I love words. I've always been a word guy. I'm really not tempted to fix a car or a computer for pleasure, but reading, writing, talking and listening,--that's what I do best. Over the last few months I've been keeping an eyes and ears open for new words and phrases that catch my attention. A couple blog posts ago I got a head start on this when I wrote about the "Full Amish." Let me dump a few more of my faves from the last year or so.   
This is a fun word, that is a self-portrait usually taken with a hand held digital camera or phone. I guess other folks have found this word interesting because it has recently been selected as "Word of the Year" by the Oxford English dictionary, beating out a couple of my other favorites, schmeat and twerk. 
Twerking feels kind of old hat now, but I don't remember seeing this last year. Twerking is defined as "a type of dancing in which the dancer, usually a woman, shakes her hips in an up-and-down bouncing motion, causing the dancer's buttocks to shake, 'wobble' and 'jiggle'." It's use seems to have exploded in popularity with the pop star Miley Cyrus. But, after doing a little "research" I found out that the term twerking has been around for at least 20 years.  Check out this link if you're really interested.
    Apodment has been springing up on billboards in Seattle lately. Essentially "microhousing" sort of like mini-studio apartments, or a small version of "buffet" apartments as they were often called when I lived in Denver. Apodments are usually about 150 to 300 sq. feet and often have only one kitchen shared between 6 or 8 units. I'm not sure that I would find the lack of privacy appealing, but I can understand the trend. Think of all the items that we used to have that we no longer need the space to accommodate: no more books (replaced by electronic readers), no more bulky stereos (replaced by I-pods, computers.) If you own a TV at all, it might be an ultra-thin set that hangs on the wall. Records? electronic storage. Basically, we live our lives on screens, large and small. Why do we need all that energy-hogging space? Less real stuff, more cyber stuff. Makes sense, especially in the transient life of the techno-elite, who may not wish to be weighed down by many material objects. Have laptop, will travel.
     Freedom Fondle. I saw this phrase in a Facebook entry. It refers to the free grope that Homeland Security is now entitled to at airport security, compliments of post-9/11 paranoia. I still remember going through the airport right after the 9/11 attack and seeing an army dude wearing camouflage in the airport, standing at attention, brandishing a machine gun. My first thought: Why should I bother to bring a gun through security, when I could just tackle this guy? My second thought: I hope he didn't have a fight with his girlfriend this weekend. I don't know, maybe it was all for show, maybe the gun was unloaded and he was being watched from above. 
     Choprawoo. Coined by David Gorski who goes by the nom de blog "Orac" on his respectful Insolence blog it "honors" everybody's favorite quack guru, Deepak Chopra. Dr. Chopra has been spinning is home-spun pseudoprofound garbage for many years now. He's published at least 57 "self-help" books, so, if nothing else, you have to admire his productivity. I love this little site that strings together random fragments of Deepak Chopra's "wisdom," derived from his Twitter feed into pseudoquotes which seem indistinguishable from the real Chopra. Below is a mixture of real quotes and random fictional quotes from the fake quote generator. Can you tell which is which?

"Experiential truth reflects the flow of self-knowledge" 
"Hidden meaning explores self-righteous timelessness"
“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.” 
"The universe influences unbridled opportunities"
“In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.” 
"Every person is a God in embryo. Its only desire is to be born."

