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May 12, 2019
This week’s theme
Words from singer-songwriter Roy Zimmerman’s songs

This week’s words
nanny state

How popular are they?
Relative usage over time

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Next week’s theme
Portmanteaux (blend words)

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AWADmail Issue 880

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

Sponsor’s Message: Are you looking for the perfect present for know-it-all dads and grads? The Official Old’s Cool Education is “The Holy Trinity of wit, knowledge, and fun and games”, and is chock-a-block full of gee whiz, Shakespeare, history, soap-making, sports, anecdotes and quotes, Price’s Law, and diamonds and pearls of wisdom. We’re offering this week’s Email of the Week winner, M.P. Chevrette (see below), as well as all the what-do-I-get-the-man-who-has-everything AWADers a “Buy Two, Get Three: special through midnight Monday. Gift problems solved >

From: Charlotte Russell (ccr6273 verizon.net)
Subject: Roy Zimmerman

What a delicious delight to laugh loudly and nod knowingly along with Zimmerman’s clever and incisive songs! Thanks for introducing me (and I’m sure many others) to Zimmerman. And it’s only Tuesday ...

Charlotte Russell, Littleton, Massachusetts

From: Helen Ross (h.e.ross stir.ac.uk)
Subject: Legionnaire

The word legionnaire brings bad vibes -- war, overpopulation, and disease. Legionnaires’ disease was so named after an outbreak of a severe form of pneumonia at a convention of the American Legion, which was held at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel in Philadelphia in 1976. The Legionella bacteria causing the disease flourish in warm water systems, and they somehow entered the air-conditioning system of the hotel. The world could do with fewer harmful bacteria and fewer legions.

Helen Ross, Stirling, Scotland

From: Melissa Lujan (melissa eeo.com)
Subject: moribund

I recently asked the HOA gardener to please take away the dead bush next to my house. He asked which bush (there was clearly only one dead one) and I replied “the moribundus”. It’s still there. Gardeners have no sense of humor.

Melissa Lujan, Oak Park, California

From: Frances Edmond (feedmond gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--carny

In New Zealand when I was a young woman (1970s) carnie was used to describe a sexually available/active underage girl as in “She’s a carnie”, a pejorative term.

Frances E Edmond, Ostend, New Zealand

From: Terry Stone (cgs7952 bellsouth.net)
Subject: Carny

For most of my life, I’ve heard the word carnie as a pejorative, perhaps indicative of the rough, itinerant lives they often led, compelled by brutal carnival owners to work slavish hours in the worst conditions for little pay and to try to scam and intimidate customers. Even the lyrics of your example call one of them “toothless”. But nowadays, when I hear or read the word, I have to chuckle because it makes me think of Mike Myers’s fictional character Austin Powers, who confessed that there were only two things in this world that scared him: nuclear war and carnies. Fearsome folk, as well, evidently.

Terry Stone, Goldendale, Washington

From: Gray Frierson Haertig (gfh haertig.com)
Subject: Carny

You heard about the sweater-less ex-felon who ran the ring-toss game, didn’t you? He’s a chilly con carny!

Gray Frierson Haertig, Portland, Oregon

From: Chips Mackinolty (chips.mackinolty gmail.com)
Subject: Carny vs showie

Although the term carny is not unknown in Australia, the most common term is showie, referring to the people who follow the agricultural show circuits with fun rides, food, shooting galleries, and the like -- more often than not in that part of an agricultural show referred to as sideshows or sideshow alleys.

Chips Mackinolty, Darwin, Australia

From: Brian Veit (oceanrenter gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--nanny state

“Because people act like children” is an oversimplification and it doesn’t make explicit the real issue. It doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) about protecting the individual from their own actions, but society from their actions.

If individuals’ acts were indeed limited to themselves there would be no need, even if they imperiled themselves. But if there are externalities society picks up, then it behooves society either to get the individuals to pay these costs, or if unable to do so, to limit those costs to the extent feasible.

So for example, if riding without a helmet would not imperil rescue people who were forced to try to aid them, or it would not result in medical bills the helmet-less free spirit would be unable to pay thereby forcing society to pick up this externality, it would not require a nanny state. In this case the externalities clearly warrant the regulation. Ditto seatbelts.

