How many of you have ever used this word? I bet there’s very few people who use it in their everyday conversations, but I reckon a lot of you do it without realising. Now, before you start thinking this blog has turned a little on the scandalous, fear not. A scurryfunge is a word that has left the pages of our modern-day dictionaries but is completely innocent, entirely hilarious and most probably still practiced in households around the world.
A scurryfunge is:
1. “a hasty tidying of the house between the time you see a neighbour and the time she knocks on the door”.
Its heyday as a common word was around 1882, so you’ll be forgiven if you’ve never heard of it. But, gee, what a pearler of a word. The Dictionary of Newfoundland English by George Morley Story, W. J. Kirwin 1982 gives us two other meanings, not far from the first.
2. “To clean thoroughly, scour” 3. “To do anything briskly … to work or walk hurriedly”
I don’t know about you, but I think this is one of those words that deserves a comeback, in a big way.
5 Lessons for Creative Wilderness: When Lost in the Woods
We all get a bit lost sometimes.
Sometimes we can get lost geographically, like that time when I was fourteen and my five friends and I got lost in the bush south of Perth while trekking on the Bibbulman Track. We were in the middle of who knows where; we’d lost all trace of the skinny dirt track that we were traveling on. Getting out of our pickle required a bit of knowledge that my Dad had given me years earlier — knowledge he had learned from his time serving in the Australian Army. By keeping a close eye on our compass, we walked to the left of one tree and then to the right of the next, repeating one after the other, which kept us in a relatively straight line until we found the major gravel road we were seeking.
At other times, we can get lost creatively, which has been something I’ve experienced lately. Getting lost is scary. You can panic and fear that you won’t find your way back which can lead to a bit of strife, especially when you’re on a deadline. In times of desperation you question yourself and your work and that can be hazardous. There’s nothing worse than clinging to a bad idea in fear you won’t come up with a better one.
The biggest thing I’ve learned about creative wilderness is not to panic. It’s easier said than done, but very true.
Which brings me to this fabulous 1946 flyer, from the U.S. Forest Service. “What To Do When Lost In The Woods” was a manual made for hikers and campers and it is ever-so-fitting for creatives types like you and me who get lost from time to time.
September 13, 2013 at 15:34
Where I draw the line on selfies
It’s no secret that we’re becoming more self-obsessed. We’re writing blogs, we’re telling our Facebook universes about our Nobel Prize-worthy days (please read that sarcastically) and we’re snapping pictures of ourselves everywhere and anywhere.
It’s no secret and fortunately/unfortunately, it’s no longer exclusive to the tweens and teens. Everyone’s doing it. Even Hillary Clinton and Meryl Streep are doing it. And that’s not really something I have issue with; if you can’t beat them, join them I guess. If you feel great in that dress or you are on your fiftieth hot date with your boy then good on you for showing the world.
These days it is imperative to have a well-managed personal brand when applying for jobs and getting ahead with your life goals. I personally know of employers who check the Facebook accounts of those who are seeking jobs — dangerous territory for selfie-taking fans who are looking through six-champagnes-down goggles and posting photos of those usually hard-to-see tattoos and and body parts. I wouldn’t recommend having those images public. But again, good on you if you’re a twenty-something, like to channel Miley Cyrus and are loving it.
Where I draw the line on what I will tolerate are the levels to which this selfie-obsessed world goes. When taking snapshots on Instagram becomes part and parcel with politics and times of serious nature, I get a little fired up.
Take for example, the current election campaign by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. In what could be seen as a desperate attempt to connect with a younger Australia, Kev is using selfies and snapshots via Instagram and Twitter, trying very hard to appeal to the people and become a ‘real’ person who gets down to business. The only problem is, that it isn’t working. I think the more he tries, the worse he gets.
Exactly how out of touch is he? This much: ‘I like young people. I have three kids. Most of the
people who roll inside our house are under 25 and I’m very, very
comfortable with all those folks. Most of my friends are younger folk. Apart
from my wife, my three kids are my best friends. As a result … you come
out with really trendy things, like saying, ‘Let’s cook with gas’.’
Above: the PM joins the likes
of Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus in the quest for the most popular
Instagrams. Possible caption on bottom right “so… what are you
wearing?” or “no… you hang up. Okay, I’ll hang up. No you…”
What really ticks me off is one of his latest tweets accompanied by a picture of him sitting/posing behind his desk with a caption "spoke to President Obama about mass murders in Syria. Human tragedy can’t continue".Now, I know that the photo isn’t a selfie. But it’s symptomatic of our time.
Let’s forget (but let’s never) for a moment that he’s talking about situation that involves a country whose civilians have been obliterated by its government, war and an alleged chemical attack (the term ‘mass murders’ makes me queasy and reduces the situation down to sensationalism).
