Syntax in the Auto Market

Kia Soul Concept photographed at the Montreal ...Image via Wikipedia

I read a review of the new Kia Soul, which is set to compete with the the Scion xB and Nissan's Cube. Aside from the question of a possible pun in the name (Kia is based in South Korea, so is the model a homonym for Seoul?) the interesting thing about this car is that they've used punctuation to distinguish the different models.

There's the base Soul, and the Soul Sport, but there's also the Soul Plus, or Soul+, and the top of the line Soul Exclaim, aka "Soul!" In the "olden days" Unix programmers used to call the exclamation point the Bang, but I don't know if people would be interested in driving the Soul Bang! Unixers also used to call the asterisk (*) the Splat, and I don't think anyone would want to drive a Soul Splat*.

Of course, this leads to a wide range of possibilities. Kia should have called the Sport model the Soul? (Soul Wonder? Soul What? Soul Huh?). And maybe Ford or GM could declare their own car variables. Would calling it the Chevy Camaro$ help you understand the value or price range of the car? There could be operator problems using the Ford Aero*. It would be obvious that the Soul++ is incrementally better than the Soul+, but if the car is called the ++Probe, well, does it get better before or after the probe?

I just hope they don't start using parentheses, otherwise we'll have to work out an order of precedence. Is a (4x4)+(A/C) better than a Soul!?
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Pocket reviews of 11 Twitter tools

SAN FRANCISCO - MARCH 10:  Twitter co-founder ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

On twitter quite a few people seem to spew all sorts of "Twitips." A recent one was "11 Useful Twitter Tools That Don’t Require Your Password."
I decided to check 'em out for you. Here are my reviews in 140 characters or less.
  1. TwitterFriends - Interesting! Graphics are hard to read. See conversations, friends, network. http://tinyurl.com/8fjbxr
  2. Friendorfollow - Nicely done! shows followers, fans & friends. Deserves a look http://friendorfollow.com/m...
  3. Tweetstats - Number of tweets/day, month, who you reply to. So-so. Kudos for strength: @Zaibatsu's stats http://tinyurl.com/nn9ckf
  4. Twitter.grader - Above average. gives a tweet cloud, rank, followers w/history, summary info http://twitter.grader.com
  5. Nearbytweets - Interesting & a bit frightening! who's tweeting near you? deserves a look http://nearbytweets.com/
  6. Retweetrank - Gives a percent of retweets. Not so interesting. http://www.retweetrank.com/...
  7. Tweetwheel - Lame-O. Advertised: "find out which of your friends know each other" Reality: spam. http://www.tweetwheel.com/
  8. Re: Tweetwheel - this page says it's otherwise, but can't get there from here http://bit.ly/bm4bC
  9. Twitoria - Good. ranks lame or lazy twitter friends. http://bit.ly/gzdVN
  10. Qwitter - So-so. Do I care when someone stops following me? http://useqwitter.com/
  11. Tweetwasters - Lame. Doesn't know who I am... http://tweetwasters.com/mxmoss
  12. Favotter - Cool. Search tweets that have been favorited by people. http://favotter.matope.com/en/

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Twerms: The good, the bad and the ugly?

google on twitterImage by pipot83 via Flickr

Ok, so Twitter's the current big thing, and although I use it, I still don't exactly "get" Twitter.
Also, maybe Twitter is just a fad, something to take our minds off the bad economy and a couple of prolonged and unwinnable wars. Maybe the Twitter craze can be compared to flag pole sitting and dance marathons from the Great Depression? But, there's no denying that the Internet, smart phones, and text messaging have all been brought together in Twitter to create new(ish) way to communicate.

Whether it's short-lived or going to endure, Twitter has already spawned a large number of new words to describe the activities that surround it. In fact, the AP Stylebook has added Twitter to their reference: "The new entry for Twitter notes that the social networking Web site limits messages to short Tweets."

