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ai – al Archive

alyssum

Posted April 2, 2015 By Joel

According to ancient Greeks (that is, Greeks who have long been dead, not Greeks who look like they should have long been dead), alyssum is a place in heaven reserved for average, everyday, undistinguished and virtually indistinguishable people. Alyssum contrasts with Elysium or the Elysium fields, which, again according to ancient Greeks, is a spot in heaven reserved for heroes and people who had an in with one or more of the Gods (in heaven, it’s all about who you know). Because alyssum is for the ordinary man (and presumably the ordinary woman as well, but the literature is silent on that point) its name is always lower-cased to denote its lower place in the heaven hierarchy, whereas Elysium, which is reserved for heroes and god-groupies, is always capitalized.

In truth, the structure of alyssum is not all that much different from Elysium, but there are some significant differences in the personal experiences one has in each. The food is way better in Elysium. There is also almost unlimited free booze in Elysium, whereas if you’re in alyssum for the long haul you might, at most, get a glass or two of free wine or bear, but for short stays you have to pay for your alcohol.

You also get a lot more personal space in Elysium.

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always

Posted April 2, 2015 By Joel

An always (noun) is a type of road intersection. At an always, vehicles going in all directions face identical road signs and/or traffic signals. This could be (in the case of two intersecting streets) four red lights, four yellow lights, four green lights, four super-cool, psychedelic, rainbow-coloured, artistically colour-shifting lights, four stop signs, four yield signs, four “watch for children” signs, four “watch for slow-moving seniors” signs, four “watch for pedestrians of any type” signs, four “watch for cyclists” signs, four “watch for jaywalkers” signs, four “watch the hell where you’re going” signs, four “watch your manners” signs, four “you’re on your own” signs, or whatever—or any combination thereof.

Obviously, anything other than stop signs at an always can be very dangerous for drivers, particularly if they are busy chatting away on their handheld cellphones, totally oblivious to what’s going on in the rest of the world. Then again, world-oblivious cellphone users won’t see the stop signs anyway, so, never mind.

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alveolus

Posted April 1, 2015 By Joel

An alveolus (noun) is a gathering of alveolar people. (See alveolar.) The gathering can either be informal or a formal meeting arranged as part of an official alveolar group or association.

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alveolar

Posted April 1, 2015 By Joel

Alveolar is an adjective that means “to be like Alvy Singer.” Alvy Singer was Woody Allen’s character in the 1977 movie Annie Hall, which Woody Allen co-wrote (with Marshall Brickman) and directed.

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alumnus

Posted March 31, 2015 By Joel

An alumnus is sort of like a terminus except that it’s completely different. Whereas a terminus is a place where people or vehicles are terminated, an alumnus is a place where people or vehicles are aluminized. 

aluminium

Posted March 31, 2015 By Joel

Aluminium is a form of home ownership that is neither a condominium nor a cooperative form of ownership.

In a condominium, owners own their unit and have a share in the condominium corporation that owns the shared areas, known as the “common element.” In a cooperative, all owners share in the ownership of the whole building and each owner has a right to exclusive use of their unit, but they do not own it outright.

In contrast to these other two forms of ownership, in an aluminium owners own a share of the common element, which typically includes the hallway, a garbage room and occasionally a shared washroom, but owners are required to camp out in a tent or under the stars in a nearby park as there are no apartment units within an aluminium.

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alumina

Posted March 30, 2015 By Joel

Alumina (noun), which serves as both the singular and plural form, is the laypersons’ term for a quantum of light. Scientists call lumina photons because they like to distinguish themselves from laypeople. Nevertheless, there is absolutely no empirical evidence supporting or refuting the hypothesis that laypeople get laid more frequently than scientists. You would have thought that scientists would have studied that sort of thing.

But we digress.

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alum

Posted March 30, 2015 By Joel

Alum is an emotional state that is neither glum nor joyful. This leaves open a wide range of feelings, making alum a horribly imprecise and, therefore, not very helpful word.

To say that someone is alum imparts little more information than that he or she is alive. True, you do know that he or she is not glum or joyful, but he or she could be, for example, ecstatic, miserable, indifferent, frustrated, aroused or comatose.

Generally, you would describe someone as alum when you haven’t a clue what his or her emotional state is. Although, comatose is typically considerably easier to recognize than most of the other emotional states. Here’s a test to determine if the person is comatose: Try complimenting the person profusely. Next try insulting the person vilely. Finally, try violently jabbing him or her with a hat pin a few times. (It doesn’t have to be a hat pin. Any sharp, pointy object will do.)

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altruism

Posted March 29, 2015 By Joel

An altruism is a statement that is completely true in all of its parts.

Too often, people consider the shading of the truth to still be the truth. Or they might consider a statement that is true in part, but not true in its entirety to still be “essentially” true or “truthy.” An altruism brooks no such verity relativism. A statement is true completely or its not true at all as far as an altruism is concerned.

For obvious reasons, politicians, political parties, real estate brokers and used car salespeople are not universally in favour of all altruisms all of the time.

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altogether

Posted March 29, 2015 By Joel

An altogether (pronounced alto-gether) is a high-pitched version of a gether, an ancient musical instrument of no fixed sound. Rounding out the family of gether instruments are the supranogether, which plays in a higher register than the altogether; the tenorgether, which has a lower sound than the altogether; the baritonegether, which is even lower; and the bassgether, which plays in the lowest key of the gethers.

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