Crazy ABC's and Barenaked Ladies
Steven Page and Ed Robertson were long time friends and schoolmates in Canada. When they were bored at a Bob Dylan concert, they came up with crazy names for singing groups, one of which was Barenaked Ladies . They were influenced by Peter Gabriel's sound and by Corky and the Juice Pigs' onstage banter and humor. One of their fun songs is an alphabet like no other. Not only are they strange and wonderful words, but most are intentionally picked because they are pronounced nothing like the letter they represent.
Aisle (ahyl) pronounced like "I'll" in I'll have to stand in the aisle.
A walkway between or along sections of seats in a theater, church etc.
This is where many a man has gotten a lump in his throat when he sees his bride walking up the aisle. Sometimes when something is really funny you might see people rolling in the aisles convulsed in laughter--please refer to The Belly Laugh Gym.
Bdellium (dĕlˈē-əm) pronounced like "Oh a deli, yum!"
An aromatic gum resin similar to myrrh, produced by certain Asian and African shrubs or trees of the genus Commiphora and is still used as a binder in perfumes today. In the Bible a jewel variously interpreted as being a carbuncle (Gen. 2:12), a crystal (Num. 11:7), or a pearl (rabbinical interpretation)
Bdellum was an ingredient in the prescriptions of ancient physicians and used in sacred rites. When used in sacred rites it is steeped in wine to increase its fragrance.
Czar (zahr) to be technically correct it is pronounced (tsar) with the tongue barely catching the "t" before saying "sar"
Czar (also spelled as tsar) literally means an emperor or a male monarch. It was the imperial title of Russian rulers, who ruled Russia from 16th century until the Bolshevik revolution in 1917. It is derived from the Latin word Caesar that was the title of Roman emperors. Czar also means a person having great power. The Russian czars were the rulers of Russia, whose reign began with Ivan the Terrible and ended with Nicholas II. They ruled for nearly 350 years.
(Islam) an invisible spirit mentioned in the Koran and believed by Muslims to inhabit the earth and influence mankind by appearing in the form of humans or animals
The story of Aladdin is from the Arab golden age as told in the Arabian Nights. Robin Williams as the Genie in Disney's Aladdin describes it like this:
You're a prisoner?
Genie: It's all part and parcel, the whole "genie gig":
[grows to a gigantic size]
Genie: PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWERS!
[shrinks down inside the lamp]
Genie: Itty-bitty living space!
The other "oil." Even in times of drought, Turkey has been blessed with a large amount of annual precipitation which neither Syria nor Iraq enjoy. Because the source of the Euphrates River is in Turkey, this country has control over the amount of water going into other countries like Iraq and Syria who depend on it for their water supply. Iraq is more than 70% desert and has virtually no other water supply source, other than infrequent annual rainfall.
The Tigris and Euphrates rivers are frequently mentioned in the Bible and have been the lifeblood of the entire region since time began. Legend has it that these two rivers, along with two others. Pishon and Gihon, nourished the biblical Garden of Eden.
Föhn pronounced (phone)
The Föhn is a dry wind that blows down the leeward slopes of
mountains. It is one of the "ill winds" of legend and is known as the Chinook in the U.S. Rockies, the sharav in Israel, the mistral in France and where I live it is called the Santa Ana winds.
A Föhn can last less than an hour or for several days, and is reputed to cause headaches and make people act odder that usual with suicide and accident rates increasing by 10%. This is called "Föhnkrankheit" (Föhn-sickness)
Moist air flows up the windward side of a mountain and as it gains altitude the air pressure decreases, the temperature lowers, clouds form, and finally it rains. It reaches its lowest temperature as it goes over the top.
On the leeward side of the mountain the now dry wind drops and warms as it compresses because of the increasing air pressure, raising temperatures by as much as 30°C (54°F) in just hours.
So if you see anyone acting weird or in pain during one of these winds just say: Fohnkrankheit (phone-crank-height) instead of Gesundheit.
Gnarly pronounced (narly)
Traditionally something gnarled or gnarly is all twisted like the tree branches in the photo. In slang it is beyond extreme dangerous or difficult. For comedians, it can be sick or twisted humor or if it is a person, they are themselves a bit twisted or unusual in some way--often in a way that is admired. "He is one gnarly dude."
Hour pronounced (our)
Sixty minutes or 3600 seconds or 1/24th of a day. A sandard UTC hour sometimes includes a negative or positive leap second, and may therefore have a duration of 3599 or 3601seconds for adjustment purposes. Because the rotation of the earth causes "clock drift," a day may not end in 24 hours because of an added second. A second has been redefined several times--first on earth rotation and orbit, then orbit around the sun and now we get our second from 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition
between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the caesium-133
atom. Unfortunately tides, rotation and glacial rebound forces us to slow the atomic clock prompting the song "Does anybody really know what time it is?"
