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AWADmail Issue 776A Weekly Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Tidbits about Words and Language
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Scientists Want to Understand the Language of Dolphins by 2021
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
The introduction to last week’s words touched a lot of readers, in various
ways. More than 600 of you wrote back, from the US and around the world.
Thanks to all for writing.
From: Fred Kwiecien (kwiecien buffalo.edu)
I am a second-generation American. All four of my grandparents were Polish immigrants who met and married in this country.
At a recent Town Hall, the new Town Supervisor tried to curry favor by glad-handing audience members before the meeting began. The only thing that he said to me, after he introduced himself, was, “You look All-American!”
After over a hundred years of my family’s and my acclimations, I guess I “passed”.
All of that is a preamble to this: I am grateful for and inspired by your introduction to yesterday’s A.Word.A.Day. I had never felt more All-American than after having read your words.
Fred Kwiecien, Buffalo, New York
From: Jonathan Mersel (jonathan.mersel gmail.com)
I have just read your preamble to this week’s word choices. Right on! Write on! Run on!
Jonathan Mersel, Los Angeles, California
From: Ann Fitzgerald (annelly comcast.net)
Please consider RUNNING for local office. Thinking in large terms, we can make a small effort, and the response will be enormous.
Ann Fitzgerald, Centerbrook, Connecticut
From: Ron VanAbrahams (RVA whiteboardonline.net)
I love your introductory essay to this week. In your brief essay I can feel your ire, your peacefulness, your love of all living things, and your certainty that sincere effort, well directed, will always produce goodness. I share your sense that in time right will always prevail. Thank you.
Ron VanAbrahams, Citrus Heights, California
From: Jennifer Spencer (mythsbc yahoo.com)
So, it’s ok to insult those who voted for Trump. What arrogance! What temerity! Your words are good but your incivility is repulsive.
Jennifer Spencer, Maryland
From: Joe Vella (joe usvellas.com)
Thank you so much for a wonderful introduction this week to the word of the day. Beautifully written, succinct, and captures my feelings perfectly. When I read it to my wife she was in tears. As you say, this nightmare shall pass and the country will survive albeit a little worst for wear. Sad we seem to have these people who are so focused on going backwards rather than forward.
Joe Vella, Williamstown, Australia
From: D’cady Sarahchild (dcsarah comcast.net)
Thank you, Anu, for your comment. As we face this four-year marathon of changes, I am reminded of the words, oft quoted: The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice. Yes. But not without our help. The moral universe by definition requires human intervention, we must hang on and bend it by our efforts. Like freedom, it is a constant struggle.
D’cady Sarahchild, Santa Rosa, California
From: Allan Forsyth (aerofan262 aol.com)
Thank you, Anu, for your moving introduction to today’s word. Most of us are in a marathon race to get back to the open, optimistic, forward-looking America we love. The others -- fearful, yearning for a past that never was, will doubtless attack you. Keep moving forward!
Allan Forsyth, New York, New York
From: Polly Hardee (econjn central.uh.edu)
Some of your readers endorse the policies of President Trump, and know them to be much more efficacious for our country than the welfare state. So, save your diatribe for those who believe the more liberal platform. Don’t spread it to all in your Internet “net”. Or, take me off your list -- spare me of your views. I’ll expand my vocabulary in other ways.
Polly Hardee, PhD, Professor, Economics Department, University of Houston, Houston, Texas
From: Anne Lane (makeboxes gmail.com)
I found this quotation at the end of an article about why people believe
our current president: The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance,”
Fry says in the clip. “It is the illusion of knowledge.”
Anne Lane, Charlotte, North Carolina
From: Nancy L. Porter (nlinder ellijay.com)
If I were not 82 years old with a bad back, I would be there running with you. My ancestors fought in the American Revolution. I join you in your shock and disbelief that we now are saddled with a President who wants to destroy the freedoms we fought for during the Revolution and all wars since. He is making a mockery of the Constitution. He thumbs his nose at moral decency. Keep up the faith, Anu. This, too, will pass... like a kidney stone, but it will pass.
