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AWADmail Issue 70

March 3, 2002

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages

From: Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)
Subject: On the horizon...

It was on March 14, eight years ago, that A.Word.A.Day sent its first word. While we observe our octennial next week, it's time for new initiatives. We're considering launching an ad-free, paid subscription service, in addition to continuing the existing free service. Details to follow.

From: Mike Pope (mpopeATmicrosoft.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--impresario

The word of the day reminded me of this quote. It's from Rossini, the Italian composer and apparently a famous procrastinator, reminiscing in a letter on "the best time to compose an overture":

Wait until the evening before opening night. Nothing primes inspiration more than necessity, whether it be the presence of a copyist waiting for your work or the prodding of an impresario tearing his hair. In my time, all the impresarios in Italy were bald at thirty.

From: Janelle Forgette (janforATnelsononline.com)
Subject: Impresario

In my Italian Language class, we learned about the customs surrounding funerals, and that the person or company that arranges them is called an "impresario". I thought it almost amusing at the time, since we associate that title with the world of entertainment, and I hadn't thought of funerals in that light.

Thanks to your definition, it now makes complete sense to me, and explains why the English name for the person who arranges funerals is "undertaker". That title though is probably being taken over by "funeral director" - less gloomy sounding, I suppose. But if we're headed in that direction, why not go all the way to "impresario" and really brighten things up?

From: Kenneth L. Davis (kennethldATmindspring.com)
Subject: Re: buskin

After too many years, the penny drops: the name of my high school drama club was "Sock & Buskin". I knew it referred to footwear, but the history was never fully explained. Many thanks.

From: Cheryl La Montagne (clamontagneATeu.wcom.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--odeum

On a recent broadcast of LBC (London) they were having a discussion about why cinemas were called Odeon in the UK and one explanation given was that it was an acronym for Oscar Deutsch Entertains Our Nation. Oscar Deutsch founded the Odeon chain.

From: Jeb B. Raitt (raittjbATssg.navy.mil)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--odeum

You wrote:
Now you know why so many cinema halls are named Odeon.

Including Nickelodeon, was once the name of many theaters, then a music machine.

And I can see why the theaters use the Greek rather than the Latin form. "Odeum" is much too much like "odium".

From: Roy C Kepferle (rckepfATfuse.net)
Subject: Odeum

Odeum struck a chord in my memory of words to songs:

"Put another nickel in,
In the nickelodeon.
All I want is loving you,
And music, music, music."

Eight or ten from our Colorado high school class of '44 held afternoon impromptu dance sessions at our local cafe to the music of the day from the jukebox (nickelodeon) in the corner. The cost per play then was five cents, equal to the cost of a Coca-Cola.

From: Eric Shackle (eshackleATozemail.com.au)
Subject: spaghetti western

Many have watched spaghetti westerns, but few have heard of spaghetti bridges. They're described, with Amazing Grace and Five Lords A-Flipping, in the March issue of my e-book.

There are some who only employ words for the purpose of disguising their thoughts. -Voltaire, philosopher (1694-1778)

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