Gone Fishing

Starting next week, I’ll be gone for two weeks, traveling with some good friends, meeting up with my favorite poet and his new bride, and doing everything I can to reinforce for myself the concept that life is not always just about work. I noticed I have been geting a little cranky lately, so my colleagues will, I suspect, be just as happy that I’m taking some time off as I am. In the meantime, I will turn this week’s spot over to my guest editor, Mike. If you like Mike’s work, or enjoy good photography, feel free to drop by his site at www.travelingcurmudgeon.com – I think you’ll enjoy what you’ll find. I’ll do my best to visit with you before I leave, but if I run out of time, be sure that I’ll stop in on my return. When I come back, I hope I’ll have some interesting stories and photos of our adventures to share with you. So, with our further ado, I’ll turn this column over to my fellow wordsmith, Mike.

The Logo File

You may have noticed: I like words. I use them practically every day. And nothing pleases me more (hyperbole) than a clever neologism. (Note to cruciverbalizers: this does NOT constitute a license to make up any old thing just because it fits in the crossword grid.) I even collect words, like some people collect stamps or coins.

The Laxicon, a sloppily organized compendium of words formed by adding a letter (SUMICIDE: deliberately throwing oneself beneath a large Japanese wrestler), subtracting one (GYNASIUM: a health spa for women only), or changing one letter (ABANUENSIS: an assistant who runs off and leaves you in the lurch) from an existing word, is upwards of 1000 entries. If you would like to contribute, feel free to send in your words and letters.

Eventually, it would be fun to publish an Illuminated Laxicon—I can see the drawing illustrating “sumicide,” can’t you? Unfortunately, publishers won’t talk to me, so I am sitting in the literary equivalent of Schwab’s Drugstore, waiting to be discovered. If you know any publishers, give ‘em my e-mail address.

But there are some words that should have been laughed out of the lexicon (the real one) the moment they first appeared in public. It’s harder to get rid of them once they’re established, kind of like head lice. But it’s definitely worth the effort. I’m talking about words like PRE-OWNED. Whatever happened to “used?” Would you trust a “pre-owned car salesman?” Besides, even if “pre-owned” were allowed to exist, shouldn’t it mean “new”?

GAMING is another one, used only in commercials: it sounds so much more jolly and wholesome than “gambling,” don’t you think?

And what’s up with FITNESS WATER? Excuse me? Fitness water? If your shirt is too big, can you wash it in fitness water? But not only did that nonsense phrase slip into the language unmolested, it brought along its illegitimate half-brother, the new PROTEIN WATER. Water may be protean–it can take many forms, like ice or steam—but protein water has no place in my dictionary. Or anywhere else. VITAMIN WATER? LIFE WATER???

While we’re at it, how about a moratorium on any word that begins with “MEGA-“ or ends with “-GATE?”

And I’d like to see the media quit using FLAWED to refer to suspect elections like those in Kenya, Zimbabwe, Pakistan (oh, wait, that one’s been postponed), and that upcoming circus in Russia known as “Put In Medvedev.” The word you’re looking for is, um, let’s see, sounds like—oh, yes, “fraud.”

SHORTFALL is another of my personal favorites, a euphemism for impending disaster. It may be useful if you are talking about Tarzan missing the vine, but I say leave it out of discussions about the budget.

KWANZAA—now there’s a silly word. It started out life as “kwanza” (Swahili for “first”). Since the celebration refers to seven principles, it’s inventor wanted a word with seven letters so he just tacked another “a” on the end. Why is that better than “kkwanza?” I have no beef with the invention of a whole new holiday, but if you want a seven-letter name, surely there are plenty of real words to choose from. Christians honor (in theory) ten commandments, but nobody calls it Christmass.

CIA/military terms like RENDITION and COLLATERAL DAMAGE are perfectly good words that have been dragged into the bad part of town and tortured into unseemly applications, but they got me thinking about this in the first place. There are plenty of others, but I’ve gone on long enough. Which is to say, I can’t think of any more off hand. However, I am always open to suggestions; do you have any favorites?



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27 Responses to Gone Fishing

  1. Beth says:

    I enjoyed the Logo file.  Have a sfe trip!!

  2. J says:

    I really enjoyed the Logo file! I hope it\’s a regular. Have a great vacation and may all your worms catch big ones or die trying!

  3. Aimee says:

    well i do wish you the best on your trip…enjoy and relax…
    *~* :o) a smile is a universal welcome… :o) *~*

  4. Jana says:

    Jorge, enjoy fishing!!!!
    Hungary, I would never thought about that country because of your name. 🙂

  5. Kathryn says:

    Ack, augh….don\’t even get me started on word/phrase usage…like, "at this point in time…"
    Have a great time fishing! Enjoy ENjoy, and I will go visit Mike\’s site….
    oh, and wish me well, tonight is opening night….

  6. n says:

    Hi Jorge, thanks for dropping by and the kind comment.  I hope you have a great fishing trip and bring many back.  So have a great 2 wks. Take good care, Venus

  7. Sarah says:

    Jorge–thank you for stopping by–your two weeks sounds like it is straight out of Heaven–hope it is in a somewhat warm part of the country–we have snow here in the NW.  Too weird.  Look forward to your return.

  8. dawn says:

    Jorge, i miss you already  😛
    but have fun and laugh lots!!

