the dishes a little while ago. I didn’t use a worsh-cloth, though.

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  74. Dexter said on December 29, 2011 at 2:39 am

    a) Houston
    b) Houston

    1)a NYC street , the northern border of Soho.
    2)A big-ass ugly hot dirty city in Texas.

    and pronounced totally differently.

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  75. Dexter said on December 29, 2011 at 2:53 am

    FLK…in a general sort of way…

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  76. jerry said on December 29, 2011 at 4:09 am

    Brian Stouder at 66: Why do British people say “alew-min-eeum” for aluminum

    This side of The Atlantic we not only pronounce it as “alew-min-eeum” – we even spell it “aluminium”. Your “aluminum” both looks and sounds strange to me – although I’m happy for you to write/say it as you choose.

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  77. Connie said on December 29, 2011 at 7:29 am

    Dexter, there is a tiny town named Houston pronounced House ton in southern Indiana. Not too far down the road from Versailles, pronounced ver sales.

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  78. David in Chicago said on December 29, 2011 at 7:43 am

    re epitome: I was in 10th grade before I realized that the word I had been reading, and pronouncing in my head “epp-it-toam” and the word I heard people pronounce “eh-pitt-oh-mee” were the same – I knew the meaning of “both” words, but never connected the spelled out word to the pronounced word.

    One day, I was playing hangman with a friend, and that was the word I was challenging him to guess. When he said, “oh, ‘eh-pitt-oh-mee'”, I had the revelation that the 2 words were the same, and said a silent prayer of thanks that I had never used epp-it-toam in conversation.

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  79. heydave said on December 29, 2011 at 8:16 am

    Damn, always late to the party and get stuck cleaning up the dishes and ashtrays…

    Anyway, I know one!
    “Aluminum” is the American spelling of the Brits’ “aluminium,” something I learned from a friend who worked for the lightweight metal company, Alcoa.

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  80. heydave said on December 29, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Double damn! I even repeat what someone else said.

    Like an echo left lingering in the now empty party room. 🙁

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  81. Suzanne said on December 29, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Best reader comment on the WANE TV story on Goeglein: “If you’re so embarrassed, and did such a horrible thing, then do yourself and your family a favor and shut the heck up and sit the heck down.” I’d say the same to Mark Souder.

    Loved the mispronounciations. It was hors d’oeuvres that threw me as a kid. I thought is was pronounced “whores dee verze”. My husband drives us all crazy by pronouncing “Gethsemane” as “Geth-sen-a-me” and “Indianapolis” as “In-da-nap-alis”, but he comes from a long line of mispronouncers, even though they are all well educated. I try desparately not to say “warsh” but it is tough when you grew up in NE Indiana, where in the old days, people “warshed” their clothes in the “crick”.

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  82. brian stouder said on December 29, 2011 at 9:28 am

    When I was a kiddo, movies and TV series about (at least nominally) World War II were common (including a sit-com about a POW camp!; “Hogan’s Heroes”, but we digress) – so I had heard the term “Notsee” again and again.

    Notsees were the bad guys.

    But I specifically recall reading something in school – a short story about a boy in England who sees low-flying planes with clearly visible “nazi” markings, and I puzzled over that for several moments before realizing that a ‘nazee’ (or ‘naz-eye’?) must be those Notsees!

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  83. MichaelG said on December 29, 2011 at 10:08 am

    As long as we’re still here, there’s a town in Illinois named “Cairo” and one in Egypt named “Cairo”. Pronounced differently.

    I seem to live in Sacramenno.

    Listen to how all those people on TV pronounce Washington.

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  84. Heather said on December 29, 2011 at 10:18 am

    I remember my mother laughing at me as a kid for pronouncing “tousled” as “toos-eled.” I still have to think about it if I say it. It should be pronounced my way–seems more appropriate somehow.

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  85. beb said on December 29, 2011 at 10:26 am

    And don’t forget Lima, Peru and Lima, Ohio.

