SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Putrescent, especially after 497 days of curing, Caesar-style, just like surströmming.


Welcome to another installment of SHANE’S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.

But why all these newfangled words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, like the ones you’re sure to hear when asking the city’s corporate attorney why the answers to my FOIA/public records request for Bicentennial commission finances, due to be handed over on July 8, still haven’t arrived on August 24th?

Bicentennial commission financial trail? What’s two (yawn) weeks (shrug) after 463 days?

August 24 update: Make that 7 weeks since the FOIA record request due date and  497 days since I asked Bob Caesar to tell us how many books were left unsold, and how much the city’s 200-year “summer of love” fest cost.

It’s because a healthy vocabulary isn’t about intimidation through erudition. Rather, it’s about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one’s pay grade or station in life.

Even these very same iniquitous, bond-slush-engorged municipal corporate attorneys who customarily are handsomely remunerated to suppress information can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate what they knew and when they knew it, all we have left is plenty of time — and the opportunity to learn something, if we’re so inclined.

Today’s word is putrescent, as prompted by Keith Olbermann’s Olympic observation about Hope Solo.

Ironically, Team Gahan views itself as courageous, too. The truth?

Well …


[pyoo-tres-uh nt]


1. becoming putrid; undergoing putrefaction.
2. of or relating to putrefaction.

Origin of putrescent

Latin 1725-1735; < Latin putrēscent- (stem of putrēscēns), present participle of putrēscere to grow rotten

How long does it take to count a stack of unsold books?

Oh, yes … I almost forgot surströmming.

Fermented herring, surströmming

Never has rotten fish smelled so bad but tasted so good. Small Baltic herring are caught in the spring, salted and left to ferment at leisure before being stuffed in a tin about a month before it hits the tables and shops. The fermentation process continues in the tin; ‘souring’ as the Swedes refer to it, and results in a bulging tin of fermented herring or surströmming. The aroma is pungent, and the taste is rounded yet piquant with a distinct acidity.

Thank you, Sweden. I’m so hungry that I just might go out and buy a diamond.

Any jewelers around?