language

Expletive Deleted

She kneed him in the guts and called him braggart in front of everyone.

The first part seems physically difficult. The latter part lacks punch.

Of course, this isn’t the original line. The original line, from Weird Science, was “She kneed him in the nuts and called him faggot in front of everyone.” The first part is a much more natural assault and the latter half was an insult used often in the mid-eighties despite being out of vogue these days. Although I teach at a high school, and it’s not quite as taboo as polite society would have you believe.

But the line about the guts and the braggart comes from the censored version, the “edited for content” television broadcast, of Weird Science. And I love me some edited for television shit.

Sorry, “some edited for television [shucks.]”

Why do I love them so? Because they do shit like changing shit to “shucks” instead of “crap,” a word that means the same thing but is substantially less offensive. Crap would probably fit the context of shit about ninety percent of the time. But who gives a flying [fruit] about context? Not those TV censors! Instead, they find a word that sounds similar. Grammar be [dimed.] Because lip-readers are the only ones who deserve to understand a character’s motivation.

So motherfucker becomes mother trucker, which I don’t mind. Or mother father, as in, “You tell that mother father what’s going to happen if he tries to pull that shucks again!” Which makes no [mango friday] sense.

The most famous editing was probably Smokey and the Bandit, where the cop often mutters “Son of a bitch” under his breath. It was turned into “Scumbum.” So then people started calling people “Scumbum,” because let’s face it, that’s a pretty [fruitin’] cool pseudo-insult. Heck, it’s probably a better putdown than son of a bitch. Who the hell cares if they’re called a son of a bitch? It’s an insult against your mother, not you.

I remember when “Devil Went Down to Georgia” came out, it was a big deal which radio stations would broadcast the actual lyric, son of a bitch, and which ones would sanitize it to son of a gun. Most took the latter. Nowadays I can’t imagine bitch being an issue. If anything, gun is the more offensive word these days.

But scumbum? Them’s some fighting words, mother trucker.

I think mother trucker should be used more often. It rolls off the tongue. And if you think about it long enough, it is a bit of an insult. It brings to mind Large Marge from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. As opposed to mother fucker, which is an accurate describer of every father in the world, as well as a large swath of the fatherless set.

One time in the late 1990s, I saw that Pulp Fiction was going to be playing on broadcast television on a Saturday afternoon. Needless to say, I cleared out my entire weekend for that Must-See event. Think about it. How many words in Pulp Fiction WON’T be bleeped out? Half?

My favorite part of the edited version is when Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta are debating religion. Jules, Samuel L. Jackson’s character, has just “seen the light” after surviving being shot at and, while he’s sitting there eating his non-pork breakfast, he has what alcoholics refer to as a “moment of clarity.”

Vincent, played by John Travolta, is not impressed, to which Jules responds, “Look, if you want to play blind man, go walk with the shepherds. But me? My eyes are wide-fucking-open.”

Except on Channel 8, his eyes were “wide, focused open.”

Not bad. The cadence works and I’ll give an extra point to the bureaucrat in charge. It almost makes sense. Odd context, a natural speech might reverse those two adjectives. And really, wouldn’t you narrow your eyes to focus? But I’m nitpicking. A solid effort on that one.

The next few make a little less sense. Here’s what it sounds like in the real movie:

“Jesus Christ.”

“Don’t blaspheme.”

“God damn it!”

“I said don’t blaspheme. Don’t do that!”

Totally works. It’s a strong indication of Jules’s newfound faith that he’s offended by two phrases that are so commonplace as to be far removed from their blasphemous roots. In fact, these phrases seem so tame that I’m surprised they felt the need to edit them out in the late 1990s. Heck, Mr. Furley was saying “Damn” on Three’s Company as early as fifteen years prior. Sure, putting the “God” in front adds some extra gravity, but this is Pulp Fiction we’re talking about. Is there some 90-year-old sufferin’ from the vapors tuning in to this broadcast?

Well, if they are, they aren’t going to hear “Jesus Christ” or “God Damn it.” Instead, they’re going to hear “Jeez, oh mighty!” and “Gosh dang it.”

But Jules is still going to respond to each with “Don’t blaspheme.”

