Motown week on American Idol is always a mixed blessing: it’s both an opportunity to hear some great songs and an occasion for slaughtering great songs. Hopefully the music wins out over the carnage. Let’s get right to it.
Get Over It
Making it through weeks one hump at a time
It’s hump day. But why do they call them Speed Humps when you’re supposed to go slow over them? Shouldn’t they be Slow Humps? Or Slow Bumps?
What element has the highest melting point?
And the people who knew it
Nobody got this one exactly right ($15,140) but Nancy K (the K stands for Kinda Close) was within 1K with her guess of $15,700. And since I didn’t stipulate Price Is Right rules, she’s our winner.
This is a lot closer to what the real Job sounded like. In chapters 27 and 28, Job continues his most lengthy proclamation by far. It’s really something, and I’d recommend reading it through in its entirety . . . but it’s just too much to dwell on deeply in one sitting (at least for someone with the attention span of a . . . ha, I love parentheses).
Next up: bailout infinity
$1 Trillion. One trillion dollars. Stocks surged when the news of the one-trillion-dollar stimuluscious banking bonus was announced from the White House (aka the North Pole). For those of you unfamiliar with life in the trillions, let me break it down this way:
It’s a one. And then a zero. Then another zero. Then another zero. After that comes another zero. Followed by a zero. And then a zero. Next we have a zero. And a zero after that. Okay, here’s another zero coming up. Next up in the sequence: a zero. Ditto on that last zero. Finally, we round it out with another zero. It’s that many dollars. There are also four commas in there to break up the monotony. If it’s easier to look at it as digits only, try this:
If you’d like to type that number out at home, I offer this tip: To save time, I cut the first comma and the next three zeroes and then pasted that series three times, one right after the other. Still not grasping the immensity of it all? I understand. I’ll use a comparison to make it clearer:
One trillion has more zeroes in it than my savings account has dollars. That help? Or you know how when you’re playing Monopoly with someone, and the banker is losing really bad, so he starts putting all the money in the bank in the middle of the board, hoping he lands on Free Parking? It’s like that, but with the banks of 49 million Monopoly sets.
Sports & Leisure
How much money came in a standard-issue Monopoly bank before the 2008 version increased the bankroll to $20,580?
And the people who knew it
The correct title of option C, Life of Pi, has no the. Nobody knew. But just to keep trivia morale up, I hereby award you all with one trillion trivia points to divvy among yourselves. Enjoy!
Why were we ever born?
If you haven’t conversed with anyone yet, allow me to sum up every conversation taking place in every office everywhere: How are your brackets? Are they ruined? Did you check your brackets? You gotta look at my brackets! Guess what? I totally stunk up my brackets. My brackets rock! Are your final four still intact? Mine are. Mine aren’t. I’m so gonna win. I need coffee.
And that is what they call a gross generalization.
Mondays kinda suck. And that is what they call gross reality. But you know what? There’s always the distraction of the so-called trivial.
In which of these novel titles is the word the errantly included?
A. The Catcher in the Rye
B. The Kite Runner
C. The Life of Pi
D. The Secret
E. The Shack
And the people who knew it
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the first presidential face to grace the screen of a television (and the breaking news is that there was a show on last night that actually did not feature Obama’s face . . . finding him on TV is starting to become like finding Hitchcock in his own movies). Here’s who knew:
Steve J (the J stands for Just Kidding . . . There Weren’t Any Obama-Free Shows. I Kid, Barack, I Kid!)
Great work, all of you. Now get back to your Monday!
Job chapter 26 begins in similar fashion to the beginning of Job’s other rebuttals: he sarcastically tells his friends they give rotten counsel.
We’re driving home from my parents’ house tonight, and “Rocky Mountain High” is playing in all its Jon Denver-ness (thanks to an iPod genius mix based on Rob Thomas & Willie Nelson’s version of “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to Be Cowboys”). All of a sudden, Addison quietly but confidently blurts out this little gem:
Job chapter 25 isn’t long, but it has all the potential to start an incredibly long discussion. That’s because B. S. (Bildad the Shuhite) offers up a tiny nugget of false humility that I’ve heard echoing off the vaulted ceilings of churches and chapels all my life (particularly in prayers, for some reason). It’s also a very popular theme in Oswald Chambers’s writing.
From the Word Nerd Mailbag:
Dear Word Master (oh please, you’re too much . . . but I’ll allow it),
What’s the difference between regardless and irregardless? I hear people use both in the same contexts AND my spellchecker doesn’t recognize irregardless. What’s going on here? Which one’s right??
Spellchecked in Spokane
The great Cub slugger Sammy Sosa used to say, “Irregarless of wha’ever happen.” And I used to laugh at him with fiendish glee.
But irregardless is a word, just not a very good one. I checked out what Merriam-Webster had to say about it, and they suspect it to be the love child of irrespective and regardless. The thing I love about it is that it manages to bring a double negative into a single word.
The prefix ir- denotes the negative of the root to follow (irrational is not rational), while the suffix -less indicates the complete lack of the preceding (Larry Bird, the chinless wonder, has no chin). So irregardless should technically describe a state of not being without regard for something, a watered-down version of regardful, that is to say, not completely without regard, but perhaps not entirely overwhelmed with regard either. (Ironically enough, regardful gets flagged by my spell checker, while irregardless roams free.) But, alas, people still use it in place of regardless, so the short answer to your question is . . . no difference.
The simple fact of the matter is, people use irregardless quite commonly and have for about 100 years. That’s what I love about language, the democracy of it all. The authority of the rules of grammar is granted by the consent of the governed. We agree to sit through English class, but we reserve the right to rise up, make new words, change the rules of usage according to the styles that we deem fit, and there is absolutely nothing the grammarians can do except issue their haughty tsk-tsk‘s and resign themselves to chronicling the new rules as they evolve.
Language is alive. It grows, changes, aches, and adapts. It still deserves our respect but will continue to flourish irregardless. . . . But you should still probably use regardless.