Nancy L. Porter, Georgia
From: Faye Wilson, Ed.D. (geefaye comcast.net)
Thank you for your perspective on where we are/headed in this country. The sadness is that he is speaking for so many people who NEVER changed ... they want to ‘steal’ the ideas and/or credit for what others bring to this country and not acknowledge the NEED.
I live in a rural community where farmers rely on migrant workers and yet I do not see or hear ONE of those farmers stand up to this immigrant rhetoric and policy ... rather, they hold fast to their Republican stances and are perfectly happy with LYING about their role in immigration and treating families UNFAIRLY and BLAMING the school system for needing more money for ELL/ESL classes as if the school system created the demand for services.
Faye Wilson, Quantico, Maryland
From: Weyman Wong (weymanwong comcast.net)
Thanks for your moving words. Last night on CBS 60 Minutes, they had the story of an undocumented immigrant who’d arrived 25 years ago, married, and started a thriving restaurant business in Indiana. He was deported, leaving his wife and two kids behind. Sadly, they revealed they’d voted for Trump for “business” reasons but never expected he’d be one of those selected to be deported. They said they made a mistake in voting for Trump. Bummer! Too many realize now or will realize they’d made a mistake. But we will rebound. I do still believe this is a country brimming with fairness and overflowing with generosity. You made the right choice immigrating here, and America’s richer for it. Thanks.
Weyman Wong, Foster City, California
From: Angelo Fracchia (gelofra1 gmail.com)
I’m an Italian former priest, former translator, now teacher. I thank you for your introduction into this week’s words, that reflexion about running and fighting against dire straits.
Angelo Fracchia, Cuneo, Italy
From: Michael Poole (michaelpoole paradise.net.nz)
Your President is none of my business of course, since, although I speak the same mother tongue as most Americans, I have only ever been a visitor to the USA. Your president, however, is currently the most influential person on the planet, so all of us out here are extremely interested in what he (or she, when you get a lady president) says and does. We’ve all seen and variously admired and disliked many US Presidents in my time on this earth, but I think I can say this is the first one in my lifetime who has us all completely foxed. We hang on his every last word, but all too often can’t understand what he’s driving at -- or, in fear and trembling, wish we didn’t.
Along with the rest of the world, I’ll watch and ponder and wish you Americans (and all the rest of us) the best of luck.
That said, there’s one thing that stands to safeguard you and us all. If there’s one country that has a population with the spirit of democracy ingrained in the very pores of their skins, it’s the United States of America. Your Presidents wield great power, but there are limits to that power, and those are set in the living rooms of the very same people who elect them. I’m confident that your current President, being an American, is at heart very well aware of that, his tweets notwithstanding.
Michael Poole, Paraparaumu Beach, New Zealand
From: Mike Eldon (mike.eldon depotkenya.org)
Wonderfully expressed, Anu. I so enjoy receiving your daily stimulation, inspiration, and education. Many thanks again.
Mike Eldon, Nairobi, Kenya
From: Eric Bymel (ebymel gmail.com)
Your site and insights make my day and millennium: always informative and to the point, usually sending a dart, with intentions not to hurt necessarily, but to awaken contemplation and critique.
Your opening today moved me deeply indeed. Although I am not an American, two of my children live there. They (and I) share the pain that you are living through, and hope that the abomination that inhabits the White House will not remain there for too long. It is an on-going farce and tragedy, and the feelings of despair that come with it are not to be denied, white-washed or avoided, but looked on full-faced with great determination.
I’m sure many are running beside you and hope for the best. Thank you for your inherent kindness, no small trait in today’s worldly mess.
