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AWADmail Issue 666

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

Sponsor’s Message: “Old’s Cool” sums up our philosophy of life in a neat little turn of phrase. Look at what this UP-i-tee shirt is saying loud and clear: Common sense. Nerve. Backbone. Self-reliance. Perseverance. Old school with a shot of wry, served neat. So, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Chris Madsen (see below), as well as all AWADers near and far a 10% discount off our regular price -- so why not flaunt your charming lack of political correctness with wit and style, and save a bit to boot? Use coupon code “oldscool” -- until midnight tonight.

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

The Equivalent of “It’s All Greek to Me” in 30 Other Languages
The Washington Post

Sweden Adds Gender-Neutral Pronoun to Dictionary
The Guardian

How English Ruined Indian Literature
The New York Times

From: Anne Geyer (atgeyer gmail.com)
Subject Saturnine

I was reminded of a recent novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, 2312. The two main characters are a man with a slow, brooding nature and a woman with a highly volatile and emotional temperament. This being a science fiction story, one of them was born and raised on a moon of Saturn, while the other came from a city on Mercury.

There’s much, much more to the book, but I’ll let you guess which character came from which place.

Anne Geyer, Chicago, Illinois

Email of the Week (Old’s Cool is old school -- With a shot of wry, served neat.)

From: Chris Madsen (cterpmadsen comcast.net)
Subject: Lunatic

Your brief description of the moon and the word lunatic that we derive from the Latin luna for moon reminded me of an incident from years ago when my family was disembarking from the ferry from Victoria, Canada, to Anacortes, Washington. The woman walking behind us was in remarkably high spirits, obviously liquor-induced, and I wanted to remark on it discreetly. I muttered to my sister: “Moon bug”. She looked at me for a second, and then instantly translated my code to “Luna tic”. It’s been in our vocabulary ever since.

Chris Madsen, Olympia, Washington

From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--saturnine

Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite The Planets refers to the nine planets:

Mars, the Bringer of War
Venus, the Bringer of Peace
Mercury, the Winged Messenger
Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity
Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age
Uranus, the Magician
Neptune, the Mystic

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin

From: Frank Camp (Frank751 verizon.net)
Subject: Jovial

When I hear or read the word Jovial I think of a very early computer language compiler named for the developer, Jules I. Schwartz -- Jules’s Own Version of the International Algebraic Language. Prior to his contribution, the code for an early air defense computer (SAGE) was written in machine language. I worked with this machine at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory in Bedford, Massachusetts from 1955 to 1960.

Frank Camp, Potomac, Maryland

From: Bob Grossman (kermit23 rochester.rr.com)
Subject: Venus

So what is Venus, chopped liver? I can understand why you didn’t pick “venereal” or “venery”, but what’s wrong with “venerate”?

Bob Grossman, Rochester, New York

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

If you question this wonderful wife of mine
You can ask if the forecast is wet or fine
I know what you’ll get
She’ll tell you it’s wet
But don’t listen to her ‘cos she’s saturnine.

-Bob Thompson, New Plymouth, New Zealand (bobtee xtra.co.nz)

The thermometer dropped on the floor,
Such a mess, Tess couldn’t ignore.
Those droplets mercurial,
With glass on the floor she spill,
So cleaning the floor, quite a chore.

-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

She wonders how he can be jovial
while suff’ring from illness microbial.
“I surely don’t love it,
but just rise above it.
Perhaps the whole thing’s only phobial!”

-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

A fellow enjoyed delights earthy
In a lavish expression of mirth, he
Would say, “Drinks on me!”
Oh, so generously
But the bars found him not creditworthy.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Competing in arts that are martial
Don’t count on a judge who’s impartial
Get your foe in a clinch
And from there it’s a cinch
You just stomp on his fifth metatarsal.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

His mercurial moods when imbibing wine
Run the gamut from jovial to saturnine.
He’s earthy; he’s quiet.
He’s a martial arts riot.
It’s a planetary personality conga line!

-Greg Holmes, Louisville, Kentucky (gregholmes2100 gmail.com)

Modern prose has become, like modern manners and modern dress, a good deal less formal than it was in the nineteenth century. -James Runcieman Sutherland, professor and writer (1900-1996)

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