Today's feature: the troubled production of Town
& Country or, as I like to call it, Ishtar 2. Possibly the
biggest money loser of all time. Budget estimates run as high as $130
million, and it grossed $7 million at the box, opening three years after photographty began. That massive budget happened
despite the fact that it's just one of those New York bedroom farces with
people talking indoors. I'd love to know where that $130 million went.
(Other estimates place the expenditure as low as $80 million, but even so
...) I wrote much more about it on the review page.
Goldie Hawn. This one is really Goldie. There are several moments in the
you can see her face. This frame just happened to be the best look at her
buns. Her butt looks great, but the nudity is an illusion. As the scene
continues, you can see her panties.
Goldie's body double. This one was obviously and deliberately done with a
Nastassia Kinski. Nasti looked completely gorgeous in this film, with and without her clothes.
- there is a dedicated page for Nastassja Kinski. Link there
through the main members' links (Encyclopedia of Naked Celebrities, K
- there is now a new page for Goldie Hawn. Link there
through the main members' links (Encyclopedia of Naked Celebrities, H section)
in the following, Scoop's comments in
white, other people's words in yellow
I've heard a few different people say
"pacific" instead of "specific". It really does
sound strange. 'You weren't "pacific" enough.' I've also heard
"for all intents and purposes" come out as "for all intensive
As for "could/couldn't care
less", I've heard quote-unquote "experts" on the radio say that
"could care less" is actually justifiable because of the way
it is said. I don't remember the mumbo jumbo they used to justify it,
but I'm sure the points for that side of the argument are floating
around somewhere on the internet.
Just because it is really annoying, I
thought I'd include an erroneous spelling which drives me nuts because it
happens so often: "loosing". Can anyone spell
"losing" properly? That goes for "lose" as well. "I
hope we don't LOOSE the game" is used far, far too often. It isn't just
confined to social e-mail or letters - I've seen "loosing" and
"loose" in prominent newspapers.
The point about "I could care less" is
that it means the opposite of what you really want to say, but meaning the
opposite of what you say is, after all, a common trope. It is the same as
saying "I'm so sure", where you obviously don't mean that you agree.
I guess that means "I could care less" could be OK in spoken English
if uttered with dripping irony. Personally, that's how I order my bacon at
Denny's- dripping with fat and irony. I even take vitamin supplements that
fortify me with extra irony, and Geritol to maintain my irony-rich blood.
I think you should probably still avoid
"I could care less". Even if not wrong, it is still trite, and you
can think of something better to say. I find that saying "Well, fiddle-dee-dee"
is always an attention-grabber.
As for "loose, lose", add that
to "their, there, they're" as a Warriner's chapter that most people
need to review.
That 'pacific thing is certainly
annnoying, and is in the same class of unauthorized "drop the s"
contractions as 'post to, as in "I was 'post to go to school, but went to
the circus instead."
"Drop the s" contractions are
pretty common in Texas speech. A Texas
conversation might go like this:
U.T. professor: "the engine i'n't
'post to make that noise?"
Mechanic: "no, it hain't"
In fact, we don't like the letter S in
the middle of a word in general, and we Texans black out Sesame Street
whenever it features that letter. But that's our bidniss, and we'll handle it
our own selves.
This one from Tuna:
"A personal pet peeve is people who
use acronyms and have no idea what they mean:
RAM Memory (Random Access Memory Memory)
DVD Disk (Digital Versatile Disk Disk)
RSVP please (answer if you please please)
Unidentified UFO (unidentified unidentified flying object)
TCP/IP protocol (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol protocol)
Idioms are also horribly abused. A tough row to hoe becomes a tough road to
Or the idiom "we haven't gotten untracked yet", whatever that means.
I don't care unless it is used by train operators.
They made the acronym mistake repeatedly in "One Night at
McCool's", when Liv Tyler kept asking for a DVD, and Michael Douglas
would say "no home entertainment center is complete without a DVD".
Pretty sure from the context that they meant more than one disk, which is what
a DVD is. I think they were talking about a DVD player. I'm just
speculating here, but I guess this is confusing to people because the acronym
VCR meant the player/recorder, not the medium. It's correct to say "pop
this in the VCR", but not to say "pop this in the DVD".
I suppose it will be correct in time. These things change. It
used to be redundant to say "scuba gear", because scuba means
"self-contained underwater breathing apparatus". Apparatus implies
gear. You wouldn't say apparatus gear, would you? But scuba has stopped being
an acronym and is now a self-contained underwater word, so even the toughest
purist will have to admit "scuba gear" is OK.
Another word I came
across--"caramel", although some insist on pronouncing it "carmel"
like the town that Clint Eastwood used to be the mayor of. Or was
it "Caramel by the Sea"?
Actually, in Texas we often pronounce it with two syllables,
but not like the town. Accent on the wrong syllable. The town is
"car-MEL", and we call the sticky stuff "CAR-mul", like
the "CAR-mul-ite" religious order, or maybe we will say "CARE-mul".
