This week, we’re learning some ancient Greek.
Ancient Greek was spoken from the 9th century to the 4th century B.C.E (by the ancient Grecians, of course). That is so long ago. That is almost three thousand years ago (maybe—math is hard). And they were better at complimenting butts than we are now in the 21st century.
That’s actually not that surprising when you think about how awesome Greek theatre was. I mean, theatre is pretty awesome now, too. But we had Greek theatre to learn from. What did they learn from? Gilgamesh, maybe?
I’ve started off this Wednesday Word in a pretty boring way considering this is such a good, good word. Though I don’t know how to pronounce it, or even what these letters are, here is “the state of having a great butt” in ancient Greek: “καλλίπυγος” (kallípugos). Try throwing that one on a Valentine’s card.
The etymology is pretty easy and remarkably uncontested on this one. Kalli means “beautiful,” and pugḗ means “butt.” It also comes from a magnificent statue of the goddess of love and beauty Venus, called Aphrodite Kallipygos or Callipygian Venus, who obviously had a good butt.
The statue is depicting Venus in a state of anasyrma, yet another amazing word that refers to the gesture of lifting a skirt or kilt to expose the genitals. Venus, also often called Aphrodite, is lifting her peplos, a typical dress for Grecian women in the Classical period, to reveal her callipygian assets, while simultaneously looking over her shoulder, probably enjoying the view herself.
Though the statue, and therefore the word, dates to the late 1st century B.C.E., the sentiment is certainly not outdated. I genuinely hope to soon hear this word in every rap and pop hit on the radio, to see it in every silly magazine. Maybe I’ll even start a petition on Change.org that every offensive compliment has to be replaced with callipygian. Until then, I recommend everyone go out and tell all of their loved ones exactly how good their butt is. You never know when you’ll get another chance to say how you really feel.
I miss my sweet Hudson Valley. The thirty-three days till we are reunited will feel like a lifetime. Luckily, I have this thirty-three minute playlist to remind me of its subtle beauty and make the days go by just a little faster.
Take a listen to the complete Hudson Valley inspired playlist here.
1.Woodstock – Alice Smith Woodstock is not only the location of the famed 60s music festival, it is also the location of a very good cupcake bakery. The more you know.
Spent ten days in Woodstock taking it easy
So would you please excuse me
‘Cause I’m feeling quite sad and I’m happy again
Because I spent ten days in Woodstock taking it easy
Feeling mellow like a cello
Go ahead part the seas and say hello to the fishes for me
2.River – Joni Mitchell If the Hudson River freezes over enough in the winter, people go ice yachting down it. I know.
Oh I wish I had a river
I could skate away on
3.Wildewoman – Lucius Before I went to college in the Mid-Hudson Valley, in a rural region, I thought I was a city girl, through and through. As it turns out, I actually love the natural tranquility of the woods, of the river, of the purple Catskills always framing my view. After two years of hiking, bonfires, and river-lovin', I think I am finally an official Wildewoman.
Oh we’re gonna find another way back home
It’s written in our blood, oh it’s written in our bones
Yeah, she’ll only be bound by the things she chooses
She’s a wildewoman
4.My Dirty Stream (The Hudson River Song) – Pete Seeger Unfortunately, not everyone is taking care of our beautiful river. Fortunately, some people are writing beautiful songs about that.
Sailing down my dirty stream
Still I love it and I’ll keep the dream
That some day, though maybe not this year
My Hudson River will once again run clear
5.Hello My Old Heart – The Oh Hellos In thirty-three days, I will kiss the banks of the river and sing it this song.
Hello my old heart
It’s been so long
Since I’ve given you away
And every day I add another stone
To the walls I built around you
To keep you safe
6.River – Leon Bridges Are you getting the gist of the theme yet?
Tip me in your smooth waters
I go in
As a man with many crimes
Come up for air
As my sins flow down the Jordan
7.Julep – Punch Brothers On Long Island, I feel rushed. I feel a pressure to constantly be busy. When I go back to school, I will live slowly again, and happily.
