[ Well, I was ready at my normal posting time, even if the Livejournal servers weren't. ]
Coming up this month on The Language Team:
October 2, 8:30 where applicable: New episode. Jenna and Leonard visit the Word Rehabilitation Center catching damaged or orphaned words, cleaning off any unwanted or unsightly oil-based build-ups, and readying them to released back into the wild. The team helps sneak ``soffit'' away from a vicious battle between Home Repair Stuff We Think and Maybe It's Some Food Channel over who gets custody. The Build Team attempts to construct an adverb from ``lining''. After airing join our web site for exclusive blooper videos.
October 9, 8:30 except where void: New episode. Leonard, Barbara, and an emergency guest Jenna join a team trying to flush out a covey of Copy Editors from a major metropolitan newspaper and debate whether the species has become extinct. In a touching special feature the story of the last known copy editor of a college newspaper, an odd fellow named ``David'', explains how his life brought him to living in a place inappropriately dubbed ``The Batcave'' and why he has surrounded himself by people who call him ``Duck''. The cameraman backs slowly away through the whole feature but does not run until ``David'' shows how when you are with him it is always 1992. The Verbal Team explains to the security guards yet again that they are not particularly talkative but instead are talking about non-finite verbs.
October 16, 8:80 if that were not made up: Rerun. The Build Team tries to trace down an important fact bout the subjunctive case to determine whether it amounts to anything besides a vague feeling that people are sometimes using ``were'' instead of ``was'', or maybe that was the other way around, so we descend into feeling vaguely helpless, the point of the subjunctive. The resolution by spirited pie fight remains an all-time fan favorite once they see it we hope because about half the episodes left in this season make some reference to it. It remains uncertain whether there are important facts about the subjunctive case but everyone is sure to feel better if they spend some quality time worrying about it.
October 23, A:30 (check your spacetime coordinates): Certified pre-owned episode. The new Barbara and the emergency holographic Leonard must perform a daring cross-circuiting of an English and a Mathematics department to prove whether non-finite verbs can be used as a counterexample to Cantor's diagonalization proof. The Build Team tries to create a word which cannot be written in any collection of words, and learns under what conditions pencils may be set on fire. The Verbal Team points out they mean how pencils can be set on fire, and testily point to a placard explaining why pencils may not be set on fire within a fifty-foot radius of the exterior doors. Long story short, nobody is bit by a charging subjunctive.
October 30, 12:00 and guess which one: New episode. Closed captioning becomes more open-minded. A return to the Word Rehabilitation Center sees ``notion'' reintroduced to its natural habitat of 17th century authors such as Philemon Holland, if any can be found. The Verbal Team consoles the Rehabilitation Center workers after ``notion'' is swallowed whole by a subjunctive. ``Placard'' is captured and given a radio-transmitting collar to measure its migration and its basal metabolism. Chris and Martin Kratt guest-star and impersonate ``caulk''.
October 31, 12:00 and if it were midnight try figuring out all this: Third Halloween Special. Leonard, Jenna, Richard, and Philemon host a costume ball at the Language Team center. In a live five-minute closing segment (taped afterwards) prizes are awarded for the best impersonation of the second-person imperative, four categories of objective-case pronoun objections, and ``garnet''. The episode includes an Election Day preview of the Verbal Team's disturbingly heated debate regarding what circumstances justify referring to a vice-president as ``Veep''. Barbara specifically asked us to point out she insists only the late Alben Barkley should be called ``Veep'', and this is very important to her, so don't blame us. We're going into hiding in 1992. Ignore if fewer than three Halloweens this year.
Trivia: The word ``squirrel'' derives from the Middle French esquireul (sometimes spelled escuriuel), which likely derives from the Vulgar Latin scuriolus, itself coming from the Latin sciurus. That word in turn appears to be a Latinized version of the greek skiouros, from skia ``shadow'' and oura ``tail''. Source: Webster's Dictionary of Word Origins, Editor Frederick C Mish.
Currently Reading: The Greatest Game Ever Played: Harry Vardon, Francis Ouimet, and The Birth Of Modern Golf, Mark Frost.