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Nov 19, 2017
This week’s theme
Toponyms from fiction

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AWADmail Issue 803

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

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

Toppling the Grammar Patriarchy
The New York Times

Chimps Tailor Alarms to What Other Chimps Know
The New York Times

From: Tony Seton (tonyseton tonyseton.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ecotopia

Callenbach wrote a prequel called Ecotopia Emerging maybe in the early ’80s. I sat down and read it in 24 hours. Great story. Thank you for reminding me.

Tony Seton, Carmel, California

From: Colton Oliphant (colton uidaho.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ecotopia

It’s interesting to note that if one is looking at the strict etymology of the formation of utopia that it actually means nowhere. So, by extension, ecotopia would mean ecological nowhere. Just a fun little observation... :)

Colton Edward Sawyer Oliphant, Moscow, Idaho

From: Paul G Ross (via website comments)
Subject: ruritanian

How can this place be fake! They have a website, and we all know if it’s on the interweb it must be true!

Paul Ross, Pembroke Pines, Florida

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

There’s no such place as Ruritania? Next you’ll tell me that there’s no such place as Fredonia.

Steven Stine, Mundelein, Illinois

Email of the Week brought to you by One Up! -- Steal Thanksgiving >

From: Tony Pivetta (apivetta aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ruritanian

I had no idea this word came from a 19th-century novel. The legendary Murray Rothbard (1926-1995) often invoked Ruritania as a hypothetical nation-state in his political and economic analyses, as in this “nations by consent” excerpt:

Let us postulate two contiguous nation-States, “Ruritania” and “Fredonia”. Let us assume that Ruritania has suddenly invaded eastern Fredonia, and claims it as its own. Must we automatically condemn Ruritania for its evil “act of aggression” against Fredonia, and send troops, either literally or metaphorically, against the brutal Ruritanians and in behalf of “brave, little” Fredonia? By no means. For it is very possible that, say, two years ago, eastern Fredonia had been part and parcel of Ruritania, was indeed western Ruritania, and that the Rurs, ethnic and national denizens of the land, have been crying out for the past two years against Fredonian oppression.

Rothbard was a brilliant economist, philosopher, historian, political scientist, and gadfly to the power elite. Acquainting oneself with his work proves hazardous to one’s dogmas.

Tony Pivetta, Royal Oak, Michigan

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

This is analogous to the fictional toponym of Pontevedro in Franz Lehar’s 1905 operetta The Merry Widow. The Emperor Franz Joseph, in an attempt to avoid diplomatic controversy, ordered the composer and his librettists to change the originally intended name of the real country of Montenegro as the fortune-seeking Count Danilo’s homeland.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Barb Grunwald (bgrunwald227 gmail.com)
Subject: Edenic

As a Christian who takes the Bible seriously, I should object to including the word “edenic” in a category of fictional toponyms (can anyone come up with a better explanation for the human condition?), but it’s more fun to take delight (wording intentional) in learning that the word is from the Hebrew for “delight” -- I never knew that, and it adds depth to my understanding of the story. Thank you, Anu, for bringing us delight even in our differences.

Barbara Booth Grunwald, Fresno, California

From: Gigi Gottwald (gottwalds axxess.co.za)
Subject: Through others, we become ourselves

Through others, we become ourselves. -Lev Vygotsky, psychologist (17 Nov 1896-1934)

Today’s Thought reminds me of a proverb in the SeSotho language of South Africa: “Motho ke motho ka batho”, meaning “A person is a person through persons.” One might translate it a little more elegantly as “I am because we are.”

Gigi Gottwald, Polokwane, South Africa

From: Elizabeth Block (elizabethblock netzero.net)
Subject: Barataria

Are you including Barataria among your toponyms? From “barato”, meaning “cheap”. The fake kingdom that Sancho Panza is given to govern in Part II of Don Quixote, as a practical joke. (He does a good job of it.) Gilbert & Sullivan borrowed it for the “island fair, That lies in a southern sea” in The Gondoliers.

Elizabeth Block, Toronto, Canada

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: grimgribber and stepford

Grimgribber Stepford
Assuming that the profession of “jazz artist” is a “trade”, here’s the late jazz trumpet great “Dizzy Gillespie” blasting a stream of familiar Jazz world jargon from his signature up-turned horn. I call this illustrative tableau.... “Bebop Earth Tones... al la Maestro Gillespie”. “Earthy” might be more apropos?

