September 29, 2014

We've all had the experience of akihi

Wonderful Foreign Words With No English Equivalent, Illustrated

 Akihi

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:08 AM | Permalink

March 17, 2014

Slum is an an Irish Gaelic word which means 's slom é, or "it's bleak".

Happy St Patrick's day and thanks to the Irish who gave us so much slang  Irish words litter New York City slang

This is a small taste compiled from Daniel Cassidy's boss book, “How the Irish Invented Slang”, and from Niall Ó Donaill's “Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla”.

We don't normally exclaim "Gee whiz" or "Gee whilikers" anymore. We associate such talk with a classic time in New York, when Irish Gaelic was the secret language of the slums, an Irish Gaelic word which means 's slom é, or "it's bleak." In the slums it was common to hear Irish people say Dia Thoilleachas, Gee Hillukus, which became Gee Whilikers, and means the "will of God." "Gee" is the approximate pronunciation of Dia, or the Irish word for God. "Holy cow" means Holy Cathú or Holy Cahoo or Holy Grief. "Darn" is another Gaelic exclamation. In Irish you say daithairne ort, which means, "darn on you" or "misfortune on you." Gee whiz comes from Dia Uas or Geeuh Woous which means "noble god."
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Irish Gaelic was a secret language in Éire, which was once an Ireland riddled with foreign spies, and so it was a language to keep the copper (the catcher, the thinker) from catching on. Cop comes from ceapaim, and means "I catch, think etc." You try to keep the cop from figuring out your racket, or your reacaireacht, your "dealing, selling or gossiping."

Just like the word bailiff came from the Gaelic word baille for bally or homevillage, the word in New York for the cop on the beat, was the ceap on the béad, the protector on ill-deeds.
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Most scholars go by their goofy hunch, that tells them that Irish Gaelic is some dead language no one ever spoke. In fact, it was the first language of most Irish Americans that came here in the big flood of Irish after the famine, when that famine adversely targeted Irish-speaking areas first and foremost, sending Irish speakers to America before anyone.
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Racketeer is also related to the Irish word reachtaire which was the title for the money-taking administrator at a colonial big house or at a church office back in Ireland. On the streets of New York, the racketeer has translated the duties and strategies of the colonizer into street crime rackets for himself--the oppressed learn the methods of oppression better than anyone.

A word that should be brought back is "joint" for place or establishment or room. It's a word that instantly conjures an entire world of old New York. It comes from the Irish word for protection or shelter, a place with a roof, such as in the root of the Irish word for penthouse, díonteach or jeent-ock.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:51 PM | Permalink

March 8, 2014

Some old words and some new ones

13 Wonderful Old English Words We Should Still Be Using Today

Ultracrepidarian (n):"Somebody who gives opinions on subjects they know nothing about."

Snollygoster (n): "A shrewd, unprincipled person, especially a politician."

Zwodder (n): "A drowsy and stupid state of body or mind."

Clinomania (n): "An obsessive desire to lie down."

Groke (v): "To gaze at somebody while they're eating in the hope that they'll give you some of their food."

Now some funny new ones when new English speakers use only the words they know

 Nut Hat


Tape measure: "Do you have a roll of inches?"

Ice cubes: very cold water with corners

Wrists: hand ankles

Mist: tiny rain but lots of them

Toes: foot fingers


 Horse Tornado


Wreath: holiday door donut with glitters

Gloves: hand shoes

Lambs: sheep kittens

Bury: digging it shut

Elbow: arm knee


 Things-To-Turn-On-Candle
Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:25 PM | Permalink

February 13, 2014

Shades of Lysenko in the Trial of the Century:

Mann vs. Steyn: The Trial of the Century by Robert Tracinski

Trofim Lysenko was the Soviet scientist who ingratiated himself to Joseph Stalin and got his crackpot theories on genetics installed as official dogma, effectively killing the study of biology in the Soviet Union. Under Lysenko, the state had an established and official scientific doctrine, and you risked persecution if you questioned it. Mann's libel suit is an attempt to establish that same principle here.
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Mann has recently declared himself to be both a scientist and a political activist. But in attempting to intimidate his critics and suppress free debate on global warming, he is violating the fundamental rules of both science and politics. If it is a sin to doubt, then there is no science. If it is a crime to dissent, then there is no politics.

Mann vs. Steyn may be the trial of the century. It may determine, not merely whether the environmentalists can shut down industrial civilization, but whether they can shut down the independent thinking of skeptical dissidents.

From Wikipedia

Lysenkoism was the centralized political control exercised over genetics and agriculture by Trofim Lysenko and his followers. Lysenko was the director of the Soviet Union's Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences. Lysenkoism began in the late 1920s and formally ended in 1964.

