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Feb 11, 2018
This week’s theme
Words to describe people

This week’s words

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Relative usage over time

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Next week’s theme
People who became verbs

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AWADmail Issue 815

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

Sponsor’s Message: What does old school mean to you? “You’re welcome” instead of “No problem”? How about: saddle shoes, white handkerchiefs, and white gloves? A handwritten note. Hitchhiking. Commmon sense. A sense of humor. Let us know whuhchew think -- we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Phil Kopp (see below), as well as all you traditionistas out there the chance to tell us what you miss most about the world we are losing or perhaps have already lost. You may even win some of our authentic, ludic loot to boot. The Old’s Cool Contest runs all week, but why don’t you just ENTER NOW.

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

A Linguist Explains How the “Three Generation Pattern” Could Wipe Out Spanish in the US

Trump Just Taught a Master Class in Manipulating Language to Excuse Abuse

Language Previously Unknown to Linguists Discovered in Southeast Asia

Corruption With a Chance of Meatballs (Food as a Metaphor for Bribe)
The New York Times

From: Marge Simon (msimon6206 aol.com)
Subject: highbinder

I loved this word the day I discovered it, not sure where, but it was about a decade ago. I wrote and sold a poem by that title. Here are a couple of verses from it, hope you don’t mind my sharing. First published in Mythic Delerium:


He approaches you
with open palms
honest as Jude,
sells you a suicide trip
to needle junction.

You got to pay the man
for a lexicon of crazy,
up on a wild riff,
crack the ceiling
coming down.

Marge Simon, Ocala, Florida

From: Bob Wilson (rwilson wisc.edu)
Subject: wirepuller

I have heard and used, for many years, the similar expression “string puller” or “stringpuller”, where I would distinguish wire as usually made from metal and string from something softer. I have tools for working with wire (for my hobbies) and with string (usually called scissors or knives). Perhaps one could even speak of “ropepullers” for those influencing heavier events. On the other hand, I had never before heard “wirepuller” or “wire puller”. I wonder how frequently the wire or the string versions are used, in comparison.

There are tools called “wire pullers” used when routing electrical wiring through, for example, the walls or ceilings of a building, and special lubricant is intended to make it easier to pull wire through a tortuous path. Maybe Facebook plays that role for this present usage of “wire puller”...

Bob Wilson, Oregon, Wisconsin

From: Lawrence Crumb (lcrumb uoregon.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--wirepuller

E.L. Mascall’s book Pi in the High includes a poem about a bishop who decides to resign and enter a religious order. He tells his wife, “Stop pulling wires to get me into Lambeth; that’s no longer my ambition as of yore.”

Lawrence Crumb, Eugene, Oregon

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: wirepuller / wirebender

This week’s theme reminds me of two humorous understatements of the roles of two dental specialists:

wirebenders refer to orthodontists
gum gardeners refer to periodontists

YRBNDR is a license plate I saw in an upscale neighborhood, so it was easy to guess their profession.

Steve Kirkpatrick, DDS, Olympia, Washington

From: Coralyn Kelly Sheridan (coralsh northwestern.edu)
Subject: Wirepuller

“Wirepuller” evokes an image and memory of large marionettes created by Bud Fosser, a talented genius it was my pleasure to have known in college. Each was an operatic character, with articulated fingers, who “stood” about 18 inches tall. When Bud wasn’t winning prizes for set design or decorating restaurants, he was ever training “wirepullers” to do scenes from famous operas.

Coralyn Kelly Sheridan, Orange, California

Email of the Week: Brought to you by OLD’S COOL -- What does old school mean to you?

