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Mar 13, 2022
This week’s theme
Overachievers from mythology

This week’s words
aphrodisiac
titanic
borasco
vulcanic
gorgonian

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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AWADmail Issue 1028

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

Sponsor’s Message: What men or gods are these? What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? The Official Old’s Cool Education is ‘A Wiseacre’s Delight,’ three pocket-sized handbooks that are full of poetry and glee, how-tos, history, and wit. Trivia too: What’s Cinderella’s last name? What’s the Third Amendment? A ladies and gentlemanly call to intellectual adventure that’s also a wicked bargain: Truth=Beauty Special ends at midnight. Shop now.



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

AI Could Decipher Gaps in Ancient Greek Texts, Say Researchers
The Guardian
Permalink

A Few Facts About the Language of Ukraine
Los Angeles Times
Permalink

Welcome to Londongrad
The New York Times
Permalink



From: Theodoros Natsinas (theonatsinas yahoo.gr)
Subject: aphrodisiac

There is a similar word in Greek αφροδίσιο which could be transliterated as aphrodisian and means venereal -- this photo is a sign of a hospital for venereal and skin diseases. Aphrodisian and venereal are related words as venereal comes from Venus, the Latin Aphrodite.

The form aphrodisiac also exists in Greek αφροδισιακό with the exact meaning as the word in English. However, as the two words are so similar people sometimes confuse them. Some such mixups can be embarrassing. For example, this screenshot is from the website of a Greek hospital, presenting the hospital’s skin and aphrodisiac department! Somehow I doubt that this is a hospital department dealing with cases of reduced sεxual desire.

Theodoros Natsinas, Aitolia kai Akarnania, Greece



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

One of the titans was Atlas who was sentenced by Zeus for his defiance. As his punishment, he was required to hold up the heavens so they won’t destroy Earth by falling on it. Both the mountain range in North Africa and the book containing its map (and maps in general) are apparently named after him.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada



Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy The Official Old’s Cool Education -- “How do you get down from an elephant?”

From: Dave Shively (david.r.shively4.mil mail.mil)
Subject: Yuri Gagarin quotation

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
Orbiting Earth in the spaceship, I saw how beautiful our planet is. People, let us preserve and increase this beauty, not destroy it! -Yuri Gagarin, first human in space (9 Mar 1934-1968)

It was set to amazing music by Christopher Tin. The album is called Shiver the Sky (video, 3 min.).

David R Shively, Nashville, Tennessee



From: Cathy King (cathymunk gmail.com)
Subject: Christine Stevens quotation

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The basis of all animal rights should be the Golden Rule: we should treat them as we would wish them to treat us, were any other species in our dominant position. -Christine Stevens, activist (1918-2002)

I have subscribed to A.Word.A.Day for a number of years and have been gratified to note a sympathy for animals and their inherent right to humane treatment, expressed through quotations and comments on the blog. I was delighted and a bit surprised today to see the quote from Christine Stevens, who is not very well-known, but for those in the animal rights world, is known as “The Mother of the Animal Protection Movement”.

I would probably not know much about Ms. Stevens except that, fifty years ago, we purchased our land from Dr. Robert and Cora Lees Gesell, who were Christine Stevens’ parents, and also dedicated advocates for land and animal justice. For the past half-century we have tried to take care of the land according to the inspiration and values of these exceptional beings. I am including a link to a bit more background on Christine Stevens and her parents; it is part of a “50 Years Planted” series that I am writing on our land’s past, present, and future.

Even if you don’t read it, there is a lovely photo of Christine Stevens taken when she volunteered at the Ann Arbor Humane Society in 1950.

Catherine King, Brooklyn, Michigan



From: Rama Kulkarni (drramakulkarni gmail.com)
Subject: gorgonian

Reminds me of a delightful poem by Ogden Nash: “Medusa and the mot juste”.

