Category Archives: Words

Armadillos!!!!

I am a calendar person. I love them.  I have multiple calendars at work: one online, my Daytimer, a year-long calendar on the wall so I can look ahead and a month-at-a-time –print out on which I cross off each day as it goes by.  I started doing this last year, to count down to a program that was driving me crazy and after the program was over, I just kept doing it (I assume one of these days I will decide I really don’t need to do this anymore.)

At home I have a pretty calendar on the fridge, a handmade calendar in my bedroom that attaches to a wooden pedestal and a birthday list in my studio that “says” it’s a calendar, but it’s just a listing by month of birthdays so I think that might be stretching it. I also keep a few things on my phone calendar.

In addition to having birthdays listed on the “calendar” in my studio, I also keep birthdays in my Daytimer. This means that once a year I go through the old Daytimer pages and copy the birthdays over to new Daytimer pages.  It’s a relaxing project; this year I used magenta ink.

As I was copying over the birthdays yesterday, I came across a notation on June 27 of this year that said “Armadillos”. It was written in big letters in the after-hours section of the day.  And it had several  exclamation marks and was highlighted!   I have no idea what this was about.  Was it a southwestern-themed bar that I was supposed to go to after work with colleagues.  Was it a concert that someone on the Trail mentioned?  Was it some National Geographic special I wanted to watch?  No clue.

Any idea why I wrote “Armadillos” in my Daytimer?

Glossary, Almost Two Decades into the Millennium

Today’s post comes from Barbara in Rivertown.

Ever wonder, Baboons, what a “vlog” is, or how long the word “selfie” has been around? Here’s an article with 50 words that have been added to the dictionary since the beginning of this millennium, compiled by “Stacker” in this article .

Of course, they haven’t included anything from our own Glossary of Accepted Terms, but then, we haven’t added anything to our G.O.A.T for 2½ years now. Here’s what I’ve compiled since the last time .

Accordion calendar – a schedule with a too-concentrated number of days, followed by a more spacious number of days.“ Mostly I’ve fine with what I signed up for, except when too many things are required close together – it seems to occur sort of like an accordion playing.” Barbara in Rivertown   August 27, 2019 at 4:31 pm

Adiophra – insignificant things that one allows to make one’s life one of stress and worry.  “My main worry is that my flight from Bismarck isn’t delayed and I make my connecting flight in Minneapolis. My worries are adiophra.”  reneeinnd says: March 29, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Akrasia – Weakness of the will, by which we do that which we really want to do in  the full knowledge that we should be doing something else. [I lost track of the origin of this one – anyone remember whose it is?]

Arrghify – to increase the intensity of, as in: “You should teach them all how to POWERIFY that!  Actualizify! Collaboratify! incentivisify!”      xdfben September 25, 2018 at 10:45 pm

[Arrghify belongs in our dictionary   NorthShorer September 25, 2018 at 11:14 pm ]

Cliffy – a piece of arcane knowledge, a la Cliff on the TV Series Cheers, as here: “Nice Cliffy.”   Linda March 3, 2019 at 9:05 pm …. in response to: Blue Mound State park in Luverne, MN has one of the most genetically pure bison herds in the country.”  reneeinnd   March 3, 2019 at 11:20 am

Farcher – a cross between a farmer and rancher, as in: “I used to spend the first week of November with my farcher friend, Larry.”   July 3, 2019 at 10:19 am   Minnesota Steve

Geezer chute – I think your observations about what is being made are correct – not that you are spiraling down the geezer chute… verily sherrilee   September 26, 2018 at 2:45 pm

Marie Kondo – verb transitive:  to make things disappear, as in: “Can we Marie Kondo the heck out of this snow? It no longer brings me joy…”  ANNA, March 2, 2019 at 11:44 am   

Opposite equivalent – an alternative alternative (?) “Perhaps the opposite equivalent (I just invented that phrase!) is going outside every night before bed and standing for a few minutes.”    xdfben    January 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Tsundoku — A Japanese word for the guilt-pile of books you’ve bought but haven’t yet read.     PlainJane    May 1, 2018 at 1:06 pm

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What new word would you like to see added to the world-wide dictionary? OR, what word would you like to never hear again?

Reading Mystery

A few years ago, back when a librarian needed to check out your books for you, the older red-haired librarian at the desk (Anna would know her name) said “My, you have a wide set of topics here.” I don’t remember what I was checking out, but I do read across a fairly wide swath.  Science fiction, fiction, mystery, a variety of science, biography, history, philosophy, fantasy, kid lit, thrillers.  About the only thing I don’t read is romance if I can help it.

It was about that time that I started keeping track of how I got the idea to read a particular book. I have several categories for this – my book clubs, BookPage from the library, Writer’s Almanac, my various “lists” (English Monarchs, Presidents, Newbury & Caldecott winners, etc.) and the Trail. By far the biggest category is O&A (Out & About), a catch-all for everything else.

I’m pretty good at remembering where I find a title that I want to read, but every now and then I am surprised when I go to my hold shelf in the library. I knew from looking at my online account that there was an InterLibrary Loan titled Meetings with Remarkable Trees waiting for me.  It had the sound of poetry and many of the poetry books I look for end up coming from other libraries: I assumed it was poetry.  So imagine my surprise it’s a lovely photo book with essays about specific trees.  It’s fascinating but I’m not sure where the idea came from?  It’s not exactly the kind of thing that you find in the mainstream.

