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AWADmail Issue 781

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

Sponsor’s Message: What does old school mean to you? “You’re welcome” instead of “No problem”? How about: saddle shoes, white handkerchiefs and white gloves? A hand-written note. Hitchhiking. Commmon sense. A sense of humor. Let us know whuhchew think -- we’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, Bruce Floyd (see below), as well as all you traditionistas out there the chance to tell us what you miss most about the world we are losing or perhaps have already lost. You may even win some of our authentic, ludic loot to boot. The Old’s Cool Contest runs all week, but why don’t you just ENTER NOW.

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

Reviving a Lost Language of Canada Through Film
The New York Times

Turkey’s President Wants to Purge Western Words from Its Language
The Economist

From: Jerome Vered (jyvpadishah gmail.com)
Subject: Satrap

So happy to see the old Persian because every Purim the book of Esther is read aloud in services and the Hebrew word for satrap also from Persian is so dissimilar to satrap: Akhashdarpan (plural akhashdarp’nim). So common root makes it understandable: no sh in Greek, khsh difficult consonant blend in Hebrew.

Jerome Vered, Los Angeles, California

From: Nabeela Al Mulla (safeerku yahoo.com)
Subject: Derwish

In Arab-speaking regions, derwish may mean an innocent or naive man or one with meagre means.

Nabeela Al Mulla, Kuwait

From: Helen Pringle (justicegd aol.com)
Subject: Dervish

The derivation from Persian “darvish” (poor, beggar) is not descriptive of the MLB Texas Rangers’ ace pitcher, Yu Darvish. Son of a Japanese mother and an Iranian father who met at college in the US, he is 6'5" tall, handsome, accomplished, and well-paid. On the pitcher’s mound his movements are anything but “frenzied”, controlled, accurate, and the bane of opposing batters.

Helen Pringle, Leander, Texas

From: Abhimanyu Sarvagyam (abhimanyu.sarvagyam gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--baksheesh

This word reminded me of this passage in Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad. It was a question in a quiz (c. 2010) with the keyword blanked out.

“They hung to the horses’ tails, clung to their manes and the stirrups, closed in on every side in scorn of dangerous hoofs -- and out of their infidel throats, with one accord, burst an agonizing and most infernal chorus: ‘Howajji, _________! howajji, _________! howajji, _________! _________! _________!’ I never was in a storm like that before.”

I was the only one in the room who guessed the answer: *Baksheesh*. Brought back wonderful memories.

Abhimanyu Sarvagyam, Hyderabad, India

From: Stephen Gottschalk (smoltz btinternet.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--baksheesh

I believe baksheesh gave rise to the word buckshee. This was British army slang used chiefly in the First and Second World Wars to describe anything obtained gratuitously (e.g. rations). My stepfather, who had served with the army in Ceylon, would often recite a song that included the lines “Sixteen annas one rupee, Seventeen annas one buckshee” and finished “Queen Victoria very good bibi”.

Stephen Gottschalk, London, UK

Email of the Week: Brought to you by OLD’S COOL -- Backward and Upward!

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: Thought of the day

The longest day must have its close -- the gloomiest night will wear on to a morning. An eternal, inexorable lapse of moments is ever hurrying the day of the evil to an eternal night, and the night of the just to an eternal day. -Harriet Beecher Stowe, abolitionist and novelist (14 Jun 1811-1896)

Your thought of the day, dealing with the inexorable passage of time regardless of circumstances, reminds me of something Macbeth says early in the play. He has just heard the prophecy of the three witches, heard a part of it come true, he (Macbeth) is now Thane of Cawdor. He wonders what time will bring, if, indeed, the witches do speak true, and he says, as if he too knows the ineluctable flow of time, its inevitability, both relentless and, I suppose, remorseless and indifferent -- but, above all, revealing. Says Macbeth:

Come what may,
and the hour run through the roughest day.

Thank God it is so. No doubt what is monstrous about chronic pain is that it ignores time, is unassuaged by the ticking clock or the unpaging of the calendar. One could endure the most acute agony did one know with the rising sun that the torment would, like the dew, evaporate.

Who was it who said that thoughts of suicide have gotten many a melancholy-racked man through a hard night until light finally seeps through an interstice in a blind and allows hope to sliver in to bring a dollop of relief to the clock that beats in the breast, counting, sure as anything, the thuds that work toward a finite number.

It was poor Delmore Schwartz who said, “Time is the school in which we learn, / Time is the fire in which we burn.”

Oh, well, the roughest day will surrender to time and the hour, and the oldest man will surely die. Out of this truth has come many a lyric poem, heartbreaking and yet affirmative. Is not Time the kink in the self-conscious mind, the indomitable human predicament, the tragic vision of our little lives?

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

From: Alexander Nix (revajnix yahoo.co.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ayatollah

Doing the ayatollah or tollah is well-known to me from my time living in Wales and watching Cardiff City football games where it is a form of celebration. (video, 1 min.)

