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Apr 8, 2018
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AWADmail Issue 823

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

Sponsor’s Message: Is April really the cruellest month? Email of the Week winner, Richard S. Russell (see below), as well as all AWADers can find out fast by playing our wicked smart word game One Up! -- once -- that’s all it’ll take to pray for May. Miserable yourself up now >

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

Losing Your First Language? Here’s How to Rediscover Your Voice
The Guardian

Macron’s Bottom-Up Language Is Upside Down to Most French People
The Guardian

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

Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 is no longer a work of literature with the shortest pangram. It has been over taken by A272, an Ode to a Road by Pieter Boogaart with the pangram “A wifes job is quite a pleasing mixture of crazy and kind behaviour” (55 letters).

Can you find an even shorter pangram in a work of literature? Search the text of your favorite book in the Pangram Finder and share results with us.

Email of the Week brought to you BUY One Up! -- The Masochist’s Delight.

From: Richard S. Russell (RichardSRussell tds.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--droog

You wrote:
The constitution of Wisconsin (the cheesiest state in the US) prohibits the governor from coining a new word:

“... the governor may not create a new word by rejecting individual letters in the words of the enrolled bill ...”

You can’t make this up!

Here’s why that provision is in the Wisconsin State Constitution. The following is a simplified version of things that were happening with the governor’s expansive partial veto power, as exercised to an unprecedented extent by former Gov. Tommy G. Thompson.

Let’s say that a robber tied up a couple of convenience-store employees while looting their cash register. It was part of the crime of robbery (maximum sentence, let’s say, 20 years) but, had it been done all by itself, would be a separate crime, false imprisonment (maximum sentence, let’s say, 15 years). Prosecutors wanting to appear tough on crime would ask for the max on both crimes, to be served consecutively, total 35 years.

Legislators wanting to make the law less draconian introduced a bill with a provision like this:

Whoever commits [Crimes X and Y] simultaneously may be sentenced to a period not to exceed the maximum of each of the sentences for [Crime X and Crime Y] separately, plus 5 years.

The intended effect was that the crook could get a sentence of no more than 25 years, the max of 20 years for the worse crime (robbery) plus 5.

The governor, feeling like being hard-line himself, could veto out these capitalized letters --

Whoever commits [Crimes X and Y] simultaneously may be sentenced to A PERIOd NOT TO EXCEED THE MAXIMUM OF eaCH OF thE SENTENCES ...

-- leaving the result looking like this:
Whoever commits [Crimes X and Y] simultaneously may be sentenced to death.

the direct opposite of what the Legislature had in mind.

In doing so, he was not creating a word brand-new to the English language but rather one new to that particular bill.

The most frequent use of this power was in the so-called “digit veto”, in which an appropriation of $25,000,000 for a road project was reduced to $5,000,000 by the partial veto of the “2”, and another appropriation of 96.9% of available funds for school aids was reduced to only 96% by vetoing the “.9”. These actually happened.

Richard S. Russell, Madison, Wisconsin

From: Bob Thorsen (bthorsen mweb.co.za)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--droog

Your word of the day for April 2 is droog, which is the Afrikaans word for dry.

Bob Thorsen, Johannesburg, South Africa

From: ‘ö-Dzin Tridral (tridral gmail.com)
Subject: Droog

Regarding droog, it may be a coincidence, but drwg (pronounced just the same as droog) in Welsh means bad.

‘ö-Dzin Tridral, Cardiff, UK

From: Tom Furgas (tofu4879 gmail.com)
Subject: droog

The photo of the dust jacket for the first edition of A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess bears a striking resemblance to the current occupant of the Oval Office.

Tom Furgas, Youngstown, Ohio

From: Cherie Winner (clw43 psu.edu)
Subject: “One forges one’s style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines.”

One forges one’s style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines. -Emile Zola, writer (2 Apr 1840-1902)

I love the thought for the day, but at first I misread it in a way that actually fits your post about a single letter changing the meaning of the word: “One FORGETS one’s style on the terrible anvil of daily deadlines.” Which may be as true as the original version!

