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Nov 12, 2023
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AWADmail Issue 1115

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

Sponsor’s Message: One Up! -- Give your teenagers something wicked fun to fight over this Thanksgiving. “It’s mental.” Free shipping. Shop now.

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

Languages Around the World Have Words for “This” and “That”, Study Finds
The Independent

Would You Adam and Eve it -- Cockney’s Out. We’re All Speaking Multicultural Now
The Guardian
Adam and Eve = believe

From: Ivy Kaminsky (ivykaminsky yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gleek

I didn’t know there was a word for this. I always referred to it as Mouth Vesuvius when that saliva would squirt out from under my tongue.

Ivy Kaminsky, Houston, Texas

From: Steve Benko (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
Subject: gleek

“Gleek” is now also a portmanteau of “glee” and “geek” used to describe fans of the former TV series Glee about a high school glee club. Its star Lea Michele recently filled up the August Wilson Theatre on Broadway in New York night after night for a year with self-professed gleeks, doing a star turn in the musical Funny Girl.

Steve Benko, New York, New York

From: Jim Szpajcher (mudman1 telus.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gleek

I don’t think that combat has ever been written about truthfully; it has always been described in terms of bravery and cowardice. I won’t even accept these words as terms of human reference any more. And anyway, hell, they don’t even apply to what, in actual fact, modern warfare has become. -James Jones, novelist (6 Nov 1921-1977)

If James Jones could not write truthfully about combat in his own work, that is one thing. To suggest that no has done it -- or could do it -- is something else again.

Mark Bowden, in Black Hawk Down wrote, near the end of his book:

Every battle is a drama played out apart from broader issues. Soldiers cannot concern themselves with the forces that bring them to a fight, or its aftermath. They trust their leaders not to risk their lives for too little. Once the battle is joined, they fight to survive as much as to win, to kill before they are killed. The story of combat is timeless. It is about the same things whether in Troy or Gettysburg, Normandy or Vietnam’s Ia Drang. It is about soldiers, most of them young, trapped in a fight to the death. The extreme and terrible nature of war touches something essential about being human, and soldiers do not always like what they learn. For those who survive, the victors and the defeated, the battle lives on in their memories and nightmares and in the dull ache of old wounds. It survives as hundreds of searing private memories, memories of loss and triumph, shame and pride, struggles each veteran must refight every day of his life. (p. 421-422.)

Jim Szpajcher, St. Paul, Canada

From: Steve Lang (steve-lang comcast.net)
Subject: gowpen

You’re in gowpen with Allstate.

Steve Lang, Denver, Colorado

From: Bryan Todd (bryansink yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fractal

The Dragon Curve (video, 2 min.) is as pretty as any simple fractal patterns you’ll find.

Bryan Todd, Lincoln, Nebraska

From: Antony Cecil-Wright (antony.cw gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fractal

Back in the day, I took an MA in Contemporary Art and Theory at Winchester School of Art, a branch of Southampton University, here in the UK. The digital universe was in its infancy. When fractal software came along with digital photography, I was hooked.

This was taken about twenty years ago, diving in the Red Sea. I’ve digitized the photo and layered with a fractal.

Antony Cecil-Wright, Southampton, UK

From: Jeffrey W. Percival (via online comments)
Subject: fractal

Q: What does the “B” stand for in Benoit B. Mandelbrot?
A: Benoit B. Mandelbrot.

Jeffrey W. Percival, Wisconsin

From: Craig Good (clgood me.com)
Subject: Mandelbrot

I was working at the Lucasfilm Computer Division (whence later sprung Pixar) and there was a joke people in computer graphics told back in the day about Mandelbrot:

Q: What’s a nanobenoit?
A: A unit of ego.

Craig Good, Vallejo, California

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy One Up! -- Ruin Thanksgiving. “A devilish game.”

From: Andrea Jensen (frostedgroove gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fractal

I know a math professor who named his new puppy Fractal. He’s adorable all the way to his curvy DNA.

Andrea Jensen, Springfield, Virginia

From: Nate Cope (etanc aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--fractal

“After all, it’s impossible to read a single tweet, or hear him speak a sentence or two, without staring deep into the abyss. He turns being artless into an art form; he is a Picasso of pettiness; a Shakespeare of shιt. His faults are fractal: even his flaws have flaws, and so on, ad infinitum.” Nate White; Why Do Many British People Not Like Donald Trump?; London Daily.