Of course, both of those phrases have their origins in blasphemy. Jeez is short for Jesus, and throwing in the “Oh, mighty” probably just makes it moreso. And we all know “gosh darn it” is just a poor man’s curse. Kinda makes me wonder about “Gee” and “Gosh” by themselves. Am I breaking one of the commandments and taking my savior’s name in vain when I say, “Gosh, I never thought of that? Golly gee!” Because if so, then the next time a student or my daughter asks a question I don’t know the answer to, I might as well answer, “Fuck a cunt-bubble with a shit-stained twat cock if I know.” At least then I’ve kept the religion out of it.

Now that I think about it, what about the word “good?” The etymology of that word’s gotta be God. As in, God is good. Ergo good must come from God. So if someone asks how I’m doing and I say good, am I breaking more than just grammatical rules? Thou shalt have no gods before me and thou shalt not modify a verb with an adjective! Although to all the grammar nazis out there who try to correct people who respond, “I’m good,” you’re the one who’s wrong, not the utterer. “To be” is a transitive verb, not an action verb. Meaning what follows it pertains to the subject. So the “good” in “I am good” is modifying I, a noun, not am, a verb. So quit trying to sound smart when you’re not, scumbum.

But unlike good, which is so far from its roots that even Mormons don’t find it offensive, most people know what they mean when they say “Jeez” and “Gosh.” And what they mean to do is to AVOID being blasphemous. And if you then jump down their throat about it, then you’re kinda being a prick. Even as a very new born again, Jules’s reaction is a tad excessive. He could just politely explain to Vincent the origin of those two phrases. To just scream “Don’t blaspheme!” makes me think he wasn’t really paying attention to what his close accomplice was actually saying. How rude! The mother trucker.

One other edited movie jumps out at me for all the wrong reasons. Not so much for the words they used as a replacement, but because of which words they chose to replace in the first place. And by extension, which words were perfectly fine.

One of the best movies of the late 1970s, or really of all time, is The Jerk. If you haven’t seen it (shame on you!), it stars Steve Martin as Navin Johnson, who was born a poor black child. Trust me, it makes sense.

Large swaths of the film needed to be edited. For instance, he names his dog “Shithead,” which the TV version changes to “Stupid.” It works either way, as the dog got his name as a result of Navin waking up an entire hotel because he thought the dog was warning him of a fire. So props to the censors for picking a word that sounds similar but also fills the original purpose of the dialogue. If the guy at the hotel told him he should name the dog Simon, the joke would’ve been lost.

Later on in the movie, however, they make a choice that is not quite as laudable. Did you know that the n-word was perfectly fine for broadcast television in the early 1980s?

In a scene near the end, after Navin’s become a multi-millionaire (don’t ask), he’s approached by a businessman about keeping his product from the riff-raff. Only he doesn’t use the word riff-raff. The word he uses starts with an n. To which Navin responds, “Did you say [riff-raff]? You are talking to a [riff-raff].” GEt it? Because he was born a poor black child. He then tries to kick the guy in the nuts, but there’s a clanging sound, causing Navin to pass out.

On the TV version of that scene, there were no edits. Every time the n-word was used in the movie, it was said on the screen. Because who could possibly be offended by it?

But in the following scene, it is revealed that the reason Navin passed out after kicking the dude in the nuts was because the guy was “Iron Balls” McGinty. There was no explanation as to how or why Mr. McGinty had come by his metallic testicles. I’m sure there was an extensive backstory that got cut in the post-edit. Perhaps there were plans for a spinoff Iron Balls trilogy, if only The Jerk hadn’t been such a flop. It was only the… holy crap! The Jerk was the eighth-highest grossing movie of 1979? Wow. Y’all didn’t have much going for you in the late 1970s, did you? Don’t get me wrong, I love the movie. But its sophomoric humor is far from cinematic gold. Last week, I wrote about UHF, a sophomoric film that came out precisely one decade later, and it came in at #113 for the year. Behind such masterpieces as Coccoon: The Return and Halloween 5 and Police Academy 6 and Friday the 13th, Part VIII. (And people think it’s only recently that Hollywood lost its ability to come up with anything new). It was even two spots behind Die Hard, which had already been in the theaters for six months before 1989 even started.

Clearly, Weird Al needed to put more n-bombs and testicle jokes in his movie. Or he needed a time machine to get back to 1979.

