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251.July 11th, 2007keep the ball rolling-Start an undertaking; also, keep an undertaking from flagging

 

-Origin: 1840

 

The rip-roaring (1834) presidential campaign of 1840, renowned for the "O.K. Clubs" of incumbent Martin Van Buren and the "Log Cabin (1770) and Hard Cider" of successful challenger William Henry Harrison, also introduced the ball that we have kept rolling ever since. One of the features of the 1840 campaign was the rolling of an enormous decorated ball in a political parade. A line in the pro-Harrison Log Cabin & Hard Cider Melodies, published in Boston in 1840, alludes to this practice: "Virginia will keep her ball rolling."

 

Partisans of the Democratic Party and Van Buren kept their ball rolling too, propelled by men known as ball rollers. "This gang of loafers and litterateurs," wrote one contemporary observer that year, "are said to number 1,000 braves, being the picked men of the old 'huge paws'--'butt enders'--'roarers,' and 'ball rollers.'" Butt enders were enthusiastic young men of the fire department in New York City; roarers were boasters a well as boosters.

 

The actual ball was soon rolled aside, and ball roller is no longer an avocation, but keep the ball rolling has rolled along with our language to the present day.

 

Later expressions involving ball came from our twentieth-century enthusiasm for sports other than politics. Americans were the first to keep our eyes on the ball (1907) and to be on the ball (1939).

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It is with chagrine that I notice AMD's slow progress with the Barcelona core. If they fail to keep the ball rolling and get the new line released in a timely fashion, I might be lamenting the demise of a favored tech manufacturer.

 

Note: I don't expect AMD's departure any time soon, but for the purpose of hyperbole I had to take some license....

 

Regards

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252.July 12th, 2007an·o·dyne, n or adj.-adj.

 

1. Capable of soothing or eliminating pain.

 

2. Relaxing: anodyne novels about country life.

 

n.

 

1. A medicine, such as aspirin, that relieves pain.

 

2. A source of soothing comfort.

 

-Selfish concerns and hypocrisy can lie behind soothing names, The New York Times avers:

 

"We live in an age of organizations with anodyne names that conceal their real agenda, and the Center for Consumer Freedom is one of them. We're all consumers, and what could be better than freedom? But C.C.F. was founded by a Washington lobbyist named Richard Berman and is financed, according to at least one watchdog group, by many of the same meat, fast-food, restaurant and beverage companies that have hired him as a lobbyist. Seed money came from Philip Morris."

 

Link: The Story Behind a New York Billboard and the Interests It Serves - New York Times.

 

Posted July 25, 2005.

 

-An anodyne (Greek αν, loss, and οδυνη, pain: a cause which relieves pain) is a medicine that relieves or soothes pain by lessening the sensibility of the brain or nervous system. Also called an analgesic (or colloquially a "painkiller").

 

The term has been applied incorrectly to various medications, such as narcotics, hypnotics, and opiates. True anodynes were applied externally to the part affected. Such among those classed "simple" were onion, lily, root of mallows, leaves of violet, elderberry, etc.

 

Certain compound medicines were also called by this name, such as anodyne balsam, made of castile soap, camphor, saffron, and spirit of wine, and digested in a sand heat. It was recommended not only for easing extreme pain, but for assisting in discharging the peccant matter that occurred with the pain.

 

By extension, soothing or placating words are called anodyne.

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253.July 13th, 2007mon·i·ker, n.-A personal name or nickname

 

-Synonyms: appellation, appellative, cognomen, denomination, designation, epithet, name, nickname, style, tag, title

 

-This word originated in Ireland

 

If you have a moniker, it's thanks to a small group of travelers in Ireland known, logically enough, as Travelers. They are like the people called Romani elsewhere in Europe and North America (and commonly known as Gypsies), keeping to themselves, living in vans, moving from place to place, and living on odd jobs and trades such as barn painting and selling linoleum. But the Irish Travelers are Irish.

 

Like the Romani, Irish Travelers have their own secret language or cant. Theirs is called Gammon or Shelta. Its origins are uncertain and disputed, but to some degree it derives from the Irish language, which belongs to the Celtic branch of the Indo-European language family. From Irish ainm developed Shelta munik, meaning "name," and somehow speakers of English managed to decipher that word and adopt it as moniker. It had spread to London as an English slang word for "name" by 1851.

