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Dec 3, 2017
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AWADmail Issue 805

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

Sponsor’s Message: Hey, Wisenheimers! When was the last time you gave a gift to the cleverheads in your life that you were actually proud of? Email of the Week winner, Johnson Flucker (see below), as well as all AWADers, can impress/suppress their brainy friends and school family know-it-alls for the rest of the year with our wicked smart word game: One Up! -The Gift That Keeps on Giving. SPLURGE NOW.

A warm welcome to students from Father Judge High School. A big thank you to their teacher for introducing their student to the joy of words.

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

‘Complicit’ is the Word of the Year

Imagining Sanskrit Land

Transitional L 1920
From: Terrell Lozada (terrell.lozada gmail.com)
Subject: faience

A belated thank you for your wonderful posts! I have read them every day for years now and I especially like the quotations. As an artist and a language lover, it made my heart sing to see faience as featured word. Not only is it one of the mediums I work in, I frequently use words in my work. Now that I am in the process of moving from Seattle to Paris, I’m using words that are the same in both languages (I bet there’s a word for that!). I’ve been on a mission to share information about this medium which is (in my opinion) underused and little known in the US visual arts community. Thanks for spreading the word! Here’s an example of my work. More can be seen on my website.

Terrell Lozada, Seattle, Washington

From: Derek Noonan (noonand ntech.ie)
Subject: laconic

I heard this word first when doing Classical Studies in secondary school in Ireland.

The context was Philip II of Macedon. After invading southern Greece and receiving the submission of other major city-states, he turned his attention to Sparta and asked, with some malintent, whether he should come as friend or foe.

“Neither”, was the reply.

He then sent the message:
“You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city”

The Spartans again replied with a single word:

Derek Noonan, Limerick, Ireland

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

Actually, the places you call countries of Ancient Greece were not countries but city-states or polises (poleis in Greek), a word which gave us politics, in the sense of “civic affairs”. This is similar to the Latin “res publica” from which we derive the English republic and its cognates in other European languages. (Cf. republique Fr., repubblica It., Republik Ger., Respublik Rus.)

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Jen Parry (jen.parry btopenworld.com)
Subject: Newgate

If as a child I got really dirty, my grandmother, born in London in 1884, would describe me as “as black as Newgate’s knocker”. I did not understand until I came to read Dickens, and I am still not sure if there are knockers on prison gates.

Jen Parry, Didcot, UK

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

Newgate prison was a new house for the Italian adventurer and libertine Giacomo Casanova. (His last name of course means new house.) He was imprisoned in Newgate for various crimes, including being a scam artist, scofflaw, womanizer, and alchemist, among his various other accomplishments. None of us of a certain age can forget the 1971 BBC television series that followed him from Venice to Prague to London, lovingly (sic!) depicting a variety of his adventures. Apologies for the unintended pun on his name.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Laura Howe (laurahowemt gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--newgate

Thank you for your note about private prisons. Here in MT, we have a budget crisis that is being held hostage by one political party to extend the contract of a private prison operator. I just wrote to the governor to encourage him not to do so, and sent him that Mother Jones article.

Laura Howe, Stevensville, Montana

From: Marek Boym (marekboym walla.co.il)
Subject: Newgate

Several years ago our Government came up with the brilliant idea of establishing a private prison in Israel. Investors were selected by tender and started working on the designated site. However, a civil rights organization lodged a petition against that decision with the Supreme Tribunal of Justice, which declared it illegal. This led to a damages suit against the Government, but that is another story.

Marek Boym, Raanana, Israel

From: Christopher St Clair (clotairepommier aol.com)
Subject: newgate

Kudos on today’s word for its impact beyond the vocabulary. I was aware of Newgate, although not of the verb to newgate, but didn’t know that it was a private prison. It seems extraordinary, but even way back then, someone had begun to develop the bases of modern capitalism gone amok; an ancestor of D. Trump perhaps? After all, paying to be chained is an idea from the kind of brain that would conceive of one country paying for another country’s policing needs in the form of a wall.

Thanks for the inspiration: can’t wait to read more on the subject of both Newgate and modern private prisons. Religion, murder, intelligence vs. bigotry -- more it changes, more it’s the same thing, but could it be any more fun?

Christopher St Clair, Brooklyn, New York

From: Steve Benko (stevebenko1 gmail.com)
Subject: Newgate

Some airlines these days have taken the idea of passenger fees to extremes. Starting with checked baggage, they now charge for carry-ons, for snacks, even for seat selection. I hope with your Newgate stories you didn’t give them the idea of charging to buckle and unbuckle one’s seat belt.