From: Phil Kopp (jelly33 juno.com)
Subject: jackleg

Another definition for jackleg, but one that doesn’t describe a person, is what I used when I worked in the Climax Molybdenum Mine near Leadville, CO, 35 years ago. It’s a drill operating off of compressed air. Ours were heavy one-man machines; we strung pipes through drifts and hoses off from them to supply the compressed air. They had two parts: a cylindrical leg about 4-5’ long of about 6-10” diameter that supported the machine by extending and pushing against the floor and hinged on top of that cylinder, the actual drill that spun a rod with changeable drill bit heads into the rock faces. It created holes into which we could put sausage-shaped explosives. (video, 2 min.)

Phil Kopp, Frisco, Colorado

From: Rudy Chelminski (rudychel gmail.com)
Subject: jackleg

I would submit that the word could also be derived from jackrabbit. (There are plenty of multiple etymologies, aren’t there?) I have often heard the term applied, especially by southerners, as an adjective signifying something -- a job, an institution, a foreign policy, whatever -- that is awkward, of poor quality, and bent rather than straight, as a rabbit’s hind leg. The same reasoning explains why a golf hole designed with a bend that obliges a player to try curving the ball around a corner is called a dogleg.

Rudy Chelminski, Fontainebleau, France

From: Bob-Rosemary Emnett (rosebob.emnett yahoo.com)
Subject: This week

Have enjoyed this week’s words, all of which are apt descriptors of Mr. Trump.

Robert F. (Bob) Emnett, Manchester, Missouri

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: snollygoster & jackleg

Snollygoster Jackleg
My admittedly disturbing image of this voracious ogre about to devour a frantic chicken and a screaming child was inspired by the possible Pennsylvania Dutch root of our word “snollygoster”, perchance a variant of “snallygaster... a mythical creature said to prey on poultry and children”. Not unlike Rabelais’s gigantic character, Gargantua, who had a predilection for including tiny humans (relative to his humongous proportions) as ingredients in his feats of gluttonous gastronomical consumption.

The USAGE example for our word “jackleg”, describing the conniving TV evangelist who promises viewers healing and salvation (blessings) by the mere laying of one’s hands on their TV screen... for a price, brought back memories of this unscrupulous practice from my formative TV-watching years. A whole litany of televangelist hucksters took to the airwaves, reaching millions of spiritually starved, often gullible viewers.... ranging from Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, to faux faith-healers Peter Popoff and Benny Hinn, to disgraced Jimmy Swaggart, et al. The sad upshot of this ‘pay-for-play’ TV religion was that many old-age pensioners... retirees on fixed incomes, were often the unwitting victims of these cajoling jackleg charlatans.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. snollygoster
2. highbinder
3. wirepuller
4. four-flusher
5. jackleg
= 1. jerk
2. swindler
3. high clout user
4. bluffer
5. hey, girl’s no legal pro!
= 1. rogue
2. slicker or swindler
3. juggler
4. he’ll bluff; he is phony
5. rat
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

“You might think that I’m an impostor,”
Said the White House’s chief snollygoster.
“But here is the lastest
Claim I’m the greatest,
From Sarah, who’s obeyed when I’ve bossed her.”
-Glenn Ickler, Hopedale, Massachusetts, (glennwriter verizon.net)

Of her emails he claims lack of care.
(But the head spook’s announcement’s unfair.)
“Into jail I’ll have tossed her,”
Said the fat snollygoster,
“Thanks to Russians quite willing to share.”
-B.R. Pringle, Austin, Texas (rpringle w-g.com)

The Monday word for readers is snollygoster.
Scores of limericks thumping Trump it will foster.
Biographies of previous POTUS
Indicate that their integrity was bogus.
Less media then to reveal and revile “The Impostor”.
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

Our world is now filled with impostors,
snakes, charlatans -- all snollygosters.
But the worst of these roosters
demand ego boosters
of sycophants’ “Hail, Paternosters!”
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

(I heard that word as a child. My father used it to describe such a person, but always pronounced it “snollygaster”.)
We’ve all known a “nice guy” impostor
who, in truth is a rank snollygoster.
If pronounced “snollygaster”
just add “he harassed her” --
one more sin entered into his roster.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Our Pres, the essence of snollygoster
Met Stormy, had a fling, then he tossed her
Who would’ve guessed that
If Donald was less fat
Then he, too, could have been a pornostar.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

