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Jul 21, 2019
This week’s theme
Words originating in the moon

This week’s words
blue moon

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AWADmail Issue 890

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

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

The Internet Is Changing Language Less Than Curmudgeons Fear
The Economist

No More Manholes in Berkeley as City Writes Gender Out of Codes
The New York Times
[More power to Berkeley! Today, some will mock them, but in a few years they’ll say “Of course, it makes sense.”]

From: Michael Poxon (mike starman.co.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--superlunary

What did the Moon do to us? Well, for most astronomers it blots out the fainter stars (which are usually the most interesting ones!). My hope was that the Americans would remove more moon rock than they actually did, like, all of it (only joking, Mr. Moon -- wouldn’t want to incur your wrath).

Michael Poxon, Norwich, UK

From: Peggy Aylsworth (peggy.aylsworth gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--superlunary

My poetry collection, Under the Unwed Moon treats our celestial queen with due respect.

Peggy Aylsworth, Santa Monica, California

From: Bob Creutz (rcreutz turnitin.com)
Subject: Moon does get some respect

Chinese mooncakes are a delicacy. Common at one of the most important Chinese festivals (Autumn Festival). Often given as gifts.

Mooncake from the television series Final Space is one of the most powerful forces in the universe.

I also think it is enjoyable to simply say the word mooncake. Mooncake.

Bob Creutz, San Francisco, California

From: Ted Hochstadt (tedbh yahoo.com)
Subject: Moon

In July 1969, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer living in a small village in the Kingdom of Lesotho in Southern Africa. I heard the news of the first moon landing when I turned on my transistor radio to the BBC World Service morning news. A few other folks in the village also heard the news. A wag exclaimed, “Banna ba ea khoeli!” Which literally means “men are going to the moon”, but colloquially means that men are menstruating.

Ted Hochstadt, Falls Church, Virginia

From: Scott A Long (slong paychex.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--superlunary

Hey guys, I love the daily messages and learning new words. Just a heads up we landed on the moon on July 20th not the 21st. I know this because it is my birthday and I’m named after Neil. Hmm.. so, the Washington Post got it wrong then? I have the original article from the Post framed saying Neil stepped on the moon at 10:58 pm on the 20th.

Scott A Long, Rochester, New York

Well, sometimes two people can differ and both can be right. The earthly borders and time zones don’t mean much in outer space. When we rise above those boundaries, we use Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). UTC is not really a time zone, but a time standard. It’s five hours ahead of New York, and for practical purposes, it’s synonymous with GMT. So, in UTC, we landed on the moon on July 20 and stepped out onto the lunar surface on July 21.
Happy Birthday!
-Anu Garg

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

Many people will be familiar with the “reverse” meniscus that mercury possesses, but fewer will know about that of liquid helium. The angle of its meniscus is zero, the result being that it will climb out of any open container.

Denis Toll, Aberdeen, Scotland

From: Bob Carter (rfgcarter ntlworld.com)
Subject: Moonstruck

As one of the UK scientists privileged to work analysing the samples from the Apollo missions, can I say I was totally moonstruck by the whole programme. We seem to have lost the ability to take these amazing steps into the unknown and inspire the whole of mankind.

Bob Carter, Fareham, UK

From: Michael Klossner (klossner9 aol.com)
Subject: Moonstruck -- painting

I thought I remembered that one of Carroll Cloar’s most famous paintings was Moonstruck Girls, but it turns out it has the even spookier title Moonstricken Girls. In this review, the painting is the second from the top.

Michael Klossner, Little Rock, Arkansas

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

In Verdi’s opera Il trovatore (The Troubadour), Count di Luna unknowingly causes the execution of his own brother. Might this have something to do with his name from which the word lunatic is derived? (Di Luna in Italian means “from the moon”.)

As for the space race, that too could be deemed a lunatic enterprise if the moon is to be used as “higher ground” from which one nation could smite the inhabitants of another.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Bruce Adgate (rossgate gmail.com)
Subject: Blue moon

In Italy, the equivalent expression for “once in a blue moon” is “ad ogni morte di Papa” which can be translated as “once every death of a Pope”.

Bruce Adgate, Spoleto, Italy

From: Yigal Levin (yigal.levin biu.ac.il)
Subject: Blue moon

The reason that there is “a bonus full moon” every 2.7 years is because the lunar year (that is, 12 full moons) is only 354 days long, which is 11 days less than the solar year. In calendar-systems in which a “month” is actually measured by the full moon, but the “year” is measured by the sun, an extra (that is, 13th) month is added every few years. In the present-day Jewish calendar, for example, this is done in 7 of every 19 years, which is indeed 2.71.

Yigal Levin, Ramat Gan, Israel

Email of the Week Old’s Cool = Old School + Wit - Life’s ludic and lovely lessons upside the head.>

From: Norman Holler (via website comments)
Subject: blue moon

As a soft addition this week’s matters of the moon theme, I’d like to offer this little story.

Starting in the late 80s, I’d often place myself in Big Sur, California, for months at a time, often between late Autumn and early Spring. My lovely long-time companion would, because of work circumstances, remain in the Yukon.

