The forum is dead, long live the forum

What’s this? After over two years, two posts in one day?

The Word Nerds Forum has been removed from the site. It has not been active in well over two years, and it has become an administrator’s nightmare, since it seems only to attract new registration requests generated by spambots.

I hope that if I remove it from the Internet, it will cease to attract these spambots.

I do have a backup copy saved, so if you posted something that you need to treasure forever, let me know. I can probably restore it temporarily. However, I will not be restoring it to full operational status.

The Word Nerds site, restored

First of all, no, we are not getting ready to start producing more Word Nerds episodes. Sorry.

However, I can see that many people keep coming back to the site, viewing the blog posts and listening to the podcast episodes. Alas, I have neglected the site terribly over the past 2+ years. Today I updated a lot of the software–Word Press and PodPress–that makes this site work.

It doesn’t look like it used to, however. Because I ran out of patience, I didn’t go through the rather tedious process of updating the theme; I just selected a standard Word Press theme. So it looks different, but all the content is still here.

Thanks to people who are still commenting. We do pay attention.

Status update: goodbye for now (120)

This is Dave Shepherd with an update on the status of the Word Nerds podcast.

Most of you have noticed that we Word Nerds have been absent from the airwaves (or the Internet-waves) since April of this year. We’re sorry about our extended absence. Over the past four years we have built a sizeable community around this podcast—a far larger community than the two Howards and I ever anticipated when we started back in March of 2005. We have made many friends around the world and have even met some of you offline. But this year we have come to feel that we have in some sense let you down as a “Word Nerds community.”

For more than a year, we produced the show once every week. In the late summer of 2006 I realized that the demands of producing the podcast every week were much more than I could keep up with. The show became a burden to me and to my family, so I convinced my partners to reduce the frequency of The Word Nerds.
In 2007, when it was sometimes difficult for members of the original team to get together, Barbara helped us keep The Word Nerds going by contributing her insights and writing occasional shows. During 2008, Barbara was the principal content creator for as many shows as anyone else in the team.

In 2009, it has become more and more challenging for us to keep producing robust and interesting content with any kind of regularity. We became aware that we were sometimes stretching to find content topics, and that our treatment of those topics wasn’t always as thorough as it was when we started. Our work lives also pushed the show to the margins this year. I myself had to spend the summer completing two large and challenging book translations, long-term commitments that extended back almost to the beginning of the podcast. Both Howards were away on long-term travel on opposite sides the world: Howard Chang to China and Taiwan, Howard Shepherd to Germany. Barbara’s work required her to travel around the USA more frequently. And my own work responsibilities have increased as well, since I am now the chair of the foreign language department at the high school where I teach. Other important aspects of our lives, which faded to the background over the past few years, have raised their hands and asked for our renewed attention.

Therefore we have decided to stop producing The Word Nerds as a regular podcast series. The obligation that we used to set for ourselves to put out a show every week, or every three weeks, or every month, has drained away a lot of the joy that the project held for us in the beginning. No corporate entity or external structure has ever required us to keep the thing going, so there just doesn’t seem to be any reason to allow a production schedule to tyrannize our lives.

This does not mean, however, that The Word Nerds is / are dead. We still may publish blog posts or produce podcasts from time to time, whenever we feel we have something interesting to say. But these publications won’t show up in your RSS subscriptions or your playlists with any predictable frequency.
As a practical matter, if you have been a subscriber to The Word Nerds, if you feel yourself to be part of the Word Nerds community, you certainly can stay subscribed. It won’t burden your iTunes podcast list to do so. All our old shows will remain available online, and any new podcast we put out will come to you automatically. Just don’t feel you’ve missed something if you don’t hear from us for quite awhile. We won’t be putting a show out just because we haven’t done one in a month or two or three. We’ll only put one out if we have something interesting to say about language.

Before I sign off for good, I want to acknowledge once again some creative people who have helped our show sound better than just our voices would sound. Chris Clemente of the Chicago band Kick the Cat—which may not even exist as a regularly-playing band anymore—graciously granted us permission to use their provocatively titled song “Blow Me” as our theme song. Evan Stone, leader of the Translucent Ham Sandwich Band in the Los Angeles area, is the creator of our alternate closing theme, “Grapes.” And all you listeners who gave us show ideas via email, blog comments, and forum posts, deserve our heartfelt thanks.
Thank you for your enthusiastic support over the past four and a half years. It has meant a lot to all four of us to feel connected to you, and we hope we’ll see you again sometime in the future, either online or in person.

Time: 6:51

Size: 6.3 Mb

Workplace Communications (119)

Workplace communications: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd are off the job while recording this show, but they will be talking about workplace communications.

The fourth anniversary of The Word Nerds was on March 21. (2:08)

The tone of workplace communications; workplace jargon; methods of communicating on the job (3:06)

Music bumper from “The Corner of Sacco and Vanzetti” by Shibboleth. (20:07)

Conflicts at the office; the dynamics and hierarchies of communication (20:59)

Song: “Work” by Naughty Jack (25:05)

Rude Word of the Week: “whistleblower” (28:22)

Music bumper from “I Hate My Job” by the Peach Stealing Monkeys

Socializing at work, and socializing about work (33:26)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat

Closing theme from “Grapes” by Evan Stone

time: 43:55

size: 40.2 Mb

rating: G (Young kids can start getting ready for the world of work at an early age.)

