Thursday, December 14, 2006

What I learned this year

1) I do not need 90% of the supplements I have been taking for the past few years. I have stopped enriching GNC and The Vitamin Shoppe.

2) I do not need my AOL account. I need to figure out how to cancel it.

3) The mysterious lyrics to Jamiroquai’s 1994 release “The Return of the Space Cowboy”. The word that gave us trouble turns out to be “Cheeba” which means pot.

4) I can and will continue to publicly and loudly chastise parents who scrape my ankles with their tank-like Maclaren strollers on the sidewalks and in the retail establishments of the Upper West Side of Manhattan (Maclarendale, of thee I sing). Some of those strollers hold school age kids who seem to be drugged.

5) How to find and change the fuse that controls the CD player, clock and rear view mirrors of my car, making me a certifiably butch auto mechanic.

6) How to arrive at the doors of the Madrid and Barcelona Eagles without a map, and, the merits of each.

7) Any taxi driver who says he can get you to JFK in time for your flight is a liar.

8) I am not successfully atheistic, although God knows I’ve tried, and it really doesn’t show.

9) The meaning of the following words, some of which I have avoided for years (I kept a list):

brinkmanship
prolix
adumbrate
samizdat
ruching
thaumaturge
aceldema
inexorable
COBOL
carapace
bloviate
proximo
auto-da-fe
occlusion
hegira
inchoate
sedulous
captious
escheat
bespoke (the trendiest word of 2006)
spagyric
desultory
extant
redoubtable
crenelated
prehensile
abrogate
termagant
lycanthropy
exergue
tarboosh
protean
permutation
traduce
testatrix
skep
and my 2006 favorite: tarantism, meaning “a malady characterized by an uncontrollable urge to dance”.

(I have not yet performed the induction ceremony that will add “melismatic” to the list before the end of the year.)

Next to this list, I have kept on my desk the usage rules governing the following sets of similar:

affect vs effect
foundered vs floundered
immanent vs imminent
scrimmage vs skirmish
discomfit vs discomfort

Reviewing these words and these sets shows me that I still avoid most of them and have an oddly natural resistance to the retention of their definitions.

10) Urine, as sexual currency, does not interest me at all.

14 comments:

marlan said...

Agreed, then, urine, as sexual currency, is fool's gold. Messy, too.

Atari_Age said...

Ha! COBOL! That's a blast from the past. But you didn't list "COBOL vs. Kobol" (both of which have meaning to a compugeek).

I don't get urine, either, at least as a prop.

Oh yeah, with AOL, you have to keep saying "Cancel my account" over and over again. And it probably still won't work. (See here). Good luck =)

Dagon said...

I firmly believe in boycotting all "shoppes", especially "ye olde" ones.

peebstuff said...

compliment vs complement

Mike said...

I was once supposed to learn both COBOL and FORTRAN. I learned neither. I don't get turned on by urine in porn. For some reason, it takes AOL about 4 hours to log on and log off. (It's all their upgrades, uploads, updates, fifteen moving boxes of ads, removing artwork, etc. The only reason I go is to read e-mail, which I should just switch out of there once and for all.)

David P said...

I actually knew a few of those words.

Daniel, the Guy in the Desert said...

"making me a certifiably butch auto mechanic."

Just so you know, I give it up for men who can fix things.

tornwordo said...

I avoid using words that most people don't know. I knew a few on the list. I liked this post, I now pronounce it memified.

jeff said...

One of the first big new Books of the Year I read made liberal use of the word "macabre". since I wasn't sure how to pronounce it my lame mind settled on "micawber", as in Mr., as in Dickens. Try unleashing that at a table of writers.

Cooper said...

I love this post.

On your list of words, I know for certain the meaning of seven of them. Five others twig a partial meaning of sorts, but I wouldn't swear to their correct usage. The rest, I don't have a clue. Of course, I will now have to look them up ... because things like that pester me worse than a mosquito buzzing around my ankles at night.

Brian said...

I can't believe it, but I know the following words from your list:

ruching
inexorable
COBOL
occlusion
bespoke (the trendiest word of 2006)
extant
prehensile
abrogate
protean
permutation

The rest of the words might has well have been written in Aramaic because I have no clue what they mean.

Oh, and it's my udnerstanding that "melismatic" is a word that's used to describe a particularly florid vocal line in classical singing, usually within the context of bel canto or baroque opera. Is there another meaning?

Joe.My.God. said...

MY understanding of "melismatic" only comes from Mariah Carey.

Foxy said...

Is "tarantism" related to the tarantella?

Tom said...

"Bloviate" is not in my dictionary. Are you sure it is a cromulent word?