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Last Word Blog

  • Meretricious

    mer·e·tri·cious
    ?mer?'triSH?s/
    adjective
    1.
    apparently attractive but having in reality no value or integrity.
    "meretricious souvenirs for the tourist trade"
    synonyms:worthlessvaluelesscheaptawdrytrashyBrummagemtasteless,kitsch, kitschy; More
    2.
    archaic
    of, relating to, or characteristic of a prostitute.

  • "Hurry it up, you Hoosier bastard! I could hang a dozen men while you're fooling around."

    Last Words of Carl Panzram, spoken to the hangman who asked if there were any Last Words he wanted to say. Panzram (1891-1930), was an American serial killer. Murdered 21 people. Executed by hanging in Leavenworth, Kansas, at age 39. The movie Killer: A Journal of Murder (1996) is based on his final years.

    __________________
    from Last Words of Notable People, compiled by William B. Brahms (New Jersey, 2010).

    original source: Bloodletters and Badmen: A Narrative Encyclopedia of American Crime from the Pilgrims to the Present by Jay Robert Nash (New York, 1973).

  • UK: Worcester Cathedral rare books moved using scaffolding tower



    Scaffolding has been put up to allow removal specialists to clear about 6,000 rare books, some more than 500 years old from a cathedral library so that a leaking roof can be repaired in Worcester Cathedral. Read more

  • UK: Lost Sherlock Holmes story discovered in man's attic



    An historian has unearthed the first unseen Sherlock Holmes story in more than 80 years that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote to help save a town bridge.

      Walter Elliot, 80, found the 1,300-word tale starring the famous detective in a collection of short stories written for a local bazaar.

      The wooden bridge in the Scottish town of Selkirk was destroyed by the great flood of 1902 and locals organised a three-day event to raise funds for a new one in 1904. Read more

  • One of the pleasures of reading old letters is the knowledge that they need no answer. --Byron

  • Word Warriors: Vocabulary puritans urged to focus on bringing back long-lost words

    Each year, the list of newly-coined words is greeted with outrage by logophiles

     
     
    TUESDAY 13 JANUARY 2015

         Every year newly coined words, or neologisms, are included in dictionaries and greeted with outrage from vocabulary puritans.
    Words like "mahoosive" (exceptionally large) and "globesity" (the worldwide outbreak of morbid obesity) have recently hit the headlines before retiring to obscurity.
         This year though, logophiles are being encouraged by academics at Wayne State University in Michigan to instead focus on the "glorious variety" of long-lost words that have fallen out of favour with today's lexicographers.
         To further that aim the Word Warrior project has released a top 10 of lost words for 2015.
       It includes rarely heard words such as "opsimath" and "subtopia" in an effort to draw attention to what writer and project leader Christopher Scott Williams calls "some of the English language's most expressive - yet regrettably neglected - words."
         It is a project that British author Mark Forsyth, who recently released The Horologicon: A Day's Jaunt Through the Lost Words of the English Language, welcomes.
         He said: "Of course some words deserve bringing back as we don't have an equivalent word for them today.
         "But I'm not so sure about words like knavery and caterwaul that I see have made the list; after all I still use  them today. Are they really forgotten?
         "I prefer bringing back old words that have a very specific use and could potentially catch on. For example, I use the word "poon". It's something to put under the leg of a table to stop it rocking and  I ask for one every time I end up in a restaurant with a  wobbly table. Because of the context, the waiter always understands exactly what I mean."

    The top 10 'lost words' of 2015

    Caterwaul: A shrill howling or wailing noise.

    Concinnity: The skilful and harmonious arrangement or fitting
     together of the  different parts of something.

    Knavery: A roguish or mischievous act.

    Mélange: A mixture of  different things.

    Rapscallion: A mischievous person.

    Opsimath: A person who begins to learn or study only late in life.

    Obambulate: To walk about.

    Philistine: A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them.

    Flapdoodle: Nonsense.

    Subtopia: Monotonous  urban sprawl of standardised buildings.

  • Amazon could have to pay billions of dollars in taxes to the EU...

    FINGERS CROSSED, even though it'll probably cost us on the back-end as an Amazon seller.

