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Community Comment

Archive for August 2012

One down, one to go…

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

I plead guilty to having all but abandoned my duties as moderator of Community Comment in favor of watching and listening to the Republican National Convention. Most of it was, as I expected, an endless litany of self-congratulatory speeches in favor of the Republican Party Platform and diatribes against President Obama with occasional fits of humor and wisdom thrown in. Despite the fact I am opposed to the conservative philosophy of which she spoke, I relished the speech given by Condoleezza Rice because it made several forays into several areas where, in my opinion, the Republican Party has traditionally fallen quite short.

 

However, as if the planners of this convention were saving the best for last, I especially relished the speech last night given by Clint Eastwood. Apparently unscripted, performed without a teleprompter, Eastwood's sometimes rambling monologue left audience members scrambling to keep up with his train of thought. Still, despite the number of times he seemed to be losing track of his thesis, such as his gag of using an empty chair to represent speaking directly to Barack Obama, he nevertheless floundered his way through his speech in a workmanship-like manner, and closed stronger than I had originally expected he would.

 

When Mitt Romney took the podium for his acceptance speech, I must admit I was ambivalent over what I was about to hear. Aside from the aforementioned self-congratulatory BS that seems to happen with every national political convention regardless of its party politics, I might be wrong but I believe if elected, Mitt Romney will take us to a new war. Perhaps this new conflagration will be in a different country than either one we are currently engaged with for a change. If we are lucky, we might finish both of the two wars where we are already engaged before we start the new war.

 

In a similar vein of thought the Republican platform scares the crap out of me, because of the various controversial stands they have already taken with their party platform. Of course, I am not enthralled by whatever the Democratic National Convention might have for their political platform, either.

 

As the self-appointed title of this piece suggests, it's one down and one to go. At least now that the Republican National Convention has dumped its balloons on the floor, we all have a much better understanding of where Mitt Romney stands on the issues, right?

 

Of course, your opinions may differ.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — inspissate

August 31, 2012

Word of the Day

  • inspissate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \in-SPISS-ayt\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

: to make or become thick or thicker
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“Marmalade of carrots is the juice of yellow carrots, inspissated till it is of the thickness of fluid honey, or treacle, which last it resembles both in taste and color.” — From Capt. James E. Cook's 1777 book A Voyage Towards the South Pole and Round the World, Volume 1

“Estrogen and progesterone affect direction and flow of tubal secretions, which may accumulate, inspissate, and eventually calcify.” — From Gary B. Siskin's 2009 book Interventional Radiology in Women’s Health

  • DID YOU KNOW?
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“Inspissate” is ultimately derived from Latin “spissus” (“slow, dense”) and is related to Greek “spidnos” (“compact”) and Lithuanian “spisti” (“to form a swarm”). When it appeared in English in the 17th century, “inspissate” suggested a literal thickening. Francis Bacon, for example, wrote in 1626 that “Sugar doth inspissate the Spirits of the Wine, and maketh them not so easie to resolue into Vapour.” Eventually “inspissate” was also used metaphorically. Clive Bell once wrote of “parties of school children and factory girls inspissating the gloom of the museum atmosphere.” There is also an adjective “inspissate,” meaning “thickened in consistency” or “made thick, heavy, or intense,” but that word is used even less frequently than the somewhat rare verb.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — servile

August 30, 2012

Word of the Day

  • servile
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SER-vul\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
: of or befitting a slave or a menial position
2
: meanly or cravenly submissive : abject
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Maura was embarrassed at the way her mother demanded servile behavior from store employees.

“In a communique read from atop of the small truck, they criticised the national unions for placing too little importance on health concerns and being servile to the factory owners.” — From an article by Steve Scherer on Reuters.com, August 2, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
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Latin served us “servile” with the help of “servilis,” itself from “servus,” the Latin word for “slave.” “Servus” is also an ancestor of “serve,” “service,” and “servitude.” Synonyms of “servile” in English include “subservient,” “slavish,” and “obsequious.” “Subservient” implies the cringing manner of one very conscious of a subordinate position.” “Slavish” suggests abject or debased servitude. “Obsequious” implies fawning or sycophantic compliance and exaggerated deference of manner. “Servile” suggests the mean or fawning behavior of a slave.

Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/#3jx3QRgOcMVZShjY.99

A Word A Day — benison

August 29, 2012

Word of the Day

  • benison
  • audio pronunciation
  • \BEN-uh-sun\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: blessing, benediction
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The candidate sought the benison of the popular pastor in the hope of gaining both spiritual and political support.

“On warm(ish) days, the soft rain feels like a benison, pattering gently on fallen leaves and stirring up earthy scents that remind me more of spring than autumn.” — From an article by Ann Lovejoy in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, December 4, 2008

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“Benison” and its synonym “benediction” share more than a common meaning; the two words come from the same root, the Latin “benedicere,” meaning “to bless.” (“Benedicere” comes from the Latin “bene dicere”—“to speak well of”—a combination of the Latin “bene,” meaning “well,” and “dicere,” to say.) Of the two words, “benediction” is more common today, but “benison” has a longer history in English. Records show that “benison” has been used in our language since the early 14th century. “Benediction” didn't appear in print until nearly a century later.

Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/#7tuVyIqkT9TUyu1i.99

A Word A Day — aliment

August 28, 2012

Word of the Day

  • aliment
  • audio pronunciation
  • \AL-uh-munt\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: food, nutriment; also : sustenance
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“In the Propontis, as far as I can learn, none of that peculiar substance called brit is to be found, the aliment of the right whale.” — From Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby Dick

“Until well into the nineteenth century, the notion of a well-balanced diet had occurred to no one. All food was believed to contain a single vague but sustaining substance—'the universal aliment.' A pound of beef had the same value for the body as a pound of apples or parsnips or anything else….” — From Bill Bryson's 2010 book At Home: A Short History of Private Life

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These days you're most likely to encounter “aliment” as a typo for “ailment,” but the word was less of a rarity in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. And the word's history goes back even further than that. It dates to the 15th century and comes from Latin “alere,” meaning “to nourish,” by way of “alimentum.” Although “aliment” is uncommon in today's English, you may recognize it in the somewhat technical term “alimentary canal”—the name for the long tube in the body through which food passes after it is eaten. “Aliment” also functions as a verb meaning “to give aliment to,” or “to nourish or sustain.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — sansculotte

August 27, 2012

Word of the Day

  • sansculotte
  • audio pronunciation
  • \sanz-koo-LAHT\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

1
: an extreme radical republican in France at the time of the Revolution
2
: a radical or violent extremist in politics
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“At the time of the French Revolution, the rampaging sansculottes wrecked churches and every sign of monarchal or religious authority.” — From Peter Manseau's 2009 book Rag and Bone

“Anyone who has toyed before a mirror with something as simple as a cap or as exotic as a turban understands the almost mystical power of head coverings to transform us…. Revolutionaries have adopted them, from Che Guevara's beret to the red Phrygian cap worn by the sansculottes as a symbol of allegiance to the French Revolution, while many an aristocratic head rolled.” — From an article by Leslie Carnhi in Vogue, May 2012

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At the time of the French Revolution (1787-1799), knee breeches (“culottes” in French) were the height of fashion for aristocratic men. The men of the general populace could not afford such impractical finery and instead wore the “pantaloon” (long trousers). When the poorer classes rose up against the government, members of the Revolutionary army used this difference in dress to distinguish themselves from the aristocracy, calling themselves “soldats sans culottes,” literally, “soldiers without culottes.” Almost immediately, “sansculotte” became a noun in both French and English.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — sedulous

August 26, 2012

Word of the Day

  • sedulous
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SEJ-uh-lus\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
: involving or accomplished with careful perseverance
2
: diligent in application or pursuit
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Daphne was a sedulous student whose hard work and determination earned her a number of college scholarships.

“We were sedulous. We were driven. Our vocabularies were formidable and constantly expanding.” — From a short story by Molly Patterson in The Atlantic, May 21, 2012

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No fooling—the word “sedulous” ultimately comes from the Latin “se dolus,” which literally means “without guile.” Those two words were eventually melded into one, “sedulo,” meaning “sincerely” or “diligently,” and from that root developed Latin “sedulus” and English “sedulous.” Don’t let the “sed-” beginning mislead you; “sedulous” is not related to words such as “sedentary” or “sedate” (which derive from the Latin verb “sedēre,” meaning “to sit”). “Sedulous” people are not the sedate or sedentary sort. They're the hardworking types Scottish author Samuel Smiles must have had in mind when he wrote in his 1859 book Self-Help, “Sedulous attention and painstaking industry always mark the true worker.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

Marty Hibbs takes two shots…

 

Good morning, Netizens…

 

It comes as no surprise that yesterday morning, while over coffee at one of our favorite dining places, I learned that my friend of many years, Marty Hibbs, recently had a serious heart attack while in Scared Heart Hospital, and had to have his heart jump started twice. According to Marty, he now has a new defibrillator and pacemaker installed, and is apparently currently as well as one could be expected to be, given the new hardware.

 

According to Mr. Hibbs, if anyone were keeping score, that is four heart attacks for him, compared to my humble three. Egods! Just recently, I just passed an electrocardiogram, which purportedly gives me a new lease on life, but it does appear to me that Mr. Hibbs and I appear to be having a cardiac race to see who can get out of life and into the Community Ballroom of ghosts first.

 

Wouldn't that be wonderful for Sweet Jeanie, Marty and I all to be reunited on the other side of the curtain of life with nothing to do but sip espresso, write invisibly, listening to the great minds of the Universe while the Ballroom Dancers whirl around the Grand Ballroom and the orchestra plays on?

 

(Huge sigh…) We have to believe in something, don't we?

 

Dave

A Word A Day — belaud

August 25, 2012

Word of the Day

  • belaud
  • audio pronunciation
  • \bih-LAWD\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

: to praise usually to excess
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Supporters belauded the idea as a magic bullet for all social problems in the country.

“Several cheers went up. Piccard, unaware of the scene unfolding behind him, seemed to think they were meant to belaud his plan.” — From Jake Silverstein's 2011 book Nothing Happened and Then It Did: A Chronicle in Fact and Fiction

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You may recognize the word “laud” (meaning “to praise or extol”) in “belaud.” In fact, “belaud” was formed by combining the prefix “be-” and the verb “laud.” Since “be-” can denote both “to a greater degree” and “excessively or ostentatiously,” it perhaps should come as no surprise that while “laud” may imply praise to a deserved degree, “belaud” often has the connotations of unreasonable or undeserved praise. Incidentally, both “laud” and by extension “belaud” derive from the Latin verb “laudere,” which in turn traces back to “laud-,” meaning “praise.” Other descendants of “laud-” in English include “laudatory,” “laudable,” and even “laudation,” meaning “an act of praising.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day never-never-land

August 24, 2012

Word of the Day

  • never-never land
  • audio pronunciation
  • \nev-er-NEV-er-LAND\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: an ideal or imaginary place
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Lester seems to think he lives in some kind of never-never land where people don't have to accept responsibility for their actions.

“China's pride of ownership is all too familiar to most Taiwanese, who are constantly bombarded by Beijing's assertions that they live in a political never-never land, lacking all the elementary accouterments of statehood.” — From an Associated Press article by Annie Huang, February 16, 2012

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The phrase “never-never land” is linked to Peter Pan, although it did not originate with that creation of the Scottish playwright Sir James Barrie. In Barrie's original 1904 play, Peter befriends the real-world children of the Darling family and spirits them off for a visit to Never Land, where children can fly and never have to become adults. Then, in his 1908 sequel When Wendy Grew Up, Barrie changed the name to Never Never Land, and subsequent versions of the earlier play incorporated that change. People had been using “never-never land” for a place that was overly idealistic or romantic since at least 1900, but the influence of Peter Pan on the word's popularity and staying-power cannot be discounted.

Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/#LmiFgQDWL3D1Tcqf.99

Could he be the one?

Good evening,  Netizens…

 

I believe our Mayor, the Boy Wonder of Spokane, has spoken, and other than a ditched effort on the part of the Spokane City Council (which seems unlikely at this point in time) Dr. Frank Straub is now our new Chief of Police. Having read extensively about Straub's history, for good and ill, and having compared him nose-to-nose with Spokane's history where law enforcement is concerned, I still did not feel I had gotten all the story about what changes Straub will bring when he takes control of our Police Department, for there is a lot of unspoken baggage hanging in the racks of our Police Department.

 

Dare I say it, there is still the ghost of Otto Zehm hanging over the entire city, and the odious stench of the salutes of police officers for Karl Thompson (AKA, the Klubber), a convicted felon?

 

One of the online voices I have been listening most closely to during the selection process and now the choice of our new Chief of Police is Detective Ron Wright, AKA Ron the Cop, for I admit having little in the way of criteria by which to judge Dr. Straub. My overwhelming question throughout the process has been, could Dr. Straub actually be the person who could lead the police department into new and more positive directions than we have endured under his lackluster predecessors? Or, will the Police Guild and the whacked-out politics of City Hall overwhelm him before he even gets started? To my way of thinking, given Wright's advanced college degree and extensive law enforcement experience at the command level, he might be a person who best would give insight into this process.

 

As certain of my “handlers” will quickly tell, there is this culture in our Spokane Police Department that cries out to me for cultural cleansing, if anything does. Will Dr. Straub be the person who can lead our dysfunctional and divisive Police Department to a better and more functional future?

 

When I put this question to Ron Wright this morning, I received the answer which I suspected I might receive, that being, “Only time will tell.”

 

Unfortunately, the future of our city is hanging in the eaves while I wait. Of course, your opinions may differ.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — dundrearies

August 23, 2012

Word of the Day

  • dundrearies
  • audio pronunciation
  • \dun-DREER-eez\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun plural

: long flowing sideburns
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Many of the Civil War reenactors were sporting dundrearies to give their costumes a look of authenticity.

“Although as a Victorian man he lacks the vocabulary to express it, he is living out the existentialist crisis, confronting absurdity and nothingness in cravat and dundrearies.” — From Thomas C. Foster's 2008 book How to Read Novels Like a Professor: A Jaunty Exploration of the World's Favorite Literary Form

  • DID YOU KNOW?
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In the United States, Our American Cousin by Tom Taylor is often best remembered as the play Abraham Lincoln was watching at Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C., when he was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. Word lovers may also recall that the show gave us “dundrearies,” a name for the long, bushy sideburns (called “Piccadilly weepers” in England). The term for that particular men's hair fashion, which was popular between 1840 and 1870, comes from the name of Lord Dundreary, a character in the play who sported those elegant whiskers. The name can also be used in the attributive form “dundreary whiskers.”

Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/#8YokMJI35YDA6okH.99

A Word A Day — ramose

August 22, 2012

Word of the Day

  • ramose
  • audio pronunciation
  • \RAY-mohss\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: consisting of or having branches
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“On a coral reef something analogous happens when ramose corals grow upward to create a structure resistant to waves and current….” — Les S. Kaufman in Coral Reef Restoration Handbook, 2006

“This decision pushed the Iraqi scene into ramose labyrinths and added to the extremely complex questions….” — From an article by BBC Monitoring, April 21, 2010

  • DID YOU KNOW?
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The adjective “ramose” is used to describe things that are branched, as in “ramose sponges,” “ramose corals,” or even “ramose trees.” This branching can also be figurative, as in our second example above. “Ramose” was borrowed from the Latin “ramosus” (“branched”) in the 17th century. In the 15th century, the Latin “ramosus” had also been borrowed by English, by way of the Middle French “rameux,” as “ramous,” a word nearly identical in meaning and usage to “ramose.” The root of “ramosus,” the Latin noun “ramus” (“branch”), is also the source, by way of Medieval Latin “ramificare” and Middle French “ramifier,” of the English verb “ramify.”

Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/2012/08/22/#3g2pmCrqPSMa0tTz.99

Rest in Peace…

Good afternoon, Netizens…

 

For the sake of all the various gray-beards in our midst, Scott McKenzie, one of the voices of the 60's passed away today. Best known for his song, “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair),” which was released in May 1967. “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair,” McKenzie gently sang in his biggest hit, written by his longtime friend John Phillips of the Mamas & the Papas.

 

I'm probably the sole surviving member of Inland Northwest society that ever heard him sing this song live in Golden Gate Park, let alone the only person in the Pacific Northwest who heard the Mamas & the Papas sing before their first blockbuster album.

 

Boy, how those times have changed!

 

Dave

A Word A Day — dyslogistic

August 21, 2012

Word of the Day

  • dyslogistic
  • audio pronunciation
  • \diss-luh-JISS-tik\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: uncomplimentary
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The blogger used many dyslogistic adjectives to express his dissatisfaction with the mayor.

“One answer lies in … the dyslogistic school of memoir written by former officials who present themselves as disillusioned innocents.” — From a book review by Jacob Heilbrunn in The New York Times, June 22, 2008

  • DID YOU KNOW?
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Logic would lead one to believe that “dyslogistic” is somehow related to the Greek word “logos,” from which the words “logic” and “logistics” are derived. In actuality, however, “dyslogistic” is a 19th-century merger of the prefix “dys-,” meaning “bad,” and “eulogy,” referring to an expression of praise. English jurist and philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) often used “dyslogistic” in his writings as an adjective to convey dispraise or opprobrium. And even today the word is likely to be encountered in judicial and intellectual writings.

