As of September 23, 2015 you can find Pam Ferderbar’s hilarious blog at HuffPo! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/pam-ferderbar/
An eponym is a person, a place, or thing for whom or for which something is named, or believed to be named.
Example; theologian John DUNS Scotus, mocked and thought by many to be a nincompoop. Today, a nincompoop is a dunce.
In the mid 1800s, Amelia Jenks Bloomer, a suffragette and temperance advocate, donned the original form of granny underpants, modeled after pantaloons worn by women in the Middle East and Central Asia. Known as bloomers, these undergarments were subjected to ceaseless ridicule in the press and harassment on the street.
Considered a form of birth control, bloomers were banned by the Church in 1874.
Over in Germany in the late 1800s, Rudolf Diesel, monkeying around with ammonia vapor and a Bunsen burner, was nearly blown up in one of his experiments to produce an alternative to gasoline. It could easily have gone another way, and truckers would be looking for the best price on something completely other than diesel.
The inspiration for the 1867 hit song “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze,” Jules Leotard, a French acrobat who developed the art of the trapeze, also invented a one-piece knitted garment streamlined to prevent his testicles from getting caught in the wires. It showed off his “physique” and impressed the ladies (according to Jules himself).
We have Monsieur Leotard to thank for the “yoga pant.”
EPONYMS IN MODERN TIMES
In September 2015, Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager, acquired the rights to a widely used AIDS drug which cost $13.50 per dose when he bought the company, and which Shkreli increased to $750 per pill after he took over.
Today shkreli refers to the clumps of canine fecal matter stuck in the treads of a sneaker that can only be removed by ruining a perfectly good toothbrush or by the use of a professional grade pressure-washer.
Shkreli is also a verb. Slang. To defecate in one’s clothes, as from terror or illness; to soil oneself.
She was so shocked by the cost of her AIDS meds, she shkrelied her pants.
Walter Palmer, the soulless dentist who illegally killed a beloved lion in Zimbabwe, is responsible for the word micropalmer, a noun; an itty bitty penis accompanied by a larger than normal anus.
Used in a sentence; I’d be driving a Prius if it weren’t for my micropalmer.
We have New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady to thank for the adjective bradulent; attended with, caused by, or suffering from an accumulation of gas or hot air.
The crybaby QB is also the essence of the verb brady; to release gas or hot air from balls, and also; to release oneself from integrity, honesty and sportsmanship.
Dude, did you brady to get an A or did you actually study for the math test?
See if you can guess the root of the eponyms in the following 3 sentences:
Sally and I can’t join you and Kelly for dinner at the club tomorrow because I will be busy duggaring my neighbor’s wife. Where, you ask? In the jong-un, of course.
It was the worst date in the world. All I kept thinking was ‘I shaved my putin for this’? He was so boring I wanted to simpsonize myself.
I was trumped on my head as a child and have no use for reality. The accident left me completely kanyed.
If you have eponyms to add, email me and I might just post them next week if I’m not too benghazied by the beautiful weather!
Thought you’d be a bazillionaire by 30? Have 19 kids and counting, and a 10,000sf Cape Cod in the Hamptons prior to hitting the big 4-0? Discovered a cure for cellulite before lunch?
Our culture has made it easy for us to focus on the stuff we haven’t accomplished rather than all the things for which we should really be proud, such as getting out of bed when it’s raining, and not slapping Time Warner “team members” although they mostly deserve it.
I look at just about any reality TV show and start feeling bad about myself because I don’t have a $35,000 Birkin bag, a closet just for my shoes, or my own reality TV show.
Then I ask myself, is this what I really want?
Okay, so I’d rather have world peace, a dog farm, and a recipe for fat-free/sugar-free/no carb/paleo/made-from-clouds-but-tastes-like-frozen-custard, frozen custard.
The reality is that I, like you, racked up quite a few accomplishments along the way—just not exactly the things for which I thought I’d become rich or infamous. (I find infamy preferable to fame. It just seems like it would be more fun, and way cooler in a Wikipedia profile, or an obituary.)
While some, like, illiterate mollusk with lips bigger than brains tried to break the internet with her oily butt, you and I were likely making someone’s day by holding a door, smiling at a stranger, dispensing a random compliment, or *knocking a pedestrian out of the way of a speeding taxi.
