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AWADmail Issue 216

July 2, 2006

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

Accurately Defining the Word Circus:
Boston Herald
(Also, it's about time a zoo is defined for what it is: a prison for animals who have done nothing wrong)

Llook Who's Talking:

Book Banning in the 21st Century:

From: Alessandra Ricci (alessandra.ricciATecnet.it)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--calced

This word is quite apt as we are right in the middle of the football world cup. In Italy football is called calcio (meaning kick).

From: Meg de Vega Francisco (mvfATpldtdsl.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--calced

The timing of your column is fantastic. You know, there's a particular meaning to this choice of word for me today. It's St. Josemaria Escriva's feastday, and he first sensed that our Lord was asking something of him when, as a teenager, he was moved when he saw the footprints in the snow of a discalced Carmelite priest. He then became a priest to try to discover what it was -- and in 1902, at 26, he founded Opus Dei, a personal prelature within the Catholic Church composed mainly of lay ordinary people (featured incorrectly in Da Vinci Code!).

From: Gene Graves (genepaulATpiodomus.com)
Subject: Re: discalced Carmelites

Regarding discalced Carmelites... It's not really about going barefooted. It's about contact with the world outside the convent. Discalced Carmelites do not go outside of the confines of their convent, and remain unseen by strangers. You can talk to one through a "screen" but not face to face. It's more about interaction with the outside world than about being barefooted.

From: Yosef Bar-On (jobaronATgalon.org.il)
Subject: Calced

An old and quite silly joke is about the inn for animals where one night a hedgehog is disturbed by a long series of thuds going on for long minutes. The next morning he accosted the innkeeper to complain about the racket. Thereupon he was told that the room above his had been occupied by a centipede who took his time taking off all his shoes.

From: Jim Mcgillivray (jimmcgillivrayAThotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--slipshod

It is better to go tiptoe through the tulips than slipshod through the cowshed.

From: Kevin Service (kevin.serviceATmlhsbc.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--gumshoe

Recently here in Toronto a pair of ancient East Indian jewel-encrusted slippers was stolen from the Bata Shoe Museum (I could go on about the very concept of a shoe museum, but I will stick to the point at hand).

Anyway, a few days later the shoes were recovered, in part, as it turns out, because one of the thieves took some pictures of the shoes to be developed at a processing store that is right around the corner from the museum and that does a lot of work for the museum. Nevertheless, a pair of Toronto police detectives was credited with the recovery. So of course the headline in The Globe And Mail - Canada's national newspaper, no less - read:

Gumshoes Crack Stolen Slipper Case

A headline writer went home happy that night...

From: Maya Kruijt (maya.kATxs4all.nl)
Subject: gumshoe

It reminds me of the Dutch word "bordeelsluiper", bordeel (brothel), sluiper (someone who sneaks around), from sluipen (to sneak). Bordeelsluipers are leather shoes with rubber soles, typically worn by policemen.

From: Jan Richardson (jmoontreeATcfl.rr.com)
Subject: Shoes

Your well-shod words this week reminded me of a visit I made to the Bata Shoe Museum during a trip to Toronto a few years ago. I never imagined myself visiting a shoe museum but was pleasantly surprised by the lovely museum that the Bata family shoe mavens have created.

From: Shannon O'Hara (sohara28AThotmail.com)
Subject: What we teach our children

I was much struck by today's quote:

> Count no day lost in which you waited your turn, took only
> your share and sought advantage over no one. -Robert Brault

I don't think the American ideal subscribes to this belief anymore. It seems that we value ambition and the accumulation of mass quantities of stuff far more than patience, cooperation, or fair play. I would guess that many parents would think that a child who did the above had wasted the opportunity to "get ahead" and was displaying signs of timidity, rather than fairness or good manners.

I fear our values really have changed, and greed and ambition are now seen as obviously superior to patience and modesty.

From: John Alzamora (catalunATaol.com)
Subject: Re: AWADmail Issue 215

Thanks for the studied critique. (See: Alexander Pope's "Essay on Criticism"). But, in that I have become besieged by emails on this particular point, let me refer you to the following. [Although I thought I gave the lead, I should have explicitly said, "Bach" is an old German name, or Old High German, as it were. Swabian?] Etymology is a dangerous thing. -Johann Sebastian Alzamora. See www.indo-european.nl.

From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.com.au)
Subject: professions that exist mainly as surnames

Cosmo Doogood is another name that denoted its owner's profession. Cosmo was definitely a do-gooder. Sadly, his bizarre annual almanac has been put on hold. Eric Utne (who is a cosmos do-gooder) founded Utne Magazine in 1984. He explains why he has had to cease publishing Cosmo Doogood's Urban Almanac, in a story in the July edition of my free e-book.

This sentence would be seven words long if it were six words shorter.

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