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AWADmail Issue 569

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

From: Steve Lipson (buckitree gmail.com)
Subject: tall mountains

Some trivia just FYI. Mount Lamlam is taller than Everest...but not as high.

Mout Lam Lam is the high point on Guam. The base of the mountain is about 36,000 feet below sea level in the Marianas Trench. Mount Lam Lam is only about 1300 feet above sea level.

Steve Lipson, Indianapolis, Indiana

Email of the Week (Brought to you by One Up! -- Help yourself to some fun.)

From: Margie Duncan (mmduncan princeton.edu)
Subject: Mount Everest's climbers

I enjoy A.Word.A.Day so much and look forward to Mondays. I'm compelled to ask anyone who refers to Mount Everest's climbers to please remember the Sherpas who also climbed, helping the mainly Western explorers reach the summit. It seems they are never counted, and yet they pushed themselves -- and died -- just like the more famous. Let us not forget.

Margie Duncan, Princeton, New Jersey

From: Margot Knuth (margot.knuth gmail.com)
Subject: Note from today

Rarely am I moved to write to you, and you are a resource for me in being a better person / the best person I can be. But I must take issue with your statement that next week marks the 60th anniversary of the "first scaling" of Everest. I'm pretty sure that locals scaled it many many before that. 60 years is just the marker for us Westerners poking our nose in the sky that high.

Margot Knuth, Juneau, Alaska

From: Cynthia Tripp (crtripp embarqmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--vesuvian

The latest issue of National Geographic has an article on Mt Everest. Of course, there are many good pictures as well as an interesting discussion of how to improve the experience for future climbers.

Cynthia Tripp, Las Vegas, Nevada

From: P T Withington (ptw pobox.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--vesuvian

Your remarks on Everest reminded me of this classic Warren Miller quotation:

"Climbing Mt. Everest is a very difficult thing to do. Remember, however, that a few years ago a young Swedish rode his mountain bike from Norway to Katmandu, towing all his climbing equipment in a small trailer. Then he climbed Everest all alone. At the summit he took some pictures, then pedaled back to Norway and changed his worn out tires on the mountain bike a half a dozen times. No matter what you do, there will be other people who do it better. Do everything for the fun of it, and never mind the score."

P T Withington, Plymouth, Massachusetts

From: Lynn Goodman (lrcgoodman gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--vesuvian

Your entry for today's AWAD was quite telling for me in multiple ways:

The third paragraph in your intro to the word Vesuvian was definitely meant for me: As a caretaker, my particular 'peak' is challenging, comes with little or no accolades, but is definitely worthwhile. Then the example of usage -- "his Vesuvian sneeze" -- that is the perfect descriptor for my husband's sneezes and I shall take the opportunity to use it next time he sneezes. Finally, the Thought for Today, "May my silences become more accurate. -T. Roethke" -- it is just what I needed to read as I start my week. So, many thanks for filling several voids in one fell swoop. I do enjoy AWAD and will ever be grateful to my dear friend MJ for introducing me to it. Carry on!

Lynn Goodman, Hampton, New Hampshire

From: Pierre Laberge (p1m2l3 hotmail.com)
Subject: Pompeii

You might enjoy this little music video about Vesuvius and Pompeii. Pompeii ("Bang Bang (My Lover Shot Me Down)" by Nancy Sinatra)

And, if you would like to listen to a French version (sound only), here it is.

Pierre Laberge, Sudbury, Canada

From: Celia Whitman (celia bioquip.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--parnassian

As an entomologist when I saw the word parnassian I immediately thought of a lovely group of butterflies that are found in alpine or mountainous regions. They are members of the subfamily Parnassiinae. They are also sometimes referred to as Apollos. Etymology and entomology cross paths so often, not only in mispronunciation.

Celia Stuart, Rancho Dominguez, California

From: John Mitchell (awad lists.joggernet.com)
Subject: Chevy

In the UK, the word is chivvy, pronounced as it is spelt, typically used in the sense of encourage or harass as in your usage example of "chivvying" the boys to hurry up.

John Mitchell, Sydney, Australia

From: Wayne Hess (waybarhess aol.com)
Subject: Chevy

Among car enthusiasts "Chevy" is an abbreviation for Chevrolet, just as "Jimmy" is an abbreviation for GMC.

Wayne Hess, Beaverton, Oregon

From: Lorie Vallejo (loredith.vallejo toyota.com.ph)
Subject: re: chevy

I just gave myself a headache with a mental image of the actor Chevy Chase chevied by a Chevy car while in Chevy Chase, Maryland. What a fun word!

Lorie Vallejo, Manila, Philippines

From: Stephanie Carels (Carelss ctt.com)
Subject: Chartreuse

La Grande Chartreuse is also said to be the origin of the Chartreux breed of cat. These are beautiful, blue-gray, plush-coated cats with copper colored eyes. We have a rescue cat that we believe may have Chartreux origins, but in reality, this breed is quite rare.

Stephanie Carels, Apopka, Florida

From: Kathy Love (kathylove7 cs.com)
Subject: Chartreuse

Here in southwest France a 'chartreuse' is also a particular type of house. As one website puts it:

"A 'chartreuse' has little or nothing to do with the liqueur. It is a flexible and confusing name for a house that is usually on the larger size, and usually on one level only. If there is an upper floor, it is likely that the windows will be in a mansard roof. There may be towers at either end."