(*This might have been heroic had the taxi not veered at the last second, and I tackled a falafel vendor for apparently no reason whatsoever. My heart was in the right place, which it turns out is a viable defense strategy.)
We have trained ourselves to measure self worth against what other people have rather than what they’ve done, which brings us to the concept of the late bloomer.
Mother Theresa was 36 when she got “the call within the call,” leaving the convent to live among Calcutta’s poor. Although she improved the lives of millions, Theresa lived by one simple credo, “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” She never owned a Birkin bag.
America’s most celebrated primitive artist didn’t pick up a paintbrush until the age of 75. On the occasion of her 100th birthday, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller declared it “Grandma Moses Day.” Today, Grandma Moses’ paintings hang in the White House and every major art museum in the country. She died at the age of 101, still painting. Never had Botox.
Peter Roget suffered from an extreme form of OCD. The only thing that calmed him was to make lists. When he retired from medicine at the age of 61, he would spend all day every day making one huge, all-encompassing list of all the things, ever. At 73, he published his list as a book, Roget’s Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases—otherwise know as “the thesaurus.”
While the Kendras, K-dufuses, and housewives from Hooterville try to tell us we are nothing more than the sum of our Twitter followers and collagen injections, I believe, that for as long as we may live, what defines a real person of real quality is the dents, dings and wrinkles that show we’ve been in the trenches, and have emerged victorious. We made the world a better place, if only one smile at a time.
The turtlehead pokes through the earth in the springtime after the thaw, and remains but a bud until autumn, just before winter sets in. One of the loveliest flowers of all, the turtlehead is a spectacular late-bloomer.
Here’s to all we beautiful turtleheads!
September 11, 2015
Pam Ferderbar writes about confidence and what it takes to laugh out loud.
My publisher recently sent me to a regional Romance Writers of America convention although my genre, contemporary fiction/humor/chicklit, is not romance. Assured I would make great contacts and “learn something,” I landed on a planet completely other than my own. In this world the women wore tiaras during the day, some sported fairy wings and hot pink boas, and every single one of them wrote multiple books each year.
This impressed the hell out of me, but I was also mortified. How on earth was it possible to write even one whole book in a year? Some of the scribes in stilettos wrote five and six in a contiguous 12-month period. Knock me over with a fuchsia marabou quill.
My weekly little blog often takes days to complete and it usually comes in around 600 words, or one and a third pages in book math. At that rate it takes a year to write a 300-page book, and that assumes the author is “on” and “productive” and “writing sentences.”
As if those requirements aren’t daunting enough, now make it funny! Nothing inspires anxiety more than trying to be witty. I know I’m weird. People reinforce that concept daily. So even though I crack myself up all the time, I can’t be sure others will he-he along with me.
Sure, your friends will tell you “of course it’s funny. You’re funny!” But there is always a weird blip of silence right after that comment, which is just long enough for someone to ask silently, without lips moving at all, ‘It was supposed to be funny?’
These are the thoughts that prevent me from writing two to seven uproarious volumes of repartee every 365 days. At the same time as I’m spooked by the thought of that, another more horrifying thought occurs to me. Imagine, day after day, week after week, angsty month upon angsty month … of trying to write sexy?!
Do the gals with the tiaras and the sneezey pink stoles, who are sooo in touch with their inner sex goddesses, somehow just know there’s a great audience of readers out there who will find their specific combination of words on the page to be steamy, romantic and oo la la?
I have discipline, drive, and a thesaurus. What did the prolific romance authors populating the conference have that I didn’t? I looked around and immediately ascertained that for one thing they had sparkly tiaras and diaphanous fairy wings affixed to their backs. And that’s when it hit me. Confidence. It all boils down to confidence.
If a plus-sized woman can wear fairy wings and 73 layers of Stevie Nicks silk and tulle, with Crocs — in public — and write six books a year (that sell like hotcakes) in which a horny cowboy/vampire ravages a slip of a shape-shifter girl with long legs and a tiny waist, then what the big-boned gal has over me is 3X confidence. She’s not worried that people are silently asking her “was it supposed to be sexy?” She just keeps writing.