Lysenkoism was built on theories of the heritability of acquired characteristics that Lysenko named "Michurinism". These theories depart from accepted evolutionary theory and Mendelian inheritance.

Lysenkoism is used metaphorically to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:18 PM | Permalink

What's a Precariat?

David Brooks on The American Precariat

the Precariat is the growing class of people living with short-term and part-time work with precarious living standards and “without a narrative of occupational development.” They live with multiple forms of insecurity and are liable to join protest movements across the political spectrum.

The American Precariat seems more hunkered down, insecure, risk averse, relying on friends and family but without faith in American possibilities. This fatalism is historically uncharacteristic of America.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:07 PM | Permalink

February 7, 2014

Five of my favorite new words

Five of my favorite new words from  28 New words to help you expand the boundaries of your reality.

Eunoia.  (n) beautiful thinking; a well mind .  Pronounced U-noy-a with the emphasis on the second syllable.

Sillage (n) the scent that lingers in air, the trail left in water, the impression made in space after something or someone has been and gone; the trace of someone's perfume.

Goya (n) from the Urdu meaning the transporting suspension of disbelief that can occur in good storytelling.

Tsundoku (n) (Japanese) buying books and not reading them; letting books pile up unread on shelves, floors or nightstands.  Pronounced  tsoon-doh-koo.

And my very favorite, kintsukuroi (n) from the Japanese "to repair with gold"; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken,

 Bowl Repaired With-Gold

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:18 PM | Permalink

Importance is Heavy

5 Ways Your Emotions Influence Your World (and Vice Versa)

Love Is Sweet. The sugar explosion around Valentine's Day is no coincidence. Research published in January 2014 finds that being in love makes food and drink — even tasteless distilled water — seem sweeter.

The finding illustrates how some rhetorical flourishes ("sweetheart," for example) have roots in the body. Study researcher Kai Qin Chan, a doctoral candidate at Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands, suspects that the association between sweetness and love starts early, when babies learn to associate their parents' love with formula or breast milk.

Importance is heavy - Giving someone a heavy clipboard can make them think job candidates are more serious than someone holding a light clipboard, according to a 2010 study. The seriousness-heaviness link works the other way around, too. In research published in January 2011, psychologists told people a book was full of either important information or fluff. When asked to judge the weight of the book, participants thought it was heavier if they'd been told it was full of important writing.

Powerlessness is, too.  Importance isn't the only thing that makes objects feel heavy. Powerlessness does, too.
People induced to feel powerless, either by writing about a vulnerable experience or assuming a weak physical pose, are more likely to feel like objects are heavier than people who don't feel powerless, researchers reported in February 2014 in the Journal of Experimental Psychology. The effect may keep powerless people from overextending themselves, given that they don't control resources like a powerful person does, study researcher Eun Hee Lee of the University of Cambridge told Live Science.

Loneliness is cold  "I've been frozen out at work." "She greeted me with warmth." It's clear that English-speakers link social interaction with warmth, and loneliness and isolation with cold. Turns out, people feel it in their very bones.

In research published in 2008, scientists induced loneliness or feelings of acceptance in volunteers by asking them to remember a time they'd been excluded or included. They then asked them to estimate the temperature in the room.
Those induced to feel loneliness estimated the room to be 4 degrees Fahrenheit colder, on average, than those who were feeling accepted. In a follow-up study, researchers found that people excluded from a game were more drawn to warm foods like soup, presumably trying to warm their bodies in compensation for the chill of loneliness.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:01 PM | Permalink

January 23, 2014

Hunky-dory

 Japan-Sun 10 everyday English words that were originally Japanese.  Words such as sushi, karate, manga, futon, tsunami and karaoke are obviously Japanese, but would you have guessed that honcho, tycoon and hunky-dory also come from Japan?

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:16 PM | Permalink

November 12, 2013

The universal word known round the world - "Huh?"

I think this is wonderful.

"Huh?" is a Universal Word that Binds Confused Humans Together

There are over 7,100 known living languages being spoken in the world, and there's probably one single commonality in all of them: a universal word that binds all humanity and underscores that we are all often in the state of confusion. That word is "Huh?"

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in The Netherlands visited native speakers of 10 very different languages on five continents and recorded over 200 casual conversations that revealed that there are versions of "Huh?" in every language they sampled - and they sound remarkably similar.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:06 PM | Permalink

October 25, 2013

My favorites are 'baggatory' and 'rotter'

In The New Yorker, The Word For

There ought to be a word for “the limbo-like precincts of an airport baggage claim, where groggy travellers gather around the motionless treads of empty conveyor belts.” It is a singularly desolate scene, and there should be a succinct way for a forlorn luggage-seeker to text a quick apology to the friend who is idly circling the airport roads. Now, there is: “baggatory.”

