What’s so funny about this? You know, I’ve told you many times that we humans are especially sensitive to jokes about any body function, natural or otherwise. This joke is a case in point. For me the hardest part was creating a cartoon that wasn’t as gross as the joke. I couldn’t very well show the inside of a toilet. It had to be all implied and understood. That’s why I used the same illustration twice. Just having a funny looking guy sitting on the throne, er, toilet, reading a book, and making his statement will hopefully convey the message. Of course you do have to be familiar with the game of Scrabble. It’s essentially a crossword board on which you have to place little square wooden tiles on little squares drawn on the board. Each tile has a letter on it with that letter’s numerical value in the game. Vowels are each one point, while rarer consonants are worth more points. You have to place your tiles so they connect to a word already on the board. The one with the highest number of points at the end of the game, wins. But in the joke, our hero has swallowed a large number of tiles by accident and he’s worried they will play havoc with, or ruin, his digestive system. He’s right of course. They could get stuck somewhere in the intestines and cause some serious damage. On the other hand they could slide right out and even spell a word or two in the toilet bowl as they float around. One word they could spell is “disaster”. “To spell disaster” is also an idiom meaning to indicate that terrible things will happen. And THAT’s what’s so funny!


This pun was submitted to shaggy-dogs.briancombs.net by Mike Frankly.

PODCAST - https://audioboom.com/boos/2527762-a-crappy-joke

Practice with Pronouns is a site that lets you practise subject, object, possessive, and reflexive forms of English third person pronouns. It comes with a few of the most common options, but you can also fill in whatever pronouns you like. Useful for both English learners and people wanting to practise using nonbinary pronouns.  

As if it couldn’t get any more delightful, it often uses quotes from Welcome to Night Vale in the practice sentences, which is definitely far more entertaining than See Spot Run. The feedback sentences are also very cute. 

(Hm, I’m pretty sure the second blank in that screenshot should have said “xyr”, in retrospect.)


Here’s a short guide to using a verb in the gerund (-ing) form or in the infinitive form after another verb. The first verb always determines what form the second verb should be in.

And, sorry English learners - there is no pattern to this! You have to just keep practicing until you memorize it and can feel what’s right.

**Here is the extended note for the verbs stop and remember:

He always remembers to buy me a gift when he goes abroad.
(remember + infinitive = habit)
I remember skiing last December. We had a blast!
(remember + -ing = specific event)

He stopped drinking after he started feeling dizzy.
(stop + -ing = to not do something any more)
It was hot, so he stopped to drink water.   (he stopped walking)
(stop + infinitive = to not do something in order to do something else)

Sources: 1 2

English factoids: what is Germanic-only English like?

One of my favourite aspects about English is how it really is a combination of other language families, namely Germanic, Latin, French and, of course, smörgåsbord*-servings of others. This versatility makes English an extremely flexible, but also difficult, language to learn — especially if you don’t already speak a Germanic or Latin language. 


— Origins of English, form the English language article on Wikipedia

My favourite demonstration of the mixed nature of English is the article “Uncleftish Beholding”, where Poul Anderson wrote about the basics of atomic theory using only Germanic words. 

Since so many scientific and academic terms have Latin and Greek roots, the essay reads very differently… for instance, instead of “atomic theory”, the title is “uncleftish beholding”, where cleft is a Germanic word for “division”. 

Here’s an extract:

For most of its being, mankind did not know what things are made of, but could only guess. With the growth of worldken, we began to learn, and today we have a beholding of stuff and work that watching bears out, both in the workstead and in daily life.

Here are some of his replacements:

  • "Chemical elements" -> "firststuffs"
  • "Hydrogen" -> "waterstuff"
  • "Oxygen" -> "sourstuff**"
  • "Helium" -> "sunstuff"
  • "Molecule" -> “bulkbit”
  • "Compound" -> “binding”

*See what I did there?

**Germanic speakers will be familair with e.g. the terms “Sauerstoff” (German), “zuurstof” (Dutch) and “syre” (Danish), which all have connotations with sourness or sharpness. 

