Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ June 29, 2016 – Furfur

Funny Word in a World Gone Mad

No one wants to say the “D” word. It’s so, well, flaky. Those of you who have, or know someone with … shhhhh, not so loud … let me brush that little trail of white flakes off your shoulder … dandruff … heed this Wordplay Wednesday. Let’s make scratch-and-flake dandruff funny!

FURFUR (fʉrʹfɘr) n. – 1) dandruff, scurf; 2) pl. scaly bits, esp. dandruff scales. [WW #66]

Imagine this conversation-opener, “Do you know of anything that will help eliminate my furfur?” Hahahaha … come on, that’s just funny. Way more interesting than asking about dandruff!

You can’t beat it – there is no real cure – but the onerous scalp condition does often respond to various treatments. How though, do you ask anyone for advice without embarrassment?

Make a joke. If you can’t make fun of yourself, who can you make fun of? Especially these days, with the even more dreaded “politically correct” virus plaguing our society.

The only ones who get away with jokes about anyone other than themselves, are comedians! And even they are finding it increasingly difficult to please racially and culturally diverse audiences. 

The rest of us can’t even try to have fun anymore without having to apologize profusely on Twitter – which generally comes off as feeble, insincere backtracking.

Jon Lisi of PopMatters said last year, “… the First Amendment does not demand that other citizens in society must automatically support a comic’s act. Rather, the First Amendment makes room for dissent, disagreement, and disapproval, however misguided and misinformed such reactions may be.” [The link is my doing.] 

And as comedian, Lisa Lampanelli, pointed out in 2013, “By being politically correct, you’re closing your mind to a different point of view. Which sounds a lot like prejudice. Which is definitely not politically correct. See what I just did there?”

We’ve lost the ability to know when someone is joking, or when they’re seriously dissing you. Seriously?! Context, demeanor, tone and personality of the speaker should be CLUES.

If you’re in the middle of a riot or political demonstration, joking about the other side’s “momma” will likely result in a black eye. But in casual conversation, in a non-threatening environment, why are people threatened? Walk away.

Take a day to make fun of yourself – or your family and closest friends – whether you have furfur or not. (Though possibly at the risk of a family feud – give ‘em a tube of Head & Shoulders – they’ll get over it.)

Word of the Week: FURFUR. Can you chuckle while fitting it into your own head-scratching line of prose this week?


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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ June 22, 2016 – Moil

Graduation ~ A Different Kind of Mother’s Day 

I sat next to my daughter-in-law recently on hard metal stadium seats, and happily broiled my nose in the cloud-filtered sun of San Diego’s heatwave, for my granddaughter’s high school graduation ceremony.

During the sweltering wait, I mused on the role of mother, while she appeared to float between seating tiers (it could have been heat exhaustion delirium), taking care of a dozen needs at once. When is a mother’s job done? Never

MOIL (moil) vi. – 1) drudgery, hard work; 2) confusion, turmoil (moiler, n.). [WW #65]

Pretty much sums up motherhood. And a new Penchant for Penning word that (is made up) sums up “mommy toil/moil” – moiling!

Through confusion and turmoil, mothers just always seem to know what to do – or fake it well until it works out anyway. J For every major holiday and moments of celebrations, we oversee the festivities, moiling through the details to ensure that even if events don’t quite go as planned, a good time is had by all. Sound familiar?

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ June 15, 2016 – Chouse

Belated Wordplay Wednesday … Timing is Everything

In a perfect world I would write a month’s worth of Wordplay Wednesday posts at one time and only be in a crunch once a month, rather than every freakin’ week. Alas, life is not perfect – as I was reminded yesterday.

Like me, are you feeling cheated and swindled out of your time this week? Who or what is the cattle-rustler-time-swindler in your life?

CHOUSE (chous) vt. – (Brit.) to cheat, swindle; vt. (West) to herd (cattle) roughly. [WW #64]

Doesn’t the 2nd definition kinda reference the first one? You know – like a cattle rustler cheats and swindles his victims? Jus’ sayin’.