That clever turn is just one of a couple hundred neologisms coined by Liesl Schillinger in her new book, “Wordbirds: An Irreverent Lexicon for the 21st Century.”

Some more:

“social crawler” (a party-goer who accidentaly mingles with losers);

“Facebook-happy” (a miserable person who fakes bliss in carefully managed Facebook posts);

“polterguy” (an ex-boyfriend who haunts future relationships);

“factose intolerant” (a person who claims a false allergy or irrational antipathy to certain foods); and

“rotter” (the bottom drawer in the refrigerator where produce goes to putrefy).
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:43 AM | Permalink

September 4, 2013

When sunlight filters through the trees, call it 'komorebi'

11 Untranslatable Words From Other Cultures

Japanese: Komorebi

This is the word the Japanese have for when sunlight filters through the trees - the interplay between the light and the leaves.

 Japanese Korembi
Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:10 PM | Permalink

August 1, 2013

I love belly timber and rain napper

Tyler Vendetti has her say on these wonderful words that are rarely heard today

Mackintosh/Macintosh (n.): waterproof raincoat

Pusillanimity (n.): cowardliness

Belly Timber (n.): food

Wiseacres (n.): a know-it-all

Habiliments (n.): clothing

Messmates (n.): a person with whom one eats with regularly

Cavil (v.): to raise trivial objections; a quibble

Palaver (v.): to talk unnecessarily at length; a long parley usually between persons of different cultures or levels of sophistication; tedious business

Chafe (n.): argument, dispute

Rain Napper (n.): umbrella
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:04 AM | Permalink

May 17, 2013

Fabulous phrases from Francis

Pope Francis has only been Pope for a couple of months, yet, he's already coined fabulous phrases that Matt Schmitz has inventoried together with their context.

"God spray"
"Satellite Christians"
"identity card Christianity"
"Teenagers for life"
"Mr. Whiner"
"Pickled peppers"
"Middle class of holiness"
"Babysitter Church"
"Rosewater faith"
"Apostle of Babel"
"Charitable NGO"
"Odor of sheep"

and yesterday, "gentrification of the heart".

 Pope Francis Dove

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:18 AM | Permalink

April 4, 2013

Wisdom, Prudence and Human Flourishing

The English writers  Orwell and Huxley describe two types of enslavement, external and internal  In U.S. we are more Brave New World than 1984 though we have elements of both.

Hunger Games and Dystopia

George Orwell and Aldous Huxley, as has often been pointed out, imagined two very different dystopias. In 1984, written just after the Second World War, Orwell depicts the forces that held people captive as fundamentally external: coercion, espionage, laws, constraints, threats, lies, the state.  By contrast, Huxley’s Brave New World, published just after the Wall Street crash had turned the excess of the twenties into the Great Depression of the thirties, portrays a future in which people are enslaved to forces within themselves: desire, inanity, hedonism, egotism, fatuity. For all the similarities between the two books, it is this difference that is the most striking.
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The greatest threat to human flourishing is the lack of wisdom, phronesis, or virtue. Whereas moderns understand freedom in terms of unconstrained individual choices, many ancients regarded the forces underlying individual choices—passions and desires which might in turn be foolish, selfish, or carnal, much like those depicted in Brave New World—as something from which people needed to be freed.
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The essence of eleutheria, in the vision of writers from Aristotle to St. Paul, was being free to become what one was originally designed to be, rather than simply being free to make decisions (decisions which, of course, might stunt one’s progress towards ultimate fulfillment). Thus humans could be enslaved, not just to the other, but to the self. One needs redemption from the flesh as much as from the powers. Under such a vision of liberty, modern Westerners might not be as free as we would like to think.

Eleutheria is the Greek term for liberty. Eunoia, in addition to being the shortest English word containing all five vowels, comes from Greek meaning "well mind" or "beautiful thinking" and is a rarely used medical term referring to a state of normal mental health.

Phronesis is the Greek word is most often translated as "practical wisdom" or prudence.  Sophia is the other Greek word for wisdom sometimes translated as "theoretical wisdom".  Young people can acquire sophia in their respective fields, but, as Aristotle pointed out, maturation is required for  phronesia or prudence.  Young people do not as yet as have the life experience of sufficient particular experiences that's necessary for prudence.    This was clearly evident to Cicero who said:

"Rashness belongs to youth; prudence to old age," 
"Prudence is the knowledge of things to be sought, and those to be shunned."
"Precaution is better than cure"

One of the seven virtues, prudence is often misunderstood by young people as Kathryn Britton points out In Praise of Prudence from Positive Psychology News.

