I’m still a little sick from the cold I got at Vegas, but we finally made it back to LA.  Sophia, bless her heart, drove the entire way back.  Here are the highlights of our trip back from Las Vegas:

As we’re driving out of town, Sophia and I pass a huge truck painted with images of half-clad women and the words "Girls Gone Wild."

"That guy was brilliant." she says.


"That sleazy guy who came up with "Girls Gone Wild."  He’s a millionaire many times over."

"The whole concept is disgusting and exploits women." 

"I’m just saying he’s filthy rich…"

"So, are you saying it’s better to be sleazy and a millionaire, than not sleazy?"

"I didn’t say that.  What kind of logic is that?"

"Why, would you rather have married him?"

"I don’t know the guy from "Girls Gone Wild."" 

"You seem to know a lot about him."

"I read some article.  I know he’s a millionaire.  I know he had a very smart idea."

"I have smart ideas also."


"Yeah, tons of them.  I’m having an idea now."

"Tell me."

"Imagine if you did something like "Girls Gone Wild," but with a twist!  Something that’s not demeaning to women, but actually empowers them.   We can call it something like "Girls Gone Geeky.""

"Girls Gone Geeky?"

"Yeah, imagine this.  At first, you’ll see three girls sitting in a coffee shop, all reading books.   Then I’ll show up with a cameraman and I’ll shout out to them, "Hey girls,what are you doing?"  And all of them will shout back, "We’re studying for our bio-chemistry exam!"  And I’ll say, "Hey, girls, how would you like to show me your books?"  And all of them will flash their bio-chemistry books up for the camera to see."

"Neilochka, why don’t you take a nap?"

Two or three hours later, Sophia wakes me up.

"I’m hungry and tired, and we’re almost out of gas," she says.

"Where are we?"


"Where’s that?"

"I don’t know.  I’m just going to stop at the first restaurant I find."

I went back to sleep.  A few minutes later, Sophia knocks me in the arm.

"Get up," she says.

I look outside the window.  We are in front of Olive Garden.


This Olive Garden looks exactly the same as the last one we visited

While I’m not coughing as much as before, my stomach is uneasy.  Just opening up the menu makes me feel sick. 

"Do you want to share the soup and salad again?" joked Sophia.

"Sorry,  I don’t want anything.  I feel nauseous."

"Nauseous?  I think you mean "nauseated."  It’s a common mistake."

"I never heard anyone say, "I feel nauseated."" 

"So what?  People are idiots.   I’m a language professional and you’re not."

"Well, I grew up here and you didn’t.   And everyone says, "I feel nauseous.""

"I’ve also heard people say, "I have to nip it in the butt," but that doesn’t make it right. 

"So, how would you use the word nauseous?"

"You would say "Nauseous fumes.""

"That’s "Noxious fumes.""

"Geez, Neil, "noxious" means ‘harmful."   Nauseous fumes are fumes that cause nausea.   So, if you say,  "I feel nauseous," what you are really saying is that you are making me sick, which might be true.  But if you are sick to your stomach – you are nauseated."

"Huh!  So — "You are nauseous."  "You make me feel nauseated.""

"That’s right.  "I am nauseated because you are nauseous."

"Nauseated.  Nauseous.  Nauseous.  Nauseated.  Hmmm…"

The guy at the next table taps me on the shoulder.  He’s eating his pasta with his wife.

"Do you think you guys could change the subject of your conversation?  You’re making me nauseous"

An hour later, we’re back on the road, when we surprisingly find ourselves passing the same "Girls Gone Wild" truck. 

I turn to Sophia.

"Sophia, you know if we did that "Girls Gone Geeky" idea, we could spice it up by having a bunch of really attractive women on the beach, maybe even wearing bikinis, but they don’t do stupid things like play volleyball with their boobs jumping up and down.  Instead they discuss matters of linguistics, like that nauseous-nauseated thing we were talking about.  They can even be qualified grammarians, or linguists like you."

"Neilochka, why don’t you take a nap?"