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AWADmail Issue 314

July 5, 2008

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 at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the net

Has Modern Life Killed the Semicolon?

What's Up With Chinese Menus?

From: Sourav Sen (sourav.sen db.com)
Subject: Dog Cat Problem Solution Centre (Re: costive)

In the context of this week's words, I wish to share the name of a vet facility in the suburbs of 24 Parganas in West Bengal in India. The business had a bright and large sign atop the rolling shutters, reading:

Dog Cat Problem Solution Centre

Just in case someone did not understand 'Veterinarian Clinic'.

From: Arthur Kane (arthur.kane comcast.net)
Subject: Doctors' Hospital item

Toronto's HOSPITAL FOR SICK CHILDREN has always struck me as an over-precise appellation, since they don't have (or need) one for WELL children.

From: Henry Willis (hmw ssdslaw.com)
Subject: law firms for lawyers?

Yes indeed. Here in California, where lawyers can get in trouble in hundreds of different ways (although most of them involve money, drugs, alcohol, or sex), there are a number of firms that specialize in representing lawyers before the State Bar. Knock on wood I've never had to make that phone call.

On a cornier note, there was the man who named his dog "Physician" so that when they took a stroll he could say "Physician, heel thyself."

From: Andrew Pressburger (andrew.pressburger primus.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--costive

In Ray Bradbury's science fiction classic Fahrenheit 451, when Guy Montag's wife Linda accidentally or otherwise overdoses, paramedics -- who, for all the world, look and act like plumbers -- rush out to the house to pump her stomach, and leave instructions for after-treatment care (using quasi- tradesmen's terms), to the consternation of the perplexed husband.

From: Jeff Hess (jeffhess softhome.net)
Subject: Engineers as Doctors

In your introduction to AWAD today, you stated, "I wouldn't want engineers treating me if I broke an arm." I wonder, why not? I accompanied my son to the osteopath the other day; my son complaining of foot pain. After observing the doctor testing the range of motion (the structure) and asking does that hurt? (output of various sensors), I predicted he would "prescribe" a resting of the structure and a return visit, if needed, to test the output of the sensors again. I was right! Furthermore, I would have charged a lot less for my diagnosis. In addition, I noticed that the doctor carried a laptop from room to room where a simple network would have served the whole office better. In other words, an engineer could have solved everyone's problems that day with a huge savings to society. Yes, I am an engineer. (My son-in-law is a neurologist, but that's another story.)

I'm an engineer too. -Anu Garg

From: Chris Gates (cgates1 mccus.jnj.com)
Subject: costive

In reference to "Doctors' Hospital", I find "Street Road" (in Pennsylvania) also reassuring.

From: Bill Burton (william.r.burton verizon.com)
Subject: Doctors Hospital

So, if we correctly assume that doctors are the ones doing the work at Doctors Hospital, does that imply that children are doing the work at all of the Children's Hospitals throughout the country?

From: James E. Hunter (jehunter pantechengineering.com)
Subject: Re: Doctors Hospital

I spent many years in the Middle East. One of my employees developed an excruciating stomach pain and I took him to a small clinic in Jeddah that was principally presided over by American doctors. They were all in agreement that the man had appendicitis, but refused to operate until a Mr. Bannerjee arrived from leave in India to confirm their diagnosis. I said that I wanted my man tended by doctors, and American doctors at that. They informed me that, above a certain high skill level, an Indian doctor's title became "Mr" and that this man was the finest surgeon in the northern hemisphere. He did arrive and five minutes later pronounced the three Americans wrong, saying that the problem was a kidney stone on the move; he was proved to be right, without an operation.

From: E J Benskin (ejbenskin aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--roborant

Sixty years ago I was taught the Latin word robur for oak, as in "Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men, / we always are ready; Steady, boys, steady! / We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again." This from a rather jingoistic British sailor song.

From: Josef Gilboa (jgilboa shani.net)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--catholicon

The Major Greek Orthodox chapel in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (called the Church of the Resurrection by the Orthodox), in Jerusalem is called the Katholicon, in the sense of 'the universal chapel'. It is placed half way between the traditional site of the Crucifixion and the Tomb. The halfway point is marked with a stone urn. Tourists always ask why it is called the catholicon when it is Greek Orthodox shrine!

From: Krishna Ramaswamy (krishna wharton.upenn.edu)
Subject: Gee's Linctus

Ah, linctus! In Kolkata (Calcutta) in the 1950s our doctor would prescribe Gee's Linctus -- which we now know was actually a concoction of alcohol, sugar, and perhaps even a trace of opium -- as a cough suppressant. I remember it went down well. And for colic(k)y babies, perhaps the same thing was prescribed as Gripe Water, who knows!?

From: Elizabeth Fairley (efairley sympatico.ca)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--linctus

What immediately came to mind for me, when I read words related to linctus: lichen, is that it is a food for caribou and other animals and that because lichen has such a low profile and clings so tenaciously to rocks and trees, animals have to lick it off.

From: Chris Hope (thehopes-chris kc.rr.com)
Subject: Noah Webster is 250

Noah Webster fans will be celebrating the 250th anniversary of his birth on Oct 16. For all I know, someone out there is planning a big celebration, with fireworks and words flying into the air and falling back to earth. But I don't know of anything.

So, I put the challenge out to your readers Noah's day should not pass unnoticed.

Chris Hope, Executive Director
Dictionary Project Kansas City

Syllables govern the world. -John Selden, historian and politician (1584-1654)

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