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-ise December 6, 2007

Posted by BiB in Uncategorized.
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Whenever I set foot on England’s hallowed, muddy soil, I am overcome by an insatiable urge to drink milk, which must be why they call it the motherland.

I was being a good pal, visiting my friend. She is 96, so it is a tad easier for me to visit her than vice versa. And she has never taken a plane in her life and is probably unlikely to start now as to get her to her bed takes two paid acolytes, with her chanting to her legs, “Come on legs,” the whole time. And it’s always good to go and check where you are on the I-hate-England-I-love-England continuum.

Inevitably, there’s not much fresh in a 96-year-old’s day-to-day life. Her news might be a slightly tweaked reworking of an event from 70 years ago. She tells me how she is. Worse since I last saw her, she claims, though I am hard pushed to discern the enworsement. Lonelier than ever, she claims, though her house is as busy as King’s Cross Station (but without the prostitutes) with relatives of the three subsequent generations, neighbours and life-assistants of one type or another constantly traipsing in and out. But if you’re stuck in a chair for most of the day and know that there is no initiative you can take yourself, perhaps the hours of loneliness do last longer than for you or me.

“Darling, you won’t believe it, C_ (great-grandson) can play songs to me on his lap-dog.” “Lap-dog?” “Darling, I mean lap-top.” C_ appeared. “What did you play her?” “Just whatever she asked for, I found on youtube.” I thought I’d make the world a little more mysterious and offer the same service. “Darling, you mean your lap-dog has the same songs?” “It does.” “Darling, you don’t mean it! You’re too brilliant!”

We had You’re the Top galore, Pretty Polly Oliver, Stille Nacht (though not by The Hoff, sadly) (I’ve got a feeling his Deutsch isn’t a patch on Leonardo di Caprio’s), Danny Boy (though not by Cher, thankfully) (“Darling, switch it off. It’s too sad, I can’t bear it”), Oh No John, Spanish Ladies, Alphabet (OK, not really) and all sorts of other folksy favourites.

“Darling, you go and do some work now. It’s just such heaven that you’re here. I spend so much time alone.” I fire up my latest gripping translation. Twelve seconds pass. I translate half a word. “Darling, do you think you might do something with me now?” We do an anti-Alzheimer’s crossword. Etymon is one of the rather satisfying answers. “Darling, do you love words? I adore words. I always thought it was awfully important that people should speak French. Have I told you the story about when I told M_ (her grandson, my ex) about Jean-Paul Sartre and, ‘L’enfer, c’est les autres’?” It’s one of her favourite tells. The story goes that she mentioned it to M_. He was, depending on the mood, anywhere between five minutes and five years old. “Darling, and do you know what he answered?” I did, as I’ve been told the story a good 300 times and I sneakily had my mobile out so that I could text M_ live that the story was getting a fresh airing. “L’enfer, c’est moi.” She tells it as evidence of his troubled genius. He says he had probably heard the noise ‘c’est moi’ somewhere and managed to repeat it. “L’enfer, c’est that story,” came his rather pleasing reply with equally pleasing alacrity.

Sheep grazed gormlessly in the field opposite her house.

When silence seemed appropriate, I stared at the fire. My pal soon got bored of that state of affairs and would ask why I was staring at it. “I don’t know. I’m mesmerised.” … “What must the etymology of mesmerised be?” We both propounded our theories. Mine was, “‘erm, dunno really,” and hers was, “Chambers Oxford Dictionary, bottom shelf.” Darlings, and hands up who knows where the word comes from? I was half-expecting the dic to say something along the lines of, “…from the Greek mesmein – to entrance,” but it said nothing of the sort. In fact it’s some old German, a Herr Mesmer, who went and got a verb named after himself by hypnotising folk left, right and centre.

Which we’d better make into a game, let’s face it. I asked my pal what the verb named after her surname would mean. Let’s say she’s called Smith. Which she isn’t. She hesitated so I prompted her with, “smithise – to sprinkle one’s speech with the word darling.” To bibbise, naturally, means to be a talentless, work-shy scrounger.

Darlings, I know half of us are anonymous, but please invent a verb with some surname/name/nom-de-blog plus -ise and give me the definition. -ize verbs will be tolerated upon submission of extenuating documentation.



1. bering - December 6, 2007

well, i suppose…

to unnecessarily complicate matters by compounding multiple -and otherwise easily comprehensible- notions into one problematic knotted superstructure, and then proceed to boil down said superstructure till all that remains is some painfully inexplicable existential nugget/turd.

2. pleite - December 6, 2007

Bering, what a fantastically complicated and self-deprecating verb. Good stuff. But perhaps you need to keep beringising to an absolute minimum. At least when it’s translated into French, there won’t be any confusion about how to pronounce the g as I presume it’ll be ‘béringuiser’.

But wait there a sec. Aren’t you doing a bit of classic thesis-, antithesis-, synthesising here, but coming up with an unsatisfactory synthesis, or are you skipping the antithesising, perhaps? I’ve got a feeling there is a verb, to deberingise, which means, ‘to go back and complete the missing steps when hegelianising your life’.