Generally speaking, adolescents understood them quite well, but I remember they had a tendency to confuse Humility with humiliation and Prudence with prudes. According the authors, “It seems that for most students, caution/prudence is a stuffy trait associated with timidity and lack of adventurousness.”

No wonder that "“The least prevalent character strengths in human beings are prudence, modesty, and self-regulation.”

Britton continues:

Psychologist Vincent Jeffries defines prudence as, “the use of reason to correctly discern that which helps and that which hinders realizing the good.” Think about all that entails: being able to project today’s actions into the future, to imagine the possible outcomes, and to form judgments about alternatives. I expect a person with the character strength prudence must have a high tolerance for ambiguity, needing to deal with incomplete and often conflicting information in order to make judgments.

As the expert contributor to the Prudence chapter in Character Strengths and Virtues, Nick Haslam identifies the following qualities of prudence:
A foresighted stance toward the future, holding long-term goals and aspirations

Ability to resist self-defeating impulses and to persist in beneficial activities, even if they lack immediate appeal (Grit anyone?)

• Reflective, deliberate, and practical thinking about life choices

• Ability to harmonize multiple goals into a “stable, coherent, and un-conflicted form of life.

• Ability to seek personal good without being collectively destructive.

In positive psychology, flourishing is “to live within an optimal range of human functioning, one that connotes goodness, generativity, growth, and resilience.”
Flourishing is the opposite of both pathology and languishing, which are described as living a life that feels both hollow and empty.
Flourishing is a positive psychology concept which is a measure of overall life well-being and is viewed as important to the idea of happiness

A pioneer in positive psychology, Corey Keyes describes flourishing thusly:

flourishing is the epitome of mentally healthy adults having high levels of emotional well-being; they are happy and satisfied; they tend to see their lives as having a purpose; they feel some degree of mastery and accept all parts of themselves; they have a sense of personal growth in the sense that they are always growing, evolving, and changing; finally, they have a sense of autonomy and an internal locus of control, they chose their fate in life instead of being victims of fate.

Keyes reports that only 18.1% of Americans are actually flourishing. The majority of Americans can be classified as mentally unhealthy (depressed) or not mentally unhealthy or flourishing (moderately mentally healthy/languishing).

He is quoted as saying,

"We are living longer — on average 30 years longer than at the start of the 20th century — yet we are not living healthier. The question is: Are we just living dependent and sick, or are we living healthy and able to contribute?"

"I think we set up an impossible task, because our hedonistic version of happiness is impossible to sustain. But it is quite possible to feel fulfilled and content and that the world is meaningful by aligning yourself with some ideals, something that is bigger and better than you, and trying to live up to it."

For a flourishing life, one that is well-lived, we do well to cultivate the virtue of prudence.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 2:02 PM | Permalink

November 26, 2012

Niggly-wiggly and collywobbles

27 Everyday Things you Never Knew Had Names

1. Glabella

2. Vagitus - the cry of a newborn baby

3. Chanking - the food that you spit out

5. Niggly-Wiggly

6. Darkle

9. Nattiform

13. Punt

16. Brannock Divide

20. Collywobbles - butterflies in your stomach

26. Rasceta

You just have to go to the link to see the rest of the definitions and the photos that help explain

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:41 AM | Permalink

November 17, 2012

Word of the year

The Oxford English Dictionary chooses two words of the year; one for the British and one for the Americans.

American word of the year:  gif

'gif,' short for graphics interchange format, a common format for moving images on the Internet.    The editors said 'gif' was being recognized for making the crucial transition from noun to verb, 'to gif': to create a gif file of an image or video sequence, especially relating to an event. And, inevitably, to share it online.

British word of the year:  omnishambles

It is defined as "a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations".

With institutions like the BBC in meltdown, the EU struggling to deliver a budget, and PR gaffes from the Government including Andrew Mitchell's row with policemen, many in Britain might not argue with the choice of phrase, the Daily Mail reported.

