Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ July 1, 2015 – Fetial: not fecal

Are you familiar with a FETIAL? Ancient Romans didn't wage war without one.

FETIAL – (fēʹshɘl) n. in ancient Rome, any of a group of priests who gave advice in the conduct of war, diplomatic negotiations, etc.

Kind of a conflict of interest wouldn’t you say? And it could be mistaken for fecal – you know what that means … 

Joke! Joke! Please don’t vilify me. It’s just a fun play on words (hence, “Wordplay”!). Of course, war isn’t funny – but we need to return to a way of lightening the mood in times of stress, by way of humor, regardless the topic.

This weekend’s Freedom Holiday is a great time to start.

Did you notice? The definition of fetial began with, “in ANCIENT Rome,” groups of priests counseled war leaders. Yet we have learned nothing since the 8th century B.C. Sadly, humor, once an American pastime of relief from daily life, has been crushed by violence …

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ June 24, 2015 - Unwind Hump Day

Are you Bound Up, Wound Up? Unwind with Wordplay Wednesday™ June 24, 2015
Sometimes your stress level by Wednesday causes your body to bind up and refuse to cooperate. Do you turn to a “natural” laxative to relieve your tension?

n. a bitter, crystalline cathartic [laxative] prepared from the aloe.

Ah, drag your minds outta the gutter ladies and gents. It is not something to rub on one side of your loins … pronounced AL-O-IN, it’s a chameleon of the medicinal plant world. At once, beneficial but quite possibly deadly.

And you might have recognized the first three letters as part of “aloe,” a soothing, medicinal plant that protects and heals. Well, ALOIN is prepared from the aloe rind, however, beware … its properties are vastly different from the gel we know and love, and can be toxic. What's the difference ... ?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ June 17, 2015 – AZO-what?

Ever have a day when you feel like a barren wasteland, devoid of internal resources – lifeless? You have just entered an AZOIC zone. (California drought, anyone?)

AZOICadj. 1) without any life (an azoic ecological zone); 2) designating or of the earliest part of the Archean Eon, when there was no life on earth [the ultimate Peace on Earth, right?]

Though still used minimally as a geologic description for the age of rocks formed before life popped up, it lost favor before the 1950s to “Archean,” or “Archaeozic,” proving its azoic worth, I guess.

Now you can say you learned something new today and you have a great “Z” word to amaze your opponents in word games.

Read on for a few lively quotes about how education, books, and spelling affects lives:

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ June 10, 2015 – Fetch, MARLY!

Some words just make you want to slam the laptop shut, grab a beer and go play with the dog … or whatever outdoor activity you prefer … that goes with beer.

So let’s seize the day with a brew and watch MARLY fetch! Um, well, not exactly. 
Actually, MARLY is just a lazy clump of clay. It won’t charge after the ball no matter how many times you yell, “Get the ball, MARLY, get the ball!”

MARL(Y): n. (adj.) soft, crumbly mixture of clay, sand, and limestone in varying proportions, typically containing shell fragments [and you thought it was just a cute dog name].

It’s often useful, I learned, to fertilize soils low in lime. OK … that sounds like MARLY-the-dog behavior.

If you don’t want to be confused as to which one to throw the ball for, the lump of clay or lump of fur, try one of these other popular dog names on for size … Giggles (teehee) … Bozo (had a dog once that should have had that name) … how about Porkchop? Now I’m just hungry. See all 20 funniest dog names for 2015.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ June 3, 2015 – Irish 2-fer for Belfast Book Fest

It’s a 2-fer Wordplay Wednesday!

Since my primary online screen name, from the beginning of computer time, has been Irishwriter, I couldn’t help but celebrate next week’s Belfast Book Festival.

No, I have not had the good fortune to travel to the land of my ancestors … someday will come … if only in my dreams. But that has not stopped me from a healthy interest in Ireland and its many attributes, including its wonderful, lilting language and some of the best writers in the world.

This week’s Wordplay Wednesday celebrates Ireland’s contributions to our language with a 2-fer! A trip to Ireland for a 1) writing event, would of course, include 2) a wee bit o’ the Irish Whiskey …

1) poteen (Ireland; from póitín) – n. illicitly distilled whiskey [let’s call it what it is … hooch, bootleg] AND, where would you drink poteen? Why, here of course …