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The Write Way

25 November 2005

Good for You!


Hark! I hear the sleigh bells ringing, and that can only mean one thing ... the Silly Season is upon us!

One of the (many) things I enjoy about this time of year is the ritual of Drinkies ... getting together with friends and family for nibblies and drinks. It doesn't matter whether it's morning tea and all the trimmings or afternoon drinks when the sun's over the yardarm, it's the getting together that's fun.


So, to get a head start on celebrations, we had friends around late yesterday afternoon for drinks on the deck. It had been a really hot, humid day, and having boasted about our Bay Breezes, we were hoping for a cool change to kick in at some stage in the evening. 

The first hour brought a faint stirring of the palms (or maybe that was just our resident butcher birds flying in to check that we hadn't forgotten their dinner). Then we thought we heard a distant rumble of thunder and noticed that the air was as still as still can be ... but our friends were in the middle of some happy recollections about their years spent in Spain, so we focussed our attention on them and left Nature to its own devices.

A few drops of rain on the roof of our deck and a cooling of the air signalled the arrival of our longed-for Cool Change ... and within two minutes we had to raise our voices to be heard above the rain drumming on the aluminium roof. Then the wind got up and the lightning started and, deciding that discretion was the better part of valour, we adjourned inside to finish our evening.

To celebrate our new venue, we opened another bottle of wine, and the Love of My Life went searching for appropriate glasses. Alas, we don't have a flash 50-bottle refrigerated wine grotto wine cellar like some people do. "Where are the good glasses?" he called from his position in the centre of the living room. (One of Life's Little Mysteries is why one partner, who has lived in the same house for the same number of years as the other partner, can not know where things live ... but that's another story.)

This prompted me to ponder an interesting question ... if the good glasses reside in the living-room sideboard, where are all the evil glasses lurking? Are they sniggering to themselves in the saucepan drawer while hatching dastardly plots to spill their contents of red wine on white tablecloths? Are they plotting in the pantry and organising for one of their number to go AWOL before the next dinner party? Are they scheming under the sink and drawing straws to see which one will self-destruct in the dishwasher?

Perhaps the non-good glasses aren't evil ... what if they're simply unskilled? Maybe they just can't hold their liquor like a good glass can (and should).

Or perhaps they're just naughty ... or maybe fake ... or worthless even. 

The possibilities are endless!

And let's not get started on the good scissors' evil twins!  ... The mind fairly boggles at what those evil scissors could be getting up to while we're innocently cutting out dress patterns or strips of sticky tape to wrap presents or cutting roses for those good vases ... Then what about the evil vases ....? 

Aargh! This could go on forever!

Did you know that's thesaurus has 432 listings for good?

432 subtle differences in meaning!

And for each main entry, there are also oodles of synonyms ... here's an example for the first entry for good (when it means 'pleasant'):

"acceptable, ace, admirable, agreeable, bad, bully, capital, choice, commendable, congenial, crack, deluxe, excellent, exceptional, favorable, first-class, first-rate, gnarly, gratifying, great, honorable, marvelous, neato, nice, pleasing, positive, precious, prime, rad, recherché, reputable, satisfactory, satisfying, select, shipshape, sound, spanking, splendid, sterling, stupendous, super, superb, supereminent, superexcellent, superior, tip-top, valuable, welcome, wonderful, worthy"

But, you know, I discovered something wonderful while ... ahem ... researching this topic for you, and that's that while there are 432 entries for 'good,' there are only 293 for 'bad' and a mere 107 for 'evil.'

Doesn't it do your heart good to know that we care more about the Good Things than those of the Dark Side? Hold that thought, boys and girls, as you go about your business this coming week. When things start to get you down, just think to yourself, "Hang on, my pretty, there are 432 ways of goodness, but only 400 on the other team ... so things have got to get better!"

Which reminds me of the story about the optimist who'd been fired from his job and was walking past his building when he met his old boss. After exchanging a few words with his boss, our optimist rang his wife and told her in great excitement, "The boss said I might be coming back to work next winter!"

"Great!" says she, "What exactly did he say?"

"Well," says the optimist, "he said to me, 'It'll be a cold day in hell when you come back to work for us.'"