So I’ve decided it must be something that was recommended to me on the Trail. It’s about nature, so it might be Clyde (he is usually my go-to for travel books, but it seems like something he might like).  But it has absolutely lovely nature photos, so it might be the kind of thing recommended by Steve or Cynthia or BiR.  It’s a little off the beaten path, which has Bill written all over it.  The author is originally from Ireland, which means that it might have been recommended by PJ, who has a broader range of non-American authors.  I’ve haven’t gone back to the Trail and done a search: for now it’s a nice little mystery.

Do you do well at taking advice? Or do you prefer to GIVE advice?

Serial Bliss

Today’s post comes to us from Minnesota Steve.

There aren’t many things better than discovering a great book, a book so good you hate to turn the last pages because you never want it to end. One thing that is better is discovering that the great book you just finished is one in a series written by the same author. The pleasure you are feeling is repeatable.

One afternoon when I was about ten I discovered a book of stories by Arthur Conan Doyle in the Ames Public Library. The first of them, “A Scandal in Bohemia,” introduced me to the complicated figure of Sherlock Holmes and to the thrill of reading mysteries. When I understood there were more Holmes stories, I couldn’t believe my good fortune.

There is a lot to like about book series. You can start subsequent books in the series knowing you like that author’s style. You often go into subsequent books already knowing some of the characters and the setting. Series offer writers the chance to develop themes in depth and do a better job of telling stories. When I begin a book by a new author I don’t know if I will eventually feel the time I spent with the book will be rewarded. When you are chewing your way through a good series, that isn’t an issue.

I’ve just begun exploring a new series. Following exhortations from my daughter, I just read the first novel in Louise Penny’s beloved Three Pines series. Penny’s crime novels feature charming Canadian locales and the comforting presence of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Louise Penny has a warm and whimsical view of life and people. While her novels are driven by the need to explain a murder, the people who fill her books are human and mostly likable. Penny’s vision is deeply rooted in community. My daughter enjoys Penny’s humor. I was surprised to find so many “Easter eggs” in the form of unexpected observations about life and people. The series currently includes 15 books. Penny adds about a book a year. When my daughter met Louise Penny last year at a Detroit book signing event, she was not surprised to find Penny is modest, witty and gracious . . . just the sort of person who would write such appealing novels.

I’ll have more to say about good book series in the Comments section.

What book series have you enjoyed? What did you like about them?

Words for Book Lovers

I get an email every day from Dictionary.com with a “Word of the Day”. Then on Mondays there is a quiz of the last seven days worth of words.  And occasionally there are other emails about word-related things.  Last week there was an email with a link to “Words All Book Lovers Should be Using”.  You know I can’t resist that.

Here are the words.

  • bookish
  • colophon
  • bibliotaph
  • fascicle
  • logophile
  • sesquipedalian
  • bibliophile

How many of them do you know? How many of them describe YOU?  Any other words you think all book lover should be using?

Dilemna or Dilemma?

In helping YA proofread an essay last night, I noticed that “dilemma” was not underlined as misspelled. When I corrected it to “dilemna”, I got the squiggly red line saying it was now incorrect.

The internet tells me that I am not alone in believing that “dilemna” is how it should be spelled. In fact, the internet also tells me that the majority of English speakers over 40 worldwide, believe that “dilemna” is correct, being taught that spelling in school.

The revered OED doesn’t even list “dilemna” as a variant, although the misspelling can be found as far back as 1551 (Wilson’s Rule of Reason) and even in Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

So here I am, after 50+ years, trying to figure out a way to remember the correct spelling. Maybe I’ll just come up with a good synonym instead!

What new tricks have you had to learn lately?

Literary Bust

As I was reading this morning (Career of Evil by Robert Galbraith [aka JK Rowlings]), the narrator casually mentions watching a show about art and the camera pans the room, to include a bust of Beethoven.  There is a smidge of discussion about how the protagonist looks a bit like Beethoven and then the story moves on.

But as the story continued, I was distracted by the thought of the Beethoven bust. Hadn’t a bust of Beethoven just been a book I finished last week?  And wasn’t there a bust of Beethoven in a book I read a couple of months ago.  Time to backtrack in my reading history.

There was indeed a bust of Beethoven in Transcription by Kate Atkinson.  It was included in a description of a room and then later was used by a Nazi sympathizer to try to escape from the MI5 agents who had uncovered her treachery.

The previous literary bust turned out to be Baudelaire, not Beethoven, in The Alice Network by Kate Quinn.  In that book, the Nazi (yeah, I know you ‘ve all heard me say I’m sick of WWII books, but apparently not that sick) uses a bust of Baudelaire to break the fingers of the young spy.  Gruesome.

I have no idea what this means to the larger world, that busts of Beethoven and Baudelaire have shown up repeatedly in my reading the last few months, but it’s fascinating to me.

Pick a bust for your living room… any composer, artist, writer or super hero. Living or dead.  Who is it?