Monday, June 28, 2010

Sometimes the Web surprises me...

Mostly I read mundane Web sites that are informative or fun or that someone links me to. But sometimes I am totally surprised from what I find. Tonight I received a Google Alert from a site that wrote about my husband! Here is a link. Apparently my husband wrote them way back in 2005, but someone recently answered. Funny what will come up in Google Alerts!

And here is what was said:

A friendly person, Ken Spector, sent me an email with additional information about "epicaricacy" after having noticed the discussion in the LEO forum:

You folks have discussed the word 'epicaricacy', at these two spots on the web:
related discussion:epicaricacy - schadenfreude

One of the comments was, "I almost suspect this word was coined/invented recently." I can give you some more data.

The word appears in most of the editions of Nathaniel Bailey's dictionary. Bailey's dictionary was highly respected, was published and republished for about 50 years starting in 1721, and was Samuel Johnson's basic word-list from which he prepared his dictionary, acknowledged to be the master.

Linguist Joseph T. Shipley included it in his Dictionary of Early English (1963), citing Bailey.

Our bulletin board has discussed this repeatedly over many months, as new information is found. You'll find the most recent discussion here:

The word is not OED as listed term being defined -- but it is in one of there sample quotes for another word. Here's their first quotation for 'shadenfeude', from 1852; the citation also uses 'epicaricacy', spelling it in greek letters.

1852 R. C. TRENCH Study of Words (ed. 3) II. 29 What a fearful thing is it that any language should have a word expressive of the pleasure which men feel at the calamities of others; for the existence of the word bears testimony to the existence of the thing. And yet in more than one such a word is found... In the Greek έπιχαρεκακία, in the German, ‘Schadenfreude’.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Let's face it. The concept of epicaricacy, whether you accept it as a word or not, is not a pleasant one. Taking joy in another's misery? Even if it's your mean!

So what's the opposite of it? Probably the best word is mudita, a Buddhist term meaning to find joy in the happiness and success of others. According to this site, it has not been given enough attention. I suppose I could start a Blog on Friends of Mudita, but that's a little lame. Seriously, though, look at the essays on that site. They are inspiring.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


I just finished a wonderful book about African-American (the book called it "colored") domestic help, during the 60s, in Jackson, Mississippi (by Kathryn Stockett). It made me think how valuable keeping diaries and writing down our stories can be. When I was a girl, I kept diaries for years. Having found them in my attic recently, many entries are lame. I had more crushes on boys than I ever remembered! But they were my stories. When I was a professor, my students once gave me a journal, and every night I wrote. For awhile. Then I got busy. Recently at work we were laughing about all the funny/sad/amazing things that have happened in our field and somebody said, "Someone should write a book!" Absolutely! That's just what Stockett did. More of us should do that.

Then I realized, that's just what Blogs are. People's stories. Some are academically oriented; those are written by our scholars. Others are collections of interesting thoughts and ideas. Many are business-like Blogs that report things. Of course there are the lame ones (like my childhood diaries), but that's okay; they are stories, too. Many have collections of short stories or poems, highlighting our creativity. Heck, look at all the stories on OEDILF! But the point is, these are our stories! Like we do, Blogs change from time to time. For instance, here I started just talking about epicaricacy, but that was too narrow. Our Blog stories might not be as cohesive as Stockett's, but they are part of us. Let's embrace them!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Doctor who?

I've been thinking about this for awhile and have decided...of all the professions, lawyers are the least arrogant. I know, I am hearing a lot of coughing and laughing, but hear me out.

Dentists, optometrists, veterinaries, those with PhDs (me!), podiatrists, pharmacists (pharm Ds), physical therapists (PTDs), nurse practitioners (DPTs)...and most of all physicians, all insist on being called "doctor." Listen to my voice mail at work. I am as bad as anyone. Physicians are actually threatening lawsuits to retain the "doctor" title for themselves. Their argument is...calling others "doctor" might confuse people, and then they couldn't save lives. Forget that many are radiologists or pathologists or others who haven't practiced emergency procedures in years. Balderdash, my physician friends.

In the meantime there are our attorneys. They have a doctorate (Jurist Doctorate or JD) as well, but they don't mind being called Ms., Mr. or Mrs. Think what you will of them. I know there are a lot of lawyer jokes out there. But in my book, they do it right.

Now I need to change my voice mail...

Monday, June 7, 2010

A day late and dollar short

I've always admired two companies, Apple and Google. They thrive on their creativeness. Yeah, they are copied, but then they move on to more innovations. I must be enamored by the amazing talent in those companies. Too bad!