Random Blatherationings For February 8th

Another game we haven’t played since October. What happened? Oh, yeah, NaNoWriMo, then other writing and the holidays, and now all of that plus my volunteer work with the CAF.

What kind of writing do we get tonight? Gold? Silver? Bronze? Aluminium foil? (Extra karma points if you pronouned that “Al-You-MIN-ee-um” instead of “a-LOOM-in-um”) (If you think there should be rules, they’re here, but the first rule of Random Blatherationings is that there are no rules in Random Blatherationings.) In the spirit of those cold international snow and ice games going on along the Black Sea coast, tonight’s three random seed words are “polynia”, “iconodule”, and “sentine.” (The fact the three words have nothing to do with those snow and ice games is wonderful. And, yes, I am listening to the “Saturday Night Safety Dance” again tonight as I write. Tasty!)

Polynia: When I first saw this word defined as “the open sea supposed to surround the north pole”, my immediate assumption was that it must be something like an 18th Century word, from a time when the planet hadn’t been mapped to within an inch of its life and the explorers of the age thought that there might be a huge sea up north, instead of unending ice. The Northwest Passage and all of that.

You know what they say about “assumptions.”

On further review, it seems that it’s a Russian word that has been “borrowed” by English and it has nothing to do with the north pole in particular. So, the first definition was only partially correct and was entirely misleading. Kids, this is why you check more than one source, especially on the internet!

Polynia (or “polynya” in American English) are large patches of open sea surrounded by sea ice. They can occur either in the Arctic Ocean or off the coast of Antarctica. They can be caused by localized thermal upwellings, where warmer water rises and keeps the surface from cooling enough to ice over, or by katabatic winds or currents that sweep ocean ice away from the coast, leaving an open area between ice masses swept away in successive years.

Of course, two hundred years from now this could be a totally archaic term, along with “sea ice.” As much as that will suck for our great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren, it will suck a lot more for the polar bear, walrus, and penguin species that will be extinct in the wild.

Iconodule: The dictionary says, “one who serves images opposed to an iconoclast,” which would have been massively confusing even if my brain weren’t half fried. I’ve got a vague idea what an iconoclast is, but does “serves” in this definition equate to “worships” or “delivers?” Time to dig further.

Wikipedia is of limited help at first, defining “iconodule” as “someone who espouses ‘icondulism’.” Really useful, that. Does it logically follow then that a “digwopadoodle” is “someone who espouses ‘digwopadoodlism’?” Asking for a friend…

They then point out that I really didn’t understand what an “iconoclast” is. There was a religious war in the 8th Century over whether or not you should have pictures in churches? And I thought that WE argued over stupid shit! Anyway, it seems that an “icondule” was someone who wanted pictures in churches, while an “iconoclast” was someone who wanted pictures forbidden from churches.

You would think with planet-wide starvation, poverty, and an average lifespan that didn’t reach puberty they could find more worthwhile ways to spend their copious free time — but I guess you would be wrong!

It also occurred to me that if a philosophical division of such import were to break out today, the guys in favor of the paintings would be “iconodudes.” At least in Southern California.

Sentine: Finally, a definition that I can understand! “A place for dregs and dirt in a sink or sewer.” Isn’t that what we lay folk refer to as a “trap,” that U-shaped pipe under the sink?

Not quite. Further research (again!) shows that it’s an obscure and outdated term for “a sink, a sewer, a bilge hold, or a place for dregs.” We should have a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to be used to send some punctuation to whoever is writing definitions for that first website.

My last semi-lucid thought for the night is that Sentine would be the perfect name to use in some sort of spoof or comic version of “Les Miserables.” Sentine could be the Parisian whore with the heart of gold, born with a silver spoon in her mouth but forced into a life of sin and squalor by some evil archbishop or cardinal who was actually her real father. If you’re doing the Disney version, Dregs and Bilge would be the friendly animated cat and parrot who help her expose the scoundrel and win the true love of the prince. If you’re doing the Matt Groening version of the Disney version, immediately after the wedding, the peasants will rise up and behead them both.

I either need sleep, food, or both. For some reason I’m finding that completely hilarious. Madness approaches…

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