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This place matters

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The music of words

Every time I visit the dentist, after being lectured about flossing and being asked if I rinse my teeth with Mountain Dew after I brush (I'm a wee bit cavity prone), the hygienist pokes each of my teeth while reciting some numbers. I asked once what the numbers were, and I'm pretty sure the response was "Quiet, you. You stick to stewing in shame over your lack of flossing and let me worry about the poking and the numbers."
As she recites the same sequences of numbers over and over - "one two one, one two one, one two one, two three two, one two one..." - her words cease to be words and become a song. Albeit with really boring lyrics. I wonder if she knows she's singing; I wonder if the other patients hear the song when she pokes them with a stick while reciting numbers. 
Diana Deutsch hears the music. She's a professor of the music of psychology interviewed on an old episode of the NPR show Radiolab. She says that one day, she was editing a recording of her own voice, and happened to leave a short phrase, "sometimes behaves so strangely," on a loop. She left the room, and after a short time, she began to think she was hearing music back in the studio. But no, it was simply her own voice saying sometimes behave so strangely over and over.
Our words are full of music. 
Every language, every accent has its own language. From the lilt of the Irish brogue, which sounds for all the world just like an Irish jig, to the slow southern twang, to the regimented march of German, each language sings to its own tune. There are elements to the tunes that run across every language. Deutsch did a study in which she listened to parents praising their babies. In every language she studied, the pitch was the same - a high note that slides down into a low note. Say "good girl" to an imaginary baby out loud. Or watch a few seconds of the video below - the trainer uses that same tune whenever she praises the parrot. 


Some languages, Radiolab goes on to tell me, are more musical than others. Tonal languages use tone or pitch to indicate the meaning of words. For example, in Mandarin, the word bi means different things based on tone, as the lady with the trippy head tentacles explains.


A few examples of tonal languages, according to WiseGeek.com, are Thai, the African language Hausa, and some Mayan dialects. Ancient Greek was a tonal language, it says, but modern Greek is not. I have no idea how we know that a language no one alive has ever heard was tonal.
Deutsch wondered if people who speak tonal languages have better pitch than those who speak languages that aren't tonal. She did a study in which she played a series of notes to both English-speaking and Mandarin-speaking children, all of whom had grown up playing music. Only 14% of the English-speaking kids could name all the notes that were being played. 74% of the Mandarin-speakers could. 
Remember that next time you want to punch a karaoke singer at the local bar off the stage. It's not their fault that their voice is breaking your ears, it's the English language. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

You don't know jack

Today, I had occasion to politely request that a man not park his car in the middle of road on a blind curve on the only road into or out of our apartment complex while he chatted with his friend. It seemed more civil than laying on the horn, what with it being night time, but this was, apparently, deeply offensive to him.
He shouted that I should not speak to him, as he does not know me from Adam. I mean, you really can't argue with that logic. Obviously, one should wait until one is on kissing terms with another before requesting that one be allowed to proceed to one's home.
After I got done railing impotently to the cats about the incident, it occurred to me to wonder where the expression "to know one from Adam" came from.
WorldWideWords.org shed some light for me. The expression first appears in print in court records dating to the late 18th century.
What's interesting, though, are the variations on the expression I'd never heard (or heard but never noticed). Seems there's a variation in It's a Wonderful Life, which I've seen roughly 33 times (at least once for every Christmas of my life). When George Bailey goes back to the bar after never having been born, Nick (who would inexplicably have been a douchebag if George Bailey had never been born) says that he doesn't know George from Adam's off ox.
Adam's off ox, according to World Wide Words, is a regionalism, popular only in scattered areas around the Appalachians (this according to the Dictionary of American Regional English). An off ox, my sources inform me, is the ox on the left of a mule team. Oddly specific. That expression dates back to the end of the 19th century.
Popular in scattered areas of the American south is Adam's housecat. There's also Adam's foot, Adam's brother, and my favorite, Adam's pet monkey.
But who is Adam? Probably another guy who has no business asking other people to be allowed to proceed to one's home. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My friends do awesome things

Hey, y'all! My awesome friend Charles has published his first e-book!


Go to Kindle, plunk down your three bucks (or borrow it free on Kindle Prime), and be able to tell people "Oh, Charles Capasso? I've been reading him since before he was a household name. No, seriously, I read his first book like, two days after it was published."
Do it. Now. There's cookies in it for you.


