5/27/17

Etymology: Thong

There are just some words that make me titter. Titter, for example, is hilarious. The other day I saw a coworker wearing a sandal known as a thong. Thong is DEFINITELY a word that makes me titter. The main reason? This book. It was very popular during my intern days and it still makes me laugh today.

So I looked up the word "thong" in the old Oxford English Dictionary, one of my absolute favorite databases. There are meanings, sure. I included the first one. But I love learning about a word's different forms and its etymology. Here's what we have for "thong" from the OED:

Pronunciation: Brit. /θɒŋ/, U.S. /θɔŋ/, /θɑŋ/Forms: α. OE ðwong, ðuong, ðwangc, þwæng, ðuuencg, OE–ME þwang; ME thuang, ME (Sc. and north.–18) thwang (ME thwange, twange, 15 thwangue), ME–16 Sc. thwayng. β. ME þwong, þuong(e, ME thwong(e (dial. twonge). γ. ME þong, ME– thong, (ME þonge, thongh, 15–16 thonge, 15 thongue). δ. ME thownge, thowyng; dial.17–18 thung, thunk, thonk.(Show Less)Etymology: Old English þwang , þwǫng strong masculine (also feminine); also, Old Northumbrian plural ðuuencgu , N. Anglian þwænga , agreeing with Old Norse þvengr ( < þvaŋgiz ); all from ablaut stem *þwing- , *þwang- , *þwung- , to restrain < Indo-European root *twenk : compare German zwingen : see twing n., twinge v.1, and compare the dialect form whang n.1

Definition: a.) A narrow strip of hide or leather, for use as a lace, cord, band, strap, or the like.

I also thought this sample sentence was funny:
1981 - H. Engel Ransom Game (1982) xxx. 197 She..handed me a pair of Japanese thongs. I slipped them on and felt the skin between my first two toes protest.

Etymology: Podcast

This word was a surprise! I could have sworn that I was listening to what I thought were called "podcasts" back in the early 2000s - 2001, 2002 or so. But according to the trusty ole Oxford English Dictionary, the word sprouted in 2004?!?


5/24/17

Work according to Studs

"Work is about a search for daily meaning as well as daily bread, for recognition as well as cash, for astonishment rather than torpor; in short, for a sort of life rather than a Monday through Friday sort of dying."

2/17/17

Treat Yo Self: Top 10 Ways to Escape Reality and Relax

Lifehacker is really great. Sometimes, they just provide simple reminders on how to stay sane. This post is a perfect example: Top 10 Ways to Escape Reality and Relax. My current faves: reading, writing and cooking.

2/16/17

Pixars 22 Rules of Storytelling

Writing well is hard. The most compelling writing is always a story, whether you are talking fiction or nonfiction. In my daily work as a fundraiser, I am always looking for stories that will interest alumni and donors. It's not the big, fancy building they want to hear about, but the way the big, fancy building will change students' lives.

To be a half-decent at writing, you have to do it all the time. The truth is, I have been a writer for a long time, but I always feel like I need to do it more often. Back in October, I came across Pixar's 22 rules of storytelling in a webinar. Sadly, it was just the other day I finally went back through my notes and I'm so happy I did. These rules are writing gold.


2/12/17

Robo-Bees. Pollination. Wuuut?

I about fell out of my chair when I read this little blurb from Scientific American about Robo-Bees could aid insects with pollination duties. I guess I forgot how advanced drones really are now. I was first reminded at the super bowl this year when 300 of them were in perfect formation for the halftime show. Amazing.

While I think this is a very innovative solution to this problem, two things come to mind:
  • Drones can literally become the flies on the walls. Pretty creepy. Pollination today, super spy technology tomorrow.
  • Why don't we figure out how to save the bees, too? We're innovative enough to do that, as well.

1/10/17

Banana bread & cookbook tip

One of my favorite cookbooks that I can pop open and get a great recipe each time is Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook. The binder version is the one to get, but I got the bound copy and use it relentlessly.

Strangely enough, tonight I used a recipe that I DIDN'T get out of this book, but I can always make more than one banana bread loaf.


1/4/17

Movie: Hidden Figures

This movie is what I needed. You need this movie. This movie is what the United States of America needs right now. Everyone in the United States should definitely see this movie. That was the long and short of my night.

Also, I'm definitely going to read the book Hidden Figures so I can learn more and continue to be inspired by these women and others like them. I've been reading some pretty depressing stuff - WWII history, dystopian fiction, etc. - so it's time for some stories about amazing females. It's a perfect addition to invigorate my reading challenge for 2017. I mean, come on, NASA archivists were involved.

And this movie. 

I am so grateful that I got to watch the pre-screening of "Hidden Figures" tonight with my alma mater - the University of Michigan-Dearborn. I watched it with students and alumni, members of my family and many of my dear friends. It was a packed house and a great night in Dearborn.

"Hidden Figures" follows three awesome women who overcame all kinds of odds and, frankly, bullshit, to succeed at helping build up the NASA program. Katherine Johnson was a human "computer" and overall mathematical powerhouse. Dorothy Vaughan was the boss lady that wasn't paid like a boss, but learned, looked after her team and became THE boss lady supreme. And Mary Jackson, who fought to be able to become an aerospace engineer. 

I took a tally of how many times I teared up: 8. That is pretty high, even for me! This movie really, really moved me. It was a strange juxtaposition of widespread racism and segregation, but still had so much triumph, so much progress. Like, we wanted to reach friggin' space before the Commies and we really came together to do it. Anyway, it was inspiring to watch women influence science and technology, especially black women in the south. 

As I stated at the beginning, everyone should go see this film. The performances were great. It was shot well. It is especially great for families. Also, go to the library and get the book, too.