Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ July 20, 2016 – Sedulous

Mud-slinging in the Speech Pond  

Isn’t it amazing how our democratic process is such a testament to the diligence and attention, perseverance and assiduous planning, of its political machine?

And hasn’t the Internet community contributed in more wonderful ways than we can count, to its ability to research, study, and repeat the best of its finest speeches?

Hmmm. Wellllllll … if I take my tongue out of my cheek, I just might unleash a diatribe of vehement frustration on this Wordplay Wednesday. Who’s with me? Who prefers to dissect political speeches for their content as it pertains to the speaker, rather than their creative origin? I feel sorry for the hard-working writers …

SEDULOUS (sejʹoo lɘs) adj. – 1) working hard and steadily, diligent; 2) constant, persistent (sedulous attention to the task). [WW #69]

Uh-oh. Tongue dislodged from cheek … here come da judge

Speaking from a writer’s POV, no matter how conscientious and diligent we are, and as unique or powerful we hope our words are, someone somewhere has already articulated those same words, created that idea, or told the story exactly that way.
GET OVER IT SOCIAL MEDIA – and by that I mean the MEAN PEOPLE – who have nothing better to do with their time, energy, and half-wit intelligence, than to bully others. Yes, bully. The Internet is FULL of bullies – the ridiculous harassment over Mrs.Trump’s perceived plagiarism is a perfect example – are you a bully? That is not an idle question.

There is often a fine line between spewing venom and spite, or offering practical analyses

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ July 13, 2016 – Copacetic

History and Slang – Repeat … Repeat 
You know the premise that history repeats itself (general summation). What does this say about us? That we’re not as clever and innovative as we think we are?

I get it in fashion – it’s cool to be kitschy in vintage styles – but when it comes to national and global issues, you would think we had learned a few things throughout millennia.
I’ve been saying since the beginning of the year that 2016 is a 50-year throwback, practically mirroring 1966 – and that is not a good thing. Racism, riots, war, national poverty – sound familiar? Yet, through all of that a half-century ago, were we as despondent as today?

Didn’t we have more hope, more leisure time, and more lighthearted terms to describe daily life? In spite of events on the national level, we gushed with cool, groovy, outstanding (said with att-i-tude), even bitchin’. But whatever happened to …

COPACETIC (kōʹpɘ setʹik) adj. – (Old Slang) good, excellent, fine, etc. [WW #68]

As far as words go, copacetic is a bit of an enigma in the dictionary world. Webster, in its infinite wisdom as in the above definition, doesn’t give it much respect, even relegating it to “Old Slang.” Wikipedia and Wiktionary don’t quite know what to do with it either; their definitions struggling for a clear origin.

Back in the late 1950s and throughout the ‘60s, copacetic was our go-to word when everything came together just right, and we needed a special term to express and impress. Somewhere along the decades it fell out of favor … along with our predominantly cheery attitudes.

If everything old is new again, let’s bring copacetic back into daily use – we need to feel its soothing, positive presence in our lives again.

Since we’re bringing back a 1960s’ word, let’s also harken back to 1965 when Hal David and Burt Bacharach knew what our country needed … and Jackie DeShannon gave it voice: “What the World Needs Now Is Love,” sweet love ...

No, not just for some, but for every one

Word of the Week: COPACETIC. Consider how you can help instill new hope in our country, in someone else’s life, in your life – while fitting it into your writings for the week.


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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Wordplay Wednesday™ July 6, 2016 – Happy Talk

What makes you HAPPY?

Although the Universe loves to throw life changing cherry-bombs at me, I generally find a way to dodge or diffuse them before they can make me unhappy – at least for more than a day – or until happy hour. And we know it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

After another such game-changer today, and needing to write this article, I wondered – what would make me happy – right now. Of course, the upcoming 500+ Mega Million$ lottery would make me smile – a lot. For the moment, though, I do what I always do to diffuse the bomb – write.

Curiosity got the best of me – how many “happy” terms are in the dictionary?

Of course, the Webster’s folks are relatively choosey. One might expect a bushel full of happy terms created with hyphens, and of course there are happy words running off to form “happiness,” and more. Officially, though, there are only five happy phrases, plus the core word.

You’re likely familiar with “happy camper,” “happy-go-lucky,” “happy hour” (my fave!), and “happy hunting ground.” But do you know the Webster’s “happy” term that is actually an oxymoron and (in my humble opinion) should be redefined?

HAPPY TALK (radio, tv) – a style of news presentation characterized by cheerful commentary and informal conversation among anchors during newscasts. [WW #67] 

 I don’t know about you, but I don’t think there is any way the newscasters can sugarcoat what is going on in our world these days!

What’s cheerful about terrorists, home invasions, and every news show trying to outdo the other with carnage and negative news?

“Happy” is a fleeting, subjective word – in our world, often it’s that which makes one person “happy,” turns someone else livid. Go figure.

This writing exercise has urged me to consider what – today at this moment – makes me happy.

The love of my family and close friends … and a cold beer in summer. Cheers!

Word of the Week: HAPPY TALK. Feel free to say what makes YOU happy on Twitter or Facebook, while fitting it into your own writings for the week.


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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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