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Fun Word Friday!

Posted by Emma on September 9, 2011 at 11:58 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes

synonyms of tendentious, biased, partial, one-sided

tendentious: This is a word that means “biased,” but it’s longer.  In the matter of long words, this column is tendentious.  Why use a little word when a big, obscure, pompous word will do?

graphic of a gavel

martinet: a person who rigidly adheres to rules.  Overall in life, it’s not great to be a martinet.  Rules are meant to be broken, so think outside the box, man!  However, there are two situations when rules should most definitely be followed, and those are, of course, when safety is involved and in the case of  grammar and punctuation.

picture of square blocks of sugar, yellow, like cheese

jaggery: an unrefined sugar product that is eaten, according to Wikipedia, “in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Caribbean,” which is a not unsubstantial segment of the world, so it’s time to get on board.  It’s made from palm tree sap or sugarcane, which explains its popularity in the warmer places.  Jaggery looks quite a bit like crystalized ginger and is regarded as more healthy than our common old white sugar, but then again, it’s 100% sugar, so “healthy” is probably relative.

flat, porous, circular bread

laxoox (pronounced “la hooh”): a flat bread product somewhere between a pancake and a crepe that’s eaten in Somalia, Yemen, and Djibouti.  I think we should all make one, because not only does it sound delicious and have a great spelling, but familiarity with it might help us better remember Djibouti’s existence.  Poor Djibouti.

bottom of the wine bottle

punt: A punt is a disappointing football play that you’ll be seeing a lot of starting next week, but did you know that it’s also the indentation at the bottom of a glass bottle?  Make sure you buy your beer in bottles instead of cans, and you’ve got a riveting piece of trivia to discuss with your buddies while you watch the game.  You could also use the beer in a drinking game in which you take a sip every time a football announcer uses the word “literally” inappropriately.

Fun Word Friday: Speciäl charäcters

Posted by Emma on August 19, 2011 at 8:51 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes



heavy metal umlaut: a totally extraneous umlaut on the name of a heavy metal band (example: Mötley Crüe.)  In a piece of extreme awesomeness, these are also known as röck döts. Take this awesome Heavy Metal Umlaut quiz to test your knowledge on extraneous umlauts.

obelus: the division sign


swash: an extended flourish on a letter


tittle: the dot over the letter i or j


umlaut and diaeresis: These may look the same (two side-by-side dots over the top of a letter), but they have different names because they perform different functions.
- An umlaut changes the pronunciation of a word.  For example, the German word schon (pronounced sort of like “shown”) means “soon,” but the word schön (pronounced sort of like “shoon” but not really (note to self: describing German pronunciation on an English blog is not your calling in life))  means “beautiful.”
- The diaeresis, on the other hand, indicates that the vowels are pronounced separately.  It’s not used much in English anymore, but an archaic example would be the word “coöperate,” in which the diaeresis tells you to separately pronounce each letter “o” instead of saying “coop” in the chicken sense.

Fun Word Friday: It’s a Jumble!

Posted by Emma on August 5, 2011 at 8:45 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes


An old drawing of an auroch.
(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

aurochs: an extinct animal that was the ancestor of modern cattle.  The last ones died in the 1600s from the usual causes.  This is the singular and the plural, so it goes “one aurochs, two aurochs.”  Actually, it went more like “two aurochs, one aurochs, no aurochs.”

A picture of a binnacle.
(photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

binnacle: a tall case that protects a compass on a ship.  Very early binnacles were built using iron nails, which turned out to be a bit silly, since the iron interfered with the accuracy of the compass.  So you can imagine the problem created with the introduction of iron-clad ships.  But not to worry; good ol’ human ingenuity soon fixed this problem, and magnets were placed here and there within the binnacle housing to compensate.  They were even adjustable, just in case you were carrying a load of iron in your iron-clad ship.

A picture of a dolmen in Scotland.
(photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

dolmen: Well, I’ve tried to concisely describe a dolmen with text and have failed.  Take a couple big rocks, put them there, put another big rock on top as a sort of roof, and you’ve got the general idea of a dolmen.  Just look at the picture.  These thingies are generally 7,000 to 5,000 years old and were probably tombs.  Or maybe not.  Yeah, it’s all very sketchy.  Dolmens are found all over the world, though, so we can be sure that ancient people agreed about the all-around usefulness of a dolmen.