    "more like crime minister!" - jeremy cooper

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2913862/Embarrassment-EU-chief-Juncker-sweetheart-tax-deal-Amazon-Luxembourg-nation-s-PM-declared-illegal.html

  • Anniversary of Y.I.P. (Youth Party International)


    1968 -- US: Youth International Party (Y.I.P.) founded -- Country Joe & the Fish, Fugs (includes Tuli Kupferberg, "one of the leading Anarchist theorists of our time" & Ed Sanders, poet, editor, owner of the fabled Peace Eye Book Store), Allen Ginsberg, Arlo Guthrie, Abbie Hoffman, Paul Krassner, Phil Ochs, Jerry Rubin, et al (25 artists, writers & revolutionaries).

           I spoke to Tolstoy: 'Emma Goldman's coming back!'
           He sat there writing on a shard of red & black
           Black & Red. Coming back!
           Red & Black. They're comin' back!... 

                                  -- Tuli Kupferberg, excerpt,

                                   PAINT IT RED (& BLACK) 

  • Happy Birthday Alan Harrington


    1918 -- Alan Harrington lives. He was with Jack Kerouac, Neal 
    Cassady, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs & others at ground 
    zero of what became the Beat Generation. (Harrington aka Hal 
    Hingham in the later pages of On the Road.) Author of The 
    Immortalist, most of his books are now out of print.  

        Alan traveled through other jungles & "despoblados," the 
        shadowy landscapes of the human mind peopled with
        psychopaths & drug users & sexual criminals. He was 
        convinced decades ago that psychopaths were the coming
        thing & soon would pass for normal. Anyone who has 
        noticed recent elections knows that Alan won that bet.

                            -- Charles Bowden 

        "Hal lurked at the window [...] he heard clocks. They 
        were chiming  up & down the street.

                 Altogether, it was fifty-six o'clock."

  • 51 Of The Most Beautiful Sentences In Literature

    "At the still point, there the dance is." --T. S. Eliot


    posted on Dec. 9, 2014, at 12:46 p.m.
    BuzzFeed Staff

    We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us about their favorite lines from literature. Here are some of their most beautiful replies.

    Suggested by CindyH11 Creative Commons / Flickr: 58621196@N05
    2. "In our village, folks say God crumbles up the old moon into stars."
    --Alexander Solzhenitsyn, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich
    Suggested by Jasmin B., via Facebook

    3. "She wasn't doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together."
    --J. D. Salinger, "A Girl I Knew"
    Suggested by mollyp49cf70741

    4. "I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart; I am, I am, I am."
    --Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar
    Suggested by Brooke K., via Facebook
    Suggested by tina6287 Creative Commons / Flickr: 29865701@N02
    6. "Beauty is an enormous, unmerited gift given randomly, stupidly."
    --Khaled Hosseini, And the Mountains Echoed
    Suggested by Danielle O., via Facebook

    7. "Sometimes I can feel my bones straining under the weight of all the lives I'm not living."
    --Jonathan Safran Foer, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
    Suggested by Kellie C., via Facebook

    8. "What are men to rocks and mountains?"
    --Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
    Suggested by amandae16
    Suggested by klavdijak22 Creative Commons / Flickr: rayseinefotos
    10. "'Dear God,' she prayed, 'let me be something every minute of every hour of my life.'"
    --Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
    Suggested by Shanna B., via Facebook

    11. "The curves of your lips rewrite history."
    --Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray
    Suggested by Therese K., via Facebook

    12. "A dream, all a dream, that ends in nothing, and leaves the sleeper where he lay down, but I wish you to know that you inspired it."
    --Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
    Suggested by amykartzmanr
    Suggested by natyjira Creative Commons / Flickr: junevre
    14. "As Estha stirred the thick jam he thought Two Thoughts and the Two Thoughts he thought were these: a) Anything can happen to anyone. and b) It is best to be prepared."
    --Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
    Suggested by Alyssa P., via Facebook

    15. "If equal affection cannot be, let the more loving one be me."
    --W. H. Auden, "The More Loving One"
    Suggested by Blake M., via Facebook

    16. "And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good."
    --John Steinbeck, East of Eden
    Suggested by Missy W., via Facebook
    Suggested by Domo Creative Commons / Flickr: kwarz
    18. "There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."
    --William Shakespeare, Hamlet
    Suggested by Emily F., via Facebook

