28 Sep


Who taught: Many friends, The Big Bang Theory and Alex

If you were in the U.S., one of the words you would hear very often is this word, “literally.”

The definition of literal is

Taking words in their usual or most basic sense without metaphor or allegory

Another definition is “free from exaggeration or distortion.”

A few days ago, Alex commented on my last post. He mentioned that there is a difference between literal speech and figurative speech. As I read his comment, the first word that came to my mind is this word, literally. You know why? It’s because of this TV show, The Big Bang Theory. In an episode where Penny was seeing this guy who is not as smart as the other guys in the show like Sheldon. I mean who can be even considered to be as smart as those guys, especially Sheldon. Anyway, this guy who is literally dumb says, “I haven’t been to a comic book store in literally a million years.”  And, Sheldon who is a PhD, of course, reacts like this guy does not have any clue what he is talking about, saying ‘Literally… Literally A MILLION YEARS?”

Can you get it? I am sure you can because you are smarter than Penny’s boy friend. Oh man! You should see this show. This show literally makes me laugh all the time.

So, the point here is that you will hear many people using this word, literally, not to mean something literal, but to exaggerate something that is not literal at all. If you think about it more, it is a very strong exaggeration. To me, it’s a figurative speech using the word, literal. How ironic! So, it is not bad and you can totally use it.

One tip! If someone says literally for something that is not really literal at all, don’t act like Sheldon in the show. That is not cool. If one of your close friends did, well you could be his/her Sheldon. It would be fun. 🙂 That is something I am going to try next time my friend says literally.

06 Jul

helicopter parent

Who taught: Sangeetha and Alex

Helicopter parents (source: http://morethangrades.com/)

Being a teacher, Sangeetha has a lot of experiences with many different parents. A few weeks ago, when we had dinner together, Sangeetha told me this expression, “Helicopter parent.” It sounds easy to guess what it means and I am sure you can also get what it means by just hearing it.

As a South Korean, I know what it is like in Korea. I could probably say that majority of Korean parents would be considered as helicopter parents. They would do anything for their children and, some times, it is gone too far. I am not sure what percentage of American parents are hovering over their children all the time.

If I were a parent, how would I be? I would care about them a lot.

This expression is pretty new. It is an early 21st century term and was coined by Dr. Foster W. Cline and Jim Fay. As I research about this expression, I learned another one which sounds like talking about parents who are trying to do even more for their children. It is lawnmower parents. The space between lawn and lawnmower is so close whereas helicopter requires a lot more space.

Also, all the acts done by helicopter parents or lawnmower parents are called to be “over-parenting.” Let me make my own expression here. How about “well-done parenting?”

If I had a choice, I would rather be a helicopter parent than a lawnmower parent. Also, I hope I can try to stay at medium-parenting. Rare-parenting or under-parenting sounds also not good. I guess being a parent is not an easy thing at all.

17 Jun

red herring

Who taught : Alex and Sangeetha

That's what I am (source: http://www.imdb.com)

Have you seen this movie, that’s what I am? A few days ago, Jessy and I watched it and I personally like it. In the movie, there are a few slangs and one of them is ginger. There is a student who is called the Big G by other students in the movie, basically in the context of bullying. So sad to see it happening just because of his hair color. And, later in the movie, he mentioned a word, tolerance. He said, “I like this word because of its definition.” Here is the definition he used in the movie.

sympathy or indulgence for beliefs or practices differing from or conflicting with one’s own

As I hear this definition, I thought about it. How much do we judge other people every time and every day? And, the worst thing is that we judge other people by their looks or behaviors without even really knowing them. Why can we have sympathy or indulgence to each other? It is just something I would like to suggest you to think about today.

OK… so two days ago, Alex and Sangeetha visited my place and we had dinner and watched a movie. It was fun. As always, I also learned a few new expressions. Let me tell you one of them that I think it is very interesting! It is “red herring.”

Here, herring is a kind of fish that is blue. Now, why there is “red”  in the expression. If you salt or smoke herring, its color is changed to be red from blue.

Knowing that, would you be able to feel what it means? There is no way you can feel it unless you really know the meaning of it. Here is the meaning of the expression. Oh.. actually… before I talk about it, let me give you a perfect situation that you can use this expression. Whenever you watch a thriller or read a mystery fiction, the story always leads you to believe that one character must be a criminal or killer but, in the end, you find out that the other character that you never thought about suddenly becomes the killer. Now, who is the red herring here? The first character you believed to be a killer is the red herring. OK. now, here is the definition for you.

diverting attention away from an item of significance.

