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Apr 12, 2020
This week’s theme

This week’s words
Mae West

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AWADmail Issue 928

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

Sponsor’s Message: Coronavirus got you down? Feeling cooped up? Going stir crazy? WISE UP! -- is the perfect cure for cabin fever -- it’s a Wicked/Smart Party Card Game that asks tons of devilishly difficult questions that’ll give you know-it-alls plenty of life lessons in humility, history, sports, science, literature, and geography. And wit. For example: Everyone knows the First and Second Amendments -- what’s the Third? Sleeping Beauty’s real name? How long is a furlong? But beware, there’s also a slew of “challenge” cards that chuck Darwinian physical and mental wrenches into the works, e.g., “Throw this card on the floor and pick it up without using your hands.” Just what the doctor ordered, especially for this week’s Email of the Week Winner, Catherine Cline (see below), and hunkered-down brainiacs everywhere. WISE UP! NOW.

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

Coronavirus and the Language of War
New Statesman

Nervous Recs: Listen to Music in a Language You Don’t Understand

From: Franklin Noel (noel1804 me.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Mae West

In addition to the words you mentioned that were coined after Benjamin Franklin, he also has a coin named for him. To numismatists, the Franklin cent refers to the first US cent, dated 1787. It is also called the Fugio cent, after the rebus, showing a sun-dial together with the Latin word FUGIO and English words MIND YOUR BUSINESS, meaning time flies so tend to your business. Franklin created the rebus for use on Continental paper currency and the Continental Congress ordered that it be put on the first national cent.

Franklin Noel, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Email of the Week -- Brought to you by Wise Up! -- the family that plays together stays together.

From: Catherine Cline (cackycline aol.com)
Subject: Mae West

After WWII, Daddy bought some of these from an Army surplus store and we wore them in Allatoona Lake after the dam was finished and the lake began to fill. They were bright School-Bus Yellow and came flat, with a gas canister you activated with a lever to inflate the life jacket.

As a kid, mine came down past my knees, as they were designed for the adult torso. The “horse collar” part went behind your neck to float you face-up.

Pool floaties have been designed copying the shape, but I have fond memories of Daddy, fresh out of the Army, playing in the rusty water with us in North Georgia.

Catherine Cline, Amelia Island, Florida

From: Bob Morrell (bbbmorrell gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Mae West

In parachuting, in the days of round canopies, a Mae West was a partial malfunction where one line went over the canopy, making two rounded shapes. This resulted usually in a spin and risked friction burn through and collapse.

Bob Morrell, Lewisville, North Carolina

From: Ron Rozewski (ronroza1 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Mae West

As a paratrooper and former “green beret” (5th Special Forces Group, Airborne), I knew well a Mae West was something you did not want to happen to you.

Mae West : A partial parachute malfunction where the suspension lines divide the main canopy into two sections, like a gigantic brassiere; derived from name of famous full-breasted actress. Formally known as a “lineover”, but also resembles a “partial inversion”. (source)

Ron Rozewski, Santa Rosa, California

From: Michael Poxon (mike starman.co.uk)
Subject: Mae West

Dali was a fan of the naughty lady and painted a canvas entitled (you won’t believe this...) Mae West, in which various items in the scene were trompe l’oeiled into different parts of Mae’s face!

Michael Poxon, Norwich, UK

From: Madeline Hirschland (mhirschland gmail.com)
Subject: Mae West

I’m a woman and reading today’s word felt bad to me -- giving me a visceral memory of the many times I’ve been looked at sexually in ways I didn’t want and reminding me of the ways women are denigrated.

Madeline Hirschland, Bloomington, Indiana

From: Luisa Meshekoff (lmeshekoff verizon.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Mae West

A Mae West is also an electrical pipe hanger.

Luisa Meshekoff, Tampa, Florida

From: Patrick W. Gilmore (patrick ianai.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Mae West

MAE West was one of the first places ISPs gathered to exchange traffic.

Some think MAE West & MAE East were the first. They were not (not even close), but they were very early.

It is also famous for congestion and technical problems (head-of-line blocking).

But I was always amused by the name-space collision.

Patrick W. Gilmore, Milton, Massachusetts

From: Mike Thomas (michaelspicthomas gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Mae West

I read some years ago that the newer generation of Mae Wests is called Dolly Partons. This makes better sense to me.

