Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

US/UK English translations

Monday, March 5th, 2007

So I’m thinking about putting up a proper webpage tracking some of the differences between US and UK English. Maybe a modified dict or something could be the appropriate solution. Until then, here’s a list (I’ll try to remember to update this article when I have new ideas):

  • Advert -> Commercial (Advertisement is not used for TV)
  • Aeroplane -> Airplane (obvious example there)
  • Bin -> Trash Can (more well known example there)
  • Cafetière -> French Press
  • Dressing Gown -> Bath Robe (don’t ever say Dressing Gown)
  • Gherkin -> Pickle (pickled cucumber, more generic than Gherkin too)
  • Glandular Fever -> Mono (full name (infectious) mononucleosis)
  • Hire Car -> Rental Car
  • Jumper -> Sweater (more well known example there)
  • Post -> Mail (more well known example there)
  • Spanner -> Wrench (don’t ever say “throw a spanner in the works”)
  • Trainers -> Running Shoes (or maybe Sneakers)
  • Trousers -> Pants (more well known example there)
  • Washing -> Laundry (though they’d guess)

Of course, I’m not addressing the pronounciation differences. There are obvious examples from popular culture such as Tomato/Tomarto, but then there are more subtle differences in words like vase (no “varse”), adver*tize*ment, and so on. Some of these are well known, others not. And then, of course, there’s a need to adjust general grammar rules for a US audience, too.

I generally modify my pronounciation, as well as my grammar and spelling, in business/consumer settings in order to avoid confusement/random giggling at what I’m saying. Though with friends, I often don’t bother to change how I say something (because it’s more amusing that way around) – but probably still consider it.


HOWTO: Write a successful US TV commercial dialogue

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

We’ve all seen them. Shallow, annoying, pointless TV commercials for products of limited or no value. Sometimes these commercials can leave you feeling you’re getting a deal when in fact they want to take you for a ride. But now there’s something different. And it’s called Jon’s US TV commercial guide. That’s right. Thanks to its patented technology and spaceage construction, Jon’s US TV commercial guide brings benefits never before available at any price. Jon’s US TV commercial guide is not available in stores but you can get all of these benefits and more by calling today!

“I tried Jon’s US TV commercial guide and was amazed. I’d tried other HOWTOs, but this was different. It really worked!”

“Hi, I’m doctor Bob Bobson from the center for Bobson research. I’ve been a family doctor for many years and I’ve seen first hand how many HOWTO guides can leave people drowsy and discontented. But Jon’s US TV commercial guide is the first guide in its class to really work. My patients agree, Jon’s US TV commercial guide really does work. And it’s that simple.”

“My doctor told me that Jon’s US TV commercial guide isn’t for everyone. It isn’t for people with kidney or liver problems, history of heart attack or high blood pressure. She also said I shouldn’t take it if I’ve been standing on my head or am a humorless drone, as these can lead to a successful lawsuit for everyday commonsense aversion”.

Jon’s US TV Commercial guide isn’t available in stores, but you can get it risk free in your own home for just ten payments of $19.95! That’s right! Ten payments of $19.95! People ask how we’re able to offer such value at such a great price. The secret’s in the patented technology harnessing the latest scientifically proven breakthrough in spaceage construction. In fact, we’re so confident in this product that we’re offering it to you risk free for 30 days! That’s right! Risk free in your own home for 30 days!

But wait! Call now and we’ll double your order. That’s right! We’ll double your order at no extra cost to you! Just pay additional shipping. Two Jon’s US TV Commercial guides for the price of one and a 30 day risk free trial in your own home! This offer isn’t available in stores, but you can take advantage of it right now – risk free – for just ten payments of $19.95!

But wait! Call in the next 5 minutes and we’ll shove it up your ass, no questions asked! That’s right! We’ll shove it up your ass, no questions asked! Call now!


HOWTO: visit a doctor

Thursday, February 15th, 2007

Life in the US is often interesting, from an introspective viewpoint anyway. Yesterday, I decided that this sore throat wasn’t going to get better on its own and needed some antibiotical assistance. So, I figured it was about time to register with a doctor and take care of all that jazz. Actually finding a doctor wasn’t too bad – I just used my health insurance provider’s website to find one down the street, called and got an apointment a few hours later. But when I got there, there was more fun to be had:

