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AWADmail Issue 606

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

Sponsor's Message: Introducing ONEUPMANSHIP -- a beautifully-designed grown-up board game that's not only wicked, cutthroat fun, it's also a wry and irreverent political statement -- which the lucky Email of the Week winner, Dominick Oliveri (see below) will get whether he wants it or not. We're also launching The Official Man Up Manual which contains everything you need know to play oneupmanship (lower case) like an old pro.

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

Council's Apostrophe Ruling Hailed
The Independent

What Happens When "America the Beautiful" is Sung in Other Languages
Daily Kos

From: Anton Lutz (engalutz gmail.com)
Subject: Ananya's Wisdom (Re: scud)

Thank you, Ananya and Anu, for today's AWAD missive reminding me again how much I love Harry Potter's world and the message it brings to our own. When darkness threatens to overtake all we hold dear, Harry and his friends take a stand and make a difference. Even though they are just kids. "Give me a place to stand and I'll move the world" is not about levers, but about friends.

Anton Lutz, Wapenamanda, Papua New Guinea

From: Beatrice Jauregui (beajauregui gmail.com)
Subject: Re: Harry Potter books

I, too, feel a deep and fierce love for the Harry Potter books, which I only started reading as a graduate student already immersed in texts by the likes of Kant, Hegel, and Marx. Besides exhibiting the magic of words, and the magic of learning more generally, those stories teach readers how to puzzle through a host of social problems, from racism and class inequality (Muggles... house elves...) to moral ambiguity in power struggles (especially through the characters of Dumbldore, Snape, and Voldemort).

Just delighted that you are featuring words from these brilliant books this week, and having Ananya as guest editor.

Beatrice Jauregui, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

From: Leon Moss (leon.moss gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--scud

We know all about Scuds here in Israel. Saddam Hussein sent them over Tel Aviv nightly in the days of the first Gulf War. Scud is a series of tactical ballistic missiles developed by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. It was exported widely to other countries. The term comes from the NATO reporting name Scud which was attached to the missile by Western intelligence agencies.

Leon Moss, Tel Aviv, Israel

Email of the Week (Brought to you by The Official Man Up Manual -- Live Life Like You Mean It.)

From: Dominick Oliveri (dvo1170 vt.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--scud

I'm a helicopter pilot for the US Army. On bad weather days occasionally we'll still go out for a flight if we think we can stay under the clouds and keep our ground clearance minimums the FAA has put in place. When we find ourselves a little too close to the clouds we call it scud running. I always thought it was a made-up term used only by pilots as that's the only time I'd ever heard it's usage. Keep up the good work, receiving A.Word.A.Day has become a staple in my daily routine!

Dominick Oliveri, Virginia

From: Alan Stapleton (alan.stapleton spar.co.za)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--scud

In South Africa, a Scud is a large beer bottle (a quart).

Alan Stapleton, Algoa Park, South Africa

From: Chris James (c1james btinternet.com)
Subject: scud

The word "scud" also refers to a freshwater shrimp (Gammarus sp.).

Chris James, North Wales, UK

From: Curtis Reeves (creeves alumni.usc.edu)
Subject: scud

Scud is also slang for a woman who gets less attractive the closer one approaches. In other words, "Good from far, but far from good."

Curtis Reeves, Fresno, California

From: Sarah Lovett (sarah.lovett gmail.com)
Subject: Resplendent

I always remember the word resplendent from early travels to Guatemala where the cloud forest habitat supports the Resplendent Quetzal, a bird with beautiful long tail feathers and a resplendent green color. The national bird is also featured on the local currency known as the quetzal.

Sarah Lovett, Seattle, Washington

From: Christina Vasilevski (christina.vasilevski gmail.com)
Subject: Slipstream

"Slipstream" is also the term for a new subgenre of fiction that incorporates elements of both literary and speculative writing. Instead of being defined by setting the way that sci-fi or fantasy often are, slipstream is defined by the effect it has on the reader -- it's meant to be surreal or induce some sort of cognitive dissonance.

Christina Vasilevski, Toronto, Canada

From: George M. Robinson (grobinson smith.edu)
Subject: Slipstream

One more current definition for this word: To slipstream is to seamlessly add later enhancements to a piece of computer software released earlier. For example, creating an installation disc for Windows 7 with Service Pack 1 seamlessly integrated.

George M. Robinson, Northampton, Massachusetts

From: Rob Rushton (Enigma-I charter.net)
Subject: slipstream

"To draft" is another way to say "to slipstream". We speak of bicyclists on long trips that draft or follow closely in single file to reduce the effort of pedaling. Periodically, the last bicyclist will pull out and take the lead, relieving the first rider.

But unless you are a race car driver, I recommend against slipstreaming or drafting in a vehicle. It's a dangerous practice, and I'm sure it's illegal almost everywhere.

Rob Rushton, Brookline, New Hampshire

From: Robert Berend (tactile8888 yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--slipstream

Not only does Van Morrison have a song called Queen of the Slipstream (video, 5 min.), but more familiar to many of us is this lyric in his song Astral Weeks:

"If I ventured in the slipstream / Between the viaducts of your dream / Where immobile steel rims crack / And the ditch in the back roads stop / Could you find me?" (video, 7 min.)

