Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.


This coming Wednesday, we celebrate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. Anyone who has imbibed the experience of Stephen Spielberg’s eloquent film Lincoln knows how Lincoln loved to infuse his statements with jokes that took on elements of parables.

Of our 16th president a contemporary wrote, “When Lincoln tells a joke in a fireside group, his face loses its melancholy mask, his eyes sparkle, and his whole countenance lights up. And when he has reached the point in his narrative which invariably evokes the laughter of the crowd, nobody’s enjoyment is greater than his.” Lincoln referred to laughter as “the joyful, beautiful, universal evergreen of life.” In fact, he was our first presidential humorist. During the Civil War, London’s Saturday Review told its readers, “One advantage the Americans have is the possession of a President who is not only the First Magistrate, but the Chief Joker of the Land.”

The common people looked at him as one of their own. When he was running for the Illinois state legislature, an opponent of considerable standing dwelt on the fact that his father had been a senator, his grandfather a general and his uncle a congressman. Abe then rose to give his family background: “Ladies and gentlemen, I come from a long line of married folks.” And he added, “I don’t know who my grandfather was. I am much more concerned to know what his grandson will be.”

Abe Lincoln could make fun of himself, especially his gangly height and legendary homeliness. At 6 feet 4 inches, he was our loftiest American president. To the inevitable question “How tall are you?” Lincoln would reply, “Tall enough to reach the ground.”                                                                                                                               

The New York Herald described the president thusly: “Lincoln is the leanest, lankiest, most ungainly mass of legs, arms, and hatchet-face ever strung upon a single frame. He has most unwarrantably abused the privilege which all politicians have of being ugly.” During one of the Lincoln-Douglas debates, Stephen Douglas accused Lincoln of being two-faced. Replied Lincoln calmly, “I leave it to my audience: If I had two faces, would I be wearing this one?” When a grouchy old Democrat said to him, “They say you are a self-made man,” Lincoln riposted, “Well, all I’ve got to say is that it was a damned bad job.”

During the Confederate attack on Fort Stevens in July 1864, Abraham Lincoln journeyed to the front to inspect Union defenses. The task of showing him around fell to young Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., aide to the commanding general, and a future Supreme Court Justice. When Holmes pointed out the enemy in the distance, Lincoln stood up—all six feet four of him with a stovepipe hat on top—to have a look.

A volley of musket fire spat from the enemy trenches. Grabbing the president by the arm, Holmes dragged him under cover and shouted, “Get down, you fool!” Realizing what he had said and to whom, Holmes was sure that disciplinary action would follow. To his immense relief, Lincoln rejoined, “Captain Holmes, I’m glad to see you know how to talk to a civilian.”

When the Civil War ended on April 13, 1865, Lincoln gave orders to stop the draft of soldiers. The following day he made his fatal visit to Ford’s Theatre to see Our American Cousin. At one point in the play the heroine, reclining on a garden seat, called for a shawl to protect her from the draft. The actor Edward Southern, to whom the request was addressed, replied on this occasion with this impromptu line: “You are mistaken, Miss Mary. The draft has already been stopped by order of the president!” Lincoln joined in the audience’s appreciation of this timely quip with what was to be his last laughter.

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This past Sunday, February 2, 2020, we experienced what William Shakespeare has called “the conjunction of the stars.” On that day occurred both the Super Bowl and Groundhog Day. In addition, because the numbers read the same forward and backward, the date 02/02/2020 made this past Sunday the International Day of the Palindrome. That is, whether you live in a place where the month comes first or second, the day is still palindromic.

My name for this rare phenomenon is calendrome. The last 8-digit international calendrome occurred on 11/11/1111 , 909 years ago.