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AWADmail Issue 1087

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

Sponsor’s Message: “Wondrous bits of colorful and nifty snippetry.” The Old’s Cool Wiseacre’s Guide to Life is one of four absolutely FREE e-books that’ll show you how to live the life of a recalcitrant king, the difference between a javelin and a javelina, hophornbeam and your Mother-in-Law’s tongue. Smarten up, for nothing!

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

Bilingualism May Stave Off Dementia, Study Suggests
The New York Times

The Unexpected Joys of Denglisch, Berlinglish & Global Englisch
The European Review of Books

Teaching ChatGPT to Speak my Son’s Invented Language

From: Tom Furgas (tofu4879 gmail.com)
Subject: Trans words

Republicans are going after trans people (and also drag queens) because they lost the battle against gay marriage. They then needed to cast about for another bogeyman to rail against to show their supporters that they are not lying back and letting the weirdos and perverts run “this great country” into the ground.

The Republicans could improve the country by enacting legislation to protect the poor, the downtrodden, the environment, and the economy but that wouldn’t gain them the support of the hate-filled bigots and ignoramuses that defend and support them.

Tom Furgas, Youngstown, Ohio

From: Clary Binns (clarymbinns gmail.com)
Subject: Thank you

I’m a nonbinary person who has subscribed to A.Word.A.Day since I was 12. I don’t read it as religiously as I used to but I always enjoy it. You really, really cheered up my morning today. Thank you!

Clary Binns, Newton, Massachusetts

From: Fernando Riveron (riveron715 gmail.com)
Subject: Your commentary

I seek sources of information that function as welcome shores of intellectual respite in the midst of the cognitive dissonance of our daily lives. This site has been one for me. Your comments were an unforced and unnecessary provocation. If you are open minded, consider a few potential flaws in your remarks. This country has a representative government, and as such our representatives speak for the majority of their constituents. To diminish this is to usurp the agency which we give them in our Democracy. It is the type of undemocratic commentary you see in authoritarianism.

The trans issue is one that is not only politically divisive, but one that runs into enlightenment scientific precepts head on; one that at its basis pits postmodernism against material scientism. The superficial trite debate that you alluded to is one unworthy of your otherwise erudite commentaries. Please rethink how you have damaged your intellectual brand among people who have enjoyed your site.

Fernando Riveron, MD, Sarasota, Florida

Disagreeing with the lawmakers on any issue is undemocratic and can lead to authoritarianism?

Specifically on the trans issue, since you are a doctor yourself, I assume you agree that experts in this matter, the doctors, and their patients and patients’ parents, be the guide, not the politicians. See what the American Academy of Pediatrics (also, this) and the American Medical Association. have to say.

Couching bigotry under fancy words and a veneer of philosophical arguments doesn’t help. Those in favor of making life hard for trans, gay, and other marginalized people may feel pretty sure of themselves today, but history will not be kind to them. Look at these black-and-white pictures of people screaming at a Black girl going to school. One day the anti-gay and anti-trans people will be viewed just like them.

We also received some messages from people who were upset at euthanasia. Ultimately, it comes down to this: no one is saying that you should transition or euthanize (which is also a kind of transition). But why not let others decide for themselves? Live and let live. Live and let die with dignity.
-Anu Garg

From: Judy Tinelli (judytinelli hotmail.com)
Subject: Trans

Thanks for today’s comments on the prefix trans. I’m the proud grandmother of a trans granddaughter. These kids need all the help they can get.

Judy Tinelli, Easton, Maryland

From: John D. Laskowski (john.laskowski mothman.org)
Subject: Littoral

I must ask the littoral question: Why is the shore so near the ocean?

John D. Laskowski, Carsonville, Pennsylvania

From: Patrice Curedale (patrice.curedale gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--littoral

History is all explained by geography. -Robert Penn Warren, novelist and poet (24 Apr 1905-1989)

I was just thinking of the “history is geography” quotation while looking at a map of Sudan. Sigh.

Patrice Curedale, Woodland Hills, California

From: Khay Ooi (Khay.Ooi health.govt.nz)
Subject: History explained by geography

Reminded me of the book by Tim Marshall Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that Explain Everything About The World.

Reading this book suddenly made geopolitics easy to understand. I certainly recommend it to everyone.

Khay Ooi, Wellington, New Zealand

From: Maurice Herson (mherson runbox.com)
Subject: aweigh

Is it a homophonous coincidence that we also say chocks away? At least I’d always assumed it is spelled that way and came from removing the chocks put under airplane wheels and such to prevent them rolling away.

Maurice Herson, Oxford, UK

Email of the Week brought to you by The Wiseacre’s Guide to Life -- A FREE Wicked/Smart e-book. Learn more.

From: Sarah Harding (s.harding comcast.net)
Subject: Anchors Aweigh

After some decades on A.Word.A.Day, I was tickled to see the poster of Anchors Aweigh, written by my mother, Isobel Lennart (who was not a sailor and may have misused some terms). Now, for gender equity, you’ll have to find a way to use her follow-up, Skirts Ahoy!. Both of them helped keep her off the HUAC’s blacklist.

Sarah Harding, Boulder, Colorado

2022 Japanese film "Plan 75"
Poster: IFFBoston
From: Camila Guadalupe Cortea (cami.scout gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--euthanasia

While euthanasia is usually associated with severe illnesses, a 2022 Japanese feature film proposes a near-future scenario in which the government implements Plan 75, a program to encourage (healthy) senior citizens to be voluntarily euthanized to remedy the problem of a rapidly aging society. (trailer, 2 min.)

I found it most startling that many elderly interviewed by the director during the creative process expressed their interest in applying, should such a system exist.

Camila Guadalupe Cortea, Tokyo, Japan

From: Vikas Namadeva Prabhu (vikasnprabhu gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--euthanasia

The note on euthanasia brought back an anecdote from my master’s days. It was a moral philosophy class and the professor was discussing euthanasia in the context of Indian historical thought. He started with how Indian culture had long argued for one’s right to die (for example, Jainism has references to a willful fast-unto-death ritual called sallekhana). However, he observed, Europe was the first to act on that right and legalize euthanasia. And then he quipped, “You may remember euthanasia, as EU-than-Asia.” Wonder if there is a name for such words that represent a concept and also typify its history.

Vikas N. Prabhu, Bangalore, India

From: Marnye Langer (marnye langershows.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--euthanasia

Love A.Word.A.Day and today’s message is especially poignant. I am an animal person and have had horses, dogs, and cats in my life and hope to for the rest of my life. They are like four-legged family members. When the time comes for an animal’s life to cease, we have dignified options. It is gut-wrenching when that time comes. I always second guess myself, and I have never once regretted my decision. In fact, I usually opine that I may have waited a bit too long and asked my animal to struggle a bit longer because my heart and head weren’t ready.

I firmly believe that every human should have the right and dignity to self-determination based on their individual values and beliefs. The tide is shifting and you helped it shift a bit more. Thank you.

Marnye Langer, Burbank, California

From: Lucy Boyd (fnightingale512 aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--euthanasia

The term “dying with dignity” is so disturbing to me. There is nothing undignified about fighting for your life, about never giving in.

Lucy Boyd, Soddy Daisy, Tennessee

From: Patricia Skidmore Pierce (p2pierce bellsouth.net)
Subject: euthanasia

My late husband, a physician, used to say that there is a difference between prolonging life and prolonging death. I would like to have a choice.

Patricia Skidmore Pierce, Cleveland, Tennessee

From: Matt A Nash (mattanash live.com)
Subject: Euthanasia

Recently an aged ex-relative of mine died. Those close to him said it was a blessing. He was miserable in mind and body. In his dementia, rage, and awful pain, he lashed out at all near to him, even those, perhaps especially those, whom he loved and was loved by most dearly. Gah.

I fear that fate more than any other. Should I ever get to that point, I hope the choice will be mine and my family’s, and that laws based on compassion and reason will finally prevail over the ludicrous beliefs in somebody else’s god who demands that not a single hour of a single day may be left unsuffered.

Matt Nash, Whidbey Island, Washington

From: Annaliese Anesbury (aanesb01 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--euthanasia - in honour of Bob Davis a week

I am a relatively new Australian subscriber who was guided to your platform not too long ago by my late grandfather-in-law, Bob Davis, an avid supporter and lover of A.Word.A.Day, particularly for A Thought For Today. He so loved your platform and donated occasionally to show his support. He gifted a subscription to me upon me reading several A Thought For Today quotes attached to his fridge. He and I discussed how in a world of easily accessible literary resources, never have we seen a platform deliver such beautiful, historical and profound passages, which we appreciate.