Read more at http://www.merriam-webster.com/word-of-the-day/#ZqR4H6F2OaZZuPg7.99

A Word A Day — de minimis

August 19, 2012

Word of the Day

  • de minimis
  • audio pronunciation
  • \dee-MIN-uh-mus\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: lacking significance or importance : so minor as to merit disregard
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Critics complain that the new policy merely introduces de minimis modifications and does nothing to amend the real faults in the system.

“Williams told council members that a letter written by borough solicitor Kenelm Shirk III in response to her initial complaint described peeling paint and other problems as 'de minimis,' or trivial.” — From an article by Kimberly Marselas in Intelligencer Journal/New Era (Lancaster, Pennsylvania), April 11, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
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Proponents of readable prose over jargon and legalese might argue that the last thing 20th-century American jurisprudence needed was another Latin term. Yet here we have a legal term that entered English only around 1950. Perhaps we should clarify: the legal doctrine of “de minimis non curat lex” (“the law does not concern itself with trifling matters”) has been around for a while, but use of “de minimis” on its own is relatively recent. At first, the shortened phrase was simply used to refer to the legal doctrine itself (“the de minimis rule”). Then it came to be used more broadly as an adjective (“de minimis contacts with the defendant”). Finally, “de minimis” leaked out of the courtroom and into the world at large.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — peruse

August 18, 2012

Word of the Day

  • peruse
  • audio pronunciation
  • \puh-ROOZ\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

1
a : to examine or study attentively and in detail b : to look over or through in a casual or hasty manner
2
: read
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Genevieve perused the menu while we waited for a table.

“Sample a Texas chenin blanc or an Italian valpolicella as you peruse art from (mostly) regional artists whose imaginations respectfully diverge from the bluebonnet-and-Longhorn genre.” — From an article by Courtney Bond in Texas Monthly, August 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
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“Peruse” has long been a literary word, used by such famous authors as Shakespeare, Tennyson, and Thomas Hardy, and it tends to have a literary flavor even in our time. “Peruse” can suggest paying close attention to something, but it can also simply mean “to read.” The “read” sense, which is not especially new and was in fact included in Samuel Johnson's 1755 dictionary, has drawn some criticism over the years for being too broad. Some commentators have recommended that “peruse” be reserved for reading with great care and attention to detail. But the fact remains that “peruse” is often used in situations where a simple “read” definition could be easily substituted. It may suggest either an attentive read or a quick scan.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — georgic

August 17, 2012

Word of the Day

  • georgic
  • audio pronunciation
  • \JOR-jik\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: of or relating to agriculture
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

City slicker Brian was still getting used to the georgic lifestyle—particularly getting up at 4:30 each morning to milk the cows.

“During the last decade of the 1800s, the georgic rhythms and methods of cultivation continued very much as they had when Thomas Jefferson was president.” — From Dennis K. Boman's 2012 book The Original Rush Limbaugh: Lawyer, Legislator, and Civil Libertarian

  • DID YOU KNOW?
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The adjective “georgic,” which dates from the first half of the 18th century, derives by way of Latin “georgicus” and Greek “geōrgikos” from the Greek noun “geōrgos,” meaning “farmer.” That noun, in turn, was formed by a combination of the prefix “geō-” (meaning “earth”) and “ergon” (“work”), the latter of which gave us words such as “allergy” and “ergonomics.” There is also a noun “georgic” (dating from the early 16th century) which refers to a poem that deals with the practical aspects of agriculture and rural affairs. The standard for such poems, Virgil's Georgics, is responsible for its name. That poem, written between 37 and 30 B.C., called for a restoration of agricultural life in Italy after its farms fell into neglect during civil war.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

I passed my cardiologist test,,,

Good evening Netizens…

 

Today was my first appointment with the cardiologist after having succumbed to three heart attacks over eight years ago. I had some considerable trepidations about this visit because I had just had a heart electrocardiogram done last week, one which I was informed was “abnormal”. Ack! At age 65 what parts of my life or body isn't abnormal, I immediate thought to myself. I've got implants in one ankle, a plate in my head, artificial lenses in both eyes, diabetes, two stents in my heart and an unrepentant attitude that I will live so long as I am useful to someone other than myself.

 

So accompanied by Suzie, my unofficial butt-kicker and chief translator (from blood-curdling Dave-speak to polite English, thank you) hi ho, it's off to the cardiologist we go. Did I say how much I loathe trips to see the cardiologist? They always seem to want to talk down to me, as if I couldn't possibly understand the rarefied technical complex world they live in, which only coincidentally happens to be my aging fatbody.

 

If they only knew how, after three heart attacks, and feeling the unmistakeable hand of my imminent demise slowly creeping up my spine like a vagrant earthworm, I became somewhat self-taught in medical and pharmacological terminology. After all, I reasoned, they are just words, aren't they? I reasoned that perhaps if I could hold a cogent conversation about medicine in general, perhaps I could increase my longevity while I was at it. I'm afraid it doesn't work that way, despite what multiple generations of Hollywood doctors may seem to be saying.

 

However, after modifying my diet, moderately exercising and fervently taking my medications in a timely manner, I managed to survive eight long years without a cardiologist until my much-beloved doctor pushed a big button in her computer and ordered that, after all this time, I needed an electrocardiogram, and her computer, being a good little machine, promptly tattled on me and showed the errors of my past sins. However, it is not as bad as it could have been. I'll survive another year before I need to see another cardiologist. Just no more sixteen ounce steaks for breakfast five times per week, nor other gastronomical sins.

 

So onward we march. If Jeanie can survive without her kidneys, I can survive with only a percentage of my heart. We'll proceed on that basis.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — maquette

August 16, 2012

Word of the Day

  • maquette
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ma-KET\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: a usually small preliminary model (as of a sculpture or a building)
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

At the town meeting the architect presented a maquette of the proposed new school, which will include a state-of-the-art gymnasium and media center.

