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Everything else.

Rob’s Ramblings: Portmanteau

(Note: Published first on Mad Genius Club at: https://madgeniusclub.com/2020/06/29/portmanteau-a-guest-post/. Thanks to them for letting me join them with a guest post.)

You might know that portmanteau is a great word, but do you know just how wondersational it really is?

In medieval French, portemanteau meant “the “court official who carried a prince’s mantle” as of about the 1540s. This is fairly easy to see. “Porte” is the imperative of porter, which means “to carry.” Hence we get porter. “Manteau” is simply mantle.

In other words, “Hey, you, go carry that cloak.”

In the 1580s, it shifted to the more modern meaning: “traveling case or bag for clothes and other necessaries.”

While that’s still a current meaning of the word, it’s the not the one I find most fun. My favorite meaning is, of course, the combining of parts of two or more words to form another. Motel is a mashing of motor and hotel, for example.

The technical definition of a portmanteau in linguistics is: a single morph that is analyzed as representing two (or more) underlying morphemes. This means words like starfish or foreshadowing are compounds using two full words are not actually portmanteaus.

Now that we’ve got the boring linguistics stuff out of the way, lets get to the true magic of the word.

Did you know you can say tigons, ligers, and bears and be right? A tigon is a male tiger crossed with a female lion. A male lion and a female tiger is, obviously, a liger.

How fun is that?

OK, maybe I’m easily amused.

I bet eating a turducken with a spork is really difficult, but maybe delicious with a Cambozola cheese on the side. That actually sounds really gouda… (Sorry, I can’t help making cheese puns, even if they are a non sequitur).

Did I mention easily amused?

Anyway…

Here’s a portmanteau you probably use quite often. “Velours” is French for velvet. “Crochet” is French for hook (which is useful to know if your sweetie crochets everything). However, if you attach one to the other, you get Velcro. (Attach. See what I did there?)

Very easily amused, am I. Very.

Unlike most words, we have a specific time when it was first applied to this usage. The first person to say portmanteau in this way was….

Wait for it…

Humpty Dumpty.

No, really. Totally was.

OK, fine, it was Lewis Carroll having good ole’ Hump (as he’s called by his friends) speak to Alice in Through the Looking Glass. He said, “You see it’s like a portmanteau—there are two meanings packed up into one word.”

“Slithy,” by the way, is a portmanteau: slimy and lithe. “Mimsy” is one too: miserable and flimsy.

Speaking of amusement, now I’m wondering how many of you will spend hours scouring Jabberwocky for all the portmanteaus you can find. Bwa ha, bwa ha ha. For mine is an evil laugh.

But here’s the best part of it all.

Now when you use your Garmin (Gary and Min founded the company) to find a motel in Texarkana (or somewhere in Eurasia) and then undo the velcro holding something in your luggage, you can now let your mind drift to Alice in Wonderland and Lewis Carroll’s imagination.

And ain’t that spifftastic?

 

Rob’s Update: Prog Report

Week 19 of 2020

Greetings all

Another productive week around here. We did a bunch of yardwork and a lot of prep for summer and fall.

Also, I finally overcame a whole bunch of weird problems and learning curves. I discovered why I couldn’t upgrade the old one (if you can .css files, it will prevent that, something not even my tech guy at Metapros knew). Then I discovered that the new version of Tiki Wiki uses a real cool web development idea, the Bootstrap grid. It’s really neat and powerful, but it took some time to learn.

But now I can say, the Shijuren Wiki is live again at  www.shijuren.org. It has only a minimal number of pages yet, but I’m adding a few each day.

If you looked at it before, you’ll see a few changes to the new version. I’ve rearranged some things, like all the odd words I use will be gathered in lexicons for each language instead of separate listings for each. I think that’ll be easier to navigate.

Also, I’ve been taking advantage of the need to add the content back. I could probably figure out a way to batch upload my backup, but instead I’m having fun to flesh out some of that content. I’ve added a box of pertinent details to a bunch of things.

I’m loving all of this worldbuilding.

