Tuesday, March 6, 2012

You Say Turbine, I Say Turban

Before Rush Limbaugh made his apology to Ms. Fluke, I had been working on a draft for my next blog post (which would be this blog post, not the next one, since this is the next one after the last one which had already been published, which would make this next. Follow?)

Therefore, I would like to apologize to Mr. Limbaugh now for something I wrote before but am publishing now. So, now that that's all cleared up, here now is the poem I wrote before:

A pig-headed loudmouth named Rush
Has some people wishing he'd hush.
But I say, why the fuss? Let him work.
Keep in mind that the words from this jerk
Have the value of something you'd flush.

It may look to my readers that there is a disturbing trend here. In fact, three of the last four blog posts have had mention of something toilet related. Believe me, it was not planned. Sometimes that's just the way it pans out. This reminds me of a previous series of entries two years ago: my inadvertent chewing gum trilogy.

You Say Mobile, I Say Mobile

I did not grow up in Antler River. Nor did I grow up in Minikin. I grew up in Windsor, Ontario.

Windsor is directly across the river from Detroit (pronounced De-troit, not De-troy-it), Michigan and is thus like a suburb of that exquisite and astonishingly gorgeous city.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not being derisive about Detroit. No, it is not gorgeous, but it really is a fine city. If crime and squalor is your thing, then it's fine. No, seriously, it really is a nice place —  if you like hubcaps on the side of the road and derelict buildings. Honestly, I should stop with this and say that I sincerely like Detroit. This is a humor blog after all and I have to poke fun at something. (C'mon Detroit. Lighten' up. Go Pistons, Red Wings, Lions, Tigers, Bears Oh My!)

Anyway, Windsor is tremendously affected by U.S. media and culture. In fact, Windsorians, I mean Windsorers, uh Windsorites (hey, I think that's it!) speak almost exactly like Detroitonians, I mean Detroiters (I do believe I'm finally getting the hang of this).

For example, most Ontarians (got it on the first try!) would pronounce pasta with a short, sharp a as in apple. Windsorites on the other hand generally pronounce it with a soft, breathy a as in father. "I think I'd like to have some paahsta for dinner", we would say.

Likewise, we'd pronounce Mazda or garage, in that oh-so-refined sounding way. On the other side of the coin, I've actually heard someone from Antler River pronounce Sinatra with that short, sharp a. "Sin-at-ra"

I'm reminded here of the Gershwing tune "Let's Call The Whole Thing Off" where you'll find the lines,
You like tomato, I like tomahto
You like potato, I like potahto...

POTAHTO??? What kind of cheap rhyme is that? No one says potahto. Even the crème de la crème of the English upper crust wouldn't say it that way. "Would you kindly pahss the mahshed potahtoes."

But back here in Ontario, another odd regional difference (odd considering Windsor is only a 2-hour drive from Antler River) is how words with i-(consonant)-e are pronounced. For example, in Windsor the word mobile is mo-bull (with stress on the first syllable). Other Ontarians will say mo-bahyl (emphasis on the last syllable and pronounced like mile).

Other similar words are fragile (fraj-ill and fraj-aisle), and my favorite turbine (which I pronounce like the Sikh headgear, not tur-bahyn). Some people argue with me and say that these two words should be pronounced differently to avoid confusion. But if I said wind turbine (pronounced my way) would people really think I meant a device for determining the direction and speed of air movement that happens to look like a piece of clothing? Who ever heard of such a thing?

Some will say miss-aisle for missile (miss-uhl) but that's mostly Brits. What do they know about English?

Since we're on the subject, here are a few more words and phrases which need to be cleared up:

The word kilometer I pronounce kill-o-mee-ter not kill-om-uh-ter (another one for the Brits, although they do not say cen-tim-it-er for centimeter (or do they?)).

Short-lived I pronounce with a long i and rhyme with port thrived (OK, you find something to rhyme with it).

Cyclical — sahy-kli-kul instead of sick-li-kuhl (I don't want a pickle. Just want to ride on my motorsickle).

Vicious circle, rather than vicious cycle (although as a kid, I once had a bicycle that I swore was trying to kill me).

Don't get me wrong. Say things in whatever manner you wish. Remember, even though you may see profound prose and masterful writing here, I'm not the final word on how words and phrases should be expressed.

Oh, and by the way, the toilet paper roll should be installed with the paper hanging over.


  1. I used to cross the border there quite frequently to get to Fishbone's restaurant and this place where they made fudge, while singing. it was really cool.
    of course, they would say "real" cool because Americans don't seem to use "ly"....similar to how their keyboards also do not have the letter "u".
    Around here, in the Ottawa valley, there is such a language mashup most days I don't know if I am English, Louisiana swamp, or Le Le Canadien. It's a bloody shambles it 'tis, non?

    1. You’re right about “real” vs “really”. Windsorites buck the trend with that one and will say “really”. Next time I’m in Ottawa, I’ll have to keep an ear out for that French Canadian Cajun English.

  2. Loved this post! I especially got a kick out of your Rush poem, although I think you were being overly kind in only calling him a "jerk." That man spews hatred and lies. (I am NOT a fan.) As for the variances in pronunciations, you had me smiling along with you until the end. But you really stepped in it when you claimed the toilet paper should "hang over"! (Just kidding. I don't give a diddle, as long as it's there when I reach for it.)

    1. Thanks for the comments Susan. As for the poem about Rush, I suppose I could have tried to figure out some way to fit in the word plucker, or trick, and then come up with an appropriate rhyme. Also, I have to agree with you — the really important factor for keeping everyone content, is to make sure the paper is there. I can think of nothing worse than a roll with only two or three sheets left (unless they also happen to be hanging under).

  3. what about foy-ur

    1. I would pronounced it foie-ey since I'm Canadian, eh?

  4. Heh . . . being a Canadian, I get a chuckle when watching the Military Channel. I hear the "Turbine/Turban" pronunciation used a lot; the other one is "carbine/carbon".

    1. Thanks for the comment DK. And let's not forget the pronunciation "car-been."

      I wonder if I could confuse a grocery store clerk by asking where the "sar-dahynes" are kept?