I’m talking about the Girl Scouts again but I’m less screamy this time.

Stuff that doesn’t fit anywhere else:

If you missed that post where I got 18 kinds of pissy about the Girl Scouts then you should just skip it because it’ll probably just make you screamy, but if you read it and were like, “I want to support girls directly without having to eat Thin Mints or pay expensive shipping & handling” then I have something for you.

Meet Janet, a troop leader for 18 years.  Her current troop is at a local transitional/homeless shelter.  These girls don’t sell cookies because of financial and transportation issues, but they get a little help from their local council.  Janet’s also frustrated with the Girl Scouts, but she gave me a bit of perspective in her last comment on my blog:

“…But, why do I continue? My homeless girls so desperately need something to belong to…..and Girl Scouts does provide a lower cost organization for them when compared to many athletic, fine arts activities in my area. I also had 18 girls in my first troop that earned Gold Awards which gave them tremendous community service and leadership opportunities.”

Then I wanted to make out with her comment, but instead I asked if I could help and she gave me a link to Christmas fundraiser page that’s still open.  I’m donating there, and if you’re looking for a way to support Girl Scouts in need you can check out the link here.  The Christmas fundraiser is over but any new donations are appreciated, especially to help fund food for the girls at each meeting.


Unrelated:  I’ve been pushing Hailey to use the online dictionary while she’s studying for her school spelling bee.  This matching quote came up under “domineering“:

Click to embiggen.
Click to embiggen.

That was unexpected.  And a little bad-ass.


Sightly related: There are words on Hailey’s spelling bee list that I didn’t know existed, AND I’M A WRITER.  (Sort of.)  I literally had to look up three of these words just to find out how to pronounce them.

If you know all of these words then
I feel pusillanimous just looking at these words.

But it was fine because I’d just type them into my phone and a pronunciation video would pop up.  Like this one, for “synecdoche”:

Not entirely helpful, internet.  But funny.

PS. Now I can also pronounce “Chipotle”  and “Pumpkin Spice Latte”.  


Unrelated:  This showed up on my “related trends” on twitter awhile back and I still can’t figure it out.  It’s like bad Jeopardy.

It's probably accurate though.
It’s probably accurate though.


Unrelated, and also totally related:  I’m submitting this entire post to my pharmacist as proof that I really need them to refill those ADD meds in a more timely fashion.  My brain is a ping-pong ball.  Bounce, bounce, bounce.


Comment of the day (by Stanleigh Erdnuss Flieger III and “Ralph the Wonder-Dog!”):

Hey, I know all of these!

neophyte — bullet time
nihilism — this word has no meaning
umami — so fat
épée — le ew
loquacious — how a loquat tastes
Naugahyde — Where’s the sofa?
apocryphal — so I hear
whippoorwill — Gridley
milieu — coucher, eh?
Sisyphean — rock and roll
appurtenances — nice looking washing machines
reconnoiter — that bassist upstairs
carte blanche — map of Antartica
pusillanimous — infected
Sahel — comrade, brother!
obstreperous — giving birth in a hospital
wunderkind — amazing beneficence
latke — The first dog in space!
souchong — “Friday”
bas-relief — when the bassist upstairs stops
bhangra — An ED drug with THC
mellifluous — stutters, except when singing
vis-à-vis — Look out for the ‘V’s!
cygnet — abbreviated cygnature
Machiavellian — supersonic
heuristic — piece of wood belonging to you
zeitgeist — ‘I’ before ‘E’ except in whateiveir.
Rorschach — dirty pictures
synecdoche — boorish trigonometry
quintessential — Penrose tiling

189 thoughts on “I’m talking about the Girl Scouts again but I’m less screamy this time.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. There is so much going on here I hardly know how to respond. I think your ADD just kicked my ADD into overdrive… I am totally making a donation (and saving my hips the unneeded cookie-love)! Thanks for bringing this to light!

  2. I will never get pronunciations right. I have Merriam-Webster’s little pronunciation button saved as a favorite. Really, as long as you can spell it, and know what it means shouldn’t that be good enough?

  3. Funny – there were three of those words I’ve never even heard of, either. Most of the rest I could probably say “Yeah, I know what that is!” but then totally fail to define them properly if someone called me on it.

  4. Thanks. Not only did I have to look up synecdoche, for meaning AND pronunciation, but I prefer your link’s version, and cannot get it out of my head.

  5. I knew Rorschach thanks to a run-in with a psychiatrist when I was a kid (long story short it cost me 15 months) but I think Wunderkind is a type of hot dog bun.

  6. Hubby says “Cart A Blanch.” Makes me crazy but in 25 years I have never corrected him. Because it gives me a secret sneer – and that is pretty valuable in a long marriage.

  7. Wow, those words are all kinds of crazy. They don’t even look real or English for that matter. I think the teachers are just making them up, that’s it its a word conspiracy.