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008E75ZHO

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Will you, won't you?

One of my biggest literary pet peeves are people who insist that all the great writers were clearly on drugs and that is why their work is so good. Lewis Carroll, I am often told definitively, was an opium addict. Well, no, Lewis Carroll was a genius with a very creative mind. There's no evidence at all that he was a poppy fiend. And people who assume that one must be high to create great fanciful works of art must be dreadfully un-creative.
Another of my biggest pet peeves are people who insist that people famous for their work with children, like Mister Rogers, must be pedophiles.
Naked chairs on a public blog!
What filth will the Internet spew forth next?
This charge has been leveled against Lewis Carroll by many as well and it's simply absurd... okay, well, maybe not so absurd. He was exceedingly and a little morbidly fascinated with little girls, spending a whole lot of time in their company. Yes, well, lots of people prefer the company of children to the company of adults, because grown-ups are boring. 
But then there are the pictures. Seems Carroll was a rather avid photographer, and that the thing he liked to photograph most was naked pre-pubescent girls. Looks bad. I mean, the man took a lot of pictures of little naked girls. However, the experts assure us, this was not abnormal during Victorian times, and these little photo shoots always took place with the mothers' blessing. It seems the Victorians, while feeling the need to cover up chair legs for their prurience, thought that taking naked pictures of other people's children was perfectly normal, and for that matter, these photos captured childish innocence.


The Victorians even liked to include pictures of naked children on their Christmas cards.


Oh, now that's just gratuitous filth.
To which I say, WTF Victorians? Victorian women sometimes drowned because of the lead weights that they put in their skirts when they swam to keep them from floating up and showing off a bit of ankle. Yet they sent kiddie porn to their grandmas to mark the birth of Christ?




So there. All of Victorian England was apparently a giant pedophile collection. Lewis Carroll totally probably not a child molester. Maybe.

I'm no perv. My pornographic Christmas
cards never use models under the age of 18

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Double Standard, or Apples to Oranges?

All the experts on Getting Your Work Published say that you can't have mistakes. One grammar error, one misspelling, one comma out of place, and that's it. The editor tosses it in the trash without giving it a chance.
I've never tossed a Dark Moon Digest submission for grammatical errors. The thing about mistakes is that everybody makes them and they're really easy to correct. I'm not going to cheat a publication out of a really good story by dismissing it because of something so superficial. This from the woman who carries a Sharpie around with her so that she can correct grammar on the go.
On the other hand, bad grammar in ad copy, on a website, or in any other professional communication prejudices me against a business like nothing else. If you're so careless with your copy, what else are you careless about? If you don't put any effort into making sure your copy free from glaring errors, I don't think it's unreasonable to be concerned that you might not put much effort into customer service, product reliability, or safety. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Lovers, the Dreamers, and UUs


This is my sermon from Sunday, with a bunch of the congregation-specific stuff edited out.

