Thursday, September 30, 2010


From the Fall 2010 issue of National Design Journal:

TM [Ted Muehling]: I was introduced to the Rath family, owners of Lobmeyr, through the Nymphenburg Porcelain Manufactory.

You see, even if the manufactory produces supersonic jets, the y puts a wide-eyed Seussian spin on the word. ("Do you make ergonomic lollipops and whistling sweets?" "No, we make giant polluting things that Charles Lindbergh would not like.")

Back to the Design Journal, only to add that the Cooper-Hewitt was my first museum love. I discovered it sometime in my early 20s. My Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler-style fantasy of an overnight stay at a museum immediately transferred from the Met to the Cooper-Hewitt. I really liked the conservatory (almost as much as I liked the kitchen at Hyde Park--although, I must say, now having seen Amanda Hesser and Tad Friend's kitchen in that video on Food52 . . . ). The Cooper-Hewitt also made me daydream of designing my own library and my own bathroom.

Probably high time for a visit.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Plainly this is not a word ending in the letter y, but, it stopped me in my tracks because I felt that within it was a y word trying to get out. Somehow (whoever's teaching that upcoming class at Poet's House could explain this, no doubt) it has all the behavioral signs of a y word. Something about the double l.

I cannot explain it.

So, then: From Alex Ross's piece about John Cage, "Searching for Silence," in the October 4, 2010 issue of The New Yorker:

At the Armory, for a piece titled "Variations VII," Cage and his collaborators manipulated two long tablefuls of devices and dialled up sonic feeds from locations around the city, including the kitchen of Lüchow's Restaurant, the Times printing presses, the aviary at the Zoo, a dog pound, a Con Ed plant, a Sanitation Department depot, and Terry Riley's turtle tank.

I have no idea who Terry Riley is but wonder for a moment if he or she was friends with Billy Name (yes: this piece, with its pre-Facebook microclimate, brings on such questions).

(Am I glad I went to that Varèse concert in July . . . .)

Thursday, September 23, 2010


A friend described a small hotel in town as


but I heard-saw it as having eaux and pincushion softness, which brought to mind


and along with it the marble quiet of an art gallery I visited one afternoon many, many years ago in Rome. Everybody else was tromping from one famous site to the next. I had no interest whatsoever in seeing the Colosseum. It was a lot of rocks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


Few Americans use this word, no?

Tonight I spoke with a man in (so he said) Canada. He did not mention anything about its boreal forest or its songbirds.

The man was helping me to purchase a new mobile telephone. Somewhere along the way, he dropped the phrase

expiry date

. I was sorry an iPhone does not come with the plan I purchased. However, my phone-to-be happens to have an SAR rating that surpasses the iPhone's by a mile. I figure if I run across a child who wants to use my phone, I can hand it over and worry not.

Meanwhile, the harvest (or singing) moon is almost upon us. About 24 more hours and then: amplitude. At the risk of sounding Verlyn Klinkenborgian, I wonder: When the autumnal equinox kisses the world hello, what expires upon its lips?

(In the morning, how will I feel about this last sentence? My guess: wretchedly.)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


As defined in Paul McFedries' blog Word Spy:

(fuh.sawd.EK.tuh.mee) n. The removal of the facade of a building to use as the front of a new or reconstructed building. Also: facade-ectomy.

Neither popsical nor Manilow Method ended in y.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


From "John Aubrey and the roots of the Royal Society", a review by Ruth Scurr in the September 1 issue of the TLS (the illustration of a chambered nautilus drew me in):

His original contributions include a drawing of the “Clowdy Starr” he observed in 1668 between Cancer and Hydra, papers on springs and winds, and experiments on Wiltshire water and clay.

A pleasing cl word (clew is another).

Thursday, September 16, 2010


Just add an i and a t, and voilà: otiatry.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Not from the OED but "The Summer Man", Sunday night's episode of "Mad Men".

Stan: Peggy Olson, pioneering the science of wet blanketry.

This coinage shows off Stan's way with words and his relatively restrained demeanor, or what passes for it at Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. Maybe in a future episode he'll discover the concept of Vagina dentata. Then he can draw a picture.

Meanwhile, does Joan's proto-feminism qualify as misogyny?

Housekeeping matters:
1. I'm skeptical that Peggy's family owned a television when she was a child ("The Suitcase").
2. The exterior shot of the street outside the Barbizon Hotel is all wrong ("The Summer Man").
3. The (I'm guessing) melamine mixing bowl Francine nests inside the Pyrex one looks fake. Is that rim really an early-1960s one? And those specks look very large. ("The Summer Man")
4. Swimmers at the New York Athletic Club are more likely than not to be executing flip turns ("The Summer Man").

Monday, September 13, 2010


Supposedly юродивый in Russian, and explained (in an excerpt from Ernst G. Benkert's 623 Titles Without Paintings, printed on a postcard offered at the Proteotypes table at the Brooklyn Book Fair yesterday--I was one of the people handing it out) by Solomon Volkov:

There is no word in any other language that can precisely convey the meaning of the Russian word yurodivy, . . . . .The yurodivy has the gift to see and hear what others know nothing about.

I don't know if David the Dendrite, who apparently took up residence in an almond tree, qualifies as a yurodivy, as he was Greek.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


An obsolete word whose second meaning is:

A love-token, keepsake, gift, present.

I don't know how Sir William Drury's family happened into the word.