Phonetics – a favorite thing

I love language systems, particularly letters that are weird, like the shwa or thorn. I also like when speech therapists discuss fricatives and sybilants. So how happy am I to see this wikipedia chart of the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), which includes all the discrete sound bits for every language in the world? So happy.

Here are some samples:

Voiceless retroflex approximant




Biliabial trill



Voiced alveolar lateral fricative



Here is the whole chart



I like words, really like them, especially the unusual ones that seldom find their way into conversation, but may be found on better writers’ pages everywhere. To me, nothing is more enjoyable than reading a novel and copying down the words I do not know, so I can look them up later. That is how I discovered raillery, soi-disant, and badinage.

Anywho, here is a little website, the author of which defines interesting words. I am not sure why this dictionary is damned.


Healthy Growth in School

I discovered a colony of mold (?) growing on the faucet in the men’s room. This could be a marvelous science project for budding mycologists. You can see the reflection of my phone in the top photo.

Here is a close-up of the spores. So juicy.

YouTube, in the Seconds Before Reality Caught Up

In an apparent space-time mishap, I landed on a Youtube page several seconds before the web gremlins were able to add content. I took a screen capture.

Hopefully the Langoliers will not read this blog post and come looking for me.

Password Generator Generates Delight

I had never seen this before…the Mac’s built-in random password assistant!

There are all sorts of options for both short and long words, and some of the results are hilarious. Notice that both “fizz” and “quiff” have the number 23 after them. Hmmmm….

You can find the password assistant by going to

System Preferences…


Security & Privacy

Change Password…

Password Assistant (the Key icon)

Once there, choose your password type.

Memorable ones are easier to remember, obvs. Unless you choose a Length of 31-characters. Obvs.

I appreciate a password that includes references to taxidermy.

iPads and green screens

A group of students planned to record themselves singing and dancing along to a movie video. Each students would then would then use that footage and the Green Screen by Do Ink app to digitally add themselves to the movie video. This is what the setup looked like:

Library, part III

When I was a kid, library books had holders in the inside back cover. When you went to borrow the book, the librarian would date-stamp a slip of paper with the date the book was due, and then put that paper in the holder. With the advent of computers and barcode scanners, this is outdated technology. The same goes for card catalogs, those huge file cabinets with drawers filled with cards with information about books. Believe me, it took real skill to navigate the card catalog to find the book you were looking for. With the advent of searchable computer databases, card catalogs no longer exist.

So why is it that new library books still have them? Weird!








Library, part II

Consider Mr. Melville Dewey, founder of the Dewey Decimal book classification system. He has had an affect on every single library user around the world who walked thorugh the stacks searching for a book. His goal was nothing less than to take the sum total of written academic language and categorize, classify, and prioritize it all.

I am fascinated about what he boosted, what he marginalized, and what he ignored entirely.



Library, part I

I visited a school with a library (which is the exception, not the rule…the library, that is, not my visitation. I peruse school libraries if I see them). In the bookcase closest to the door was this collection of Chicken Soup for the… books. Maybe there was a sale by the publisher?

Finger Pencil

A teacher had this pencil for a student with limited manual dexterity and/or cannot grasp a stylus. This pencil snaps onto a finger. Twist the top to advance the graphite.

Previous Older Entries Next Newer Entries

September 2018
« Aug