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Sep 17, 2023
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AWADmail Issue 1107

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

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

More Than Just Words: How Language Is Tied to Gender Equality
The Washington Post

Republican Senator Tommy “Tuberville Thinks That Poetry is a Weakness, But It’s Actually a Strength”

The “No Sabo Kids” Are Pushing Back on Spanish-Language Shaming
NBC News

The One Million Tibetan Children in China’s Boarding Schools
The New York Times

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

What are your favorite anachronisms? I asked our readers this week. They shared examples, from movies, books, and television, but also from the Book of Mormon, and beyond. Here’s a selection.

In one episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Picard is working on Fermat’s Last Theorem. After the airing of that episode, it was proven (it needed a patch, but after that, held).
Also, the mention of horses in North America in the Book of Mormon -- before any had been introduced. I always found that funny.
-Dr. John M. Styers, Owatonna, Minnesota (yakuzalord69 gmail.com)

In the recent blockbuster movie Oppenheimer, I noticed that some of the American flags waved at the celebration party featured 50 stars, but at the time there were only 48. I still have a pre-Hawaii/Alaska flag inherited from my great aunt, which I fly anachronistically each Jul 4.
-Marco Davis, Orem, Utah (davis.marco gmail.com)

In the 1968 film, The Devil’s Brigade, the Canadian troops march into Fort Harrison near Helena, Montana in 1942 with a maple leaf flag flying proudly. It was not adopted as the Canadian flag until 1965.
-Bob Gordon, Brantford, Canada (bob34g gmail.com)

When I viewed a rerun of Blade Runner a few years ago, it was noticeable that no one was using cell phones. Not 2019 at all.
-Georgiana Hanselmann, Zurich, Switzerland (georgiana.ha bluewin.ch)

According to IMDb in the movie Spartacus, there is a scene where the slave Antoninus (played by Tony Curtis) is seen wearing a Rolex watch. In watching out for movie anachronisms, they should have had him wearing a wrist sundial instead!
-David Mezzera, Vallejo, California (damezz comcast.net)

Anachronism: A costumed man in St Petersburg checking his cellphone
St. Petersburg, Russia, 2017
Photo: Joanne Gilmore
Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy One Up! -- “The best game in the game.”

My husband and I visited St. Petersburg, Russia, in 2017. As we wandered the grounds, I saw a costumed gentleman scrolling on his phone. I loved the anachronistic quality of it and quickly snapped a couple of photos.
-Joanne Gilmore, Upper Sandusky, Ohio (gilmjo email.com)

My favourite, which many people would not notice, is in numerous TV films set in the 1920s and 1930s (Agatha Christie crime stories are frequent examples). The producers go to great lengths to make everything look and sound right for the period, but then in the background we hear a cooing collared dove. The species was totally unknown in this country until the first pair arrived in 1956, but they are now common.
-Jim Fisher, Luton, UK (ejf jimella.co.uk)

As a teenager coming along in the ‘60s, nothing depicted a future that I might actually live to see as much as Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001: A Space Odyssey, and to a lesser degree the ‘70s TV show, Space 1999. Those very titles, pointing to the new millennium, now seem oddly anachronistic.
-Russell Lott, Hattiesburg, Mississippi (russellwlott comcast.net)

Probably many readers will wistfully recall 2001: A Space Odyssey’s Pan Am Space Clipper transporting travelers to an Earth-orbit space station. Who would have foreseen that Pan American World Airways would no longer fly after 1991?
And many more are likely to cheer the Society for Creative Anachronism, in which contact lens-wearing mortals with fillings in their teeth and sneakers protecting their feet can pretend they live in the Middle Ages, cheerfully savoring its creative parts (dramatic clothing and martial arts, for example) unhampered by its miseries (plague, illiteracy, deadly warfare, etc.) and inconveniences (assembling that intricate clothing without a sewing machine).
-Nancy Meyer, Mundelein, Illinois (antares11 juno.com)

A good example of anachronism are summer Renaissance Faires which feature characters passing themselves off as Knights of the Round Table (which would place them in the 5th or 6th Centuries) or Robin Hood and Maid Marian (which would place them in the late 12th Century). Yet, the historical Renaissance period is generally placed from the 14th to 17th Centuries. I attended one of these events and saw men in suits of armor with flintlock pistols, which would be equivalent to soldiers at Bunker Hill armed with assault rifles.
-Robert P. Darling, Beloit, Wisconsin (rpdarlingdds charter.net)

To comment on the meaning of “nice” 500 years ago -- the recent (hilarious) series Good Omens is built around a book entitled, The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, written in 1655. It is supposed to be the only entirely accurate book of prophecies ever written. I think Agnes would have been rather insulted if the title were actually “The Stupid and Accurate Prophecies” (besides being an oxymoron).
-Royal Harrison, La Canada, California (searex earthlink.net)