We would do occasional phone calls, but as a full moon approached, we would set ourselves up for a special date possibility to “meet on the moon”. In that, we would arrange a time to call, or at least hold each other in our thoughts, as we looked at the full moon together, knowing that the other was there in spirit, albeit 24 degrees of latitude apart. We wouldn’t always get clear skies together, but when we did, we knew that we were having a sweet spot shared experience. Ahh, ain’t love grand? BTW, my mate and I did the start of our story with our “first walk” along the Yukon River, on a blue moon, May 1988. No visible moon on that late light night in The North.

The idea is free to the world, and I invite you all to use it as you wish.

PS: As a jazzy little moonbeam lift to your day, I offer Moondance by Van Morrison.

Norman Holler, Whitehorse, Canada

From: George Savage (via website comments)
Subject: lunule

Brought back memories of my mother trimming my three-year-old nails and pushing back the cuticle with an orange stick to reveal the “moons”. Alas, seven decades later they have all but disappeared from my mangled and work-worn hands.

George Savage

From: Jered L. Hock (jeredandelaine comcast.net)
Subject: lunette

Great words. And one must not forget lunette: a crescent or half-moon shape (rounded at the top and straight horizontal at the bottom). The term is typically applied to a window. I know because I was involved in raising funds to relead and restore the stained glass of three lunettes in a 120-year-old building, at a pretty penny.

Jered L. Hock, Carlisle, Pennsylvania

From: Neal Sanders (n_h_sanders yahoo.com)
Subject: Moon taking bullets

The moon has also been taking “bullets” for us for the past couple of billion years. 90% of those craters you see would have been for Earth had the moon not stepped in the way. And, the ones on the dark side of the moon -- many of them of enormous size -- have been formed since the moon achieved synchronous rotation a billion years ago.

Neal Sanders, Boston, Massachusetts

From: Chris Carter (ccarter iinet.net.au)
Subject: Moon moon

According to a recent issue of New Scientist, planetary scientists have speculated that some of the 190 or so moons in the Solar System may have objects orbiting around them. Their name for these hypothetical satellites? “Moon moons”.

Chris Carter, Perth, Australia

From: John D. Laskowski (john.laskowski mothman.org)
Subject: More important - Moon or Sun?

Having taught astronomy for many years, I would ask my high school students: Which is more important: the moon or the sun? Obviously they’d say a variety of answers involving heat, light, tides, etc. I’d explain that the answer is the moon. Why? Because the Moon is out at night when it is dark, whereas the sun is out during the daytime when there is light anyway!

John D. Laskowski, Carsonville, Pennsylvania

From: Robert Moon (robert.l.moon3 gmail.com)
Subject: Moon Words!

I love a week of words all about me! I really needed it -- thank you, Anu!

Robert Moon, Huntsville, Alabama

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Blue moon and lunule

Blue moon
At the risk of dating myself, as a longtime vintage country music aficionado, our word(s) “blue moon” took me back to one of the late, great bluegrass legend Bill Monroe’s classic numbers... “Blue Moon of Kentucky”, penned in the year of my birth, 1946... recorded and released the following year to wide acclaim. Knowing full-well that current Senate Majority Leader, and legislative obfuscater par excellence, Mitch McConnell, calls the Bluegrass state home (eastern Kentucky... coal mining and former moonshine country), I couldn’t resist portraying dawdling Mitch, one of Trump’s key GOP enablers, as a dimwitted, plodding turtle*, heading for the still-undrained Washington Beltway/Congressional “swamp”, where he clearly feels right at home. An emotionally distraught blue moon of Kentucky, on high, reflects its true colors. No irony that Democratic Party loyalists bleed true blue. *Brilliant political satirist Jon Stewart, when hosting his late-night “The Daily Show”, would often parody Mitch McConnell as a slow-witted turtle, using the goofy, garbled voice of toon character Cecil Turtle, who co-starred with Bugs Bunny in the classic Warner Bros. animated feature short... “Tortoise Wins By a Hare”.

One of my favorite European monumental modernist outdoor sculptures is the late French artist César Baldaccini’s “Le Pouce” (The Thumb), a limited edition of three impressive identical 40-foot cast bronze forms... the most renowned sited at the bustling Parisian business hub, La Défense, at Place Carpeaux. A wealthy private American art collector purchased another, and the third in the edition is situated in Seoul, Korea. Curiously, sculptor César used his own thumb as a model for this hyper-realistic, gargantuan digit. Yet for all its realism, in my perusing many online images of this imposing piece, I was slightly disappointed that César opted to omit the fingernail lunule crescent. Perhaps a minor quibble on my part? For the sculptor, his giant raised-thumb sculpture was symbolic of “thumbs up” positivity. Thankfully, César passed on a followup monumental upraised “middle finger” sculpture. (groan)

