Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wednesday Wordplay

You know when somebody uses a word, and you have no earthly idea what it means, but you don't want the person who used the word to know you don't know what it means, so you just nod and smile as if you do know what the word means?

That's what I saw on TV Thursday morning (yeah, deal with it, it's still Wednesday Wordplay because of the alliteration. That and I wrote the title on Wednesday so the dateline would hold) when CNN's John Roberts used the word "peripatetic" and Kieran Chetry smiled and nodded as if she knew what it meant, but the body language said she didn't know what it meant and she was trying as hard as she could to act like she did.

Don't let this happen to you the next time you hear the word "peripatetic"

peripatetic - adj. walking or traveling about; itinerant.

It also means "of or pertaining to aristotle" and came to mean walking around or traveling about because Aristotle used to walk around while he taught philosophy at the Lyceum in ancient Athens. John Roberts used the word to describe Arnold Schwarzenegger, referring to the way the governator crisscrosses California and is difficult to pin down. Good work, Mr. Roberts. Building vocabulary is a salubrious activity.

salubrious - adj. favorable to health or well-being.

Here's some more:

dissimulate - v. to disguise under a feigned appearance; to conceal one's true feelings.

adj. Richly melodious; pleasant sounding; musical. As in come here the Canorous tones of my younger brother Thursday night at 169 Bar, 169 E Broadway at 7:30pm.

cingular - adj. 1. Of or pertaining to a cingulum, an anatomical band or girdle on an
animal or plant. 2. Encircling, girdling, surrounding. (nothing to do with a cell phone)

Ok, the term "quarterlife crisis" has to go. Stop telling me my quarter life crisis starts Friday. First of all, it assumes I make it to 100, and go no further. If I go for 104, then my quarter life crisis starts next year. If I live 90 years, then tomorrow's my five eighteenths life crisis, and my quarter life crisis came when I was 22 and a half (which is probably when it happened.) Secondly, it's a stupid idea. Crisis - bah! I've got plenty of time left to have a major freak out, who says it has to be now? Freaking out over birthdays is a silly idea anyway, because it's not like you can stop them from happening.

Nolens volens, I hit the quarter century mark on Friday. Whether it's the quarter life mark remains to be seen.

Nolens volens - Whether unwilling or willing.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Story of the Week -- Jan. 21-25

A pair of loyal readers have birthdays today, and I think that deserves special mention here in The Full Circle, so Happy Birthday Mom! and Happy Birthday Sam!

Somebody Listened!
Last week I wrote out a laundry list of things that I felt needed to stop. And you know what? Somebody listened!

Yes, it happened, Congressman Dennis Kucinich has stopped running for president. But that's not the best part. The best part is WHY this disillusioned little man stopped running for president.

He has to run for congress. And by run, I don't mean make a few commercials, put up a few signs, win by 80 percent of the vote the way many incumbent congressmen run. No, Dennis Kucinich has to start RUNNING for congress in the Ohio 10th congressional district right now, or he won't have a chance to wipe the floor with the Republican party's feeble excuse for a challenger.

That's because he has not one, not two, not three, not four....oh yes, it is four...FOUR Cleveland-area democrats challenging Mr. Kucinich for the nomination to be the Democratic candidate for the seat he's held in congress for 12 years. And that may be more embarassing than his two presidential campaigns.

Let's meet the challengers, shall we?

Joe Cimperman appears to be the most likely alternative to Kucinich. He's a Cleveland city councilman who campaigned on behalf of Kucinich in 2006 when Kucinich promised him that he wouldn't run for president again. When Kucinich broke that promise, Cimperman broke his, and is portraying himself as a candidate with local interests in mind. He says "my money comes from Cleveland, not from California."

Rosemary Palmer also campainged for Kucinich in 2006, but now says: "I entered this race in June because I did not feel he was focused on the job, nor able to effect the change we so desperately need. On issues of job creation, health care, the environment, and the Iraq war, Mr. Kucinich often talks a good game but seldom delivers," she said in a prepared statement.
Palmer has been a newspaper editor, an ESL specialist, and now an anti-war activist who lost a son in Iraq in 2005.