A wonderful word and very useful on this side of the pond as well.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:11 PM | Permalink

July 30, 2012

The purlicue is bigger than either the lunule or philtrum

These words have to do with the human body: lunule, philtrum, purlicue,  phosphenes, paresthesia  and  wamble,

If you don't know what they mean, check here  25 Everyday Things You Never Knew Had Names

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:01 PM | Permalink

May 22, 2012

They have a word for it

My favorites from the 25 handy words that don't exist in English

Age-tori (Japanese):  To look worse after a haircut

Gigil (pronounced Gheegle; Filipino): The urge to pinch of squeeze something that is unbearably cute

Meraki (pronounced may-ray-kee; Greek) Doing something with soul. creativity or love.  It's when you put something of yourself into what you're doing.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:19 PM | Permalink

January 19, 2012

The Greek We Speak

10 Words Originating from Greek Mythology

Atlas
Chronological and Chronic
Echo
Erotic
Hypnosis
Morphine
Narcissism
Nemesis
Tantalizing

Enjoy the explanations and images at the link like this painting by the genius Caravaggio representing Narcissus

 Caravaggio Narcissus

Posted by Jill Fallon at 12:19 PM | Permalink

July 24, 2011

Two tittles in my name

25 Everyday Things You Never Knew Had Names  via First Thing's Joe Carter

How many of these do you know?  One clue, I've got two tittles in my name.

Tittle, lunule, crepuscular rays, ferrule, gynecomastia, muntin, morton's toe, arms akimbo, desire path, semantic satiation,  skeuomorph, brannock device, paresthesia, phosphens, armscye, wamble, feat, peen, rectal tenesmus, dysania, mondegreen, petrichor,  philtrum, purlicue, aglet.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:03 PM | Permalink

July 23, 2011

Grief bacon, blue smile and air person

From Mental Floss, 15 wonderful words that have no English equivalent.  My favorites.

3. Slampadato (Italian)
Addicted to the UV glow of tanning salons? This word describes you.

4. Luftmensch (Yiddish)
There are several Yiddish words to describe social misfits. This one is for an impractical dreamer with no business sense. Literally, air person.

12. Glas wen (Welsh)
A smile that is insincere or mocking. Literally, a blue smile.

14. Boketto (Japanese)
It’s nice to know that the Japanese think enough of the act of gazing vacantly into the distance without thinking to give it a name.

15. Kummerspeck (German)
Excess weight gained from emotional overeating. Literally, grief bacon.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 6:10 PM | Permalink

April 21, 2011

4 useful new words

Some useful new words petrichor, zarf, chanking, scroop,

10 Things You Didn't Know Had Names

1. You know how it smells after it rains? That clean, greenish smell? That’s petrichor, from the Greek petra (stone) and ichor (the blood of Greek gods and goddesses). The term was coined by two Australian researchers in 1964.

2. Originally, a
zarf was a metal chalice keep the heat from your coffee from burning your fingers. The fancy cupholder has morphed into the modern-day cardboard sleeve that comes wrapped around your hot coffee.

3.
Chanking: Chewed-up food that’s been spit out. (Try to avoid giving us reason to use this one, ok?)

4.
Scroop is the rustling, swooshy sound ballgowns make. More specifically, it’s the sound produced by the movement of silk
Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:10 AM | Permalink

March 8, 2011

Full flourishing

David Brooks on The New Humanism or how to enlarge the too simplistic current definition of human capital as IQ and professional skills 

Yet while we are trapped within this amputated view of human nature, a richer and deeper view is coming back into view.

This growing, dispersed body of research reminds us of a few key insights. First, the unconscious parts of the mind are most of the mind, where many of the most impressive feats of thinking take place. Second, emotion is not opposed to reason; our emotions assign value to things and are the basis of reason. Finally, we are not individuals who form relationships. We are social animals, deeply interpenetrated with one another, who emerge out of relationships.

to include to include qualities you may not have heard of, but can recognize immediately as important for the full
flourishing of human life.

Attunement: the ability to enter other minds and learn what they have to offer.

Equipoise: the ability to serenely monitor the movements of one’s own mind and correct for biases and shortcomings.

Metis: the ability to see patterns in the world and derive a gist from complex situations.

Sympathy: the ability to fall into a rhythm with those around you and thrive in groups.

Limerence: This isn’t a talent as much as a motivation. The conscious mind hungers for money and success, but the unconscious mind hungers for those moments of transcendence when the skull line falls away and we are lost in love for another, the challenge of a task or the love of God. Some people seem to experience this drive more powerfully than others.
Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:35 AM | Permalink

December 2, 2010

The most persecuted religion in the world

Report shows that Christians are the most persecuted religion in the world.

Out of every ten people, seven can not live their faith in full freedom. And the most persecuted religion is Christianity, with at least 200 million people suffering from discrimination.

“Political oppression and discrimination, come from countries like China, from Cuba, from North Korea, and from countries like Vietnam.”

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“Places like Saudi Arabia where it's impossible for any Christian or indeed any other group, non-Muslim group, to organize and to have open public prayer. We think of places like Somalia, or we think of Sudan.”

