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These are the bines that twine:
There is bine, a woody vine that binds, and by binding gains its name, mutatis mutandis.
There is bearbine, two kinds of convolvulus, winding woody spirals with white trumpets, and also the Polygonum convolvulus, a black buckwheat weed which you may have eaten.
There is berbine, vervain, verbena, name mutated; holy herb and devil’s bane, tears of Isis, Hera’s tears, herbal tea of iron-herb, altar flower for Jupiter.
There is bulbine, which Pliny named, but no one knows what it is. Continue reading
In my last word tasting I sampled brae, a name I’ve known on some neighbourhoods that I have heard of but seldom visited and never lived in. It’s one of the loose allsorts of suburb-name morphemes that float above the involuted streets on maps of the sprawling suburbs in the Great White North: wood, cliff, cedar, side, bine, land, thorn, lea, crest, vale, ridge, maple, oak, glen, bank, fair, field, gate, ville, dale, park, mead, view, bay, green, hurst, may, mount, summer, sunny, land, spring, spruce, hill, valley, grove (I forgot those last five last time)… Pick two, almost any two, and you get a subdivision somewhere (or at the very least a street): Cedarlea, Woodvale, Oakmead, Hillhurst, Sunnyside, Glencrest, Mapleview, Fairmount, Valleyvale… Is Valleyvale redundant? Well, so is Hillhurst. Continue reading
I tend to think of this word as one of the bits sliding about in the widget drawer from which developers pull pieces for names of neighbourhoods. It’s jumbled in with wood and cliff and cedar and side and bine and land and thorn and lea and crest and vale and ridge and maple and oak and glen and bank and fair and field and gate and ville and dale and hill and park and mead and view and bay and green and hurst and may and mount and summer and sunny and land… Every time you’re building a new neighbourhood, if you don’t want to go ahead and name it after whatever you bulldozed to build it, just reach into that drawer and grab two pieces. If you want to make it extra chi-chi, grab a third piece – or just tack heights on. Continue reading
If you like seeing the world come and go, traffic pass, and dumbass drivers at a simple intersection nearly kill bicyclists, pedestrians, and each other, and occasionally a car or truck drive straight into what your brain tells you should be the business next door but is actually an alley that continues Elm Street, grab one of the four stools at the window counter of Jimmy’s on McCaul, if you can get one. Be aware that on a bright day you may get eyestrain if you work on your computer there. Continue reading
We all have our pet peeves. Some of us have many and some have few; some of us have bigger ones and some have smaller ones. Some people have pet peeves like leashed Rottweilers that precede them in all situations (the worst grammar grumblers can be like this), but for most of us, they are more like purse dogs, easy enough to carry around and produce as needed – almost cute, even, though they might make a mess on your wallet. For many of us, though, they’re not even pets so much as little flags we take out and wave at certain moments, kind of like sports fans. Continue reading