What's in a Word?

Pondering word play and power in The Daily Sentinel

Page 104 of 127


A banana appeal

By Debra Dobbins
Friday, December 17, 2010

I beg to differ. HCBATC is the diva.

A diva is a leading lady, often in an opera. The word’s meaning has broadened over the years to mean someone highly temperamental and/or egotistic. (Minnie Driver as Carlotta in the 2004 movie “Phantom of the Opera” gave a superb portrayal of a diva.)

HCBATC needs to understand the simple pleasures of a banana in all its stages. A yellow-green banana may be put into a fruit bowl to help create a feast for the eyes until it ripens. A just-ripe banana is a joy to peel and savor. If a banana has brown spots, it’s simply at the peak of perfection for scrumptious banana bread.

Furthermore, HCBATC should care about potassium because it helps lower blood pressure. The blood pressure of anyone who sees fit to lambast a banana must be redlining.

HCBATC should get a life--a healthy life with potassium and the esthetic pleasures of a tropical treat.

Sincerely,

A Carmen Miranda wannabe

Carmen Miranda in the 1943 movie, “The Gang’s All Here”
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Zuckerberg enjoys mountain of sweet success

By Debra Dobbins
Thursday, December 16, 2010

How does that saying go? With a name like Zuckerberg, it has to be good. Oops, wrong name, but right concept.

Yes, Santa, it’s true. Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been very, very good—good enough, at least, to become Time’s Person of the Year for 2010.

Actually, the award does not have to be given to just one person or for a good deed. Time magazine says that the award acknowledges a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that has most influenced events of the past year.

Since recognizing Charles Lindbergh in 1927, Time has acknowledged everyone from U.S. presidents to dictators such as Germany’s Adolph Hitler in 1938, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin in 1939 and Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979.

Among this year’s runners-up were the 33 Chilean miners rescued in October. Lamenting their status, NBC’s Matt Lauer said they “got the shaft.”

For more on the miners, Zuckerberg, Facebook and other runners-up such as the Tea Party Movement, Hamid Karzei and Julian Assange, go to
http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/0,28757,2036683,00.html?iid=moreontime.

Zuckerberg received both positive and negative press in 2010. In September he announced that Facebook will donate $100 million to the school system in Newark, NJ. This year former college classmates Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss continued to pursue a second lawsuit against Facebook. The first, settled out of court for a reported $65 million, claimed that Zuckerberg had stolen their idea for a social website. The second claims that Facebook’s value was understated in the first lawsuit.

The name Zuckerberg means “sugar mountain” in German (auf Deutsch). Zuckerberg is the second youngest person to receive the award ("Lindy" snagged it at 25). At 26, the Harvard dropout is too young to be anyone’s “sugar daddy” (an older, rich man), but Forbes estimates he is worth $4 billion. Maybe “sugar mountain” will soon mean someone who is young and rich.


 

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Aliases of a man on the fly

By Debra Dobbins
Wednesday, December 15, 2010

He’ll be the most wanted man in the world on Christmas Eve and in the wee hours of Christmas Day. Even the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) will track him.

He’s legendary for giving pursuers the slip. All folks usually see of him is the bottom of his black boots as he climbs out of chimneys and back into his sleigh.

A crafty fellow, he goes by many aliases. Kringle, the name used above, is short for Kris Kringle. This name comes from Christkindl, which is Christ child in German.

He’s known as Father Christmas in Great Britain and Noel Baba in Turkey, where the legend of St. Nicholas, or St. Nick, began. The Dutch call him Sinter Klaas, and from that name comes Santa Claus.

For other fun Santa names, check out http://www.myuniversalfacts.com/2006/11/names-for-santa-claus-around-world.html. For more on the history of St. Nick and the physics involved in Santa’s annual escapade, go to http://www.unmuseum.org/santa.htm.

Above is a retouched photo of “Merry Old Santa Claus” from the January 1, 1881,

edition of Harper’s Weekly. It was drawn by Thomas Nast.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

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Jumping off the fence

By Debra Dobbins
Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Webster’s says that sitting on the fence means “uncommitted or undecided in a controversy.”

In these rancorous times the fence may seem crowded in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. It is a safe place for policy-makers, but not a productive one for American citizens.

As our national debt spirals ever higher and we continue to wage two wars, our elected officials now need to tackle these and other tough issues with candor and courage—even if that means getting “fenced in” to publicly defending positions on vital issues and running the risk of not being reelected. The nation deserves no less.

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“An old, sweet song”

By Debra Dobbins
Monday, December 13, 2010

The headline “Georgia on his mind” is a play on words based on a classic blues song that has appealed to diverse audiences for 80 years. Hoagy Carmichael wrote the music and Stuart Gorrell wrote the lyrics for “Georgia on my Mind,” in 1930, according to Wikipedia.

Wikipedia also explains that Ray Charles brought the song back to national attention by recording it in 1960, and 18 years later, Willie Nelson’s country-western rendition renewed the song’s popularity once again. In 1979 it became the official state song of Georgia.

As far as names go, Georgia gets a workout. It’s a female name, the name of a state and the name of a country, formerly a satellite state of the Soviet Union. Geography buffs will also know of the Strait of Georgia, a gorgeous, 150-mile-long stretch of water between Vancouver Island and British Columbia, Canada.

Georgia, according to Webster’s, is the female version of George, which comes from an ancient Greek name meaning earthworker.

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