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AWADmail Issue 745

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

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

Google’s Quest To Design A Typeface For Every Language On Earth

Racist Social Media Users Have A New Code To Avoid Censorship

You Say “Anguria”, I Say “Cocomero”: Italy’s Many Dialects
The New York Times

Children with Tourette Syndrome Are Faster at Aspects of Language Than Typically Developing Children
Newcastle University

From: David Wootten (yard-dawg farmerstel.com)
Subject: Words for next week (re: narcissism)

I certainly hope, in the spirit of equal time and fairness, next week you will feature words applicable to the other candidate... like pathological liar, murderer, traitor, sociopath...

David Wootten, Acworth, Georgia

As expected, this week of words brought a flood of comments, both in email and on the website. Also, as expected, subscription cancellations.

Among other things, some took the opportunity to call Obama a narcissist. Some even called me a narcissist. They offered no evidence in support of either claim. Still, good to know that I have at least one thing in common with the President of the United States.

A recurring strain in these comments was that Trump may be bad, but Hillary is equally bad, or worse.

Is she?

Over the years I have seen corrupt lawmakers and officials charged, prosecuted, and sent to prison. Both Republicans and Democrats.

Over the course of her four decades in public life, Republicans have had her and her husband investigated numerous times. None of these amounted to much.

There are two possibilities here: either she is extraordinarily sharp and Republicans extraordinarily inept, or the accusations had little merit and were witchhunts (example).

Here’s a tip: When even former prosecutors (see here and here) of the Clintons now praise or endorse them, perhaps it’s time to rethink your assumptions (and start watching something a little more trustworthy than Fox News).

You have made some serious allegations. It’s possible you have uncovered some new evidence to back them up. So instead of emailing a relatively inconsequential organization such as Wordsmith.org, I encourage you to turn it over to the FBI. You may also want to write to a news outlet of your choice. Imagine what Fox News could do with the evidence you have of a murder!

At any rate, thanks for writing. I appreciated hearing from you (I guess sometimes I lie too).

-Anu Garg

PS: This is the latest story that shows what Trump is: a racist who lives in an alternate reality.

PPS: If you read only one thing between now and Nov 8, read this from a man who wrote an anti-Hillary book and started an anti-Hillary PAC.

From: Dave Campbell (museumofdave gmail.com)
Subject: Trumplandia

You will doubtless have rafts of folks decry your week’s focus, and most of them will probably tell you to stick to defining words and stay out of politics or attempt to focus their anger on the other candidate in order to justify their choice of a clearly indefensible choice.

Bravo to you! History is full of examples where people with influence and intelligence did not speak out against a clear social menace, did not speak up when the bedrock of a culture was being clearly undermined, failed to speak when the powers of dark persuasion lined up against civil discourse. As a long-time subscriber to AWAD, I congratulate you and encourage your site to speak out against what is clearly destructive.

Dave Campbell, Chico, California

From: Jan Schwartz (jschwartz comverge.com)
Subject: Thanks

As a writer/editor, I’ve been nourished by A.Word.A.Day for years and have enjoyed your books. As a thinking and feeling member of the human race, I’ve felt supported by your world views -- expressed so well in A Thought For Today -- ranging the gamut from human rights to animal rights.

So, as we continue to see more and more public figures risk wrath and backlash coloring their personal brand by taking public stands, I applaud your boldness this week in calling out the populist abomination now one step away from controlling this nation. You are certain to lose subscribers because of this, and I’m sure you knew that. But you also certainly understand righteous behavior doesn’t come without cost. So Anu Garg: I applaud you. And I thank you for this and all the educating you continue to do to lift the consciousness of people throughout this country.

Jan Schwartz, East Hanover, New Jersey

From: Tanya Flemons (TLFlemons verizon.net)
Subject: This week’s topic

This week’s selection references are reeeeally scary this week. Maybe you should’ve saved them for Halloween. Hah!

Tanya Flemons, Washington, DC

From: William Abbott (wbabbott3 comcast.net)
Subject: Narcissism

I have always believed that Narcissus did not “fall in love” with himself but rather he fell in love with his image. That’s very different.

Bill Abbott, Saratoga, California

Email of the Week: Milk a dime out of every dollar, before we change our minds - SHOP OLD’S COOL NOW.

From: Cynthia Dzendzel (cyndzen earthlink.net)
Subject: Thank you!

Understanding that Narcissus was in love with his own reflection makes the stories about Trump’s using his foundation money to buy his portrait and hang it at his golf club so he could look at it make the use of the word narcissism to describe Trump much more meaningful. I have forwarded this to all my friends.

Cynthia Dzendzel, Felton, California

From: Mark Parry (parryma umkc.edu)
Subject: narcissism

Some related, but lesser-known, words:

Seminarcissism: an excessive love of tedious reading lists
Knarcissism: an excessive love of knotty wood
Dinarcissism: an excessive love of Middle Eastern currency
Lunarcissism: an excessive love of the moon
Planarcissim: an excessive love of geometry
Gnarcissism: an excessive reaction to bad puns

Mark Parry, Kansas City, Missouri

From: Murray Bourne (mbourne intmath.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--lien

Each time I come across mention of the the philanthropic Lien Foundation (which concentrates on early childhood education, eldercare and water sustainability, named after its founder Dr Lien Ying Chow) here in Singapore, I think of the word lien, a very different kind of bond.

