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AWADmail Issue 791

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

Savoring the Spanish of My Youth, as the Language Marches On
The New York Times

Peru’s Indigenous-Language Push
The Economist

Deciphering the Lingo of Pro-Trump Trolls
Public Radio International

From: J Scott Morrison (jscottmorrison77 gmail.com)
Subject: Parergon

Richard Strauss’s Parergon on his orchestral piece, Symphonia Domestica (1924), is something of an oddity on several counts. Aside from the relative scarcity of piano music for the left hand, the work is unusual in that it is both an original composition unto itself and a kind of commentary on another of the composer’s works. Strauss composed the Parergon on commission from one-handed Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein, who was also the driving force behind such one-handed masterpieces as Ravel’s Concerto for the Left Hand (1929-31) and Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 4 (1931).

J Scott Morrison, Middlebury, Vermont

Email of the Week -- Hey, Nineteen -- Shop The Wicked/Smart Word Game now.

From: Ignacio Castuera (agne23 aol.com)
Subject: Charb

I’d prefer to die on my feet than to live on my knees. -Charb (pen name of Stephane Charbonnier), caricaturist and journalist (21 Aug 1967-2015)

I grew up in Mexico and came to the US in 1960. As a child I heard Charb’s statement but in Spanish, of course, and reported as having been one of Zapata’s rallying cries: Prefiero morir de pie que vivir de rodillas. I think both Charb and Zapata might have been quoting some unknown thinker.

Ignacio Castuera, Claremont, California

From: Carolyn C Martin (carokei msn.com)
Subject: deterge

I remember when “detergents” first hit the market -- late 40s, early 50s -- replacing laundry and dishwashing soap. We marvelled at all those luscious suds, unaware that within a few decades we would be deploring the pollution of our water supplies.

Carolyn C Martin, Litchfield, Connecticut

From: Richard Stallman (rms gnu.org)
Subject: Use of detergents

How should a girl prevent boys from getting infatuated with her? Use a detergent regularly, and when that fails, apply the antidote.

Richard Stallman, Boston, Massachusetts

From: Sarah S. Sole (via website comments)
Subject: trangam

What fun to meet a word I have never seen or heard before. I have almost run out of words for electrical devices babies seem to be holding when they are born, words like doo-dads, gadgets, thingies. Great-granddaughter Charlee is six and not fully educated yet. She recently acquired a phone with the usual buttons, including an oversized one. When she punches it and says, “Call Nanny”, a robo-voice says, “Call Nanny.” And her grandmother is magically contacted. Ain’t life grand??

Sarah S. Sole, Enid, Oklahoma

From: Bob Richmond (via website comments)
Subject: Synoptic

“Synoptic” has come to have a specialized use in cancer medicine. A synoptic pathology report uses a closely specified format to describe the details of an individual patient’s cancer. Synoptic reporting is one of the requirements for the certification of a regional cancer center.

Bob Richmond, Maryville, Tennessee

From: Mary Postellon (mpostellon hotmail.com)
Subject: synoptic

When our daughter enrolled at Kenyon College, one of the small New England liberal-arts schools with which Ohio is dotted, we were surprised to hear students and faculty speaking of synoptic majors. These were fields of study designed by the students themselves to unite topics not previously seen as sufficiently connected to require a department of their own. Women’s religious history would be an example.

Mary Postellon, Grand Rapids, Michigan

From: Helen Pringle (justicegd aol.com)
Subject: Another thought...

Bullets cannot be recalled. They cannot be uninvented. But they can be taken out of the gun. -Martin Amis, novelist (b. 25 Aug 1949)

Personal corollary for Martin Amis’s trenchant thought:
Harsh words cannot be recalled. They cannot be unthought. But they can be unspoken.

Helen Pringle, Leander, Texas

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: trangam & deterge

As an early “baby boomer” I grew up with an array of here-today-gone-tomorrow recreational gizmos, from Wham-o’s Hacky Sack and Hula Hoop to the mesmerizing Slinky. Oh, and can’t forget the yo-yo... quite the sensation.

Today’s youngsters have many distractions, from video games, iPods, the Internet, and smartphones. Yet, occasionally, some must-have new gadget comes along to capture the curiosities of millions of young folk (and adults), such as the current rage, the finger spinner (aka fidget spinner). Tune in a few years from now, and I predict finger spinners will have gone the way of the dodo. But I could be wrong.

“Mr. Clean”... “He cleans your house, and everything that’s in it!”

