Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cool, sponk and happy cows

River path

Finally, some relief from the scorching heat! There has been a beautiful sea breeze blowing in my wide-open, southern-facing windows all day and the temperature hasn't made it over 31C. It's still warm in some rooms of my flat, but nothing compared with the airless, ovenesque heat of the past week. Phew.

After a trip up the street for provisions this morning, I have spent most of the day on my bed reading The Age, listening to music and enjoying the comparative coolness. I haven't had time the past few weekends to properly read the weekend papers, so I'm lapping it up today.

More wordy books

The Age delivered up another two word nerd books to put on my must-read list. Ammon Shea spent a year reading the entire Oxford English Dictionary - all 59 million words of it - and has written a book of his favourite obscure and quirky words called Reading the OED.

The Age's
Jane Sullivan writes - "He kept going because he was discovering so many wonderful words. You may think him quite mad. But if you have any inkling of the way the heart can quicken at the sight and sound of an obscure, beautiful or quirky word, then you're a bit of a word freak yourself." Yup.

The other book is Fopdoodle and Salmagundi edited by Edward Allhusen, which includes the fabulous word "sponk". When I asked to define it for me, it told me to see "spunk". Not entirely sure which definition is the one I'm meant to look at - pluck/spirit/mettle or touchwood/tinder/punk. It's certainly not "spunk" as in a sexually attractive person (which I think is an Australianism. Anyone?). And - before one of you alludes to it - it is most certainly not the far less savoury definition of spunk (which does mention). I'll just have to read the book to find out, won't I?

They call me Daisy

I love this. I read today on that cows that are given a name and called individually by name rather than simply herded as a group produce 3.4 per cent more milk a year than nameless ones.

The researchers in the UK concluded that calling the cows by name fosters positive human/cow relations, which makes for happier cows and happier cows give more milk.

We had a cow called Buttercup when I was a kid but I don't know if she gave more milk because of it.


victoria said...


another cow blog ;) tee hee

Julian said...

Thank goodness for relief from the heat! There was a cool breeze blowing in the car park when I got to work this morning, which was really nice. It's actually quite cold outside now, and I just opened the house up and turned the fan on to help the airflow. I feel cooler already. :)

Sponk sounds like an amusing word: it makes me think of spork. ;)

Julian said...

Speaking of things word-related, one of my pet likes is the origins of quotes and sayings. I just discovered that I've been wrong about one for years (along with pretty much everyone else, apparently).

People usually use "...doth protest too much..." to mean that someone is denying something so much that whatever it is must be true. The word "protest" used to mean "vow" or "declare solemnly", though, and the phrase actually meant that someone was -affirming- something so much that what they were saying wasn't credible.

The funny thing here is that if I'd ever thought about it properly, I probably would've realised. Oh well: that's hindsight for you!

Okay, that's enough of my semi-random word ramblings for now. :)

dam buster said...

I did some work in an irrigation area where there was a lot of dairy herds. The farmer and his family knew every cow by name. They all even had the name on a seperate ear tag.

Frisky Librarian said...

Hi Victoria. I think that's the third time I've blogged about cows. Cows are ace.

Hi Julian. Quite cold? Are we living in the same city? I can't remember what quite cold feels like.

Sponk sounds like a sound effect. Spork is funny too.

Thansk for the clarification re protesting. I didn't know that.

Hey db. Aw, that's lovely. Did they seem to be happy cows? I'm not exactly sure how you spot a happy cow. They don't wag their tails or purr... I want to buy milk that comes from cows with names. I wonder what sort of reaction I would get if I rang the milk producer and enquired if their herd has individual monikers?