My wife was watching her latest binge TV series when she told me something odd occurred. In the episode, Woody is going to marry his girlfriend (Kelly) when they discover they are different flavors of Lutheran. Enter the word synod. Those of us who are Lutheran, and apparently the entire internet, know how to pronounce this word. However, Cheers seems to have had some challenges in pronunciation.

Synod is pronounced sin-uhd. Not sine-uhd or sin-odd. But Cheers, with its staff of writers, actors, researchers, camera men, and everyone else involved, did not seem to have a grasp of the pronunciation. Woody, who's supposed to be (LCMS) Lutheran, calls it a sin-odd. Nobody corrects him, and my wife thinks at least one other character also uses this pronunciation. Even the computer-generated YouTube pronunciation videos uploaded by Chinese people who probably can't say one word in English pronounce synod properly. So why and how could Cheers be this wrong?

I suggested to my wife that perhaps it's the Jewish/Atheist/Agnostic Hollywood world that exists just as much today as in the 80s and 90s, but I only half believe myself when I suggest that sort of thing. I think the most likely scenario is that someone important in the set mispronounced the word, and that made it impossible for the underlings to correct him. For example, I taught with a guy who said Oedipus all wrong. Since he was a “doctor” of teaching, most of the other English teachers in our department also began saying it wrong. Suddenly, I was the only teacher saying it as Ed-ipus, with everyone else saying Eed-ipus. Then some other Doctor of Englishy Stuff showed up and made fun of a colleague for saying it wrong, and suddenly people started saying it right. Ed, not Eed. Professors do that kind of thing to those who are less enlightened, like changing Car-ne-gie to Car-nay-gie or Seltic to Keltic (spelled Celtic).

I could not find a British or other language pronunciation of synod that lined up with the Cheers pronunciation. One could make the argument that the writers or director wanted it to be a running joke of some sort, but I have found no evidence of that intent online. Sure, it could have been done to reinforce the ignorance or Woody and his fiancee, but that technique normally resulted in correction or head shaking by the other characters. In fact, the word synod could have been a perfect opportunity for Woody to be the authority rather than the idiot, since Lutherans know synods better than anyone. No one is a complete idiot on all subjects. Actually, the very fact that Woody was supposed to be Lutheran and presumably confirmed means that he would have had a better understanding of his own faith than most of the bar patrons or sitcom producers. Even farm boys from Indiana would have learned a majority of Luther's Small Catechism. If I still had to memorize the whole book in 1989, I'm sure Woody, several years my senior would have been responsible for the same kind of profession of faith. It's interesting to note that Hanover, Indiana, does not have an LCMS church, and after reading how much effort went into establishing Faith Lutheran in Madison, I assume Woody would have traveled to that town for church. Interestingly enough, Resurrection Lutheran, also in Madison, would have been slightly closer to Hanover for the Boyd family.  I found evidence of this church at least as far back as 1976, which means Woody would have been in close proximity to two Lutheran churches of differing synods for at least a decade of his life, even if Resurrection wasn't called ELCA at the time (it was part of the Indiana-Kentucky LCA; Kelly, Woody's fiancee, was LCA before it would merge with ELCA). I know first hand that there are even some WELS Lutheran churches in Indiana, as my relatives founded one of them. In fact, anyone who grew up in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Wisconsin, or Minnesota would know all about Lutherans and synods, even if it was a basic understanding of the liberal one (ELCA), conservative one (LCMS), and ultra-conservative one (WELS). The good news is that any flavor of Lutheran can hire Luthernet for a new website, but that may be neither here nor there. Kind of like Woody's pronunciation of synod on Cheers, I suppose. It may not matter in the grand scheme of Christianity or Hollywood, but it's just one of those details that makes a difference to those of us who know. It's like if Woody spoke Klingon or Elvish and then messed it up.

Stories from Jacksonville

New Jax Witty

Articles, reviews, advice, and legitimate research to go along with some back-handed comments. Think of us as Jacksonville's mother-in-law.
  • No Locals at Local Hotels Could be the Answer
    I was reading an article about a hotel policy in Milwaukee aimed at keeping parties, prostitution, and other illicit activities out of a hotel. The policy is not to allow anyone who lives within 30 miles of the city to book a room. It was kind of a secret policy, apparently, and local government officials are probably going to stop it, but maybe the hotel chain that was doing this has an idea that could work for Jacksonville.