As I was growing up in 1950s Canada, along with the animated promo characters “Tony the Tiger”, “Snap, Crackle & Pop”, “Speedy Alka-Seltzer”, “The Pillsbury Dough Boy”, and “The Jolly Green Giant”, the bald-pated, beaming he-man, “Mr. Clean”, dominated our commercial TV-scape.

We consumers were persuaded to believe that this muscle-bound gent, or at least his eponymously named all-purpose cleaning agent, could handle the toughest deterge challenges found around the grimiest of humble abodes.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. parergon
2. deterge
3. trangam
4. transitive
5. synoptic
= 1. minor point
2. scrape
3. gadget
4. transient
5. very great
= 1. a minor interest
2. preen
3. gadget, toy
4. vagrant
5. crisp
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

Oak barrels. He samples libation
from each of the casks. Explanation?
“Well, tasting the bourbon
is just a parergon.
The aging’s my main occupation!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

The bleached blonde and her handsome ex-con
Were excited to try marriage on.
He said, “Babe, you’re my type,
Let’s forego all the hype
By eloping, my sweet parergon.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

As Moishe was trawling Lake Huron,
In his head one day fired a neuron.
“I’ll smoke all these fishes
And bake some knishes.
A deli could be my parergon!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I listen to newscasts each night;
I’m disturbed by racism’s might.
Can we never deterge
This blight, this scourge
That too often obscures the light?
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

When I see a stray cat I’ve the urge
In my bathtub its coat to deterge.
But I soon give up hope
As the water and soap
With my blood, sweat, and tears quickly merge.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpower wowway.com)

Cinderella, all clothed in plain serge,
was forced the whole house to deterge.
While her sisters went dancing
and with princes were prancing,
fairy’s slippers helped Cindy emerge!
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Again words and politics merge,
As more horrors go on to emerge.
Folks were so besotted,
They never pre-spotted,
And now Trump they’d like to deterge.
-Judith S. Fox, Teaneck, New Jersey (jsfoxrk aol.com)

When it’s time to the dishes deterge,
I’m beset by a powerful urge.
Of dessert I had seconds,
The ball game now beckons,
I won’t from my man-cave emerge.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

There once was a rather free fellow
Who thought that with all gals was mellow.
His feelings transitive
Thought each man it gives
Rights as one has in bordello.
-Chris Papa, Colts Neck, New Jersey (doxite32 gmail.com)

The Phoenix bird legend don’t scorn.
That trangam played out Tuesday morn.
With bad-tempered rants,
And old campaign chants,
The true Orange One was reborn.
-Anna C Johnston, Coarsegold, California (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

“I give them a prize or a trangam,
And beautiful girls let me bang ‘em,”
Said Donald on tape,
“But with those who cry ‘Rape,’
I just settle the lawsuits and thank ‘em.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I love my wife and she likes her mom,
then by transitive logic, I shouldn’t have any qualm
to embrace my dear mother-in-law,
coming towards me all tooth and claw,
unless I can sidestep her with my customary aplomb.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Wakefield, Massachusetts (mukherjis hotmail.com)

If A with B happily live,
But B to C the key does give,
Should now A say to C,
Welcome to family,
’Cause B thinks it’s all transitive.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Some Germans who really liked schmaltz
Gave cotillions in downtown New Paltz
The music, while dance-ative
Was certainly transitive,
Kept switching from polka to waltz.
-Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma (pgraham1946 cox.net)

Said Strunk, “These commandments to man I give:
Use objects with verbs that are transitive.
Misplacing a comma
Dishonors thy mama.
Infinitive splitting I can’t forgive.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

I’d rather not binge-watch a show,
But so I can be in the know
My friend, no doubt,
Will help me out
With a synoptic blow-by-blow.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Trump’s view of the world is synoptic.
He can’t see that it’s only myopic.
His ideas self-serving
Are very unnerving.
In fact, they’re quite idiotic.
-Bonnie House, Phillipston, Massachusetts (bonbon3444 gmail.com)

The Dems and Repubs are synoptic
While watching a dancer exotic.
kend Congress a stripper,
They’ll shout in mood chipper,
“Impeach Mr. Hands Microscopic!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Graham’s miscgivings

As in Colorado and Washington, parergon law, marijuana is legal.

When the mosquitoes began biting, I had a DEET urge.

Spotting the tiny bells on the woman’s brooch, Bert trangam.

I never pack my steamer trunk until the transit eve.

Internet porn has caused a synoptic.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

No matter that patriotism is too often the refuge of scoundrels. Dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots. -Barbara Ehrenreich, journalist and author (b. 26 Aug 1941)

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