A: He said he loves potato flies in a show, actually he loves them. However, the show exaggerated the information and spread of rumors alone.  In the end the rumor was he can’t stop eating potato flies, the rumor was far from what he said, but he had to the rumor came true.

Pony: Fries, not flies. […] Do you know who that celebrity is?

A: No.

Pony: I will let you guess what he is famous for. It is not fries.

A: Is he a magician?

Pony: No. He is a war journalist. His name is Anderson Cooper, which sounds like two surnames stuck together. I have no idea why he’s wearing a french fry outfit.

A: McDonalds must be a sponsor.

Victory: Federal Judge Reinstates Federal Protections Statewide

On September 23, 2014, federal protection for the gray wolf species in Wyoming were reinstated after a judge invalidated U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s 2012 decision to delist wolves from the Endangered Species List. The new ruling from the U.S. District Court stops Wyoming, a state with extreme anti-wolf policies, from managing wolves within the state. 

“The court has ruled and Wyoming’s kill-on-sight approach to wolf management throughout much of the state must stop. Today’s ruling restores much-needed federal protection to wolves throughout Wyoming, which allowed killing along the borders of Yellowstone National Park and throughout national forest lands south of Jackson Hole where wolves were treated as vermin under state management. If Wyoming wants to resume management of wolves, it must develop a legitimate conservation plan that ensures a vibrant wolf population in the Northern Rockies.” - Earthjustice attorney Tim Preso

Earthjustice, representing Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity, challenged U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s 2012 decision to remove the gray wolf from the ESA on the basis that Wyoming law authorized unlimited wolf deaths in a “predator” zone that ranged throughout most of the state, and inadequately oversaw protection for wolves in areas where killing was regulated.

“Today the court affirmed that delisting gray wolves in Wyoming by the Obama administration was premature and a violation of federal law. Any state that has a wolf management plan that allows for unlimited wolf killing throughout most of the state should not be allowed to manage wolves. Wolves need to remain protected under the Endangered Species Act until the species is fully recovered. State laws and policies that treat wolves like vermin are as outdated and discredited today as they were a century ago.” - Defenders of Wildlife President and CEO Jamie Rappaport Clark

“The decision makes clear that ‘shoot-on-sight’ is not an acceptable management plan for wolves across the majority of the state. It’s time for Wyoming to step back and develop a more science-based approach to managing wolves.”  - Dr. Sylvia Fallon, senior scientist and wildlife conservation director at the Natural Resources Defense Council

“The court has rightly recognized the deep flaws in Wyoming’s wolf management plan. Wolves in Wyoming must have federal protection until the state gets it right. That means developing a science-based management plan that recognizes the many benefits wolves bring to the region instead of vermin that can be shot on sight in the majority of the state.” - Bonnie Rice of the Sierra Club’s Greater Yellowstone Our Wild America Campaign

“We’re thrilled that protections for Wyoming’s fragile population of wolves have been restored. With Wyoming allowing wolves to be shot on sight across more than 80 percent of the state, there is no way protections for wolves should have ever been removed.” - Noah Greenwald, endangered species director with the Center for Biological Diversity

U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s 2012 decision to delist the wolf from the protection of the Endangered Species List in Wyoming turned management over to the state. This resulted in the authorized and indiscriminate killing of wolves in 80% of the land as well as insufficient protection in the rest. Since the delisting, 219 wolves have been killed. 

Backround: In North America, there was once an estimated two million wolves inhabiting the land. By the early 1900s, wolves had been extirpated from most of America and driven to the lower 48 states. By 1960, less than 300 of the remaining wolves existed throughout the lower 48 states, deep in the forests. After 1973, the gray wolf population began to recover and rebound in many areas with the protection of the Endangered Species Act.An estimated number of 5,500 wolves currently live in the United States. 