Keep Believing, Keep Pretending
So, whenever somebody asks me what my favorite movie is, I think “Don't say the Muppet Movie. Say something intelligent. Say Citizen Kane.” But invariably the truth wins out and I proudly admit that my favorite movie of all time is The Muppet Movie. And it's not just because I'm an overgrown child. The Muppets, and the lessons I've learned from them, mean so much to me. And I'm not the only one. While doing the research for this sermon, I actually found half a dozen other UU churches have had Muppet sermons in recent months. It seems there's something decidedly UU about these little guys. 
One of the UU sermon writers was kind enough to post her sermon on her blog, http://virtualvirago.blogspot.com/and she was able to put to words something I hadn't been able to. She said “In an age that loves CGI, they are instances of a very old-fashioned magic, puppets brought to life by the hands and voices of mysterious, unseen performers. Partly we love them because human beings feel a deep attraction to that magic... Most importantly, perhaps, we love the Muppets because they are also, improbably and irresistibly, embodiments of joy.” And she's right. Think about Kermit the Frog, cheering on his friends and guest stars with his signature “Yay.” (Imagine me standing on the podium and flapping my arms while screaming). Their performances, their songs and dances and their jokes... no matter how crazy they get or how wrong they go, the undercurrent of joy in their performances was palpable.
At Jim Henson's funeral, his friend and fellow Muppeteer Frank Oz said that the best thing in the world was when you watched Jim laugh until he cried. It would happen when they were performing something, for the thousandth time, late at night. It would start with a high pitched whine, and he couldn't speak, and the tears would be rolling down his face. Frank Oz said that it was the best thing to see, because you knew how hard he worked, how demanding the job was, how much pressure he was under. But there was still always that bubbling of joy under the surface and it came through on the screen, and it passed through to the audience.
While I was researching this, I found one quote comparing Jim Henson to his main character, Kermit the Frog. They were both “shy gentle bosses with a whim of steel who ran things as firmly as it is possible to run an explosion in a mattress factory.”
So back to the Muppet movie and why it's my favorite movie. It's partly because the craftsmanship and artistry that went into this film are an incredible labor of love. For example, in the opening scene, the camera pans through a vast swamp, eventually closing in on Kermit the Frog, sitting on a log, playing the banjo and singing The Rainbow Connection. What's crazy about that is that to get that shot, Jim Henson was actually in a custom made pod under the water, breathing through a reed, and making Kermit move. In the film, puppets ride bicycles, drive cars, and tap dance, all in the days before computer animation. That kind of dedication to craft is really impressive, but it's not just the craftsmanship, or the songs, or the humor that make this movie my favorite movie. It's the story, a story that has helped guide my principals my whole life.
So here's the story. Kermit the Frog is sitting in his swamp, playing the banjo, doing his thing, when a Hollywood talent agent stops by in a rowboat. He tells Kermit that he should really give show business a try, but Kermit says he's happy where he is. The agent tells Kermit that he could be rich and famous, and that he could make millions of people happy. Kermit reflects on this. He likes the idea of being rich and famous, but he really likes the idea of making millions of people happy.
So he sets out. Shortly after he begins his journey, he meets Doc Hopper, owner of a chain of french fried frog legs restaurants. He wants Kermit to be the spokes-frog for the operation, and he offers to make it worth Kermit's while. But Kermit declines, saying that all he could see were thousands of his friends hopping around on tiny crutches. But, we soon learn, Hopper won't take no for an answer.
With Doc Hopper on his heels, Kermit sets out again for California, and along the way, he meets Fozzie, the world's worst stand-up comedian; Gonzo, a weirdo; Miss Piggy, his love interest; and the rest of the Muppet gang. He encourages them all to come along, all to go off to Hollywood to become rich and famous and make millions of people happy. 
But Doc Hopper is always one step behind. Once he's sure Kermit won't do his commercials, he decides to kill the hero instead. Finally, in a ghost town out west, Kermit and the Muppets take their stand against Doc Hopper and his gang of frog assassins. Hopper gives Kermit one last chance – he can do the commercials alive, or stuffed. Kermit replies:
Hopper, what's the matter with you? You gotta be crazy chasin' me halfway across the country. Why are you doin' this to me?
Hopper: 'Cause all my life I wanted to own a thousand frog-leg restaurants, and you're the key, greenie.
Kermit: Yeah, well, I've got a dream too. But it's about singing and dancing and making people happy. That's the kind of dream that gets better the more people you share it with. And, well, I've found a whole bunch of friends who have the same dream. And, well, it kind of makes us like a family.”
In many ways, the story of the Muppets is the story of Jim Henson, and in many ways, the story of Jim Henson is similar to the story of Unitarian Universalism.
Jim Henson was born in the 1930s and was attracted to puppetry all his life. He admired the work of radio ventriloquist Edgar Bergen, and loved to watch puppet shows on TV as a kid. When he traveled to Europe, he met puppeteers who treated puppetry as a serious art form, and he really admired that. But Jim Henson saw all that, and decided to go his own way. While most puppets then were made of wood, he thought they would be more expressive if they were made of foam rubber and fabric. It would be more easy to manipulate their faces that way. He also wanted to get rid of the artificial structure that puppeteers often hid behind while they were performing, instead just having the puppeteers hold the puppets above their heads and having the cameras cut the puppeteers out of the shots. As he became more experienced, he started going to greater and greater lengths to make his puppets interact with their environment as much as possible. Jason Segel, co-writer and star of the latest Muppet movie said that what people don't realize is that if a Muppet is sitting on a couch, there is a Muppeteer scrunched up inside a hollowed out couch making that Muppet move. If a Muppet is driving a car, there is a Muppeteer hiding behind the driver's seat. Segel says that people don't realize that these people are as much puppeteers as they are dancers and contortionists. 
Henson's vision, well, it's a little like Unitarian Universalism. As UUs, we really respect the faiths that form our foundations. We recognize how very much we have to learn from other practitioners of faith. But we needed to go our own way. And it's not the easy way. Anyone who has ever tried to explain to another person what it is that UUs believe knows that. We blaze our own trail. Our services don't rely on a formula or tradition. Our hymns, our readings, and our sermons seek out wisdom in many places. In an effort to understand and respect the voices and beliefs of others, we sometimes have to contort our minds in weird ways. For instance, when I started coming here, I did not get this Wicca thing. I mean, wands and calling the corners and maypoles... I just didn't get it, and it kind of made me uncomfortable. I remember sitting in one of our congregation's Samhain services and thinking “This is just too weird. I don't think I should be here.” And then, listening to her words, following her meditation, I had one of the most profound spiritual experiences of my life that helped bring closure to the loss of a friend and solidify my understanding of my mission. I did something that was really uncomfortable for me – like scrunching up in a hollowed out couch, and the results were magic. 
The Muppet who embodies Unitarian Universalism most to me is Gonzo. Gonzo's the weird looking blue guy with a long hooked nose and a chicken for a girlfriend. Nobody knows what he is, but he identifies himself as a Weirdo. In the Muppet Movie, when he first meets Kermit and Fozzie, he tells them that he's going to Bombay, India to be a movie star. Fozzie tells him “You don't go to India to be a movie star. You go where we're going. Hollywood.” Gonzo replies “sure, if you want to do it the easy way.” Gonzo doesn't do anything the easy way, and he takes pride in it. He knows everybody thinks he's a freak and he couldn't care less. He's got his friends, he's got his girlfriend (Camilla the Chicken) and he's got his career as a daredevil and a performance artist. Gonzo is always off on some crazy scheme – catching cannonballs, catapulting himself into the audience, or notably, tap-dancing in a vat of oatmeal. Once, when asked if he thought one of his crazy schemes would work, he said, “No. Isn't it great?”
UUs never do anything the easy way either, and we put up no pretenses about the fact that we march to the beat of our own drummer. In his book From Beginning to End, UU minister Robert Fulghum writes about a service in which he tried to do a “tangerine communion.” He wanted to try something different, a communion that would make people think about the wonder of nature and the earth and sharing... and it was a disaster. The tangerines wouldn't pull apart evenly, everybody was sticky, little kids were putting their germy hands on everybody's food... it did not work out. But, Fulgham said, even though he wouldn't be trying the tangerine communion again any time soon, it was worth doing. He was trying to bring a new meaning and intentionality to communion, and he did. Just not exactly the way that he hoped to.
My favorite Gonzo moment comes in The Muppet movie, when he decides to buy some balloons for his girlfriend. Camilla's so excited about the balloons that he buys her the whole bunch, and promptly gets carried off by them. Watching him fly away, Kermit screams “Gonzo, what are you doing?” Gonzo replies “About seven knots!” While his friends scramble after him, chasing him the car, terrified he's going to die, Gonzo enjoys the ride, living life in the moment. That's something that Muppets creator Jim Henson really believed in doing. He told people, there is no past, there is no future, there is only this moment. Among his last words were these: “Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and especially your heart... and every day we will open up like a cocoon and turn into beautiful butterflies. And live this moment and the next and the next.”

Jim Henson died in 1990, at the age of 53. He died from bacterial pneumonia, after refusing to go to the hospital because he didn't want to be a bother to anywone. Forget the whole joy and love thing for a second. If you take one thing away from this message, take away this: go to the hospital when you're sick. 
After Henson's death, thousands of fans wrote sympathy cards to Kermit the Frog. Some simply said they were sorry. One said that it was a good thing there were other people who could do Henson's job, because that way, Henson could watch the Muppets perform from heaven. One fan said, “Perhaps the substance of Jim Henson's genius was the ability to see wonder far off in crazy directions and get people to follow him there.”
At his funeral, there were many performance, many eulogies, and much music. At the end, the surviving Muppets and their Muppeteers remembered him with a song.

If just one person believes in you,
Deep enough, and strong enough, believes in you...
Hard enough, and long enough,
It stands to reason, that someone else will think
"If he can do it, I can do it."

Making it: two whole people, who believe in you
Deep enough, and strong enough, 
Believe in you.
Hard enough and long enough
There's bound to be some other person who
Believes in making it a threesome,
Making it three.....
People you can say: believe in me.....

And if three whole people,
Why not -- four?
And if four whole people,
Why not--more, and
more, and
more....

And when all those people,
Believe in you,
Deep enough, and strong enough,
Believe in you...
Hard enough, and long enough

It stands to reason that you yourself will
Start to see what everybody sees in
You...

And maybe even you,
Can believe in you... too! 


You all know I never give a sermon without giving homework, and I'm not making an exception. This is the easiest and probably the hardest homework I've given. Believe in you. Go home, go out into the world, believing in you. You've got a job to do. I don't know what your job is, and most days I don't know what my job is either. But I know we can do it. And I know it has to start with believing. 




Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Let's play a game

One of my friends gently told me today that somewhere in my blog, I used it's when I should have used its.
It's is used as a contraction for it is or sometimes it has. For example, It's hard to imagine I used it's incorrectly.
 It's should never, ever be used when it is possessive. For example, One time I snuck up on a groundhog and it bared its teeth and made a noise like someone violently shaking a jar full of marbles. I swear.
So naturally, I'm mortified. But it gets worse. I can't find it. I use it's a lot, a really lot. So I challenge you. Save me further humiliation. Find it and bring it to me. Alive. I'll make it worth your while. I'm not sure how yet. I'll let you know when you find it. If it even exists.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Racy

Our old friend David Wilton, author of Word Myths: Debunking Linguistic Urban Legends, has a whole chapter on myths related to offensive, or maybe not so offensive terms and expressions. 
For instance, the expression to call a spade a spade, has absolutely nothing to do with race. People think that because spade is a rude term for a person with brown skin, the expression is derogatory toward brown people. However, the expression predates the racist epithet by about a zillion years. The first use of the expression in English dates to a 1542 translation of Plutarch:
Phillippus aunswered, that the Macedonians wer feloes of no fyne witte in their terms but altogether grosse clubbyshe and rusticall, as they whiche had not the witte to call a spade by any other name than spade.*
Similarly, there's nothing offensive about the expression word of thumb. The myth goes that there used to be a law that a man could hit his woman as long as he did it with something less than the width of his thumb. Actually, it is possible that some English judge in the 18th century did release some sort of proclamation that men could beat their wives with things narrower than their thumbs (although that law, if it existed, wasn't ever called the rule of thumb). However, the expression predates the law by about a century in the English language alone, and was used in other languages even before that. No, the expression just refers to estimating the size of something using your thumb to represent an inch. 
Fun fact: In my house, we measure things in Brigids. 
There's also the rumor that the kids' rhyme Eeny meeny miny moe has racist origins, in that originally, the line catch a tiger by its toe was catch an n-word by its toe. Now it's true that this variation was used as far back as the 19th century, but variations on the rhyme predate that. That did not stop two women from suing Southwest Airlines after a flight attendant urged customers via intercom to find their seats by saying "Eeny meeny, miny, moe, pick a seat we gotta go." Two brown skinned women were sure that this was directed at them, and one was so upset she had some seizures. Really guys? Really? I think I err on the side of knee-jerk liberal most of the time, but wow dude. Wow.




*The only offensive thing about this passage is the spelling. That's because there wasn't really any such thing as standardized spelling back in the day. Shakespeare himself never quite decided how to spell his name (although if you look at examples of his signature, it's hard to imagine how you can even tell what letters he was trying to write). So the next time some snooty snob gives you crap about the destruction of the English language, you tell them "If spelling your name wrong is good enough for Willy S. it's good enough for Bridgitte Duall Brookway."
Or in the words of Fifty Shades (okay, this is the real reason I loved the books), "Prescriptive linguistics are a HARD LIMIT."