  8. Love the youtube pronunciation guide, so funny! Look up “panties” and “haute couture” for a laugh!

  9. I can’t pronounce anything. I did know a lot of those words, but I’m an editor, an editor who can spell and define, just don’t ask me to speak. However, the only reason I know synecdoche is because of that movie that came out a while ago. Remember? Also, as I always say, I hate 3 things: stridency, obsequiousness, and people who use ten-dollar words.

  10. latka, souchong, Sahel, Naugahyde, umami and whippoorwill.


    I dunno if it’s right, but at my university they pronounced it “sigh-knack-dote” not “sigh-na-kie-dee-dodey-chodey” (but English, not American)

  11. Bhangra. Sounds like something one might have contracted in the free lovin’ 60’s. Via contact with random friendly appurtances.

  12. Did you ever look into “American Heritage Girls” as an alternative to the Girl Scouts? I saw them in the news awhile back. I don’t have a girl, so never looked at it in depth. I think there is another one- Frontier Girls? I’d much prefer your daughter’s Dr Who group!

  13. I’m an English major- there are 5 words on that list I have never seen or heard before in my life. I am going to fully back the theory that they are made up.

  14. The best pronunciations are “Benedict Cumberbatch” and “Châteauneuf-du-Pape”. Oh, and “schadenfreude”. It’s the best on YouTube.

  15. Oh, how I love going down the rabbit hole of those pronunciation guides. My favorite is Joaquin Phoenix. My daughter is a girl scout in a very chill troupe. She’s actually a cadet, despite my personal history of ridicule directed toward scouts over 4 feet tall. I loathe and abhor the cookie sale, and am considering a cash opt out option. Again.

  16. If you go to Google and search for “define: synecdoche” (or whatever other word) it’ll define the word for you and also typically give you a little button you can press to hear it read out, presumably by a human.

    But your link’s version was better. 🙂

  17. AH! I know those words! Those are the 8th grade spelling bee words! My daughter is in 7th grade and got into the spelling bee this year. When I saw those words on the list, I almost choked. So far, a grand total of ZERO adults I have spoken to knew what the word “Sisyphean” meant. I had to explain it to them. And, even though she isn’t required to know how to spell those words, she is learning anyway. (“Just in case,” she says.)

    (“Sisyphean” we knew, but only because we’re big fans of mythology. We argued about which syllable to accent though. ~ Jenny)

  18. Oh! And shiobhan and leprechaun too!! Oh great. Now you’re making me waste hours watching videos on YouTube that I’ve already watched a hundred times before, but still cracks me up. Thanks a lot.

  19. Jenny, Jenny, Jenny. You make me cry. Sometimes in an, “I’m stressed out, but you just made me remember that there are really awesome people in the world,” and once because I hit my head on the dresser while reading your book (I was reading in bed, so I was trying to read quietly, and then I realized I was shaking the bed laughing silently, so I rolled out of bed, and woke my husband up anyway with the combination bleeding/laughing/crying).

  20. One of my favorite words is on there. Loquacious. That’s my preferred method of being informed that I talk too much.

  21. The words seem a bit French and German. What the heck! Was it an English spelling bee??

  22. Good cat names, every one of them! Also, Girls Inc is a great organization for girls.

  23. I know way more of those than I should. Only because my son just had his Spelling Bee. His first word was “raisin”. I thought that was taking it easy on him, until my husband leaned over and said, ” I thought it was r-a-i-s-E-n? ” Sigh at least my 10 yr old got it right!

  24. I am at least familiar with every one of those words, and can probably pronounce them, though I’m not sure I could accurately define more than maybe half.


  25. So glad I went back and read “Spelling BEE” because I wondered what kind of school she was attending… Whew!

  26. I’ve heard all those words except for 4, and could give you pronunciations for most of them (I’m an opera singer, they teach you how to say stuff there), definitions for about half and vague guesses for the other half….

  27. I assumed that synecdoche was pronounced “cynic douche” – as though it referred to those people who give girl scouts at the supermarket a hard time because they don’t like the bureaucracy or they once got a conspiracy-theory email about it. But it’s more like Schenectady. Learn something new every day . . .

  28. My brain is definitely a ping pong! Up, down, left, right, swerve forward, backward, knocked on the head every once in a while…

    Thanks for sharing Janet’s Go Fund Me project. I hope that your plug helps them eat well and learn much for the entire year! 🙂

  29. I feel kind of creepy because I knew most of those words and how to pronounce them. Well, that’s what happens when you follow Dominatrices on Twitter. Wow, the plural of Dominatrix isn’t Dominatrixs. See, I did learn something today.

  30. I was a former girl scout leader who got called before the council for poor leadership. It’s a long story that includes a lost epi-pen (not my fault), a bottle of wine (not mine-I swear) and Robert Palmer’s “That’s Right the Women Are Smarter, (they are, aren’t they?”. I’ll have to write about it someday.

  31. i want my (nonexistent) kids to attend that school! i graduated with a degree in English and i had to look up some of those words.

  32. In the Washington, DC area, we have girl scout financial aid. It’s called SHARE – Share Her Annual Real Expenses, which covers everything from enrollment and uniforms to camp or even travel, if the girl in question wants to participate. This way, no girl who wants to Is held back because she can’t afford it. Check here for more information: http://www.gscnc.org/share.html

  33. I grew up reading (we didn’t even choose to own a TV- librarian/English teacher mom), and I still didn’t know bhangra or Sahel. What a great group of words!