Mike Thomas, Nashville, Tennessee

From: Phil O’Connell (phil gol.com)
Subject: Mae West

To people in the UK and Ireland, Mae West is Cockney rhyming slang for best.

As for large breasts, in Cockney they’re known as Bristols.

Cockney is fun, there’s an expression for nearly everything.

Phil O’Connell, Mullingar, Ireland

From: Steve Robinson (spr lawrobinson.com)
Subject: Mae West

The smartest thing I ever did at LSJU (yes, Stanford is a “Junior University”) was spending spring quarter of my junior year -- not abroad but -- at UCLA. Where I enrolled in courses, Art History, Shakespeare, Meteorology, Music Mechanics, which I, otherwise, would never have taken.

That quarter, UCLA honored Mae West as The Woman of the Century. The auditorium was jam-packed, and Ms. West fielded questions from the audience prior to the screening of I’m No Angel (1933). I remember one question in particular:

“Ms. West,” a young man asked, “didn’t they have censors when you were making films?” Ms. West snorted, and in her inimitable husky voice purred, “Why, they created censors because of me!”

Steve Robinson, Glendale, California

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: the single hound that accompanies us

Conscience is a dog that does not stop us from passing but that we cannot prevent from barking. -Nicolas de Chamfort, writer (6 Apr 1741-1794)

Emily Dickinson wrote a poem (it’s below) about “the single hound” that always goes with us. It’s a metaphor for self-consciousness, that creature, entity, phenomenon, that attends an individual, always there, always faithful, always excruciatingly lonely, the faithful creature attending to the soul, if soul differs from self-consciousness. It seems axiomatic that conscience is analogous to self-consciousness, the two coupled closely, stitched together with a single thin thread. What some call the “human predicament” springs from self-consciousness. The haunting thing about self-consciousness is its ineluctable reminder of how singular each of us is, each of us snared in this bewildering interval between our birth and our death. On the other hand, all that we treasure and admire about human beings -- love, art, altruism, creativity, compassion, empathy -- comes from self-consciousness. It is this self-consciousness, Dickinson says, in each of us that is about “traversing the interval / Experience between / And most profound experiment / Appointed unto men”; that is, I take it, the “interval” between our birth and our death.

This Consciousness that is aware
Of Neighbors and the Sun
Will be the one aware of Death
And that itself alone

Is traversing the interval
Experience between
And most profound experiment
Appointed unto Men --

How adequate unto itself
Its properties shall be
Itself unto itself and none
Shall make discovery.

Adventure most unto itself
The Soul condemned to be --
Attended by a single Hound
Its own identity.

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

From: Barbara Reid (b.reid32 gmail.com)
Subject: Adonic

In Greek, nt is pronounced d, so the word we know as Adonis is originally spelled Antonis. Hence the name Antony. It’s even more entwined: Greek d is pronounced “the” (as in “this”, not “thin”), so English added an h, hence Anthony.

Barbara Reid, Paphos, Cyprus

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

The centrepiece of Edward Elgar’s Enigma Variations (Variation 9) is titled “Nimrod”. The enigma behind it is the German word for hunter, i.e. Jaeger. Augustus Jaeger was the music editor of the publishing house Novello & Co. and a close friend of the composer.

The variation is often used as a stand-alone orchestral piece on solemn occasions -- at the National Cenotaph in London on Remembrance Day, for instance. In this performance (video, 4 min.) from 1997, Daniel Barenboim conducts the Chicago Symphony in memory of its former maestro Sir Georg Solti.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Steven Lipschultz (mrweevy yahoo.com)
Subject: Holy books

Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything -- anything -- be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in. -Sam Harris, author (b. 9 Apr 1967)

Some may recall the Star Trek episode wherein the Enterprise crew discovers a world whose society is based upon “The Book”, titled Chicago Mobs of the Twenties.

Steve Lipschultz, Truckee, California

From: Gary Oelze (gary solsurfin.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Chadband

A type who would have pleased a man called Trump in a future era.

Gary Oelze, Cardiff, California

From: Christina Coolidge (CoolPilot roadrunner.com)
Subject: My Personal Eponym: Chris’s Law

My personal eponym, temporarily, years ago in Massachusetts, was Chris’s Law!

That was the joke from my Massachusetts Representative Stephen Kulik, who in a phone call from his office once remarked, laughing, that my constant entreaties to him concerning my place of employment, the Mount Wachusett Community College, not be closed entitled me to become the namesake of a fictitious new Massachusetts Chris’s Law!