This site, My Twittonary, has a less official twittonary (or is it a twossary?) of twit-words. Since Twitter is fixated on the 140 character limit, it seems inefficient to create words to describe things in Twitter that are longer than the useful words. In the interest of efficiency instead of twit-terms, or twit-words, I'm going to call them "twerms."

As I scanned through the twerms, I recognized they fall in two four categories: the good, the bad, the necessary and the irrelevant.

Some terms are uniquely necessary for Twitter users:
  • Twitterer -A user of Twitter (compare: Tweeter).
  • Tweet - A single Twitter message
  • Twoogle –Twitter as the human Google. Pose a question, get near-instantaneous results.
  • Twittduit –If you need to Tweet a friend that does not follow you, post a Twittduit asking your followers to pass a message.
  • Twode –To hack on the Twitter API.
Some words are just cute. There are some words just asking to be born, and once you say it aloud you realize it works as a natural English word:
  • Tword – I prefer "twerm," but these are words formed by appending “Tw” to the original word.
  • Twitterfly –Being a social butterfly on Twitter evidenced by extreme usage of @ signs.
  • Twitterpated - To be overwhelmed with Twitter messages. An existing word nicely transplanted to the Twitterverse.
  • Tweeterboxes –Twitterers who tweet too much
  • Twitterati –The glamorous A-List Twitterer's everyone wants to follow.
  • Twittectomy -unfollowing friends
  • Tweeple, or Tweeps - The people who you specifically talk to through Twitter
  • Tweetheart –That special someone who makes your heart skip a beat
Other words are irrelevant, because they're trying to supplant phrases that already work:
  • Twittercal mass – What's wrong with "critical mass"? It's a term borrowed from physics that accuractely explains the phenomena: "the minimum amount of fissionable material required to sustain a chain reaction."
  • Twaiting, Twaunt, Twerminology – mean the same as "waiting," "taunt" and "terminology" except that there are more characters in the Twerms. What's the point in that?
And some new words are just obnoxious. Most of the words in this category are not designed to be spoken aloud, but only typed on a keyboard. Take a moment and say "I'm going to send a twurvey to my tweeps." Do you feel ridiculous?
  • TwoingTwoing –To Twitter about wonderful things.
  • Twitimonial - Endorsing someone through Twitter.
  • Twelepathy - When a tweeter is so predictable you can tell what they're going to tweet before they tweet it
  • Twurvey – Survey sent out over Twitter
  • Twis –To dis a fellow Twitterer. For me these doesn't even read well, since I see it as rhyming with "buys."
  • Twead – To read a Twitter. Yeah, right. Use this in a sentence.
  • Twaigslist – To sell something via Twitter. Also Twebay.
  • Twike – To ride a bike with Twitter.
  • Twitterlooing - Twittering from a bathroom.
  • Twadd – To add someone as a friend - mutual followers.
  • Tweekend – Spending your entire Saturday and Sunday reading and posting via Twitter.
Finally, I want to end by creating some of my own Twerms:
  • Twirt - Someone who only re-tweets, and never writes their own.
  • Twat - someone who Twitters at you, not with you. Can also be written Tw@.
  • Twitstar- The elite of the Twitterati.
  • Outwit - Post a news-breaking tweet before any of your followers
  • Fatwit - Someone who proclaims a fatwah (ruling on Islamic law) over Twitter
  • Phatweet - A really good tweet.
  • Titter - Twitter after the 2008 election... 'cause there's no more W.
  • Twart - Something you do before you say "excuse me"
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Barbara Drake's "Pommes" set to music

My mom had the recent honor of getting some of her poems set to music. Sylvia Gray set wrote music for "The Owl", "Every Year", and "Pommes", which was performed by Christy Anne Hamilton Ford (vocals) and Sylvia Gray and on the piano at PCC Sylvania during PCC's Art Beat Week.

Here's the video for "Pommes" (French for "apples") on youtube. My mom reads, and then they perform the song: