by Sarah Holdt
For left-brained, numbers people it is downright jejune (look it up) to hang around with wordies. We can spend a lot of time creating entendres, disputing spellings and discussing meanings while our counterparts yawn and scratch behind their ears, utterly bored. Lately I've been having word conversations with fellow vocabulary enthusiasts, also known as word nerds, while there are no bankers, accountants or mathematicians within earshot so we've been able to expound to full contentedness. For example, while enjoying ice cream cones at a picnic table, my friend Debbie asked us to spell the word discreet. Easy enough: d-i-s-c-r-e-e-t. What does it mean, she asked? Careful of one's speech or actions. Yes, she confirmed, but discrete is also a word, not a misspelling. Discrete means individually separate and distinct, as in, there are seven discrete P.E.O. chapters in Estes Park. Who knew? I sure didn't. I mean, I knew about the seven P.E.O. chapters, all discreet, but I didn't know each chapter was discrete as well. Debbie didn't stop there. What do you call bat poop, she wanted to know? Why, guano, of course. Surprisingly, no, Debbie told us. We have become accustomed to calling bat excrement guano but the original definition of guano is specifically seabird poop. Today, however, you can get away with using guano as the accepted descriptive for bat poop. Whew; off the hook! Whatever it's called, we can't figure out how bats deposit it when they're hanging upside down! Icky. That's what I call it. Knowing what we now know, do we call bat poop guano or not? It's a moot point, meaning it is up for debate. Yessiree Bob. For some reason it is generally understood that when we've been discussing a topic that has reached a dead end, we call it a moot point. In reality, a moot point is just the opposite. So do we continue to misuse the phrase because that's what people construe or do we use it correctly and be misunderstood? I consider this a moot point. Now you decide what I mean by that. There are myriad words and phrases in the English language that can lead to misunderstanding. Take the word myriad as an example. Some people think I mistakenly forgot to use an article in front of myriad in the beginning sentence of this paragraph. They think I should have said, "There are a myriad of words..." But myriad is not a synonym for plethora, but rather for several. Discussions like this one leave leftbrainers lukewarm. I wonder, what type of conversation would make them lukecool? Ha! There is no such word. So why is there a lukewarm but no other luke temperature? The word toward does not end in the letter s-in America anyway. In England they put an s on the end of toward. If you want to say towards, move to England. It's enough to bring tears to yours eyes, isn't it? At school, my seven-yearold nephew was asked to use the word crying in a sentence (the second graders were learning how to add ing to words that end in y.) Here was his answer: "I am allergic to crying. It makes my eyes water." I think he's becoming a wordie like his aunt. A witty wittle wordie. Last night my husband Mark, a numbers man who won't admit he has a bit of wordiness in him, asked what this week's column was about. When I told him, he replied without hesitation, "Just remember there's a whole lot more to the English language than a bunch of words." You may let The Thunker know what you think at her e-mail address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Next Great Decisions Meeting
Energy Geopolitics is the topic for the next Great Decisions meeting. The energy markets have been shaken by the instability of Middle East oil and the vulnerability of nuclear power. Moreover, developing countries like China are becoming bigger energy consumers, while energy producers like Russia see the opportunity to widen their influence. In this changed landscape, how will the U.S.'s energy needs affect its relations with other nations? Come and discuss the global energy sit- uation and how it will effect the United States. We will meet in the Wasson Room of the Estes Valley Library at 11:30 a.m on October 16 th . Come and let your voice be heard. Read the background material and be ready to discuss the topic. See you there! Great Decisions discussions will resume in February with the 2013 topics. Please contact Sue Magnuson 970-214- 0319 to order a book. Cost approximately $23. Go to www.fpa.org for information on topics. Over 552,679 views on YouTube!
Friday, October 12, 2012
Best in Live Music & Entertainment Great Fun, Food & Drink in a Friendly Atmosphere
KJ Justin D Every
SPECIAL HALLOWEEN WEEKEND COSTUME PARTY BASH
with BARD GRIFFIN
cash prizes each night for best costumes