Sunday, September 28, 2014

It's Great to be Eight

D2 had a birthday.  His eighth birthday.  He says, "It was fun, I had a Lord of the Rings party."  See the ring on the table?  It is precious to him.
He shared precious rings with his friends, too, during a game he made up and I didn't understand.  I'm not sure it was such a good idea.  Look at the gleam in their eyes.
Lest you worry about the adequacy of the above candle-studded cookie to feed that many boys, know that the main dessert was mini-banana splits.  All D2's idea, and very tasty.  It was a good day for D2.
The next day was even more important.  So important that D2's grandparents came for the occasion.  That day, D2 was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  We are so pleased that D2 chose to make this commitment.
We're also pleased that the Caterpillar was worthy and able to baptize his little brother, and that D2 asked him to do so.  And Dandelionslayer provided an inspired confirmation.
So there we are.  The whole family has been baptized.  Wow.  I guess we're doing pretty well so far.
It seems like not so long ago that Rollo turned eight and was baptized.
And Scoot.
And the Caterpillar himself.  They're all growing into such wonderful young men.  But they'll always be my little boys, too.  Forever.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Dictionary Moment: Rhopalic

Words beginning with "rh" occupy six pages in the SOED.  There are more than I expected, and some of them are rather fascinating.  They mostly come from Greek words, of course.  The Greek rhopalos was a club or tapered cudgel.  This primitive weapon has lent its name to the "marginal sensory structures in various jellyfish," and an Indian aphid.  Not to mention a literary device.

Literarily, rhophalic describes a passage "in which each word contains one syllable more than the word immediately preceding it." 

I recently attempted a poem based on the Fibonacci sequence, where the number of syllables per line increase quickly.  (Interestingly, the number sequence itself has poetic origins.)  Five-syllable lines are easy for me, but eight and thirteen were tough.  Increasing syllables in each word, though, that's pretty challenging. 

  • I'm writing sentences multiplying syllabically.
  • Walk softly, carrying knuckle-dusters empoweringly.
  • Peach apple banana chirimoya marionberry macadamia-nut
Three or four syllables are plenty for most words in English, even the interesting ones.  Sure, " supercalifragilisticexpialidocious*" would be a wonderful climax, but what thirteen-syllable word could precede it?  I find myself relying on hyphenated terms and tenuous adverbs.  (Good thing I'm not a member of Writers Against Adding Any Adverbs.)  Perhaps rhophalicism is easier in agglutinative tongues like German.  And prosody does not always require complete sentences.

Can you wax rhophalic?  Give me your best shot.

*In the OED since 1986!  Look here for origin and meaning.