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AWADmail Issue 101

September 22, 2003

From: Dorothy Duder (kitchengoddessATmsn.com)
Subject: Reality Check (Re: areology))

My husband and I both work in "outer space" (on Star Trek "Enterprise" set). We enjoy watching the NASA channel and refer to it as the Reality Check Channel since the views from outer space put all Earthly things in very clear perspective!

From: Tracey Ellmers (tellmersATadelphia.net)
Subject: Mars and the Philosophy of Life

I would love to give each nation's leader a telescope so they all could get a clue and learn where the priorities of life really lie. It's certainly no mystery! Gandhi was so blessed to have that wisdom - non-violence and love are truly the keys to peace. It's interesting that so many of our planet's tribes do not see that. Maybe all the world leaders should have a required course in astronomy?

From: Mary (nanavanATwebtv.net)
Subject: Mars

I am 84, and decided I had to prove to myself that I could get up and go down to the pier on Mobile Bay and photograph Mars. The designated time here was 4:10, and I was there with my tripod, camera, and binoculars. My 200 lens hardly helped at all, and my binoculars were inadequate. I could not detect any color. Others could. Oh well, I am still glad I made the effort, although it just looked llike a bright Venus evening star to me!

From: Jack C Van Arsdale (vanarsdale.jcATmellon.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--areology

You are correct that the stars provide a great "reality show". But I would like to point out one minor flaw in your comment about the recent "close encounter" between Earth and Mars. (Don't feel too bad - virtually every media mention of the occurrence made the same mistake.)

You employed the phrase "our planetary neighbor Mars stopped by". Actually, it was just the opposite - the Earth "stopped by" Mars. Since Earth is closer to the sun, it moves around the sun at a greater speed than Mars (Earth takes one year, Mars takes almost two). So, Mars never passes the Earth - Earth always passes Mars, and this year provided a wonderful "close encounter".

From: Michael L. Hall (hallATlanl.gov)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--sublunary

My favorite quote for this word, exhibiting the second definition,

Dull sublunary lovers' love
-- Whose soul is sense -- cannot admit
Of absence, 'cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

See luminarium.org for the complete poem.

From: Diane Ursu (diane.ursuATmoronacity.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--terrestrial

The four inner planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, and Mars, all have physical and chemical properties similar to Earth's and are referred to by astronomers as the "terrestrial" planets. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune are all "Jupiter-like" and are referred to as the jovian planets. Pluto is just out there.

From: Tony Vazquez (awadATvazquez.gq.nu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--phoebus

Does this mean a vampire is a phoebophobe?

From: Samuel (samuelgATfogbound.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--saturnian

How interesting that "saturnian" means peaceful, happy, and contented, while "saturnine" means nearly the opposite: sullen, melancholy, and unhappy.

There seem to be two possible etymologies for saturnine: one coming from astrology, where the planet Saturn evidently has a negative influence, the other coming from an old chemical name for Lead, "saturnin" (which itself was named for the god), and the effects of Lead poisoning. In other words, both "saturnine" and "saturnian" originate in the name of the Roman god, but arrive at different places. Is this why English is called a mercurial language?

From: M Baker (virginmary55AThotmail.com)
Subject: Solar system

Speaking of such matters, here is demo about the Power of Ten.

From: Cynthia Sillitoe (csillitoeATyahoo.com)
Subject: Re: the gift of words

> Q: Tomorrow is my friend's birthday and I forgot to send her a gift. Help!
> A: How about the gift of words?
> A Word A Day, subscription
> A Word A Day, the book

The above reminds me of an episode of M*A*S*H. A news reporter visits the 4077 unit to do a documentary on the Korean war (It's the episode that was shot in black and white). The reporter asks Alan Alda's character, Hawkeye, if he brought any books with him to Korea. Hawkeye replies that he brought one, the dictionary because he "figured it had all the other books in it."

From: Michael Papacostas (papacostasATaol.com)
Subject: gone went away?

A few years ago the secretary of our company's CEO said to me: I don't know where he is, he must have went somewhere! Weird, I thought, but said nothing. Since then I heard (and saw in writing!) 'has went' numerous times! Did anybody else notice this? What *is* this, dear linguaphiles? Has gone went away?

    Went with the wind, perhaps? We can vent on its "deterioration", but that's how language goes. This usage appears in edited writing, as well. Here are some citations from current news though most of the citations are quotations of spoken words. And this phenomenon isn't new. Mark Twain, in "Life on the Mississippi" (1883) wrote this about Southern language: "They haven't any `doesn't' in their language; they say `don't' instead. The unpolished often use `went' for `gone'". -Anu

From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.com.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--terrestrial

While you are touring Asia, your humble copy editor has just made virtual visits to PITY ME England), INTERCOURSE (Pennsylvania), HELL (Michigan), and MORON (Cuba). Read about these places in the October issue of my e-Book.

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)

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