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Nov 1, 2020
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AWADmail Issue 957

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

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

Kamala versus Daenerys
The Ink

Yes, You Can Learn to Speak the Language of Plants
The New York Times

From: Andrew Lack (ajlack brookes.ac.uk)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--coquelicot

The more general French word for poppy is pavot. Only some European poppies are red, e.g. opium poppies are usually a violety white (though there is a rarer red form), and poppy seeds in cooking are almost always opium poppy seeds. The word coquelicot was popularised, I think, by Monet who painted them famously often and always called them coquelicots.

Andrew Lack, Oxford, UK

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

With Remembrance Day (Nov 11) approaching, it’s good to remember the soldiers who gave their lives for whatever cause they were serving in the various wars since the “Great War” of 1914-1918 with John McCrae’s memorable lines: “In Flanders Field the coquelicots grow”? I think the poet’s word, poppies, sounds more appropriate.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

Email of the Week brought to you by Old’s Cool -- Nope, you can’t BUY BRAINS.

From: Jerry Delamater (comjhd hofstra.edu)
Subject: coquelicot

I can’t be the only A.Word.A.Day fan who immediately thought of a certain coquelicot-tinged creature who is currently living in DC (but only until January 20, PLEASE).

Jerry Delamater, New Haven, Connecticut

From: David Schatzky (davidschatzky hotmail.com)
Subject: Capacious

“[Trump’s] capacious definition of sucker includes those who lose their lives in service to their country, as well as those who are taken prisoner, or are wounded in battle.”
Jeffrey Goldberg; Trump: Americans Who Died in War Are ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’; The Atlantic; Sep 3, 2020.

My sense of Trump -- who professes to be a Christian -- is that if asked about Jesus he would say “I prefer saviours who don’t get crucified.”

David Schatzky, Toronto, Canada

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

Trump’s attitude, as referred to in the Usage example, is analogous to another dictator’s, one called Josip Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili (aka Joseph Stalin), who ordered the shooting of returning Soviet soldiers at the end of World War II for having surrendered to the enemy instead of fighting unto death.

Dictators have a tendency of murdering their own people, not the actual enemy. Also, Ukraine in the Second World War and Yevtushenko’s poem Babi Yar.

Note: the executioners were not Nazi soldiers but Ukrainian Einsatzgruppen.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Kate Cook (via website comments)
Subject: double-talk

Thank you for helping me clarify what is so disturbing about the Trump era. Beginning with double-talk, I went on to re-explore doublespeak, doublethink, and newspeak -- the latter two appeared in 1984; the first two are derivatives and appeared after the book. We are evolving towards that awful reality at an alarming pace. Clicking on the link for doublethink takes you back to a previous week in Wordsmith which must have been in the early 2000s and shows a great meme about the Patriot Act, keeping us free by protecting us from our freedoms. The fact that such a large percentage of our US population fully buys into the doublethink/newspeak rhetoric of the GOP and the ... I dunno? Who is it behind them? Used to be the military industrial complex. Is it referred to as the shadow state now? Charles Koch and co? Whoever.... it’s deeply disturbing and alarming. Orwell was just off on the date.

Kate Cook

From: Hans Heilman (hansheilman01 gmail.com)
Subject: double-talk

When I saw “double-talk” in this week’s words, I immediately thought of the song “Elephant Talk” by the band King Crimson. The lyrics feature synonyms for types of talking, ordered alphabetically -- “double-talk” appears (twice, of course) in the verse comprised of synonyms starting with the letter D:

Talk, talk, it’s only talk
Debates, discussions
These are words with a D this time
Dialogue, duologue, diatribe,
Dissention, declamation
Double talk, double talk
(more here)

Hans Heilman, Lexington, Massachusetts

From: Jim Tang (mauijt aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--double-talk

Funny, I immediately flashed on Charles Durning in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, performing “Sidestep” while portraying the governor of Texas. The connection to events nearly 40 years later is uncanny. But I was late. Somebody had already used it with a Trump twist, to wit.

Remember, this is not a test of candidates but of voters. Nothing less than a landslide and a sea change in the Senate will be required for a passing grade.

Jim Tang, Kula, Hawaii

From: Alex Adams (alex.adams yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--luteous

Suillus luteus is a common “bolete” mushroom, yellowish brown above and yellowish pore fertile surface below. Commonly in mycorrhizal association with eastern white pine in the US, but more native to Eurasia.

