Word of the Day: canard

So, a funny thing happened on the way to the computer. I won’t go into details, but, there was a spaceship, a tuba and a package of Swedish Fish. It is a good story, and perhaps one day you will hear it.

Of course, it means I’ve been exceptionally remiss in my duties. But, there’s no time like the present to try again. So, no more blathering. Onto…

Today’s Word:


As in:

Shocking news today reveals that the most virilent carrier of the H1N1 virus is not person to person contact, it is, in fact, the media itself.

The virus seems to be gaining strength over the normal forms of seasonal flu simply because it has a higher media saturation. While deaths in a standard flu season typically average about 36,000 nationwide, the H1N1 strain has only been responsible for about 3,900.

Concerns have been raised that the more the disease is talked about, the greater the number of cases that appear. “People seemed to be confused. The concern for the H1N1 flu is all out of proportion to the actual severity of the threat,” says Dr. Rosenthal, a local physician. “Because of its high profile in the media, people are reporting their illnesses in much higher numbers than usual. This is inflating the overall picture of the problem, thus fueling more media attention, which, in turn, fuels people’s concerns and sends them to wait in long lines for the scarce H1N1 vaccine, and into the doctor for every minor case of the sniffles. Most of the sick people who’ve been scared into my office don’t even have the flu, they have other ailments.”

One paper reported that a woman became convinced that she had contracted the virus from her computer, while reading about the dreaded H1N1 flu. She was sure that if she didn’t have H1N1, she must’ve at least caught some other kind of virus from her computer. She reasoned that if her computer could get viruses, it could spread them not only to other computers, but to their owners. said the woman, “I’m Helen Marcum, and I’m a PC, with a virus. I was so sure that it was H1N1, and that, like the millions who succumbed to the the swine flu in 1918, we would be facing a much worse problem when it returned to attack in the modern era. With computers and other devices for transmitting data in seconds, it seemed logical that in a day of computer evolution, the computer would simply have become a disease infested murderer itself.

Later, it was revealed that the paper had published the story based on an internet canard, and retracted the tale, but it appeared the damage had been done.

“The H1N1 virus, the shortages of H1N1 vaccine, and the long lines of people waiting for the vaccine have been one of the lead stories every night on the news for weeks. It’s like the media is addicted to talking about it, and made it an epidemic just by repeating the story,” notes Eric Macon, a pharmacist. “I really wish they’d encourage people to get vaccinated for the seasonal flu. When it gets going, it’s bound to be much worse than this is. I bet they won’t even bother reporting about the regular-old, boring, seasonal flu.”


I wrote this several weeks ago, in long hand, but, never went looking for a word, and failed to get it put down in pixels. But, eventually it got committed to digital format, and now it’s in your little e-in-baskets. Hope everyone is staying free of the pork plaque.

canard / CAN – ard / a false or unfounded report or story.

Word of the Day: porcine

I’m not entirely sure what to make of the following story. It crept into my head, and now it’s creeping into yours. And, before you argue that today’s word is entirely too common for Word of the Day standards. You’re probably right. It just shows how smart you all are.

Today’s Word:


As in:

“Tina Karpinsky, reporting live from the capital, where a demonstration is underway. Pigs of many varieties are marching to protest what they call “spec-ial profiling.” With me is Mr. Babe, the group’s spokes-pig. Tell me, what are the chief complaints for you and your fellow pigs.”

“First of all, Tina, we’re NOT pigs, we’re Porcine-Americans. We resent the appaling treatment we’ve gotten over the centuries, which has reached a significant tipping point amongst my brethren in the last few months during this so-called “swine flu” epidemic. The virus is NOT swine-flu. It is the H1N1 influenza virus.”

“Many of our kind have been executed or unfairly imprisoned simply because they were of the porcine-persuasion. My uncle, Porky, was simply on his way to work last week, breaking no laws, when the cops stopped him and arrested him on suspicion of carrying weapons of mass infection. His only crime? Driving while porcine. The cops couldn’t prove he had any weapons of mass anything, but kept him overnight, convinced his speech impediment was an indicator of intoxication, even though he passed a breathalyzer test. You want to know the worst part? For breakfast, they served him PORK!”

“People need to know they have nothing to fear from us. We’re not the real menace. the FLU is. Wash your hands! stay home when you are sick! Get a flu shot, take care of yourselves, stop blaming us, and treating us like criminals!”

This all started with the idea of “spec-ial profiling,”  which made me laugh when the phrase popped into my head. Then, the news piped in with a story on swine flu, and the rest is history. I’m going to try and go to bed now, as tomorrow morning is likely to involve driving through snow.

porcine / POUR – sign / of, or relating to swine.