Bourbon Cowboy

The adventures of an urbane bar-hopping transplant to New York.

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Location: New York, New York, United States

I'm a storyteller in the New York area who is a regular on NPR's "This American Life" and at shows around the city. Moved to New York in 2006 and am working on selling a memoir of my years as a greeting card writer, and (as a personal, noncommercial obsession) a nonfiction book called "How to Love God Without Being a Jerk." My agent is Adam Chromy at Artists and Artisans. If you came here after hearing about my book on "This American Life" and Googling my name, the "How to Love God" book itself isn't in print yet, and may not even see print in its current form (I'm focusing on humorous memoir), but here's a sample I've posted in case you're curious anyway: Sample How To Love God Introduction, Pt. 1 of 3. Or just look through the archives for September 18, 2007.) The book you should be expecting is the greeting card book, about which more information is pending. Keep checking back!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

7,351 Words, and a Dave Fun Quiz

I had an amazingly productive day today (7, 351 words) and I'm going to celebrate by popping online briefly and posting a Dave Fun Quiz that's easy to research. I discovered it recently by looking up the word "avocado" because it sounded suspiciously like a lawyer-related word and I wasn't sure why.

Here's the Question: Which of these words doesn't belong, etymologically?


As usual, the answer is in Comments.

P.S. I now know how to get the maximum writing done. 1.) remove the wi-fi card (duh), and 2.) start writing first thing in the morning. You can exercise later, after the first two or three thousand words.

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Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

Answer: feist doesn't belong. All the other words (orchid, avocado, cullion--which means a scoundrel--and musk) are related to a word for "testicles" in one language or other. Feist, by contrast (which is a small dog), is related to the word "fart." (Or, to use Merriam-Webster's polite phrasing, "to break wind.")

6/08/2008 1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How on earth do you just know this stuff?

I would love to tell fantasy author Raymond Feist this juicy bit of etymology.

-Brian Reeves, who couldn't post on Blogger for some reason.

6/08/2008 5:23 AM  
Blogger Cowboy Dave Dickerson said...

I knew the "orchid" factoid because, frankly, if you look at an orchid it's pretty easy to remember. So when I ran across "avocado," I remembered the orchid and thought, "how many other words like this could there be?"

If you own the Merriam-Webster 11th Collegiate Dictionary, it comes with a CD-ROM that's just about the most useful thing ever. You can search it by ANYTHING: word in the definition, date of introduction to the language, letter pattern...and words in the etymology. So really, the whole thing took only ten seconds. But what fun!

(I knew "feist" for some other reason entirely, and I don't remember why. Like I tell people, memory for words is what I have instead of job skills.)

--Dave, who should be writing right now but he needed to transcribe the phone numbers people have been sending him.

6/08/2008 11:19 AM  

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