Fun with Words

Words that are fun to say       Where to find more words       Miscellaneous Word Play

Words in Planets       Mnemonics       Letters of Recommendation


 Dick & JD Present:

Words & Names that are Fun to Say

First, credit goes to Dave, who originated the idea of a web page with words that are fun to say .

Apparently Dave found other interests, since the link to his page stopped working years ago. My grandson Johnny and I were already savoring some hockey player names, so we decided weíd carry on Daveís work (My favorite is Lubos Barteko (pronounced "barTESHko") Johnny is partial to Sergei Krivakrasov.)

These guys played over a decade ago, so lots of cool names have been added to score sheets since. A few good ones are Artem Anisimov, Carlo Colaiacovo, and Lubomir Vishnovsky. Many Finnish names are fun to say, although few English speakers can say them exactly the way the Finns do. A few examples: Kimmo Timonen, Teemu Hartikainen, and Tuukka Rask. 

Roll the words below around on your tongue; check with Mirriam-Webster if you donít know what they mean, and send us more, More, MORE!

First, my all-time favorite:

Next, another great hockey name (say it: YOO-hah eeLOHnen):
Yuha Ylonen

JD likes:

Our favorite water delivery system (makes a good chant):
The Delta-Mendota Canal

Thisíll get your goat!

Pucker up!

Bottoms up!

Kubla Kahnís address:

This is the CAT in CAT Scan:
Computerized Axial Tomography

Drink it or smell it?

No strain here:

A good point:

Send us your favorite word today!


Where to Find More Words

These people have just about all the words there are: Mirriam-Webster On Line

This site will Email you a new word every weekday, complete with definition, origin, pronunciation and several examples of usage: Word a Day

The Mirriam-Webster people also have a Word a Day service

Words and much more at the Encyclopedia Britannica page

The Word Detective gives us a humorous explanation of how words and phrases developed - highly recommended

More dictionary and word links on our LINKS page!

Now letís have some more fun!

The SCAMP cities in Australia:
Taking Chances:
Traveling into Oregon on Highway 101, we spotted a liquor store near the border with the sign "Last Chance Liquor Store." On our return, we discovered the sign on the north side reads "First Chance Liquor Store."

Popular Names

Barney is a popular name on TV, especially for sidekicks/buddies:

Barney Rubble on The Flintstones
Barney Gumble on The Simpsons
Barney Hefner on All in the Family
Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show
Barney Miller on Barney Miller
Barney the Dinosaur
Barney Stenson on How I Met Your Mother

Dentist buddies named Jerry:

Jerry Robinson on The Bob Newhart Show
Jerry Helfer on The Dick Van Dyke Show

Alberta (Canada) seems to be a favorite place in songs:

Four Strong Winds (Ian Tyson): "I could go back to Alberta, got some friends livin' there..."
Alberta Bound (Gordon Lightfoot)
Cold Nights in Canada (John Denver): "Up in the mountains in Jasper, Alberta, two men and four ponies on long winterís ride..."

(Ian and Gordon are Canadian)

Baton Rouge too:

Me and Bobby McGee (Janis Joplin et al) "Busted flat in Baton Rouge..."
Louisiana Rain (Tom Petty) "Louisiana Rain is soaking through my shoes; I may never be the same, when I reach Baton Rouge."
Rambling in My Shoes (Hank Williams Jr. & Boxcar Willie): "So I caught a southbound freight in Detroit city, and I rode it all the way to Baton Rouge...."
Big River (Johnny Cash) "Won't you paddle down to Baton Rouge, river queen..."
Baton Rouge (Guy Clark) "I'm gonna leave Texarkana I'm goin' down to Louisiana I'm gonna try my luck in Baton Rouge..."
Callin' Baton Rouge (Garth Brooks) "Operator won't you put me through; I gotta send my love down to Baton Route...callin' Baton Rouge."


Mnemonic Devices

Memory device for the names of the planets:
My very educated mother just sent us nine


Mercury Venus Earth Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto

As of August, 2006, scientists have defined three more solar system bodies as planets. They are Ceres, between Mars and Jupiter; and Charon and Xena beyond Pluto. We need to add words to this mnemonic to keep it up to date. "My very educated mother, Cecelia," comes to mind, but the "X" is going to be a challenge.  Send Email with your ideas.

8/23/06: Tim Kreider, writing in the New York Times, offers this amendment (overlooking Ceres): My Very Energetic Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas, Sans Xenophobia. He also doesn't explain the S for Charon. It's really not "Sharon," Tim.

8/25/06: Well, we've been saved from this horrible dilemma, as the International Astronomical Union refined the definition of a planet, eliminating Ceres, Charon and Xena from contention. It also demotes Pluto to the status of "dwarf planet" (Click here for more thoughts on the subject). We still need to revise the mnemonic. How about "My very educated mother just sent us nectarines"?

One blogger offered "My very eager mother just served us nachos." As long as we keep a food reference, I'm happy.

How to spell "geography":
George Edwards old grandma rode  a pig home  yesterday

Ambiguous Letters of Recommendation

The Problem: Having to write letters of recommendation for people with very dubious qualifications can cause serious legal troubles in a time when laws have eroded the confidentiality of business letters. In most states, job applicants have the right to read the letters of recommendation and can even file suit against the writer if the contents are negative.

The Solution: Here is an arsenal of statements that can be read two ways. You are able to state a negative opinion of the ex-employee's poor work habits, while allowing the ex-employee to believe that it is high praise. When the writer uses these, whether perceived correctly or not by the ex-employee, the phrases are virtually litigation-proof.

To describe a person who is extremely lazy: "In my opinion," you say as sincerely as you can manage, "you will be very fortunate to get this person to work for you." To describe a person who is totally inept: "I most enthusiastically recommend this candidate with no qualifications whatsoever."

To describe an ex-employee who had problems getting along with fellow workers: "I am pleased to say that this candidate is a former colleague of mine."

To describe a candidate who is so unproductive that the job would be better left unfilled: "I can assure you that no person would be better for the job."

To describe a job applicant who is not worth further consideration: "I would urge you to waste no time in making this candidate an offer of employment."

To describe a person with lackluster credentials: "All in all, I cannot say enough good things about this candidate or recommend him too highly."



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Updated July 2, 2017