n. the eating of leeks
n. the eating of leeks
“A Brief and Somewhat Ungracious Exchange Between the British Ambassador’s Wife, Who Speaks No Spanish, and the Spanish Ambassador’s Wife, Who Speaks No English, During a Courtesy Call by the Latter Upon the Former: Written on the Assumption That My Readers Know the Sound of the Spanish Word for ‘Yes'”
— Willard R. Espy
ONE + TWO – THREE – FOUR + FIVE = 1
That’s true if we replace each word either with the number it denotes or with the quantity of its letters: Either way we’re left with 1. Another:
ONE + TWO – THREE – FOUR + FIVE – SIX + SEVEN + EIGHT + NINE – TEN + ELEVEN + TWELVE – THIRTEEN – FOURTEEN = 5
These are the only two such sequences using 20 or fewer consecutive number names, found Leonard Gordon, although other sequences of plus and minus signs are possible.
In a separate but related project, Gordon assigned the number names ONE through FIFTEEN, ONE through NINETEEN, and ONE through TWENTY to either side of an equals sign so that the denoted equation is mathematically correct and each equation “balances,” with the same number of letters on each side:
ONE + FOUR + SEVEN + TEN + ELEVEN + THIRTEEN + FOURTEEN = TWO + THREE + FIVE + SIX + EIGHT + NINE + TWELVE + FIFTEEN
ONE + THREE + FIVE + SEVEN + NINE + SIXTEEN + SEVENTEEN + EIGHTEEN + NINETEEN = TWO + FOUR + SIX + EIGHT + TEN + ELEVEN + TWELVE + THIRTEEN + FOURTEEN + FIFTEEN
ONE + THREE + SIX + NINE + TEN + TWELVE + THIRTEEN + FIFTEEN + SEVENTEEN + NINETEEN = TWO + FOUR + FIVE + SEVEN + EIGHT + ELEVEN + FOURTEEN + SIXTEEN + EIGHTEEN + TWENTY
This passage, from E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, is often cited as a masterpiece of rhythm — the length of the phrases diminishes with the motion of the swing:
Mr. Zuckerman had the best swing in the county. It was a single long piece of heavy rope tied over the north doorway. At the bottom end of the rope was a fat knot to sit on. It was arranged so that you could swing without being pushed. You climbed a ladder into the hayloft. Then, holding the rope, you stood at the edge and looked down, and were scared and dizzy. Then you straddled the knot, so that it served as a seat. Then you got up all your nerve, took a deep breath, and jumped. For a second you seemed to be falling to the barn floor far below, but then suddenly the rope would begin to catch you, and you would sail through the barn door going a mile a minute, with the wind whistling in your eyes and ears and hair. Then you would zoom upward into the sky, and look up at the clouds, and the rope would twist and you would twist and turn with the rope. Then you would drop down, down, down out of the sky and come sailing back into the barn almost into the hayloft, then sail out again (not quite so far this time), then in again (not quite so high), then out again, then in again, then out, then in; and then you’d jump off and fall down let somebody else try it.
“All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world,” White wrote. Though Eudora Welty called Charlotte’s Web “just about perfect,” White never revealed his reason for creating it. “I haven’t told why I wrote the book, but I haven’t told you why I sneeze, either,” he wrote to his editor. “A book is a sneeze.”
n. the tending of swine
n. a lover of books
Created by Slovakian artist Matej Kren, the Idiom Installation in Prague’s municipal library seems to present an infinite tower of books, thanks to some conveniently placed mirrors.
It debuted at the São Paulo International Biennial in 1995 and moved permanently Prague in 1998.
Edgar Rice Burroughs invented an extensive vocabulary for the Mangani, the great apes of the Tarzan novels:
Tarzan supposed that Mangani might be the basis for the language of all creatures, because all the animals of the jungle understood it to some extent. “It sounds to man like growling and barking and grunting, punctuated at times by shrill screams, and it is practically untranslatable to any tongue known to man,” Burroughs wrote in Tarzan at the Earth’s Core.
Related: In reading English books Tarzan learned to grasp each word in its entirety, but in speaking them aloud he would spell them using the names he’d invented for the letters, according to Jungle Tales of Tarzan. “Thus it was an imposing word which Tarzan made of GOD. The masculine prefix of the apes is BU, the feminine MU; g Tarzan had named LA, o he pronounced TU, and d was MO. So the word God evolved itself into BULAMUTUMUMO, or, in English, he-g-she-o-she-d.”
adj. that cannot be seen or discerned; invisible
v. to make amends for, compensate for
From geographer Simon Kuestenmacher: a world map centered on New Zealand.
In a forum on Testy Copy Editors in 2009, editor Mike O’Connell posted a headline from the newspaper Japan Today: “Violinist Linked to JAL Crash Blossoms.” He asked, “what do you call these kinds of strangely phrased hedlines? is there a word for them?”
The answer suggested itself — a crash blossom is headline that’s painfully ambiguous, usually due to unwise ellipsis, double meaning, or tortured syntax. Linguist Ben Zimmer gave some examples in the New York Times the following year:
Giant Waves Down Queen Mary’s Funnel
MacArthur Flies Back to Front
Eighth Army Push Bottles Up Germans
McDonald’s Fries the Holy Grail for Potato Farmers
British Left Waffles on Falklands
Gator Attacks Puzzle Experts
Infant Pulled From Wrecked Car Involved in Short Police Pursuit
Letter Bombs Accused in Court
Mexico Mine Missing Declared Dead
Queen Mary Having Bottom Scraped
Two Soviet Ships Collide — One Dies
Soviet Virgin Lands Short of Goal
Smoking Riskier Than Thought
Headless Corpse Accused in Court