On Sunday evening at the end of the conference, I was in the restroom wiping bits of pink fluff off my lip where it had stuck to my lip gloss, when I had a funny thought. Conjuring my own powerful amulet of confidence, I dictated my funny thought into my phone. A lady in the stall beside me started to giggle, then others joined in. Soon the whole place was roaring.
Will I ever be able to write six books a year, or even one or two? I couldn’t tell you. But I will say that whatever I write will make someone laugh out loud. I’m confident.
October 28, 2015 7PM
Please join us at the Wauwatosa Public Library for an evening with Pam Ferderbar and Charlotte Nightingale.
Author talk, Q&A.
7635 W North Ave, Wauwatosa, WI 53213
September 29, 2015 3PM
The first ever Oconomowoc Golf Club Book Club Gathering!
Join us for an author talk, Q&A, light refreshments and fun.
W360 N5261 Brown St
Open to members, their guests and invitees.
Oh all right, I am not technically a scientist, but the following story could totally be a sciency study in support of my hypothesis that it is a waste of time to teach some children “good touch/bad touch”—an exercise that illustrates the difference between being pat on the head for doing a trick well—good touch, and being touched improperly—bad touch. (Sociologists are developing a third touch category for anything Miley Cyrus gets her hands on, including herself.)
Case study: Glendale, California, September 12, 2012. Trader Joe’s.
A boy entered the store with his mother approximately 3 feet in front of me. The mother heaved an ottoman-sized Louis Vuitton bag into a cart, and headed inside with the child trailing slightly behind. The subject was maybe ten years old, but because of extra growth hormones in his milk and mutton, was over 5 feet tall and looked to be about 200lbs.
The kid stood by, gorging on a chocolate bar large enough to feed a Belgian family of six, as his mother struggled to hoist a case of wine into her cart.
As they exited the liquor aisle, the brat child finished his candy, and then threw the wrapper on the floor. I tapped him on the shoulder and began to say, “Young man, you dropped some…” but the lad spun around, gave me the Augustus Gloop stink eye, pointed directly at me with a chocolately hand, and screamed at the top of his lungs, “BAD TOUCH! BAD TOUCH!”
I was immediately surrounded by peasants with torches and pitchforks.
The mother swung her purse at me and screamed, “She molested my baby!” Her “baby” had 60 pounds on me, which I would like to have pointed out, but I was unable to find my words at that moment as I was ducking a giant designer bag.
A manager appeared and asked the lady whether she’d like him to summon the police, while the townspeople prevented me from fleeing to my cave in the Urals.
I explained what had happened and the manager took it all in—the wrapper on the floor, the chocolate all over the kid’s face and hands, and he seemed to understand.
He offered to pay for the mother’s case of wine if she’d just forget the whole thing. I stood, slack-jawed, as the woman actually took a few moments to think about it. The Spawn of Satan hid behind his mommy, smirking at me, like he wanted to be punched in the head and knocked unconscious.
The woman finally agreed to the manager’s terms, the villagers went back to their thatched huts, and I was asked to leave Trader Joe’s.
In the event I did not adequately describe the male subject, he was revolting. Inside and out. Top to bottom. Covered-in-chocolate-with-a-black-stain-on-his-soul fugly. There isn’t a pedophile or methamphetamine-addicted kidnapper who could have been paid to come within ten feet of that kid, so any breath that was wasted on teaching him good touch/bad touch did nothing more than give him a golden ticket to bullydom.
He would have benefitted more from a couple years in San Quentin, where, as the only inmate in history to not get “bad-touched,” he might have learned a little respect for his elders, and he damn well would have learned to pick up his trash.
September 16, 7PM
Local Author Night
The Book Cellar
4736-38 No. Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL 60625
Thanks Suzy, Kyle and all the incredible staff at the Book Cellar for a great turn out! Thanks also to authors Tim Lees (Devil in the Wires) and Sandra Colbert (Chicago Bound) for sharing your considerable talents and wonderful stories with the rest of us. You are in inspiration! Great great night!
1. It could always be worse.
It’s a simple *clarificatory comparison. If you are familiar with the entity y (a wide range of your own personal failures, say), then we introduce x (any minute instance of a failure not occurring), by comparison with y, we generate a greater appreciation of x.
*Also known as the It Feels Wonderful When I Stop Punching Myself in the Kidneys Effect.
