A bouquet of alphabetically sharpened pencils

Alphabet sharpened pencils

{ by Dalton Ghetti, on Designers Go To Heaven, via FFFFOUND! }

“Don’t you just love New York in the Fall? Makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of alphabetically sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address…”  — (a slightly altered) Tom Hanks as Joe Fox in You’ve Got Mail (which, I confess, I have seen at least 200 times).

I am going to New York in the Fall. Am very excited. Excited enough to buy a bouquet of pencils in celebration. If only I could get a set of 26 like this, it would certainly heighten the vacationary* stationery loveliness.

* No, not a real word.

Inglourious Grammar Nazis

So insensitive, but SO funny


“Me and her buy her milk at the same market.”

“Me and her? Surely you meant to say ‘She and I’.”

“Yes, of course.”

“The trick is to take the other person out the sentence to see if it makes sense. ‘Me buy milk’? I think not.I buy milk’. You see?”


Very insensitive. Very funny. AND ALSO VERY INFORMATIVE.

(I always use the I/me rule.)


And yes, I aware that this is the second [grammar] Nazi-related Proof (v.) post. But in my defence, me didn’t invent the term. Neither did Encyclopædia Dramatica… but it is defined there so very well:

Grammar Nazi is a term given to one who incessantly corrects the spelling/grammar/usage of others. Everyone hates Grammar Nazis because they are the ultimate lulz killers.

(Do yourself a favour and read the whole thing. Again, it’s admittedly offensive, but terribly HILARIOUS).

Wallflower Words: Koan (n.)

Wallflower Words is a series of Proof (v.) posts dedicated to beautiful but under-appreciated and seldom-encountered words. Those that are never invited to dance at the parlance party; those that deserve more exposure than is currently afforded by contemporary trends in popular English. This is their turn on the dancefloor.

The Word: Koan (n.)

Huh? In Zen Buddhist theory and study, a koan is a paradox proposed for the purpose of confounding the mind into an unthinking stupor, whereupon the stupefied mind becomes so stupefied as to enter a whole new level of conscious, awakened thought.

As in?


{ via Yahoo Answers }


And? Well, at 3.28 on a Tuesday afternoon we could all do with more mental stimulation, lest we be trapped forever in The Long, Dark Tea-Time of The Soul.

We might also like to remember that there is a moral to every story.

We might ALSO like to remember that animated introspective thought might never produce a finite answer.

And I need a name for that process of suddenly realising the answer to 14-down in the cryptic crossword a full 5 hours after I began puzzling over the clue.

See also:

Wallflower Words: Liminal (adj.)
Wallflower Words: Saturnine (a./ n.)
Wallflower Words: Quantise (v.)
Wallflower Words: Vitriol (n.)

Wallflower Words: Vitriol (n.)

Wallflower Words is a series of Proof (v.) posts dedicated to beautiful but under-appreciated and seldom-encountered words. Those that are never invited to dance at the parlance party; those that deserve more exposure than is currently afforded by contemporary trends in popular English. This is their turn on the dancefloor.

The Word: Vitriol (n.)

Huh? Originally, referred to sulphates of metals in general (iron vitriol, copper vitriol, sulphur vitriol &c.). Subsequently, ‘vitriol’ became a specifically synonymous term for sulphuric acid (aka. Oil of Vitriol). Hence, ‘vitriol’ in its currently popular role, as an apt reference to bitterly abusive language or vituperation: nothing short of spitting, spiteful, acerbic, acidic ire.

As in? Give it a little bit of vitriol!


And? ‘Vitriolic’ has a nice Sherlockian ring to it. AND it is formed naturally in the upper atmospheres of Venus and Europa, which I consider to be a particularly cool triviality. AND, Bluejuice played at Big Day Out on the 23rd! AND they were awesome. As in… they were all dressed like Quentin Tarantino’s The Bride! (aka. Beatrix Kiddo; aka. Black Mamba; aka. Mommy)


{ via Entertainment Weekly }

Now THERE’S a woman with vitriol!

See also:

Wallflower Words: Liminal (adj.)
Wallflower Words: Saturnine (a./ n.)
Wallflower Words: Quantise (v.)

Wallflower Words: Quantise (v.)

Wallflower Words is a series of Proof (v.) posts dedicated to beautiful but under-appreciated and seldom-encountered words. Those that are never invited to dance at the parlance party; those that deserve more exposure than is currently afforded by contemporary trends in popular English. This is their turn on the dancefloor.


