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Apr 29, 2018
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AWADmail Issue 826

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

Sponsor’s Message: Hey, kids, when was the last time you gave your mother a gift that you were actually proud of? Email of the Week winner, Lisa D. Witte (see below), as well as all AWADers, can one-up their siblings and jump to the head of the line, so-to-speak, for the rest of the year with One Up! -- The Mother of All Word Games. SPLURGE ON MOM NOW >

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

Julie Washington’s Quest to Get Schools to Respect African-American English
The Atlantic

The Ban on Split Infinitives Is an Idea Whose Time Never Came
The Economist

From: Erica Stone (erica himalayan-foundation.org)
Subject: A gift in my mother’s memory

My mother, Mary Bowrin, loved A.Word.A.Day and she spread the word about it. When I set up Meriama Fund in her memory, one of our emphases was literacy; she revered good writing. We would like to offer AWAD a gift of $3,000 -- you were a beloved daily treat.

It was often said of my mother that she could make six new friends if you left her at a bus stop for 10 minutes. She loved books and read everything: novels, nonfiction, magazines, from her iPad, from the library, from Google. She never stopped being curious about the world. I miss her.

Erica Stone, San Francisco, California

It sounds like your mother would have been a wonderful person to know and make friends with. Thank you for your gift in her memory. We truly appreciate it.
-Anu Garg

From: Nan Socolow (annesocolow gmail.com)
Subject: sillage

In the Northwest Caribbean islands, the word “current” is used (like “sillage”) to describe the scent of a woman’s perfume that lingers in the air after her.

Nan Socolow, Creek, Cayman Islands

From: Suresh Nellikode (suresh.nellikode gmail.com)
Subject: sillage

Some people leave a long sillage in our life with their positive countenances.

Suresh Nellikode, Burlington, Canada

From: Samuel Goldstein (samuelg fogbound.net)
Subject: Re: Sillage

For those of us with chemical sensitivities or allergies, this scented wake can be a health hazard. Public events can be fraught. People who perfume heavily often lose sensitivity to the fragrance and end up applying even more, resulting in being the nucleus of a veritable cloud of scent. Around my house, we refer to this as the “chemical warfare school of perfumology”.

Samuel Goldstein, Los Angeles, California

Email of the Week brought to you BUY One Up! -- The Mother of All Word Games.

From: Lisa D. Witte (ldwitte hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--sillage

Huh. I’ve always referred to that as a “pigpen cloud of smell”.

Even better, lots of fragrances give me a headache (even when they smell good). Or a sore throat, nausea, mood swings, or numb or tingling fingers. I can only guess it depends on which chemicals are involved. And I’m lucky! Some folks get asthma attacks or other breathing problems. (link)

I can’t wait for the day when as many work and public places are fragrance-free as are smoke-free!

Lisa D. Witte, St. Louis, Missouri

From: Richard Vitkay (rsvitkay me.com)
Subject: Sillage

When I was a boy, my mother’s younger unmarried sister lived over us in a two-family house. On date night Saturdays her overpowering sillage lingered for hours in the hallway and drifted into our living quarters. The perfume was called Tabu and my dad, who did not get along with his sister-in-law, would always say he wished he could taboo her. What ammunition he would have had if he had known that Jean Carles had been instructed by the House of Dana to design an essence for a whore and thus Tabu was created, sensual and shocking.

Richard Vitkay, Albany, New York

From: Simon Jeremiah (simonjeremiah hotmail.com)
Subject: sillage

Back in the Midwest the stored material in a silo is known as the silage; it does have a pungent odor.

Simon Jeremiah, Healdsburg, California

From: Bruce Floyd (brucefloyd bellsouth.net)

This above all: to thine own self be true, / And it must follow, as the night the day, / Thou canst not then be false to any man. -William Shakespeare, poet and dramatist (23 Apr 1564-1616)

What’s interesting about the quotation of the day is that the words are delivered by one of the most bloviating gasbags in the works of Shakespeare. I speak of Polonius in the play Hamlet. What a garrulous windbag he is. His tortuous words to King Claudius and Queen Gertrude as he attempts to explain Hamlet’s bizarre behavior as madness are those of a fool. Later in the play Hamlet himself calls Polonius a “tedious old [fool].” His pretentious and stupid comments, his maundering words, his absurd reasoning, provoke the none-too-smart Gertrude to say “More matter with less art.” (Does Polonius remind us anyone we know?)

I once heard Maynard Mack say that Polonius’s advice to his son Laertes (the quotation of the day is taken from this passage which comprises almost twenty-five lines of verse) is advice that superficially seems wise but upon closer scrutiny is commentary on how to manipulate others, to play one’s cards close to vest, to live by cliches and platitudes rather than by principles. And the play proves beyond peradventure that Laertes is a man devoid of principles and noble sentiments.

