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Apr 22, 2018
This week’s theme
Phobias & Manias

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AWADmail Issue 825

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

Sponsor’s Message: ‘Tis the (stick) season. And the math is easy for once: Lacrosse + Awesome = LACRAWESOME. Email of the Week winner, Marlene Fair-Fischer (see below), as well as all AWADers can get their max epic lax bro chill vibe going with our best-selling UP-i-tee, while supplies last. Beast up NOW >

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

Italian Language Under Siege from Imported English Words, Warns Florence Academy
The Telegraph

Is British English Conquering America, or Vice Versa?
The New York Times

From: Russell Lott (russellwlott comcast.net)
Subject: Monophobia

In the words of Three Dog Night: “One is the loneliest number that you’ll ever do.” (video, 3 min.)

Russell Lott, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

From: Robin Helweg-Larsen (robin income-outcome.com)
Subject: sitomania Thought of the Day

If only I could so live and so serve the world that after me there should never again be birds in cages. -Isak Dinesen (pen name of Karen Blixen), author (17 Apr 1885-1962)

Re the thought for today: fittingly, the house north of Copenhagen where Karen Blixen wrote her stories has been turned into not just a museum, but also a bird sanctuary.

Robin Helweg-Larsen, Governor’s Harbour, Bahamas

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)
Subject: Emerson

Your quotation from Emerson (in Tuesday’s posting) -- “Language is a city to the building of which every human being brought a stone” -- reminds me that Emerson says that each word was once a poem. In his essay “The Poet”, Emerson says, “The poets made all the words, and therefore language is the archives of history.”

He goes on to say that even “though the origin of most words is forgotten, each word was at first a stroke of genius.” He later says that “language is fossil poetry.” Emerson knows that our language, whether we know it or not, is full “of images, of tropes, which now ... have long ceased to remind us of their poetic origin.” As soon as humankind began to speak, metaphor came to life. We’ve been speaking in metaphor for all our lives, though most of us don’t know it. Every cliché was once fresh, a stroke of genius by the one who first said it. What cave dweller, exiting his cave to go hunting, looked at the sky, saw roiling clouds, heard distant thunder, said, “The sky is angry today”? Perhaps the next day, the weather better, he might have said, “The sun smiles upon us.” Was he the first poet? All language was originally poetry, replete with imagery.

In Moliere’s play Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Monsieur Jourdain is surprised to find out he’s been speaking prose all his life. We should be just as surprised to realize that we, more often than we think, speak poetry, hackneyed and overused, no more effective, but, nonetheless, poetry -- or what was once poetry.

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

From: Esther Schrager (gelet1447 aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ailurophobia

My mother is an ailurophobe! Which is very frustrating because I’m a major ailuroPHILE, with three kitties (I’d have more if I could pay for someone to clean litter boxes!).

Esther Schrager, Cleveland, Ohio

From: William Chapco (william.chapco uregina.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--ailurophobia

The genus name for the panda is Ailuropoda or “cat foot”. So I suppose you could have ailuropodaphobia, fear of panda bears.

William Chapco, Regina, Canada

From: Denis Toll (denis.toll outlook.com)
Subject: ailurophobia

I’m a cat-lover so I don’t truly understand ailurophobia, but I gather that cat allergy is common and I suppose a bad childhood experience could also be the cause. And cats have long been viewed with suspicion in some quarters. Witches’ familiars and black ones bringing bad luck, etc., are still in our folk memory.

Perhaps they’re viewed like this because they’re clever and know what’s going on, but unlike dogs, they’re not obedient or loyal.

Denis Toll, Aberdeen, UK

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From: Marlene Fair-Fischer (via website comments)
Subject: pyromania

When I was a little girl I wanted to see what a match looked like in the dark. The closet was too dark, so I lit the match under my mom’s boudoir chintz chair. Oops.

I ran outside to my older brother, yelling that someone set fire to the house. Five minutes later the firefighters were tossing the chair out of the second-story window and the ground firefighters chopped it up into little pieces.

My father got there and held his lit cigarette on my left thumb until a blister erupted!

It took my mom months to get me to help her in the kitchen for fear of being burned again.

That was my last episode of pyromania.

Marlene Fair-Fischer, Vista, California

From: James Ertner (jde31459 gmail.com)
Subject: claustrophobia

Q: What do you call Santa’s fear of coming down a chimney?
A: Claustrophobia.

Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina

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

I’d say the opposite is claustrophilia, not agoraphobia. Babies like to be wrapped tightly in a blanket. There are books about ways to wrap them! Many of us like to snuggle. Claustrophilia could describe those.

Steve Kirkpatrick, DDS, Olympia, Washington

From: Srinivas Shastri (shastrix gmail.com)
Subject: claustromania

I’m reading the outlandish Great Soul of Siberia, where the author lives in a 6.5 x 6.5 x 6 feet enclosure for six months from October just to become part of the countryside and capture Siberian Tigers in their natural habitat.