Thomas O'Grady is the mayor of North Olmstead, OH. He doesn't have a problem with Kucinich, but he too is hoping he'll turn his attention back to the Ohio 10th. He entered the race to ensure the anti-Kucinich vote wouldn't be split among 2 people, causing Kucinich to win. He doesn't seem to have much conviction of his own, though.

Barbara Ferris says about Kucinich "He was unable to achieve anything running for president; he was unable to achieve in 11 years in Congress," Ferris ran against Kucinich in 2006 and was clobbered. She's a former Peace Corps and UN worker.

Here's the fun of this race: this district is blue as can be, so it's likely whomever wins the nomination will win the seat. So there probably wasn't any pressure from the Democratic party for Kucinich to stop with the presidential nonsense and get his butt back to Ohio. Dennis Kucinich is fighting for the one thing he has left in terms of a political career, and yet he still kept up the presidential campaign beyond when he originally said he would. Instead of focusing on his endangered congressional seat, he fought to get into debates with Clinton, Obama and Edwards in Nevada and Michigan, and he kept campaigning. Then he announced he was quitting the day before a primary.

Good timing dummy. If (god forbid) I lived in Cleveland, I'd definitely vote for one of the other guys.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Wednesday Wordplay: Because Wednesday starts with "W", and so does Wordplay

Edition 2 of Wednesday Wordplay - here's some words that hit me this week:

I'm fishing for a need for a word like "piscatorial," but nothing's biting. Maybe I could do something piscatorial in piscataway, like throw salmon at Rutgers students. Can you be arrested for piscatorial misconduct in piscataway?

The word "piscataway" is lenni lenape for "great deer river," so Piscataway is both piscatorial and cervine. Got that?

Piscatorial - adj. of or relating to fishing or fish.
Cervine - adj. of or relating to deer.

Here's some other fun words:

adventitious - adj. Added extrinsically; not essentially inherent. (like an unsightly, out-of-place edition added onto an architectual marvel)

Symptomatology - n. the study of relationships between symptoms and diseases.

Effusive - Excessively demonstrative; giving or involving extravagant or excessive emotional expression; gushing

which brings me to something I think is excessively demonstrative in our lexicon - the use of the suffix -gate added onto a word to indicate a scandal. Monicagate, papergate, spygate, gonzo-gate...Keith Olberman is with me on this one, as he ironically and synically points out news from any 3 of the Bush administration's 50 "gates" on a nightly basis. At least I hope he's with me.

The origin of the suffix is of course the biggest scandal in our history, and comparing "spygate" (the absurd use of camera-toting spies by the New England Patriots to spy on the Jets) to that is just silly. And the use doesn't even apply to the original scandal. If you applied the suffix to the origin, you'd call it "watergate-gate." So maybe we should just go back to calling them scandals and giving them original names. I think you'll agree with me, "Teapot Domegate" and "XYZgate" just don't have the same ring as Teapot Dome and The XYZ Affair.

and that's Wednesday Wordplay.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Sunday, January 20, 2008



"No person shall be elected to the office of the President more than twice, and no person who has held the office of President, or acted as President, for more than two years of a term to which some other person was elected President shall be elected to the office of the President more than once..."

One year from today, it will officially become unconstitutional for George W. Bush ever to hold the office of President of the United States.

All bad things must come to an end, too.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Story of the Week - Jan. 14-18

Things That Need to Stop

We need to stop talking about Britney Spears. She's speaking in a British accent now? She didn't show up at the hearing to fight for her kids? She's in and out of a mental institution? None of this is surprising, all of this is sad, and stop forcing me to give a crap.


The New York Post needs to stop doing things like this:

This is Lynsey Nordstrom (and yes, that's how she spells it). She's the 21-year old Jessica Simpson lookalike that "was brought to the game by The Post after news broke that Romo was angering Dallas fans by jetting off to Mexico for a seaside romp with girlfriend Simpson when he was supposed to be training in the days before the big game."

