Odd Word Question

OK, folks. We all know that twice a year is semi-annual, and that four times a year is semi-semiannual quarterly. What’s the word for three-times a year? Quadramonthly?

ETA: Note: biennial (==bi-annual): every two years. Triennial (==tri-annual): every three years.

ETA Again: Looks like it is triannual, just as biannual is different from biennial. But that’s just wrong, but its not, oh, hell. I still like nonofortnightly.


Oh What a Fool That Mary Was / Her Little Ass T’Risk

As CNN has noted, today is National Punctuation Day. In honor of the day, let’s all sing that immortal Cole Porter classic, “Night and Day“, as Allan Sherman presented it on his album “Allan in Wonderland“:

Night And Day by Cole Porter, with Punctuation Marks included

Like the beat comma beat comma beat of the tom hyphen tom,
When the jungle shadows fall.
Like the tick hyphen tick hyphen tock of the stately clock,
As it stands against the wall.
Like the drip comma drip comma drip of the raindrops,
When the summer shower is through.
Some voice within me keeps repeating
Colon, quotation mark.
You comma
you comma
you exclamation point.
Close quotation, period, dash.

Night and day, comma.
You are the one, dash.
Only you comma
beneath the moon comma
and under the sun
Whether near to me or far, dot dot dot,
It’s no matter comma darling comma where you are, dash.
I think of you, comma.
Night and day, period.
New paragraph.
Night and day, exclamation point.
Under the height of me. Dash.
There’s an oh such a hungry yearning comma
Burning parenthesis inside of me.
Close parenthesis, period.

Spoken: Well, “inside of me” is a parenthetical phrase that describes where the yearning is burning.

And my torment won’t be through
Until you let me spend my life making love to you. Asterisk!
Chorus: (Asterisk Asterisk Asterisk Asterisk)

Spoken: There’s a footnote at the bottom that tells who’s making love to who.

Spend my life making love to you.
Day and night?
Night and day, question mark.
Chorus: Night and day.


Postfix Adjectives

Today on the drive home on the van, we had a rambling discussion about postfix adjectives. These are the things with the noun in front, that sound wrong when pluralized. Examples are:

Attorney General (Attorny General)
Court Martial (Courts Martial)
Surgeon General (Surgeons General)
Mother-in-Law (Mothers-in-Law)
Attorney-at-Law (Attorneys-at-Law)

The only postfix adjectives we could think of were: general, martial, in-law, at-law, d’art. We were unsure if there were others, or if there was a proper term for the part of speech. We also couldn’t figure out why there is a hyphen between the noun and “at-law” or “in-law”, but not for the other postfix adjectives.

We also noted that although in-law and at-law are postfix adjectives, outlaw is not. This led to a question regarding ellipticcurve‘s sister C, who has passed the bar. C’s husband, D, has a brother J. If C did something illegal (such as littering) and left the state, from J’s point of view, would she be an attorney-at-law in-law outlaw?

We decided that (a) this is likely the fault of the French, who brought us Objects d’Art, and (b) it was a case for a forensic etymoligist. By the way, is there any connection between a forensic etymologist and a grammar nazi?


Bad Headlines of the Morning / Observations

Thanks for the MemARRRies (Los Angeles Times)
[Shouldn’t they have posted this on TLAP day? Or perhaps this article belongs on Page 3?]

Iguana be free: Cop captures loose reptile (Daily News).
[I remember the Monkees singing this: “Iguana be free, like the bluebird…”]

Soldiers celebrate holiday relaxing with a hookah (Daily Breeze)
[Are you sure that’s not a typo?]

Lay Is ‘Hiding With Elvis’ (San Francisco Chronicle)
[Now that’s a great euphemism: “Hiding with Elvis”. There are actually loads of great Lay headlines, including “Even at the End, Ken Lay Didn’t Get It” (NY Times) and “Ken Lay’s Last Evasion” (Washington Post).]

Stem Cells Without Moral Corruption (Washington Post)
[No, it’s not about specially engineered stem-cells that produce the religious right. It does make me think about my last post, the one about the song “Keep Your Jesus Off My P…” (NSFW audio – video is safe; lyrics)]

In other news:

  • Live Nation to Buy House Of Blues. Live Nation, a spinoff of Clear Channel of Borg (nor relation to Westborg Malls or Microborg), is buying the House of Blues and its related concert venues (eight amphitheaters and 10 clubs), as well as booking rights at five additional venues (on top of the 153 already managed by LiveNation). What does this mean? Probably more music you don’t like on stage.
  • Merriam-Webster Updates Dictionary. They are adding words such as “google” (v), “unibrow” (n), “drama queen” (n), “empty suit” (n), “himbo” (n), “bling” (n), “soul patch” (n), “avian influenza” (n), “biodiesel” (n), and my personal favorite, “mouse potato” (n). No, mouse potatoes aren’t related to mouse balls, but rather are the computer equivalent of a “couch potato”, i.e., one who vegges out at the computer. Alright, how many of you are mouse potatoes?
  • Pricey License Plates. In China, people are reportedly paying over $10,000 for license plates with 8s on them (8 is a lucky number in that culture, 4 is not). The most expensive plate — AC6688 — fetched $10,000 on a day when officials sold hundreds of plates for a total of $366,500. A man in the city of Hangzhou placed an Internet ad offering to sell his plate , A88888, for about $140,000. Puts a different perspective on buying a personalized plate for $90.

Well, the tea is cool, so off to work it is…


Best New Word

Another observation while eating lunch…

Usage seen in a post by underpope:

schiavo. n. Something that should have been left to die a long time ago.

He used it in reference to the reports of yet-another-Startrek-movie; I think it applies better to the reports of Dallas being remade with John Travolta as J.R. and J-Lo as Sue Ellen.

And speaking of words (which we were), note the usage of “yet-above”. I wonder how many folks today remember yacc (1) (the Yet-Another-Compiler-Compiler). This led to all sorts of YAs, such as when I was referring to the UCLA Engineering IV building (before it was named) as the Yet Another Boelter Hall Hall.