2. Expectations are lowered.
If you’ve skated through life with no hiccups or federal indictments, people expect nothing less from you, whereas if you’ve lost one measly pontoon boat or tripped over a power cord at your cousin’s wedding and unplugged the sound system in the middle of the groom’s father’s speech moments before he had a massive heart attack (from which he recovered completely so it wasn’t really that big of a deal) people hold you to a greatly reduced standard that is imminently easier to live with.
3. Say hello to my little friend, Humility.
Instead of Tiffany blue being your color, you’re now wearing suck-it beige, and the funny thing is, humility is not a bad shade. Sadly, most people are missing that Crayola.
Unless you’ve been taken down a few pegs in life, what you feel when you feel badly about someone else’s misfortune, is called pity. I have no trouble hosting my own black-tie woe-is-me bash, but when someone gives me pity eye I just want to smack them. Conversely, when their expression says “I feel you. I’ve been in your shoes myself,” I like them, and I put my hands back in my pockets.
4. People will feed you.
Do you know someone who has never endured a bad hair, work, relationship or fat pants day? No matter how much you truly love that person there are times you wish they’d slip on a banana peel and face-plant into a little bad luck.
On those occasions when you are less than perfect, celebrate your failure. Lift your chin and buy a pair of shoes because your friends—the ones who love you most—will be delighted. They’ll rally ‘round with cocktails, a shoulder to cry on, and a classic tuna casserole.
(Nobody feeds you when everything’s going your way.) Unless you are a TV commercials director. (See below)
5. You learn who your friends are.
When I first came to L.A. I was a TV commercials director. I was in a position to yay or nay the hiring of a large group of people such as actors, cinematographers, hair and make-up stylists, etc. Having this job apparently made me “successful,” because I had more friends than Taylor Swift, and they all wanted to buy me dinner and Blu Ray players.
After a few years I decided to stop making commercials, and pursue writing full-time. Having this new position apparently made me a “failure,” because I couldn’t get the guy whose job it was to put schmear on my bagels to return my calls. My real friends baked a nice tuna dish.
6. You’re still in the fight.
If everything were harp music and roses we’d be dead. Failure makes us get up, dust ourselves off, and come out swinging. We may be liable for restitution and medical expenses, but failure makes us winners, dammit.
Three Towers Press. 240 pages. $24.95.
Posted: Sunday, August 30, 2015 12:00 am
Reviewed by Anne Shaver | Anne Shaver is a communications consultant in Roanoke.
Charlotte Nightingale is having a bad day.
In fact, Charlotte Nightingale is always having a bad day. She has a job that’s going nowhere at a used-car lot, plain looks made worse by her thrift-store wardrobe, a lazy boyfriend, parents who prefer her younger sister, a falling-apart car and a rundown apartment.
Things rarely go her way.
At the beginning of “Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale,” we meet the down-on-her-luck Charlotte, as well as Kwan, who lives in her Los Angeles neighborhood. Kwan delivers Chinese food for his father’s restaurant and is a student of feng shui. One day, Kwan takes pity on Charlotte and decides to use feng shui to improve her life — without her knowledge. On the pretense of delivering food, Kwan visits Charlotte and begins rearranging her apartment.
At first, things appear to get worse instead of better. Charlotte discovers her boyfriend is cheating. Her car breaks down for the last time. She loses her job.
But things aren’t always what they appear, and Charlotte’s worse-than-normal bad luck slowly results in positive outcomes.
Along the way, readers are taken for a whirlwind trip through Charlotte’s life.
Her bad luck turns into a series of adventures, some of them seemingly implausible. One of her co-workers is arrested, and Charlotte finds the co-worker has left a quarter-million dollars in Charlotte’s car. Charlotte heads to Nordstrom for some new clothes, and the newly fashionable Charlotte entices her sister’s plastic-surgeon fiancee. Kwan continues his feng shui work and begins to fall for Charlotte himself.
At the end of the day, Charlotte finds her happy ending.
“Feng Shui & Charlotte Nightingale” is a quick, fun read. It’s a bit lacking in character development — it would be interesting to learn more about Charlotte’s inner dialogue and how she got to be the “bad luck” girl. But the plot is engaging and readers will enjoy watching Charlotte’s transformation.