  34. Grandma was a librarian and I grew up with more than a standard obsession with books – I also read above my grade level early. Fifth or Sixth grade Girl Scouts (it was short lived – the troop mentality did not mesh with mine) they all run off to play strip poker (NO JOKE) while I stay in my room to read Carrie (still no joke).

    So I’d say I could pronounce and accurately define 90% of that list and regularly break out some $10 words in conversation because as a writer you never want to be repetitious and it brings a bit of variety to my life to do so. I am never snobbish about it however.

  35. Thank you for your due diligence on the Girl Scout matter! I love that you found a woman with such a great reason to support. I’m with ya on the ADD thing, too! Because of it, reading your material fits perfectly for me. I think you may be the only writer I’ve come across where I don’t have to reread things several times. I always go straight from the top to the end without backtracking 😉

  36. Though you may not believe it, you accurately represent, to us, many of the words in that quote that matched “domineering”. Many of your posts scream “A Bitch takes shit from no one.” And that’s meant to be complimentary.

    (Furiously blushing. ~ Jenny)

  37. Here’s a song by Yoko Ono to go along with your brain: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d3mvEfON2CI
    Also, in the early 1970’s, my mom made me march house to house in our neighborhood selling GS cookies, which seemed to weigh a million pounds – at 60 cents per box, not easy making change. Others in my troop had much higher sales, because their parents were selling like crazy. I vowed that I would not ever buy cookies from a mom, since some of the reasoning for the sales is to foster leadership and confidence in the girls. Do Internet sales teach that to the girls, or is it highly competitive parents staying up all night to sell?

  38. I was a little crabby that my kindergartner had a spelling bee at all, but now I think I’ll just be glad that my daughter’s list is made of words like pink, buzz, and iffy (though I question the existence of that last one).

  39. I haven’t laughed that hard is so long! Synecdoche pronunciation video was hysterical.
    Glad the Girl Scouts are helping the transitional/homeless. Buying overpriced cookies just got easier.

  40. Epee,she peed, we all pee…
    Forgive me, I’m three days into a nasty stomach bug and all I can do is toilet humor at the moment.
    That Girl Scout Troop for the homeless is an awesome find in the middle of the cookie debacle, thanks for bringing that to our attention.

  41. Just checked that gofundme site- your followers have raised nearly $1000 in an hour. You do amazing things, Jenny Lawson, and inspire them in others.

    (Holy crap. That is insane. You guys are amazing. ~ Jenny)

  42. Know most of these…trying to resist the urge to spend my afternoon on the Youtubes!!!

    Doanted to the girl scout troop in SA… they can be found on FB under Supporters of Girl Scout Troop 41 @ homeless shelter in San Antonio, Texas.

  43. Love that synecdoche pronunciation. Hate to think what would happen if Hailey tried it out on her English teacher. She’d probably guffaw. Or chortle. Or something else English teacher-y.

  44. Ronnie will help you with pronunciation. And, she’s AMAZING. (read: hilarious).
    Please watch this. I need someone to experience this with me.

  45. Jenny, thank you so much for highlighting Janet’s experience! I am also a Girl Scout leader at a transitional homeless shelter in my area, and over 6 years, we’ve served ~70 girls and watched them succeed in everything from crafts to flag-folding to boating and camping to earning their Bronze and Silver awards. Our girls also receive financial aid from our council and our city’s GS service unit, which covers most of our needs such as summer resident camp, leadership trainings and uniforms (we do cookie booth sales to cover the rest!). The Girl Scouts is a large organization and of course it isn’t perfect, but I think a lot of adults sometimes get too caught up in the red tape and bureaucratic annoyances of the organization and start to miss what an impact it has on girls (seems like your daughter included!) and the true spirit and generosity of the organization. For most of our girls, Scouts is the only extracurricular activity they have ever done (and depending on where they end up after the shelter, maybe the only one they will ever feel like they belong to) so it’s important for us to make sure they have the best experience possible while they’re with us (usually about 2 years), and we couldn’t do that without our council. Plus it’s all kinds of insanely rewarding to see them arrive as stubborn, angry kids and grow to develop leadership skills, joy and confidence in spades. Keep doing what you’re doing – Girl Scouts matters for all girls, and congratulations to your daughter for striving for her Bronze Award!

    (Thanks for all your hard work! I’ve learned that not all councils are equal but it sounds like yours is amazing. Those girls are lucky to have you! ~ Jenny)

  46. The word list reminded me that until a few months ago I thought the word “raconteur” meant “ladies man” (I’m in my early 40’s). Then I saw the obituary of one of my distinguished professors from graduate school and he was described that way. A man who lived through the Holocaust as a Polish Jew. That’s when I finally learned what raconteur meant. I’m not proud of this.

  47. I know 19 of them pretty much, and frankly half of those no one is ever going to need. WTH is her word list for… things you will learn and then wait til you are 103 to ever get to use or hear used?