Or maybe most Texans just say "dulce de leche".
The WCD (Webster's Collegiate) says that "CAR-mul"
is the most common American pronunciation. Second listing is "CARE-a-mul".
Third is "CARE-a-mel". I suppose this word must have come to English
from the Spanish "caramelo" meaning "piece of candy", and
pronounced "car-a-MAY-low" (but with a Spanish "r", of
course, not an American one. There's no convenient way to write a Spanish
"r" in English transliteration.)
I have enjoyed the wordplay the last
several Funhouses. I would like to add a simple word but one that is commonly
mispronounced. The word is "wolf" and its plural "wolves".
They are frequently pronounced as woof and woofs, which come from entirely
Yes, good one! I never heard this variation until I was
30-something, and I met Jennie, my second wife. I didn't even know what word
she was trying to say! She grew up in southern Wisconsin where, I later
learned, the pronunciation is not uncommon. I suppose it exists in many
regional dialects throughout the USA
By the way, for you guys who engage in the
"cardsharp" and "card shark" debate, the whole debate is a
bunch of typical Urban Legend crap, easily settled with a good dictionary. In fact both
can be correct and both can be wrong, depending on what you mean to say and
how many words you use. A cardsharp
or cardsharper (one word) is one who habitually cheats at cards. A card shark
(two words) is, in various dictionaries, "one who greatly excels", "an expert card
player", or "one who is especially cutthroat and crafty" or
even a synonym for "cardsharp".
Therefore, if you mean a really good and aggressive player, you mean a card
shark. If you mean a dishonest player, you mean cardsharp.
Omar Sharif is a card shark. Goldfinger was a cardsharp.
specifically listed in Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, conveniently together:
So here's your plan. Wait until you are going to be talking to
some pretentious ass. Then deliberately say something like, "my cousin is
such a great card player, even though he never cheats. He can keep track of
every card played - he's a real card shark." Wait for the pretentious ass
to tell you that you meant cardsharp, and be armed with the correct info and
deflate the twit. (He will have no argument at all if you specified that your
cousin never cheats). For best money-making potential, xerox the page out of
Webster's Unabridged, keep it in your wallet, and use it for bar bets.
However, be advised that there is no such single word as
cardshark, so if Mr Pretentious says "there is no such word as cardshark",
he is right. It is a two word expression. By the way, even
"cardsharp" is not listed in the OED (Oxford English Dictionary).
Failure to be listed in the OED tells one nothing about current use, except
maybe the current use of Queen Victoria in her dotage. The OED is great for
determining the usage history, and is indispensable to etymologists, but
includes a very limited number of words, and doesn't always stay up to
speed. I don't really know if the English use either term. Maybe some
Brits will tell us whether they have heard it locally. It came into American speech about the time of the
Civil War. (First known written use in 1859, according to Webster's
Summary: how can each of them be wrong?
Card shark is wrong if you write it as one word. According
to Webster's Unabridged, it really can't be wrong in oral speech, because
it has both meanings.
Cardsharp can be wrong in two ways (1) if you write it as
two words (2) if you use it to mean an excellent or aggressive honest
Frankly, I can never remember which of these is which unless I look it
up. I will have forgotten it again by the time you read this, and I will
probably use them incorrectly many times in the future.
Speaking of sharps ...
It is now almost completely out of use, but when I was a kid,
an unctuous guy who was just too smooth would often be called a "sharpy" by my mom and her
oh-too-stuffy friends, and the term would imply that the guy wasn't a regular
old honest 9-to-5 kind of guy, but some kind of snake-oil salesman or a
swindler of some sort. Given the "dishonest salesman" use, I always
thought it kinda odd that Gillette's spokesparrot was named
"Sharpie". ("Look sharp, feel sharp, be sharp ... only way to
get a decent shave").
I don't know if anybody else used this term, or if my mom's
use was derived from her native language (Polish). She and my grandmother
often used a suspiciously similar Polish word: Szarpacz (SHARP-otch. It rhymes
with crotch, more or less. Polish isn't all that hard to pronounce, but it's
hard to read). This is a verb which they used to mean "to prey upon"
(among other things), and is a possible source of their English word. I have
no damned idea how to conjugate Polish verbs, but I'll bet there's some person
and tense in there that sounds a lot like "sharpy". Did anybody
without Polish ancestors ever hear this term?
Another interesting fact. In about 1750, the past tense of the
English verb "to be" was almost universally conjugated like this, in
the speech of both the lower and upper classes.
As you can see by a quick look at the table, that was not only
the universal usage, but is correct syntactically. "Was" is
singular, "were" is plural. We do not speak that way today simply
because Dr Johnson said we shouldn't. For whatever reason, he decided that the
singular "you was" did not have the proper aesthetics for his
refined ear, and changed it. Such was his level of respect that the English
language eventually changed to suit him, especially after the implementation
of universal schooling, which imposed his conjugation.