Not that the TV version made any testicle jokes. Like the dog, whose name changed to Stupid, Iron Balls was christened Iron Bill for the masses. Not sure why there was a clanging sound when Iron Bill got kicked in the nuts. Two totally unrelated items. Like Samuel L. Jackson screaming “Don’t blaspheme!” at someone who had done no such thing.

But “balls,” you must understand, is vulgar. It might be considered offensive. Some parent might have to turn to their child and engage in an awkward conversation about biology and anatomy and what or what is not appropriate nomenclature for the complexities of human nature and society. Balls aren’t some easy, diminutive word with a straight-forward history of hierarchy in society like… like… Hoo boy, how many times did they drop the n-bomb in the scene right before?

That wasn’t the only film with questionable censoring decisions. Blazing Saddles  was famous for cutting the farting scene. Well, they didn’t cut the scene, they just cut the audio on all the farts. So what viewers saw was a bunch of guys eating beans around a campfire with a substantial lack of ambient background noise.

But, once again, Blazing Saddles says the n-word a lot. Seventeen times, in fact. And each one made it past the censors, who must’ve just been too exhausted after silencing all the flatulence to turn their attention to a minor racial epithet.

Of course, we see a lot less creative censoring than we used to. Most media outlets don’t face the same restrictions they did in the twentieth century. There’s a good chance you’re watching something on YouTube or Hulu or even TBS, none of which are required to bleep out anything. I’m always shocked when I’m listening to Sirius/XM and a song from college comes on. Whoa, so that’s what the lyrics are? It flows do much better than blank air every other word.

Did you know that Alannis Morisette was not,  in fact, asking if you think of her while you flick someone else?

And holy crap, “Semi-Charmed Life” has this whole other verse about… um… what rhymes with safety word?

We’ve also become more lenient as a society about what does and what does not constitute a word of curse. Hence, balls.

When we do bleep things out, we don’t even bleep them anymore. Thanks to some of those 1990s alternative and hip hop artists, we’ve become accustomed to blank air replacing cuss words. If The Jerk came out today, we wouldn’t hear about Iron Balls or Iron Bill. He’d just be Iron (Dead Air) McGinty. And the dog would be named ”      .”

And if Pulp Fiction came out today, I wouldn’t have to devote a full afternoon to the viewing. With all the dead air, the edited version that aired on broadcast tv would be about twenty minutes long.

What the What is a Spatula?

I felt like a really, honest-to-goodness historian the other day.

There was a disagreement amongst a few of us as to what to call a certain kitchen tool.  In order to settle the dispute, I was able to call up a historical document that proves my side of the argument was correct. Although in all honesty, before I was able to find corroboration from the historic record all the way back in 1989, I was beginning to question my own recollection.

I’ve been living in a Mandela Effect for a large portion of my adult life. There was an object that I always called something when I grew up, but nobody around me refers to it as such. Even worse, they use that exact same word to refer to another item altogether. They’re similar, but not the exact thing. Close, but no cigarette.

Most of this difference in nomenclature probably comes from location. I grew up in Southern California, but moved to the Sacramento region for college and have stuck around ever since. And 400 miles or so can make a big difference on language.

Remember back in the day when social media was new and fun? Before we realized that there were damn good reasons we didn’t keep in touch with those shitheads from [insert city/job/jail]? Back in the long-ago when people’s asinine political opinions only came out at Thanksgiving.

Anyway, back in social media’s nascence, I remember a quiz that guessed where you live by asking you a series of questions about vocabulary and pronunciation. How do you pronounce caramel, and is tote a noun or a verb, and voila! here’s where you grew up. It gave me Anaheim and Sacramento, which was a pretty good guess for the two places I’ve lived.

It makes sense. I remember one of the questions was what you call the road that runs alongside the freeway. I answered frontage road, because that’s what they call them in the central valley of Northern California. But had I lived my entire life where I was born, I would’ve answered “I don’t know a word for this,” because in Southern California, there ain’t no such thing as a frontage road. The road that’s next to the freeway is probably another freeway. Good thing there were no questions about public transportation, because neither half of California knows what that is yet.

So, even though I cringe every time someone gives directions up here and fails to put “the” in front of the number of the freeway, I am at least able to understand that it’s a minor dialectical thing. And I can condescend that it’s because they don’t have very many freeways up here. In SoCal, your directions might say “Take the five to the fifty-five to the ninety-one to the fifty-seven to the sixty to the six-oh-five to the ten to the one-oh-five.” Try saying that last sentence without the word “the”.  If you’re only ever likely to have two freeways in any given instructions, then I guess it’s easier. Although it still frustrates me when people tell me to “take five to J Street.” Take five what? Five minutes? Five miles? Five rabid orangutans?

