Monday, August 30, 2010


Rhymes with apiary.

In a sentence: "Is that a shortcoming lodged in your medullary substance, or is it simply a long-time bad habit formed along a well-trampled neural pathway?"

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I could note typos from page 1 of Our Town ("Brearly") or from page 3 of The Jewish Week ("Sympnony Space"), because they are endearing. But last night I saw "Groundhog Day" for the first time in a long time, and discovered that Harold Ramis (or whoever wrote this line) is a man after my own heart.

Rita: . . . and he'll change poopy diapers.

Phil: Does he have to use the word poopy? [raises his eyebrows]

N.B. Murray places emphasis on the word word, not the word poopy.

::UPDATE/CORRECTION:: Murray emphasizes poopy (mainly poop) more than the word word.

Thursday, August 26, 2010


Sometimes I think about the open outcry system. I've no idea if it was a visit many years ago to the Chicago Merc or seeing the movie "Trading Places" or what, but it's a good show. For non-spectators, for traders, well: I suppose you'd have to ask them.

"Trading Places" is probably the easiest way people can receive an impression of the theatricality of the open outcry system. It does seem that it could be the basis of a hyper-geeky Wii game, complete with bonus tracks of interviews with researchers discussing the temporal expressivity parameter of some gestures and the speed expressivity parameter of others (and just bypassing motion vectors altogether).

The CME has a little illustrated guide to hand signals, via PBS's site. Here's the page with the expiration months.

Some signals remind me of letters of the ASL Manual Alphabet.

Back to the y.

Recently, after the subject of hand signals came up in conversation, I revisited a site I'd discovered in July,, created by an independent trader at the CME named Ryan Carlson. Carlson's site has photographs of him wearing his red trading jacket and using the various signals. This time, after noticing his badge acronym


I sent him an e-mail. Carlson e-said he chose PNOY because it's "short for pinoy which just means Filipino because my mom is from the Philippines."

I hadn't heard or read the word Pinoy until yesterday, but apparently it is one of those controversial words that some consider a pejorative and others affectionate or ironic or neutral--a rather connotative word.

:: Update :: A Filipino friend writes: "Pinoy is not really controversial. It’s the word for “Filipino-American” or even “Filipino” in Tagalog, the national language. I can’t say that there’s a situation where I’d ever call myself pinay, but I also don’t speak the language. I’m sure it can be used in a derogatory way, but that would really depend on the tone. For example, if someone said to me, “Hoy, pinoy!”, meaning “Hey, Filipino!” in Tagalog, then yes, I’d take offense."

Carlson e-said that "most people would read it as PONY and jokingly call me that."

When I finally noticed it, I thought, What is that? Now I look at it and think, It would really be something if it were spelled PNIN.

Carlson e-said that he wears the jacket only when he goes down to the trading floor, adding, "If I wanted to, I could still trade in the pit as a member, but once the market started to go electronic I've preferred to trade via computer."


At St. Mark's Bookshop tonight (where I discovered Hamster Man), I read in a book of poems by Eileen Myles the line

Wickety morning

It's from a poem titled "The Sky."

I don't know that I've seen or heard the word before.

St. Mark's had a book of "Oulipoems" in its poetry section. One was a two-liner about an opera singer (performer of some kind), something like

Eggs hit

Friday, August 20, 2010


Scouse for electricity.


From J. Kenji Lopez-Alt's recipe for Creamy Gazpacho Andaluz, in the July & August issue of Cook's Illustrated (I've also liked the magazine's podcasts, especially the one for no-knead bread).

Cook's Illustrated
is proof that the subscription model can and does work.

(Meanwhile: Is anyone besides me tired of seeing the word garlicky?)


Compare to tomatoey. Which is more childlike?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


A message I received recently:

I left the thingy for you in the thingy.

Before I say something about this, however, I would just like to list the ingredients of a popular snack food recently left within my reach (with apologies to Sally Fallon):

Enriched flour (I leave out all the sub-ingredients)
palm oil [read: orangutan habitat]
soybean oil
defatted soy flour
rye flour
egg yolk
mono- and diglycerides
milk protein concentrate
sodium propionate
guar gum
sodium stearoyl lactylate
polysorbate 60
natural and artificial flavor

Glaze ingredients
syrup solids
palm oil
soy lecithin [from what I know, made by soaking soy in hexane, a neurotoxic substance produced as a byproduct of gasoline refining]
calcium carbonate
calcium sulfate
locust bean gum
sodium hexametaphosphate
titanium dioxide [supposedly in all white food coloring]

What has Granny's Kitchens (aptly situated on a street named Industrial Park Drive) created with this list? A doughnut-like . . . thingy.

It's difficult to hear or see the word thingy without thinking of Deborah Garrison's book of poems A Working Girl Can't Win. Years ago I reviewed it. In her poem "Superior", she capitalizes the word.

Listening to a superior talk about "the Big Picture",

She agreed, she agreed, she seconded his thesis,
and with each murmured yes her certainty mounted:
she would never be one of them--a Director, a Manager,
an Executive Thingy. She didn't have the ambition

Garrison's Thingy is distantly related to my personal message thingy. Both are buoyant. Hers of course comes with a tiny lance.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


From Jan Whitaker's post "Building a tea room empire" on her blog Restaurant-ing Through History:

So, while “empire” may be a bit grandiose, it’s hard not be impressed by the tea rooms enterprise Ida Frese and her cousin, Ada Mae Luckey, built in New York City in the early 20th century.

When real luck does descend, I think it feels the way the word Luckey looks: both hokey and plump, as if real luck always has a e in between the k and the y--ignore the key.

The point is: Full-grown luck does not skimp on letters.

Ms. Luckey contributed to the rise of what--along with prune danishes, sour milk, lime rickeys (alcoholic and non-) and great takeout Chinese food--used to be easy enough to find on Manhattan Island.

I never ate at one of her tea rooms, but my first job was working the reception desk at a publishing house on lower Park Avenue. It published The Guinness Book of World Records. Several times a week I'd hear somebody surrounded by a small group of people say-shouting something like, "We're calling long distance from Georgia and we have the biggest tomato on Earth!" Then I would tell them how to go about validating their tomato.

Towards the end of that summer, I discovered Mary Elizabeth's tea room. I liked its tuna salad and its iced tea, which came with a mint sprig. I would sit at the counter and notice women who wore drip-dry polyester dresses and carried sensible pocketbooks. They reminded me a little of the grandmother of mine who wore hats (and hat pins) and dusted herself with talcum powder. She also abhorred refined sugar; with her it was honey or nothing.

To me, Mary Elizabeth's was a bustling, no-nonsense kind of vast meal-providing oasis, industrious and leisurely at the same time. Working nearby was the best fringe benefit of the job.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


How many people believe this should be pronounced the one way would say psychopanicky?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


People will notice that the above word ends in v. This is because somebody put masking tape over the descender of the y in the sign on the BQ platform at the Dekalb Avenue stop (and imagine the words in Helvetica):

Brighton Beach &
Conev Island
via Local

Readers of the material city could read a lot into the missing descender, given the coming makeover of Coney Island. I know some who will miss the freaky circus shows. When I wrote about food for Metro, I went out to see about the hot dogs in the little ballpark. Don't remember the food but it was appealingly weird to see a ball game with the sea in the distance. I didn't ride the Cyclone that time. Once (years ago) was enough. Comparing Space Mountain and the Cyclone (on the National Register of Historic Places) is a comparison worth making.

Childs is going to reopen on the Boardwalk. Should be interesting to see how that works out.

I think it would be just as well to figure out how to make the Parachute Jump work again. That's a ride I would take.