WOW #22

Dictionary

This week’s Word Of the Week is….

CERVINE

As with so many other things, I found it when I was looking for something else. I have no smart comments to make about it.  I can’t even think of a way to relate it to my life, to give you some kind of cute little story about it.

The English adjective cervine comes directly from Latin cervτnus “pertaining to a deer” ( cervus). Latin cervus means “stag, deer” and derives from a complicated Proto-Indo-European root ker- (with many variants) “uppermost part (of the body), head, horn.” The same root yields Latin cornū “horn” (as in unicorn and in corn in the sense “thickening and hardening of the skin on a toe”), cervτx “neck,” and cornea (horny coating or tissue). In Germanic the root appears as her-, source of English horn, hart (the animal), and hornet. Cervine entered English in the 19th century.

Just about every animal has a similar word to describe it. Most are easy to identify if you know the Latin base.  Bovine = cow-like, ovine is sheep-like, equine is horses, canine and feline are cats and dogs, aquiline soars like an eagle, ursine refers to bears, lupine is wolves, leonine is lions, although saturnine means gloomy or taciturn, and refers to the dour astrological influence of the planet Saturn.  The dictionary does not mention Grumpy Old Dude – Archon.  Vulpine refers to foxes,  and is the basis for the European surname ‘Volpe’.  We have a “Don Volpe Interiors”, locally.

Porcine refers to pigs. I once watched a C-grade movie.  Essentially it was The A-Team Invades Cuba.  Soon after our heroic lads came ashore, they required local assistance.  It quickly came in the form of a Rubenesque young female with a low neckline, short skirt, and high heels in a dirt-road village.

The squad leader thanked her, and asked her name. When she said that it was ‘Porcina Perez,’ I fell off the couch.

I don’t imagine that I’ll use this word much. I have very little need to describe things (animals) which are deer-like.  The reason that I included it is because of all the English-language words and concepts that it engenders.  Heads and horns and hornets and corns and cornets and cervix and hart and cornea and unicorns, oh my.  It’s like this one word supports half the dictionary.

Please join me again, later this week, when I rant off at a completely different vector.  😀

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It’s Just A Made-Up Word

Dictionary

(Some) people ask, “How can I get a word into the dictionary?”

A six-year-old Canadian boy from British Columbia is being credited with creating one. He was out with his mother in the car, when she stopped at a STOP sign. Not only did he read the word, but he did what I often do.  He read it backwards, and got the word ‘pots.’  Precocious little prick – reminds me very much of a young Archon.

He asked his mother what the word was for a word that formed another word when read backwards. She didn’t know, so she said they’d ask his Dad when he got home.  He didn’t know, so he asked a friend of his who was a teacher.  He didn’t know, so he asked the school’s English teacher. She didn’t know, so she contacted a friend who worked for an on-line dictionary.

At each level, the interest became more intense. After some research, it was realized that there wasn’t such a word.  It couldn’t be ‘anagram’, which describes words formed by scrambling the letters – getting ‘tars’, or ‘tsar’ from ‘star,’ instead of ‘rats.’  I can get six words from his four-letter sign – stop, spot, pots, post, tops, and opts.

It couldn’t be ‘palindrome’ which describes a word, phrase, or entire sentence which reads the same way, backwards or forwards, like – Able was I ere I saw Elba, or A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.

During the golden days of radio, I listened to a station which ran a contest. They wanted a word, and gave out audio clues.  The first was the gentle sound of a babbling brook, and a man’s voice saying, “I’m going to paddle down this.” After a couple of days, they added the sound of a tolling bell, and the man exclaiming, “Time for lunch!” A couple of days later with no winners, they added a male voice saying, “That’s your plane coming in, right there on the screen.”

Finally, someone guessed ‘palindrome’, the first time I’d heard it. The voice was going to paddle a ‘kayak’, have lunch at ‘noon’, and watch his plane on ‘radar.’