“Period” costumes with zippers (in movies set in the 19th century) are a common anachronism. The designers are more accurate now, thanks to people like Theodora Van Runkle, a brilliant costume designer. Many novels from the 21st century that are set in 19th century England use slangy 20th-century American locution. Just the fact that I notice it means I myself am anachronistic.
-Cindy Watter, Napa, California (hedgehogccw gmail.com)

A book I like is The Wyndham Case, the first of Jill Paton Walsh’s mysteries starring her Cambridge college nurse Imogen Quy. (Jill also was chosen to write books starring Dorothy L Sayers’s Peter Wimsey characters.) The essence of The Wyndham Case is ignorance of how dates have been changed over the last few centuries, with resulting anachronistic misunderstandings that have significant real-world implications.
I am a retired mathematician, and I also like the relevance of mathematics in a couple of the Imogen Quy stories!
-Bob Wilson, Fitchburg, Wisconsin (wilson math.wisc.edu)

There is a time-travel book called Doomsday Book written in 1992 by Connie Willis which has a number of anachronisms in it. It is set in 2054, and the most glaring anachronism is that mobile phones don’t exist! Telephones are still attached to places rather than people and the characters spend a lot of time trying to get people on the phone and finding they’re not there. This sets up all sorts of communication obstacles that simply wouldn’t exist today.
-Debbie Evans, Wellington, New Zealand (kiwidebbieevans outlook.com)

That famous anachronistic water bottle in this Downton Abbey promo photo.
-Jane Freeman, New York, New York (wordplayjane yahoo.com)

I find anachronisms often in even carefully researched historical novels. And, of course, “futuristic” science fiction written in the early days is full of customs that have (mostly and thankfully) died out, such as smoking and the breezy denigration of women. In the former category, the popular (and very good if forgotten) British novelist Marguerite Steen, in her once wildly successful novel The Sun is My Undoing, set in Bristol in the eighteenth century, has a woman wearing a magenta gown. Impossible. The hue called “magenta” was undoubtedly around in nature for a long time, but the actual dye only became possible in the nineteenth century, when aniline dyes were invented. It was named, for some reason, for a battle in Magenta, Italy in 1859.
-Judith Judson, Pittsford, New York (jjudson frontier.com)

In the 1972 movie, The Valachi Papers, there’s a scene that takes place in New York City during Prohibition. A mobster’s car goes flying off the road into the East River. There in the background are the Twin Towers. Rather poignant, since I’m sending this on 9/11/23.
-Danny Magowan, Baldwinsville, New York (rmagowan twcny.rr.com)

My favorite anachronism is from the futuristic cartoon The Jetsons. I’m sure there are many. Even to a kid in the 70s, that was part of its goofy charm. In the opening theme song, dear old dad George is sitting at breakfast reading the newspaper. Looking at it today, it’s almost painfully quaint. The digital takeover we are going through was hardly conceivable in the 60s when the cartoonist was imagining the future.
-Jennifer Stiever, Lewisville, Texas (jenbaby68 hotmail.com)

During 1950-1962, James Blish published Cities in Flight, a series of novels about the future of civilization several thousand years in the future. Two very obvious anachronisms: the computers which ran each city could not speak to the computers of any other city, and the City Manager used a slide rule!
-Robin DeLuca, Florida (rrd335 yahoo.com)

Anachronism: The Republican Party.
-Eric Mills, Toronto, Canada (erics web.net)

From: Jeremy Carter (ddgr815 protonmail.ch)
Subject: the speed of time

Earth may be slowing down in general, but we’ve just recently had our shortest/fastest day recorded.

Jeremy Carter, Detroit, Michigan

From: Gary Loew (garywloew gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--anachronistic

Back in my college days (six-tenths of a century ago), I tried an experiment. I shifted to a 30-hour day! I would stay up 24 hours and sleep six. Since my typical habit was six hours of sleep a day, it felt like I’d added six hours to every day. My class schedule that semester facilitated such variation and I experienced no untoward circadian problems.

As it worked out, five earth days were four Gary days. My productivity was enhanced and I got some of the best grades of my college career.

Now that I’m “retired” and writing a (very large) book, I’m often tempted to revisit my experiment. Alas, living as I do with a spouse and having something of a social life rather precludes such investigation.

We are, as I have learned over the years, rather more flexible than we might have expected.

