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AWADmail Issue 657

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

Sponsor’s message: Do you want to turn your whole bored, sick-already-of-winter family into “greedy, self-serving punks?” And have a blast doing it? We’re offering our board game-loving subscribers, and this week’s Email of the Week winner, Beni Downing (see below), a wicked huge 10% discount on ONEUPMANSHIP, the new, cutthroat-fun classic. Just use the exclusive AWAD coupon code “machiavellian”. Ends at midnight tonight.

From: Diane Campbell (diane.campbell internode.on.net)
Subject: Children’s hospital

There are odd names -- what image comes to mind with “Geriatric Physician”?

Diane Campbell, Adelaide, Australia

From: Garry Stahl (tesral wowway.com)
Subject: Children’s hospital

English is indeed rather slippery in its possessives and meaning at times. I consider it fun. Bread knife, steak knife, boy scout knife?

At the local market deli the girl was getting my order and noticed the line of dips in the cooler. “So,” said I, “chip dip is for chips, and vegetable dip for vegetables. I would assume the fruit dip is for fruit.” She replied in the affirmative. “What is the Mexican dip for?”

The poor girl lost it. English is fun.

Garry Stahl, Dearborn, Michigan

From: Alain Gottcheiner (agot ulb.ac.be)
Subject: Children’s hospital

There is something to be said about genitive forms, and you’ve put your finger on it. Taken to the letter, a “children’s hospital” is a toy.

There is a tendency in official English to overuse the so-called Saxon genitive form. In languages which use case endings, the word “children” would be to the dative or, in the few which have this feature, to the attributive. The correct English equivalent would be “hospital for children”, as it is in French and Italian.

Alain Gottcheiner, Brussels, Belgium

Email of the Week (Courtesy (has nothing to do with) ONEUPMANSHIP -- Playing mind games is wicked fun!)

From: Beni Downing (mabenid aol.com)
Subject: Scurvy


Beni Downing, Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania

From: Prunella Barlow (prunella shaw.ca)
Subject: Thought for today

Ellen DeGeneres borrowed from Robert Burns, in his poem “To a Louse”

“Oh wad some Power the giftie gie us, to see oursels as ithers see us”

Many people will correct this .. oh, no, he wrote To a Mouse, but he also wrote To a Louse which he observed crawling up the bonnet of a well-dressed lady in church.

Prunella Barlow, North Vancouver, Canada

From: Catherine McKnight (cara carascissoria.com)
Subject: Lighthearted image for a grim topic

I have a greeting card line and this is one of the more popular cards. It may not exactly fit the bill for this week’s words, but it is a light touch for a not always pleasant circumstance.

I so enjoy A Word A Day, it’s the first thing I read in the morning. Thank you!

Catherine McKnight, Los Angeles, California

From: Darla Doxstater (condorita sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Children’s Hospital

Children’s Hospital of Orange County, California apparently has a new advertising company which is responsible for the current “CHOC Children’s” campaign. I gnash my teeth every time I go near the place or see any of their advertising. *cringe*

Darla Doxstater, Buena Park, California

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Children’s Hospital

In Toronto, the children’s hospital is affectionately -- and universally -- known as the SickKids, plain and simple.

One of the characters in the radio series of the mid-twentieth century comedy team Bob & Ray was a guest expert named Dr. Sickening, Child Psychologist. His weekly appearance was invariably prefaced by the caveat that he was not a child. Then the host (Bob, I believe) would read write-ins from desperate parents seeking his advice. The doctor’s fall-back recommendation, if other treatment suggestions failed, was: “Whack ‘em!”

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Ronald Davidson (davidsnr cogeco.ca)
Subject: medicine

I’m a pediatrician and was sitting at the nurse’s station working on charts one morning; an officious nurse was standing at the door to the toilet, clipboard in hand, waiting for a maybe three-year-old girl to emerge. When she did, the nurse asked, “Did you go #1 or #2?” The little patient answered, “I didn’t see any numbers in it.”

Obviously, this little scenario can easily be depicted by a cartoon and I promise you that it actually occurred!

Ron Davidson, MD, Ancaster, Canada

From: Randa Serag (rserag gmail.com)
Subject: jaundiced

I have seen many jaundiced patients in my medical practice, but none as cute (or yellow) as Big Bird!