I also find it amusing that they have traffic on the news up here. There’s pretty much only one freeway going in whatever direction you want to go. There are no alternate routes except for surface streets. In SoCal, they can report, “There’s an accident on the ten. Take the two-ten instead.” In Sacramento, all they can say is, “There’s an accident on interstate eighty. Too bad if you’re going northeast.”

But whatever. I’ve learned to change my directions to say “I-Five” or “Highway Ninety-nine.” It satisfies my need for adding a definitive article to my freeways, and those around don’t seem as bothered as using “the,” which they associate with the water-thieves down south. Even if most of SoCal’s water comes from the Colorado River, which is why Lake Mead looks like a puddle these days.

Regardless, I now know what a frontage road is, so I guess there have to be trade-offs.

Except for this kitchen utensil that seems to broker so much confusion:

Image result for spatula

In my upbringing, I would have referred to this as a spatula. I still, in my heart of hearts, think of it as such. But ever since I’ve moved to Northern California, throughout numerous roommates and families, if I ask anyone to grab me the spatula, this is what they’ll hand me:

Image result for spatula

Sure, they’re similar, but they ain’t the same things. They serve drastically different purposes in the kitchen. If I want to flip my hamburger and I get that flimsy flat thing, the poor burger ain’t getting flipped. At best I can spread a little mustard on it.

My wife refers to my spatula as a flipper or a turner. I suppose I understand that. But her form of a spatula could just as easily be called a spreader. I mean, what the fuck is a spatula, anyway?

So I’ve spent most of my adult life living in this weird spatula world. For a long time, I didn’t notice the discrepancy. It’s not like we cooked a lot in college. I might’ve heard people say they did odd things with spatulas, but I ignored it. Could I use my form of a spatula to spread frosting on a cake? I guess so, if i were in a bind. And if I got any odd looks when I talked about flipping something over with my spatula, I didn’t notice. Maybe they thought I wanted those eggs to be over hard, anyway. Or under hard. Is that a thing? Why can’t I have under hard eggs?

By the way, the Great Californian Spatula Split clearly isn’t just a golden state thing. You see those pictures I posted above? Of a flipper spatula and a spreader spatula? You know how I got those? I ran a Google image search for “spatula” and those were the first two responses I got. Evidently both of them can be spatulas? Which, in reality means that neither of them are spatulas. There’s no such thing as a spatula! Did I just blow your mind?

This doesn’t happen with other utensils, does it? If I Google knife, I might see different styles of knives, but they all do basically the same thing. In the same manner, even. I’m not going to get a picture of scissors with a shrug of, meh, they both cut.

But after years of incomprehensive looks, and after Wife refused to cowtow to my spatula definition, I finally convinced myself that a spreader is a spatula and I was just wrong before. Like Stockholm Syndrome or Big Brother teaching me that 2 + 2 = 5, I’d learned to ask for a spatula when I wanted to spread things. Otherwise I’d ask for the turner while thinking in the back of my head that it’s a fucking spatula! But I never said it aloud, and like any totalitarian regime will tell you, once you stop saying it out loud, you’ll start to doubt the veracity of your own thoughts.

But recently the wool was removed from my eyes. Two people were talking about spatulas in different regards. They didn’t understand each other. One person shrugged and said they’d always thought of spatulas as the things that flip something over.

“Oh my God,” I said. “Thank you! That’s what I always thought was a spatula, but NOBODY backs me up on that!”

Others looked at us like we were cray. Whatever. I’d seen the outside of Plato’s cave. Sorry, Robespierre, but I remember what Sunday was. And two plus two is four!

The naysayers were still saying nay, that is not what you do with a spatula. Spatulas are flat and flippers are bent, and never the twain shall meet.

But the floodgates were open on the shitshow sieve that is my brain. Because now that I’d had someone remind me that Nelson Mandela was alive the whole time, I’m remembering other references to spatulas. A movie that documented the rightful and truthful definition of a spatula. All I have to do is whip it out to pown all of the spatula deniers. And I shall strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who attempt to poison and destroy…

Sorry, wrong movie. I’m not going to debate whether or not Big Kahuna makes a tasty burger. What’s more important is that said tasty burger was turned over by a fucking spatula.

