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AWADmail Issue 734

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

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

War of Words
The Economist

Republicans and Democrats in Congress Speak in Completely Different Languages
The New York Times

The Curious Case of Missing Direct Object
Language Log

From: JoHelen Wilson (JoHelen.Wilson aa.com)
Subject: voting

Another suggestion for initiating interest in voting. I was a Girl Scout leader for my daughter’s troop for 13 years. As the girls in the troop started turning 17, we went to the county election board where they received a tour, were given a voter registration form, and even voted in a “mock election”, complete with a voting machine that took their ballots and tallied them.

Sometimes fear of the unknown will keep us from taking action. When the girls in the troop turned 18, each of them knew how to register and what to expect when they went to vote for the first time.

Your suggestion to register students while in high school could be coupled with a field trip to the local voting authority, much like I did with the Girl Scouts.

JoHelen Wilson, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: John Whittier (johnrwhittier gmail.com)
Subject: Make the election day a national holiday

About making election day a national holiday, I agree but I would add some modifications. Holidays too often become excuses for retail sales, or now that most holidays are on Mondays they become extensions of weekends and people use them for travel. Were election day to become a holiday I fear that too many people would take Monday off, have a four-day weekend, and go nowhere near a voting booth. To prevent this I suggest:

  1. Move it to Wednesday. Fewer people would be tempted to take off TWO days in order to stretch the weekend.
  2. Make it a half-holiday. That is, an employee gets half the day off (which half to be determined between the employee and the employer). This is more than enough time to vote.
  3. In order for the employee to get the half day off they need to submit a voting receipt that they would get at the polling place, showing that they have voted. No receipt, no free time off. This could probably be done electronically. This would prevent people from taking the time off just to goof off.
John Whittier, Chesterfield, Missouri

From: Beth Talmage (etalmage earthlink.net)
Subject: Voting by mail

I wanted to chime in with a hearty endorsement of voting by mail, which I think is an even better solution than a national holiday. Many people do not get national holidays off -- nurses, for example, as well as countless people who would feel far too powerless to request the time they might be allowed under the law to utilize in order to cast their ballots. I’m thinking of janitorial staff, who must clean on national holidays as on every other day.

When I moved from California to Oregon, I was quite dismayed to lose the ceremony of casting my ballot at the polling place. My earliest memories of voting were of accompanying my mother to our neighbor’s home and waiting as she voted, hearing her tell me each time that she never missed an election -- primary or general -- because it mattered to her to be an involved citizen and have her voice heard.

I loved seeing her disappear behind those curtains and cast her private vote, and could hardly wait until I was old enough to find my name on the roll and step into our neighbor’s garage and become a Voter. I have discussed it with my brother, and his memories of voting day and the aura around it are equally strong. My mother raised voters, and when I began voting by mail I mourned the loss of our family tradition. I continued to take my ballot to the library and drop it into the designated slot on election day, which was as close as I could come to the old way, but I doubted that would inspire any youngsters who might see their own mothers -- it certainly lacks the mystery of stepping behind a curtain.

Then I thought about it a little bit more. The mystery of stepping behind a curtain that was often an old bed sheet? Hanging in someone’s garage? While the neighbor ladies drank coffee at a folding table two feet away and crossed names off a big book that told them to which political party each neighbor belonged? Compared with the possibility that everyone who wants to can vote? Without having to decide if it’s worth it to risk being late getting back to work after lunch, or asking for time off and explaining that it is a right, since their district is so many miles away that they can’t reach it in time if they aren’t allowed to leave -- and getting that look from the boss. How many votes have gone uncast because a steady paycheck had to take precedence over having a say in an election and a potential voter couldn’t chance it?

We need to spread the word about Vote by Mail, so that it can sweep the nation, from left coast to right!

Beth Talmage, San Clemente, California

From: Malcolm Wynden (wynden gmail.com)
Subject: voting

Canada has a voter registration system that is worth looking at.

  1. Voter registration is an option on your annual tax return, which is a cheap way to capture/update accurate voter data.
  2. Every employer is required by law to give employees up to three consecutive hours off work (paid) to vote. Not a “national holiday”, but it does get the message across that voting is important.
Malcolm Wynden, Courtenay, Canada

From: Suzanne Glaser (suzzsezz aol.com)
Subject: Voting

I take voting very seriously. It is my position that, if you can’t vote for someone, by God, vote against someone.

