Reblog: Merriam Websters Quiz on Words for Odors.

stinky feetDoes it smell bad in here, or is it just me?

No it smells worse than just you.

“What’s that Smell?!” Merriam-Webster tested readers’ knowledge of “words for odors and such.”

I did not do well on this smelly word quiz.  Top 35 %


out of


You’ve got 8/14 correct!

(Average: 1861 points)

See how you compare to others
in your age group. VIEW SCORES





Paeon, Paean, and peon

I recently commented on a blog post, Celebrating Courage, Creativity and Grit by Silkannthreades.  I wrote that it was a paeon to some talented bloggers.  Thanks to Grammarly, I realized that paeon may have been mispelled.  (Of course I realized this as soon as I hit send.)  I had to reply to my own comment and acknowledge that paeon was a typo and the real word was paean.  (I can’t type but at least I have a decent vocabulary.)

According to the dictionary:

A paean (pronounced PEE-in, sometimes spelled pean) is a fervent expression of joy or praise, often in song.

A paeon (pronounced PEE-in or PEE-on) is a four-syllable metrical foot in prosody. Anyone who doesn’t analyze poetry will never have use for the word.

A peon (pronounced PEE-on) is an unskilled laborer or menial worker. Today, use of the word is most common in Indian English, where it’s used to describe any worker and presumably doesn’t have negative connotations. In American and British English, peon has an insulting tone. No one, in the U.S. at least, wants to be a peon.

The first two words have origins in the same Greek term; peon comes from the Medieval Latin term for foot soldier.


Happy Independence Day

United States mapIn honor of Independence Day,  please enjoy this small quiz on State nicknames.  Each state has at least one nickname, some have multiple nicknames.  Usually only one is  official.  Answers at the bottom.  Wikipedia is my source for the questions and answers.

1)  Which state has the largest number of nicknames?  Which of those nicknames is the official one?

2)  Which state has three official nicknames?  What is are they?

3)  How many states have just one nickname?  What are those states?

4) How many states have Empire as part of their nickname (official or unofficial)?

5)  Which states have a metal as part of their state’s nickname?

6)  Four states include the word Mountain as part of their official or unofficial nicknames.  What are they?  Which state has it twice?

7)  How many states have Rain as part of their official or unofficial nicknames?  What are they?  (The answer may surprise you.)

8)  How many state have Sun as part of their official or unofficial nicknames?  What are they?  Which three have the same nickname?

9)  How many states have an animal, insect, or bird as part of their offical nickname?  What are they?

10)  What is the nickname(s) of your state?



  1. Alaska–That Last Frontier

2. Alabama–Camellia State, Heart of Dixie and Yellowhammer State

3.  Seven:  Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, New Jersey,  South Carolina, Texas, and Vermont

4.  Three:  Georgia (Empire State of the South), Illinois (Inland Empire State), New York (Empire state.)

5.  Arizona (Copper State), Nevada (Silver State) —Califonia is the Golden State so it does not qualify.

6. Colorado (Mountain State and Rocky Mountain State),  New Hampshire (White Mountain State), Vermont (Green Mountain), West Virginia (Mountain State)

7.  Two- Hawaii (Rainbow State), Illinois (Rainy State)

8.  Five–Alaska (Land of the Midnight Sun), California (Sunshine State), Florida (Sunshine State), Kansas (Sunflower State), South Dakota (Sunshine State)

9.  Four–Louisiana-Pelican State, Oregon-Beaver State, Utah-Beehive State, Wisconsin–Badger State

10.  Since I live in Virginia, my state has two nicknames:  Old  Domion and Mother of Presidents.  If you do not know yours, look it up here.



July Days to Celebrate

How did July get it’s name?  July was named in honor of Julius Caesar. When Julius Caesar died, Quintilis, which was his birth month, was renamed with July. Quintilis means “fifth month” in Latin, which represents where this month originally fell in the Roman calendar.

July 1 is International Joke Day.  Why did the chicken cross the road?  He was A-Pullet-ical and did not want to pick a side.

July 2 is World UFO Day.  The Truth is Out there–even if no  one agrees on what it is.

The stated goal of the July 2 celebration is to raise awareness of “the undoubted existence of UFOs and to encourage governments to declassify their files on UFO sightings

July 2 is also when John Adams thought we would be celebrating Indenpendence Day.

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, when it voted to approve a resolution submitted by delegate Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, declaring ““That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

John Adams thought July 2 would be marked as a national holiday for generations to come:

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, when it voted to approve a resolution submitted by delegate Richard Henry Lee of Virginia, declaring ““That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.”

John Adams thought July 2 would be marked as a national holiday for generations to come:

American flag backlitWe will be celebrating 243 years of independence from Great Britain on July 4.  Ironically, they are now our closest allies.   Did you know that the British National Anthem “God Save the Queen” is the same tune as “Our Country Tis of Thee”?   Samuel Francis Smith wrote the lyrics in 1831.  It was the US anthem until 1931 when the it was replaced by the Star Spangled Banner.

July  9 is Cow Appreciation Day. If you go Udderly Mad and dress up like a cow, you cancows facing the camera get free chicken at Chick Fil-A.  No bovine feces.

“1995 marked the beginning of the cow revolution, when herds of beef cattle everywhere decided to take a stand for the future of the bovine race. Far more intelligent than the others, Heff R. Jones (now known as Eaton Birds) took his limited grasp of his owner’s language and painted “EAT MOR CHIKIN” on a billboard. With this daring move he set in motion a movement among cows everywhere, to encourage us to eat more chicken, so we wouldn’t be eating them. Cow Appreciation Day commemorates Heff (I’m sorry, we mean Mr. Birds) and everything he’s done for cattlekind.”  From

July 14 is Bastille Day.  From Wikipedia:

The French National Day is the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789,[1][2] a turning point of the French Revolution,[4] as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held throughout France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europe is held on the morning of 14 July, on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, along with other French officials and foreign guests.[5][6]

French flag

July 31 is Harry Potter’s Birthday.  Happy Birthday Harry. Read a Harry Potter book or watch a Harry Potter movie.  Which Harry Potter book or movie is your favorite?

harry potter


Shipmate:  serving on a the same ship, a fellow sailor.

Shipmate can also be a derogatory term for asshole (according to the Urban Dictionary)

Over my speckled career I have had roommates, suitemates, tentmates, messmates (we shared dining accomodations) and playmates.  Irregularly I was even a first mate (during the few times my husband and I tried a sailboat or a motorboat–docking and turning the sailboat about were never our strong points.)

As the daughter and wife of career naval officers and a member of the USS Midway (CV-41) Carrier Museum Library, shipmate is one of my favorite words.  It implies that we are literally all in the same boat, travelling together to achieve a common goal–sharing triumps, challenges, disappointments, or failures.  We aren’t just joined at the hip, we are joined at the ship.  If one of us fails, we all fail because we are all in the vessel together.

You may have your significant other, your spouse, your family, your friends, but once the lines are cast off, only your shipmates travel with you.  The sea is a harsh mistress and she accepts second best from no one.  Oh say can you sea–many of us can not or have not.  A lucky few of us have tried and lived to tell sea stories (which may or may not be true.)

The Navy has a tradition of ship, shipmate, self.   Looking out for number one is third on the list.


Lunch wtih Ma 20190530
USS Midway Library shipmates sharing a lunch with CEO “MAC” McLaughlin


A Village is Missing It’s Idiot

“Please Sir.  Have you sssseen my IIIIdiot?” he stuttered through quivering lips.  His whole body trembled as if the search for the Idiot was stressful.

“What doe he or she look like?” he responded.

“Do you want my description or his, Sir?”

“Let’s start with his.”

“A vigorous, humble man of middle age.  Brilliant in anything he turns his hand to.”

“What are his priorities?”

“Self, family, and business, Sir.”

