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AWADmail Issue 161

April 24, 2005

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

From: Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

250 Years of Johnson's Dictionary:

The New Eponyms:

Do You Speak Tho Fan?

From: Dinah Shields (shieldsbrownATcox.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--colporteur

Dang, it's a good thing I subscribe to Wordsmith, to correct my ignorance. Here all these years I'd believed that colporteur meant peddler of popular songs. From the French col (neck), meaning, loosely, the larynx and therefore the source of the song, + porter (to carry), meaning here to carry a tune.

From: Stuart Tarlowe (starloweATearthlink.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--colporteur

'Most interesting entry. I've never heard this word before, but I have, of course, heard of Cole Porter, the American composer and tunesmith who gave us some of the most sophisticated and witty love songs ever.

This entry had me researching Cole Porter to see if his name was merely coincidentally similar-sounding to "colporteur", or if it was a play on words. It appears to have been the former; his biography (by J. X. Bell) states that his name derives from the surnames of his parents, Kate Cole and Sam Porter.

From: Norris J. Lacy (njl2ATpsu.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--festschrift

I much prefer your definition to another one I know. About five years ago a Festschrift was published for me, and just shortly before the formal presentation was to take place, someone writing in the NY Times book review section defined a Festschrift as "a volume of essays in honor of a dead or nearly dead colleague." That gave me pause, but fortunately I made it to the big day neither dead nor, to the best of my knowledge, on the brink.

From: Rob Lowe (rloweATone.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--feuilleton

This is also the word used for TV soap operas in French.

From: Roch Rollin (rochrollinATca.inter.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--variorum

Some of these old books get so involved that the original text is but a small fraction of the total. Pliny was a favourite subject of commentators for a very long time. I've seen one book where the text was about one-sixth of the total, each paragraph in the middle of the page, surrounded by a sea of commentaries and footnotes, commentaries on previous commentaries, speculation as to the correct version of the text, etc. very interesting.

From: Kristi Majni (pgirl20ATyahoo.com)
Subject: TV

Turning off the TV is like coming out of a coma.

From: Alma O'Grady (ogradyATsai.co.za)
Subject: World of books not TV

In our South African home there is always much discussion about books and articles and TV runs a poor second. A quote I have never forgotten is applicable:

"The book you are reading is the best video you'll ever see, because it's happening in your head."

From: Thomas Gille (musetomgATgmail.com)
Subject: TV-Turnoff Week

My wife is a sixth grade Language Arts teacher who finishes each class with the same comment: "Goodbye, enjoy the rest of your day, don't watch TV."

The kids all say, "Oh, Mrs. Gille!" But once in a while one comes back, sometimes over a year later, and says, "We tried it, and it's great!"

She has a model of a television set on the wall, surrounded by the words, "Think Outside The Box!"

Harlen Ellison had a column and books titled "The Glass Teat".

From: Mary Kovacs (jeff-n-maryATlycos.com)
Subject: TV, the permanent turnoff

18 years ago, when I was first married my mother gave us the money to buy a TV. Having better things to do with the money (and the time) I decided to experiment with the idea of not having one for a while. My parents were appalled and my new husband was not entirely convinced, but I held my ground.

Now, he is as content without it as I am and is thrilled with the amount of reading he's had time to do over the years. Our house is calm and quiet. We get our news from public radio and the newspaper, and as an added bonus avoid all of those nasty political campaign ads every fall.

When we do see any television while out visiting, we are immediately struck with how loud and obnoxious it is, and how much more frenetic and in-your-face the images have become. It is also ironic to note that most everyone who has a tv will tell you that they "never" watch it -- while talking about program after program.

Give it a try! You've got nothing to lose and a whole lot of life to gain.

From: Mary Wigle (adamsATa-plus-a-design.com)
Subject: Turn TV Off Week

Bravo - thanks for bringing this to light on your AWAD! TV as babysitter, pacifier, white noise is far too prevalent in our "modern" lives.

From: Bill Reynolds (bill_reynATyahoo.com)
Subject: No TV

This year our family is celebrating twelve years without television. When we moved to Mountain Home, AR from Michigan, we had so much to do that we put off cable installation. The longer we put it off, the more we liked it. Our television became a monitor for our choice of videos/DVDs and time of viewing, not someone else's. Listening to conversations at work about what is on TV, I don't think we have really missed anything that we couldn't live without. Our daughter spent her jr. high/high school/college years without TV. She just recently thanked us for not having it during those years.

From: Harvey Landry (hjlandryjrATcox.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--festschrift

Reading can be more intellectually stimulating than watching TV, but it is still a sedentary activity. :)

From: Louise Fairfax (bfairfaxATtassie.net.au)
Subject: Re: TV

How interesting that you should write that about TV. Ours is also never on, and as we walked around the block for a moving-chat last night (a regular feature of our lives), we watched the houses of people we know to live alone, one room lit up, blue light glowing, and pondered their lives - come home from a busy day and, instead of actively seeking company as they would have in bygone years, they turn on their steel and plastic friend, sit themselves down for the evening, and have their thoughts dictated to and their opinions moulded by what advertisers and show-writers have dreamed up for them ... passive, taking it all in without question, while we read books, walk and communicate, watching the lights reflected on the river below and the half-moon setting, collect fallen fruit from the ground for our goats and return to more interesting books chosen by us to reflect our own thoughts.

From: Sterling Grogan (groganATmrgcd.us)
Subject: TV

We have not owned a TV since 1989, and have managed OK, even though I'm often unable to join some of the daily conversations of my co-workers. The biggest problem: When my wife and I stay in a motel, we feel compelled to see what we have been missing. Usually, it turns out to be not much.

From: Mary Beth Turek (mb.turekATsbcglobal.net)
Subject: TV turn-off

I know too many people who use their TV as an air-freshener, as you so aptly described it. I wonder if they are afraid to be alone with their own thoughts, or with silence.

My Golden Retriever and I volunteer in the R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) program helping children learn to read. I am saddened at these generations of children who spend so much time with TV and computer games and so little time exploring the wonders of reading. We do what we can in our brief visits to communicate to the children our love of books. (well, the dog is more interested in the treats that follow each story!)

Every other author may aspire to praise; the lexicographer can only hope to escape reproach. -Samuel Johnson, lexicographer (1709-1784)

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