Monthly Archives: November 2012

Pogonotrophy

In the middle of a rousing pie tasting post Thanksgiving dinner, the boiler in the house decided to call it quits. It appears to have disintegrated instantaneously and is now a pile of rusty dust in the cellar. I have created a replacement boiler from leftover parts from the flying machine, but it will only hold for a few more weeks.

Thusly, the house has been rather chilly in the winter air. Yesterday’s “wintry mix”, which I believe is a modern meteorologist’s fancy term for “intermittent wet downfall”, exacerbated the bone-chill that has permeated the house. Hot mulled cider was had, and I once again appreciated my penchant for pogonotrophy.

Pogonotrophy is a noun which means, quite simply, the cultivation or growing of a beard.

The word hails from the Greek word pogon for beard  plus trophe  for nourishment, growth. Quite literally, pogonotrophy means beard feeding.

Incidentally, pogonology is the study of beards and pogonotomy is a delightfully fancy word for cutting a beard; shaving.

You’ll notice that many men in colder climes enjoy pogonotrophy, and I must say, my family is full of bearded men, and has been, from time immemorial. Some people consider a beard a sign of virility, and interestingly enough, most giants, gnomes, and satyrs are bearded.

Bubo’s favorite hunting tree has a poem carved in its trunk, and it seems an appropriate verse for today’s discussion:

The bearded man stands outside.

Why do you stand outside, bearded man?

Stay warm, m’dears. If you can, work on that pogonotrophy.

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Minikin

Imagine my surprise this morning when I discovered that, once again, Mordecai has left mysteriously in the night.

That is sarcasm, oddlings. Mordecai is nothing if not consistent in his disappearances.

He and Charles have flown the coop and I can’t help but wonder what dastardly deed he perpetrated this time. He never leaves in the dead of night without good reason. There was the time he angered the minotaur my Uncle kept in the garden. There was the time he caused my Cousin Cate’s house to collapse into a sinkhole. So, naturally, I have not exhaled with relief, I am tiptoeing about the house wondering if it’s been lined with arcane explosives or if a poisonous strain of beetles is loose in the walls.

He did leave, perplexingly enough, a minikin mewling at the foot of the stairs. I’ve checked it’s teeth, and while they are sharp and numerous, they are also small. It is curled at my feet right now, in fact, snoring quietly as it naps in a boot.

A minikin is a small and dainty (and delicate) creature. Used as an adjective, minikin means diminutive or dainty. Some people will tell you that minikin also can mean a fine, mincing lass. Those people wouldn’t be entirely wrong.

The word comes from the Dutch minneken for darling, in turn from the Middle Dutch diminutive of minne for love. It is akin to the Old English word gemynd for mind, memory. Minneken is obsolete, and, some might argue, so is minikin.

The creature at my feet might be obsolete, but it is very real indeed. The day will be spent getting to know one another, I suppose, while Silas prepares pies for the Thanksgiving dinner we shall host tomorrow in the garden. I’m assuming this minikin will eat the food. I’m assuming it won’t become manic in the face of guests, a dinner table, or the garden. I’m assuming a lot today. I might break into that nice new bottle of Ruby Port sooner than Silas had hoped.

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Diwali

Today is Day 2 of Diwali, a five day festival for Hindus that is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.

Diwali actually means rows of lighted lamps and the celebration is known as a festival of lights. During the five days of Diwali, homes are thoroughly cleaned, windows are opened, and candles and lamps are lit to welcome Laksmi, goddess of wealth.  Gifts are exchanged and festive meals are prepared during Diwali (typically very rich foods and plenty of sweets are eaten). Diwali marks the beginning of the Hindu and Gujarati New Year and is often celebrated with lots of fireworks.

Diwali is a time of cheerfulness and togetherness. Wish your Hindu friends good tidings, won’t you? Exchange some sweets, light some fireworks, and enjoy each other.

Happy Diwali, oddlings.

 

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Bat Chase

Oh, good. There is a squadron of vampire bats chasing Bubo around the house. It appears I’ll need another drink before slumber.

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