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Jan 21, 2018
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Words of nautical origins

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AWADmail Issue 812

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language

Sponsor’s Message: Hello, bluestockings! When was the last time you gave a housewarming/birthday/thank-you gift to the cleverheads in your life that actually tickled them pink? Email of the Week winner, Mary Taslimi (see below), as well as all AWADers, can flummox and fascinate their genius generous frenemies for the rest of the year with our wicked smart word game One Up! - The Gift That Keeps on Unforgiving. Purchase at your peril NOW.

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the Net

Kazakhstan Cheers New Alphabet, Except for All Those Apostrophes
The New York Times

How Pronunciation Provokes Passionate Reactions
The Guardian

From: Paul Weeks (pweeksatty gmail.com)
Subject: copper-bottomed

As a kid, we had a neighbor born and raised in Britain. He and my father were discussing Jack Nicklaus. “Nicholas! Nicholas!” he said. “I used to have an uncle by that name. We always called him Copper Bottom.”

Paul A. Weeks, Bangor, Maine

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: flotsam

The 20th-century medievalist historian Henri Pirenne claimed that Western European feudalism gradually yielded to middle-class entrepreneurs in trade and commerce by beachcombers collecting flotsam from shipwrecks and selling the items at inland fairs. Later on they would settle outside or below feudal castles for protection (these settlements came to be known as faubourgs or suburbs) and obtain a trading monopoly from the local lord. This development amounted to a paradigm shift in economic and social development, influencing radical changes in the realm of politics as well.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Michael Sharman (jmsharman btinternet.com)
Subject: Flosam and Jetsam

In the days of my youth, 1938 or so, there was a music hall duo, very similar to Flanders and Swann, 20 years later, called Mr. Flotsam and Mr. Jetsam Their real names were B.C. Hilliam and Malcolm McEachern. The opening of their turn was to sing (together) “We’ll tell our names so that everyone knows we’ve got some.”/ (F) “I’m Flotsam.” / (J) “I’m Jetsam.” (F) “He’s Jetsam.” (J) “He’s Flotsam.” (together) “We’ll tell you again so that nobody forgets ‘em’.” (F) “He’s Jetsam.” (J) “He’s Flotsam.” (F) “I’m Flotsam.” (J) “I’m Jetsam.” They were funny, topical and never rude, and were a turn to look forward to.

Michael Sharman, Ilkley, UK

From: Diana Kirkland (diana.m.kirkland gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--flotsam

In Disney’s The Little Mermaid, the villain Ursula’s lackeys are a pair of eels named Flotsam and Jetsam. By the end of the movie, they’ve been blown to bits, living up (dying down?) to their names (or at least Flotsam’s).

Diana Kirkland, Houston, Texas

From: Chris Candell (beardingline att.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--flotsam

Thanks for this week’s nautical words. As a sailor, they are among my favorites. Probably the most unusual bit of flotsam I’ve seen was an Elmo doll just floating on his wet back in San Francisco Bay.

Chris Candell, Oakland, California

From: Karen Bradley (nanipop119 gmail.com)
Subject: immigrants

If you or your parents are immigrants, know that you are part of a proud American tradition -- the infusion of new cultures, talents, and ideas, generation after generation, that has made us the greatest country on earth. -Michelle Obama, lawyer, First Lady of the US (b. 17 Jan 1964)

Love your thought of the day! I think everyone should hire "23 and Me" or another ancestry service. I found that I am part African and my husband is part Jewish. We are all related and all immigrants and that is really lovely!

Karen Bradley, North Syracuse, New York

From: John Heddle (heddle me.com)
Subject: Michelle Obama’s statement

While agreeing that immigrants contribute greatly -- and our former Governor General of Canada said that all Canadians are immigrants, thus offending some of the aboriginal community -- there are many reasons to dispute the stock phrase that the US is the best country in the world: gun deaths, inequality, rates of infant mortality, education rates, and many others. We hear the same mantra in Canada with the same complacency and its false implication that change is not necessary. Ms Obama should not be accused of complacency: She was simply repeating the last almost obligatory phrase. Unfortunately.