Gary Loew, Atlanta, Georgia

From: Glenn Glazer (glenn.glazer gmail.com)
Subject: Zoos and aquariums

All zoos actually offer the public, in return for the taxes spent upon them, is a form of idle witless amusement, compared to which a visit to the state penitentiary, or even a state legislature in session, is informing, stimulating, and ennobling. -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (12 Sep 1880-1956)

The thought for today reminded me of this quotation from performance artist Laurie Anderson:

John Lilly, the guy who says he can talk to dolphins, said he was in an aquarium, and he was talking to a big whale who was swimming around and around in his tank. And the whale kept asking him questions telepathically. And one of the questions the whale kept asking was: “Do all oceans have walls?”

Glenn Glazer, Felton, California

The Kairos Document
From: Tracy Blues (blues.tracy gmail.com)
Subject: The Kairos Document in South Africa

From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s I worked for an organisation that grew out of the South African Kairos Document. Our work involved education and support for young political activists trying to evade capture and detention by the apartheid security police. As a result of their anti-apartheid activities, the students could not live in their home towns nor could they complete their education in conventional schools.

I had never considered the name of the Kairos Document until today, just followed its calls to action: active involvement with the campaigns of the oppressed towards dismantling apartheid, direct participation in the fight for a just and democratic society, and special projects to address the needs of people in the struggle for liberation in South Africa.

The South African Kairos Document of 1985 was a theological comment on the political crisis of apartheid. The theologians who developed this challenge to the Church named themselves Kairos theologians because they saw 1985 as a time of judgement, a crisis, a moment of truth, an opportunity for decisive action and fundamental change.

The Kairos Document was an attempt to critique the prevailing theological models that determined Church activities. It countered the South African apartheid state’s own theology, which justified the status quo of racism, injustice, and oppression. It tried to develop an alternative model that would lead to activities that made a real difference to the future of South Africa. I am grateful I could participate in that kairos.

Tracy Blues, Cape Town, South Africa

From: John Craw (thecrawh gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--kairos

I learned this word from a comic book (probably Marvel): a new person with superpowers is being shown around an area which has other folks practicing their superpowers. One is sitting cross-legged looking at a car-sized boulder. The guide explains, “He’s looking for the kairos -- the weak point in the rock that will allow it to be broken.” Later he touches the boulder and it crumbles into a pile of sand.

John Craw, Glenford, Ohio

From: Glenn Glazer (glenn.glazer gmail.com)
Subject: epoch

Anyone who has ever used a UNIX operating system knows that the epoch is Jan 1, 1970.

Glenn Glazer, Felton, California

From: Annaliese Anesbury (aanesb01 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--epoch

In cognitive neuroscience, the word epoch is used regularly to refer to a specific time window derived from continuous brain activity. It is time-locked to an event, so we can understand what your brain is doing whilst you are looking, hearing or processing any form of stimulus in your environment. You could say that an epoch is the window to the brain, showing us how our biology contributes to our subjective experience as humans, as we move through the world.

Annaliese Anesbury, Adelaide, Australia

From: Haroon Rahimi (hrahimi9 gmail.com)
Subject: Return to AWAD

I was one of the original subscribers as a young adult in the days of AOL in the late 1990s. I somehow lost my subscription over time and went with other sources until a few weeks ago, when I remembered the acronym AWAD and the name Anu. Luckily, I rediscovered your service and am happy to see you’re still going strong. It’s as if a piece of my childhood and my early experiences on the Internet have been restored.

Haroon Rahimi, New Jersey

Dude! ... Anachronistic, or what?
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: anachronistic and epoch

The word anachronistic inspired this scenario of a hippie-style fashion revival, the adoptees of this retro craze likely sticking out like sore thumbs, or more pointedly, dinosaurs from the flower-power-infused, drug-addled ‘60s. Perhaps to mask the lingering foul odor of weed, the undisputed hippie fragrance of choice was patchouli oil. IMHO, an acquired taste, and a sure-fire signal that a hippie was close by. Ha!

Art Nouveau
As a fairly astute student of art history, the word “epoch” conjured up a particularly vibrant era of creativity, straddling the 19th and 20th centuries. This period was known as La Belle Époque (The Beautiful Era), exemplified in France, Britain and other European countries by the flourishing of the Art Nouveau movement. Such artists as Alphonse Mucha (Czech), Aubrey Beardsley (English), Victor Horta (Belgian), Charles Rennie Mackintosh (Scottish) and Antoni Gaudi (Spanish) were some of the most stellar practitioners of this organic, arabesque style, reflected in architecture, graphic design, interior design, glass art, jewelry and metalworks. Mother Nature was their abiding muse.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Words related to time
1. Anachronistic
2. Kairos
3. Chiliad
4. Epoch
5. Isochronal
= 1. Archaic or those dates so old
2. The critical moment
3. Ks
4. How like an era
5. When this is periodic
= 1. Throw archaic chest
2. Spot-on with time
3. Shook o’er millennia
4. Historic era
5. Added alike secs
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)
= 1. Clash with historic details
2. Second in which to act
3. One kilo
4. Era to mark here
5. Same periods
= 1. To me, archaic
2. Stress point (oh, he who hesitated died)
3. Millennia
4. Historic era
5. As clockwork
-Josiah Winslow, Franklin, Wisconsin (winslowjosiah gmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Out of place, out of time -- yes, that’s me.
In an era gone by I should be.
Die-hard chauvinistic,
I’m anachronistic,
And belong to the past. “We agree!”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