Eric Bymel, Haifa, Israel
From: Deborah Booth (debsandmerv42 yahoo.com)
This morning I read your bit before the actual words, and my heart went out to you in understanding because we are a couple of British pensioners living in very rural north Spain, watching with such pain not only the election of Trump, but the horrifying Brexit disaster. They are two sides of the same coin.
We do a bit of long-distance walking on The Camino de Santiago near us here in Galicia, so good luck with your marathon. And keep smiling, keep saving those earthworms, it is still a beautiful world.
Deborah Booth, Galicia, Spain
From: Jo Sandrock (josandrock gmail.com)
Many thanks for your piece about running and your feelings about America. I’ve been inspired by it to regard my own country, South Africa, in the same light. After our bloodless revolution over twenty years ago we were an example to the world, but now we’re on the brink of becoming just another kleptocracy (there’s a word for you!). But we must overcome!
Jo Sandrock, Johannesburg, South Africa
From: Deepjeet Datta (deepjeetdatta1989 gmail.com)
I am from India, and the conditions which you wrote about are happening here as well. Strongmen and demagogues are in rise here too. Things are being done on the basis of nationalism. Maybe your advice needs to be acted here as well.
Deepjeet Datta, Mumbai, India
From: Ann Getchell (annieg.bhome gmail.com)
Just heading out for a run with my crazy looping dog on one of the best beaches ever, here in Donegal, Ireland. May is the best time: full of the sounds of bees and birds (cuckoos, pheasants, terns, curlews, finches, the list goes on) and scent of gentle greening.
Anyway I have to take this moment to applaud your essay with a resounding “Hear-hear”, with tears in my eyes. An accidental ex-pat, I miss my native USA with every heartbeat, even as I lament the view from across the sea -- and sometimes feel quite smug that my personal carbon footprint is halved just by living at the end of the road in a strange throwback county on an island hellbent for American-style everything. (Don’t get me started.)
Thank you for your work, words, ethos, and personal touch, which nourishes me and my family every week.
Kindest regards from the American President (of the Donegal Chapter of the A.Word.A.Day Fan Club),
Annie Getchell, Donegal, Ireland
From: Patricia Betts (patricia.betts sprachscharf.ch)
I’ve just read today’s AWAD -- and was very touched by it.
I’ve said it before, but will say it again, since there can never be too much positive feedback -- especially these days, I think.
Your daily words mean a lot to me, in so many ways. They’re humorous, uplifting, consoling, thought-provoking -- oh, and yes, also very informative!
I’m -- unfortunately -- a pessimist, sort of. But am doing my best to fight it. It means that I was one of the few who didn’t think the current US presidency unthinkable and was not surprised it happened. But there is always hope -- and people like you and your daily words help me sustain it.
And then there is, over here in Europe, the great relief that France did not vote for Le Pen. Another reason to hope things will get better. And, yes, it takes more than just hoping. So I’ll keep trying to do my bit, too. Which you help me do -- thanks!
Patricia Betts, Bern, Switzerland
From: Gail Payne (eggpayne gmail.com)
Come to Canada, we have marathons and a Prime Minister who welcomes the new. Email me when you get here,
Gail Payne, Barrie, Canada
Canada is a marvelous place. We’re lucky to have you as a neighbor. But this is my home now; I’d rather stay here and fight. Thank you.
From: Mary Helen Espinosa (maryhelen.espinosa usa.net)
Although I live abroad, I am mortified at what is happening in the good ol’ US of A. Thank you, thank you... for AWAD and for your personal tale.
Mary Helen Espinosa, Managua, Nicaragua
From: Ivan Tomek (ivan.tomek acadiau.ca)
Your introduction today struck a special chord with me. I am originally Czech and came to Canada almost 50 years ago. I taught computing at a small university, retired, and live in a small town enjoying retirement. Like you, I want my “new” country to be strong, compassionate, and forward-looking.
