Wordy Wednesday


WORDY: using or containing many (usually too many) words

I see Wordless Wednesday blog posts and often think, “I should do that.”  But then I remember that I’m terrible at taking pictures.  So, I embrace Wednesdays in my own way.  In lieu of a photo, I offer you this random collection of other people’s words that impacted me this week as well as a handful of new words I added to my vocabulary.  I acknowledge that I am offering you less than the going exchange rate of 1,000 words per picture.  Forgive me.

Other People’s Words

This week, I’ve been reading How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny.  I like her books but they don’t necessarily provide pithy quotes.  However, this passage made me laugh:

…In the front seat, both the Chief Inspector and Isabelle Lacoste cracked open their windows, preferring the bitter cold outside to what threatened to melt the upholstery inside.

“Does he do that often?” she gasped.

“It’s a sign of affection, I’m told, “ said the Chief, not meeting her eyes.  “A compliment.”  Gamache paused, turning his head to the window. “A great compliment.”

Isabelle Lacoste smiled.  She was used to similar “compliments” from her husband and now their young son.  She wondered why the Y chromosome was so smelly…

I’ve also been reading The Death and Life of Great American Cities by Jane Jacobs.  Here are a few passages that showcase Jacobs’ ability to punch the planning profession in the gut using only words:

…Although the numbers of arrogant old gatekeepers have dwindled with time, the gates themselves are another matter.  Anticity planning remains amazingly sturdy in American cities.  It is still embodied in thousands of regulations, bylaws, and codes…and in unexamined public attitudes hardened by time.  Thus, one may be sure that there have been enormous and dedicated efforts in the face of these obstacles wherever one sees stretches of old city buildings that have been usefully recycled for new and different purposes; wherever sidewalks have been widened and vehicular roadways narrowed precisely where they should be…wherever downtowns are not deserted after their offices close; wherever new, fine-grained mixtures of street uses have been fostered successfully; wherever new buildings have been sensitively inserted among old ones to knit up holes and tatters in a city neighborhood so that the mending is all but invisible.  Some foreign cities have become pretty good at these feats.  But to try to accomplish such sensible things in America is a daunting ordeal at best, and often enough heartbreaking…

…Cities are an immense laboratory of trial and error, failure and success, in city building and city design.  This is the laboratory in which city planning should have been learning and forming and testing its theories.  Instead the practitioners and teachers of this discipline (if such it can be called) have ignored the study of success and failure in real life, have been incurious about the reasons for unexpected success, and are guided instead by principles derived from the behavior and appearance of towns, suburbs, tuberculosis sanatoria, fairs, and imaginary dream cities – from anything but cities themselves. 

Words I Had to Ask Webster About

  • Cypher: a person who has no power or is not important
  • Perfidious: deceptive
  • Querulous: full of complaints; carping
  • Vituperative: harsh and abusive

4 thoughts on “Wordy Wednesday

  1. That Jane Jacobs book is awesome. Another related read is Robert Caro’s biography of Robert Moses: The Power Broker. As you probably know, Jacobs tussled with Moses. The Moses book should – I think – be required reading for anyone who lives in the NYC metropolitan area, but it’s also fascinating for anyone who wonders how anything gets done anywhere ever.

  2. I appreciate how you let us in on the words you asked Webster; often such work on the side is let out, as if we already come into this world with a spouting vocabulary. Thank you for showing how to collect words along the way & even have a way of tracking them. Humbly brilliant!

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