‘Makku’: Iraqis Come Up With Perfect Word for Bad Times

I stumbled upon a report by someone named Deborah Amos, who was returning to visit Baghdad for the first time in four years.

While the details were revealing in that the mainstream media report only the gory details to discredit Bush–and now only successes to burnish Obama–what really struck me was Ms. Amos’s discussion of everyday life in the Iraqi capital. Here:

The word makku unites Sunnis and Shiite alike. It means "there isn’t any." This was the first Iraqi Arabic word I learned back in 2003 and is still uttered in almost every discussion. Makku jobs, makku water, makku electricity. These complaints have only gotten stronger in my four-year absence.

Here in America, we can say, "Makku money, makku jobs, makku future."

Don’t Leave Home Without It

From the city of Belvedere, Calif.:

City Council order reads: “No dog shall be in a public place without its master on a leash."

Now, I realize it often seems like my dog is pulling me while I’m walking him, but the leash is on his neck, not mine. I’d never make it in Belvedere.

Welcome to the New World of Abbreviated SubSpeak

Okay, so SubSpeak doesn’t really describe what’s happening to the English language in the new world of instant electronic communication, but I was (vainly) trying to come up with a variation on George Orwell’s famed DoubleSpeak (the language politicians use). I mean, if we went around talking in text abbreviations, then SubSpeak might apply, but TextSpeak might even be better.

However, my whole point in creating SubSpeak was to castigate the texting phenomenon as something sub-human, or at least as sub-human communication–a sign of 1) irreversible decay in interpersonal relationships and 2) the imminent demise of the English language and people who know how to use it to beautiful effect.

Anyway, I got on this topic after reading an article in today’s Wall Street Journal entitled "Quick! Tell Us What KUTGW Means." Through the course of the article, I learned many abbreviations, but being someone who sees no purpose in texting and uses cell phones only for emergency calls, I was definitely a parvenue to SubSpeak (which I intend to remain).

Anyway, KUTGW means "keep up the good work."

Gee, I’d really love to see that as a subject line in an e-mail after working my  butt off on a project for six weeks. How about coming over and telling me in person?

Here’s my contribution to the subject: URE.

Translation: Use Real English. (Another:  CIP, Communicate In Person.)

(The article must’ve been widely read. It mentioned a site where one could find translations of electronic abbreviations, and each time I went there, NetLingo.com was not operating. It might’ve crashed from the sudden onslaught of visitors. Another site, dtxtr.com, allows you to enter either the abbreviation for a translation or the full English for an accepted abbreviation.)

Story So Good, ‘Times’ Runs It Twice

I wonder if anybody at the Los Angeles Times realizes that today the newspaper ran an article twice.

Well, not exactly, the articles were written by different people, but both the Calendar (page D4) and the Business (B3) sections featured articles on a new Web site called RunPee.com that alerts moviegoers to appropriate spots in films to run to the bathroom and not miss anything.

As for RunPee.com and moviegoers, I’ve got a better idea–don’t bother wasting your money on the movies Hollywood wastes your time on. Try reading a book instead.