  48. That spelling bee list is full of bullshit – when will the kids actually use those words? This is not a learning experience, it’s a joke that’s probably funny to the person who compiled the list, and no one else. You can’t even use “neophyte” in a sentence (expect for a very specific context), as far as I know. Geez, this is making me mad.

  49. I think I love you posts exactly Because it’s so relatable to people with ADD. I didn’t even notice it was all over the place till you said so!
    Also, I think I played that pronunciation about a dozen times. It’s just so funny! I don’t feel that I barely knew over half those words either.
    Now excuse me while I go back and play that word a few more times Lol

  50. And now I think your fish should be named Syna Dina Dodi Choke.

    It’s awesome. And when it goes to school, think of the troubles you’ll give future teachers.

    Yeah, I went there.

  51. I live in Canada, and we have Girl Guides, not Scouts. Still cookie sales though, although NOWHERE the complications you are facing. Having said that, I’ve never heard of a troop for girls in shelters, and I am thrilled to be able to support that. I donated anonymously, but my comment was there for Janet to read and you should know: You go girls!! Thanks for shining a light on such a worthy cause.

  52. What rocked me was that the girls in the homeless shelter are doing community service. Is that not the most awesome kick in the butt you ever heard/had?

  53. I’m done with Girl Scouts and so is my girl. We did the cookie thing one year. I took the form to my office and sold over 200 boxes. I collected the money, deposited it and wrote the troop one big check. Then it went something like this:

    them : you still have to pay us for the cookies
    Me: I did, here is proof
    Them: ok you’re right
    Them, one week later: you still have to pay us for the cookies

    Repeat the above three or four times

    Them, a month later: you never picked up your cookies. That costs the troop money
    Me: yes I did, here is proof
    Them: oh, you’re right. But we’re still going to leave you several voicemail messages saying you never picked up your cookies. Expect those for about 6 weeks.

    Them: your daughter is eligible for a bunch of free stuff because she sold so many cookies but it’s not fair to the other girls so don’t order it

    Them, the following year: we’re really hoping you’ll sell cookies at your office again this year! It really helped the troop out!

    Me: are you f#%*ing kidding me?

  54. I’ve seen many of those words in the historical fiction I read. But why say neophyte when you can say newbie? Or milieu when you can say ‘it’s just not his thing’. And great job on the Girl Scouts thing. I no longer buy cookies from them because of their financial policies. I’ll help any girl do any badge she wants but their policies leave a bad taste in my mouth. Thanks for the link to this troop. These girls will do much with what they learn.

  55. Thanks, Jenny for the laughs. For the sniffles (in a good way). For giving us ways to mobilize and help!

  56. I once took an awesome/terrible green chair to the dump, and the guy working there asked “how many Naughas do you think had to die to create such an ugly chair?”. Needless to say, I love the word Naughahyde 🙂
    And the pronunciation is my new favorite, I tried to read along with it and was desperately wrong.

  57. Left a donation to this GS troop because of your endorsement. Bravo to the girls, I hope they develop life skills to guide them through their tough surroundings.

  58. I wish I could formulate a proper response but I’m still scratching my head over synecdoche. I think I may be a while . . . 🙂

  59. I’ve been pretty anti-girl-scouts ever since the hair filled truffle incident, but this goes to show that any organization is just the sum of its parts. In this instance, its lady parts. Some of the Girlscout lady parts are more pungent than others, apparently. Cheers to the sweet ones.

  60. I always thought ‘pusillanimous’ was spelled with a ‘c’ (like the color puce) and could never understand why I couldn’t find it in the dictionary. You have resolved a life-long struggle. Thank you!

  61. Ah! The beloved Naugahyde! Don’t we miss all those skins that provided us with such lovely colored upholstered furniture — especially our father’s favorite chair. What a pity the breed has become extinct…

  62. I donated to the girl scout troop, not because Jenny highlighted them – I am sure there are lots of other groups doing good things, but because I would like the troop to also see the power of the internet for doing GOOD things. I don’t need any cookies, and I am glad the girl scouts there are doing community service. My hope is that an overflow of funds from the gofundme site from Jenny’s readers will allow the girls to do more to give back to others – nothing raises self-esteem more than helping others.

  63. PS – tell her to ROCK THE SPELLING BEE. Our oldest daughter went to the Scrips National Spelling Bee (in actual Washington DC), not once, but TWICE, in 7th and 8th grade. And yeah…they use words that no American dictionary should include…

    She didn’t win, probably because there were a lot of …domineering…parents there, who were practically threatening to drown their children if they didn’t win at all costs.
    We were like… YAY MUSEUMS. 😉

  64. Good heavens, Naugahyde? (which spellcheck just said didn’t exist). This is 2015! Aren’t we past the age of Naugahyde?

  65. Went to the trouble of looking up synecdoche, because now I had to know, thank you very much. Turns out I actually knew the word the entire time, but have only ever heard it spoken. 😛

  66. Jenny,
    “Pusillanimous” brought back fond memories of my High School English class. As a group, we tried to make “pusillanimous wimp” a common put-down. Sadly, it never caught on.