So if I have this right: After the Giants upset the Cowboys, the Post "reported" that the Jessica Simpson lookalike IT planted in the crowd shared some of the credit, AND that was the front page story! There's a name for a newspaper that has to invent its own front page stories - it's called The National Enquirer. No more, NY Post, you don't deserve to be called a reputable source. And stop wagging the dog anyway. As a giant fan, I'm embarrassed by the Post this week. As a human being, I'm embarrassed by it most other weeks.


In a related story, needs to stop doing this:


I got this e-mail offer earlier this week and I lost it.
Why on earth would any sports fan EVER pre-order that? They haven't won anything yet!
Pre-order is for Harry Potter books, because there's no will it/won't it involved. The book is coming out. The Giants will win or lose. These shirts will end up all over the NY metro area, or all over some third world country, depending on what happens on Sunday. But until Sunday, i don't want to see or hear any of this. Don't jinx it!


We need to stop referring to OJ Simpson as "Ex NFL star OJ Simpson." I think we all know who he is. And, if OJ were a Taboo word (I'm sure he is somewhere) his buzz words are probably:
KNIFE, BLOODY GLOVE, FORD BRONCO, JUDGE ITO, BUFFALO BILLS, and it's doubtful Buffalo Bills even makes the cut ahead of Marcia Clark, Johnny Cochran, Nicole Brown, Ron Goldman, even Hertz and the Naked Gun. And now OJ is back in big legal trouble because of a shameful scheme to steal back his own memorabilia. That's pretty disgraceful, and the NFL has enough problems with its current players.


Hamas needs to stop firing rockets into Israel from the Gaza Strip. First of all, they suck at it. Those rockets have primitive technology, no aim, and they don't do much damage. Still, Israel won't tolerate Islamic militants firing into Israel unprovoked. So what does the Israeli military do? They retaliate with sophisticated weaponry, and they kill people. Israeli military strikes have killed 35 people since Monday. That's almost triple the number of Israelis who have been killed by Hamas rockets since 2001.

Secondly, Hamas is only hurting the people it claims to fight for by firing the rockets into Israel. Because it causes Israel to cut off the flow of food supplies and electricity and petroleum to Gaza. Very little makes sense in Israel when it comes to "the situation," but there seems to be a simple solution to this cycle of violence, and it must start with Hamas. Boys, put down your silly rockets that don't hit anything and Israel will stop destroying your buildings and killing your people and you can attempt to govern yourselves.


Ok, Dennis Kucinich - it's time to stop running for president. When your campaign spends more time in the courtroom trying to get your name on the ballot and fighting your way into debates, it's time to hang it up and tell your supporter to vote for someone else.


American Idol needs to stop humiliating talentless hacks, even if they ask to be humiliated. I'm not the only one who thinks this, either. Ratings for the season premiere were down from last year, an indication that people are tired of watching ridiculous people make total asses of themselves on national TV while Paula, Randy and Simon repeat the same 6 phrases they've been repeating for 6 years. The novelty of it all is about 5 years too old.

I have an idea.
How about next season you take 500 of the best singers to Hollywood and you make it a real competition right from the start? I'd watch.


The writers strike needs to stop. I'm watching too much Food Network. And American Idol sucks.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Wednesday Wordplay - NEW!

Here's something new. A weekly post devoted to wordplay, phraseplay, and other such Grammatolatry. Every Wednesday. Because Wednesday starts with "W." And so does Wordplay.

Grammatolatry - n. the worship of words. Not to be confused with the "warship of words," which would be a boatload of insult-hurling pirates, I suppose.

Some of those pirates might be scorbutic due to a lack of vitamin C, aka ascorbic acid.

scorbutic - adj. Pertaining to or afflicted with scurvy

You might say Mike Huckabee is an antidisestablishmentarian. I've always wanted to know what that meant. Now's as good a time as any to find out.

antidisestablishmentarianism - n. opposition to the belief that there should not be an official relationship between a country's government and its national church.

The following phrase needs to be phased out of use (I'll have one of these every week):
"not gonna lie"
Good! don't lie! If you say "not gonna lie" does that mean you're lying when you don't say that? Same goes for "to be honest" as in "to be honest, I don't really like American Idol anymore"
Yeah, me neither. But to be dishonest, I think it's great. Gonna lie. It's still a great show and i love watching it, especially early in the season.

and that's Wednesday Wordplay. I hope you find it supererogatory(1), and not supererogatory (2).

supererogatory - adj. 1. going beyond the call of duty. 2. superfluous

with a little help from,, and the big word of the day calendar from avalanche publishing.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Story of the Week -- Dec 31-Jan 4

How to choose a Leader

a play.

