Monday, December 4, 2017

Covfefe: 2017’s Word of the Year?

Born out of U.S. President Donald J. Trump’s “cryptic” Tweet at the end of May 2017, could covfefe safely qualify as 2017’s “word of the year”?

By: Ringo Bones

At the time, the folks at Merriam-Webster had been sitting out on this Trump neologism but just after midnight in Washington, DC back in May 31, 2017, U.S. President Donald J. Trump Tweeted: “Despite of the constant negative press covfefe.” That was it, no name, just that word “covfefe” left hanging there. It has left many of Trump’s 31 million Twitter followers baffled and slightly concerned. But what does covfefe mean – most of my internet savvy friends theorized that Trump may have been confusing a CAPTCHA check as an actual word – as in a French derived English word perhaps?

Though the covfefe Tweet has not just made Trump “famous” enough to cause a temporary internet meltdown, the president’s Tweet had managed to take the heat off U.S. comedian Kathy Griffin, who had earlier been under fire for posting a video in which she held a replica of Trump’s severed bloody head. Well, at least it is way better than Trump dissing Muslims and Mexicans on Twitter.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Alternative Facts: Latest Entry In The American English Lexicon?

Despite the first two weeks of the Trump Administration is “trumping” the Reagan Administration when it comes to media manipulation, is the phrase “Alternative Facts” now forever part of the American English language lexicon?

By: Ringo Bones

Days immediately following U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway’s interview in Meet the Press with Chuck Todd pertaining to the lack of attendance during Donald J. Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States, sales of George Orwell’s magnum opus 1984 increased by almost 10,000-percent and this was on online book retailer Amazon alone. Was the dramatic sales increase a result of Kellyanne Conway’s use of the phrase “Alternative Facts”?   

“Alternative Facts” is a phrase used by U.S. Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway during a Meet the Press interview on January 22, 2017 in which she defended White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s false statement about the attendance at Donald J. Trump’s inauguration as President of the United States. When pressed during the interview with Chuck Todd to explain why Sean Spicer uttered a provable falsehood, Conway stated that Spicer was giving “alternative facts” – which Chuck Todd responded: “look, alternative facts are not facts. They’re falsehood”. And thus the phrase “Alternative Facts” was immortalized in the American English lexicon.  

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Post-Truth: More American Than British?

Even though the Oxford English Dictionary has awarded it the title of 2016’s International Word of the Year – is “post-truth” more apt in describing the ongoing political situation in America than in Britain?

By: Ringo Bones 

Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2016 is “Post-Truth” – which it describes as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”. Even though the word has been around since last year, its usage has spiked by around 2,000-percent this year and usually pertaining to the subject of Brexit and the election of the soc-called American political outsider named Donald J. Trump into the White House during the 2016 US Presidential Elections. 

Even though the word’s connotations can scare the hell out of most individuals over 40 who have lived through the most harrowing events of recent history, worse still, to those afflicted with age-related macular degeneration, the word “post-truth” eerily resembles “Post-Trump” which could drive those endangered by the upcoming Trump presidency to shore up their own resolve. Some say this is scarier than the fact that Donald J. Trump is America’s first paedophile president.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Pervertiplanes: A Forgotten Argot Of Aeronautical Engineering?

Even though the term dates back to the Cold War era 1960s American aeronautical engineering boom, does anyone still use the term “pervertiplane” these days? 

By: Ringo Bones

Any group of specialists has its own private lexicon and aeronautical engineers are surely no exception. The word “pervertiplane” could be defined as a corruption of the term “convertiplane” – which is a contraction of the term “convertible aircraft” – pertaining to aircraft constructed in such a way that their lifting and propulsion systems may be converted to permit efficient operation either for vertical take-off and hovering or for high-speed forward flight. Such craft are now more commonly termed as VTOL or vertical take-off and landing aircraft. 

Convertiplanes – at least their experimental prototypes – began life back in the beginning of the 1960s. Examples of which are the X-19 broad-bladed tilting rotor turboprop VTOL plane, the X-22 tilting ducted fan VTOL plane, which is probably the great-granddaddy  of the V-22 Osprey that got fielded back in 2007 and some jet-engine high-performance experimental VTOL fighter planes like the British-built Hawker P1127 cascade vane-nozzle turbojet VTOL that later became the USMC’s Hawker Siddeley Harrier / Harrier Jump Jet and the then West German EWR VJ-101C tilting engine turbojet VTOL interceptor. 

Convertible aircraft are sometimes called “convertiplanes”; however, one prominent aeronautical engineer – legend has it that it was Igor Sikorsky – has suggested the name “pervertiplanes” because so many of the machines, in his view, combine the worst features of the helicopter and the fixed-wing aircraft. The necessary provision of such structurally difficult features as tilting wings, tilting rotors, cascade-vane assemblies and the like which may be subjected to high gas temperatures and periodically fluctuating air loads, all at minimum structural weight, leads to the development of very complicated mechanical devices that in turn leads to a high probability of mechanical failure. 

