New Words to Me…

Typewriter keys

Espial – the act of sighting or discovering something
Chaunted – past tense word of verb “to chaunt” which means “to talk”
Colloquist – a conversational exchange or dialogue
• “Panting like a robin” – don’t know this one…
Moiety – one of two parts (not necessarily equal)
Staggerer – to walk unsteadily; to astound; to hesitate
• “Men of the stamp” – not sure about this one…
Stone staddles – large stones put under buildings etc to lift it above the ground (e.g. with granaries to prevent water damage and vermin). (See pic below.)
Ashtoreth – mood goddess of the Phoenicians; related to fertility
Iridurating – don’t know. (Added later: Further research refers to this in old Victorian medical journals (e.g. “the iridurating ulcer”.) I imagine it’s something revolting and involving pus, but I’m guessing!
Supererogatory – beyond the call of duty; superfluous
Tergivisation – evasion of straightforward action; equivocation; deserting of cause
Punctilios – observance/strict adherence of point of etiquette
Ixion’s punishment – Ixion was a king who was punished by Zeus for his love for Hera. Ixion was bound to an eternally revolving wheel in Tartaras
Syllogism (should know this one by now!) – deductive reasoning
Froward – habitually disposed to disobedience
Elymas the Sorcerer – Elymas was struck blind in biblical stories

(Taken from Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd.)

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace. — Buddha

Staddle stones (holding up the building) in Somerset. (Pic: Wiki.)

Staddle stones (holding up the building) in Somerset. (Pic: Wiki.)

America’s Best Travel Writing 2011 – edited by Sloane Crosley

Probably similar to many other anthologies or collections of different people’s work, this one had some good essays and some not-so-good essays. I think one of the keys of enjoying a collection of essays (or similar) is to choose an editor whose taste is similar to yours (if you can), so at least then the chances of you both enjoying the same style are higher.  For example, I really loved the America’s Best Travel Writing volume which was edited by Bill Bryson as I thoroughly enjoy his sense of humor and think he is a good writer.  (Credit for this train of thought goes to Kim of the Sophisticated Dorkiness blog  (who triggered this insightful idea. 🙂 )

All this to say that this particular volume of travel writing was just “meh”. Nothing seemed to stand out for me, really – nothing outstandingly good and nothing outstandingly bad. I enjoy reading travel writing (when it’s well executed), and so structurally, this was a good collection of essays ranging from straightforward to provocative to puzzling, so that was fine. There just weren’t any essays that really stood out for me in the collection. Not bad, not good. Just medium.

I am looking out for the “America’s Best Nature and Science Writing” which is part of the ongoing series and that my sister liked. Need to see if I can find a secondhand one somewhere. (Carefully adds this title to the staggering and dizzying heights of the current TBR pile.)

Oh, and then saw this the other day. It’s been up for a long time, but I have only just got the impetus to take a photo of it.

My philosophy is that if you’re going to make the effort to design and then put up an official sign in public, then wouldn’t you want it to represent your very best work as people are going to be driving by it one million times a week? So – why, City people, did you make this so unprofessional?  To me (and correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think I am), this is fine until you get to the bottom when it goes all squiggly and looks an awful lot as though someone somewhere didn’t really measure the sign and so when they tried to put the letters on, there wasn’t enough room and they thought “Hmm. If I make the words all crazy and out of line, people will think that I did this on purpose in a fun casual way” when really, it’s not really the truth. Someone somewhere must have approved this… Why? (Anguished cry echoes in the darkness.)

Another example of sloppiness is this one from the U.S. Navy (who, I presume, have a healthy advertising budget but whose copywriter is not that well informed with regard to grammar):


OK. Grumpy Hat is now off and in the cupboard. Happy Hat is now on.