Wednesday, February 28, 2007

More fun with words

Back in August (August!) I posted some winning entries from the Washington Post's neologism contest. Here are some more, courtesy of Quietly Breathing… I've added an asterisk to the ones I don't get, so you can either just laugh at me or explain 'em.

Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
Gargoyle (n.), olive-flavored mouthwash*.
Flatulence (n.), emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
Testicle (n.), a humorous question in an exam.
Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms*.
Frisbeetarianism (n.), the belief that, when you die, your soul flies up on to the roof and gets stuck there.
Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by circumcised men.

The Washington Post's style invitational asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Bozone (n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
Foreploy (v.): Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of getting laid.
Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.
Inoculatte (v.): To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
Hipatitis (n.): Terminal coolness.
Osteopornosis (n.): A degenerate disease.
Karmageddon (n.): When everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then the Earth explodes and it's a serious bummer.
Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
Caterpallor (n.): The colour you turn after finding half a grub in the fruit you're eating.
Ignoranus (n.): A person who's both stupid and an asshole.

And one I offer myself (with mild-mannered assistance from Gutenberg):
Pubterfuge (n.): The processes a man goes through (such as chewing gum, dousing himself in copious amounts of aftershave) to conceal from his girlfriend that he has been to the pub.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Polly put the…

… recycling in a bag.

I've discovered this company, which is primarily a polythene manufacturer, but which takes polythene bags from the public to recycle. An admirable gesture, I must say, and particularly useful as many council recycling schemes do not take polythene products.

Send polythene bags to:
Recycling Department
Polyprint Mailing Films
Rackheath Industrial Estate
NR13 6LJ

But I suggest you visit here first, for a more detailed description of the company's recycling policy.

This little piggy... was unfancied

I have signed up to Wordsmith. These peeps send me a word each day, to amuse, intrigue and inspire me. Occasionally it's a word I already know, but more often than not it's a word I have never heard of but desperately try to remember to impress my liguaphile friends.

Last week was porcine week for the wordsmiths, to celebrate Chinese new year. I particularly like this word:

epigamic (ep-i-GAM-ik) adjective Of or relating to a trait or behavior that attracts a mate. Examples: In an animal, bright feathers or big antlers. In a human, a sports car or a big bust. [From Greek epigamos (marriageable), from epi- (upon) + gamos (marriage).]

I'm not entirely sure how it would be used (would epigamic behaviour make one more nubile, not that I particularly want to be, you understand?) but Michael and I decided that the antonym might be altogether funnier. Suggestions on an e-card please…

Also, and this is directed at the linguistically aware scientists among you, I seem to remember that sex cells were described to me by my GSCE biology teacher (who, incidentally, used to walk around with his flies undone) as gametes. Does this word have an etymologically similar path to epigamic? Surely the Greeks didn't use words for marriage and sex interchangeably? Anyway…

P.S. I've always found a sports car to be a rather sterile epigamic gesture… although there was a ruffian in my youth called Shane who rode a rather loud motorbike.

Limburger? LIMBURGER??

I am very unhappy to discover what type of cheese I am.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Hindering hands

As previous perusers of this blog will know, I have a particular interest in the media coverage of AIDS and HIV, which seem to me to be diseases politicised like no others.

Tim's 'holidaying' in Kenya and Cameroon led me to the BBC's Africa news section, and I'd like to draw your attention to these articles.

On the Gambian president's cure claims...

On a setback in trials of an 'anti-AIDS' drug...

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Having your cake and reading it

I know this makes me a frightful Tory, but I've recently taken to visiting the Telegraph website.

This is partly because of their adverts on the tube about reading a quality newspaper in the afternoon, which amused me. It seems to be impossible to travel around London without being offered a free newspaper at the moment. I'm tempted to apply to write a column in the London Paper, but alas the only topic I can think of it along the lines of, 'just because it's free doesn't mean it's any good'.

My brief conversion to the Telegraph is also because I'm tiring a little of the Guardian. Yes I know I'm demographically and socially and politically destined to read the Guardian, but it's tiresome to read a story on climate change and then have to block a flights pop-up.

And nothing the Guardian says challenges me anymore. I broadly agree with most of what they say, although I think the newspaper's stance is probably slightly more liberal than mine. And so I do sometimes turn to the Telegraph, the Spectator, and such like, in the hope of reading something that will amuse or shock or anger.

So I was pleased to come across Boris' column in the Telegraph. The headline had me reaching for my pink address books (girls awake! we have a mission!) so imagine my disappointment when I found myself interested rather than annoyed by what he had to say.

The article is not flawless. The fact that a married man with four children is writing an article on the resurgence of women casts some doubts over his claim that the glass ceiling can now be permeated. And I was intrigued by the concept of rising IQs - can you make yourself more intelligent (not that, I'm sure, any of my readers need to)?

But all in all, I finished the article satisfied, if not to the equivalent of eating a large slice of chocolate cake, at least to the extent of a fair-sized muffin.