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Today I got an instant message from Shane at theresistancearmy.com. He asked me about the word commoditise. To my surprise commoditise isn’t a real word. Although Google lists almost 20,000 pages with the word, I couldn’t find one dictionary that included it.
I always though the word was legit and that it meant to turn into a commodity. No such luck. The verb that means to turn into a commodity is commodify. I had never heard this word before.
So Shane and I had a brief discussion about what counts as a real word. In the end we concluded that commoditize will make it into the dictionary if enough people use it.
Back to commodify and commodities. A commodity is a undifferentiated product. Like crude oil, pork bellies or gold. It doesn’t matter who you buy your gold from it is still gold. Now no one want’s the products they sell to become commodified. Commodities are much harder to sell at a premium price and therefore, as a seller, you must be much more efficient and that is hard.
Another suggestion from the family. Today from my mom. Beauteous. She suggested this word after hearing a fellow holiday shopper use it. It reminded my mom of her college days when she and her friend would use the word in casual conversation.
Beauteous is just a fanciful word for, you guessed it, beautiful. It seems to be used especially in poetry. Oddly though I couldn’t find any poems that used it to rhyme. It seems like a word that a poet would create to make a rhyming verse work.
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I found the coolest site this week and it inspired todays word. The word is Origami and the site is PaperCDCase.com. I know I found the site on one of the popular blog sites but I can’t recall which one- sorry.
Back to the word- origami. It is a Japanese word that literally mean to fold paper. The more accurate definition is the art of paper folding. Just folding paper isn’t origami. Folding it to resemble something beautiful is origami.
For a skilled origami artist I doubt PaperCDCase.com counts, but I think it should. PaperCDCase.com lets you create a CD case out of standard 8/12 x 11 inch or A4 paper. On their site you enter the name of the album, the artist and the track names. Then you click Create CD Case. You get a pdf file you can print out with all the CD info on it and instruction for folding it into simple, effective & free CD case.
It is a very cool site put up by MESH, Michigan Engineering Software and Hardware. “A student group that works on software and hardware projects.”
Today’s word was suggested by my dad. Since yesterday’s word came from my sister, you might have guessed I am getting to spend more time with my family as the holidays approach.
The word is kowtow. It is a verb that means to bow down to or submit to. For example, if you keep doing whatever your sister asks she won’t respect you. You must stop kowtowing.
The term kowtow actually comes from the Chinese custom bowing to your knees and touching your forehead to the ground.
Today’s word might not meet a strict, scrabble (is it in the dictionary?) definition, but I found enough sites and writing using it to meet my low standards.
I came across the word on William Gibson’s blog. An interesting thought provoking, just a little bit out there blog, that Gibson has recently returned to writing.
The word is fortean. It is an adjective derived from Charles Fort’s work. Who was Charles Fort? Good question.
Fort was an early 20th century writer and researcher who coined the term teleportation while making a name for himself researching and writing on the paranormal. Today the term fortean is used to describe weird unexplainable phenomena.
The unexplainable phenomena that Gibson refers to in his blog is the vacation that apparently he and a big shot economist at Morgan Stanley believe Americans have been enjoying. A vacation from an impending economic Armageddon caused by America’s record trade deficit. I will have to look up Armageddon but it sure sounds worse than a depression.
ForteanTimes.com offers some entertaining fortean stories.
First off I must apologize to Olivier whose comment I played yesterday. I mispronounced his name. My spell checker “corrected” the spelling to Oliver.
I also want to add to yesterday’s podcast. I got an email from Lee Ann of the Lascivious Biddies letting me know “The Biddies are also a set of characters in The Music Man – it means little hens, but also talkative, gossipy women…” I think I will have to see that musical.
Today’s quote is inspired by a road trip my girlfriend and I took a few weeks ago. On the trip Billy Joel’s famous song “We Didn’t Start the Fire” turned up on one of our old mix CDs. We must have replayed it ten times trying to recall the cultural significance of each of his historical references. Between the two of us I think we got about half of them.
So starting with today’s very special Thanksgiving podcast I will go through one or two references per week. Think of it as a very long quote. I think there are over 100 references.
