OMADHAUN – Word of The Day, 30 June 2015

30 June 2015

om’a-dhaun‘ noun   A fool, be he man or boy.  Examples:

1.  Jack Sprat, the town omadhaun, bought a used pink Lincoln that had oil dripping into a puddle beneath the car, anti-freeze that looked like brown cottage cheese, drove down the road kind of sideways, and smelled like a wet dog had been living in the backseat.

2.  Sally Saucer, not too bright a light herself, married the omadhaun Jack Sprat and whelped a son that had one eye in the middle of his forehead.


The Drought

29 June 2015

Last night it rained.  It’s been as dry as dust around here for weeks so the rain was appreciated by most people.  But not by me.  Rain means the dried-out grass will come back to life and I’ll have to start mowing it again.  Of course the weeds will start growing too, so Jo will be on me to go dig them up.

Out here in Western Washington, mosquitoes are only a sometime problem.  Normally, our summers are dry so the little creatures dry up and die before they can ruin our lives. Of course there are enough hollow stumps, discarded tires and small declivities to hold the stagnant water in which the little bastards reproduce, so we are never entirely free of them.

Until this year.  Since late April, we’ve not gotten an inch of rain (see the chart below).  This head start on the dry season has killed off the great preponderance of the larva, and with few convenient wet places in which to lay eggs, we are enjoying a massive die-off.  It should take years for them to recover their numbers.  Ah, but with Global Warming, dry times like these promise to be the norm, so we may add mosquito-free evenings to mowing-free days.

Blessed, blessed drought.




ENDERMIC – The Word of the Day, 29 June 2015

29 June 2015

en-der’-mic adj Acting through the skin, or by direct application to the skin, as an endermic medicine.  Examples:

1  Waldo was having some ED problems, so his mistress packed him off to the doctor.  The good physician told Waldo to visit the local drugstore and pick up one of those skin patches that cure “Low T”.  But Waldo bought two, slapped on both, and now suffers an embarrassing case of priapism (which we shall define at a later date).

2.  Joyce suffered a sudden pain in her chest, left arm and jaw and began to gasp for air.  She popped a nitroglycerine tablet, an endermic medication, under her tongue and within moments was back on the squash court, right as rain.




27 June 2015

cle’-do-nism  (kle’-do-niz’m) n The avoidance of unlucky words, or the use of euphemisms, to avoid misfortune.  Examples:

1.  Johny says “BM” instead of “shit”.  That’s because he’s only six and his mother would wash out his mouth with soap.

2.  William will never use the name of his ex-wife (Judi) for it brings back all sorts of bad memories — dumpy little house, beat-up old Dodge, bill collectors and the woman herself.


Word of The Day

26 June 2015

I’m moved to write this because my fellow Americans have fallen into slack ways when it comes to our mother tongue.  We simply do not use enough words in our daily discourse and many that we do use are used wrongly.  We are, in a word, imprecise.  This not good.

Back in the day when I sold pay telephones, my sales mangler, Harold, often asked why I used so many “two-bit words”.  I told him that I use them because they are the appropriate words for the context in which they are used.  I also told Harold that were we to take his (spurious) argument to its logical conclusion, we’d certainly simplify our language alright; we’d end up with the Primal Grunt, an utterance which means everything.

Q: How you do’in today, Harold?
A: Ugh.

No sir, words are like the tools in a mechanic’s tool cabinet; there’s one for every purpose under heaven.  Would you hire a mechanic to set the valve lash on your Aston-Martin if all he had were a claw hammer and a crescent wrench?  No?  I thought not.  Why then do people find a scanty vocabulary so admirable?

Also consider this: When you think, you think in your principal language, which is American.  If you do not have enough words stored in your brain, you cannot think with sufficient clarity and precision to accurately transmit your thoughts to your interlocutor.

So starting today, I shall offer a word, its definition from Webster’s, plus a paragraph or two in which it is used correctly.  However, I shall begin with two words which are all too often mistaken for one another.  Here goes.

REDACT  re·dact \ri-ˈdakt\  transitive verb meaning “to put in writing”.  Examples:

1  The newspaper spent a whole week redacting the President’s three hour harangue, turning it into a six-part series for the Sunday supplement.

2  From all the boss’s bits, snippets and rough notes, his sedulous staff redacted a passable manuscript ready for the publisher.

CENSOR /sensər/  verb meaning “examine (a book, movie, etc.) officially and suppress unacceptable parts of it”.  Examples:

1  Joseph Stalin had purged Yezhov, chief of the KGB, so Stalin censored all archival photos to remove Yezhov’s image.

2  The Hays Commission was Hollywood’s official censor.  Should Will Hays see something in a movie he deemed salacious, he ordered it cut from the finished product.

3  The Air Force didn’t want the public to know about the aliens being held at Area 51 so it censored all documents, blacking-out any reference to them and their flying saucer.


The Virtues of Lawsuits

25 June 2015