item 1 >>> At my other blog stolf.wordpress.com yesterday, I mentioned my “favorite word,” pindicator, a divide that shows which pins are still standing at a bowling alley. I’m sure there’s a word for this, punonym? Like slush puppy, threepeat, Rocktober, mockumentary, Blacula, sexpert, scramjet, fandemonium…and more being invented all the time…gaydar, staycation, bromance, shopportunity. It’s more specific than a portmanteau, which is a blending of 2 words, like skort, liger/tigon, gerrymandering, Wikipedia…my question is, can you do this in other languages, or is this an English speciality? I know some languages, especially European, are very conservative and don’t encourage such word-play. Their loss, sez me.
item 2 >>> When I was a kid, my favorite word was schist, mainly because it was a legitimate word that was also very close to one we could’t say. Better make that “mica schist,” to be absolutely safe…you know, the mineral used for flagstones, besides slate.
item 3 >>> Speaking of “bad words,” I still can’t understand the rationale for the song “The Name Game.” Written and recorded by Shirley Ellis, co-written by her husband Lincoln Chase…they also wrote “The Nitty Gritty,” and many others. Point is, why even put it out when some kids were excluded from the game…OK, not many, but still, the biggest loser being CHUCK. But also left out were Rich, Richie, Mitch, Art, Artie, and Marty. One pointed out to me recently is a name that’s become more common: Tucker. I guess the thought was, OK, a few kids will miss out, but it’ll be so much fun for the rest of them. Or maybe, in more innocent times, Chuck sang his version and nobody gave it a second thought because of the context…it wasn’t fuck fuck, it was banana fanna fo fuck, a completely different thing. BTW, there’s supposedly a musical group out there called Chuck Chuck Bo Buck and the Banana Fanna Four…
item 4 >>> One of the coolest things I remember doing as a kid was visiting the Boston Museum of Science…this might have been with my school, or with my family, probably both. I remember best the Hayden Planetarium, and the Tyrannosaurus Rex, the old one that’s now stationed outside. When I was there, they only had the head done, but it was on exhibit, and it was pretty awesome just by itself!
item 5 >>> Speaking of dinosaurs, you’ll be seeing them on your TV next year in the Fox series “Terra Nova,” executive producer Steven Spielberg. 2-part premiere in May 2011, series starts in the Fall. I just hope they don’t have a Tyrannosaurus Rex battling a plate-backed Stegosaurus…did you now they lived further apart in time than T. Rex and us? (Between us and T. Rex, 65 million years…between T. Rex and Stego, 85 million years.)
item 6 >>> Dear Dr. Geography: Why does Byfield have a zip-code, it isn’t a city or town, is it? No, it’s a village or “parish” within the town of Newbury. But listen, you apparently haven’t read the Zip Code fine print…according to the Post Office (or today, the Postal Service), Zip Codes “are only loosely tied to cities…they are categories for grouping mailing addresses and are not exact geographic regions.” Other Essex County localities besides Byfield with Zip Codes are Bradford, Hathorne, Prides Crossing, Salisbury Beach, Ward Hill, along with East Lynn, South Hamilton, West Boxford and West Lynn. What, no Putnamville?
item 7 >>> From the Nothing Goes To Waste Dept…Here’s a cute story: A farm kid goes into a Burger King and sees they have “Chicken Fries.” “Duh!” says he, “Chickens don’t have fries!” Of course, he’s thinking of rooster fries, turkey fries, lamb fries, calf fries, pig fries…are we talking about “swinging beef” here? Roger that.
item 8 >>> Where I live, we’re having a brief Indian Summer…in many parts of Western Europe it’s called St. Martin’s Summer, and in Russia and Eastern Europe, Old Ladies’ or Crone’s Summer. Besides Poco’s “Indian Summer,” a lesser known tune by that name came out in 1971, by a British group called Audience…good tune…somebody back in the day must have slipped up, cuz I recall hearing it on the radio once or twice…
item 9 >>> Old Chinese saying: The first step on the road to wisdom is to call things by their right names. Thus, when our local newspaper runs a headline about an outbreak of “pertussis,” people go wha–? Say “whooping cough” and now you’re communicating…that was easy. It calls to mind leprosy being called “Hansen’s Disease”…or HD, in the modern spirit of COPD and Low-T. Obviously, if you say Hansen’s Disease, a whole lot of people won’t know what you’re talking about, as opposed to saying leprosy. But the alternate name isn’t new…the bacteria that causes the disease was discovered by G.H. Hansen in Norway in 1873, the first bacteria to be identified as causing disease in humans. And contrary to what you’ve grown up believing, leprosy does not cause parts of your body to fall off. It’s primary symptoms are skin lesions and nerve damage, which can lead to numb or diseased body parts due to infection. Thus the joke about the lepers’ hockey game, “face-off at center ice,” isn’t really true…altho this one is: Why did the leper carry 3 scabs in his wallet? Pictures of the wife and kids…sorry.
item 10 >>> You might be a Groovy Geezer if…you wonder how that comic book company ended up making computers…ha ha, it’s a completely different Dell…
What’s hi-def digital wide-screen to you, when you’ve looked thru a ViewMaster! These came from the 1956 Irwin Allen movie “The Animal World.” Most of the movie was traditional nature fare, but the beginning is what everyone remembers, dinosaurs animated by Ray Harryhausen, assisted by his mentor Willis “King Kong” O’Brien.
Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi