The Word Wizard! Hallowed

smurk media word wizard image

Boo! Gotcha ;D

oooOOOOOOooooo…. Halloween is all about desecrating the sacred, about dancing on the grave of social propriety in the name of mischief. Though after several years of many nights of Hallow’s eve debauchery, I’m quite hallowed-out. I’ll gladly take a cuppa, candy, and pumpkin carving, and let those crazy kids chase the ghouls. Keep your Fridays funky and fresh…and nerd out with your word out. ;D hallowed: 1. Sanctified; consecrated: a hallowed cemetery. 2. Highly venerated; sacrosanct.

halloween word origin

*wolf howls* oOOOOOOOooooo….

Check out the Word Wizard index for more goofy cartoons…


The Word Wizard! Inklings

smurk media word wizard image

Winkings and inklings and twinklings, oh my!

“Do you know why I pulled you over?”

“Hmmm, I have an inkling…”

This word is a shy one. Tricksy? Indeed. Those inklings are lurking ’round mindbends like fiends. Where do they come from, where have they been? What are they saying, from the tips of our pens?

Keep your Fridays funky and fresh…and nerd out with your word out. ;D

As usual, the Wizard’s getting goofy today, unleashing some mischief for an action-packed weekend. Looking for more clues? Try flipping your vantage point. There’s a ‘ling on a swing with some fun friends in tow. Just keep right on reading, there are giggles below…

inkling: (n.) 1. A slight understanding; a vague idea or notion. A hint, an indication.

But really, there’s more, so much more to this ink. Its ‘lings tickle brains, teasing and taunting with winks. Drawing ‘way from safe dreams, their ‘prints aren’t pristine. They’re just piquing the curious in places unseen. So I’ve got my own meanings to add to the stock. Will you come walk the wood with me, ‘sploring doors to unlock?

inkling (revised) 2. That which emerges when ink speaks for itself. 3. Hints blinking whispering at the back of the mind. Creatures called from the source, with stories to unwind.

…or maybe it’s just the Sharpie fumes. In any case… Happy Friday, lovelies =}

inkling definition image smurk word wizard

Here are your hints: 1) super and shadow 2) a gull 3) ‘boarding 4) baleen 5) a mirrored monocle. bonus: cartwheels ;D

Definition tweaked from

Cartoons are original drawings by Stephanie Murphy.

United Cultures of America: The Wobblies

Before the internet and social media, ‘the Wobblies’ could mobilize 300,000 workers across the United States. Whoa, dude… whoa. One of the most infamous labor unions in U.S. history, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) are known for their radical socialism, freedom of speech demonstrations, and their goofy, slanderous nickname. In honor of Labor Day, here are some fun facts about the Wobblies as an indelible political subculture within the United States. (Oh yea, and the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Germany. What’s up, international community.)

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know about the IWW:

1. They had an unusually high percentage of Finnish-Americans as members. In the early days, their only daily newspaper was published in Finnish, out of Duluth, Minnesota.

2. They led the way for inclusive identity politics. When it was founded in 1905, the IWW was one of two American unions “to welcome all workers including women, immigrants, African Americans and Asians into the same organization.” LEGIT.

3. They changed labor policy in the San Francisco Bay Area. An integral part of the four-day 1934 San Francisco general strike and the eighty-three-day West Coast Waterfront Strike, the IWW helped unionize all ports on the West Coast. Today, “the city of Berkeley’s recycling is picked up, sorted, processed and sent out all through two different IWW-organized enterprises.”

4. They chose pickets over process. In 1908, the IWW split over a perennial debate in activist circles: is political action (working within the system to change it) or direct action (shut down the system so it’ll have to change immediately) more effective in achieving collective goals? Direct action won out for the IWW, starting their reputation for massive worker strikes and boycotts.

5. They’re still around. In the last twenty years, regional IWW efforts have organized bike messengers, sex industry workers, foodchain workers, food co-operatives, and Starbucks baristas (for real).

You don’t have to agree with their principles or even like the idea of unions, but the IWW has indisputably left their mark on politics in the United States. Over one hundred years before Occupy and the 99%, the IWW was more articulate, better organized, and ultimately more effective in achieving their goals. All of that, and before the Internet. Hot damn, that’s impressive.

Excerpt from the current IWW Constitution:
“There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organize as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the Earth.”


All quotes and info synthesized from and my nerdy recollections of U.S. history classes.

Photo from Machete 408.

The Word Wizard! Cacophony

smurk media word wizard image

Stirring it up again, are ya?

This week’s word wizard is inspired by the recently riotous rhetoric surrounding U.S. presidential elections. There’s been a lot of hootin’-n-hollerin’ about silly things like ‘fact-checking,’ women’s issues, and the environment. I know I’ve added my fair share to the chorus. But like this…rooster…<<.>>…signalling the start of another day, we can sometimes benefit from the noise. I mean, we needed a wake-up call anyway, right? And besides, it feels good to expel some hot air, get things out in the open. Even if, on first hearing, you have a strong urge to throttle the rooster.

Keep your Fridays funky and fresh…and nerd out with your word out. ;D

cacophony: a harsh discordance or meaningless mixture of sound; (music) frequent use of dissonance, sounding a stark relationship that’s difficult to understand.

cacophony definition, cacophony sounds like


Definition from

Images are original drawings by Stephanie Murphy.

The Word Wizard! Salacious

Keep your Fridays funky and fresh…and nerd out with your word out. ;D

To continue the trend of last week’s obfuscate, I picked another word whose sound suppports its definition. This way, if you hear the word and need help remembering what it means, you just have to taste it out.

Speaking of taste…

salacious (adj.) : arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination.


Example: The way I eat mangos is freaking salacious.

Take a private moment with this one. Say it slowly. Put a little naughty voice behind it. Let your tongue linger on that lovely ‘L’…whisper the ‘sh’ to keep it close by. Notice how your mouth just curls into a smile when it’s over.

*blinks* Well, hot damn. Vocab is fun.

Now, if you don’t mind, I need to go find some cold water. Thanks for playing, and stay tuned for next time… *sha-zaam!*

The Word Wizard Philosophy: The purpose of language is to communicate. An expanded vocabulary allows you to express yourself more precisely and have greater conversational satisfaction. Unfortunately, people often use big words to intimidate rather than connect. So what to do if you’re word nerd? Lend some context, and have fun with it. You can still indulge in your nerdy desires if you help your listeners and readers with responsible dosage.

Definition from Merriam-Webster

Images found on

How to Escape a Bubble

bubble boy tries to escape

We all live in bubbles of our own making, where comfort zones and rationalizations make pretty, soapy swirls and a cozy, finite environment. In the Bay Area, the bubble effect creates lovable attitudes–a dogged sense of optimism, innovation, and tech glam in spite of grim global problems–and misguided enthusiasts as well. A consumer technology article I read last week surmised that now that “we all” have access to high-speed wireless communications and pervasive online networks, the social-local-mobile model is just so passe. Now, we can set our sights on the next vision of the future!! *Orbitz girl smile*

It’s always good to look beyond the present and think big for the next step, especially when world-changing innovation could be just around the corner. The techni-coded bubble of the Bay is not without its faults. Even though they provide the stability needed for further growth, sometimes our bubbles blind us. That’s why stepping outside can be so terrifying.

holy captain barnacle, spongebob!

If you’re covered in sticky stuff and the bubble wand has fallen in: never fear, help is here.

How to Escape a Bubble:

1) Go outside.

Walk around in a neighborhood that’s not yours. Be open to the beauty abounding around you. Make eye contact with and smile at people on the street. Question the root of social conditions that detract from human dignity, even if they make you uncomfortable.

2) Solve real problems.

Not celebrity bullshit. Not the next Facebook. Not an easier way to order a soy decaf cappuccino while dropping off your dry cleaning while your dog is getting a facial. Refer to your brain and step one for inspiration.

3) Be your bigger person.

Being wrong is part of being human. We’ve all heard it before: embrace your mistakes by learning from them. We all come up with a lot of reasons to defend our bad behavior, but it just hurts more in the end. The best we can do is own up, move on, and stop letting it mess with other people.

And, in here’s where it gets good: because of our perpetual imperfections, the process of breaking down and building up, breaking down and building up, is what keeps creativity fresh. That’s what allows our daily work to be meaningful. And that moment when we choose to break the seal, pop the top, or take that step– that moment is actually pure joy, not fear.

This kid’s got it right, for sure.
boy popping bubble


[Reposted from