Monday, August 10, 2009


This word caught my eye as I passed over the "front page site" (or whatever we call Page 1 of a placeless mass of light points) of the New York Times. The word is striking, though I would not go so far as to say it's pleasing. It's a little angular, topographically speaking.

From an article by Carol Kaesuk Yoon on August 10, 2009, seemingly destined for the Science section of tomorrow's print edition. The piece is adapted from Yoon's book, Naming Nature: The Clash Between Instinct and Science.

Give a nod to Professor Franclemont and meditate, luxuriate in its beetle-ness, its daffodility.

There is a pleasing y word in the article, though:

The Rofaifo people of New Guinea, excellent natural historians, classify the cassowary, a giant bird complete with requisite feathers and beak, as a mammal.

It's a little like janissary, might bring to mind dromedary or palm tree, and is just plain handsome/beautiful. Shoe-wise cassowary is a well-made leather shoe that has the mien of a wool cape; daffodility is a clunky hard-toed rubber water shoe criss-crossed with stretchy cord pulls. (It also brings to mind plastic cottage cheese containers, which can't be good.) Cassowary can be worn to the symphony and daffodility can be worn on a boat. Neither is a bare foot. I'm not certain that any y word is a bare foot.

That said, it is difficult to read Yoon's article without thinking of Henry Reed's August 1942 poem "Naming of Parts."

Also I think of a friend's taxonomy of people: the Go-Gos, the Slow-Gos, and the No-Gos. I have suggested a special category, the Pogo, for one exceedingly No-Go person we know, but have yet to hear back from my friend about this nomenclature.

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