 

In Ireland's present-day population of three and a half million, there are about 20,000 Travelers. A recent estimate is that 6,000 of them speak Shelta. That language, along with the Irish Travelers who speak it, has spread to the rest of the British Isles, where it is spoken by an additional 30,000, and to the United States, where there are an estimated 50,000 speakers of Shelta.

 

Here is the first line of the Lord's Prayer translated into a modern version of Shelta: "Our gathra, who cradgies in the manyak-norch, we turry kerrath about your moniker."

 

-Monicker in Clowning

 

The word "monicker" or more rarely, "monikker" is, among clowns, most often intentionally misspelled, with a 'c' in accordance with clown tradition that some words are inherently funny (and hence to be preferred over 'unfunny' words). The "clown world" has widely embraced "monicker" as equivalent to a stage name or pseudonym. A monicker is considered by a professional clown to be sacrosanct by the traditional code of non-infringement. The monicker is considered to be an attribute of the character of the clown and not of the performer. Monicker, in clown usage, can generally be considered synonymous with the terms "clown name" and "Professional name". In declining use, it may mean a clown performer's personal nickname, (e.g. "Joseph Grimaldi's monicker was Joey.") rather than the name of the performer's clown.

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"I've been looking all over for a nice Italian stiletto to carry around. I've been carrying this Boy Scout knife for years, but the damn thing's so hard to open, not to mention that whole "Boy Scout" moniker doesn't exactly fit me anymore."

 

"Is it 'moniker' or 'monicker'?"

 

"I don't know, but 'monicker' certainly looks more humorous. Sight of it nearly makes me laugh."

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Funny, as in "Please gov'na, mine all dirty so I need some mo-(k)nickers"? (gotta watch out for those silent k's)

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254.July 14th, 2007new·bie, n-One that is new to something, especially a novice at using computer technology or the Internet.

 

-Origin: 1993

 

It was the year of the newbies, upsetting the cozy cyber-community (1994) on the Internet (1988). Remember? Time wrote in December 1993, "Instead of feeling surrounded by information, first-timers ('newbies' in the jargon of the Net) are likely to find themselves adrift in a borderless sea." The next year Info World complained, "Because so many newbees are logging in every day, it is getting harder and harder to get connected to those information sources that are popular."

 

Newbie is especially popular in, and seems to have been popularized through, the informal communications which abound on the Internet listservers--those electronic bulletin boards where subscribers are supposed to stick to the topic, but frequently digress, especially if they are newbies. Such digressions can prompt flame wars (1992) from the regulars.

 

Before they burgeoned on the Internet, newbees played football. Here is a report on the San Diego Chargers from the Los Angeles Times of August 1985: "It had to do with newbees. I could be wrong on the spelling, but newbees are the rookies among the Blue Angels. Three of these newbees happened to be having a peaceful lunch when suddenly they were called upon to sing. This is what happens to rookies--or newbees--at the Charger training camps." References to newbies in the military, the mafia, and politics also predate the explosive popularity of newbie among Internet users.

 

Newbie probably owes some connection in its construction to Wannabe (1981) and freebie (1942) and even the much older used-to-be (1853) and wouldbe (1605). The spelling still varies between newbie and newbee, though the pronunciation is the same in either case.

 

-Usage in popular culture

 

* Doctor Cox in the TV show Scrubs continuously refers to his protége John Dorian (J.D.) as "Newbie" as a way of breaking his spirits and constantly reminding him who's in charge.

* In The Sims video game, the tutorial family with which the player learns how to play the game are named Bob and Betty Newbie.

* In the webcomic [[Ctrl+Alt+Del]], The strips "Glossary:Newb/Noob" and "Real Life" describe the behaviors of "newbs" and "noobs".

* The internet TV series, Pure Pwnage, the main character Jeremy says the catchphrase, "I pwn noobs", meaning he dominates lower ranking players.