Give up? The third and fifth and sixth quotes from above are real, the other three are random, not that it makes any difference. 
     Chopra has been taken to task by several skeptics. Here's a good commentary, and here's a more polite one from Phil Plait. Everywhere it seems the purveyors of pseudoscience are being outed. The organization that produces TED talks has recently released a statement about the dangers of pseudoscience.  As they describe it "The consequence of bad science and health hoaxes are not trivial." and they are right. People have died as a consequence of substituting quack medicine for real medicine.  But, the quackmeisters spouting choprawoo are not taking this lying down, which leads me to my next topic.
     Militant Skepticism. I think Deepak has had his feelings hurt. On his blog and in a series of Huff Post articles he wrote "The Rise and Fall of Militant Skepticism." Yes, skepticism "has gotten itself into a pickle," it has become a "militant crusade." Maybe the term "militant skepticism" has been around longer than I'm aware, but this is the first I've heard of it. Essentially an impassioned screed against guerrilla skeptics and skeptic celebrities Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris. Chopra attacks Richard Dawkins (a "militant atheist") for his attack of the "God Hypothesis." Dawkins is taken to task by Chopra because has the temerity to insist on proof, or at least credible evidence, for the existence of god. But, "Dawkins offered no experiments to prove or disprove the existence of God." Well, no kidding, Dawkins failed to prove or disprove the existence of unicorns either. So what? Chopra goes on to attack Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris over-reliance on the "five senses," and "turning their backs on and scorning subjectivity." Basically, Chopra's argument is a long-winded "god of the gaps" argument, which, to summarize, we don't understand everything in the world, therefore god exists. Somehow skeptic's distrust in "subjective truth" gives Chopra license to peddle his own new-age religion. Intermingle quantum physics with consciousness-what do you get?-insta-wisdom! Buy yours today!
    Ah, I see that this post is getting a bit long and I'm only about halfway through my word list. Let's call this part 1 and I'll try and cover a few more words and phrases in my next post. But before I go lessee if I can use all the words for today in one sentence. Deepak, you and your apodment-sized brain, can use your choprawoo-sputtering, lips to freedom fondle this militant skeptic's twerking behind while taking a selfie.
    Hey, I did it.



12/13/2013 8:06am

Like ur word update... especially the Freedom Fondle.

12/30/2013 11:43am

For some reason I really hate that word "selfie". Is it because of the way I was raised? Specifically taught that selfishness was bad? Selfie makes me think selfish. I know it's just me, but it grates. Your "militant skepticism" term reminds me of a past favorite, seen on a bumper sticker in Eugene "Militant agnostic: I don't know, and you don't either!"

Mary- Desiree
03/09/2014 5:13pm

Scot ,
I just saw Deepak Chopra speak @ Celebrate your Life conference in AZ a few weeks back. He speaks well. However, nothing he shared that day was new to me or had much depth. But I did see a danger... In the ripple...

The danger I see is who Chopra endorses or plug to his fans and the crap they are tied to.

While I doubt Chopra as a medical person would endanger other people directly. I have found that within the new age there is a total lack of responsibility to ensure one is not endorsing or plugging people tied to dangerous crap.

Deepak Chopra having plugged James Van Praagh may seem harmless until one sees Van Praagh plugging as a real angel communicator Doreen Virtue who is an anti-vaccine quack peddling angel therapy and selling "mediumship" for $400 willing to take and pass her "paper quiz". .. or for $1,000 become a certified angel practioner and get work referral from Virtue's website For $1,111 dollars you can take a class from Doreen Virtue's son (Charles "Virtue") who has been certified by his mom to certify others to certify others for money in angel therapy . ( http://www.charlesvirtue.com/ see Angel Teacher Training) .. This crap is just one degree removed from what Deepak Chopra is endorsing.

As former new age consumer I have to say that when anyone with seemingly real anything ties themselves to this stuff they help others get taken. Do I think that we shall see Chopra telling people to take Virtue's every medical statement before medical drs ? No.. But when he endorses people who endorse her as real how different is it really to the people who attend these events?

How much respect can the medical doctors in Australia fighting to help get the message out that flu vaccinations are important have for DR. Deepak Chopra when he is tied via James Van Praagh to Doreen Virtue . According to one blogger Virtue has gone to visit Australia spreading an important angel message not to vaccinate for the flu..


Chopra in endorsing Van Praagh who plugs Doreen Virtue as real.. is by ripple effect endorsing that knowledge of illness creates it. I doubt that Chopra would support knowledge of disease creates it if asked. But in endorsement the man takes seemingly little responsibility.... which is what new age gurus wanting to snuggle up to him hope for : http://www.edgemagazine.net/2000/04/the-edge-interview-with-doreen-virtue/


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