  67. Hey Jenny.
    Thanks for the link to the GoFundMe page. Girl Scouts helped me get thru a rough childhood. I’m happy to help.
    That spelling list is unreal!
    Wishing you all well,

  68. I have a fainting goat named Syncope, which I thought was all clever, but have since learned that small children hear it as “sink of pee” and find it completely hilarious.

  69. I love that girls scout troops like the one you shared exist. I had no idea. I was thrilled to donate and skip the cookies this year! Thank you for all you do for so many people.

  70. Know and have used all but one. Sahel is a first name of a kid I teach, and that was the ply meaning I had. Grateful for girl guides here.

  71. Well that “Matching Quote” about bitches certainly covers that, doesn’t it? And I can’t wait to try some of those words in my next Words with Friends game! You always have such educational posts.

  72. I hope Janet sees this – the Girl Scout Gold Award, last I checked, is considered equivalent to the Eagle Award. The reason I bring this up is that IF any of those girls who earned it some day decide to join the military, they should make sure to mention it to any and all recruiters they work with. Basically, assuming this hasn’t changed since I joined, either award can allow them to join the military one rank higher than the average recruit – meaning higher pay from the get-go. Sadly I only had the Silver Award so I didn’t get to take advantage of this.

  73. Hmmm did not even notice the bouncing untill you mentioned it. I imagine a majority of your readers are of a creative bent like yourself and followed along without a hitch.

  74. Well, I can tell you that cygnets are adorable and if your daddy taxidermies one of them, I do not want to hear about it!

  75. I need to try that pronounciation app. Maybe I would finally find out what chai drinks taste like at Starbucks and invite people to Chipotle. Refuse to say those currently.

  76. Seriously can’t stop laughing at synecdoche. I’ve been randomly laughing all day, which I’ve discovered, really creeps people out in the grocery store.

    Of course, the poster who thought it was “cynic-douche” will also keep me giggling for quite some time…

  77. Thanks for all the updates and the awesome group to help out…made my day today!

  78. So, I tossed in $50. Shame on anyone who makes it seem questionable to give money to make little girls have a place to feel safe.

  79. I’m surprised at the use of proper nouns (Dr. Rorschach, Sahel, and Naugahyde) in a spelling bee…. but I’m more delighted that a Texas school is going so diverse as Bhangra! For those who don’t know it, here’s just one taste from my alma mater. Go Big Red!

  80. The pronunciation manual is now my new favorite thing!!! And your post all makes sense to me. I’m out of my ADD meds too.

  81. i did my little bit for janet’s girl scout troop, with thanks for her hard work and dedication to girls who are often overlooked.
    and thank you, jenny, for bringing them to our notice.

  82. Sina kyna dodee chodee. Synah kynah dodie chodey. Sinah kineh dodee chodee
    I can’t stop saying it. I don’t know what it means. I thought it was a city in upstate New York. But I guess that’s Schenectady

  83. The Girl Scouts also has troops in each states for girls who have an incarcerated parent. It’s called “Girl Scouts Beyond Bars.” Not only do the girls get to be in a troop with other girls who know what it’s like to have an incarcerated parent, but the troops also include trips to visit the incarcerated mother. You can read more about it here:http://www.girlscouts.org/who_we_are/our_partners/initiatives/pdf/gs_beyond_bars_a_better_future_for_all.pdf

  84. I actually DO know most of them, but it’s largely due to the fact my wife knows EVERYTHING (she’s so freakin’ smart she’s scary, and she doesn’t even know it) and she’s taught me some of them, like obstreperous. But there are a few there I don’t know… I’m guessing the wife does.

  85. I was going to contribute earlier when my computer decided to get persnickety, but I noted the amount which was around 1300 (including you and the next fellow. I contributed my smidgen and decided to check on it again. Now it’s showing at over 3k, almost 4.
    Lawsbians are pretty much the best.

  86. Please tell me you listened to the one for Benjamin Cumberbatch. Can I just say thank you for sharing? Also about the Girl Scouts … And for something a little related, my husband always asks me how many Naugas had to die for sofa covers back in the 70s. Really he has a point – I guess they must have been hunted to extinction because you never see a Naugahide ANYTHING these days.

  87. I just had a few questions about the Dr. Who and zombie apocalypse club. Will you be making towels with the club name? And is there going to be troops with leaders like the scouts?

  88. I always have to look up “heuristic” and “synecdoche” to be sure of what they mean, no matter how many times I’ve looked them up before. No idea what “bhangra” might be, so not sure whether I’ve ever met one.

  89. Have I mentioned that I super love you people? You’ve donated $3k in just the few hours since I’ve written about this. Janet emailed me at the $1k mark to say how blown away she was and that she was meeting with the girls tonight and was so excited to tell them.

