This ‘second debut’ looks familiar

David Luiunknownz is a Brazilian soccer player. He’s a great defender with equally impressive hair. In January 2011, he made his Premier League debut, playing for Chelsea in a match against Liverpool. So, he’s all out of debuts in England.

Luiz went on to play for Paris Saint-Germain, but has returned to Chelsea. I read with interest about his first match since returning to his old club. It will be against Liverpool. To recap: old club, old league, same opponent. Media outlets reported Luiz making his “second debut.” But his only remaining debut in London would be on a West End stage.

I love sports, and sports writing, so I hate to split hairs. We totally get it, he’s returning and playing again for Chelsea, and it’s against Liverpool. I searched several dictionaries for some wiggle room, but didn’t find any. A debut happens once. Here’s the page from  Merriam-Webster.

Basket of restorables: U.S. non-voters

Congrats, America. We hold bragging rights over Latvia and Chile when it comes to voter turnout. A Pew Research Center report shows that the United States ranked 31st among 35 countries in the OECD. It said 53.6 percent of the voting-age population voted in the 2012 presidential election. Belgium topped the list with 87 percent turnout in a 2015 election.

One could hillary_clinton_official_secretary_of_state_portrait_cropdescribe the ranking as “deplorable,” but it also makes the electorate “restorable.” In the 1960s, turnout in U.S. presidential elections topped 60 percent, despite attempts by Southern states to restrict voting rights of racial minorities.

Belgium and other countries with high turnout rates have compulsory voting laws. The Pew report notes that Chile’s turnout decreased significantly when it switched from mandatory to voluntary voting. Compulsory voting isn’t going to fly in don’t-tell-me-what-to-do America.

But allowing voter registration on Election Day makes a big difference. A Washington Post story that looked at a Nonprofit Vote study said: “Of the nine jurisdictions where Election Day registration was an option last year (2012), seven placed in the top 20 in overall turnout, including Minnesota.” Minnesota had the highest turnout, with 76.1 percent; while Hawaii was lowest, at 44.5 percent.

The campaigns of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump are focused on turnout, especially in swing states, in the final weeks before the Nov. 8 election.

AP discourages use of ‘homophobia’

The Associated Press (one of my former employers) has updated its Stylebook to recommend against the use of terms such as homophobia and islamophobia, arguing that phobias are medically diagnosed and shouldn’t be used in political and social contexts. James Rainey of the Los Angeles Times explains in this column. An aside, I noticed on AP’s website that you can buy a Stylebook T-shirt. Eighteen bucks. Made by Hanes, it’s “tagless for comfort and preshrunk to minimize shrinkage.” Whew. “The color is light steel, what’s known in the Stylebook as gray.” (Not ‘grey’)

‘Eurogeddon’ and other Word of the Year losers

Second place intrigues me. Who finished second in Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France victories? See what I mean? Maybe “winning” is overrated. Let’s shine a spotlight on the runners-up. They must prepare for the top job in case newly crowned “Word of the Year” champions are somehow disgraced in 2013.

Eurogeddon gets my vote as the best silver medalist. In a eurogeddon situation, the collapse of one of the world’s major currencies guts my 401K wreaks havoc on world markets. Heavy stuff. Makes you want to duck and cover behind your country’s firewall.

Oxford American Dictionaries selected the verb GIF as its word of 2012, noting the popularity of GIFing, in which one creates a GIF file of an image or video sequence. The shortlist of contenders included eurogeddon, Super PAC, superstorm, nomophobia (fear of being without your mobile phone; it’s good but looks and sounds too much like homophobia), and YOLO (you only live once).

The Oxford UK version chose omnishambles, which describes “a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations,” explained lexicographer Fiona McPherson. Eurogeddon was also shortlisted. Another good runner-up was Grexit, to describe Greece’s possible exit from the eurozone. Also on the table was mummy porn, a new genre of literature fueled by the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Not to be confused with “mommy” porn.

Dictionary.com chose bluster, in a nod to presidential politics, the never-ending euro crisis, and extreme weather such as Hurricane Sandy. (Can you name the second-worst Atlantic hurricane of the season? Isaac). Dictionary.com admitted that 2012 “has been lexicographically quiet. There were no Arab Springs or Occupies…” It did not disclose its shortlist. Bastards.