October 6, 2005

The Word of the Day is in Your Pants

Oh we learn, we learn, we learn until we die. For example, I learned a new word last night. Callipygian. Say it with me...Cal,ee, PIDGE,un. Did you know that it means, "Having beautifully proportioned buttocks?" Hmm? Did you? Oh shut up, you did NOT.

Am I going to hell for getting tickled that the etymology of the word begins "from the Greek?" OR that the sentence in which dictionary.com chose to use the word is something like "the quest for the callipygian ideal?" Shut UP, I am NOT. Probably. Grail, Schmail, I am signing up for the tushie quest...Not sure how to begin. Just how would you QUEST for the loveliest buttocks? Probably in BARS. Bars that don't have enough seating.

After a long debate we decided that you can't use the word to modify buttocks because the buttocks are already implied in the main word. So don't go around saying anyone has "callipygian buttocks." You will just look foolish. People can be callipygian, as can statues, as can, apparently, ideals. In other words, Anything WITH buttocks can be callipygian, but the buttocks themselves cannot be unless the buttocks have buttocks of their own, in which case, allow me to say, "ew." I AM SO GLAD WE GOT THIS SETTLED!

In other news, I am not sure the newt-sacks are viable. We've been scooping them out and putting them down in the pond because Sam's heart was pierced with many knives when we broached the subject of releasing Fig and Spotty. He could not bear to lose Spotty, and then he worried that if we released only Fig, Spotty would PINE. I am not sure newts come standard with PINING EQUIPMENT. They have VERY small brains...how can they PINE EFFECTIVELY with the amount of software you can load onto their little teeny drives. But Sam has so much brain equipage that he can PROJECT pining upon them, so.

If Fig and Spotty lack PINING centers, at least they are FULLY equipped in their newtly pants. More egg sacks appeared. One or two a day. That may seem like a lot, but remember, these two live in a 5 gallon aquarium. What the heck ELSE is their to do? And perhaps Fig looks to Spotty like the Newtly embodiment of the callipygian ideal. SO the eggs piled up, and we scooped and released, we lathered, we rinsed, and we repeated. Then we kinda forgot about moving the egg sacks out. It fell off the radar. Who knows. Quite a few piled up in there, and now I just noticed 4 or 5 are gone. And yet I see no SPAWNS. Perhaps NEW newts are microscopic, or perhaps Daisy and Posy (the smaller, gill dependent, purely aquatic newtlets) are having omelets. I await further developments with baited breath.

Posted by joshilyn at October 6, 2005 7:15 AM


The etymology of the word for "buttock" in Russian comes from "berry".

"Yagoditsa" -- buttock is a diminutized form of
"Yagoda" -- berry.

I'm glad that there is someone else who likes words like I do.


Posted by: Ellen at October 6, 2005 7:47 AM

I was okay until I got to omelets. Bwahahahahahaaa!

Posted by: Mir at October 6, 2005 7:54 AM

Re Ellen's etymology lesson: I just WISH my buttocks were the size of berries. Teeny, tiny, delicate raspberries, to be exact. Alas, they're more the size of those pumpkins on steroids one sees at county fairs.

Posted by: liz at October 6, 2005 10:06 AM

Ah, Liz is good.

and here I was bemoaning my fluffy Calliypigian physique needs at least two bar stools in my advanced middle years, and hense - anywhere -there is more standing room available than bar stools. Have you noticed that they - you know "they" - make chairs with arms much skinnier these days?

Posted by: Cele at October 6, 2005 11:43 AM

I do not know alot of words but believe it or not, I knew this one. I came across it a few months ago and have since used it regularly to compliment my dear husbands posterior. He can't see his own, so he takes my word for it.

Posted by: Em at October 6, 2005 12:12 PM

Oh, new word. I love new words. I have no idea how I will manage to use this one, but I WILL find a way.

Posted by: Heather at October 6, 2005 12:37 PM

Newts seem so much easier than 3 kittens without a Cat Mama. They have a human Mama, me. I can't talk in the kitchen, they hear me....the kittens I mean. I wouldn't think newts would hear your voice and yowl at you....at least I hope not.

Posted by: Robbie at October 6, 2005 2:09 PM

So, Miss J, HOW did you learn this new word? I wonder because I DID actually know the meaning of "callipygian," but I do not know WHY I recognized it as having to do with the derri-area.

Could it have seeped into my trivia bucket from watching that documentary about R. Crumb and why his cartoon ladies always have such maxi-glutie? Have I been sleepwalking to my computer and logging onto the Hindquarter Appreciation Society's website during my nightly REM phases? Please tell me it's from some groovy novel I don't remember imbibing...

It's not like anyone has ever applied this qualifier to me: "baby got lack in back." My grandmother-of-the-drop-dead-gams filled a skirt with bounty enough to hold the rear guard's attention well into her eighties, but the bootylicious gene skipped me so thoroughly she once patted my hand and consoled, "that's all right dear, you'll marry a sweater man."

Posted by: Cornelia Read at October 6, 2005 4:03 PM

C'mon, Joshilyn, didn't you pore over Bulfinch's Mythology as a child? Callie was one of the nymphs...or the Muses...or one of the many feckless human girls raped by Zeus in animal form...something like that. I'm going to go with Muse. Oh the inspiration a pair of perfect buttocks can inspire! Particularly Jesse Metcalfe.

Posted by: Elena at October 6, 2005 5:45 PM

1) If I ever have a calico cat, I now MUST name said hypothetical cat Callipygian and see how many people know that I'm basically calling her "nice butt".

2) Was "baited" breath a deliberate pun or a funny Freudian slip?

Posted by: DebR at October 7, 2005 12:18 AM

Kallista was a nyphm of Artemis, who was turned into a bear and killed by a hunter, before being cast in the sky as the constellation of the great bear. My name is Calista so I just kind of knew this.

Posted by: Cele at October 7, 2005 12:21 AM

Cornelia must have taken "noassatall" pills as a child. Alas, I fear I probably stole her share. If Frankenstein were to create another monster and use Joshilyn's (we're not talking about them) breasts and my rump, it would have to have back surgery within a week.

Posted by: Angela at October 7, 2005 1:14 PM

Okay - am I the ONLY one who thought of Bert from sesame street singing "Doing..... the Pidgeon!"

Oh - I really DO need a break from the youngsters....

Posted by: Karry at October 7, 2005 10:20 PM

The wiki entry for callipygian http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callipygian_Venus

here's to looking!

Posted by: Steve S at October 8, 2005 9:26 AM

I had a moment of total serendipity yesterday, popping into a bookstore on a whim and suddenly being confronted with your book, in paperback (!), right in front of me! I live in Sweden, where English books are much scarcer than I would like, and I was figuring I'd have to wait a year or more before it showed up, it at all. I gulped it down today. I've been reading your blog for a long time, and I'm totally addicted. Your writing is amazing, and now I get the excitement of waiting for your next book. Thank you :)

Posted by: lizardek at October 8, 2005 5:11 PM

When I was in college, my roommate's long-distance boyfriend and his best friend came to visit us for a few days. The best friend and I hung out and talked a lot for those few days. One of the things we discussed was the fact that he drank every day and had done so for something like a hundred days just to see if he could do it. As we were underage at the time, this was not an insignificant feat, but I still thought it was incredibly stupid and called him on that and asked why he didn't try to do something productive every day, like write a poem or read the New York Times or, heck, do his homework?

He decided that was a good idea and went with the poetry and would email me the poems, which were unspeakably awful. But in them, about half the time, he'd use the word callipygian - he'd picked it up somewhere and thought it was neat. Thus I learned the work callipygean. And learned that encouraging virtual strangers who lived a thousand miles away to change their lives in some way, however insignificant, might actually have continued effects on my own life.

(The poems ended after a couple of months when he met a new girl and started dating her and I assume gave up on the poetry. Which was probably fine for all involved.)

Posted by: Allison at October 9, 2005 7:39 PM