The other day, as I was flipping through the radio dial doing my damnedest to avoid commercials (I'm such an asshole...I listen to free radio, but not the commercials), I settled for a moment on the talk radio dial because I wanted to listen to the news for the day. Naturally, there was a little bit of discussion prior to the news and the host and his guest were discussing the stimulus package that had been passed last year. Except, they didn't refer to it as the "stimulus" package, they called it the "porculus" package.
This amused me greatly.
Okay, so I get it. Whoever coined the term "porculus" thought they were being clever because the bill was loaded with pork. What bill moving through congress hasn't been saddled with pork? It's not like this is anything new. This is not the thing that amused me, however.
No, the thing that amused me was that "porculus" is actually a Latin word. It's translation is someone...er...thing...very near and dear to all of our hearts. For, you see, porcus is the Latin word for "pig", and the ending -ulus is used for making the diminutive form. Therefore, porculus means "little pig", or, even better, it means Piglet.
Wait! That seems ready-made for translation of a children's book into Latin!
There are several modern books that have been transliterated into Latin. For instance, Quomodo invidiosulus nomine Grinchus Christi natalem abrogaverit (How the Grinch stole Christmas) or Virent ova! Virent Perna! (Green Eggs and Ham). Oh, and someone might enjoy a copy of Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis. Just sayin...
And there's my personal favorite, Winnie Ille Pu.
Ah, brilliant! I can almost hear Porculus telling Pu:
Pronounced: "Pyoo, too-oom cah-poot ex ohr-cah may-leese ah-moh-ways!"
And, because I can never leave well enough alone...the Latin word for "jar" is "orca". It means "a container with a wide belly and a narrow neck", and is related to the Old Germanic word from which Tolkien derived the word "Orc". Our word for the killer whale, orca, also comes from this original root, as Orcus was a god of the underworld and a punisher of evil souls, somewhat similar to our modern concept of the devil as a punisher of the wicked. The whole derivation of the term is a bit convoluted, and Tolkien himself denied that there was any connection, but as there are several instances of similarities between Germanic and Norse mythology and that of various Latin deities, it's not too much of a jump to say that "orcus", the punisher of dead and evil souls and "horcus" (or "horkus"), Early Germanic for "imp, devil" come from the same roots. And, in case you were wondering, "ogre" comes from the same roots (via French influence).
Deny it all you want, John Ronald Reuel, but I'm onto you.