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AWADmail Issue 789

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

Sponsor’s Message: “Have you suffered, starved, and triumphed, groveled down, yet grasped at glory,/Grown bigger in the bigness of the whole?/’Done things’ just for the doing, letting babblers tell the story,/Seeing through the nice veneer the naked soul?/Then listen to the wild -- it’s calling you.” Er, we kind of listened and bought an original 1973 Honda CB 175 to use as a “company vehicle” and, gulp, when was the last time you rode, however briefly, on the flapping edge of Armageddon? Anyway, congrats to Email of the Week winner Barry Galloway (see below) and all the other “ragtime whistlers at the end of creation” out there. Come along on our gritty, quixotic adventure >

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

Trump Is Making Lexicography Great Again
Boston Globe

The Funniest Words in the English Language
New York Magazine

From: Don Wright (wright.don sbcglobal.net)
Subject: Garg’s Law

I heartily approve of, and will happily endorse, Garg’s Law, as one who has had no fewer than three breathless concerned friends sidle up to him this week offering their newfound Miracle Cure for tinnitus -- none of which, curiously, medical science has yet to endorse (undoubtedly suppressing them out of a conspiracy to garner more profit for themselves).

The guaranteed cures for tinnitus are (in no particular order): 1) Wearing tin foil around the ear for a week; 2) Using a few drops of “essential oil” in the ear (only $100 per 10-ml. flask -- buy now and save!); or 3) Acupuncture -- because it helped reduce the recommender’s tumors, which clearly transfers directly into a cure for an aural/cranial problem.

I feel certain that you will want to share these guaranteed treatments with your readers -- unless of course Garg’s Law is enacted into international law in the interim.

Donald Wright, San Jose, California

From: Medea Bern (medea13 me.com)
Subject: Garg’s Law

If you could kindly legislate this, I would be grateful. My mom is the worst, followed by all of my friends over 80, under 80, male, female, questioning, tall, short, large, small, educated, not so educated.

The threat of spending an eternity offline may well be the deterrent that works.

Medea Bern, Hillsborough, California

From: Andy Marie (frostedgroove gmail.com)
Subject: I like your law

I like your Garg’s Law. It reminded me of the below link from a recent ALA (American Library Association) newsletter. As I forward it, I can only have faith that the librarians have done their research.

“If you want to comment, you must pass a quiz. The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) is requiring readers who want to leave comments on its news website to take a quiz that asks them what the story is about.” (source)

Andy Marie, Springfield, Virginia

From: P M Wexelblat (wex mac.com)
Subject: Um, about Garg’s Law

Sorry, I don’t have time to verify the accuracy of every email that starts:

“A ??? walks into a bar...” before forwarding it.

FYI, BTW, E.g.

A skeleton walks into a bar and asks the bartender for a beer and a mop.

Have tried for years to verify this, but have not even been able to identify the bar in question

(and I have forwarded it).

P M Wexelblat, Concord, Massachusetts

From: DeAnne French (hrhdeanne yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--antitussive

In all of your spare time (ha!), you might enjoy The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe podcast. They often discuss their frustration with hoax cures.

Not long after my aunt died of cancer -- it was sudden and I was the only one with her at the hospital -- a neighbor was spouting off about how sitting under yellow light was known to cure all cancers, and doctors were hiding that information so they could make more money. It was the second time my husband bodily picked me up and moved me to another place because he could tell I was about to lose my self control and punch that idiot right in the face. (The first time, I was about to spit on a man wearing a KKK T-shirt -- I would have been happy doing both of those things and taking the consequences.)

Thanks for putting these emails out! I enjoy them every day, and especially the quotations!

DeAnne French, Dayton, Ohio

From: Hunter Heath (calciophile gmail.com)
Subject: Cures for cancer, etc.

As a physician and long-time opponent of irrational therapies, I applaud your message. Like you, I sometimes feel like the naysayer in the room, but I encourage you to continue. Someone, somehow, has to warn friends and associates about quackery. Here’s a link to the text of a lecture I gave to the Indianapolis Literary Club on this subject; you might be interested esp. in the concluding viewpoints:

For years, without knowing it, I’ve promulgated Garg’s Law to various digital correspondents. The only success I’ve had is to offend them badly enough that they stop sending me anything!

Hunter Heath III, MD, Indianapolis, Indiana

From: Craig Good (clgood me.com)
Subject: Cures for cancer

Actually, many cures for many cancers have been found. It’s not one disease, and there will probably never be a single cure.

Awesome to see the Randi quotation. Ironic, in that antitussives, or any other cold medicines, have yet to be shown to be better than placebo. (link)

Craig Good, Vallejo, California

From: Patricia O’Dowd (tishod umich.edu)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--antitussive

Years ago, I overheard a clerk in the produce section of Whole Foods telling a customer that it was “well known that green peppers cure cancer”, but that the drug companies were suppressing that knowledge to preserve their profits. Having recently lost a breast to cancer, I wanted to bop the clerk over the head with a cabbage. I refrained, however.

Patricia O’Dowd, Ann Arbor, Michigan

From: Karol Silverstein (karolinas aol.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--antitussive

I’ve had rheumatoid arthritis since I was 13 and have identified as disabled since 21. I cannot tell you how many people offer “helpful cures” to me, often random strangers out in public. If my response is any less than grateful, I’m often admonished with some type of “Fine. Ignore me and be in pain. But it’s your fault you’re suffering” sentiment. On a good day, it’s laughable. On a bad day -- maddening!

Karol Silverstein, West Hollywood, California

From: Lyle Gunderson (lyle mac.com)
Subject: Garg’s Law

You wrote:
I suggest ISPs require new customers to sign and date (in front of two witnesses) that they agree with the law before they can get online. First violation would mean one has to be off the Net for a week. Second violation: a month. Three strikes and you’re out.

Or, maybe, just put them on dial-up for a week, then a month.

Remember dial-up? Modem music? Augh!

Lyle Gunderson, Spanish Fork, Utah

From: William Lee (quorum101 msn.com)
Subject: Garg’s Law

Change rule to “one strike and you’re out.”

William Lee, Doylestown, Pennsylvania

From: Angela Read (mread clara.net)
Subject: Cure for asthma

I wonder if anyone’s heard of Dr. Blosser’s herbal cigarettes? (Slogan: “Dr Blossers Hit the Spot”). A very young sufferer with catarrh and asthma, I was given these and taught how to smoke! My mother thought it was hilarious watching a four-year old sitting up in bed, smoking.

Angela Read, Devizes, UK

From: Marsha Rabe (marsharabe comcast.net)
Subject: I appreciate your comments today

I read this online, and it’s so true:
“Do not believe everything you read on the Internet.” -Abraham Lincoln

Marsha Rabe, Guilford, Connecticut

From: Peter Hawley (pete0880 yahoo.com)
Subject: NY Times

No, the last place you will hear about anything that has to do with “Cure” is said paper above or any other vested interest run corporation “News” outlet. How very silly and naive of you to give such advice today. In fact, it’s downright suppressive and murderous to suggest yet alone endorse it! Suppose your of the school that coconut oil is harmful also. Remember it’s against the law to cure anything per FDA. They the AMA, APA, AHA and big pharma don’t create cures, they create customers. Fact.

Peter Hawley, Florida

I was skeptical of what you wrote, until I reached the end. That last sentence (“Fact”) was all the evidence I needed to recognize the truth.
-Anu Garg
PS: Had you added an exclamation mark (“Fact!”) I would have been doubly convinced.

From: Judy Stromoski (judstrom hotmail.com)
Subject: Why I unsubscribed

Your uninformed cancer comment disgusted me enough to unsubscribe.

Judy Stromoski, Horseheads, New York

From: Ruth Waytz (ruth666 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--aperient

Twenty years ago I launched my publishing company: Aperient Press. Certainly I loved the word’s meaning, but I also loved its air of gravitas. It’s a word you think you must know because it sounds so solid and respectable. And yet...

No one ever asks what it means, and I always enjoy the sneaky joke. I guess my secret’s out now though, at least among your discerning readers.

Thanks for the extra enjoyment!

Ruth Waytz, Los Angeles, California

From: M Henri Day (mhenriday gmail.com)
Subject: Declarations of war

Older men declare war. But it is youth that must fight and die. -Herbert Hoover, 31st US president (10 Aug 1874-1964)

With regard to Mr Hoover’s comment on older men declaring war, it should be noted that the US Congress, which under that country’s constitution is the sole authority empowered to do so, has not declared war since 5 June 1942. Mr Hoover’s remark needs rephrasing, to wit : older men (and women) launch war (by whatever name they choose to call it), younger men (and women) fight it and civilian populations are slaughtered under it.

M Henri Day, Stockholm, Sweden

Email of the Week -- Brought to you by One Up! -- Dare the unknown >

From: Barry Galloway (barry barrygalloway.com)
Subject: Analgesic

That’s amazing. To illustrate the word “analgesic” you wryly show a photo of an unhappy piece of bread in obvious distress. Was this caused by financial hardship, a case of sour dough, or was it due to being raised poorly? We may never know the story behind this slice of life.

Barry Galloway, Springfield, Virginia

From: Stephen Ranson (steve steveleoranson.com)
Subject: Analgesic

This reminds me of a Scrubs episode where Turk has to reassure a patient by telling him “This is why the headache didn’t go away, it is actually pronounced ‘analgesic’, not ‘ANALgesic’. The pills go in your mouth.” (video, 11 sec.)

Stephen Ranson, Ducklington, UK

From: Norm Levine (1rxpoet gmail.com)
Subject: Word Categories

I am a retired pharmacist. This week’s word choices revive one of the few fond memories I have taken away from those years. I entered pharmacy college in 1950 when compounding was still a large part of the profession. Early on I was struck by the rather arcane language used to describe certain processes. The words “torrefaction” and “elutriation” still linger. There were perhaps a dozen other terms which have left me. I wish I still had my textbook, Remington’s Practice of Pharmacy, but alas that too is gone. Perhaps you might explore this nomenclature for future words.

Norm Levine, Santa Monica, California

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: emetic & antitussive

Inspired by the “USAGE” example referencing Donald Trump for the word “emetic”, meaning... inducing vomiting, I harkened back to the now classic circa mid-’70s Saturday Night Live (SNL) skit anchored by the hilarious John Belushi, where he played a coarse, toga-clad custodian of the ancient Roman “Vomitorium”. Only that brilliant fledgling SNL cast could have pulled off such an edgy comedic routine, essentially based on the indelicate act of communal retching. Ha!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Anagrams of this week’s words

The text in each box is an anagram of the text in other boxes.
1. antitussive
2. aperient
3. emetic
4. diuretic
5. analgesic
= 1. demulcent
2. evacuant
3. I incite spit
4. irrigates
5. I ease
= 1. Sucrets
2. enema
3. ipecac (tag it)
4. it aids urine
5. lenitive
    -Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com)   -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)

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

I take antitussive for thee.
I cough oh so deafeningly.
One terrible day
When I’d fever of hay
I caused a tsunami at sea.
-Anna C. Johnston, Coarsegold, California (ajohnston13 gmail.com)

Last week after a successful audition,
I was getting ready for the final rendition.
Suddenly I felt a niggle in the throat,
bouts of coughing, the voice appeared choked.
Now in antitussive pills alone lay my salvation.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Wakefield, Massachusetts (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Here’s advice that I freely will give,
Take to play, a good antitussive.
If you constantly cough,
Then seatmate you’ll tick off,
And you’ll get dirty looks, corrosive.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

November the 8th felt concussive.
For our planet it’s been repercussive.
Mother Nature’s caught cold
But the public’s been polled
And the midterms will be antitussive.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

