Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ August 26, 2015 – Hiemal cool

Right about now, I’ll bet you could go for a cool winter day with a hint of rain or light, snowy dustup.

Stunning snowflake
Winter will certainly be here before you know it, along with all the holidays. Ugh and yea at the same time, and if the El Niño predictions are right, more “weather” than we might desire.

But today, as you brush the stream of sweat from your brow, you’ll just have daydream of a frosty, hiemal day …

HIEMAL (hīʹi mɘl):adj. of winter; wintry. [Is your honey in a hiemal mood? Give her / him a warm hug.]

So, Wordsmiths … a question … hiemal is not listed as an archaic word, yet it is rarely seen in common language. Considering this, why in heaven’s name do we have so many words that mean the same thing? Why didn’t we stop at “winter” and “wintry” and leave it at that? (Or whichever came first.) If you’re waiting for an answer …

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ August 19, 2015 – BROSE oatmeal kicker

Are you a breakfast person? Bacon and eggs, or the comforting aroma of hot, steamy oatmeal?

BROSE(s) [brōz; Scot.] – n. a dish made by stirring boiling water or milk into oatmeal. [Not to be confused with your bro’s breakfast.]

Chefs and those who actually cook their meals, may know that this word is not a synonym for buddy. “They’s all my broses!” John said, pointing to the group of guys playing a scrappy game of pickup basketball. Uh-uh. More like …

As a food connoisseur with a delicate palate, you watch the dawn brighten your day while pouring hot water into your cereal bowl, and taking in a slow deep breath, exclaim heartily, “Ummm, the brose smells good …”

Hahahaha … okay, now that we have the chuckle of the day out of the way, the real scene goes … if we absolutely must be up when the night’s shadows are still skulking in the corners, we’re staring into our cereal bowl with sleep-glazed eyes, heave a heavy sigh as we splatter milk into it, and mutter grumpily, “The oatmeal needs cinnamon.”

At first glance, brose is a rather highbrow term for a banal breakfast staple. Clearing the morning fog from my eyes, I spotted an eye-opening “cocktail” variation …

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ August 12, 2015 – EXTANT is real

Raise your hands, kids – how many heard the word “extant” before the popular CBS show popped up on your TV screen?

Is it exciting? Is it probing? More to the point – do you know what it MEANS?

EXTANT – (eksʹtant) adj. to stand out or forth, 1) still existing; not extinct; not lost or destroyed; 2) (archaic) standing out; conspicuous. [And now, a thought-provoking Sci-Fi premise.]

There is extant literature for instance – as in the Beowulf epic poem mentioned in last week’s Wordplay about firedrakes (dragons). And, there are extant species …

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wordplay Wednesday™ August 5, 2015 – Firedrake

Definitely NOT “Puff the Magic Dragon

Engrossed in news of the California wildfires, I mourned the loss of so much beauty in my childhood stomping grounds.

Memories flooded my mind and thinking about the fires, its causes, and its fierceness, my imagination slid into overdrive … and into the fire … firedrakes that is … dragons!

FIREDRAKE (-drākʹ; Mythology) n. fire-breathing dragon.

I drifted back to my youth, when reading books meant sitting outside, surrounded by timeworn trees. California Black Oak, fir trees, and dense Manzanita brush on the hills in front of me, concealed fairies and leprechauns, princes and princesses, castles, dungeons, mermaids, all sorts of strange creatures from active imaginations. Always with a happy ending.

Absorbed in the pages of Grimms’ Fairy Tales with the maiden-eating dragon (“The Two Brothers,” 1812), and Lewis Carroll’s nonsensical poem that gave us a fierce Jabberwock, with "jaws that bite," "claws that catch," and "eyes of flame" (Through the Looking-Glass, 1871), my heart raced as I envisioned dangerous denizens and dragons.

The epic poem of Beowulf, who defeated the fire breathing dragon, appeared in my mind as I watched a newsclip of streaming flames. Wildfires are our modern day dragons and firefighters are our brave warriors who slay them.