Article header/sub-head LA Times “BUSINESS” section, Sep 27, 2017, reads... “Silicone sex dolls get an AI makeover/ San Diego area firm’s lifelike robot will be able to have sensual conversations and tell naughty jokes.” In my little Stepford wife bedroom scenario update, much like balky computer entity Hal-9000 in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, my state-of-the-art female cyborg (with fringe benefits), seemingly has a mind of her own; much to the chagrin of hubby.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. grimgribber
2. ecotopia
3. ruritanian
4. edenic
5. stepford
= 1. argot
2. find turbine
3. empiric
4. paradise
5. generic robot
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

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

The celebrity targets the starlet,
Then declaims that the lady’s a harlot,
But no glib grimgribber
Excuses a fibber.
A glam grabber’s still just a varlet.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

The ad, spouting weight-loss grimgribber,
Said, “Ladies, no more plus-size figure!”
My answer: “Let’s party!”
We can’t all be Barbie
Or wear Cinderella’s lost slipper.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

As a mortgage broker I feel
I’m expert at grimgribber spiel.
I quote current rates,
Project closing dates,
Giving my clients quite a deal!
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

POTUS often spews forth his own brand of grimgribber.
And, like him, his lies are huge; he’s not a slim fibber.
And his rant-filled tweets,
Which express his conceits,
Are really nothing at all but jabber and jibber.
-Vara Devaney, Damascus, Maryland (varadevaney att.net)

Roy Moore, hypocritical fibber,
Cries “lies!” Is that some new grimgribber?
“To prey on the young ones,
Sweet daughters of someone’s,
While trying to sate one’s own jibber?”
-Anna Johnston, Coarsegold, California (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

When she noticed a client grow chipper,
The masseuse whispered bits of grimgribber.
“A nice ‘happy ending?’”
She’d offer, depending
On how much she thought he would tip her.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Monet created a “mini” ecotopia
And painted the result: not in sepia.
Giverny is a paradise,
Colourwise and waterwise,
And a balm for man’s “technological” myopia.
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

Let’s recycle, reduce, and reuse,
It’s urgent we learn to rechoose.
For an ecotopia sound
Leave coal and oil in the ground,
Live sustainably or this earth we will lose.
-Kathy Deutsch, Melbourne, Australia (kathy deutsch.net.au)

It once felt like the promised land,
An ecotopia quite grand --
Now it’s ours to care for,
Though some think it’s there for
The fracking and pipelines they’ve planned.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

A barrier reef ecotopia
Is a biodiverse cornucopia.
By bleaching the coral
We’ve gone past immoral,
And reached self-destructive myopia.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The screen star, who with accent Rumanian,
Played his roles, which were quite ruritanian.
A swashbuckling type guy
Made the young ladies sigh,
But off-screen was a dull Pennsylvanian.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“Outlander” is my preferred show,
So to Scotland I long to go,
In land Ruritanian,
With romance, and mainly fun,
And Jamie Fraser for a beau.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I’m off to a place Ruritanian,”
Mark Antony said to Octavian.
“My Cleo awaits,
She’s the hottest of dates.
In her boudoir my asp is titanium.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The tweeter who tooted his flute
Tried to teach his young offspring to shoot.
The holiest grail
Is an elephant’s tail.
What a selfish edenic pursuit!
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

In far Yemen’s a port city, Aden,
where many smart sailors have trodden.
Did its pleasures, Edenic,
breed politics schizophrenic?
Once strategic, the country’s now ploddin’.
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Could it be that Moore’s votes might fall flat?
Abuser! He cares naught about that.
He thinks he’s edenic,
But he’s quite inauthentic.
More than Strange, he deserves to be spat at.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

Grace Kelly, Kim Novak, Lee Remick:
They once made the movies edenic.
In dreamland Bacall
And Monroe heed my call,
But next morning it’s all academic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“My parrot,” she says, “is quite stepford.
He’s really a very correct bird.
You’ve misunderstood.
He most certainly would
not ever have uttered the F word!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

I stand at the door,
do a hundred “Namaste” encore.
Hard not to get bored,
I feel like a stepford!
But smile I must, it’s an essential chore.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

When leaders look at a reference,
They want applicants who will show great deference.
Their only measure
Is one who says “Yessir” --
A stepford employee’s a preference.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Like a Stepford Wife by Ira Levin,
she is on display twenty-four seven.
Tiger mother who cares
and designer clothes wears,
and who thinks that Trump Tower is heaven.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

No longer will victims be Stepford;
You can’t hide your past if it’s checkered.
Roy Moore needs a spankin’
And now it’s Al Franken?
The flocks don’t need that kind of shepherd.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Make-believe these are clever, not places

If your wife seems grimgribber some flowers or candy.

A drunkard who likes to shout in canyons is an ecotopia.

German Boy Scouts cross the ruritanian swimming and rowing merit badges.

Had Cain and Abel been twins they’d have been edenical.

“Stepford at gun, Pilgrim, and you’re a dead man,” said John Wayne.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Physicists are made of atoms. A physicist is the atom’s way of knowing about atoms. -George Wald, scientist and Nobel laureate (18 Nov 1906-1997)

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