Monday, March 02, 2015

Word of the Day: ninnyhammer

What's "the word I'm thinking of"? Today, it's...

ninnyhammer [NIN-ee-ham-er] (noun) [TWITO, page 96]

A fool, simpleton or silly person

"You silly, awkward, illbred, country sow...have you no more manners than to rail at Hocus, that has saved that clodpated numskull'd ninnyhammer of yours from ruin, and all his family?"
--John Arbuthnot, "The History of John Bull" (1712)

Sometimes I think I'd have to be a ninnyhammer to collect all of these obscure words. I've been doing it for years, without a clear idea of what I would do with them. Then one day I realized I could collect them in a book, achieving fame and fortune. The rest is history.

jug 2

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Much Ado about NOTHING: Book Blurbs

Book blurbs! I deal with them all day at my job. Luckily some of them amuse me.

"The narrated version of the pertinent sections of the United States Department of Transportation's regulations for Urine Specimen Collectors as set forth in 49 CFR Part 40 (May 4, 2012) to be used in conjunction with the US DOT's 'Urine Specimen Collection Guidelines' for training and refresher course purposes." Only the pertinent sections, mind you.

~~~

"It's a depressing thought, but one day you will die. All living things die. This essay deals with the topic of death. It covers a number of famous poisoners and the poisons they dispatched to their victims. In addition to the mechanisms of drug action, the subject of apoptosis (programmed cell death) is also discussed. This essay is therefore a resource which can aid students and the layperson interested in drug/toxin action. There is also some humor."

~~~

"Wade Crowson, a brutish and brooding playboy and veteran vivisectionist for the Parts Department, runs into more than he bargained for in new partner, Lucid Montgomery, a quirky beauty with a bizarre secret and a string of psychiatric diagnoses she tries hard to keep hidden. Loving Luce will stamp a demonic target on her back and thrust Wade into a frenzied whirlwind of hilarious misunderstandings and, quite possibly, a stripping gig for empty-nesters. Can they withstand the savagery of an exorcism (with or without the split pea soup) and come out alive and...in love?" (Title: "Parts & Wreck: Entangled Covet")

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Photo of the Week (by me of a piece by Norm)

piece by Norm
Sometimes I feel this way. Click the pic for a closer view. Because you do too.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Random Sequence: limner

"Truth is the perfection of beauty. It is beauty itself. Who can paint it? Or who can throw its true proportions and colors on the canvas? No human limner can do it justice."
--F. S Cassady, "The Consistency of Truth", Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, March 1864

(I found a bound copy of several issues of Godey's in my basement and have been flipping through the dusty pages.)

limner = a person who paints or draws; someone who depicts with words; an illuminator of medieval manuscripts

I'm not just a writer then. I'm a limner!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Word of the Day: frigorific

What's "the word I'm thinking of"? Today, it's...

frigorific [frig-uh-RIF-ik](adjective)[TWITO, page 57]

Causing cold, chilling

"The reading public did not approve of it—the thermometer of popular opinion was down at 32, under its frigorific influence, so that we were abundantly justified in stuffing no more of Mr. Twitch's sonnets down the regurgitating throats of the literary multitude."
--Anonymous, "Treason", in Blackwood's Magazine (1821)

Hmm. Say "What a frigorific day", and people may think you're ecstatic about something.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Photo of the Week (by me)

snow face 1 BW
Yes, it's deep mid-winter here in the Northeastern US -- and in my backyard. Click the pic for a closer look. It will give you chills.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Much Ado about NOTHING

Bible metadata quandary: who is the author? Don't tell me it's "God" or "King James".

Lots of books were written by no one in particular: collections of ancient fables, language-learning textbooks, and dictionaries (well, most dictionaries). And "anonymous" is probably the most prolific author in history.

It's surprising that more people don't falsely claim to have written anonymous works. This would put the actual author in an awkward position. He/she would either have to reveal themselves or swallow their pride and let someone else take credit for their work.

It must be awfully hard to stay truly anonymous and still collect your book's royalties.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Link Mania: magniloquent? me?

Panic at the Dictionary
Would YOU give a child a dictionary that did not include "budgerigar"?

~~~

15 words that belong in every grandparent's vocabulary
"What does Grandma mean, Mommy?"

~~~

17 Words that Describe Themselves
Are you sesquipedalian? If so, try not to be magniloquent.

~~~

A list of 25 ridiculous real names for 25 everyday items
Including "crepuscular" (TWITO, page 35), "mondegreen" (TWITO, page 90), and the word that frequently shows up on these lists: "petrichor" (TWITO, page 111). The most disturbing term on this list is "rectal tenesmus". (And what do they mean "ridiculous"?)

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Photo of the Week (by me)

fingers
Give me a hand. Or give it the finger. Anyway, give it a click for a closer look. You know you want to.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Random Sequence: meerschaum

"He packed his cigars, meerschaum, and a travelling case of liquors; then re-seated himself, and smoked at his ease, while the weary, patient woman attended to the rest."
--Marion Harland, "Nobody to Blame", Godey's Lady's Book and Magazine, June 1864

(I found a bound copy of several issues of Godey's in my basement and have been flipping through the dusty pages.)

meerschaum = a type of tobacco pipe with a bowl made of a carved, white mineral (hydrous magnesium silicate); also called "sepiolite".

You don't see many of those these days....

The weird thing about this bound copy of Godey's (an American magazine) is that the issues are all from the 1860s, and there is not a single unambiguous mention anywhere of the American Civil War.

Monday, February 02, 2015

Word of the Day: pilgarlic

pilgarlic [pil-GAR-lik] (noun) [TWITO, page 112]

A bald head; someone regarded with slight or mock pity

"'I'm not going to scold, and you know it,' he answered quietly. 'I thought you had made up your mind to remain at home, for once. Now comes this new pilgarlic and orders you off again to Florida. On what excuse?'"
--Philip Verrill Mighels, The Pillars of Eden (1909)

I saw a bald-headed, couture-clad woman walking on Fifth Avenue one day. Typically for New York City, no one seemed to take much notice. (I did, but I’m an enthusiastic people-watcher.) You have to wonder what the motivation is for a seemingly healthy young woman to shave her head. Men, natural pilgarlics, often go to great lengths, and great expense, to avoid the chrome-dome look. And women spend huge amounts of time and money on their manes.

According to a blog I read after performing a Google search related to this quandary, the best reason for a woman to shave her head is "to prove that she is beautiful." So, no more distracting locks taking attention away from a pretty face--and no more hiding a plain one behind a gorgeous mop. It's brave and honest, I guess. But somehow I don't think the Rogaine company has anything to worry about.

jack frost