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Momma's Word of the Day (check first post every day!)

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The station producer listened as his best DJ played for him the newest addition to their song collection. The song was heavily bowdlerized, resulting in it being interrupted by bleeps nearly every other word.

 

"What the [expletive bowdlerized] is this?" he asked. "This is [expletive bowdlerized] terrible! You can't even get in the [expletive bowdlerized] rhythm of the [expletive bowdlerized] song!" "You can't play the [expletive bowdlerized] song on the radio," he explained, "if every other [expletive bowdlerized] word is banned!"

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The station producer listened as his best DJ played for him the newest addition to their song collection. The song was heavily bowdlerized, resulting in it being interrupted by bleeps nearly every other word.

 

"What the [expletive bowdlerized] is this?" he asked. "This is [expletive bowdlerized] terrible! You can't even get in the [expletive bowdlerized] rhythm of the [expletive bowdlerized] song!" "You can't play the [expletive bowdlerized] song on the radio," he explained, "if every other [expletive bowdlerized] word is banned!"

 

If you could fit bowdlerized into that sentence anymore, I might have to bowdlerize you!

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258.July 18th, 2007Sas·quatch, n.-Another name for Bigfoot, the mysterious humanoid crea-ture reported to inhabit remote areas of North America.

 

-This word originated in Canada

 

In southwestern British Columbia, on southern Vancouver and nearby islands, live some five hundred speakers of Halkomelem, a Central Salish language in the Salish language family. And there is also said to be, somewhere in the mountains and woods known to the Halkomelem, a creature called in their language Sasquatch, or "hairy man."

 

As English-speaking enthusiasts have translated and embellished the legend for us, the Sasquatch is distinguished by more than an unusually hairy body. Modern authorities assure us that the Sasquatch is nearly human in appearance but tall as a professional basketball player, strong as a professional wrestler, nocturnal as a professional Vegas gambler, and solitary as a hermit. It eats anything that comes its way, animal or vegetable, but it doesn't go hunting. It can swim like a fish. And it can't speak, so if found it's unlikely to be interviewed on a television talk show.

 

Not that these authorities have actually seen a Sasquatch. But they have heard stories and reports of sightings, and they have made expeditions to the wilds of the Pacific Northwest in search of one. So far it has been as elusive as the Loch Ness Monster.

 

The name Sasquatch made its English-language appearance in an article in the Canadian magazine Maclean's in 1929. Since then it has spread far beyond the Halkomelem, so that today it is often used as the generic name for the "bigfoot" of North America. Around the world, other names for elusive wild men include Tibetan yeti, Mongolian almas, Chinese yeren, Vietnamese ngui rung, Sumatran orang pendek, and Australian yowie (now also a popular chocolate candy).

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259.July 19th, 2007T-shirt, n- 1. A short-sleeved, collarless undershirt.

 

2. An outer shirt of a design similar to the T-shirt.

 

-Origin: 1919

 

The walking advertisement of late twentieth-century American culture got its start as a humble item of men's underwear and got its name because when spread flat it formed a stubby letter T. Its little sleeves and round collar distinguished the T-shirt from the standard sleeveless undershirt of the day. The sleeves may also have helped bring the T-shirt out of hiding in the 1930s and 1940s, since they offered a gesture toward modesty as well as a cache for a pack of cigarettes.

 

Once they were on view, T-shirts became canvasses for images and messages. In addition to basic white, they soon came in all shades; and equally important, they displayed first the emblems of schools and teams, and then every design or slogan imaginable. Today a public event is hardly complete without its accompanying T-shirt. Cold weather doesn't slow us down; we just cover the T-shirt with a sweatshirt, a 1925 American invention.

 

Though it must have been around at least a year earlier (hence our 1919 date), we first read of the T-shirt in F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1920 This Side of Paradise. In the novel, a wealthy, self-absorbed 15-year-old boy from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, heads off to prep school in Connecticut with a wardrobe including "six suits summer underwear, six suits winter underwear, one sweater or T shirt, one jersey...." Exciting words of the Roaring Twenties--Flapper (1915), sheik, cat's pajamas--have faded into history, but the two informal garments we began to wear in those times, the T-shirt and the sweatshirt, hang in our vocabulary more prominently than ever.

 

-In the 19th century, the idea of underwear developed, which had not been common before. At some point near the turn of the century, the underwear shirt was developed; the shirt was always a part of clothing since ancient Egypt, though it slowly became more and more popular. Hence there have been many garments that resemble the T-shirt, Though the general trend supported the possibility of less clothing, which prudent morale had forbidden until the 19th century. The origin of the T-Shirt is obscure — claims reach at least from California to Britain, and from 1913 to 1948, and it was most likely a slow development during that time.