For there he sits behind a desk, happy to show the world that he’s doing the hard business of Prime Minister’s office whenever it’s called for — even if it means sitting in his trackie dacks (however this costume choice is no accident, people). The primary point of this photo is not the Syrian crisis. It’s more about 'check me out' and it’s a little revolting to me. This is a humble-brag photo opportunity. ‘Yeah, it’s really horrible
that this is happening to Syria and all that… but hey, I get to
talk to Obama!'
It annoys me especially when I know this is the same man prone to showing off with idiotic Kardashian-esque selfies of himself at his silliest, most lighthearted moments — shaving accident, exhibit A. Poses with ‘the people’, exhibit B. How on earth am I supposed to take his ‘getting down to business’ photo of dealing with Syria any more seriously?
In an attempt to create a digital campaign of merit with a younger generation who constantly live behind the glowing screens of their smartphones, this latest image doesn’t just fall flat, it falls far below the belt.
Selfies don’t win seats and they certainly don’t win wars.
What do you reckon? Leave a thought below.
August 29, 2013 at 16:21
The Origin of Words: Shemozzle (and Schlematzal)
This post comes with a word-nerd alert.
As I was gearing to introduce you to one of my favourite words, I discovered another one which I developed a bit of a thing for.
Shemozzle is one of my go-to words that I use when something is all over the place, it’s lost its mojo or it’s became a disastrous mess — it’s a shemozzle. The word has Yiddish origins, which isn’t hard to imagine, when you pronounce it out aloud in a long drawl.
Pronunciation: /ʃɪˈmɒz(ə)l/ (also schemozzle) noun (informal): a state of chaos and confusion; a muddle:the debate about climate change and how to deal with it is a shemozzle. Origin: late 19th century: Yiddish, suggested by late Hebrew šel-lō’-mazzāl ‘of no luck’
There’s another closely-related word that has similar context. But this one’s more about a person than it is about a situation. It’s got a really interesting and delightful meaning.
The word is schlematzal, and it’s actually one part of two; there’s the schlemiel and then the schlematzal (schlemazel, if you will). They’re Yiddish words and they are used like this: "a schlemiel is the man who buys the soup with his last dime and then
proceeds to drop it. The schlematzal is the man whose head it falls on." (via)
Here’s a more formalised definition:
also schlimazel, “born loser,” 1948, from Yiddish shlim mazel “rotten luck,” from Middle High German slim “crooked” + Hebrew mazzal “luck.” British slang shemozzle “an unhappy plight” (1889) is probably from the same source.
A shlemiel is the fellow who climbs to the top of a ladder with a bucket
of paint and then drops it. A shimazl is the fellow on whose head the
bucket falls. [Rep. Stephen J. Solarz (D.-N.Y.), 1986]
"Urdu is the national language of Pakistan, but is also an official language in 5 of the Indian states. This particular Urdu word conveys a contemplative ‘as-if’ that nonetheless feels like reality, and describes the suspension of disbelief that can occur, often through good storytelling." — Maptia
August 23, 2013 at 15:46
// 2 Notes
IBM and Ogilvy France created a clever little campaign that features smart ideas to makeliving in a city better. It’s a little moment of brilliance and great outdoor ad campaign.
August 14, 2013 at 15:40
I swear this isn’t a blog about dogs (although, I concede a lot of my posts would suggest otherwise). BUT… how wonderful is this:
The Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia has established a puppy room for its students who are in the throes of exam week and feeling the heat. Students can hopefully lower their blood pressure and chill out with a bunch of different breeds in the puppy room, which is the initiative of Therapeutic Paws of Canada.
It’s not the first time puppy therapy has been used for students. The University of San Francisco School of Law in recent times allowed students to “check out” dogs for some quality one-on-one time.
I swear, that’s the coolest thing I’ve ever heard about studying. As someone who gets to work in an office with two dogs every day, I can testify to the stress-relief (not including puppy toilet-training, of course).
By creating an apartment-sized camera obscuras with DSLR cameras, they created time-lapse movies showing the outside world cast onto the apartment’s interior. This one of Paris is stunning.
(Thanks to my beloved photographer man for this link.)
August 09, 2013 at 11:32
Watch: Let The Sun Shine In
It’s been a hard couple of weeks in my world — not enough sunshine peeking between those clouds. But I saw this chuckle-worthy video this morning which features my one of my favourites, Jason Bateman — who I adore dearly — and it brightened up the day a little. Who doesn’t like seeing a bunch of comic actors taking the piss out of Mumford & Sons for a bit… Jason Sudekis, Ed Helms, Will Forte and Jason Bateman take the place of the English folk-rocking quartet in a slapstick video that got me guffawing. Enjoy.
August 08, 2013 at 11:36
The Secret Life of Dogs
This is the most wonderful documentary about dogs and their owners. Narrated by Martin Clunes, it details dogs’ amazing biological makeup and the incredible bond that they have with humans. If there was ever a show to watch about man’s best friend, this is it.