WOW #24

Old Man

Nemo enim est tam senex qui se annum non putet posse vivere.
No one is so old as to think that he cannot live one more year.

Gerontocracy

Definitions for gerontocracy

  1. a state or government in which old people rule.
  2. Government by a council of elders.
  3. a governing body consisting of old people.

The English noun gerontocracy is composed of two relatively common Greek elements: geront- (“old age”) and the combining form -cracy (from the Greek combining form -kratia “rule, government”). Geront- is the stem of the noun gérōn “old, old man, elder.”

That’s what I need, a government of old people….wait, that’s what we already have. With age, is supposed to come wisdom.  What we really need is a government of people who are old and smart and capable, not old and stupid, or old and greedy, or old and incompetent, or old and egotistical. (Did somebody just whisper “Donald Trump”?) People who have learned from their mistakes, not learned to make more.

With my age and intelligence, I should be able to finagle myself a position as Minister of Medical Association. Thirty years ago, a doctor told me to take my Little Black Book, with the names and numbers of all the hot chicks….and throw it away.  Get another one he said, you’ll need it.

He was right! My new little black book now has the greatest collection of names of people that I pay to touch me, but they all have M.D. after their name, or chiropractor, or massage therapist, or optician.  The optician one is real important.  Without her, I couldn’t read the telephone numbers of any of the rest.

A comedian once said that, the people who really know how to run the country are all cutting hair or driving cabs.  I think that they’re all busy playing Bingo, or getting the Early Bird Special at Shoney’s.

Get Off My Lawn

😳

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WOW #23

Dictionary

I have a

DILEMMA

The other day, I merely had a lemma. I’m pleased, because almost no-one else knows when they’ve got one.  A lemma is a spikelet of grass or other plant.

Linguaphiles speak of words which are positive, which have no negatives, or negative, but have no positives. Poor ‘dilemma’ is a bit of an orphan – one parent, and no-one knows what it is.

The phrase ‘caught in a cleft stick’ means that someone is jammed between two options, unable to make a choice for either one. The prefix ‘di’ also means two.  The word ‘dilemma’ is a situation where you are already impaled on two sharp, contradictory choices, and getting off is going to be intellectually or emotionally painful, and adopting and sticking yourself with either single option will hurt even more.  See lose/lose, or zero-sum-gain situation.

Reprogramming the Star Fleet computer so that you can win the Kobyashi Maru mission test is not a dilemma. If only we were able to reprogram more of life’s double-edged predicaments.  Things would go so much more smoothly.

Finding your way back here for more exciting, informative blog-posts should not be a dilemma.  If you haven’t already, lose your mind and just click on ‘Follow’ above, and leave some nice, but not pointed, comments.

I Was Born To….?

Dictionary

Knowing that I’m always desperate for a blog-theme, the daughter sent me a link to a website which lists ‘Words That Were Born The Same Year You Were.’

I am always amused by the ego demonstrated by the Dictionary.com F.A.Q., “How do I get a word into the dictionary?” First you come up with a useful word, and then you convince two million Millennials to bring it up to common usage.  This is not easy with today’s language users.

Canada’s dollar coin had been christened ‘The Loonie’ because of the bird on it. When the two-dollar coin came into existence, I thought that ‘Doubloon’ would be a great name.  I did not get my way.  As you may have noticed, the Lowest-Common-IQ Brigade gave it the interesting and creative (Insert sarcasm here) name of ‘Toonie’ – YAWN!

My manufacturing plant acquired a short, stocky, jolly, but totally useless supervisor, at the height of the ‘Tickle Me Elmo’ craze. I was all for calling him Elmo, but my 25-year-younger friend Tony, gave him the 25-year-older moniker of Boo-Boo, from the earlier Yogi Bear cartoons, and it stuck.

When I plugged my birth year in, I expected to find words like pterodactyl, or Palaeolithic. I was pleasantly surprised to find that, in 1944, near the end of World War II, the war-time scientific research had given birth to some technical terms that many people think did not come into existence until years or decades later.

I would have thought that, in any given year, a dozen, or perhaps two dozen, new words come into existence. I was amazed at the 1944 list.  There are almost 250, ten times what I’d expect.  Some of the science/technology words intrigue me, words like superglue, permanent press, G suit, dishpan hands, carpet bomb, bungee cord, antigravity, and brain cramp.  The word ‘babysit’ was born that year.  I thought that it had been around far earlier.  Click on the link above, visit the site, plug in your birth-year and see what the words say about you.