3. Katchyta - December 6, 2007

Katchitize — to befuddle straight men with an excess of exuberant but ambiguously undirected sexuality; often involves poking gentle fun, either simultaneously or subsequently, with non-male or non-straight friends. And yes, I’m as American as apple pie (though not nearly as wholesome), hence the “z”.

4. pleite - December 6, 2007

Katchyta, another excellently complicated yet brilliantly succinct verb. If a few more kind people pop along and come up with equally trenchant neologisms, I shall have to gather us together, declare us a think-tank and write to someone for funding. (Having said that, this would be about the eighteenth time I’ve had the idea in my blogging ‘career’ and the cheques haven’t started rolling in yet, it must be admitted.)

5. marshaklein - December 6, 2007

I think I love your ex. And his grandma – she’s right “Danny Boy” IS too sad.

Kleinise (klainaiz) vb. 1.(tr.) to reduce, by means of exhaustive over-analysis, every conversation, event or encounter in life to its smallest constituent parts [Mod G: kleine] and to then further analyse those parts towards obliteration. 2.(intr.) to insert references to the television series “Spaced” into any conversational interaction.

6. pleite - December 6, 2007

Marsha, brilliant, and how doubly brilliant that the klein bit even works etymologically logically in the first definition of kleinise. I’m wondering if I can get a hegelianisng angle into my analysis of your first type of kleinising, but don’t think I can, as I think of thesis, antithesis, synthesis as being small to big, whereas kleinising is big to small, innit?

Just bibbising and sealing the funding application envelope this second.

7. Karl-Marx-Straße - December 7, 2007

On pseudonyms: to Straße-ise would presumably mean:

strasseise, AmE -ize (alt. strasserise, AmE -ize) vb. to make something very Nazi-fascist but supposedly not quite as nasty as Hitler’;

and to ‘kroeschelise’ (as in Daggi Kröschel) would mean

kroeschelise (alt. kröschelise, AmE -ize) 1) to squeeze, to combine; 2) to use a fake name for the purpose of subscribing to free publications from radio stations in order to not successfully be visited by the ‘GEZ man’

D.Z. is in fact a real place.

8. pleite - December 7, 2007

DZ, your strasseise/strasserise/strasserize verb is rather hard on you. You don’t go about making things nasty and certainly not in a way that rivals Hitler. You are a force for good, not wickedness, which no number of revisionist historians will ever make me think regarding the Führer. Kroeschelise, on the other hand, is very cunning and I hope will enter the vernacular immediately.

9. bowleserised - December 7, 2007

Bowleserise – to pursue adjectives.

10. pleite - December 7, 2007

B., I was hoping you’d leap in, especially to see if you were going to go for a double -ise… but they’re not pursued to then be deleted for being wicked, are they, as Herr Bowdler would have liked you to do?

11. Beaman - December 7, 2007

Hello Bib. I’ve tagged you for a meme. I’ve been away from your blog too long, I intend to make up for it. Hope you’re well. :)

12. bering - December 9, 2007

BiB: i ashamedly confess to not having got round to Hegel yet.

i actually am considering not adding the u in French to avoid the consonance with meringue. And there is NO way i’m adding an acute accent to the e…

that said, i think the trouble may reside more in an incapacity to formulate clear and defined thesis/antithesis. Everything extends infinitely.

to deberingise is something i’m considering doing a lot at the moment. though id’ see it more as simply going on hiatus from myself.

13. Mr D - December 11, 2007

Misterdise. To be a male hairdresser who’s keen on adding colour.

Engelskise. To see cloud formations of dead German philosophers.

Neither of which is me.

14. pleite - December 11, 2007

Mr D, I like both of those, though would hate to be coiffed by a misterdising hairdresser. I’ve had to run away from threatening-to-dye hairdressers in my time. Though I’m wondering if folk might now start offering to dye my rarely-worn beard as it is definitely getting whiter and whiter (which I’m thrilled by, but it can look a bit like dirt). And do you mean Engelskisers might get together, in a Dead Poets Society kind of way?

Oh Bering, I’d so love to go on almost permanent hiatus from myself. I really need to debibbise my life. Or just to be someone else for a while, though that would probably be very tricky, wouldn’t it? And I have taken the new French pronunciation of beringiser on board. I’d worried about the meringue-thing myself and I’ve got nothing against a schwa.

Beaman, darling, hello. I’m petrified of memes. They make me hide under the bed and be horrible to the Russian. And I’m not sure I even know seven things about myself, or that there are seven things about me to be known. I think only one thing has ever happened, and that was being born, which, though I was very much present, I think I had very little say in. I’ll think on’t.

15. pleite - December 12, 2007

Bering, by the way, I am, as with most things in my life, only very diletanttishly acquainted with Hegel so, as is usually the case, I am probably talking out and out bollocks, which happens to be another definition of to bibbise.

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