When waters are stagnant, don’t flow.
A cesspool’s the result, this we know.
As with some people’s brain
to fresh thoughts, they’re not fain;
Which aperient such crud out might blow?
-Brenda J. Gannam, Brooklyn, New York (gannamconsulting earthlink.net)

Each morning I take an aperient
And I’m soon feeling bouncy and brilliant.
Though my face may have jowls,
Once I empty my bowels
I can still turn to matters more prurient.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Daily he tweeted a-poetic
With a pace that was quite frenetic,
And though the topics would vary,
More than half would be wary,
For the words would make them emetic.
-Jeff Kostrzewski, Sterling Hts, Michigan (jeff_kost hotmail.com)

When you’re drinking you think you’re magnetic,
But too much will soon turn you pathetic.
You’ll be singing off-key
And then sink to one knee
When that last one becomes an emetic.
-Janice Power, Cleveland, Ohio (janicepower25 gmail.com)

The centerpiece had great appeal--
That lacquered bagel looked so real!
But one guest pathetic
Now needs an emetic--
The art he mistook for a meal.
(True story! An acquaintance had company come for brunch. One guest complained to her that the bagel he tasted was stale. She realized that he’d sampled the centerpiece, so she called Poison Control and explained the situation. “How old is the child?” they asked. “About 50,” she told them.)
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Trump’s boy scout speech was pathetic
Odd stories and boasts were frenetic
No politics please
At scout jamborees
That whole speech was a potent emetic.
-Andrea Miles, Seattle, Washington (milesah20@hotmail.com)

Astounded at patient’s kinetic
response to prescribed anesthetic,
doc stifled a curse,
then questioned his nurse.
She retorted “You said an emetic!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

He’s definitely my emetic.
Just a glance at him and I am sick.
I’m here to ask you
To try to guess who?
There’s only one person you can pick.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (loscamil aol.com)

John’s body was acting so slow
Nothing seemed to function or go;
So he used an emetic
Plus a diuretic--
Oy vey! Things are starting to flow!
-Judith S. Fox, Teaneck, New Jersey (Jsfoxrk aol.com)

Deplorables grew energetic
While Democrats waxed apathetic.
And now we sit lotus
While waiting for POTUS
To tweet us his daily emetic.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Was the story of Noah prophetic?
The rains this year were mimetic:
Water pooling in fields,
Seeds rotting -- no yields;
Were the clouds taking some diuretic?
-Marcia Sinclair, Newmarket, Canada (marciasinclair rogers.com)

In Moscow a good diuretic
A party can make copacetic.
“You vant a good hooker?”
Says Vlad, “I vill book her.
She’ll pee in positions athletic.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

The behavior of this White House resident,
who ad libs it at being a president,
appalls and makes me sick.
There’s no analgesic.
The peril we’re in is self-evident.
-Zelda Dvoretzky, Haifa, Israel (zeldahaifa gmail.com)

Send in paramedics, and quick,
I need a strong analgesic.
Trump’s gone ‘round the bend
On a steep downward trend.
His antics are making me sick.
-Judith Marks-White, Westport, Connecticut (joodthmw gmail.com)

If the Russia probe’s making you seasick
Or in need of a good analgesic,
Mr. Trump, end your trouble,
Turn Asia to rubble,
Then cake would be nice, and a b-flick.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

From: Phil Graham (pgraham1946 cox.net)
Subject: I may have med my match

Billy Tuss said, “When I swear, my uncle and antitussive me out the door.”

“It’s aperient from your britches that you’ve had an ‘accident’.”

When emetic-habod, the Headless Horseman caused Crane to vomit.
(A dis-Irving pun?)

If you pee in the pool you exhibit diuretic-ette.

“Gee... tease my pit bull analgesic him on you!”

Phil Graham, Tulsa, Oklahoma

It is always easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them. -Felix Adler, professor, lecturer, and reformer (13 Aug 1851-1933)

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