Thursday, December 17, 2015

Throwback Thursday December 17, 2015 – Swampwater, yum

Oops! Missed Wordplay Wednesday! Let’s have fun with a Throwback Thursday Wordplay!

“Back in the day,” let’s say 1950s – 1970s, A&W Root Beer gave Coke and Pepsi a run for the money. Roy W. Allen – the “A” in A&W – opened his first roadside root beer stand in Lodi, California (1919).

Yep, that’s just down the road from Modesto – which gave us American Graffiti, complements of George Lucas’s memories of 1962.

Let me take you back … to a simpler time of A&W drive-in restaurants, car hops and Swamp rock

How did you drink your A&W Root Beer? I mixed mine up ...

SWAMPWATER: Half A&W Root Beer and half Orange Drink [back in the day, only Orange Crush would do as the mixer].  

So where were you in ’62 ... or as this long ago drive-in car hop recalls, 1967...

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ December 9, 2015 – Holiday Wodge

Holiday fudge? Yum! Ummmm …

Feeling a bit bulky this Holiday season? Ah … yeah … the fun fudge, extra Christmas cocktails, and full-on four-, eight-, ten-course meals are already beginning to bulge.

You mean, you feel a wodge around your middle?
WODGE (wăj) – n. (Brit. informal) a chunk or lump of something [an object having a lumpy bulgy shape – like, I’m feeling kinda wodgey today].

The Brits are fun to follow for vocabulary. It’s so much more interesting and somehow less filling to say you’re a bit wodgey today, rather than fat or full, ya know? While we’re munching ... 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ December 2, 2015 – Otiose Holiday Vanity

You’re So Vain …

Since I’m a day late and a dollar short (again) this will be a quickie Wordplay word. (I know, hooray!)

During the Holiday time of year, with numerous parties, events, and special attention to fashions, we tend to go overboard wondering and worrying about our looks. (I used to – I’m a Boomer now – doesn’t matter so much! Heehee.)

We all know one or two friends or relatives, male or female, who stroll by a festive shop window and slow down to pat their hair in its reflection, with pleased self-admiration. There’s a word for this pretentious, vain, action …

OTIOSE (ōʹshē ōsʹ, ōtʹē-) – adj. 1) [Rare] idle; indolent; 2) ineffective, futile; 3) useless, superfluous – SYN. vain.
Anyone you know?

Try to remember, underneath the vanity and perhaps pompous attitude, is a person clamoring for attention. ‘Tis the season – better to give than receive.

Bestow Holiday praise on those who may act a bit too self-absorbed, but who demonstrate with worthy actions, that beauty can be more than skin deep.

They’ll appreciate your kindness and it’s a gift that will keep on giving – along with the day-at-the-spa gift card, or custom basket of healthy skin care itemsjust helping out with a tip! (Hint, hint.)


# # #

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ November 25, 2015 – MEINY gobblers

Thankfully Gobbling with your Gaggle!

How MEINY* ways can you say family? This time of year we often see our close and extended family members much more than in the previous ten months.

So, if you’re preparing to mix with them this Thanksgiving week, take a break from your over-committed, overwhelmed, unrested mind and let it flow to the right side, for a fun challenge: how many descriptive words for a gathering of your clan (hint) can you dredge up?
Let me help you count the ways:
1) clan
2) gaggle
3) madding crowd
4) cluster
5) *MEINY! See – it wasn’t a typo. Yep, it’s today’s offering for Thanksgiving week’s Wordplay Wednesday. :-)

MEINIE or MEINY (māʹnē) – n. 1) [obsolete] feudal retainers or attendants, collectively; retinue or household; 2) [Scots.] a crowd; throng; multitude.

Whether you enjoy a crowd, gaggle, or meiny – or giving thanks in solitude this week (which I have done often over the years, when away from the madding crowd of family, and yes, I cook a turkey with all the trimmings, and give thanks that I can!), consider all that you have / enjoy, and all who / what make your life richer. Ask yourself, “What more can Ido?” ...

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ November 18, 2015 – Ennead 9

Number 9 … Number 9 … there’s a word for that …

ENNEAD (enʹē adʹ) – n. group or set of nine (books, gods, etc.).

Although the term is generally applied to groups of gods, our modern dictionary(ies) define ennead as any collection of nine – deities, things, persons, books, what-have-you. In mathematics it’s the sum of or the number nine.

Exploring Enneads in literary circles, you’ll also find reference to ancient philosopher, Plotinus’s writings, which were organized into fifty-four treatises in groups of nine, edited and compiled by his student, Porphyry (c. 270 AD).

In modern terms however, probably the most infamous ennead is The Beatles’ eerie loop intoning “Number 9” in the song, “Revolution 9” … do you know which album it appeared on?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ November 11, 2015 – LENIS: Sound off

Let’s work up a sweat with the alphabet!

LENIS (leʹnis, laʹ-) – adj. Phonet. articulated with little muscle tension and little or no aspiration (smooth, soft, mild) —n. a lenis sound.

No, not lean us up against the jukebox

Do you know that speaking can work up a sweat?! It’s true – tell that to your fitness coach. You’ll work harder on some words than others – I’m here to tip you off to the easier letters of the alphabet to use.

I’m all for easy if the results are the same, aren’t you?

Phonetically, when you speak, different letters require more or less effort to create either a soft – lenis – sound, or a harsher, harder – fortis – sound.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ November 04, 2015 – Chaos into Peace

Oops! Missed Wednesday – Plan B

This week, since I missed Wordplay “Wednesday” we’re gonna switch it up to “Wayback Wordplay.” 

Nostalgic thoughts breed abstract, sometimes chaotic, reminiscing.
In the 1960s and ‘70s things were volatile one day, giving way to Peace, Love, and Rock & Roll the next, much the same as today.

Just as jumbled in our jargon, we coined new words and mashed some together for a unique blend of slang. Traveling down California’s coast this week, I’m reminiscing and …

CHILLAXIN' – in the mid-1960s and early ‘70s to “chill” meant to relax – at some point, someone really wanted emphasis and squished the two words together for slang that lasted much of the latter decade. Cool, man …

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ October 28, 2015 – Lycanthrope

Six Weeks of Weird Halloween Words ~ Week #6 (The End)

Question of the day: Was “Wolfman” Jack a lycanthrope?
LYCANTHROPE or more commonly – WEREWOLF (werʹwoolfʹ): n. Folklore, a person changed into a wolf, or one capable of assuming the form of a wolf at will; lycanthrope.**

Hmmmm … think about it … Robert Weston Smith, businessman, by day … howling, wild-‘n’-crazy, mysterious radio DJ extraordinaire, Wolfman Jack, by night. And we wouldn’t have had it any other way.

Halloween is simply not complete without a tribute to the most fun and famous “werewolf” of the 20th century.

If you missed the thrill of personally experiencing Wolfman Jack’s sometimes salacious, always deliciously irreverent howl filling your radio’s airwaves, you missed history. Of course, there are taped airchecks and replays of his vintage shows* still sold in syndication. But there’s nothing like the real thing, baby.

More on Wolfman soon, including where you can hear him again. But first, speaking of the real thing – are werewolves “real”? Owwwwwwoooo

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ October 21, 2015 – Trick-or-Treat!

Six Weeks of Weird Halloween Words ~ Week #5

Are you a Trickster or a Treater?

‘Fess up … do you fling open your door and greet Halloween visitors with feigned amazement at their creative costumes? OR, are you the Halloween Grinch, porch light off, with only the television light flickering in the shadows?

TRICK-OR-TREAT!: traditional greeting used by a Trick-or-Treater; orig. used with the meaning ‘give me a treat or I will play a trick on you!’

Uttered by millions of children masquerading as anything other than a child, Trick-or-Treat! aims to trick a few pieces of sweetness from you. Not particularly weird … but, why do we say it at all? Trick-or-Treat!Smell my Feet! And follow me …

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ October 14, 2015 – Jack-o-Who?

Jack-o’-Who? What?

You may think my choice for the fourth week of Weird Halloween Words is rather banal and too commonplace to be weird. Au contraire my little chickadees (a French tribute to relatives heading to Paris* this week!).
All About Pumpkins

JACK-O’-LANTERN (jakʹɘ lantʹɘrn): n. a hollow pumpkin cut to look like a face and usually illuminated inside as by a candle, used as a decoration at Halloween.

Few call it a Jack-o’-lantern anymore. That’s really a shame, because Jack-o’-lantern is way more creative and interesting than “Halloween pumpkin” – which we have come to assume is carved.

Using the name, Jack, probably stepped on someone’s politically correct toes, so the term fell out of favor. But what is a Jack-o’-lantern, really?

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ October 7, 2015 – Ghostly fears

Six Weeks of Weird Halloween Words ~ Week #3

Boo! Did I scare you?

