Tsundoku: [Japanese] The act of buying too many books; of letting them pile up and never reading them. I am guilty of this, and am in the midst of either reading or purging the ones I do have. So many books, too little time.
Can we just take a moment and talk about how much I hate the word ‘meme’? I know it’s origins – I’m just the type of nerd to go snooping through the Internets to figure that out. (It’s from the ancient Greek, if you want to know: μίμημα pronounced [míːmɛːma] mīmēma, which means: “imitated thing”. )
(And yes, in fact I did just spend ten minutes saying that out loud (mee may mah mee may mah…) to see if I liked it any better, but no. Not really.)
I suppose I dislike it so much because visually, it’s just me twice. ME! ME! An iconic representation of the selfish culture of today. It’s also kind of whiney. Meeeeeeem. I resisted saying the word out loud for some time and would refer to memes as “that funny with the baby”, or “the funny with Eddard Stark” and most people would get what I meant, but eventually I broke down and said it. Meeeeeem. *Shudder*
Anthropologically speaking it’s a fascinating idea – how something spreads from person to person, is improved on and altered by each as it goes and yet remains the same – and remains popular long enough for that to happen. It’s like we’re a flock of magpie lemming hybrids that can’t get enough of a single shiny idea that we have to tear it apart and pass it around so that everyone has a share of it until we’re all sick to death of it.
Anyway, I’m still not a fan of the word and will probably not perpetuate many of the things unless I find them particularly witty. Just sayin.
As you were.
[catastrophe [n]: from Latin catastropha, from Greek katastrophē ‘overturning, sudden turn’, from kata- ‘down’ + strophē ‘turning’ (from strephein ‘to turn’)]
-involving or causing sudden great damage or suffering or a sudden and large-scale alteration in the state of something.
-of or relating to geological catastrophism.
-extremely unfortunate or unsuccessful. Physical or financial ruin.
The meteor crashing into the moon was catastrophic: altering tides and weather, which in turn had disastrous consequences for every living thing on earth.
Fulvous [Adj] a colour: “sometimes described as dull reddish-yellow, brownish-yellow or tawny, it can also be likened to a variation of buff, beige or butterscotch. As an adjective it is used in the names of many species of birds, and occasionally other animals, to describe their appearance.”
The first recorded use of fulvous as a colour name in English was in the year 1664. I believe it is also used by Edgar Allen Poe in “Murders in the Rue Morgue”.
I was recently looking up duck species because there are many, many of them currently flocking around the inner harbour and came across this word and didn’t know what it meant. However, now when I am reading about the Fulvous Whistling-duck, I will know they really mean tawny. Tawny Whistling-duck. (All I wanted to know was whether the birds I saw were actually Mergansers, as I had originally thought. I was right!)
Sciolism: [n] a pretentious display of superficial knowledge. From Late Latin sciolus (smatterer), diminutive of Latin scius (knowing), from scire (to know). Ultimately from the Indo-European root skei– (to cut or split), which also gave us schism, ski, shin, science, conscience, nice, scienter, nescient, exscind, and adscititious.
As usual, Harris’ reviews were more pontificating and sciolism than actual research and facts could account for.