The Word: Quantise (v.)

[or Quantize (v.), depending on your hemisphere]


Huh? To divide into discrete units or into the smallest possible component parts; to express in terms of quanta.

As in? Solace, quantised. Not really. More like “Could you kindly quantise how many times you have rewatched Quantum of Solace?”. [I could not]. Or “Please quantise the expression on your face while listening to The xx on new birthday earphones”.


Again, I shurely could not.

And? Well, it just sounds cooler than ‘quantify’, despite being more or less synonymous. Note to self: preference ‘quantise’ whenever possible. Especially when describing nerdy, spacey, technobabble [<alt="cool">]stuff.


See also:

Wallflower Words: Liminal (adj.)
Wallflower Words: Saturnine (a./ n.)

Wallflower Words: Liminal (adj.)

Wallflower Words is a series of Proof (v.) posts dedicated to beautiful but under-appreciated and seldom-encountered words. Those that are never invited to dance at the parlance party; those that deserve more exposure than is currently afforded by contemporary trends in popular English. This is their turn on the dancefloor.

The Word: Liminal (adj.)


Huh? Of or pertaining to a ‘limen’ or threshold.

As in? The ‘rich as plumcake’ Wood Between The Worlds, that magical in-between place in The Magician’s Nephew (in CS Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, of course).

“The Wood Between The Worlds shares some traits with other liminal spaces, way stations and thresholds, like the bardo of Tibetan Buddhism, or the door-lined hallway that Alice tries so hard to get out of in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. But unlike other “between” places in myth and fiction, the Wood is both empty and full. It is a unitary movement, containing everything, the pause before a story is told, in which nothing has happened, and so anything might… On a less abstract level, the Wood is also a library. For someone like Lewis, who lived so much through his reading, each book was potentially a portal to another world.”

– Laura Miller, The Magician’s Book: A Skeptic’s Adventures in Narnia (which I have finally finished reading, and feel thoroughly nourished by).


{ via The Crystalline Entity }

And?Subliminal‘  — being “below the threshold of conscious perception”— is a relatively common word. As is (though to a somewhat lesser extent) ‘superliminal‘ — being above said threshold, or faster than the speed of light.  But somehow the root ‘liminal’ has fallen out of common parlance. How terribly unreasonable.

[NB. This reminds me of that most existential of questions in 10 Things I Hate About You: "Q: I know you can be overwhelmed, and you can be underwhelmed, but can you ever just be... whelmed?" "A: I think you can in Europe?"... Except that 'liminal' is an actual word, whereas 'whelmed' is, well, not really, unless you're talking in the nautical sense.]

Elvis + Helvetica? Hellsvetica yes!

Firstly: Elvis + Helvetica = brilliant.


{by Hulk4598 on flickr, via FFFFOUND!}

This girl approves.

Now, for a bit of waffle. (Err… waffle).

Note Exhibit A, above. Young Elvis* all dolled up for the film Roustabout, in too-neat leathers with too-tidy hair . Movie tagline: “Elvis Presley as a Roving, Restless, Reckless, ROUSTABOUT”. [Insert sceptical looks here].

But also note Exhibit B:


{also by Hulk4598 on flickr, via FFFFOUND!}

Young Elvis in a rather naff suit, with an acoustic guitar that he never really played much, and a messed-up coiff that looks like he’s just come off stage after this:

(Skip to 1:00 and press play. Watch to the end. DO IT. Honestly. Just trust me on this, okay? You won’t regret it.)

Now isn’t it ironic that despite the extra “L” in Exhibit A ["Hell for leather[s]“, anyone?] Elvis was actually at the peak of his corrupting deviance not as a “Roving, Restless, Reckless, ROUSTABOUT”, but as a cheeky, messy-haired rockabilly boy?

Clearly, the 1950s were hella good for the Rebellious Youth, in music and typography.


*[as opposed to Old Elvis: let's just not go there, okay?]

PS. Much as I appreciate the sentiment, I’m not such a fan of Helvekitty.

