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Apr 7, 2024
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AWADmail Issue 1136

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

Sponsor’s Message: Our Old’s Cool Classical Liberal Arts Education is absolutely priceless. Which is why we’re offering it for free. “We cultivate wiseacres.” Learn more.

From: Vickie Hook (motherv3 icloud.com)
Subject: Umbra

We chose Idaho to view the 2017 eclipse, my husband thinking it had a good chance of having sunny skies. A long trip from Timmins in Northern Ontario but an unforgettable experience. This time both my parents and our grandchildren are in the path of totality. We’ll visit our grandchildren and hope for good weather in Kingston, Ontario. I’m heavily involved in a music festival that happens every year in Apr, and well over a year ahead I begged the organizers to avoid Apr 8, 2024, for the sake of those of us who wanted to travel for the “total” experience. Happily, that event is scheduled to start the week after.

Vickie Hook, Schumacher, Canada

From: Elizabeth Block (elizabethblock netzero.net)
Subject: Umbraphile

I’m a bit of an umbraphile, and I’m going to Niagara for the eclipse on Apr 8. It won’t be total in Toronto where I live, and the difference between 99% and 100% is, well, day and night. I chased eclipses in 1972, unfortunately clouded out in the Gaspé, and 1973, in northern Kenya, where it was perfectly clear. In 1972 I got together with a bunch of astronomy students and a professor. The prof had been a tourist in Quebec City a few days before, and had talked to an American couple, whom he asked why didn’t they go a bit further east for the total solar eclipse? Oh no, they said, that happens all the time where we live.


Turned out that they lived on the border between Maine and New Brunswick, and in 1963 and again in 1968 they were in the path of totality. Neither time did they know it was going to happen. Both times the weather was clear. The world grew dark. They went outside, and there was the corona blazing in the sky. The prof said, “We bust αss to try to find a place where it’s likely to be clear, and they just stepped out onto their porch!”

Here’s hoping for clear weather on Apr 8.

Elizabeth Block, Toronto, Canada

From: Catryna Loos (catloos aol.com)
Subject: Eclipse

We are right in the middle of the eclipse path and will have about four minutes of total darkness. We will experience it from our front yard.

Catryna Loos, Bloomington, Indiana

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From: Robert Mac (robertmac.com gmail.com)
Subject: 2017 eclipse

I was in Charleston, SC, for the eclipse on Aug 21, 2017, which was kind of cloudy. (Or more totality, if you’re looking for the silver lining!)

Here’s a fun clip (1 min.) from that night.

Robert Mac, Washington, DC

From: Irene Garcia (iregarcia2 yahoo.com)
Subject: Umbra

News of the upcoming eclipse immediately brings to mind Carly Simon’s song “You’re So Vain” (video, 4 min.) with the lyrics

Then you flew your Learjet up to Nova Scotia
To see the total eclipse of the sun.

And so Delta Airlines adds total eclipse flights to their schedule. Are Americans so vain?

Irene R. Garcia, Simi Valley, California

From: Alice McDowell (revajmcd gmail.com)
Subject: Neither an eclipse chaser nor an umbraphile

Apparently I’m in exactly the right place at the right time. I live in Indianapolis, where the totality is supposed to be happening mid-afternoon. Unfortunately, I seem to be the only person, perhaps the only person on the planet, who doesn’t care to watch an eclipse. Sure I know it won’t be happening again in my lifetime. I’m 77. A lot of things won’t be happening again in my lifetime. I’ve seen pictures of eclipses. Will it look a lot different from the pictures?

Alice McDowell, Indianapolis, Indiana

From: Gary Pierce Brown (revnor aol.com)
Subject: umbraphile

I came to know Phil Carret, the so-called Father of mutual funds, when I served as a minister in the church of which he was a member in Scarsdale, NY. Phil and his wife, Betty, were very kind to me and my wife as a young couple in the church. They lived in a modest home, despite their significant wealth. Phil’s one indulgence was going to view solar eclipses anywhere in the world, sometimes accompanied by a family member.

