F is for Floccinaucinihilipilification

“Can you use that in a sentence please?”

“Sure. I’ve pretty certain that the country’s floccinaucinihilipilification feelings about the President’s job are very true.”

For the letter F today I’m choosing a word in the English language that is quite absurd and ridiculed. It’s origins are a laughing matter for it was a matter of Latin fusion: throwing four ingredients into a stew kettle and stirring them with constant care, and out came this new word, that was made with a pilus of hair. If you say it to a person who is unaware of its meaning, they’ll likely not know that you’re basically calling their life insignificant.

This is the second longest legitimate word, other than that ridiculous long one that contains about 500 instances of meth, in the English language. I just had to choose this word today for F since it is obviously an interesting set of syllables that can be broken down like this:

floc – ce – nah – ce – knee – hil – lip – ill – lif – fah – kay – shun

This absurd word is defined as the habit of estimating that something is worthless, explaining my example of the President’s job up there. It’s origins can be traced back to the eighteenth century, a time when the most fun you could have without killing someone was creating new and interesting words for the dictionary.

The legend goes like this: In eighteenth century Berkshire there were four little Latin words named Flocci, Nauci, Nihili, and Pili and they all lived happily together in a log cabin (in separate beds, of course). But then one night, a big bad guy with a lasso, on orders from some secret cult I suppose, broke into their cabin (it wasn’t locked) while they were sleeping and wrangled up all of the words and added a -fication tag across their heads in red paint. And apparently it was some magic paint, for the four words eventually morphed into a fearsome monster with big tentacles and slimy skin. The first thing this monster did was eat its creator and then stormed and terrorized the village, spreading something around that made many people and places worthless, hence the definition created later on. The legend of the Floccinaucinihilipilification monster was not spoken openly for years after that, just in hushed tones, and it was hard to pronounce anyway. But in 1741, an author with the brilliant name of William Shenstone boldly used it in a letter about a deceased lover: “I loved him for nothing so much as his flocci-nauci-nihili-pili-fication of money” or “I loved him for nothing so much as his judgment that money was a worthless commodity.” Well apparently Shenstone’s life was now meaningless without his lover and so the “F” monster showed up later on and finished him off, but not without a fight put up by brave Sir William who managed to cripple the beast before he died, making it weak. The beast retreated then to a safe place and was never seen again. Some say it died. Or so the story goes. The legend of the monster who made people and things insignificant lives on today, being told in circles to frightened children (and adults).

Okay, so that’s not exactly how the origins of the word went (it came from a grammar book at Eton College) but there are four Latin words contained within this grand “F” word that can be analyzed more closely:

  • Flocci, derived from floccus, literally a tuft of wool, and I’m not sure where it’s meaning of “worthless” comes in the Eton College grammar book
  • Pili, the plural of pilus, a hair, which in Latin could mean a whit, jot, trifle or generally a thing that is insignificant
  • Nihili comes from nihil, nothing, as in words like nihilism and annihilate
  • Nauci just means worthless

So it was a matter of creating a word that did not yet exist, filling in the vague gap to describe the act of naming something or someone worthless. It’s not like a person had anything better to do in 1700s England. I should dare myself to use this word in a sentence when speaking with someone, just to see their reaction, their look of bewilderment.


April A to Z Challenge

BATZAP Badge2

Advertisements

E is for Easter

Symbols of the empty tomb

Life hatched, life rose

And now turned to stone

Painted over with vivid colors

So happiness could overshadow death

Celebrating the spirit that lives within

Viral resurrection

April A to Z Challenge

D is for Dream

I tend to dream
About many things in general,
From past schoolmates to teachers,
To the first time I played Nintendo
They are usually short lapses and happen in a flash,
Like the one time I dreamed of having Jimmy Kimmel teach class
Sometimes it’s nightmares and other crazy stuff,
As when my father was on a raft and rats were eating him up
I’ve been sent to scary castles and tested the waters,
Even got a job at Tuxler’s and saw my five future daughters
There was the gothic girl in the locker,
And a bloody sliced throat,
Me riding my bike,
And some reptile on a boat
I sat down with Kimye at a table one day,
And a guy was wearing a watch and someone said, “Are you gay?”
Ran through the store, hip-hopped through cement,
Had a gun pointed at me and used a toy to defend
I don’t know why I dream
These deliriously daffy dreams,
But it seems as if they come about
In response to not just one thing
And as the TV went missing,
And creepy Karl Childers came abrupt (mmm…taters),
I realized dreams are
Quite messed up

April A to Z Challenge

BATZAP Badge2

C is for Coca-Cola

“What’s red and white and black all over?”