“All of the pieces in the gallery, including maquettes of the much larger outdoor works, are organized by location and accompanied by photographs of the artwork in their current homes….” — From an article by Jeremy D. Bonfiglio in The Herald-Palladium (St. Joseph, Michigan), May 10, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Maquette” came to English directly from French, first appearing in our language in the late 19th century. The French word, which possesses the same meaning as its English descendant, derived from the Italian noun “macchietta,” meaning “sketch,” and ultimately from Latin “macula,” meaning “spot.” Maquettes are generally intended to serve as rough models of larger designs. Architects make maquettes of their buildings, and sculptors often create maquettes in wax or clay to help them realize the final sculpture. As an aside, you might spot something familiar in the word's Latin ancestor. The term “macula” in English refers to a spot (such as one on the eye) that is different from surrounding tissue; this is where we get the term “macular degeneration.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — palisade

August 15, 2012

Word of the Day

  • palisade
  • audio pronunciation
  • \pal-uh-SAYD\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

1
a : a fence of stakes especially for defense b : a long strong stake pointed at the top and set close with others as a defense
2
: a line of bold cliffs
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“The biggest structure on the lot was a palisade made from wood harvested on the property, making the entrance look like a fortified structure.” — From an article by Annie J. Kelley in the Battle Creek (Michigan) Enquirer, July 11, 2012

“What is known as Wenlock Edge, a great palisade, almost 1,000 feet high, running for 15 miles through the county of Shropshire, overlooks, near its eastern end, the tidy town of Much Wenlock.” — From an article by Frank Deford in Smithsonian, July-August 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Palisade” derives via French from the Latin noun “palus,” meaning “stake.” The word originally applied to one of a series of stakes set in a row to form an enclosure or fortification. “The Palisades” is also the name given to the line of traprock cliffs that stretches for about 15 miles along the western bank of the Hudson River in southeastern New York and northern New Jersey. Purportedly, these cliffs got their name from the resemblance of the tall rocks to rows of stakes or trees, although who exactly came up with the name is a matter of dispute. Before long “palisade” came to refer to any similar formation of tall cliffs.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

Fires force evacuations, with bad meteorology

Good morning, Netizens…

 

According to the Department of Natural Resource, approximately 10% of the 30,000 acre Taylor Bridge fire burning between Cle Elum and Ellensburg this morning has been contained. However, with today's weather forecast of scorching-hot temperatures and 30 mile per hour winds, nobody is speculating how long it will be before full containment of this massive fire will be achieved.

 

Fire commanders estimated the fire has burned across at least 30,000 acres, or almost 44 square miles, although that number may have risen overnight, as the fire has continued growing in size and scope.

 

Gov. Chris Gregoire declared a state of emergency for Kittitas and Yakima counties in response to the blaze late yesterday. Air support from The Washington National Guard has been mobilized. The State Government is throwing every resource they have at this fire; little wonder, given how volatile weather conditions have been since the fire began Monday.

 

If this news were not somber enough, this morning there are reports of an estimated one thousand acre wildfire burning on the Colville Indian reservation near Elmer City, and some homes are being evacuated at this time.

 

It is still several hours before fire commanders in charge of the Taylor Bridge fire will have any additional information or update the fire statistics.

 

Given the weather reports of more heat and wind with no end in sight, with the possibility of lightning storms past the weekend, it may be awhile before these fires will be contained.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — bloviate

August 14, 2012

Word of the Day

  • bloviate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \BLOH-vee-ayt\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: to speak or write verbosely and windily
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Mitchell spent his Sunday morning listening to talk show pundits bloviating about world affairs.

“Does the deluge of financial reporting make us more prone to glaze over when we read about massive debt or when we hear an analyst like CNBC's Jim Cramer bloviate about the latest stock offering? — From an article by Grant Rampy in Abilene Reporter-News (Texas), June 10, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

Warren G. Harding is often linked to “bloviate,” but to him the word wasn't insulting; it simply meant “to spend time idly.” Harding used the word often in that “hanging around” sense, but during his tenure as the 29th U.S. President (1921-23), he became associated with the “verbose” sense of “bloviate,” perhaps because his speeches tended to the long-winded side. Although he is sometimes credited with having coined the word, it's more likely that Harding picked it up from local slang while hanging around with his boyhood buddies in Ohio in the late 1800s. The term probably derives from a combination of the word “blow” plus the suffix ”-ate.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A-go-go

August 13, 2012

Word of the Day

  • a-go-go
  • audio pronunciation
  • \ah-GOH-goh\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
: of, relating to, or being a disco or the music or dances performed there : go-go
2
: being in a whirl of motion
3
: being up-to-date — often used postpositively
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The shop is chock-full of the latest in fashionable home decor—it's decorating trends a-go-go.

“All of the major plot points are either utterly predictable or thoroughly explained by one of the characters, and that becomes kind of a drag after a while. Nonetheless, there's tons of suspense, monsters-a-go-go and strong performances from the whole cast.” — From a film review by Alonso Duralde on thewrap.com, June 4, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

The English word “a-go-go” has two functions. It's an adjective, as we've defined it above, but it's also a noun referring to a nightclub for dancing to popular music—that is, a disco. Both the noun and the first meaning of the adjective betray the word's origins: it's from the name of a Parisian discotheque—the Whisky à Gogo, which translates to “whiskey galore.” The French club, which opened in 1947 or possibly 1948, predated the American discos that have also used the name, but the American versions undoubtedly had much to do with spreading the term “a-go-go” in English: the most famous of these, the still-operating Whisky a Go Go on Los Angeles' Sunset Strip, opened in 1964, the year before our earliest evidence of the generic use of either the noun or the adjective “a-go-go.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — nectar

August 12, 2012

Word of the Day

  • nectar
  • audio pronunciation
  • \NEK-ter\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

1
a : the drink of the Greek and Roman gods b : something delicious to drink c : a beverage of fruit juice and pulp
2
: a sweet liquid that is secreted by the nectaries of a plant and is the chief raw material of honey
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

After working for hours in the hot sun, there is no sweeter nectar than an ice-cold glass of lemonade.