Alex Adams, Denville, New Jersey

From: George Pajari (george pajari.ca)
Subject: luteous

Then there’s luteous maximus aka Trump.

George Pajari, West Vancouver, Canada

From: Naomi Rankin (naomirankin shaw.ca)
Subject: stinkbug

“Of the five-thousand-odd species of stinkbug in the world, the brown marmorated kind is the most destructive, the most annoying, and possibly the ugliest. It is roughly the size of a dime, although thicker, but its head is unusually small, even for an insect, which gives it an appropriately thuggish look. Its six legs prop its shield-shaped body up in the air, as if they were pallbearers at the funeral of a Knight Templar. Its antennae are striped with bands of dark and light, while its eyes, should you get close enough to gaze into them, are the vivid red of an alarm clock at night. The ‘marmorated’ in its name means ‘marbled’, but ‘mottled’ is closer to the truth. Entomologists, who have a color palette as elaborate as Benjamin Moore’s, describe the underside of its body as ‘distinctly pale luteous’.”
Kathryn Schulz; Home Invasion; The New Yorker; Mar 12, 2018.

I object! The stinkbug is every bit as beautiful in its own context as any other living thing. It’s not the stinkbug’s fault that modern corporate agriculture promotes an extreme of mono-cultures that views every ecological niche as an enemy.

Naomi Rankin, Edmonton, Canada

From: Michael Crowley (mcrowley nbcoatings.com)
Subject: This week’s theme

Methinks there is a theme, but we can’t say its name lest it appear before us.

Michael R. Crowley, Lansing, Illinois

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: luteous and double-talk

Inspired by our “luteous” usage example referring to an orange-yellow-bellied stinkbug, I envisioned Trump, as a stinkbug, emitting noxious fumes, his bright orange visage turned muddy, whilst a reluctant supporter holds his schnoz, voting for him in spite of his odious record.

Here, I’ve revisited the last presidential debate, moderator Kristen Welker having just asked Trump his views on race relations in America and the Black Lives Matter movement. The Double-Talker-in-Chief gave his hackneyed “least racist” reply, while peering out beyond the stage, apparently seeking out anyone less racist than himself. Never mind that NBC moderator Welker, sitting directly in front of him is half-Black (White dad, Black mum). Talk about color-blind Trump... and not in a good way.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

Anagrams of This Week’s Words
Misc. words:
1. coquelicot
2. capacious
3. double-talk
4. vaporous
5. luteous
1. bouquet’s red
2. spacious
3. take political vows?
4. a cloud
5. mucous color
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)


Says she to her stylist, “You know,
I think that today I’ll forego
my regular hue.
Let’s try it in blue,
with highlights of bright coquelicot!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

I hope that next Tuesday he’ll go;
The incumbent with hair coquelicot.
Oval office capacious
For a leader more gracious
From Delaware, first name of Joe.
-Sara Hutchinson, New Castle, Delaware (sarahutch2003 yahoo.com)

So handsome and rich is my date
That the hook I will carefully bait.
My dress coquelicot
Sets my face all aglow;
To father my child’s his fate.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (powerjanice782 gmail.com)

“It’s unfair how comedians mock me so,”
Said Donald, “for hair colored coquelicot.
As my lunch today’s Greek,
Here’s the way I’ll show pique;
First I’ll rant, then I’ll rave, then souvlaki throw.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

His search for true love was rapacious;
It seemed that his heart was capacious;
But at last it was found
That his word was unsound,
And his promises all were mendacious.
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

The bed in our suite is capacious --
Luxurious, comfy, and spacious.
There is room, it would seem,
For a whole football team --
Inviting them’s not so sagacious.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

“With an appetite huge and rapacious,”
Bragged the T-Rex, “and jaws this capacious,
To my reign there’s no threat.”
Said the mouse, “Wanna bet?
That you’ll always be king is fallacious.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

His followers never would balk
At all, from his gross double-talk;
And then came the election,
They all made their selection,
And sadly, they walked the same walk!
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