So, do you avoid the den at Uncle Henry’s because you feel the specter of Aunt Phoebe in the room? Do you quake at the thought of apparitions, and literally run through a “cold spot” in your home? You might have … 

Ghostbusters 1984
PHASMOPHOBIA (fas′mō-fō′bē-ă): n. exaggerated fear of ghosts. [Not in Webster’s dictionary, but that just means they can be a bit behind the times. It appears all over the ‘Net! And we know … if it’s on the ‘Net it must be real! LOL]

Spirits and ghosts have existed in another realm (or in your mind – whichever you believe) since the first human died and returned to finish harassing his or her nemesis. Do you believe …?

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ September 30, 2015-666=9

Six Weeks of Weird Halloween Words ~ Week #2

A Number by any other name is still a Word!

I chose Six Weeks of Weird Halloween Words, because it’s half the value of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” (if that).

Wait – I feel a premonition coming on – I have a Sixth Sense ya know … I predict … sometime between now and Halloween … you’ll visit 6 websites, enjoy 6 beverages, and gab for a half hour on 6 phone calls! Oh nooooooo, that’s 666!! You know what that means …

666: a number variously associated with Satan, the Antichcrist, the emperor Nero, etc. (Rev. 13:18). [A number by any other name is still a Word!]

Yes, our Wordplay Wednesday entry this week is a number, but ooooooh, it spawns so many wickedly delicious words. As the dictionary says ...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ September 23, 2015 – HALLOWMAS Saints-Spirits

Six Weeks of Weird Halloween Words ~ Week #1

“Christmas” is preceded by “Hallowmas”?

HALLOWMAS (halʹō mɘs, -masʹ) n. former name for All Saints’ Day. [Think celebrating sainted spirits …if you lived through the night before hell.]

Painting by Guido di Pietro, 15th century.
How former, you ask? It reaches back to somewhere between 731-741. And of course, All Saints’ Day is November 1, to honor … well … all saints. [Clever.]

Want to get in the mood? Melanie Rigney’s new book, Blessed Are You: Finding Inspiration from the Stories of the Women Saints is especially appropriate; religious or not, Catholic or not, there is excellent life advice to be gleaned from it.

How does Hallowmas make the Weird Halloween Words list? It’s preceded by All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) on October 31, a night on which the veil between us and the afterlife is particularly thin.
Of course, we don masks so the menacing souls on “the other side,” won’t recognize us, as we feast in preparation for the next two celebratory days. Seriously – they won’t know it’s you under that Star Wars: the Force Awakens Kylo Ren helmet-head, or traditionally sexy Bat Girl mask. And then what happens ...?   

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ September 16, 2015 – Manitou Halloween

From ancient Indians, Celts, and Christians – Boo! 

Six Weeks of Weird Halloween Words ~ Introduction
Painting by Richard Hook

Halloween’s witching season is just around the next dark corner, as we peruse the discounted, mondo bags of candy in the stores, trying to ignore their enchanting aroma.

Much of Halloween’s mystique is fueled by folklore – which brings me to one of my Words With Friends entries to lead off the ghostly season.

MANITOU (manʹɘ tōōʹ; also manitu or manito): n. Folklore among the Algonquin Indians, any of various spirits or supernatural forces variously conceived of as nature spirits of both good and evil influence.

Spirits have influenced our cultures since the beginning of societies. The advent of storytelling fueled mesmerizing tales of life after death and exploration of the supernatural – and we still don’t know what, if any, is “real.” What should we believe?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ September 9, 2015 – Stupid is

Stupid is as stupid does …

Forrest Gump (movie); image credit
For the next time you want to call someone stupid without them catching on (right away):

INJUDICIOUS (inʹjöö dishʹɘs) – adj. showing poor judgement; not discreet or wise. [You’re welcome.]

Not an oft-heard word in casual conversation, injudicious is elite enough to pass over many heads – like our government’s collective policy makers.

After dealing with the SSA this week, I graciously call them injudicious. Do you know that your SSA benefits account is inaccessible at the “2nd-level” verification stage, if EXPERIAN has incorrect information about you?! INJUDICIOUS. There must be a better way.

The whole world knows, credit reporting companies are notoriously erroneous and nearly impossible to correct. THIS is what our retirement benefits agency relies on for verification?!

“Among all of the companies generating CFPB complaints in North Carolina so far this year, credit bureaus are at the top of the list. Equifax is No. 1, followed by Experian.”* Charlotte Observer, 08/31/15.

Methinks the SSA misinterpreted this policy
No wonder we have so much identity theft – it’s eating us up like we're a box of chocolates. And our government not only allows it, they feed it!

Any suggestions as to how this policy can be changed? 


*In the Charlotte Observer quote, the bold on Experian and the link on CFPB are my additions.