Word of the day for Thursday, March 9th

It’s not a verb referring to what you are doing to your body on a Funyuns-rich diet. It’s not a Don Martin onomatopoeia for Rapunzel Letting Loose Her Hair For Prince #2.

Flabellate. It’s an adjective meaning “fan-shaped.” Merriam-Webster and LACMA are playing a “match the word with the picture” game this week on Twitter, and it’s a much pleasanter distraction from certain daily horrors than the other daily distractions we’ve been getting from said horror-makers on Twitter. Other highlights from the game: kinker and natiform. What will tomorrow bring?

Published in: on March 9, 2017 at 9:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Etiquette & superstition: cricket

I just realized that there are numerous superstitions about crickets, and I really haven’t written anything about them. There are two reasons for this:

  1. I haven’t been able to find any accompanying etiquette tips relating to crickets, and
  2. the earwigs are back in the house, thus making me completely disgusted with insects of any kind. Really; I just felt something crawling on my leg, and it was an earwig. I threw it across the room and now I have no idea where it is.

Let’s talk about the game of cricket instead.

ETIQUETTE: Cricket, like most sports, has a baffling amount of jargon that makes no sense to the outsider. Reading about cricket etiquette reminds me of that old Bob Newhart comedy sketch where he’s on the phone with Abner Doubleday. The following is a tip that I have seen posted verbatim on several sites on the subject of “Walking when you’re out”: “Sadly this is a tradition that has gone out of the game at the highest level. But there’ll be times when you know you’ve got an edge through to the wicketkeeper that the umpire’s missed. But whether you own up and walk is your decision.” The point deserves an F for grammar and composition, but an A+ for esotericism. I’ll be a professional Full-Frummert before I learn how to play cricket.

SUPERSTITION: The score of 111 is very unlucky in a game of cricket; it is called a Nelson. 222 (a double-Nelson) and 333 (triple-Nelson) are no luckier. There is one professional umpire in the UK who balances on one leg when the score is a Nelson in order to keep bad things from happening during that time. In Australia, the unlucky score is 87.

Word of the day for Wednesday, June 10th

Today’s word is actually a compound onomatopoeia. It is my favorite onomatopoeia, I think. I have known this onomatopoeia since I was a small child. It is:

SNAP PLOOBADOOF. This is the noise that Wonder Woman’s bra makes when she takes it off. Sometimes I do confuse this with “FLABADAP,” but that is of course the noise Rapunzel’s hair makes when she unfurls it. I’d like to thank Doug Gilford for finally making a dictionary of Don Martin’s onomotopoeiae (is that correct? I went to California public schools) as found in Mad Magazine. If you want to know the meaning of:

  • ZAT (one of my earliest cartoon memories, thank you; I believe I was four years old when I first encountered this word)
  • POiT

you should just go to Doug’s site. Well done, sir.

Sometimes it all comes together

I just had another one of those moments – one of those moments when I find a few of my interests have come together in a fantastic package, and I’m amazed that I didn’t know about this fantastic package earlier. An example earlier this year of one of these moments was when I started hearing about Edward Gorey’s naughty etiquette book The Recently Deflowered Girl. I have loved Edward Gorey and naughty books and etiquette since I was a kid, so how was it that I never knew about this book until this year?

But anyway, I just had another one of those moments. I love Mad Magazine artist Don Martin. I inherited my parents’ pretty good ’50s-’60s jazz vinyl collection. I play trombone. Why was I not aware until just 30 minutes ago that Don Martin made album covers for Prestige Records?


Finding these moments makes me feel like I’m on the right path somehow. Do you ever have these moments?

Happy birthday, Mr. Dovetonsils

Today is comedian and television pioneer Ernie Kovacs’ birthday. Mr. Kovacs has a special place in my heart, for many reasons: his love of monkey costumes, his contributions to Mad Magazine, his luxuriant moustache…  He would have been 90 years old today had he followed one of my simple rules for health and happiness: stay away from Westwood.

I am currently recommending Mr. Kovacs for Fancy Notions beatification so that he can become a patron saint of this website. Part of the beatification process involves research into the miracles performed by the candidate. Unfortunately, I was not able to find an online video clip of Mr. Kovacs’ miraculous all-gorilla production of Swan Lake, but I did find a decent performance of his simian troupe The Nairobi Trio. Enjoy:

Published in: on January 23, 2009 at 11:27 am  Leave a Comment  
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