Language

Lettershift

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Advance each letter in PECAN four places through the alphabet and you get TIGER:

pecan-tiger lettershift

“Poem Without an E”

John Knox was a man of wondrous might,
And his words ran high and shrill,
For bold and stout was his spirit bright,
And strong was his stalwart will.

Kings sought in vain his mind to chain,
And that giant brain to control,
But naught on plain or stormy main
Could daunt that mighty soul.

John would sit and sigh till morning cold
Its shining lamps put out,
For thoughts untold on his mind lay hold,
And brought but pain and doubt.

But light at last on his soul was cast,
Away sank pain and sorrow,
His soul is gay, in a fair to-day,
And looks for a bright to-morrow.

— “Unidentified,” in Current Opinion, July 1888

In a Word

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sanguisugent
adj. bloodsucking

Inventory

A self-descriptive sentence by Howard Bergerson:

In this sentence, the word and occurs twice, the word eight occurs twice, the word four occurs twice, the word fourteen occurs four times, the word in occurs twice, the word occurs occurs fourteen times, the word sentence occurs twice, the word seven occurs twice, the word the occurs fourteen times, the word this occurs twice, the word times occurs seven times, the word twice occurs eight times, and the word word occurs fourteen times.

Double Vision

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Portrait_of_a_Man_by_Jan_van_Eyck_(detail).jpg

EYE is a palindrome in English, Spanish (OJO), and Polish (OKO).

Handcraft

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He killed the noble Mudjokivis.
Of the skin he made him mittens,
Made them with the fur side inside,
Made them with the skin side outside.
He, to get the warm side inside,
Put the inside skin side outside;
He, to get the cold side outside,
Put the warm side fur side inside.
That’s why he put the fur side inside,
Why he put the skin side outside,
Why he turned them inside outside.

— George A. Strong, “The Modern Hiawatha,” in The Home Book of Verse, 1918

Ofttimes when I put on my gloves,
I wonder if I’m sane,
For when I put the right one on,
The right seems to remain
To be put on–that is, ‘t is left;
Yet if the left I don,
The other one is left, and then
I have the right one on.
But still I have the left on right;
The right one, though, is left
To go right on the left right hand
All right, if I am deft.

— Ray Clarke Rose, “Simple English,” in Wallace Rice, A Book of American Humorous Verse, 1903

“What can be more similar in every respect and in every part more alike to my hand and to my ear, than their images in a mirror?” wrote Kant in 1783. “And yet I cannot put such a hand as is seen in the glass in the place of its archetype; for if this is a right hand, that in the glass is a left one, and the image or reflection of the right ear is a left one which never can serve as a substitute for the other. There are in this case no internal differences which our understanding could determine by thinking alone. Yet the differences are internal as the senses teach, for, notwithstanding their complete equality and similarity, the left hand cannot be enclosed in the same bounds as the right one (they are not congruent); the glove of one hand cannot be used for the other.”

In a Word

http://www.sxc.hu/photo/258199

apricity
n. the warmth of the sun in winter

“A strange and lovely word.” — Ammon Shea, Reading the OED, 2009

Misc

  • Canada’s coastline is six times as long as Australia’s.
  • Rudyard Kipling invented snow golf.
  • ENUMERATION = MOUNTAINEER
  • Can you see your eyes move in a mirror?
  • 26364 = 263 × 6/4
  • “I want death to find me planting my cabbages.” — Montaigne

In a Word

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opsigamy
n. marriage at an advanced age

benedick
n. a newly married man

shunamitism
n. rejuvenation of an old man by a young woman

A Man’s World

When Long Island filmmaker Ellen Cooperman divorced her husband in 1975, she changed her last name to Cooperperson because it “more properly reflects [my] sense of human equality than does the name Cooperman.”

State Supreme Court Justice John Scileppi refused to ratify the change, saying that it “would have serious and undesirable repercussions, perhaps throughout the entire country.” He cited “virtually endless and increasingly inane” possibilities: A person named “Jackson” might seek to become “Jackchild,” a “Manning” might prefer “Peopling,” or a woman named “Carmen” might want to be “Carperson.” “This would truly be in the realm of nonsense,” he said.

Undaunted, she appealed Scileppi’s decision and won in 1978. She’s still using Cooperperson today.