    19. "America, I've given you all and now I'm nothing."
    --Allen Ginsburg, "America"
    Suggested by Jimmy C., via Facebook

    20. "It might be that to surrender to happiness was to accept defeat, but it was a defeat better than many victories." 
    --W. Somerset Maugham, Of Human Bondage
    Suggested by fireworkshurricanes
    Suggested by amk93. Creative Commons / Flickr: chrisjl


    22. "At the still point, there the dance is."
    --T. S. Eliot, "Four Quartets"
    Suggested by vkanicka

    23. "Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering."
    --Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
    Suggested by Sam H., via Facebook

    24. "In spite of everything, I still believe people are really good at heart."
    --Anne Frank, The Diary of Anne Frank
    Suggested by claires10
    Suggested by Christina G., via Facebook Creative Commons / Flickr: yousefmalallah
    26. "The pieces I am, she gather them and gave them back to me in all the right order."
    --Toni Morrison, Beloved
    Suggested by lisah4b5176fb6

    27. "How wild it was, to let it be."
    --Cheryl Strayed, Wild
    Suggested by Natalie P., via Facebook

    28. "Do I dare / Disturb the universe?"
    --T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
    Suggested by Kati A., via Facebook
    Suggested by Barbara B., via Facebook Creative Commons / Flickr: library_of_congress
    30. "She was lost in her longing to understand."
    --Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Love in the Time of Cholera
    Suggested by melibellel

    31. "She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world."
    --Kate Chopin, "The Awakening"
    Suggested by Madeline M., via Facebook

    32. "We cross our bridges as we come to them and burn them behind us, with nothing to show for our progress except a memory of the smell of smoke, and the presumption that once our eyes watered."
    --Tom Stoppard, Rosencratz and Guildenstern Are Dead
    Suggested by Liza
    Suggested by Kristen S., via Facebook Creative Commons / Flickr: nancyvioletavelez
    34. "The half life of love is forever."
    --Junot Diaz, This Is How You Lose Her
    Suggested by xxx

    35. "I celebrate myself, and sing myself."
    --Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
    Suggested by Alyssa M., via Facebook

    36. "There are darknesses in life and there are lights, and you are one of the lights, the light of all lights."
    --Bram Stroker, Dracula
    Suggested by Adam A., via Facebook
    Suggested by Emily W., via Facebook Creative Commons / Flickr: michael_wacker
    37. "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet."
    --L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
    Suggested by Stacy W., via Facebook

    38. "I could hear the human noise we sat there making, not one of us moving, not even when the room went dark."
    --Raymond Carver, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"
    Suggested by Savey S., via Facebook

    39. "I would always rather be happy than dignified."
    --Charlotte Brontë , Jane Eyre
    Suggested by Chelsea Z., via Facebook
    Suggested by Sophie C., via Facebook Creative Commons Flickr: cedwardbrice
    41. "I have spread my dreams under your feet; / Tread softly because you tread on my dreams"
    --W. B. Yeats, "Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven"
    Suggested by niamhmdd

    42. "It frightened him to think what must have gone to the making of her eyes."
    --Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
    Suggested by uncnicole

    43. "For poems are like rainbows; they escape you quickly."
    --Langston Hughes, The Big Sea
    Suggested by TonyaPenn
    Suggested by katepalo Creative Commons / Flickr: archer10
    45. "I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded; not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night."
    --Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
    Suggested by Maria K., via Facebook

    46. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
    -F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
    Suggested by carlyh3

    47. "Journeys end in lovers meeting."
    --William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
    Suggested by foresth2
    Suggested by babydolllolita Creative Commons / Flickr: smithsonian
    49. "It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."
    --J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
    Suggested by Tatiana H., via Facebook

    50. "Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt."
    --Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five
    Suggested by Sara S., via Facebook

    51. "One must be careful of books, and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us."
    --Cassandra Clare, The Infernal Devices
    Suggested by par0023

    Did your favorite line from literature make the list? Tell us about it in the comments below! And if you'd like to be featured similar BuzzFeed posts, be sure to follow the BuzzFeed Community on Facebook andTwitter.



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