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AWADmail Issue 680

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

Sponsor’s Message:
Cheezus, don’t half-brass anything. Ever. Play the game of life like you mean it; there’s no such thing as a free lunch. That said, this week’s Email of the Week winner, Simon Warwicker (see below), as well as all competitive cheapskate (and closet) capitalists everywhere can get 50% OFF the classic board game ONEUPMANSHIP -- until midnight Monday -- exclusively on our Amazon store. SALE, PITCHES!

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

Found in Translation
The New York Times

To Those Who Want More Grammar in School: Get Off My Lawn!
The Web of Language

From: Deborah L. Strobel (dstrobel ntndriveshaft.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--livelong

As soon as I saw this word, the childhood song that goes “I’ve been working on the railroad, all the livelong day. I’ve been working on the railroad, just to pass the time away” came to mind. Thanks for the memories!

Deborah L. Strobel, Columbus, Indiana

Email of the Week (ONEUPMANSHIP -- Half off, but game on!)

From: Simon Warwicker (warwickers virginmedia.com)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--bespoke

I shiver with dread at this word. Many years ago when seeking my next employment as a software developer, the agencies were very insistent to find out “if I’ve done bespoke”.

I first assumed this was some new technical term but when I realised that the agencies were asking me if I’d ever built something, I tried to explain that every engineer is ‘bespoke’ and that my own personal CV was full of custom new works.

I’m afraid that they didn’t believe me and I had to modify my CV to say that I was a bespoke developer and suffer the tautology.

Simon Warwicker, London, UK

From: Evan Hazard (eehazard paulbunyan.net)
Subject: bespoke

Ursula LeGuin uses ‘bespoke’ to mean communicated with another person using telepathy. Apparently a person who knows how can teach another person. In her Hainish novels, normal people cannot lie telepathically, but some nasties called the Shing were able to, and dominated the ‘known worlds’ for a time. I’ve forgotten how they were eventually defeated. One of the best living writers.

Evan Hazard, Bemidji, Minnesota

From: Susan Gawarecki (llamaladysg yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bespoke

My first exposure to the word “bespoke” was of the description of young T.E. Lawrence’s (of Arabia) suit and light woolen shirt he had made for his 1909 summer journey -- primarily alone and on foot -- through Syria to visit Crusader castles for his Oxford thesis. His lightweight suit had extra pockets for his papers and other essentials. Lawrence’s route, beginning in Beirut, took him south to Nazareth and as far north as Urfa with many side-trips to fortresses of special interest. He relied on hospitality of local villagers for most of his lodging and meals. This trip was one of the experiences which prepared him for his most famous role of leading the Arab Revolt to its ultimate success with the capture of Damascus in October 1918.

For an engrossing book on Lawrence’s pre-war years as a student and archaeologist, I recommend Anthony Sattin’s The Young T.E. Lawrence Of course one should not miss Lawrence’s epic WWI memoir Seven Pillars of Wisdom. If your only knowledge of Lawrence of Arabia is from the movie, this will immerse you in a very different reality.

Susan Gawarecki, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

From: Robert Roten (roten lariat.net)
Subject: limpid

I remember this word was used in my favorite baseball movie, Bull Durham.

The word came up in the context of a reading of Walt Whitman’s I Sing the Body Electric from Leaves of Grass which includes the phrase, “Limitless limpid jets of love hot and enormous, quivering jelly of love ... “

Robert Roten, Laramie, Wyoming

From: Sonya Cashdan (SHCashdan aol.com)
Subject: tribology

Far antedating the term “tribology” is the somewhat friskier term tribade , which appears as early as 1601 in the works of Ben Jonson.

Sonya Cashdan, Paso Robles, California

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

There are those who believe that the accidence
Of sex education is abstinence
But with teenage hormones
And ubiquitous phones
It’s like talking to stampeding elephants.

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

It drives him insane. All the livelong
day he keeps hearing the sing-song,
irregular knell
of the lopsided bell
that seems to have gotten its ring wrong.

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

All clothing I find made bespoke,
Can come off as more of a joke,
While it may look quite nice,
It is triple the price,
A closet full leaves you dead broke.

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

Limpid my love seems to me,
That dear lake on the shore by the sea.
I circle her ’round
With many a bound,
And then limp off to nurse my sore knee.

-Laurence McGilvery, La Jolla, California (laurence mcgilvery.com)

She asked “Would you like to make love to me?”
He said “My wife thinks I’m somewhere I ought to be
But oh what the hell
She’ll never tell
I’ll say I was studying tribology!”

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

Language is the apparel in which your thoughts parade in public. Never clothe them in vulgar and shoddy attire. -George W. Crane

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