    I take for granted that at every GS meeting of Hailey’s one of the parents will bring food and another will bring drinks and another will buy the supplies and books needed, and another will bring small treats or buy the badges they’ve earned, but that isn’t a given for every troop and I’m incredibly lucky to be a part of a community that is so happy to step up and offer support to total strangers. I just want you to know that I don’t take it for granted. You people are special…the ones who donate, the ones who want to, the ones who were willing to ask for help and plan to pay it forward one day. My parents taught me the gift of paying-it-forward when I was young and struggling, and I’ve always tried to multiply the gifts I’m given to give back to others who are in tight spots that I’ve been in, but you guys give me the ability to amplify that to a truly magical level.

    I will never in my life forget the amazing and joyful giving that happens here every day. By word, by action, by listening. You’ve made such a difference.

  90. Way to go Hailey! Those are killer spelling words. Well, I hope they’re not literally killer words, but I’m impressed that you’re learning to spell them. 🙂

  91. What kind of spelling bee is this?? Good grief! I went to my county spelling bee in 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, and won and continued to the state bee every year but 5th grade. I took eighth place in the state my last year, that was in 2006, and I haven’t encountered most of these words!

  92. I recall reading in the comments of the previous girl scouts post some mentions of troop donation ‘limits’ before having to send a percentage to the national office instead of 100% being earmarked for the troop. Could you perhaps check if this is true with the leader of the particular troop and if so, recommend a maximum amount per donation?

    (I did touch base with her about it. I believe it’s fine because of the extenuating circumstances. It’s not a Girl Scouts fundraiser, and is instead a fundraiser for the woman who happens to run a troop of girls who don’t necessarily have the financial backing for basic necessities. In our troop we parents pay for camping, food, supplies, crafts, books, travel, etc. for our girls. I just wrote a check for the Girl Scouts Space Center visit and will be driving girls there myself. We sell cookies in our troop but the girls choose to give a large part of our proceeds to people who need help – including food banks and shelters – so really our community is just doing what the Girl Scouts have taught our girls to do, except that instead of a troop raising money for a need, it’s a community of adults raising money to help support a woman who is dedicated to using her own money to create a safe and healthy environment for girls who are in need (and who also happen to be Girl Scouts). It’s an excellent question though and I’m glad you asked as it gives anyone with questions a way to understand it. If the Girl Scouts demanded a cut of the money which was donated to help a woman who chooses donates her time and money to help a bunch of homeless children I suspect that would be a PR disaster of Biblical proportions. 🙂 ~ Jenny)

  93. I didn’t know ‘Sahel’ or ‘bhangra’. The other ones I was familiar with (although I had to double-check on appurtenances).

  94. Can I just say YOU ARE TOTALLY A WRITER. If someone with an awesome book that people read and love is not a writer then what hope is there for the rest of us?!
    I don’t even know what those words are and I was always the spelling nerd at school! x

  95. I moved to California and was confronted by the strange vegetable/food known as ‘Jicama’. Made the mistake of pronouncing it JEE-CAMA to my significant other. He has never let me live at down…even years later. It’s not THAT funny. LOL

  96. I got 2 hours sleep last night so this all made perfect sense to me.
    I’ll read it again tomorrow when I can see things like words and lines.

  97. When I grow up I want to be you!!! But I’m 64 now so there is little hope. Plus I’m a guy so there is that, too. I donated a few bucks for each scout and some for their awesome leader. I don’t know if you know of 1spark.net but they (and I) pay things forward. The best Christmas gift I got this year was a card from one of my daughters who helped someone else. My daughter took her daughter (age 2 1/2) to the store to “pick out” things for a mom who is struggling. BEST GIFT EVER!! Keep up the good work you do.

    p.s. I want to be you but without all the scary animals around. 🙂

  98. Now if Hailey is ever asked to spell a word that sounds like synacowdydotychoty, she’ll know exactly how to do that. Best pronunciation ever.

  99. Sometimes I have pingpong weeks. Months even. And Janet’s comment made me cry. Ugly cry. She’s right, girls need something to motivate and keep them strong.

  100. Jenny, you kicked it off and we’ve done it again. The donations are over $5000 now. Also, please wish Hailey the best of luck with the spelling bee! I got eliminated in elementary school for spelling bias: b-y-u-s. In high school the bees were written (only in cursive, can’t lift the pen off the paper {eye roll}). I didn’t win but I came in third the first year and second the next. (I still got a medal for both years though.) Smart chicks are awesome!

  101. I was never into the whole Girl Scout thing as a kid, but I know they’re a great organization and I’ll be damned if their cookies aren’t the bomb. In an effort to keep my weight under a quarter ton, however, I think I’ll have to just donate straight to one of those links this time around.

    Also, not to take anything away from these girls, but if anyone is looking for any extra anthropological opportunities…. Please take a look at Mr. Top Hat and consider donating to his surgery fund! He and I both thank you all in advance for spreading the word. =D


    Extra gravy and good tidings to all!

  102. Omgod! I was so in need of a happy,feel good, making awesome out if shit kind of story, a good laugh, and a reminder to refill meds. You so delivered.

    I wanna make that pronunciation my new ringtone.