I also put aside the short story I’m working on to let it freshen up and returned to None Call Me Mother. It’s amazing what setting something aside will do. I come back with fresh eyes and see cool fun routes of where my pantsing has led me.

I’m just plugging away.

What I’m Listening To

The Prog from Home web concert. This is a really cool thing where the Prog Report gathered a bunch of musicians to play from their homes. Really cool stuff and I’m finding some bands I’d never heard of before, like Chattanooga’s own Glass Hammer.

Quote of the Week

Today would be Tony Gwynn’s birthday. Gwynn was, in many ways, the ideal baseball player to admire. He was a great athlete when he was younger, but as he aged that athleticism went away. He still excelled, though, because he had worked so hard to hone his skills, and it’s always an inspiration to think of him when I’m fighting at a paragraph or something like that.

I apologize that this quote includes a bad word, but there’s sometimes such a word is the correct one. This quote is by Greg Maddux, clearly one of the greatest pitchers ever. I could take the word out, but nothing else demonstrates as well how much Tony Gwynn frustrated pitchers.

If a pitcher can change speeds, every hitter is helpless, limited by human vision. Except for that fucking Tony Gwynn.
– Greg Maddux

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (Appox 110,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • TSK (7,563)

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

So much going on. Do I mention When Valor Must Hold again? How about Gates of Hell, released only a couple of weeks ago? There’s my new personal online story at: https://aescandthorn.com/store/. And there’s the Shijuren Wiki, coming back after such a long hiatus.

Today’s Weight: 391.2

Updated Word Count: 65,936

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: Nor War’s Quick Fire

Week 17 of 2020

Greetings all

I finished re-writing and editing my story for Semper Paratus. This is an anthology from Jamie Ibson, who also edited We Dare. My story is a prequel to “The Chaos of Well-Seeming Forms” with was in the first anthology.

This one is entitled “Nor War’s Quick Fire” and we see the two feuding families meet. The time they meet is not a good one, though, and things don’t go where anyone expects, including, I suspect, the readers.

The story took a little longer. I can usually tell when a story works and the first version didn’t. In the end, I realized it tried to do too much. This is becoming a fairly standard thing. I try to put certain things in a story, and they may very well be great elements, but this particular story doesn’t work with them included.

Sometimes, this requires help from other eyes. I got great help from Jamie and also Yvonne Jacobs focusing the story down.

This is part of the be prepared to kill your baby part of writing. It’s not easy, but if you can do it, it results in much better stories and quite often, future story ideas.

This weekend, I’m basically taking it off except for projects around the house. Next week, I’ll be doing a couple of small writing projects, starting a new short story, and working on None Call Me Mother.

Have a great week.

What I’m Listening To

Still watching Burn Notice. Again. Love this show.

Quote of the Week

Sir Edward Pellew, 1st Viscount Exmouth, was born today in 1757. Who is he? He was a very successful admiral in the Napoleonic Wars. You can find his details here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Pellew,_1st_Viscount_Exmouth.

More importantly for me, he was Mr. Midshipman Hornblower’s captain on the Indefatigueable. Anytime I get a chance to reference Hornblower, I’m going to take it.

“You have fought your duel. That is well. Never fight another. That is better.”
– Edward Pellew, in the Duel, from the Hornblower movies.

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (Approx. 115,000)
  • CB (8,418)
  • HM (6,374)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

  • Added a few more products on the website and focused on the wiki this week.

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is still on my new webstore at www.aescandthorn.com/store. I have my new books, old science fiction and fantasy magazines, and will add a bunch of used books.

Today’s Weight: 396.4

Updated Word Count: 65,098

Shijuren Wiki: working on it

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: I Will Draw A Chart

Week 5 of 2020

Greetings all

This was another week where everything went a bit wonky, though I sort of anticipated it.

I got home on Sunday from ChattaCon. I expected Monday to be a real down day as I recovered from the drive, but I was moderately productive. I had a great writing day on Tuesday.

And then Wednesday is when the fatigue hit. Ah well.