Heaven’s a julep on the porch
Heaven’s a julep on the porch
You and me rocking
A grandfather is tick, tick, tocking to time
We used to wind it
8.Rivers And Roads – The Head And The Heart I'm really beating this river theme into the ground, huh?
Been talking ‘bout the way things change
And my family lives in a different state
And if you don’t know what to make of this
Then we will not relate
So if you don’t know what to make of this
Then we will not relate
Rivers and roads, rivers and roads
Rivers ‘til I reach you
9.My Little Corner of the World – Yo La Tengo I wish a little corner of the world upon every good soul.
Come along with me to my little corner of the world
Dream a little dream in my little corner of the world
You’ll soon forget that there’s any other place
Tonight, my love, we’ll share a sweet embrace
Again, the entire mix can be found and listened to here.
Some words are so weird, wacky, and wonderful that they don’t seem to fit into any language.
A noun with distinctly negative connotations, brouhaha refers to an overexcited commotion. It is synonymous with words like “hubbub” and “hullaballoo” (other super goofy words that seriously need to be added to my daily lexicon).
Have you ever been unpleasantly confused in the face of a loud, perhaps even irrational, response? If the answer is yes, then you, too, have been afflicted with the disease that is brouhaha.
If it sounds like I’m painting the word in too harsh a light, read this: one accepted source of “brouhaha” comes from sixteenth century French drama, in which it was used as the devil’s signature catchphrase. “Brou, ha, ha!”
But not all etymologists agree that this is how the word originated. In fact, a certain sect of etymologists doesn’t see the word as French in origin at all. Rather, they believe it to be a derivation of the Hebrew barukh habba, meaning “welcome” or, literally, “blessed be the one who comes.”
Additionally, there is a similar word originating from Hebrew, which the dictionary insists is used in North America but I personally have never heard, seen, or read it: tohubohu, meaning a state of chaos or utter confusion. The Hebrew word it comes from means “emptiness and desolation,” which is a bit closer than barukh habba to brouhaha, in regards to connotation.
Looks like we might have another case of won’t-actually-know-until-someone-invents-a-working-time-machine on our hands. Until then, “brouhaha” needs no further explanation.
Sometimes, you just have to let the misery ride out.
My mom has been telling me this one particular metaphor for a long time. I have no idea if she made it up or not. She is sort of the queen of uncommon clichés (which is a bit of an oxymoron in its own right).
When something awful is going on, or you’ve got extensive internal pain about something or other, and whenever the residual icky-ness hits you, as it is wont to do, once or twice or a thousand times a day, it helps to think of the pain as though it’s a wave.
Personally, I am deathly afraid of waves. I live on an island. And I am still very, very afraid of waves. When you’re swimming in the Atlantic, to avoid the little waves crashing against your chest, you have to go fairly far out into the ocean. It seems relatively peaceful out there, where the water is still and blue.
However. Going far out into the water does not allow you to avoid all waves. In fact, it makes you susceptible to the biggest, scariest, most powerful ones. And, it you’re far enough out that you can’t freaking run back to the beach when these awful King Kong waves start building! I hate this! I feel very strongly about it!
Of course, being the wimp that I am, I try running back to the sand anyway. This always just ends up with me tumbling under the water, fearing my life and choking on salt water, until I’m in the shower that night trying to get sand out of deep crevices.
So, according to the metaphor and my own traumatic experiences, running away from the pain wave is not really the best way to deal.
If you’re an experienced ocean swimmer, or just not a coward like me, you know that the best way to get through a huge wave is to literally go through it. Just hold your breath, and dive in. It makes no sense to me, and it really goes against both my fight and my flight instincts. But somehow, you always end up on the other side, breathing just fine.
Is this metaphor a little too obvious? Oh, whatever. Here’s a thirty-minute mix (and, yes, it is very eclectic, as per usual) to get you a little wet and maybe, by letting yourself feel the pain, get through it.
Find the entire playlist here!
1.Where Does the Good Go – Tegan and Sara It's not a secret that life is unfair. That little tidbit of life hasn't exactly been inconspicuous. But man, universe, don't leave us hanging like this. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, or so I've heard in movies. If the misery is here, where's the happiness?