If you'd like to swap your current work for writing a novel, then you'll need Newnovelist. This software uses the same methods that are used in England's leading university creative writing course and can help anyone start that novel that's lurking in all of us.

This isn't put out by some fly-by-night mob, either, in fact, there are over 51,000 happy writers using Newnovelist as we speak. All tapping away at their keyboards in more than 60 countries. 

And if you're not yet ready to write your novel, I bet you know someone who is ... What about giving a gift that will bring fun and fulfilment to a budding writer near and dear to you? Read more about how to write a novel.  

This week's quiz:

Here are some interesting words ... interesting because each has two distinct (and almost contradictory) meanings. There are only five words but ten definitions, so off you go and match 'em up:

adumbrate, sanction, cleave, impregnable, sanguine/sanguinary

1. come or be in close contact with; stick or hold together and resist separation 

2. overshadow; shadow or obscure 

3. accompanied by bloodshed; bloodthirsty 

4. impossible to capture or enter by force 

5. coercive measure adopted usually by several nations acting together against a nation violating international law; penalty, specified or in the form of moral pressure, that acts to ensure compliance or conformity

6. to outline; give the main points or summary 

7. separate or cut with a tool, such as a sharp instrument 

8. authoritative permission or approval that makes a course of action valid 

9. capable of being impregnated 

10. cheerfully confident; optimistic 

And just because I really like these little word games ... and we haven't given them a look-in for a while. More word games, and here are some more Tom Swifties:

"Don't add too much water," said Tom with great concentration.

"There's room for one more," Tom admitted.

"There seems to be at least one blood-sucking insect in every outhouse," said Tom aloofly.

"I have been reading Voltaire," Tom admitted candidly.

Last week's quiz:

adsorption, torsion, bascule, truss, abutment, pendentive, buttress, caisson, tensegrity, catenary

1. rigid framework, as of wooden beams or metal bars, designed to support a structure, such as a roof - TRUSS

2. large watertight chamber used for construction under water - CAISSON

3. a triangular shape that adapts the circular ring of a dome to fit onto a flat supporting wall; the portion of a vault by means of which the square space in the middle of a building is brought to an octagon or circle to receive a cupola - PENDENTIVE.

4. a support that transmits a force from a roof or wall to another supporting structure - BUTTRESS

5. a structure in which one end is counterbalanced by the other - BASCULE

6. the curve formed by a cable hanging freely between two supports; curved cable of a suspension bridge - CATENARY

7. the stress or deformation caused when one end of an object is twisted in one direction and the other end is held motionless or twisted in the opposite direction - TORSION

8. surface phenomena in which a soluble material concentrates or collects at a surface - ADSORPTION

9. a masonry support that touches and directly receives thrust or pressure of an arch or bridge - ABUTMENT

10. a property of objects with components that use tension and compression in a combination that yields strength and resilience beyond the sum of their components; an array of tension cables and compression rods that supports a structure - TENSEGRITY

Never-Ending Story

Dr Morgenes and the Rottweiler are still having problems with Orson Welles, why not help them find their way out of this pickle ... or into a plot? Just click on the Comments button at the end of the entry to add your contribution. If you have friends who fancy themselves as writers, invite them to contribute (just forward this newsletter in its entirety to them).

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A Little Something Extra

We're constantly being exhorted to create our own infoproducts to cash in on the massive demand for information, and there's a common misconception that the only information that sells has to be related to making money online, but nothing could be further from the truth!  

Read what information sells and how you can  create an information product that sells:   

Word of the week: Turpitude (n) depravity; baseness; a base act. (From the Latin turpis 'shameful') 

This is one of's most looked up words for 2004 ... a telling insight into the state of society today, n'est-ce pas?  

Here's the alphabet of's most looked up words for last year. How many of them are part of your vocabulary?

Oxymoron of the week: Internet security 

And since we've spent a bit of time with the Dark Side this week, here's a Latin phrase that may ring true for you:

Maior risus, acrior ensis

[MAY-yohr REE-soos, AY-kree-ohr AYN-sees]

(The bigger the smile, the sharper the knife)

Kind regards,


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