(Yammernuen* Town Hall Episcopal Convenience Store Motel and Restaurant. Yammernuen, IA)
TOM: Good evening everyone, please have a seat. Don't get comfortable. First we'd like the thank the Yammernuen Township Town Hall Episcopal Convenience Store Motel and Restaurant for hosting the Caucus of the 119th precinct. I'm Tom Johnson, I will be overseeing tonight's proceedings. Some rules: It's now 7 o'clock sharp, so Frank over there will now lock the door. Nobody else is allowed into the caucus room. If you choose to leave, your vote will not count and a sympathy vote will be cast for Senator Joe Biden of Delaware. Rule number 2: please don't eat any of the cakes or cookies until told to do so if you want your vote to be valid. Rule number 3: excuse me, can I help you?

SPIEGALION: Oh, I'm just watching. You can pretend I'm not here.

TOM: You're not here.

SPIEGALION: That's what I meant. Keep going, don't mind me. This cake is delicious.

TOM: Ok, Rule number 3: please do not solicit homosexual sex in the bathroom or we will be forced to register you as a Republican and send you to Idaho. Yes, BOBBY, you have a question?

BOBBY: Do you think the Larry Craig jokes are starting to get old?

TOM: No. Rule number 4: each participant is allowed one question of the moderator. Probably should have waited on that one Bobby. Rule number 5: all other rules of the caucus are located in this 400 page publication which you should have received in the mail last year. Any questions? Good. Let's get started.
I'd like everyone to meet Bruno the Labrador Retriever. Everyone say hi Bruno.



TOM: Bruno is going to walk around the room right now and count you. Please sit still. And don't mind him he's very friendly. While Bruno works, let me ask, how many of you have never participated in the Iowa caucuses before?

GROUP OF 10 IN THE BACK: WOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

TOM: Yes, you must be from the University.

JOEY THE FISH: Yeah baby! Delta house baby!

TOM: Delta house? Like in Animal House?

SPIEGALION: That's my bad. Best I could come up with and I wanted to get this written before the New Hampshire primary. Really. Great cake. Who'd a thought?

TOM: All right, welcome, Delta House.

DELTAS: Yeah baby! Chug Chug Chug!

TOM: Hey, you can't drink in here!

MARTIN: Why not? Doesn't say it in the rulebook.

TOM: You read the rulebook?

JOEY THE FISH: He does all our homework too.

MARTIN: Well, not all....

PARKER: Don't be modest, you little genius, you. Have a beer.


TOM: All right, looks like Bruno's done. Now he's going to show me on this number pad how many there are....and....101? Are you sure?


TOM: Did you count Fred the bouncer?


TOM: Were you supposed to count Fred the bouncer?

BRUNO: arf...

TOM: And why not? Because Fred the bouncer is from Minnesota...It's ok, just don't do it again. Here, have a cookie. Ok, so Bruno's vote is now invalid, and we have a revised number of 100 people in the room. That's very convenient.

SPIEGALION: You're welcome.

TOM: Right, so we have 100 voters here in the room and it appears we're ready to begin. Any questions? Nope. Saving em up. Smart. Alright let's go. The first round is simple. Each candidate has a designated area. Choose your favorite candidate, go to that area. They are as follows: for Hillary Clinton, you want the deli counter to my right. For John Edwards, the altar, underneath the cross. For Barack Obama--

DELTAS: Obama!! Drink! Drink! Drink!

TOM: For Obama--

DELTAS: Obama!! Drink! Drink! Drink!

TOM: Ahem, over there by the beef jerky. For Bill Richardson it's the check-out counter, Joe Biden, the newsstand, Dennis Kucinch, over there by the ladies' room, Chris Dodd right here at the podium, and....Mike...Gravel? Ok, raise your hand if you know who Mike Gravel is.