Where do you go with your broken heart in tow
What do you do with the left over you
And how do you know when to let go
Where does the good go
2.Fuck Was I – Jenny Owen Youngs How often is it the case that you know you shouldn't do something, but you do it anyway? Yeah. Me too.
Skillet on the stove
It’s such a temptation
Maybe I’ll be the lucky one that doesn’t get burned
What the fuck was I thinking?
3.Same Changes – The Weepies Bring on the bleak.
And everyone says
This love will change you
Well I ask, does anything ever stay the same
No, no, no
Just same changes
4.Everything Is Embarrassing – Sky Ferreira I really love this artist, named Wayne White. He was the puppeteer for Peewee's Playhouse and did incredible work for a bunch of other things. He's famous for these word paintings he makes, where he paints phrases that come to his wacky and wonderful mind on top of thrift store purchases. One of my favorites: "BEAUTY IS EMBARRASSING." And it's true. I'm embarrassed by so many qualities my mother would brag about to distant relatives.
I’ve been hating everything
Everything that could’ve been
Could have been my anything
Now everything’s embarrassing
5.Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell This song is what happens when you've tried, you've looked at something from all perspectives, you've hung on for as long as you could, and yet everything still sucks.
But now they only block the sun
They rain and snow on everyone
So many things I would have done
But clouds got in my way
6.Crazy – Patsy Cline I hate feeling "crazy," especially because I'm only ever "crazy" in the eyes of someone else, someone who doesn't have the same stakes as I do. Ugh. Stop calling people crazy, everyone. It is uncool.
I’m crazy for feeling so lonely
I’m crazy for feeling so blue
7.Ain’t That Just The Way – Latricia McNeal Even though all of these songs aren't explicitly uplifting, just the fact that someone else felt the same as you do now is a huge relief.
Ain’t that just the way that life goes down, down, down, down
Moving way too fast or much too slow
Getting up, getting high, getting down
Getting no, no, nowhere
But not getting into someone I should know
8.I Care – Beyoncé This song has gotten me through many an emotional breakdown. Who am I kidding, it's gotten me through breakups, final exams in economics, and my favorite character dying in Buffy. It's multi-purpose. (Thank you, Lady Beyoncé, Duchess of Earth.)
Ain’t nobody tell me this is love
You’re immune to all my pain
I need you to tell me this is love
You don’t care well that’s okay
Well, I care
I know you don’t care too much
But I still care
Again, the mix, in it’s depressing entirety, can be listened to here.
I am a certified psychic. More importantly, I have good Internet connection. Promise.
Aries (May 21 - April 19)
You will find yourself in a long, slow-moving line, and yet you will feel completely at peace.
Taurus (April 20 - May 20)
Not only will you get out of bed before noon, you will also go outside.
Gemini (May 21 - June 20)
Don't worry; there will be enough time.
Cancer (June 21 - July 22)
You will let your walls fall, even if for just a moment.
Leo (July 23 - August 22)
What you want may not be attainable, but you will be okay with that.
Virgo (August 23 - September 22)
Something that would have kept you up at night will instead roll right off your back.
Libra (September 23 - October 22)
Nothing will get in the way of you standing up for what you think is right.
Scorpio (October 23 - November 21)
You will reveal something you've been bottling deep inside of you, and feel all the better for it.
Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21)
You will be able to express yourself while also remembering that it is often better to be kind than to be right.
Capricorn (December 22 - January 19)
You will let your feet float off of the ground, and you'll like the sensation.
Aquarius (January 20 - February 18)
You won't cancel on that thing that you really don't want to go to, and you'll be happy you went.
Pisces (February 19 - March 20)
Criticism will feel like a gift instead of an insult.
Happy victory, even if only in small (but important) ways.
Like all angsty high schoolers, I loved The Catcher in the Rye. I had a strange, half-formed crush on Holden Kaufield; I, too, saw great beauty and meaning in the children's carousel, which is only the natural reaction for someone who is too embarrassed to still ride them but really, really wants to; and I imagined myself as the singular speck of authenticity floating in the teenage galaxy of, to borrow from Holden, phoniness, while, like Holden, not realizing that I wasn't that true to myself, either.
