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AWADmail Issue 714

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

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

The World’s Tiniest Book
The Guardian

On National Grammar Day, Stop Acting Like the Earth is Flat
The Web of Language

Trump’s Word of Honer: in Defense of Donald’s Sloppy Spelling
The Guardian

Email of the Week brought to you by One Up! -- A way better buy than Bananagrams.)

From: Madeline Lopes (mklopes comcast.net)
Subject: Arsenious

My mother was treated in the 1920s with arsenic for St. Vitus dance. As an older adult she developed some skin cancers. Apparently the only ill effect.

Madeline Lopes, Gibbstown, New Jersey

From: Andrew Pressburger (andpress sympatico.ca)
Subject: Arsenious

In addition to Maurice Leblanc’s arsenious theft of the Sherlock Holmes character, other instances of the poison affecting the equanimity of Victorian society may be found in the plot of Kind Hearts and Coronets, where the hero uses it to eliminate his importunate relatives one by one. And in the novel Madame Bovary where the adulterous heroine ingests it in powder form and thereby most gruesomely end her dysfunctional marriage.

Once the shackles of Victorian predispositions were cast off, arsenic could be applied as a remarkably effective instrument of eugenics, for instance, in the motion picture Arsenic and Old Lace in which two kindly homicidal sisters use it (or some substance similar to it) to put old gentlemen out of the misery of their solitary existence.

Andrew Pressburger, Toronto, Canada

From: Zend Lakdavala (zocrateszend yahoo.com)
Subject: Popinjay

I first came across the word -- since made indelible in my mind -- in a debate between the late Christopher Hitchens and George Galloway, who took the former to task for turning pro-Bush and rooting for the disastrous Iraq War with the following opening salvo: “You’re a drink-soaked former Trotskyist popinjay”!

For the hundreds of words and thoughts I picked up from the popinjay’s exquisitely penned polemics in books and magazines, this is the one I’ll last forget. Poor Hitchens. Turning into a hard-right neo-con and desertion of his leftist credentials and comrades notwithstanding, Christopher Hitchens, RIP.

Zend Lakdavala, Las Vegas, Nevada

From: Chris Papa (doxite verizon.net)
Subject: Popinjay

W.S. Gilbert famously used this word in G & S opera The Yeomen of the Guard, when main character, the lovelorn jester, Jack Point, introduces himself in Act 1 and sings a tale of how a common lady, in reality the young lady who performs with him (Elsie), may be attracted to a man of higher station, but who will ultimately be rejected. Of course, as the opera unfolds, just the opposite happens and, in the end, Elsie will marry royalty and it is the jester who collapses in loneliness as the curtain falls.

Point: It’s a song of a popinjay, bravely born,
Who turned up his noble nose with scorn
Elsie: From the peacock popinjay, bravely born,
Who turned up his noble nose with scorn

Chris Papa, Colts Neck, New Jersey

From: Marley Stec (mstecjones gmail.com)
Subject: brio

Being an equine owner, personal assistant, to three Colombian Paso Fino competition horses, we say our horses have brio. This can be mistaken for “nervous” unless one is capable of understanding the marvelous willingness to respond and asks appropriately for what one wants. For there is nothing that horses hate more than a rider that confuses them or doesn’t feel their quick response. For us it means yes, spirit, but also movement and energy. They are eager and quick to respond to our direction or request, for they wish to please. It makes the Paso Fino, with its four-beat lateral gait a mighty fine, brilliant and most congenial partner.

Marley Stec, Utuado, Puerto Rico

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

All five words below, plus this heading, are equal to the one anagram:
1. truchman
2. arsenious
3. personalty
4. popinjay
5. brio
1. interpreter (ah, how global!)
2. arsenic (Paula used in John’s Amontillado wine; he’s queasy)
3. property
4. a boastful man
5. vigor
The text in the right box is an anagram of the text in the left.
Dharam Khalsa, Espanola, New Mexico

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

When Churchill was Lord of the Admiralty
The Navy he viewed as his personalty.
While sitting in bars
He’d say “Ship me cigars
From Havana,” as though he was royalty.

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

The American asked a young Dutchman
the price of his tulips. “How much, son?”
“I really don’t know.
We use euros now, so
to convert them it takes a good truchman.”

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

I know a woman named Faye,
Who was a big popinjay.
When she did chatter,
Wise folks would scatter,
All I could say was,”Oy Vey!”

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

A moat full of water arsenious
Could keep the US homogeneous.
The Republican trolls
Could all rise in the polls
If they thought of a plan this ingenious.

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

With one look at Antony, Cleo
Was filled with excitement and brio.
“I’m done being pharaoh,”
She said, “Cupid’s arrow
Has struck me, let’s fly off to Rio.”

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

And here’s a set of six limericks from Oliver Butterfield of Kelowna, Canada (obutterfield shaw.ca):

A young bon vivant of the commonalty
Wooed a duchess, coveting her royalty.
“It’s true that she’s ugly --
But rich!” he said smugly;
“Nice manors, and really great personalty.”

So into this bar walk a Dutchman,
A German, a Greek - and a Briton...
Yelled the barman: “No Limey!”
(He’s Chinese - meant “No rhymie”).
Big brawl ensued - quelled by a truchman.

Chris Christie is Trump’s bland new protégé.
Have you noticed their riveting interplay?
While the Don’s doin’ the talking,
The Chris stands mute - gawking.
You sure can’t call him a damned popinjay!

On paper, her plan was ingenious.
In his rum she mixed powder arsenious.
But that very day,
He’d signed up with AA,
And was saved, by becoming abstemious.

Young Jane was infertile and fretful.
Said the doctor: “My dear, it’s context’al:
Though you’re just five and twenty,
You’ve lived a full cent’ry.
Not your fault -- you were just born bissextile.”

He was Libra, and she was a Leo.
He had aged; she was young, full of brio.
Great yin and yang -
Started off with a bang;
But his id was no match for her ego.

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: Puns on the AWADs

Some of these are tortuous. All may be torturous.

“I love hitting things with my 3-wood. Give me your personalty it up.”

“Promise not to give it out and I’ll truchman number to you.”

Each being vain and loquacious, my popinjay Gatsby were pals.

Are the words of a certain comedian Arsenious?

Wine and brie, oh!

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

From: Matthew Harris (matthewshaneharris gmail.com)
Subject: Gift subscriptions

Sincerest Thank You for the signed book and Thank You for providing A.Word.A.Day, from me and all those that I have gift sent subscriptions to A.Word.A.Day. We love it...from the quoz neologism to the words of ancient etymology.

Matthew Harris, Yakima, Washington

Men ever had, and ever will have leave, / To coin new words well suited to the age, / Words are like leaves, some wither every year, / And every year a younger race succeeds. -Horace, poet and satirist (65-8 BCE)

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