Tag Archives: language

Junglewords

jungle

So many have stepped up
To fill the big bloggy boots
Of the Daily Prompt
That it’s become a snakey
Jumbled jungle
Of new words to shake
In the tumblers
Of our minds.
It’s hard to navigate
All the great poasts
In order to find
The perfect word
To choose for today.
I’ll have to chill a while,
Grab a coconut lime drink,
Imagine a tropical isle,
And see what transpires…

*

A big thanks to all who have joined the prompt parade! I hope to participate in everyone’s eventually.

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My Kitty’s Pedigree

Love

He’s got soft furs from a baby lamb–
Some white as snow from northern lands–
While the rest are grey like a thundercloud,
And his meow is really really LOUD!
His claws are sharp as thorns on a rose,
But his paws are pink and so’s his nose;
He has sweet gold eyes in a cute lil face,
And his brain floated in from outer space.
He’s kind of a nutball, which suits me fine:
Craziness swims in both our bloodlines.
But I love him and he loves me,
Which makes the purrfect pet-agree!

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Pedigree

If You Don’t Got It, Flaunt It

File_001 (30)

I’m going to indulge in a bit of neenerism for a moment and flaunt my “single and not looking” status. Why? Because lately I see so much drama both online and off regarding relationships and dating that it makes me extra double super duper glad with sprinkles on top that I’ve been staying uninvolved. Not to mention that the older you get, the more difficult it is to mesh with anyone in a romantic context.

When you’re young and you meet someone 180 from you, you’re all like, ooh cool, he’s different and interesting, yeah I want to learn about his culture, eat new foods, travel to new lands, adapt to a new philosophy, yada. But when you’re old and you meet someone who goes to sleep a half hour later than you do, you’re like, whoa whoa whoa, this will never work, bye now.

I mixed up flout and flaunt many decades ago, and someone gave me a helpful reminder: She flouted the rules and flaunted her boobs.

I haven’t forgotten since.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Flaunt

The Meta Conversation

Boston Creme

Or what we talk about when we talk about talking. [hat tip to Raymond Carver]

Some people dislike “small talk,” the meaningless howareyas, haveaniceweeekends, coldenoughforyas watercooler type of chitchat. I never minded it. To me, it’s part of the please and thank you polite currency that smoothes over the transactions of our workplace relationships. Are we merely pretending to care about each other? Maybe. Maybe not. Do we always care that deeply about the answers to all the questions we pose to our friends and family, or is some of that merely filler as well? I don’t even mind when strangers ~ cashiers, waiters, neighbors ~ say this stuff to me. So what?

Why is filler conversation bad? Filler can be delicious, like the custard in a donut (mmm donuts). I’m part of a group where the leaders ask many “meaningless” questions, some of which I skip over, and some of which I reply to. I read other people’s answers when I have time, and often they’re interesting ~ first jobs, favorite writers, hobbies ~ and occasionally one of those poasts inspires me to write a longer piece myself, such as this one, or even a pome later on. Some of the group questions aren’t filler, but too personal to answer and I ponder them silently. I admire the brave folks who do reply. If I can think of a joke or a response that isn’t too revealing, I’ll put that. It may appear as though I’m an open book, but perhaps that’s just sleight of hand. You’ll never know, will you?

I’ve told you everything you know about me, but I haven’t told you everything I know. [hat tip to General Boris Alexandroff ~ yabbut rando site says so]

Most convo though is like shadows on the cave wall. We create definitions of words so we can communicate (table, cat, apple), but the whole endeavor quickly gets so tricky (love, loyalty, patriotism) that we assume a shaky base of mutual understanding in order to proceed, and often our assumptions turn out to be false. Oh, that’s not what I meant by love. Hah, fooled you! Or people can say that’s not what they meant even if they did mean it, and this becomes a totally legit way of squirming out of something because we all know conversation is just like this, even when it isn’t.

How conveeenient!

Now we make a new friend, bonding over shared heartbreak. Two people who’ve been burned by others deliberately (or so it seems) misunderstanding definitions miserably commiserate. Isn’t that nice? But wait…

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Conversation

Wordy-Go-Round

The prompt the otter day was carousel, a lovely word, but I had nothing. Twice before I poasted pomes with carousel and I was tapped out. Years ago I took relevant pics, but I had no time to hunt them down. For whatever reason, the word bounced around in my brainpain throughout the day. Maybe it was the associated music, plus the colorful horsies. Idk. I couldn’t stop thinking about carousels… then I remembered an old Mad Men episode where Don Draper was demonstrating a photo carousel. That was a very moving ep, as I recall. I loved that show until it JTS’d, which for me was around the time he left his wife and she married that creepy politician. Things just got too crazy after that. Plus didn’t it take them over a year to come up with a new season at some point? I lost interest.

Anyway. Thinking about Don Draper naturally led me to the word carouse, which I decided must be related to carousel. Well, isn’t it obvious? But that isn’t the case at all! In fact, I had totally the wrong idea about carouse, which is shocking after all my years of romance novel reading. I assumed it meant a wild night of partying and causing trouble in the streets, being loud, probably making obscene suggestions to women, etc. But no. It basically means a drinking spree. You can be doing the partying, but that’s secondary to the drinking.

v.
1550s, from Middle French carousser “drink, quaff, swill,” from German gar aus “quite out,” from gar austrinken ; trink garaus “to drink up entirely.” Frequently also as an adverb in early English usage ( to drink carouse).

Huh. Well, anyway. I looked up carousel too, which was as expected. I didn’t know the origin though, which is interesting.

n.
“merry-go-round,” 1670s, earlier “playful tournament of knights in chariots or on horseback” (1640s), from French carrousel “a tilting match,” from Italian carusiello, possibly from carro “chariot,” from Latin carrus (see car ).

