Shabby Background

Thursday, September 19


In this post: Booking Through * Favorite Things * Thursday 13

"... one of the ways writing has changed: books from a century or two ago spent huge swaths of text describing locations and character traits, but modern writing does all of this in shorthand. You might know a character is short with blond hair and blue eyes, but the author leaves the rest for you to figure out on your own. The writer might tell you the story takes place at a beachside town, but leaves the details to your imagination. Why do you suppose this is? Is it that we have shorter attention spans these days? That, bombarded with video and photos as we are, we don’t NEED every detail of an unknown scene described, because we have a stock of images already in our heads?"

Information overload - one blessing (or curse) of post modern age communication and media. Readers and writers alike deal with it in ways that are ideally best for them.  However, I enjoy excellent descriptions. If it's there I am happy. If it's not then I'm glad I exist in an age where everywhere there is more than enough to help the imagination.

"Sometimes things are more important than we are, more important than our little fights." 

These are 13 Greek words mentioned in Maeve Binchy's Nights of Rain and Stars. Some words may come in handy for someone visiting Greece for either a few days or two weeks, the length of time characters in the book spent in Aghia Anna.  I will find out which of these will I be hearing or using often if I find myself in Greece one of these days.

1. k a l i m e r a  - a greeting which means good day or good morning
2. a v r i o - tomorrow
3. o r e a - wonderful, beautiful
4. e f h a r i s t o - thank you
5. s i g n o m i - sorry
6. s i g a - slow down
7. p a m e - let's go
8. y i a t i - why
9. k r a s s i - wine
10. b o z o u k i - plucked string instrument
11. endaxi- all right
12. O m o n i a - the metro stop
13.  P a n a i y a - the Virgin Mary; online sources have a variant spelling as in Panaiga

Monday, September 16

Money on the stock market

I never attempt to make money on the stock market.  I buy on the assumption that they could close the market the next day and not reopen it for five years.  ~ Warren Buffet

Monday, September 9

The sun is aloft

Two bright stars
peeped into the shell.
"What are they dreaming of?
Who can tell?"

Started a green linnet
Out of the croft;
Wake, little ladies,
The sun is aloft!

~ Minnie and Winnie pp. 46-47 by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Treasury of Poetry, 2001. (Selected by Alistair Hedley) Albion Press, Oxfordshire.

Thursday, September 5

Madeline Kripke's dictionaries

-an 1888 advertisement for Webster's Unabridged Dictionary (Photo Credit: Wikipedia)

Daniel Krieger's article on Narratively describes his interview with Madeline Kripke, the Dame of Dictionaries who shows him her vast dictionary collection. Here are thirteen of them:

1. Webster's Collegiate Dictionary Kripke's parents gave her a copy which started it all

2. The Ladies Dictionary known to be the first dictionary that dealt solely with women's concerns. It's in Gothic script and printed in 1694. Gothic script and 1694? My heart performs a somersault!

3. A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue published in 1785 and written by Captain Francis Grose, it is reportedly one of the first major slang dictionaries in England. Kripke is fond of slang dictionaries.

4. Free Drinks for Ladies with Nuts if you look for humor in a list of words, this absurd sounding dictionary is for you

5. Lexical Evidence from Folk Epigraphy in Western North America: a glossary study in the low element of the English vocabulary have you read or heard somewhere of an investigation of okay and fuck? Columbia professor Allen Walker Read, man behind the said investigation authored this dictionary. The Dame of Dictionaries calls Lexical Evidence... an "extremely dirty book."

6. The Pocket Dictionary of Prison Slanguage published in 1941; written by San Quentin warden Clinton T. Duffy 

7. The Rogue's Lexicon tput together by New York City polic chief George W. Matsell for his colleagues so 'they could understand the cant of the city’s criminals'  

8. Larks of London  by Dick Rambleton; it was published in 1840. It is said that there isn't any other known copies."It's a guide to the underbelly of the city and includes the language of its denizens...."

9. Hep-cats of Jive Talk Dictonary 1945 by Lou Shelly

10. Calepino or Dictionarium printed in 1502, the Latin dictionary is Kripke's oldest book which she calls "a foundation stone in the history of dictionaries."

11Police Gazette 'chock-full of slang'

12.  The Benefits of Farting Explained printed in 1722 by Jonathan Swift, it contains 'detailed taxonomy peppered with unrestrained wordplay'

13Tijuana Bibles– reportedly illegal in the early to mid 20th century, it is filled with satirical erotic comics

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