Beginning in 1925, he viewed 20 total solar eclipses in his lifetime. He considered them to be “a deeply religious experience.” Phil’s family celebrated his life in a series of “100th birthday parties” beginning when he was in his 90s. He lived to be 101. He was a thoughtful human being and certainly an umbraphile! Here is his obituary.

Gary Pierce Brown, Hammondsport, New York

From: Judith Judson (jjudson frontier.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--umbra

Here in Rochester, NY, we are expecting about 300,000 visitors. Large events are planned all over town. A friend is coming to stay with me for several days. But Rochester weather is notorious for its whimsy -- from “grave to gay” in a few minutes. I rose to sunshine -- it is now overcast---the famous “lake effect overcast” which is with us all winter, and since snow is predicted this week, winter is not over yet, even with global warming. But for superb eclipse reading, I suggest Annie Dillard’s monumental essay “The Eclipse”, written about the one she witnessed in 1978. Stupendous!

Judith Judson, Pittsford, New York

From: Ivy Kaminsky (ivykaminsky yahoo.com)
Subject: eclipse

Interesting animation on the eclipse in case you missed it: The path of totality.

Ivy Kaminsky, Houston, Texas

From: Rosemary Abrami (abrami cox.net)
Subject: umbra story

I was in France some years ago, walking in a park with an article shading my face, when a girl of about eight approached me and said, “Madame, il ne pleut pas.” (Madam, it’s not raining). To which I replied: “Bien sur, mais c’est un parasol, pas un parapluie.” (Yes, but this is a parasol, not an umbrella.) She gave me an old-fashioned look and backed away.

Yes, confusion between against-the-sun and against-the-rain!

Rosemary Abrami, Sun City West, Arizona

Trump Throws "Shade" at DA Fani Willis
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: umbrageous and totality

There’s no love lost between Atlanta District Attorney Fani Willis and Trump, as his 2020 election-interference trial plods on. In light of this week’s eclipse theme, I thought depicting Trump, hardly a heavenly body, but of more than ample girth, throwing shade on D.A. Willis would be a fitting exemplar of our word “umbrageous”. During the 2016 presidential debates, Trump would hover closely behind rival Hillary Clinton as she spoke, essentially throwing shade on her, just by his very proximity and creepy body language.

It's All Happenin' at the Zoo
Recent research into animal behavior during total solar eclipses has revealed that certain creatures get randy, displaying robust mating activity. Seven years ago, at the Riverbanks Zoo in Columbia, SC, during a solar eclipse, a pair of Galapagos tortoises, who normally do absolutely nothing but chomp on their greens, suddenly got very amorous.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: Eclipse
1. Umbra
2. Occultation
3. Penumbra
4. Umbrageous
5. Totality
= 1. Obscurity
2. Concealment, a bra?
3. Pair meet -> awesome silhouette
4. Uptight
5. Sum, bulk
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz)

= 1. Stygian ether
2. Block out, bias, tame
3. A crepuscule
4. Umbrous pit
5. Meant whole time
= 1. Semi-obstruction
2. Screen
3. Weak light output
4. May become a blur
5. Ultimate phase
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com) -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

1. Umbra
2. Occultation
3. Penumbra
4. Umbrageous
5. Totality
= 1. Atua
2. Eclipse
3. Gloom, but a brim
4. Curt
5. Amount, but no ray
-Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.



Dark shadows make stuff hard to see.
Large breαsts shade to such a degree
That it really takes SOME bra
To wipe out the umbra
That’s cast by a 42-D.
-David Goldberg, Pinckney, Michigan (montedoro44 gmail.com)

Time was I was handsome and strong,
And had locks that were lustrous and long.
I’m diminished, life’s bleak.
A mere umbra, I’m weak,
And I’m paunchy and bald -- what went wrong?
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

Evil lurks in men’s hearts, and it grows --
A dark umbra that spreads many woes.
It leaves us struck dυmb.
But whence does it come?
Try asking The Shadow. He knows.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