Irk pronounced (erk)
Synonyms: aggravate, annoy, bother, bug, burn (up), chafe, eat, exasperate, frost, gall, get, grate, gripe, hack (off), irritate, itch, fret, nettle, peeve, persecute, pique, put out, rasp, rile, ruffle, spite, vex
For fans of the TV series 24,season 8 features the IRK which stands for the Islamic Republic of Kamistan, a fictional country loosely based on Iran.
Jalapeno pronounced (hal ah PEH nyoh)
The jalapeno is named after the town Xalapa, Veracruz where the pepper was traditionally grown. It is known by several different names in Mexico, including cuaresmeños, huachinangos and chiles gordos. This popular chili pepper is used in many popular dishes including poppers, salsa, jelly, pico de gallo, and nachos and is often pickled. Jalapeños have 2,500 - 8,000 Scoville heat units which measures the amount of capsaicin present. Habanera peppers, on the other hand have a level of 200,000 and the Guinness champion, naga jolokia measures over a million SHU's.
A small trivial article or art piece usually intended for ornament or display on a shelf. Otherwise known as a bauble, bibelot, curio, curiosity, doodad, gaud, gewgaw (also geegaw), gimcrack, kickshaw, novelty, ornamental, tchotchke, trinket, bric-a-brac, gimcrackery, trinketry, trumpery, bagatelle, trifle; figurine, ornament; keepsake, memento, souvenir; conversation piece or collector's item.
A computer animated short film produced by Pixar, and directed by John Lasseter.
Llamas are members of the camelid family that originated on the central plains of North America but migrated to South America at the end of the last ice age. Llamas were domesticated from the Andean Highlands of Peru and are among the oldest domestic animals in the world. Primarily a beast of burden, they also provide native herdsmen with meat, fiber for clothing, hides for shelter and manure pellets for fuel.
Female llamas use spitting as their major method to maintain status within the herd and to fend off unwanted attentions from male llamas.
Mnemonic pronounced (nee monic)
Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory in Greek mythology and a mnemonic device, is any learning aid that helps you remember something. It could be as simple as a string around your finger or rosary beads or it can be a rhyme or an acronym or acrostic. An acronym to help remember the great lakes is HOMES. The letters stand for Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie, Superior. A well known spelling rhyme is "I before E except after C" and Every Good Boy Does Fine tells us the notes in a scale--EGBDF.
Ngomo pronounced (gomo)
is a river in Africa, a village in the Congo, a Safari Lodge
nearJohannesburg, and a Starfleet Admiral on Star Trek. It is also a
common surname in Africa.
Ouija Board pronounced (wee jee)
The name "Ouija" is a registered trademark for Parker Brothers' William
Fuld Talking Board Set. The name comes from the two words for yes in
French and German, oui and ja. A talking board is a flat board marked
with letters, numbers, and other symbols, supposedly used to
communicate with spirits. It uses a planchette
(small heart-shaped piece of wood) or movable indicator to indicate the
spirit's message by spelling it out on the board during a séance. The
fingers of the séance participants are placed on the planchette, which
then moves about the board to spell out messages. As a parlor game it
could be fun but opening up your mind to dead or unknown "spirits" is a
little like going to an unknown internet site and asking for a virus to
come talk to your computer. Invite your family exorcist over before
Pneumonia, Pterodactyl and Psychosis--Pterodactyl pronounced (tera DAK tul)
Classified as pterosaurs or "flying lizards," a Pterodactyl had a wingspan of anywhere between a few inches up to over 30 feet long as compared to the condor's 10 feet maximum wingspan. Pterodactyls are believed to have flown long distances using large wings with hollow bones and leather membranes which had extended air and blood circulation systems. Paleontologists classify Pterodactyls as flying reptiles and not dinosaurs. They existed from the late Triassic to the end of the Cretaceous Period and fossils have been found in America, Europe, Africa, and Australia.
Qat pronounced (kat)
Qat is a flowering evergreen
plant native to tropical East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.
Qat contains the alkaloid called cathinone, an amphetamine-like
stimulant which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite and
euphoria. In 1980 the World Health Organization classified qat as a
drug of abuse that can produce mild to moderate psychological
dependence.Soldiers high on qat fought our soldiers in Somalia and
resulted in large losses of life.
"Capturing moments of eternity," someone once called the subtle
tinkering with time that qat effects. After two years I no longer knew if life was good because
of Yemen or because of qat. ~ Kevin Rushby
Rgyle actually Argyle pronounced (ar gile)
is a pattern which consists of diamond shaped blocks against a colored
background, often with a diamond outline bisecting the solid ones . The
argyle pattern first appeared in the County Argyll in 1500 on the socks
members of the Scottish Campbell Clan whose colors were green and
white. By the 1700s, English knitters adapted the pattern to many other
colors and other clothing such as sweaters and scarves. In the 1920s,
argyle socks, which ran all the way up the calf, were very popular with
men. In the 1980s, women sporting the preppy look
brought back the argyle sock and made it their own. It must be back in
style because I just saw three people wearing argyle sweaters in the
recent movie "Life As We Know It."