Photo: Wolves in Lamar Valley, Wyoming, by Rwarrin/Flickr

kanehon said:

more on non-native speakers: I never realized it myself, but native speakers of english have pointed out to me that I'll often phrase things differently, although not necessarily wrong, than someone who grew up speaking english will, to the point they recognized another brazillian because both of us used the same way of phrasing things. The flow and grammar of the native language might influence such little things, if you want to put that much research into it

I believe this is regarding Chinese ESL Speakers and Realistic Speech. Sorry we’re just getting to it!

This is definitely true. I’ve found myself pronouncing certain words differently, like “fahrenheit” and even “cafeteria.” With phrasing too, I’ve said weird things like “up that” when I mean “turn that up” or “off that” when I mean “turn that off.” I have a friend who’s a native Spanish speaker and he talks very fast and ends all of his sentences as if they were questions. It’s a very nuanced thing.

Another thing is that sometimes when you’re not a native speaker, you end up mixing English and your native language together, too. There are certain words in Telugu I’ll just add a “-ing” to the end of to make gerunds instead of bothering to find the correct word in English. Sometimes I’ll straight up forget what a word in English is, especially with food - like okra I always want to call by its Telugu name.

In conclusion: yes, you’re definitely right.

-Mod Satvika

Watch on www.sio.im

Impariamo i nomi di tutti e quattro i colori in inglese! Qui il mio canale inglese che nel futuro ha superato pewdiepie oh yeah.

Oregon Wolf Population Close to Delisting

“Oregon wolves are increasing, not just in abundance but in distribution as well.” - Russ Morgan, who coordinates ODFW’s wolf program

From the perspective of ranchers, more wolves means potential problems but also more permitted lethal control.

Oregon Wild’s Rob Klavins told the Environment and Natural Resources committee that Oregon will likely reach the required breeding pairs but fail to meet the act’s five criteria for delisting. 

Klavins acknowledged that Parvo, a potentially life-threatening disease that dogs can be affected by, has been found in some of Oregon’s wolf packs. The mortalities in the wolf population could harm recovery efforts.

  • The minimum 2013 population in Oregon was 64 wolves in eight packs. []
  • Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife can begin the process to delist wolves from the Endangered Species List when four breeding pairs are present in eastern Oregon for three consecutive years. []
  • In 2013, four packs met the criteria as breeding pairs. This marks the second year that the objective number (four breeding pairs in eastern Oregon) has been reached by definition of the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management Plan. []

Photo: By USFWS, OR7 captured on 5/03/14 in eastern Jackson County on USFS land

A 30-year-old elementary school teacher was sentenced 2 years and 6 months in penitentiary and 40 hours of sexual violence treatment program for having sex with a 17-year-old high school student, recording it, and distributing the tape. He met the victim on a online dating site in August 2010. He is also suspected of making another sex tape, this time with a 30-year-old woman.

Oh, and the perpetrator is a foreigner. An American, to be exact, who came to Korea in May 2009 and taught English at an elementary school in Daejeon.

Japanese Characters and English Retention

anonymous said: I know this is oddly specific, but: If a Japanese child were to move from Japan to America with an English-speaking (but ethnically Japanese) parent and live there from age 2 to 4, would it be at all possible for them to learn Japanese and English simultaneously, or are the languages too different?

Furthermore, if said child were to return to Japan at around 4 and remain there, and only spoke / used English as mandated by school (which I’ve read is mostly reading / writing anyway) how much of the language do you think they’d maintain at around 16-17? I love this blog already; it’s so honest and informative, and the mods are very helpful. Thank you very much in advance.

I had a Japanese classmate in law school who moved to the US with his baby girl, and from what I could tell she picked up both languages all right. They moved back to Japan when she was four, and I think they’re finding a way to keep her English fluent with trips back to the US every now and then.

Speaking in a more general sense, my cousin was born and raised in the US until age five, and went back to Taiwan at age eight or nine, and I think if it wasn’t for the education he got (he went to an international school after age 13), he would have forgotten his English already.

If your character isn’t going to extra English classes or having extra English tutoring, there probably won’t be a whole lot maintained at age 16-17 unless they’re motivated otherwise (trips to the US, etc.)

—mod Jess