The usage example for fractal was a good one! What is clear to so many in England should be equally transparent here. I can only hope that those words, and the like, lead to an awakening but that doesn’t seem to be the case. You may lose some subscribers with statements like today’s word usage, but I am appreciative that you are willing to take the chance.

Nate Cope, Scottsdale, Arizona

From: Irith Bloom irith irith.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--glabella

In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,” and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn’t happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. -Carl Sagan, astronomer and writer (9 Nov 1934-1996)

I have a good friend who has a PhD in behavioral neuroscience and biopsychology, and she and I write articles about current behavior research together (I have a BA in biology). We have had multiple conversations about how discourse is different in academia, and specifically our observation that most scientists are excited, not vexed, when they learn about new data that contradicts or alters what was believed before. Carl Sagan is spot on about this!

The question is how we get discourse of that kind to happen outside the field of science. I expect there is research on how best to do this; we should figure it out and get going on the idea!

Irith (ee-REET) Bloom, Los Angeles, California

From: Prof. Michael Barr (barr.michael mcgill.ca)
Subject: Diachrony

You might be interested to know that a linguist named David W. Lightfoot (who taught briefly at McGill) wrote a book titled, Principles of Diachronic Syntax, devoted to how syntax (specifically English syntax) changes with time. The heavy weighting towards English seems to conflict with the word Principles, but there it is.

Michael Barr, Montreal, Canada

From: Dave Wilkinson (dswilkinson1954 gmail.com)
Subject: Heidegger

Heidegger said to the Universe, “I have initiated a vocabulary which deconstruction can appropriate and revise for the sake of disarticulating a notion of eventhood whose temporality has been eschatologically hypostasized and thereby fixed in an Aristotelian diachrony of self-contained moments.” The Universe replied, “TLDR.”

Dave Wilkinson, Selkirk, Canada

From: Sherry Edwards (sherryaedwards gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--diachrony

I love the AI rewrites, except the one that was “like Trump” which could have read:

It doesn’t have anything to do with me, so I am not interested unless Aristotle is going to contribute to my legal expenses, then I say Some people say some kind of things, don’t they? I say these kind of things. In fact, I say these things all the time and I said them before Aristotle!

Sherry Edwards, Atlanta, Georgia

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: glabella and gleek

Who’d have thunk that artist Frida Kahlo and star NBA Lakers player, Anthony Davis, would have anything in common? But when I came upon our word glabella, I immediately connected this odd couple, since both gained notoriety, aside from their respective talents as painter and pro basketballer, for sporting impressive unibrows, with hirsute glabellas.

Slobbering Heights
The Komodo dragon, carnivore and apex predator of the monitor lizard family, is a rare and declining breed, native to a handful of the Indonesian Sunda Islands. But Komodo Island gave the world’s largest lizard its name. They can grow up to 10 feet long, from its drooling muzzle to the tip of its massive tail, and weigh up to 200 lbs. Their hyperactive salivary glands, combined with buccal venom, make the bite of a Komodo dragon fatal.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Creative usage examples
1. Gleek
2. Gowpen
3. Fractal
4. Glabella
5. Diachrony
= 1. Spittle
2. Her palms’ bowl
3. Flake genre texture alike (CC) whole
4. Amid eyes
5. Age, cave, sag, hang
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

= 1. Trick; saliva flew
2. Hand gesture
3. Complex shape
4. Eyebrow
5. Legal eagle: “Change takes time.”
= 1. Salivate
2. Beg
3. Am complex e.g. feather, dew, raga, kelp
4. Skull ‘tween eyes
5. Historical change
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



As a cobra spits venom, I gleek,
And it happens whenever I speak.
It’s not pretty, to see --
“Not again! Oh, dear me ...
I apologise, madam -- I leak.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

If a word thou dost happen to seek,
Willie Shakespeare doth offer thee “gleek”.
Though mostly unsung,
It’s right under thy tongue.
So, spit out some Shakespeare. It’s chic.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Attention the youngster was seeking
With boasts and with stunts and with gleeking.
And now that he’s grown,
He still is well-known
For all of the havoc he’s wreaking.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