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The report also reveals that religious freedom has declined in the United States and Europe by the radicalization of secularism. Especially in countries like Spain, which prohibits the presence of religious symbols in public places. France was cited for the discrimination of Islamic communities and Germany for the hostility of some sectors against the Catholic Church because of its position on family issues and defense of life.

Here's an example of the radicalization of secularism: The Southern poverty Law Center has classified 18 pro-family groups as "hate" groups including the Family Research Council and the National Organization for Marriage.

In response, FRC president Tony Perkins charged that the SPLC was engaging in “a deliberately timed smear campaign” against FRC’s nearly 30 years of action “with civility and passion.”

“We hold to the indisputable fact that the family- a Dad, a Mom, and children - is the best building block of a good society, which is why we oppose efforts to transform it based on personal sexual preference,” he said in a Nov. 24 statement.

He called on the law center to apologize for its “slanderous attack and attempted character assassination.”

Maggie Gallagher, chairman of the board for the National Organization for Marriage, spoke about the SPLC article and list in a Nov. 29 interview with CNA. She called it an “absurd distraction” and a “very sad” move for “a once-great civil rights organization.”

“What we’re seeing now is the next phase of the gay rights movement,” she warned. She noted homosexual rights activist Dan Savage’s claim in the Washington Post that the country should get to a point where same-sex marriage isn’t debatable.

“This is part of the unfolding process of attempting to redefine Christian teaching on sex and marriage as the moral, legal and cultural equivalent of racism.”

“I do believe this is the goal of the architects of the gay marriage movement,” Gallagher stated. “And they’re making it very clear.

In a Nov. 29 e-mail to CNA, Princeton University law professor and National Organization for Marriage chairman emeritus Robert P. George compared the action to Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s smearing of opponents by accusing them of being communist sympathizers.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:18 AM | Permalink

Obsolete and wonderful words

20 Obsolete English Words that Should Make a Comeback

I like "freck" which means to move swiftly or nimbly, "brabble" meaning to quarrel noisily about trifles and "quagswagging" which is the action of shaking to and fro.

And I especially like this wonderful short film of Words.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 9:12 AM | Permalink

July 29, 2010

"If words fall into disrepair, what will substitute?'

Tony Judt on Words

In “Politics and the English Language,” Orwell castigated contemporaries for using language to mystify rather than inform. His critique was directed at bad faith: people wrote poorly because they were trying to say something unclear or else deliberately prevaricating. Our problem, it seems to me, is different. Shoddy prose today bespeaks intellectual insecurity: we speak and write badly because we don’t feel confident in what we think and are reluctant to assert it unambiguously (“It’s only my opinion…”). Rather than suffering from the onset of “newspeak,” we risk the rise of “nospeak.”

I am more conscious of these considerations now than at any time in the past. In the grip of a neurological disorder, I am fast losing control of words even as my relationship with the world has been reduced to them. They still form with impeccable discipline and unreduced range in the silence of my thoughts—the view from inside is as rich as ever—but I can no longer convey them with ease. Vowel sounds and sibilant consonants slide out of my mouth, shapeless and inchoate even to my close collaborator. The vocal muscle, for sixty years my reliable alter ego, is failing. Communication, performance, assertion: these are now my weakest assets. Translating being into thought, thought into words, and words into communication will soon be beyond me and I shall be confined to the rhetorical landscape of my interior reflections.

Though I am now more sympathetic to those constrained to silence I remain contemptuous of garbled language. No longer free to exercise it myself, I appreciate more than ever how vital communication is to the republic: not just the means by which we live together but part of what living together means. The wealth of words in which I was raised were a public space in their own right—and properly preserved public spaces are what we so lack today. If words fall into disrepair, what will substitute? They are all we have.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 1:57 PM | Permalink

February 3, 2010

A hustle of brownies

A supremacy of dinosaurs

A dignity of dragons

A fondle of unicorns

A shroud of ghouls

A hustle of brownies

A lawn of gnomes

A clangor of robots

A harem of sexbots

A culture of viruses

If you love new words as much as I, you'll enjoy the Stoakes-Whibley Natural Index of Supernatural  Collective Nouns over at the book of joe.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:42 PM | Permalink

October 8, 2009

Whatever

"Whatever' is voted the most irritating word in the English language.

Absolutely right.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:28 AM | Permalink

June 3, 2009

Asperatus

 New Cloud

It's not a new kind of cloud, just a rare one that just got its name: Asperatus.    "Asperatus comes from the Latin verb aspero, meaning "to roughen up" or "agitate".  The poet Vergil used it to describe the surface of a choppy sea."