Saturday, June 9, 2012

And it was NOT set during the French Revolution

We read Les Miserables my sophomore year of high school. It is the only book in all of high school, as far as I can remember, that was so long we were given permission to read the abridged version. I read the full version. Twice. In a row. This from the student who couldn't be bothered to read stories like The Secret Life of Walter Mitty or The Most Dangerous Game because they were too long. 
I will never understand teenage Brigid. I was so smart and I loved to read so much. And it's obviously not that I was intimidated by hard reading - Les Mis comes in at 365 chapters - about 1400 pages. But read The Great Gatsby with its 200 pages? Perish the thought.
I am reading Les Miserables again. I know people grouse about e-readers killing "real" books, and I feel them, but man, it's a lot more convenient to lug the e-reader version of Les Mis around.
I'm noticing something really interesting about the book this time around. It, like a lot of classical literature, breaks every rule you learned about good writing. 
Good writing shouldn't be full of unnecessary words and phrases - it should be uncluttered and get its point across cleanly. In Les Miserables, the main character doesn't show up until the fourteenth chapter. The first 13 chapters introduce the Bishop, who disappears from the story shortly thereafter. Imagine a book today taking thirteen chapters to introduce a character - including detailed accounts of what the man eats for breakfast each morning - and then dropping him.
Then there's the fact that we're not supposed to be didactic when we write. We're supposed to show, and not tell the moral of our story, and even when we do show it, we're not supposed to be preachy about it. Hugo editorializes on everything: war, poverty, the clergy, the death penalty. If Hugo's got an opinion, he's going to make sure you know it, and he's not going to bother getting the actions of the characters to show you. No, he just goes off.
We're not supposed to indulge in long, unnecessary descriptions. I'm surprised that Hugo doesn't tell us the exact color and consistency of Valjean's poop. But speaking of poop, there are two chapters, two, in the middle of the climax of the book about all the fantastic uses of human excrement. Jean Valjean's carrying a nearly lifeless Marius through the sewers, we don't know if he's going to live or die, and Hugo's like "Yo, Valjean, I'm really happy for you, Imma let you finish, but poop is the best thing of all time."


It's so unusual to me that we go to school and study the greatest literature, and then our professors teach us to never, ever write like that. I once had a professor literally laugh at me for writing rhyming poetry - literary magazines openly warn on their submissions pages that they won't even read a poem if it's in iambic pentameter. Strunk and White's Elements of Style has a list of "don'ts" that seems to be aimed directly at John Steinbeck. And Jules Verne with his long swaths of narrative and complete lack of dialogue? Horrors. 
I'm not saying we should go back to rhyming or pontificating or spending multiple chapters on the subject of poop, it's just funny is all.


Also, I have watched this trailer maybe 12 times and still get shivers. I don't even like Anne Hathaway. And we all know my (inexplicably strong) feelings on Hugh Jackman. Yet I'm somehow wishing I could cryogenically freeze myself until this comes out so that I don't have to wait to see it.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Life is short, misery sure, mortality certain.
But on the way, in your work, why not carry those two inflated pig bladders labeled 
Zest and Gusto. 
With them, traveling to the grave, I intend to slap some dummox's behind
pat a pretty girl's coiffure, wave to a tad up a persimmon tree.

~Ray Bradbury
The Joy of Writing
1973


Sunday, June 3, 2012

What word nerds do when they're grumpy

I'm not in a good mood, yo. It was a beautiful sunny day, I've got a great life, my cats have been extra cuddly, but for some reason I've been grumbling around all day whining and looking for reasons to pick fights.
Finally, though, I realized what would cheer me up. Onomatopoeias! I love me a good onomatopoeia, even though I spell it wrong every time I write it. So finding a Cracked.com article titled 10 Common Words You Had No Idea Were Onomatopoeias was good fortune.
I did not, in fact, know that cliche might be an onomatopoeia. Back in the 19th century, French printers started making single plates consisting of common phrases, which were called stereotypes. Cliche is the sound of the mold striking the molten metal. 
The French have a couple of other charming onomatopoeias, it seems. In France, roosters go cocorico (whereas they go ko-ke-kok-ko-o in Japanese and u-uru-uuu in Turkish). When the French kiss, they go mouah or smack (I would have thought that French kissing would be wetter - you know like om nom slurp slop). When they scream, they go aie, which I think is a lot more genuine than the English augh - dude, we can't even spell our onomatopoeias phonetically. Hell, we can't even spell phonetically phonetically. 

Get a load of that chicken!
Finally, one of the 500 chicken pictures I took in Key West
put to good use.

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