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AWADmail Issue 499A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language
This week's Email of the Week is from Lindsay Staniforth (see below), who will get to choose a Uppityshirt, and there's a heck of a selection.
From: Marion Greene (marion888 yahoo.com)
I learned "sagacity" in about 7th grade from Archie Comics. Moose (the caricature of a big dumb sweet jock) got smart for a week, and Archie and the gang were completely confused.
The memory of where you learn a new word can be powerful.
Marion Greene, Minneapolis, Minnesota
From: Randy Schwartz (hrschwartz2 earthlink.net)
This word made me think of an observation I've made: In France when a parent drops off their kid they say "Sois sage" (translates to "Be good"). In the States they're more likely to say "Have fun." Is that a commentary on differences in the cultures?
Randy Schwartz, Raleigh, North Carolina
From: Susan Webb (sbwdesign gmail.com)
I learned this word a year or so ago from a Radiolab podcast with an amusing musical bonus video, which certainly helped embed the pronunciation and meaning in my memory!
Susan Webb, Citrus Heights, California
From: Lindsay Staniforth (lindsaymas talktalk.net)
I recall asking my scientific son why, when you put a load of bedding in the washing machine, the pillowcases always end up twisted inside the duvet cover. Stochastic motion, he said. ?? I asked. It's like a drunk man walking along a street with a wall on one side and a gutter on the other. He will always end up in the gutter because if he stumbles against the wall he'll bounce back onto the pavement. A good explanation, I thought. Now I button the duvet covers before washing them.
Lindsay Staniforth, Aberdeen, UK
From: Michael D. Cherry (mike.cherry orlandohealth.com)
In conventional offset printing, dots of color are printed in a regular grid pattern and the dots vary in size based on the density of color desired. In stochastic printing the dots are all the same size but they are randomly (within parameters) placed and the color density is determined by the number of dots. This eliminates problems like moire or rosette patterns that can show up in conventional prints.
Mike Cherry, Orlando, Florida
From: Martha Nix (quadranix juno.com)
Doubtless every one of your readers with an upbringing in the Catholic Church will respond to this word! How it brings back memories of catechism classes, where the concept of "venial sins" (as opposed to "mortal sins") was drilled into us. The example of a "venial sin" which lodged in my memory was hitting a baseball through the stained glass window of a church, and then running away!
Martha Nix, Huntington, West Virginia
From: Charles Hart (chart duanemorris.com)
W.S. Gilbert uses this word twice in Pish-Tush's song "Our great Mikado, virtuous man", a cautionary tale about overreaching in the name of family values. The Mikado, we are told, has decreed, "in words succinct, that all who flirted, leered, or winked (unless connubially linked), should forthwith be beheaded." And so,
The youth who winked a roving eye,
Charles Hart, Cherry Hill, New Jersey
From: Eric Shackle (ericshackle bigpond.com)
I suppose buying a helium shark would be stochastichitous. See here.
Eric Shackle, Sydney, Australia
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Jokes of the proper kind, properly told, can do more to enlighten questions of politics, philosophy, and literature than any number of dull arguments. -Isaac Asimov, scientist and writer (1920-92)