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AWADmail Issue 740A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
Sponsor’s Message: What’s ‘old school’ mean to you? A straight-razor shave? Cream whipped up with a whisk? You gotta be impressed by a man who stands up and looks you in the eye when he shakes your hand. A sincere ‘sorry’. White gloves in church. So, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Alex McCrae (see below), as well as all you traditionistas out there an absolute last chance to tell us what you value and love about the world we are losing or have already lost, and win some of our authentic ludic loot, to boot. ENTER The Old’s Cool Contest NOW.
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
With Dogs, It’s What You Say -- and How You Say It
From: Aaron M. Dayton (aaron aarondayton.com)
Top-hat is also a colloquial name for a theatrical lighting fixture accessory. It extends the barrel of a light fixture beyond the lens, cylindrically like a top-hat, to help prevent lights from blinding the audience.
Aaron M. Dayton, New York, New York
From: Paul Stieg (pstieg netscape.com)
In the automotive industry, a top hat is the upper body structure that sits on top of a set of motor vehicle underpinnings. This allows for building multiple vehicle styles on a common infrastructure. See, for example, Ford: Putting on the Top Hat (Automotive Design & Production).
Paul Stieg, Dearborn, Michigan
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
I was inspired by your vintage sidebar photo of President Lincoln to come up with a little caricature sketch of Honest Abe, sans hat, showing he was not only a top-hat of the first order, but a literal highbrow, as well. :-)
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California
From: John Lepse (j.lepse att.net)
I really must object to the photo of Abe Lincoln allegedly wearing a top hat. That is not a top hat. It’s a stove pipe hat. Some call them synonyms, but I beg to differ. See here.
John Lepse, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
From: Carl Guerci (carl.guerci verizon.net)
The mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts. -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., poet, novelist, essayist, and physician (29 Aug 1809-1894)
Reading the quotation by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. reminded me of one of those expressions management liked to throw out to bemuse us with their profound insight. The expression was “We are going to expand our aperture.” The aperture does more than control the amount of light passing through, it also determines the depth of field. A photographer will tell you an expanded aperture will let in more light but narrow the depth of field. Thus with a wide aperture you could focus on an object/person and everything outside the depth of field would be out of focus.
Mr. Holmes (a physician) is mistaken to state the pupil contracts. It is the iris, the aperture of the eye, that contracts. Furthermore, when the iris contracts, depth of field increases. The viewer would see the world more clearly to a greater depth. This seems to be inconsistent with the narrow focus of the bigoted mind.
Carl Guerci, Severna Park, Maryland
From: Nancy Schpatz (nns fuse.net)
Your observation that some pieces of clothing are singular reminds me of my early days as a bride. One day my husband said, “Today I’m going to the barber and have my hairs cut.” Attempting to be a good wife I “corrected” him by saying, “You mean you are going to have your hair cut.” “No,” he replied, “I’m going to have the barber cut all of the hairs on my head, not just one hair.”
Nancy Schpatz, Cincinnati, Ohio
From: Jen Stosser (jstosser scopus.vic.edu.au)
I believe that the origin of the word bodice was two bodies as in when corsets are made from a right side and a left side and are laced together at the centres front and back.
Jen Stosser, Melbourne, Australia
From: Brian Dorsk (invinoveritas1 aol.com)
You truly “threaded the needle” addressing such issues as the foibles versus the traditions in haberdashery (Harry Truman, former President and haberdasher might appreciated our addressing this issue).
And remember Shakespeare’s Polonius to Laertes advising him that “Clothes make the man.” That, an oft-quoted speech, but if read carefully, I believe there to be, in my opinion, a self-contradictory element which I have never seen anyone else identify.
Brian M. Dorsk, MD, Cape Elizabeth, Maine
From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
In “The Lion King,” Timon the meerkat
This guy marches in with a starry top-hat --
Said Melania, “Donald, your toenails
The young girl asked him, “Does it hurt,
Disappointment you may well avert
“If you act like a boring stuffed shirt,”
“Yes, a brute -- but at least one of my brutes,”
From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
“He will tophat nothing to improve his social standing.”
“Will you please coattail your toadying?”
I told the masochist, “Hairshirt ticket to be flogged.”
The waiter said, “Have the flounder (stuffed)... shirt to please you.”
When Stallone fired his publicist, the headline read, “Sly Boots Agent.”
Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground. -Noah Webster, lexicographer (1758-1843)