Five years before “Pulp Fiction” came another instant classic from a legendary writer and producer. I’m talking, of course, about Weird Al Yankovic and his seminal masterpiece, UHF.

If you’ve forgotten the intricate plot of this Lawrence of Arabia-esque epic, Weird Al played a guy who inherited a TV station. He filled the airwaves with various spoof shows. Or maybe he filled it with shitty shows but dreamed about spoof shows? Not sure. It wasn’t much on plot. But it is where Michael Richards got his start. A few years before Seinfeld and much longer before calling out ethnic minorities in his audience. And there was an Asian dude who turned “Wheel of Fortune” into “Wheel of Fish.”

Like I said, a little short on plot. Surprising for a guy who normally only needs to fill three to five minutes of satire at a time. But the spoofy parts were really funny. At least when I was fourteen.

But one of his spoofs was a commercial for a spatula store. “Spatula City: We sell spatulas, and that’s all!”

This “commercial” showed rows and rows of spatulas. Rubber spatulas, metal spatulas, silicone spatulas. Yellow, blue, green. Slightly-bent spatulas and fully-bent spatulas. But you know what it doesn’t show? A spreader.

Check it out:

You see that? Every spatula looks the way I always thought spatulas were supposed to look. Evidence that I’m not crazy!

Suck it, NorCal. You’ve been wrong all along. I now have evidence that I’m not crazy! Google should probably just get rid of half of its images searches. Once Al Yancovic has spoken, there’s really no reason to get into particulars. After all, if a worldly figure and diplomat, an honored cultural statesman like the esteemed Weird Al can properly identify what a spatula is, then why is there even a debate?

Wait a second, where did Weird Al grow up? Downey, California? Why, that’s only thirty miles away from where I grew up. Meaning… meaning…

Dammit, social media language police! You got me again!

Who Knew Bruin Coo

The English language is stupid.

I know I’m not the first person to make this groundbreaking observation. Every rule in the English language is broken at least ten times. I before e except after c, or in pretty much every other word where you stop yourself, sure you’re about to spell it wrong, and then you repeat that adage and end up writing, “the horse nieghed.”

We’ve got some words pronounced in a Germanic fashion, others in the Latin manner, and probably some Scandinavian. England’s been invaded so often that they can’t even make their mind up on the correct words for various objects. Theater is a German word, cinema is French, so English uses them interchangeably.

Quick, what’s the difference between purple and violet? Nothing, aside from their language of origin.

And then there are the silent letters. I assume those are coming from French, because those bastards put an eaux at the end of every damn word. And really? Hors d’ouevres? It should be spelled ordurves. But I don’t think there are any gh’s in French, so WTF?

But we all just sit here and accept it all, as silently as half the fucking letters in our language, like victims of Stockholm Syndrome. Come to think of it, the vikings came from Stockholm, and they’re just one group that conquered England and fucked up the way they speak. So much for an island being easy to defend. The Danes were doing island hopping long before Douglas MacArthur made it hip and fashionable.

My current agitation with the only language I can read more than a sentence of is because I’m trying to teach it to my daughter. Not the spoken part. She’s got that part nailed down. Mostly. I mean, she still can’t seem to distinguish between hearing directions and following directions, but I teach high schoolers, and I know that subtle distinction is still a long way coming.

But she’s ready to learn how to read. And we’re ready for her to learn how to read. Because I swear, if I have to read about giving a mouse a fucking muffin one more goddamned time, I’m going to shove that muffin right up his rodent ass.

She’s been doing phonics at daycare for the better part of two years, so she knows all the sounds. She’s been taking swimming lessons for the same amount of time, and her swimming ability is about the same as her reading skills. She knows the motions, but if she were try to put them all together on her own, she’d end up at the bottom of the picture book, struggling to breathe.

So instead of throwing her into the deep end, we’ve been trying to sound things out together. And right off the bat, I’m questioning how much money we’ve wasted on phonics. She’s very lazy at reading beyond the first letter. After two years of “B is for bird,” she now sees box and goes, “buh, buh, big?” I’ll then have her sound it out. And she can do it.

“Buh, ah, ks.”

