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Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year 2009

Posted by Whitmore, January 7, 2010 11:58am | Post a Comment
2009 word of the year
The 2009 Merriam-Webster's Words of the Year choice is based on actual searches on the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary and Online Thesaurus. (And is a very different selection from Part One's New Oxford American Dictionary.) Last September, just a few days after South Carolina’s Rep. Joe Wilson's outburst of “you lie” during President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress, this winning word exploded to the top of the charts like a bloated belly on a dead frog on a hot blacktop parking lot of a Walmart in August.
 
The 2009 Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year  ... drum roll please:
 
Admonish (transitive verb), “to express warning or disapproval to especially in a gentle, earnest, or solicitous manner.”
 
In response to one of the year’s many contentious moments of buffalodung, the U.S. House of Representatives announced plans to “admonish” Rep. Wilson and his teabagging Tourettes. Somehow the word was understood to be a technical or even an official term, and kept on popping up in media coverage like a shiny new, three-dimensional special effect.
 
Filling out rest of the Top Ten Search List for their definitions in Merriam-Webster's Online Dictionary:joe wilson you lie
 
2-emaciated
3-empathy
4-furlough
5-inaugurate
6-nugatory
7-pandemic
8-philanderer
9-repose
10-rogue
 
Merriam-Webster's has been selecting words annually since 2003:
 
2008’s word was Bailout - “A rescue from financial distress.” 
2007: W00t - “Expression of joy or triumph, or an obvious victory; abbreviation of 'We Owned the Other Team,' originating from computer-gaming subculture.”
2006: Truthiness - “Truth that comes from the gut, not books.” Popularized by Stephen Colbert; selected as Word of the Year by Merriam-Webster's online users.
2005: Integrity - “Firm adherence to a code; incorruptibility.”
2004: Blog - “A Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer, short for Weblog.”
2003: Democracy - perhaps a dull word, but every bit as essential as it is dull.

New Oxford American Dictionary Word of the Year for 2009

Posted by Whitmore, January 4, 2010 10:20pm | Post a Comment
2009 Word of the year

Once again we’ve reached that wonderful time of the year, time when several Dictionaries announce their Word of the Year. We’ll start with the New Oxford American Dictionary's typically imaginative selection, whose picks are as often jeered by skeptical wordsmiths as they are lauded by sexy lexicographers throughout the English speaking world.
 
Drum roll please: The 2009 Word of the Year is:
 
Unfriend (verb), “to remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook or Myspace.” Personally, I always preferred the term “destalking” ...
 
Some of the other new words considered by the New Oxford American Dictionary for the 2009 Word of the Year were:
 
Hashtag  - a # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets (postings on the Twitter site) that contain similarly tagged items and view thematic sets
intexticated  - distracted because texting on a cellphone while driving a vehicle
netbook - a small, very portable laptop computer with limited memory
paywall - a way of blocking access to a part of a website which is only available to paying subscribersunfriend
sexting - the sending of sexually explicit texts and pictures by cellphone
freemium - a business model in which some basic services are provided for free, with the aim of enticing users to pay for additional, premium features or content
funemployed - taking advantage of one’s newly unemployed status to have fun or pursue other interests
zombie bank - a financial institution whose liabilities are greater than its assets, but which continues to operate because of government support
birther - a conspiracy theorist who challenges President Obama’s birth certificate
choice mom - a person who chooses to be a single mother
death panel - a theoretical body that determines which patients deserve to live, when care is rationed
teabagger - a person who protests President Obama’s tax policies and stimulus package, often through local demonstrations known as “Tea Party” protests (in allusion to the Boston Tea Party of 1773)
brown state - a US state that does not have strict environmental regulations
green state - a US state that has strict environmental regulations
ecotown - a town built and run on eco-friendly principles
deleb - a dead celebrity
tramp stamp - a tattoo on the lower back, usually on a woman

Picasso’s Toy Guitar

Posted by Whitmore, January 2, 2010 04:56pm | Post a Comment
Picasso's Toy Guitar