We thought we had picked snollygosters
Before to our high office rosters.
But “What in tarnation?”
The Pope asks our nation,
“Kneel down and say ten Paternosters.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Each day there’s a reminder
That this man’s a highbinder.
I hear what he says,
And can’t stand the Prez.
I wish we’d picked someone kinder.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Oh the glorious day when the stock market tanked,
The highbinder in the White House was, I hope, yanked
Right off his high throne,
Perhaps he’ll bemoan
The greatest loss ever, and for this, won’t be thanked.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

“I was lucky with Bonnie to find her,”
Said Clyde, the hell-raising highbinder.
“I wrote, ‘I’m a thug,
I shoot cops and don’t shrug,’
And eHarmony quickly assigned her.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

Papa Bush gave us all a reminder
That it’s good to be gentler and kinder.
Republicans once
Wouldn’t vote for a dunce,
Then came Dubya and now this highbinder.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“We need the details to be fuller,”
Mueller mused, as he munched on a cruller.
“If Flynn cops a plea,
Wears a tap, and goes free,
Then I’ll be the hidden wirepuller.”
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

“Guilty!” says judge to wirepuller.
(This time he’s unable to fool her.)
“You’ve finally crossed
your wires. It will cost
you twenty-five years in the cooler!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Maps show all Anu’s roads lead to Rome,
Wirepuller words ‘bout this cock with a comb.
A pox on that dim liar!
The Gargian Empire
Bestows Benko et al bones of a tome.
-Charles Harp, Victoria, Canada (texzenpro yahoo.com)

Ascetic, commoner, ruler,
with lives frugal or uber.
Different battles they wage,
on the world-wide stage,
but are all invisibly strung to the Supreme Wirepuller.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

There’s no one with influence fuller
Than the President’s chief wirepuller.
When he wants something done
He says, “Come have some fun,
Here in Moscow ve haf such good hooker.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Oh, there once was a sneaky four-flusher,
Quite a lady’s man, oh, such a gusher.
While he’s in a femme’s arms,
He would speak of her charms,
Designed to delight and impress her.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“Treason” is now his new saying
And he spewed it with much overplaying.
While demanding applause
He sharpened his claws,
A four-flusher boor he’s portraying.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Four-flusher sure describes to a T
That guy who took advantage of me!
This scam artist knew
What he had to do
To transform me into his patsy.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

When a girl is a 10, you can’t rush her;
She’s the star and you’re merely an usher.
Her makeup and hair
Take all day to prepare.
Just be glad that she’ll date a four-flusher.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Our jackleg executive’s gone
And made our whole nation a pawn
In a nuclear game
That he played without shame
And proved that he’s Lucifer’s spawn.
-Lou Gottlieb, Hubbard, Oregon (gottlieb wbcable.net)

A sinecure would be ideal
When work has little appeal;
Like regular candy,
For a jackleg just dandy;
He couldn’t find any better deal!
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Now all of this week’s words, oh my,
To President Jackleg apply:
Four-flusher, highbinder,
Snollygoster headliner,
And Putin’s wirepuller guy.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The bluster of President Jackleg
Has made us as strong as a cracked egg.
His tweets make me think
I had best call my shrink
And for massive amounts of Prozac beg.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: You might want to ladies in da trash can

“What a stingy husband. It’s their first Christmas snollygoster was a card!”

In order to load the suspect in the squad car, police had to cuff her highbinder low.

Wielding hedge clippers, the female dentist wondered wirepuller scared the patient.

“Three goldfish is enough. As for number four-flusher.”

Jill said, “Jackleg go of my skirt!”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages. -Thomas Edison, inventor (11 Feb 1847-1931)

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