The danger to my college was presented by a political objective of then-Governor Mitt Romney, who wanted to shut down all of the community colleges in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to stick it to the unions that represented many community college employees.

I was not sure if Representative Kulik knew then that if Governor Romney succeeded in shutting down the community colleges, including in particular my employer Mount Wachusett Community College, my family -- my husband John Coolidge, myself, and our three adopted Costa Rican children -- would suddenly be without any health insurance because all the members of my immediate family were walking, talking examples of Preexisting Conditions! We had our health insurance through the GIC, the Group Insurance Commission of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, insurance that was contingent upon my condition of employment at the college.

At one of the Congressional hearings during the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, something called rescission was the main topic. This meant that if an insurance company found any condition that a person did not report ahead of time, that person would be denied health care coverage. The best example was a woman who had once visited a doctor about acne and years later lost her health insurance by dint of not reporting as a preexisting condition (probably because she had forgotten about it) that common and mostly trivial adolescent skin condition.

At the end of that ACA hearing, the top executives from each major health insurance company were asked to give up the practice of rescission. Each said no!

Chris Coolidge, Sherman Oaks, California

Mae West
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Mae West and Adonic

Back in those halcyon days of Old Hollywood, the flamboyant, billionaire newspaper magnate, William Randolph Hearst, had an open, but selective, invitation to a motley array of the most celebrated actors, actresses, dancers, and musicians of the day, to revel or relax at his neoclassical-inspired, sumptuous Hearst Castle, at coastal Saint Simeon, California. It was a kind of open secret amongst the high-roller Hollywood set that the indoor-outdoor ancient Roman-style castle swimming pool was the scene of frequent Dionysian romps, swimwear optional. Pass the grapes. Ha! Here, I’ve depicted the playful, voluptuous vamp Mae West, perhaps the morning after one of those aforementioned midnight celeb Bacchanals, taking a leisurely skinny-dip in the castle’s faux-Roman pool. Poolside, the rotund comic actor, W.C. Fields, chomping on his signature stogie, draws attention to Miss West’s ample bosom, which he (purposely) mistakes for a flotation vest. Mae sets him straight, with her jocular retort.

Ancient Greek aesthetes of Golden Age Athens (circa 450 BCE) and beyond, as well as the sculptors and ceramicists of these heady and enlightened times put great stock in beauty, in all its myriad manifestations. Especially admired and extolled by philosophers, and the preeminent artists of the day, was physical beauty, of both the female and male form. The prime goal of the classical Greek sculptor was to portray the pantheon of the gods (most taking human incarnation) as the epitome of perfection, translated in either carved stone or cast bronze flawless paradigms of strength, grace, and beauty. In my cartoon scenario, handsome, tragic mythic figure, the youthful Narcissus, whilst admiring his own reflection in a pool, is accosted and admonished by the equally handsome Adonis, the prime exemplar of quintessential male beauty of all the Greek demigods. My Froggy character’s aside, “The flowering of youth”, is a metaphoric clue as to Narcissus’s ultimate fate, his turning into the eponymous named spring flower, with its lily-white petals and lemony-yellow center.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

This week’s theme: Eponyms
1. Mae West
2. Adonic
3. vandal
4. nimrodize
5. Chadband
1. swim vest
2. be handsome
3. hood, a wild chimpanzee
4. a tyrant’s deed
5. nickname
     This week’s theme: Eponyms
1. Mae West
2. Adonic
3. vandal
4. nimrodize
5. Chadband
1. canoe vest (why I swim)
2. handsome
3. ned
4. mind like a mad despot
5. brazen cheat
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

“I’ll try to obey your behest,
and wear this disgusting Mae West”,
to the captain says she,
“but as you can see,
it makes me appear over-dressed!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

My fear of water was put to rest
Since I was safe wearing my Mae West.
How the life jacket came
To bear her famous name
Has to do with the size of her breast.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

The ship’s captain was quite a mean pest
Who would steer his large boat with such zest.
‘Twas a very bad scene,
As his crew all turned green,
Each one slept with a full-blown Mae West.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Each passenger donned a Mae West,
So we were identically dressed.
We finished our drill,
But I wondered still --
Which one of us wore it the best?
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