The cloud with no name.

The Royal Meteorological Society is now gathering detailed information for the days and locations where the asperatus clouds have been seen in an attempt to understand exactly what is causing them.

Officials will then apply to the UN's World Meteorological Organisation in Geneva to have the new cloud type considered for addition into the International Cloud Atlas, the system used by meteorologists across the globe.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:18 AM | Permalink

May 20, 2009

Bitterness

A new mental illness that is so destructive that some psychiatrists are urging that bitterness be considered a mental illness  - post traumatic embitterment disorder.  I think we all know or have met people of this sort.

"They feel the world has treated them unfairly. It's one step more complex than anger. They're angry plus helpless," says Dr. Michael Linden, a German psychiatrist who named the behavior.

Embittered people are typically good people who have worked hard at something important, such as a job or a relationship or activity, Linden says. When something unexpectedly awful happens -- they don't get the promotion, the wife files for divorce or they fail to make the Olympic team -- a profound sense of injustice overtakes them. Instead of dealing with the loss with the help of family and friends, they cannot let go of the feeling of being victimized. Almost immediately after the traumatic event, they become angry, pessimistic, aggressive, hopeless haters.
--

There are only a handful of studies on the behavior, but psychiatrists meeting Monday were in agreement that much more research is needed on identifying and helping these people. One estimate is that 1% to 2% of the population are embittered, says Linden, who has published several studies on the behavior.

"These people usually don't come to treatment because 'the world has to change, not me,' " Linden says. "They are almost treatment resistant.... Revenge is not a treatment."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:34 AM | Permalink

December 11, 2007

W00T

Merriam-Webster has chosen "w00t" as the word of the year, blending as it does whimsey and new technology.

w00t, the hybrid of letters and numbers, if you don't know is an exclamation of happiness or triumph, first used by gamers.

Last year, the word of the year was truthiness.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:28 PM | Permalink

February 8, 2007

Making Up Words

Who hasn't used many of the words or phrases listed below?

forever and a day
all corners of the world
it's Greek to me
short shrift
household words
thin air
fixtures
tongue-tied.
seen better days,
good riddance,
charmed life,
for goodness sake,
didn't sleep a wink,
in a pickle
heart of gold.
laughable,
laughingstock,
zany,
gloomy,
excitement,
bedroom,
luggage
worthless.

All first came from the mind of William Shakespeare.  A Way with Words.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:01 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

February 6, 2007

Making Up Your Career As You Go Along

Why career planning is a waste of time

Or why your best guess beats careful planning.

In reality, people frequently don't know what they want and psychology has proved it. 

We are very poor at what will make us happy in the future, We "miswant."

The argument about miswanting applies to any area of our lives which involves making a prediction about what we might like in the future. Career planning becomes painful precisely because it's such an important decision and we come to understand that we have only very limited useful information.

Maybe the Chaos Theory of Career Development makes more sense.
if you ask people about their career decisions, almost 70% report that they have been significantly influenced by chance events.

This seems to tie in with Purposive Drift: Making it Up as We Go Along by Richard Oliver at Change This

Your life is not a project plan.  Nobody knows where they will be in five years time.

Life is more open, much messier, more ambiguous, more complex, more mysterious, more surprising and filled with more possibilities for good or for ill than we can possibly imagine.

He argues that we revert to "machine-like' thinking because it promises a world of predictability and certainty to mask the frightening thought of our own fragility.

He says we are all more ignorant than we know and smarter than we think and believes our real compass point  is our sense of well-being.

Making it up as you go along, he calls Purposive Drift and that's a perfectly reasonable, responsible and realistic approach to life.

Seems to be the one I took.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 8:22 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

January 31, 2007

Battlefield Slang

My favorite battlefield slang from Iraq via Austin Bay

Battle rattle: Slang for combat gear. "Full battle rattle" means wearing and carrying everything (helmet, body armor, weapons).

Beltway clerk: A derisive term for a Washington political operative or civilian politician.

Blackwater: Specifically, a private security firm operating in Iraq. Used as slang, can mean any private security firm. "Gone to Blackwater" indicates that a soldier quit the armed services and went to work for a private security firm.

Blue canoe: Slang for a portable toilet.

Bohica: Bend Over, Here It Comes Again. Pronounced "bo-HEE-ka." Means "we're about to get screwed, as usual." This term was in use in the Army in the 1960s.

Embrace the suck: Phrase heard in OIF1 (the original Operation Iraqi Freedom force). Translation: The situation is bad, but deal with it.

Flash-blasted: Being screamed at or chewed out by the unit's senior noncommissioned officer.