Steve Benko, New York, New York

From: Stannous Flouride (stanflouride yahoo.com)
Subject: Timbuktu

As a lover of words I was proud of the people of Timbuktu for saving several thousand texts from destruction by Islamic extremists when they captured the ancient city. Afterwards, a crowd-sourced fund was created to preserve and restore those irreplaceable tomes. I donated a week’s pay and as a reward there now exists this:

Manuscript preserved thanks to donation from Stan Flouride Manuscript preserved thanks to donation from Stan Flouride
I’ll never know what it is about but I take great joy in having my name on its box as its savior.

Stan Flouride, San Francisco, California

From: Nils Andersson (nilsphone aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--timbuktu

There are other remote (except to the inhabitants) places used in a similar fashion. In the US, Nome, Alaska, sometimes serves.

In my native Sweden, Muodoslompolo (googlable), population about 50, will sometimes be put to work. And the name is not Swedish, probably Lapp (Sami).

Nils Andersson, Anguilla

From: Stuart D. Klipper (klipper bitstream.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--timbuktu

Patagonia once served a similar purpose.

Stuart D. Klipper, Minneapolis, Minnesota

From: Curt Abbott (cabbott183 gmail.com)
Subject: Timbuktu

There’s a Yiddish word that means the same and immediately came to mind when I read today’s offering: ekveld (ek-veldt). I used to tip the ushers at shows in Las Vegas in order to get a decent seat and not in ekveld.

Curt Abbott, Warwick, Rhode Island

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

The Jewish equivalent to Thursday’s word Timbuktu, meaning a remote location, is Kishinev, from a city now in Moldova but formerly part of Russia.

For example, my wife and I recently bought a condo that is 30 to 45 minutes from where most of our friends live. When people ask me where it is, I reply, “Past Kishinev.”

Steven Stine, Mundelein, Illinois

From: David Hutchison (david.n.hutch gmail.com)
Subject: Timbuktu

My grandfather was from a tiny town in New Zealand called Eketahuna. From Wikipedia:

New Zealanders colloquially refer to the town of Eketahuna the way other English speakers refer to Timbuktu, i.e., the middle of nowhere, the sticks, the end of the world.

It’s the subject of jokes, and most New Zealanders don’t know it’s a real town.

I distinctly remember when I was about 10, we had a homework assignment to write about where our grandparents came from. I wrote my grandfather’s story, and the next day I was upset when my teacher gave me a bad grade and told me “There is no such place as Eketahuna.” She honestly thought I was mocking the assignment and I never did convince her otherwise!

David Hutchison, Santa Clara, California

Email of the Week brought to you BUY One Up !-Every Smart Aleck’s Delight/Doom.

From: Johnson Flucker (johnson.flucker yale.edu)
Subject: campanile

A great borrowed word that has begat another that might be of interest: campanilismo -- literally the sense of place that is defined by being born within the sound of the campanile’s bells.

Laurence Bergreen uses the word as a chapter title in his biography, “Capone: The Man and the Era”. He wrote:

Once they had passed through Ellis Island and arrived in New York, the Capone family, like other Italian immigrants, gravitated toward neighborhoods sheltering people who had fled the same region, if not the same town. This powerful sense of place was known as campanilismo...More than religion, perhaps even more than language, campanilismo reinforced the Italian immigrant’s alienation from American life...the sameness buttressed the immigrants’ identity, but at the same time it cut off the immigrants from the world of American possibilities.

Interestingly, “Cockney” has a similar, if more specific, definition of being born within hearing distance of “Bow bells”, the bells of St. Mary-le-Bow, Cheapside, London.

And of course, how much richer is English for all the Cockney rhyming slang!

Johnson Flucker, Trumbull, Connecticut

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: labels

Labels are for the things men make, not for men. The most primitive man is too complex to be labeled. -Rex Stout, novelist (1 Dec 1886-1975)

As for labeling individuals: each person has their own, very long bar code: DNA.

Steve Kirkpatrick, Olympia, Washington

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: laconic and Timbuktu

Laconic by Alex McCrae timbuktu
Befitting the ancient Greek derivation of the our word laconic, meaning concise or terse, I opted for this one-sided dialogue between long-winded Loquacious Maximus, and fellow Athenian, contrastingly of-few-words, Laconicus Minimus.
PS: I have no clue what Loquacious’s Greek verbiage actually means. Frankly, it’s all “Greek to me”, as well. Ha!

