Category Archives: Totally random

Word

Daria Maya is a sophomore at Staples High School. But the teenager sure has a way with words.

The other day, she was chatting with her parents. Casually, Daria said that American politicians and the media engage in missuasion.

Daria’s parents, Joseph and Susan — both lawyers — looked at each other. They’d never heard that word. They asked her what it meant.

“There’s misinformation that politicians and the media are trying to persuade me to believe,” she replied. Then she gave Mom and Dad that oh-my-god-everyone-knows-what-I’m-talking-about look.

The Maya family (from left): Daniel, Joseph, Daria and Susan.

So Joseph did the natural thing: He emailed Merriam-Webster.

The dictionary folks were all over it. Associate editor Neil Serven wrote back that they found no previous use of “missuasion” anywhere in their citation database.

It wasn’t in the LEXIS-NEXIS periodicals database either.

There was one hit on a Reddit Bernie Sanders forum — “Cult-like powers of missuasion” — from June 2017. It described another politician.

Digging deeper, Serven discovered that the OED includes the verb “mis-suade” (labeling it “obsolete, rare”). Google Books found examples too, including 2 from an early 20th century Scottish writer.

“At a glance it strikes me as a useful and relevant word that could catch on,” Serven concluded.

“But since we only enter words in the dictionary once they’ve demonstrated established use (particularly in edited media), that work of getting other people to use it is up to you and your daughter.”

So what do you think, “06880” readers? Can we persuade enough people to use the word so that it earns a spot in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary?

Or would that simply be missuading them?

Pic Of The Day #661

An interesting pair of license plates at the St. Luke Church parking lot — and we’re told the drivers did not know each other. (Photo/Kerry Wood-Borner)

Friday Flashback #127

Mary Gai is a native Westporter. She’s fascinated with local history. In her spare time, she searches the internet for long-ago news references to our town.

These reports all appeared in the 1800s, in papers across the country. There’s little context to any of them. But that’s okay. Readers are free to make up their own back stories — and imagine what Westport life was like, way back when.

Do Not Call. Ever. Again.

America can put a man on the moon.*

We can send a rocket the size of a Mini Cooper to a rock only a few inches larger, then send signals back to earth across 4.1 billion miles of space.

But we can’t stop Kevin the Power Washer from leaving dozens of messages, day after day, on my phone.

He’s not the only one.

A “police group” — definitely not affiliated with the Westport Police Department — calls often, pleading for money.

So does some guy in India, breathlessly informing me that my computer has a deadly virus and if I don’t act now I could loss all my data — and worse!!!!!!

I signed up for the National Do Not Call Registry when it was first introduced, in 2003. I might as well have signed up for the National Suckers Registry.

Today there are 230 million numbers on it. Yet the Federal Trade Commission gets 19,000 complaints from people who have been called.

That’s 19,000 complaints a day.

Calls come in on my landline. On my cellphone — a whole other level of illegality. If I got messages through the fillings in my teeth, they’d probably come that way too.

I do have an app (AT&T Mobile Security) that helpfully identifies incoming calls it suspects are from telemarketers. It would be nice if it stopped them all together, but hey, this is only 2019.

Several “06880” readers have asked for advice about this scourge. Unfortunately, that’s out of my lane.

I can alert you to upcoming 81-unit apartment complexes. I can provide a forum to discuss everything from beach bathrooms to medical marijuana dispensaries. But I can’t do jack about Kevin the Power Washer.

However, maybe you can.

Our “06880” online community contains some very smart folks. Collectively, our wisdom is broad and wide.

So here’s my request:

If you know how to stop the epidemic of telemarketers, click “Comments” below.

You’ll earn the eternal gratitude of all of us.

Except Kevin the Power Washer, that fraudulent police fundraiser, and some dude in India who says my computer will dkaidfu&dks@bkzk#%ksa …. aaaaaaargh!

———————————

*Okay, that was 50 years ago. But still…

The 1st-Ever “06880” Story Involving A Tanning Salon, The Super Bowl And Public Toilets

Spotted on the front door of Palm Beach Tan, on Post Road East:

Okay. I kind of get why — a month ahead of time — they let their customers know they’ll be closing early for the Super Bowl.

They don’t want to disappoint all those pale folks racing in every Sunday evening, for those 7 p.m. appointments.

But “No Public Restrooms”?

Did I miss that epidemic of folks driving off I-95 — or those living nearby without indoor plumbing — who keep bugging Palm Beach Tan, screaming, “We gotta go!”?

The least they can do is direct them to Layla’s Falafel next door — a very welcoming spot. Maybe the 2 gas stations across the street.

Or just about any other place in town.

Separated At Birth — And By 4 Billion Miles?

“06880”‘s tagline is “Where Westport meets the world.”

After this week’s news from NASA —  and thinking about our own Saugatuck hair salon — we might change it to “Where Westport meets the Kuiper Belt.”

(Hat tip: Matthew Mandell)

Pic Of The Day #607

No, it’s not a coincidence. The construction company doing work on the Merritt Parkway — and whose equipment is stored at the Exit 41 commuter parking lot — was founded by the grandfather of former Trump campaign chairman and convicted felon Paul Manafort. The company is based in New Britain. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Pic Of The Day #594

The “skateboarding” part of this sign — in the back of the CVS parking lot, near Whitney Street Extension — is clear. The “etc.” — not so much. (Photo/Molly Alger)

Pic Of The Day #587

The rest of the time, feel free to dance in the Barnes & Noble parking lot. (Photo/Dan Woog)

Pics Of The Day #585

First, the mystery message on the Post Road Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge read “Vote.” A new message popped up a few nights ago.

Here’s a tighter view. If you still can’t see, it reads “Thanks = Giving.” (Photo/Mark Yurkiw)