The song is essentially a catalog of the historical events of Billy’s life. The song begins in 1949 with Harry Truman.
Harry S. Truman was the 34th president of the United States. He had a sign on his desk that read “the buck stops here.”
He served as FDR’s Vice President until 1945 when FDR passed away and Truman became president.
He was re-elected for a second term, but barely, he was expected to lose the election and the Chicago Tribune even ran the headline “Dewey Defeats Truman”
While Truman is most famous for his decision to drop atomic bombs on Japan in August 1945 effectively ending World War II. I suspect Joel started with Truman because Truman was Joel’s earliest memory of an historical figure.
I stumbled across today’s word in Wikipedia. It is used in the entry for Madame Bovary, a scandalous 19th century novel by Gustave Flaubert. ( I was looking up Madame Bovary because the book was featured prominently in last night’s Desperate House Wives).
The word is exegesis. It is a noun that means an “extensive and critical interpretation of any text, or especially of a holy scripture. An exegete is a person skilled in the science of interpretation.”
In Wikipedia’s Madame Bovary entry exegesis is the title of section that examines the scandal the novel caused and and some of the techniques Flaubert employed. In my opinion the 171 word section isn’t extensive enough to be an exegesis. But that is the nice thing about Wikipedia this entry can grow and be improved.
Actually I first learned this word from Stephen Jay Gould– one of my favorite writers. I am sorry I can’t recall which book or article it was in. But if you read his work, you will come across exegesis frequently. And he most certainly uses it correctly.
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I got a few questions about a word I used in yesterday’s Today’s Podcast. Maybe I should refer to Today’s Podcast as just TP or maybe something else?
Anyway I used a word yesterday that raised a few questions. The word was provenance. It is a noun meaning place of origin or where something came from. It can also have the connotation of authenticity such as the quote I used yesterday. Where did that quote really come from?
If you were listening to today’s podcast hoping to learn the provenance of podcasting. Long story short, Adam and Dave did it.
If you want a little more detail you can visit Wikipedia’s entry on podcasting and learn all about the beginning of podcasting.
Now into my 3rd week of podcasting I decided to listen to some of my past podcasts and see what I thought.
And what I think is I need some work on my delivery. I am too stiff. I talk to fast, pardon me I read too fast. That’s right I have been writing then reading my podcasts. Not a good idea if you want a conversational casual podcast feel.
Hopefully todays podcast will be a step in the right direction
To help me along I have chosen mellifluous as today’s word.
Mellifluous is an adjective that means flowing with sweetness or honey.
I would like my podcasts to flow with sweetness and honey.
I will keep repeating this word, mellifluous, over and over again and then I will become it. That reminds me of a good quote for tomorrow’s podcast.
Not reading my podcasts word for word should help to.
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Building on the positive comments I received regarding my first podcast today’s word is interstitial. Interstitial is one of those, possibly pretentious, specialized jargon words.
The straight literal definition is the space between two states.
In the context of the web it refers to the page between pages. Two great sites that frequently use them are Yahoo! Games and
Salon. They use them to show you an ad before you get to the stuff you want.
In the case of Yahoo! Games you get to see an ad before you get to play a free game of backgammon. Salon uses them the same way- “You want to read this article? Watch this ad.” The Salon interstitials, because of their high-concept multimedia content, are usually entertaining. The articles are great too.
There are many other contexts where the term interstitial is used. Like TV for example. TV usage is pretty similar to the web- a little content before the stuff you want to see like segues between stories on Entertainment Tonight and the brief network plugs after the ads but before the show.
The medical community uses interstitial to describe unimportant parts of the body that are in between the important parts.
Thanks to Gordon Smith for commenting on my Soliloquy podcast. Gordon, I think you are right. A lot of podcasters are using Soliloquy tongue-in-cheek.
Gordon has a cool bog. “A pictorial journal of life in rural Australia.” Some stunning, beautiful pictures of nature and the mundane, also beautiful. He also has an audioBlog that accompanies and comments on the photos. His site is provides all the content you need for one of those new photo iPods.