He has a unique special skill:
The trouper can gleek yards at will.
With a tilt of the head,
Saliva is spread,
Leaving everyone shocked and quite still!
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

With my lover I’ve parted ways, yes;
And why? Oh, you never could guess!
Whenever he speaks
From his mouth come these gleeks!
An awful and ungodly mess!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

Said the camel, “I’ll bet I can gleek
Far enough to get gobs on the sheikh.”
“I’m impressed!” said his girl,
“Okay, give it a whirl!”
But she left him - his spray was too weak.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


We went fishing for tadpoles today --
Daddy’s gowpen was brought into play.
With cupped hands he would swoop,
Like a backhoe’s great scoop,
But he let one or two get away.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

You are thirsty and don’t have a glass?
There’s no need for “oy vey” or “alas”.
Here’s what I recommend.
Make a gowpen, my friend,
By cupping your hands. And no sass!
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Jack grabbed a great gowpen of gold,
Enraging the giant, we’re told.
The boy got away
And learned crime can pay --
Success comes to thieves who are bold.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

For water suppose you were scoutin’,
And “Oasis!” you heard someone shoutin’.
Into action you’d swing,
Heading straight for that spring,
Then your hands you’d make into a gowpen!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


When I studied math long, long ago
Our lessons were simpler, you know.
We learned about lines,
Not fractal designs,
Like those found in some flakes of snow.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Straight ahead I can’t see, but I’m tactile;
It works out,” said the young pterodactyl.
“I look sideways, then touch,
And that way can learn much,
Like that coastlines and fern leaves are fractal.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


Miss Kahlo’s glabella was missing.
Indeed, her dark eyebrows were knitting.
Rivera, alas,
Did not find it crass,
So it didn’t prevent them from kissing.
-Jessie Duff-McLaurin, Great Barrington, Massachusetts (jduff.mclaurin gmail.com)

For the teenager, zits are a pain.
Raging hormones -- “Oh, no! Not again!”
By ill fortune, I got
Just one prominent spot --
My glabella was always my bane.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

I feel bad for my dear friend Carmela,
With that scar just above her glabella.
She cannot erase
That mark on her face,
And it tends to deter any fella.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Is it puckered? Or furrowed? Or not?
Your glabella will tell the world what
You’ve got on your mind --
‘Cause it’s there that you’ll find
A worry! (If that’s what you’ve got!)
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

I once knew a strange little fella,
Who had quite a hairy glabella.
Folks would say, “Holy cow!
Look at that unibrow!”
It made for his nose an umbrella.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Italian men love mozzarella,
But not women who lack a glabella.
So they just couldn’t swallow
Hirsute Frida Kahlo;
She never, not once, heard, “Ciao bella!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


In linguistics this trend is much seen:
Over time words will change what they’ve been.
It’s diachrony’s way.
Words evolve till they say
What new speakers decide they must mean.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

There’s no point in complaining or raging,
Or a battle with time to start waging;
Though you think it’s unfair,
That you found one gray hair.
It’s diachrony. Let’s call it aging.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

While watching TV with my Dad,
I noticed a habit he had.
Diachrony’s why
My father would cry,
“That actor got old -- he looks bad!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Having come here to Britain from Saxony,
We can already feel the diachrony.
Though now German, we’ll soon
Be quite English. By June,
Fish and chips we’ll consume with alacrity!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Can I join the gleek-lub?” asked Rachel Berry.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Jail, clink, hoose-gowpen, whatever you want to call it, that’s where The Former Guy belongs, Your Honor,” announced the jury foreman.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“We’ll fractal we find those gas deposits, and damn the environmental consequences!” said the oil company CEO.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

In the dog-glabella Fitzgerald worked with a team of scientists trying to teach a pooch to sing like her, but in the end he sounded more like Louis Armstrong.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

She had one black and one white eyebrow. Her friends nicknamed her Glabella de Vil.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“If Firestone closes I may have to move to Dayton or Columbus,” said the civic booster, “but I’ll never be like those people. I’ve lived Akron-y and I’ll diachrony.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

To the artist there is never anything ugly in nature. -Auguste Rodin, sculptor (12 Nov 1840-1917)

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