My Saturnalia message

December 22, 2012

This year I’ve decided to have a message for the festive season. In honour of Sheldon Cooper, it will be a Saturnalia message. Alas it will have to be brief. All the talk this week has been about the Mayan calendar, but nobody remembers Harold Camping, the American Christian radio broadcaster. Camping. With the help of the science of numerology he has predicted the End Times on a number of occasions, including twice in 2011. In the face of these erroneous predictions Camping’s congregation dwindled to about 25 adults on a typical Sunday, according to Wikipedia. The radio preacher even made Time magazine’s “Top 10 Failed Predictions“. On June 9, 2011, Camping suffered a stroke and was hospitalised. After he was released from hospital, he went into to a nursing home for rehabilitation. He is now at home but his speech may have become slurred. His radio program, Camping’s Open Forum, has been taken off Family Radio.

Anyway, we’re all still here. I wish you a happy Saturnalia and a sceptical new year. I’ll be back in the first week of January.

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To all the words I’ve loved before

December 22, 2012

Linguist David Crystal says he has no favourite words – they are all fascinating in their own right. I’m sure he’s right. Nevertheless, there are some words I find especially appealing. It could be the sound, the meaning or some psycho-sexual trauma from childhood. Who knows? I’m sure I’ve left some out, but here is my list:

ad hominem

blurb

chutzpah

circumlocution

conundrum

counterintuitive

crapulence

cynical

defenestrate

deleterious

deus ex machina

discombobulate

disgust

doppelganger

dyspathy

egregious

epicure

epistemology

equivocate

eschatology

feckless

flibbertigibbet

frisson

frolic

gauche

hagiography

halcyon

heuristics

hubris

imbroglio

insouciance

jejune

jeremiad

kerfuffle

libertarian

louche

lucubration

lugubrious

mellifluous

misanthrope

NIMBY

odious

omnishambles

paradigm

pejorist

procrustean

sanculottic

scatology

sceptic

schadenfreude

schmooze

sesquipedalian

shibboleth

sui generis

supercilious

unctuous

zeitgeist