What’s another word for synonym?


imagesCA39QQJD

I have confessed before to being a crossword addict.

It started when I was young, watching my father do them, asking the reasoning behind an answer. Later, I did it because I thought it would help me become a writer/author/reporter. I figure if you’re going into a war with words you need all the ammunition you can get, or that’s what told myself.

Truth be told, I enjoyed the mental exercise.

The crosswords I do are simple – find a synonym for a word  – none of those cryptic crosswords like: ‘Marie Curie birthmark. Second born in a litter of otters.’

No, mine are simple synonyms like: strong taste = tang; bode= augur;  offensive = odious. If I don’t get the word right away, chances are some other letters in the crossword will make it clear. It helped when I was writing to come up with the right word.

Then, I was visited by the stroke. And the resulting aphasia, a new word for me.  It means that the ease with which I could command words was frozen in my brain, or least the compartment where words were kept was locked and did not have the key, nor the password, nor even a clue how to free/extricate/disentangle it.

9507f79a6574b4d70fc69a12243bd427

These days there are all kinds of electronic programmes/apps/courses, mostly involving a £300 plus iPad, which help you rescue/resuscitate/ your lost speech. For less than a pound (the cost of a daily paper), I offer a less electronically solution. My speech therapist, Catherine, started me by suggesting finding synonyms out loud.  I immediately thought of crosswords.

If you say the clue and the answer aloud it helps with your diction, and the penmanship helps with residual effects of paralysis, so you get a course of rehab.

Where else can you get a one-stop solution?

And don’t say: I’ve got an app for that.

A miracle for Mr Hockey?


images (2)

Back when ice hockey was new to the American South in 1973-ish, with Atlanta (Flames) and Houston (Aeros) getting teams involving the sport on ice, I had this idea for a feature magazine story.

I could tell the story of the sporting franchises trying to make inroads in cultures where  ice was something to put in their mint juleps, and a puck was someone in Willie Shakespeare’s  A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Maybe hockey would even come to New Orleans, where I was based, so I could get in on the fan action. (As a former player, the closest I could get to ice was the annual Holiday On Ice show that came to town every few years, set up a temporary rink and allowed Yankees like me to skate early Sunday mornings)

1409170183000-C4-20120202-SPORTS05-202020808-1

I would get an interview with the Houston Aeros star player, Gordie Howe, who had been lured out National Hockey League retirement in his mid-40’s to play with the World Hockey Association. Maybe it had something to with playing with two sons, Mark and Marty. He was, after all, Mr Hockey, already a member of NHL Hall of Fame, and the namesake of the Gordie Howe Hat Trick – scoring a goal, an assist, and involved in a fight during one game.

I contacted the Houston Aeros, outlined my story, and they agreed to let me interview Gordie after a game. Like an addict too long from his drug, I was overdosed with images/sounds/smells from the game, when I walked into the locker room to find Mr Hockey straight out of the showers, glistening in his birthday suit. I remember being overwhelmed with the Adonis-like figure (in a non-rainbow way), and saying to myself:  I hope look that good when I’m 45.

Fast forward now through 41 years and you’ll find that Gordie and I have both had strokes, with his making news.

His stroke, according to his family, left him unable to walk or speak. He was described as ‘catatonic.’

They had mentally prepared for the end; his funeral, the eulogies, the things that are left unsaid, but you’re aware of.

That was the beginning of December of 2014. Fortunately the youngest of Gordie’s sons is a doctor and he saw some literature about a treatment in Mexico involving stem cells.

Now you’d think that with all that doctor training would produce some real-life scientific scepticism, but Dr  Murray Howe arranged to have Mr Hockey transported to Tijuana and get the treatment. And then:

“At Tijuana medical clinic where, on Dec. 8, the elder Howe sat straight up in bed just hours after an injection of about 100 million stem cells and demanded with an astonishingly strong voice that he needed to use the restroom, Murray Howe said.

“He says, ‘I’ll walk,’ and I said, ‘You can’t walk,’ ” Murray Howe recalled. “He says, ‘The hell I can’t.’ And he sits up and puts his feet over the side of the bed and stood up.

“If I hadn’t been there and seen that happen with my dad, I don’t know if I’d believe it either.”

Detroit  Free Press

There are people who don’t believe it, scientists who say with bravado, indignant spittle (because Science is on their side), this story is creating a false hope and raising hope for snake oil salesmen.

So the debate continues.

Can stem cells help cure the affects of stroke?

Or is it bunkum? You can’t fool Science.

