Last week I wrote about a couple of things that probably have names but what those are, I had no idea.
One dealt with the way we often anticipate the next song on an album before it starts playing because we have heard the album so many times before. The other described the white rivers of space on a printed page created by the way words align themselves.
Since then, I discovered a post on the Internet that says those rivers of space are often called, well, “rivers.” I could have sworn that, years ago, I came across a longer word for that, but if “river” is a possible answer, then I’ll not complain.
I received some interesting responses regarding the phenomenon of subconsciously remembering the next song on an album before it plays.
“I believe that the term you are thinking of is ‘precognition’ or maybe ‘premonition,’ ” wrote in Bob Reeves. “Also, you probably have a sequential memory for the lyrics of the various songs, and the previous song probably did what is called ‘priming,’ which means that your memory of the (upcoming) lyrics became more salient in your memory.”
Area musician and Beatles expert Ed Turner pointed out that their albums didn’t always translate the same when they came across the pond.
“The old U.S. versions of the Beatles’ albums were configured differently, and it’s still weird to me to hear the orders of the songs,” he wrote. “I’m such a nerd that I can remember specific scratches on records that I recorded to cassette and 8-track. They just don’t seem right in digital perfection.”
I wrote back to him about the time, many years ago, when I left my reel-to-reel tape recorder running so I could record a side of The Beatles’ White Album while I went out to supper. I returned to find that the turntable needle had hung up on the song The Continuing Story of Bungalow Bill, and I had recorded 20 minutes of “What did you kill – unh! What did you kill – unh! What did you kill – unh!”
The more I listened to those hung-up lyrics, the more I liked them, and so I kept the tape just the way it was. There’s probably a word for that, but I’m afraid it might be “stupid.”
Here’s something else that needs its own word:
My wife is a voracious reader, and after I bought her an e-reader for Christmas, she has taken to it more quickly than I thought she would.
She discovered that whenever she encounters a word she doesn’t know, all she has to do is press it on the screen and the definition pops up.
It has become so second-nature to her, she said recently, that whenever she is reading an old-fashioned book – the kind made with dead trees – she finds herself pressing a finger down on an unknown word harder and harder and becoming frustrated when nothing pops up from the page.
One of these days her reading is going to break a finger. That should look good on the insurance form.