  9. sweeti's says:

    Hi there Jorge.
    i wish u a well deserved shaking,relaxing,loving,vacation. I can understand ur colleagues are happy to see u leave for 2 weeks.
    Im joking  haha..welll 
    Ilike the pre owned…Can i use that word also for ex wife????
    In future we wil hear …" i married a PRE OWNED WIFE? ITS awesome  what u write here.
    i liked every word..im gonna visit Mike  now..
    Wis me luck  is he worse than u????
    last word…ENJOY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    and a warm hug

  10. David says:

    Jorge – have fun; oh how I envy you.  I would have thought solvers were cruciverbalists and creators were cruciverbalizers, but that\’s just me.  I could not agree more on the bulk of your guest\’s observations.  I loathe \’utilize\’ for \’use\’ – and all the locutions that imply that good honest jobs like janitor and secretary are somehow shameful and need to be tarted up with terms like sanitary engineer and executive assistant.  Then there\’s the old news shows\’ \’finally speaks out\’ or \’speaks out for the first time since…\’.  This might work if it is after 30 years as in the case of Deep Throat, but when it is the day after the event – puh-leeze!  How about things going \’terribly wrong\’.  And don\’t get me started on \’closure\’.  I will NOT say \’African- American\’ for black.  Or \’Native American\’ for Indian (although it is less confusing when there\’s also the \’outsourcing\’ kind of Indian), especially when the members of that ilk use \’Indian\’ when trying to lure one to drop by and \’game\’ for a bit. 

  11. Betty says:

    Hi Jose,
    Have a wonderful trip. Relax, relax, relax.
    Thought you would be interested in knowing that the preservationists in New Orleans are incensed over the plan to tear Charity down and build a new hospital.  They want the state to gut the beautiful old building and build the new hospital within the walls of the old art deco building.  Frankly, I don\’t think the preservationists will win this one, but I\’m on their side.
    I love you guest blogger and went to his sight.  He should be on NPR\’s "All Things Considered."

  12. Betty says:

    I just read my post and can\’t believe I spelled your name J-O-S-E!  Forgive me – I\’m running as fast as I can to outpace senility and from the looks of that post I\’m losing.  Add to that, I\’ve never learned how to correct anything on "comments"
    Have a great trip.

  13. Hope says:

    have a wonderful time.. breath deep.. walk slow.. smile alot.. and just enjoy..
    soft hugs.. Hope

  14. Kathryn says:

    Jorge, Opening Night was wonderful! I was so excited – and it went really well — *smiling* — three more performances and it\’s over…I think I\’ll be sad…

  15. Charlotte says:

    Have a wonderfully well deserved time away from work.  Everyone needs to escape occasionally.  I enjoyed your verbage collection!!  My best girlfriend and myself have ended up with new words quite unexpectedly as we talk and two words somehow flop into one.  Butimous….  a combination of beautiful and voluptuous!!!  and many more… We have had a good laugh at some of the things that have developed and were we wiser they would all be written down.  Have fun.. hugs, lottemae

  16. Lisa says:

    Ah, I have no favorites.  In fact, my poor brain is so tired all I can do is quietly appreciate this post for its intelligence. 😉  Just wanted to stop by and say hello.  And look forward to hearing your fishing tales.

  17. Neora Chana says:

    Hi, hadn\’t visited in a while.  Enjoyed the last several posts.  Have fun on your trip.  And, guest editor?  Thanks.  What about the classic \’military intelligence\’? 

  18. Jana says:

    Boston is very nice at spring. Not yet but soon the trees will start bloosoming and everything will be green and full of flowers.
    And at least I am good for something. To remembering your friends. 🙂
    What part of the U.S. are you living?
    I hope your fishing is great so far!!!!!

  19. Barb says:

    Are you still fishing or did you fall in?
    Just thought I would check on you..:)
    Be Well

  20. Fenix says:

    Hello Jorge
    I am here again Iwas gone for several days ¡¡on holidays!!
    I hope you have a wonderful trip

  21. Jane says:

    Donde estas Jorge?

  22. Mercy says:

    I hope you\’re having a GREAT time!  I love fishing but my husband feels so bad about the fish I haven\’t gone in a long time.  Catch a big one for me!!Mercy

  23. Stephen Craig says:

    Jorge,  Have a good safe trip and
    As ever be well.

  24. Joe says:

    So he J,
    I\’m sure you\’ve heard Louis Armstrong/Bing Crosby doin\’ "Gone Fishin\’".
    "Instead of just a wishin\’".   I\’ll drop in on "Mike".  Make sure he\’s playin\’ the po\’rtry straight.It is horrid to have rules regarding recreation or poetry.  (Sorry, the ambien is kicking in with a fine cocnag.
    .  I haveto type with one eye shut.)
    If you don\’t have "Louis Armstrong\’s Greatest Hits, I will send you a copy (non-gratus).  If you would be graciouse & trusting enough, you know I\’m at jbmetz@msn.com.
    There is a great segment in Hemminay\’s Movable Feast where they chill the wine in the creek & catcn their fill for the day.
    Sportmans today are so different.
    Best Wishes as always,

  25. Joe says:

    Sooner or later, they will have to put prescription drug warnings such as: "It is not advisable to navigate the internet while using our medication".

  26. PJ says:

    Good Morning Jorge,
    This is a bit late, as I have been working too much as well. Have a most wonderful time away and I will be awaiting your return to enjoy the photos and entries that you post. I am very happy to read that you are off to "relax" from your strenuous job.
    Until Next Time…Keep Smiling.

  27. Greg says:

    OMG, can I borrow your dictionary for a few moments….I thought that my vocuabluary was a bit extended until I read this post!  This was awesome.  Everytime I read something in here about going fishing….hmmmm, makes me want to head out to the lake that live close to and sit on the bank with my poles and reflect upon life and try to develop some new and interesting item\’s in which to write upon!
    Glad you got a much deserved break away from the stress of your job and was able to relax a bit!  Be blessed my friend!

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