Randa Serag, MD, Irvine, California

From: Diana Malley (kendiana juno.com)
Subject: jaundiced


Diana Malley, North San Juan, California

From: Marni Hancock (mrh330 gmail.com)
Subject: metastasize

At some point during the school years from fall of 1962 to June of 1965 my history teacher in high school stated this description: Los Angeles didn’t grow, it metastasized.

Marni Hancock, Creswell, Oregon

From: Dominique Mellinger (dominiquemellinger yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: scabrous

Thanks for today’s word, scabrous. We have it in French too where it is commonly used with the meaning of knotty, complicated, and hard to believe, with a pinch of darkness to it. Typically, we’ll use it in ‘une histoire scabreuse’, ‘des explications scabreuses’, when what you hear feels far-fetched and not delivered with an air of authenticity. It usually implies one doesn’t believe in the ‘explications scabreuses’. I felt surprised to discover the origin of the word and happy to see it has more meanings than I thought, as if it were now in three dimensions..

Dominique Mellinger, Gorze, France

From: Mike Stone (mstone lorencook.com)
Subject: Quotation attribution

The quotation in today’s (1/30/15) AWAD:

Books are humanity in print. -Barbara Tuchman, author and historian (30 Jan 1912-1989)

was previously (I’m sorry, I don’t record the dates quotations first appear in AWAD) cited as part of another quotation:

Without books the development of civilization would have been impossible. They are the engines of change, windows on the world, “Lighthouses” as the poet said “erected in the sea of time”. They are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print. -Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788-1860)

Mike Stone, Springfield, Missouri

Thanks for catching this! We featured Schopenhauer’s quotation on Dec 19, 2006. We’ve replaced Tuchman’s with Schopenhauer’s for today’s thought.
-Anu Garg

From: Steve Benko (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
Subject: Words of the week in limericks

Some sailors afflicted with scurvy
Reached an island with women quite curvy
“We’d like tea with lemon in,
And then something feminine,”
They said, which the natives found nervy

A master of Zen in Tibet
At cards lost his robe on a bet
When the game got too hectic
He turned apoplectic
Forgetting the teaching: “Don’t fret.”

East Coast snow day bonus:

A collector of artworks eclectic
Became what you’d call apoplectic
He realized he lacked
Enough paintings abstract
For of portraiture he was a skeptic

Moving on:

Politicians? In Maine we ah jaundiced
The lot of ’em, aiyuh, dis-hawnest
They come eat the lobstuh
And lie like a mobstuh
To hang onto powuh the longest

One can hear Amy Vanderbilt’s cries
And Emily Post as she sighs
But old H.L. Mencken
And I both are thinkin’
Bad taste will metastasize, guys.

In Dixie, attire thought scabrous
A Malibu girl finds just fab’lous
The nouvelle cuisine
On the coast keeps ‘em lean
But to Southerners’ taste they’re cadav’rous

Steve Benko, New York, New York

From: Joan Perrin (perrinjoan aol.com)
Subject: Words for diseases

This week’s theme, “Words for Diseases”,
Metaphorically it teases,
With limericks I wrote,
Upon which you dote.
I do hope my effort pleases.

Long John Silver known to be nervy,
He sailed his ship all topsy-turvy,
With the hold filled with fruit,
And no cannon to shoot,
So his SCURVY crew got no SCURVY.

You know about Adam and Eve,
With “Forbidden Fruit” she’d deceive.
With their bites so septic,
God’s wrath, apoplectic,
From “The Garden” having to leave

“I’m not a coward,” he’d insist.
When bravery issues persist.
“It’s not that I’m yellow,”
Protested the fellow,
“It’s just that I really am JAUNDICED.”

With Cancer, it was no surprise,
Concern it might METASTASIZE,
But with chemo and prayer,
That real scare wasn’t there,
“I’m still here!” I do emphasize.

An old hermit crab I did see,
Strolling in the sand fancy free.
Saw his shell was SCABROUS,
Then heard the old crab cuss,
“Hells bells, are you staring at me?”

Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York

Standard English is a convenient abstraction, like the average man. -George Leslie Brook, English professor, author (1910-1987)

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