Bruce Floyd, Florence, South Carolina

From: Mary-Alice Boulter (critterperson gmail.com)
Subject: pinetum

Fortunate soul that I am, I live in the midst of an aggregation of pinetums (pineta?), the Olympic Peninsula in the northwest corner of Washington State. I can walk to several local parks featuring groves of conifers: spruce, fir, hemlock, pine, and especially Western Red and other cedars. Drives from a few minutes to just over an hour take me to cathedrals of old-growth giants in our temperate rain forests, as well as quiet beaches bordered with tall trees harboring bald eagle aeries.

My view to the south from my kitchen window is of the Olympic National Park Mountains, and the harbor and sea beyond await to the north.

In these overwhelmingly lovely surroundings I practice the Japanese art of Shinrin-Yoku, Forest Bathing or Forest Healing, for rejuvenation. Studies from the 1980s forward have shown that immersing oneself in such an environment lowers heart rate, reduces stress levels and generally serves as a preventive health care and healing force.

In spite of the aging process, I don’t think I’ve ever felt healthier and more at peace with myself than I do now. The air is oxygen-rich, the silence and solitude are palpable. And most of it is free for the experiencing.

Mary-Alice Boulter, Port Angeles, Washington

From: Bill Wesley (wcw1066 yahoo.com)
Subject: Famous arctophiles

Peter Bull who played the Soviet ambassador in Dr. Strangelove. He wrote a book on teddy bears, Bear With Me.

Bill Wesley, Canton, Georgia

From: Karen Howell (bpwkhowell lycos.com)
Subject: arctophile

Last week there was a St. Bernard in the news who loves teddy bears. His x-ray showed four of them in his stomach.

Karen Howell, Evansville, Minnesota

From: Dave Fragments (dave.fragments.dc gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--arctophile

Today’s word reminds me of Lord Sebastian Flyte of Brideshead Revisited who carried, Aloysius, his teddy bear one day at college and met Charles Ryder. Thus begins a tale ...

Dave Fragments, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

From: Denis Toll (denis.toll outlook.com)
Subject: Most expensive teddy bears

The most ever paid for a teddy was $2.1m, paid by a Korean collector for a collaboration between Steiff and Louis Vuitton. The next highest price is £110,000 for a Steiff bear owned from the day he was born till the day he died by Bob Henderson, the founder of Good Bears of the World, a charity providing bears for sick children. Bob took his bear with him to the D-Day landings. I know which one I think is better value. (link)

Denis Toll, Aberdeen, UK

From: Karthik D. (karthikeyan.d gmail.com)
Subject: arctophile

When I saw the word, I thought that it could be related to the arctic and hence snow. I was surprised to see that it refers to teddy bears. I found out that the word arctic too is derived from the Greek “arktos” meaning bear. I guessed that it could be a reference to the polar bears but turns out it is a completely different bear. From Wikipedia:

The name refers either to the constellation Ursa Major, the “Great Bear”, which is prominent in the northern portion of the celestial sphere, or to the constellation Ursa Minor, the “Little Bear”, which contains Polaris, the Pole star, also known as the North Star.

Karthik D., Bangalore, India

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

The teddy bear was apparently named after President Theodore Roosevelt, after he shot a black bear in Mississippi to put it out of its misery. (The caveat to the story though is that it took place in Mark Twain country!)

A decade later the president’s promotion of progressivism was to manifest itself in his program known as the Square Deal that entailed conservation of natural resources, control of corporations, and consumer protection.

A hundred years on, in an age of self-serving, savage capitalism and hedonistic conspicuous consumption, we could do worse than follow such examples of humanitarian greatness.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Sam Long (gunputty comcast.net)
Subject: bears

IIRC, the polar bear is Ursus maritimus. Apparently, the Indo-European word for “bear” is “rktos”, from whence the Greek (arktos) and Latin (ursus) words derive. But the Germanic word “bear” means “brown one” (cf. bruin); and the Slavic word for “bear”, “medved”, means “honey-eater”. (The “med-” also appears in Germanic and Greek with the meaning of “honey or sweet” -- thus “mead”, a drink made from fermented honey, and “methy”, a word for wine in Greek.) It’s thought that the use of euphemisms like “bear” and “medved” were a result of a taboo on using the original word for such a large, fierce animal.

Sam Long, Springfield, Illinois

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: pinetum & arctophile

Large swaths of East Texas, Southern Arkansas, Western Louisiana, and Southeastern Oklahoma (The Piney Woods Region of the US Southeast) could be loosely regarded as a vast “pinetum”, writ large. Shared ideal soil profiles and favorable climatic conditions in these aforementioned areas allow the decidedly straight-up-and-down conifers, largely pines, to thrive, offering optimal habitat for all manner of wild native critters... great and small... including prime feeding/nesting grounds and natural cover for a large variety of local bird species.
Personal parenthetical note: I sighted my first-ever red-headed woodpecker(s) in the Piney Woods region of East Texas, just outside the town of Nacogdoches, back in early June of 2015. As a diehard birder, I was over the moon with joy in observing three of these charismatic “woodies” in a singular sighting, pecking away on a dead pine.