This little boy is credited with creating the word ‘levidrome.’ I don’t know how precocious he is, but even Young Sheldon, spun off from Big Bang Theory, would have trouble building a compound word from pieces of Latin, a foreign, and dead, language.  I suspect that he had a little bit of help.

‘Levi’ in Latin means left, and ‘drome’ is a course or path, so it indicates a word which is read towards the left. It doesn’t hurt that Levi is also the boy’s Jewish first name.

Canadian actor, William Shatner, (whose German surname means, “chewer of scenery,” in English) contacted Oxford Dictionary after the family had been in touch with Merriam Webster, which told them that a word has to be commonly used before it can be added to its dictionary.

Now, an editor at Oxford has responded with a video, saying many clever and useful words are created every year, but a word can only make it into its dictionary if lots of people use it over a long time. The editor says that plenty of people are uttering ‘levidrome’ early into Levi’s campaign, which is impressive, and staff will decide in about a year whether its use is widespread enough to get the word into the dictionary.  Their search engine might even sieve this post.  C’mon people, let’s all use it.

I’ve got a word for the precious little pr…ecocious, and it ain’t ‘Triviana!’ Stop by again soon, when I’ll have a bunch more words that are already in the dictionary.  😉

The Evolution Of Archon

Paul's Baby Pix

A tourist flags down a New York taxi. He climbs in, and asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The cabby responds, “Practice man, practice!”

How did Archon get from the happy, smiling, enchanting little baby above, to be the Grumpy Old Dude he is today?  It all starts with a good genetic background, goes through more than a half a century of formative social interaction, and is molded into place with constant, “Practice, man!  Practice!”

CCI_000010

It may have started here. This is my maternal grandfather and grandmother.  I’ve always thought that his dour look came from being a dark Scottish Pict among the skirt-wearing, fair-skinned Highlanders.  Recent DNA testing revealed that ¼ of my genetic makeup is from Ireland.  I would imagine that thinking yourself a ‘good Scot’, or even a poor Scot, and finding that you’re descended from poteen-swilling, colleen-chasing, superstitious, banshee-herding idlers, would put a scowl on your face.  I know it put one on mine….or was that already there?

This photo was taken in the mid-1930s, in the parkland adjacent to their home. If you can see in the upper, right-hand corner, two tall Poplar trees about a block away; this will be where my Mother returns from Detroit in a couple of years, and purchases her home and property.  She met and married my father.  He got a job and moved in with her, and about ten years after this shot, they produced me, in my Home Sweet Home.

CCI_000012

When Mom returned from Detroit, she brought along with her, not only a divorce settlement, but a daughter from her first marriage. Shown here, she’s about 10, along with my Mom and Dad, about Christmas, 1944, clustered around the real center of attention, the recent arrival, that little Ray of Sunshine and Bundle of Joy, the Archon-in-Training ….pants.

Already sulky about losing a father in a divorce, her mood soon soured further when she found that she’d gained two new half-brothers in a remarriage. Her never-ending whining harshed my tiny mellow, and her shrill, constant complaints about, “Those boys! Those damned boys!” quickly got on my little nerves.  I was well on my way to a world-class Old Grumpitude.  Either that, or the fact that my Mother didn’t tie the laces on my little walking shoes and I tripped over them and fell on my handsome wee face.  There’s always some reason to be grumpy– if you search hard enough.

CCI_000019

This photo is of my Mom and Dad some 60 years after the one above. The reasons they’re happy and smiling, is that they’re both retired, I’m the one in the room taking the picture and my sisty ugler isn’t there.

I don’t really know why I continue to be such an old grump. I have you, my regular readers, and faithful followers.  A young lady recently set a new personal record.  She followed my blog – for the 20th time.  She used to have her own blog-site, but shut it down.  She follows me – and a day or two later, WordPress disconnects and un-follows her.  She re-follows me – and a day later my stats fall again.  We’ve done this dance now, twenty times.  Now that’s dedication!

