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AWADmail Issue 397

February 7, 2010

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

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

Last Speaker of Ancient Language of Bo Dies in India
BBC News

Saving Endangered Languages from Being Forgotten

Feb 5, 2410: Last Speaker of English Dies?

From: Donald Adams (adamsdross aol.com)
Subject: Annie Oakley
Def: A complimentary ticket; pass.

An Annie Oakley is also a sail, usually a jib with intentional holes in it. I'm not sure why this is done, but it's something like having holes in a banner to reduce the wind resistance.

From: Barbara Conrad (bdjcconrad comcast.net)
Subject: Annie Oakley

Growing up in a shooting/hunting culture in Idaho, we always called women who were good shots "Annie Oakleys" and we took it as a compliment.

From: Kari Lu (karrink07 comcast.net)
Subject: annie oakleys

As a long time theatre worker, I knew the definition of this word right away. Alas, in these computerized times there are few Annie Oakley Tickets anymore -- the comps just say "comp" and show no price. Another tradition gone!

Email of the Week
(Email of the Week (Introducing One Up! - Smart Always Wins.)

From: Leslie Hayes (lesliehayes fastmail.fm)
Subject: Maginot line
Def: An ineffective line of defense that is relied upon with undue confidence.

This will be my new name for the long lines for security at the airport.

From: Linda F Owens (lindafowens netzero.net)
Subject: Maginot Line

Bits of the Maginot and Siegfried lines are still there, or they were forty years ago, if you hike in the countryside in Germany, etc. We lived in Frankfurt then, when my husband was in the US Army, and were among the only Sunday hikers to go off the beaten path -- also the only ones not to wear our Sunday best.

Many German cities and towns have left ruins to serve as war memorials, like the bridge in Forst. Dresden has been rebuilt but you can see by the artificially charred bottoms what was left over from the bombing raids, as opposed to the gorgeous yellow stone of the taller rebuilt parts.

From: Vaughn Hathaway (pastorvonh bellsouth.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--Maginot line

While Maginot Line may be considered an appropriate eponym for an ineffective defense, the fact of the matter is that the Maginot Line was not essentially ineffective. Its existence was the reason behind the German attack through Belgium. The Maginot Line did not finally defend France only because it was not continued all the way to the English Channel. But, who would have thought that such a defensive wall would have been needed at the border with a friendly country.

From: Robbie (via Wordsmith Talk bulletin board)
Subject: Maginot line

"An ineffective line of defense that is relied upon with undue confidence" doesn't seem to do justice to the sheer breathtaking monumental folly of the concept. It was a politically conceived idea that the Third Republic pinned all its hopes on. Horrified by the appalling slaughter of the first World War, closing its eyes completely to the fact that not only could it never have worked, it would provoke the very situation it was intended to avoid. Why anyone would suppose that the Nazi Wehrmacht would respect international borders any more than the German Empire had done in 1914 is beyond any rational comprehension. The French ended up with half a wall; and with supreme irony its strength was never put to the test; the German army simply went around it.

From: Leo Braudy (braudy usc.edu)
Subject: John Bull
Def: 1. A personification of England or the English people. 2. A typical Englishman.

Arbuthnot in the eighteenth century created the character of John Bull not as a tribute to but as a mockery of the middle-class Englishman. It was David Low, the British cartoonist, who beginning in the interwar period recreated John Bull (and created his visual image) as the typical Englishman, while Colonel Blimp was the image of the unthinking British imperialist-nationalist.

From: Rosella Aragon Natzke (heroalta msn.com)
Subject: Daltonism
Def: Color blindness, especially the inability to distinguish between red and green.

To suffer from the effects of Daltonism would practically be a matter of life and death to people in the Land of Enchantment: New Mexico. Daily we decide between "red" or "green" (chile sauce, the ambrosia of our region). For more info google: New Mexico red green chile.

From: Joan Hoffman (chaoolung yahoo.com)
Subject: Daltonism

My father had red-green blindness. When my parents were first married, my father was trying to locate a pair of gray trousers in the house. My mother searched with him for quite some time, but gave up in frustration. Then my father said he found them and held up a pair of green ones! That's when my mother found out he was colorblind. He studied electronics at some point (pre-computer), but had to quit when he was unable to distinguish between the color bands on the resistors. I'm glad I inherited a normal copy of the gene from my mother!

From: Dianne Spotts (diaspot verizon.net)
Subject: Daltonism

Daltonists are quick to say
when getting speeding tickets
they're color blind,
they can't see red
and it's a sticky wicket

coming to an intersect
they see all amber lights
they keep a goin'
right on through
until the flashing sights

Of multi-pulsing bulbs and sounds
(they hear without a doubt)
Can't they tell
the light on top
Is stop? Or must it SHOUT!?

From: Jack Drain (jdrain4 tx.rr.com)
Subject: Methuselah
Def: 1. An extremely old man. 2. An oversized wine bottle holding approx. 6 liters.

When I was in Korea in 1953, each pilot received a bottle of whiskey a month as a "Combat Ration". It was the worst stuff and we had a roomful of it. The name? "Old Methusela". It did make a good alcohol rub for sore muscles and would cure athlete's foot.

From: Tony Crafter (tonycrafter hotmail.com)
Subject: Methuselah

1. An extremely old man.
2. An oversized wine bottle holding approx. 6 liters.

Maybe that's how he lived to such a ripe old age!

From: Lillian Rodberg (lillian.rodberg verizon.net)
Subject: February 3 Thought for Today

Re: Obesity is a mental state, a disease brought on by boredom and disappointment. -Cyril Connolly, critic and editor (1903-1974)

As an obese American who has struggled for decades with weight, I resent the current trend of "fatism" the marginalization of the overweight, and the tendency to blame the obese for all that is wrong with American health care and for that matter, American society. I don't need AWAD joining in.

Words, like eyeglasses, obscure everything they do not make clear. -Joseph Joubert, moralist and essayist (1754-1824)

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