Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the category “humor”

Word Nerd: Places


Oh, the places you’ll go or at least get to know with this batch of terms.

firth: a long, narrow indentation of the seacoast.

wynd: a narrow street or alley.

Wind your way down a wynd

peregrinate: to walk or travel by foot; journey.

saltigrade: move by leaping.

Nothing like saltigrade by the sea

natant: swimming.

wampish: to wave about or flop to and fro.

estivate: to spend the summer, as at a specific place or in a certain activity.

Natant, wampish, estivate: water wonderful words

The Boston Yawps


Wasn’t it Albert Finney who started the trend of yelling out loud when oh so tired of it all? Seems like it was the movie Network. An outright yell he did—good old-fashioned stress relief. He was mad about non-Covid stuff, but a good yelling out loud seemed to work in that movie.

Well, Albert didn’t inspire me. Uncle Walt did. Walt. As in Walt Whitman from The Dead Poets Society featuring Robin Williams as a prep school English teacher. He introduces the word and concept of *YAWP*

YAWP yawp/yôp/noun: a harsh or hoarse cry or yelp.

Robin helped Todd to not only find his YAWP, he also helped him find his muse.

I’m fine with my muse, but the stress of Covid Coping has me finding my own stress relief: I YAWP in my car. Windows rolled up and I wait until no other cars are about before committing. There is a dandy stretch of back road that has become my YAWP zone.

The key to a proper YAWP is to take a deep breath, filling up the diaphragm, and then releasing that oh so satisfying belly yell. Screaming from the belly releases tension. Screaming from the throat releases neighborly calls to the sheriff.

So this belly yell, this need to scream because it just can’t be taken anymore, this Covid Coping strategy of just letting it go is a thing in Boston where a group of mothers scream, with some prompting and organization (traffic wands as cues, no less). I call them The Boston Yawps; however, their screaming is not very melodious. It is rather disturbing, actually. They need a coach prompting them to belly yell not a Jamie Curtis Scream Queen throat ripper.

No matter. They feel better. Maybe Yawping will catch on. I will continue to YAWP in the privacy of my car. I’m not ready for Friday Night Lights organized yelling.

Have you tried a YAWP lately? Or perhaps you have a better form of Covid Coping. Yes? Do share.

National Days: Cookies and Socks


How Cliché: The “B” List


The “B” section is booming with cliché phrases. All these are from Christine Ammer’s Have a Nice Day–No Problem: A Dictionary of Clichés.

The worst backseat drivers | Insurance.com
A backseat driver can be found anywhere

Backseat driver: unwanted advice.
In the 1920’s, those who could afford to do so, engaged a chauffer to drive them. The chauffer sat up front and the passenger or employer sat in the back and gave their driver instructions. Today the term applies to someone giving what they perceive as helpful advice, usually to the chagrin to the person doing the task. Other applicable phrases are Armchair General and Monday-Morning Quarterback.

Back to square one: back to the beginning
Though it sounds like a math problem, thoughts on this one are related to games where the start is a square, as in hopscotch or in a number of board games. Putting in hard work only to start over is frustrating and this term goes with back to the drawing board when the blueprints don’t pan out.

Salt mine Memes
And put some pepper in your efforts…

Back to the salt mines: returning to work
At one point in history, Russian prisoners during communist times were sent to work in the Siberian salt mines. While coming off of break can be tough, it probably is easier going that chipping away at rocks.

(The) ball is in your court: take your turn
A current expression from sports, which is attributed in the mid 20th century which is said when one person is a)being polite b)pushing the other person to take their turn c)a strategy to get the other person to reveal their intentions through action or words.

Bald face or barefaced liar/lie: an obvious, if not bold untruth.
Bare could be brazen, but it is likely is related to “beardless” which connects to only the young (not old enough to grow a beard yet) could so unashamedly tell such outrageous lies.

