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Words, April 15

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Out-of-body experience:
A TV announcer at the NCAA Tournament praised a player in these terms — “He knows how to keep his body between himself and the defender.”

“Re: What to call people who live in Little Rock [March 25]. While living in England in the '50s, my husband and I had a Scottish friend who called us Little Rochians (soft c). That has been my favorite moniker since. I am a native Little Rochian. — Susan May”

Bill Kramer of North Little Rock writes: “Your bar pit vs. borrow pit [March 18] got my attention. In Independence County, near Rosie, there is a 37-acre peninsula almost surrounded by Salado Creek. The only road in is barely wide enough for the farm equipment. Growing up there, I listened to the farmers refer to it as The Nars, The Narrs or maybe the Narz.
But I was ‘right smart' past the age of accountability before I realized that they meant The Narrows, referring to the road.”

When I was a schoolboy, I heard classmates refer to someone as suffering from a rizin — that's the way it sounded to me — or sometimes a rizin on his eye. The kids most likely to use the word, as I recall, were those who lived in the country and rode the bus to school. I never heard of this ailment in my home. Some years passed before I realized that the kids were talking about a rising, a swelling of some sort, and dropping the g in pronunciation so that it came out risin'.

“But it's worth stepping away from the cable-news chyrons and juvenile jokes to ask: Who are we really shaming when we mock politicians who are outed as gay?” My first guess was that chyrons is a well-deserved pejorative for cable-TV pundits, something on the order of sidewinders or snotslingers. I've now learned that chyron refers to those annoying graphics in the lower part of the television screen.

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