Alexander Nix, Cambridge, UK

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: dervish and ayatollah

Perpetual dynamo, devilish Taz, may not know how to “cut-a-rug” (dance), but he sure knows how to roll ‘em up. Here, the mischievous toon has taken a pair of bamboozled Persian carpet traders for a whirl... and that’s literally a “wrap”.

“Khomeini kills at Club Fa-LAUGH-el’s” -- lead ‘header’ / “The Tehran Tattler”. Who knew that the Iranian Supreme leader, Ayatollah Khomeini, often honed his dogmatic sectarian shtick on the standup comedy stage? You quite rightly might surmise that he had “captive” audiences.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Paula Markgraf (paula.markgraf gmail.com)
Subject: Persian

Thanks for the week of Persian words. Here’s a little Rumi to make your day:

When someone comes in and boasts “It is I,”
Immediately, I beat him fiercely about the head --
“This is the Mosque of Love, you animal, not a stable!”
(Translated by Andrew Harvey, Light Upon Light)

Paula Markgraf, Ventura, California

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

The text in each box is an anagram of the text in other boxes.
1. satrap
2. dervish
3. baksheesh
4. ayatollah
5. pasha
= 1. vassal
2. he prays
3. a hot tip
4. kasbah leader
5. shah
= 1. shaykh
2. abdal (ever leapt)
3. sop
4. a star Shia
5. shah
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

The man in the White House -- that Trump chap --
Has appointed some really poor satraps.
Soon the whole world will shun
The country he runs.
They will say, “We are tired of this crap.”
-Judith S. Fox, Teaneck, New Jersey (Jsfoxrk aol.com)

We’d all sound like drunks at a bar, see,
If we tried to say satrap in Farsi.
Khshathrapavan is slick
When you’re speaking Tajik,
But in English it’s too hard to Parsi.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (pmorrow alaska.edu)

He was tired of being a satrap
But was quickly becoming a grey chap.
Said his wife, “Dye your hair
And buy something to wear
And the bosses your shoulder just may tap.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpower wowway.com)

Said Pence as a young Hoosier satrap,
“You boys need to cut out the gay crap.
They tried it in Sodom
And God’s judgment got ‘em.
A Christian should only a maid zap.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Two Maryland satraps are skewering
The Donald for entrepreneuring.
Their cites Constitutional,
His defense convolutional,
But seems that he’s simply manuring.
-Anna C Johnston, Home Valley, Washington (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

We can never know what he might say,
but untruths often come into play.
With locution unnervish
he’ll whirl like a dervish --
tweets by night and on camera by day.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

“In Jazzercise class I’m a dervish,”
Said the model, “It’s how I stay girlish.
On buns made of steel
I then sit for each meal
And my body severely malnourish.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

She seemed to find her niche
Leading lots of dogs on a leash.
She’d even scoop
A ton of poop.
It paid well, and she got baksheesh.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

When having a hunger attack, she’s
quite happy to say, “A Big Mac, please!”
Her budget is tight,
so the price is just right --
and there’s no one expecting a baksheesh.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

As I counted my scant baksheesh,
I felt an urge to shout, “Oh, Jeeeez!”
What a real cheapskate.
May I never wait
This guy’s table again .. oh, please!
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (loscamil aol.com)

A real Scotsman like Angus MacLeish
Wouldn’t ever be seen eating quiche.
When he wanted a piece
He’d send agents to Nice
To obtain it by means of baksheesh.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Trump, the picture of an Ayatollah,
Paced the White House while sipping a cola.
“I’m tellin” ya, Pence,
This job is intense,
I’d rather play golf in Angola.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Trump was known as a high roller.
Now in White House he sips cola.
While his aides for relief
Don’t say, “Hail to the Chief,”
Whisper, “Aye, aye, ayatollah.”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In Qom lived a grand ayatollah
Who subsisted on cheese and granola.
“From France to Korea
We spread our Sharia,”
Said he, “like a nice Gorgonzola.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He won’t listen to any advice.
Says and does things without thinking twice,
bad enough to abash a
self-confident pasha.
In short, the man’s not very nice.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

I’m sorry to say this, but gosh, does
it not look to you like our pasha’s
loose coats and long ties
advertise, not disguise,
his over-consumption of noshes?
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“Vun day I vill be a great pasha,”
Said Boris to sultry Natasha.
“But still on ze loose
Are zat sqvirrel and moose.
I vill tempt zem viz poison kielbasa.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Puns to persian your mind

“Tell me, ‘satrap big enough to hold a coyote?”

The gypsy said, “Give me 1,000 euros and dervish vill come true.”

“The mob’s protection-money thug is back...sheesh!”

“When she, uh, said, ‘I’m leaving you,’ ayatollah, “G-g-good r-r-riddance.”

Most Sunnis think Ali Khamenei is a pasha nut Shiite.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

The problem with being sure that God is on your side is that you can’t change your mind, because God sure isn’t going to change His. -Roger Ebert, film-critic (18 Jun 1942-2013)

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