* In the online game Kingdom of Loathing, one enemy that the player may face in the Valley of Rof L'm Fao is a "Lamz0r N00b." Their attacks include "omgwtf"ing the player and asking "how u mine 4 fish?," a reference to noobspeak. In the same game, the area where new players are taught the basics of gameplay is called Mt. Noob.

* In the game Baldur's Gate, there is an NPC called Noober (obviously from noob), who talks to the party for a while before running out of things to say. His purpose in the game is to annoy the player (he also gives experience if the player waits long enough). There is also a character in the sequel, Baldur's Gate 2, named Neeber (variation of newb), who is commonly thought of as the brother of Noober. Both characters can be killed by the player without fear of provoking the town guards or citizens.

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255.July 15th, 2007par·a·dise, n.- 1. often Paradise The Garden of Eden.

 

2. Christianity.

a. The abode of righteous souls after death; heaven.

b. An intermediate resting place for righteous souls awaiting the Resurrection.

 

3. A place of ideal beauty or loveliness.

 

4. A state of delight.

 

-Antonyms: hell

 

-This word originated in Iran

 

Biblically speaking, the first paradise was the Garden of Eden. But linguistically speaking, it was a Persian amusement park. Or more precisely, it was the walled park of a Persian ruler or noble, observed more than two thousand years ago by a young Greek named Xenophon, who was serving as a soldier in Persia (modern-day Iran). After Cyrus, Xenophon's leader, was killed in the battle of Cunaxa in 401 b.c., the ten thousand Greek troops had to fight their way through hostile Persian territory to get home. Xenophon made it back and lived to tell about it. His telling, called Anabasis, established his reputation as one of the greatest historians of all time. And in Anabasis he used the Persian term pairidaeza to describe the great parks of the Persian rulers. Pairi means "around," and daeza means "mound" or "wall," so pairidaeza is a place that is walled around.

 

The actual origin is more complicated than that, but suffice it to say that Xenophon's history brought the ancestor of our word paradise into Greek. From thence, several centuries later, it became the word used for the Garden of Eden in the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible. So the great parks of the Persian kings became the great garden of God, the earthly paradise. Of course, the first humans in that park were expelled and the place shut down after they violated a park regulation against eating the fruit of a certain tree.

 

From Greek to Latin to French to English, our language got its first paradise of this sort in about the year 1175. Since then, English speakers have liberally applied the term to all sorts of real and imagined places of happiness. Nowadays it is often a name for a gambling casino, symbolized by a pair of dice.

 

Persian is an Indo-European language belonging to the Indo-Iranian branch. Modern Persian is known as Farsi and is spoken by more than twenty-five million people in Iran, about half of that country's population. Perhaps a hundred other words have also made the long trek from Persian to English, including azure (1325), spinach (1530), jasmine (1562), caravan (1588), bazaar (1612), mummy (1615), seersucker (1722), and serendipity (1754).

 

-Quotes:

 

"Paradise is exactly like where you are right now... only much, much better." - Laurie Anderson

 

"Santa Barbara is a paradise; Disneyland is a paradise; the U.S. is a paradise. Paradise is just paradise. Mournful, monotonous, and superficial though it may be, it is paradise. There is no other." - Jean Baudrillard

 

"The abominable effort to take one's sins with one to paradise." - Andre Gide

 

"From the very fountain of enchantment there arises a taste of bitterness to spread anguish amongst the flowers." - Lucretius

 

"A fool's paradise is a wise man's hell!" - Thomas Fuller

 

"It gets to seem as if way back in the Garden of Eden after the Fall, Adam and Eve had begged the Lord to forgive them and He, in his boundless exasperation, had said, All right, then. Stay. Stay in the Garden. Get civilized. Procreate. Muck it up. And they did." - Diane Arbus

 

"A beautiful vacuum filled with wealthy monogamists, all powerful and members of the best families all drinking themselves to death." - Ernest Hemingway

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256.July 16th, 2007rac·coon also ra·coon, n.- 1. A carnivorous North American mammal (Procyon lotor) having grayish-brown fur, black masklike facial markings, and a black-ringed bushy tail.

 

2. The fur of this mammal.

 

3. Any of various similar or related animals.

 

-Origin: 1609

 

In December 1607, Captain John Smith was brought before Powhatan, the "emperor" of the Indians, who was lying on a high bed "covered with a great Covering of the Rahaughcums." Smith reported this in his True Relation of the Jamestown colony, published in 1608. Later in the True Relation he mentions Powhatan sending him "many presents of Deare, bread, Raugroughcuns." We enter this Algonquian Indian word for 1609, a year after Smith's publication, because unlike Corn (1608) it must have taken a little while for the English language to digest.

 

Not until Smith's Map of Virginia, published in 1612, does he offer a description of the creature we now know as the raccoon: "There is a beast they call Aroughcun, much like a badger but useth to live on trees as Squirrels doe."

 

-The raccoon is a nocturnal New World mammal of the genus Procyon. The common raccoon of North America, Procyon lotor, also called coon, is found from S Canada to South America, except in parts of the Rocky Mts. and in deserts. It has a stocky, heavily furred body, a pointed face, handlike forepaws, and a bushy tail. It is 11/2 to 21/2 ft (46–76 cm) long, excluding the 8 to 12 in. (20–30 cm) tail, with mixed gray, brown, and black hair, a black face mask, and black rings on the tail. It lives mostly in wooded areas and usually feeds along lakes and streams. A good climber, it often nests in a hollow tree or climbs aloft for refuge. It has a highly omnivorous diet, including nuts, seeds, fruits, eggs, insects, frogs, and crayfish. When water is available it may dip its food before eating; this so-called washing is associated with behaviors used for location and capture of aquatic prey, such as crayfish and frogs. Raccoons do not hibernate but sleep through cold spells in their dens. Their metabolism is normal during these periods and they wake easily. Adult males are usually solitary; females and young live in family groups. Raccoons have proved highly adaptable to civilization and are found even in large cities, where they feed on garbage. They are a minor nuisance in fields and gardens, but are valuable as destroyers of insects; their durable fur is used for coats and trimmings. The crab-eating raccoon, P. cancrivorus, is a semiaquatic, reddish-colored South American species. Other species are found on Caribbean islands. The raccoon family also includes the New World coatimundi, cacomistle (ring-tailed cat), and kinkajou as well as the red panda. Raccoons are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Carnivora, family Procyonidae.

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255.July 15th, 2007par·a·dise, n.- 1. often Paradise The Garden of Eden.

 

2. Christianity.

a. The abode of righteous souls after death; heaven.

b. An intermediate resting place for righteous souls awaiting the Resurrection.

 

3. A place of ideal beauty or loveliness.

 

4. A state of delight.

 

-Antonyms: hell

 

-This word originated in Iran

 

We're getting married on Paradise Island, in the Bahamas...

 

... so does that make Hell a synonym? :tooth:

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We're getting married on Paradise Island, in the Bahamas...

 

... so does that make Hell a synonym? :tooth:

 

No, but there is a place in the Bahamas called Hell, too. :tooth:

 

EDIT: Not in the Bahamas, actually, but on Grand Cayman island.

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257.July 17th, 2007bowd·ler·ize, v.-To remove material that is considered offensive or objectionable from (a book, for example).

 

-The New York Times made its feelings about Richard Nixon clear in an editorial about his presidential library. According to the newspaper, the censored version of the Nixon archives would have made Thomas Bowdler proud (he's the guy who cleaned out the parts of Shakespeare he deemed objectionable):

 

"The library at Yorba Linda, Calif., has been turned over to the National Archives after serving for years as the center of bowdlerized Nixonia. The institution insulted history by peddling ludicrous whitewashings..."

 

Link: The Nixonian Whitewash, Scrubbed - New York Times

 

Posted July 16, 2007.

 

-Synonyms: censor, expurgate, screen

 

- The word comes from Dr Thomas Bowdler, who published in 1818 The Family Shakespeare,

 

‘in which those words or expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family’

 

Many oaths and sexually suggestive speeches were cut, and even entire characters like Doll Tearsheet in Henry IV, Part One. Similarly bowdlerized editions of Gulliver's Travels and Moby‐Dick have been produced for children.

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