Saar pronounced (sahr)
The Saar is a river in northeastern France and western Germany which flows through beautiful valleys in both countries and ends up in the Moselle River. On the borders of Alsace and Lorraine in the Vosges mountains, the Saar is born near Mont Donon, Vosges' highest peak.
The day after
Thanksgiving November 23, 1944, General George Patton ordered the 90th
Division, heroes of Normandy and his most decorated division, across
the Saar without bridges to engage the dreaded Siegfried Line. After
fighting an almost "Alamo" type engagement and losing their commander,
they were able to hold off superior forces until reinforcements came.
Tsunami pronounced (sue nami)
A tsunami is a giant tidal wave or a series of water waves caused by the displacement of a large volume of a body of water, usually an ocean, by an earthquake, volcanic eruption, landslide, meteorite impact or other mass movement.
On the night of July 9, 1958 an earthquake in the Alaska panhandle loosened about 40 million cubic yards of rock which plunged 3000 feet down into the waters of Gilbert Inlet generating a 1720 foot tsunami that swept down the entire length of Lituya Bay and into the Gulf of Alaska. Millions of trees were uprooted and swept away by this highest ever recorded tsunami.
Urn pronounced (ern)
An urn is an ornamental vase on a pedestal used for many purposes including holding cremation ashes. One of the most famous urns was confiscated from Louis XIV during the revolution and placed in the Lourve. By the Athenian sculptor Sosibos, the urn which depicts Apollo, Artemis and Hermes presiding over a procession of Bacchic dancers, inspired John Keats to write his classic "Ode to a Grecian Urn."
Vraisemblance pronounced (vry sawn blans)
the 19th century French "true appearance" meaning the quality of
seeming to be true or likely. M.C. Escher was a master at creating
things that seemed true but were impossible. Stairs that went up and
then went down, hands that were drawing themselves, and geometric forms
that looked plausible but could not be built. Yogi Berra, famed Yankees
manager coined many "truisms" that weren't. You have to go to other
people's funerals or they won't come to yours, Half the lies they tell
about me aren't true, Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded.
Wren, Wrinkly and Who pronounced (ren)
A wren is mostly found in the New World where it is one of the smallest birds with a joyous big voice and a downy plumage. It has short wings and poor night vision and vigorously territorial. A favorite of bird house keepers it is a member of the passerine suborder otherwise known as songbirds. Sir Christopher Wren, England's most famous architect of 51 churches including St. Paul's Cathedral had the respect of Newton and Pascal for his scientific work and at 37 married for the first time. this is an excerpt from a letter to his wife: I have sent your Watch at last & envy the felicity of it, that it should be soe near your side & soe often enjoy your Eye......but have a care for it, for I have put such a spell into it; that every Beating of the Balance will tell you 'tis the Pulse of my Heart, which labors as much to serve you and more trewly than the Watch; for the Watch I beleeve will sometimes lie, and sometimes be idle & unwilling...but as for me you may be confident I shall never.
Xi'an pronounced (zee ahn)
One of the oldest cities in China, it was a capitol city under many important dynasties. While it has had seven other names, it became Xi'an in the year 1369 CE at the time of the Ming Dynasty. The two Chinese characters "西安" in the name Xi'an literally mean "Western Peace." During the Qin Dynasty, the famous "Terracotta Army" was created by China's first Emperor and the figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers near Xi'an.
Yperite pronounced (ee pur ite)
chemical warfare agent, commonly known as Mustard Gas, that severely
irritates the skin, eyes, and lungs. It was used in World War I about
90 years ago mostly in a narrow strip of land in Belgium and France.
Many of the yperite or Mustard Gas shells are still out there. While
the Belgian Bomb Disposal Team works four hour shifts every day taking
two truckloads of unexploded shells apart and destroying the chemicals,
It is estimated that three Titanics worth of unexploded bombs still
litter the fields of France and Belgium and are still as deadly as the
day they were fired. Every year more than 30 people are killed by the
unexploded bombs. Public opinion against the use of gas led to the
Geneva Protocol and mustard gas has not been used in warfare until the
Zed pronounced (zed)
The last letter of the alphabet or "z" as in ZZ Top the rock band--famous for their long beards and sunglasses except for the one named Beard who only sports a mustache. Their hit "Sharp Dressed Man" is featured in a video below.
ZZ Top's the Charts but Ends the Alphabet
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