  103. Thank you for the vent, rant and reminder. I loved what the organization allowed for girls from all backgrounds but damn I hated the cookie business. It was and continues to be a chance for girls to grow, learn and have fun in a safe environment. The business end of it allows all the rest. It’s not perfect but it works. Maybe they’ll find something healthy to sell instead of cookies soon.

  104. Well, I guess I’m an asshole because I could pronounce all the words and knew all but four. I’m sorry! I’ll do better next time!
    On a different note, the “pronunciation” of synecdoche made me bust out laughing at work. I think I replayed it about 17 times.

  105. Does it make me a total word nerd that I knew all of those? SIGH. My 99th percentile vocabulary has done nothing for me lately!

  106. Hey, I know all of these!

    neophyte — bullet time
    nihilism — this word has no meaning
    umami — so fat
    épée — le ew
    loquacious — how a loquat tastes
    Naugahyde — Where’s the sofa?
    apocryphal — so I hear
    whippoorwill — Gridley
    milieu — coucher, eh?
    Sisyphean — rock and roll
    appurtenances — nice looking washing machines
    reconnoiter — that bassist upstairs
    carte blanche — map of Antartica
    pusillanimous — infected
    Sahel — comrade, brother!
    obstreperous — giving birth in a hospital
    wunderkind — amazing beneficence
    latke — The first dog in space!
    souchong — “Friday”
    bas-relief — when the bassist upstairs stops
    bhangra — An ED drug with THC
    mellifluous — stutters, except when singing
    vis-à-vis — Look out for the ‘V’s!
    cygnet — abbreviated cygnature
    Machiavellian — supersonic
    heuristic — piece of wood belonging to you
    zeitgeist — ‘I’ before ‘E’ except in whateiveir.
    Rorschach — dirty pictures
    synecdoche — boorish trigonometry
    quintessential — Penrose tiling

    (Actually, I really did know all of them.)

  107. I laughed myself into a coughing fit at the synecdoche pronunciation, and attracted the attention of all 5 of my coworkers.

  108. I was having an uber boing boing day yesterday, and made my pharmacist cry. I hate it when I cry in the pharmacy.

  109. While Punjabi dance styles and African geographical regions are stretching things a bit, the rest of those words aren’t that unfamiliar.

  110. When I read “from the Bloggess Army” on one of the donation comments at Go Fund Me – I just grinned like a lunatic. I love that. You have your own religion, your own army. whew. Plus someone asked if the GS had a “bad ass” badge. Someone get on that one quick! I wonder how the CEO would respond to that one. We have our GS mtg tonight… going to share with my girls. Thank you for giving this troop your loving spotlight. S’mores for everyone!! Jenny, you are truly “Making the World a better place”

  111. Thanks to you I’ve just spent a solid 40 minutes of my work day crying laughing at PronounciationManual on YouTube. I sincerely and genuinely want to thank you for this.

  112. You people are all so amazing. Whenever my faith in humanity starts to drop, I can count on this group of Strangelings to lift it back up so that I can stand to get out of bed again the next day. Jenny, if we are magic then you are the magician who allows our magic to blossom & grow.

    Janet, thank you for your dedication to giving those girls something to be a part of & to strive for. You’re an inspiration and I hope you & your girls can do amazing things with the amount donated. I’m not able to donate until next week, so hopefully it’ll still be running then. But, also (I hope Jenny won’t mind me saying) please remember to give us a nudge if you run the fundraiser again next (2015) Christmas, I for one would be happy to give again then. 🙂

  113. “umami – so fat” in the comment of the day made me fall down.
    What sort of weirdo child could actually spell all these words??
    And thank you for the pronunciation manual, with which I shall now be wasting a good half-hour.

  114. Keep ’em coming! I have a resolution to give to one charity each month, so far Project Night Night was January and this troop will be February. 🙂

  115. I just have to say, I hate spelling bees! My son just told me he made it again this year, for the 3rd year. I bit all my fingernails off last year! My son is very confident and he is in most sports; it doesnt’ bother me at all to watch him play sports. But I HATE the spelling bee! Maybe because it is so public and so individual? So intense! When a kid misses a word and cries – it tears my heart out!! I will be helping him study words for the next couple of weeks and dreading the actual night. Last year he made it to regionals…I may need some of your meds, Jenny!!

  116. Elder Son won the middle school spelling bee in 7th grade. At the district bee the woman pronouncing the words did not exactly speak standard English, so any participant who counted on being able to sound out a word based on how she said it was out of luck. ES was knocked out somewhere in that bee, but he expected to blast through it the next year. The best laid plans, pride goeth before, etc. He was knocked out of his room bee by a kid he did not respect. Such is life. Best of luck to Hailey!

  117. brought back fond memories of my fellow lab rats launching a “Save the baby Naugas” campaign in college (you know those Naugahyde sofas are all made of the skin of baby Naugas, right?)

  118. Latke – wasn’t that the first name of the character that Andy Kaufman played on Taxi?

    I’m an admiralty lawyer, and I have often arrested a ship “and all appurtenances”. Who knew I was actually grabbing fancy washing machines?