  • Fill in registration form.
  • Fill in more registration forms.
  • Fill in background form (all ok so far, overdone, but ok).
  • Fill in survey about depression. So I’m not depressed but they wanted to check I wasn’t about to kill myself as part of their paranoid default paperwork for new patients. I was tempted to write that the hassle involved in treating a sore throat was making me re-consider…but it’s not worth assuming a sense of humor exists.
  • Fill in survey about domestic violence. Yeah, that’s right. A sore throat requires this kind of information.
  • Take my blood pressure, weight, oxygen, heartrate, other vitals.
  • See doctor, who repeats most of the above.
  • Tell doctor “dude, I’ve got the same symptoms as someone who’s now already on antibiotics, I’m not dying, I just want a prescription and then I promise not to come back until I’m actually sick again”.
  • Doctor takes swabs of my throat to send off for analysis (presumably because they can claim this as an additional expense to my insurance company).
  • Discover the doctor is actually an OK dude. Originally Canadian and therefore versed in the Province based system in Canada, we had a good discussion about his support for universal healthcare, which local charities are good to donate to (I constantly feel guilt/annoyance that so many people here don’t have health coverage…and it really pisses me off) and the differences between US, Canadian and European healthcare systems.
  • Get prescription.
  • Go to CVS to claim it. They can’t find me in the insurance database. Phone calls, more waiting (and of course, I’m grumbling about the merits of universal healthcase by this point) and eventually after a wait they are able to process it.
  • Got antibiotics.

Thank goodness I only had a sore throat. I hate to think how bad it would be if I actually had anything particularly wrong with me. It’s not that any one thing was annoying/excessive, it’s just the overall experience that’s typically overblown and rediculous. Anyway, they’ve even more than in the UK, convinced me to avoid seeing a doctor here again unless I really feel like hours of fun and enjoyment just to deal with a trivial sore throat :-)

Irony of the day: being asked a bunch of times for your “social security” number and thinking to yourself “that’s right, social security, because the government here really provide for the people”. I like a lot of things about the US, but nobody is ever going to sell me on how healthcare works here…and now I’ve briefly experienced the whole broken mess for myself. People here do know the healthcare system is broken, it’s just that nobody can agree on how to fix it (read: rightwing types unwilling to pay higher taxes for universal healthcare benefits to wider society).

The number one reason I’m pissed off? Because of the disparity. I get good coverage through my employer, but so many millions of people don’t get anything – I hate to think about their experiences. Health should not be about who you work for, what job you do or how much you can afford to pay…not in an advanced society, anyway. I wish people who vote for fucktarded losers would finally realize this. But they won’t, because it’s not in keeping with unrealistic, unmaintainable tax cuts and general cuts to federal programs in order to spend more on fighting daddy’s war…


US church splits over sexuality

Sunday, December 17th, 2006

The BBC is reporting that the US Anglican church is to split over sexuality, specifically over the gay issue. Standard arguments against gay priests were being used, fantastic stuff. One of the things that helped me to adopt my current religious beliefs was a realization that every established church discriminates against someone else. I don’t believe in “God”, but if I did, I don’t think “he” would give a damn what two consenting adults want to do in their spare time. The “religious right” have got to get over this (so, then, they can actually go fuck themselves properly and get it over with).


Florida suspends lethal injection

Saturday, December 16th, 2006

Brother of the Fuckwit-In-Chief, Jeb Bush, has temporarily suspended State executions while they figure out why it took 34 minutes and two attempts to finally murder the latest death row inmate. Apparently, it’s “cruel and unusual” when it takes 34 minutes but it’s not cruel or unusal (in Florida at any rate) to have state sanctioned murder take place at any other time. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t nice people and they probably don’t belong outside any time soon, but killing people once you’ve got them locked in a maximum security facility is just immoral, unjust and plain wrong.


Jersey legalizes same sex marriage

Friday, December 15th, 2006

The BBC provides some welcome news for all those who believe in sanity and who think the current US anti-gay marriage crusade has a lot in common with other anti-everything crusades of the past, like the opposition of equal rights for blacks in the 20th century (seriously, try it sometime for yourself, substitute “racism” for “homophobia” and you’re able to reuse a lot of the same arguments that were used at that time, too). NJ has “legalized” (as if that should be needed) the right for gay couples to have something almost a marriage without using that word. Getting better – who knows, in time it might be possible to even use the words “gay marriage” without someone dying of shock or abusing quasi-Christian semi-rightwing beliefs on The Murdoch “Inciteful Hatred News” Network of the day. Note to self: if you get a TV, figure a way to pay for a cable package where you’re not subsidising Faux.

Personally, I don’t give a flying fuck whether two guys want to marry, two girls, a woman and a man or any other combination thereof. I know this makes me some kind of left leaning hippie wannabe and I’m very comfortable with that. Anyone bothered by who someone else chooses to marry because of their gender seriously (and I mean, seriously) needs to see someone about that. I promise they won’t make you watch.


Boston Ballet – The Nutcracker

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

So we went to see The Nutcracker at the newly rennovated Boston Opera House last night. That was totally awesome – having never seen The Nutcracker before, I was looking forward to it. I had other reasons to enjoy seeing the ballet, but the performance itself was great. I need to see more performances in Boston. London can move over, even the Royal Albert Hall can’t really touch the Boston Opera House for style and class.

I’m debating going to see Handel’s Messiah performed by the Handel and Haydn Society as another cultural outlet, though I have suddenly realised that I could spend a million years in Boston and enjoy every minute of it.