Suzanne Glaser, Bethesda, Maryland

From: Howard Kessler (andyjuil aol.com)
Subject: Voting

Sadly in our US economy it appears that it is only money that gets things accomplished. Therefore, I propose a poll tax to do the vote-casting trick. If one is able to vote and does not even make an effort to get their free ballot into their board of elections (filled or not), then they should pay with additional taxes based upon the percentage of the rest of the voting citizenry who had to make up for and fulfill their obligation.

Also, for states that do not have full registration of all their citizens who should be able to vote comparing that to the census for which those states declare their population in order to receive internal funds, then they should also be taxed by reducing their national revenue given specifically for non health, education, and welfare purposes.

Howard Kessler, New York, New York

From: Doug Pearson (USCstarDad aol.com)
Subject: Voting by Mail

In California, we have been voting by mail for several years. I agree, it’s great. This year, for the first time, no postage is due when we mail the ballot back. Even better.

Doug Pearson, Mountain View, California

From: Erika Juhlin (erika erikasbackyard.com)
Subject: registering to vote

One may register to vote (and vote in primaries) at age 17, as long as one will be 18 by the elections. I registered at 17 in the spring, voted in the primaries, turned 18 in September, and voted in the elections. Totally legal. So we need to encourage our 17-year-olds to register, too.

Erika Juhlin, Graham, North Carolina

From: Andy Overbeek (AndyOverbeek flysaa.com)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--carpetbagger

Recently in South Africa, we had three days of rioting due to a carpetbagger. The ANC’s mayoral candidate, Thoko Didiza, was very unpopular as she was put forward by ANC headquarters and she did not come from the area.

Andy Overbeek, Johannesburg, South Africa

From: Carl Rosenberg (rosenberg.carl yahoo.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--carpetbagger

A similar word is parachute candidate, meaning a politician whom his or her party gets to run in a riding that they’re not originally from or where they don’t reside, i.e. that they’re basically parachuted in.

Carl Rosenberg, Vancouver, Canada

From: Leah (lahapner gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--logrolling

Hayward, WI, is my hometown (just over 2000 people) and we have the Lumberjack World Championship every July. You can watch logrolling and a bunch of other sports.

Leah Hapner, Washington, DC

From: Steeve McCauley (steeve.mccauley+wordsmith gmail.com)
Subject: logrolling

Spy magazine had a feature called “Log Rolling in our Time” that featured authors mutually sharing glowing book jacket reviews. But my favourite reference to log rolling is the Canadian NFB vignette The Log Driver’s Waltz (video, 3.5 min.).

Steeve McCauley, Montreal, Canada

From: Cathy Flynn (rncmf aol.com)
Subject: logrolling

In the medical community, logrolling is a description of moving a patient while maintaining the neck and spine in a straight line. EMTs will put on a cervical collar, then logroll the patient so a backboard can be slipped underneath them. Nurses will logroll a patient to turn and position them while giving the patient a bedbath and when making an occupied bed (changing the sheets with the patient still in the bed).

Cathy Flynn, BSN, RN, Brooklyn, New York

From: SarahRose Werner (swerner nbnet.nb.ca)
Subject: Logrolling

Having had major abdominal surgery a few years ago, I know yet another definition for logrolling. It’s a technique that patients use to get out of bed after surgery without straining their healing abdominal muscles. The trick is to lie on your back and then roll onto your side at the edge of the bed, facing outwards. You then use your arms to rotate perpendicularly sideways so that your torso swings upright while your legs swing down. You end up sitting on the edge of the bed and can then stand up. (video, 3 min.)

SarahRose Werner, Saint John, Canada

From: Megan Hutching (hutching28 gmail.com)
Subject: Suffrage

I’m from New Zealand where, after a lengthy struggle led by women, we became the first country in the world to grant women the right to vote in general elections on 19 Sep 1893.

I tell everyone that when I retire I’m going to start a campaign to have 19 Sep made a national holiday.

Megan Hutching, Auckland, New Zealand

Email of the Week - Have an OLD’S COOL summer. Get your authentic on HERE.