One thing you can say ‘bout Mae West,
She had an incredible chest.
Yes, for that she was famed,
And for her so was named,
An inflatable life jacket vest.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“On this flight you will need your Mae West,”
Captain Sully announced, “It’s no jest.
We’ve been hit by a bird,
So for ditching please gird,
But I’ve got this, so don’t feel depressed.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Our leader, alas, is moronic.
He fancies himself as Adonic!
He’s so full of it
that to move just a bit
he’d need more than a caffeine colonic.
-Mariana G. Warner, Asheville, North Carolina (marianaw6002 gmail.com

There once was a youth so Adonic,
His fame was widespread, so iconic;
When asked to go hiking,
It was just to his liking:
He was lucky, his limbs were bionic.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Sick of working with old men, the Queen
told headhunters, “Replace a has-been
with adonic young blood,
who will end with a thud,
these ministers’ conservative mien.”
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

She fell for a fella Adonic.
Thus far though their love is platonic.
Alone in her room,
She met him on Zoom --
Her heart felt a “boom” that was sonic!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“While that dude in a cape is Adonic,”
Said Lois, “towards you I’m platonic.”
But Clark in disguise
Still possessed X-ray eyes;
Through her blouse he saw vistas hedonic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Says Jack, “Though I’m nimble and quick,
I can’t do my famed jumping trick,
‘cause some nasty vandal
has damaged my candle.
He’s even demolished its stick!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Young pranksters cannot hold a candle
To a powerful political vandal
Who pooh-poohs pandemics
With personal polemics;
It really is truly a scandal!
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

There was once a notorious scandal
‘Bout a woman who was quite a vandal.
A sly vamp and a tease,
Who destroyed properties,
And left only one clue: a red sandal.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

In crayon she drew on the wall;
She doodled the length of the hall.
Now how should one handle
This very young vandal,
When somehow her murals enthrall?
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

In the gift shop they thought me a vandal
When I broke into pieces a candle.
But the truth was I fell,
Had a wee dizzy spell,
For its scent was just too much to handle.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpmarlin456 gmail.com)

“What I see in the temple’s a scandal,”
Said Jesus, “I’ll act like a vandal.”
So he ransacked the place
To restore it to grace,
But then found he was missing a sandal.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Says he, “To make sure each complies
with my wishes, I find that it’s wise,
when all’s said and done,
to fire everyone
who impedes me when I nimrodize!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

When I was a kid I would nimrodize
In mom’s kitchen, all of the household flies.
The swatter I’d take
And get rich, for I’d make
A penny for each single fly demise.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

They seldom attempt to disguise
Their efforts as they nimrodize.
Some gain wealth and fame
While playing their game,
But in time most people get wise.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Beware in a crisis, my dear,
Of leaders exploiting our fear,
For power-mad men
May Nimrodize then --
And threaten our freedoms, I hear.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“My dog will the gates Nimrodize;
His three heads will my strength symbolize,”
Said Hades, “This hound,
My best friend underground,
With our guests here does not sympathize.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Always right up in front with a glad hand,
Is Donald J. Trump, Mr. Chadband --
His rhetorical slime,
Isn’t worth a thin dime --
Oy! Our government’s run by a sad band!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

She declares, “There is no chemistry
between that weird person and me!
I find him a Chadband.
Though likely the cad’s planned
to partner, it ain’t gonna be!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

It’s not right to give the glad hand
To anyone labeled Chadband.
Their insincere flattering
Should send people scattering.
Their power is built upon sand.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Great virtue would Chadband demand
In sermons he preached oh-so-grand!
But he was so sleazy,
It made me uneasy --
That reverend should’ve been canned.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Beware of the two-faced Chadband
who will smile and extend the glad hand.
He’ll quote chapter and verse.
Then he’ll steal your purse
and leave you flat right where you stand.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

If you’re tired of President Chadband,
The place to find refuge is Lapland.
His great orange head
You’ll forget on a sled
Or in saunas where being unclad’s grand.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Epon-amiss puns

After melting that witch, Dorothy said, “Mae West stay dead forever!”

During the pandemic don’t go anywhere without adonic a mask.

Your car holds only four people but our vandal accommodate eight.

“If you don’t stop spoiling our son and start give nimrodize leavin’ you!”

I wonder if this 60s duo considered the name, “The Jeremy and Chadband”?

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

All religions united with government are more or less inimical to liberty. All, separated from government, are compatible with liberty. -Henry Clay, statesman and orator (12 Apr 1777-1852)

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