 

Most research mentions this possibility that the idea of the T-shirt came to the United States during World War I when US soldiers noticed the light cotton undershirts European soldiers were using while the US soldiers sweated in their wool uniforms. Since they were so much more comfortable they quickly became popular among the Americans, and because of their design they got the name T-shirt. Other experts credit the U.S. Navy's "light undershirt" from 1913, described with "elastic collarette on the neck opening, called "crew neck". The Los Angeles Times claimed in 2006 that the Navy shirt as described in 1913's regulations state that the "light undershirt" was different from what is commonly worn today, with the Navy's version boasting an "elastic collarette on the neck opening" and other odd features.

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260.July 20th, 2007ar·se·nic, n. or adj.- 1. Symbol As) A highly poisonous metallic element having three allotropic forms, yellow, black, and gray, of which the brittle, crystalline gray is the most common. Arsenic and its compounds are used in insecticides, weed killers, solid-state doping agents, and various alloys. Atomic number 33; atomic weight 74.922; valence 3, 5. Gray arsenic melts at 817°C (at 28 atm pressure), sublimes at 613°C, and has a specific gravity of 5.73.

 

2. Arsenic trioxide.

 

adj.

 

Of or containing arsenic, especially with valence 5.

 

-This word originated in Turkey

 

As an element of the English language, arsenic made a modest debut in about the year 1386. It was a minor ingredient of a lesser-known story by a major author, Geoffrey Chaucer. In the Canon's Yeoman's tale, one of the last of the Canterbury Tales, the apprentice of a fugitive alchemist describes his master's laboratory. After inventorying the "vessels made of earth and glass" and other equipment used by the alchemist, the Canon's Yeoman lists his chemical supplies, including "waters rubifying, bull's gall, arsenic, sal ammoniac, and brimstone."

 

The arsenic mentioned by the Canon's Yeoman was probably what chemists nowadays call arsenic trisulphide, a bright yellow substance used as a pigment and for tanning. There was also the highly poisonous white arsenic or arsenic trioxide, mentioned in English as early as 1605. This is the arsenic used by murderers like the Brooklyn ladies in the Broadway play and 1944 Cary Grant movie Arsenic and Old Lace. White arsenic is slightly sweet, so the ladies masked its flavor in blackberry wine. Arsenic is not a wise choice if you wish to conceal poisoning, because it leaves traces that remain in the body of the victim for years. One mark of slow arsenic poisoning is "Mees' lines," white transverse lines on the fingernails.

 

In small amounts, though, white arsenic is said to be good for you; it stimulates the production of red blood cells. Once taken as a nutritional supplement in Alpine countries, it supposedly gave people ruddy complexions and increased their ability to work.

 

There is also just plain arsenic, which smells like garlic when it evaporates. As is the symbol for this semi-metallic element arsenic, No. 33 in the periodic table.

 

Linguistically, arsenic has a compound history too. English got the name from French; French got it from Latin; Latin got it from Greek. Greek seems to have taken it from Syriac zarnika, and though this word evidently goes back to Middle Persian and Old Iranian, Syriac is the oldest attested form.

 

Syriac is a language that became extinct a thousand years ago, although it is still used as a literary language by followers of the Syrian Orthodox and Syrian Catholic churches. It was spoken in a corner of present-day Turkey as well as Iraq and Syria. The alchemical name for mercury, azoth (1477), also traces itself back to Syriac. That language may also be the source, via Hebrew and German, for schwa (1895), the name given by linguists to an unstressed vowel, symbolized by an upside-down e.

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261.July 21st, 2007bil·dungs·ro·man, N.-A novel whose principal subject is the moral, psychological, and intellectual development of a usually youthful main character.

 

-When in Rome do like the Romans. When reading Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, prepare for a bildungsroman:

 

"In addition to being a bildungsroman, of course, the Harry Potter books are also detective stories, quest narratives, moral fables, boarding school tales and action-adventure thrill rides, and Ms. Rowling uses her tireless gift for invention to thread these genres together..."

 

Link: Harry Potter Works His Magic Again in a Far Darker Tale

 

Posted July 18, 2005.

 

-The term (‘formation‐novel’) comes from Germany, where Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (1795–6) set the pattern for later Bildungsromane. Many outstanding novels of the 19th and early 20th centuries follow this pattern of personal growth: Dickens's David Copperfield (1849–50), for example. When the novel describes the formation of a young artist, as in Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), it may also be called a Künstlerroman.

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262.July 22nd, 2007be·lit·tle, v.-1. To represent or speak of as contemptibly small or unimportant; disparage: a person who belittled our efforts to do the job right.