Dari and Pashto are known to be Kabul-talk.
Some mountain men shamble and wobble-walk.
But more pointedly, far,
Right here, where we are,
Politicians of all stripes speak double-talk.
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“Hey, chick, wanna go for a walk?”
invites the duplicitous hawk.
But our hen’s very wise.
She rebuffs him, replies,
“You can stuff your disguised double-talk!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Call them Don and Joe, we all know
Either Trump or Biden will go
On to win the race,
Coming in first place.
Yet double-talk is still the show.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

He’s a New Yorker and no Washingtonian
With double-talk and comments draconian.
If there’s one thing I know
It’s this gift he’ll bestow:
His hairpiece to the Smithsonian,
-Gayle Tremblay, Saint John, Canada (gayletremblay hotmail.com)

When the couple went out for a walk,
The young girlfriend would constantly balk.
All the trouble arose
‘Cause he’d never propose,
But engaged in some weird double-talk.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

Comedians frequently use
Cute double-talk meant to amuse.
But in an election,
With much misdirection,
Such schmooze can mislead and confuse.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Tracking a money trail, police found:
A firm’s staff were trying to confound
with their glib double-talk,
and lies white as chalk;
But spotting handcuffs they soon came round.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

When Martians one day at our rubble gawk,
They’ll conclude, “’Twas their fondness for double-talk.
At science they spat;
They would don a red hat,
And at warnings of climate-change trouble balk.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Says the meteorologist, “Soon,
we’re informed by our weather balloon,
each morning will favor us
daily with vaporous
clouds, mostly clearing by noon.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

A vaporous form had appeared --
The ghost of his partner, he feared!
Ebenezer could tell
That this wouldn’t end well --
And readers of Dickens all cheered!
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

The fairy appeared in the night.
She never came out in the light.
She’d frolic, and caper thus,
Then would vanish vaporous,
When the sun rose up into sight.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Our agreements with Vlad should be paperless,”
Said Donald, “That way they’re not traitorous.”
So he wrote no emails,
Kept no notes, left no trails;
Sighed Bob Mueller, “It’s all rather vaporous.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Our monarch with hair very luteous
Likes to rant but is not at all studious.
If he loses the vote
I most likely will gloat,
But the king? He’ll explode like Vesuvius!
-Joe Budd Stevens, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico (joebuddstevens gmail.com)

Most Martian invaders, you know,
Have skin with a luteous glow.
And once you detect them
Then you should direct them --
To visit our leader they’ll go.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

She had gone to go get her hair done.
The result, an unfortunate one.
Her hair color beauteous,
Had turned out just luteous.
It was so bad that mirrors she’d shun.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

Unstoppable, molten, and luteous,
The lava flowed down from Vesuvius.
“But we’ve rounded the turn
And most people won’t burn,”
Said the mayor, “Don’t look so lugubrious!”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


So what if Trump arrogantly refuses to concede? He can coquelicot down to defeat.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Said the sportscaster, “One more gold medal for a Pacific Rim country will capacious’ triumph in this year’s Olympics.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Did you hear about the loquacious guy named Dub? Double-talk whenever you give him a chance.
-Jim Ertner, Greensboro, North Carolina (jde31459 gmail.com)

Said the tobacco executive, “If they’re going to smoke, the choice is either vaporous.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

With all the taxpayers’, foreign governments’, and donors’ luteous making off with, at least Trump will never again have to worry about money.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

We Beat It!
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Trump’s Foibles & Follies

As Trump has become more desperate in the home stretch of his election campaign, he’s propagating a bald-faced lie that Covid-19 is fast disappearing, and it’s now safe to get back to our pre-coronavirus lives. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, as infections and fatalities are rising at a frightening rate. Exacerbating this scenario is the fact that the flu season beckons. Trump’s early foot-dragging and gross mishandling of the defence against coronavirus might well cost him the election.

In the fight against the pandemic, epidemiologists talk about the efficacy of “herd immunity”. Ideally, that occurs when a 60-70% swath of the madding crowd has been infected by the virus, survives, and then re-enters the mainstream of society. These individuals essentially acquire an immunity response. Clearly, a daunting benchmark to obtain, including thousands of collateral deaths. Trump has confused a “herd immunity” with “herd mentality”, explaining that the scourge will just miraculously vanish, at some point. Hmm... a “herd mentality” could conceivably work on that other mystery malady, the cowronavirus.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

The wisest man is he who does not fancy that he is so at all. -Nicolas Boileau-despreaux, poet and critic (1 Nov 1636-1711)

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