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AWADmail Issue 772

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

Sponsor’s Message: We’re a 100% American, proudly-independent (some would say quixotic and recalcitrant) design studio, so spring is our favorite holiday, if you know what we mean. “Old’s Cool” sums up our philosophy of life in a neat little turn of phrase -- old school with a shot of wry, served neat. In that spirit, we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Steve Glass (see below), as well as all rebels, renegades, disrupters, and dreamers everywhere 19% off everything in store -- through midnight Monday only. BUY into “Old’s Cool” NOW -- and be sure to use coupon code “easterbunny”.

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

A Jordan Bookseller’s 24-Hour “Emergency Room for the Mind”
Atlas Obscura

The Elements of Bureaucratic Style

From: Buddy Gill (e-rgill2 juno.com)
Subject: Orphic

I cannot think of Orpheus and Eurydice without remembering the award-winning film, Black Orpheus, in which that tragic love story is set in the context of a favela in Rio de Janeiro during Carnaval.

Buddy Gill, Black Mountain, North Carolina

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

The eighteenth-century opera by Christoph Willibald Gluck, Orfeo ed Euridice, is a typical rococo take on the original story. In it the deus-ex-machina appearance of Amore, Goddess of Love, makes for a happy ending in which the lovers’ abiding love is allowed to reunite them in happy harmony, despite the mutual desire they had mistakenly succumbed to at the first try of exiting Hades.

Jacques Offenbach’s operetta a century later mercilessly satirizes this saccharine version of the actual myth. What both works share in common though is the delightful music that supersedes the two composers’ respective agenda.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Steven Stine (scstine1672 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--myrmidon

In popular culture, the animal associated with blind obedience is the lemming. Supposedly, these creatures follow each other over a cliff to mass suicide. The story, however, is based solely on a Disney nature “special” which we now know was a complete fabrication.

Steven Stine, Highland Park, Illinois

Email of the Week: Cheek. Heart. Guts. BUY into “Old’s Cool” TODAY.

From: Steve Glass (steve_glass pitzer.edu)
Subject: Myrmidons

Whether or not the Myrmidons belong primarily to mythology, history, or a blend of both is a matter long discussed and long unresolved. Does Homer’s Iliad record, however inventively, historical events? Achilles and his Myrmidons appear in Homer’s “Catalogue of Ships” in Book II of the Iliad. Is that “Catalogue” in any way a dependable historical document as it is often claimed? As the multi-lingual scholarship on these questions remains unceasing to this day, the assumption that Myrmidons belong strictly or mainly to the world of mythology is no more than that: an assumption.

Stephen L. Glass, John A. McCarthy Professor Emeritus of Classics & Classical Archaeology, Pitzer College: The Claremont Colleges, Claremont, California

From: Hope Schneider (alimhope1 netzero.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--amazon

Shouldn’t the etymology mention that the word means “without breast”, and the story that goes with it: That women warriors would cut off a breast to keep it from impeding a drawn bowstring -- even though that may be just a story?

Hope Schneider, Greenfield, Massachusetts

The etymology of the word is uncertain. There are many conjectures but there’s no evidence of such a practice. Amazons have been depicted with both breasts in works of art.
-Anu Garg

Amazon preparing for the battle (Queen Antiope or Armed Venus) - Pierre-Eugene-Emile Hebert 1860 - NG of Arts Wash DC rotated and cropped
Amazon preparing for the battle
By Pierre-Eugene-Emile Hebert, 1860

From: John Duray (durayj gmail.com)
Subject: Christopher Hitchens quotation

What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens, author and journalist (13 Apr 1949-2011)

Attribution of Thursday’s quotation to Christopher Hitchens may not be supported with sufficient evidence. I believe he is credited with translation of the Latin maxim: Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

Jack Duray, Grand Junction, Colorado

From: Graham Sutton (grahams99 tesco.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--muse

Muse: in Athens this is often rendered into English as “mouse”. So on a fine spring day you can sit among wild flowers on the Hill of the Mouse, looking across at the Parthenon, and muse on whether dance, theatre, mousic, and so on all had their own presiding Mouse.

Graham Sutton, West Yorks, UK

From: Stephen Posey (stephenlposey earthlink.net)
Subject: muse

It might aMUSE folks to know there is a series of streets in New Orleans devoted to the nine muses, in order along St. Charles Ave. starting at Lee Circle.

Stephen Posey, Hixson, Tennessee


From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: amazon and muse

For Salvador Dali, wife and confidant, Gala, was his muse. She was portrayed in numerous guises, noted personages of both ancient myth and world history, from Leda to the Madonna. Dali once proclaimed, “I love Gala more than my mother, better than my father, better than Picasso, and even better than money.”

