The Man With The Golden…. Silence

It’s still ‘A Penny For My Thoughts,’ but it’ll cost you a buck to get me to shut up.

My chiropractor recently got stuck with a coin that wasn’t a Canadian $1 Loonie, so he stuck me with the job of finding out just what it was.

I didn’t have my eyes glasses with me when I went in.  It’s difficult to lie face-down on the torture table with them on.  I could make out what appeared to be an indigenous person on it, and the wife said that she could read the word ‘Dollar’ on it, but places like Ecuador, El Salvador, Zimbabwe, Timor, Micronesia, Australia, and New Zealand all have dollars.  I had to wait till I got home and used a magnifying glass, and the son’s jeweler’s loupe.  Then I dove into a maelstrom of unfettered hype and promotion.

This was an American Sacajawea, or Native American dollar.  Since 2000, for 20 years the American Mint has produced them.  They first came out for collectors only, but in 2002 they went into general circulation.  Each obverse (heads) side, with Sacajawea and papoose, is identical, but the reverse (tails) sides are all different.  In 2009 they removed the date, and the mint mark, but the arrows identify this as a 2010 version.

This coin has no edge milling – little grooves.  I understood that, from 2009, there was supposed to be words engraved on the edge, yet this one is plain and bare.  Close examination of the edge shows that it is an Oreo coin.  Both flat sides are a manganese-brass golden color – which quickly dulls.  The ‘filling’ is a cheap ugly copper.  As an American coin, it is medal-struck, that is, its front and back are upside-down compared to each other.  Canadian coins are coin-struck, with the top of both front and back being adjacent, along the edge

These coins were produced at the same time as a series of Presidential Dollars, both intended to bring in Mint revenue from gullible collectors.  The results of the 2008 financial slump may still be being felt.  Initial productions of millions per year, have dropped to mere thousands.

Americans in general may be poorer, but the bureaucrats are no less dumb.  Some coin collector nuts aren’t poor, but they still seem dumb.  A pristine, untouched exemplar of this coin recently sold on Etsy for $23,000 US.  Someone said that, if the Government were put in charge of the Sahara, within five years there would be a shortage of sand.  It is no wonder that things like Black Lives Matter spring up.  This coin has the Indian word ‘Haudenosamee’ on it.  This means ‘Longhouse dwellers,’ ….  in New York and Ontario Iroquois.  Sacajawea was a Lemhi Shoshone who guided Lewis and Clarke after she met them in North Dakota, 1500 miles away.  😳  Details, details.   🙄

I won’t guide you astray if I ask you to come back in a couple of days.  Please remember to bring a dollar or two with you.  We’ll be having a Telethon.  Your donations can help stamp out verbosity.  😉  😆

Dead Words

Alas, we barely knew ye.

Language is constantly changing, as new words gain popularity and old ones start to disappear. Often, we don’t really notice when they’re gone, unless they’re specifically describing an object or piece of technology that’s become obsolete. But there are plenty of other words—nouns, adjectives, verbs, and more—that are silly, hilariously specific, or just plain fun to say… and yet we don’t use them anymore! Let’s take a linguistic leap back in time and explore these delightful words that have disappeared from the dictionary.

Snollygoster

Why oh why, would a word with such epic possibilities for widespread mockery fall into oblivion? This term may be related to the German word snallygaster, a reptilian beast that hunts kids and farm animals. A snollygoster is an unscrupulous politician—someone generally corrupt, unethical, and shameless. Such a handy term for contemporary times!

Jargogle

This is one of those terms that kind of performs its own definition. It sounds jarring and gets one a bit agog with curiosity. It means to confuse or bamboozle, and does just that since you’ve probably never heard of this word from the 1690s. Time to pull it back into modern jargon.

Apricity

“April is the cruellest month,” as T.S. Eliot put it in 1922 in The Waste Land. April is still winter weather, but it teases that you’re in spring. The ideal term for this is apricity, or “the warmth of sun in winter.” This term hails from 1623 but hasn’t gotten much modern usage despite its efficient euphony—that is, despite its pleasing sound and awesome reference to April.

Ultracrepidarian

Mark Forsyth searched old dictionaries for his book on obscure, forgotten words, The Horologicon. One of his favourites, and rightly so, is ultracrepidarian. It’s a very extra, or ultra, term for your average know-it-all. It’s the perfect descriptor for the person who has vast opinions on topics about which they know nothing—and comfortably yammers on about them.

Sanguinolency

This bizarre term has no obvious relation to the more upbeat word “sanguine,” which means “optimistic,” but secondarily, “ruddy.” That must be its tie to “sanguinolency” which has the dismal definition, “addiction to bloodshed.” Because this word is so old and obscure, it likely doesn’t refer to bloodshed of the video game variety. Of all the things to be addicted to, bloodshed seems one of the very worst.

Bibesy

This is an adorable, possibly 18th-century word that seems to play in a slang-y way on the word “imbibe.” It describes a seriously enthusiastic interest in drinking. Use it when you want to get bibesy with your bae on friyay! It fits perfectly with contemporary night-life argot.

Slubberdegullion

Here is another beautifully performative term that at its most base refers to one who slobbers. More precisely, however, a slubberdegullion must also be a “dirty fellow,” as well as worthless, careless, negligent, insignificant, and slovenly. Fifteenth-century vocab came at folks hard with the insults! Such a savage burn! Roasted!

Crinkum-crankum

This is basically when you get high key extra with the details. When your outfit or decor makes an over-the-top, elaborate effort to be hyper fancy, it is crinkum-crankum. This mid-17th-century term sounds so lit! Time to get crinkum-crankum back in circulation!

Snowbrowth

Now that the polar vortexes and other wintergeddon weather are in full swing, it’s time to pull this cute, obsolete term out of cold storage. Snowbrowth is simply melted snow. When you think about it, the fresh melt does look somewhat like a broth or a soupy snow stew covering the ground. Winter needs this word!

Snoutfair

It doesn’t even make sense that this word that conjures a pig face actually means “a person with a handsome countenance.” It makes sense that “snoutfair” fell to the wayside, and instead we say “hunk,” “hottie,” “stone cold fox,” “scooby snack,” “sexy beast,” and “cutie patootie.” Those aren’t fantastic, but frankly, “snoutfair,” is worse.

Curglaff

Think of a cold, harsh splash, and the strange merge of laughter and gurgling that comes after. Curglaff, of Scottish origin, is the absolute ideal term to describe “the shock felt when one first plunges into cold water.” In fact, it seems perfect for describing any kind of shock.

Spermologer

This is not a science word and does not refer to biology! It’s the witty term for a “gossip monger.” You can also use it to describe trivia hounds and those filled with random knowledge. A spermologer is a collector of sorts. Society is probably fine if this word continues its descent into obscurity.

Elflock

You know how when the elves tangle up your hair? Back in the 1590s, this hairstyle was called the elflock. Feel free to adapt the term for any of the creatures who matt up your hair. Think of the gnomelock, the yetilock, the dragonlock, the kelpielock, or the wolfmanlock. You get the idea! Remember the term is usually plural, so it requires more than one tangler or stylist.

Spell Check has drawn a bright red line beneath each of these words, saying that they don’t exist in reality…. all except Elflock.  That one, apparently, it recognizes.  Very interesting!