It’s probably been because I’ve been out for treks in the blogosphere, leaving grumpy footprints comments hither and yon, but there was a period following my Five Long Years post, where I gained 90 followers in 90 days.  (Not including Rita Repetitive)

You’re probably wondering, ‘What can I do, to make Archon less grumpy?’  You’ve already done it.  Visiting my site, reading, liking, commenting, all constitute Step 1 of my 12-step Grump-Addiction loss program.  Now it’s up to me to take the other 11 small steps.  I’ll get right on those – after I’ve had a snack and a nap.  😉

It’s In The Jeans

DNA

…and when my Mother and Father both took their jeans off, and created me, they each contributed a fairly varied set of DNA genes to my formation.

In my ‘Who Am I?’ post, I made some educated guesses as to what races had contributed to my makeup, based on family lore, and the daughter’s research on Ancestry.ca. Last Christmas, the wife and kids got together and purchased a DNA kit for me.

After my usual several months of procrastination, I finally spit in the cup, mailed it off to Dublin, Ireland, and waited 6 to 8 weeks for the results to come back.

ancestry-dna

As you can see from the above, there are not too many surprises. Some of my genetic makeup comes from the Romans, and their Eastern Mediterranean, Greek, Turkish, non-‘Italian’ compatriots.  Some comes from the Spanish Armada fiasco, although the chart shows no African Moorish contribution, so there’s no ‘Black Scots’ in my background.

There’s a bit from here, and a bit from there. Not that I really give a damn, but my ancestors seem to be all white.  The Scandinavian input came, not only from the Norsemen raiding and invading, but from the Northern Germanic tribes, the Jutes, Angles and Saxons, who were invited by the Britons to come to the island and help repel the Norse.  They did so well at that, that they stayed, and helped themselves to the country, becoming the Anglo-Saxons.

The biggest shock was finding that 26% of my ancestral input was Irish. Despite the Scottish name of Stewart, it’s possible (probable) that my maternal Grandfather wasn’t a Scottish Pict, but an Irish Gael.  Short, stocky, dark, and always looking disapproving, it’s no wonder he had nothing good to say for Highlanders.

I had thought that the red hair that runs through the family was from Scotland, but lots of Irish colleens have red hair also. I imagine that both races have contributed to the fact that, about every third child, no matter both parents’ hair color, is red, including Strawberry-tress-adorned daughter, LadyRyl.

The Olde Philosophy Shoppe

philosopher

I have strived for years to absorb the wisdom of the ages, and all I wound up with was the ages – very little wisdom. Even my LinkedIn profile (under The Archon) lists my job description as ‘Sage’….more like oregano – or thyme.  Just as taxis are being pushed out by the likes of Lyft, or Uber, so too do I find my respected Adored Elder position of ‘disseminator of arcane knowledge’ being replaced by part-time amateurs.

During the summer, I took the wife and daughter (more than once) to a couple of plant nurseries. Valuable tribal lore used to be passed by word of mouth, from older, experienced, veteran warriors, to green, wet-behind-the-ears youngsters, around the campfires at night.

I found that wisdom (and what passes for it) is now passed from smart-mouthed hipster Millennials, to plant lovers and random passers-by, via garden plaques. Here are a few of the ones I saw.  Perhaps you’d like to copy and save one or two, and pass them on, when the time is right.

philo2

philo1

philo3

philo4

philo5

smartphone-ignore

truth

no-humor

Ah well, you guys come here mostly for the humor….or is it just to humor me?  I’ve armed you well.  Go forth and be philosophical – and come back in a couple of days for some jokes.

(ARCH)ON The Road Again

SDC10992

SDC10991

WARNING, Long involved DMV bureaucratic rant.
Proceed at your own boredom.

After almost 30 years, my ARCHON vanity plates, first acquired here, are back on the road.  The wife and I bought our last car.  It’s actually a rice-burning, Kia Sorento SUV, which sits high enough that the semi-disabled wife and daughter don’t have to fight to get down into, and up out of.  Properly maintained, it should last 10/15 years, perhaps longer than us.  In any case, the next one’s up to son Shimoniac to buy.

