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Yeet! List says ban ‘optics,’ ‘thought leader,’ ‘collusion’

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Jeff Karoub, The Associated Press


Published Monday, December 31, 2018 12:41AM EST

DETROIT — No collusion! (Or at least a lot less of it.)

That’s according to a Michigan school’s latest “List of Words Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness.”

The politically charged term at the centre of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s campaign co-ordinated with Russia is among 18 entries on Lake Superior State University’s 44th annual list, which was released Monday.

University spokesman John Shibley said the school received about 3,000 votes through its website and Facebook pages. Although Trump has repeatedly tweeted that there was “no collusion” and “collusion” was among the top-three vote-getters — along with “wheelhouse and “in the books” — its inclusion should not be interpreted as a political statement by the list-makers. Rather, voters apparently were just irritated by hearing and reading the word so often in the past year, he said.

“I can usually read a political nomination when I see it,” he said. “If I saw a string of trolls trying to pack the ballot box for political reasons, I would have caught it.”

The other words or expressions to make the list are “wrap my head around,” “grapple,” “optics,” “eschew” and “thought leader.” Also submitted by the public for the pyre of popular parlance: “platform,” “ghosting,” “yeet,” “litigate,” “crusty,” “legally drunk,” “importantly” and “accoutrements.”

Two other political entries also made it: “Most important election of our time” and “OTUS” acronyms such as POTUS — for President of the United States. The acronyms that have found their way onto cable news shows date back to the late 19th century, when POTUS and SCOTUS (Supreme Court of the United States) were used as telegraph codes, according to Merriam-Webster. FLOTUS, for the first lady, first appeared in the 1980s.

Among the newest terms — yet one the curators feel has outlived its usefulness — is “yeet,” which variously refers to the name of a dance, a taunt, an excited acknowledgement or throwing something. Other words are commonly known in one setting, such as “litigate” among lawyers, but get trotted out by some politicians and pundits for hashing out “any matter of controversy,” according to one submission.

The list is meant to be in fun, but it’s bound to raise some hackles.

There was a “whiff” of legal concern back in 1994, when officials from the Los Angeles Lakers objected to the list’s inclusion of “three-peat,” Shibley said. The team’s coach at the time, Hall of Famer Pat Riley, owned the trademark. Eventually, the team officials dropped their objections after determining that its inclusion on the list wasn’t “commercially flagrant.”

Some members of the public were upset at the 2002 inclusion of “9-11,” which received thousands of votes for banishment, Shibley said. It was deemed by nominators as “too much (of) a shorthand” for the tragic terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, but people misunderstood and thought the school was “thumbing our noses at 9-11,” he said.

Shibley said that with the rise of social media and ever-more-divisive politics, people have even “shorter fuses,” which means he and his colleagues tread carefully. After all, the aim of the list isn’t to inflame but to entertain.

“Hopefully (it) helps diffuse some of the animus out there — not by laughing at ourselves, but by laughing at how language sometimes backs us into some absurdly funny corners,” he said.

There’s no overlap between this year’s list and 2018 word-of-the-year pronouncements by Merriam-Webster (“justice”) and Oxford Dictionaries (“toxic”). Still, the Michigan school did ban “toxic assets” in 2010 and “bring them to justice” or “bring the evil-doers to justice” in 2010.

Another Michigan school takes the opposite approach: Detroit’s Wayne State University attempts through its Word Warriors campaign to exhume worthy words that have fallen out of favour. This year’s list included “couth,” “compunction,” and “nugatory,” which doesn’t describe the creamy candy confection known as nougat but means “no value or importance.”

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LIFESTYLES

Nobody would give this teen with autism a job, so he started a business

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A 17-year-old Australian teen with autism started his own business cleaning garbage bins after he was rejected for other jobs.

“I searched and applied for jobs for two years and did not get one interview,” Clay Lewis told CTV News Channel from his home in Brisbane, Australia.

As of January, his business, Clay’s Bin Cleaning, has made more than AUS$6,000 and has roughly 70 clients.

He charges AUS$10 for the first bin and AUS$5 for each additional bin. He regularly offers free bin cleaning to local charities.

“I’m very proud of him,” his mother Laura Lewis told CTV News Channel. “I knew that he could do it.”

She added that employers were unable to “see past their own judgments” and made “unfair assumptions” about Clay’s competency because of his disability.

Clay said that he is looking forward to attending his high school prom and may put some of his earnings toward funding a trip to Abu Dhabi to watch his first Formula 1 race.

Lewis said that Clay’s story has given hope to a lot of people, particularly parents of children with autism.

“All Clay is doing is living a 17-year-old’s ordinary life: working, going to school, having a girlfriend and hanging out with friends,” she said.

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Meet Jelly Bean, the deaf canine contender for World’s Most Amazing Dog title

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CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV London’s Sacha Long


Published Friday, February 22, 2019 7:50PM EST

A deaf Ontario dog is in the semi-finals of the World’s Most Amazing Dog competition, an interactive Facebook Watch show where dogs compete for a US$100,000 prize.

Jelly Bean, a three-year-old Australian cattle dog who lives in London, Ont., can catch and pass a ball with his front paws and jump on a stranger’s back. He follows the instructions of his handler, Melissa Mellitt, by sight because cannot hear.

“He is so highly intelligent,” Mellitt told CTV London. “He has no idea that he’s deaf. He doesn’t care. He’s just as happy as any other dog.”

Mellitt adopted Jelly Bean from the Deaf Dog Rescue of America when he was five months old. He has since gone on to travel across Canada as a professional stunt dog and works with Mellitt as an assistant to help rehabilitate fearful dogs.

“We knew that he had this potential,” she said. “This is exactly what I knew he was going to be.”

Mellitt hopes that Jelly Bean’s performance in the competition will help shatter some of the stigma around deaf dogs, who are often believed to be ill tempered and incapable of being trained. Mellitt said breeders euthanize many of them at birth, but she believes that Jelly Bean’s inability to hear is his “cool factor.”

If Jelly Bean wins the competition, Mellitt said that she plans to give half of the winnings to the Deaf Dog Rescue of America.

Viewers of the World’s Most Amazing Dogs competition get to vote on who should move to the finals.

“I think he could go all the way,” Mellitt said.

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Funeral held for sailor in V-J Day Times Square kiss photo

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NEWPORT, R.I. — The sailor photographed kissing a woman in Times Square at the end of World War II was mourned Friday at a funeral in Rhode Island.

George Mendonsa’s funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, and he was buried at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.

Mendonsa died Sunday after he fell and had a seizure at an assisted living facility, his daughter said. He was 95 and leaves behind his wife of 72 years.

Mendonsa kissed Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered.

The two had never met.

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo of the kiss became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. First published in Life magazine, it’s called “V-J Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”

Another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, who was in the Navy, also captured the moment in a similar photo. The moment has been shared widely and is often seen on posters.

Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple, and it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Mendonsa enlisted in the Navy in 1942, after high school. He served on a destroyer during the war.

Mendonsa was on leave when the end of the war was announced. When he was honoured at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

On Monday, a statue depicting the kiss in Sarasota, Florida, was vandalized. The phrase “.MeToo” was spray-painted on the leg of the statue.

Friedman said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed.

“The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed,” she told the Library of Congress.

She added, “It was just somebody really celebrating. But it wasn’t a romantic event.”

Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at age 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.

After the war, Mendonsa became a commercial fisherman, like his father, and worked until he was 82. He died two days before his 96th birthday.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; and his children, Ronald Mendonsa and Sharon Molleur, and their families.

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