Cherie Winner, State College, Pennsylvania

From: Judith Judson (jjudson frontier.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--blatant

In one of the hilarious fantasy novels of L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt, The Mathematics of Magic, two modern scientists are wandering around in the world of the Faerie Queene. They get rid of the Blatant Beast, who demands a poem, by reciting “The Ballad of Eskimo Nell”. It dumfounds the creature.

Judith Judson, Pittsford, New York

From: Paul Foerster (foerster idworld.net)
Subject: hotsy-totsy

During World War II when I was growing up in Cincinnati, my elementary schoolmates used to ask the riddle, “What do German mothers say when they have a new baby?” The answer: “Hotsy-totsy! Another Nazi (pronounced ‘nottsy’).”

Paul A. Foerster, San Antonio, Texas

From: Ellen T Spear (ida96savoyard gmail.com)
Subject: hotsy-totsy

One of my favorite lines from a favored poet, Ogden Nash, goes “The girl o’ Mr. Sponsoon’s dreams said all was far from hotsy-totsy. / All was coldsy-toldsy, said the girl o’ Mr. Sponsoon’s dreams.”

Ellen T Spear, Wellington, New Zealand

From: Mimi Grosser (mgros135 gmail.com)
Subject: boondoggle

A great word -- one of my favorites, in fact -- but unfortunately often applied to worthy but unpopular government programs. During the Depression years it was often applied dismissively to programs that actually saved lives, careers, and public facilities (WPA, NYA, arts and theater programs).

Mimi Grosser, Cambridge, Massachusetts

From: Diane Deemer (diane deemer.com)
Subject: boondoggle

I am unfamiliar with the term boondoggle for the woven plastic cord. They’ve always been called a lanyard throughout my 35 years of camp experience.

Diane Deemer, Cornwall, Pennsylvania

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: boondoggle & frumious

boondoggle frumious
Wasilla, Alaska-based 2006 gubernatorial candidate, Sarah Palin, strongly advocated for hundreds-of-millions of federal dollars for what turned out to be one of the biggest potential boondoggles in the state’s history, what was widely satirized in media circles as Palin’s “Bridge to Nowhere” -- an estimated $398 million-slated solid-steel structure proposed to connect the tiny island of Gravina to mainland Ketchikan. Legions of local critics argued that the existing regularly running, reliable, long-standing local ferry service was doing an economically sound job of transporting folks, to-and-fro, between the aforementioned locales. Over years of wrangling, and heated debate, Palin’s pipe-dream (more like nightmare) was never realized. Ironically, the proposed massive federal funding somehow did end up in the Alaska state coffers. Now, there’s the REAL boondoggle. Sad.

Here, the heroic lad* in Lewis Carroll’s nonsense-laced poem, “Jabberwocky”, from his tome, Behind the Looking-Glass, defiantly confronts the “frumious Bandersnatch”, seemingly unperturbed by the formidable creature’s clear bluster and bombast... and bad breath. Ha!
*Apologies to Disney Archives for “borrowing” their version of the courageous young gamin. The Bandersnatch is totally of my own invention.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Diana Du Plessis (diana.duplessis gmail.com)
Subject: You light my life!

Each day as I open my mail I am welcomed by the wonderful joy of the spoken word -- I just love it -- Now to remember all I learn!!