“Large numbers of adult monarch butterflies are present in our area, busily laying eggs and stocking up on nectar as they continue to push north in waves to the limits of their breeding range.” - From an article by Robert Zimmer in The Post-Crescent (Appleton, Wisconsin), June 30, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Nectar” is often mentioned in conjunction with “ambrosia,” the food of the Greek and Roman gods. For centuries, English speakers have used “ambrosia” to refer to something with an extremely pleasing taste or smell and “nectar” to refer to a delicious drink, especially a fruit juice. To the ancient Greeks and Romans, however, the powers of nectar and ambrosia far exceeded those of any earthly fare; consuming nectar and ambrosia gave the gods their immortality. In Greek, the literal meanings of “ambrosia” and “nektar” are “immortality” and “overcoming death” respectively. “Nektar” is believed to be a compound of Greek “nek-” (probably akin to Latin “nec-,” meaning “death”) and “-tar” (probably akin to Sanksrit “tarati,” meaning “he overcomes or crosses over”).

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

We both take a shot from the doctors…

 

Good afternoon, Netizens…

 

With both Jeanie and I being somewhat out of commission over the last few weeks, things have been inordinately slow around Community Comments' hallowed halls. In case you didn't already know Jeanie was in the hospital for surgery and is currently back home recovering from having her kidneys removed. Just as I was recovering from from the loss of Jeanie, my strong right arm in the blogosphere, I received a kick in the pants of my own, as I am once more going to go see the cardiologist, and have been tangled up in that web of affairs, much the result of having had three heart attacks over the last fifteen years or so. I've heard it said that after the first heart attack, it doesn't seem to hurt as badly, and given my experiences, I think most of the pain is from seeing the cardiologist and/or his handlers. I once had a cardiologist who, while engaged in performing an angioplasty on my heart, spent most of the time he was thus engaged talking to his girlfriend (not his wife) on his cell phone. My, but that was reassuring.

 

Yes, I've had my share of bad experiences with the medical profession over the years, and especially cardiologists and other high-ended-handed specialists. In fact, my only good experiences with the medical profession have been two general practitioners, one who lost his license and most recently, one who isn't truly a doctor, but a nurse practitioner with uncommonly good skills and a gorgeous personality that makes one feel as if she were truly in my court.

 

I cannot complain. I am 65 years of age, which is older than dirt once you come to think of it, an unrepentant smoker (although working toward quitting once and for all) and a Type II Diabetic. Given the reckless manner in which I have lived throughout most of my life, some of the chances I have taken and the resulting implants I have in various parts of my anatomy, I often feel lucky that I am still among the living.

 

As I contemplate the upcoming trip to see the cardiologist, all I can think if is the tiny steam engine trying to climb a steep hill, repeating over and over again, “I think I can, I think I can”.

 

If Jeanie can endure all the woes present in her life, I think I can, too.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — gibbous

August 11, 2012

Word of the Day

  • gibbous
  • audio pronunciation
  • \JIB-us\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

1
: marked by convexity or swelling b of the moon or a planet : seen with more than half but not all of the apparent disk illuminated
2
: having a hump : humpbacked
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The gibbous shadows that could be seen on the horizon were those of oxen pulling plows.

“With a simple triangular sweep, you can see the clouds and moons of Jupiter, mountains and craters on the Moon, and the fat gibbous form of Venus.” - From a report on WKBN.com (Youngstown, Ohio), December 26, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

The adjective “gibbous” has its origins in the Latin noun “gibbus,” meaning “hump,” and in the Late Latin adjective “gibbosus,” meaning “humpbacked,” which Middle English adopted in the 14th century as “gibbous.” “Gibbous” has been used to describe the rounded body parts of humans and animals (such as the back of a hunchback or camel) or to describe the shape of certain flowers (such as snapdragons). The term is most often identified, however, with the study of astronomy. In fact, if you run across the word “gibbous,” chances are you'll find the word “moon” somewhere nearby. A gibbous moon is one that is more than a half-moon but less than full.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

Painted road kill

Good morning, Netizens…

From the Associated Press…

This photo provided by Sean McAfee from Thursday, Aug. 2, 2012, shows a dead raccoon that McAfee saw with the road dividing line painted over it before he stopped his motorcycle to take the picture on Franklin Rd. in Johnstown, Pa. According to PennDOT traffic engineer John Ambrosini, paint crews know to avoid such animals and usually have a foreman on the job to clear any dead animals off the road before the paint-spraying truck equipment passes by. This crew didn't have a foreman that day, and the equipment was too big to turn around in traffic on the curvy, narrow road so the line could be repainted without the carcass in the way. Photo: Sean McAfee / AP

Dave

A Word A Day — scaramouch

August 10, 2012

Word of the Day

  • scaramouch
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SKAIR-uh-moosh\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

a : a cowardly buffoon b : rascal, scamp
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Dorothy was wary about lending money to her uncle, a scaramouch who never took responsibility for his actions.

“The mischievous Scaramouche dances beneath them, flanked by a chorus of provocatively clad statues that seem poised to descend from their pedestals….” — From Caroline Van Eck and Stijn Bussels' 2011 book Theatricality in Early Modern Art and Architecture

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

In the commedia dell'arte, Scaramouch was a stock character who was constantly being cudgeled by Harlequin, which may explain why his name is based on an Italian word meaning “skirmish,” or “a minor fight.” The character was made popular in England during the late 1600s by the clever acting of Tiberio Fiurelli. During that time, the name “Scaramouch” also gained notoriety as a derogatory word for “a cowardly buffoon” or “rascal.” Today not many people use the word (which can also be spelled “scaramouche”), but you will encounter it while listening to Queen's ubiquitous rock song “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in the lyric “I see a little silhouetto of a man / Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the fandango?”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — weald

August 09, 2012

Word of the Day

  • weald
  • audio pronunciation
  • \WEELD\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

1
: a heavily wooded area : forest
2
: a wild or uncultivated usually upland region
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“Challenger's house was on the very edge of the hill, and from its southern face, in which was the study window, one looked across the vast stretch of the weald to where the gentle curves of the South Downs formed an undulating horizon.” — From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1913 novella The Poison Belt

