As Beniamino Ambrosi and I began editing "Gran Raccordo Annulare, You Spin Me Right 'Round" and "The Sword in the Sheath" for their inclusion into Feathers Like Leather it was clear that neither was going to be one of those magical pieces the writer only need usher along, pruning here and there while the he waits for the piece to miraculously wrap itself up neatly taking credit when its done. No, these ones wanted to keep going. They became monsters we spent more time battling ceaseless barnacles off of than tending to the sails. New, bigger, stickier barnacles kept calcifying at every turn just when we thought we'd finished. Well dry dock the boat, you say, but that would have just killed the stories. "Gran Raccordo" and "Sheath" must always remain wet. In the end we left you with the most streamlined version the topics could afford, all along knowing we'd need to find a place for the accruing barnacles at some point somewhere down the road. So here we go.
For "Gran Raccordo":
-- Throwing a middle finger up is called "flipping the bird". As stated in the essay, Italians call their member a bird. To communicate the same sentiment flipping a bird does for us, Italian men grab their crotches, i.e. their birds.
-- A man who eats a bird would therefore be considered gay. A tasty bird to eat is a pheasant. Italians therefore call gay men "pheasants", which are "faggiani" in Italian. If they are in a rush, they could call them just "fag-".
-- A duck in Spanish is "patos", again, a synonym for dick; just one letter away from "patois", the language of the dick. Otherwise, most languages refer to gays as ducks, yet/and ducks are one of the only birds with dicks -- and not just any dicks, dicks 20 to 40 cm's long!
-- But Wait! Both English slangs for cock, "woody" and "pecker", were once part of the same word, "woodpecker" -- a bird! Though, truthfully, "pecker" could have also come to us through imitation of "pecado", Spanish for "sin", or via the "prick" to "pick" to "peck" chain. "Prick" has always been used for "cock". In 16th and 17th century England women even used "my prick" as a term of endearment for their boyfriends.
-- a sparrow is a "passero" in Italian and hence, being a bird, also a cock. However, Italians feminize it to "passera" if they want to refer to a pussy. Sparrow and passero both come from the Greek "aspera" (wish) and earlier "aster" (star) from the Proto Indo-European sper, a starling. By the time the root made it to Germany as "spar" it was "to break off" and by the time it made it English it was "to box" and by the time "box" made it to American English it was yet another synonym for pussy. If a passero inside a passera is not a boxing wish wherein the end result is things breaking away from the participants involved, then the thing we are speaking of does not involve passion at all, just passing. And a sparrow is not one of these birds with dicks. When sparrows conjugate they therefore place star to respective star, they "wish" upon a "star".
-- If you still don't find the articles before "el coño" and "la poya" respectively shocking after reading Gran Raccordo, try referring to them in their pronoun form instead; tantamount to calling one's penis a "she" and one's vagina a "him".
-- "Fashion" shares the same root as "fica" (pussy) and "fuck", from the Latin "facere" for "to make", but though it looks like "fascinate" probably does not share the same root, it may share the same root with the "fag" we get from the Latin "fascis" for "a bundle of twigs". "Fascinate" once meant something more akin to "bewitch"; to get back to the knotted root, picture a witch whispering spells over a cauldron she's stirring with a bent stick. The witch doctor was seen as "the maker", from whence we also get the word "fetish" from "facere".
-- Though we generally think of a sycophant as an ass-kisser, it also has its roots in The Maker. A sykon in Greek was a "fig" and phanein was "to show". A sycophant is therefore someone who "shows the fig". To "show the fig" you place your thumb between two fingers creating what the Greeks believed looked like a vulva -- sykon was also "vulva" in ancient Greek!
-- "Geil" means "horny" in German and Dutch, but kids use it to mean "cool". Seeing as "cool" is something often exclaimed, the stress comes immediately: "GUY-l!", which sounds like the way Italians pronounce "gay". "Guay" is "cool" in Castellano which not only sounds like "geil" but is pronounced exactly like the Italian "guai" which means "in trouble" and we're back at "bad" meaning "cool" like "bad" means "good".
-- Like "la poya", "la pizza" and "la cella" are other feminine slangs for cock in Leccese and Marchigiano respectively. However, Italians switch back to Standard Italian when referring to them in pronoun form thereby restoring them to their proper sexes. If mother tongued English ears were to hear an Italian say, "ho toccato la mia pizza, l'ho tocato" it would translate as "I touched my lady dick/pizza, I touched him". To English ears "pizza" comes in triangles and pies with red sauce and is therefore a synonym for pussy, but the sense in Italian is that pizza is only something a maniac could deny and hence an effective plea for putting it in the oven ("fornication" comes from the Italian "forno" for "oven", which became "horno" in Spanish who have the tendency of adding h's to things which means that by the time it made it to the North it was "horny" as well as "oven". The logical opposition to this etymology would be that "horny" comes from "horn" which comes from "corn" which is mais is American, wheat in English, rye in German, and antlers in Italian -- all invoking the same protruding imagery we associate with horny. Doubtful though. The idea at the base of all of those is "kernel" for "hard shell", same root as "cranium"; not perfect, but when one puts hard shells from protrusions into the oven things do pop. Plants have many roots, one days words will too).
-- A logical pursuit on the heels of "el coño" from the "icon" and "fica" from "facere" could lead one to "fica" as "the figure" then, but you would be selling her short. The subtle difference between an icon and a figure is that a figure must have a form. A form for fica as synecdoche of everything is too limiting though. "Figure" does not come from "facere" like it sounds like it should; "figure" has been a "figura" since it was the Proto Indo-European *dheigh for "form". On the same lines, neither "false" nor "fake" nor "fiction"(all with separate roots!) come from "facere"; if one thing can not be make-believe it has to be The Maker.
-- But if men are naming the parts, "el coño" from "con" as "the not, the opposite" seems properly primitive.
-- Or if God's calling the shots, women as Satan's vesicles by which to tempt men could give us "el coño" from "cunning", which comes from the German "kennen" for "to know" which brings us back to the All Knowing "Maker" again and, again, we are growing less and less confused by the article gender confusion of these words. If "cunning like the fox" draws its "cunning" from "coniglio" for "rabbit" we're beginning to see how Brits find an excuse to slip "cunt" in between every other word in a sentence also. The cunning fox became so because he was able to slip into the rabbit's burrow. The rabbit we call bunny, from cunny from coney from the aforementioned coniglio, took it's name from "cuniculus", which was Latin for an "underground passage". In French this rabbit's burrow underground passage is called a "clapoire" from whence we picked up our slang for chlamydia, "the clap". Makes one wonder what sort of "underground passages" the French were mingling in. The French have also always used "pussy" as a synonym for pussy, just in the form of "chat". So a quick literal read of the etymology of caterpillar as "chatepelose" as "hairy cat" could have one wondering what they be tripping on, until you reread this chat as pussy...and the metaphor works a little better.
-- I mention that the Afarian word for nipple is "dikika" but that I had yet to hear anyone call a dick a nipple. However, I have heard clits called nipples and therefore, by extension, seeing as we discussed many words that mean "dick" in Italian but "clit" in English, we are almost at completed cycle.
-- Let's call this addition "Three Lefts Make a Right, Three Links Make it Tight". On the never ending saga of how all things left, back, and bad come from bent, and all things right, forward, and good come from straight, I draw your attention to the German "links" for "left" vs the English "link" for something used to hook things together. Both "links" here are related to bending yet not related to each other! However, our word "slink" is a top runner for best bad left curvy word and an immediate derivative of the German "link" for "left". Now, if you think I'm way off base with all my amblings through twisty-curvy land, stew on "articulation" whose Latin roots came from "separating into joints". "Gelenk" is "joint" in German, related to our word "link".
-- The most overlooked thing I ever did done do in my life: "cirlcle" is "circulo" is Spanish.
-- as if we didn't already prove that bad wasn't gay enough, Badb was the Irish Woman God of War. That's pretty gay.
For "The Sword in the Sheath":
-- The night after I concluded the essay with "words, swords" a couple other things came to me during my celebration.
Unrelated: quality of dancing rides a bell curve from African-American to African proper with all other shades falling in between. Cockiness had me hitting the dance floor jet black, which quickly exaggerated to a flaming giddiness after the first cheers, which when then totally toasted turned to my best recollection of the accompanying moves to Meatloaf's "Bat Outta Hell" which wasn't playing, at which point my blood-sugar levels sent me soaring into the throes of a Yoruba conniption.
Related: Deep in this dark trance Orisha spoke to me, "If sticks and stones may break your bones but words can never hurt you, then sticks and stones must not be words, which we know they are, which means they can not hurt you either" and my fever broke.
-- Between the Latin "ex" and the Italian "s", the Spanish negate with "es" which, consistent with the paradoxes that occur when one detaches or attaches Latin prefixes to words, "es" is also "is".
-- Therefore, (S)pain's relationship with (S)Iberia is made magnificent with "España"!
-- And speaking of Spain, one of the examples I used in the essay to communicate the confusion that ensues when a Latin article attaches itself to the host word erroneously over time was "inverno" (winter) vs "inferno" (hell) if assuming both words draw their lineage from "forno" for "oven". It's the end of March 2009 now and seeing as I am in New York and not Italy, I revisited the names of the seasons through Spanish ears rather than Italian -- where one jarring difference reveals an incredible truth: "summer" is "verano" in Spanish, not "estate" like Italian.
That is, "primavera" is therefore "before the truth", prima the vera.
"Verano" is "the truth".
("Otoño" is from an Etruscan root, not a Latin, so forget it."Vernacular" is also Etruscan and looks like it should belong here, but it doesn't, yet.)
"Inverno" is "against/not the truth".
And if the truth apparently occurs when it's warm, none of this negates my seasonal etymologies from the "oven" where we put things that are "seasoned".
To think, up until today no one was sure where the word "simmer" came from. Glad we've finally summed that up.
The "ver" sound found in both words related to "verita'" (verity, very, the straight truth, etc) and "versus" (vernal, verde, and things that bend and turn, etc) have been kissing cousins as far back as we can currently trace words to their Proto Indo-European sources, or should I start saying springs? No wonder the more "verse" I dedicate to this matter fails to set it any straighter.
-- "Scopa" is "escobar" in Spanish. Think no further on why it's such a common surname.
-- But back away from the immediate post-Latin Spain to the immediate pre-Latin Greece where much was once known and then lost again as the wide brush of history mandates. In ancient Greek, an "uncovering" (i.e. a "fuck" and a "scopata") would have been an apokalyptein from whence we get "apocalypse" in case you were skeptical of the gravity of this matter! Apo in this case serving as the "un" means that rather than doubling the prefix to get us to the ever salacious ununcovered(ish) ex-fuck as we must with the Italian "exscopata", we can take our cue from the Trinidadians and dance around this slippery topic with the aid of streamlined "un un-ed" calypso, from the Efik phrase ka isu for "go on, continue" as we know things do anyhow, so go on, continue.
-- But how could we have really been expected to bring all of ancient Greek's info along with us through the ages when they were so ruthlessly relentless with their unloading upon us of such complex riddles? Riddles that they themselves never got. Was there ever a king of the Aegean who didn't expedite his fate by misinterpreting a Delphic vision? I mean, they called themselves "Hellen" afterall and we're expected to just overlook the glaringly evil root therein? Or did they see "helle" as they do in Germany where it means "bright" -- a marked improvement from the Latin "Graeci" possibly meaning "grey", and one can imagine hell's fires generating quite a bit of light therefore making a euphemistic attempt at reversing one's ill fortune of spending an eternity in misery could be to see it as "bright", a possibility. But I'm not buying that, last I checked Greece represented something quite the opposite of hell to most. Or maybe that's just it; they called themselves Hell to dissuade invading Persian armies! If Xerxes and the leather-clad Scythians from barren steppes would have made it to the land of sweet figs and fermented grapes the Greeks would have never gotten rid of them -- send mis-info. Or maybe their advanced understanding of the endless cyclical astral peek-a-boo game led them to the same word play this (equally endless) essay can't move beyond: "Hell" comes from the Proto Indo-European kel which meant "to cover" like the shell on the outside with a hall on the inside the hellion in the cell is counting down the days 'til he can stick his helmet back in; um hello, what is covered now will be uncovered then and vice versa world without end of exscopatas.