This is an important distinction so as not to lose this argument to those same selfish people who not only act like children but think like them.

John Stuart Mill addressed it here in the first chapter of On Liberty:
“The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.”

Brian Veit, San Francisco, California

From: Eric Marchbein (emarch333 me.com)
Subject: Nanny state

Unvaccinated KY student who sued over basketball ban comes down with chicken pox

Eric Marchbein, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

From: Sara Hutchinson (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)
Subject: nanny state

When I lived in London in the 1960s, seatbelt use in cars had just become law, and I remember a billboard on Cromwell Road which pictured a man in a full body cast seated in a wheel chair, with the words: “I refused to wear a seatbelt because I wasn’t going to let a nanny state tell me what to do.”

Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware

From: Wayne Alford (wayne.alford humanservices.gov.au)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--nanny state

Regarding the two linked articles... As a long-time motorcycle rider and survivor of two write-off accidents, my survival attributed to my safety gear, I normally shake my head at people who insist on the bare minimum legal requirements when on a motorcycle (helmet is the only mandatory thing in Australia).

While I firmly believe that my gear is the sole reason I am still here, I can see one “positive” of the US no-helmet brigade: without a helmet, these people in accidents pretty much die immediately, rather than suffer crippling injuries that put a strain on the medical system, their families, and society as a whole. If people want to take the risk of dying over surviving, albeit possibly in a compromised state, then that should be up to the individual.

Me -- I ride with all the gear, all the time. I have the scars to prove that it works.

Wayne Alford, Greenway, Australia

From: Andrew Lloyd (knockroe gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--inveigle

Inveigle is a Flanders & Swann word. (zeugma alert) and (#metoo too)

He had slyly inveigled her up to his flat
To view his collection of stamps;
And he said as he hastened to put out the cat
The wine, his cigar, and the lamps:
“Have some madeira, m’dear
You really have nothing to fear ...
(video, 3 min.)

Andrew Lloyd, Knockroe, Ireland

Email of the Week brought to you by The Official Old’s Cool Education -- Wit. Grit. Grad. Dad. Gift. >

From: Chevy (I_Humanist msn.com)
Subject: Roy Zimmerman Week

I first became aware of Roy Zimmerman in 2011 at the 70th Annual Conference of the American Humanist Association in Cambridge, MA, where he was the featured performer at our awards dinner. Heir to Tom Lehrer, I thought then, and a voice willing to sing the truth to power, I still believe.

My favorite Zimmerman satire is his priceless “Chickenhawk”, probably the best argument to bring back the draft. No, I am neither pacifist nor warmonger. However, if wage war we must, the sons and daughters of the rich and connected should no longer receive a free pass as did many of their parents, but pay the price of citizenship co-equally -- in the military or other national service -- with their less-advantaged brothers and sisters.

Judge man, music, and message for yourself! (lyrics, video; or, for a more visceral presentation, see this video)

M.P. Chevrette, South Hadley, Massachusetts

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words
1. legionnaire
2. moribund
3. carny
4. nanny state
5. inveigle
= 1. veteran
2. dying
3. man in gala
4. insincere notion
5. by lure
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Limericks

In Rome, every last legionnaire
Had the latest in chic outerwear.
“In red tunics and sandals
We’ll turn back the Vandals,”
They’d say, “and we’ll look debonair.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

On a cruise, a well-fed Legionnaire
Was laid low and left gasping for air.
“This disease and its quease
Leaves me weak in the knees.
I don’t think I can last ‘til Bonaire!”
-Rob Arndt, Houston, Texas (theveryword aol.com)

John served as a brave legionnaire,
Dispatched to a poor region where
The battles they fought
Much misery brought --
But bone spurs kept Donald from there.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

An abnormally vain Legionnaire
Was obsessed by the state of his hair,
So he made his coiffeur
With an added belle fleur
Which increased his courage dans la guerre
-Gordon Tully, Charlottesville, Virginia (gordon.tully gmail.com)

