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.

word play

 

William Shakespeare is alive and well and living robustly in America’s finest city. The San Diego Shakespeare Society, on whose board I sit, will soon be presenting its 16th annual evening of Celebrity Sonnets. On Monday, October 9, starting at 7:30 pm, local celebrities and performers will dramatize the sonnets to a vast audience through a montage of imaginative interpretations.

Onstage I’ll be joined by the likes of legendary actor Jonathan McMurtry, Kathi Diamant and Byron Ladue, 10-year-old starlet Catalina Zelles, mellifluous singers and three unique dance performances. KUSI’s Dave Scott will emcee. The venue is the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage at the Old Globe Theatre, our city’s most venerable cultural institution. For details, click www.sandiegoshakespearesociety.org.

Shakespeare wrote about the immortality that literature confers upon people born at the tip of a pen. His Sonnet 18 opens with a question to the speaker’s beloved and then an answer:

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.                                                                     
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.

The poet goes on to show that while all things living are subject to the mutability of nature and ravages of time, thy eternal summer shall not fade. The adored will slip the surly bonds of mortality:

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,                                                     
When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st.

Here the “lines” refer to the sonnet itself, in which the darling can live forever in the hearts of generations of readers.

All Shakespearean sonnets close with a couplet, in this brief compass 20 monosyllables in succession:

So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,                                                             
So long lives this and this gives life to thee.

“This” refers to the sonnet itself, which, through its enduring luminescence, confers an eternal summer on its subject.

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Within the counter clockwise circle of two weeks. monster hurricane Harvey strafed and inundated Texas and Louisiana and gargantuan hurricane Irma made landfall in Florida and ravaged the southeastern United States. The word hurricane blows in from the Arawakan (West Indies) name for the Caribbean (the preferable pronunciation stresses the third syllable, not the second) god Hurrican, “evil spirit of the sea.”

In 1953 the National Weather Service began conferring female first names on all hurricanes, categorizing those devastating winds as female. When I was a boy, we bandied about a little riddle: “Why do they give hurricanes female names?” “Because otherwise, they’d be himicanes!” Happily, that joke doesn’t work anymore because in 1970, the Weather Service started alternating male and female names for these devastating storms. That’s one giant step for humankind.

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What do you get when you cross a werewolf with a clay worker? A hairy potter!

Twenty years ago, J.K. Rowling (her surname is pronounced rolling) published her first novel, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.” Since that release, the Harry Potter books have become the best-selling cycle in publishing history and the film versions the most watched movie franchise ever. So here’s a tip of the sorcerer’s hat to Ms. Rowling.

In both media, Rowling employs the word muggles to refer to magic-deprived humans. Ms. Rowling, the world’s richest and most famous welfare mother, has explained her creation: “It is a twist on the English word mug, which means ‘easily fooled.’ I made it into muggles because it sounds gentler.”