“Okay, put them all together.”

“Buh, buh, bamboozle.”

Where the fuck did you get boozle out of an x, kid?

But we’re trying, and she’s getting closer when she actually focuses. So we started out with everyone’s first reading adventure: Dr. Seuss. More specifically, “Hop on Pop.”

And it starts out great. Pup. Cup. Pup in Cup. Cup. Pup. Cup on Pup. All words she can sound out. Rhyming words. Once she’s figured out the ending sound, she can substitute the beginning sound, which she’s great at from phonics.

Then it gets a little tougher. Day. Play. We play all day.

At this point, I question whether or not I should explain to her why she’s not pronouncing a “yuh” at the end of play and day. That the vowel following the other vowel turns the former into a long sound, even if Y is a little bitch that can’t decide if it’s a vowel or not. Or do I just tell her that this is one of those cases where A says it’s name and hope she’ll just ignore the extra letter there? And all of a sudden, I’m the phonics teacher telling her the end of the word doesn’t matter and she should just sound out the beginning of the word and then make a wild stab at what form the vowel is taking in this particular word.

Then comes the next page. Night. Fight. We fight all night.

What the fuck? I give up.

First of all, Dr. Seuss, what the hell are silent “gh”es doing on page five of a book that is listed as “Easy reading. For the beginning readers”?

Secondly, what the hell am I supposed to do now? It’s one thing to tell her to ignore the y in day, when the y is silent but is in fact serving a purpose there, and if you were to pronounce “da-yuh,” you wouldn’t be kicked out of polite society. People would probably just think you’re singing a Harry Belafonte song.

But now I’m faced with a silent gh. If you pronounce it “niguhut,” people will have you committed. And now that I look at it in the “liguhut” of day, what the hell are those letters doing there in the first place? Are they acting as vowels to lengthen the i? So now I have to tell my daughter that the vowels are a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y, and sometimes w, and sometimes gh. But the last three sets of “vowels” only act as vowels when they completely give up their will to live, don’t say their name and just sit there, aiding and abetting their “more important” brethren like a goddamned politician’s spouse?
Just sit there and look pretty, dears, and if anyone asks you what you really think about guhu-gate, stay quiet.

So with these words, I didn’t tell Daughter to do anything with the middle portion of the word. I just told her, “That word is night. That word is fight.”

And just like that, I’ve crossed over the great debate line in the world of reading. Because if you’re not on the side of phonics, then you must be with those rat bastards in the whole language camp. Whole languagers say, “Fuck sounding it out. Just memorize what each word is and use context clues.”

And really, isn’t that how we read? Even those of us who read via internal vocalization (and yes, I know that every goddamn speed reading course tells me to knock that shit off and I totally know I don’t need to do it and it’s frustrating as shit that it’s slowing me down, but gaddammit, I just can’t stop), don’t sound out the words. I know what “fucking goddammit” says, so I just say “fucking goddammit,” instead of “fuh, uh, sss, kuh, ih, nuh, guh” in my mind. Whole Language!

Whole Language basically tells us to learn all of the words and voila! you’re reading. Seems rather daunting for a language that has hundreds of thousands of words. But that’s probably also the number of different ways you can pronounce the letter c. So maybe instead of telling her the difference between the sss sound and the ck sound and the ch sound, I can just tell her the cisgendered cock has a chub. By the time I’m done explaining all of the rules of the language, those words will be totally appropriate for her.

And if Whole Language is just memorizing, then my five year-old should be a pro. She can recite the whole goddamned “Hop on Pop” without even looking at the page. Which is annoying when I’m trying to figure out if she’s actually learning how to read.

“Dad had a bad day. What a day dad had.”

“Wow, good job, Love… Wait, why are you staring out the window?”

But if we’re going to go the Whole Language route, then why the fuck have we spent the last two years teaching her the sounds of all the letters? And I don’t just mean that as a parent who has wasted time and money and brain cells listening to “A is for Apple, Apple, Apple” fifteen thousand times.

Why do we spend time telling out kids that e is for elephant when ninety percent of the time you encounter the letter e, it isn’t going to sound like that? We should instead say “e is for evil and elephant, but most of the time it’s silent just to fuck with the other vowel, vowel, vowel.”

And even when all that is done, can anyone, anywhere tell me what the fuck is with the whole silent gh thing?