Here’s my take on a beaming amazon warrior princess meeting the online mega-retail outlet Amazon. Curiously, I discovered that that upswept abstract orange arrow in the Amazon logo is symbolic of the smile of satisfaction the Amazon customer flashes in happily shopping on their website... and in this cartoony take, that very arrow incorporated as the broad smiling countenance of my amazon femme fatale.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.

1. orphic
2. myrmidon
3. nemesis
4. amazon
5. muse
= 1. deep
2. minion
3. harm
4. scary mum’s size
5. moon
= 1. charm
2. zoom!
3. enemy
4. I’m a Ms.
5. sound, inspire!
= 1. is so deep
2. crony
3. ruin
4. a man-size mom
5. hmm
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Josiah Winslow, West Allis, Wisconsin (josiah12301 yahoo.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

She was blonde with a shape ectomorphic.
Her song to the POTUS was orphic.
He whispered to Bobby,
“Go out to the lobby,
And tell her I’m feeling endorphic.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpower wowway.com)

As Hamlet reflects on poor Yorick,
the theater’s atmosphere orphic
is marred by rude crunching.
She whispers, while munching,
“This popcorn is quite low-caloric!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

There’s a tale of a flutist from Norfolk,
Whose body was quite ectomorphic.
He was frighteningly thin,
But with a flute at his chin,
He played music breathtakingly orphic.
-Kathy Deutsch, Melbourne, Australia (kathy deutsch.net.au)

In London, the Third Duke of Norfolk
Was caught in conspiracies orphic.
Cried he thence, “Henry’s Church
Leaves the Pope in the lurch!”
From a cell in the Tower historic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

My boss’s commands leave me cold.
I don’t simply do as I’m told.
No myrmidon I!
And that tells you why
My title I no longer hold.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The Count of Monte “Crisco” -- no kiddin’
Kept his recipe for Bundt cake well-hidden.
Yet, when pressed to reveal,
He finally would squeal,
At heart he’s a naive myrmidon.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

At Nuremberg Trial each one
Had claimed to be a myrmidon.
“Just following orders,”
Cried Hitler’s supporters,
That’s how atrocities are done.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The nemesis whom we should dread
Is Putin, it’s often been said.
He’s evil, they swear--
He’s no teddy bear.
Trump’s called for his friendship instead.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“Nemesis is mine” quoth a god
to a couple who in Eden trod,
when a voice to them spake,
alas, ‘twas a snake,
now the garden’s no longer their sod.
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

“I don’t mean to sound like a pessimist,”
Said Bannon, the Chief White Supremacist.
“But judge after judge
On our orders won’t budge,
Constitutional rights are our nemesis.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I miss tall C.J. Cregg, brainy Amazon
whose skills the Press Corps could rely upon.
Now we have little Sean
who can be counted on
to screw up; a crass, clueless phenomenon.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Those powerful females are fine
Ever since we’ve had Title IX.
It’s cool for a school
When Amazons rule
And in competition they shine.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

A six-foot-six girl from Saskatchewan
Was a genius at playing the carillon.
Her suitcase she packed
And on tour took her act:
“The Canadian Musical Amazon.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

As I groped for an apposite word,
I appealed to my Muse; she demurred
on the grounds that my verse
grows increasingly worse
and my lim’ricks are simply absurd.
-Glenn R. Diamond, Highland Park, New Jersey (slartibartfastx yahoo.com)

I’ve a mischievous limerick muse
whose promptings I cannot refuse.
Strict with rhyme and with meter
she couldn’t be sweeter --
unless we are watching the news.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

In church when you kneel in the pews
Or in airport security queues
Though you offer a prayer
You still never know where
You’ll be struck by the Limerick Muse.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Achilles had his Myrmidons
But nary a single Amazon.
Sadly, he did early lose,
Erato, his orphic muse.
Another year is anon; he’ll just have to soldier on.
-C. William Elliott, Sarasota, Florida (evenports msn.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Hit or myth puns

The finale’s soaring crescendo gave me goose flesh. It was end orphic!

Achilles told his troops, “Hush!”, but they myrmidon.

When making a pun, let a homonym assis’.

Toppled newscaster Paula said, “I overspent ‘cause I amazon.”

“I have a muse that’s right up my alley,” said the Brit.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Did you know that the worldwide food shortage that threatens up to five hundred million children could be alleviated at the cost of only one day, only ONE day, of modern warfare. -Peter Ustinov, actor, writer and director (16 Apr 1921-2004)

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