Stopped at the Airport

airport waitingI love Bollywood movies. That’s why I was a little surprised to see in this article that Shahrukh Khan was stopped and questioned for an hour at a U.S. airport. As a famous movie star, he is probably more used to answering interview questions from reporters than immigration officers! Can you imagine Brad Pitt or Jackie Chan being stopped at an airport? I bet they would be a bit surprised, too!

There are some interesting words and phrases in this article, too. The first is in the first paragraph where it is mentioned that he was ‘singled out‘ for interrogation. ‘Single out‘ is a great phrasal verb meaning to choose one person or thing form a group. We usually follow it with the preposition ‘for‘ as in the example above.

The next interesting word comes in the second paragraph where Kahn is quoted as saying he was ‘hassled‘. To ‘hassle‘ someone is to cause trouble or disruption for him or her. We can use it as a noun, too. E.g. this delay has caused me  a lot of hassle.

It’s mentioned later that this ‘sparked outrage‘ in India. In this sense ‘sparked‘ means the same as ’caused’. There is another example of this usage of the word in this article.

There are another couple of interesting phrases a little later on where Ambika Soni is quoted as saying:

“I don’t understand how in the name of religion, frisking can be done for anyone like this.”

In the name of‘ means ‘because of’ and ‘frisking‘ is the kind of search airport security guards do when they feel your body to make sure you are not carrying anything that could be dangerous.

In the last paragraph, Mahesh Bhatt is quoted as saying the last ‘Islamophobia wave‘ had been very harsh. When we use ‘wave‘ in this sense, we mean a large number of events of a similar type. In this instance, it would mean a large number of instances of people behaving in an ‘islamophobic’ manner.

Today’s photo is by Roger Fischlin.

Go Nuts

nutsI am a terrible photographer. My photos never come out how I want them to. That’s why I was amused to see this funny article on the Guardian website last week with some great vocabulary in it. The first interesting expression is in the headline:

Photo enthusiasts go nuts for squirrel’s holiday snap

To ‘go nuts’ for something means to get really excited about it. We can also say ‘to be nuts about something‘ meaning to be very interested in it or to love it a lot. For example, I am nuts about cycling at the moment and try to do it whenever I have free time. We can also use the expression ‘to go nuts‘ to talk about getting really angry depending on the context.

The next interesting word is also in the title. We can say ‘snap‘ to talk about a causal photo which is taken outdoors, not in a photo studio.

In the subtitle, the author mentions the squirrel trying to ‘muscle in on‘ the couple’s picture meaning he forced his way into it even though he was not wanted.

There is another interesting phrase in the second paragraph where it is mentioned that the squirrel ‘adopted the position‘. To adopt a position is a nice natural way to say get into a position. We also often say to ‘take up‘ a position meaning the same thing.

It must be amazing for the photographer that her photo was included in National Geographic’s ‘Daily Dozen’ section. ‘Dozen‘ is an old-fashioned word meaning twelve but we also use it in its plural form (dozens) to mean lots of. For example, I have seen that movie dozens of times. The other old-fashioned words we often use to talk about numbers in English are:

  • couple – two
  • score – twenty
  • scores – lots of / many of

There is yet another interesting word in this paragraph:

Apart from the kind of tedious discussion on various blog sites of focal depth and remote control shutter releases which causes any squirrel with sense to tune out and go and see a man about some nuts, the hero of Lake Minnewanka has sparked a rash of tribute images.

Tedious‘ means boring or irritating and the phrasal verb ‘to tune out‘ in this example means to ignore. ‘See a man about some nuts‘ is a variation on the phrase ‘see a man about a dog‘ meaning to make an excuse to leave a boring or awkward situation.  To ‘spark a rash‘ of tribute images means to cause other people to produce a lot of other images inspired by the original.

There was also an interesting link in the last paragraph to a video of a drunk squirrel.  I guess that’s another one to add to our list of drunk animals!

Do you have any funny holiday snaps?

Today’s photo is by Eran Chesnutt.