Friday, June 13, 2008

The Humorous Vocabulary Builder, Take 3


A boat named alacrity.

As I sit in my spartan temporary headquarters at Dalhousie University, I can think of only one word: alacrity. Alacrity is a cheerful willingness to do something, usually manifesting itself with promptness and whatever else is associated with perky productive people.

The problem with this word is that only approximately 1% of the English speaking world will understand what the fuck you are talking about if you use it. Of course, alacrity is a great word for that very same reason. In casual conversation, most people won't be sure if you are insulting them or not, and will be unsure of themselves. If this is the effect you want to have, then great.


Unrelated to the subject at hand, but amusing, no?

As with most rare words, it is a useful way to signal to other pompous asses that you too are an educated fuckwit. This, of course, goes without saying. What doesn't go without saying is that alacrity is perfect for thanking/complimenting a coworker or client by e-mail. The reason for this is that they will see the word and look it up if they have to. My theory is that people like their compliments to be like easter eggs. It is more fun if they have to dig a little bit.

So, the next time somebody replies to an e-mail in an unexpectedly prompt manner, go ahead and tell them that you appreciate their alacrity, they may just appreciate you for it (or despise you). In fact, this is exactly how I learnt what the word meant: somebody thanking me for my alacrity, and me looking it up afterwards. I am grateful.

What pompous jerk is using this word on the web
Running a Google search reveals a number of things about alacrity. First of all, it apparently makes a good name for many companies in the communications and human resources sectors. In other words, people tend to use a Thesaurus to come up with a rare word to serve as their company name. Good for them.

Your alacrity has increased my homosexual attraction to you tenfold.

The first non-company and non-dictionary reference I found was to a poem entitled :"alacrity of the modern-day strawberry". This guy apparently enjoys strawberries because they taste like migrant workers and, really, who could blame him? I am not a poetry expert, but the imagery of a strawbery cheerfully giving itself up to be slaughtered by children brings me great joy and hilarity. This guy is a comedy genius.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Sex Over the Phone: An Analysis

The Village People came to prominence in the disco scene of the '70s on a wave of huge novelty hits and gay pride. And they haven't stopped riding that wave since. Here is analysis of the hit song "Sex Over the Phone":

read more | digg story

As some of you may know, I write stuff along with Adam Brown, Ian Fortey, and Grady Stack over at Well, today is a special day as one of Adam's articles is serving as today's guest article at (every Saturday, the cracked staff takes a day off).

It is a goody. Keep your eyes open for someone who is probably a chick.

Thursday, June 5, 2008


The U.S.S. Enterprise (Is Getting P.U.S.S.Y. Tonight). By Those Aren't Muskets (feat. MC’s Prime Directive and Galaxy Class)

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Star Trek the Next Generation is second only to the Simpsons in my most watched show list, both in terms of number of episodes I've seen in the series and in terms of the number of times I've seen the same goddamn episode. I remember not being into it at all until my friend invited me over for a 'Borg marathon'. I was promised pizza, so I went. All fans of TNG know that the Borg episodes are awesome (Encounter at far point, anyone?). Needless to say, I was hooked.

Imagine my surprise when my favorite internet sketch troupe decides to make a filthy rap video that skillfully references the show while ejaculating in its general direction. There's a word for that, and the word is awesome.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Rare Words in My Productive Vocabulary: Munificence

Google image search needs to get its head out of its ass.

So, I've started this thing where, once a week, I see what rare word I can think of off the top of my head; Then I run a google search to see what kind of pompous ass is using it. I also run an image search to provide random flava to the post.

This week my subconscious conjured up the word munificence, which is a fancy way of saying generosity, extravagant generosity.

If somebody gives you a bottle of wine, you might say 'Your munificence astounds me, sir.' Depending on what type of company you keep, your audience will either appreciate your playful use of a rare word or look at you like you're an alien replicon from beyond the moon. Either way, you will have improved your odds of being perceived as wordy.

Caveats (Warnings)

The danger of looking like an idiot with this word is minimal. It can be substituted for generosity safely, just be aware that munificence implies extravagant generosity. For instance, if you use it as a compliment and with the explicit intention of sounding flowery, the chances that somebody will think you are a pompous ass are fairly small. Of course, there is a pompous ass at every party, and if you can't figure out who that person is, then it's you.

My First Encounter
I first learned the word while I was in college. One of my professors called out a fellow student for her inveterate use of 'munificent aphorisms'. After looking up both words (an aphorism is a short pithy statement), I came to the conclusion that this was the coolest put down I had ever heard.

This picture has something to do with extravagant generosity being a virtue. If you were a roman sculptor who is dependent on the munificence of the Emperor, you would call it a virtue as well.

Who's Using It Online?
The first non-dictionary and non-academic use comes from the the blog MaxOutMama. The post is about some bullshit called muni bonds and how they are taxed. I don't know about all that, but the author, presumably a woman, cleverly used alliteration (repeated word-initial sounds: Magic Muni Munificence) and a very pun-licious repetition of 'muni' (Muni Munificence).

I have no idea what the rest of the post is about, but I can appreciate this type of literary creativity anyway. My appreciation is somewhat mitigated by the fact that munificence is one of those rare literary words that business and financial types would be expected to know, as they suckle from the munificent fiduciary discharge of capitalism's teat.

If you are one of those types, it might be worth working 'munificence' into your next round of golf. Greedy bastards are more likely to part with some of their cash if you give them empty compliments. Of course, that would make you a sycophant, more commonly known as a phony. If your colleague reads this and manages to work the word munificent into the conversation before you do, go ahead and call him a sniveling sycophant. That should set right again, or make you both look like the type of wordy hippies that have no right to make business decisions.