“Graham [Findlay] is a watercolour artist painting mainly landscapes around his home in the Weald of Kent.” — From an announcement in the Kentish Express, June 28, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

If “weald” were a tree, it would have many annual rings. It has been in use as a general word for “forest” since the days of Old English, and it has also long been used, in its capitalized form, as a geographic name for a once-heavily forested region of southeast England. “Weald” is also often capitalized today when used to refer to wooded areas like the Weald of Kent and the Weald of Sussex in England. In time, the word branched out to designate any wild and uncultivated upland regions. A related word is “wold,” meaning “an upland plain or stretch of rolling land.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

Pronounce Sikh correctly…

Good morning, Netizens…

Despite what the liocal or national news organizations including Youtube may suggest, I have heard many pronunciations for the word Sikh lately, ranging from seek to sick.

While many organizations are pronouncing it “seek,” we have asked for and received confirmation from the World Sikh Council on the correct pronunciation.

Below is the official statement received from Secretary General of the World Sikh Council - America Region (WSC-AR):



Thank you for your inquiry. The pronunciation of the word “Sikh” is as follows:

 

 

“Sikh” pronounced as “Sick” and “Sikhs” pronounced as “Six”.

 

 

I hope this helps. Please feel free to contact me for any further questions.

 

Dave

A Word A Day — aught

August 08, 2012

Word of the Day

  • aught
  • audio pronunciation
  • \AWT\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

pronoun

1
: anything
2
: all, everything
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“Xury said it was a lion, and it might be so for aught I know.” — From Daniel Defoe's 1719 novel Robinson Crusoe

“He dropped, dead, into the shallow water, but I was too late for aught but revenge.” — From Judson Roberts' 2011 novel Viking Warrior

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“If you know aught which does behove my knowledge / Thereof to be inform'd, imprison't not / In ignorant concealment,” Polixenes begs Camillo in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, employing the “anything” sense of “aught.” Shakespeare didn't coin the pronoun “aught,” which has been a part of the English language since before the 12th century, but he did put it to frequent use. Writers today may be less likely to use “aught” than were their literary predecessors, but the pronoun does continue to turn up occasionally. “Aught” can also be a noun meaning “zero,” and the phrase “the aughts” has been bandied about as a proposed label for the decade that began in the year 2000.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — oriflamme

August 07, 2012

Word of the Day

  • oriflamme
  • audio pronunciation
  • \OR-uh-flam\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: a banner, symbol, or ideal inspiring devotion or courage
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

For many Americans, the photograph of the Iwo Jima flag raising served as an oriflamme and a reminder of the sacrifices and courage of the American servicemen.

“Researchers now think there's a da Vinci painting underneath. The Italian phrase on that little oriflamme, or battle banner, is what reporters say inspired today's search by contemporary engineer Maurizio Seracini.” — From an article by Robert Morrison in The Examiner (Washington, DC), April 4, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

The original “oriflamme” was the banner of Saint Denis, a patron saint of France who is said to have been the first bishop of Paris. Middle English speakers referred to this red or reddish orange banner using the Middle French term “oriflamble,” from Old French “ori flambe,” meaning “small flag.” From the 12th to the 15th centuries, French kings carried the banner into battle as a way of inspiring their troops. This tactic met with such success that, by 1600, English speakers were using “oriflamme” to refer to any group's rallying symbol.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — affront

August 06, 2012

Word of the Day

  • affront
  • audio pronunciation
  • \uh-FRUNT\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

1
a : to insult especially to the face by behavior or language b : to cause offense to
2
: to face in defiance : confront
3
: to appear directly before
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

He affronted us with his rude behavior and seeming indifference to our feelings.

“She has fine acting skills, moving effortlessly from the Prima Donna's easily affronted hauteur to Ariadne's heartfelt grief, and she looked beautiful.” — From a theater review by Sarah Bryan Miller in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (Missouri), January 29, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

The Middle English “afronten,” the ancestor of the Modern English verb “affront,” was borrowed from the Anglo-French “afrunter,” a verb which means “to defy” but which also has the specific meaning “to strike on the forehead” or “to slap on the face.” These more literal senses reveal the word's Latin origins, a combination of the Latin prefix “ad-,” meaning “to” or “towards,” and “front-, frons,” which means “forehead” (and which is also the source of the English word “front”). While the striking or slapping sense of “afrunter” was not adopted by English, it is alluded to in the oldest uses of “afronten” in Middle English in the sense of “to insult especially to the face.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — wiseacre

August 05, 2012

Word of the Day

  • wiseacre
  • audio pronunciation
  • \WYZE-ay-ker\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

: one who pretends to knowledge or cleverness; especially : smart aleck
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

A few wiseacres in the audience began heckling the young comedian after his first couple of jokes fell flat.

“Following the stuttering relationship between Billy Crystal's smart wiseacre and Meg Ryan's prim moralist, the film undoubtedly owed something to Woody Allen's Annie Hall.” — From an article in The Irish Times, June 28, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

Given the spelling and definition of “wiseacre,” you might guess that the word derives from the sense of “wise” meaning “insolent” or “fresh”—the sense that gives us “wisecrack” and “wisenheimer.” But, in fact, “wiseacre” came to English by a different route; it derived from the Middle Dutch “wijssegger” (meaning “soothsayer”), a modification of the Old High German “wīzzago.” “Wiseacre” first appeared in English way back in the late 16th century, while the “insolent” sense of “wise” and the words formed from it are products of the 19th and 20th centuries. The etymologies of “wiseacre” and “wise” are not completely distinct, however; the ancestors of “wiseacre” are loosely tied to the same Old English root that gave us “wise.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — scarlet pimpernel

August 04, 2012

Word of the Day

  • scarlet pimpernel
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SKAHR-lut-PIM-per-nel\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

noun

1
: a European pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis) naturalized in North America and having scarlet, white, or purplish flowers that close in cloudy weather
2
: a person who rescues others from mortal danger by smuggling them across a border
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The refugees will always be grateful to the scarlet pimpernels who saved their lives by getting them out of the country ahead of the death squads.

