Monday, February 15, 2010

Yay words, yay Mencken.

Savage Love was great this week, and next to it in the Mercury was an ad I hadn't noticed before, for "Ecdysiast: A Pole Dancing Studio." I was like, "ecdysiast?" So googled it. Wiktionary defines it as "An erotic dancer who removes their clothes as a form of entertainment; a stripper." The etymology is the fascinating part: "Coined by H. L. Mencken from ecdysis." Ecdysis: "The shedding of an outer layer of skin in snakes, crustaceans and insects; moulting."

Here are the citations provided by the OED:

1940 MENCKEN Let. 5 Apr. in Amer. Lang. Suppl. I. (1945) VI. vi. 585 It might be a good idea to relate strip-teasing in some way..to the associated zo├Âlogical phenomenon of molting... A resort to the scientific name for molting, which is ecdysis, produces both ecdysist and ecdysiast. 1947 I. BROWN Say the Word 50 And there we can leave the problems and pride of ecdysiasm. 1957 Times Lit. Suppl. 11 Oct. 611/2 As happily sustained a piece of autobiographical ecdysiasm as we remember. 1958 Time 7 July 44/1 Is it possible for a nightclub to lose money with famed Ecdysiast Sherry Britton stripping to bugle beads and pearls?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Best kisses in children's lit

Someone on the child_lit list asked for people's opinions about the best kisses in children's literature. This was what immediately came to my mind (and I don't think the first two lines can really be separated from the following):


She put her arms about Aunt Beast, pressed up against the soft, fragrant fur. "Thank you," she whispered. "I love you."

"And I, you, little one." Aunt Beast pressed gentle tendrils against Meg's face.

"Cal--" Meg said, holding out her hand.

Calvin came to her and took her hand, then drew her roughly to him and kissed her. He didn't say anything, and he turned away before he had a chance to see the surprised happiness that brightened Meg's eyes.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Days Getting Shorter

Woke up out of a strange dream last night. Days were getting shorter and it was messing everyone up. Only the beginning of my thoughts about this were the dream--my alarm went off and I kept thinking about it. I wasn't quite awake, though. Somewhere in between.

Maybe in my dream, days were 20 hours long? And at first they kept school days the same length, and people kept working eight-hour days, but their time to do other things after work and school was shrinking, and no one got enough sleep, and sunrise and sunset, daylight hours and nighttime, weren't in sync at all with the time of day.

So maybe we went back to getting up when the sun went up, and things being over when it went down, because that was the only way anyone could keep track.

And there were arguments about the five-day work week, but teachers argued that students still needed a break to rest every five days, especially with the calendar being all wonky and people having to adjust.

People wanted to change things around, make things official, like start and end times, clocks and calendars, the length of a month--how many days in a week, month, year, now that there were fewer hours in each day? But no one knew if the days would keep getting shorter, if you'd do all the work to calculate and determine everything, and then it wouldn't matter a week later.

There are many possible approaches to examining this dream. Many of them accurate. Including: Elissa is very busy. Including: Elissa is ready for spring.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Gender Neutral Bathrooms

Good solutions to labeling bathrooms that I've seen lately:

Dots has three single stall bathrooms, labeled "IT" "DOESN'T" and "MATTER."

The Egyptian Club (dyke bar on Division) has pictorial representations on the two multi-stall bathroom doors. One has a stick figure peeing standing up, and the other has a stick figure peeing sitting down.