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AWADmail Issue 253March 18, 2007
A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages
From: Anu Garg (words wordsmith.org)
A Tour of the Oxford English Dictionary:
Punning May Be Injurious to Your Health:
Poetry in Motion:
From: Fausto Zapata (faustozapata themediatech.com)
From: Dann (mrm mrmuster.com)
The AWAD anniversary is quite an auspicious occasion! Not only is it a cause for celebration for linguaphiles the world over, but it is also one of the High Holidays within the wonderful world of Mathematics! On this day each year, acolytes and neophytes gather at the temples of Mathematics to assist their professors in conducting observances commemorating the awesome power of the number we now call pi. It's known as Pi Day and is cause for much geekish joy and officially sanctioned overindulgence of sugar (typically consumed in the form of pies, be they round or square).
Viva la 3.14!
From: Mary Elizabeth McIlvane (maryelizmc atlantic.net)
H A P P Y B I R T H D A Y 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13!
From: Ewa Nartowska (ewanarto krk.pl)
It has been probably for about ten years now that I've received A.Word.A.Day having been subscribed to it by my former student while she was in America. I do not remember the exact day and my previous hard disk was dead one day alas.
Anyway, I just want to send you my warmest wishes of happy birthday and MANY happy returns of the day!
It was in AWADmail Issue 22, December 24, 2000, that you posted a poem "Psalm" by Polish female Nobel Prize winner Szymborska sent by me. Twenty people wrote to me then. And one of them, a woman from Nantucket, has been my very good friend up to today. Seven years of friendship.
I also kept exchanging emails with several other people met at AWAD from the USA, Canada, and India. We became 'sisters' with another woman from Seattle one day.
Perhaps you might ask AWAD-people to share their experiences of magic meetings and friendship thanks to AWAD? Are there any married couples who met from reading AWAD? It might be an interesting topic.
-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
From: Sally Boyson (email withheld)
In making the observation that there "is" only one Google entry for the word tridecennary, you have demonstrated beautifully the scientific principle that you cannot measure a thing without changing it in some way. Now there are six entries (or eight, if you count the redundancies). Google, at 4:10 pm Mountain Daylight Time (USA) on March 12, 2007.
From: Bob Harrison (bob quailcroft.com)
Many years ago when I was in seminary, my wife and I decided that we wanted to have a party -- but when you're a seminary student with responsibilities on Sunday morning, Saturday night is not the best choice for partying. So we decided to have our party on a Friday night instead, and noting that a Friday the 13th was coming up, we decided it would be fun (and somewhat theologically appropriate!) to have a party on that night. From that original occasion, a tradition was born: for some 30+ years now, through changes of careers (and wives), I have had a party every Friday the 13th (at least one every year, no more than three in any one year). Except that now, having learned the right word, instead of simply a "Friday the 13th party" we have meetings of the Antitriskaidecaphobic Society!
From: Stuart Feild (thestuartemail gmail.com)
In Russia, it's Monday the 13th that they dread.
From: Yigal Levin (leviny1 mail.biu.ac.il)
For Jews worldwide, a boy's thirteenth birthday is a particularly significant rite of passage - his Bar Mitzvah, at which time he becomes a full member of the community and liable for his own conduct under Jewish law. For girls, who as any parent knows grow up faster, the equivalent Bat Mitzvah is celebrated at the age of twelve.
From: Giuseppe Scozzafava (g.scozzafava well.ox.ac.uk)
In Italy 13 is a considered a lucky number as it is connected with winning the pools! To win you have to predict the correct outcome of 13 football matches picked from the fixtures of Serie A, Serie B and even Serie C (i.e. almost unheard of teams): not an easy task! And if you are the only one to get it right, you scoop the jackpot!
On the other hand, it is the number 17 which is thought to be unlucky, to the point that you will not find an address in Italy with the number 17 on it: it will be 16A instead....
From: Angie (veryvenus13 aol.com)
I was surprised to see this week's theme is on the number 13. It is my favorite number. And today I am closing a condo I'm buying. It's on 13 Mile Rd! When I was 13 years old, I won $13 on WKNR 13. So, this morning, I was lifted up to see the word theme as 13 on the same day I'm closing.
From: Dar Churcher (darch telus.net)
Regarding the beautiful word, tridecennary - my mother happened to give birth to me on the 13th day of November which was incidentally also a Friday. It's probably no surprise that I hold both the number 13 and Fridays that fall on the 13th in very high regard and consider them both very lucky. I always feel jilted when I'm riding in an elevator that has labeled the 13th floor of a building as the 14th. The poor number 13 suffers discrimination with every elevator ride taken!
From: David Jones (ddj44 comcast.net)
I recollect from Ripley's Believe It or Not, from many many decades ago, that the 13th of the month falls on Friday more often than on any other day of the week. See Science World.
From: Alexis Melteff (aapm52 yahoo.com)
In Russian, 13 is called a devil's dozen (chertova dyuzhyna)
From: Robin Carpenter (analytix valley.net)
Through his professional life, my father Murray Carpenter wore, and used, a gold signet ring inscribed simply "13" on its face. A correspondent receiving a letter sealed with a dollop of sealing wax pressed with the enigmatic "13" could hardly help asking what it meant. The answer, both a little hokey and deeply sincere, was that it stood for his baker's dozen policy; Always deliver all that was promised... and a little more.
From: Beth Storheim (beth.storheim gmail.com)
As an employee at Safeway, I'm well-acquainted with the term "baker's dozen". Except that at Safeway, someone higher up thought to change the definition of that term for the company's purposes, so that OUR "baker's dozen" is 14, not 13. More bagels for your buck, I suppose.
From: Susan Gluck (susanjgluck earthlink.net)
At the French Culinary Institute, we were taught that a rondeau is a medium-sized, round pot good for using on the stove or in the oven. Many a tasty dish has come from the bon rondeau!
From: Ross Miller (boatmiller snet.net)
"My country, right or wrong" is how we hear it most often these days. It originated with Stephen Decatur, who said, in an 1816 toast to his victory over the Barbary pirates, "Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations, may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong."
Half a century later Carl Schurz refined it to "Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right." G.K. Chesterton put a further point on it with "'My country, right or wrong' is a thing no patriot would ever think of saying except in a desperate case. It is like saying 'My mother, drunk or sober.'" These days it seems my mother is drunk.
From: Roger Bullard (rogabullard earthlink.net)
"Tomatoes and oregano make it Italian; wine and tarragon make it French. Sour cream makes it Russian; lemon and cinnamon make it Greek. Soy sauce makes it Chinese; garlic makes it good." -Alice May Brock, author (1941- )
And high fructose corn syrup makes it American.
Words are things; and a small drop of ink / Falling like dew upon a thought, produces / That which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think. -Lord Byron, (1788-1824)