March is never very springlike in my neck of the woods, but each year I hold out hope for a warm and verdant first day of spring. Today, I continue to hold out hope for next year. I come from a patient people. A patient, spring-loving people.
It has been several months since we’ve featured a wordoku here on the blog, but subscribers to the Copyediting newsletter now get one in every issue. If you aren’t a current subscriber, now is a great time to check it out — the April issue will be marking the 25th anniversary!
Everyone I know has that late-February hankering for spring and its warmer weather, brighter colors, fresher air, and general revitalization. There's nothing we can do to hurry along the warmer weather. If there were, I'm sure Bostonians alone would have accomplished it by now. But we can productively channel that restless yearning and use it to tackle some of the accumulated rumpledness of winter. Not a full spring cleaning, but a bit of decluttering and organizing before the full cleaning occurs.
As we have determined before, the language of love is either 70 percent French or, if chocolate is your love language, 100 percent Nahuatl. Since a one-word list makes for a poor word game, we’re going with the French.
Unscramble the following words to form 14 love-related words that made their way into English from or through French. [Hint: all words appear in the language of love post]
February 6, 1937, John Steinbeck published Of Mice and Men. Although it wasn’t his first successful published work, this novella of migrant field workers during the Great Depression garnered national attention and paved the way to a Pulitzer Prize win for The Grapes of Wrath two years later. Steinbeck went on to publish 27 books, including novels, short story collections, and nonfiction. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962.
Etymatching Steinbeck: Match the Steinbeck-title word with its appropriate etymology snippet.
Marmots across the nation will scramble out of their burrows to dabble in seasonal prognostics tomorrow, February 2 — Groundhog Day. If it’s a sunny morning, and the groundhog of the moment is scared back under cover by seeing its shadow, the sad prediction is for six more weeks of winter. If the groundhog finds unshadowed comfort to dwell in above ground, it bolsters our hopes for an early spring.
According to the National Pie Council and those of us complicit in using tasty pastries to brighten dreary winter days, today is National Pie Day. Whether your tastes tend toward savory or sweet, fruit or custard, lattice or crumble, there's a pie out there for you. As the council says: "It's not just a dessert, it's a tradition. ... Grab a slice of life!"
Five hundred and twenty-two years ago today, January 9, 1493, Christopher Columbus insulted merfolk everywhere by observing that the mermaids he saw off the coast of the Dominican Republic were "not half as beautiful as they are painted" [History.com; see also "Oh no he did not"]. If he had looked more closely, perhaps Columbus would have noticed that these mermaids were missing more than just half their beauty.
Although the origins of Boxing Day are unknown, it’s a nice day-after-Christmas holiday that our UK, Canadian, Australian, and other friends celebrate. Traditionally, it has included giving gifts to service workers and those in need. Today, it’s commonly observed by relaxing and eating Christmas leftovers or by taking advantage of shopping or sporting events. (Anyone want to join me in petitioning for its official holiday status here in the United States?)