These are typically very beautiful structures, frequently with a wide frontage (e.g. five large rooms) but only one room deep so there is a terrace out each side. (There is normally an internal corridor along one side so people can walk from one room to another.) They were often built as hunting lodges or holiday retreats for aristocrats living in major cities like Sarlat or Bordeaux and are now much prized as homes.

Kathy Love, St Avit de Vialard, France

From: James Danly (jcdanly aol.com)
Subject: chartreuse

My parents packed my younger brother off to Charterhouse to make a gentleman and scholar of him, prompting the headmaster to observe that becoming either would be an achievement. The first term invoice arrived, and my father was puzzled by an entry marked Carthusian. I duly turned to our dictionary and read "a member of a severe monastic order." That did not sound like my brother. Then the penny dropped when I read that chartreuse is an aromatic liqueur made by the Carthusian monks. It was his bar bill.

James Danly, Nashville, Tennessee

From: Olivia Thomas (email.olivia.thomas gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--chartreuse

I live on Charterhouse Road, near the school of the same name in the UK. We wondered for years why the previous occupants had chosen this colour for detailing on the house, until a passing remark about drinking Chartreuse from a friend studying art made us wonder and investigate.

Olivia Thomas, London, UK

From: Kathryn Kaser (kkaserco dwwireless.net)
Subject: chartreuse

Photo: Kathryn Kaser
This reminds me of a psychological parlor game we used to play. You are asked the question: What is your favorite color?, then to use three adjectives to describe it .

My first reaction was, How can I choose; I love them all. Then I settled on chartreuse with the thought that I love the way it rolls off the tongue. My three words were "bright, sharp, natural", only to find out that that is what I think of myself. :)

I belong to a group that challenges us to make art quilts with different sets of rules. For the March 2012 show we each picked a color and made a 16" x 30" quilt that had to "read" that color. Here is mine, a whimsical willow tree to memorialize one I used to drive past on the way to work every day.

Kathryn Kaser, Kennewick, Washington

From: James Hayes-Bohanan (jhayesboh bridgew.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--chartreuse

Thanks for this week's series, and especially this one. I always remember the first place I heard about this color, though I never knew what kind of a color it was. The 1970s song Convoy released during the heyday of CB radio and the Smokey and the Bandit franchise, included a line "eleven long-haired Friends of Jesus in a chartreuse microbus."

Each of the three things -- VW vans, Christian hippies, and the color -- reminds me of the other two.

James Hayes-Bohanan, Bridgewater, Massachusetts

From: Christopher Stefanick (chris.stefanick gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--chartreuse

The liquer is still made by the Carthusian Monks -- the recipe only known to a few of them and guarded by a vow of silence. There are over 130 herbs so there's no way for anyone to steal the recipe. Cool, eh?

Christopher Stefanick, Parker, Colorado

From: Mac M. Nickey (wmn1 ntrs.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--chartreuse

Oh, I so fondly remember my days with the Carthusian monks. Gave it up to be a husband and investment professional. Only regret it occasionally!

William "Mac" Nickey, Chicago, Illinois

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Chartreuse

One of the significant appearances of this word occurs in the title of the 19th century French author Stendhal's (real name Henri Beyle) memorable masterpiece The Charterhouse of Parma (La Chartreuse de Parme), a work that represents a defining moment in the evolution of the genre of psychological novel.

Stendhal's treatment of the eternal fluctuation of the human spirit between amorous passion and irrepressible longing, the depiction of obsessive domination and profound despair, in my opinion, has never been equalled and will stand the test of time as long as people's actions are driven by inscrutable, ineluctable, subconscious desires.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Peirce Hammond (peirce_hammond ed.gov)
Subject: "Mt. Everest"

Where you say "after the Himalayas, the mountain range having Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world." you may wish also to indicate that while the mountain has been known as "Mt. Everest" for a few decades through the imposition of that name by its conquerors, it has been known for a much longer time, by those indigenous to the Himalayan region as "Chomolungma" or, essentially, Goddess Mother of the World. And you might ask which of these two is the more himalayan term.

Peirce Hammond, Bethesda, Maryland

From: Venkataraman Balakrishnan (venkataraman.balakrishnan gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--himalayan

Can we ever forget the "himalayan blunder" of 1962, which proved to be so costly for India?

Venkataraman Balakrishnan, Chennai, India

From: Mendy Sobol (mendy7 comcast.net)
Subject: Everest

This week's theme reminded me of a BBC broadcast several years ago, in which the presenter referred to Arianna Huffington as, "The Sir Edmund Hillary of social climbers."

Mendy Sobol, Eugene, Oregon

From: Wilson Fowlie (wfowlie deltacontrols.com)
Subject: This week

This week's theme (words coined after mountains) could be called oronyms.

Wilson Fowlie, Coquitlam, Canada

From: Kathy Whitby (wittibear yahoo.com)
Subject: Up Uluru without a paddle...

While not a true mountain but a monolith, Australia's Uluru has come into the Aussie slang with a vengeance:

That's as obvious as Uluru in the desert.
(Very clear, or sarcastically very unclear)

That's a true Uluru!
(A picture of beautiful scenery)

I remember a few tasteless ones too from my teenage years that arose out of the disappearance of baby Azaria Chamberlain.

Kathy Whitby, Sydney, Australia

Languages differ essentially in what they must convey and not in what they may convey. -Roman Jakobson, linguist (1896-1982)

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