“The scarlet pimpernel plant also disguises itself, albeit in a reverse sort of way. It appears to be the most docile and friendly of plants yet it contains toxins and its digestion by grazing animals may cause their death..” — From a column by Joshua Siskin in The Daily News of Los Angeles, June 2, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

In 1903, Hungarian-born playwright and novelist Baroness Emmuska Orczy introduced the world to Sir Percy Blakeney, ostensibly a foppish English aristocrat, but secretly a swashbuckling hero known as “The Scarlet Pimpernel” who rescued aristocrats from certain death in the French Revolution by smuggling them to England. In The Scarlet Pimpernel, Blakeney's character used a drawing of a small, red, star-shaped flower known in England as a “scarlet pimpernel” as a signature of his involvement in an escape. The popularity of Orczy's novel prompted English speakers to start using “scarlet pimpernel” for any daring hero who smuggled those in danger to a safe haven in another country. Today it is also sometimes used more broadly for a person who is daring, mysterious, or evasive.

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — mettlesome

August 03, 2012

Word of the Day

  • mettlesome
  • audio pronunciation
  • \MET-ul-sum\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: full of vigor and stamina : spirited
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

The mettlesome bronco kicked and bucked, but the rider kept her balance and rode her out.

“An accomplished actor, Prete writes electrifying dialogue, and his galvanizing descriptions are poetic and mettlesome.” — From a book review Donna Seaman in Booklist, March 15, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

The 17th-century adjective “mettlesome” (popularly used of spirited horses) sometimes appeared as the variant “metalsome.” That's not surprising. In the 16th century and for some time after, “mettle” was a variant spelling of “metal”—that is, the word for substances such as gold, copper, and iron. (“Metal” itself dates from the 14th century and descends from a Greek term meaning “mine” or “metal.”) The 16th century was also when “metal”—or “mettle”—acquired the figurative sense of “spirit,” “courage,” or “stamina.” However, by the early 18th century, dictionaries were noting the distinction between “metal,” used for the substance, and “mettle,” used for “spirit,” so that nowadays the words “mettle” and “mettlesome” are rarely associated with “metal.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — cerebrate

August 02, 2012

Word of the Day

  • cerebrate
  • audio pronunciation
  • \SAIR-uh-brayt\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

verb

: to use the mind : think
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

Jane is apt to cerebrate at length before making even minor decisions.

“You can't cerebrate over what you can't see, which therefore becomes an object of loathing and mistrust.” — From an article by Howard Portnoy at Examiner.com, June 25, 2012

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

When you think of the human brain, you might think of the cerebrum, the large, fissured upper portion of the brain that is recognized as the neural control center for thought and sensory perception. In 1853, Dr. William Carpenter thought of the cerebrum when he coined “unconscious cerebration,” a term describing the mental process by which people seem to do the right thing or come up with the right answer without conscious effort. People thought enough of Carpenter's coinage to use it as the basis of “cerebrate,” though the verb refers to active thinking rather than subconscious processing. “Cerebrate,” “cerebrum,” and the related adjective “cerebral” all derive from the Latin word for “brain,” which is “cerebrum.”

From Merriam-Webster Online at www.Merriam-Webster.com.

A Word A Day — tonsorial

August 01, 2012

Word of the Day

  • tonsorial
  • audio pronunciation
  • \tahn-SOR-ee-ul\
  • DEFINITION
  •  

adjective

: of or relating to a barber or the work of a barber
  • EXAMPLES
  •  

“Rookie Adam Henrique is trying to spark the Devils with a tonsorial adjustment. Henrique has shaved off his beard, leaving him with a bristly mustache for Game 4.” —From an Associated Press article appearing in the Wall Street Journal, June 5, 2012

“We found the office closed; but, in the verandah of the dwelling-house, was a lady performing a tonsorial operation on the head of a prim-looking, elderly European, in a low, white cravat….” — From Herman Melville's 1847 novel Omoo: A Narrative of Adventures in the South Seas

  • DID YOU KNOW?
  •  

“Tonsorial” is a fancy word that describes the work of those who give shaves and haircuts. (It can apply more broadly to hairdressers as well.) It derives from the Latin verb “tondēre,” meaning “to shear, clip or crop.” (Another descendant, “tonsor,” is an archaic word for a barber.) You might be more familiar with the related noun “tonsure,” which refers to the shaven crown or patch worn by monks and other clerics, or the religious rite of clipping the head of one being admitted as a cleric. The verb “tonsure” means “to shave the head of.”

Gore Vidal passes away…

Good morning, Netizens…

 

Gore Vidal, the resolute and irreverent author, playwright, politician and commentator, has died last night at age 86 years of age, leaving a vast literary chasm in his wake. One of my absolute favorite moments in Vidal's life of badgering some of his fellow quasi-intellectuals was actually caught on the Dick Cavett show when Vidal and one of his literary arch-enemies, Norman Mailer, went toe-to-toe on national television here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8m9vDRe8fw.

 

According to an Associated Press article written by Hillel Italie and Andrew Dalton, Vidal once likened Mailer’s views on women to those of Charles Manson. (From this the head-butting incident ensued, backstage at “The Dick Cavett Show.”) He derided Buckley, on television, as a “crypto Nazi.”

 

Having written several home-erotic essays and novels, among the first to write about openly-gay characters. He won critical acclaim for his fictional work “Myra Breckenridge”, among others.

 

Vidal was purportedly fond of drink and stated he had tried nearly every major drug once. He never married and for decades shared a villa in Ravello, Italy, with companion Howard Austen, who died of cancer in 2003.

 

We probably will never see another writer/author like Gore Vidal in our lifetimes. I am reasonably certain that is the precise way he would like it to be.

 

Dave

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