A suave soldier, a French legionnaire,
Carried muskets with such savoir faire.
Though wounded and sore
He headed the corps
With a valiant and brave kind of flair.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Septimius Severus, Libyan,
Was fearful of injuries tibian.
“My legionnaires know
Leg-bones don’t regrow --
Except if you’re somewhat amphibian.”
-Rob Arndt, Houston, Texas (theveryword aol.com)

Said The Don, “I am frankly quite stunned
By the Dems who are keeping me shunned.
Vladimir, I confess,
I am under duress,
Since my vigor is now moribund.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Why is the woman not crying?
Still shopping while hubby is dying?
He’s not moribund.
The guy’s only stunned
by the cost of the clothing she’s buying!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

With the car that I bought moribund,
The dealer just shrugged, “No refund.”
“It’s a lemon you sold,
And we’ll squeeze you for gold,”
In reaction my wife Laurie punned.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Dear Donald, the Congress you’ve shunned
As the wall you keep trying to fund.
With unwanted advances
And hidden finances,
Your presidency’s moribund.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpmarlin456 gmail.com)

The kid had been left a trust fund.
It was temptingly large and rotund.
But conditions were plain
And caused him great pain.
“At thirty I’ll be moribund.”
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

The moribund plants that you see
Were healthy when given to me.
I have a brown thumb
And that is how come
My roses all wish they could flee.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Every day in his moribund show
His lie-list continues to grow.
Aha! quoth the raven,
Your image is craven.
We wonder -- how low can you go?
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

Anything moribund leaves me cold,
But now that I am growing old
I can easily see
How it applies to me.
I no longer will put things on hold.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

The gaudy sign on the marquee
Tells of weird wonders waiting for me.
As I stroll through the carney
I know it’s all blarney
But I still pay good money to see.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

A man by the name of Big Barney,
Was full of the old Irish blarney.
A gangster by day,
He earned most of his pay
By being a slick circus carney.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

One day a young man from Killarney
Ran off with a traveling carny.
For Barnum and Bailey
Said, “Girls you’ll have daily,”
But bearded they were. ‘Twas such blarney!
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

His chance for employment looks bleak
when they find that the guy doesn’t speak
the requisite carney.
But, fluent in blarney,
he’s hired as new carnival geek!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

In Ireland, home of the blarney,
lived a lively retired old carney.
Said the merry old clown,
“When the show comes to town
just the sound of their talk makes me hahrney.”
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

A carny I greatly admire
Can swallow a sword and breathe fire.
’Tis with these great skills
That he pays his bills --
When burnt out he plans to retire.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Said The Don, “Though it’s up for debate,
I sure run a well-oiled nanny state.
Second term? Let’s rejoice,
I’m a natural choice,
Always keeping America great.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)
[Ed. note: Congratulations to Ms. Marks-White. She was the only contributor to successfully rhyme “nanny state”.]

When she told him she wanted a beagle,
he instantly tried to inveigle
her into, instead,
a corgi. He said,
“That breed is exceedingly regal!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

He’ll look for a gullible chap -
a simpleton, sucker, or sap
whom he can inveigle
like Evil-Eye Fleegle
in the Li’l Abner strips by Al Capp.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

As a child I used to inveigle
My mother for lox on my bagel.
“And also a schmear,
Won’t you please, Mommy dear?”
I’d continue to cream cheese finagle.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

At rallies he’d call for a wall.
With chutzpah, the crowds he’d enthrall.
His boasts they believed,
But they were deceived --
The con man inveigled them all.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: I guest Roy Zimmerman was unrelated to Bob

(but I’m Dylan these out, anyway.)

An expert guide will only legionnaire danger -- not to it!

The doc said, “You’re dying. I can’t make it moribundantly clear.”

These puns are so carny they belong in a side-show.

Did nanny state that she and pappy are divorcing?

“Use clarity, Phil. Puns written inveigle be too confusing.”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Neither genius, fame, nor love show the greatness of the soul. Only kindness can do that. -Jean Baptiste Henri Lacordaire, preacher, journalist, and activist (12 May 1802-1861)

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