Sunday, November 27, 2005


Normally when I encounter a new coinage, it's either explicitly defined or one can deduce the meaning from context or by analogy or what-not. Here's one I am still trying to completely suss out, though. It's the mission statement for the Web site is a group weblog written by professional bloggers, for professional bloggers. The emphasis at Performancing is commercial blogging.

The Mission

"To create a home for professional bloggers. A place where those that want to make money from their blogs can learn, and perfect the art of making a living from weblogging."

What exactly is "performancing" intended to mean? Working backward, we posit a verb "to performance." Is it transitive? I performance you. If so, what am I doing for you? Is it intransitive? I'm performancing = I'm working at a high-performance level?

I suppose I could just ask them, couldn't I?

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Another productive, reparsed morpheme. First came Lollapalooza, about which our dubiously reliable friend Wikipedia has this to say:
Farrell conceived of the Lollapalooza festival in 1990 as a farewell tour for Jane's Addiction. The name Lollapalooza means "something outstanding or unusual"; Farrell heard the word in a Three Stooges short film and liked the sound.
Ok, sure, whatever. With increasing frequency, the -palooza bit has been broken off and applied in other contexts. The meaning seems to be along the lines of "festival of ...", often meant with an ironic twist.

  • Penant Palooza (Web site)
  • Salsa-Palooza (Web site)
  • Wrestle Palooza (Web site)
  • Potty Palooza (a traveling potty to advertise Charmin. Nice.)
  • "After April's repairapalooza, when I could actually hear the dollars whizzing out of my bank account, this left me comparatively giddy." (Blog entry)
  • (Insert about 100 more here)

I suspect that the particle is popular also for the simple reason that it's fun to say and funny to hear.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Guys and dolls

Here's an interesting bit out of Michael Quinion's World Wide Words for 5 November 2005:

Most famously, [Guy Fawkes Day] also bequeathed us "guy". At first this meant the effigy of Guy Fawkes traditionally burnt on the bonfire (children once constructed guys and begged money with them for fireworks with the cry "a penny for the guy!"). But it's also where "guy" in the sense of a person comes from - it was originally applied to a man of grotesque appearance, like a bonfire effigy, but when it was taken to the US in the late nineteenth century it turned into a neutral term for a man, more recently a person of either sex.

(Emphasis mine.) Nice to know the origins, right, guys?

I believe that Quinion is right, but the use of guys in a sex-neutral way is limited to the plural, as in you guys -- a vernacular second-person plural. My sense is that guy as a singular still refers to a male person. Yes?