As a young kid growing up in the ‘50s, I recall the rather exotic-sounding, enigmatic place name, Timbuktu, suspecting it was located somewhere in Saharan Africa. On occasion I’d hear it used in one’s giving a usually vague, or perfunctory response to a query regarding where a certain unfamiliar place, city, or town might be situated; namely “Oh, it’s somewhere between here, and Timbuktu.”
In my admitted stretched (7th-inning stretch?) cartoon scenario, I have the New York Yankee All-Star catcher Yogi Berra, renowned for his quirky Yogisms, literally fulfilling one of his most memorable non sequiturs, i.e., “If you see a fork in the road ... take it.” Ha!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. faience
2. laconic
3. newgate
4. timbuktu
5. campanile
= 1. new patina
2. acute
3. making fence
4. to Mali
4. cubicle
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

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

When Santa inquires what he wants,
Count Dracula offers response:
“Since mine, from long use,
have become dull and loose,
new canines of finest faience!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“These waters I’ll drink from faience,
And forever stay young,” declared Ponce.
“With elegant dishes
The feeling’s delicious.
Just look at my willy’s response!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A gentleman deeply laconic
Consumed more than one gin and tonic.
Oh, my goodness gracious,
It made him loquacious
and now that condition is chronic.
-Glenn Ickler, Hopedale, Massachusetts (glennwriter verizon.net)

A tweeter is forced to be brief.
When it’s nonsense that’s quite a relief.
Though when text is laconic,
It can prove more moronic
And parlous from Commanders-in-Chief.
-Kathy Deutsch, Melbourne, Australia (kathy deutsch.net.au)

Their relationship was severely platonic,
And their conversation largely laconic.
In a room filled with faience,
They held their daily seance,
But their revelations were hardly iconic!
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

While sending off ludicrous tweets,
He just has to degrade others’ feats.
In the laconic chorus
Of his internal thesaurus
“Weak” and “loser” are in a dead heat.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Donald’s quite far from laconic.
“Concise?” No, I’m being sardonic.
A word that fits POTUS?
Perhaps you might notice
He’s the essence of oxymoronic.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

“When an underage girl acts laconic,”
Says Roy Moore, “I try vodka and tonic.
“I was barred from the mall
Cuz they said I’ve got gall
But my durn pedophilia is chronic.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

If my date’s wearing shoes made by Blahnik,
I tend to be rather laconic.
I’m no Rockefeller;
One kiss and I tell her,
“My feelings for you are platonic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

If disclosures keep coming at this rate,
half the world might end up in a newgate.
But if an electee
gets away with it free,
hope for making this right doesn’t look great.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Said he, “My love, let’s fornicate!”
Said she, in response, her tone irate,
“You should know that it’s risky
without sheath to get frisky --
I’ll refrain till your lance you newgate.”
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

This is such an extraordinary time,
speaking the truth is considered a crime.
The first time you are roundly berated,
Repeat and you’ll be arraigned, newgated.
Small mercies, one can still pantomime!
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

‘Twas off in the old days to newgate
For not paying debts on their due date.
“But Chapter 11,”
Says Donald, “is heaven.
From loser to loudmouth you mutate.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Now that my mind’s in Timbuktu,
I sure do that last gimlet rue.
For though a little drink
Puts you in the pink,
A little more drowns out every limbic cue.
-Vara Devaney, Damascus, Maryland (varadevaney att.net)

The Grande Dame from posh Park Avenue
Had accrued a huge net revenue.
Til her maid, on a toot,
Slyly took all her loot,
Then ran off to far Timbuktu.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

At this time of year, it’s ironic
That about joy and mirth I’m laconic.
It’s hello, Timbuktu
Until Christmas is through.
Perhaps I’m in need of a tonic.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

These days it’s career Timbuktu
If you hit on a young ingenue.
Charlie Rose and Matt Lauer,
It grows by the hour.
Oh, Garrison Keillor -- et tu?
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The Leaning Tower, now really,
Is the best known campanile.
Pisa’s lean, if you please,
At almost four degrees,
Is a photo op ideal, see.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In Pisa a tower was built,
Its foundation sunk into silt.
That campanile
Turned out ideally,
And now it is famed for its tilt.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Renaissance art came in torrents;
The regard that it got makes good sense;
The campanile we laud
By Il Duomo’s façade
Is one of the glories of Florence.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

It’s wonderful what it means to me
Staring up at a campanile.
Listening to bells,
My heart always swells
Hearing them peal so gloriously.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

I’d like to know how it would feel
To visit a grand campanile.
I’d ascend with my lunch pack,
And dine with the hunchback
Of Pisa, Saint Mark, or Seville.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

Cried Quasi, “I’ll save you, dear, really!”
As he climbed up the tall campanile,
Then swung from a rope
As he hoped against hope
Esmeralda would grow touchy feely.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Tinkered-with toponyms

Tinkerbell had faience and uncles.

My math prof runs circles around us! Ellipse syncs hyperbola about laconic sections.

My favorite candy bar contains nuts and newgate.

An old joke goes, “Tim and I picked up three women. I bucked one and Timbuktu.”

While swimming at summer campanile got in my trunks!

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

A story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end, but not necessarily in that order. -Jean-Luc Godard, film director (b. 3 Dec 1930)

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