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today's wwftd is... zemblanity

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  • wwftd master
    the worthless word for the day is: zemblanity [fr. Zembla, an Artic island to the N. of Russia once used for nuclear testing; thus: zemblanity] the inexorable
    Message 1 of 1 , May 1, 2005
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      the worthless word for the day is: zemblanity
      [fr. Zembla, an Artic island to the N. of Russia
      once used for nuclear testing; thus: zemblanity]

      the inexorable discovery of what we don't want
      to know

      "Along about halfway through William Boyd's
      amusing seventh novel, Armadillo, the hapless
      protagonist Lorimer Black decides that his life
      is governed by the laws of "zemblanity," which
      he describes as "the opposite of serendipity, the
      faculty of making unhappy, unlucky and expected
      discoveries by design." By this point in the action,
      Lorimer has encountered a hanged man; his car
      has been torched; his job jeopardized; his
      fastidious private life invaded... His very existence
      appears to be a prime example of Murphy's Law:
      if something can go wrong, it will."
      - Elizabeth Gleick, Time (mag.) Mar. 30, 1998

      "What is the opposite of Serendip, a southern
      land of spice and warmth?" asks Boyd in his
      novel. "Think of another world in the far north,
      barren, icebound... Zembla. Ergo: zemblanity."
      - from William Boyd, Armadillo (quoted by
      William Safire, On Language June 04, 2000)

      -tsuwm
      http://home.mn.rr.com/wwftd/
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