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In a Word

epeolatry
n. the worship of words

A selection of adjectives, from Laurence Urdang’s Modifiers (1982):

abbatial, of an abbot
buccinal, of trumpets
cervine, of deer
compital, of a crossroads
contabescent, of atrophy
culicid, of mosquitoes
frumentaceous, of wheat
haruspical, of a soothsayer
macropodine, of kangaroos
natant, of swimming
obumbrant, of an overhang
orarian, of the seashore
pavonine, of peacocks
smaragdine, of emeralds
sphingine, of a sphinx
suspirious, of a sigh
trochilidine, of hummingbirds
tussal, of a cough
veliferous, of sails

“The word good has many meanings,” wrote Chesterton. “For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.”

Hint

Discovered by Mike Keith — Shakespeare’s 115th sonnet contains a message from the author:

sonnet 115

Repeat Performance

The index of the 57th edition of the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics includes the entry Sea water, see Water, sea.

The Latin phrase Malo malo malo malo can be translated as “I would rather be in an apple tree than a bad boy in adversity.”

Betty and Jock Leslie-Melville’s 1973 book Elephant Have Right of Way cites the Swahili sentence Wale wa Liwali wale wale (“the people of the Arab chieftain eat cooked rice”). “How is it pro­nounced? Just say ‘Wally’ five times.”

And in Finnish the utterance “Kokko, gather up the whole bonfire. The whole bonfire? The whole bonfire, Kokko, gather up!” is rendered as Kokko, kokoa koko kokko kokoon. Koko kokkoko? Koko kokko, Kokko, kokoa kokoon!

(Thanks, Jani.)

A Portable Dip

https://www.google.com/patents/US3969776

Robert Gildea’s “water lounge,” patented in 1975, brings a pool to your patio:

Swimming pools are not only cumbersome and expensive but require open space where they are located. The ever increasing problem of accidents around such devices is also of concern. While the public has long sought a more convenient and less expensive device for cooling the body in the summer time, no such devices have been introduced. A device much smaller than the traditional swimming pool having the same general beneficial characteristics without the detrimental ones has long been sought.

The answer is to turn the lounge into a basin that can be filled from a hose. An umbrella “prevents the water from rapidly rising in temperature, which makes the water lounge more refreshing.”

The Willow Cathedral

http://books.google.com/books?id=BOVZAAAAYAAJ

For a 1793 treatise on the principles of Gothic architecture, Scottish architect Sir James Hall built an example using natural materials:

The wicker structure, as shewn in the frontispiece, was formed according to the plan of the cloister of Westminster Abbey, by a set of posts of ash about three inches in diameter thrust into the ground, with a set of willow rods of about an inch in diameter applied to them, the whole being conducted as already fully described. The construction answers perfectly well in practice, and affords a firm support for the thatch.

“The summit of the roof within is about eight feet high,” he added, “so that a person can walk under it with ease.”

Memento

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mather_Brown_-_Battle_of_the_Nile.jpg

In 1798 Horatio Nelson’s navy defeated a French fleet off the coast of Egypt. Captain Benjamin Hallowell, who helped to destroy the French flagship L’Orient, sent Nelson a macabre gift:

My Lord,

Herewith I send you a Coffin made of part of L’Orient’s Main mast, that when you are tired of this Life you may be buried in one of your own Trophies — but may that period be far distant, is the sincere wish of your obedient and much obliged servant,

Ben Hallowell

Nelson was indeed buried in it after his death in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

The Lakes of Wada

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lakes_of_Wada.jpg

Find a square island and establish a blue lake on it, bringing blue water within a certain distance of every point on the island’s remaining dry land. Then create a red lake, bringing red water even closer to every point on the remaining land, and a green lake bringing green water still closer.

If you continue this indefinitely, irrigating the island more and more aggressively from each lake in turn, you’ll reach the perplexing state where the three lakes have the same boundary. Japanese mathematician Kunizo Yoneyama offered this example in 1917.

No Good Deed

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:USS_Sculpin_(SS-191).jpg

In 1939, the U.S. Navy submarine Sculpin helped to rescue the crew of her sister ship Squalus, which had flooded and sunk off the coast of Maine.

After the rescue the Sculpin went on to serve in World War II, where she was sunk in 1943 by a Japanese destroyer. Twenty-one of her crew were captive aboard a Japanese aircraft carrier when the carrier itself was sunk by torpedoes from an American sub.

The attacking sub was the salvaged and repaired Squalus — the same ship that Sculpin had saved four years earlier.

“Ain’t Nature Commonplace!”

Now orange-blossoms filigree
The orange tree; but it would be
Remarkable if you should see
Them on some other kind of tree.

A hydroplane pervades the lake
And leaves a wake; but it would make
Observers cry, “For goodness’ sake!”
If it should fail to leave a wake.

The sky is azure overhead;
But spare to call me from my bed
To note its hue, until instead
Of azure, it is brown or red.

Oh, why must poets hail the name
Of Nature with such glad acclaim,
When Nature, whether wild or tame,
Is always pretty much the same!

– Arthur Guiterman

Unquote

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Apollo_11_AS11-40-5961HR.jpg

“That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind.” — Neil Armstrong, 1969

“Better if he had said something natural like, ‘Jesus, here we are.’” — Edmund Hillary, 1974

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