Friday, February 8, 2008


A labrador, literally “lips of gold” (from Italian “labbra d’oro”), is a kiss so deep, seductive, and sucktive, it takes two hands clasped tight to the skull, two noses too sunk into cheeks to breathe, and leaves the lover enchanted in a trance with as much wonder and star-laced confusion as the word itself is obscured in. Labrador. Was this part of Canada actually named after fabled lips of gold? Do the webbed feet of the Labrador (or was it Golden?) Retriever in fact allude to a fish-lipped mythical mermaid? Or a kiss as wet and sloppy as the maritime dog? Or was it named after the fabled “Arms of Gold” Chinese smelteries there, “Les Bras D’Or”? And while we have possibilities for lips, arms, and feet, what about the ear from aureole? And while we have aureole do we then also have areola? Oh Jesus, I can see everything I can’t see anything I’m in love! Or was it after the Portuguese navigator Joao Fernandes Lavrador who claimed he was the first to map it? Though this may initially seem like the least romantic etymology, it takes but an ABRACADABRA and his name looks a lot like that kiss again: Lavrador, love/adore. And who was the first to settle in it after all, the Irish, Basques, Vikings, or Micmaks? Newfoundland is separated from Labrador by the Straits of Belle but is the other half of the same province and whether it was so named after “New Finland” (the country), “New Vine Land” (thick bush),“New Found Land” (new found land), or “New Fin Land” (abundance of cod) is another subject of endless debate. In the past hundred years it has gone from an independent nation to a dominion of England to a Canadian province and if Quebec succeeds in seceding it's expressed interest in becoming part of the United States. The Straits of Belle, when used in the same sentence as a labrador kiss, refer to the “belle” mouth attached to these bewitching lips. Unfortunately, the ever witty kids of St. Johns have debased the romantic notion in recent years. “Labrador” has become “labradoor” and “Straits of Belle” have become “Straits of Balls”, as in “she gave me the key to open her labradoor, unbuckled my belt, and I navigated right into the Straits of Balls.”

-- Chris Leo

La Fence is L’ingla Franca slang for “France”. It is seen as the true border of Roman and Northen tribes despite other Latin words having already been put into use for regions further out. “Beyond the Pale” may refer to Irish land free from British dominion, but all of its functions are Roman. A “palus” in Latin was a series of stakes used as a fence; some hypothesize a connection to the idea that it kept the pallid out. “Pole” comes from the same root and brings us to the other edge of the empire, Poland. Polish claim their name comes from polijane, which means “field dwellers”, but to a Roman the stark never-ending steppe was its own sort of fence (think "nowhere to run to" gulag) and hence a competing etymology. It borders on another border, the Ukraine, which means "border" in Russian. Denmark was the northern border in the time of Augustus and though the root of "den" is subject to much debate, it is generally agreed that the "mark", like "margin", comes from the Proto-Indo-European mereg for "boundary" -- beyond which is Scandinavia, literally "cut off". A fence, like the sport, comes from “defense”. “La Défense” is the modern business district that lies geographically on the fence of Paris and ideologically on the fence with the Olde and New Worlds. French say France doesn’t begin until one hundred kilometers inside France. One fence makes a division; two fences plot a lot; endless fences form a city; and so functioning like every vaccine, by France fighting fence with more fence they stand forever as the francon ("lance" like "palus"!) they took their name from. Vive La Fence!

-- Chris Leo

Languistes are adherents to rules set by governing bodies of languages. One who speaks French is not neccessarily a languiste, but one who consults the forty Immortels for guidance (who once even placed a ban on the study of etymology) is. It is impossible for any English speaker to be a languiste, but if they compose text messages in complete and proper sentences they are oddly attempting to be. The paradox of the languistes is that this over concern with articulation fails to generate a solid and beautiful articulation of why and how they try to pull these reins in.

languid + guide = linguistics led by lifelessness

-- Chris Leo

Liebero, “libero” (“free” in Italian) + “liebe” (“love” in German), is a tactical Freudian slip of the pen. “I am liebero tonight” could insinuate one is either free and easy, superhumanly libidinous (like Electro, Eclipso, and Magneto, make way for Liebero!), or both. “No, my boyfriend is clueless. He’s got a game to watch tonight so I’m totally liebero” means you helped an old woman cross the street in your past life.

-- Chris Leo

--lite is a misleading suffix used in the promotion of packaged low calorie food. The truth is, only food that approaches the consistency of light becomes lighter, whereas food derived from a long list of mysterious ingredients from minerals and rocks can really only become “liter”(from the Greek lithos for stone). Think about the rocks in your drinks at "nite" not as igneous, because those come from fire not ice, not Ignatius because he is a saintly spirit and spirits don't freeze, but as extraneous as the stalagmites on your colon, anthracite in your arteries, and kimberlitic xenoliths that must pass painfully through the penis all due to your attempted shortcut at making things "liter". Many a gormond has argued that this isn't a problem because true delights are in fact de ("off") + light, the further away the better. But when "claret" begins in France pronounced clahray and it takes but the British Channel (and perhaps a finished bottle) to change it into clah-ret, nothing in etymology is clear. "Delight" comes from the Old French delit ("to please greatly")and was spelled "delite" in England up until the 16th century! Back to where we began then -- a delite ,from some sorcerer's stone-ite, is therefore a morsel of alchemy in the mouth.

lite = Crystal Light, as low cal and crystal forming as a lough calcite

-- Chris Leo, Giorgio Grappi

L’Ingla Franca is the branch of English spoken between natives of non-English speaking countries who do not speak each other’s respective native tongues. It is a proper language in its own right, which often having been learned in schools, follows more rules than the English spoken by native English speakers. At the present, there is no subset of L’Ingla Franca available for natives of different English speaking countries to communicate in; so as Spaniards and Italians generally stick to their own languages when speaking together, an Australian and a Jamaican speaking together must also attempt their own English and hope context fills in the blanks.

-- Chris Leo

Localties and localtons come from all sides of the tracks. They are well-welcomed words that exist free of mood though they touch tender topics. Localties -- good, bad, and indifferent -- are the general eats of a given locale. A località is a localty that is a specialty cooked by the localtons who may or may not be simpletons or viscounts from the county villas. A localton is simply a local ingrained with the earth he treads. Therefore, if one stumbles upon exquisite flautas in the Mexican neighborhood of Corona, Queens it is certain that he will find himself eating a genuine localty, but it can not yet be considered a località nor will it be cooked by localtons. Seeing as the Mexicans are new arrivals to Corona and their next move is unpredictable, the current generation may be locals but not official localtons. If in due time the Mexicans remain Mexicans and embed themselves in Corona, they will appear with the air of localtons, and if their flautas continue to be excellent one would then find themselves eating a veritable località.

localty = when a localite asks for something “low cal” neither party understands the other, but neither party also neither knows

-- Amy Leo, Chris Leo

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