TOM: That's what I thought, all right, I motion to strike Mike Gravel from the ballot as he is not viable.

BETTY: Second

TOM: Thank you Betty. Here, have a cookie to make it official.

JOAN: Hey why does she get a cookie?

TOM: To make a motion pass, one must consume a combination of sugar, flour and chocolate. If a cookie or other such baked good is consumed...

JOAN: So I just had to second the motion?

RALPH: Trust me honey, you didn't need it.

JOAN: Why don't you have another pork chop, Ralph?

TOM: All right, all right. Enough. Now, you have 10 minutes to choose an area corresponding to your candidate. Time begins now.

(ten minutes later)

TOM: Ok, time is up. Now...we have to count up the various areas. Any candidate that has less than 15 percent, which, conveniently, means any area with less than 15 people, will be declared not viable.

TODD: And then we can have cake?

TOM: Not yet, um...sorry I forgot your name

TODD: It's Todd. Rhymes with Dodd.

TOM: Ah, and that's why you voted for Dodd?

TODD: Rhymes with Todd.

TOM: Good choice. Unfortunately it looks like you're the only one there, so, you'll have to either convince 14 more people to join you or choose a different candidate.

TODD: Oh....anybody else's name here rhyme with Dodd?

ROD: Mine does. Hi...Rod Leiden. Rhymes with Biden.

TODD: Rod, rhymes with Dodd...

ROD: That's true.

TOM: Rod, where's your wife?

ROD: Over there by the deli counter, with the rest of the middle aged women who don't watch Oprah.

PEGGY: I work during the day and Rod won't get us TiVo.

ROD: You don't need TiVo!

PEGGY: But it's only $5 a month!

ROD: I don't see how any of this will change if we have a woman as president.

PEGGY: Well I don't understand how you can vote for JOE BIDEN!

ROD: Rhymes with Leiden!

TODD: Rod, Rhymes with Dodd!

ROD: Yeah, I'm gonna move over here with my buddy Todd.

TOM: You see? This is what the Iowa caucuses are all about. Intelligent debate, youthful enthusiasm...and eliminating non-viable candidates. With Rod moving here, that puts a nail in the Joe Biden coffin. And sadly Rod and Todd--

ROD and TODD: Ryhmes with Dodd!

TOM: Right, well you're going to have to find a different criterion for choosing your candidate, because 2 is not 15. That goes for you two over there by the ladies room in the alien costumes. Not enough for Mr. Kucinich.

(two people in alien costumes leave, dejectedly)

TOM: That leaves Richardson, Edwards, Obama--

DELTAS: Obama!

TOM: And...Clinton. Now it appears there are only 9 of you over in Richardson's camp, so you'll have to choose someone else.

ELAINE: I don't know what to say.

TOM: Well, it's not that complicated, there isn't enough support for your candidate.

ELAINE: No I mean, we don't know what to say, we can't figure out what stereotype we're supposed to be.

TOM: Oh.

SPIEGALION: My friend BrookLyn GaL likes Richardson. Not sure if that helps.

ELAINE: Can she vote in Iowa?

SPIEGALION: No, no she can't. She's from Kansas.

TERRANCE: Iowa's more mind numbingly dull than Kansas.

SPIEGALION: Is that something you're proud of?

TERRANCE: mlurpgh.

SPIEGALION: Interesting.

TOM: Let's move on. Richardson people, find someone else to have nondescript semi-opinions for. Now, there are 3 viable candidates remaining. You have 20 minutes to persuade and decide. Once your vote is locked in, you can have a piece of cake.

RALPH: Finally

(takes a cookie)

TOM: Well I guess Ralph is voting for Clinton now.


TRISHA: That's not fair, why are the cookies over by Hillary's area?

JOAN: Because that's where the counter is.

TRISHA : Yeah but now he's a vote for Hillary!

JOAN: Calm down, kid. He only voted for Obama because of the beef jerky.

DELTAS: Obama!

TRISHA: Motion to put the cookies and cakes in a neutral location.

RALPH: SECOND! (eats another cookie)

JOAN: Don't be a pig, Ralph.

RALPH: Can it, Joan. It's not my fault you're too slow.