Nostalgia (118)

Nostalgia: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd are on location in one of the important places ofJack Sprat Cafe, Chapel Hill, NC their young adulthood, where they talk about nostalgia.

Thanks to Maureen B. for a PayPal donation. Dave makes a couple of corrections. Thanks to Jack Sprat Café on E. Franklin Street in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, for providing space for the Word Nerds’ remote studio. (2:08)

Nostalgia of place: We have returned to Chapel Hill, NC, where we both attended university; the meaning of the word “nostalgia” and related concepts; history vs. nostalgia. (4:08)

Music bumper from “Back in the Days” by Teej (10:08)

Some of our Chapel Hill memories; nostalgia as an emotional phenomenon. Can you go home again (with apologies to Thomas Wolfe)? Nostalgia and technology (11:56)

Song: “The Good Old Days” by The Lodger (29:46)

Rude Word of the Week: “sappy” (33:07)

Music bumper from “Natural Man” by Lil Ed and the Blues Imperials. (36:14)

The dark side of nostalgia: wishing for good old days that were not so good (36:42)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network and the Ioda Promonet

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 44:49

size: 41.1 Mb

rating: PG (One of our definitions of our Rude Word gets slightly crude at one point.)

Life Is SweetThe Lodger
“The Good Old Days” (mp3)
from “Life Is Sweet”
(Slumberland)

Buy at Slumberland Web Store
Buy at Rhapsody
Buy at Napster
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Puretracks
Buy at appliedSB / Groupietunes
Buy at mTraks
More On This Album

SchenectadyTeej
“Back In The Days” (mp3)
from “Schenectady”
(Afrazmusic Corp)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at eMusic
Buy at Rhapsody
Buy at Napster
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Amazon MP3
Buy at appliedSB / Groupietunes
Buy at mTraks
More On This Album

Writing (117)

Writing: Barbara Shepherd and Dave Shepherd glance down at their written notes–albeit not handwritten–as they talk about writing.

Thanks to Kay Horst S., Jeff O., Kate S., Margaret C., and an anonymous friend for donations through the PayPal button. Thanks as well to Alan H., who sent us the link to the BBC news article that inspired this edition. (2:12)

Writing through history; how are different generations taught to write? We talk about thoughts on this topic from the following sources: the BBC and scaredmonkeys.com. (3:09)

Music bumper from “Edgar Meyer Winter” by Shibboleth (14:19)

Calligraphy: the art of writing (16:02)

Song: “So I’m Writing” by Geoff Smith (20:49)

Rude Word of the Week: “chicken scratch” (25:47)

Music bumper from “Melancolica” by the Mauricio Cuburu. (30:38)

Handwriting today and the effects of technological innovation (31:20)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network

Theme music by Kick the Cat

Closing theme from “Grapes” by Evan Stone

time: 44:57

size: 41.2 Mb

rating: G (We hope to inspire some young listeners to write a handwritten note to somebody sometimes.)

Translation (116)

Translation: Howard Shepherd and Dave Shepherd bring a certain je ne sais quoi to their discussion of translation.

Thanks to renaissance247 for the email suggestion of this show topic. (2:33)

Practical problems in translation; “good” and “bad” translation; the importance of accuracy (3:36)

Music bumper from “Foreign Affair” by Brad Wheeler (9:37)

Translating well-known texts: Martin Luther, Rainer Maria Rilke (10:33)

Song: “Strange Day in Mexico” by The Clintons (19:26)

Rude Word of the Week: “shmuck” (23:21)

Music bumper from “Make Me Understand” by Matt Thorpe (26:48)

Unfortunate mistakes in translation (including one on our very website!) (27:45)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network and the Ioda Promonet

Theme music by Kick the Cat

time: 36:39

size: 33.6 Mb

rating: PG-13 (Our Rude Word is a rude word in Yiddish, we use some other rude words to discuss it, and we talk about the rudeness of the name of the talk-back link on our website.)

The Future Was YesterdayBrad Wheeler
“Foreign Affair” (mp3)
from “The Future Was Yesterday”
(Origin Records)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at eMusic
Buy at Napster
Buy at Rhapsody
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Amazon MP3
Buy at GroupieTunes / appliedSB
Buy at mTraks
More On This Album

Facebook and Social Networking (115)

Facebook and Social Networking: Howard Chang and Dave Shepherd announced their status to their Facebook friends as they recorded this discussion of Facebook and other social networks.

Our experience with Facebook, and the Facebook experience in general (2:10)

Music bumper from “Social” by Charming (17:39)

The effect of Facebook on language: how we talk to each other and how we refer to aspects of the Facebook experience (18:27)

Song: “MySpace” by Joshua Grosvent (30:58)

Rude Word of the Week: “creeper” (34:45)

Music bumper from “Meant to Be” by Rob Costlow (38:52)

Facebook as the “Internet café”; and other social networks (39:31)

Music courtesy of The Podsafe Music Network and the Ioda Promonet

Theme music by Kick the Cat

Closing theme from “Grapes” by Evan Stone

time: 51:01

size: 46.7 Mb

rating: R (Our amusing featured song has some rude and crude language typical of many MySpace users.)

GiantCharming
“Social” (mp3)
from “Giant”
(Charmingpop Recordings Worldwide)

Buy at iTunes Music Store
Buy at eMusic
Buy at Rhapsody
Buy at Napster
Stream from Rhapsody
Buy at Puretracks
Buy at Amazon MP3
Buy at GroupieTunes / appliedSB
Buy at mTraks
More On This Album