Take Our Word For It Christmas/Solstice Issue
Dec 19, 2001 21:49 PST
Take Our Word For It Special Holiday Issue, Christmas/Solstice 2001
For Mac users who have trouble with our regular homepage:
Merry Christmas, happy Solstice, happy holidays
**This Week's Issue**
NOTE: The links in this newsletter are good for Dec. 19-26 only.
In Spotlight, we republish a holiday discussion from a previous issue
In Words to the Wise,we bring you the following holiday-related words
from past issues:
pray and prayer
In Curmudgeons' Corner guestmudgeon Sam Wereb gets irate about those
In Sez You... we hear from readers about more Tagalog plurals; Tagalog
difficulties; humorous Tagalog mix-ups; octopodes; Richard's nary;and
the Old English letter wynn.
In Laughing Stock we see what happens when you don't heed the "no
**Newsletter-Only Book Review**
This week we review "Dictionary of the Future" by Faith Popcorn and Adam
Yes, this really is a dictionary, but perhaps not exactly what you might
expect. On first glance, the title could suggest a dictionary of terms
from sci fi writings/television/film. If not that, "Dictionary of the
Future" might bring to mind terms that are uncommon now but that will
become more popular as technology continues to get better and better.
Well, strangely enough, neither of those descriptions fits this book.
Instead, this "dictionary" is a collection of words and phrases created
or picked up by writers, journalists, media personalities, and others to
humorously or effectively describe developing issues in and aspects of
today's Western culture. Here are some examples:
toxic bouquets: we're alert to pesticides in our fruits and vegetables,
but what about that innocent-looking bouquet of flowers on your dining
room table? Virtually no attention has been paid to these toxic
bouquets yet - but awareness is growing. Reporting on an investigation
by the World Resources Institute, the "Utne Reader" writes that "growers
use any means at their disposal - including banned and unregistered
pesticides; heavy loads of synthetic growth hormones and fertilizers;
and an illiterate, underpaid workforce." The Environmental Working
Group found that "California-grown roses had 1,000 times the level of
cancer-causing pesticides as comparable to food products." True, we
don't eat flowers - but we handle them, kids smell them, and the reality
of exploited workers handling poisonous chemicals - usually without
gloves or masks - for our own aesthetic appreciation, is a bitter irony
that will not escape us. DOF ("Dictionary of the Future") predicts that
there will be a movement to compel the U.S. government to set standards
for pesticide residue, and that we will see a new category of
pesticide-free flowers in our supermarkets, florists and
direct-to-consumer purveyors like 1-800-FLOWERS.
storag chic: with the explosive growth of self-service storage
facilities - which are no less than mini-museums of consumerism, as
Americans run out of room at home to store the stuff they buy - DOF
believes that we will be seeing a new generatioin of upscaled locations.
These will include storage rooms that can function as small offices,
along with coffee bars, "lite" office servies like other copying and
binding and other amenities available on premises.
As you can see, the entries in this book are more predictions of trends
than definitions. There is certainly no etymology here. But if you are
interested in such predictions, and snappy words and phrases to describe
them, then you'll enjoy this book. The authors really are pretty
thorough for such an unusual subject. Their writing style is not
exactly poetic, but this is supposed to be a dictionary, after all.
It's a good collection of the product of some great imaginations.
We'll make this book available in our book store very soon.
We encourage you to send us funny clippings or e-mails that you run
across, because if we use yours in Laughing Stock, you will win a $10
gift certificate to Amazon.com! This week's issue of TOWFI contains a
winning entry in Laughing Stock. Thanks to John Ayo (not to be confused
with John Ayto)!
The 50% to the Red Cross (or other deserving charity assisting those
affected by the September 11 terrorist attacks) special is still on! If
you enjoy Take Our Word For It and read it even semi-regularly, we
encourage you to give -- even just a few dollars -- as your donations go
a long way toward keeping TOWFI going.
The TOWFI bookmarks are ready! We're in the process of sending them.
Thank you for your patience!
Until next time,
Take Our Word For It!
Melanie and Mike