Like you (but for different reasons) I decided to run marathons; I was 74 years old when I ran my first one, shortly after a surgery. Now I have done about 15 around the world, two Boston marathons among them, one just a few weeks ago -- and I improved by 26 minutes compared to last year. My secret plan (only two people know about it; now three) is to do an ultramarathon in the fall.
Ivan Tomek, Wolfville, Canada
Only 15? Real men (and women) run 40 marathons in 40 days. Just kidding. I hope to be half as active as you are when I’m your age. Best wishes with the ultramarathon! (now only 8391203493749334 people know the secret! We all will be cheering for you. Keep us posted.)
From: Scott Kuhle (scottkuhle roadrunner.com)
I am a bicycle rider and my mind trick is this: when I have ridden one mile on a 50-mile ride, I dauntingly realize that I’ve only gone 1/50 of the distance - thinking about the 49 miles yet to ride, I wonder if I will be able to complete 50 miles. At the end of the next mile, I calculate that I’ve completed 2/50 or 1/25 of the ride. Psychologically, I’ve cut the distance magically in half. At mile 4 I’ve ridden 4/50 or 1/12 of my ride - in only four miles I’ve gone from 1/50 to 1/12. I continue this for the duration of the ride, and at mile 45, I’m 9/10 of the way done - wow, nearly home. This mind trick at each mile keeps my 80-year-old math synapses firing as my odometer ticks off each mile and keeps my spirits high. Some people who prefer percentages may find their mind trick is: 2%, and then 4% (4% is double so that feels good), then 4 miles = 8% which is double that, and then pretty soon I’m 50% done. At 45 miles you are 90% done which is an “A” so just like in college you can coast the last 5 miles.
Scott Kuhle, Pullman, Washington
From: Mervyn Bennun (mebennun icon.co.za)
In Dutch, a newspaper is a “courant”, but in Afrikaans it’s “koerant”.
But how the mind wanders... You ran a series on ugly words, but I do like the isiXhosa word for a newspaper -- “phepha-ndaba”: literally, talking paper or paper that talks.
I have long felt that in a coldly rational world, Wordsmith would be banned because it’s such a distraction from Things That Must Be Done!
Mervyn E. Bennun, Cape Town, South Africa
From: Todd Derr (todd.derr gmail.com)
You may have heard from other cyclists about another use of the word “runnel”. We have a few in Pittsburgh -- and a lot of steps -- although I also encountered a street consisting of steps when I was walking to work in Seattle.
Todd Derr, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
From: Richard Alexander (alexander triton.net)
My Introductory Psychology students used to accuse me of instead wanting to be an English professor, as I often would (try to) teach them new vocabulary words and etymologies. For example, I’d explain that “hippocampus” (a part of the brain) derived from “hippokampos,” Greek for “seahorse,” which describes the shape of the organ. I’d also say that “hippos” = “horse” and “kampos” = “sea monster.” I’d then ask if anyone knew what a hippodrome was. No one ever did, nor a velodrome.
I suppose that instead of the above paragraph, I could have written that when I inadvertently ran across a TV news video segment about a former candidate for vice president, I replied back to the screen, “Oh no, not Palin (again).” But that would have been too easy.
Richard Alexander, Grand Rapids, Michigan
From: Paul Dudley (paul.dudley iinet.net.au)
Let me quote from an Australian comedian, Hannah Gadsby: “My name is Hannah. It’s a palindrome. All my family have names that are palindromes. There’s Mum, and Dad, and Nan, and Pop, and my brother Kayak ...”
Paul Dudley, Windsor, Australia
From: Jac Dittmar (jac.d48 bigpond.com)
Here in Adelaide (South Australia), we have the seaside suburb Glenelg.
Jac Dittmar, Adelaide, Australia
From: Claude Galinsky (cmgalinsky gmail.com)
Anu! A sauna!
Claude Galinsky, Boxborough, Massachusetts
From: Michael Klossner (klossner9 aol.com)
Robert Trebor was the actor who played Salmoneus, a comic relief character in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess. Because of his name, his online fans called themselves “The Palindrome Pals”.