These quotes are from dictionary-dot-com.

Carousel cake

The Search for Nuance

The search for nuance
Came up nil–
Not a single folder spilled
Out a poem or post
In all these years,
Not even a ghost;
No evidence I ever
Used a subtle, filmy
Delicate negligee
Of a word,
A mysterious trail of lace,
Leaving a coy, flirtatious trace,
Instead of my usual
Bludgeons of bluntness.

But it is this, dammit, I scream:
Can’t you see?
My shrieks echo ’round the mountain,
But Narcissus long ago
Fell into the stream,
And everyone else has
Packed up their picnics
And gone home…
It looks like rain.

It’s time to stop yelling, Paula;
Whisper your pain
To the slowly swirling clouds.

~*~

The Daily Prompt: Nuance

The Vice Principle

Isn’t that a great title?

It’s actually available, not that you couldn’t use a title that’s out there (sort of ~ you probably wouldn’t want to reuse The Maltese Falcon unless you were doing something funny like The Mall Tease Falcon, which, surprisingly, is also available).

Whenever I see/hear the “vice-principal” or the “vice-president” I automagically put the emphasis on the first syllable because I’m just wired that way, wired to be weird, I guess. Although I prefer to think of it as wired to be hilarious. YMMV.

Maybe that’s why Breaking Bad really kicked in for me with the introduction of Saul Goodman, the guy to call when you need a criminal lawyer. Loved that so much.

But they’re entirely different things, vice and vice. 🙂

I don’t know how anyone learns English. How is it possible for someone to learn it as an adult? I can’t even. It’s such a disorganized, horrible mishmash. Where would you even begin? Why do I speak such a messy language, argh?!?

No wonder there are so many misunderstandings.

According to the dico, vice means moral depravity or corruption; a moral fault or failing; or a habitually and usually trivial defect or shortcoming. So, it’s anything from kidnapping children into a sex slavery ring to popping your gum all day at the office cube farm.

Clearly we don’t need the word “vice” for any of the things along the spectrum from trivial to hideous because we have much more specific words for all of them. Vice is useless as a noun and should be used only as a preposition or prefix.

However! The Vice Principle is still a great title and I give it to you because I’m all bogged down in otter things right now. Plus it sounds like it’d be a title for either a detective story (or a story in a series of detective stories) or some sort of self-help woo book, and neither of those would be the sort of book I’d write.

I almost wrote a mystery/suspense novel once, but it didn’t work out. And when I say almost wrote, I mean I wrote about 50 pages, which is what my friend AH once said we all can do. What really separates the writers from the wannabes is what happens after 50 pages.

I’m not a mystery writer.

~*~

Via The Daily Prompt: Vice

The Radical Radish

I was thinking about the word radical the otter day for some reason, and I looked it up. Most of us think of it as extreme, right? Well, that’s the second (and third) part of the definition. The first is more interesting:

of or going to the root or origin; fundamental

When I saw that I thought of radish ~and indeed further down you can see that they mention radish as they discuss the word origin and history of radical:

late 14c., in a medieval philosophical sense, from Late Latin radicalis “of or having roots,” from Latin radix (genitive radicis) “root” (see radish ). Meaning “going to the origin, essential” is from 1650s. Radical sign in mathematics is from 1680s.

Regarding math, we have… “pertaining to or forming a root.” Radix is the base of a number system.

Radical… radish… radix. Roots. Very cool.  Is it radical to get back to your roots? One wouldn’t think so, but… 😀

Radishes

Jewel

I picked up Jewel by Bret Lott at the HB public library sale the other month. Began reading it last week. Today I decided I’m not going to finish it. While the story itself is mildly interesting,  I just can’t stand the constant use of the n-word.

I know that might sound strange coming from a person who is OK with every swear word under the sun, and then some. But I was brought up by parents who never EVER used ethnic slurs, and these words all make me super-uncomfy,  especially the n-word. So much so for that one I can’t even bring myself to spell it out. I think I said it once in my life as an experiment… and felt awful for a long time afterward.

There is no rational basis for my feeling, just as there’s no rational basis for the idea that swear words are the worst thing imaginable. Both are silly notions, imo. Yet the fact remains that the n-word is such a huge turn-off for me I will abandon a book rather than see it on every page.

As a corollary,  I completely understand when someone irrationally hates swear words, and I will make a reasonable effort to be accommodating when on their turf.

That said, there is one sentence early on in Jewel, page 5, that I find totes cool and discussion-worthy.

“But it’s history that matters, what keeps you together in the tight ball of nerves and flesh you are and makes you you and not someone else.”

Agree? Is it history that makes you who you are, the collective memory of stories you’ve been told, whether true or false or warped out of original shape… or something else entirely?

Fruit & Nuts

On the recommendation of a friend I bought and read Pears and Perils by Drew Hayes. What a fun book! The plot was zany and unpredictable; the characters fresh and humorous. The story veers from philosophical to just plain wacky. While the protag was great, I totes loved “Thunder,” a hybrid hipster/surfer kinda dude who had his own language.

The best part was of course that a kitty had a starring role in the book.

Here are some cool quotes to possibly get a few of you interested in reading further:

Cats are already experts in freeing themselves, and ones with a bit of divine blood move into the realm of supernatural. For an instant Clint felt like he was trying to keep his grip on a shadow dunked in mercury; then it was over and the cat was racing across the field away from him. [P&P]

April might not be as good at reading people as she was at reading books, but even she could tell that beneath this peace and love mentality there was a basement of something more complex: a place that was shut away from the world, where armor and axes were carefully stowed and just beginning to rust. [P&P]

OooOOOoo. Read the book. 🙂