Idiom: Barking up the wrong tree (meaning & examples)
Categorically funny to Cocoa

(To) bark up the wrong tree: waste time or effort going in the wrong direction
Once when hunting racoons with dogs was prevalent, sometimes dogs, so pleased with themselves, would bound up to a tree so sure they had caught the varmint, would bark to their owners their success. Raccoons, being the clever creatures that they are often led the dogs astray by jumping to another tree or applying some other witty escape strategy. For those out there thinking they have solved the problem through what seems to be a long and productive chase, they might find themselves baying at empty branches and must go back to square one.

(To have) bats in one’s belfry: deemed slightly crazy
Bats in flight fly in a more irregular than regular pattern. At one time people watching bat flight thought the irregular flight reflected how bats thought–erratically. Since then it has been proven bats have a sophisticated flying system that employs sonar which keeps them from bumping into obstacles. While belfrys are not much in current use, one might be considered batty if their thoughts or speaking seems random, which might at first seem like an insult, yet it’s actually a compliment since bats are considered sophisticated creatures.

(To) beard the lion: to take a risk
If you haven’t heard this term recently, that makes two of us. Considered cliché for over a century, this phrase has Biblical roots coming from when David related how by grabbing a lion by its beard he slew him. Facing danger and vanquishing it is one thing, grabbing lions is quite another. Granted, David showed his bravery. Look how this lion’s beard–that’s up close and personal.

Why do men have more facial hair than women? - Quora
Bearding the lion (looks more like a goatee)

Beat (scare) the living daylights out of: to punish or scare someone tremendously
A 19th century American colloquialism for a person’s internal organs was “daylights.” To punish or scare someone so severely that there innards would fall out is indeed severe.

Bed or roses: an implied place of comfort
Metaphorically, lying in a bed of roses sounds pleasant, being surrounded by the fragrant petals. However, there are thorns to consider. And a literal bed of roses demands constant care, so this phrase implies the opposite, as in the situation is not comfortable.


Word Nerd: November


Photo by Askar Abayev on Pexels.com

Thanksgiving comes around in November and getting together with friends and family can be emotional for some. Needing a few choice words to express feelings might be handy.

verklempt: overly emotional and unable to speak.

velleity: a mere wish, unaccompanied by an effort to obtain it.

stultify: to render absurdly or wholly futile or ineffectual, especially by degrading or frustrating means

thrawn: contrary; peevish; stubborn

longanimity: patient endurance of hardship, injuries, or offense; forbearance

foofaraw: a great fuss or disturbance about something very insignificant

megillah: a lengthy, detailed explanation or account

brabble: to argue stubbornly about trifles; wrangle

fustigate: to criticize harshly; castigate

gasconade: extravagant boasting; boastful talk

nescience: lack of knowledge; ignorance

frumious: very angry

snollygoster: a clever, unscrupulous person

beamish: bright, cheerful, and optimistic

Let’s hope if someone should start a megillah at the table no one will fustigate or brabble should it lead to gasconade. Instead, the gathering be one that is beamish.

UPDATE: Read about a picture book that features delightful words here: https://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2021/11/14/book-giveaway-hornswoggled-a-wacky-words-whodunit-by-josh-crute/

It’s the Great Pumpkin


While not a fan of Halloween, I am a fan of pumpkin. While not a fan how pumpkin spice seems to rule the season, I am a fan of guinea pigs. So here is a share that should please those who love pumpkin spice and adore guinea pigs. Let’s see how long it takes for Mike Allegra to say he inspired this post.

Everything goes better with guinea pigs

It’s a bit squirrelly lately…


Not sure if we have adopted a squirrel or if she has adopted us.

It began with me spotting a medium grey squirrel bounding across the lawn. A somewhat unusual sight. Deer are more frequent visitors. Squirrel activity diminished with dogs moving into the neighborhood.

Or so we thought.

Upon spotting the bounding squirrel I mustered up my squirrel call. You know the one, that high-pitched ch-ch-ch the do. Yeah. She was impressed and came leaping right over to me. She look fairly surprised to find me instead of a swaggering grey suited critter of interest.