Rama Kulkarni, MD, Santa Clara, California



Aphrodisiacs
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Aphrodisiacs and Thar She Blows

For millennia, a variety of foods have been touted as libido boosters, including oysters, pomegranates, figs, dark chocolate, red wine, honey, cloves, sage, and avocados. Curiously, the Aztec word for avocado is “ahuacatl”, which also means “testicle”. Who knew? When an aphrodisiac fails to do the trick, there’s always the trusty pill for more immediate (mutual) gratification.

Thar She Blows!
Here, a well-to-do Pompeiian couple observe nearby Mt. Vesuvius, smoking away, having no inkling that in a matter of days the volcano will violently erupt, spewing streams of molten lava and pyroclastic ash upon the bucolic seaside town, enveloping and killing thousands.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



Anagrams

 
This week’s theme: Overachievers from mythology 1. Aphrodisiac
2. Titanic
3. Borasco
4. Vulcanic
5. Gorgonian
= 1. Erotic
2. Not moving to avoid the massive iceberg, which RM ship sank?
3. Trough
4. So fiery
5. Alcyonacea coral
     Well, ok, this week’s theme favours overachievers from mythology 1. Aphrodisiac
2. Titanic
3. Borasco
4. Vulcanic
5. Gorgonian
= 1. Viva! The blue-pill giver
2. Oho! Huge accords for civic cash
3. I.e. a storm
4. Fiery walk - on the go
5. Or a sicko nasty monster woman
-Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)
 
This week’s theme: Overachievers from mythology
1. Aphrodisiac
2. Titanic
3. Borasco
4. Vulcanic
5. Gorgonian
= 1. Amatory, cοckscomb, hey I choose Vιagra - oho!
2. Strength
3. A strong wind
4. Volcanic fire
4. I hate I’m repulsive
     This week’s theme: Overachievers from mythology
1. Aphrodisiac
2. Titanic
3. Borasco
4. Vulcanic
5. Gorgonian
= 1. It’s a romance activator (“Ooh, ooh!”)
2. Showcased strength
3. Mimicking a cyclone
4. Fiery vigor
5. Repulsive (“Bah!”)
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Limericks

Aphrodisiac

Says she, “I’m admitting defeat.
Our honeymoon’s still incomplete.
And no aphrodisiacs
work, for you see, he lacks
appetite too, and won’t eat.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The doctor dispensed aphrodisiacs
To patients who all were amnesiacs.
Though much they forgot,
They’re now hot to trot
And eager to try out some sleazy acts.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Don Juan was a lover so sly,
Had tricks on which he would rely.
He’d slip in her snack,
Aphrodisiac.
Some finely ground up Spanish fly.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“With me you’ll need no aphrodisiac,
For believe me, I know how to please you, Jack,”
Said Marilyn. “Bobby,
You too are my hobby;
Come see me next time a good squeeze you lack.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Titanic

The wolf’s getting ready to huff.
For the three little pigs things are rough.
“That guy is titanic,”
they cry in a panic,
“and we’ve had enough of his stuff!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

At Costco, the customer spies
Some boxes titanic in size.
This shopper is smart --
He loads up his cart,
And lifetime supplies he then buys.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Godzilla, a lizard titanic,
In Tokyo caused a great panic.
Crushing all in his way,
‘Twas a terrible day;
They yelled, “Go stomp on people Germanic!”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

Said an optimist on the Titanic,
“It was just an iceberg -- not vulcanic.
At least we won’t melt
From the bump that we felt,
And the food on lifeboats is organic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Borasco

In Scotland some guys wear a kilt;
You’re peeking in spite of your guilt.
You know that in Glasgow
There’s a frequent borasco.
Then you’ll see how these Scot guys are built.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“The company’s had a bad year,
so we must cut expenses, I fear.
It seems this borasco
has ruined my cash flow,”
says he to his wife. “Sorry, dear!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Living in Chicago long ago,
Borasco is something I do know.
Now on the West Coast,
I am warm as toast,
Even when occasional winds blow.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