TOM: Fred, can you get the cookies and bring them here to the center podium? OK, starting now, you have 20 minutes to persuade and make your second choices.

JOEY THE FISH: Attention young people and mothers who watch Oprah -- if you're not for Obama--

DELTAS: Obama!

JOEY THE FISH: You're against Obama.

DELTAS: Obama!

JOEY THE FISH: And if Obama Obama, Obama Obama. That's 4 more, ladies.

TRISHA: Hey, Obama's more than just the voice of the college student.

DELTA: Obama!

JOAN: Aren't you a college student?

TRISHA: Yes, but not like them. He's the voice of hope, and twentysomethings, and young people, and enthusiasm.

SUZANNE: And radical Islam.

MARY: He's not a Muslim! He's Episcopalian or something.

TRISHA: And even so, like another old white man is the answer?

SPIEGALION: I agree with you, but why should this rinkydink town in Iowa get to have this much power.

JOEY THE FISH: We brought beer.


TRISHA: Have you ever been to Iowa?

SPIEGALION: I'm not even here now.

TRISHA: Then what are you doing?

SPIEGALION: Trying to make a point that these caucuses don't make sense. That the race is far from over. That nobody cares about Iowa once the caucuses are over--

TRISHA: Stop there. You're ruining the ending. With my 10 drunk Delta boys and all these other young people who never participated in a caucus before, and these women who listen to everything Oprah tells 'em, I've got 39 votes here. Help me hand out these cookies.

SPIEGALION: I can't, I'm not here. Try the apple cake. Delicious.

TOM: Time's up. Bruno the Labrador will tally up the winners. And remember, in addition to this being a restaurant, town hall, motel lobby and convenience store, it's also a house of worship, so be sure to leave it how you left it. And you-


TOM: What are you doing? Nobody's gonna read this all the way to the end?

SPIEGALION: How do you know?

TOM: Cheesecake, saxophone, Brazilian tea paintbrush mechanism barbecue oxygen dynamic.

SPIEGALION: Now you're just messing with me.

TOM: You're messing with you.

SPIEGALION: right. Just call a winner.

TOM: Obama!


*Yammernuen is a town invented by my younger brother when he was about 6 years old and is not the name of any town anywhere.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Parallel (o-Gram)

In Hebrew class today, we read a dialogue called Sh'cheinot (Neighbor). Here's a rough translation:

Rivka: Noa, I'm going to the supermarket right now. Maybe you need something?

: Yes, I'm having guests today, and I want to make chocolate cake. I only have oil and milk in the house, and I don't have time to go to the supermarket. I need eggs, a kilo of sugar, and milk chocolate.

Rivka: You need anything else?

Noa: Ah...yes. I also need a kilo of flour. And...that's it. That's all.

Rivka: Margarine you don't need?

Noa: No, for this cake I don't need margarine. Thanks.

Rivka: It's nothing. I'll be back in a little while. See ya later!

On the walk home from class, I devised a plan for the rest of my night. It went something like this:

  1. Pee

  2. Make lunch

  3. Pass out.
But when I got to step two, my plan hit a small snag. I make the same thing for lunch every day. Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich, pretzels, fruit. Done. Yep, I'm my own soccer mom. But then, I opened the refrigerator to find:

I didn't have any bread. Or jelly. Or peanut butter. I didn't have any peanut butter in the cabinet either, which is where I normally keep peanut butter, cause who keeps peanut butter in the fridge? I guess if it's that natural stuff you have to refrigerate it whatever, point is I didn't have it.

I was reminded of Noa, the poor needy neighbor who woke up one morning and said "i'm gonna make a chocolate cake today" and somehow thought she could do it without chocolate, flour, sugar, or eggs.

Below the dialogue, there were 4 true/false questions. Here is a rough translation:

  1. Noa is a selfish person.
  2. Noa has a good heart.
  3. Rivka is a selfish person.
  4. Rivka has a good heart.
And the answers, according to the book: T, F, F, T

So what's the moral of the story? I'm selfish, I need to go grocery shopping, I had too much champagne on new year's eve, I have to buy lunch tomorrow, and I'm a bad person.

v'ani tzarich lalechet lishon.