A dual and conflict, aka an internecine.
(photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

internecine: relating to conflict within a group; mutually destructive.  See “tontine.”

A picture of a person signing a contract.
(photo courtesy of stock.xchng)

tontine: a financial arrangement in which members contribute in equal amounts to a fund that is eventually claimed by the last surviving participant.  Or, to save time, you could just write “murder me” on your forehead.

Fun Word Friday: War

Posted by Emma on July 22, 2011 at 10:49 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes

War of the Three Sanchos: a war between three kings of Spain who were first cousins.  (They shared a grandfather who was also named Sancho.)  The war took place between 1065 and 1067, hundreds of years before most large bookstores established baby-naming book sections.  The war was eventually won by Sancho.  Ha!  Apparently, the war reached a stalemate by 1067, but it was a violent period of history, and eventually all three Sanchos met violent deaths.

Long War: the Long War began in the 1590s was fought between the Hapsburgs of Austria and the Ottoman Empire.  This pitiful little skirmish of approximately 14 years was named the Long War despite occurring AFTER the Hundred Years’ War (total running time: 116 years).  Get over yourselves, Hapsburgs and Ottomans.

Peach Tree War: Interested parties: Susquehannock Indians versus the Dutch colony of New Netherland.  Year: 1655.  Duration: One battle. (One of your shorter wars.)  Apparently, the Dutch have nobody to blame but themselves, because not only did one of them allegedly kill a young Native American woman for stealing a peach, but they also tried to steal Swedish colonial lands while the Swedes weren’t looking.  (The Susquehannock were allied with the Swedes, who probably believed in free peaches for everyone.)

Honey War: The Honey War was the best kind of war: the kind with no casualties.  Nobody’s willing to die when the prize is nothing but Iowa.  (Yes, this is about Iowa, but please keep reading!)  The Honey War occurred in the 1830s and involved a border dispute with Missouri.  Being in Iowa, the war involved people being chased with pitchforks, payment in honey, and trees being cut down in an extremely angry manner.  Nobody cares who won.

Pastry War: An invasion of Mexico by the French in 1838.  This war, like many wars, began with arguments over money and pastries.  A French pastry chef in Mexico got all upset over his ruined pastries, the French government demanded pastry restitution, Mexico refused to pay that or the millions of dollars it already owed the French, and finally the French got fed up and captured Mexico’s entire navy.  Now the Mexicans had no navy AND no fine French pastries.  Things weren’t looking good.  They eventually agreed to pay the pastry restitution section of the bill.

Fun Word Friday: Revolution!

Posted by Emma on July 8, 2011 at 9:37 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes

Happy July! In honor of the recently departed 4th of July and the quickly upcoming Bastille Day, we’re bringing waving the red, white, and blue flags in our minds and learning some revolution-related terms.

broadsides/broadsheets: large sheets of paper printed vertically and often used as posters or as pages in newspapers or magazines.  On July 4, 1776, hundreds of copies of the new Declaration of Independence were printed by a man named Dunlap and cleverly called Dunlap broadsides.

cockade: a circular decoration of ribbons usually worn on a hat and whose colors indicate an allegiance.  Because of ribbonosity, the colors are often displayed in concentric rings, which sounds very nice in theory, but if you Google “French Revolution cockade” and see a picture of actor Sam Neill in costume, you’ll quickly decide that wearing a large bull’s-eye on one’s head during a revolution isn’t perhaps the best idea.

flying camp: a small, mobile reserve of troops, particularly the ones organized by the Americans during the Revolutionary War.  A lot of the soldiers who joined were probably very disappointed to learn that the alleged “flying” actually involved walking really fast and that there were almost no s’mores whatsoever.

real tennis: The French signed the Tennis Court Oath in the early days of the revolution, but the “tennis” in question is not the tennis of today.  Today’s tennis is also known as “lawn tennis,” and it is derived from an older game that was originally called “tennis” but then, after those cocky upstarts introduced the new version, changed its name to “real tennis,” which I think really conveys its attitude toward its successor.  Real tennis is played indoors, and bouncing the balls off the walls is a part of the game, so you really needed to watch your back if you were a real tennis player (or someone whose name ended in “the Sixteenth”).

seigneurial: of a seigneur, a man of high position, especially a feudal lord.  “Dudes, I’m totally going to use this sweet broadside poster to advertise my seigneurial real tennis court.”