And that said, occasionally, time-cheating at the right time for the right reason, should be allowed into your schedule. Especially when it comes to learning about the cheating and swindling of time that can erase our memories.

This week for me, my time was choused for all the right reasons by an event, that as a (early) Boomer, I simply could not miss.

Wednesday’s AARP Aging Summit in San Diego was 1) free, including lunch; 2) featured keynote speaker, super-entertainer, Dick Van Dyke; and 3) provided valuable information about the causes and effects (as we know them today) of dementia, and especially Alzheimer’s – and did I say it was FREE?!

Confusion at conference for dementia …

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ June 8, 2016 – Stich not Stitch

Stich – not Stitch – Makes a Wordsmith Twitch!

A stich in time saves nine lines of proper prose. Oh … that isn’t how it goes?

Heehee … you Boomers will recognize a butchered version of the ol’ adage, “A stitch in time saves nine.”*

Thought I misspelled “stitch”? Nope – instead of saving stitches, we’ll pull your string with a line …

STICH (stik) n. – delete that dupe “t” to get: Prosody a line of prose or, esp., of verse. [WW #63]

Example: Where art thou, Muse, that thou forget'st so long
[Shakespeare’s “Sonnet C” (#100) that many a writer knows by heart.]

So it’s almost spelled like “stitch” and it’s pronounced like “stick.” Go figure.

As much as I love words and meanings, I often wish our English language was a tad less complicated, don’t you? Phonetics anyone?

Word of the Week: STICH. Can you fit it into your own line of prose?


*SIDE NOTE: Are you wondering how the adage originated? According to, “This proverbial expression was obviously meant as an incentive to the lazy. It's especially gratifying that 'a stitch in time saves nine' is an anagram for 'this is meant as incentive'!” Cool! Love it when there are mysteries and hidden meanings of language. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ June 1, 2016 – Liminal

Between a Rock and a Hard Spot

This Wordplay Wednesday entry is long overdue. Yesterday I stumbled on a years-old notation of it while vegetating on the threshold of my day …

LIMINAL (limʹi nɘl, līʹmi-) adj. – of or at the limen, or threshold; at a boundary or transitional point between two conditions, stages in a process, ways of life, etc [n. liminality; WW #62]

 Had I actually paid attention to, and/or continued my studies of psychology in college, I likely would have known instantly, what Chuck Lorre referred to in his Vanity Card rant #410. “… we have no choice but to pull together as a nation and make do with the liminal.” Admittedly, I had to look it up. Thanks Chuck!

If you watch the Big Bang Theory, surely you pause the ending credits (a liminal moment before your mind returns to its usual evening numbness) to read Chuck’s rambling rants and raves. If you don’t, or worse, are unaware they’re there because you have an itchy finger on the remote control, you’re missing a grand opportunity to expand – or alternately, explode – your mind. Chuck isn’t just another pretty face writing in TVLand.

A longtime fan of his work, I first encountered Chuck’s quirky vanity cards following the insanely inane but fun antics of Dharma& Greg (1997). I derive as much pleasure from his ramblings as I do his creative characters. Obviously, there is a little of his zaniness in each of them.  

A vanity note to Mr. Lorre:

Has anyone told you recently, you’re not allowed to retire? Ever? And that Stephen Hawking should gather his neuroscientist friends to devise a way to preserve and access your brain (his too, of course) when your body finally dissolves? (I was going to say “decays” but that was too gross.) Your special brand of humor | angst | frustration | vision is greatly appreciated. Of course, many of us not only agree with you but could write vanity cards as well – we just can’t get away with it in Social Media like you can. The average person is vilified as “politically incorrect” for reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. You, however, like Donald Trump, can say anything and you just become more popular. Don’t stop. In fact … run for President … PLEASE??!!

Word of the Week: LIMINAL. Can you fit it into your own vanity card writings?


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