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

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


1. superlunary
2. meniscus
3. moonstruck
4. blue moon
5. lunule
1. our sun
2. mum’s knee problem
3. loony, nuts
4. unusual
5. circle
     Words originating in the moon
1. superlunary
2. meniscus
3. moonstruck
4. blue moon
5. lunule
1. wondrous to sublime
2. semilune (noun)
3. loopy; nuts
4. eon
5. semilunar thing/occurring mark
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

Were it not of such weight, ‘twould be droll,
the way we keep watch of each poll.
Which rival’s our soon-to-be
new superlunary?
Who’s gonna be in control?
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

To his base, he’s a man superlunary;
To others, the king of buffoonery.
But we all can agree on
One verdict this eon:
“Not guilty” is Donald of prudery.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Sighs Grandpa, “I used to amaze
everybody, and garner great praise
for throwing the discus.
A thinning meniscus
prevents such performance these days!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Cried the patient, “I tore my meniscus
Getting hit by a large flying discus.”
The doc told him, with glee,
“I can mend your hurt knee,
With two swigs of scotch laced with hibiscus.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

I pity poor Jeremy Lin --
Imagine the pain he was in!
His meniscus he tore,
So he fell to the floor,
Brought down by a cartilage thin.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

If you’re too much in love with hibiscus,
You’re destined to tear a meniscus.
Every beautiful sprig
Says, “Plant more! C’mon, dig!”
Till you’re laid up in bed eating Triscuits.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Our chief, it seems, hasn’t a clue
what, because of his tweets, might ensue.
He appears to be moonstruck.
We fear he may soon chuck
us all ‘neath the bus. Toodle-oo!
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Mark Twain you can read to know Huck,
And “Midsummer Night’s Dream” to meet Puck.
Read some Thurber for humour,
“Othello” for rumour,
And romance for getting moonstruck.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

One night Huck and Jim so moonstruck
That they tried to escape based on pure pluck.
In the night when a sound
Caused young Finn’s heart to pound,
Jim assured him, “It’s just a raccoon, Huck.”
-Vara Devaney, Damascus, Maryland (varadevaney att.net)

A moonstruck young male moose in Maine
Fell in love with a cow. All in vain.
Despite his entreating
She kept right on eating
And treated his suit with disdain.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

Pence is dreamy, he’s dazed and deranged,
With a mood that’s forever unchanged.
Moonstruck? Without question
His face lacks expression
To hide that he finds Donald strange.
-Joe Budd Stevens, MD, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

A handsome young fellow named Chuck,
Spent his days on the road in a truck.
But wherever he’d roam,
He would always come home
To the woman who kept him moonstruck.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Neil Armstrong came during monsoon;
To the rain, moonstruck fans were immune.
But the mud brought a frown
on his stroll through the town;
It was worse than his walk on the moon.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

On Tinder he really seems sweet,
And so she’s been swept off her feet.
She’s moonstruck, you know,
About her new beau,
And someday they’re planning to meet.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

There’s Vlad and that face of Rodrigo’s,
Which with Kim makes a band of banditos.
With Trump in the middle
They’re hot off the griddle.
Beware of the moonstruck amigos.
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

“There’s a potion that makes people moonstruck,”
Said Oberon, “No one’s immune, Puck.”
There was mischief that night!
Lovers’ fancies took flight,
But their harmless illusions they’d soon chuck.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Though authorities oft importune
the crafty old bus’ness tycoon
to show tax returns,
each seeker soon learns
they’re in audit until next blue moon.
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Oh, there once was a man, such a goon,
Who was crazier than an old loon.
But one day up he went
To become President,
This happens just once in a blue moon.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

My friend Simon is really quite a true loon,
So when he’d get drunk, then we knew soon,
Sans pants he would go,
And sit in the snow,
So he could show off to all his blue moon.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In an old western town, the saloon
Was where fancy girls made cowboys swoon.
Wearing patched, faded duds
Men would come in for suds,
And a booty call every blue moon.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (jpmarlin456 gmail.com)

Declared Trump, “It’ll be a blue moon
Till I’m caught in an Army platoon.
With a foot doc I’m blessed
Who will fake up a test;
All is fair when your dad’s a tycoon.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“It is true, as a general rule,
Said the student at Ace Beauty School,
“The best manicure,
With lasting allure,
Will depend on a rounded lunule.”
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

“For women in Congress, my new rule
Is go home if your flag has a lunule.
From Tunisia to Turkey,
Your motives are murky,”
Says Trump, “and your country’s a cesspool.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Luney puns

After bird hunting, Paul Bunyan either brought home a superlunary was ashamed.

Betty Grable said, “Guys like my legs; particularly meniscus they’re so cute.”

Moonstruck was full of Mr. Mullins’s cigar ashes.

When it landed, the Lunar Explorer Module blue moon dust around.

If your bladder is full in Britain, visit the loonule feel better.

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

The best people possess a feeling for beauty, the courage to take risks, the discipline to tell the truth, the capacity for sacrifice. Ironically, their virtues make them vulnerable; they are often wounded, sometimes destroyed. -Ernest Hemingway, author and journalist, Nobel laureate (21 Jul 1899-1961)

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