Word Nerd

If I had a chance to do it over again, I would have major in linguistics or etymology. I find language and words fascinating. Also, if someone asked me what I plan to do with that major, I’d say come up with new words for some of the terrible ones we use today.

Such as…

Widower It sounds like the husband did it.

Rapist, Racist, Sexist The “-ist” suffix sounds like a skill, or something you went to school for, and not a reprehensible character flaw. How about an actual pejorative suffix like “-ite” , or “-tard” instead?

Pedophile It’s like saying, he’s a connoisseur, an expert, like a sommelier…if you will. You wouldn’t ask the liquor store cashier about a fine bottle of wine. So why would you talk to just any old child molester?

Sex Worker What was wrong with porn star? That seemed way more flattering. Think about, you don’t have to be a household name to be a star in the porn scene. You’re a star by default. Sex worker, is so lame. It sounds like a boring fucker. Besides, they already have a perfectly good word for someone who treats sex like a job. It’s “spouse.”

Conceived Sounds like something you did with a whiteboard and post-it notes. If it was planned, then I’ll make an exception.

Big and Tall We’re not fooling anyone here. These stores really should be called Big “or” Tall.


We took a trip down to Carpinteria for the Memorial Day weekend. It’s a small town between Ventura and Santa Barbara. The odd thing is I will always remember the name of this town for Kai’s Power Tools, a set of Photoshop plug-ins that were popular in the early 90s. The company that made KPT, was based in Carpinteria.

Kai Power Tools let you do some psychedelic effects like Mandelbrots and Fractals with a funky realtime user interface that encouraged experimentation. The problem with these plug-ins was you had to be the first person to use them. Otherwise, they were way to recognizable. Also, they made everything you did look an album cover for Yes.

Back in the late 90s, I was at MacWorld industry party in San Francisco. I think it was hosted by Corel or Adobe. I was with my buddy Raji Krishneswami (I just love his name). We had just arrived and on our way in, we passed Kai Krause, the “Kai” inventor of the power tools of his namesake, who was with comedian Charles Fleischer. I recognized both of them and said, “Hey Kai”, and turned to Fleischer and said, “Welcome Back Kotter, right?”

Neither of them seemed to appreciate the reference, but at least I remembered who they were. Most people there didn’t seem to notice either one of them.


Last night we saw the movie “Elf” in the theater. I don’t remember what I really thought of the movie when it first came out in 2003. I just remember I didn’t used to like Will Ferrell, but I do now and have for some time. 

He’s perfect in the movie because he really sells it, especially with the facial expressions. It’s almost a perfect script in terms of following the form without getting tired. Don’t get me wrong, it’s full of holiday movie clichés, but that’s required of the genre. What I like is it didn’t use any of the pop culture clichés of 2003 that would make it feel horribly dated today, like say “Shrek”. Which I hated then and still do.