John A. Heddle, Salt Spring Island, Canada

From: Diane Taylor (dtaylor eagle.ca)
Subject: leeway

We once anchored in the lee of Rum Cay in the Bahamas to have a quiet and safe night, but the 60-knot wind veered and blew right on the bow forcing us to take turns at night watches. No longer sitting pretty in what should have been a lee anchorage, we were exhausted by dawn.

Diane Taylor, Port Hope, Canada

From: Michael Knue (mnknue verizon.net)
Subject: groggy

This is why I love words, and, of course, AWAD. I figured groggy was connected to the drink, but that the drink is connected to a fabric via an 18th-century admiral?? Ha! From now on, I’ll read Patrick O’Brian’s books a little more intently.

Michael Knue, Santa Monica, California

From: Jane Freeman (wordplayjane yahoo.com)
Subject: A Fish Tale

About nine years ago I wrote this little story, using over 300 nautical terms:
A Fish Tale with 331 (or so) Nautical Terms (MS Word)

Jane Freeman, New York, New York

From: Donna Wells (donnacoxwells gmail.com)
Subject: Nautical words

As a fan of Patrick O’Brian novels and a total romantic about the sea, I find this week’s words especially gratifying. As Captain Jack Aubrey would say: “Quick’s the word, and sharp’s the action!”

Donna Cox Wells, Tarzana, California

Email of the Week brought to you BUY One Up! -- Every Doubledome's Delight/Doom.

From: Mary Taslimi (mary.taslimi cogeco.ca)
Subject: This week of nautical words

How I loved this week of words -- all familiar to me but copper-bottomed (not sure why I didn't know that phrase) because my father loved sailing. He used to sing sea shanties to me when I was a little girl. He was in the Royal Navy during the end of WWII, later built his own Wayfarer, then co-owned a larger sailboat with my godfather (this one was called Oblivion), then entered into solo boat ownership when my godfather bowed out. I forget the name of that second boat, but her previous owners told my dad she was good for "snoozin', boozin', and cruisin'."

His last boat was a Niagara 26, ordered from the company in Midland, Ontario, and he named her "Mahng" -- the Ojibway word for "loon" -- my mother's favourite bird. He even crewed on a tall ship in his first year of retirement. The Sheila Yeates set off for Iceland in the summer of 1989 -- and sank off the coast of Greenland. Her captain and crew were rescued by the Kiviuq, a Danish shrimp trawler and the only ship within hailing distance that could brave the floating pack ice that hemmed in the Sheila Yeates. There's a 20-minute video of the rescue and a photograph of my father with the rest of the crew, part way down this page.

"Flotsam" always makes me think of one of my favourite poems -- "No Doctors Today, Thank You" by Ogden Nash -- and its immortal lines:

Does anybody want any flotsam?
I've gotsam.
Does anybody want any jetsam?
I can getsam.

And I loved the illustrative photograph with the last word of the week. Clearly that lion is a very groggy moggy. (My father also adored cats.)

Mary Taslimi, Waterdown, Canada

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: flotsam & groggy

Flotsam Groggy
Much like "Tweedledee" and "Tweedledum", or "nitty" and "gritty", the words "flotsam" and "jetsam", for as long as I can recall, have been linked, i.e., the phrase "flotsam and jetsam". As a former Hanna-Barberian (animation artist), I couldn't resist having a little fun with these two nautically-derived words, having iconic toon George Jetson zip into the scene, surveilling a scattered array of flotsam, while on the horizon, the ill-fated cruise ship descends to a watery grave.

A passel of pirates partake of the potent potable, grog; their thoroughly tipsy captain precariously teetering on the gangplank... perchance, that menacing shark's next repast?