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  86. brian stouder said on December 29, 2011 at 10:31 am

    And Charlotte, as in the spider in the barn, or North Carolina; and Charlotte, as in Michigan (which rhymes with ‘car lot’)

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  87. caliban said on December 29, 2011 at 10:48 am


    There is a town outside Boston called Medford. Depending upon which side of Medford you find yourself in, Townies pronounce the place either Meh-fah or Med-fid. People from Saugus, MA all call their town Saw-gust, with a distinct t sound on the end.

    Appalachia is home to many great mispronunciations that have actually become regional words. Nobody has a chimney for Santa to come down, it’s a “chimblee”. No idea what the origin might be, but chunky kids in the hills are described as “kindly chuffy”. Of course, a hollow is a “holler”, and a creek that has escaped being filled with mountaintopping spoil is a “crick”. Which reminds me, Timothy Olyphant and Walton Goggins will be back playing Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder on Justified in just three weeks. Yeehaw. If you’ve never watched Justified, characters by E. Leonard, Season 2 is available streaming on Amazon and well worth the cash. (Also available from Netflix, for Netflix holdouts.)

    Heather: Toss-eled doesn’t make any orthoepic sense at all. But in English, it’s reasonable to believe ghoti spells “fish”. I mean, if Cholmondeley is pronounced “Chumley” and Worcestershire spells “Worster”.

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  88. Kirk said on December 29, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Hue,Vietnam (HWAY)
    Hue, Ohio (HYOU-ee)

    And one of my favorites is Bolivar, Mo., named for the great liberator of South America but pronounced BALL-uh-ver.

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  89. Peter said on December 29, 2011 at 11:20 am

    I loved reading about Penelope – in college we had a comic strip about the two wood nymphs Penelope and Envelope.

    Well, southern Illinois is not only home to Cairo (some say it KAY roh, some Care uh), but Vienna (Vy yenna)

    I had the hardest time with tuberculosis, Mephistopheles, and profiteroles (which I thought was PRO fit toh LOR ez). And I thought spatula was pronounced spah too lah.

    So there.

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  90. Dexter said on December 29, 2011 at 11:21 am

    A woman died and her obituary was in the local paper. I could not help noticing all the mistakes in the wording and the spelling, but that one that really caught my eye was that she had a connection to “Archibald, Ohio.”

    This is a strange one. The spelling is Archbold. Up until about thirty years ago everyone called it “Archibald”. So, really, that pronunciation was correct.
    Now , however, almost nobody calls it “Archibald”, and the correct pronunciation is now “Archbold”, just as it sounds.

    One more: Peru, Indiana, which I know as fact was called “PEE-Roo” when the town was founded and for years after.
    Once, coming back from somewhere, I found myself near Peru so I decided to find a music store for a Cole Porter cd. I asked the young clerk , and she said she had never heard the “PEE-roo” thing. Never even heard of it.
    Here’s the kicker: She had never heard of Cole Porter! Maybe she was having fun with me…but Peru (Puh-ROO) actually had or maybe still has “Cole Porter Days” for their native son.

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  91. brian stouder said on December 29, 2011 at 11:31 am

    PEErue has Cole Porter’s boyhood home preserved and marked, also; and don’t forget LAYfee-yet

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  92. Brandon said on December 29, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Sometimes mainlanders pronounce Hawaiian names amazingly badly. I remember a character on One Day at a Time mentioning Wai-MEE-uh, when it’s closer to Wai-may-ah. And Ewa is not EE-wah but eh-vah, as in “best thing evah!”

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  93. Rana said on December 29, 2011 at 4:00 pm

    Charlotte, my dad’s a “warsher in the crick” too – though mostly now it only comes out under stress.

    MichaelG – aw. Thank you!

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  94. moe99 said on December 30, 2011 at 2:37 am

    It is “OR-Y-GUN” not Or-eh-gone.” And there’s a Versailles, KY pronounced
    “Ver- Sales”

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