Monday, February 28, 2011

Kerfuffled, or Why I'm Working Late

I have cute weekend photos, but haven't uploaded yet and will be working late tonight so am using the material I have available during a quick break...  I offer, instead, a snapshot of my inbox.  (Re-arranged into chronological order, for your reading ease).

There were originally two separate email threads. The first was from my sister, linking to this:
Which is relevant because of its pun-tastic comment section and my mom’s later email.

Later, from my brother:
Alright, a quiz.  Which of these words/phrases do you know?
mirabile dictum = ‘strange to say, marvelous to relate’  
sui generis  = ‘of his, her, or of their own kind; unique’
sororal   = ‘of, pertaining to, or characteristic of a sister or sisters; sisterly’           
abattoir  = ‘a slaughterhouse’      
lamarckism = ‘a theory of organic evolution asserting that environmental changes cause structural changes in animals and plants that are transmitted to offspring’ 

Fun words/phrases I had to look up in my very good book [Extra Lives] about why videogames matter.

[To our sister]--  Lamarckism (or something close) is what I’d come across prior to Thanksgiving:  I mentioned to [sister's fiancĂ©] an article I’d read (in ????) wherein the notion of environment affecting DNA was mentioned.  He was dismissive and the article was one of many read in the few months prior, so I was vague myself.  According to Wiki it’s not part of modern evolutionary synthesis, and the closest I found was Epigenetics - refer to aforementioned fuzziness.  Not a biologist.

From me, showing off my mad word skillz, with the yellow highlighter:
Not claiming I’d roll ‘em out in everyday conversation though.  Mirabile dictu sounds enough like miracle (to) dictate (relay) - I’d hope I’d pick it up from context.  Did he use kerfuffle?  I heart anyone who can work kerfuffle into a paragraph.

Also from me:
NPR did a thing a bit ago about neo-lamarckism.  Apparently the theory is making a comeback.

From my brother:
YAY! K hearts me!  I get abused at work for using fun words when sending FU emails to contractors.  So a (short-lived) game was started wherein we got points for inserting into emails or phone conversations’s word of the day.  One day the word was kerfuffle and I won 3 points.

From me:
I WANT TO PLAY!  Also, I just googled & couldn’t find the NPR link (not that I looked TOO hard) but suffice it say there was a thing, that I heard, at some point, on some channel, about, ya know, the environment, and evolution.  They cited a couple non-darwinesque evolutionary examples, none of which I can recall now.  Such is the weight of my comment.

From my brother:
yeah, that’s pretty much what I went to [sister’s fiancĂ©] with. he scoffed. scoffed!
re: the game: it stopped because I uber-enjoyed it, won the most points, and was generally Too Eager To Play With.

From me, to my brother:
No one wanted to play with you?
I’m shocked. shocked!

From my mom, 47 minutes later:
So the whole kerfuffle thing has a bewitching circularity in this little exercise. Mirabile dictu! – back to the FAIL (un)safe plug in the shower … a little dry(er) sense of humor and we’re all shocked.

And here’s a description from the Urban Dictionary for the verb to kerfuffle: “To rile up, confuse, or anger a cat (especially kittens) into fluffing up.  Sometimes results in a cat spazzing out and running around the residence.”  In other words, the cat is shocked, shocked.  Is this what Madera does?
[ed's note:  Madera is my brother’s evil hissy cat]

From me, to my mom:
How long were you working on that, exactly?

From our sister:
I <3 Mom.
I knew she would pull through for me.

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