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The War on Clarity

A handy guide to decrypting Brendan Adkins
  1. All x are y
  2. Fired
  3. Humans
  4. I'm taller
  5. It was a horse
  6. Lasersharking
  7. Matrix
  8. My birthday party
  9. Office, submarine!
  10. Passenge
  11. Schrodinger Point
  12. Ten bucks says
  13. You are the one that is the x

All x are y

Wildly inappropriate generalization, based on one unusual case where two concepts collide. Stolen from a Bob the Angry Flower toon. Example: "This chat room is starting to sound like a koan." "All chat rooms are koans!"

Actually, that example is a pretty appropriate generalization.


Stolen from my brother, and completely independent of Donald Trump, who has now ruined it. Intuitive usage. Best when applied to nonhumans ("Mononucleosis is fired," "That milk is fired"). Never used for puns.


Stolen from Penny Arcade's Tycho. Used as an address ("Humans!"), cry of horror ("Humans!"), or general demeaning collective noun ("Last night I watched a movie with the humans"). Note that this does not necessarily indicate that I am not also a human.

I'm taller

The end and triumphant final point of any argument, usually because I have clearly lost and have no actual point to make. Used regardless of my relative height (I am 5' 10.5", and so taller than most humans, but just barely). Apocryphal origin in the bad movie Speed, in which context it's actually pretty funny.

It was a horse

The worst possible ending to any hypothetical situation, and a way of implying that that situation is suddenly real. From a Christopher Walken SNL sketch in which he's interviewing a centaur (played by Chris Parnell):

Walken: What if you saw a horse, but it was standing so that its head was in a barn, or something. Would you, maybe, be attracted to that horse's rear end?

Centaur: Uh, I don't.. where is the head, exactly?

Walken: It's in the barn... or behind a door, or a vase, or something, so you can't see it.

Centaur: I might be attracted to it--briefly.

Walken: Okay. So, let's say, hypothetically, that you could have sex with the back end. And it's guaranteed to be the greatest sex you ever had... but you'd never know if it was a horse or a centaur.

Centaur: Hmm... you know, that's pretty intriguing... if I'd really never know, I guess I would.

Walken: (nods) It was a horse.

This only works if you've watched that skit, but fortunately that includes all six humans I hang out with. A lot more useful than you'd think.


Note: This content was originally published by me at Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that anyone can get their articles deleted off of, you bastards.

Lasersharking is the conceptual action of piling multiple extraordinary accoutrements onto an object or situation, with the intent of making that situation more interesting. This practice frequently leads to bathos, but the term is sometimes used to denigrate any "ordinary" work that displays elements of genre.

Lasersharking derives from a scene in the movie Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery, in which Dr. Evil demands that a death trap be filled not merely with sharks, but "sharks with frickin' lasers on their heads."

This scene was referenced to illustrate a phenomenon in a series of discussions at the Forge, a role-playing game Internet forum, in July 2003. A forum member responded to a suggestion for adding tension to a game by noting that "if a gamer had made Jaws it would not have been a shark but a shark with a laser on its head." In a follow-up thread four days later, Pete Darby coined "laser sharking" to describe the practice in mass media; RPG writer Mike Holmes quickly defined it as "the 'cheaper' attempts to spice things up by simply throwing in novel elements."

External links


Adjective: "That was totally matrix!" Designates an act or sequence of acts that should have happened in slow motion, but didn't. Examples include my friends Evan or Greg making a spectacular save in Frisbee, or me just barely not kicking someone in the skull.

My birthday party

To be invited to my birthday party is to be held in high esteem. The passive voice is deliberate: you can be invited to my birthday party even if I haven't transitively invited you.

At my birthday party, we have cotton candy, and a maze.

Office, submarine!

A sketch comedy reference more obscure than the Christopher Walken one, but still not that obscure: the refrain of a Kevin McDonald Kids in the Hall bit in which the protagonist connects disparate ideas through the power of imagination. Used offhand in a line of reasoning to equate things which are, inconveniently, in no way equivalent.

Purely Hypothetical Interlocutor: Should the ninjas live in London or Glasgow?

Me: Ooh, Glasgow! Irish ninjas are intrinsically funnier.

Interlocutor: Glasgow is in Scotland, Brendan!

Me: Ireland, Scotland! Office, submarine!

Interlocutor: What?

Me: please don't examine my high school diploma too closely
This one is all Jon's fault.


Reverse-engineered verb (also "passenged," "passenging," etc). Until I was twenty-six I had neither a driver's license nor a car, so this was my chief method of transport. I once passenged from Kentucky to California.

Schrodinger Point

The point at which I have surmounted one goal (traditionally a distance run) and take joy in that, but simultaneously take despair in the fact that I now need a new and more difficult goal. Almost nothing to do with Erwin Schrödinger, but maybe a cool name for a quantum space station someday.

Ten bucks says

The canonical beginning to any assertion, in wager form, that I think will be funny because it's true. The presence or absence of talking money is not part of the assertion.

You are the one that is the x

Mighty rebuttal or declaration of triumph. The simple formula is to substitute anything anyone has called you for x (eg "you are the ones that are the prostitutes," "you are the one that is the clownfish," etc). The advanced form is to substitute something positive that someone has called you, thus making the whole thing into the oblivious-narrator metajoke of which I (and I alone) am endlessly fond.

Embarrassingly, this is from Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, the high point in Kevin Smith's regrettable canon: context around the 1:08 mark.

Inspired by Leonard Richardson's Personal Slang Dictionary Initiative.

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