Carabinieri
police in Rome have tracked down the world’s most priceless toy guitar. The sculpture created by Pablo Picasso for his daughter Paloma has been missing the last couple of years. Picasso, several decades back, had given the piece to the Italian artist Giuseppe Vittorio Parisi, but two years ago Parisi lent it to a businessman, who convinced Parisi he could make a glass showcase for it. Then Parisi died last January 2009 at the age of 92. The priceless piece was to go on display at the civic museum in Maccagno, a small town on Lake Maggiore in northern Italy where Parisi was born. Nothing ever came of it. Police say the businessman never returned the work; instead he kept it hidden away in a shoe box in his apartment in Pomezia, a town just south of Rome. The Little Guitar was tracked down with aid from Parisi’s widow, who told police that the piece was most likely still in the hands of the businessman. The unnamed businessman was charged with fraud and is now out on bail. An expert has authenticated the work, which bears the inscription “Paloma.” The Little Guitar will now, as once planned, go on display at the museum in Maccagno.

Twenty nine years ago tonight ...

Posted by Whitmore, December 8, 2009 11:15pm | Post a Comment
John Lennon new york
Twenty nine years ago
tonight I was at home, safe in my tiny triplex, watching Monday Night Football, lounging on a very ugly, distastefully yellow and brown recliner, recently found near the dumpster at the local Jack in the Box where my girlfriend worked. We lived together, right around the corner on lucky 13th Street in Newhall, California. I worked at a nearby liquor store in Saugus, which explained our extremely diverse bar in our dining room. Anyway, I was drinking cinnamon schnapps, intent on just wasting away another Monday night watching football. The Dolphins and Patriots game had gone into overtime when Howard Cosell announced to the nation that John Lennon had been shot in New York City. (A guy named Smith, I believe, won the game on a field goal for the Miami Dolphins.) Seconds later the phone started ringing off the hook, there was a lot of confusion and tears and lame hopeless jokes.

Anyway, here are some John Lennon quotes:
 
“Music is everybody's possession. It's only publishers who think that people own it.”
 
“I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another.}
 
"If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or my music, then in that respect you can call me that... I believe in what I do, and I'll say it."
 
“I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.”
 
“As usual, there is a great woman behind every idiot.”
 
"Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that
ruins it for me."
 
“Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.”
 
“If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.”
 
"Possession isn't nine-tenths of the law. It's nine-tenths of the problem."
 
“Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.”
 
“Time you enjoy wasting was not wasted.”
 
“Part of me suspects that I'm a loser, and the other part of me thinks I'm God Almighty.”

Edgar Allan Poe auction goes stratospheric ...

Posted by Whitmore, December 4, 2009 09:40pm | Post a Comment
Edgar Allan Poe Auction
“Man is an animal that diddles, and there is no animal that diddles but man.”
 
At Christies Auction House today in New York, an 1827 first edition copy of an Edgar Allan Poe poetry collection, Tamerlane and Other Poems, was sold for $662,500 -- the most ever for a 19th century book of poetry. The 40-page collection, and Poe’s very first publication, was inspired by the work of British poet Lord Byron. Only a dozen copies are known to exist of the fifty initially pressed. Oddly enough Poe did not attach his name to Tamerlane; the authoEdgar Allan Poe Tamerlaner is only indicated as "A Bostonian." Also sold at auction was a two-page, hand written manuscript containing the first 8 stanzas (of 16 stanzas) of "For Annie" ("Thank Heaven: the crisis --- the danger is past....") from 1849, written just months before his death at age 40. The manuscript, which was written for a one of Poe's loves, Nancy L. Richmond, far exceeded the $50,000-$70,000 estimate, netting a mind blowing $830,500 at auction, breaking the 19th century literary manuscript record.
 
The book and manuscript, both somewhat worn and wrinkled, came from the private library of television producer William E. Self (he was the executive in charge of production for such classic shows as Batman, Lost in Space, The Green Hornet, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, and Land of the Giants). Both pieces were sold to anonymous bidders.
 
“As for myself, I am simply Hop-Frog, the jester — and this is my last jest.”

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