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AWADmail Issue 247

February 11, 2007

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

From: Randy Webster (rwebster ci.portland.or.us)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--cynosure

Some of us who are luddite mariners, sceptical of the reliability of electronics at sea, still consider Polaris a valuable navigational aid. Convenient as they are, it takes very little saltwater to fry a laptop!

From: M. Stewart (indiansmary aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--cynosure

In re Thurber's comment, "It is better to have loafed and lost ...", I had a friend in college who was much taller than the boyfriend (whom she later married) and she would say, "It is better to have loved a short than never to have loved at all."

From: David Maxwell (david_maxwell mac.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--chatoyant

I learned this word when I was about 11, thanks to Ian Fleming. For those who would assume that the James Bond novels are ham-handed descriptions of derring-do I offer this from "Diamonds are Forever":

    The eyes themselves had the rare quality of chatoyance. When jewels have chatoyance the colour in the lustre changes with movement and the light, and the colour of this girl's eyes seemed to vary between a light grey and a deep grey-blue.

From: Marjo van Patten (marjovp sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--dragoon

Technically, a dragoon was a cavalryman who dismounted to fight. They were armed with a carbine (a short barreled rifle) and a special long-barreled pistol -- useful as a bludgeon if all else failed.

From: Maria Gladwin (mariaa namc.co.za)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bulimia

As a woman who has experienced bulimia, I can safely say that it is not only about "lest they become fat" but as a result of conditions and circumstances that lead them to believe that they are not acceptable, especially during the unstable teenage years. This may lead to years of guilt and emotional instability that could progress into anorexia and possibly even death. I know it could be seen as a "waste of food", but some sensitivity from society could help clear the stigma and shame around this condition, which would help sufferers to "come clean" and seek help towards recovery.

From: Chris Hope (thehopes-chris kc.rr.com)
Subject: hootenanny revisited

I knew that AWAD was big, but I did not realize how big. I am the webmaster for the all-woman blue grass group, the Hootin' Annies. A few weeks ago, in response to that word, I mentioned, and you published, that the "Hootin' Annies" were my favorite girl band. And you published the web address.

The response to that comment from your AWAD readers was so significant that Yahoo-GeoCities shut our website down permanently, saying that it was generating too much traffic. (And, since they make their money selling ad space on our site, I thought that that was a good thing.) So the new site is TheHootinAnniesKC.com.

From: Bob Good (bob_good urmc.rochester.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Rip Van Winkle

I never thought that I would be writing to you about one of your words of the day, but I realized this morning that I have my own experience of being a "Rip Van Winkle". I had a full beard for over thirty years before I finally shaved it off as a "last wish" for my mother before she died at 89 years young!

My last memory of shaving was with the old individual Gillette razor blades that you put by hand into the razor. I remember many nicks and cuts trying to get to the difficult angles around the neck and chin. I was sure that I was going to have little pieces of tissue paper on my face daily to stop the small bleeds. What a surprise to discover the new four bladed razors that move effortlessly across my face with essentially no chance of leaving a cut. Shaving takes me a minute or two each morning and I've had nary a nick. What a difference thirty years of technology can make!

From: Eric Shackle (eshackle ozemail.com.au)
Subject: Hidden Animals

Talented British 3D artist Julian Beever has surprised New Yorkers with an apparent excavation in Union Square. For further details please see the February issue of the World's First Multi-National e-book.

He that uses many words for explaining any subject, doth, like the cuttlefish, hide himself for the most part in his own ink. -John Ray, naturalist (1627-1705)

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