For My Birthday, Please Pronounce “February” Correctly

Who put the “you” in “February”?

This is my month and I wish you would pronounce it correctly.

My birthday — the first of the month — ushers in 28 (or 29) days of the most mispronounced period on the calendar. I understand that marketers are trying to personalize their message by inserting “you” in everything, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept Feb-YOO-ary.

February pronunciation

Who put the "you" in February? I don't see it anywhere in there.

Yet professional newscasters and announcers lately have succumbed to widespread adoption of this error. Given the amount of time broadcasters historically have spent in bars, you’d think they could pronounce a word that has “brew” in the middle.

In honor of poor February — short, cold (except for 2012) and mispronounced — I am declaring it National Let’s Stop the Mispronunciation Madness Month.

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Black-Eyed Peas Guaranteed 30 Years of Bar Mitzvah Party DJ Play

Mazel Tov!

Many, if not most Americans, I’d guess, know this phrase is used by Jews when congratulating other Jews on such happy occasions as weddings, bar mitzvahs and the birth of a child.

But, seriously, how did this most Jewish of Jewish expressions make its way into the wildly popular “I Gotta Feeling,” performed (annoyingly auto-tuned) by the Black Eyed Peas at halftime of Superbowl XLV?

Chicago musician Stuart Rosenberg, a talented bandleader who has played for countless simchas (happy occasions), provided an explanation for me on Facebook: “The Peas put that in to guarantee that song would be played by every DJ at every bar mitzvah for the next 30 years.”

Rosenberg, founder of the League of Creative Musicians, is probably right. The seventh graders who populate bar mitzvah parties love to shout “Mazel Tov!” when it comes up in the lyrics, seemingly at random, during the song.

Actually, the bar mitzvah DJ playlist might be more diverse if other groups also had injected their tunes with some Yiddishkeit (Jewishness).

For example, what if…

  • Elvis had used fermisht as a synonym for “All Shook Up”?
  • Stevie Wonder had thrown kine-ahora (ward off the evil eye) into “Superstition”?
  • KC and the Sunshine Band had sneaked shep naches (experience joy) between the lines of “That’s the Way I Like It”?

Other suggestions are welcome, of course.

Meanwhile, the overuse of “I Gotta Feeling” seems to drive Stuart Rosenberg crazy:

“All the more reason to have a live band, not a DJ,” he says.

And to Stuart, I’ll shout “Yasher koach” (may you have strength), something that’s often said to scholars after they give a particularly insightful commentary.

Blizzards, bread and Internet fractals

Chicago is literally “under the weather” today, meaning that we are under a thousand feet of snow.

Does it seem that when there’s a blizzard, people crave bread?

Lia Lehrer has a humorous take on that question in a post today.

BTW, this blog had its official debut yesterday. I would have been online long ago, but I got confused and started paying attention to the Blagosphere (news about former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich).

But I’m here now. Michael Lehrer poses the question of where I fit in to the Blogosphere, and he offers a the Blogofractal cartoon from XKCD as a reference. I think I’m in there somewhere between liars and ponies.

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