Monday, February 27, 2012

Today's word: Grillstravaganziculuraristiclyishous

But first, a personal note: February is finally over! This has been one of the busiest and most stressful months — and especially this last week — that I've been through in a long time. But I made it through, and I am out the other side and can breathe and write and relax again!

But on to today's word.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Presidents' Day (And Its True Meaning)

Four stories beneath the White House — under ten feet of reinforced concrete, two levels of decades-old bomb shelters, and two feet of solid lead — Barack steps out of an elevator into a short, narrow hallway. The gray walls are empty and unbroken. In three strides he reaches the locked steel door at the end of the hall and presses his hand against the biometric scanner embedded into the wall. It beeps, the door clicks, and he pushes the door open and steps through.

Conversations stop abruptly and all eyes turn to the man entering the room.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Foster Care Is Hell

A three-word Wednesday limerick. Today's words are angelic, foster, and ruin.

Such a change in this boy who, now mild,
Was once so sadistic and wild
Until through foster care
Came this angelic pair
Who just ruined poor Lucipher's child.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Today's Word: pantisocracy

pantisocracy: Government by the pantsless.

But seriously, you probably recognize the -ocracy from words like plutocracy (government by the wealthy), theocracy (rule by a religious authority), and my favorite kakistocracy (government by the worst possible people). So -ocracy indicates a form of government.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Amazon Reviews

A three-word Wednesday limerick. Today's words are control, razor, and flesh.

How to Get Noticed on Amazon without Writing Your Own Book

The trick to writing powerful reviews of
Other people's work can be allusive.
The ones that really mesh
Are like razors through one's flesh:
Hostile, uncontrolled, raw, and abusive.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Today's Word: splanchnic

English: Greater splanchnic nerve, seen in tho...
Image via Wikipedia

I admit that this word caught my eye while I was flipping through the dictionary. I had intended to write about sempiternal, but I'm getting some contradicting definitions from some of my sources.

To me, splanchnic sounds like some Cold War–era Russian ballet style, but it really means "of or relating to the viscera," and comes ultimately from Greek splanchnikos.

What I like about the word is that wonderful cluster of  consonants in the middle. That cluster appears to be shared only by the word staunchness (and Frenchness, if you want to include that as a word).

I looked for some other words that come from the same root, and I couldn't find any, which could make splanchnic, or at least its root, a hapax legomenon.

This word, like many of the oddest-sounding words, is used more often than not in medical fields. The image here, for example, shows the greater splanchnic nerve.

I don't know about you, but I would like to see this word get more popular usage. I would love, for instance, to see Roger Ebert use the word splanchnic while describing the gore in the next Saw movie (how many are we up to now?) when he reviews it.

Then again, that sounds more like something David Foster Wallace would do.

[Almost immediate update: I should have guess that James Harbeck had already taken a taste of splanchnic over at Sesquiotica. His connection of splanchnic to messy-sounding words like splatter and splat is splotch-on spot-on.]
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Friday, February 3, 2012

Jerry and Gary, Conjoined Twins

"I have good news and bad news."

Diane inhaled deeply, emptied her lungs slowly, a tenuous calm settling over her. She had known that the surgery to separate her fiancé Gary from his conjoined twin brother Jerry would be risky, but the doctor's assurances had propelled them this far. Now she was just seconds away from learning what kind of future she and Gary might have.

"Give me the good news first," she said.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2012 Resolutions, Month One: Infinite Jest, Definite Failure

I failed at my first New Year's resolution.

I even failed at the revised version of my first resolution.

I had originally planned to read both Infinite Jest and REAMDE in January. After realizing that finishing just one of those would itself be a chore, I revised the resolution to reading just Infinite Jest.

February started today, and I've read 437 pages (including end notes) of Infinite Jest. A great number of novels don't have page numbers in the 400s, and for many others, p. 437 would put me just a couple hours' reading away from finishing.