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Archive for March, 2014

28 Mar 2014

‘appy buffday, guvnah.

Find a word that entered the English language around the same time you entered the world
with the Oxford English Dictionary’s Birthday Word Generator!

If you’re an OED subscriber or can access the OED, you can get your own personal OED birthday word.
But if you’re OK with just a birth-year word [as I am, for the moment], then just click the above link, click to the year of your birth and – blimey! – you’ve got your OED birth-word.

My OED birth-word is, for example, mockney [n.]: an accent & form of speech affected (esp. by a middle-class speaker) imitation of cockney or of the speech of Londoners; (generally) mockney accent.

As in, Dick Van Dyke’s mockney accent in the 1964 Disney movie “Mary Poppins” would be unforgivable if he weren’t so dang darling dancing with those animated penguins.

So, what’s your birth-word??

27 Mar 2014

a longish lexicoid.


OK, I just made up the word lexicoid – it’s a piece of trivial information about words: lexicon + factoid = lexicoid.

Anyway, here goes:
The longest [15 letters] two words that can be spelled without repeating a letter are [drumroll, please] . . .

uncopyrightable and dermatoglyphics.

Dermatoglyphics, incidentally, is the study of the patterns of ridges of skin on the fingers & palms, and on the bottoms of the feet.

So, what you discover via dermatoglyphics is unique, but probably uncopyrightable. Go figure.


Image via pretty knitty jewelry.

25 Mar 2014

happy birthday, ms.

Gloria Steinem

happy happy birthday to my fellow writer + feminist, ms. gloria steinem.

she turns 80yo today, & i must say, if this is what being an octogenarian
looks like, then i’m happy to be over halfway there!

she is spending her birthday riding elephants in botswana.
seriously – isn’t that how we all want to spend our 80th?

inspirational as ever, ms. s.
cheers to you – keep on keepin’ on!

“writing is the only thing that, when i do it,
i don’t feel i should be doing something else.”

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 9.30.54 AM
“the truth will set you free,
but first it will piss you off.”

“i have yet to hear a man ask for advice
on how to combine marriage and a career.”

“like art, revolutions come from
combining what exists into
what has never existed before.”

“we’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons;
but few have the courage to raise our sons
more like our daughters.”

Screen shot 2014-03-26 at 9.34.23 AM
“i’m keeping my torch, thank you –
& i am using it to light the torches of others.”

“the future depends entirely on
what each of us does every day;
a movement is only people moving.
to feel its warmth and motion around us
is the end as well as the means.”

“a feminist is anyone who recognizes
the equality and full humanity
of women and men.”

20 Mar 2014

we don’t need no, er, any stinkin’ badges.


18 Mar 2014

tuesday typing trivia.


My mother tried to make me take typing – as “keyboarding” was called back in the day – in high school. But, noooo . . . I had to take, er, something else I can’t remember that wasn’t what my mother wanted me to take. I was a teenager, y’all.

So of course I became a journalism major, a reporter, a writer. Typing – keyboarding, whatever – is now what I do all day long every day. So of course I self-taught long ago, and today, I can type about 60 wpm [test yourself @].

And yes, I’ve told my mother she was right.
About that.

:: The two longest words that can be typed using only the left hand: reverberated & stewardesses [both 12 letters]

:: The longest word that can be typed using only the right hand: lollipop [a mere 8 letters]

:: The longest word that can be typed alternating hands with every letter: skepticisms [11 letters]

PS – Can we really not come up with a better verb than “keyboarding”?? Come on, people.

Image via petit collage.

14 Mar 2014

talk birdy to me.


So. You might have noticed my amazing Easy Writer logo [designed by the equally amazing Karen Barry], an excellent example of the “put a bird on it” phenomenon [introduced to me by the same incredible Karen Barry, after I asked her to do so with my new logo].

But for me, the bird thing isn’t just a fad – I’m really into them. So I thought just for fun, I’d share a few of my favorite wings – my top ten bird-acious items I’m currently eyeing at

Bird Planter via sewZinski.

Bird Earrings via Petite Vanilla.

Bird Necklace via Mony Art.

Bird Painting via Whimsy Dayzee.

Bird Vase via Whitney Smith.

Bird Tablerunner via Fantasy Vintage Bridal.

Bird Caketopper via Wooden Heart Buttons.

Bird Figure via Hamlin Design.

Bird Card via 30 Silent Mockingbirds.

Top image: Bird Linotype via ISK Studio.

13 Mar 2014

english is weird.


Excellent example: The combination ough can be pronounced nine different ways.
Here’s a sentence containing them all:

A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough;
after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed.

image via 8fact.

11 Mar 2014

ok, ok. no need to yell.


6 Mar 2014

cynical canine: oxymoron??


Well, maybe – but definitely an unexpected etymology:

Cynic: 1580, from the greek cynikos for dog-like or churlish.

The first Cynics were ancient members of the Cynical philosophical sect, who were widely regarded as being dog-like and churlish because they lived on the street and ignored the rules of decorum.

By the late 17th century, the meaning had morphed into one who is “critical, disparaging the motives of others, captious, sneering, peevish.”

By today’s definition, cynicism is a characteristic rarely found among dogs!!

4 Mar 2014

laissez les bontemps rouler pour les auteurs!!

Screen shot 2014-03-04 at 11.49.06 AM

Happy Fat Tuesday, y’all!!

You’ve got just enough time to sleep off your Mardi Gras hangover before the real NOLA party starts:
the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival!

The festival’s signature event is the Stella and Stanley Shouting Contest at its close. The first 25 registrants compete, emulating Brando’s famous Streetcar screaming scene. Each contestant yells “Stellaaaaa!” (or women contestants can yell “Stanleeeeey!”) three times for a panel of judges; according to the official website, “loudness counts, but contestants should also portray Stanley’s angst and emotion.” Finalists compete at Le Petit Theatre, where the top three win the coveted Golden Stella Statue.