PPS. Whatever happened to Elvis movies on Sunday afternoon TV? Oh well, at least we’ve still got:


Spot the Dustpocalypse: Life on Mars/Earth

Spot the difference:


{ Sunrise on Mars, via NASA }


002
{ View from my ferry (7.20am, Saturday 24.09.09), Circular Quay, Sydney, Earth }

Sydney saw the Dustpocalypse twice this week: two epic dust storms sweeping eastward from the inland deserts. The first on Wednesday morning, came with full-force opaque orange skies, visibility nil, and undertones of other-worldly terror.

Tom Coates’ Red Dust photo gallery says it best:


{ I adore the deathly reflection }

The second — this fine Saturday morning — resulted in a greyer shade of haze, and that uncannily Martian ice-blue sunrise.

Both eventually cleared to reveal clearer-than-clear bright Springtime afternoons.

Now how on Earth (or Mars) can anyone who lives on this planet honestly say that the weather is just  a topic for idle small talk?


Playing in my Head

Movies: Total Recall

{ via giflix }

Music: Life on Mars, David Bowie.lifeonmars

Playing favourites with pretty words

Winter holidays long gone, I’ve been rather busy studying relatively bland legal verbiage… which is what I ought to be doing now …which would make this the perfect time to wax lyrical about some new personal favourites in the ‘beautiful’ end of the linguistic spectrum!

1. Ambrosial

Huh? Immortal, divine, celestial, ethereal. Belonging to or worthy of the gods. Also suggestive of golden deliciousness.

As in? As in the amrit vela: “the ambrosial hours just before dawn” (when yogis and the sun rise in unison).

Why? Because it both means and sounds what it is: divine.


2. Equanimity


Huh? The quality of having an even mind. Resilience. Evenness of temper. Being undisturbed by emotion, elation or depression. Contrary to popular belief this DOES NOT equate to apathy or a dispassionate disregard for the vicissitudes of life. I’m pretty sure that one CAN be both equanimous and ecstatic, or equanimous and outraged: it’s the capacity to return to even kilter that matters. Far easier said than done, of course (the sea of life is tempestuous and full of serpents).

As in? Anvaya: looking equally upon friends and enemies; enjoying the fair and taking no umbrage at the unfair… and magnanimity*, which, according to Democritus, “consists of enduring tactlessness with mildness”. Nicely said, old man.

Why? For such a relatively small word, equanimity ripples with polysyllabic prettiness. And I’ve been looking for the right word to define “excitably tranquil” for quite some time.

See also: Sangfroid…


3.  Sangfroid


Huh? Yeah, okay. it’s pretty much the same as equanimity. What can I say? I really like the whole concept.

As in? See above.

Why? Because it sounds so Frenchy-pretty (as most Franglais does). And although when translated literally from the French, it means “cold blood”, I like to think that the “cold” is in this context more like “cool” – and it never hurts to have a chilled, chic outlook on life, the universe and everything. And speaking of chilled-and-chic…


4. Nebuchadnezzar

Huh? An extremely large wine bottle,especially for champagne, equivalent in volume to twenty standard bottles, or 15-16 litres. Used primarily for the novelty factor, and rather large parties.

As in? Well, Veuve:


(The big one. via Whisk Hampers ).

Why? I find it gleefully ironic that all the really ridiculously large wine bottles are named after biblical royalty. And let us not forget, The Neb’ was Morpheus’s ship in The Matrix **.


{ via comingsoon }


* Itself, a charming word.

** Let’s just keep it to the first one, shall we?


Definitely related posts:

“Refridgerators”, “pidgeons”, “burried”, and The French Band.

Firstly…

Read (v.)>> Good luck selling that “refridgerator”

A brilliant (and very astute) rant from Verbal Remedy (“The She-Lord Of Perpetual Nattering”) on her Open Salon blog Verbs and Spices (once upon a snark) about the relationship between spelling and selling.*


Reminds me of something I once posted about back in the day: Good luck finding that “pidgeon”.


And also, of something I haven’t posted about, but  keep meaning to:


I can forgive a typo like this. I kind of like the idea of one Mike Mills being too “burried” in romantic sentiment to spell it correctly… And yes, it’s mainly because, as I just discovered, HE DID THE COVER ARTWORK FOR ALL THOSE INCREDIBLE ‘AIR’ ALBUMS!

My gosh, how I adored (and still do adore) this album and its cover art:

In fact, I wholeheartedly believe we should all listen to it now, and “burry” ourselves in romantic sentiment. So very Virgin Suicides.


* Brilliant name, by the by.