Alex said something to Sangeetha and Sangeetha sort of disagreed to what he said. As she tried to argue about it, she said something that is not really connected to what Alex said. So, at that moment, Alex said to Sangeetha, “Now, that is a red herring.”

When Alex told me that story, my feeling about the expression was that it must be from fishermen’s sayings. Well, I was not even close. The etymology of this expression is very interesting. Let me give you the best link you can visit to find it out.

Next time you watch a thriller with your friends, why don’t you try to find out who in the movie is the red herring? It will be fun.

06 May

hammock and banana hammock

Who taught: Sangeetha, Alex, Phil, Pat, Mark and Kelly

banana hammock (source: http://www.sampa.com/)

Last Saturday, I moved all of my stuff from my old apartment into the new house. Many friends showed up to help the move. I would like to thank all. It was a lot easier with their help. Luckily, the weather was also amazing. To take advantage of it, I bought hot dogs, pizzas and some drinks to have a small spontaneous party at my house.

The move was done pretty quickly and we hang out in the backyard. Hack ya! That was something I have always wanted to do with my friends when I buy a house. Yay! Finally, it happened. And, I am sure there will be a lot more parties. It was so great to have them in my place.

At one point during the party, Phil said, “You guys should sling a hammock in the backyard here. That would be perfect.”

Do you guys know what hammock is? Here is the definition!

A bed made of canvas or of rope mesh and suspended by cords at the ends, used as garden furniture or on board a ship.

I am sure you’ve seen this when you were on a vacation at a resort. The most important thing you should keep in mind is that the shape of hammock, especially if someone lies in it. It becomes very narrow because of the weight of the lying person and its shape is very round. Can you imagine? I am sure you have a great imagination here.

As we talked about hammock, Sangeetha said, “Hey, speaking of hammock… Terry, have you heard the expression, banana hammock?”

I said, “I have but I totally forgot what it means. Does it have something to do with sexual stuff? Oh, does it mean a banana-shaped penis?”

Phil said, “Good guess but not that one.”

Actually, I was pretty close because it has something to do with penis. So, instead of telling you the definition of banana hammock, let me remind you of the shape of hammock when you lie in it. Imagine yourself being a penis, then what is hammock? It is something men wear but very tight. It’s a speedo or male thong.

What a great expression! It is so perfect. I am sure somebody, looking at the shape of a hammock with a person in it, thought of speedo or thong that men wear. Don’t you think they look exactly same?

Now, what if I go to a department store and ask a sales person like, “So, I am looking for a banana hammock? Do you carry them?” Would they understand what I mean? Would they look at me like a crazy person? Probably yes in the U.S., right?

25 Mar

love handles

Who taught: Ari, Alex and Jean

Love handles (source: http://www.opposingviews.com/)

There are two coffee places I love to go and spend time in Pittsburgh, more specifically, in Squirrel Hill. They are 61c Cafe and Commonplace coffee shop. Soon, these locations could be changed to be some other places in my new neighborhood that I will move in, I guess. A few weeks ago, I was in Commonplace, working on grading. All of a sudden, Ari and Alex came in. As soon as Ari saw me, she said, “Hey! Terry! We were just talking about you. You know why?”

“Why? I do not know. So, why did you talk about me?” said I. She said, “Because we were kind of arguing about the etymology of an expression that we just talked about.” And, she continued, “Terry! You know what ‘love handles’ mean, right?” “I think I know. Isn’t it a little bit of fat that people have around their waist area?” said I.

She said, “Good! Now, what do you think about its etymology?” “Hmm… I think it is called to be love handes… Because….. Because… a couple usually hold on to those area when they walk? Don’t you think?” said I. Ari then said, “That’s exactly what I guessed but Jean and Alex were so confident that it has to be related with the act of making love.”

Who am I? So, I did some research about its etymology. Well, not so lucky again. Some people say that it is from the act of making love, or sex. Their argument is that people really hold on to that area, especially when they make love. It makes sense. But, it is also true that a couple usually hold on to that area when they walk or, I don’t know, maybe when they hug. It is a path to butt. People go from the top to the butt and waist is in the middle. Man, I think I am going too far. Let’s not go there.

But, you should definitely check this out. This urban dictionary entry for love handles is crazy. You should read the first one. This guy says, “I LOVE those extra curves and places to hold that feel soft in my hands, OH YEAH.” What a feeling to have!! 🙂

Jessy and I are so skinny that we do not have love handles. We are lack of love handles, Darn!

How about you guys? Do you like to hold on to love handles? Lucky you!