    Wouldn't it be interesting to know the statistics associated with a policy like this before it gets universally condemned? Did calls to police go down? Were there fewer underage drinking parties that annoyed other guests? Did the hotels lose a lot of potential money? 

    I'd say that Milwaukee should ask the hotel some of these questions in order to find out if such a policy would be good for the community as a whole. And Jacksonville ought to pay attention to any answers that come from such an inquiry.

    I get it that a family might have a house fire or some other problem and need a local place to stay, so there probably needs to be a way to circumvent a policy like this. However, if we are serious about cleaning up some of the hotels in the areas known for illicit activities, then there may be some merit in a ban on locals.
  • Lyfted From Town
    If getting a rider for the airport when a return ride is available is the Holy Grail of ride-sharing, then getting sent further and further from home as the rush hour ends is the bottom of the rideshare barrel. Unfortunately, you might just have to eat the time and fuel.


    I was trying to get the morning commute streak, but I'd gotten a late start. Luckily, someone needed a Lyft to the beaches from close to home, so I had a rider right away. From Atlantic Beach, I was dispatched way back to the western part of Arlington, until the app realized I was much closer to another rider in Neptune Beach.

    Lyft just assigns jobs without much information about where you'll be driving, and I didn't have the option of saying no if I wanted my morning $6 bonus, so I went from Neptune Beach to Baptist Health South, just about to St. John's County.

    The next rider came up, and then seemed to cancel immediately: some kind of glitch with a boyfriend's phone, which almost caused me an accident because of rerouting to another rider while in a very busy, poorly-designed office park.

    Again, I had no clue that my third and final rider needed to go from the Julington-Durbin Preserve down to, basically, St. Augustine. Suddenly, I was nearly an hour from home with rush hour wrapping up.

    Since I didn't want to get roped into a ride in St. Augustine, I set Destination Mode for home. Nothing. I ended up driving all the way home without one request. Almost, anyhow. Destination Mode shut off after 30 minutes or so. I was almost home, anyhow, and I had gotten my $6 bonus (no tips). Sure, I got some decent payout with highway driving, until the point that highway driving took me too far from home for it to be considered a good day. That said, the previous day had seen me drop someone off in downtown Jax, set the destination for home, get two more riders on the way home, and cash out with very efficient use of my miles.



    My takeaway is that if I'm going to get the early morning bonus, I probably have to start on the early side of the allowed starting time, since a long ride that begins later in the morning could send me into no-man's-land at the end of the morning commute.


    If you want to try out Lyft as a driver in Jacksonville or St. Augustine, click here.

    If you want to give Lyft a try as a rider, click this link for a $5 credit on your first ride.

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  • Three Decades and Then No Pet Headstone
    I know it kind of seems like news that a man who buried his pet 30 years ago could not find the headstone in a local pet cemetery. It's almost like the news stories about underrepresented minority cemeteries or poorly maintained veteran gravestones. Almost. It's a poodle that dies 30 years ago. If the owner had visited the grave each year for the past three decades, the headstone would not be lost. 

    In dog years, the main neglected to visit his dog for 210 years. That's like if no one visited your grave until your great-great-great-great-great grandkids showed up and quickly called the local news channel when they couldn't find your grave. In fact, I visited some of my relatives in Vermont who were buried on a private family farm there for about 200 years. My family was grateful that the current farm owner even let us look at the small cemetery, but we didn't really expect it to be meticulously maintained. 

    My dad buried at least one of our dogs in the back yard of the house I own in Milwaukee. It will probably freak out someone who wants to plant a tree there someday, but when my dad wants to visit, at least he knows where to go.


    Search New Jax Witty

    Related Stories
    Thanks for reading. See more of my content:

    Satisfamily - Articles about being happy as a family
    Passive Ninja - Web Design in Jacksonville
    McNewsy - Creative Writing
    Educabana - Educational Resources
    Brave New Church - Church Website Design
    Voucher School - Pros and Cons of School Vouchers
    Luthernet - Web Design for Lutheran Churches
    Sitcom Life Lessons - What we've learned from sitcoms
    Mancrush Fanclub - Why not?
    Epic Folktale - Stories of the unknown
    Wild West Allis - Every story ever told about one place
    Educabana on Teachers Pay Teachers (mostly ELA lessons)
    Real Wisconsin News - Satire from Wisconsin
    Zoo Interchange Milwaukee - Community website
    Chromebook Covers - Reviews and opinions

    Brian Jaeger - Resume (I'm always interested)

    Contact Me