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Between Friends

Welcome to our monthly column,
written by our beloved Carol Cail. 

Read more of her witty wonderful words
on her website: 

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  • December 01, 2014 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    Let me entertain you with a motley collection, items about reading, quotations, and word play.

    Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) died in 2001 at the too soon age of 49. His wife and friends, editors and agents, searched his computers for unpublished work (play, he would have called it) and the result was The Salmon of Doubt, an anthology of fiction and nonfiction. In it, Adams observed: “I find when I read literary novels – you know, with a capital ‘L’ – I think an awful lot is nonsense. If I want to know something interesting about the way human beings work, how they relate to each other and how they behave, I’ll find an awful lot of women crime novelists who do it better, Ruth Rendell for instance.”

    Isn’t this lovely? “Anthology” comes from a Greek word meaning the gathering of flowers.

    An out-of-print paperback, The World’s Shortest Stories, contains this editorial observation: “Modern tempo leaves little time for reading. The commuter’s train, the convalescent’s bed, the intervals between lying down and going to sleep – for many a reader today, these are the only times that can be devoted to the sober beckon of the printed page.” The copyright of this book is 1960.

    And then there is Christopher Moore, who writes wonderfully funny fantasy, and who claims his approach to research has always been, “Is this correct or should I be more vague?”

    You think government today is a clueless group? In the mid-1800s, the Board of Councilmen, Canton, Mississippi, came up with this declaration:

    1. Resolved, by this council, that we build a new jail.
    2. Resolved, that the new jail be built out of the materials of the old jail.
    3. Resolved, that the old jail be used until the new jail is finished.

    May Santa bring you the gift of time to read, read, read.

  • October 01, 2014 12:00 PM | Anonymous

    One of the perks of sorting books for the Friends’ various sales is that you earn free books for your time and trouble.  A book I recently claimed is Word Nerd by Barbara Ann Kipfer, a collection of interesting words-thousands of them-their meanings and origins. Since you obviously like to read, you would probably enjoy browsing this 570-word entertainment.  Following are a few samples.

    • The word kangaroo probably came from the Aborigines word ganjurro, which meant “large black kangaroo.” A more fanciful story is that Captain Cook asked the name of that hopping animal and was told “kangaroo,” but Cook didn’t know that “kangaroo” meant “I don’t know.”
    • Hexanol is the chemical that gives freshly mowed grass that wonderful smell.
    • A lovely synonym for snowflake is snow-blossom.
    • What is the only letter in the alphabet that takes three syllables to say?  (Are you humming the song to get to the answer?)  See below.
    • If you have a skylight that can’t be opened, it’s a deadlight.
    • The only word in the English language that consists of two letters used three times is “deeded.”
    • The sound of a sword drawn from its sheath is a wheep.  (Can’t you just hear that?)
    • The single supercontinent before continental drift was Pangaea.
    • The only fifteen-letter word that’s spelled without repeating a letter is uncopyrightable.

    The Longmont Library doesn’t have Word Nerd in the catalog, but two other titles by Dr. Kipfer about language are in the collection.  And if you have a modicum (Latin, literally a short amount of time) and aren’t afraid to moil (work hard), click here to become a sorter.

    Answer: W

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