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week's words

1. copper-bottomed
2. flotsam
3. leeway
4. jetsam
5. groggy
= 1. loyal
2. baggage
3. freedom
4. eject worst
5. pot symptom
= 1. go-to
2. clamjamfry
3. rope
4. tempest waste
5. be dog-logy
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: limericks

People called her a liar or found her too shrill,
Others balked at the thought of a First Man called Bill,
But Trump I would pan
As a toxic Teflon Man,
I so want slightly tarnished, but copper-bottomed Hil!
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

On skis down the mountain I slalomed,
With Olympian skill copper-bottomed.
"I'll have him, I must,"
Whispered girls as I schussed
(In this dream my attractiveness blossomed).
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

"What, flowers 'n' such? Nah, we got none!"
her pa says."Them things is jist flotsam!
This here’s all we need
fer performin’ th’ deed:
th’ judge, ‘n’ thet boy, ‘n’ my shotgun!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Our greengrocer’s boy was a thieving creep,
he’d hide the flotsam in a secret heap.
After the markets closed,
this booty he disposed,
selling at a price that was rock-bottom cheap.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Heyerdahl, after he had traversed the oceans,
Advised that he had serious emotions.
The sea was covered with flotsam,
And badly polluted with jetsam.
He wanted to inform our ignorant notions.
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

“It’s quite elementary, Watson,”
Said Sherlock, “Just look at the flotsam.
This isn’t the junk
From a boat that has sunk;
Moriarty is just playing possum.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He’s close to being shown the door
When leeway ensues more and more.
As his blunders disgrace him,
It’s time to replace him.
Soon he’ll have bread and water galore.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

In his beach house while watching the sea spray,
The writer revised his new screenplay.
“On my first draft they sneezed,
Without sex they’re not pleased,”
He complained, “In this biz there’s no leeway.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

What in the world can I really say?
I gave my youngest so much leeway.
Methinks it backfired.
Now he’s hardwired
To only sate his desires each day.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

While umpires used to have leeway,
Now baseball employs Instant Replay.
Was the ball hit askew?
Fans await the review;
If called fair, it’ll fetch more on eBay.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Like jetsam they’ll be ejected,
Their pleas for mercy rejected.
Dreams will be thwarted,
Dreamers deported
For this was Donald elected.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

This old ship of state, she be foundering,
for the captain, methinks, he be floundering.
His brain’s flotsam and jetsam
become laws (Congress lets ’em).
Would that his thought had a much sounder ring!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

It matters not what Dems will do,
Republicans will say, “Screw you!”
Need backbone, forget, bum,
And Donald Trump jetsam.
Stand up for the Red, White, and Blue.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Though he throws them all over like jetsam,
The President never forgets ’em.
Each woman and crony
Becomes like James Comey:
A presence whose chain-rattling sweats him.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Seems our government swamp is still boggy.
Donald’s tweet barrage has us all groggy.
Allies watch with dismay
Washington’s disarray,
while at State, Foggy Bottom’s still foggy.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

When occasion arises, the President speaks;
He often confuses, appalls, even leaks;
He often seems groggy,
Or mentally foggy,
Or lacking a paddle when up creeks.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Oh, there once was a little old froggy,
One who sat on a lily pad soggy.
Spending nights at the lake,
Too much booze he’d partake,
So mornings always feeling quite groggy.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“The blast wave is making me groggy,”
Said the pilot above Nagasaki.
“Hiroshima’s encore
Will for sure end the war,
But the future of mankind is foggy.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Oh, buoy! Yacht naut skiff these puns

When my buddy spied the skinny-dipper’s clothing he said, “You steal her top; I’ll copper-bottom.”

We’ll have to re-clean the pool if flotsam more leaves fall in it.

How much did Robert E. Leeway?

Asked his vocation, the self-effacing airline pilot said, “Oh, I jetsam.”

That Anu Groggy sometimes dazes us with his AWADs.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: Fred Mench (fmench earthlink.net)
Subject: assignment

I am assigning my students at MTSU in my Wordpower course to put AWAD on their computers and read it M-F, with some of the words cropping up on their weekly quizzes.

Keep up the good work.

Fred Mench, Professor of Classics, Smyrna, Tennessee

Walking is also an ambulation of mind. -Gretel Ehrlich, novelist, poet, and essayist (b. 21 Jan 1946)

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