Nowadays, the word "phony" has become a bit of a zebra amongst horses, replaced with the more colloquial terms "fake" and "poser." However, in this modern age of social media, Photoshop, and airbrushing, we're going to need all of the synonyms we can get just to have one measly conversation about last night's episode of (insert any television show on Bravo, MTV, TLC, or E!).
But we hear enough about phoniness in the 21st century. Let's talk about phoniness in the 19th century.
In the late 1800s, similar to today, it was way too hard to find a job. Equal education was a joke, equal opportunity a scam. Therefore, those looking to earn fast riches took to swindling. Within the thieving community, code words were utilized to dupe the masses. One such word was "fawney," which referred to gilt brass rings. Advertised and sold as real gold rings, fawney eventually evolved into phony, giving us, and J.D. Salinger, the word we know and use today.
Crushing out is like rocking out except it hurts way more.
As I missed posting a Weekly Playlist To last Monday, this week’s mix, at a full hour long, is double the eclectic. I picked each song to represent both the breathless excitement and the agonizing pain of having a dumb stupid crush on somebody or on somebodies.
Though having a crush is usually a bit of a tragedy, all we can do (besides actually initiate something with the crush-ee, which, well—no thanks) is enjoy the process. At the end of the day, it is kind of fun. Even the agonizing bits. I might just be a drama queen, though.
Take a listen to the full playlist here!
1.My Hands are Shaking – Sondre Lerche I shake when I haven't eaten enough. Also, when I am talking to someone I like. Also, when I'm nervous about anything. Sometimes I shake for no reason. I just have shaky hands.
My hands are shaking
From carrying this torch
From carrying this torch for you
2.Girl Crush – Little Big Town There's often more than two people involved in the tragedy of a crush: you, the person you're crushing on, and the person that the person you're crushing on is actually crushing on. It is a tense dynamic often resulting in irrational hatred and rational jealousy towards the third party, captured perfectly by Little Big Town.
I don’t get no sleep, I don’t get no peace
Thinkin’ about her under your bed sheets
The way that she’s whisperin’, the way that she’s pullin’ you in
Lord knows I’ve tried, I can’t get her off my mind
3.Untouchable Face – Ani DiFranco It doesn't matter how old I get. I will always feel like my crush has no idea who I am.
So fuck you
And your untouchable face
For existing in the first place
And who am I, that I should be vying for your touch
Who am I, bet you can’t even tell me that much
4.All Shook Up – Avila This version of the classic song "All Shook Up" is hauntingly beautiful, like all of my fantasies-- which involve my crush and I featured in a rom-com montage of us exploring a retro Haunted House ride at a funky pop-up carnival. Just me? 'Kay.
My tongue gets tied when I try to speak
My insides shake and there’s no relief
There’s only one cure for this body of mine
That’s love like yours, that’s love so fine
5.Dandelion – Kacey Musgraves I make wishes at 11:11, I make wishes on shooting stars, I make wishes on birthday candles. None of this shit has ever worked.
A million little wishes float across the sky
But it’s just a waste of breath and a waste of time, I know
‘Cause just like him, you always leave me crying
6.Why Can’t I? – Liz Phair This one is a little bit of a loose interpretation because the narrator in the song has clearly already snagged her crush. However, the feeling are quite the same. I would relate the symptoms to those of a heart attack. Like a cardiovascular thing, not a cute metaphor.
Why can’t I breathe whenever I think about you
Why can’t I speak whenever I talk about you
It’s inevitable, it’s a fact that we’re gonna get down to it
So tell me
Why can’t I breathe whenever I think about you
7.Wedding Bell Blues – The 5th Dimension Another loose interpretation, as the narrator is with Bill, the man of her dreams. And yet! He won't marry her. Come on. That must be agony.
I love you so, I always will
And though devotion rules my heart I take no bows
But Bill, you’re never gonna take those wedding vows
8.Stone Cold – Demi Lovato I've been on a real Demi kick lately. Something about this song, especially the part where she pretends to play on her phone so that she seems cool and busy in the same room as her ex and his new fling, is very relatable.
