Getting Silly in The Jungle

[Watched the Evening News Lately? Maybe you’ll agree that it’s better to escape to The Jungle and have a few chuckles with your fellow apes. SB SM]

SB John (Mendocino Bonobos) forwarded this one:

One of my Yale classmates recommended the movie Idiocracy as a vision of the future. I have to admit that he wasn’t far from the truth:

Narrator: As the 21st century began, human evolution was at a turning point. Natural selection, the process by which the strongest, the smartest, the fastest, reproduced in greater numbers than the rest, a process which had once favored the noblest traits of man, now began to favor different traits. Most science fiction of the day predicted a future that was more civilized and more intelligent. But as time went on, things seemed to be heading in the opposite direction. A dumbing down. How did this happen? Evolution does not necessarily reward intelligence. With no natural predators to thin the herd, it began to simply reward those who reproduced the most, and left the intelligent to become an endangered species.

If you find this picture funny, then you will love Idiocracy:

Ten Hilarious Winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards

Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, SB Bill (Hinesburg SBs) keeps trying to upgrade the species by improving our vocabularies. Use each of these in a sentence today:


MEANING:verb intr.: To buzz or hum.
ETYMOLOGY:From Latin bombinare, from bombilare (to hum, buzz), from Latin bombus (humming), from Greek bombos (booming, humming). Earliest documented use: 1880. A perfect synonym is bombilate.
USAGE:“He hummed a ditty to himself and realized he could bombinate twice as loud in a void thrice as great as his head.”
Nidhi Singh; In Perpetual Dread of Happiness; Bards and Sages Quarterly (Bellmawr, New Jersey); Apr 2017.


This old word has a history of meanings but these days it doesn’t occur much outside of the phrase “take umbrage,” which means “be offended.” It originally meant “shade” and shares an ancestor with adumbrate, penumbra, and umbrella.


MEANING:noun: Crude, uncouth, unintelligent.
ETYMOLOGY:After Piltdown, a village in Sussex, England, where a fossil skull, called the Piltdown Man, supposedly from an early human, was found. Earliest documented use: 1941. Also see neanderthal.

spear side

1. The male line of descent.
2. The male part of a family, group, etc.
ETYMOLOGY:From Old English spere-healfe. Earliest documented use: 1861.
NOTES:Why the term “spear side” to refer to the male line of descent? It’s not known if there are any Freudian allusions. Apparently, the term arose because in olden times men performed the spear business, i.e., fighting. A variation of the term, sword side, is also used. The female counterpart is distaff side or spindle side. The term for the side of a family that spins tales is the Shake spear side.


The commonest use of this very old English word today is to designate pompous language, but it originally denoted a kind of strong fabric. It shares a tiny corner of the language with bombast, another word originally associated with fiber that now mainly characterizes words.


MEANING:noun: A place of wickedness.
ETYMOLOGY:From French domdaniel (house of Daniel), apparently from Latin or Greek. Earliest documented use: 1801.


MEANING:adjective: Blindly or unreasonably optimistic.
noun: One who is optimistic regardless of the circumstances.
ETYMOLOGY:After Dr. Pangloss, a philosopher and tutor in Voltaire’s 1759 satire Candide. Pangloss believes that, in spite of what happens — shipwreck, earthquake, hanging, flogging, and more — “All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds.” The name is coined from Greek panglossia (talkativeness). Earliest documented use: 1831. The word pangloss is used in the same manner.
USAGE:“The clueless desert viceroys … misled reporters with their Panglossian scenarios of progress.”
Maureen Dowd; Neocons Slither Back; The New York Times; Sep 15, 2012.


1. A piece of writing or speech in an inflated or wildly enthusiastic manner.
2. An impassioned Greek choral song, originally in honor of the god Dionysus or Bacchus.


MEANING:noun: A symbol (¶) used to indicate paragraph breaks.
ETYMOLOGY:Apparently an alteration of the word paragraph, with r changing into l and remodeled along the more familiar words pill and crow. Earliest documented use: 1440.
NOTES:In the beginning, a piece of writing was one big amorphous chunk of text: no punctuation, no upper/lowercase, no spaces. Writing real estate was expensive, whether tablets, skins, or papyrus. With time punctuation marks entered the language. A pilcrow signified a change in topic, even though the text still flowed without any visual breaks.

Comments are closed.

Powered by

Up ↑