“What does he look like?”

“Tall, blonde, tanned, blue eyes, well hung, begging your pardon, Sir.”

“Now what is your description?”

“Well, we used to call his hair butter colored, but now we call it margarine–artificial you know.  His hands are small for man over six feet tall–not that I’m implying anything, Sir.”

“Where does your Idiot live?”

“In a white house sir, its the biggest house in the village, next to a swamp.”

“How did he escape?”

“We have had trouble keeping staff, Sir.  Sometimes our Idiot  likes to fire people. It’s hard when the Idiot keeps changing his mind.”

“I may have seen him at large gathering in the next town.  I think they were discussing magma, the hot gassy vitriol that spews out of an errupting volcanoe.”

“Thththankyou, Sir.  I’ll keep sssearching for him.  I’m sure he’s here  somewhere.”


Are Adverbs Really Bad?

While reviewing several blogs recently, I found  a few articles badmouthing adverbs.

stephen king on adverbs

“An adverb is a word that changes the meaning of the verb, adjective or another adverb. Using the previous tip, your verb will annul the need for an adverb.”  From “My Golden Rules to ‘Show don’t Tell” by Leona Brigs in Medium.

“3. The road to hell is paved with good intentions… and adverbs.”  From “Five Super Easy Ways to Improve Your Blogs” by Christian Mihai in the Art of Blogging.

Are words ending in “ly” really ugly and totally worthless?

Barbara Baig offered a counter argument in an August 18, 2015 guest post for Writer’s Digest.

Not too long ago, on Facebook, aspiring MFAs were proudly announcing that they had spent entire revision sessions excising from their manuscripts every word ending in “-ly.” Quoting Stephen King (who was perhaps quoting Nathaniel Hawthorne), they assured each other that The Road to Hell is Paved with Adverbs. Well, with all due respect to Mr. King and Mr. Hawthorne, it just ain’t so.

To begin with, an adverb is not merely a word that happens to end in -ly. An adverb is one of the four content parts of speech (the others are nouns, verbs, and adjectives) which enable us to construct sentences. Every part of speech does something in a sentence: nouns name things, verbs provide action, adjectives and adverbs add to or limit or clarify the nouns and verbs. A writer determined to eliminate adverbs will be a seriously handicapped writer, for adverbs can make more specific, add information to, not only verbs, but also adjectives and other adverbs. Adverbs, like the other content parts of speech, are an essential for every writer’s toolkit; they can do things that the other parts of speech cannot.

Adverbs in dialog seem to be one of the favorite places for adverb haters.
From Brainpickings “Stephen King on Writing, Fear and the Atrocity of Adverbs

‘Put it down!’ she shouted.
‘Give it back,’ he pleaded, ‘it’s mine.’
‘Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,’ Utterson said.

In these sentences, shouted, pleaded, and said are verbs of dialogue attribution. Now look at these dubious revisions:

‘Put it down! she shouted menacingly.
‘Give it back,’ he pleaded abjectly, ‘it’s mine.’
‘Don’t be such a fool, Jekyll,’ Utterson said contemptuously.

Oviously, adverbs are redundant to the strong verb.

How about as  the topic sentence for a paragraph?

When I saw the teenager and the young child approaching the pool, I mistakingly thought that the young child would be the problem.  The teenager splashed the younger child when ever the child lifted his head for air as he methodically swam back and forth and in the lane.  The child ignored the droplets that hit his face whenever he lifted it above the water.  Later at the hot tub’s edge, the younger child dangled his feet as the he sat quietly next to his father.  The teenager sat on the top step between the handles of the hot tub until his father told him to move.  He sidled under the handles to the oppostite side of the ladder before edging back to the middle of the steps.  As I exited the hot tub, his father grunted at him to move.  The teen ager did so reluctantly and sat back down almost immediately,  his back brushing  my calf before I could climb over the the top step.

Do you think that adverbs should be vanquished like yesterday’s tunafish left too long in the sun?