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AWADmail Issue 740

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

Sponsor’s Message: What’s ‘old school’ mean to you? A straight-razor shave? Cream whipped up with a whisk? You gotta be impressed by a man who stands up and looks you in the eye when he shakes your hand. A sincere ‘sorry’. White gloves in church. So, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Alex McCrae (see below), as well as all you traditionistas out there an absolute last chance to tell us what you value and love about the world we are losing or have already lost, and win some of our authentic ludic loot, to boot. ENTER The Old’s Cool Contest NOW.

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

With Dogs, It’s What You Say -- and How You Say It
The New York Times

Trump’s Tower of Babble
Foreign Policy

From: Aaron M. Dayton (aaron aarondayton.com)
Subject: top-hat

Top-hat is also a colloquial name for a theatrical lighting fixture accessory. It extends the barrel of a light fixture beyond the lens, cylindrically like a top-hat, to help prevent lights from blinding the audience.

Aaron M. Dayton, New York, New York

From: Paul Stieg (pstieg netscape.com)
Subject: Top Hat in automotive industry

In the automotive industry, a top hat is the upper body structure that sits on top of a set of motor vehicle underpinnings. This allows for building multiple vehicle styles on a common infrastructure. See, for example, Ford: Putting on the Top Hat (Automotive Design & Production).

Paul Stieg, Dearborn, Michigan

Email of the Week: Milk a dollar out of every dime, before it’s too late -- SHOP OLD’S COOL NOW.

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--top-hat

I was inspired by your vintage sidebar photo of President Lincoln to come up with a little caricature sketch of Honest Abe, sans hat, showing he was not only a top-hat of the first order, but a literal highbrow, as well. :-)

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: John Lepse (j.lepse att.net)
Subject: Top hat

I really must object to the photo of Abe Lincoln allegedly wearing a top hat. That is not a top hat. It’s a stove pipe hat. Some call them synonyms, but I beg to differ. See here.

John Lepse, Cedar Rapids, Iowa

From: Carl Guerci (carl.guerci verizon.net)
Subject: Comment on Quotation

The mind of a bigot to the pupil of the eye; the more light you pour on it, the more it contracts. -Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., poet, novelist, essayist, and physician (29 Aug 1809-1894)

Reading the quotation by Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. reminded me of one of those expressions management liked to throw out to bemuse us with their profound insight. The expression was “We are going to expand our aperture.” The aperture does more than control the amount of light passing through, it also determines the depth of field. A photographer will tell you an expanded aperture will let in more light but narrow the depth of field. Thus with a wide aperture you could focus on an object/person and everything outside the depth of field would be out of focus.

Mr. Holmes (a physician) is mistaken to state the pupil contracts. It is the iris, the aperture of the eye, that contracts. Furthermore, when the iris contracts, depth of field increases. The viewer would see the world more clearly to a greater depth. This seems to be inconsistent with the narrow focus of the bigoted mind.

Carl Guerci, Severna Park, Maryland

From: Nancy Schpatz (nns fuse.net)
Subject: Singular pieces of clothing

Your observation that some pieces of clothing are singular reminds me of my early days as a bride. One day my husband said, “Today I’m going to the barber and have my hairs cut.” Attempting to be a good wife I “corrected” him by saying, “You mean you are going to have your hair cut.” “No,” he replied, “I’m going to have the barber cut all of the hairs on my head, not just one hair.”

Nancy Schpatz, Cincinnati, Ohio

From: Jen Stosser (jstosser scopus.vic.edu.au)
Subject: bodice

I believe that the origin of the word bodice was two bodies as in when corsets are made from a right side and a left side and are laced together at the centres front and back.

Jen Stosser, Melbourne, Australia

From: Brian Dorsk (invinoveritas1 aol.com)
Subject: Words related to clothes

You truly “threaded the needle” addressing such issues as the foibles versus the traditions in haberdashery (Harry Truman, former President and haberdasher might appreciated our addressing this issue).

And remember Shakespeare’s Polonius to Laertes advising him that “Clothes make the man.” That, an oft-quoted speech, but if read carefully, I believe there to be, in my opinion, a self-contradictory element which I have never seen anyone else identify.

Brian M. Dorsk, MD, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

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

The anagram to the right is composed by using every letter in the five words below, plus the heading:
1. top-hat
2. coattail
3. hairshirt
4. stuffed shirt
5. slyboots
1. the very important sir; it’s his head attire
2. on the other’s worth; garment edge
3. self-abuse; hot fabric
4. stodgy; buttoned pillow
5. playful activist; high shoes
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

In “The Lion King,” Timon the meerkat
Is a wise-cracking, self-described top-hat.
He sings quite a lotta
“Hakuna Matata”
While Pumbaa defends him in combat.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

This guy marches in with a starry top-hat --
And a gun! “What in Hell are you doing with that?”
With a WHAM, and a BAM,
He says, “I’m Uncle Sam;
I’ll change yer regime fer ya. Requiescat.”
-Oliver Butterfield, Kelowna, Canada (oliver49 shaw.ca)

There once was a timid brown snail,
That clung to its father’s coattail.
“Son, in order to grow
Into lush escargot,
You need to become “snail male”.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

Said Melania, “Donald, your toenails
Are growing as long as your coattails.
My legs you will scratch
All the way to my thatch
And drag congressmen over the guardrails.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Said the priest to the boy, “It’s a hairshirt
If you dream that again, so beware, squirt.”
The kid had confessed
That his sheets he once messed
When begged Ernie, “Let’s have an affair, Bert.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The young girl asked him, “Does it hurt,
If you have to wear a hairshirt?”
The monk said, “yes and no,
Maybe just itchy, though.”
Said she, “What about a hairskirt?”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

When voting we must stay alert
for the name of some famous stuffed shirt.
Oh no, not again!
We’ve enough of such men!
It’s a trend that we hope to avert.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Disappointment you may well avert
if you’re skeptical of a stuffed shirt.
He may strut like a god
but it’s all a facade.
Look at Donald. Need I reassert?
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“If you act like a boring stuffed shirt,”
Said the lady, “I’ll keep on my skirt.
A man into farming
I thought would find charming
To do it outside in the dirt.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The Donald was in cahoots
With Putin, though he refutes
That this “bromance”
Ever had a chance,
But who can trust a slyboots?
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

“Yes, a brute -- but at least one of my brutes,”
Said Vlad Putin, that mischievous slyboots;
“I’ll bond with the Don,
NATO soon’ll be gone,
And we’ll have great High Times on our guy-toots."
-Oliver Butterfield, Kelowna, Canada (oliver49 shaw.ca)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: And in clothing...

“He will tophat nothing to improve his social standing.”

“Will you please coattail your toadying?”

I told the masochist, “Hairshirt ticket to be flogged.”

The waiter said, “Have the flounder (stuffed)... shirt to please you.”

When Stallone fired his publicist, the headline read, “Sly Boots Agent.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground. -Noah Webster, lexicographer (1758-1843)

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