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Stuff I didn't know dept.: There was a He-Man and the Masters of the Universe newspaper strip. More information here.

"How a Camera Flash Saved This Baby's Life". My hat-tip for the link.

"Comprise" and "compose" are not synonyms.

"Nauseous" and "nauseated" are incorrectly used interchangeably.

True, Imperious Leader!

(Always thought it was funny the original Cylons followed a guy whose title means, "Dickish Leader."*)

*Colloquially speaking, of course.I suppose, "Haughty Arrogant Leader" would be more correct for this conversation.

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

"Comprise" and "compose" are not synonyms.

"Nauseous" and "nauseated" are incorrectly used interchangeably.

Nor is gender a more polite way of referring to the physical classifications of male and female. but people think so, mostly so they can avoid saying the word sex. Gender has nothing to do with distinctions of males and females.

Just heard another one on a news show.

Rebel-rousing is wrong. Rabble-rousing is correct.

Unless, I suppose, one is specifically rousing rebels.

As for gender, I beg to partially disagree, at least with the statement it has "nothing" to do with sex differences, since one of its definitions, pertaining to any male/female distinctions, is quite old. According to the OED's section on usage:

The word gender has been used since the 14th century as a grammatical term, referring to classes of noun designated as masculine, feminine, or neuter in some languages. The sense ‘the state of being male or female’ has also been used since the 14th century, but this did not become common until the mid 20th century. Although the words gender and sex both have the sense ‘the state of being male or female’, they are typically used in slightly different ways: sex tends to refer to biological differences, while gender refers to cultural or social ones.

Your usage is more typical (especially now), but historically it hasn't been exclusive.

Richard Willis said:

Just heard another one on a news show.

Rebel-rousing is wrong. Rabble-rousing is correct.

Yesterday, I went to my church for a funeral for a longtime member, Rachel Spann Kennedy, a dear, lovely woman who personifies the American dream. She was born and grew up in South Carolina, met and married her husband of more than 50 years, got a masters' degree in teaching and settled in Washington, D.C., where he became a postal worker and she an elementary school teacher. They raised three children, two sons and a daughter, who all went to Ivy League schools and became lawyers -- one became a public defender, one a law professor, and one a judge.

But I was a little surprised when I approached the church and saw a line of people on the front steps, because two guys in trenchcoats and with the little earpiece things in their ears were screening everyone before they went in. One had a handheld metal detector and the other was searching each person's bags and purses.

So I got searched, too, and wondered why. I figured maybe the mayor was there; Ms. Kennedy was named Teacher of the Year more than once, and she wrote the book on teaching -- and by that I mean she literally, actually wrote the school system manual on teaching in integrated classrooms.

But no ... once I got inside, I found out First Lady Michelle Obama was there to pay her respects (!), along with her mother, First Mother-in-Law Marian Robinson. Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Robinson were dear, longtime friends, as are their daughters, who were roommates at Princeton. So of course Mrs. Robinson would be their to honor her friend, and Michelle Obama would be there for her girl, and for the woman who was like a second mother to her.

As it happened though, the mayor DID show up! That's right -- Muriel Bowser, mayor of the District of Columbia, came to the funeral, and she spoke briefly about meeting Mrs. Kennedy as a constituent when Bowser was a mere city council member. Mrs. Kennedy was also a co-founder of a community group that worked to combat white flight by bringing people together, and was active in her neighborhood well into her old age. That is, when she wasn't traveling around the world.

Yes, Rachel Kennedy was a very, very special woman. It is a great privilege to have known her.


JD DeLuzio said:

The word gender has been used since the 14th century as a grammatical term, referring to classes of noun designated as masculine, feminine, or neuter in some languages. 

The fault is mine for not making myself absolutely clear in my previous post.  I assumed that, from my lead-in sentence, it was understood that my later phrase, "nothing to do with the distinction between males and females", also referred to physicality.  (I was hoping to avoid sounding redundant.)  Because your post hit my point exactly.

Gender is a grammatical term; it refers to the need to ensure that that pronouns agree with the sex of their subject---male, female, or neutral.  It does not refer to the physical distinctions of the subject's sex.

It fell into common usage for "physical or biological sex" sometime around the mid- to late-1970's.  Before that, when I was young, job applications, medical forms, and the like asked for the sex of the individual in ways such as this:

"Sex:  M or F". . .  or . . . "Sex:  ____"

For the last thirty years or so, that information is asked "Gender: ______"  It's the twelve-year-old boy mentality at work---"Oooh ooooh, it said "sex" . . . tee hee, snicker, snicker."  In order to avoid that, gender got "promoted" to mean the biological classifications of male and female.

Quite a bit in the usage of the English language in America is governed by those twelve-year-old boys.

"Gender: __yes, please!___"

Also in the 70s (or 60s?) the phrase "making love" came to mean engaging in sex.* We were watching a 1955 movie in which the phrase referred to courting, cuddling and kissing, at most.

* which is odd, since sex and love are not necessarily connected.

Just heard what sounded like a gunshot in my house. For some reason my shaving cream exploded, covering my bathroom and hall with foam. The can was on the floor with the bottom of the can next to it. Never saw anything like that happen before. Still cleaning the mess off the walls and floor.

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