“I don’t know, a painted zebra?”

“Everyone in Japan drinking a Coca-Cola.”

sf

Coca-Cola is a soft drink that probably has the most storied history of any nationally recognized brand. It was invented by Dr. John Pemberton in May 1886 in his backyard and sold only a few days later in the local drug store. One of the interesting things about this drink is that up until 1905 it actually contained trace amounts of cocaine, hence the “coca”, and the original recipe contained kola-nuts. It was originally used as a medicine to treat ailments. Here is an interesting video I found on YouTube for Coke:

Movies that have featured Coca-Cola in scenes:

  • The Mystery of the Leaping Fish, 1916
  • The Breakfast Club, 1985
  • Body and Soul, 1947
  • Dr. Strangelove, 1964

Other inventions that start with the letter C:

  • Cabbage Patch Kids – invented by Xavier Roberts in 1976
  • Celsius thermometer – invented by Anders Celsius in 1742
  • Cash Register – invented by John Ritty in 1883
  • Cellophane film – invented by Jacques Brandenberger in 1908

Haiku for Coca-Cola:

Streaming red and white

Refreshing like crashed on waves

Movie superstar

April A to Z Challenge

B is for Buried

Marching evergreens
Ocean of cold deep snow.
Buried bench blanket
Sun rays shine down over white
Two-toned landscape everywhere.

April A to Z Challenge

A is for Auto-Tune

“Wow, you sounded really good in that song, dude! I didn’t know you could sing so well.”

“Me neither, until I got Auto-Tuned.” Ba dum tsss!

Auto-tune, that musical remedy that many of us despise, was invented by Dr. Andy Hildebrand in 1997. The first song to be commercially produced with it was, interestingly enough, Cher’s 1998 hit “Believe”. Since then, Auto-Tune has greatly created a blur between singers who naturally sound good and ones who sound better when the software is used on their voices, such as Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus. One of the most popular things on YouTube right now is Auto-Tuned videos, ranging from viral news clips to Barack Obama speeches turned into songs such as this one:

Other songs known to have used Auto-Tune:

  • “One More Time” – Daft Punk
  • “These Streets Will Never Look The Same” – Chromatics
  • “Love Lockdown” – Kanye West
  • “Impossible Soul” – Sufjan Stevens

Other inventions that start with the letter A:

  • Air conditioner – invented by Willis Carrier in 1902
  • Air bag – invented by General Motors in 1973
  • Aluminum foil – invented by Charles Martin Hall in 1910
  • Aqualung – invented by Jacques Cousteau & Emile Gagnan in 1942

And a haiku for Auto-Tune:

Auto-Tune my voice
It sounds ten times better now
But fake as wood dolls

April A to Z Challenge

WPC: April Sky of Dreams

14912081838_099da59477_o

Oh, what a sight, the April sky of my dreams, found while walking home one evening.

Those clouds are like dark smoke, fluffy, roaring, billowing out with the fierceness of giants. The streak of light pierces the evening sky, creating an electric connection between two cloud nodes, as if it communicating back and forth.

But what became most surprising is when I stared at this long enough and the image of a demon god monster suddenly formed, holding the “lightning bolt” in a smoky grey hand, a scowl expression on his frowning face. An eye and a crown shaped head can easily be seen. The god, who might actually be Zeus, also seems to be sporting a large beard. It looks like he’s prodding the cloud below. And now I have just made out the image of a cannonball or bowling ball being lifted over the right shoulder of “Zeus” with a muscular arm and he apparently wanting to throw it – or it might be a large dark fist being raised in fury. His formless, ghostly body also materializes in the open space of the sky and it looks like he’s floating on his side through the channel. Now it is quite apparent: a thunderous god is in the clouds with his magic bolt or wand of lightning; I cannot look at this picture without seeing it now.

Fiery orange, somber blue, wispy white, smog grey, amber yellow, all sifting together harmoniously to create this unimaginable scene.

At the fiery core of the masterpiece is what looks like a volcano about to erupt. The eye of the storm. The sun simmering down on a calm April evening.

This shot is absolutely beautiful. There is so much vibrant color, the rich shades of grey and deep blue tinged cumulus’ are marvelous.

I cannot stop looking at the sky god, it is so amazingly clear now…it’s head is now fully shaped. I move in closer and wow – there’s an ear as well.


Photo Challenge for Week of October 10: Dreamy