Elated father and son are heading home from their annual local County Fair with a passel of teddy bears in tow, selected prizes for several fun games-of-skill/deft hand-eye coordination wins. Clearly, this kid has the makings of a bona fide “arctophile”.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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

1. sillage
2. androcracy
3. pinetum
4. arctophile
5. make-work
= 1. aura
2. male power
3. park
4. collecting kid’s toy
5. chairmen?
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

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

The prom queen’s enticing sillage
Attracted a grand entourage.
That night at their urgin’
Her years as a virgin
Were ended, thanks to her corsage.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpmarlin456 gmail.com)

She went into Macy’s to pillage,
Quite careless of breakage or spillage,
Stole the priciest scents
(Some were ladies’, some gents’),
And left nothing behind but the sillage.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

Should you deem to visit my menage,
You will surely notice a sillage,
A fragrance called “Child”.
Most men are beguiled.
When I need one there is no wantage.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

It’s true that I didn’t know sillage,
A new word, never used in my village.
Yes, scent does linger on
And when Trump is long gone
We’ll all smell the results of his pillage.
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

My boss, Bob, used a perfume that had sillage.
It played a role as a forewarning mirage.
When he entered the front door,
The scent pervaded the ground floor,
And stray staff scuttled, -- with their computers to engage.
-Monica Broom, Morogoro, Tanzania (monicabroom2015 gmail.com)

While she gave me a Swedish massage,
I inhaled the girl’s lovely sillage.
As our bond I felt grow,
She said, “Down your hands go,
Or I’ll put you in ER triage.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Lysistrata had the right notion:
She set the “no sex” rule in motion:
“Androcracy must
Become much more just
If you want any signs of devotion!”
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

I used to think that a gynocracy
would be more peaceful than our androcracy.
With testosterone leading,
our youth will keep bleeding.
Also true, alas, under theocracy.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Before Trump we still had an andocracy,
But it’s grown to a full-scale monstrosity.
I’m hoping this trend
Will in history end
As a footnote, or even apostrophe.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The pine nuts are fine in the pinetum,
The Ute and the Paiute would die for ‘em.
A Paleo diet,
And no need to buy it,
Just pick ‘em, don’t stand in a line for ‘em.
-Phyllis Morrow, Fairbanks, Alaska (phyllismorrow1 gmail.com)

“A picnic in the pinetum”,
says the faded print in photo album.
Faces with innocent eyes,
Not easy to recognize-
a bygone age of guiltless freedom.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

My boyfriend told me to meet him
At the Central Park pinetum.
Right by the blue spruce
I’ll wait for my Bruce,
And with a kiss I will greet him.
(Though Bruce is a figment of my imagination, there really is a pinetum in New York City’s Central Park. See here.)
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Scott Pruitt said, “What good’s this pinetum?
Who wants pine cones? There’s no way to eat ‘em.
Let’s chop down these trees.
Instead, if you please,
Put up oil rigs; you just cannot beat ‘em.”
-Glenn Ickler, Hopedale, Massachusetts (glennwriter verizon.net)

I planted this lovely pinetum
So birds could have safety and freedom.
When they’ve chicks in the nest,
Neighbors, here’s my request:
Keep your kitties indoors, or they’ll eat ‘em.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Aunt Fanny was an arctophile,
So teddy bears, she had a pile.
Now poor Uncle Fred said,
“There’s no room in this bed.”
He thought it so infantile.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“New bears,” says the old arctophile,
“at first seem to cry for a while,
but soon fall asleep
with nary a peep,
after sipping some mild chamomile.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

At the crime scene the kitty was hissing,
And the Milnes were their sobbing boy kissing.
“It’s an arch-arctophile,”
The cops marked the file,
“For Winnie the Pooh has gone missing.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When you were just a youngster in school,
Did you always do your best to fool
The teacher by
Attempts to try
Using make-work as a clever tool?
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

‘Round the White House The Donald doth lurk,
Sporting his old “trust me” silly smirk.
He would much rather go
Down to Mar-a-Lago,
Where with golf clubs he feigns a make-work.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“The admirals at Starfleet do make-work,”
Declared a young ensign named James Kirk.
“I’d rather be wrapped in
The cloak of a captain,
For monsters and villains in space lurk.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: There’s a pun for it

Follow the yellow brick road if you want to sillage.

We replaced our all-male town council with women andocracy improvement soon.

Dice some apples, add cinnamon, then bake ‘em in a pinetum.

If you like teddy bears you arctophile past my collection.

Do March foibles and April idiosyncrasies lead to make-works?

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: James Ertner (jde31459 gmail.com)

Subject: There’s a word for it.

I thought I smelled the Wizard’s scent as he walked by. Did you sillage too?

I like country music, ya see ... androcracy.

What kind of trees are those and what’s the beaver going to do with them? Pinetum.

As Noah said, when asked why he was carrying a chisel around, “I have an arctophile.”

What do you call a peculiar trait in the fifth month of the year? Make-work.

Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina

I don’t need time. What I need is a deadline. -Duke Ellington, jazz pianist, composer, and conductor (29 Apr 1899-1974)

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