I received and read the “Euthanasia” email immediately with my partner last night, with my chest tightened. Exactly a week ago, Thu the 20th of Apr, my grandfather-in-law, Bobby, and his beloved wife, Gilly, both left this life via legal euthanasia, with similar sentiments as Cai. They had lived a terrific life, did not wish to outlive each other and loved their network of people. My partner and I were both in serendipitous shock at this email and continue to be amazed at the astonishing timing and the significance it now holds for us. For us, we find this to be an unbelievable occurrence of coincidentally beautiful timing, something beyond us.

Annaliese Anesbury, Adelaide, Australia

From: Patrice Curedale (patrice.curedale gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--euthanasia

My ex-husband here in California was able to choose “death with dignity” when it became clear that his cancer would only make him suffer even more horribly for a month or two or three before it killed him. Unfortunately, he made his decision the Friday before Christmas Sunday, so the chain of command took a bit longer than usual. Meanwhile the cancer continued to surprise his very good team at UCLA, and started literally popping up out of nowhere, on his arm, then his back, then his leg. Still, the decision seemed to free him of a lot of the anxiety of trying to keep up with all the decisions about trials, chemo, radiation, the feeding tube, laryngoscopy, scans, xrays, blood draws, the incredible array of pain meds, what to do with a list of meds that ran up to 32 at one point.

The stress of being sick in America while trying to keep the lights on and the cell phone and internet going...

His acceptance of death was very freeing in this situation. Our boys came home for Christmas vacation and he began palliative care. My older son began to help me care for him, and we actually ended up laughing a lot with his wonderful oncologist, Dr. Chai-Ho, when he was having trouble checking all the boxes on the paperwork. He kept nodding off like a junkie, because the home nurse had not followed his directions in the morning and had shot some morphine into his feeding tube. So when we asked what he wanted to do, he whispered “Coffee.” He could barely talk by then. Dr. Chai-Ho took a second to process his request and then asked, “You mean send coffee through the feeding tube?” and he nodded and smiled and we all laughed, which sent him into a horrible coughing fit (lots of lung tumors). He was right though, and it helped him get through the checking of the tiny boxes a bit more quickly. He did show his frustration at one point though, when his checkmark completely missed a box.

Finally, he drew in his own box and checked it and we all laughed again.

Patrice Curedale, Woodland Hills, California

From: Nadia Leininger (nadiadorothy wightman.ca)
Subject: “Inclusion”

Hi, I was enjoying the Wordsmith part of this website, but have discovered that I don’t “fit in” with the offensive comments [in AWADmail] about important people I admire, like Clarence Thomas or the Trumps. Too bad. Bye bye.

Nadia Leininger, Stratford, Canada

The Eyes Have It
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: ocellated and rawky

I only have eyes for you! The word ocellated brought to mind the ocelot, native to Southern Texas, Mexico, and South America. Its name is likely from the Nahuatl word tlalocelot, meaning “field tiger”. Although it could be rooted in the Latin ocellatus, meaning “having little eyes”, or “marked with eye-like spots”. Here, our ocelot is staring down a common buckeye butterfly. Froggy has to horn in, displaying three peacock feathers, tipped by faux eyes.

Loving A Spoonful
Boxer Rocky Balboa gives his sign of approval to the latest ice cream sensation to come down the pike, “Rawky Road”. Ingredients-wise, the only difference from the classic Ben & Jerry’s recipe with chocolate ice cream, chopped almonds and marshmallow, is that this new concoction has additional bits of cannoli and tiramisu rolled into the mix, pleasing Rocky to no end, appealing to his Italian lineage. Mangiare!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Homophones
1. Littoral
2. Ocellated
3. Aweigh
4. Euthanasia
5. Rawky
= 1. At sea
2. Looks like eyes
3. Where an anchor might aim
4. To help a soul with death
5. Wet
= 1. Shore to sea point
2. Eyelike
3. High anchor
4. Allow weak malamute’s death
5. Wettish
-Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