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.  😀

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.  😉

WOW #21

Dictionary

Once upon a time, people knew what they were talking about. As the English language grew and grew, and became more and more complex and nuanced, it became necessary for its many users to have a way to know what others were saying.  I thought that I should take this Word Of the Week series back to where it started, in the

DICTIONARY

noun, plural dictionaries.

a book, optical disc, mobile device, or online lexical resource (such as Dictionary.com) containing a selection of the words of a language, giving information about their meanings, pronunciations, etymologies, inflected forms, derived forms, etc., expressed in either the same or another language; lexicon; glossary. Print dictionaries of various sizes, ranging from small pocket dictionaries to multivolume books, usually sort entries alphabetically, as do typical CD or DVD dictionary applications, allowing one to browse through the terms in sequence. All electronic dictionaries, whether online or installed on a device, can provide immediate, direct access to a search term, its meanings, and ancillary information:

an unabridged dictionary of English; a Japanese-English dictionary.

a book giving information on particular subjects or on a particular class of words, names, or facts, usually arranged alphabetically:

a biographical dictionary; a dictionary of mathematics.

As technology constantly leaps and bounds forward, even the definition of dictionary continues to expand, with the addition of terms like electronic, and CD and DVD. It finally became evident that there was a need for some sort of book which made this information available.

One of the first was Samuel Johnson. In 1755 he published a book giving the information value of many English words.  However, he didn’t resist the temptation to include some social comment along with his definitions.  He referred, disparagingly, in his dictionary definition for oats: “A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.” His biographer, James Boswell, noted that Lord Elibank was said by Sir Walter Scott to have retorted, “Yes, and where else will you see such horses and such men?”

Most people are only interested in what a word means right now. I often am fascinated by etymology, what a word first meant, and how it has matured and changed, sometimes over centuries.  For example, the word ‘girl’ used to mean ‘boy.’  Actually, when the word was first used, it indicated a young child of either sex.  As Germanic languages provided the base for ‘boy’, the word ‘girl’ was left to indicate only females.

Which came first, the color orange, or the fruit? Old English didn’t have a word for ‘orange.’  It was simply known as ‘aielloredd’, yellow-red.  When Europeans first discovered the plants in Northern Africa, the Spanish pronounced the natives’ name for them as ‘Naranja.’  In English ‘a naranja’ became ‘an orange,’ and the word was also used to identify the color.

When British colonists first asked Australian Aborigines for the name of those funny, hopping animals, the natives didn’t care, and had not bothered to name them, so they answered kanga roo, which, in their tongue, means, “I don’t know.”  And so, another mistaken word was added to the language.  There was room for it, because the Abo word for a four-legged canid pet, was ‘dog.’

Spam I Am

Spam 2

In my Spamalot post, I claimed that I don’t get any interesting spams to make fun of.

Caution – dirty words

  1. JeanneTunty says:

September 2, 2017 at 4:27 am  (Edit)

Hello Fuck me like a slut and cum on my face my nickname (Lidochka35)

Copy the link and go to me… bit.ly/2wBKSBp

8667837957926

I’d like to say, ‘Finally, an interesting Spam.’, but actually, this illiterate, (Aren’t they all?) illicit one got past the Akismet filter, and dropped on one of my posts. Sadly, back in the spam filter, there are a bunch of her ‘soiled dove’ sisters, and lots of offers of drugs that aid in dealing with her suggestions.

There are 78 spam comments in my file today. Apparently, they have built up. I don’t often look at them, because they will automatically disappear in 14 days, but a storm-generated power outage blip had me restarting my computer, and signing back in to WordPress, and that’s where you get dropped.

(Two weeks later, there are 61 today. Surprisingly, the mix has shifted to Nike and Converse. Offering me athletic shoes is like giving a dog a driver’s licence. Ain’t gonna happen! Like the son, recently, at work….The boss said, “Hop up on that platform and clear the blockage.” The son said to him, “Look at me! I’m 6’ –2”. I weigh 275 pounds. I don’t HOP anywhere. I might crawl up – and roll off when I’m done.”)

I believe that they are attracted, like moths to a flame, by words in the title. Many of them, like the one above, are for porn. Of the 78, more than a dozen each arrived addressed to ‘Hot-Damn Hotrod,’ the hot damn being profanity. More were directed to ‘Criminal Assholed’, a two more profane-words title directed at English misusage. Another dozen or so washed up against ‘A View Of Islam’, a controversial, redneck-type label. I guess if I talk dirty, I gotta expect the spammers to talk dirty back.

At first I wondered about the quantity of spam, offering porn. Surely, I thought, there are tons of guys looking for naked chicks. (And donkeys, and Ukrainian midgets….and other stuff I don’t want to think about) But, it’s ‘supply and demand’, and there’s a lot more supply than there is demand, so that every ‘one’ potential customer counts.

A young man, walking downtown, notices a friend of his standing near a corner. As he drew near he heard his friend stop an attractive young woman, and ask, “Excuse me, would you like to fuck?” “Of course not!” and she slapped his face.

As he got nearer, his friend stopped another pretty lady going the other way and asked the same thing….and again got his face slapped. When he reached his friend he asked, “Why would you ask them that? Don’t you get your face slapped a lot?”

“Yes”, he replied wistfully, “but it only takes one…”