Monday Miscellany: Zeugma & Zoombini

  1. There is a famous and important town in Turkey called Zeugma. Weirdly, both the town and the delightful figure of speech have the same etymology, related to joining.

2. Speaking of weird figures of speech, the mondegreen takes its name from an example of the same:

Mondegreens are most often created by a person listening to a poem or a song; the listener, being unable to clearly hear a lyric, substitutes words that sound similar, and make some kind of sense.[1][2] American writer Sylvia Wright coined the term in her essay “The Death of Lady Mondegreen”, published in Harper’s Magazine in November 1954. The term was inspired by “…and Lady Mondegreen”, a misinterpretation of the line “…and laid him on the green” from the Scottish ballad “The Bonnie Earl O’ Moray“.[3]

Sure, Scottish ballads are nice, but obviously the Taylor Swift’s Lonely Starbucks Lovers and Brittney Spear’s “If U Seek Amy” are more fun.


An unintentionally incorrect use of similar-sounding words or phrases in speaking is a malapropism. If there is a connection in meaning, it can be called an eggcorn. If a person stubbornly sticks to a mispronunciation after being corrected, that person has committed a mumpsimus.[12]

3. I know I complain about Texas slightly more than strictly fair, but come on, even our weird animals do awful things, like spread leprosy.

4. Oliver Sacks continues to amaze in a meditation about rituals and honesty.

“In December 2014, I completed my memoir, “On the Move,” and gave the manuscript to my publisher, not dreaming that days later I would learn I had metastatic cancer, coming from the melanoma I had in my eye nine years earlier. I am glad I was able to complete my memoir without knowing this, and that I had been able, for the first time in my life, to make a full and frank declaration of my sexuality, facing the world openly, with no more guilty secrets locked up inside me.”

5. It has come to my attention recently that people believe I like Tolkien. I do not! I actually forced myself to read the Lord of the Rings books, complained about them loudly, and have avoided any further contact with his fiction for adults. But! Most others I know love it, so I should tell you about the availability (for the first time?) of his first novel. Additionally, these letters from Father Christmas from Tolkien to his children are incredible.

6. Why does the schizophrenia label persist?

7. THE ZOOMBINIS’ LOGICAL JOURNEY EXISTS FOR iOS AND ANDROID THIS IS NOT A DRILL. (This game taught me about important skills like “test only one variable at a time!” and “design useful experiments!” and also let me save creatures that were cute and somewhat helpless.)

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