"Whatever" voted most irritating word in poll
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Whatever you think about using grating
words, at the end of the day it's actually better not to say whatever, if you
know what I mean.
For the second consecutive year "whatever' topped a
Marist poll as the most annoying word or phrase in the English language.
Nearly 39 percent of 1,020 Americans questioned in the
survey deemed it the most irritating word, followed by "like" with 28
percent and the phrase "you know what I mean' at 15 percent.
"Perhaps these words are introduced through popular
culture, for example movies ... so they catch on," said Mary Azzoli, of
Marist. "It has a lot to do with how accepted and how popular they become
in every day speech."
Azzoli said words like "whatever" can be quite
dismissive depending on how they are used.
"It's the way they are delivered and inherent in that
delivery is a meaning.
The phrase "to tell you the truth" and
"actually" were also unnerving to many people. But for younger
Americans, aged 18 to 29, "like" was the word that annoyed them most.
Traffic tip for Santa: reflective reindeer collars
OSLO (Reuters) – Norwegian reindeer owners have a Christmas
safety tip for Santa -- put reflectors on his fleet-footed animals so they
won't get hit by cars.
About 2,000 reindeer have been fitted this month with
reflective yellow collars or small antler tags to cut down on the car crashes
that now kill 500 reindeer a year and pose a danger to motorists across Arctic
"It really works," Kristian Oevernes, the leader
of the project at the Norwegian Public Roads Administration, told Reuters of
the project in Finnmark, where the sun does not rise in mid-winter.
A test drive on a snowmobile showed that marked reindeer
were far more visible in the dark than others. Several people are injured every
year in car accidents involving reindeer, and one recent accident in Finland
"I guess so," Oevernes said, when asked if Santa
might take up the safety tip.
"This is the first time it (reindeer marking) has
happened on this scale."
Sami herders had tried small experiments to attach
reflective tape to the animals but the glue failed in the cold. Finnish herders
had also tried a reflective spray, but it reduced the fur's ability to keep out
About 200,000 reindeer live in Norway, mostly owned by Sami
indigenous people who raise them for meat, skins and antlers, according to the
International Center for Reindeer Husbandry.
If the new project is successful, supporters say, reindeer
owners or vehicle insurance companies might be interested in buying reflectors.
Christmas Sweater Club Busted
HAYMARKET, Va. (WUSA) -- They call themselves the
"Christmas Sweater Club" because they wear the craziest ones they can
find. They also sing Christmas songs at school and try their best to spread
Now all 10 of them are in trouble because of what they did
at their school.
"They said, 'maliciously maim students with the intent
to injure.' And I don't think any of us here intentionally meant to injure
anyone, or did," said Zakk Rhine, a junior at Battlefield High School.
The boys say they were just tossing small two-inch candy
canes to fellow students as they entered school. The ones in plastic wrap that
are so small they often break apart.
Skylar Torbett, also a junior, said administrators told him,
"They said the candy canes are weapons because you can sharpen them with
your mouth and stab people with them." He said neither he nor any of their
friend did that.
Next thing they knew, they were all being punished with
detention and at least two hours of cleaning. Their disciplinary notices say
nothing about malicious wounding but about littering and creating a
"It was at 7 in the morning, before school even starts,
so I don't what we'd be really disrupting," said Cameron Gleason, also a
Principal Amy Etheridge-Conti says she can't comment on the
students' discipline but did say there was a lot more to it than handing out
candy and that the discipline was warranted.
The boys admitted their incident may have caused litter
since some kids dropped their candy canes on the floor. But Cameron Gleason said he spent an hour
cleaning up the dropped candy.
The boys' parents think the school went overboard and maybe
administrators were trying to stop their boys from spreading Christmas cheer.
Mother Kathleen Flannery said an administrator called her
and explained "not everyone wants Christmas cheer. That suicide rates are
up over Christmas, and that they should keep their cheer to themselves,
Patti Gleason, the mother of Cameron Gleason says, "I
am 100 percent sure they did nothing wrong. We've gotten so many different
stories. It went from maiming kids with candy canes, to littering. And then
when received the referral (disciplinary notice) it said 'disruption.' So
nobody really knew what they were getting in trouble for, they were just making
up a whole bunch of different things."
But, like Who's of Whoville, the boys are still
singing, not letting what happened to them dampen their cheer.