Robert Berend, JD, PhD, Beverly Hills, California

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--heinous

Reflecting on our 'Thought For Today' quotation from Michael Pollan, I can't help but see a kind of cruel irony in the annual late-November ritual of sparing the White House-chosen official Thanksgiving turkey (this year, two fortunate fowl) -- usually a single bird who gets to live out its life in full 'turkey-tude', whilst millions of his (or her) turkey brethren are slaughtered, prepped, and marketed in the name of hallowed fall tradition, when it's been rumored that turkey wasn't even on the first Thanksgiving Day fest menu, back in the earliest colonial days. (I've heard eel was the main course.)

To think that Benjamin Franklin, in his consummate wisdom, once forcefully petitioned for the wild turkey to be our official national bird. This notion obviously didn't get much traction, whilst the majority of Americans were much more enthused about the Bald Eagle as our symbolic native bird; even though a small minority of objectors pointed out that it was known to scavenge for carrion, like the lowly vulture. Yet, the Bald Eagle ultimately won the day.

Perhaps it was a good thing that the turkey failed to pass muster as our official national bird. It just wouldn't have been politically correct seeing American families gathered around the Thanksgiving dinner table, devouring our national bird. Oh, the humanity!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Creede Lambard (creede gmail.com)
Subject: higgledy-piggledy

The mention of "higgledy-piggledy" brings double dactyls to mind. For those who don't know, the double dactyl is a verse form in eight lines where ... well, an example from a competition sponsored by New York Magazine might be better than a lengthy explanation:

Baron von Frankenstein,
Don't you get lonely?" "Well,
Sir, that depends.

"Through my experiments
I've found a *wonderful*
Way to make friends!"

Creede Lambard, Shoreline, Washington

From: Eva-Maria von Hauff (woozel fachverwalter.de)
Subject: double dactyl

I had the students in my EFL classroom write them about each other. It was great fun and good learning, too. My favourite is John Hollander's classic:

Twilight's Last Gleaming

Higgledy piggledy,
President Jefferson
Gave up the ghost on the
Fourth of July.

So did John Adams, which
Proves that such patriots
Knew how to die.

Eva-Maria von Hauff, Waldsee, Germany

From: Rodger Cunningham (rodgercunningham alc.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--canker

In James Joyce's Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, the young Stephen Dedalus weaves together lines from his textbooks into a found poem:

Wolsey died at Leicester Abbey
Where the abbots buried him.
Canker is a disease of plants,
Cancer one of animals.

Stephen's mother, like Joyce's, will later die of cancer.

Rodger Cunningham, Pippa Passes, Kentucky

From: Dr. G. Nadarajan (dr.g.nadarajan gmail.com)
Subject: Canker

Being a surgeon, I am used to seeing patients with Cancrum Oris a dangerously destructive rapidly spreading infection and decay of the tissues of mouth/cheek. Indisputably, it justifies its name of ill repute.

Dr. G. Nadarajan, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

From: Richard Stallman (rms gnu.org)
Subject: Boycott Harry Potter!

Ms Rowling got an injunction in Canada, ordering people who had bought her book _not to read it_. In response, I launched a boycott calling on people not to buy these books (or pay for anything Harry Potter).

I don't say you shouldn't _read_ the books -- that I leave to Ms Rowling and her publisher -- only that you shouldn't pay to read them. See here for the full sad story.

Dr Richard Stallman, Boston, Massachusetts

From: David Torney (dtorney valornet.com)
Subject: Potter is as worthless as pop music

Every generation has its book fads. Mine had Bond. My grandparents had OZ. Young adults had Potter. Somewhere in there was Tolkein. Children deserve better, like Jabberwocky, Garden of Verses, etc.

David Torney, Jemez Springs, New Mexico

From: Irving N. Webster-Berlin (awadreviewsongs gmail.com)
Subject: Song based on this week's words

Here are this week's AWAD Review Songs (words and recordings) for your listening and viewing pleasure.

Irving N. Webster-Berlin, Sacramento, California

From: Randall Pitts (dupc sbcglobal.net)
subject: Why I unsubscribed

I did not approve of the reference to Harry Potter. Sorcery is evil, and should not be taken lightly. That is disappointing, because I had been enjoying the program.

Randall Pitts, Lawton, Oklahoma

Also, better not sit too close
to the stage in a magic show.
The bunny you see coming out of the hat
was once an audience member
in the front row.
-Anu Garg

From: Eric Shackle (ericshackle bigpond.con)
Subject: Gargoyle

The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest. Readers were asked to supply alternative meanings for common words. One was "Gargoyle: olive-flavored mouthwash". Another definition for Gargoyle is "A.Word.A.Day".

Eric Shackle, Sydney, Australia

A living language is like a man suffering incessantly from small haemorrhages, and what it needs above all else is constant transactions of new blood from other tongues. The day the gates go up, that day it begins to die. -H.L. Mencken, writer, editor, and critic (1880-1956)

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