Since then she has shown little fear of hanging out in the yard with us. Costco is making a tidy profit from the bags of peanuts the hubs buys for her.

She will cautiously approach us and grab a peanut from our fingers. Rolling and measuring its worth in her mouth she will then deposit it in some part of the yard. Digging like a little terrier she pats it in place with dainty satisfaction and traipses over for more. I split them open because once open she tastes that peanuttyness and snacks right on the spot, inches from whern indoor th b f the f federal gregg geg for gu the gggy g of b no un noun bun nt in n ink in b min in see see e sawwwww swe wewew es swe de xmewwe swe was e I sit on the bench. Syringa, does truly work for peanuts.

Now we have a couple of new additions. A tiny sable squirrel who discovered the neighbor’s squirrel proof red ffcc ccfc f fcc cd c cc bird feeder could not deter him. He used our fence as a diner freeway until trashing the bird feeder in less than two weeks. He has moved on the freebie peanuts laid out for Syringa. She’s having none of it.

There tussles and chitterings range across the lawn and through the lily leaves. Entertaining turf wars at its best. We call this little guy Skitter, since he moves as fast as a drop of water on the pancake skillet. He’s too fast to snap a photo.

And a third squirrel has appeared. Yet, this one is a puzzlement. I notice it is small with characteristic squirrel gray coloring yet its eye rings are white like a chipmunk and so is its tummy. The legs are brownish. A hybrid squirrel? We’ve dubbed this one Buddy, as in “Hey, Buddy—what are you?”

The cx bbcgf he are beginning to vacate the area for warmer climates so there is less action at the feeder. On the other hand, the colder weather is ramping up squirrel activity as they gather nuts and bury them all over the yard. I find peanuts in my plant containers, in flower beds, and all over the lawn. How will they find them all?

Syringa will come over and spread out on the concrete like a dog when we are hanging out back.
Buddy infiltrating Syringa’s snack tray. Strange markings for a squirrel, wouldn’t you say?

National Cherry Popsicle Day!


Cow Appreciation Day!


For those who follow my postings, you know I appreciate cows. Today is their day. Yup, July 13 is National Cow Appreciation Day.

She enjoyed her flowers thoroughly

To celebrate the cow here are a few facts:

DID YOU KNOW?

  • There are around 200,000 glasses of milk in a cow? That’s a lifetime estimate.
  • A mature cow weighs about 1,400 lbs, and stands about 5 feet tall.
  • A calf can walk within one hour of being born.
  • A Holstein cow’s spots are unique. No two cows have the same pattern.
  • Cows don’t sweat. They need to live in cool weather.
  • By hand you can milk about six cows in an hour or you can milk sixty cows with one person and fourteen machines.
  • Cows get really thirsty during the day. They drink close to thirty gallons worth of water, which is about a bathtub’s worth.
  • Cows can eat a lot as well. On a typical day a single cow can eat nine pounds of hay and thirty-five pounds of mixed grasses and grains. They also consume over twenty pounds of mixed grains, salt, vitamins, and minerals throughout the day. No wonder they need so much water!
  • Cows are boney. There are two hundred and seven bones in one cow. Humans have about the same amount of bones. Hmmm…
Cowabungee they are amazing animals!

Bonus! Here are some cow jokes:

  • What’s green and black and white all over?

A field with cows.

  •  What did Old MacDonald say when the cow stepped on his foot?

    “Ee-ii-ee-ii-ouch.”

  • What did Old MacDonald say when the cows began to stampede?

    “Aaugh, I’m having a herd attack!”

  • What did he say after the stampede?

    “Cows should be seen and not herd.”

*  How did the farmer divide up his herd of cows? 

             He decided between the calves and the calve-nots.

*  What did the farmer say to the old cow?

“It’s time you retired. You’re pasture your prime.”

So today when you reach for that glass of milk or spoon up your yogurt or nibble a cheese slice or revel into your ice cream confectionery, salute the cow. The world would not be the same without this udderly marvelous animal.

National Kitten Day!


They are so amewsing!

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