The ‘In Conversation With’ theme for 2007 WAS “Sabian turns an obscure word into a Song”.
Wayzgoose was at one time the name for an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on or about St Bartholomew’s Day (24 August). This marked the traditional end of summer and the point at which the season of working by candlelight began. Later, the word came to refer to the annual outing and dinner of the staff of a printing works or the printers on a newspaper.
HARUSPEX: In Roman practice inherited from the Etruscans, a haruspex (plural haruspices) was a man trained to practise a form of divinationcalled haruspicy, hepatoscopy or hepatomancy. Haruspicy is the inspection of the entrails of sacrificed animals, especially thelivers of sacrificed sheep and poultry. The rites were paralleled by other rites of divination such as the interpretation of lightning strikes, of the flight of birds (augury), and of other natural omens.
A TRIBUTE TO BEAZLEY; “BAFFLEGAB”: confusing or generally unintelligible jargon; gobbledegook: ie. an insurance policy written in bafflegab impenetrable to a lay person. Best exemplified by former Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, who when wet, was a triple threat: Politician, Slip’n’Slide and Bouncy Castle.
CALTROP – Time to get my D&D tetrahedrons out! And a little Neil Diamond, for no good reason: A caltrop is an antipersonnel weapon made up of two or more sharp nails or spines arranged in such a manner that one of them always points upward from a stable base (for example, a tetrahedron). They may be thought of as the landmines of antiquity, useful to shape the battlefield and force the enemy into certain paths and approaches, or to provide a passive defense as part of a defensive works system. Caltrops serve to slow down the advance of horses, war elephants, and human troops. They were said to be particularly effective against the soft feet ofcamels. In more modern times, caltrops are used against wheeled vehicles with pneumatic tires.
GROK: To grok (pronounced /ˈɡrɒk/) is to share the same reality or line of thinking with another physical or conceptual entity. Author Robert A. Heinlein coined the term in his best-selling 1961 book Stranger in a Strange Land. In Heinlein’s view of quantum theory, grokking is the intermingling of intelligence that necessarily affects both the observer and the observed.
GURN: A gurn or chuck is a distorted facial expression, and a verb to describe the action. A typical gurn might involve projecting the lower jaw as far forward and up as possible, and covering the upper lip with the lower lip. The English Dialect Dictionary, compiled by Joseph Wright, defines the word gurn as “to snarl as a dog; to look savage; to distort the countenance”. The term is also used to describe the jaw-jutting facial expression of people under the influence of the drug ecstasy.
HYPERPROSEXIA (and PHILATELY): Aprosexia, Hyperprosexia, and Paraprosexia are closely related medical and neuro–psychiatric phenomena associated with attention and concentration. They typically occurs in patients suffering traumatic brain injuries. Aprosexia is an abnormal inability to pay attention, characterized by a near-complete indifference to everything. Hyperprosexia is the abnormal state in which a person concentrates on one thing to the exclusion of everything else. Paraprosexia is the inability to pay attention to any one thing (a state of constant distraction).
COCKAMAMIE: Something ridiculous, incredible or implausible. Cockamamie is intrinsically funny, but historians believe it’s a close relative of ‘decal’, a design prepared on special paper for transfer to another surface. The original of both cockamamie and decal is the French décalcomanie, which was created in the early 1860s to refer to the craze for decorating objects with transfers. The craze, and the word, soon transferred to Britain — it’s recorded in the magazine The Queen on 27 February 1864: “There are few employments for leisure hours which for the past eighteen months have proved either so fashionable or fascinating as decalcomanie”… WHATEVER!
MALIGN – one of my FAVOURITE songs of the year: 1. Evil in disposition, nature, or intent. 2. Evil in influence; injurious. 3. Having or showing malice or ill will; malevolent.
Naturally, I chose to take the opportunity to discuss the soon-to-be-outgoing Prime Minister John Howard who was on the campaign trail at the time.
SKULLDUGGERY: Crafty deception or trickery or an instance of it. In an almost amazing act of common sense, the people voted out John Howard, in this song I do some polling to see how it went all so terribly right and wrong at the same time.