 

2. To cause to seem less than another or little

 

-Synonyms: decry, denigrate, deprecate, depreciate, derogate, detract, discount, disparage, downgrade, minimize, run down, slight, talk down

 

-Antonyms: build up, exaggerate, praise, value

 

-Origin: 1782

 

In our infancy as a nation, to balance our sense of grandeur and moral superiority, we had a little bit of an inferiority complex. We lacked the corruption of the Old World, but also its sophistication. We were country cousins at the courts of Europe. But at least we had our grand spectacles of nature: forests and mountains, lakes and waterfalls, teeming herds and flocks of animals stranger and more numerous than any seen in the worn-out continents on the other side of the ocean.

 

Or did we? Our sense of American pride was especially stung by a condescending European notion that even our wildlife was inferior. Thomas Jefferson could not let this insult pass unchallenged. "So far the Count de Buffon has carried this new theory of the tendency of nature to belittle her productions on this side the Atlantic," Jefferson wrote in 1782 in his Notes on the State of Virginia. Jefferson then replied to the buffoonish count, expounding for many pages on the grandness of American animals, noting in particular the enormous bones of the mammoth, so much bigger than those of any Old World elephant. (In 1802 the Mammoth would come to life in the American vocabulary in a new way, thanks also to Jefferson.)

 

For this defense, Jefferson himself was belittled--because of his use of the very word belittle. Jefferson, apparently, was the inventor of belittle, and Notes was its first appearance in print. The European Magazine and London Review denounced the word so strongly that decades later American commentators on American English still claimed that nobody but Jefferson used it. They were wrong, however. Belittle had become an unobjectionable word on both sides of the Atlantic before the nineteenth century was half over. Today nobody belittles belittle.

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263.July 23rd, 2007co·la, n.-A carbonated soft drink containing an extract of the cola nut and other flavorings.

 

-This word originated in Sierra Leone

 

The most intensely marketed beverage in the world comes not from Atlanta but from Africa. Or at least its family name does.

 

It's a real nut. The cola nut, that is, the white, pink, or purple seed of a tree found in the rain forests of western Africa. The tree grows twenty-five to fifty feet tall and produces crops of fleshy "nuts" once or twice a year for fifty years or more. You harvest the nuts before they are ripe, splitting the seed pod and removing the nuts, three to six in each pod. Toss the nuts in a pile and allow them to ferment for five days before storing them. You can enjoy the nuts without further treatment just by chewing them, or you can send them off to be made into a patented drink.

 

In Africa, and originally when imported to America, cola was known for its medicinal properties. Its caffeine, kolanin, and theobromin make it a treatment for headaches, motion sickness, diarrhea, mental fatigue, and depression. In the nineteenth century (we've had the word since 1795) it was also said to cure pneumonia and typhoid fever. Cola nuts have more caffeine than coffee beans, but most cola drinks have less than coffee.

 

The name cola is widespread in the languages of West Africa. It might be from the Malinke language of Senegal and Gambia, but it could just as well be from the language we designate here, Temne, a Niger-Congo language of the Atlantic-Congo and Temne-Banta branches. Temne is spoken by more than a million people, about 30 percent of the population of Sierra Leone. No other words from Temne seem to have made their way into English.

 

-Major brands of cola include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Virgin Cola, Royal Crown and various local producers. Among colas, German brand Afri-Cola had a higher caffeine content (about 250 mg/L) until the product was relaunched with a new formulation in 1999, and has it again since a second relaunch with the original formulation in April 2006 . Thums Up is a popular cola brand in India. Inca Kola is another brand that is marketed in many countries by the Coca Cola group; it is the major cola in some South American countries. Since Coca-Cola and Pepsi were perceived in many countries as symbols of the American power and culture, many communist and anti-American countries created their own national versions of the cola drinks.[citation needed] Star cola is a brand from Gaza-Palestine. tuKola and Tropicola are brands from Cuba; the former is also sold in Italy. Cuba Cola on the other hand is the native cola of Sweden. There is also an open source recipe for a cola drink, OpenCola.

 

Being carbonated, colas are acidic (carbonic acid is formed when carbon dioxide dissolves in water), and so can react violently with basic chemicals, such as baking soda. Many colas also contain phosphoric acid and/or citric acid, which further increases the acidity. Mentos and many crystalline powders such as sugar and salt cause fizzing by providing many micronucleation points for the carbon dioxide to leave solution. Dry ice provides additional carbon dioxide and can force some of the carbon dioxide present in the drink out of solution. Mixing these substances with cola (or any other carbonated drink) causes the drink to bubble, creating foam and greatly increasing the pressure in the bottle, resulting in either the bottle or the cap giving way.

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