Groundhog Day: Every day of your tour in Iraq.

O dark 30: Pronounced "oh dark thirty." A word play on military time. Means a very early hour during the night. ("We had to get up at oh-dark-thirty.")

PUC: Person Under Custody. ("We got two PUCs on that last raid.")

Turkey peek: To glance around or over an object or surface, such as a corner or wall.

Waxed
: To get hit hard or get killed.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 7:18 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

In Another's Skin

What is it like to be autistic?  Take a look at In My Language on YouTube. 

When you watch it, it's  like being in someone else's skin.  Odd, compelling and strange.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:33 AM | Permalink | TrackBack

December 13, 2006

Columella Nasi

33 names of things you never knew had names

via Jonah Goldberg who I think spends more time sniffing out  timewasters and utterly useless bits of information that anyone I know.

minimus, ophryon, rasceta and columella nasis all describe parts of the body. 

Lovely words to impress your friends and family with anytime.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 4:25 PM | Permalink | TrackBack

May 22, 2006

Middlescence

American researchers have coined a new term. Middlescents are those workers between 35 and 54 who have burned themselves out.

Work Stressful? You may be a middlescent

The middlescent is frustrated, confused and exasperated, finding themselves leaving work feeling "burned out, bottlenecked and bored".
--

"It is a critical time for people and they have to rethink their whole life. Should they be less ambitious? Should they spend more time with their family?

"The critical time for that used to be well into your 50s, now it's getting younger.

It's what used to be called a mid-life crisis, but it seems to be happening earlier now. I think highly educated people who live in this world of abundance we enjoy today have more opportunities for identity crises throughout their lives. That's a good thing because it's usually a crisis that forces you to assess your life and find new meaning and passion.

I came across this quote today from Peter Drucker and it's such a good question that it's worth asking repeatedly over time.

"What can you and only you do, that if done well, can make a real difference."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 10:19 PM | Permalink

May 12, 2006

Getting Things Done

It seems like we're in the middle of an epidemic of ADT or attention deficit trait according to Dr. Edward Hallowell and it's making us dumber.

Why can't you pay attention anymore?
the constant and relentless chatter coming from our computers, phones and other high-tech devices is diluting our mental powers....you've become so busy attending to so many inputs and outputs that you become increasingly distracted, irritable, impulsive, restless and, over the long term, underachieving.

Multitasking doesn't work either though the attempt to do so can get your adrenaline going. Hallowell says no one really multitasks. You just spend less time on any one thing.

It's the great seduction of the information age. You can create the illusion of doing work and of being productive and creative when you're not. You're just treading water.

Remember frazzing? That's the frantic, ineffective multitasking, typically with the delusion that you're getting a lot done.

The brain doesn't multitask, it toggles among tasks rather than processing all tasks simultaneously.

Says Hallowell
We need to preserve time to stop and think.

If you don't allow yourself to stop and think, you're not getting the best of your brain. What your brain is best equipped to do is to think, to analyze, to dissect and create. And if you're simply responding to bits of stimulation, you won't ever go deep.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 11:34 AM | Permalink

March 3, 2006

Uffda

When you hit your funny bone, you say "Ouch" or swear because it somehow relieves the pain.

When someone else sneezes, you say "Gesundheit" or 'God bless you'.

What do you say when someone else hits their funny bone on knee or elbow?

"Uffda" (OOF-dah) is a Swedish onomatopoetic word, a sympathetic exclamation when somebody else is in pain.

According to Howard Reingold in "They Have a Word for It , it combines "Ouch for you" and "Oh, I'm sorry you hurt yourself."

Posted by Jill Fallon at 3:15 PM | Permalink

February 25, 2006

"New" emotions

We are always interested in "new" emotions. Though I doubt whether there really are any new emotions that are unrelated to our relationship with technology.

After all, we humans are pretty much the same as humans were a thousand, two thousand years ago except we know what's happened since and we build on what's gone before.

We begin to make finer descriptions of and distinctions between feelings. I was quite surprised to learn that "empathy" as a word didn't exist 100 years ago, though "pity" and "sympathy" did.

Elevation is a new word to describe that warm tingling feeling in the chest you feel when seeing, even reading about, acts of kindness or heroism that motivates you to be better.

Now there's idolspize, a word that succinctly describes the tricky emotion between idolizing and despising in the Washington Post.

The best book I know about "new" emotions is "They Have a Word for It : A Lighthearted Lexicon of Untranslatable Words and Phrases by Howard Rheingold.

It's so good that I've decided to create a new category so I can talk about some of them.

Posted by Jill Fallon at 5:26 PM | Permalink