Murray Bourne, Singapore

From: Eric Plumlee (eplumlee ra.rockwell.com)
Subject: Vitriol

While borrowed both into English and German from French, German speakers make greater use of the word Vitrine, a glass display cabinet. It wasn’t a word I used regularly until my wife bought one for our living room, and she knew no other name for it.

Eric Plumlee, Niederlenz, Switzerland

From: Alan Etherington (alan-e ntlworld.com)
Subject: Vitriol

It seems that there are all sorts of different coloured vitriols -- red, green, blue, white, black -- and all are hydrated salts of sulphuric acid and various metals (sorry, I’m British and refuse to be dragged into using the “f” instead of the “ph” -- it could be said that “there is no f in sulphuric acid”, a cry occasionally heard in our lab).

There is a differentiation between oil of vitriol and sweet oil of vitriol, the former being sulphuric acid and the latter diethyl ether. Both are things not to be played with.

Alan Etherington, Billingham, UK

From: Matthew Lanna (LannaMatt aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--vitriol

That was my personal experience with priests in the Catholic church during my youth. They preferred that I not question and investigate what was being taught -- on faith alone -- because rational common sense would have undermined their teachings. To think on your own was a serious sin; to question God was the pathway to Hell.

Every organized religion does the same thing, even today in an Age of Enlightenment.

Dr. Matt Lanna, Prof, CUNY, retired, Ossining, New York

From: Alex McCrae (mccrae7474 roadrunner.com)
Subject: Demagogue and narcissism

Illustration: Alex McCrae
Illustration: Alex McCrae
If, indeed, a trophy were to be awarded for “Demagogue of the Year”, the “Great Bloviator” himself, 2016 GOP presidential candidate, Donald Trump, would win (small) hands down. From his “bully pulpit”, Trump celebrates the “under-educated”; declares opting for multiple personal bankruptcies a virtue; advocates for raising walls between nations; continues to denigrate ethnic minorities; and puts down women at every turn. As the current poster-boy for blatant political demagoguery, boorish Trump clearly has no equal.

Ancient Greek mythological figure, Narcissus, fell in love with his own reflection in the mirrored surface of a pond. Sigmund Freud, as was his inclination, in deriving much of his novel psychoanalytic-speak from ancient myth and legend, coined his clinical term narcissism. Donald Trump clearly exhibits most of the telltale traits of the classic narcissist. Hmm... even the good Dr. Freud would have been impressed... or might that be... depressed?

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. narcissism
2. lien
3. vitriol
4. precarious
5. demagogue
1. ‘god’ ego
2. claim
3. sarcasm
4. unsure
5. evil in priorities
The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.

Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina

From: Robert Jordan (alfiesdad ymail.com)
Subject: This week’s words anagrammed

1. narcissism
2. lien
3. vitriol
4. precarious
5. demagogue
1. airs: ego is a drug
2. claims
3. venom
4. perilous
5. inciter

Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand

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

This epitome of narcissism
has shown a disquieting schism
‘tween his words and the truth
and it fills me, in sooth,
with foreboding and deep pessimism.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

The Donald’s not only a narcissist,
Our values he’d torch like an arsonist.
Support he’s recruitin’
From Vladimir Putin?
I’m calm, but that’s due to my pharmacist.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Farm workers, unpaid, vent their spleen
by putting in place legal liens
on ev’ry field known
where pumpkins are grown.
Alas, it’s a sad Halloween!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

A loss by his businesses huge
Was a 20-year tax-free refuge.
With the multiple liens
On his gambling machines
He engaged in financial subterfuge.
-Gigi Pagani, San Rafael, California (gigi4cats gmail.com)

Says the Donald to girls of eighteen,
“Miss Piggy, I’d try Lean Cuisine.”
He continues on Twitter,
“Her clothes do not fit her,
She’s HUGE, like a Trump Tower lien!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Some voters naively extol
his virtues, but we are appalled
by his brashness and crudeness,
his trash-talking rudeness,
and rash, unabashed vitriol.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Shouted Trump, overflowing with vitriol,
“So what if my taxes are trivial!
I keep all my booty
Because it’s my duty
To give late-night comics material.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“My wives have been many and various,”
Says Trump, “And it’s always precarious.
From Pisces to Taurus
They nag like a chorus.
Next time I should try Sagittarius.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
Author’s note: Ivana is a Pisces and Melania a Taurus. I couldn’t quite fit in Marla, a Scorpio. But the “from....to” formulation is intended to cover her within the range as the middle wife.

Some say that Trump is precarious,
Listing examples various,
If taxes he’d release,
Criticism might cease,
Or expose acts nefarious.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

When people are shouting, “You demagogue!”
It sounds to the Donald like “demigod”.
“But why only half?”
He complains, “Do the math,
For they love me in church and in synagogue.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Each week a new dialogue
Springs forth from same demagogue.
The Donald won’t quit
Even though he’s unfit,
An example of “Past is prologue.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodth snet.net)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Another hit and misc week

The split in the GOP is wide, narcissism going to heal easily.

Miss a payment and the mob sends Vito to lien on you.

Instead of using blanks, the angry official starts races vitriol bullets.

Precarious, he was known as Archibald Leach.

Trump’s words leave each demagogue (and many republicans, too.)

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

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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