By far, the most serious problem with convertible aircraft lies in its characteristics following engine failure at low altitude. Unlike fixed-wing aircraft, which can fly as a glider following engine failure or the helicopter, which can descend at a safe – but rapid – rate with its rotor being spun by the flow of air past it (a process called autorotation), the convertible aircraft commonly lacks wings large enough to descend slowly as a glider, or a rotor large enough to permit a safe autorotation descent. Worse yet, if power failure occurs during transition, it may not be possible to achieve either type of descent and the vehicle will fall like a rock. Looks like a convertible aircraft or convertiplane’s reputation as a “pervertiplane” seems apt.  

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bieberitis: Latest Entry In The American English Language Lexicon?

Ever wondered if this relatively recent entry in the American English language lexicon is due to everyone almost fed up with the antics of one Justin Bieber? 

By: Ringo Bones 

If you are already fed up with the antics of a certain former teen pop sensation named Justin Bieber and his pitiful attempts to be perceived by anyone to be a hardcore African-American hip-hop star replete with street-cred, then, cheer up because a relatively recent entry in the American English lexicon could warm up your heart. Or at least it may restore some of the lost Karmic harmony in the cosmos. 

According to one definition in the Urban Dictionary, “bieberitis” is a malignant condition affecting the intelligence portion of the brains of affected individuals – particularly female. Symptoms are child molestation, partying to awful music and creating horrendous renditions of Justin Bieber’s songs at the top of one’s lungs. Believed to be caused by the prepubescent voice of one Justin Bieber in which prolonged exposure could cause irreparable damage to brain cells. 

According to ones with first-hand experience of the disorder, bieberitis can be temporarily relieved by male singers who can vocalize at a lower pitch than Mariah Carey. Some even suggested listening to classic Barry White songs as a form of therapy. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Macaca: An Americanized Racial Slur?

Even though its origins date back to the 2006 US Mid-Term Elections, is macaca an example of an “Americanized racial slur”?

By: Ringo Bones

To those still unfamiliar with this relatively young member of the American English lexicon, macaca became the American Dialectic Society’s Word of the Year back in 2006 when the then incumbent US Republican Party Senator George Allen used it during the 2006 US Mid-Term Elections while campaigning for his US Senate seat in Virginia when it was probably the first time ever used while caught on camera. Back then, most Americans where still unfamiliar with the term until continuous media coverage of the said video footage made everyone who closely followed the US Mid-term Elections alleged it to be a “racial slur”.
Even though Allen pleaded that he was unaware of its reported racial context, a Francophone equivalent of the word macaca – i.e. the word macaque that eventually used to name a genus of monkeys – were used by French colonizers in Africa during the Victorian era as a disparaging term to the black African natives. Relating to the Allen controversy, macaca was unsurprisingly named as the “most politically incorrect word” of 2006 by the Global Language Monitor.    

The video of US Republican Party senate incumbent George Allen nicknaming a young Indian-American man attending one of his rallies as “macaca” as Allen asked the young man to come up on stage before Allen referred to him as an example of the success results of the American Dream. Unbeknown to Senator Allen, the young Indian-American was an aide to senate rival US Democratic Party Senator Jim Webb named S.R. Siddarth whose full name is a far cry from ever closely resembling a homophone of the word macaca, thus highlighting the “institutionalized racism” of the conservatives populating the ranks of the US Republican Party.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Thanksgivingukkah: The Latest American Holiday?

Even though it only comes once in every 70,000 years, does Thanksgivingukkah truly qualify as a bona-fide American holiday? 

By: Ringo Bones

May be the fact that it only comes once in every 70,000 years that nobody in America, never mind elsewhere in the world, seems to really care if Thanksgivingukkah is a bona-fide holiday or not, it seems that everyone is just celebrating it in blissful ignorance.  Never mind Thanksgivingukkah becoming the latest addition of the American English lexicon. But indeed, it has an origin story that legitimizes its claim as a bona-fide American holiday. 

It may have been the fact that this 2013 Thanksgiving and the first day of the Jewish High Holiday Hanukkah both fell on the same day. The “Thanksgiving” part of Thanksgivingukkah may be over but there still are a few days of gift giving left for Hanukkah 2013. But unbeknown to most of us, Thanksgiving and Hanukkah could have a very justifiable reason to share a kinship with beyond a quirk of the Gregorian Calendar that we won’t be seeing another Thanksgiving and Hanukkah combo for another 70,000 years. 

Believe it or not, both Hanukkah and Thanksgiving are born out of a civil war. Hanukkah’s origins were the Macabbean Revolt of 167 to 160 BC which was for all intents and purposes a civil war that set the salient theme of Hanukkah. And despite its 17th Century Puritan theme of the American Thanksgiving, it was during the American Civil War when the then US President Abraham Lincoln who proclaimed that the last Thursday of November be designated as Thanksgiving as a morale booster for his Union troops back in 1863. Even if Thanksgivingukkah is nothing more than a combination of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah just because a quirk in the Gregorian Calendar made them both fell on the last Thursday of November this 2013, we won’t be obliged to celebrate it for the next 69,000 years.