“Accawding to evwy statistic,
Soon my diapuhs will be ‘nachronistic,”
Claimed the toddler. His mommy
Said, “Wonderful, Tommy!”
But secretly felt pessimistic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Ah, the kairos -- your moment to act.
This is no time for thinking -- or tact.
Damn rejection or scorn!
Pop the question, or mourn
For the rest of your life -- that’s a fact!
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

A talented gal, Miley Cyrus,
Exploited the zeitgeist, the kairos.
She twerked, did this dame;
We all knew her name --
Her fame seemed to spread like a virus.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

There’s a time in one’s life, don’tcha know
When you shouldn’t go “steady and slow”....
Just as God once chose Cyrus
Nudging him with “It’s kairos”,
It’s YOUR time now! Seize it... just go!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

The new Covid booster is here.
Get it with your flu shot this year.
So seize on the kairos,
To fight off the virus.
Protect all the ones you hold dear.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said the pharaoh, “I’ve prayed to Osiris,
And he told me that now is the kairos.
It’s too soon for iPhones,
But we’re finished with stones;
No more stelai! From now on, papyrus!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“A millennium -- one thousand years --
Has a synonym.” “So it appears.”
“It’s a chiliad, so,
There we are, now we know --
And these two stand alone, they’ve no peers.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

Relentlessly, chronos moves on,
And before long, your kairos is gone.
But don’t spend a chiliad
Regretting and being sad.
More changes, says karma, will dawn.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

I hate it whenever I’m told
“We’re putting your phone call on hold.”
A chiliad’s wait
I find is my fate
With music that just leaves me cold.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said Achilles, “I’m sick of The Iliad;
The siege of Troy’s taking a chiliad.”
“You’ve had too many beers;
It’s been only nine years,”
Agamemnon replied. “Don’t be silly, lad!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Our planet is warmer, they say,
And humans have made it this way.
This epoch on Earth,
For what it is worth,
Delivers disaster each day.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Make the most of the time you are in.”
His old Vulcan friend said that to Jim.
So Kirk said, “You see Spock,
It’s my epic epoch.”
“That’s illogical,” Spock said to him.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

What’s your most favorite epoch in time?
In my case, I might say that I’m
A fan of whenever
Someone who’s clever
Created the very first rhyme!!!!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Thus far through the Donald Trump epoch,
I’ve survived but I’m feeling dyspeptic.
Through riot incitement,
Defeat and indictment
He scowls; that mug shot’s an emetic!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


All around us the rhythms occur,
Isochronal, like wing beats that blur;
Oscillations sublime
That keep accurate time,
And a kitty’s contentment, the purr.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

A missed isochronal event,
And off to her doctor she went.
With joy she went wild.
She’d soon have a child.
But who was the father? Which gent?
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Isochronal devices -- they rule!
From the time that we’re in grammar school
Bells ring when they should
And it’s all to the good
We acknowledge them all as a tool!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“Though my Rite of Spring isn’t atonal,
It has dissonant bits isochronal,”
Said Stravinsky. “It’s wild
How that piece I styled;
I wrote it while feeling hormonal.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“The time for making tires here anachronistic-king down. We’re moving manufacturing to Taiwan,” announced the Goodyear CEO.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Kairos lovely this time of year and the pyramids are a wonder,” the travel agent suggested.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Up here in the s-kairos-sia can’t touch us,” Prigozhin’s pilot assured him.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Ya ain’t got the s-chiliad ‘ave to ‘ave to beat us,” taunted the opposing rugby team.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“We find the defendant’s claims to innocence -- and to have won the election -- epoch-ryphal,” read the jury verdict.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“I’ll try flirting with lonely little old ladies,” thought Max Bialystock. “If I’m n-isochronal finance my theatrical productions.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A Match Made in Hell
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: A Match Made in Hell

Kim Jong Un and Putin met midweek in Russia’s Far East, with Kim receiving the Putin VIP treatment. Putin is running low on munitions, looking to replenish his depleted arsenal with Korean weaponry. Kim is seeking Russian food and energy, as well as advanced nuclear and ICBM technologies.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

You have to laugh at the things that hurt you just to keep yourself in balance, just to keep the world from running you plumb crazy. -Ken Kesey, novelist (17 Sep 1935-2001)

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