From: Judith Stribling (jmstribling salisbury.edu)
Subject: suffrage

Your reference to the women’s suffrage movement reminded me of what I’d read about the Night of Terror in Nov 1917. Many of us grew up thinking that the “suffragettes” were as represented by the ridiculously depicted mother in the movie Mary Poppins. Few know of the beatings, torture, and starvation that were endured by women for demanding the right to vote. Victoria Claflin Woodhull ran for the US presidency in 1872, but it was not until 1920 that women were granted suffrage. On that night in November, after demonstrations and arrests that had continued since the previous spring, a group of women suffragists were especially brutally beaten by guards and confined in appalling conditions for picketing the White House. Although the facts of the events are not well-documented, it is certain that these women paid dearly for our right to vote and we owe it to them to cherish that right.

Judith Stribling, Bivalve, Maryland

From: Ian Gordon (awad ipgordon.me.uk)
Subject: Suffrage

Some years ago, one of those “hidden camera prank the public” programs in the US decided to find out how many people knew what this word meant, so they set up a stall asking people to sign a petition to “end women’s suffrage”. They got a disturbing number of signatures, from voters of both sexes. (video, 4 min.)

Ian Gordon, Surrey, UK

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Suffrage

The Greek equivalent of the Latin suffragium, namely ostraka, gave us the word ostracism. Ostraka, i.e. broken tiles, were used to scratch the name of a leader the Ancient Athenians wanted to send into five or ten years of exile (actually, only to a neighbouring polis), in order to prevent the emergence of a dictator. Such famous strategoi as Cleisthenes (himself the author of this practice), Miltiades, and Themistocles suffered this fate.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 gmail.com)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

The anagram to the right is composed of the letters in the five words below, and this heading:
1. shermanesque
2. carpetbagger
3. dog whistle
4. logrolling
5. suffrage
1.“I’ll abstain!”
2. candidate belonged somewhere else
3. hidden message for a target group
4. voting for each other might help (gets frowns)
5. equal rights worth fights
The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.
Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina

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

He declares, in a voice Shermanesque,
“I prefer the prestige of this desk --
and don’t wish to deprive
all the folks who derive
such fun from that man’s dumb burlesque!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The Donald, in ways grotesque,
Is a one-man, blowhard burlesque.
His mood often shifts
As he contradicts.
His mission is not Shermanesque.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

Of Ms. Trump they said, “She’s a target -- gag her!”
“No,” Donald said, “She’s our market -- snag her!”
“She’ll cause such a schism
Be gone plagiarism!
(and my rep as a yuge carpetbagger)!”
-Maggie Brady, Vancouver, Canada (exceedyourgrasp hotmail.com)

The politician, an old carpetbagger --
Is a has-been who walks with a stagger.
“I once was a great,”
He bemoans his fate,
In truth, he’s a GOP straggler.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

Ostensibly simply out strolling,
two congressmen ponder logrolling.
One avers, “My bill’s fine,”
but the other opines,
“It could use some judicious loopholing.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Ask the congressman good at logrolling,
and he’ll end up the system extolling.
“One hand washes the other --
That’s how things work, brother.
Bills get passed and we save lots on polling.”
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

A demagogue needs a dog whistle:
“Love is kind,” he may quote the Epistle.
His followers know
He means make Muslims glow
With the light of a nuclear missile.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Yes, Donald Trump’s message is clear,
He bloviates for all to hear,
Like a guided missile,
His words, a dog whistle,
That racists and bigots hold dear.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Said the men, “If we give women suffrage,
Our hallways and backrooms they’ll rummage.
They’ll give us such hassle
Right here in our castle,
C’mon, boys, let’s pull up the drawbridge!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“While fighting to gain equal rights
Brave women must climb to new heights.
We’ll cross every tough bridge
To win women’s suffrage
And get the White House in our sights.”
-Adam Perl, Ithaca, New York (adam pastimes.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Puns of electile dysfunction

I’m pretty shermanesque door neighbor won’t run for town council.

If he’s willing to caddy for nothing, don’t carpetbagger vance.

In most states, you’re breaking the logrolling and smoking joints.

My ex-girlfriend bought a dog whistle bite should I approach.

In Matthew 19:14, Jesus said (more or less), “Suffrage child to come unto me.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Words, when written, crystallize history; their very structure gives permanence to the unchangeable past. -Francis Bacon, essayist, philosopher, and statesman (1561-1626)

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