Diana Du Plessis, Cape Town, South Africa

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

1. droog
2. blatant
3. hotsy-totsy
4. frumious
5. boondoggle
= 1. stooge boy
2. not subtly
3. right
4. got mad
5. fools around
= 1. aid, thug, to utter goon
2. too gross
3. snobby
4. mad
5. folly
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

In a small suburb of Chicago,
Capone is a name I came to know.
His droogs were many,
Their crimes were plenty.
We were elated to see him go.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Like an eerie sonata or fugue
for the theremin, zither, or Moog
came the dystopic rubric
from Burgess and Kubrick
with Alex, the ultimate droog.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

A Neanderthal fellow named Oog
From his cave wandered off in a fugue.
Being bashed in the head
By the women he’d wed,
He wound up as a Cro-Magnon droog.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

South Africa’s hopes of full recovery are nascent.
The excesses of the ex P.O.S.A. were blatant!
No room to be complacent,
The corruption is latent,
But the hard intent to expose graft has become patent.
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

Said Sigmund Freud of his patient,
“You have an id that’s complacent,
But on further review,
It is perfectly true,
Your super ego is blatant.”
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Says doctor to werewolf, “This nascent
condition has long remained latent.
But triggered by moonlight,
I fear that it soon might
become periodically blatant.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“Melania’s eyes have turned vacant,”
Wrote the doctor concerning his patient.
“Was she scared by a mouse?
Or it could be her spouse
With his porn stars is growing too blatant.”
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

In a blatant show of computing power,
the nerd at his desk, in the ivory tower,
used algorithms of data science
to overly sway the voters’ minds,
and garnered votes for his boss of the hour.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Are Republican memories vacant?
Till Obama, insurers were blatant:
“Pre-existing conditions
By our definitions
Are anything needing a payment.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He likes his dames hotsy-totsy
And homes that look like palazzi.
The hoi polloi
He greets with joy --
They’re proud to call themselves Nazi.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The girl and her partner danced in a whirl;
She, hotsy-totsy, he, lips in a curl.
Both were self-serving
Aware of deserving --
But why is “hotsy-totsy” always the girl?
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

“You’re the best! Very fine! Hotsy-totsy!”
Says Trump to a Klansman or Nazi.
“You’re doing it right
When brown people take flight
And wherever you look -- paparazzi!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Living in the White House is one Angry Bird,
Whose frumious tweets are considered quite absurd.
He preens and struts,
Word is, he’s nuts,
A Bandersnatch or Jubjub would be much preferred.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

Swathed in lace, the bride just looked voluminous,
While the groom winced, his shoes not the roomiest.
The maid lost her honor
(The best man had conned her),
And the newlyweds went to bed frumious.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

“We’re too pure to have made the gods frumious,
So there’s nothing to fear from Vesuvius,”
Said the rich of Pompeii,
“In our houses we’ll stay,
For protection from hordes impecunious.”
(Author’s note: According to some accounts, this actually happened. There was ample time to evacuate between the initial eruption and the fatal blast wave, and many common people unburdened by and unworried about material possessions did so.)
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

We know Congress would easily pass
If they all took a boondoggle class.
They easily excel
At doing it so well
I’d like to dismiss them en masse.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

His boondoggle is noted worldwide
While his words leave us all mortified.
So let’s build a wall
About ninety feet tall
With him on the other side.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Donald Trump whose behavior doth boggle
Is master of that old boondoggle.
The White House, his abode,
Is quite merely just code
To tee off at warm Mar-A-Lagoggle.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“Let’s go off on a weekend boondoggle,”
Said Plato to young Aristotle.
“A brief interlude
To watch athletes run nude;
In our era, it’s okay to ogle.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The droog czar’s Con Way jives a blatant chant.
Though opioids cause a frumious rant,
Our Big Pharma thugs
Sell hotsy-totsy drugs.
It’d be a boondoggle to say that they can’t.
-Charles Harp, Victoria, Canada (texzenpro yahoo.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Are these coined puns worth 5 sents?

Is a “better thug” a droog-gooder?

The forensics specialist said, “In my job blatant prints are the most difficult to discover.”

The debutante was so hotsy-totsy might even perspire.

I was furious when I struck out because the pitcher frumious spitball.

Explorer Daniel said, “My boondoggle bark when there’s a bear nearby.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

It’s surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time. -Barbara Kingsolver, novelist, essayist, and poet (b. 8 Apr 1955)

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