Monthly Archives: September 2011

The many faces of “just”.


Most over-used word on cooking shows.


If you ever watch television cooking shows — or other instructional, demonstration shows — perhaps the most over-used word is "just".  But it can have so many meanings, even beyond the instructional stuff:


just…it's so simple

just…not very important

just…no big deal

just…only (small quantity)

just…recently (time)

just…nothing more

just…simple action (stirring)


just…so easy, so quick


just…don't care

just…go ahead and do

just…measurement of length


These bewildering differences can be found in all corners of our culture. The cooking people merely make them more noticeable — and annoying with their constant, glib repetition.



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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Uncategorized


Emeril LaGasse, Language Butcher


"What we're gonna' do is we're gonna'…"


Successful and famous chef with numerous restaurants, cookbooks, retail hardware products, and several TV cooking shows. Your culinary popularity is almost legendary; your personality is open and friendly.


But you should be embarrassed by your language and speaking patterns.


Your signature phrase is "What we're gonna' do is we're gonna'…" — OR  "What I've got here is I've got…". Why can't you simply say "We're going to stir…or we're going to toss…or we're going to chop…"? Instead you always say "What we're gonna' do is we're gonna'…."


Then there are your mispronunciations of familiar chile peppers like poblano, which you call "pablemo". Plus, "Now we're gonna' begin to start…" and "We're ACTUALLY gonna' brown our chicken thighs…." Really…actually? Wow!  I'm stunned!  How radical!


Your presentations are always well-intentioned; but they're full of blabber.


With all your talent and charisma, why can't you handle our English language a bit better? After all, you're probably some sort of role model for legions of young people. Try working more on your words rather than promoting your empire.

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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Uncategorized




Gordon Elliott is a master stereotyper.


Stereotypes are probably a natural result of watching and listening to people. But they aren't always correct; and can sometimes be harmful.


Gordon Elliott is an Australian "journalist" and television producer. His TV work for the Food Network is built around exploiting stereotypes…Paula Deen (stereotypical Southern lady), the Neelys (stereotypical Southern barbecue restauranteurs), and the new show called "Pioneer Woman" (stereotypical mother of a ranching family). Elliott makes big bucks from his targets; his stereotypes are almost guaranteed to fetch an audience for the Food Network.


Everything he touches promotes a stereotype…correctly or not. Stereotypes of people — and even countries — are bad grammar.


I recently saw a t-shirt that declared "stereotypes are a time-saver."  For sure…when you use them, you have dismissed your ability to think. 

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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Uncategorized


Chili, Chilli, Chilie, Chile


The dish and the pepper.


One of America's favorite foods is "chili" or "chili con carne"…chili with meat. Most Americans know it with beans, but Texans insist that beans have no place in chili.


The most common spelling is "chili," but other options include "chilli," "chilie," and "chile". The peppers that are the key ingredient in "chili" are spelled differently…"chile" or "chiles".


So how did this dish, made with chiles, become so commonly called "chili"?  Maybe it's the Americanization of a Mexican term for pepper; we just don't know or care how to pronounce things properly. But that's only a guess. Cha Cha Cha.

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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Uncategorized


Packers vs. Bears


Troy Aikman, former star quarterback who doesn't have a "g".


Troy Aikman was a successful quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys several years ago; but listening to his commentary during NFL games is painful. He doesn't seem to possess the letter "g" or verb-ending "ing" when he speaks. Okay, he inadvertently lets a "g" slip into his chatter; but it's rare. His sidekick, Joe Buck, is quite short, but has a big voice and is a little better; even though he was probably bullied in school.


He's the same guy who said, later in the game, "They could have RAN the ball."


Troy's work on today's game between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field is evidence aplenty…"somethin' is stickin' out on the field." Is that the result of some sort of imagined macho that he grew up with…a shame to speak properly?

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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Uncategorized


Brilliant Declaration


Another useless observation by an NFL commentator on Fox!


"Sometimes you've just gotta' make a play as a football player."  Duh.                                                                                  


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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Uncategorized


“perrty good”


pretty "perrty" Purdy party


That's no way to talk…"perrty good" or "purdy good," unless your name is Sam Purdy.  Just say it…"pretty good." That wasn't hard, was it?


It's just a function of switching the "r" with the "e" — or eliminating the "urd" and unfriending Sam Purdy.  If that's too challenging, maybe you should stay in bed — every day.

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Posted by on September 25, 2011 in Uncategorized


Ole Miss


The Swede in Mississippi


One of our country's prominent collegiate football teams is the University of Mississippi…always called "Ole Miss".  The school's website is also "".


This gives me a chuckle as a Scandinavian kid.  "Ole" has always been the name of a Swedish relative, usually an uncle. It's pronounced "Oh-lee". I had a Swedish uncle, a boatbuilder, named Ole.


Shouldn't the Mississippi school call itself "Ol' Miss"…using an apostrophe to replace the understood letter "d"…vis a vis "Old Mississippi"?


I think there's a Swede in Mississippi; and his name is Ole!


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Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


Major “Duh!”


Why do we watch and listen to these guys?


Today's major "Duh" is the college football commentator who said about one of the teams, "Their key to winning is scoring when they get the football."


That bit of insightful analysis should have a place in "Ripley's Believe It or Not"!

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Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Uncategorized


“real ingredients”


What an absurd claim!


Have you seen the television commercials for supermarket food products that claim to be made with "real ingredients"? 


The absurdity…all ingredients are "real ingredients." Even the chemical stabilizers, thickeners, preservatives, and colors.  Any ingredient that hasn't lived or been grown on a farm is still real. Formulation of an ingredient in some laboratory doesn't make it UNreal. It is what it is. It's real SOMETHING.


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Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Uncategorized