Tag Archives: turd

The weekend’s words

I think reading Jonathan Lethem is making me more word-conscious than ever. I’m collecting new ones, obsessively looking up etymologies of old ones, and, like the Tourettic narrator of Motherless Brooklyn,  savoring the sonickiness of tasty treats.

Blustery. Speaking of sonicky. We had a blustery day on Saturday. The word brings to mind not only good ol’ Pooh bear, but the condition itself. That quick push of air with the first syllable quickly giving way to the sibilant center and rolling finish.

Soporific. Round and sleepy, that word. Impossible to say it quickly. Butler says he only this year discovered the soporific effects of turkey at Thanksgiving. But the word always makes me think about Miss Potters’ little bunnies, vulnerable after their lettuce to mean old Mr. McGregor.

Bomb. From children’s books to my children’s behavior … from Jeff J comes a new word for what Tom does to a room.  The details in this story — a note “doodled” on toilet paper, the teacher who “blew it all out of proportion” — might obscure the moral lesson I hope my kids learn: Passing a bomb can be a punishable offense.  Ode to the joy of flatulating in the library >

Appoggiatura. Just in time for Whitney’s weekend replays and Adele’s sweep of the Grammys, The Wall Street Journal  explains the technical reasons some songs make us cry. And teaches me a new word I have no idea how to pronounce. A little lesson in music theory for the boys at The Church of the Morose One. And a great example of how multimedia can make for a better story.

Women of a certain age A friend hit 50 this weekend, which caused me to wonder just exactly what is “a certain age.” As always, Safire says it best. 

Copralalic. Oh, what a beautiful word for pottymouth! Even better? Copralalia! It’s like singing shit instead of slinging it. This one is, in fact, courtesy of Lethem’s Lionell Essrog, who is only too aware of his affliction, long before something like EAT ME MR. DICKYWEED!” makes it out of his mouth.


Turd. My children have discovered the word makes me giggle. And snort. Making it the newest weapon in their arsenal to disarm me when they’re in trouble. Note the sonic similarity to Tourettic.

It’s also the biggest search term for this bubble blog.



Filed under Books, Words words words

Someone’s in the kitchen with Lyta

I have just spent two — or more — days cooking with my favorite kitchen pal. Here are a few things I heard. (“My family’s just full of them,” she says.)

“There’s a tumble bug for every turd.”

“She’s got her pucker string pulled too tight.”

“Quit assling around!”

“That’s just picking the fly shit out of the pepper.”

And during just a few minutes of chatting with Celia …

“They have TV. They know how to act.”

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Filed under Food, Holiday!, in the bubble, Words words words

Turd in the kitchen

JyofCookingI received the best thank-you note ever the other day. I had sent a copy of The Joy of Cooking to a bride, following my rule of thumb that all young ladies require a copy in their kitchens. What household should be without this kitchen encyclopedia? Everything from cuts of meat to baking pan capacities (my favorite) to basic sauces to table settings. At one point I had three editions but gave one up for shelf space.

What I didn’t realize is that this particular bride is not (yet) known for success in this department. Thus her letter noted the appropriateness of the gift for a “turd in the kitchen.”

There’s an image for you: a turd in the kitchen.

So here’s a scatalogical meditation on the word “turd.” You can’t say it without giggling, can you? It just conjures up such visuals.

turdNow that we have a dog, I have more occasion to consider the term. But it had disappeared from my lexicon until a few years ago, when Jennifer introduced my kids to it at the beach. Of course it was Jaffner who corrupted me at a young age with turd-forerunners “doo doo” and “poo poo,” repeating them until I quit telling her she was bad and started giggling with her. Let it be noted that Jaffner continues to be a bad influence on me to this day, shocking me with definitions of unmentionables from the Urban Dictionary.

I know you all join me in wishing the newlywed good clean old-fashioned success in her kitchen as she grows older. But I hope she never forgets that it was she who coined the (soon-to-be-famous) phrase “turd in the kitchen.” Somebody make an Urban Dictionary entry for her, OK?


Filed under Books, Food, Words words words