I got a bunch of writing done on Thursday, and though I never really had a chance yesterday, it wasn’t an awful week. I got almost 5k written on None Call Me Mother, along with a bunch of work on other projects.

Today is also the final day of a hectic two months since Thanksgiving. Between the holidays, I hosted 3 local SCA postrevels, went to 2 cons, wrapped up my portion of When Valor Must Hold, wrote a short story start to finish, and added 27k or so to None Call Me Mother.

27k isn’t enough for two months, really, but it’s not nothing, combined with the rest. I’ll take it.

The good news is that I’m entering my spring writing stretch with only one trip between now and the end of April, and FantaSci will be worth it.

Just keep plugging away.

What I’m Listening To

Red Sector A off A Show of Hands by Rush. Fantastic song with one of my favorite lyrics every. It’s the quote of the week, and it captures the horrors of the Holocaust in such amazing fashion.

Quote of the Week

“Sickness to insanity
Prayer to profanity”
– Rush, Red Sector A

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (103,801)
  • CB (8,418)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on RJ Ladon, another contributor to When Valor Must Hold with her story “Ogre’s Brownies.” You can find her interview here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1980.

Today’s Weight: 398.4

Updated Word Count: 19,998

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org

Rob’s Update: Afterimage

Week 2 of 2020

Greetings all

2020 had started off better than I could have hoped. I got accepted as an Attending Pro at DragonCon. This is an amazing honor and I am so excited.

Then I got word I’d been accepted as a vendor at Dagorhir’s Ragnarok XXXV event. This is a large LARPing event held in June at the same site as Pennsic. It’s a bunch of new potential readers I get to meet. More excitement.

Then I announced my plans for the year. You can find that post here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1919. The TL:DR version is that I have a full, but manageable schedule that adds yet more excitement.

The stories for When Valor Must Hold are all good, even mine. Team “And More” did a great job, and I’m ecstatic at what the cover authors have given me. It’s a great honor to work with all of these authors, and they’ve done me proud.

I’ll be introducing these authors one a week until the release, and probably afterward. The first one is William Joseph Roberts, whose story Dust in the Mouth has enough action to make Crom go “Whoa!”

You can find my interview of William here: http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1926.

I also started a new regular column for Monday’s called Rob’s Ramblings. This week it was my ShadowCon AAR at:  http://robhowell.org/blog/?p=1915

None Call Me Mother is progressing. Started seriously thinking of two other short stories.

All was going well.

And then Neil Peart died from brain cancer. I’m posting this because it’s the job, and doing the job was one of many lessons the Professor taught me.

But I hurt.

What I’m Listening To

Rush. As much as I can all weekend long.

Quote of the Week

Rush’s Afterimage. The whole song.

Suddenly, you were gone
From all the lives you left your mark upon

I remember
How we talked and drank into the misty dawn
I hear the voices

We ran by the water on the wet summer lawn
I see the footprints
I remember

I feel the way you would
I feel the way you would

Tried to believe but you know it’s no good
This is something that just can’t be understood

I remember
The shouts of joy, skiing fast through the woods
I hear the echoes

I learned your love for life
I feel the way that you would
I feel your presence
I remember

I feel the way you would
This just can’t be understood

News and Works in Progress

  • None Call Me Mother (95,944)
  • CB (8,418)

Recent Blog Posts and Wiki Additions

Upcoming Events

Spotlight

This week’s spotlight is on William Joseph Roberts, one of the first people I had in mind for the anthology When Valor Must Hold.

Today’s Weight: 399.4

Updated Word Count: 6,7

Shijuren Wiki: 874 entries

Let me know if you have any suggestions on the website, this email, or cool story ideas at rob@robhowell.org. Especially let me know of suggestions you have for the Spotlight section.

Have a great week, everyone.

Rob Howell

Currently Available Works
Shijuren
Four Horsemen Universe
The Phases of Mars
Short Stories

If you think you received this email incorrectly or wish to be unsubscribed, please send an email to shijuren-owner@robhowell.org