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AWADmail Issue 703

A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language

Sponsor’s Message: Are you looking for a wicked smart way to one up your know-it-all in-laws and annoy the entire family this Christmas? Email of the Week winner, Robert Copeland (see below), as well as wordlovers near and far will love/hate playing our machiavellian game. Cutthroat 2 for $25 special, through midnight tonight. Guaranteed to ruin the holidays for everyone.

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the Net

How Immigration Changes Language
The Atlantic

‘The Tag of Her Earlobe That Died’ from Lord and Taylor
Tablet Magazine

From: BJ Premore (bj premore.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--bouillabaisse

Today (Dec 14) is National Bouillabaisse Day, too! (Really!) Good choice of word for the day.

BJ Premore, Lebanon, New Hampshire

From: Hope Bucher (hopebucher gmail.com)
Subject: Bouillabaisse

My father was truly a life-long learner. His knowledge, having read the entire collection of the Books of Knowledge at the local library when he was in 6th grade, was legendary in our family.

When he retired, before my mother, he decided to become the chef although he had never before in his life cooked anything. Because he had read that the ancient Greeks had a fish stew which was similar to bouillabaisse and because he lived on the water of the Atlantic coast, he selected bouillabaisse as his first meal to prepare. It was to be a surprise for my mother.

Horrified, not surprised, describes my mother’s reaction as she walked into her kitchen and saw all surfaces, including the floor, strewn with bits and pieces of every imaginable kind of fish and entrails. In my mother’s view, her kitchen met the second definition - a mixture of incongruous things!

Hope Bucher, Naperville, Illinois

From: Anita Schou (anitaschou216 gmail.com)
Subject: Food as metaphor

Bouillabaisse? Here comes more Provençal cuisine.

The “Moderate” (right-oriented) Prime Minister of Sweden, Carl Bildt, called when his government was in charge, the coalition between Green politicians (environmentalists) and Red politicians (socialists) for a real “ Ratatouille”!

Anita Schou, Stockholm, Sweden

From: Lukasz Daciuk (lukasz.daciuk gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--cherry-pick

‘Cause I am of a technical background, today’s word reminds of a cherry picker, a colloquial term for a MEWP (Mobile Elevated Work Platform) -- a machine used on construction sites to work at height.

Lukasz Daciuk, Athlone, Ireland

From: Rik Claesson (didrikc aol.com)
Subject: cherry-pick

In my youth I played hockey and the forwards that positioned themselves near center ice for clearing passes were considered to be cherry pickers because they often could go forward with the puck and the defensemen would end up behind them instead of in front of them providing them with an easier chance to score. This was in the early sixties and it was quite common among hockey players.

Didrik Claesson, Torna Hallestad, Sweden

Email of the Week -- Brought to you by The Wicked/Smart Word Game -- UnMerrying Christmas since 2005.

From: Robert Copeland (rmc geneva.edu)
Subject: rechauffe

When both our budget and our children were small, the children would sometimes rebel against eating “leftovers”. So we started calling them rechauffe and voila, this had some class; all three kids enjoyed eating something with a French name.

Robert Copeland, Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania

From: Solita Arango de Figueroa (solitarfig gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--rechauffe

First of all, I must tell you that I enjoy immensely A.Word.A.Day, which has taught me many things.

In Colombia we simply call “calentado” (heated) the leftovers that we eat at breakfast.

Solita Arango de Figueroa, Colombia

From: Barb Bassette (barb.bassette gmail.com)
Subject: Comment on Tuesday’s quotation

The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

Tuesday’s quotation was a delight to read. My husband is a mechanical engineer by training but has worked with scientists in physics and space sciences at Cornell for all of his working life. He is a scientist at heart and so has always believed in those atoms mentioned.

I taught English for 33 years, and am still subbing to contribute to and to stay connected to the stories of people’s lives. The struggle between stories and atoms and how we look at and use those two have been at the center of many of our conversations and beliefs.

When I emailed my husband the quotation and my amazement at it, “Atoms or stories? Our decades old dilemma. Science v. English.” He replied, “I just like to think about it as the more you know, the more the atoms tell their stories.”

Thank you for giving us a wonderful quotation to settle our differences -- at least for a day!

Barb Bassette, Ithaca, New York

From: Val Nicasio Martinez (val-nicasio_mtz kastanet.org)
Subject: food as metaphor

You wrote on Monday, “Food is, literally, a matter of life. No wonder, it’s also a metaphor for life.”

In my husband’s first language, Quiatoni Zapotec (spoken by 12,000 people in southern Mexico), “life” and “food” are literally the same word. (There are different words for “food”, but one is exactly the same as the word for “life”.)

Valerie Martinez, Huron, Ohio

From: Dharam Khalsa (dharamkk2 windstream.net)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

All five words, plus this title, are equal to the one anagram:
1. bouillabaisse
2. cherry-pick
3. rechauffe
4. saccharine
5. farrago
= 1. a French soup, a confusion
2. absurdly selective of all
3. reheat, rehash
4. quite sweet, like artificial parlor charm
5. a ragbag
The complete text in the right box is an anagram of the complete text in the left (each individual line is not an anagram of the corresponding line in the other box).

Dharam Khalsa, Espanola, New Mexico

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Limericks

Republicans face quite a bouillabaisse
Next year at the primary polling place
There’s homophobes, preachers
Toupée-headed creatures
And one loony doc with a poker face.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Now is the time to be politic.
We voters must rise up and cherry-pick
the very best trait
of each candidate,
create a brand new Frankenmaverick!

-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Foolish leaders may often suppose
that what worked in the past always goes
Ideas old, “rechauffe”
for the needs of today?
“Non! Plus ça change, plus la meme chose”

-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Now Jessie and Essie her twin,
One was plump, the other was thin.
Their personality,
Would also disagree.
One was tart. One was saccharine.

-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

The life of Othello did Iago
Turn into a total farrago
Undone was the Moor
Desdemona’s allure
Made him jealous from here to Chicago.

-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Graham’s Groaners

“I praised your building’s apex but I gotta bouillabaisse.”

Lifting a wallet from someone is best done as a chary pick.

When Ms. Dunaway arrived, the director said to Mr. Milland, “Rechauffe her dressing room.”

There was nothing sweet about Saccharine Vanzetti.

“Crew, you’ll see a melange of oddities farrago where no man has gone before.” -Capt. Kirk

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Dictionary: The universe in alphabetical order. -Anatole France, novelist, essayist, Nobel laureate (1844-1924)

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