Michael Klossner, Little Rock, Arkansas
From: Alan Gasser (argasser gmail.com)
Thanks for that word today: I’m using it to remember my niece, Ressa Greer Gasser. We used to marvel at her name every time we thought of it. Now, as a teenager, she’s just Ressa. A funny and strong growing girl.
Alan Gasser, Toronto, Canada
From: Edith Lowe (lowe.edith gmail.com)
We have a friend who sends annual limerick postcards based around the name of his holiday destination. A few years ago I was thrilled to be name-checked in that year’s postcard, sent from the Drôme department in the South of France, where he was staying between the towns of Bouchet and Baume. To clarify, my friends all call me Ede ... It goes like this:
An amorous youth called Jérôme
Has a girl in both Bouchet and Baume.
But the girls aren’t agreed
Whether Ada or Ede
Is at present his best pal in Drôme.
Not too surprisingly, all of Willy Williamson’s many friends treasure his postcards!
Ede Lowe, Bath, UK
From: Eric F Plumlee (ericfplumlee hotmail.com)
One of my favorite songs by the band They Might Be Giants, released on their “Apollo 18” album, is the song I Palindrome I. It contains several palindromes of different types including letters, words, concepts, and the music itself. A puzzle in a song, I love it!
Eric Plumlee, Niederlenz, Switzerland
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Marathon man
In reading Anu Garg’s inspiring account of his running for the upcoming first-ever marathon, I couldn’t help recalling the short story, circa late 1950s, by author Alan Sillitoe, titled “The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Runner”, where the main character finds solace, self-esteem, and moral fortitude in his earnest pursuit of cross-country running.
For me, Anu’s commitment to pursuing the personal challenge of this upcoming race is a kind of metaphor for his brave and undaunted willingness to rise above the madding crowd and consistently speak truth to power... rightfully extolling what has always been great, decent, and laudatory about this blessed adopted country of ours*, whilst voicing his extreme umbrage toward the scary, dangerous, negative turn America has seemingly taken with the current powers-that-be, that appear to be hell-bent in taking this nation on a retrograde, insular, and societally divisive course.
Bravo Anu. You truly are our “Marathon Man”. Best of luck in the race.
*Like Anu, I too am a “foreign import” to the US. Still a proud Canuck, but feeling very at home, and much-appreciated in my adopted country, after 38 years living here in Los Angeles.
Then the image of the dual-headed god of Roman mythology, Janus, popped into my noggin, inspiring this quirky illustrative scenario. My toga-wearing Grecian frog, a chorus-of-one, contemplates these “attached” sculpted twin heads, tossing in his two drachmas’ worth of snarky commentary.
Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
The text in each box is an anagram of the text in other boxes.
From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
The critics raved about her dress.
The histrionic prez is an actor,
The President seems nonchalant
Our candidates should be vetted,
In search of a calm English runnel
At the beach too much time in the sun’ll
She is forced to agree and defer,
The Right did not concur with the Left
“I was sipping my evening liqueur,”
I just love a good palindrome,
A palindrome runs forward and back.
A war fought with weapons atomic
After long-winded and corruptive excursus,
When explaining a point needs excursus,
From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Asked what book I was reading I replied, “Au courant? Oh, Koran.”
If your motorboat won’t runnel lend you a paddle.
Eugene Field answered the question, “concur and cat peacefully coexist?”
On a banked track, my bike-racing buddy is my palindrome.
If I’m late with the alimony check, my excursus.
Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma
A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:Union and co-operation in war obviously increase the power of the individual a thousand fold. Is there the shadow of a reason why they should not produce equal effects in peace; why the principle of co-operation should not give to men the same superior powers, and advantages, (and much greater) in the creation, preservation, distribution, and enjoyment of wealth? -Robert Owen, social reformer (14 May 1771-1858)