This is the first NEW car we’ve owned in almost 50 years of marriage. We purchased two that were less than a year old, taking advantage of the 30% depreciation in value, but were still new enough to be reliable.

SDC10986

For years, we’ve had the wife’s 3 TEASE plates on our cars, because they were registered in her name, and we’d been told by the DMV that that was necessary. It was all a Lie.

I’ve used the term, ‘DMV’ mostly for my American readers. Here in Ontario, we have the oxymoronically named “Service Ontario.”  That’s where you have to go, for aggravation, incompetence, poverty, hunting and fishing licenses, drivers’ licenses, licence plates, birth certificates, and certified ID cards for people like the daughter, LadyRyl, who can’t drive.

After the heart-stopping negotiation of financing this beast, yea, verily, unto the second and third generations, the first problem came when we had the salesman (try to) put my old plates on my new car.

I gave him my old plates, along with the plate ownership form, and the transfer form. The last sticker was applied in 1987.  When we went back the next day to pick the car up, he handed me back my plates (but not the two forms), and said that the licence bureau wouldn’t let him use my plates because they were registered in the wrong name. We had to take generic plates, and arrange to apply the ARCHON plates ourselves.

A couple of weeks later, we were ready to try. The first thing that the user-(un)friendly Service Ontario did, was ensure that the relatively handy, downtown branch, only 4.2 Km away, DIDN’T PROVIDE AUTO-LICENCE SERVICE.  Instead, we got to drive 9.7 Km to a branch on the other side of town.  We chose a quiet Wednesday afternoon, when the lineup was only 45 minutes long.

The first time we went, we exchanged the generic plates for the old ARCHON plates.  Having a brand-new car, the wife wondered, for a niggling fee of $93.20, if I’d like a brand-new set of plates.  It seems a good idea, except….new plates are no longer paint, baked onto steel.  They are now printed plastic, laminated on, and there have been many cases of them delaminating, costing drivers $55 to replace faulty Chinese manufacturing.  We’ll see how these ones last.

Six weeks later, my new set arrived by mail, and off we set once more, to surrender the old set, and validate the new ones. The clerk picked up each set, and found she had to struggle with the old ones.  They weighed twice what the new ones do.  She’d never seen a set that old.  She wondered why we’d gone from generic to vanity, and then to a new set.

The female branch manager was sitting at the next service wicket, and overheard our conversation. Every time I described what happened, or what I was told, she shook her head.  I explained how I was not allowed to put my plates on a car registered to the wife.  ‘No, you can do that.’ (With the proper, paid-for form)

I bitched that I wasn’t allowed to transfer the ownership of the plates to the wife, without surrendering them to the Provincial Government. ‘No, you don’t have to surrender them.  You can transfer them to your wife.’  (With the proper, paid-for form)  My clerk looked up, surprised.  “They’re registered in your wife’s name now.”  Wait, what??!  After telling me that they couldn’t do it, they changed the plate registration – but didn’t tell me they had??  And we paid to buy the wife her own set, and mine languished for decades??!  So that explains the dealer’s problem. I can’t put her plates on my car.  ‘No, no, I told you that they should have done that.  (With the proper, paid-for forms)

So we transferred plate ownership back to me – for $20. Then the clerk wanted to know where the plate ownership and vehicle transfer forms were.  “I gave them to the dealer, and I never got them back.  I assume that the clerk at the office that they use, kept them.”  Manager is shaking her head again.  ‘They should have been returned.  We’ll have to generate new ones.’

The clerk then charged me $20 to use information that’s already on their computer, to print out an ownership form, and another $20 for the same computer information to print a transfer form, for their own paper files.  The plate licence expires on my birthday, late in September.  Should we renew for just one year – or two??  The manager piped up, ‘The yearly fee is increasing from $100/year, to $120/year, starting September 1.  Why don’t you pre-pay for three years and save?’