An ecology teacher from Glasgow,
Caught in a titanic borasco,
Lost the notes for his class
In a muddy morass,
So his lecture was quite a fiasco.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

You shouldn’t be driving at all
If forecasters call for a squall.
A sudden borasco
Can lead to fiasco --
You can’t even go at a crawl.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

At his new felt fedora he grinned.
It had covered his hair where it thinned.
A borasco did blow,
And so what do you know,
His chapeau, it was gone with the wind!
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I thought it a quick antipasto,
But Ukraine has become a fiasco,”
Thought Vlad. “Put the squeeze
On all Europe? A breeze!
But it seems it’s instead a borasco.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Vulcanic

Putin’s war on Ukraine is satanic,
And reactions are loud and vulcanic.
He’ll soon have to hunker
In some hidden bunker.
It looks like he’s starting to panic.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

In the school’s science lab yesterday,
the prof overdid his display.
Though the class, in a panic,
escaped the vulcanic
eruption, prof’s missing, they say.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The gorgonian sisters, all three,
Were never invited to tea.
They were all of them manic,
With tempers vulcanic;
And their hairdos caused people to flee.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

I wouldn’t provoke him, my dear.
His temper’s vulcanic, I fear.
He’ll scream and turn mean;
His skin will go green --
The Hulk’s what they call him, I hear.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Walt, my husband, thinks he’s a mechanic;
Something breaks and he tells me “Don’t panic.”
‘Cept if I am at fault
Don’t let me near Walt,
For his temper’s no less than vulcanic.
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“Vesuvius isn’t vulcanic;
It’s a hoax and there’s no need to panic.
Pompeiians, stay put,”
Said the mayor. “What soot?
Cutting taxes will make us dynamic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Gorgonian

She wanted a coif that was new.
With cute little curls she was through.
A salon did her hair,
And she’s now in despair
With her ghastly gorgonian “do”.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

He proposed matrimony to her.
She certainly didn’t concur.
Said she, “You’re gorgonian,
full of baloney, ‘n’
I’ll hear no more of this, sir!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

In Hollywood features I’ve found
Gorgonian creatures abound.
Such films aren’t for me --
Those monsters, you see,
In some of my dreams stick around.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

True story: I once met a guy
Who had nightmares of snakes; God knows why.
When I entered his life,
That gorgonian strife
Disappeared -- but one day, so did I!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

An apple did something gorgonian
Which resulted in physics Newtonian.
It fell on the head
Of a genius, which led
To ideas -- and a migraine draconian.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Said Vlad, “Though I’m short like Napoleon,
Like him, I can do things gorgonian.
I can murder, invade,
Make a POTUS my aide;
I can render whole nations dystopian.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



Puns

“You may make us laugh or cry or scandalize us or shock us, but you never borasco-le,” wrote the critic of Porter’s new musical.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Mr. Spock’s hobby was to repair old engines. Scotty called him a Vulcanic.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Many words have come to us from his James Bond novels,” wrote Anu Gorgonian Fleming.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)



Putin's Worst Nightmare
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Putin’s Worst Nightmare

Ukraine’s Pres. Zelensky is a superhero for his courageous stand against Putin’s unprovoked assault. Putin, pre-invasion, spoke of Zelensky as a weak, illegitimate president, who should have stuck to being a comedian and playing a president on TV. Zelensky’s resolve to stay put in the capital Kyiv with his people exemplifies his bravery and resolve “to fight to the very end” for his nation’s freedom. Putin grossly underestimated Zelensky... period.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California



A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
The most wonderful of all things in life, I believe, is the discovery of another human being with whom one’s relationship has a glowing depth, beauty, and joy as the years increase. This inner progressiveness of love between two human beings is a most marvelous thing, it cannot be found by looking for it or by passionately wishing for it. It is a sort of divine accident. -Hugh Walpole, writer (13 Mar 1884-1941)

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