When an umbra was blocking the sun,
All the experts’ advice did Trump shun.
Protecting one’s eyes
They told him was wise --
But the Prez took a peek just for fun.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

An eclipse can create some great fun.
Wear your glasses, they warn, when begun.
If full umbra is cast,
The effect is a blast.
Only Donald looked straight at the sun!
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“On Jan 6, guys, get ready to rumba!
Storm the Capitol! Mob the Rotunda!”
Said Donald. “They’ll quake
When the windows you break!
On democracy let’s leave an umbra!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


A solar eclipse? A sensation!
It’s party time in the whole nation.
But I’m not gung-ho.
In New York, you should know,
It won’t be a full occultation.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

Rain and fog! Oh, my dear, the frustration!
My view’s one of pure occultation!
Black clouds fill the air
There’s no “there” anywhere!
So for me, well, hello, hibernation!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“For the skills they’d learn on a plantation,
Slaves gave owners a standing ovation,”
Ron DeSantis explained,
“But the left is harebrained,
And the truth’s undergone occultation.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


If at the penumbra you stare,
I urge you to take extra care.
It is risky indeed;
Special glasses you’ll need --
I’m happy to sell you a pair.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

When watching a solar eclipse,
Some couples, they choose to lock lips.
In penumbra’s soft darkening,
There’s romantic harkening,
That might cause maternity trips.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In Siberia, Russia’s penumbra,
They have gulags way out on the tundra.
For two who are vile,
I dream of exile
Where Donald and Vlad dance the rumba.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“I’m just spit-balling -- please hear me out!
You will tell me I’m wrong, I’ve no doubt,
But a diplomat -- you?
Are you kidding?” “Go screw!”
“That’s my point, you’re umbrageous -- don’t pout!”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

I thought I was being courageous,
Telling jokes that were truly outrageous.
It turned out in the end,
That they would offend
Those people by nature umbrageous.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

My cousin’s umbrageous and hence
At the drop of a hat takes offense.
The times we converse,
I just make things worse
If I comment on current events.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said the moon, “Soon I’ll make you umbrageous,
But don’t look -- that’s unwise, not courageous.
Have some guac and some chips
While I do the eclipse.”
Answered Earth, “Block my light? That’s outrageous!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


I am what ev’rybody should be --
The full package, the totality.
I’ve the looks and the flair,
The physique and the hair,
All with talent and brains -- I love me!
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes54 outlook.com)

New York City is not a locality
To observe the eclipse in totality.
And so, I must say
To be snubbed in this way
Is not merely unkind. It’s brutality.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

“Come and view the eclipse -- you’re invited,”
Said my friend, who was really excited.
“The totality rocks --
It’ll knock off your socks!
It will leave you completely de-lighted!”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The totality of your existence
Might well be enhanced by persistence.
Keep up the good fight,
And who knows? You just might
Between you and your foes put some distance!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“Illegality, also carnality;
And venality, that’s my totality,”
Said Donald. “I lie,
Cheat, and steal. I’m your guy!”
Will we ever return to normality?
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“The underwire in my d-umbra is really a pain!” Grumbled Tracey.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“This week’s words ad-umbra-te the coming of an eclipse,” wrote Anu.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The secretive Baroque music society would recruit and brainwash vulnerable youths in a process known as B-occultation.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Here I am burning the midnight oil, and the damn penumbra is keeping me from seeing what I’ve written,” complained the frustrated author, slamming down the offending quill.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“I’m soaked! One gust of wind and the cheap thing flies apart!” complained the umbrageous pedestrian.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Dis bag be big enough you can totality-se tings around,” said the Jamaican luggage salesman.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Holy Huckster
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Holy Huckster

Adulterer, fraudster, chronic liar and convicted sεxual abuser, Trump would be the last person one would picture hawking a “customized” $60.00 Bible. But in the bizarro Trump world, anything is possible. Yet another scam for Trump to fleece his loyal minions and fill his coffers. I doubt the Gideon folks are too concerned. Ha!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Every man is a volume if you know how to read him. -William Ellery Channing, clergyman and writer (7 Apr 1780-1842)

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