I begin to understand why Canada has such restrictions on gun ownership. Do any of you have bureaucratic duel stories (shorter than this) that you want to share??   😯

DIZZY – MY HEAD IS SPINNING

Grammar Nazi

Oh dear, gentle readers, the decline and fall of proper English usage continues apace. There are more people who know less about the language, and prove it, by writing and publishing their errors.

When I began blogging, lo these many (4) years ago, I had to click to get my output Spellchecked. Now, I don’t even have my fingers raised from the keys, before that dreaded wavy red underline tells me I’ve Miss Spelled mispilled somehow erred – which would be great, if the program actually spelled the correct word.

When I enter text into a translation program, it even tells me that my foreign language words are not spelled ‘correctly’ in English. GrammarCheck is just as bad.  It’s more powerful now, but the code-writers could have used GrammarCheck themselves.

I wrote ‘The Beatles – Let It Be’, and was ‘corrected’ to – let it is.  I typed ‘lay it down’ – and was ‘corrected’ to lie it down.  It wanted me to revise one line to – ‘any idea we were coming had’.  That program may have been upgraded by a Squarehead Kraut, because only the Germans the verb at the end of the sentence put.

Other official, commercial headshakers include:
MSN’s headline that –Seattle sets record four loudest stadium.
a Wikipedia photo, captioned ‘The Chicago L’  It’s an elevated train, Loser!
a crossword puzzle where the clue ‘Classic Chevy’ – equaled ‘TBird’, apparently built by Henry and Edsel Chevrolet.

it hardens back to a time – Only between your ears. I harken (or hearken) back to archaic usage.

beer-swaling hockey nuts – So many illiterate, bladder-emptying jokes…they’re swilling.

Rule could effect record company profits – What is the affect of incorrect usage?

I could really careless about a number – I couldn’t care less about your careless misusage.

She clamored up the stairs – making a lot of noise, as she clambered up the stairs.

Bare with me a while, seems to be an invitation to a party I can’t bear to miss.

warned of their want to cross the road – I want them to know that the correct word is wont. (not won’t)

the couple had a relationship, but only plutonic – Wow, that’s out of this world.

sense you left….your English doesn’t make any since

I’d bend over back words – Like ‘Asshole’? That’s a ‘back word’ for backwards writers.

Toe-headed people like me – More like ass-headed. tow-headed = sandy-colored hair.

I studied Shakespeare and Julia’s Cesar – You just want to pound your head, or a teacher’s.

eats chutes and leaves – Without understanding the joke – or Botany.

a bowl haircut, like Moe from the Three Stugges – A fourth stugge stooge wrote this crap.

a quilt made from old flower sacks – Filled with roses and crysanth krisan more roses. Does anybody besides me remember when flour came in sacks?

They’re being terrorists shouldn’t bother anyone. – Their being a professional writer, should!

a tee-shirt bearing her mid drift – I bear a mid-drift; she was baring her midriff.

did the ice-bucket challenge with a pale of cold milk – Well, a pail of it is white.

Farmers’ Market vendors sell beefstake tomatoes – To vampire killers?

A butcher sells male and peamale bacon

caught in the straight-jacket of social expectations – Go strait to the dictionary!

came to blows with eatchother – Please note the spacebar below

Gourmet salad dressings – tomatow and bealTomato, mixed with things like cranberry and mango. What in Hell is beal?

He wasn’t aloud to carry a gun – He had to keep quiet about what he was allowed to carry

He wrecked havoc – I hate it when someone wrecks my havoc. I just get the detritus and debris randomly distributed, only to find some OCD has wreaked order and neatness with a broom.

The hooker lifted her short skirt to display her wears – But she wears none, so bewares, don’t get caught unawares, in the warehouse, among the softwares and hardwares.

So I od not have to mention it again – It’s odd that they don’t know the correct word is ought.

Ball your eyes out – I would bawl, but at least it’s better than eyeing your balls out.

They’re just etching out a living – There’s no need for eking a living, when you can make etchings.

I’ll leave you with the tale of a reader who reached my site, riding on the search term “Archron, Ohio.” He may have found me, but he’ll never find Akron.