Srinivas Shastri, Bangalore, India

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: pyromania and ailurophobia

pyromania ailurophobia
Our USAGE quotation* from native Argentine executive chef, Norberto Piattoni, extolling the unique “flare” of his eatery (which I’ve taken the liberty of naming “El Restaurante La FOGATA”**), inspired my imagined, admittedly slightly over-the-top, pyrotechnic promo performances outside Chef Piattoni’s restaurant. Will prospective patrons be hot-to-trot?
* “Rarely has a restaurant been so transparent with its pyromania.”
** “La fogata” translates as “fire” in Spanish

If millions-upon-millions of YouTube video views of cats-just-being-cats is any litmus test of mass popularity, most folks have warm-and-fuzzy feelings about felines... at least, the domesticated ones. Although here, I’ve tried to capture the perpetually scowling visage of famed internet celebrity/feline fatale, Tardar Sauce (aka Grumpy Cat), who might induce ailurophobia (fear of cats) in some hyper-sensitive folk who may be a tad frightened by her seemingly mean, fixed grimace. But truth-be-told, according to her now-comfortably wealthy owner, Grumpy is “a real pussycat”, disposition-wise. Feline dwarfism apparently gave this curious cat its permanent scowl... her ultimate ticket to über cyber-celebrity.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. monophobia
2. sitomania
3. ailurophobia
4. pyromania
5. claustrophobia
= 1. solo pain; ah, pub!
2. bulimia, too?
3. cat hair phobia
4. arson
5. myopia in a room
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

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

Angelina smiled in Ethiopia,
Though their marriage was no cornucopia.
It’s a dystopian plot:
Brad was loveless -- but hot,
So there’s little risk of monophobia.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

Her monophobia’s severe,
Abandonment her biggest fear.
“Please don’t leave!” she’d beg
As she’d grab his leg.
“I hate it when no one is near.”
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

After a long-drawn search, at last I could find
a gated commune specially designed,
where, to all I am known,
and am never really alone --
a welcome reprieve for my monophobic mind.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Monophobic, she wouldn’t stay alone,
If forced, she would talk on the phone.
When frightened and teary,
Alexa or Siri
Would calm her with soft dulcet tones.
-Judy Distler, Teaneck, New Jersey (jam1026 aol.com)

“Oh Stormy, I’ve such melancholia,
As though banished to Outer Mongolia,”
Said Trump. “Hand and tissue
Don’t help, for I miss you,
My willy’s got bad monophobia.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Sally’s sitomania was a curse.
Her spherical shape was becoming worse.
She cried,” I’m almost obese,”
Through a mouth, full of cream cheese,
“Apart from the hole it makes in my purse!”
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

The whole group suffered from sitomania.
They were fat from their toes to their crania,
but with strictest tuition
from their good dietician
they got slim, and no weight did regain-ia.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

When my penpal arrived from Albania,
It turned out that she had sitomania.
Not picky with fare
She left all cupboards bare.
That’s the bad news. The good? Nymphomania.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

Behind the disease sitomania
Lies the nut of the tree Macadamia.
You think you’ll just try it,
But next thing your diet
Has sunk like the doomed Lusitania.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A cat who was perched in a tree
Sent a combative look down at me.
Ailurophobia took over
As I streaked through the clover
And the cat Cheshire was smiling with glee.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

The young couple from far Patagonia,
They viewed cats with extreme melancholia.
Oh, they shuddered with fear
When a feline came near,
‘Cause they both had bad ailurophobia.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“I regret I must leave Macedonia,
But these cats trigger ailurophobia,”
Said young Alexander,
“And then there’s their dander.
But conquest? Now, that’s my ambrosia.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

He’s setting fire to the US of A.
“Here he comes, he’s the boss, let’s make way!”
He’s the master of screed,
Pyromania indeed,
Thus his hair is a bright orange souffle.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebu.com)

“Psychiatrists someday might train ya,”
says judge, “to resist pyromania.
But meanwhile, I find
that you must be confined
to a place that’s equipped to restrain ya.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

“If a jumpin’ bean got pyromania,”
Drawled Sessions, “then Trump is still craziuh.
But no way Ah’m quittin’,
You Muslims ain’t fittin’,
Ah’m sendin’ y’all back to Arabia.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

If I had to choose, I’d never pick
Living life as a claustrophobic.
It is just fine with me
Being OCDC.
Then there is my occasional tic.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

A young girl named Zenobia,
Who came from Ethiopia,
Had a fear and was sick
When close to St. Nick.
Yes, she had Claustrophobia!
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

If your bride-to-be suffers myopia,
‘Stead of diamonds, buy cubic zirconia.
Far less will you spend,
Though there’s danger you’ll end
In the doghouse and get claustrophobia.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Phil’s Phouled Phobias and Mangled Manias

The Jamaican said, “Hey, Monophobia bad dude.”

A hiker trekked the Appalachian Trail south to north. At the sitomania collapsed.

The Boston barfly asked, “Is this an actual ale or a faux beeah?”

The fraternity of Π Ρ mania higher GPA to remain on campus.

Is writer’s block claustrophobia?

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: Lawrence Crumb (lcrumb uoregon.edu)
Subject: halfpenny (Re: AWADmail 824)

The smallest was the farthing, worth a fourth of a penny or half of a halfpenny. According to Wikipedia, it ceased to be used in 1960.

It is mentioned in the rhyme that begins “Oranges and lemons say the bells of St. Clement’s” (“You owe me five farthings say the bells of St. Martin’s”).

Lawrence Crumb, Eugene, Oregon

From: Marjorie Roehl (marjorie021 att.net)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day

I am 88 years old. Enjoyed the crossword everyday, usually finished every one. Seven years ago had a stroke. Couldn’t speak or understand words. Taught to read myself, one word at a time. Cannot do crosswords now but CAN understand what those words mean and learn new ones. A friend gave me Wordsmith. As a shut-in, reading is my joy; Wordsmith starts the day!!

Marjorie Roehl, Topeka, Kansas

We understand death for the first time when he puts his hand upon one whom we love. -Madame De Stael, writer (22 Apr 1766-1817)

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