Fun Word Friday: An Aleatoric Arrangement

Posted by Emma on June 24, 2011 at 8:33 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes

zeugma: the use of a word to govern two or more words or phrases; a Greek word meaning “yoke”  Example: “He took his coat and his leave.”  People who use zeugmas in their speech are very clever, so you’re going to want to remember this term and be all, “Oh, good use of a zeugma” if you want to impress them back and be regarded as a worthy conversational rival.

aposematism: a warning signal, such as coloration, possessed by a harmful living organism to deter predators.  It’s all very well and good for a poison dart frog to kill the predator that eats it, but how much better would it be if the predator knew ahead of time, due to bright coloration, that the frog was poisonous and could therefore avoid it?  Good for the predator.  Good for the frog.  Not so good for the next dull brown frog the predator encounters, but we can’t all be winners.

gueridon: a small, ornate table.  And that’s about all there is to say about that.

phugoid: motion of an airplane in which it pitches up while decreasing speed and pitches down while accelerating.  Speaking of airplanes, did you know they display aposematism?  See their sparkly and noticeable ascent into the air?  That’s a sign you shouldn’t get on one.

aleatoric: random, happening by chance.  Once again, I display massive skill in writing this column, because although these words seem to be disconnected and random, they are an aleatoric arrangement and thus perfectly showcase my final term, aleatoric. I totally planned that.

Fun Word Friday: List ‘o Words

Posted by Emma on June 10, 2011 at 8:22 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes

At first glance, it may seem that these words have nothing in common and that I threw them together without bothering to come up with a theme.  But that accusation just doesn’t hold H2O.  There’s a special bond between these words, a bond as special as Mr. 007.  (You’re going to understand these terrible jokes in a minute.)  I hereby present several interesting words all linked by the very significant and meaningful fact of having two Os.

Barracoon: a temporary barracks used to contain slaves or prisoners.

Moon gate: a circular opening in a wall, used in Chinese architecture.  You don’t want to put one of these in your barracoon, however aesthetically tempting it may be, because your slaves and/or convicts will run right out.

Gobo: (shortened from “goes before optics”) a device placed in front of a light source to control the shape, color, or strength of the light stream.  If your prisoners are really mean guys, what would be really funny is to use a gobo like to make it look like there’s a moon gate in the wall and watch them run into it.  Ha ha!

Cocotte: a small baking dish with one or two handles.  (Or a prostitute.  Hopefully, context will help you determine which of the two is meant.)  On the other hand, if your prisoner is a friend that you’re holding for his or her own good, it would be a nice gesture to serve your friend a delicious hotdish in a cocette.

Hooligan firm: a group of people who really like their soccer team and who have decided that this warrants acts of vandalism and assault against other teams’ property and supporters.  “Hooligan firm” is a pretty silly name for something violent, but fortunately each group has given itself a fierce-sounding name to instill fear in the hearts of the opposition.  Examples: City Service Firm, The Naughty Forty, Newcastle Gremlins, Baby Squad, The Ointment.  Well, they’re English; even the criminals show a little restraint.

Fun Word Friday: Cuisine of Kentucky

Posted by Emma on May 27, 2011 at 7:49 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes

Last time on this column, we mentioned the Kentucky Derby, and we also mentioned the words “human consumption.”  Put the two together, and what have you got?  Well, yes, you’ve got that, but you’ve also got the very hot topic of Cuisine of Kentucky!  [marquee lights flash]

Perhaps, like me, you did not know that Kentucky had cuisine worthy of note, but that bastion of important things known as Wikipedia has decided that the subject deserves its very own article, so let’s check it out, shall we?  After all, Kentucky was named the 44th healthiest state, so they must be doing something right!

