23 Jan

sport vs sports

Who taught: Steve, Jean, Jeremy and Ginny

A good sport (source: http://candostreet.com/)

This is the second episode where I learned a new expression from Steve and Jean. They have three children and two of them, Ginny and Jeremy, teach at the same elementary school. They were in a skit whose main purpose was to increase awareness of the importance of the yearly State Math test. It is pretty hilarious. I wish I can show it to you. In the skit, they were basically devouring chocolates that are supposed to be for students who would get good scores in the test. That is not good. 🙂 In the skit, their mouth was totally covered with chocolates while eating chocolates and the other teachers were telling them the chocolates are not for them but for good(?) students.

In the end, one teacher said, “Do you know that the school will give out chocolates if a student would get a good score in the State Math test.” That would work for elementary school students, I guess. Chocolates could be really good baits for them to study harder.

So, what does it have anything to do with sport?

What does sport mean? That’s easy. It is “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others.”

Am I suggesting that eating chocolates requires physical exertion and skill and Ginny and Jeremy were competing with each other? Hmm.. it needs some skill to eat and mouth muscle should move faster. And, who knows.. Ginny and Jeremy were really competing with each other. 🙂

As we were watching the skit, Steve said, “They were being a good sport.” Interesting! Very very interesting! Because this does not mean that there is any sort of competition. The thing they did was that they were being funny in front of students and teachers, right? In other words, they were fine being the butt of a joke. Well, that is what “good sport” means.

After all, it has something to do with sport (physical exertion). When you lose in any sport, it is not easy to accept your loss. But, if you can accept your loss, then you are being a good sport.

It is hard to accept a loss in any sport. It is also very hard to be a butt of a joke, amusing other people. There goes a strong connection of being a good sport.

Amazingly, a few days later, I heard the same expression used by an actor of the Criminal Minds. He said, “I was just being a good sport.”

Can you be a good sport? Hope you can in both sense!

18 Jan


Who taught: Steve and Jean

Moonlight (source: http://pixdaus.com/)

Two days ago, Steve and Jean invited me to dinner. It was great. My in-laws had a chance to eat baked potatoes with sour cream along with other dishes. They loved the potatoes. On the way back to home, my mother-in-law said, “Let’s try to bake potatoes next time. I really liked it.” In Korea, people usually do not bake potatoes. Instead, we steam them. I guess this different way of cooking introduced a different taste and texture of potatoes to her. I think she will bake potatoes even after she goes back to Korea. 🙂

Well, while my in-laws were busy enjoying baked potatoes, Steve and I were talking about his children and son-in-law. His son-in-law, Dan, is a medical doctor. And, he of course has a job at a hospital in Ohio. But, because of his specialty, he has been getting a lot of different part-time job offers. As Steve was talking about this situation, he said, “Dan can easily moonlight at $75 per hour.”

Wait! Moonlight?? Isn’t moonlight just a light from Moon? If that word had another meaning, that would probably be walking around at night.

It actually has another interesting meaning which really makes sense to me. Suppose that you need to work in addition to your full-time day job, it would mean that you work at night, right? Then, you either need to walk or drive under the moonlight. I guess back in the days when there was no cars, people really had to walk at night for his/her second job.

Yup! That is what it means. If you moonlight, that means you are to work at an additional job after your regular and full-time employment. I believe it does not have to be a night job though. So, you could say to your friends like this, “Man, life is tough. I am moonlighting these days to make ends meet.”

Obviously, moonlighting does not necessarily mean a romantic thing as we walk under the moonlight.

06 Dec


Who taught: Ryan Calo, Bob and Jean

jittery and coffee (source: http://www.clipartof.com/)

How are you doing today? It’s rainy and gloomy in Pittsburgh but I am happy that it is not snowing and not that cold.

Do you know when it is really hard for me to forget a word or an expression?

It is when someone uses it and even explains it to me right after I get to know it. Two days ago, Sunday, I was in my church as usual. After the first service, I was talking to Bob and Jean. Bob, all of a sudden, realized that he needed a coffee and said to us, “I gotta get a coffee before it’s all gone.” And, Jean said, “Oh yeah.. You should get it. Otherwise, you will get jittery.”

At that moment, I could not believe my ears. “Did you just say ‘jittery’?”

I just got to know it on Friday while I was reading the New York Times.

The article was about startups’ I.P.O.  Ryan Calo said, “When you have an I.P.O. you don’t want investors to be skeptical or jittery.” That was my first time to see the word, jittery. And, from the context, my feeling was that it means being anxious or concerned about any issue.

So, I said to Jean, “Jittery! That’s the word I just got to know. Doesn’t it mean being anxious?” To some degree, I was correct but not really. Jean said, “It does mean being anxious and nervous but it can be also used to describe a person whose body is physically shaking.” For example, it is possible for you to be jittery by taking any kind of medicine such as a cold pill. Then, this really means your body shakes. It does not mean that you are anxious or nervous.

What if my body shakes because I am scared or because I got a cold. Can I say I am jittery? It seems like many American people think of the word, jittery, in relation to drinking too much caffeine or the lack of caffeine. Am I right?

03 Jun

weed vs weeds

Who taught: Jean and Lorrie

Groundhog (source: http://brookeshelf.wordpress.com/)

There are glass french doors in my dining room through which I can see my backyard. Every evening, I see a groundhog that comes into my backyard, trying to find something to eat for his dinner, I guess. It is very funny to watch him because he does not eat lawn at all. He eats something else. You know what it is?

One day, as I see the groundhog, enjoying his dinner, I thought it is a pretty interesting thing to share with my friends. So, I wrote on my Facebook, saying, “Groundhog in my backyard. He really enjoys weed,” along with a picture. Now, my non-native English speakers, do you find anything weird from what I said. Probably not much, right?

A few minutes later, my friend Jean added a comment, “Are you growing weed in your backyard? You might not want to publicize that on FB ;)” Well, at that moment, I did realize that what she meant because I know there is a TV show, called weeds. My friend, Lorrie, also commented later. She said, “weed –> weeds (weed mean something else in English slang).”

What does weed mean in the U.S.? It means marijuana. According to Urban Dictionary, weed does not mean grass any more in the U.S.

So, be careful when you say weed. Now, my question is that what if you really mean one undesirable grass in your backyard. That is what a weed is, right? I can literally say, “I have this huge weed in my backyard.” Then, it can be understood by other people as a huge marijuana in my backyard. What word would you use to really mean a weed in your backyard? This is actually confusing and hard for me to catch and use properly.

Anyway, that groundhog really enjoys weeds in my backyard so that I think I do not need to buy a weed killer. 🙂

P.S: Is weed killer fine though? Shouldn’t that mean marijuana killer?

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!