This week’s theme: Homophones
1. Littoral
2. Ocellated
3. Aweigh
4. Euthanasia
5. Rawky
= 1. Sea edge
2. Eyelike spots
3. Haul the anchor
4. Aim to kill with no shame
5. Wet or a thaw
= 1. A state that’s in-shore
2. Ah! Eye-like glow
3. Hack, unmoor
4. Help a whale die
5. Wet, moist
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



While swimming one day at the littoral,
he spied something highly atypical:
a sign warning him
‘twas illegal to swim.
Said he, “Guess that means I’m a criminal!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

We Jersey girls all tend to boast
About our remarkable coast.
Its littoral zone
Is very well known,
And Snooki promotes it the most!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Gazing out at the sea from the littoral,
I sip coffee and munch a profiterole.
A vacation in Naples
Is one of my staples;
I’ll stay if Trump wins, being liberal.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Ocellated tail feathers - quite grand!
(Eyes that follow wherever you stand.)
For the peacock, a boon,
As they make the hens swoon,
Since Ma Nature created them bland.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

“I’ve made a decision,” says she,
“As to what the room’s color will be.
Although it’s outdated,
‘twill be ocellated,
like someone to watch over me!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Said the peacock, “Though married, Zeus dated;
That’s how I became ocellated.
His cheating with Io
Is part of my bio;
It’s lovely! I’m frankly elated!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


We ‘eard Cap’n cry, “Anchors aweigh!”
An’ it caught us amidships -- I’ll say!
On account of the fog,
We wos taken wi’ grog,
An’ weren’t fit ter go sailin’ -- no way!
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

It’s nice there, depending on tides,
and whether bad weather subsides.
On most any day,
you’ll find him aweigh,
in the place where a mermaid resides.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The captain cried, “Anchors aweigh!”
And passengers called out, “Hooray!”
My cruise had begun.
I knew I’d have fun --
I loved ev’ry Loveboat cliché!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Though he struggles sometimes what to say,
For Biden, it’s anchors aweigh!
“I can still hold a pen,
So elect me again,”
He exhorts, “for Repubs are cray cray!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Euthanasia’s not hard to explain.
It’s a kindness -- the ending of pain.
It’s a positive death,
A last -- dignified -- breath.
That it’s still thought a crime is insane!
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

“Czarist Russia deserves euthanasia,”
The Bolsheviks told Anastasia.
“Our brotherhood feels
That our Marxist ideals
If we left you alive would amaze ya!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Rawky weather is headed our way
And will, doubtless, be dogging our stay.
Never mind! We’re prepared.
Let it come, we aren’t scared.
British summers are meant to dismay.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

The game they were scheduled to play
has to be cancelled today.
The weather is rawky,
too rawky for hockey.
The team, much relieved, shouts “Hooray!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“The weather is rawky today.
It’s just like pea soup, as they say.
Visibility’s low;
I’m reluctant to go,
But Rudolph will help guide my sleigh.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said the shogun, “Today it’s so rawky
That I think I’ll stay home and drink sake.
I suppose I’ll grow bored,
But my samurai sword
I could use as a stick and play hockey.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“If ya don’t pick up all that littoral give ya a ticket,” warned the police officer.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Stop being so littoral,” said one clam to the other.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Ah sure am feelin’ ocellated raht now,” said the last man at the Alamo.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Honey, poison ivy doesn’t go aweigh very fast, but the calamine lotion will help,” the mother consoled her young daughter.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

“Just go aweigh,” moaned the cyclops as Odysseus taunted him from the deck of his ship.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Obese Americans would love to know how euthenasia-ns do it,” said Donald to the starving North Koreans.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Growing up, my favorite cartoon was “Rawky and Bullwinkle”.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

When Yahweh told him to chisel the Ten Commandments, Moses called down to his old geology professor and asked what kind of rawky should use.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Tuckered Out
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Tuckered Out

The mediasphere was blindsided by Fox News’s cash-cow, conspiracy theorist Tucker Carlson’s firing. Must have been his constant selling of Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories that resulted in Fox Corp. having to pay out a $787.5 million settlement to Dominion. Off camera, Tucker expressed sheer disdain and loathing for Trump. In a private text he wrote of Trump, “He’s a demonic force, a destroyer. But he’s not going to destroy us.” Besides his bald-faced lying, Tucker is known for his misogyny and antisemitism.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Spend the afternoon. You can’t take it with you. -Annie Dillard, author (b. 30 Apr 1945)

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