Picture of beer cheese dip

beer cheese (also called snappy cheese): a processed cheese spread made with beer and garlic.

Picture of benedictine dip with toast

benedictine: cream cheese, cucumbers, and green food coloring combined into what was traditionally a sandwich spread but is now used as a dip and in other applications.

Picture of burgoo stew

burgoo: a spicy, thick stew.  Wikipedia says it was traditionally made using “whatever” was available.  Mmm!

Picture of yellow, chess pie.

chess pie: a sweet custard cornmeal pie.  There’s a interesting story about how this pie got its name, but since everybody who knows the story is dead, that’s pretty much the end of that.  So let it be a lesson to you: blog your nomenclature tales, or the people of 2234 will be ill-informed.

Picture of Derby Pie with whip cream.

Derby Pie: the name is actually a trademark of the Melrose Inn of Kentucky, but plenty of best-guess recipes are made for this pie, which is associated with the Kentucky Derby.  Ingredients include chocolate, walnuts and/or pecans, and bourbon.

Picture of wrapped modjeskas.

modjeskas: caramel-covered marshmallow candies. Named for Polish actress Helena Modjeska (1840-1909), who once visited Louisville, performed a play, and then promptly left.  A candymaker decided to name the confections after her because he so enjoyed the play, even though it was by Ibsen.

Fun Word Friday: Horses

Posted by Emma on May 13, 2011 at 8:37 am. Fun Word Friday

by Kirsten Dirkes

The Kentucky Derby recently happened again, as it tends to do every year, and it’s an event that always provides some entertaining reading in the area of horse names.  This year, I’m partial to Mucho Macho Man and Pants on Fire, and as editors, we have to give a shout-out to Comma to the Top, even though the “Top” part turned out to be a bit of a misnomer.  But don’t restrict yourself to names when it comes to horse-related humor.

There are plenty of actual terms that are good for a chuckle.

A photo of a horse and rider trotting across a stage.

dressage: According to Merriam-Webster, dressage is “the execution by a trained horse of precision movements in response to barely perceptible signals from its rider.”  According to Wikipedia, “Dressage is occasionally referred to as horse ballet.”  According to the look you can’t see on my face, I clearly have no idea why anybody would ever do this.

A picture of a equine passport.

equine passport: All horses in the European Union need to possess passports, regardless of whether they plan on crossing borders to vacation in Phuket or not.  Look away, horses, because the reason has something to do with “human consumption.”

A picture of a long, formal coat.

shadbelly: A long, formal coat worn by horse riders; when worn by males, it is sometimes called a weaselbelly.

A snaffle is a larger bit than a bradoon.

snaffle or bradoon: Two kinds of bits for horse’s mouths.

A picture of a zorse.

zorse: The offspring of a male zebra and a female horse.

Fun Foto Friday: The Lifeworks Annual Celebration

Posted by CLeininger on May 6, 2011 at 8:57 am. Captioners, Fun Word Friday, Video Describers

Thursday, April 21st, some of our staff attended the Lifeworks 25th Annual Celebration. Lifeworks is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people with disabilities live fuller lives that are integrated into the flow of the community experience. They collaborate with employers, volunteers, and government agencies to create expanded opportunities for people with disabilities. All in all, a great organization and we are proud to employ a Lifeworks client!

We’ve gone to the event in years past, but this was extra special because our own Kyle Murray was nominated for the Advocate of the Year award! Besides her regular job with CaptionMax, Kyle also works closely with Mike, our Lifeworks client. She helps him when he has questions, works with him to find solutions, and acts as a liaison between CaptionMax and Lifeworks. We are so proud that she was recognized!

As always, we took some photos at the event. Enjoy, and in true CaptionMax form, we wouldn’t be us without some silliness thrown in.


(Jessica Matelski, Elaine, Emma Kluge, and Jason Voskuil)


(Shawn Schueller, Hayley Matthews-Jones, and Casey Wambsganss)


(Mike Walters and Kyle Murray)


(Casey and Mike)


(Shawn, Hayley, Kyle, Jess, Emma, and Casey)


(Mike and Kyle)

 

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