  119. So… I tried to play the video. It didn’t work. It may be because I discovered I can Snake with the loading circle thing. I must’ve been playing with it for 15 minutes till it finally popped up as error.

  120. So… I tried to play the video. It didn’t work. It may be because I discovered I play can Snake with the loading circle thing. I must’ve been playing with it for 15 minutes till it finally popped up as error.

    *Yes I posted this twice. I realized I was missing the word ‘play’.

  121. I don’t know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but pusillanimous means lacking courage and may be (according to tumblr so…) where the slang term “pussy” originates from…

  122. I’m one of the dorks who was really bummed when a different guy took over the pronunciation manual. This guy was awesome. A few of my faves are Brett Favre, Schadenfreude, and Sriracha.

  123. I’m a homeschooler. And more than a wee bit twisted and evil.

    Thank you for next week’s spelling list, Jenny! evil laugh

  124. I knew all but three. One nifty trick with my Kindle is on the rare occasion I come across a word I don’t know, I just touch it and poof! Educated. However, I’m now reading a book in which a character uses language so archaic it comes up in neither the dictionary nor Wikipedia. Plus, another character is incredibly foulmouthed, so my vocabulary is being expanded in two ways!

  125. I pat myself on the back because I knew all but 3 of those words.

    And now I know ALL of those words because I looked them up. That’s how I got to know all of the other words, by looking them up. I’m with Brooke at 174, above, I love how the kindle has a built-in dictionary so you can look up works while you’re reading.

    Thank you for posting the link so your readers can donate to that Girls Scout troop. Your other post wasn’t pissy at all, I’ve seen pissy and that was not it. You asked very sensible questions that need answering.

  126. A lot of these are GRE words, btw. Way to get the kid a headstart into grad school…

  127. I think I needed some kind of special decoder med to read that….whoa! Thanks for always keeping it interesting! 🙂 And keep up the great work with all of your charitable causes! It’s people like you who make the world a better place.

  128. Some of those words don’t even sound like English. It’s a fun list though.

  129. I am now looking up other pronunciations instead of doing my work. Thank you! I am always looking for new ways to procrastinate…I mean…practice extreme prioritization 🙂

    (I especially enjoy papier mache and faux pas)

  130. As an English major, I learned “synecdoche” from a textbook and [this part is important] online class discussions. I totally heard it in my head as rhyming with “cloche,” like a cloche hat, and was confused when I heard someone pronounce it /sin-ek-do-kee/ it in conversation*. I was very relieved that happened before I said it out loud to someone who knew what it was!

    (*Honest to God, this has happened to me. This is just one of the dangers of hanging out with other English majors.)

  131. Thank you so much for this story of the Girl Scouts in the Homeless Shelter. I spent a few months in a homeless shelter in 1996. It was scary, humiliating, and I got chicken pox. It makes me appreciate what I have. To think of a scout leader coming in and taking these girls under her wing to make their lives better gives me warm fuzzy feelings that I normally only get from my cat.

  132. Thank you so much for this story of the Girl Scouts in the Homeless Shelter. I spent a few months in a homeless shelter in 1996. It was scary, humiliating, and I got chicken pox. It makes me appreciate what I have. To think of a scout leader coming in and taking these girls under her wing to make their lives better gives me warm fuzzy feelings that I normally only get from my cat.

  133. Oh, the Girl Scouts stuff. I’ve wanted to write about it for awhile, but I am hesitant considering how I am involved. I’m currently a grad student doing an internship that involves being very involved in one of those special troops. We are Girls Scouts Beyond Bars (search it on youtube and you will find the documentary produced about it from 5ish years ago). All of my girls have moms that are either currently in prison, or who were when the girl joined. Our troop is also much bigger than average and includes all levels of Girl Scouts, since our kids are 5-17. Most of my girls sold cookies this year, and I REALLY hope that they made enough money to go on one of the trips that they planned. Even doing something fun in Austin would be great, but getting out of the city is their goal. We (the adults involved) are also working to secure enough money for this program to even exist next year, so direct fundraising outside of cookie sales is pretty tough. I am so in favor of ALL troops getting the funding that they need, but we have found that there are a lot of people who will give generously to Girl Scouts in general, or to programs that served girls and families experiencing homelessness, but do not want to support programs that serve incarcerated women. It really sucks. I have more to say about Gil Scouts, but shall refrain until I graduate.

  134. Someone who read my post on the challenges with the Digital Cookie 2.0 referred me to your post. I wanted to share the results of my one hour call with the Digital Cookie lead. It really cleared up a lot of things. For one, corporate does not even touch the cookie money. it goes directly to the baker and the local council. Two, their logistic consultant will not be helping out next year. Three, Girl scouts PR sucks 🙂 More details in the post. Thought you might be interested


  135. This is so random…but I couldn’t find another place to put this. I hope this reaches some really giving people that love to help a family get a home.We are super struggling.We live paycheck to paycheck and are currently a family of six living in a one bedroom pay extremely high utilities. We would like to purchase a farm so we can grow food and other ingredients we can use for our business which is aromatherapy. Please help us….To do so go here …

    Thank you

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: