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Learning new words

2014-11-19T20:49:24+00:00

The “Selfie” series on ABC teaches me new words every week. Most of them are forgettable, fleetingly irrelevant pop culture references, but some of them are interesting. Last week’s word was “kegels,” which refers to pelvic floor exercises designed by Dr. Arnold Kegel in 1948 to mitigate urinary incontinence. This week’s word is “klezmer,” which refers to Eastern European Jewish dance music. One of the popular and long-lived klezmer bands is New York City’s The Klezmatics.

Lovely Soviet combat and propaganda footage from World War 2.

Terrific horns in some of these on this playlist, especially “A Glezele Vayn.”

Although I can’t find corroboration online, The Klezmatics date from a time long enough ago that it’s safe to assume that their name is meant to evoke the name of The Plasmatics, a heavy metal band of the 1970s and 1980s “fronted” by the late singer and animal activist Wendy O. Williams. Williams was known for her in-your-face personality and her penchant for baring her breasts during performances, which earned her several run-ins with the police and the court system.

I like learning new words. One never knows where a new word will lead.

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