I’ll take the pain
Give me the truth
Me and my heart
We’ll make it through
9.Our Hearts Are Wrong – Jessica Lea Mayfield I have liked people that are no good for me. Sometimes, I have done worse than like them, like care about them. Sometimes, my heart is just not my friend.
I know how you work
I am just like you
No matter what you say
Our hearts are wrong
Our hearts are wrong
10.You Don’t Know Me – Jann Arden This one once again brings to mind the "my crush will never know who I am" phenomenon.
No you don’t know the one, who dreams of you at night
And longs to kiss your lips, longs to hold you tight
Oh, I am just a friend, that’s all I’ve ever been
‘Cause you don’t know me
11.You, Sailor – Erin McKeown Now that I have put this into the playlist I'm not really sure why I did. Oh well, it's here now.
You, sailor, on the lonely sea
Will you turn and promise me
You’ll always be alive
Oh, I might stutter, I might falter
Sail uncharted waters
Drowning, lost, then found
12.Poison & Wine – The Civil Wars This song should be the theme song for the next inevitable opposites-attract Hollywood rom-com. It's so hateful and hot all the same time. Again, probably not good for me.
I wish you’d hold me when I turn my back
The less I give, the more I get back
Oh, your hands can heal, your hands can bruise
I don’t have a choice but I still choose you
Oh, I don’t love you, but I always will
13.Habits (Stay High) – Tove Lo I've heard this song on the radio so many times. I can't believe I don't hate it already.
Spend my days locked in a haze
Trying to forget you babe
I fall back down
I gotta stay high all my life to forget I’m missing you
14.Sister Wife – Alex Winston This is another weird playlist choice. Oh, whatever, I think this song is hilarious.
Hey there sister wife
Get the hell out, it’s my night
You don’t know the way to his heart
Like I do
15.Baby It’s You – The Shirelles Crying over someone, being convinced that they're your soulmate but they haven't realized it yet, blah blah join the club.
Oh, oh, many, many nights roll by
I sit alone at home and cry over you
What can I do?
I can’t help myself
‘Cause baby, it’s you
16.Lay Me Down – Sam Smith I mostly chose this song because Sam Smith makes me move like a classically trained violinist-- very jerky and awkward but I'm just feeling it so much I don't even care.
One day I will be, where I was
Right there, right next to you
And it’s hard, the days just seem so dark
The moon, the stars, they’re nothing without you
Your touch, your skin, where do I begin?
No words can explain the way I’m missing you
17.Sway – Bic Runga Bic Runga is one of my all-time favorite artists. I may need to do a playlist of just her songs because that is how obsessed I currently am. Take a listen to her soft, smooth voice, and get lost in how gorgeous she makes crushing on someone sound.
Don’t ever go away
I should be much too smart for this
You know it gets the better of me
When you and I collide
I fall into an ocean of you
Pull me out in time
Don’t let me drown
Again, all of the songs can be found here for your crushing out pleasure.
Do you ever wonder how the books of Jane Austen would change if she was writing them in the present?
"The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never swipe right on a man whom I can really love." -Swag & Sensibility
Original quote: "The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love." -Sense & Sensibility
"Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by hot people in the right Instagram filter." -Emma
Original quote: "Silly things do cease to be silly if they are done by sensible people in an impudent way." -Emma
"What are men to likes and favorites?" -Pride & Pinterest
Original quote: "What are men to rocks and mountains?" -Pride & Prejudice
"A lot of followers is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of." -LinkedIn Park
Original quote: "A large income is the best recipe for happiness I ever heard of." -Mansfield Park
"I may have lost my phone, but not my self control." -Emma
Original quote: "I may have lost my heart, but not my self control." -Emma
"If I could but know his password, everything would become easy." -Swag & Sensibility
Original quote: "If I could but know his heart, everything would become easy." -Sense & Sensibility
"You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love dat ass." -Pride & Pinterest
Original quote: "You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you." -Pride & Prejudice
Well, now you know.
Student. Writer. Everything-o-phile.