635589094318290159-AP-Gordie-Howe-Hockey-LDR115

I would gladly try anything to be able to speak again. And if it’s good for Mr Hockey, it’s good for me. He managed at age 86 to score one-third of a Gordie Howe Hat Trick – a fight with stroke (which he won), without taking a penalty.

One final note about hockey as a sport:

aaaaaownload

 

Recrudescence – to become raw again


(Please follow me at the new and improved site  http://redoable.co.uk)

 

I haven’t on the blog for awhile because I’ve been on holiday.

Well, if you count 365 plus days of time off as holidays.

Relaxing on remote beach

Truth is, I’ve been lazy.

Every day some topic would enter my mind and I’ve thought: that would make a good blog. Then it would exit my mind just as quickly, like some stray leaves blowing about in the wind and I did not rake them up and deliver them to you.

 

Then this week, there came fluttering into my inbox a personal message from Anu Garg, [wsmith@wordsmith.org] my personal word guru. He said unto me: Recrudescence.

 

And he did not just it leave it for me to look up. No, he explained that it was from Latin recrudescere (to become raw again), from re- (again) + crudescere (to get worse), from crudus (raw).

 

And this wasn’t one those trendy ‘new’ words entering the English language that suddenly is uber cool to use. Nor is it known to Russell Brand to obfuscate you with. No, Abu went on to explain the earliest documented use of recrudescence was in 1665 the year before the Great Fire in London.

 

The word recrudescence is a noun, meaning a renewed activity after period of dormancy.

2b5e9fa1f9145dff00b70b54d237bee2

What I think Abu was saying is: get off your ass and start writing again, in the nicest way possible way of course.

 

That is what I am doing.

 

I should mention that the effects of my stroke haven’t gone away in the past year. I still can’t talk properly (that’s called aphasia for the new kids on block), still weak on the right side (Left partial anterior circulation stroke – May 2010. It means that the right side of my body was affected ­­­ – I veer to the right when walking. My mouth doesn’t work properly on the right side, my right arm doesn’t have the strength it used to, I can’t lift my right leg far enough to get my trousers on. All this and I still exercise the dogs every day.

And typing. Whereas I used to be able to bang out a 5,000 word story in about  45 minutes, it now takes me 90 minutes to get this far in blogging. And that I’m sure is part of reason I put off blogging, because I felt  ‘re-doable’ wasn’t working for me. All those health professionals at the time of my stroke were saying if you work at rehabilitation you can get your life back – it’s another lie.

To quote Kevin the Teenager: It’s not fair.

But to quote Oscar Brown Jr:

Ooo shhhhiiiii ooow ooow ooow
What? Oh what are you gonna do with me?
Ooo wow uh
But I was cool

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dheVr7Wdrro

 

I’m proposing a new word for 2014


Please go to my new site http://redoable.co.uk

for the entire story!

I invented this word purely to get in the face of the originators of the word “selfie,” because the word I’m proposing doesn’t have the narcissism, self-absorption and ego.

“Selfies” originators  were then egged-on by the Oxford English Dictionary which made “selfie” the “word of the year for  2013″ which only celebrated the vacuous planet of celebrity and party-goers and its St Elmo’s fire of notoriety and does nothing to further the English language. Some forms of “Selfies” can be dangerous as people now use their mobiles/cell phones as a new form of mirror with which to measure their form of reality.

The word I’m proposing is shadowies – a picture of your shadow in various poses that leaves the “me” out of the photograph, allowing only the essence of you. It’s similar to Victorian silhouettes but with more scope for artistry all without worrying about combing your hair, or even what you wearing, or make-up, or skin imperfections.

Dependent on how the light strikes you, you can be tall or short, thin or thin-challenged. It’s the perfect anonymous portrait. You don’t have your silly duck-faced photos living on in internet eternity.

Go back into the shadows and lose yourself in the anonymity.

Here are some I took earlier.

The new Redoable


http://redoable.co.uk

Redoable construction crew

Redoable construction crew

This is the new and improved site – a gift from my Amoret. There still will be the exact same postings on here as on the new site – mirrored if you will. But the new site is awesome. Please, sign up for the site http://redoable.co.uk if you are one of my subscribers.

 

 

Aphasia


After month of induced aphasia awareness (as ordered by the US Congress) I’m convinced I am never going to be cured of aphasia.  It leaves me feeling like this Eric Johanssen photo.

thank you facefistcopyright-2011-erik-johansson-all-rights-reserved.jpg

thank you facefistcopyright-2011-erik-johansson-all-rights-reserved.jpg